More from Mexico

I just got a call this morning from Fernando Valenzuela, who earned his first win of the season over the weekend, pitching 5.1 innings and allowing four hits and two earned runs. And Fernando Jr. homered in the game, so Sr. was pretty excited.

Also, for you NASCAR fans, Derek Lowe has moved into second place in the NASCAR Chase Tracker, where he picked the winners of the final 10 races back in September. Grady Little’s not doing so hot with his picks, but Derek is ahead of guys like Jake Peavy (Padres), Larry Fitzgerald (NFL Cards), Jerry Stackhouse (Mavs), Tom Brady (Pats) and Johnny Damon (Yanks). Follow the "tourney" at the website.

Otherwise, it’s been relatively quiet around here. I even got to swing the golf clubs a little bit on Friday at the inaugural Urban Youth Academy Golf Tournament. They had some serious star power at the event, which was nice to see.

To answer the question about renovations, there has been no formal announcement of anything yet, but any improvements being made will be focused on concessions and parking.  Stay tuned for more info as we get further into the fall and winter.

Finally, if you take the time to vote on polls, please make sure you take the time to vote in the real election tomorrow. No matter what your beliefs are, it’s our job to get out there and keep America running.


Totally off the subject, but does anyone else feel like we’re getting hosed on these mailbag articles? I read a bunch of the ones from a bunch of different teams just to try and keep up with all the rumors and ours is considerably shorter than the rest of them almost every week. We get these little 2-line answers to our sincere questions and, at best, we get 5 to 6 questions. It took me 5 minutes to read the Blue Jays one and 30 seconds to read ours. Is everybody excited for the GM’s meetings next week?

i coulnt agree with you more tre, ken gurnick needs to spend more time on the mailbag… right now i’m in mesa arizona, the last 3 years i have come to the arizona fall league to check out our players, its great to see the future of baseball play everyday..


I agree the mailbag is bleak at best !!

I was really hoping that the blog would be more active with a player or two contributing !! Too high a hopes I guess !!

Ray, I’m jealous !! Be sure to give us a full run down !! I’ll do the same from Vero during spring training !!

Go Ned !!

Go Dodgers !!

Go easy on Gurnick there people. He’s probably enjoying the peaceful serenity of the off-season and is concentrating on other things. He’s a busy guy and I’m sure he does a pretty good juggling act.

I’ll comment to your blog lover boy here…… I certainly agree with your assertion that saving money for a start-of-the-rotation pitcher is in our best interest. However, relying on Betimit and LaRoche to cure our home run famine and feilding woes, would not be wise. Aramis solves both of those problems. He had career highs in RBIs and HRs last year, which could be a red flag but I can’t and won’t put my faith in a AAA ball player until he has more than 100 ABs in the bigs. I wouldn’t go after Zito, the contract is gonna be too long and too expensive. 4 years @ 60 million. I see Aramis going 2 or 3 years @ 40 million.

Has anyone heard if we’re gonna get in the bidding for this Akinori Iwamura guy? He’s got a few Gold Gloves at 3rd(no small feat in Japan, where they value fielding more than we do.), he can hit the long ball(32 HR last year), good AVG, and a good OBP. Might be an interesting idea…

On that subject, do any of you know if the Japanese play 162 games/season like we do?

“On that subject, do any of you know if the Japanese play 162 games/season like we do?”

Japans season is shorter just like the Hrun fences i’d expect Iwamura to hit 18 to 25 dingers here, kind of what Betemit did last year the only good thing i see in Iwamura is his slick glove.

sorry to disapoint you on the go vote thing Josh but nobody motivates me at the moment

5 points on third base:

1) Aramis Ramirez is not as good defensively as people are saying. He was better with the glove this year

(Rate2: 97, ZR: .772, FP: .965)

but it wasn’t like Adrian Beltre in 2004

(Rate2: 113, ZR: .838, FP: .978).

Fact is, Ramirez is really below average defensively, and Betemit is comparable, if not better. Note the career stats:

Rate2 (higher is better, 100 means neutral)

Aramis Ramirez: 92

Wilson Betemit: 90

ZoneRating (median for 2006 on ESPN for 3B was .778)

Aramis Ramirez: .740

Wilson Betemit: .800

Fielding Pct

Aramis Ramirez: .946

Wilson Betemit: .956

Ramirez has more speed and range, but Betemit is less error-prone, and he is better at handling balls hit close to him. The zone rating number really sticks out in my mind because Aramis Ramirez’s BEST season in Zone Rating was .772.

2) Before everyone goes crazy over Iwamura’s gold gloves, remember that they don’t play on grass over in Japan. This makes a huge difference, particularly in those slow roller plays at the hot corner. If you don’t think that going from Japan to the US can take you from a defensive asset to a defensive liability, just ask Kaz Matsui.

3) Defense at third base is not valued all that highly because it’s a power position, as we discussed when Izturis played there. While it is a fairly important fielding position, the fact is the best fielding percentage in the NL this year was .965, which would be considered terrible at any other position, except possibly pitcher.

4) Wilson Betemit can easily hit 20+ homers if given the chance at third base this coming year. I think he did pretty well when he first arrived, but it would be far too hasty to dismiss him at this point. If he’s that much of a liability against left-handers, we could platoon him with Olmedo Saenz (Loney should not platoon with Saenz because not only is he a good enough hitter, but having Saenz and Kent on the same side of the infield is a defensive nightmare). The Dodgers should make him earn the job at spring training against Laroche, though, just in case Laroche is better.

5) The place for a big power acquisition will be in the outfield. The Dodgers’ best bet is to have Grady keep resting Drew like he does, so that if Kemp is ready for 2008, the Dodgers can trade Drew when his value is the highest (after he’s played 2 full seasons!), and that would allow them to fill whatever holes need filling, like possibly second base.

I see you’re point on Betemit i’ll be o.k. IF he’s givin a full season in the hot corner

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