Wow

When I posted the leadoff note yesterday morning, I had every intention to come back later in the day and add more to it, but I got swamped with work and never did. I just jumped on about 26 hours later and was stunned to see all the comments. I was starting to think that everyone had become bored of posting, but I guess not. Glad to see you guys are all fired up.

Things here are going very well but starting to pick up. We’ve got TV crews coming all week from FSN Prime Ticket, MLB Productions, MLB.com, TBS (our new postseason rightsholders) and of course, the guys from Dodgers on Demand, among others. Plus, we’ve got each player spending time with the DodgerVision crew so that you guys can be entertained between innings and throughout the home games in Los Angeles. It’s all part of the things that our office coordinates during Spring Training at Dodgertown and across baseball.

Speaking of Dodgertown, I have to say I’m surprised by all the stories that have come out so far with the "Farewell to Dodgertown" theme. Today was USA Today and we’ve already seen them in Sports Illustrated, among others. Of course, understanding the history and tradition here, I’m not surprised that there are people who want to cover our potential move but I guess I’m just a little stunned that these all seem to make it look like this is our last spring. We will obviously be here next year, for sure, so hopefully everyone doesn’t get too far ahead of themselves.

However, in the interest of making sure all of our players and staff know about the history here at Dodgertown, Grady Little had a guest speaker at this morning’s team meeting and it was Billy DeLury, who has been working for the team for more than 55 years. It’s hard to even fathom the kind of dedication and commitment to anything that Billy has shown to this organization and it’s a testament to him that Grady asked him to speak to the players.

Switching subjects, there were a couple of interesting stories to point out today. First is Diamond Leung’s piece on Matt Kemp’s contact lenses in the Riverside Press Enterprise. Also, I mentioned the other day that both Tony Jackson from the Daily News and Diamond are doing blogs this spring that they’re updating regularly. Tony’s today is about Dave Collins and Diamond’s post has an interesting bit right now about Damian Jackson’s tatoos, including one in memory of Mike Darr.  I got chills reading it, to be honest, because when I was a reporter from 2001-02, I actually covered Mike’s funeral and I have to say that that was by far the hardest assignment I’ve ever undertaken.

That’s about it from Dodgertown right now. Keep the chatter going and keep throwing out your ideas and questions. We’ll try to answer what we can, when we can.

55 Comments

Thanks for the info, glad to see a bit on Damian Jackson. I went to high school with him. Hopefully he gets a chance to help us out this season.

Boy I LOVE that Kemp piece…. Loney hit about 100 points higher last year than his career. Im sure its not just the lenses, but if they can help MK recognize pitches better- WOW, look out.

My brain just pictured Loney & Kemp with glasses & I couldn’t help but chuckle. :o)

Fernando Valenzuela wore glasses as well if I remember correctly.

matt kemp will take us to the promised land. that piece was nice I cant wait to see how this translates pretty soon here.

Contacts couldn’t hurt.

fliegel, I tried my friends contacts for fun once & they were pretty uncontrable

Here’s hoping at the very least that Kemp mashes so well in ST that we platoon him with Gonzo.

Trainwreck, I think Kemp should play everyday to work on his hitting.IMO.

Well in reality, I want him to start over Gonzo, but I doubt they would do that. I think he would help our lineup out a great deal.

Id keep Kemp in triple A for at least until the break. If Gonzo falters marlon anderson can platoon with him so can loney if hes not playing first base full time due to a Nomar injury. I really don’t want to rush Kemp. Does anyone remember what the did to Edwin Jackson?

Kemp, Loney, Martin, LaRoche, Billingsley and Broxton will be the core of great dodger teams in a couple of years…not now.

Both Anderson and Gonzo bat left handed.

But look how good the Marlins were and they started an entire team of prospects.

Another good example is Nick Markakis. He started out really slow, but got better and better as the season went on and that experience has caused many to call him one of the best young players in the league.

My point is that there are examples that work for both our arguments. I really do not have a problem with some hitters learning on the major league level if they have talent. I think it has good long term effects.

If the shoulder is fine, LaRoche is ready. At the very least, I’d like him to platoon with Betemit. Wilson can’t hit lefties, and keeping LaRoche down in tripe A won’t do much good. He’s as developed as a young prospect could be. Same with Loney. He’s ready, and should get 300+ AB’s in the show. Keeping Kemp at AAA is fine, even though he’s already projected to be a better offensive player this year than…well…you know who.

I agree Panda Bear, I posted in the previous blog that I thought La Roche should be our starter. La Roche is the most talented and ready of all our position prospects. He can get on-base, hit for average, hit for power, and can be a good defensive third baseman.

Thanks, trainwreck! Maybe you don’t eat puppies after all!

I really like the Spring Training jerseys and hats- Josh, anyone know if those will be avail at the Dodger Store?

drj884, they’re available now on MLB’s shop page…Here’s the link:

http://shop.mlb.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=2639914&cp=2639895

Space is very limited on this years Dodger team as on April 2nd obviously only 25 men can be on the team. Barring an injury in the next month, If the season began today these would be your 25 Dodgers: Most likely the team will start with 11 pitchers

Pitchers: (11)

Schmidt

Lowe

Penny

Wolf

Billingsley or Kuo (Barring a trade one of them will end up in AAA unless Hendrickson or Tomko are traded because their roster spots are guaranteed, while Kuo and Billingsley can be optioned back to Vegas)

Hendrickson

Tomko

Broxton

Beimel

Saito

Dessens

Catchers: (2)

Martin

Lieberthal

Infielders: (7)

Betemit

Furcal

Nomar

Kent

Martinez

Saenz

Loney, LaRoche or Kemp (Only one can go to the show)

Outfielders: (5)

Gonzo

Pierre

Ethier

Repko

Anderson

So, out of the choices for potential roster spots who would you take on your team. Bills or Kuo and either Loney, Kemp or LaRoche? Most likely none of the non-roster players will make the team.

Though Tomko and Hendrickson cannot be demoted, what sense does it make to keep them, when Kuo and Billingsley are projected to have far better seasons, and have better stuff? I’m not suggesting you like it, but don’t you think the Dodgers would be better served with keeping Billingsley and Kuo on the big club, and trading/DFAing Tomko and Hendrickson? Of course, if the Dodgers ditch Dessens, they would only have to decide between Tomko and Hendrickson, not both. What do you think, Alex?

My thought is that Ned is going to trade a bunch of them for a big hitter !!

Go Dodgers !!

Dessens seems like a very good choice for long relief, so to me his spot is safe unless he stinks it up in Spring Training so a guy like Tsao or Seanez sneaks in and takes the spot which is doubtful. I would try to package Hendrickson and Tomko in a deal for some young prospects to a team in need of a 4th or 5th starter and willing to give up some youth to do so. I would give Kuo the 5th spot in the rotation because he’s not good coming out of the bullpen, while Bills on the other hand did surprisingly well coming out of the bullpen late last year. I would take Loney in a heartbeat and would platoon Betemit with Saenz at third base until LaRoche is ready to come up and work from there.

“Billingsley or Kuo (Barring a trade one of them will end up in AAA unless Hendrickson or Tomko are traded because their roster spots are guaranteed”

¥₧¥£{æñ╞₧ = My crystal ball has spoken & it says one of them will be traded in do time.

I’ll say what a lot of executives and managers say. That Spring Training is a very bad gauge of a players worth. Some guys work on mechanics, some guys work on plate recognition, and some guys really try to play their butt off in the hopes of making the team. There are some players, like James Loney, Andy LaRoche, and Chad Billingsley, that are ready. They’ve done their work in the minor leagues, and they’re ready for the major leagues. Billingsley would be good out of the pen, but so would Johann Santana. They would both be good because they are outstanding pitchers. Putting Billingsley in the bullpen would be a waste of a player that every scout (yes, scouts) and stathead believes is a dominant starter. I really hope the Dodgers don’t waste Billz and Kuo in the bullpen in order to satisfy below average pitchers like Tomko and Hendrickson.

Panda,
Thanks- did you see the Spring Training jerseys anywhere?

I completely endorse the idea of trading Hendrickson and/or Tomko for prospects, preferably an outfield or shortstop prospect.

Dr. J…I’ve searched and searched, and the ST Jerseys aren’t available yet. As soon as MLB puts them in the shop, I will let you know. But, as you noticed, the hats are now available.

Would anyone else be extremely excited to see a bullpen of Saito, Broxton, Kuo/Bills, Miller, Meloan, and Tsao. That would be the hardest throwing filthiest bullpen in the majors. Teams would never be able to adjust.

“I completely endorse the idea of trading Hendrickson and/or Tomko for prospects, preferably an outfield or shortstop prospect.”

I think you mean, preferably of course, a 40 to 50 home run prospect, right? : )

And speaking of bull-pens…

…how about the bullpen options this team has? And to think of where we were in April and May of last year… it’s just amazing to say the least. I know the season has yet to start, but I’m completely stoked about the pitching options this team has… not to even mention the young talent that is currently being developed down on the farm system. We should be sitting pretty for many, many years if Ned plays his options correctly.

Go Dodgers!!

The team is loaded with pitchers…It’s pretty great. Look beyond Schmidt, Wolf, Lowe, and Penny. Billingsley and Kuo should start. The Dodgers have Broxton, Saito, and some really great youngsters. Did you guys know that Jonathan Meloan struck out 91 batters in 51 innings in the minors last year? That’s Gagne-type stuff! And Greg Miller throws 91 mph from the left side! Even though Juan Pierre is a total nightmare, and Luis Gonzalez is a decaying corpse, the Dodgers are absolutely loaded with young pitchers. And pitching is the name of the game.

Hendrickson and/or Tomko should be traded; a few cases of fungo bats is sufficient if the other team(s) take on the entire contract for each player.

Dessens should be kept for mop-up duty; KC pays his ENTIRE contract, so he costs L.A. nothing.

The rest of the bullpen should be stocked with a bunch of the young, live arms mentioned above.

Did you know Luis Gonzalez hit 52 doubles last year, but was BELOW league average in slugging percentage? That’s hard to do. He looks to be in serious decline, but at least his contract is for ONE year.

In fact, LuGo had the 2nd lowest SLG% in history for a player with 52 or more doubles in a season.

Old Fogey and Delino4Pedro get it. They understand baseball…I wish the rest of the ItD posters had the same perspective.

Billingsley should but the 5th starter. He got great upside and he really turned it on the second half of last year before he got injured. Kuo should go down to triple A and get more starts under his belt. I bet penny gets moved for a big bat and Kuo will come up and be in the Rotation after that.

Please stop bashing Gonzo and JP. Give them a chance…if they don’t produce we have able replacements, but they provide maturity, ability, and skills that the younger guys will benefit from.
Colletti did a great job of undoing DePodesta’s woeful screw-ups last year, let’s be patient (at least through March) and see how this pot boils!

Re: Vero Beach…as a frequent visitor to Dodgertown, both as a Fantasy Camper and tourist, I truly regret the Dodgers 2009 departure and the effect it will have on a wonderful community. I understand the financial aspects, but fear that the Dodgers will lose the magic that rubs off on people who train and play at this magnificent facility.
I’ve seen very successful and seemingly jaded people turn to jelly and be inspired by the karma of the place. And it’s not just the living legends who are there, it’s also the ghosts that abound in “Baseball Heaven”.

All of you West Coasters who are excited about the move to Glendale owe it to yourselves to get down to Dodgertown before the end of ST next year, it will be an experience you’ll treasure for the rest of your lives.

I see from the work out photos the Dodgers have those cutesy little do-dahs on the sides of their caps. Almost as bad as those silver bills a couple of years ago. I really don’t think you should mess with the uniform, JOSH. You could wind up with something like the D-backs.

Gonzo is finished. If he were still decent ,Arizona would have kept him. Hopefully he won’t stink too much this year. I would rather see them try Loney in the outfield if Gonzo doesn’t perform. Tomko should be traded or DFA’d. Hendrickson could be useful in the pen. He was decent there last year. Bills and Kuo should be starters, if not here than in triple A until someone either breaks down or isn’t any good. Interpol414, maybe the problem was, that they weren’t your contacts?

The best we can hope for from LuGo is that he’s back on the juice.

no question gonzo’s in decline, but he was our best option to give our kids some more seasoning. if kemp outplays gonzo in spring im all for that. Matt Kemp will be our starting right fielder either way next season its just a matter of what gonzo can do to hold him off if hes playing well. ive been a strong supporter of our kids especially in the bullpen and totally agree with just designating tomko and hendrickson if no one bites. meloan is definitely ready and ive heard good things about zach hammes too i hope he gets a good shot. i just dont see a power hitter available for ned to grab we should have dealt someone for adam laroche and move nomar wherever is best for the team. two brothers manning the corners would be awesome.

that would have been a significant upgrade.

graffitigenius quote “should have dealt someone for adam laroche and move nomar wherever is best for the team.”

I some what like your idea but there treating Nomar like he was a fragile little egg.

I’d like to see Nomar show off his Cannon for an arm @ 3rd base this season, hopefully they’ll put him there once or twice this season.

Hey knouffbrock – I just received my new Dodgers ST/BP cap this morning. It’s actually pretty cool (literally). Although they come in three sizes (which I was a little concerned about when I ordered it), it is actually similar to those flex caps that the NFL has.

Also, if you check out the all of the other MLB websites, you will see that every team in baseball is wearing them.

Believe me, I am as much a traditionalist as anybody, but these new hats are pretty neat and VERY comfortable. In fact, I’m going to wear mine at tomorrow’s Auto Club 500 NASCAR race at the California Speedway.

Hey ebbetsfld – Right on about all of the Gonzalez/Pierre bashing! All of these naysayers who have already written Gonzo and J.P. off are going to be eating their words very soon. I believe that both of these guys are going to have a great season. If they do not, I will gladly eat my words, but not until both of them have had a fair shot.

GO DODGERS!

I’m not bashing Gonzo, I’m just saying that last year when we played Arizona, he wasn’t much of a threat. He’s had a nice run and if he were still any good , Arizona would have kept him. That said , I hope he comes out and sets the league on fire, I would gladly eat my words.

53-I’m glad you like the hat well enough to wear it to the race. I’ve seen some photos of some of the other teams,and I pretty much have the same opinion. But again, I’m glad you’re satisfied with your purchase.

Some things to ponder:
1. LuGo getting bashed alot on this blog- presumably for hitting only 16HRs last year b/c the rest of his numbers are pretty darn solid.(16HR is definitely a little light for a corner MLB OF, though the 52 2Bs is very nice).

2. Ethier is out other starting corner OF, and I like him alot, but is he expected to really hit much more than that? He is 25- so some growth is possible, but since 18HR is his season career high to this point I would suspect he is probably a 15-20HR guy… He actually looks a lot like a LuGo (of the last 3 years) type producer. Not bad.

3. Isn’t having LuGo there great insurance/ the best case so we can allow Kemp a little more time in AAA and make him earn his way up? If Kemp is hitting .320 with 15 dingers in June, he will come up and play every day for sure. In the meantime LuGo isn’t going to hurt the team by any means.

4. While I understand (hope this doesn’t open Pandora’s box….) the gripes about Pierre, I think having LuGo start the year in Left is a great move, actually. You have to realize- all moves are not going to please everyone, or even work- but Ned is doing a great job with the squad and Im more fired up about this year than I have been in a long time.

I can’t have another point since 5 is patented in this blog.

Lugo signed with Boston like 4 months ago so he’s no longer our problem

That was a joke :P

Anyone else irritated that Betemit is basically given the 3rd base job? Betemit has some nice pop, but he is terrible as a switch hitter. He cannot hit for average, he has no patience at all, and he is a sloppy defender. I wish the team would actually give La Roche a chance to make the team.

The easy way to solve this issue is to start Betemit at third against righties and start Olmedo at third against lefties. And if either one gets hurt LaRoche should get his chance, but going into Opening Day it’s Betemit’s job to lose, but they said the same thing about Joe Thurston and we all know how that turned out, so we’ll see. I personally would love LaRoche to bash the ball, show off his glove and show everyone why he’s a top prospect and he’ll get his chance.

That’s the cool thing about this spring watching how they both handle fielding & batting, there approach & so forth.

trainwreck, I hear ya. Kinda reminds me of Martin and Navarro last year, except worse.

I was driving home tonight and heard Don Newcombe’s acceptance speech at the Negro League’s Legacy Awards on XM Radio’s MLB Homeplate. To call Mr. Newcombe a class act is an understatement. He spoke passionately about how he and teammates Roy Campanella, and Jackie Robinson changed our national pasttime for the better. He described how they vowed to make the major leagues and pave the way for other Negro athletes. He reminded his audience how the first commissioner of baseball Kenesaw Mountain Landis pledged to keep Negro players from competing in the major leagues. And he told us that Branch Rickey believed “he could not meet his God” if he didn’t do what he knew was right. Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella and Don Newcombe, he also mentioned, were pretty good players. They played for 10 years, won five NL championships, one Cy Yound Award, three Most Valuable Player Awards and two Rookie of the Year Awards. All with the word “Dodgers” stitched across their uniforms. How cool was that?
The “greatness” of Don Newcombe continues. He continues to inspire today’s athletes and coaches. He spoke of encouraging Willie Randolph in his quest to become a major league manager, predicted his will one day become a leader of a world championship team. He’s is truly a role model for us all.

By the way, Mr. Newcombe, thanks for sharing the story of your greatest pitching performance — the 1-0 loss to the Yankees in the World Series. I didn’t know that you struck out Joe DiMaggio four times.

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