Happy Birthday Manny Mota…

From a late broadcasting legend to a legendary current coach, today we’d like to wish a Happy Birthday to Manny Mota, who turns 70 years old. The work he does for his international foundation is often overlooked and few realize he’s the longest tenured coach in Dodger history and a key part of the organization. We wish him and his family a very happy 70th.

Of course, we can also move from a legend who we see every day like Manny to one we never see, Sandy Koufax. Sandy stopped by Dodgertown today for the second consecutive day, but given his preference for privacy, I didn’t mention it yesterday when he stayed behind the scenes.

Today, he gave pitching lessons to Scott Proctor and Chan Ho Park and it created quite the scene. All of the fans at Dodgertown flocked to the new bullpen area where this was taking place and when Sandy signed a few autographs, it was hard to believe the chaos it created. In any event, Joe Torre talked at length about his friendship with Sandy so that will be all over the various media outlets that cover us.

There will also be plenty of coverage on Juan Pierre, who arrived in camp today and spoke to the media about his role, as well as Don Mattingly, who made his first appearance at Dodgertown and chatted with several writers, too.  It’s all part of the ebb and flow of early Spring Training, which will start to pick up tomorrow when the remaining position players arrive.

Also, I forgot to respond to one question about why Rick Monday wasn’t on the press release we sent out the other day. Simply, it’s because it was a release about our TV schedule and he only does radio.

95 Comments

Feliz Cumpleanos Manny Mota!

When I saw him at the Rose Parade Judging in Azusa, I talked to him about the wonderful job he and his wife Margarita do in the D.R. helping underpriviledge kids.

How wonderful to hear that Sandy has been visiting Vero Beach. That is one thing that will be sorely miss next year.

Any news when the the Dodgers will get their star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame? Thanks Josh! -Emma

According to Gurnick:
http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080218&content_id=2377882&vkey=spt2008news&fext=.jsp&c_id=la

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda will manage the Dodgers again.

Lasorda, 80, will take over the split squad left behind in Florida when new manager Joe Torre takes another squad to China for a goodwill series in Beijing against the Padres on March 14-15.

A team official confirmed that Lasorda will manage eight exhibition games beginning with a March 11 game against Florida at Holman Stadium. Lasorda’s squad is expected to include regulars Jeff Kent, Rafael Furcal, Juan Pierre, Russell Martin, Matt Kemp, James Loney and all of the starting rotation.

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[Isn’t Gurnick wrong about Kemp? He was already announced as part of the China group.]

I think this is a dreadful idea. Here we’re being sold the idea that Spring Training is supposed to be *Important*, the place where LaRoche and Ethier have to prove themselves worthy of starting jobs (and a bunch of pitchers are competing for one or two jobs) and the Dodgers think it’s a good idea to drag out eighty-year old (80!) Tommy Lasorda to manage the remaining Florida games? Is this some sort of publicity stunt gone horribly awry?

Listen, I respect my elders, but No Managing for Old Men! Let one of the coaches get a little taste of managing.

http://www.beloblog.com/Pe_Blogs/prosports/2008/02/juan_pierre_in_his_own_words.html

At least he is a stand up guy.

Got to give him credit for that. I would like to see the Dodgers trade him to a team he fits in better with and that will appreciate him. He’s just not what our team needs at the present time.

The Dead horse is alive:

I’m no dummy. This guy’s (Andruw Jones) won Gold Gloves. I have no choice but to move and do the best job I can wherever I’m at.

Some people value my game. Some people don’t. Some people in LA like it. Some people don’t. I know my game is not pretty. I’m not the guy all over SportsCenter.

I’m not going to walk around here salty.

I know I have to get on base a lot more. I had a disappointing season, and I take full responsibility. I have to improve offensively and defensively.

If not (a starter), then I guess they might have to look at getting rid of me if they don’t see me as an asset to the team. I don’t know.

It is what it is. I’m just trying to put it behind me, get past it and help the team win. And I’m all for winning.

And this good how Ned. Gosh Coletti is such a tool.

Juan Pierre reported to camp a day early, and said he’s prepared to do whatever the Los Angeles Dodgers need from him.

He hopes that means playing every day, no matter where in the outfield it might be.

Pierre, who has the most stolen bases (382) and second-most hits (1,378) in the majors since 2001, lost his starting center field job during the offseason when the Dodgers signed Andruw Jones to a two-year, $36.2 million contract.

“I’m no dummy. The guy has won 10 Gold Gloves,” Pierre said Monday. “It’s up to me to move and do the best job I can. I’m not going to sit here and say I don’t want to play center field. I’m just going to play it by ear and go from there.”

Pierre said new Dodgers manager Joe Torre has told him he’ll probably be moving to left field. Standout youngsters Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are among those competing for playing time in the outfield, with Jones set in center.

“I know my game. It’s not pretty,” Pierre said. “I’m not going to be all over SportsCenter. Some people value what I do. Some people don’t.”

One thing Pierre doesn’t do is hit for power — he has 12 homers in 1,169 career games. That makes a difference on a team that has lacked punch in recent years.

And on defense, his arm is a liability.

But he has more hits than anyone in the majors outside of Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki in the last seven years and has a lifetime batting average of .301. The 30-year-old left-handed hitter batted .293 with no homers, 41 RBIs and 64 steals last season.

“I only can control what I do,” said Pierre, who signed a five-year, $44 million contract with the Dodgers before last season. “I’ve got to get better offensively and defensively. If I’m healthy, I want to be out there for 162 (games).”

Pierre has played in 162 for five straight years. He enters this season having played in 434 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the big leagues. He actually has appeared in 821 straight dating back to 2002, but his appearance as a pinch runner on June 3, 2005 snapped his “games played” streak, according the major league rule book.

“It’s not important,” he said of the streak. “It’s been a blessing I’ve stayed healthy this long. You sign a contract for 162. I like to think it’s honoring the contract. I want to be out there every day.”

Pierre acknowledged there was an element of hurt feelings when Jones signed.

“The Dodgers got finally got a center fielder,” he said, assuming that was the attitude in some circles. “That kind of hurt a little bit.”

Diamond Leung’s story on Tommy:
http://www.pe.com/sports/baseball/dodgers/stories/PE_Sports_Local_D_dodgers_18.317057b.html

“This is the dressing on top of the cake,” Lasorda said Sunday.

What?!?!? Dressing on cake?

lol… poor pierre getting paid 45 million to play a child’s game, and not even be good at it. I think he’ll be OK.

I think Pierre sees the writing on the wall. Sure wish we could find a team where he could play center and leadoff. He would be happier and so would we.

The Dodgers have treated him like ****. He came here and did what was asked of him right? Get an “awful lot of hits” and steal “50 bags”. He then looses his job and is told to compete at a new spot he never has played and is not suited for. I’d be pissed.

Here dead horse, come here dead horse – WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!

Career OBP:

Ichiro – .379

Trigger – .348

An off-year for Ichiro is a .350-something OBP. Trigger last saw an OBP that good *four* seasons ago (2004).

Trigger also has more outs than anyone in the majors outside of Philadelphia’s Jimmy Rollins in the last seven years.

For Batting Average fans: JP’s BA over the last three seasons is .287. That is not good for a guy that doesn’t walk and has no power.

Why am I standing in a huge puddle of glue? Even the workers at the Westland/Hallmark Meat Packing Company would have stopped by now.

True jungar, but he’s the not the first one to ever have to change positions from the one he was signed for. If he’s all about winning then ultimately he should accept the change in stride. Of course I think he knows that some would rather have him not play at all.

can you imagine a healthy Furcal and a healthy Pierre at the 1 2 spots in the order???

they can each steal 50 bases..and Pierre even more! Every team playing wont know weather to worry about our speed (remember Kemp and Martin as well) or our Power!…IM PUMPED BABY!

1)Furcal

2)Pierre

3)Loney

4)Jones

5)Kemp

6)Martin

7)Kent

8)Laroche

sounds like a winner to me

:]

i really like Pierre. its not that i dont like ethier, but he is going to be 26 years old and he is not up to the level of a kemp loney martin or a laroche….most ppl on this blog think that he is soo much better than pierre….but is he really??? i dont think so…but just as pierre said…”Some people value what I do. Some people don’t.”

well I for one DO value what Pierre does…we DONT need an above avg. leftfielder, avg speed and an avg. arm with avg. power…when you have players like Jones Kemp Martin Loney Kent and hopefully Laroche, who are NOT avg.

but that is just my opinion.

whatever happens…IM PUMPED FOR THIS YEAR!

Bill I’d be willing to give it a wash on offense even though i don’t belive it in order to concede a point to you…

But Ethier is a far supieror defensive left fielder than Pierre will ever be.

“… we DONT need an above avg. leftfielder, avg speed and an avg. arm with avg. power …”

You would prefer a below average LF with above-average speed, below-average arm and below-average power??

Compared to other LFs (.277/.347/.453 in 2007 MLB):

Ethier: above-average defense, average OBP, average power, below-average speed.

Pierre: below-average defense, below-average OBP, below-average power, above average-speed.

yea i would put pierre above ethier.

pierre is not a good defender, but he has speed and can get to balls..he just needs to catch them lol. but in left, you dont need to have a great arm and he doesnt have to worry about covering a lot of ground anymore because he has one of the best outfielders to ever play the game to his left.

i think moving to left will be a good thing for pierre…

and yes i KNOW that he doesnt compare well with other leftfielders in the game…but his role is DIFFERENT because of who we got around him.

i heard soo much last offseason about having furcal and pierre at the top of the order..but furcal was not himself at all last year and pierre got off to a bad start…prolly because he had to pick up the slack for furcal

i just want to see a healthy furcal and pierre batting 1 and 2 in the order…creating chaos on the bases and see what our power can do with it, especially because our YOUNG GUNS have more experience now…pierre is what we need i believe…not another avg. leftfielder, but maybe a below avg. defender in left, who is a spark plug to an offense..especially when it is in a slump…and as i recall, there was a time last year when pierre was out best hitter. he was being consitent and everybody else was struggling.

.and as i recall, there was a time last year when pierre was out best hitter.

and that is why we came in 4th place..

It’s hard to be “creating chaos on the bases” when your OBP for the last three seasons is under .330 – that’s an awful lot of not on base.

If JP “doesnt have to worry about covering a lot of ground anymore”, doesn’t that make his speed even less useful, defensively?

Bill Pierre is not a spark to an offense he is a cyphon on it. it slumps because he is in it. the cubs, fish, rockies and the dodgers have seen it. he has to hit .330 and OBP .390 in order to be effective due to his lack of pop.

yea everything these days is all about the homeruns…well that is your guys opinions and that is fine..but its not mine…i wonder why all the older dodger fans dont post here anymore…must be because of the single mindedness of this blog..

“and as i recall, there was a time last year when pierre was out best hitter.”

All hitters have hot streaks. His OBP the last three seasons: .326, .330, .331 – that is barely above what NL #8 hitters as a whole did (.318, .321, .325).

“yea everything these days is all about the homeruns”

The counterarguments have been all about the on-base percentage, not home runs. The 2004 Juan Pierre would be fine with me – but speed guys don’t get better with age, so we’ll never see that.

“i wonder why all the older dodger fans dont post here”

You mean like fansince53, pierreeastmeetswest, perhaps even me (OLD_fogey)? “all” is a dangerous word.

BTW – from what I saw, JP took his best routes on balls hit close to straight over his head, and his worst routes on the balls well to his right or left, which probably had some significant slice or hook to them. If so, he is not going to be helped by being in LF, with so many right-hand hitters hooking hard pulls into left.

Diamond Leung’s latest blog entry:

http://www.beloblog.com/Pe_Blogs/prosports/mlb/dodgers/

Colletti on Pierre

He knows I like him.

I think he’s a strong asset for the team.

The criticism from a year ago was wrong.

He’s a championship-type player.

=============================

Um, ok Ned, whatever you say – but actions (signing Andruw Jones) speak louder than words.

Hey Bill, I know where a number of those respectful Dodger Fans went !! Check your email !!

Ask Penny, Lowe, Billz, or any of our pitchers who they would rather look out into leftfield and see who is backing them up. Case closed. LOL

i wonder why all the older dodger fans dont post here anymore…must be because of the single mindedness of this blog..

Posted by: bill_1234@yahoo.com | February 18, 2008 02:17 PM

They can’t handle the truth.

On second thought, I believe Pierre’s little interview was lobbying for a pity party. Ned bit, I hope Torre doesn’t.

Hey Bill, I know where a number of those respectful Dodger Fans went !! Check your email !!

Posted by: Gary | February 18, 2008 02:47 PM

**************************

Funny, I was just thinking that the respectfulness level generally increased since the beginning of last season, even in the face of Dodger struggles and frustrations. Of course, Gary’s last post before this one was an ad hominem attack on another poster without a counterargument proposed or even a single dissenting fact stated, so one wonders what his definition of “respectful” is.

lol… respectful towards who? the front office that won’t even put the best players on the field, the owner who increases the ticket prices after a fourth place finish, the team that hasn’t won a playoff series in 20 years, or respectful to pierre who’s throwing a pity party (great choice of words) for himself and his 45 mil bank account? All fans want is to win. If you told me today that pierre would lead us the the world series championship, sure, I’d be on board. But do I believe it? No. He’s an anchor that puts that much more pressure on everyone else to produce.

Gurnick is also weighing in on Pierre:
http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080218&content_id=2378329&vkey=spt2008news&fext=.jsp&c_id=la

“I’m not the kind of guy who says I have to play center field. If it makes the team better, I’m not walking around sulking. I’ll play like I always play.” But, if Jones’ acquisition is coupled with Matt Kemp starting in right field and Andre Ethier moving Pierre to a bench role, “maybe then they’d do something with me.

*******************************

Also Gurnick writes something that sounds like a more complete thought about Ned’s “criticism from a year ago” comment:

Even after acquiring Jones, Colletti has maintained his support of Pierre that criticism of the outfielder as the cause of the club’s struggles last year was unfair.

if the fans receive honesty in regards to injury, a committment to winning by putting the best players on the field, admitting when mistakes are made and correcting them, showing patience with veterans and youngsters alike, then we will have respect for the front office/ownership.

the more ned defends the pierre acquisition the more laughable he becomes. honestly, i would RESPECT the man ifnhe finds a way to move pierre—that will be his way of admiting his mistake without saying so to reduce pierre’s value to another team. If he trots him out there as if he’s our best option, then respect is not warranted.

Ned already admitted his mistake by signing Andruw Jones to play CF. I really doubt there is anything Ned can do to increase or decrease JP’s trade value, other than to accuse him of being a bad clubhouse influence (which by all accounts he is not).

“I’m no dummy. He’s won 10 Gold Gloves and they got him to play center field and I have no choice but to move and do the best job I can,” said Pierre on Monday, little more than a year after signing a $44 million contract he thought would have him playing center field for the Dodgers for five years.

No, you certainly are not. Ned is the dummy for signing you.

It will be good to see Lasorda back in the dug out. I think it will be fun and I’m looking forward to it.
I also tend to think the dodgers will be a stronger team with Ethier in left (defense) but if JP wins out, He’ll get my whole support.

I’m 60 years old now, so I guess I’m one of the older fans now, and I’m willing to let the JP/Ethier situation play itself out in spring training. Lets face it. Torre is in a much better position to make judgement than any of us. He’s there with the team.

And I really see no use in rehashing JP’s perceived shortcomings day after day, week after week, and now month after month. That’s the truth as this old guy sees it.

pierre is a one trick pony, while ethier is a more balanced player, i’d rather take the balanced player anyday.

And I really see no use in rehashing JP’s perceived shortcomings day after day, week after week, and now month after month. That’s the truth as this old guy sees it.

Posted by: knouffbrock@frontiernet.net | February 18, 2008 03:31 PM

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Trust me, I want to stop myself, I really do. But there’s just something about the topic that prevents me from stopping myself when I see a comment praising JP that seems oblivious to what I think is his biggest issue: the stagnating .330ish OBP.

Hi, my name is old_fogey_la and I’m a JuanPierreCriticism-aholic!

i agree wit old fogey 100%

Hi Old Fogey! Welcome to TA (Trigger Anonymous)

I’m with you Fogey. When we let it die, someone posts a half-witted comment stating how useful Pierre is to our team and that he is a better choice than Ethier. If he is so useful and good, how come no other GM will give Ned the time of day when he mentions a trade for Pierre? He is not even a better choice than DYoung. I just can’t lay off when people post that idiocy. Come on Ned, sack up and get rid of him. For his sack and the teams.

sake LOL
Although, I’m sure Pierre will feel a whole lot more manly playing centerfield and leading off somewhere. More laughter.

josh, can you please post more pictures of the guys at spring training on the dodger website? i think all of us here need at least a couple of nice pictures to hold us over until the first spring training game. thanks!

I think we can all agree, JP is a passionate subject…

Now I’m just as stubborn as the next guy, maybe moreso at times, but we tried the two lead-off guy scenario and it just didn’t work. Doing it again will be like banging your head against the wall. Was an enamoring thought though… and now it looks like Torre’s intrigued with the idea as well. But unless JP learns to go deep in the count and draw a walk now and then, it won’t work – and that’s on offense.

Defensively its just not sound baseball to put the weaker arm out there.

JP’s offensive numbers would be quasi-acceptible if he was a #8 hitter. And really you’re only the #8 hitter when the #1 guy leads off an inning. But for every stolen base he gets, (IMO, not verifiable stats) he gives them right back plus some in runners taking an extra base. Look what they did on Long Gone last year, and his arm was stronger than JPs.

IMO on this team, JPs a roll player. Are you getting your $44M worth?, no, but can he be used effectively in the right situations, yes – I’ve said that all along. But 4 starting OFers is going to breed problems no matter what these guys say to reporters.

Then you have another ’07 on your hands…

old_fogey – Your opinion is fine, your debate is worthy and your facts are accepted. There isn’t one negative fact that you and others haven’t stated a million times. The problem many of us OLD guys have is that you just can’t let it rest !! Nor can you accept what you can’t have which is a perfect world without Pierre. You also can’t seem to accept without hostility anyone supporting Pierre for the mear fact that he’s in a Dodger Uniform. I have disliked, even hated, some players in my day but I have never wished them harm or ill fate. If you can honestly look back to all of your postings since you started, 90%+ deals with Pierre. For Gods sake, we get it man, we know your opinion, just let it rest !! Move on, PLEASE !!! It’s spring training, the glass is half full !! We haven’t lost a game yet !! Be in support of our boys in blue no matter who they are !! Enjoy the day and live free of contempt towards others !!

If debate is what you want, great, just find something else to debate but most of all respect others that don’t agree with you. I’ve been on this blogg from day one and I cherished every day that first year when I logged on. Today all you guys want is to rip someone, what a waste of energy !!

Was that enough of a response for you ?? From one old guy to another, have a great day !!

Go Dodgers in 2008 !!

Who ever is on the team !!

Pierre is a hemorroid. You just can’t get the pain in your a** off your mind for very long.

Spring training reports from National Media:

Day 1

Does the 67 year old Torre still have the fire in him.

Day 2

Can Jason Schmidt throw and will the “ACE” that Coletti signed for 47 millon last offseason earn himself a fifth starter job?

Day 3

How does the 44 million dollar CF feel after the dodgers signed a 37 million dollar CF to replace him?

Day 4 (predection)

Now that the twins are a year old, can 20 million dollar man Nomar beat out a rookie after being beat out by a rookie last year?

Coletti is such a *******.

I still like jspelk’s coined phrase “The only thing we have to fear is Pierre himself”. As long as we have to keep him, I hope he improves a lot over the past season, but I’m not expecting it. If Torre gets carried away like Ned has over his “speed” and great character and influence, the results won’t be any better than what Grady was able to produce. Whether Pierre wins the starting LF job or not, the best tone that Torre could adopt would be to have Pierre sit out either game one or game two of the season, so we’re no longer playing this bull**** game of keeping Pierre’s momentous consecutive game streak alive. Once that’s broken, then maybe we can get our management at all levels to treat him objectively in favor of putting the best players on the field, barring all other considerations.

What I find fascinating is that the older Dodger are fans are not MORE outraged but less.

I wouldn’t mind 20 straight years of loosing the “dodger way” but we don’t even have that anymore.

You think Alston/Rickey and compnay would have signed an aging Nomar instead of giving the longest tenured dodger player, one who had just led BASEBALL in hitting a shot?

The dodgers used to get rid of players a year before moving out of their primes, now, thats when we sign them.

1. Yes
2. Yes, eventually.

3. Sounds upset and a bit disgruntled. I hope he demands a trade.

4. No. And if he does, by mid season when he is injured, LaRoche will take over and emerge as our starting 3rd sacker for the next 5 to 6 years.

I for one think that Juan Pierre is over criticized. After all he did score 96 runs last year mostly batting second.

The other thing is playing four outfielders is not that hard look at the 1966-1968 Pirate teams where they had Clemente, Stargell, Mateo Alou and Mota. (Stargell played some 1B and Mota played some 1B, 2B and 3B).

If Jones and Pierre each take a game off a week (which should be good for both of them) they will start about 140 games a piece. And this can be against starting pitchers that they have trouble hitting. Then there will be a little over a hundred starts for both Kemp and Ethier. And this would not count late in changes for double switches, late inning defense and blowouts.

sorry messagebear, i can’t take responsibility for the that quote—that’s someone else’s genius. Good point as usual jungar.

Nomar has no future with this team. He is gone after this year. We need to get a good long look at LaRoche to evaluate if we are going to have to look elsewhere for a 3rd baseman at mid season or next year. I think he will become a better than average 3rd baseman. Sure, there will be growing pains as with any young player. However, I would rather go through them this season, not next season.

Had to repost this. From Dodgerthoughts poster..

So to sum up JP today: I’m hurt that they got Jones, I’ll play left, but if you want to bench me, you’d better trade me. That’s not a happy camper.

I give up. Wake me when the McCourts sell the team.

Why aren’t the Dodgers talking about contract extensions with any of their young stars (Russell Martin, James Loney, Matt Kemp, Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton)?

— Nick C., Los Angeles

… For the club, long-term contracts with young players present more risk than reward. It’s not impossible sooner, but long-term contracts are more likely to be offered when these players accumulate four or five years of service time, assuming their performance has not diminished by then.

Gary,

Fair enough – although there is no easy way for me to actually find all my posts and characterize them, but I suspect 90% is too high; surely I’ve written enough pro-Kemp, Billingsley, Loney and LaRoche posts to be more than 10%!

Also, I am not trying to come across with “hostility”; I make a conscience attempt to make fact-oriented cases and not to make personal or ad hominem attacks on posters. Disagreement does not equal disrespect.

Somethings are just hard to let go by – like a certain post between yours and this reply – but I will try. I’m sure long-time readers know exactly what my response to that one would be.

But I will not blindly and quietly root on whatever team Colletti, Torre and company throw out on the field. If I have a solid, fact-based argument why they are making a poor decision, I will state it. That said, I hope that for every two games he starts, Juan Pierre walks at least once and hits a bunch of balls the other way, gathering a notable number of singles to deep short or LF.

Respectfully,

old fogey

jungar – that’s Gurnick’s opinion, not managements, and I think Gurnick’s wrong. It is too early for some, but certainly not for Russell Martin. In fact, both sides have acknowledged they the subject was approached. Clearly there is plenty of precedent, even looking only at young catchers, e.g., Mauer, V. Martinez, McCann.

ccalward – barring injury or a complete flop, Matt Kemp should start over 150 games in RF, not “a little over 100″. .342/.373/.521, with speed and a bona fide RF’s arm, and he just turned 23 late last season. (I’m not expecting him to repeat those numbers, of course, but .280/.350/.500 is not unreasonable.)

I suppose I am an “older” fan (59 years of age and a Dodger fan forever) although I do not post very often. Financially the game has changed so much over the years but my guess is fans have always “discussed” their teams and favorite players on the playgrounds, in the corner bar or over the back fence. The internet gives fans a much bigger forum and I enjoy reading everyone’s ideas. It does get a bit tiresome talking about Juan Pierre but I do find it fascinating how so many of you use stats to support your views. I also think it is pointless to expect Ned or any GM to outright admit he made a mistake in signing a player (or not signing a player). It is true that the Dodgers had the philosophy of getting rid of players too soon rather than too late but that was before free agency and long term contracts.

I am not enraged by any of this but I am interested in what happens on the field. I will have to trust Joe Torre that he will field the best possible line-up. When I went to Dodger fantasy camp some years ago Bill Russell, who was the manager at the time, told me the players decide who win jobs by their performance. I don’t know if a player’s contract enters into the picture. I hope Nomar gets his stroke back and Ethier, Kemp, Loney, etc. all improve over last season. I also hope LaRoche has a good spring so the Dodgers have some real choices.

I think we need to define what LaRoche having a good spring is. I certainly hope the Dodgers are well-beyond the notion that ST games statistics alone matter – the sample size is too small. If LaRoche shows a good batting eye (whatever the batting equivalent of pitching “command” is these days, makes solid contact with a live bat, and shows at least major-league average 3B fielding skills, that should be a good ST. Often the numbers follow along, but it doesn’t take but a couple ST line drives finding diving gloves instead of grass to alter BAs and OBPs in a way that looks significant, but isn’t really.

(or the other way around – it only takes a few seeing-eye grounders to artifically inflate ST numbers too.)

excellent post lbirken..

Yeah The deadhorse is being beaten not by us but by Ned. Just like last year.

If Ethier really goes off in the spring and wins the job like they say he has a chance to (doubtful) and then if Schmidt goes off and is locked in at number 5, we will have No pen loazia and no bench pierre unhappy and thats before the season starts.

Ned just has to go. He has no clue.

It is obvious that it has been a long winter(probably because of the teams Aug/Sept crash and 4th place finish) and we are all very anxious for the games to begin and give us some concrete items for discussion.

I look for Loaiza to have at least April and May to show what he can do if he doesn’t lose the job to Kuo in ST. If he performs well enough, he will remain in the starting lineup. If he performs like last year, he will have no one to be disgruntled with but himself.

“The Dodgers are hoping to replace the logo across the front of their home jerseys with the words ThinkCure, in the same blue script, for their March 29 exhibition with Boston at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The club is awaiting approval from Major League Baseball. All proceeds from the game – as well as from the sale of those game-used jerseys afterward – will benefit ThinkCure, the Dodgers’ in-house charity to benefit cancer research.”

I for one don’t care for the change… especially for this game. Everyone already knows the Dodgers and Red Sox are donating the proceeds of the game to the Think Cure Foundation. What I don’t like is the history of THE UNIFORM not being present in the Coliseum on that day. If you must do it, do it for a home game during ThinkCure week, but don’t mess up the Dodger uniform for the first time in 50 years when returning to the place it all started for the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Why change a good thing???

kssparkuhl – Maybe I’m just too cynical, but I find it a little self-serving and off-putting, given that Think Cure is “the Dodgers’ IN-HOUSE charity”. I think the used uniforms will have more value if they are standard Dodger home and Sox road unis but with a prominent Think Cure patch added.

Too bad it’s not a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness; I’d like to see the Sox play in road pinks! Big Papi in all pink would be awesome. ;)

I will say that JPs not to blame for last season. Think that fell squarely in the laps of Grittle and Ned, along with a decimated starting pitching staff and an inflated view of how good the Ds really were. Can’t finish behind three other teams and figure one guy cost you the difference.

And if JP plays and plays well for the Ds this year, I for one will come into this forum and admit that I was wrong.

Until there are some games to discuss though, I believe the reason we always come back to the JP debate is that he’s a polarizing subject. There’s not quite the passion about 3B. We grumble about Nomar and praise LR, some call for third choice, but in the end, most figure LR wins the job out of spring, or Nomar breaks down at some point and LR wins by default. 5th starter, who cares? You can pretty much at this point interchange Schmidt, Loaiza and Kuo and fair about the same with any of them.

But until we see some light at the end of the tunnel (one way or another), we of the Dead Horse Society reserve the right to beat it :)

ThinkCure? Ugh! I still think those little white things over the ears of the batting practice hats was a terrible idea. I really do not like it when the uni is messed with. The big patch is a good idea.

It looks like Pierre knows where he stands as we all knew where he stood. So it looks like a stand off. ***There’s nothing like the legend of Sandy Koufax around the team as he has been the last two days. Will Greg Miller follow in his footstep? I remember how wild Sandy was when he left Brooklyn. Being a resident of Vero Beach, as I read, I hope he can make it to Glendale Arizona as much as he possibly can. Sarah’s latest take says he may not. Boy how we need former pitchers who pitched for the Brooklyn staff. “We” as in old Brooklyn Dodger fans. Of course Sandy made it bigger in LA. ****I hope Martin get just enough rest(Not too much). ****I can’t wait to see Lasorda in the dugout. I met him in person twice. With Colletti, Torre & Lasorda running things there should be plenty of macaroni around**** HAPPY 70th BIRTHDAY MANNY MOTA and manny more. I’ll reach that number in March.

pierre – you are the true old fogey, I am a mere pretender in your presence!

enchantedsunset – LOL
How about the Dead Horsemen of the Apocalypse? Low OBP, Weak arm, Too few pitches seen, and Bad routes.

(not bashing – just joshing.)

Hey Josh – Thanks for the Sandy Koufax tidbits. I love that he continues to spend time with the younger players, year after year.

If you get a chance, check out my new Dodger blog: http://www.dodgerfan.net. I’d love to hear what you think!

Chris

http://www.dodgerfan.net

And by the way, I love the insight you provide in this blog…keep up the great work and here’s to a fantastic season!

Go Blue!

Chris

http://www.dodgerfan.net

Funny old fogey, I had that same thought a couple days ago! There seems to be more than 4 of us though!!

I was just happy people picked up on my use and reference to Trigger! – thought maybe this crowd was too young to remember…

And yes, patches. Don’t change the uniform.

Patches.

I can’t say it as nearly as eloquently as Jon over at dodgerthoughts.com so i’ll just post what he said.

How can anyone argue against this?

Andre Ethier …

# has 948 plate appearances in the major leagues.

# has been in the major leagues as long as the team’s backbone, Russell Martin.

# has been through two pennant races and one playoff series.

# has shown that he can improve as a season progresses by OPSing .826 in the second half of 2007.

# has seen first-hand what losing can do to a clubhouse.

# will be a mature 26 years old on April 10.

If Joe Torre wants a veteran in the outfield next to Andruw Jones and Matt Kemp, then Andre Ethier is ready for duty. He’s not a rookie; he’s not a kid. This is his prime time.

I’m concerned with the straw men set up in defense of Juan Pierre. No one that I know of has blamed Pierre singlehandedly for the Dodgers’ disappointing finish in 2007 – too much went on with the team for that to be the case. Everyone agrees that he’s a nice guy.

All the criticism of Pierre since he signed with the Dodgers basically boils down to one simple, nothing-personal fact: He’s not one of the team’s best three outfielders. It’s not that he’s the devil, or that he isn’t a better ballplayer than more than 99 percent of the people in the world, or that he doesn’t have skills.

But Andre Ethier is a nice guy, too. Andre Ethier has skills. And at this time in their careers, Ethier, a rising player with a .279 equivalent average over the past two seasons (that’s park-adjusted offensive value, including stolen bases or the lack thereof) and better defense, deserves to start over Pierre, who is over 30 with an EQA below .260 for the past two seasons.

There shouldn’t even be a controversy over this, and the existence of one revolves around one factor – Pierre’s contract – in the face of countless others. Between Ethier and Pierre, if you want a stolen base or maybe a bunt, Pierre’s your guy. If you want anything else in the game of baseball, Ethier is.

Is Pierre “a strong asset” and “a championship-type player,” as Ned Colletti asserts? Sure, why not. So is Ethier. So what’s the point?

The Pierre debate isn’t about Pierre in a vaccum. The Pierre debate is only about whether he deserves to play ahead of the other guy. You can value Pierre’s game and still not think he’s the team’s best left fielder.

If respect is something to value in baseball, then it’s time for Ethier to get his. Ethier has paid his dues; he’s been a professional since 2003. He has never done anything to embarrass the Dodgers. He has had his struggles, which makes him pretty much like everyone else. He has pushed through those struggles to become the team’s No. 1 option in left. Give Pierre’s playing time to Ethier, and he will contribute the championship-type production that people like Colletti trot out in Pierre’s defense. He’ll do more.

It’s not a philosophical debate; it’s not a battle between scouts and statisticians. It’s something there for everyone to see: Andre Ethier is a proven veteran, an asset and a readier contributor than Juan Pierre. If that’s what the Dodgers want in left field, then they needn’t look any further. We don’t need the upcoming Spring Training to tell us that. We already know.

I read that one too Jungar. Well said and pretty much sums it up. I haven’t read one blog or pre-season synopsis of the Dodgers that thinks we should start Phew-erre over Ethier. Think about it Ned.

What bugs me is I am called by people not a true fan or negative or that I dislike Pierre. No, I don’t.

You think i’d be like how can they not play Ethier over Carlos Beltran?

No, wouldn’t care. Or gosh we sent Loney to the Minors again so we could sign David Ortiz… Sweet. Ya know…

The dodgers last year decided not to play their best players and younger, cheaper emerging players with upside and 4 days into spring here it goes again.

It’s all I ask. Play our best.

I’m with you. It is frustrating.

Bombshell dropped on Dodger Thoughts!!!

Jon Weisman for President!!

…and Jungar beat me to the post, as I was headed straight here to post the very same thing in hopes more Dodger Brass may see what is only obvious: Andre Ethier’s time is NOW!

I’m sick and tired of the company line and we get fed another propaganda piece on the front page of Dodgers.com peddling the wares of one Juan Pierre yet again. Face it! It’s time to eat the contract and move on with the better ballplayer. Colletti, you knee-jerked last season and you have no right to claim Pierre as being the missing link to our championship… all to save face in your spending and ultimate failure to do your homework in the first place!

Why is it so damned apparant to everyone OUTSIDE of the Dodger Brass that Andre Ethier is our left fielder now? Perhaps because we don’t have the monetary investment in the man like you do… which so obviously is clouding your judgement in spite of yourselves. Don’t even think of making any excuses for JP when he falters this spring.

There… I’ve said my peace. Anyone else wish to sign Jon Weisman’s “petition”???

Pierre’s one play from last season that I can’t get out of my head, and I’ve never seen in the major leagues before… EVER! And I doubt I’ll ever will see it again in my lifetime. Does anyone remember this game or when it was or who it was against?

This would be the one where Juan Pierre lost a fly ball hit to him in center. Okay… let’s stop right there.

Outfielding 101: You lose sight of a fly ball hit your way. As a professional outfielder, you do which of the following?

a) Slow down, reacquire the ball in your sight, and then make the catch.

b) Scream: “I don’t have it!” repeatedly to alert your fellow outfielders as to your predicament.

c) Cover your head with your glove so as to prevent injury from a falling baseball.

d) All of the above.

The correct answer would be in succession:

“a” However, if you don’t reacquire the ball immediately, then the next correct answer would be:

“b” But if your fellow outfielders don’t hear you in time, then the next correct answer would be:

“c” Cover your head, because you’re about to be konked in the noggin buddy!

So what does Pierre do??? Absolutely NONE OF THE ABOVE! He continues running in toward the infield while looking like he’s groping for a blind-man’s cane! When he lost sight of the ball, did he stop to reacquire the ball??? Did he scream for help??? Did he cover the smallest hat size in basball with his glove??? No… he continued running toward Jeff Kent… and the ball dropped untouched behind him… 40 feet away!

Now I realize people that players will make mistakes from time to time. I’ve even seen outfielders allow baseballs to drop next to them while narrowly avoiding injury with the plummeting obect of their moment’s desire, but… I have NEVER seen a professional outfielder so grossly underplay a POP-FLY hit his way!!! You should have seen Jeff Kent’s face after the play when Kemp threw him the ball. He was beside himself. And that play was critical to the Dodgers losing that day.

Heck, I suppose Juan Pierre shouldn’t have been worried that much for not covering his head. I mean really, what are the chances of a ball hitting him in the head anyway… what with the smallest hat size in baseball and such??? Five and a quarter inches Juan??? That’s tiny…

But hey… who am I anyway. I’m sure Juan Pierre’s a really great guy and a hard worker as well.

and like i said…the other day:

If you play Pierre and sit Ethier it cost the dodgers $8,500,000

If you play Ethier and sit Pierre it cost the dodgers $8,500,000

No one will care at the world series ring ceremony which guy played.

That’s hilarious. Kssparkuhl..”While looking like he’s groping for a blind-man’s cane!”

Yeah beyond the raw numbers, for me anyways he is tough to watch in all he does, base stealing as well even though it’s his strong suit..

JP reminds me a little of Yoda. I mean he can go ahead and whip Count Dooko and the Emperor (Pierre running from first to third) but then can barely walk after (all other baseball)

Like I said on “Dodger Thoughts” This Pierre-Ethier delimer could be the most interesting episode in sports.

agreed Pierre and that’s precisely what bothers me most..some guys on the team are bound to take Pierres side others Andre’s..it’s human nature. We see where it got us last year…I am all for competition (LaRoche/Nomar as example), but these guys based on performance and contract both deserve to start.

We can’t trade Ethier though, god forbid if Kemp got hurt who would play RF?

Ethier could also play CF..If god forbid Jones got hurt, would the dodger say to Juan, well I guess we can win with you in CF..go for it? It’s a slap in the face for poor Juan. Believe me if I was Juan i’d be pissed, I don’t blame him…i’d demand a trade for sure.

jungar your salary point is probably the simplest, yet most compelling argument to choose Ethier over JP. I think we all feel that its economics that is making the decision who plays at this point in time. I’ll take it one step further though… find a taker for JP and even yough you’ll eat a fat part of his contract, you’ll still SAVE a few million over the next 4 years.

JPs trying to say all the right things, but here it is ST and I haven’t heard any reports that before he got to Dodgertown that A) he worked at fielding his new position, and B) he’s worked on his throwing and/or strengthening his arm.

B he should’ve been doing anyway, and A he’s known since December he’s not in center. Now it appears he has to start from scratch on both and only has 40 or so days to do it.

If Ned’s going to keep JP around as insurance, OK. If you keep him as a roll player, better. If you keep him around as a full time starter to the detriment of Ethier and/or Kemp, there are four other GMs in your division that will love you for it.

SW

Dead Horse Society, 2008

kssparkhul

if that is the worse play you have ever seen an outfielder make…maybe you should watch more baseball, cuz that wasnt even close buddy

enchanted

im sure pierre has worked on his fielding, he is one of the hardest workers in the game. just because you dont hear about doesnt mean its not happening. and you can only do so much to make your arm stronger..its mostly god gifted.

JP for LEFTFIELD!!!

is there anyone of this blog who is with me??

bill 1234
As I’ve said before, I think Ethier is our guy for left field, but I’m not AGAINST JP.

Again, Torre is closer to the situation and I’ll go along with the ultimate decision. I’m not going to continuously slam the guy. If JP is in left, I’m going to enjoy the track meet.

But I tend to think he is going to wind up on another team.

From Tony Jackson’s blog:
http://www.insidesocal.com/dodgers/archives/2008/02/feelin_groovy.html

“It was bad when I played last year like that,” the switch-hitting Furcal said. “Hitting right-handed, I felt better. But left-handed, I couldn’t stand on my ankle. But I didn’t say anything because I wanted to keep playing. After the season, I got a lot of treatment before I started playing (in the Dominican Winter League), and that made me feel so good.”

******************************

Gee Rafael, the trainers etc. can’t help you if you don’t tell them you are hurting. You could have gotten “a lot of treatment” that would have “made [you] feel so good” during the season last year, even if a short time on the disabled list was required.

I believe that last year, on this blog, I advocated for Furcal to go to the DL for 15 days with the all-star break in the middle of it.

What I truly wish is that Colletti were GM’ing for another team. I was looking forward at the end of last season to getting rid of him and Grady both, but had to settle for half a loaf. Well, Grady was the fall guy – not a demise undeserved, but look at some of the playing chips that Ned saddled him with. I think that getting Torre was a good move, but it won’t be the perfect answer unless he’s unshackled from the obstinacy with veterans like Nomar and Pierre. Hopefully Torre will simply play the best players. Whatever the results at the end of the season will not make me like Colletti any better, but I think the onus should be strictly on him this season to have the team excell. If it does not produce a satisfactory result in the playoffs, then Colletti should be the next to go after the end of the season.

I think Ferk was afraid of losing his leadoff spot to Pierre. He should have started the season on the DL and he would have been more productive throughout the season.

Knouffbrock,
One can only hope.

Thanks to Dodger Thoughts, here is a link to a Torre story in the Phil. Daily News:
http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20080219_Happy_with_Dodgers__Torre_reflects_on_what_went_wrong_with_Yankees.html

He’ll rely on scouting reports and his coaches, at least initially, when it comes to making moves.

“Stats don’t really tell you anything. You really have to watch these guys,” he said. “You have to look and realize that you have a feel for what you want to do. Because numbers are important, but numbers don’t tell you everything. Your eye has to tell you that.”

*****************************

Not to overanalyze one quote, but did he really say that stats don’t really tell you “anything”? Because later he says that numbers don’t tell you “everything”.

I agree that seeing the players is vitally important to get the full picture, but stats do tell you a lot also. Combined, they are powerful. Teams today employ both scouts and statistical analysts, because both are important; one does not exclude the other.

jhall – Furcal DID start the season on the DL. He rushed back after watching Ramon Martinez start the first four and Wilson Valdez start the next five games.

It was only later in the year that Abreu showed he might be a short term option for SS.

Thanks Fogey, I didn’t remember that.

well, I remembered he was on the DL. OBVIOUSLY I looked it up to find out who started how many games in his place.

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