44 Days Until Pitchers and Catchers Report

Is it just me or does that seem like a tiny number?

Hard to believe we’ll be in Vero Beach in less than six weeks, with quite a bit still to be done prior to our departure. Of course, most of that is on the business side, where myself and nearly 150 talented and dedicated colleagues will be focused, whereas the baseball side is getting pretty close to set. Ned Colletti has said that we might add a reliever or bench player to the mix and who knows, maybe some team makes a trade offer that makes sense and improves the team and he pulls the trigger. But as of January 2, I’m feeling very good about 2008 based on what’s in place right now. How about you all?

In case you missed it, Dodger minor league staff assignments were announced today.

As for yesterday, hopefully many of you got to see the float in the Rose Parade. It was a tremendous experience and everyone involved really loved being a part of it. Sure, we had to be at the stadium by 6 a.m. on New Year’s Day, but it was a small price to pay for something so rewarding. There were Dodger fans all over Pasadena and legends past and present were on board to wave to the fans.

Safe to say, it was a great way to kick off the 50th Anniversary of the Dodgers moving to Los Angeles. There will be plenty more where that came from, so be on the lookout for the latest (you can always check dodgers.com/anniversary for the latest news and info about the season-long celebration).


Thanks Josh!

I’d go to war with the team as it sits right now – its going to be a fun season to watch.

For those of you still worried about Ethier vs. JP, two more things to chew on:

1. Ned’s statement that “he [JP] was never a franchise player.” (paraphrased) to me is a slightly backhanded swipe without coming out and saying you were disappointed.

2. I know the FA market was thin, But Ned went out and got a CENTERFIELDER, not a LF or RF.

Now if JP can legitimately beat out E head to head in ST I’m cool with that as long as you’re fielding your best team. Personally don’t think JPs assets overcome his liabilities, but let them have a go at it in ST and may the best man win. Either way, the odd man becomes the 4th OF.

Would love it if Schmidt and Loaiza come in strong. Gives us a little more depth at SP and Loaiza would make for some good trade bait ’round the deadline. I’d give Kuo a shot too in ST – would be nice to have one lefty in the rotation.

another brilliant column from gurnick! first he says that Pierre should rightfully play over Ethier in LF because of his contract and his “accomplishments”, but then says he wouldn’t let anything but ST performance dictate the 3rd base sitatuion. OK. Anyone think Ethier can’t outpeform pierre in spring?

Gurnick is just a terrible beat writer. It would be nice if MLB.com hired Steve Henson or Tim Brown from Yahoo to take over.

Nowhere in the Gurnick article does he say that Pierre should play over Ethier. The above post by spelk is just not true. Gurnick says that as he sees it Ethier will have to beat out Pierre in spring training to be the regular. I think Ethier will do that.

ok let me rephrase— he says he should be in the incumbent until he is beaten out. even this i would disagree with. perhaps its splitting hairs but who had the better year last year? does anyone believe that ethier will “beat him out” in spring? i can’t see how managment will allow this. more than likely ethier will be gone before he is even given the chance. that way pierre will have to start.

Hi Josh, any news about the upcoming Dodgers Caravan ?

spelk: your rephase is still wrong. Gurnick says he guesses that Pierre is the regular as of now and Ethier will have to beat him out-no shoulds at all from Gurnick.
I think that Pierre will be gone before Ethier.

hi Josh-
Will there be another Blue Carpet event this year? I had a blast last year!

Just want to say that the number 50 is always a number of jubilee and blessing! I really believe that this Super Los Angeles Dodger Team is a team of destiny and showers of blessing along with extremely hard work of course ,will follow this team, concluding with the World Series Championship returning to Los Angeles!

Pierre was the incumbent in center and he lost it. The only reason he would be considered the incumbent in left is because Ned screwed up royally when he signed him and doesn’t want to eat crow and the money. Ethier has played some in left field last year. I would consider him the incumbent over Pierre. I hope to god that the powers that be are not so short sighted and give Ethier an even shot at the position. All things being equal, Ethier will win the position. However, it is starting to sound like Pierre is getting a rolling start out of the gate because of his ridiculous contract and untradability.

Gurnick also wrongfully reported JP had a no trade clause in his contract… scared the **** out of all of us!

Only two things as I see it that JP has going for him ON THE FIELD (we all know he’s a good guy in the clubhouse): 1. speed and 2. he’d be a true #8 hitter for this team (OK I had to stretch for that one.) If you ratio Ethier’s numbers up to the equivalent numbers of PA’s with JP for 2007, here’s the comparison you get:

JP 668 96 196 24 8 0 41

AE 589 66 167 42 3 17 84

Considering that JP batted 1-2 all year with the heart of the line-up behind him, you’d expect the run differential to be substantial. I’ll take 18 more doubles over 5 more triples any day. RBIs… the fact that Ethier batted lower in the line-up, we’d expect him to be superior there. I’ll even be kind and equate JP’s 60+ SBs with the total bases of 17 HRs. So not taking walks into consideration, let’s call the offensive comparison a wash.

That leaves us with defense as the deciding factor… ‘nuf said.

I just see a decidedly stronger team when we debate whether Ethier should bat 2nd or 8th than when we debate whether JP should bat 2nd or 8th.

Even Gurnick can’t defend Pierre playing over Ethier. It was obvious that he was grabbing at straws. The whole organization knows and if they were truthful would admit that they would rather have Pierre gone and Ethier playing left field. However, they really can’t just come out and say it. I’d bet if you were out having beers with Gurnick, off the record his critique and take on Pierre would be quite different. They can’t come right out and bash him as we can. They are doing a good job of slipping it in between the lines.

Here are some photos of the Dodgers float in the Rose Parade that I took. If you click on the photo at the link you can see the enlarged image. I was in the front row and yelled out to the players I recognized (Guo and Karros) and got a stare from them. 🙂


vr, Xeifrank

Pierre is the weak link on this team. By going out and getting a center fielder Ned is admitting his 5 year mistake. If only he goes all the way and either gets rid of JP or uses him at what he’s really good at, pinch runner ,will we see big improvement in this years out field defense.

It’s apparent that the Dodgers are not going to get rid Pierre, therefore we should be prepared for Andre Ethier being the fourth outfielder and Jason Repko will probably be traded or released. It’s going to be a real shame to eventually lose a talent like Andre Ethier because it’s only going to be a matter of time until he asks out. It’s amazing that with all the talent the Dodgers had last off season, that Ned Colleti would have the need to go out and sign Juan Pierre for 5 years and for all that money and then give him a no trade clause. I can see the signing of Andruw Jones, but JP??? Anyways, Pierre will be in left on opening day and Andre will be on the bench, unless Joe Torre carries enough weight that he can bench Pierre, in which case we will be a happy bunch!!! I like this team as it stands now. I’m sure they’d like a little more depth in the bullpen and like every other MLB team another starter wouldn’t hurt, but, this team with Torre at the helm is definitely a contender.

I agree Kiper. However, I believe the report of Pierre having a no trade clause was found to be in error. A ray of hope perhaps.

Dodgers sold Wilson Valdez to a Korean team. HOORAY! Another useless player removed from the roster.

jhall, I’m glad to hear about the no trade clause, being a non-factor, however I still don’t see the Dodgers trading Pierre, it would mean Colleti accepting the fact that he really screwed up royally, but I have faith in Joe Torre doing the right thing with his line-up….. i.e. Andre Ethier starting!!

Regarding Pierre:

Don’t be surprised if JP is no longer the hard working nice guy now that he has been booted from his favorite CF position and has to “earn” his job. I’m guessing he doesn’t like this at all and he was not happy about “learning” to take more pitches last year either.

Juan Pierre is a whiner with a “nice guy” reputation. Sort of like that piece of garbage that used to play LF last year.



It seems to me the off-season and the holiday season are just about the same. But the Pierre discussions made it go even faster. The LF and 3B situations will be the biggest items thoughout ST. Let’s hope Joe Torre can clear those problems up. Regardless, I hope everybody gets an opportunity to show his worth, before more decisions are made.

May the best man win. I want to see the best players playing the majority of the time this year.

Isn’t that what the team, fans and city deserve?

Let’s try to win for goodness sakes!

I hear ya pierres. Unless a sweetheart deal comes along, I’m willing to let nature take its course in ST before they start tinkering/honing.

‘Course “sweetheart” for a certain somebody could mean a middle reliever and a bag of popcorn…

Could just mean the bag of popcorn…

Anyway, considering we had JP in center and Long Gone in left in 07 and still finished 2 games over 500, even if JP does play left in 08 I’d take this year’s CF/LF combo over last.

Think 3B will work itself out nicely between LR and Nomar. Couple of the rated prospects coming up are 3-baggers too, so no need to panic into a bad move there.

Which BTW, Ned seems much calmer this off season. I know the JD Screwyou thing messed up everything last year and he panicked and went overboard with “character” guys, but with White keeping him focused on the young talent, he went out and plugged a hole in the rotation and in the line-up for power and left the young guys intact. Guess thats a statement in itself right there.

Think as jhall said, we can read between the lines this offseason. Here we had a CF, a budding superstar, a cranky old veretan, and a solid everyday ballplayer. 4 OFs for 3 spots. The cranky guy’s gone leaving three for 3, yet Ned went out and got another OF rather than a 3B as a source for power. Of the three OFs, who’d he essentially replace? That tells me he knows defense up the middle is essential to success, and that he had no idea just how deficient JP was in that roll before he signed him. JP in left lessens his liability a tad, but with Ned’s comments about “not a franchise player”, I think when push comes to shove they’re not going to be happy with him in left either. Also was rather a slap when you take a lifelong CFer and mandate to him he’s going to left period.

Be all this as it may, we’re still looking pretty good for ’08 and beyond if we do nothing else before the season starts.

White Sox just traded for Nick Swisher from the A’s! I guess Pierre isn’t going to the White Sox!

enchatedsunset, I agree with you on the third base situation, I really believe that given a fair shot from the get go, spring training, both LaRoche and Nomar will shine and the competition will only make the team that much better. As for Pierre, I think he is a definite liability in the outfield, period. His moving to leftfield will not in any way hide his weak arm, especially when you got a guy like Ethier and his abilities sitting on the bench. Pierre is in no way a guy who can help the Dodgers. If he is starting he is weak armed and not a guy who goes after balls all that hard. He doesn’t dive and he makes exciting catches because he gets lousy jumps and take awkward angles to balls. If he is the fourth outfielder, he will be a disgruntled overpayed veteran who will begin to whine at some point about his playing time. If he is a pinch hitter, well, I don’t need to explain this one, do I? The Dodgers would be wise to eat some crow, along with some money, and deal Pierre before spring training. There are plenty of teams who can use him at the leadoff spot and as a CF on a team with a lot of offensive pop, and at a reduced salary, he’s worth the risk of trading for. Let’s hope Ned decides to cut his losses now and looks for a new home for Mr. Pierre.

Great points everyone!!

You are right. I would have much more respect for Ned if he just came out and admitted his huge mistake. Eat most of the contract, get rid of Pierre and move on in a better direction. Hey, we all make mistakes. It is how we proceed from there that really makes a difference in the long run. Learn from it and minimize the damage. If Ned does that, I would praise him. And hey, the Dodgers certainly have the resources to eat Pierre’s contract for the good of the team in the long run. If it were Pittsburg or KC, they’re stuck. Incidently, Pierre would be happier in either of those places leading off and playing centerfield.

Pitchers and Catchers report in 43 days! Woohoo!!

Josh, You had to be at Dodger Stadium at 6.A.M. I had to pick up a friend at 3:45 A.M. to go to the parade. I got so excited when I could see our float coming and that the Los Angeles band were wearing Dodger caps.

I volunteered in Azusa on Sunday and worked from 8 A.M. To midnight. went to In & Out for lunch and went back home for dinner as I live about 7 miles from there. the following morning we went to see the judging and we were singing along when Nancy Bea was playing the organ. She looked beautiful in her “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” sweater. We were cheering a lot when the judges were there. In our heart our float was a winner. I could see part of my work on the Red, White and Blue banners. Forgot to take scissors to make the holes to insert the flowers so I had to use the back of a small paint brush. Also glueing of the peanuts, filling out vials of water for the flowers, putting glue on the flowers, etc. I even helped a little on the USC float.

Hopefully we will have a parade in October. Can’t wait for the rest of the events! the caravan, the star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, etc.

Great photos, Xeifrank! I was at the parade in the Dodgers’ grandstand section.

BTW, the guy talking on his cell is Carl Erskine, and I believe that’s Wes Parker at the extreme right.

So, 43 days til Pitchers and Catchers report, so it is too early to watch Sandlot for the first time in 2008. Can you picture JP throwing in underhanded like Smalls did before he learned to Throw overhanded (or run it in. I bet Benny could help JP with his technique just like he helped Smalls!

Sorry. Sandlot is a classic and it is not fair to compare. Someone needs to post a countdown app with days, hours, and seconds. tick tick. We have ways to make you tock. How are our guys doing in the Winter Leagues? Got any links?

you know bigduck I think your on to something if Pierre were to run the ball in from left field I’m sure the ball would get to second third or home much faster or even better, lets negotiate with MLB to allow us to use a rover and he can be Pierres cut off man from 20 feet away.

bigduck – I think you have the right guy, but the wrong movie… think most of us would rather it be Field of Dreams and have him disappear into the cornfield!

I think you’re still asking a lot of Pierre at 20 feet. Maybe the homing pigeon from the Mach V can retrieve the ball from Pierre and deliver it promptly to the required base?

I was as frustrated with Pierre as anybody last year, but enough is enough.

Until proven otherwise, I have faith that Torre will put the best team on the field. And so long as that happens Pierre can be a valuable (albeit overpayed) player on this team.

Assuming Torre only allows Pierre to start if he earns a starting position, Pierre may become motivated to do the one thing within his control to increase his own value — improve his on-base percentage. If Pierre can draw 55 walks as he did in 2003, a decent argument can be made that he is a viable starter.

Has anyone heard anything about how Schmidt is doing with his rehab? Could be a bigger impact than the Pierre debacle.

Pierre in the lineup would be a black mark on Torre.

Ethier – Better

Young – Better

Repko – Better

Whether Pierre starts or not will show if the Dodgers are pulling our chain or not.

Certainly if Pierre starts and plays because of his big contract, it will make a terrible statement. In a back yard pickup game, Ethier, Young, and Repko would get taken before Pierre.

Sue! I did not know you were at the parade! I was infront of the Dodger’s grandstand section. I was too late to get tickets so I just stood infront of it. If anyone saw me, I was the crazy lady that started yelling “I can see the Dodger float is coming!” I took off after the Dodger float afterwards. Next time Sue, let us know in the Diamonds forwomen site. Linda was also there.

I agree with martinloneykemp. If JP walks as little as 55 times and remains a .290something hitter, that’s a .360 OBP and now were talking reasonable leadoff man numbers.

I’m not sold on the idea that Repko better than Pierre is a given, other than defensively. Repko has been a 3:1 K vs. BB guy throughout the minors. He has limited power and still is a 100+ strikeout guy over a full season.

Oh, and when I’ve seen him play, he doesn’t impress me much, at the plate.

In any case, Ethier > Pierre should be enough.

Yeah, Repko>Pierre is marginal, but don’t be fooled into thinking that Pierre won’t be a defensive liability in LF, because he will.

What will a double down the LF line be with Pierre out there, an inside the park HR?

Singles into left field with Pierre going toward the foul line will become doubles. That is the biggest problem that I can see.

I do worry that Joe Torre was the guy that played Tony Womack in LF for an inordinate amount of time, but he had injured outfielders and limited depth. Here there is an Ethier/Pierre choice to make. We will just have to wait and see.

I’m on the record as knowing that you can’t “hide” JP in LF – didn’t we complain mightily about Gonzo’s rag arm?

If you thought JP took some odd routes in CF, imagine him going after those sliced and hooked liners in LF.

Gonzo interview on ESPN.com:


This annoys me:

“When Jeff Kent chastised the youngsters in September for their inability to “get it,” James Loney and Kemp fired back in the papers.”

This makes it sound like the kids complained publically about something private, but Jeff Kent “chastised” them IN THE PRESS.

Interesting quote:

“The kids came up with some arrogance,” said a person with knowledge of the Dodgers’ situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “They’ve been told how great they are for so long, they think they’re accomplished when they’re not. But when things start to falter, you look for the veteran guys to steady it. When [Gonzalez’s] playing time decreased, he started to become a little less of a team guy.”

The CF rules the outfield, he is king of the OF, Like the SS is in the infield. The CF may make the play on any ball he can handle. This is one of the best things about moving Pierre to LF. Jones should call off Pierre whenever he feels that Pierre will not be able to reach the cutoff man on the throw back in.

in other words, always?

about pierre and increasing his walks, i doubt it. there is one thing to improving a patient eye, which is hard enough to do as it is, but the reason why pierre never walks is he has no powere. no one is afraid to throw him a strike, what the worse he can do, hit a single? walks are a function of power. even someone with moderate power will be pitched around occasionally, but not someone like pierre. if you are worried about him stealing, you’d prefer to throw him a stike and make him put it into play, resulting in an out, rather than walk him. so no matter how hard he works i doubt his walk rate improve to a decent clip. if torre benches pierre, i will build him a shrine.

i think given a full season, repko would out produce pierre. easily. but even if he had the same stats he’d be a huge upgrade defensively. but he never stays healthy, so the point is mute. repko is the perfect fourth or fifth outfielder. someone who can play all three OF positions and hit a little. he’s a team player.

as far as gonzo, that article is so full of double standards and half truths its not even worth talking about. gonzo is just looking for a job and trying to make himself look like he was “the good guy.”

jspelk: “but the reason why pierre never walks is he has no powere. no one is afraid to throw him a strike, what the worse he can do, hit a single? walks are a function of power.”

If this is true, why was Brett Butler able to walk? ( > 80 walks in 7 different seasons, but his and JP’s career Slg% differ by .002)

Pierre doesn’t walk because he doesn’t know how to hit. He just slaps the bat out there and hopes he hits it. I’d be willing to be he swings at more pitches per at bat then any guy on the team.

He never takes a ball and he doesn’t know how to foul off balls when he needs to. He’s just a horrible lead of hitter. He’s an 8th guy at best. He’d be a bench player in the American league.

good pt. old fogey, but i think you would agree that butler was a very unique player. i still believe that pierre does not walk b/c pitchers are not afraid of him, not because of his eye. can his eye be improved? perhaps. but he doesn’t seem like one to change his approach.

I think JP, like some other a ballplayers before him, never met a pitch he didn’t like…

Slappin’s his game though, and Ned knew that before he signed him. So we can’t blame JP for what he is, but we can complain about it when other alternatives exist.

As far as Long Gone goes, the sad but true fact is that “old school” is all but dead in this day and age of mega-contracts and free agency. No one’s generally on a team long enough to become a mentor. And small market teams are really nothing more than AAAA teams and a proving ground for the teams that’ll be able to afford the best players when they become FAs.

From the looks of some postings though, LG was maybe not quite the “character” guy the Ds thought they were getting. Call me whatever, but I thought both Kemp AND Ethier SHOULD’VE been playing over Gonzo. Can’t help it if they saw it too.

I agree with jspelk that power does help in the BB department and that Brett Butler was able to overcome the odds.

I also agree that Pierre is not likely to change his ways. But I do believe that he CAN improve significantly in his ability and desire to take walks. If he does so, he will become a much improved ballplayer. It really is up to him.

And up to Torre to let him know that if he wants a chance for significant playing time on this team, then he must walk much more often.

I have no doubt that Gonzo was a good “character guy” in the days when he was a starter. But when his position was threatened, he became a very bad character guy.

I do agree with him about the frustration of playing under Grady Little’s schizophrenic lineup juggling. Although he wouldn’t have liked it, I think Gonzo would have been a better character guy if he understood that he would be a spot starter and given some notice as to when he would be starting rather than having to arrive at the ballpark guessing day after day.

I’m having a hard time wishing Gonzalez good luck in his future baseball endeavors. I do wish him the best in the other aspects of his life where by all accounts he is a terrific person.

I never really had a problem with JP’s O. It has been said that he met expectations regarding most of his Offensive performance. I could see him taking some coaching to improve his approach (take a pitch already)(no, not coaching from Benny The Jet) and his ability to field the ball was a little spooky from all I have read but he did make the catches… Just… how do you fix a rag arm? Is LA that different than Chicago in the outfield? Did they know he had a suboptimal ability to reach the infield with his throws?

Of course power guys get more intentional unintentional walks, but non-power guys can walk. How did Reggie Willits walk 69 times last year for the Angels (a rate that would have given JP 97)? How did Willie Randolph have his career (.276/.373/.351 – a walk rate that would give JP 96 last season. Career Randolph has more than four times the walks in less than twice the PAs). Who remembers Billy North? He had OBP > Slg% EVERY season (career: .261/.365/.323) with a walk rate the would give JP 99 last season! If JP walked even like Otis Nixon he’d have had 73 walks. Quilvio Veras (!): .270/.372/.362 – If JP walked at that rate, he have 95 a season. Even Walt Weiss (.258/.351/.326) walked enough that his rate would give JP 87 BB in 2007. Ozzie Smith walked 1 per 10 PAs; that would put JP in the 70s every year.

There are fewer of these guys because you can only afford them at premium defensive positions – all the above are middle IFs or CFs – and you wouldn’t more than one or two in your lineup, but they’re not THAT unheard of.

I don’t expect that at age 30.5 JP’s batting eye is going to change, but maybe he can try the Ron Hunt method, crowd the plate and try to get hit by pitches 25 times!

saw James Loney on the Lakers game against Philly. they showed him at bat a couple of times and going after a couple grounders and throws to the pitcher covering first, man did that whet my appetite for some ballgames. He said he was a Houston Rockets fan, anyway it sure was nice to see it.

The idea that Jspelk brought up was one that I had been thinking about since around the all star break of last season. I have to say I agree with him. I noticed that when pitchers got behind Kemp, Kent, Martin etc. they would still try to locate their fastball on the corner, where as with Pierre they would try to get it more towards the middle of the plate because they will take their chances with him putting it in play because they know it won’t be for anything more then a single. I think Pierre can get his BB’s up like those other guys fogey mentioned did, he just has to work 5 times as hard at it.

The last thing pitchers want Pierre to do is walk….

Here is a scenario to consider with Pierre in left field… runner on 1st with no outs or 1 out, a fly ball down the left field line toward the corner, Pierre get’s over and makes the catch, the runner tags from first and is easily beats the throw into second base, next batter gets a single, wala, 1 run scores. Now, same scenario, Ethier in left field… well, you get my point.

That is the worse scanario and the most dreaded. Somebody tagging up from first and going to second on a fly ball to JP. And since it has already happened, it means anyone with a little bit of speed will try it again. It’s not only horrible but embarassing to the team and the fans. This is where either the scouts or Colletti really goofed, let alone no power at the plate in an outfielder. Personally it’s great to have my family name on a major league uniform but I wish it was worn my someone else. Nothing against Pierre the person but he seems to be playing out of position. If he was a right handed fielding second baseman everything would be fine with me. In spite of this flaw LET’S GO DODGERS.

Not to mention runners going from 1st to 3rd on singles to left center that Pierre fields going to his left. Hopefully Jones will call him off on most of those and make the play going toward 3rd. Any single to left with a runner on 2nd will be a run on Pierre. Hopefully, Torre and company won’t be able to tolerate it and play Ethier everyday. Please God.

I can’t seem to find a way to comment on the “Dodger Addiction” blog, so let me air it out here. On the “Preseason FLB Rankings” 1/4/08, I noticed it shows Andy LaRoche as a first baseman, proberbly an error, since no Dodger is listed at third base. I feel Kent should rank higher, unless they were thinking only of his defense. I was also suprised and kind of happy to see Billingsley ranked ahead of Lowe, since he should be around longer, I hope. Now the biggest shocker Pierre is ranked ahead of Ethier. Your right JHALL, on JP going to his left, but remember the CF has the right of way on any balls he can handle, I’m sure that will be the number 1 thing, that should be stressed.

When I think about it 3B with Nomar & LaRoche, either way it’s good. A veteran challenging an up and coming. If neither works out, and it will be the offense here that, I think, is most important. Who knows? Will Cabrera still be available as a FA? or was he signed? Whatever no big worry. There’ll be others. In the mean time we don’t have to worry about the defense. But the outfield is a messy situation especially that JP has a “limited” no trade clause according to Gurnick. No matter what kind of trade clause it must be hard to find a “needer”. Sometimes I wonder if Pierre ever met McNamee or Radomski or if it would have mattered. Again in spite of this GO BLUE CREW.

I think LaRoche will do an above average job at 3rd given a real shot. I see him putting up .280/15-20HR/80RBI/.350 OBP. Ron Cey like numbers. Also, good defense. That is all we need from 3rd at this juncture. I think he improve on these numbers in the coming years as he matures. I am not worried about 3rd base. Our outfield can be outstanding with Ethier starting in left ahead of Pierre as I think he can also put up those numbers and plays good defense. The Schmidt/Loaiza/Kuo battle for the 5 spot in the rotation is our big question mark. If one of those guys can make 25 starts and win 10-11 games it will be a huge improvement and bonus.


I share your optimism about LaRoche. We will soon see one way or the other if he’s the real dea. I think he probably is.

I can’t share the same feeling about Nomar. Over the last four years, 2004 thru 2007, a generous assessment would allow that Nomar has had a total of five months of good offensive production.

His career trend is clearly on its downside and the best we can realistically hope for from Nomar is a good month or two and a few shining moments.

Hopefully some of those moments will be truly memorable as was his game-winning homer an inning after the back-to-back-to-back-to-back homers.

Agreed MarLoK,
Nomar can give LaRoche and Loney an occaisional day off and pinch hit.

Also, we need the 2006 Furcal to light this candle.

Let’s hope that one of the Schmidt/Loiaza/Kuo trio emerges as a solid #5 starter. Right now, I see that as a spot to pick up some wins from last year. All we need is 20-25 starts, 10-11 wins, 165-180 innings, and ERA of 4.00 to 4.40 or so and we will be much improved over last year. That would be a huge improvement over last year and probably a 6 to 7 games added to the win column. We got virtually nothing from the 5 spot last year. Even a +5 or 6 games will win us the division. That could be the best place to find them.
Also, we need 2006 Furcal to light this candle. GO DODGERS!!!!!!!!

It can’t get worse than Bombko, can it? LOL

No matter who the 5th starter is(I hope its Kuo) the rotation will be improved just because we subtracted the cancer that was brining it down(Hendy and Bombko). I just really hope Loaiza doesn’t turn into “that guy” who brings down the rotation and goes like 2-11 with a 6+ ERA. I don’t really see that happening from Schmidt or Kuo but I have no confidence in Loaiza.

Loaiza was a really stupid pickup by Neddy…

Yep Swood, I agree. I guess Ned figured he couldn’t be any worse than Bombko/Hendry. But he was. Maybe if he is healthy he will perform better. At least good enough that we can use him as trade bait at the deadline in July. At least he is only signed through 08 so we are not stuck for the long term.

I too would love to see Kuo do well. Adding a lefty to the rotation couldn’t hurt.

I remember last year, the feeling I got in my stomach before the game started when I knew Hendy or Bombko was starting… it was like I knew our offense was gonna have to score 6-7 runs just to keep us in the game. I had that same feeling at the end of last season when Loaiza pitched. I really hope the team isn’t in that situation again with a starter(Loaiza) who the team and fans have no confidence in. I hope Kuo wins the 5th spot, if not I would rather see Schmidt win it then Loaiza.

40 days until pitchers and catchers report… I CAN’T WAIT!!!!!

Wouldn’t worry too much swood – even if Schmidt and Kuo can’t overcome their injuries, and Loaiza pitches to most peoples expectations [zero], I wouldn’t be surprised to see McDonald in there by June. I think Houlton could give us a spot 2-3 starts in an emergency situation – certainly wouldn’t be any worse than Bombko last year.

Unfortunately if the 5th starter spot becomes a persistant problem, that’s when I think we’d see someone like Ethier be traded. No way we get a 5th starter for JP unless someone’s awfully desperate for a CF at the trade deadline.

My order of preference for 5SP would be:

1. A moderately effective Schmidt.

2. A mostly effective Kuo.

3. Mc Donald with a little more AAA under his belt.

4. My Dog

5. Me

6. Loaiza’s Dog

7. Houlton

8. Loaiza

Would love it if Schmidt and Kuo could really battle it out for the job in ST. Would love it even more if Loaiza could pitch effectively knowing that said Schmidt and Kuo will breakdown somewhere along the way.

I totally discount Kershaw at this point because I’d prefer they take there time with him in the minors so he’s not just another shooting star.

Has anyone seen a rehab schedule for Schmidt? I’m not sure that he’s ready to begin serious throwing. Assuming that his surgery was sufficiently successful to expect him to return to form, I don’t see him ready for competitive pitching until at least the middle of the season.

As for Kuo, if he’s proven one thing, it is that he’s got a constantly fragile arm or shoulder. I don’t see him doing anything at the major league level until he’s proven what he can do with his “reconstruction” at AAA. His stuff and durability will have to be established there for at least the better part of 2008. It would certainly be great if he could come back, but let’s not count on it early on.

I feel the same about the 5th spot, Kuo has the most upside but none are healthy. It will be a throw it against the wall and see what sticks. Schmidt is just a mystery will he be 80 percent of his old self which will be alot better than Loiaza. I cannot wait for ST it is the best time of the year.

Someone was asking for the winter league stats you can get it at loons.com and in the article about Perez being named MVP of the loons there is a link.

I see where Andrew Lambo is getting an award as outstanding 1st year player with the Dodgers minors. I had a chance to meet and watch him for a couple of days in the GCL, the kid can hit and his attitude is great. He is a natural hitter and a great fielder. He loves the game and that is what I loved about Kershaw the year before, he was like a kid in a candy store on the field. There was no arrogance or sense of entitlement. They worked hard and got along great with their teammates.

Bear- I am by no means counting on Kuo to win the 5th starters spot, I’m just saying I hope he does because hes young and a southpaw. Schmidt and Loaiza have seen their better days, Kuo still has alot of potential and I hope he has a beast ST and convinces Torre hes durable enough to last the whole season. I am by no means counting on him, nor am I counting on Schmidt or Loaiza.

Houlton take heart.

Kuo is out of options, if he is healthy he has to stay with the club or pass waivers. Colletti has been quoted as saying that there is a 50% chance that Schmidt will be ready by midseason. My best guess is that the 5th starters job is Loaiza’s to lose and that Kuo will be the second lefty in the bullpen. Of course, there still could be a trade. I do not believe tha either Repko or Young have options. With so many outfielders it seems like they have to do something and pitching seems to be what we need/

I would just like to say I’m not counting on Schmidt or Loaiza. If any good comes from them it would be a very big PLUS.

swood, I would love to see Kuo perform well, because he has really good stuff and has suffered a lot of misfortune with his arm. Kind of reminds me of a rookie southpaw who came up at the end of the season in the fifties by the name of Karl Spooner. He threw two shutouts and was a rage at the time when everybody thought what a future he would have. Well, he developed arm problems that nobody could repair at the time, and he never threw another major league inning as I recall. Sometimes it comes down to just luck.

Here is my take on who will be the Dodger’s 5th pitcher…. Esteban Loaiza!! Schmidt is not going to be ready to pitch, competitively, until mid-season. Kuo is more than likely going to start the season in Vegas and will be a long reliever at best when and if he comes to L.A. Loaiza is schedule to pitch in Mexico sometime in the next 2 weeks and according to the Mexican newspapers he is pitching at about 90%. Loaiza will go to spring training as the 5 man and I really believe he will be a guy who will win 10 to 12 games and give the Dodgers a solid 6 innings per outing. His ERA will probably remain somewhat high, 3.9 to 4.4, but that’s his game and with a little run production he should be a solid 5….

Good to hear a somewhat positive report on Loaiza kiper! From what I’ve read in Gurnick’s column though, Kuo is out of options, which I think will at least get him some consideration in ST.

Disappointed that Schmidt won’t be ready to go, but there may be a plus side there – if he can go by mid-season, it’ll be like picking up a wily veteran at the trade deadline for nothing (except McCourt’s money 🙂

Wonder if we should be reading between the lines on this one – with Schmidt out and Kuo questionable, Ned doesn’t seem like he’s in any panic to get a 5th starter – does that mean he’s getting good reports on Loaiza? What does everyone think on that subject?

All we need from the 5th starter is 150 innings and keep us in the ballgame. 4.50 ERA ir loweer and 8-9 wins. Not asking alot.

Yes Jhall, but I don’t think we can expect much, if anything out of Loaiza based on the way he pitched last year. Who knows though, this is a new year and Loaiza could prove me totally wrong(I doubt it). As it stands now though, I think we would get more out of either Kuo, Stults or even Houlton then we would out of the very expensive(7 mil per year) Loaiza.

I’m very dissapointed to hear about Schmidt… I thought there was a chance he could have had a bounce back year. Thanks again NEDDY BOY. lol

Almost forgot – no need to panic – forgot we invited Chan Ho to ST. LOL

I dunno enchanted, I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if Chan Ho had a better season then Loaiza… which is saying what I think of Loaiza and his 7 mil per year contract.

Yeah swood, I hear Lima is following Valdez to Japan, so Chan Ho it is!! The only thing Loaiza has in his favor is that he had a knee injury and not an arm or shoulder. ****, maybe Hough can teach him the knuckleball. Just a different grip – speeds about the same as his fastball…

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