We’ve just announced two more signings today, with Marcus Thames coming in on a one-year deal and Gabe Kapler joining the team on a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training.
For those who haven’t followed Thames career, he’s a power-hitting corner outfielder who has averaged a homer every 15 at-bats or so over the last five seasons, which is the fourth-best mark in the AL during that span. He will presumably be in the mix along with Jay Gibbons, Tony Gwynn, Xavier Paul and others this spring for playing time in 2011 alongside Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.
Meanwhile, joining that group is another local boy, Kapler. This one is pretty cool for me, personally, because I went to school with Gabe growing up and have always hoped that he’d find a way to play for his hometown Dodgers.
He joins other local products Jon Garland (Kennedy High in Granada Hills), Trayvon Robinson (Crenshaw High in Los Angeles), Gibbons (Mayfair High in Lakewood) and Rod Barajas (Santa Fe Spring High) in Dodger camp which is the most local boys I can remember in quite some time heading into Spring Training.
Welcome to the Dodger family, Marcus and Gabe…
The parade up north is over, which means baseball season is finally done. Certainly not the way any of us had mapped it out, but what’s in the past is now behind us and it’s time to start looking forward again.
I just spent a couple days in Arizona with Don Mattingly at the Arizona Fall League and his energy and excitement for the upcoming season is palpable. You can see a genuine hunger for what he’s trying to accomplish out there and how our team will go about playing the game in 2011.
For those who have never seen the Fall League, it’s a very cool but strange way to watch games…most of the top prospects in the game and yet the stadiums are mostly empty, there’s very little cheering, and most of the people in the stands work for one of the 30 teams.
But it’s real baseball and legit players. I got to see Link and Elbert both pitch very well, plus about eight ABs each from Trayvon Robinson, Ivan DeJesus and Jerry Sands. If you live in Arizona, make sure to stop over there. Amazingly, last year’s Fall League had guys like Buster Posey, Jayson Heyward and Stephen Strasburg playing, among others who are already in the bigs.
We’ll do our best here at Inside the Dodgers to start posting more often. It’s just not much fun to post while other teams are playing in the playoffs, but there’s usually some sort of interesting thing to pass along and we’ll do our best to put it here.
In the meantime, go ahead and put down your wish list for the Dodgers’ offseason in the comments section…obviously Lilly is already locked up, but it’ll be cool to look back in a year and see if the players you thought we should get (or get rid of) turned out the way you had hoped. If I think back to last offseason, most of the guys whose names were bandied about did not exactly turn out to be huge performers, but that’s the fun of the Hot Stove League.