Tomko, Pierre and Bigbie

The main news from today, as I posted below, is that Brett Tomko is going to be the fifth starter entering the season. He seems to have earned it this spring and for now, that means that Chad Billingsley and Mark Hendrickson will begin the year in the bullpen while Hong-Chih Kuo and Joe Mays will begin the year in the minors.

Also, I know it’s just spring and I know that this will spark all sorts of comments on this blog as it seems to be a hot topic among you all, but Juan Pierre has quietly put together an incredible Spring Training. Not only does he have more stolen bases over the past six seasons than any other player in baseball, but he swiped his fourth base of the spring yesterday and has yet to be caught stealing.

He also went 1-for-3 and drew his first walk of the spring in the game to give him a .370 batting average and .375 on-base percentage. In his last 10 Grapefruit League contests, Pierre is batting .424 (14-for-33) and he also has struck out just one time in more than 45 plate appearances. And as I’ve pointed out before, Pierre’s 1,182 hits since 2001 rank second in baseball to only Ichiro Suzuki (1,354).

I know that Spring Training numbers won’t convince the naysayers that Pierre is going to be a huge asset to the team, but I don’t think anyone can argue that if he comes even close to what he’s done this spring during the season, we’re going to be scoring a ton of runs and winning a lot of games.

And finally, Larry Bigbie, whose game-winning hit was yet another impressive part of his showing this spring, continues to make his case for making the team. As I think I’ve written here before, Ken Gurnick somehow seems to figure out who the non-roster invitee will be each year that surprises everyone and makes the team. In years past, he’s correctly predicted Wilson Alvarez, Jose Lima and several others and believe it or not, during the intrasquad game on Feb. 28, Ken turned to me in the press box and said that Larry Bigbie was going to have an incredible spring and throw all of our plans up in the air. Sure enough, he’s opened a ton of eyes out here and somehow Ken predicted it again. Maybe we should make him a scout…

Anyway, that’s all for today. Don’t forget to listen to DodgerTalk tonight at 8 p.m. PT on KFWB 980 and watch Dodgers Live on FSN Prime Ticket tonight at 10 p.m. PT. 

32 Comments

Pierre has had a good spring but he still makes WAY too many outs to be a leadoff guy. The difference between him and Ichiro is that Ichiro has more doubles and triples hence his higher slugging percentage. If Pierre playes like he did in 2004 then ill get on my knees and kiss his feet.

The only problem with bigbie is that he’s left handed. If he makes the team, which he deserves, then all of our outfielders will be left handed. Loney will probably be a better fit then Bigbie IMO. He can back up Nomar to give he regular rest and also backup Gonzo or Ethier. Kemp needs more time in TRIPLE A. Loney should be an everyday big leaguer.

Loney is an everyday big leaguer. Whether or not the Dodgers choose to realize that is an entirely different issue.

.380 Avg in the minors last year

.900+ OPS in the majors last year

.440 Avg in Spring Training.

It just shows what a mistake it is to play Nomar at first.

And if Juan Pierre pulls a .375 OBP during the regular season, I will eat a ton of crow. And if he doesn’t, some other people will.

And let’s not forget, he got a five-year deal, not a one-year deal.

There’s no way that Pierre will put up a .375 OBP this year. But, putting up a OBP that’s .005 better than his batting average is very doable for Juan Out,

martin.leadman is just another DePodesta loving stathead. He doesn’t get it.

And congrats to Juan Pierre on his first walk of the Spring. It only took 44 plate appearances.

it also took pierre until the last week of ST to draw a walk…

I don’t doubt Pierre could be a huge asset to the team. If he plays like he did with the Marlins over the 5 years he’s going to be a Dodger then he’d be worth it. If he plays like he did the last couple of years though he won’t be. 2004 Pierre=Huge asset.

for the record I predicted Joe Beimel & Saito last year!

one more thing if anything like another poster said hopefully Tomko has some pretty good starts like wise with Hendy.

Oh & I also prodicted RUSSELL MARTIN when All my baseball friends thought I was nuts!

good for you!! congrats!!!

Thanks ewk216

Wow, how things can change in a week, last week I was saying Bigbie should be the guy we keep. Now Bigbie may very well make the decision for us. With his numbers this ST and the fact that he has an opt out clause, he’s got his agent shopping his market value all around MLB as we speak !! If he thinks he can get a better deal elsewhere he’ll jump ship on Wednesday. And now with Furcal still an unknown my guess is that Valdez will be the protection we’ll need on opening day. That puts Loney in a very tough position because the Dodgers still have options on him.

I still think Ned is looking for that big bat and change is in the wind.

Go Ned !!

Go Dodgers !!

Am I allowed to make comments yet or is it still calendar check for me?

For some reason i didn’t know that the game was televised today till I was Channel hopping @ 12:30 or so and saw Loney at the plate with martin at first with 1 out down by a run and thought ‘Something good is gonna Happen’ and it did then i saw The killer tomato and thought He was gonna be the Hero but missed his fastball up and struckout…. Then Bottom of the 9th 2 outs runners on 1st n second with Who? Bigbie…. never heard the name before March first but I thought Oh Yeah here it comes and he worked the count and Boom ….. Looked like Natural Dodger’s to me both scoring from first and hitting the ball but neither one are the evryday players and that was point last week is that the players making the offencive differance are not the players that are going to be playing everyday on this team. Nomar did well as did Martin and the pitching staff did ok but Loney HAS to be on the Team and Has to play as much as he can Bigbie needs to start with the team and play while he is hot.With Repko going to the DL and starting an 11 man pitching staff we can keep all our starters Saenz,Martinez,Anderson,Loney,Valdez and Bigbie if Raffy is DL at the start.At the point Raffy returns my guess would be that we either lose Valdez who is only 7 months older then Raffy BTW (Old Fogey) or pull off a pitching trade with martinez involved for top prospects.Only reason I’d put Martinez up is that Grittle doesn’t seem to have faith in him and doesn’t get the playing time nor at bats that he has proven he can take.I’d still rather trade Grady…..

All Said Lets Get it ON! GO DODGER BLUE!!!!

Oh and Pierre is the ONLY player on this team this year that will lower our pitching staff ERA.Kemp is a joke in CF!Pierre will outproduce Lofton and Roberts who I still like eventhough he signed that Halloween contract.But He will never Be Brett Butler Who should be remembered always as a Great Dodger CF’er.Kemp Has 2 tools to learn still Defence and Hitting….of which both are most of Baseball.

I drove down to Dodgertown from Tallahassee with my family last Thursday to see the good guys play the Orioles and I have to say that I am shocked that they named Tomko the fifth starter. He was behind in the count with almost every batter and gave up six runs in 4 innings of work. I would love to see Bills in that fifth starter slot but if things keep moving along the way they have been it might not be too long. They didn’t have a radar gun on Beimel that the fans could see, but he was bringing some heat and had a great outing.
James Loney is becoming one of my favorites and I have to say that it is nice to see a REAL DODGER wearing #7 this year.

I’ve got to say that the Dodgers were great with the fans signing autographs. My daughters got a ball sgned by Nomar, Kent, Loney and Grady and all four were very gracious. On the other side of the field I have to say that Miggy Tejada was an absolute class act signing for everyone that asked and giving balls to lots of little kids. I love spring training!!!

I’m flying down south for work this afternoon and will make it in time to see the Dodgers play the Mets. GO BLUE!!!

It’s getting closer Fisher… but please do let the season settle in some before we start making rash decisions… whatever they may be.

With that said, I’m immensely disappointed that James Loney is not going to be an every day player… and no, I don’t mean off of the bench, which I’m sure he’ll get many pinch hit appearances, but I want this guy to get 4 or 5 plate appearances each game. He’s been playing some outfield and who knows when or where we’ll get to see him on a daily basis.

How is this going to play out… that’s going to be part of the fun this year I guess. Let’s just hope Loney’s bat isn’t wasted in AAA.

1) If Juan Pierre bats .370 over the season, I won’t complain.

2) Loney looks too good not to keep on the roster. As it is, you could bring him up for an occasional game in the outfield in addition to playing first at least once a week to preserve Nomar. If you send him down to the minors, all he has left is to alter his game and adjust his swing to hit the ball harder.

3) I can live with Billingsley and Tomko as they are now, because at his age it’s important to keep Billingsley’s innings down, especially until he learns to be efficient with them. But I wouldn’t rule out a full switch.

4) Mark Hendrickson can be released this week and then the Dodgers are off the hook for 3/4 of his salary. Seems harsh, and while you’d like to see the team get something for him, if clearing him means a spot for someone like Tsao, it’s hard not to. On the other hand, though, I still wonder about Joe Beimel’s “mushy” elbow.

5) Grady Little really screwed up, blasting Kuo like he did. Since Kuo actually told the trainers first, someone failed. Kuo says that he pitched the next game because he felt a bit better, but one really has to question whether or not that should have been his decision in the first place. I hate to say it, but this is Grady repeating the incident with Pedro, but worse, because at least he didn’t blame Martinez for the game 7 loss.

The fact that anyone is getting excited over the fact that Juan Pierre drew his first walk of the spring is just plain nuts.

Pierre’s supporters are using his .370 average and .375 OBA to point out how this is a great signing when in reality it shows his severe shortcomings. No one should expect Pierre to bat .370 this year. Reality at Dodger Stadium for Pierre is closer to .270 but for argument sake, let’s assume he reaches his career average of .303 this year. Not a single one of you can tell me you’re going to be happy with an OBA slightly higher than that, to go with his .377 slugging average.

Unfortunately, Coletti has made some weird moves this offseason. Moving Nomar to third and having Loney play everyday would help correct this. There’s not much we can do with Pierre. We are pretty much stuck with him for a while. I’ll even settle for Gonzalez for a year if Loney’s in the lineup. As the lineup stands right now, we don’t have a good shot in the NL west. I mean, I always hope, but c’mon.

Pierre will very likely do what he always does. It’s such a waste of time to debate him at this point when the keys to our season lie elsewhere.
For example:

Can Penny keep it together all year?

Will Wolf bounce back to 2003 form? Or linger with 2005-6 stuff?

Will Billingsly step up and take the 5th starter spot and find his control?

Will Kemp and La Roche take it to the next level this year?

Those will determine how far into October we get, NOT 0.330 VS .350 VS 0.360 OBP for Juan Pierre.

The sad thing is, clueless dodgers fans, of which there are many, probably think this team is pretty good. I don’t why the LA media isnt critical, the national media has pretty much panned all of the teams offseason moves and the spring moves so far. We have the talent to win the division and more, but half of it is being wasted in the minors and in the bullpen. This team has been so mismanaged and I dont see any smart moves forthcoming. All I know is it must make our NL West rivals very happy that the powers that be are so incompetent.

Joel, even with the Dodgers’ shortcomings, who challenges them? Rotation-wise, they are competitive with the D-backs and Pads. Lineup-wise, none of the NL West teams will be any better unless they have rookies come up with ROY-type seasons. Bullpen-wise, they probably have the 2nd-best bullpen to SD, which is trying to move Linebrink for a bat. And let us not forget how important depth is over a 162-game season, and there isn’t a team with more depth than the Dodgers in the division, both in position players in AAA and pitching.

Is the team perfect? No. Is the team solid? Yes. It has one glaring defect, that being a power presence in the lineup, but otherwise there are very, very few weaknesses all-around.

(I’ll just say the obvious retort to my last sentence up front: “JUAN PIERRE’S A GLARING WEAKNESS!” Might as well retort with “YOUR MOM’S A GLARING WEAKNESS!” for how many times we’ve heard that this offseason on the blog.)

jspell2,

It appears the team has also fleeced all the sports writers- the vast majority of whom pick LA to win the NL West.

For that matter they have all the odds makers in Vegas fooled as well. There is a real opportunity here for you to prove your superior knowledge- go for it!!!

“….JUAN PIERRE’S A GLARING WEAKNESS!”….”

With a World Sieries ring. Unlike most of the rest of the team. Somehow Florida won it all with him leading off. Amazing. Would seem impossible if you read this blog, actually.

Fair enough, but I woundn’t count on Vegas to know who’s going to win the division. I guess I just see a lot of weakness in this team, and I don’t see it as being much stronger than the Pads or D-backs. I saw a little of a Dbacks game the other day and their young players are SCARY good. I think that a lot of people are basing our strength on our rotation—but, Schmidt has looked horrible this spring, Penny is still a question mark, and Brett Tomko! Still, they might all turn out to be stellar. Time will tell. What I do think is that our rivals are much more scared of us if all of our “mr veteran leadership types get hurt and we play the young guys than if everyone remains healthy.

Agree- AZ has some studs for sure.
Lets see how the year pans out. No one seems worried about Schmidt- sounds like this is what he does in Spring Training.

Penny…. is scary.

If Billingsly deserves/earns a spot int he rotation- they will give it to him. By June I suspect/hope….

just to add some fuel to the fire, via si.com:

The Dodgers made nice deals to lure Randy Wolf and Jason Schmidt, signing them for the same $55 million it took K.C. to acquire Gil Meche, and they looked like the NL West favorite heading to camp. But scouts are giving the team mixed reports now, with some unconvinced this team has enough power to repeat as co-division champs.

Take a quick look at the Giants and Padres line-ups.
That’s ugly!!

Should be interesting though.

Patience, patience. Pierre is Pierre. There is no reason not to like him. If he hits .303 after Furcal, we’ll probably feel pretty good (yes, a low Slugging%, but a single and a stolen base is just as good as a double).

There are a lot of people who want to see Loney starting every day, and Billingsley starting every fifth day. Heck, I am one of them. (And Loney really has to make the roster–there is nothnig more that a ballplayer could do–and I think he will.) And even if you would have liked the off-season to give more chances to the kids and sign fewer veterans, the team is built to be flexible. Anyone remember last year’s starting line-up? No, because over the season it changed because guys got hurt or guys did not do well, and those who did have opportunities proved themselves. I expect Loney will start a lot of games, I expect Bills will end up starting too. And I think Kemp will contribute at the Big League level at some point this season. But we’re starting off in a much better position than last year. If everything works out, it means Betemit and Nomar instead of Loney and Nomar or Loney and LaRoche. But if Betemit is not swinging the bat well by Memorial Day, there will be changes made. Hopefully, Tomko turns out to be a solid fifth starter. But if not, Billingsley will get his chances. Nomar will only play 130 games, and I expect he’ll find some time at third and some time at second (maybe 10 games, to give Kent some days off, and allow Loney in the line-up more). But everyone knows where this team is going long-term, and Litle and Colletti have done pretty well so far in making for the transition. Remember, Martin and Ethier did not make the team out of camp, and are inked in as everyday starters. Broxton and Saito started last season in Las Vegas and are now locked in as 8th and 9th inning relievers (which is about as close to a “regular” position player as you can ask for as a pitcher).

This team is in great position to win the pennant, and Little an Colletti proved last year that they will make the changes and give the opportunities necessary. The team that’s heading west from Florida is probably the best Dodger team since the 1995-96 version (Piazza/Karros, and consecutive playoff appearances), possibly better than the 1991 and 1985 teams, and almost surely bette talent-wise than the 1988 team. And in terms of depth of talent and what we are seeing coming up, it’s like 1972 or 1973 where a decade-long team coming up. And unlike the Dodgers of the 1970’s, there is just no opponent in the NL West who can match them in the long-term.

A key factor & something to think about. IF out Starting pitcher, falters, how long, will Grady wait, before, he’s removed.It then does not matter if Bills, pitches well
in relief because, we’re not geared to pile up runs, to catch-up. The KEY IS, will

Grady, pull the starter sooner

than later,,,

Puppy – I definitely think our pitching top to bottom is better than anyone in the division. To me though, it comes down to, will our offense score enough runs to support the pitching? I’m just grumpy because I know that we have at least 3 minor leaguers (Loney, Kemp, LaRoche) that could probably outperform the people at their position this year (Garciaparra, Pierre/Gonzalez, Betemit). I still keep hopes high for this year and look very forward to next year…providing those three players have a position to play.

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