Congratulations are in order to Clayton Kershaw and minor league pitching coach Danny Darwin, who were both honored last night in Dallas.
And serious kudos go out to Casey Blake, who clearly understands the meaning of giving back to the community. He and his family are donating $1 million to their hometown, according to their local paper.
Hopefully we’ll see many of you out and about at the caravan this week. More public stops than we’ve ever had before, so come out and see current and former Dodgers as we gear up for Spring Training (pitchers and catchers report in less than three weeks).
And we’ll leave you with the following photo from Joe Torre, who has a cameo on Jay Mohr’s show Gary Unmarried (seen here with Rob Riggle of The Daily Show fame). It’ll air on March 10 when we’re at Camelback.
Slowly but surely, many pieces of last year’s team are coming back into the fold, as we just signed Ronnie Belliard for 2010. More to come soon, but wanted to let you all know as soon as it became official.
UPDATE: Ausmus back, too, to serve as Russell’s backup (and mentor as he did last year)
Ned has spoken all winter about wanting to add another veteran starting pitcher and today, he got Vicente Padilla, who was even better than we expected when he came our way last season. He went 4-0 for us in the regular season, had our two best starts in the playoffs, and by all accounts of his teammates and coaches, exhibited none of the issues that seemingly plagued him in Texas.
As we noted in the news release, he’s won 14 or more games in four of the last eight seasons and the only other pitcher on the free agent market who can say that was Andy Pettitte.
I hope you all are as excited about this new addition as we are and I still don’t think we’re done. I know that Ned has talked a lot about shoring up the bench with another veteran player or two and I have full faith and confidence that he will.
James Loney, Hong-Chih Kuo and George Sherrill have all avoided arbitration for 2010, leaving just three more guys to lock up – Andre Ethier, Jonathan Broxton and Russell Martin.
Today is the day when numbers get filed for each side, but it’s hardly the end of the process. We’re still very hopeful we can get those other three guys done soon…stay tuned.
As any of you who follow the game closely know, arbitration is a process you never want to go to with a player, so the work of Kim Ng and her staff in getting six of the nine guys done so far should be commended…and hopefully she and they will get the rest done soon!
UPDATE: Russell Martin also avoids arbitration and signs for 2010!
I hope that all of you are getting the day off in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his efforts in the civil rights movement.
A couple stories have run about the various events around town, including this recap in the Daily News which talks about the reasoning behind having our Dodger prospects take part in the Kingdom Day Parade. Safe bet that’s the only time you’re ever going to see a quote from me followed by a quote by President Obama, but the underlying message from everyone today is a salute to Dr. King.
And as always, we appreciate everyone’s feedback in the comments section and hopefully by the end of this week, we’ll have some more announcements that will make all of you more exciting about the upcoming season and the team. I do have to ask, though, that you please remember this is a family site. There are a million ways to share your opinion without getting vulgar and I ask that you please do so.
Great news…we’ve avoided arbitration with Chad Billingsley and signed him to a one-year deal for next season. I know that there are some fans who seem to be concerned about his second half struggles, but I’m personally pretty bullish that he can bounce back to his first-half, All-Star form. It’s not like the guy was an All-Star three years ago…it was last year, and he was one of only nine starting pitchers named to the All-Star team, so that should mean something. Plus, he had quality starts in seven of his final 13 outings…not stellar by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s not as though the entire second half was awful.
Hoping we can get some other good news on our arbitration eligible players here in the coming week or so…
For those of you who collect ‘em, we’ve got the expected dates and players for bobbleheads in place for 2010.
May 18 – Andre Ethier
June 8 – Jonathan Broxton
July 20 – James Loney
Aug. 17 - Matt Kemp
Individual tickets don’t go on sale until March 6, but fans can get their seat for all four bobblehead dates with the 21-Game Bobbleslam Mini Plan. Fans can purchase online here or by calling our ticket office at 323-224-1365.
Also, for those who haven’t heard, Joe Torre and Sandy Koufax will be featured at an event to benefit Torre’s Safe at Home Foundation. The event will take place on Feb. 27 here at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles and tickets cost between $25 and $200 and can be purchased at ticketmaster.com.
And finally, the Los Angeles Sports Council is having it’s annual awards show for that will honor the greatest moments in Los Angeles sports in 2009. Fans can vote here until Jan. 31 and there are lots of Dodger moments and events here at the stadium to vote for, so check it out. The actual awards show will be on Feb. 19 at the JW Marriott at LA Live.
For those in the blogging community, you probably already know the brains behind the site that has arguably the best name of any out there. Roberto from Vin Scully is my Homeboy looks like he’s going to be battling some health issues for a bit, so please keep him in your thoughts. From what I can tell, he literally attends every event that has anything to do with the Dodgers and has been posting great stuff on his site for the last couple years.
Roberto, on behalf of all of us at the Dodgers (including your homeboy), get well soon.
It’s always shocking when you read about someone who passes away so suddenly but it’s even more shocking when you know the person and it was very, very sad news to hear yesterday that Angels broadcaster Rory Markas has died. Like me, he was a graduate of Chatsworth High School and grew up in the Valley, and he basically got his dream job in life. He was a genuine man who battled a brain tumor and was back in the booth long before anyone could have expected. He will be missed by everyone who knew him and even those who didn’t, but had the good fortune to watch and hear him call Angel games.
Of course, everyone knows we try to keep things positive and upbeat over here at Inside the Dodgers, so I’ll conclude this post by saying that I really hope Fred McGriff gets into the Hall of Fame when it’s announced live today on the MLB Network at 11 a.m. PT. While there are tons of former Dodgers who belong in the Hall that I could “stump” for (Gil Hodges, Maury Wills, and Fernando Valenzuela for his impact on the game), the Crime Dog gets his first chance today and I really don’t think that failing to hit seven more homers for the magic number of 500 should hold him back.
The St. Petersburg Times has a great article today about his candidacy and even though he only played one season here, I do believe he deserves to be enshrined. He was a pretty quiet guy with a huge grin and when he laughs, he kind of reminds me of Eddie Murphy. Of course, none of that justifies his Hall case so we can let you all debate it in the comments below.