Tommy Returning to the Dugout

It’s official…Tommy Lasorda will manage the team in Joe Torre’s absence while the team is in China. He’s walking around on cloud nine here at Dodgertown and everyone here is very excited for him. He’ll have Larry Bowa and Bob Schaefer in the dugout with him to help with any decisions, but Joe made it clear when he met with the media just now that this is, in fact, Tommy’s team in the interim. He even joked about losing his job if he goes 0-2 in China and Tommy goes 8-0 in Florida, but something tells me Tommy will be glad to hand it back over when he’s finished.

As for the first full-squad workout today, nothing terribly exciting happened. There were the usual drills, batting practice, etc. and unfortunately, non-roster invitee George Lombard hurt his calf during conditioning, so he’ll be out a couple days.

As they say, baseball is a marathon, not a sprint, but we’ll leave you today with this note geared towards anyone who is planning on running in the REAL L.A. marathon next month.

The Dodgers are forming a team that will run together in the L.A. Marathon on Sunday, March 2. Interested fans will represent the Dodgers and help celebrate the Dodgers’ 50 years in Los Angeles as they run together throughout the city. 

The Dodger team will be outfitted in Dodger gear (nothing too fancy since you obviously have to run in it) and be given a pair of tickets redeemable during the 2008 season. L.A. Marathon registered runners interested in representing the Dodgers, can send their contact information to pubintern@ladodgers.com.

Good luck to everyone during the final few weeks of training for the marathon (that is, the real one and the Dodger season).

42 Comments

I’m am already on the record about this:

[there was a link and quote to/from Gurnick's article here]

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.

Posted by: old_fogey_la@yahoo.com | February 18, 2008 01:00 PM

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

Maybe I’m making too much of this – one hopes the games are plenty pre-scripted, i.e., pitchers on pitch counts, playing time predetermined etc.

I can’t wait to see Tommy manage again. Thanks josh for the update.

If pitchers could do that, how is it that Brett Butler – not much of a power threat – managed to walk a lot? (He walked in 11.8% of his career PAs, that’s about like JP walking 85 times a season.)

Posted by: old_fogey_la@yahoo.com | February 20, 2008 12:32 PM

I couldn’t agree more fogey, here was my take yesterday:

if Pierre thinks the LF job is inherently his, he’s got another thing coming. Everybody claims he’s a hard-worker, why doesn’t he work hard on the Brett Butler approach to the game. I remember Brett continually taking pitches early in an AB then fouling countless balls out of play before an eventual BB, hit or even out. If JP gave us those kind of ABs, he would be a big asset to our team. It’s not like he is what he is, he should see the big flaw in his game (OBP) and try to find ways to improve.

OBP aside, if Pierre could just work deep into a count, he would help our entire line-up by taxing the opposing pitcher. As a former pitcher, nothing got under my skin more than a little judy hitter fouling pitch after pitch off. Eventually pitchers just give in and groove a fastball. This style of hitting is not something naturally given to certain players, its a learned skill that JP can try to improve on. Why hasn’t anybody at the big league level schooled him at this aspect of “top of the order” style hitting?

According to the schedule I should see some of the Lasorda games on MLB-TV. Him as manager is classic if not just class. I hope he instills P E R S E V E R A N C E in them. Like he did back in the day.

charris – exactly. I suspect Butler-type hitters wait a little longer and, thus, foul off pitcher’s pitches more often. Seemed like a lot of Butler’s fouls down the LF line or off 3B.

I found this comment on Diamond Leung’s blog. Double-checked using ESPN’s stats page and it is true:

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

JP saw 3.40 pitches per plate appearance last year. That is the THIRD FEWEST amongst NL batting title qualifiers and tenth fewest amongst NL players with 300 PAs (about a half season) or more. (Nomar was one of the ten lower – 3.34 P/PA.)

Posted by: El Lay Dave | February 19, 2008 10:37 AM

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

[Jeff Kent's also in the bottom 20 at 3.45. How did he manage to walk in 10% of his PAs?]

Good #s fogey and you are absolutely right about Butler, he never swung at pitches early in a count. It’s almost like Pierre is afraid to strike out. I would personally rather see JP make a pitcher throw 5+ pitches and K then see him swing at the 1st or 2nd pitch of an AB and ground out or line out.

old fogey,

Is it just me or am I the only one who remembers Butler as a better all around hitter than Pierre – especially bunting. i think Butler hit more doubles and stuff probably, no?

right charris.

Too bad he’s still gives the other team 1-2 runs a game with his crappy arm.

fogey – if that’s true about Kent, sure looks like he was making an awful lot of contact on the 1 and 2 pitches.

It also doesn’t appear that our “veterans” do much in the line of making a pitcher work…

Hi Josh! I have a random question. I was at a tour of the stadium over the weekend and thought “i wonder if there are any ghost stories around here?” Have you heard of any strange stories at dodger stadium? It was very strange walking around with no team on the field! GO BLUE

I also like seeing Tommy back at the helm for a few games. I wouldn’t worry fogey – isn’t like the regular season where he can overpitch someone. Bowa’s there, as are most of the everyday players… should just be a little nostalgic fun.

I think Tommy John’s torn-up elbow ligament moans and groans in the LF bullpen during the offseason. The ghost of the water cooler Carlos Perez smashed up occasionally haunts the dugout.

scott – their careers:
Butler: .290/.377/.376 9545 PAs

Pierre: .301/.348/.374 5233 PAs

Not much of a slg pct difference, but Pierre hasn’t hit his decline years yet. Butler was very good at bunting, especially trying for base hits. Pierre is a much better basestealer, 74% vs. 68%.

charris: Perhaps this is numerical evidence for some of our assertion.

For small, speedy, left-handed hitters like Butler and Pierre, I assume that making outs to 2B and 1B is something they try to avoid (example, they are far more likely to beat out grounders toward SS) and is often the result of being fooled by a pitcher’s pitch and rolling one over or popping up.

Using baseball-reference.com play index searcher (which is AWESOME), I looked up totals for both players for non-sacrifice outs to 2B and outs to 1B. I compared that to ABs (not PAs, because we want to rule out sacrifices) to get percentages.

Butler had 8180 career ABs, Pierre has 4778. Here’s what I found.

% outs to 2B, career:

Butler – 11.72

Pierre – 14.82

% outs to 1B, career:

Butler – 5.95

Pierre – 7.26

% outs to 2B or 1B, career:

Butler – 17.68

Pierre – 22.08

I also compared Pierre’s 2007 numbers to Butler’s 1987 – both turned 30 during those seasons.

Butler – 13.03, 8.24, 21.26

Pierre – 15.12, 7.63, 22.75

So maybe it is possible for Juan to learn to hit like Brett. But Butler was already walking much more than Pierre: in his five full seasons 1987 and earlier: 54, 86, 63, 70, 91. Pierre has had more than 45 BB in a season exactly once, 55 in 2003 (and he and the Marlins won the World Series.)

Thanks fogey – that would explain a lot of quick innings last year. Kemp is somewhat understandable being a youngin’, but still no excuse. I’m all for swinging at a pitch you like anytime in the count, but it appears many of our guys never met a pitch they didn’t like.

Nice comparison on Butler too – I remember him walking a lot. Well if JP does play, I hope he proves most of us wrong in our expectations.

Here’s a solution – JP starts, get’s his one “lead-off” type at bat, then Ethier comes in defensively in the second inning and plays the rest of the game. The streak continues, JPs the starter, and Ethier gets most of the playing time. Everyone’s happy. lol

I hear you Fogey. I think those trades were attempts to improve the club at the time. They didn’t work out, but they didn’t really hurt us in the long run. At least he was attempting to make something happen and improve the club.

I for one was a big Izturis fan and wasn’t to sure about getting Maddux. But looking back at it, I now think it was a good trade at the time.

There have been many other reported potential trades that were available to Ned that he didn’t do, that were probably very tempting but he didn’t bite. Like the Loney for Teixeira trade.

Also I think being a good GM, is listening to your advisors. I’m sure they know what they would do if they could do it. Hopefully there will be a way they can find to do it.

The Ghost Of “The Beat Up Water Cooler” is hilarious!!! That was truly one of the best/worst meltdowns in baseball.

Great stuff Fogey. Thanks.
I like your idea Enchanted. Bring Ethier in in the bottom of the 1st as a defensive replacement for Pierre. ****!

I’m sure Pierre would ask for a trade and we would all have the very Merriest of Christmas’. LOL

Thanks old fogey.

To be honest, I could live with JP in the lineup if Ethier or Young weren’t sitting there and JP actually could hold someone to a single. But the facts are that he’s an awful outfielder and we have better hitters available too. Butler was on some crappy teams. He’s not better than Ethier either to tell the truth.

If you want to put JP in the bottom of the lineup, it MUST be in the 9 spot. Like someone said on the earlier post, batting him 8th takes away a lot of base stealing, but putting him 9 still provides the pierre-raffy back to back “havoc” or whatever, and it just gives him less AB’s… My main problem with Pierre as a player is his defense, but if he WINS the job I wouldnt complain even a little bit if he hit ninth.

Raffy

Kemp

Martin

Jones

Loney

Kent

LaRoche

Pitcher

Pierre

The stat that oldfogey was kind enough to provide about Kemp pitches seen/PA must be improved upon, but we really lack a true two hole hitter other than Martin, who i simply think is too valuable of a hitter to place there…

Here’s Kemp’s numbers from last year. Not quite the free swinger JP is. .373 OBP as a rookie, albeit higher because of his .342 avg. But who here thinks JP is gonna hit .342?

Let’s not put them in the same sentence guys.

AVG .342 | HR 10 | RBI 42 | OBP .373 | SLG .521

scott – Kemp’s 3.49 pitches/PA is tied for 18th lowest, Pierre is 10th lowest, 3.40, so you do have to put them in the same hacktastic sentence. However, Kemp is young enough that that can change; Pierre is old enough that he likely “is what he is”.

If JP is on the team, I agree that #9 spot would be an option.

Positive:

*He would be batting in front of Furcal and they would be a great back to back with their speed.

* He wouldn’t be batting behind Furcal. As mentioned before, JP doesn’t take pitches, which limits Furcal in is basestealing efforts.

Negative:

*Guaranteed doubleplays on any grounders with a pitcher on base.

I know Furcal wants to bat leadoff, but if we have JP what about having him do this.

His OBP is bad, but he does have speed. Furcal has more patience and has more power. Just an idea.

My ideal lineup would be:

Furcal

Ethier

Kent

Jones

Loney

Martin

Kemp

LaRoche

I like Ethier in the #2 spot as I think he is patient, has a good eye, some power and is left handed, which would open a hole up for him (Due to the first baseman holding the runner) when Furcal is on. If he gets something through, Furcal is 1st to 3rd easily.

He’s [Butler's] not better than Ethier either to tell the truth.

Posted by: scott@whittiermailing.com | February 20, 2008 03:42 PM

Hmmmm. Butler played credible (but weak-armed) CF, which has added value; Ethier is a corner OF. Butler had an eight-year run (1987-1994) where he had only one OBP under .387, and all but two in the .390s and .400s. Ethier has some power, but Butler is by far a speedier baserunner (who should have been more judicious about his attempts – 68% success is not good enough).

I feel like pitchers would rather lay one right down the middle to Pierre and take their chances rather than trying to nibble on the corners like they would to most hitters. I mean whats the worst that could happen? Slap single to left…

Josh,
Reading an announcement back from late November about the 50th anniversary logo(see below), it says in there that the star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was scheduled for Feb. What happened? Do you know when this will happen?

<<[quote]A golden star is at the base of the logo, which symbolizes the star the Dodgers will receive on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in February 2008. …. [/quote]

thanks -Emma

The Butler/Pierre comparison is fun to read. I wish I was commenting on a blog back when Butler was around. Better yet, before that when we were WINNING a lot more often. Back to the Alston & Lasorda days before Butler arrived. WOW that would have been fun. *****I almost forgot about Larry Bowa. Just think Lasorda & Bowa together. All we need is a close call at third and watch the fireworks fly. One thing about Tommy, he may have left some pitchers out there a little to long but one other thing he did that was much more important and that was WIN.

You’d have a pretty good argument if you said Alston & Lasorda were the best 2 managers that WE ever had. All I can say is let’s go Joe Torre.

I was away from the computer for awhile but once again great #s fogey. I love baseball-reference.com and am starting to get better at finding those abstract stats. I can tell you’ve gone to school on it and can get those tell-tale numbers rather quickly.

Let’s face it, the majority of us would prefer Ethier/DY over Pierre but the length of that contract is killing any real chance of us moving him IMO. So if we’re stuck with Pierre, we all just have to hope that he addresses those flaws in his game and at least tries to improve. To me Schmidt’s health is still more important to our success in ’08 than Pierre.

Dodger manager winning percentages, all managers since 1914 that managed three seasons or more:

Alston: .558

Durocher: .566

Lasorda: .526

Dressen: .642

Robinson: .506

Tracy: .527

Shotton: .603

Intriguing idea batting Pierre 9th – has a lot of merits, but it probably thinking way too far outside the box for Torre.

Fantasy Baseball Analysis: Positional Battles and Platoons

Los Angeles Dodgers

Pierre

Pros: A theft machine, Pierre is coming off his finest season of base stealing in which he established a career high with an 81 percent success rate. He accrued 64 bags in all, one short of his previous career-high. He’s also a fairly reliable average hitter who has sunk below the .287 threshold only one time in nine seasons. He’s a respected veteran, and it is unlikely new manager Joe Torre will be quick to bench him and his $8 million salary.

Cons: Pierre’s shoddy defense, low walk rates and warning track power have struck enough of a nerve with the Dodgers where he has to fight for his left-fielder job this spring. This is the case despite Pierre being in the second year of a four-year, $44 million contract. He’s still expected to retain his starting spot, though Torre may have a negative effect on his theft opportunities because sending runners has never been his modus operandi.

Kemp

Pros: Kemp projects as a 20 home run/20 stolen base guy in his first full season if he can get enough at-bats. That’s a modest estimate of his power-speed capabilities given his tools and skill set. His power is the most legitimate of his skills. He slugged .500 or better at every minor-league stop since his days in low Single-A ball and holds an impressive .496 slugging mark over 446 major-league at-bats. Of the Dodgers corner outfielders, Kemp is by far the most complete offensive player.

Cons: Kemp’s swing off his shoelaces approach makes him susceptible to slumps and a volatile batting average. Kemp hit .342 with a .373 on-base percentage in 2007, but batted .253 with a .289 on-base percentage the year prior. Kemp is a good player regardless, but he may experience some of the growing pains that affected Atlanta Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur in his sophomore campaign, as he was someone that dealt with similar strike zone issues. The very real prospect of splitting time in right field with Ethier barring a trade, injury or Pierre being banished to the bench clearly reduces his potential value to fantasy owners.

Ethier

Pros: The Arizona State alumnus has been a solid and steady offensive presence with a career .295 batting average, .357 on-base mark and a .464 slugging percentage. He demonstrated some improvement last year by clubbing more doubles and cutting down on his strikeouts. At age 26, Ethier should just be entering his prime and appears to be a player on the climb.

Cons: Ethier is not exceptional at any particular skill or fantasy category. He’s a player that scouts feel doesn’t have a high ceiling for growth. The former Oakland Athletics farm hand’s abysmal track record against lefties might be the ultimate reason Ethier can’t shed out of his platoon status in the end. He could find himself on the bench if the team wants Kemp and Pierre to be the regular starters. At that point his fantasy value would hinge on him being traded into a better situation.

Prediction: Kemp/Ethier platoon in right field, Pierre in left field.

http://www.kffl.com/article.php/85764/515

Hey everyone. The semi-finals and the final game of the World Baseball Classic will be held at Dodger Stadium. More info here:
http://baseballislife.mlblogs.com/

How do you like this old_fogey: ****Managers N.L. Results: ******McGunnigle 1, Hanlon 2, Robinson 2, Durocher 1 & 1 TIE, Shutton 2, Dressen 2 & 1 TIE, Alston 7 & 1 TIE, Lasorda 4 & 4 DIV, Russell 1 WC, Tracy 1 DIV, Little 1 WC,

I only have the N.L. records Not from 1884-1889 in the A.A.

Thanks Jungar for putting the Pierre/Kemp/Ethier analysis in print above it’s very accurate and it’s going to be a long summer.

Oh I forgot the above list include Penanants, Ties Divison Titles & Wild Cards I guess everone knows Alston won 4 World Series & Lasorda 2

Kent welcome to camp and I hope your intensity rubs off on the young guys. He sounds like he hates to lose and cannot stand it when his teammates do not act as if it bothers them. It sounds like Kemp, in the articles that I have read, has matured and will be taking a better approach to the game. He is one of those athletes that the game just seems so easy for him that he probably thought he could come up and dominate.

It will be great to watch the team develop this year and I really feel the biggest addition will be the coaching staff. Torre will provide the structure and Bowa the passion and AsskickIng when needed.

Go Dodgers!!!! How great would have been to seen Koufax? I just hope he can have luck reaching Miller and the kid can get his confidence back and live up to the potential he showed 3 years ago.

check this out…
i can only imagine what he was thinking

http://thesportspoint.blogspot.com/2008/02/bretty-myers-apparently-pranks-better.html

I’m also on the welcome back to Jeff Kent committee, I love the way he plays the game to win. I’m also happy to see Tommy Lasorda once again sit in as manager, I watched all 20 years of his tenure as such. One last thing…I think the first row of seats along the grass in the right field corner sometimes have dreams of smashing water bottles coming in hard at them.

Did anyone see the article where Sheffield calls Boras a ‘bad person’? Seriously? I’m sure there’s irony in there somewhere…

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/baseball/mlb/02/21/sheffield.boras.ap/index.html

That kffl.com analysis jungar reposted above does have a flaw: “[Ethier's] abysmal track record against lefties …”

What “abysmal” track record? He’s decent against lefties.

Ethier, MLB career:

vs. LHP – .309/.343/.426/.769

vs. RHP – .292/.361/.475/.836

Ethier, 2007:

vs. LHP – .279/.319/.396/.716

vs. RHP – .286/.360/.470/.830

Ethier, 2006:

vs. LHP – .351/.378/.468/.846

vs. RHP – .298/.362/.480/.842

Ethier, 2005 Minor League (his last full season there)

vs. LHP – .295/.384/.500/.884

vs. RHP – .337/.408/.510/.918

(And, as we all know, JP’s contract is FIVE years, not four.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: