Monday, December 31, 2007

Read the 2007 season review...... if you dare

Over at the Dodgers official website, Ken Gurnick explored the entire year of 2007 for the Dodgers, from free agent signings to the season review to the aftermath of a disappointing finish. What started off as a promising month of January turned sour right around the end of July. Here's a quick recap:

  • Several free agents were signed: RH Jason Schmidt, LH Randy Wolf, C Mike Lieberthal, OF Juan Pierre, OF Luis Gonzalez, and RH Rudy Seanez.
  • Nothing significant, other than questions about who would play where and why.
  • Jason Repko and Rafael Furcal collided going after a shallow pop-up. Repko was out for the year (torn hamstring) and Furcal for 2 weeks (left ankle sprain). Furcal would not be the same all year long.
  • RH Elmer Dessens was traded for OF Brady Clark.
  • The season started with Ben Sheets completely pimp slapping the Dodgers 7-1.
  • Matt Kemp was lost for 2 months with a separated shoulder when he banged into the wall going after a fly ball in the home opener.
  • Jason Schmidt was placed on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation.
  • Brad Penny and Randy Wolf collected 3 wins each.
  • Wilson Betemit was benched from 3rd base in favor of the newly called up Andy LaRoche. Neither could make any impact.
  • Anheim earned a 3-game sweep in their stadium.
  • The month ended with the Dodgers up by 1/2 games over San Diego.
  • Jason Schmidt was lost for good when he was placed on the 60-day DL.
  • James Loney was called up to play 1st base, sending Nomar Garciaparra over to 3rd.
  • The Dodgers were still up 1/2 games in the West.
  • Penny, Russell Martin, and Takashi Saito all earned All-Star berths, with Martin starting and Penny and Saito pitching scoreless innings.
  • Randy Wolf, Jeff Kent, and Saito were all banged up at certain points.
  • Wilson Betemit was traded for RH Scott Proctor.
  • The Dodgers were now down 1/2 games in the West.
  • Pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney, LH David Wells, and RH Esteban Loaiza were all acquired. None of it mattered.
  • The Dodgers were now down 5 games in the West.
  • Randy Wolf was done for the year, again.
  • After sweeping the Padres and taking 2 of 3 against the Diamondbacks, they proceeded to lose 6 in a row at Colorado and Arizona.
  • Kent, Kemp, and Loney all started bitching about each other through the media.
  • Final record: 82-20, 4th in the West.
  • Grady Little resigned, apparently seeing the writing on the wall that he was not exactly going to be welcomed back.
  • Joe Torre was hired, 2 weeks after leaving the New York Yankees. Don Mattingly and Larry Bowa came with him.
  • Martin won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards.
  • OF Andruw Jones and RH Hiroki Kuroda were signed.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Player Profile: Jonathan Broxton

Part III of my Player Profile series takes a look at a monster out of the bullpen, Jonathan Broxton.

Broxton went to Burke County High School in Waynesboro, Georgia. During his senior year, he went 9-2 with a 1.21 ERA. He was drafted straight out of high school by the Dodgers in the 2nd round of 2002.

From 2002-2005, he appeared in Rookie League ball to Double A, compiling a 22-11 record. His best year was in 2004 for Single A Vero Beach, which was also his last full year in the minors. There, he was 11-6 in 23 games started with a 3.23 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 144 K's in 128 innings.

After going 5-3 to start the 2005 season in Double A Jacksonville, the majors finally came calling. He made a splash in his first game on July 29, 2005 by notching his first MLB strikeout against Albert Pujols. Not a bad way to make a first impression. The good news is that he went on to make 14 appearances, going 1-0 with 22 K's in 13.2 innings. The bad news was his 5.93 ERA and 1.89 WHIP.

The 2006 season is when he really started to make a name for himself. Serving as the setup man to another surprising rookie, Takashi Saito, he would dominate the 8th inning and serve notice to the rest of the league that a Dodgers' lead after 7 innings would mean a W for LA. Appearing in 68 games, he went 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. Most impressive is that he had 97 K's in 76.1 innings. Only 4 times during the year was he charged with a blown save. The good season did not exactly carry over into the playoffs against the New York Mets, where he was charged with the loss in the deciding Game 3, giving up 3 runs in the 6th inning, failing to protect a 5-4 lead.

Despite the rocky playoff appearance, it was back to business as usual in 2007. Again serving as the setup man to Saito, he went 4-4 with a 2.85 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, along with 99 K's in 82 innings. He managed to carry an ERA of 0.66 into the month of May, giving up only 1 run the whole month of April.

Because the bullpen became less and less reliable throughout the year, Grady Little was seemingly running him out there nearly everyday towards the end of August and into September. Even for a guy listed at 288 and could play power forward in the NBA, he wore down. He blew 3 saves and took 2 losses, with his ERA jumping from 2.17 to start the month to 2.85 in the end.

Even with the September swoon that practically the entire team went through, he is looked at as one of the more dominant setup men in baseball. The pairing with Saito is one of the best in baseball. His fastball alone is tough for teams to adjust to late in games. If the starters can get deeper into games this year, then games can once again be turned into 7 inning affairs, much like 2006.

The main thing with Broxton, and most any other reliever for that matter, is to not overuse him. I know Little took a lot of heat for this, but it's not like they had many other options. Seriously, think back to last year, and would you rather see Broxton in there late in a close game or Roberto Hernandez? I rest my case. If the Dodgers can get another arm or 2 to pitch in the 5-7 innings, then Broxton can be fresh and effective to bridge the gap to Saito.

Another important piece of business the Dodgers can take care of is to resist trading him. Much like Matt Kemp, teams constantly ask about him, yet have not been able to pry him away. The Dodgers closing situation can be taken care of for years and years as long as they leave him alone.

With a little over 2 years of experience under his belt, 2008 should be another great season for Broxton.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Santana and Bedard updates

For those of you still holding out that the Dodgers will trade some youngsters for a stud ace like Johan Santana or Erik Bedard, it's not going to happen. For those of you that are worried they would give up on blue chip prospects for one starter, you can breathe easier now. The ship has sailed on all of that talk.

Andy McPhail, the Orioles' president of baseball operations, said there is a "strong likelihood" that Bedard will be the team's opening day starter. Since the Dodgers signed Hiroki Kuroda and were unwilling to give up on Matt Kemp, that talk has died down. Other teams like the Mariners and Reds are also finding that they will not give up on certain prospects, hence no deal.

The battle for Johan Santana seems to flip-flop daily between the Red Sox and Yankees (big surprise). What seems definite is that the National League is out of the running. Much like Bedard, it comes down to the fact that the Dodgers already signed a starter and did not want to give up too many young guys.

With the starting rotation set (Penny, Lowe, Billingsley, Kuroda, Schmidt/Loaiza), it appears as if the bullpen will now be the main focus. Will Andre Ethier or Juan Pierre be dealt for more relief pitching? That is the next major question that will be answered over the next few weeks.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

LaRoche and Kuroda highlight list for top rookies

Dayn Perry from has another top 10 list, this time for rookies. Fortunately for fans of the Dodgers, two of their young blood are included. Here's the list:

1. Clay Buchholz, SP, Red Sox
2. Joba Chamberlain, SP, Yankees
3. Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays
4. Andy LaRoche, 3B, Dodgers
5. Kosuke Fukudome, OF, Cubs
6. Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Red Sox
7. Homer Bailey, SP, Reds
8. Hiroki Kuroda, SP, Dodgers
9. Chase Headley, OF, Padres
10. Daric Barton, 1B, A's

About LaRoche - "Last season, Dodger third basemen combined to "hit" .254 AVG/.327 OBP/.386 SLG, while the average major-league third baseman put up a batting line of .273 AVG/.342 OBP/.443 SLG. As you can see, L.A. has some ground to make up. Fortunately, LaRoche, as long as he's plugged into the lineup and left alone, should do the job. In five minor-league seasons, LaRoche hit .295 AVG/.376 OBP/.525 SLG, so he's got the track record. In 2008, don't be surprised if he posts an OBP of .350 or better and slugs .450 or better. Needless to say, such numbers would constitute a drastic improvement over what the Dodgers got from the hot corner in 2007."

About Kuroda - "The signing of Kuroda gives the Dodgers the deepest rotation in the National League. Kuroda throws four pitches for strikes, keeps the ball on the ground and has good control. Scouts say he's got a knack for bearing down in the late innings and with runners in scoring position. At age 32, his ceiling is obviously quite limited, but in 2008 Kuroda should be good for 200 innings or so and a sub-4.00 ERA. That's just what the Dodgers need at the back of the rotation."

I really hope LaRoche is the answer at 3rd base. Nomar Garciaparra is the other option, and he just seems like he's on his last limbs of life. It's too bad how badly his body has broken down, but that's the way it is. I know he can't be counted on to play too much, so LaRoche should get plenty of chances to strut his stuff. But, if he struggles out of the gate, I've got to think that the Dodgers will think trade for an upgrade.

Kuroda I've discussed before, but I still think it's a good signing. They got a good arm and did not have trade any of their prospects to do so. Even if the deal is pricey, it's a good investment.

Penny-Billingsley rank high for 1-2 punches

Over at, there's a good article by Dayn Perry about baseball's best 1-2 punch. With the recent trade for Danny Haren, he ranks Haren and Brandon Webb as #1. Here's the rest of the list:

2. C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona, Indians
3. Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano, Twins
4. Jake Peavy and Chris Young, Padres
5. Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, Giants
6. Brad Penny and Chad Billingsley, Dodgers
7. John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar, Angels
8. Cole Hamels and Brett Myers, Phillies
9. Scott Kazmir and James Shields, Rays
10. John Smoltz and Tim Hudson, Braves

When discussing his choice of Billingsley over Derek Lowe, he stated, "Because Billingsley's the better pitcher, and the 23-year-old is going to get even better in the coming seasons. In fact, don't be surprised if Billingsley emerges as the true ace of the staff in 2008."

As I previously discussed on my Player Profile about Billingsley, I know that people will be looking at him this year to really break out. He has the capability of getting bunches of K's, and he's already had plenty of starting experience even at a young age. So, this could be his year to be one of the top 3 guys in the rotation.

As for the rest of the list, I really can't argue with it. I may have flip-flopped the first 2 seeing as how I think Sabathia and Carmona dominate in a better hitting league. Liriano is a wild card considering how good he once was before being shut down for the year with arm problems. Since this list is about a glimpse into the upcoming season, I can see why he's so high on Cain and Lincecum, seeing as how they're about the only reason to have hope in San Francisco.

Who could possibly make an argument for being on the list? Dontrelle Willis and Justin Verlander from the Tigers; Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling from the Red Sox; Carlos Zambrano and Rich Hill from the Cubs; Aaron Harang and Homer Bailey from the Reds; and Ben Sheets and Yovani Gallardo from the Brewers all could be added. It's a toss up between most of these guys.

I'm just happy that someone acknowledged Penny as being an ace and Bill's as being a possible one for the future.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mark Prior joins the Padres

While obviously not Dodger-related, this does have a potentially big impact on the NL West. Mark Prior has signed a 1-year/$1 million deal to pitch for the San Diego Padres. Incentives can push the deal to over $3 million if all goes right.

MLB Trade Rumors is saying that he may be targeting a mid-May start time. He jumps into a rotation that includes studs like Jake Peavy and Chris Young, and the capable Greg Maddux and Randy Wolf. That's a pretty loaded rotation is everything stays on track.

Much like old friend Kerry Wood, injuries have absolutely crippled Prior into sidetracking him practically every season. He missed all of the 2007 season after having surgery in April for his right shoulder. In 2006, he only appeared in 9 games, going a horrendous 1-6 with a 7.21 ERA and 1.69 WHIP. Yikes! That's a far cry from the 2004 season where he went 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 245 K's. Health-wise, he hasn't been the same since.

Since it's a pretty small deal, it's probably worth the risk for the Pads. If miracles do actually happen and Prior can stay even somewhat healthy, that can be a pretty sick rotation. Now the question is, can they hit the ball? I still have serious doubts that even if they do make the playoffs, their offense just isn't enough to win games.

By the way, I just had to use that picture above. He looks like someone just stole his pail from the sandbox and refused to give it back.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Q & A with James Loney

First off, I hope all of the Dodger fans out there are having a good Holiday season. Ok, even fans of the other teams can have one too. It is the season of giving after all.

News is all but at a standstill these days, so tidbits here and there is the best we can do. Here's a short interview with James Loney on the Dodgers official website. Basically it's a conversation about Christmas tradition and offseason training. Not much, but worth a read.

And..... here it is.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Quick 2008 schedule notes

With the free agent frenzy cooling down after Kuroda was signed, news on roster moves has been largely non-existent. So, I recently just got done looking at the schedule for the '08 season. Here's some bits and pieces I gathered from it:

Season opener - March 31 vs. San Francisco
First road series - April 4-6 at San Diego
First interleague matchup - June 13-15 at Detroit
Long interleague homestand - June 20-29 vs. Cleveland, Chicago White Sox, and Anaheim (you will NEVER see me print their current name on here, I promise you that)
End of the 1st half - July 11-13 vs. Florida
Start of 2nd half - July 18-20 at Arizona
Last home series - September 23-25 vs. San Diego
Last series of season - September 26-28 at San Francisco

Another year, another matchup with San Francisco to end the season. The last time the Dodgers ended the year in San Fran, they clinched the NL Wild Card. The interleague homestand from June 20-29 should be a lot of fun with 2 playoff teams coming to town for those of you that actually live in LA (keep in mind I'm in New York, so the Mets, Pirates, or Phillies are my best bets to see my boys).

Is it baseball season yet?

2008 Los Angeles Dodgers schedule

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Raffy getting his mojo back

I just got done reading a good article about Rafael Furcal and his rehab from last year's injury-riddled season. From those of you that don't remember, he had a sore shoulder to start spring training, then hurt his left ankle chasing after a ball in a meaningless exhibition game. That one play completely turned his whole season around. He appeared in 138 games and hit .270 with 25 stolen bases. Decent numbers for some leadoff men, but not for a former All-Star like Furcal.

Now, he's playing in the Dominican winter league and training 5 days a week. The early word is that so far, so good. He describes himself as feeling like a new man, which is music to this Dodger fan's ears. A healthy Raffy at the top of the order getting on base and causing trouble means so much towards the Dodgers' success, just like in 2006. Let's hope he gets to Yankee Stadium for the All-Star game this year.

Courtesy of the LA Times, here's the article.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Just in case some of you have calmed down from the huge signing yesterday of Gary Bennett, has a new mailbag up for you to enjoy. The topics are players out of options for 2008, the batting order, Torre bringing in more Yankees, and swapping Juan Pierre for Scott Rolen (I hope not).

Here it is.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Dodgers sign catcher Gary Bennett

While it doesn't exactly make waves like signing Andruw Jones or Hiroki Kuroda, the Dodgers signed veteran backup catcher Gary Bennett to a 1 year contract. He now replaces Mike Lieberthal as the man who gets to sit around all year and watch Russell Martin play 99% of the time.

Bennett has been active in the majors since 1995 (granted he only had 1 at-bat that year, but still). His best year was in 2001 with the New York Mets where he hit 1.000. Seriously. He was 1-1 with a single.

Last year was his 2nd with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he appeared in 59 games and garnered 155 at-bats. He hit .252 with 2 homers and 17 RBI's. Looking at those stats, he could have hit cleanup for the Dodgers last year. Ok, maybe that's a bit harsh...

The one big positive about him is his defensive ability. In 52 games behind the plate, 41 of them starts, he only committed 1 error for a .996 fielding %. In fact, he's at .991 for his career, so you get the feeling that if he could hit the ball to save his life, he could have been a much bigger threat in his career. Maybe he should have tried drugs or something along the way.

Oh wait, he did! He was just recently named in the Mitchell Report for using HGH in 2003. I'll give him this though, he took full credit for his actions and admitted guilt, unlike a certain lefty starter for the Yankees. He told The Washington Post, "Obviously, it was a stupid decision. It was a mistake. It was something that quite obviously, you regret now."

So, the backup catcher position is now set. That leaves 3rd base as a question mark, along with at least a couple of spots in the bullpen to focus on now.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Player Profile: Chad Billingsley

Here's a look at a rising young starter, Chad Billingsley.

Billingsley was a 1st round draft pick in 2003 (24th overall) straight out of Defiance High School in Defiance, Ohio. He was a 2nd team High School All-American pitcher for both 2002 and 2003.

As an 18-year-old kid pitching for the Ogden Raptors in the Rookie Pioneer League in 2003, he was 5-4 with a 2.83 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 62 K's in 54 innings. Not a bad debut year.

The next 2 years he split between Single A Vero Beach and Double A Jacksonville. In 2004, pitching for Vero Beach, he was 7-4, 2.35 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 111 K's in 92 innings. Making his last 8 starts of the year for Jacksonville, he was 4-0, 2.98 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and 47 K's in 42.1 innings.

In 2006, finally at the legal drinking age, he had his first taste of major league action. After going 6-3 for 13 starts in Triple A Las Vegas, he was called up to LA. On June 15 in San Diego, he made his big league debut, going 5.1 innings, giving up 2 runs and K'ing 3, earning a no-decision in the 7-3 win. He went on to make 16 starts, going 7-4, 3.80 ERA, 1.67 WHIP (ouch), and 59 K's in 90 innings.

The 2007 season marked his first year with LA full-time, where he would split time between starting and the bullpen. The injuries of Jason Schmidt and Randy Wolf allowed him to earn his starting job back. He appeared in 23 games out of the 'pen before making his first start June 21 In Toronto, earning a no-decision after giving up 2 runs in 3.2 innings. He went on to make 20 starts, compiling a nice 12-5 record, 3.31 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, and 141 K's in 147 innings.

This upcoming season, he is projected to be a 3-4 starter. The signing of Hiroki Kuroda could push him down to #4, but he'll still go into the season as a starter, and not a guy that could go in between like last year. His strong record and ERA should prove once and for all that he can be relied upon to make quality starts.

The biggest problem he's faced in the past has been walks. In his 20 starts last year, he only had 7 games in which he walked less than 3, and he was 4-1 in those games. He can still strike out plenty of guys, probably not as much as he did per inning in the minors, but enough to be considered a power pitcher. Expecting between 5-8 K's a game should be accurate.

For Bill's to win this year, the formula is simple - throw more strikes, limit the pitch count to get deep into games, and let his stuff do the work for him. He'll only be 23 when the season starts, so he'll be one of those young guns that fantasy lovers will aim for. If he can be more under control this year, I see big things happening for him.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

NL West news and notes

Even though this is a Dodgers website, it's always good to keep an eye on the rest of the division. In case you've been missing out, here's various notes about the rest of the NL West.

Diamondbacks - They made a good deal yesterday and one that left me scratching my head. The good was acquiring RH Dan Haren. The bad was trading away closer Jose Valverde in the same day. Despite giving up 6 minor leaguers, getting Haren is a huge plus since they can put him with Brandon Webb and make a sick 1-2 punch. If they can get anything out of Randy Johnson, then look out. I really don't understand that Valverde trade, though. He was 47-54 in saves last year, which would seem pretty darn good to me. There must be something negative about him I'm not aware of, so maybe they did the right thing. But when Brandon Lyon and Tony Pena are your main replacement options, that's not exactly going to scare the other team to the showers.

Giants - They got rid of Barry Bonds, which is the right thing to do. Then they signed OF Aaron Roward to a 5 year/$60 million deal. Anyone who pays even the slightest attention to Rowand knows that he plays his ass off every game, so it's a good signing. He was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner for the first time last year (great timing). The Giants were dangling Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain out there, but did not have to give them up. If they did trade one of those guys, they would have been even dumber that I thought. But they didn't. Getting Rowand and keeping the kids is a nice start, but they still have a long ways to go before they can compete in the West again.

Padres - They've made three veteran acquisitions and resigned their main gun. First of all, they took care of business by resigning Cy Young winner Jake Peavy to a 3 year/$52 million extension. Very smart move. He's there until at least 2012, and has an option for 2013. He and Chris Young are another great combo. They signed 2B Tadahito Iguchi, who can easily replace Marcus Giles, who sucked out loud last year. They also nabbed LH starter Randy Wolf. Wolf was having a decent season with the Dodgers last year, but once again ran into shoulder problems that would shut him down after 18 starts. Finally, they just traded for OF Jim Edmonds, who's been playing since Carter was president. But, with Mike Cameron not coming back, it's a pretty good trade. Can he stay healthy?

Rockies - The NL champions have not had much activity this offseason. They lost 2B Kaz Matsui to the Astros, which will hurt. He really seemed to enjoy playing in Colorado, and was great at the top of the lineup. Playing in Houston won't be any different for him. They extended RH Aaron Cook for 3 years/$30 million. He had a 4.12 ERA in 25 starts last year, which is good for Colorado. Other minor tidbits are that they got C Yorvit Torrealba and RH Matt Herges back. They made the World Series last year, so it's not like they needed to make major moves.

More updates in the future if anything major happens.

It's official - Kuroda is a Dodger

After a battle involving the Royals, Diamondbacks, and Mariners, the Dodgers were the ones who came out on top in the Hiroki Kuroda sweepstakes. The final tally is 3 years/$36.2 million. My quick math skills tells me that's slightly over $12 million per year. Not exactly a cheap deal, but it may be better than getting rid of guys like Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, or Andy LaRoche just to get a quality starter.

Ever since a few days ago, it looked as if the Dodgers were in the lead on this one, and that was accurate. I discussed his achievements in a previous posts, but long story short, he's capable of pitching deep into games. Of course, this is America, where complete games are slim and none, so who knows what that will mean from this point forward. That last Japanese pitcher the Dodgers brought in, Takashi Saito, has worked magnificently, so let's hope lightning strikes twice.

Here's how the starting rotation shapes up now with last year's numbers (and I'm guessing on the positioning):
RH - Brad Penny (16-4, 3.03 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 135 K)
RH - Derek Lowe (12-14, 3.88, 1.27, 147)
RH - Hiroki Kuroda (with Japan, 12-8, 3.85)
RH - Chad Billingsley (12-5, 3.31, 1.33, 141)
RH - Jason Schmidt (1-4, 6.31, 1.79, 22)

Man, that almost makes me sick looking at Schmidt's numbers. Absolutely pathetic. Anyway, even though the rotation is all righties, it's still pretty good. I think Penny should be talked about as an ace now considering he's been an All-Star 2 straight years and was 3rd in the Cy Young voting this past year. Lowe isn't fantastic, but is still a solid starter. Billingsley is a young pitcher on the rise, if he can only learn to stop walking so damn many guys. Schmidt is a wild card probably for the rest of his career solely on health. Kuroda can slide right in there and be a difference maker.

As has been pointed out by many people, the Dodgers got the power bat and quality starter without trading anyone. But, the downside is that Andruw Jones had a bad year in his standards last year and Kuroda has yet to throw one pitch in the majors. So, time will tell how this will all work out. They are both still good signings in my mind just because of what they are capable of doing.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ex-Dodgers busted in the Mitchell Report

Thanks to a Snow Day here in Binghamton, NY, I had plenty of time to watch the Mitchell Report press conference this afternoon. To begin with, the actual press conference was very boring. I was hoping he'd just name the names and give details, instead he just rambled on for 30 minutes and it was seriously about to put me to sleep. When I saw the whole report was on, I spent nearly an hour reading over it. Since we're here for the Dodgers, here's the prominent names on the list and why:

Paul Lo Duca - I guess his rise from the unknown to All-Star catcher all of a sudden isn't such a dramatic story. Lo Duca was introduced to the Kirk Radomski (the steroid/HGH man) by Todd Hundley during their time with the Dodgers. Lo Duca wrote 3 checks for $3,200 for HGH, all delivered to his house or the Dodgers clubhouse. There's even a photocopied note that he wrote to Radomski thanking him.

Unfortunately for Lo Duca, we're just getting started...

Kevin Brown - Around 2000 or 2001, Lo Duca introduced him to Radomski. After being hurt in June 2001 for a neck injury and July 2001 with a bad elbow, he received shipments from Radomski for HGH. Over the next 2-3 years, he would send as much as $10,000 CASH to Radomski for the shipments. As a former shipping employee, I can tell you that that's not the wisest thing to do! Anyway, a shipping receipt is enclosed for either HGH or Deca-Durabolin.

And the biggest one yet...

Eric Gagne - I've got to say that I don't think people can be too surprised by this. He went from an average built, average performing starting pitcher to a larger-than-life, Cy Young award winning closer. Lo Duca would place orders on his behalf, basically doing the dirty work for him. What a great guy! Again, there's a shipping receipt for HGH, sent straight to Dodger Stadium. Crazy. Then there's an interesting part about Red Sox GM Theo Epstein questioning a Sox scout about him being on roids. The scout confirmed the Dodgers' worries that he was, and went on to describe how his body is badly maintained and his effectiveness will decrease. Oh ya, he was 0-2 with 3 blown saves and a 6.75 ERA in 20 games with the Sox.

Any other name on there is minor in my view and doesn't matter anymore. What's even more interesting to note is that there are notes on discussions from top Dodger officials in October 2003 where they talk about Lo Duca and Brown. Lo Duca was said to have been off steroids at that point, and Brown was accused of being on them. Both were soon traded thereafter. Good for the Dodgers to not only know what was going on, but guess correctly that their abilities would start to go downhill.

Read The Mitchell Report.

Great YouTube video

I was searching YouTube to try and find the great comeback vs. the Padres from 2006. What I found may have been even better! Check it out:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Colletti: "I don't have any interest in trading Matt Kemp"

With the trade winds dieing down each day, Ned Colletti commented today specifically about trading away Matt Kemp. Here's what he said:

"He's close to being a great player. Whether it happens is up to him. He has a tremendous amount of potential to not only be a big leaguer, but a great big leaguer."

"You can't forget that he's young and he's baseball young. Sometimes expectations exceed reality and experience. You see his potential greatness and you're taken by it. You expect to see it as soon as he steps on the field and it doesn't happen like that. But you don't hit .340 by chance."

It seems like Kemp and Clayton Kershaw are the 2 top players teams would want in any big name trade (Haren, Santana, Bedard). Last season, after injuring his shoulder running into the wall during the home opener and being out 2 months, he collected 292 at-bats and hit .342 with 10 HR and 42 RBI. He hit really well in September during the Dodgers collapse with a .382 AVG and .402 OBP. Guess you can't blame him for the 12-16 record.

Now that Andruw Jones has been brought in and a potential middle of the rotation starter in Kuroda is supposedly next, then it's comforting to see Kemp being publicly taken off the trading block. Juan Pierre and Andre Ethier are the next trade candidates, and quite possibly for some bullpen help. Kemp is just loaded with potential, so he deserves a shot at playing RF everyday. It's his job to lose in my mind. If given the chance, he can have a big year. Time will tell.

So.... what's the deal with Kuroda?

My how this story has quickly taken many twists and turns. One side has said it's a done deal, the other says, "Give me a break, he's still making up his mind." Here's the links of stuff I have found:

He's a Dodger:
Tony Jackson of the LA Daily News
The Kyoko News from Japan

Slow down there turbo! No deal yet:
Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times
Yahoo Sports

I'm still reading how the Diamondbacks remain in the running. And here's an interesting note - the ROYALS have also made a big offer, looks like 4 years/$44 million. Where did that money come from? It probably doesn't matter since I have yet to see a thing about mutual interest for KC.

As usual, stay tuned.

Jeff Kent to return in 2008

Jeff Kent has exercised his option for 2008, and he will return to the Dodgers next season to play 2nd base. He had originally said he was going to take time off to evaluate whether he wants to play next season, most likely as a ploy to see what direction the Dodgers were going to head in. I guess he's happy with what's going on. Oh, and that $9 million paycheck might just help a tad bit as well.

Kent played in 136 games last year, hitting .302 with 20 HR and 79 RBI. Not too shabby numbers for a 39-year-old. Even more impressive was his .324 AVG in September, being one of the few guys to actually play well that month.

The internal option for a replacement had Kent decided not to come back was Tony Abreu. He played in 59 games last season, hitting .271, but with a small .309 OBP. Those number could be a bit misleading, considering that when he was at Triple A Las Vegas last year for 54 games, he hit .355/.399. In 2006 at Double A Jacksonville, it was .289/.343. So, he's shown in the minors that when given enough at-bats, he can get on base. He's also a swith hitter than can play multiple infield positions.

Regardless of Abreu's potential, he'll be in the utility role this year now that Kent is back. Kent is still a legit #3 hitter, or they can drop him down behind Andruw Jones. Either way, he will be 40 next season, so let's hope the old injury bug won't be hitting him. Still, it's a risk worth taking since he still plays very hard each game and can be an All-Star at 2nd.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


With not much happening in LA-LA land outside of the occasional rumor, has its Monday mailbag up. Among the topics are trading Matt Kemp, Andruw Jones' love of diving, Hiroki Kuroda's numbers in Japan, resigning free agents, salary committed thus far for 2008, trading Andre Ethier, and Delwyn Young's position change.

Check it out.

Hiroki Kuroda update

*** UPDATE (to my prior update) ***
More info available from Tony Jackson of the L. A. Daily News. Kuroda is not OFFICIALLY a Dodger, but is favoring them over the Mariners as of now. His friendship with Takashi Saito certainly helps. My guess is that this will be a developing story over the next few days.

*** UPDATE ***
Looks like Kuroda is a Dodger, or so claims More on this to follow I'm sure.

The newest Japanese pitching sensation, right-handed Hiroki Kuroda, continues to be a hot topic among a few teams. As of now, it looks like the standings for his services look something like this: Seattle Mariners, Dodgers, and Arizona Diamondbacks. Kuroda, who will be 33 next season, will decide his team based on personal preference.

As far as offers being made, sources say the M's have 3 years/$10-12 million, the Dodgers are at 3 years/$10 million, and the DBacks are in a similar range to LA. Sources also claim that it's really a 2 horse race in the M's and Dodgers. The reason for the 3 year offers is that Kuroda would like to be back in Japan by 2011. So if he's already planning on going back, why is he coming here to begin with? Seems a bit odd, but money talks. We shall see.

Both teams could use a starting pitcher, that's for sure. Outside of Felix Hernandez and possibly Jarod Washburn, there's really not much else there in Seattle. The Dodgers are still trying to recover from the Jason Schmidt debacle, though Brad Penny stepped up big time.

A decision should be due in a week.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Flashback: 2004 NLDS Game 3 - Lima's 5-hit shutout

Periodically, I will look back at major games in Dodgers' history. The first part looks back at Jose Lima's postseason gem.

The Setting: The St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers met in the first round of the 2004 National League playoffs. With the Dodgers down 2-0 and facing elimination, the scene shifted to Dodger Stadium on Saturday, October 9, 2004.

The Background: The Cardinals came in with the best record in baseball at 105-57, the NL Central champs. The Dodgers held off the San Francisco Giants to win the NL West with a 93-69 record. In the first 2 games of the series, the Cardinals ran away with consecutive scores of 8-3 to place the Dodgers in an immediate hole. Woody Williams and Jason Marquis got the wins over Odalis Perez and Jeff Weaver, respectively. With a crowd of 55,992, the Dodgers had one last chance to salvage the series.

The Game: Jose Lima took the mound, and Tony Womack lead off the game with a single to right. Already, things were not looking up for LA. However, Larry Walker, Albert Pujols, and Scott Rolen all could not reach base, and damage was avoided. A double play ball by Reggie Sanders ended the 2nd, and 3 straight outs took care of the Cards in order after 3. Going into the bottom of the 3rd, it was 0-0.

In the bottom of the frame, the Dodgers struck first, thanks to an 2-run double by Steve Finley, scoring Alex Cora and Brett Mayne. The Cards had their meat due up in the 4th of Walker, Pujols, and Rolen, but all 3 of them flied out. The bottom of the 4th saw a solo shot by Shawn Green, and the Dodgers were up 3-0.

The Cards put 2 runners on base in the 5th inning with singles by Jim Edmonds and Mark Matheny. With 2 down and the Dodgers up 3-0, Tony LaRussa chose not to pinch-hit starting pitcher Matt Morris, and he hit into a forceout at 3rd base. The Dodgers and Cards traded scoreless innings, and it was still 3-0 going into the bottom of the 6th.

Shawn Green, putting together his best postseason game, launched another homer to lift the score to 4-0. Going into the bottom of the 9th, the only other Cardinal hit was a single by Womack. With Eric Gagne ready to go from the bullpen, Jim Tracy let Lima finish what he started, even with Pujols, Rolen, and Edmonds due up.

Pujols lead off with a fly-out to right field for 1 down. Rolen then lifted a fly to center that was grabbed for 2 down. The last out of the game came on a pop-up in foul territory to 3rd baseman Adrian Beltre to end the game. Dodgers 4 - Cardinals 0.

The Aftermath: Lima won the first postseason game for LA since Game 5 of the 1988 World Series over Oakland. Dodger fans had waiting a long, long time for a game like this. The Dodgers had new life, and would send Odalis Perez to the mound for Game 4 Sunday night vs. Jeff Suppan.

Well, Perez had his 2nd consecutive lousy postseason outing, and did not make it out of the 3rd. The pivitol moment came in the 4th with the game tied at 2. The lefty Wilson Alverez was on the mound facing Pujols with 2 runners on. With 2 down, Tracy decided to stick with the lefty. Pujols then launched a 3-run shot to left, giving the Cards a 5-2 lead. Cora struck out to end the game with the Cards winning 6-2, taking the series 3 games to 1.

Lima would never pitch again with the Dodgers, as his career dwindled downward after this game. He signed with the Kansas City Royals for the 2005 season, where he was flat out awful. He ended up 5-16 with an enormous 6.99 ERA.

Oh, but he did have one good start in all of that. Who did he face? You guessed it......... the Dodgers. In fact, it was his first win of the season! He went 8 innings and gave up 1 run for a 3-1 victory. That was really his last good start in the majors as he was again atrocious with the Mets for 3 starts in 2006.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Taking a look at Dan Haren

I've already talked about Erik Bedard, now I'll look at Dan Haren, another hotly-pursued pitcher this offseason.

Haren is a 27-year-old righty currently with the Oakland A's where he has won at least 14 games for the last 3 years. Overall, he's 49-44 in 2 years with the St. Louis Cardinals and 3 with the A's. He also has a career 3.82 ERA and 1.24 WHIP, which are solid numbers for a starting pitcher. He's appeared in the postseason twice, in 2004 and 2006. In 2004, he was used in relief where he picked up 1 win in 5 appearances with a 2.16 ERA. In 2006, he was a starter in 2 games, getting a win over Minnesota with a 4.09 ERA.

This past year is when he has really stepped up and become the staff ace. He went 15-9 with a 3.07 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. Pitching in 222.2 innings, he had 192 K's and only 55 walks. His solid numbers lead him to be the starting pitcher for the American League in the All-Star Game, where he gave up 1 run in 2 innings.

As has been the case since Billy Beane became the head man in Oakland, anyone with a potential for value will be on the trading block. They've lost players like Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon, and Jason Isringhausen in the past via free agency because the A's refuse to offer the big bucks for anyone. Haren falls under the category of a star that will surely leave for greener pastures. I can't blame Beane for being proactive in shopping Haren based on the recent history of big names that have left the A's.

So far, I have heard that the Yankees (big shock), Diamondbacks, Indians, and Dodgers as the teams most in pursuit of him. The Diamondbacks supposedly have an offer on the table of Conor Jackson, Carlos Gonzalez, and two other players. The Yankees are not willing to part with both Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes, but remain interested. The Indians kind of came out of nowhere in all of this, so who knows how serious that is.

I have not read of one specific offer for Haren, but I would imagine it's the same situation as getting Erik Bedard. The Dodgers are not willing to give up 3 or 4 top prospects for one guy, even an ace, and rightfully so. Muck like Bedard, Haren's numbers have improved from 2 years ago, as his K's have gone up, ERA has gone way down, and BAA has improved. Oh he's a stud, for sure, which is why interest will always be there.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Player Profile: Clayton Kershaw

I'll kick off my Player Profile series with a look at one of the most highly touted prospects in all of baseball at any level, Clayton Kershaw.

The Dodgers selected him with the #7 pick in the 2006 draft, just behind names like Luke Hochevar (the ass who got drafted TWICE by the Dodgers but never signed), Evan Longoria of the Rays, and Andrew Miller of the Marlins (traded in the Cabrera-Willis deal from the Tigers). He'll turn 20 just before the start of next season. He attended Highland Park High School in Dallas, Texas where he was drafted straight out of high school.

What makes him so intriguing is that not only does he have a blazing fastball, knee-buckling curveball, and a good changeup, but he's left-handed. For the upcoming 2008 season, has named in the #4 prospect, just above Joba Chamberlain and Clay Buchholz. That's some pretty good company.

He started the year off in Class A ball with the Great Lake Loons in the Midwest League where he went 7-5 with a 2.77 ERA and a .203 BAA. The most impressive stat is his strikeouts, where he had 134 in 97.1 IP. He moved up to the Jacksonville Suns of the Southwestern League in Double-A ball where he was 1-2 in 5 starts with a 3.65 ERA. His BAA was still even better at .193. He still struck out 29 in 24.2 IP, allowing him to have the second highest K/9 IP in the Minors. I'd say that's a pretty impressive debut performance.

Anytime teams talk trade with the Dodgers, he is one of the names that always pops up. His combination of overpowering stuff, great accuracy, and being a lefty makes him wanted by everyone. Will the Dodgers label him as untouchable, or are they willing to go for a veteran with a proven track record? That's the never-ending question.

As much as I'd like Erik Bedard or Dan Haren, I don't see any good reason to trade him away. At only 1 year out of high school, he already played in the Futures Game. Since his stuff is so dominating, I think it's safe to bet that he should have continued success in the Minors, barring any major injury like always. The Dodgers have great young talent, but he might top that list. They've got to hold onto him.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Andre Ethier trade news

While there continues to be talk about the White Sox trying to acquire Juan Pierre, Andre Ethier is getting just as much trade attention. Here's 2 teams that want him: the Rangers and the "Don't Call Me Devil" Rays. Being a young, left-handed hitter with some starting experience is working in his favor.

The Rangers outfield right now is Frank Catalanotto, Marlon Byrd, and Nelson Cruz. Boy, that oughta be sending shivers down their opponent's spines! They had a combined 30 home runs last season. That's even more pathetic than I thought. Assuming they don't resign Sammy Sosa, who wants way too much money and is pretty much a DH these days anyway, I can see why they think Either is an upgrade. They don't have any good starters, but they do have 3 studs in the bullpen: Akinori Otsuka (2.51 ERA, 1.08 WHIP), Joaquin Benoit (2.85 ERA, 1.57 WHIP) and C. J. Wilson (3.03 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 12 SV). Getting any one of those guys would be nice if the Dodgers are unable to land a good enough starter. Any one of those 3 combined with Broxton and Saito would be sweet.

The Rays are the other option, and they have Carl Crawford, B. J. Upton, and Rocco Baldelli back in a starting role after Delmon Young was dealt to the Twins for Matt Garza. I've got to think that Either would be in competition with Baldelli for the starting role. Looking at the starters, Scott Kazmir would be untouchable. Jamie Shields is an intriguing option, as he had a solid year (12-8, 3.85 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 184 K). He could be a good addition. Al Reyes is their closer, so he probably wouldn't be offered, but much like the 3 guys talked about above from the Rangers bullpen, he would be a great addition.

I like Ethier, but he is expendable. I think Matt Kemp has more of a star potential. If the Dodgers can get a #2-3 starter or a top-end reliever, then I would pull the trigger.

No 7 year Inge in LA

Just a quick note about the Dodgers' interest in Brandon Inge. There is none. That's it. Jayson Stark from the Winter Meetings put an end to that talk.

Inge suffered through a very tough start of this past season. It took him until his 8th game to collect one hit! He finally got over the Mendoza line on May 9th against Seattle. He ended up with a .236 AVG, 17 HR, 71 RBI. With the exception of his .287 AVG in 2004, he's never hit over .261. Granted he did hit 27 HR and 83 RBI in 2006, so the potential for power numbers may still be there.

My take is that I'd much rather let LaRoche and Garciaparra platoon than trade for Inge. He's not worth it anymore.

Who exactly is Erik Bedard?

I realize that many Dodger fans may not actually know much about Erik Bedard. Heck, I'm a huge baseball fan, have about 3 fantasy teams every year, and even I hardly knew a thing about him. Yet, he's one of the hottest names brought up in trade talk all throughout the Winter Meetings, and will probably continue to be discussed since he was never dealt. Let's take a look at him.

After getting 2 starts in 2002 with Baltimore, he's been in the rotation every year since then, topping out at 33 starts in 2006. The first couple of stats that jump out at me are that his ERA and WHIP have improved every year. ERA totals: 4.59, 4.00, 3.76, 3.16. WHIP totals: 1.60, 1.38, 1.35, 1.09. A 1.09 WHIP this past year? That's very impressive, especially considering the tough AL East division he's in.

He started to make a name for himself in 2006, going 15-6 with 171 K's in 196.1 innings. This past season, everything came together for him. He was 13-5 with a whopping 221 K's in 182 innigs. WOW. Even more impressive are his stats against the Red Sox and Yankees (you know, those 2 teams that rarely get talked about and have modest payrolls). Against the Sox he was 1-0, 13 K's, 3.29 ERA, 0.95 WHIP. Against the Yankees he was 2-0, 21 K's, 1.29 ERA, 0.67 WHIP. Not too shabby.

As far as rankings go, he is right up there in the major categories: ERA - 4th, WHIP - 2nd, strikeouts - 3rd, BAA - 1st. He's tied for 19th in wins, but that would be so much better if his team was even halfway decent. In the American League, being at the top of any of those categories is no easy task.

Since the Orioles continue to be a mess of over-priced veterans or youngsters that don't produce, it only makes sense that they try to shop him around hoping to get some quality young players in return. They're trying to do the same thing with Miguel Tejada. Playing in the same division as the Sox and Yanks, trying to build your team not by adding expensive pieces but by building from within is a smart way to go. The O's tried to compete with guys like Javy Lopez and Danys Baez and flunked with flying colors. Rebuilding the entire system is the proper call.

Here's what I would do if I ran the Dodgers. Since they appear to be serious about getting Bedard, I would offer up both Matt Kemp and Andy LaRoche, along with another minor league player whose last name isn't Kershaw. Along with Kershaw, James Loney and Jonothan Broxton should be untouchable. Kemp could be a star, but you've got to give up someone. LaRoche could be the same thing, but I'm just not as sold on him yet, so I wouldn't be heartbroken to see him go. The deal is basically 2-for-1 with another lower end prospect thrown in to make it work.

I know Ned Colletti said he doesn't want to give up 3 or 4 guys for 1, but a rotation of Bedard, Penny, Lowe, Billingsley, and hopefully Schmidt would be pretty damn good. Andre Either can be given a shot to shine in right field without platooning. Another third baseman would need to be pursued seeing as how Nomar Garciaparra can't be trusted health-wise anymore. But, it's a deal worth doing in my mind. I would take that pitching rotation against anybody else in the playoffs.

Juan Pierre rumblings

A couple of different Juan Pierre updates today, both courtesy of Yahoo rumors. First is from an article by Bill Plaschke of the LA Times where he discusses Andruw Jones' signing in comparison to Pierre's signing of last year. To sum it up, Jones' contract is 2 years, $36.2 million and Pierre's is 4 years, $45 million. Although Pierre did score 96 runs and steal 64 bases, his debut with the Dodgers was seen as a disappointment thanks to a measly .331 OBP, a mere 33 walks, and a very weak arm in center (an obviously important position). With Jones in the fold now, Plaschke states that Dodger fans and owner Frank McCourt will now have more trust in GM Ned Colletti.

I can understand his point on this, and believe that he was right. Pierre was overpaid, though Colletti maintains that his hands were tied since his remaining outfielders at the time had little to no Major League experience, and Pierre needed to be wooed. The other point to the article was that the surplus of starting OF's (Kemp, Either, Jones, and Pierre) can now be picked apart and moved for a quality starter (Bedard? Haren?). Obviously Jones won't be moved, but the other 3 could be.

Another rumor comes from the Chicago Sun-Times where the White Sox could go after Pierre to pair with newly acquired Orlando Cabrera at the top of the order. Scott Podsednik was supposed to be the man for the Sox this past year, but he failed miserably (62 games, .299 OBP, 30 runs, 13 walks, 12 SB). Hard to imagine that in 2005 he was an All-Star. Would the Dodgers want Joe Crede in return to create competition at 3rd base with LaRoche and Garciaparra? Crede went out for the season in June with a lower back injury, so his numbers are very small (47 games, 4 HR, 22 RBI). From 2003-2006, he averaged 23 HR and 75 RBI, which are pretty good numbers. Assuming he's healthy after a major surgery last year, it could be a trade very much worth considering.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Just say no to Rolen?

Earlier today I talked about the possibility of Scott Rolen filling the need of a power-hitting 3rd baseman for the Dodgers. Well, looks like that won't happen for a reason I never considered. made a great point that with Larry Bowa the new 3rd base coach, a reunion with Rolen would not be the wisest idea. Too much negative history between the 2 has squashed that idea. Not that I'm complaining - his best days are clearly behind him.

So let's see here........ Rolen hates his former manager and his current one. So he'll probably hate his future manager at some point as well.

Oh great...... Chan Ho Park is back

Oh yippee!!!!!!!! Chan Ho Park has resurfaced in LA. You know all of that talk about the Dodgers needing another quality starter? Well dammit, they just got it!

On one hand, you could make the case that they want him to be the "newest reclamation project" joining the likes of Jose Lima, Wilson Alverez, and Rudy Seanez. On the other hand, let's just take a look at his most recent number now shall we?

2005 w/ San Diego: 4-3, 5.91 ERA, 1.66 WHIP in 45.2 innings
2006 w/ San Diego: 7-7, 4.81 ERA, 1.39 WHIP in 136.2 innings
2007 w/ NY Mets: 0-1, 15.75 ERA, 2.00 WHIP in 4 innings

Seriously, how in the world did he even get a start with the Mets last year? It came at the end of April when the Mets were 15-8 and feeling just a weeeeeee bit too good about themselves. Didn't the Mets finish 1 game out of first place? I rest my case.

Anyway, the contract is of the Minor League variety with an invitation to Spring Training. Guys like Rafael Furcal and Juan Pierre are trying to feel better about their hitting for this upcoming year, so maybe having Park throw batting practice will take care of all of that.

I guess never say never, but................... ya, this will never work.

Santana and Bedard update

Looks like the talk for Johan Santana just won't go away. Now that Andruw Jones has landed, Matt Kemp is once again talked about as the main piece to go to Minnesota. Jayson Stark of ESPN says he can't find any evidence of that.

The other option is giving up 4 players for Erik Bedard. The main player in this one is Clayton Kershaw, one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball. Kemp or Andre Either are the other pieces. 4-for-1 is a big deal for any player, but I think this would favor the O's big time. Getting rid of Kershaw just doesn't seem very logical to me, even if they want a quality starter. Kershaw may be that quality starter by the end of the year.

So, it looks like signing free agen Hiroki Kuroda or putting together a much cheaper deal for Joe Blanton is more likely, for now...

Rumor updates

Not much going on right now as far as the Dodgers trading for other big names. Here's rundown of what I've read about on various sites:

Ben Sheets and Bill Hall (Brewers) - USA Today had this tidbit a couple of days ago about a possible move. Bill Hall has been an outfielder, but I'm sure he could still be an option at 3rd base considering he's had experience there as well. However, the story was put to rest early today.

Pedro Feliz (Giants) - Another option for 3rd base, and it's not all that weird if you look at his numbers. He's hit at least 20 home runs the last 4 years, with his best season in 2006 where he had 22 homers and 98 RBI's. He's also been praised for his slick glove work. It could be possible. I would think the Giants would do what it takes to resign him considering their offense is pathetic.

Eric Bedard (Orioles) - A couple of days ago, it looked real close to happening, but not much happening since then. Supposedly Matt Kemp and Jonothan Broxton were involved, which fills needs for the O's. With the Dodgers having 4 legit starting outfielders in Jones, Pierre, Kemp, and Either, maybe talks will resume. Will they want to part with Broxton? That would be tough. He has closer written all over him.

Johan Santana (Twins) - Well, it sure looked like the Red Sox had him all but wrapped up. That was after the Yankees did. So far, nothing. I remember reading towards the end of last season that the Dodgers were hot on his trails in a package for Kemp, LaRoche, and possible a couple others. It looks like the ship has sailed on this one.

Scott Rolen (Cardinals) - I think Rolen's best days are long behind him, but apparently others do not. Last year he only played in 112 games and his a paltry 8 home runs and 58 RBI's. The year before he played in 142 games and had a respectable 22/95. Will he ever be healthy enough again to be a big time run producer? I just don't see it happening. But, with the ever-growing feud between LaRussa and him, a trade does look to be in the works. Let's just hope the Dodgers aren't that team.

Most rumors are found at these great sites:

ESPN Winter Meetings Blog

MLB Trade Rumors

Dodgers nab Andruw Jones at 2 years - $36.2 million

The Dodgers finally made a big splash at the Winter Meetings by signing Andruw Jones to a 2-year deal with a full no-trade clause. After passing up trade after trade after trade, for now at least, the kids are safe, and the big bat to fill the middle of the order has hopped on the train.

It's a very big signing for 3 reasons:

1) Like I said before, the Dodgers DESPERATELY needed a power hitter in the middle of the order. Sorry, but Jeff Kent's team-leading 20 homers just wasn't going to cut it again. Not since Adrian Beltre's 48 homer season in 2004 (he's a rich man now thanks to that) have they had a true threat in the cleanup spot. Hopefully Jones can right some of his hitting holes and get back to his old self. It's a chance definitely worth taking.

2) Juan-for-five Pierre (got that one from, love that site) and his chicken arm will finally be out of centerfield. Not only does his arm suck, but he took some mind-bogglingly awful routes to catch simple fly balls last year. Teams just ran at will on him, and now that will stop. He can go to left and be fine there.

3) Ned Colletti did not have to unload every prospect to try and get a big name (Bedard, Santana, Cabrera...). Granted, he still has plenty of time to make a deal, and I have no problem trading a couple prospects to get something (like Bedard). But, it's nice to see the Dodgers sign someone in his prime, rather than over-the-hill players like Luis Gonzalez and Nomar Garciaparra.

As of now, here's how I see the lineup:

1. Furcal - SS
2. Pierre - LF
3. Loney - 1B
4. Jones - CF
5. Kent - 2B
6. Kemp - RF
7. Martin - C
8. LaRoche - 3B

Assuming Kemp will still be a Dodger (you know what assuming does), that's not a bad lineup now that I look at it. If Loney and Kemp build on their success they had from the end of last season, there's good bats up and down the lineup.