Monday, November 24, 2008

Billingsley takes a fall

In some freak news that broke over the weekend, Chad Billingsley was the victim of some bad weather by slipping on ice and breaking his left fibula in his home in Reading, Pennsylvania. He's already had surgery and the word right now is that he'll be fine for Spring Training. Phew...

This is just the latest bad news to his the Dodgers rotation since the end of the season. Derek Lowe won't be back, ditto for Brad Penny, and Greg Maddux looks like he'll returning. Thankfully, this happened before December started, so there will be plenty of time to heal before pitchers and catchers report in mid-February.

Here's a piece of advice for Bills... why the hell do you still live in Pennsylvania? Move to LA! Geez, I live in New York and I nearly slipped on my driveway just a little while ago going to my car. Maybe he'll rethink his offseason living arrangements after this.

I do feel badly for him, obviously for busting up his leg, but this is just the latest bad news to hit him since his season ended with a thud in the NLCS. He didn't do anything right in Game 2 or Game 5, and now he breaks his leg. Man, that's tough.

Let's not forget just how good of a season he did have, though. 16-10, 3.14 ERA, 201 K's. Despite the setbacks, hopefully he's primed to get even better next season. He definitely should have a chip on his shoulder after the way this season ended.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dodgers mull making their pitch to Sabathia

C.C. Sabathia is about to be a very, very rich man. Now all he needs to figure out is which coast he'd like to play on. For the Dodgers, they hope he makes Southern California not just his winter home, but his home year round.

Reports are surfacing that the Dodgers are considering offering Sabathia a 6-year deal worth $110 to $120 million. It's not quite the $140 the New York Yankees threw in his face, but still a pretty hefty chunk of change. It must be nice to be C.C. these days.

In addition to the Yankees and Dodgers, the Milwaukee Brewers still have their 5-year/$100 million offer out there. Plus, the San Francisco Giants are believed to be in the bidding. Gee, I bet they're still thrilled about that ridiculous contract Barry Zito signed a couple years ago. Ouch.

Sabathia could not have possibly had a better ending to his season, as he was practically unhittable with the Brewers to push them into the playoffs. True, he didn't look so hot in his only start against the Phillies, but it's hard to blame him considering how many innings he had to log just to get to that point. He proved just how dominant he can be.

So now the ball appears to be in his court. I should note that the Dodgers haven't officially made an offer like they did to Manny Ramirez. It's just a strong rumor, and one that appears to take place soon. There's no way both Sabathia and Manny will be signed together, so it may be a case of first come, first serve. And either way, you can't go wrong.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Could The Big Unit land in LA?

The likely exits of Derek Lowe, Greg Maddux, and Brad Penny may have opened up the door for Randy Johnson.

The Big Unit is suddenly available, all 45-years-old of him, after the Arizona Diamondbacks said they couldn't afford him anymore. What's a bit strange is that he offered to take a 50% pay cut from his $26 million contract (by my math... that makes $13 million) a year, but it still didn't work out. Seems to me that the DBacks just didn't want him anymore.

So, one team's loss is another team's gain. He's also been linked to the St. Louis Cardinals, and was to the Chicago Cubs, but that probably won't happen since they resigned Ryan Dempster today. It's possible it can come down to which team he likes more - the Dodgers or Cardinals. He probably can't go wrong either way.

Even though he's old and has a bad back, he still put up 30 starts last year, and posted good numbers: 11-10, 3.91 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 184 IP, 173 K, 44 BB. I'd take that. I think most fans would love to see what he could do with young Clayton Kershaw. Now that would be fun to watch.

If a deal can be reached for a 1-2 years, I'd go for it. He's obviously a hall of famer, and still looks like he's got some game left in him. Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Kershaw, and Johnson could be a nice rotation. We shall see.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Manny places 4th in NL MVP voting

The legendary 2 month run of Manny Ramirez was good enough to push him into 4th place in 2008 NL MVP voting. With 1 more vote, he would have tied for 3rd place (Ryan Braun). Not bad for a guy who could turn out to be basically a rental.

Give props to Albert Pujols, who won his 2nd in a row. Pujols deserved it, because... well, he's Albert Friggon' Pujols! The guy came into the season with bad right elbow that seemed like it could cut his season down. But, he produced monster numbers like he always does. Ryan Howard finished in 2nd.

Back to Manny, and it only goes to show just how huge of a run he had. If you're reading this, then you're most likely a Dodger fan anyway, so it's not like I need to ramble on about his impact. But if you're not, it's hard to accurately describe just how refreshing it was to see a player like that in blue. It's been a long time since Dodger fans have felt that good about an offensive player like that.

As of now, he's an ex-Dodger, as the contract offered by Ned Colletti after the season has been pulled. Time will tell if the love fest will continue or not.


Here's another edition of the Dodgers mailbag. This week the topics are the sense of signing Manny to a big deal and not plugging other holes with that money, why Gil Hodges isn't in the Hall of Fame, Andruw Jones being in horrible shape again this year and if that could void his contract, the plan for Scott Elbert, and the chances of Eric Stults starting next year.

Read and be happy about it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Martin being shopped? Not so says Colletti

"We aren't trading Martin," he said. "I've never brought that up to anybody."

So says Dodgers GM Ned Colletti in response to certain media members claiming that Russell Martin is on the block.

I guess all it takes is one year of slipping numbers, and people start going crazy. Never mind the fact that Martin was once again an All-Star, his numbers went down this year, so trade him dammit! Come on people, lighten up.

As you can tell, I'm certainly not a fan of trading a guy who should be part of their nucleus for years to come. But to be objective, here's a look at his numbers the last 2 years:

2007: .293 AVG, .374 OBP, 87 R, 32 2B, 19 HR, 87 RBI, 67 BB, 21 SB
2008: .280 AVG, .385 OBP, 87 R, 25 2B, 13 HR, 69 RBI, 90 BB, 18 SB

Are his '08 numbers better? From a power standpoint, yes. From an on-base standpoint, no. To me, he should not be counted on as a power threat, but as someone who finds ways to get on base and move runners over. If that's how he should play, then he certainly did his job.

In my mind, what's made people sour on Martin is the NLCS in which things pretty much fell apart. After playing very well against the Cubs, he only went 2-17 with 7 K's against the Phillies. If you can recall, he was a victim of getting beaned a couple of times during that series, which may have completely thrown him of mentally considering how mad he got when that happened. If that's what the Phillies were trying to do, it worked.

But make no mistake about it, trading away Martin is not the way to go. His work ethic is incredible and he wants badly to win. If the Dodgers can finally get a backup catcher that is respectable enough to play 1-2 times a week to keep Martin fresh, then I expect him to play much better at the end of this upcoming season.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Manny's deal pulled, but talks ongoing

The window for the Dodgers to have exclusive rights to resigning Manny Ramirez has just expired. So too does the 2-year/$45 million deal that was offered that could have gone up to 3 and $60. No need to fret, my dear Dodger fans, talks will be ongoing.

Such is life when dealing with agent Scott Boras. The chances of Manny taking the deal after not checking out the rest of the league was very slim in the first place. Therefore, this is definitely not a surprise. After the torrid way that Manny finished this season, only an idiot wouldn't at least check out what everyone else has to say.

The biggest obstacle remains the length of the deal and not the money. Supposedly, he's still pushing for a 6-year deal, which is highly unlikely to happen, especially in the National League without the DH. And with the recent history of giving long-term contracts to injured goods (see Schmidt, Jason) or average players (see Pierre, Juan), the Dodgers are only being smart in looking at the short term.

I haven't seen many teams that want Manny, obviously because of the contract. But I have seen the Mets, Yankees, and Angels as the other teams. The Yankees are set to offer C.C. Sabathia a 6-year/$140 million deal (Holy S*&^*&!!!), so if that contract is signed, I would think even the Yankees would have to pull out of a run at Manny. If the Angels lose Mark Teixeira, then they could be all about getting Manny. The Mets could do it just to get that added boost to finally get over the hump and into the playoffs.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

First offer to Manny is on the table

Ned Colletti has wasted little time in getting to work on the Dodgers #1 offseason priority: resigning Manny Ramirez.

The first offer has been presented to Manny's agent, Scott Boras. I've seen 3 possible numbers: 3 years and $75 million, 2 years and $55 million, and 2 years and $45 million with an option for a 3rd. The first couple of offers were reported by the Los Angeles Times and the last one by ESPN's Tim Kurkjian.

What people need to remember is that this offer has very little to do with money, and mostly everything to do with years. I'm not at all surprised to see these offers heavy on money and low on years. Manny's 36 right now and his knees aren't what they used to be. It's simply not a good idea for a National League team (hence, no DH) to offer 5 or 6 years at this point.

Manny will likely get more offers, so don't look for this issue to be resolved anytime soon. And as a key free agent, Manny and his people absolutely should wait it out to see what else they can get, because he's obviously that much of an impact player.

Buckle up, because the Manny Watch will only get more interesting...

Say goodbye to Penny

Brad Penny's 2009 option was not picked up by the Dodgers, as they have instead bought him out for $2 million on Wednesday. Today, he officially filed for free agency.

While the Dodgers could have exercised his $9.25 million option for next season, I think they did the right thing in cutting ties with him. He came off of the consecutive All-Star Game appearances in '06 and '07, and was primed to lead the Dodgers' staff this season.

But, the wheels clearly fell off the bus. He started on Opening Day and beat the San Francisco Giants (well, I could have beat them too...), but everything went downhill soon after. Lingering shoulder problems meant 3 different trips to the DL, and he was not even close to the same pitcher as before.

In all, he finished at 6-9 with a 6.27 ERA. Ouch. His fastball didn't have nearly the pop it had in the past, and it was obvious he wasn't physically right. A history of arm problems doesn't exactly help his cause as he gets older.

The oddest thing about the end of the Penny Era in LA was the end of this season. For those of you that don't remember, he was apparently so angry about being left off the postseason roster that he flat out packed up his locker and left. And with that, he was not seen once during the playoffs. I remember Joe Torre saying at one point that it was a mutual decision, so who knows what really happened. But that was the icing on the cake.

With Penny gone, Greg Maddux to likely retire, and Derek Lowe probably gone as well, the Dodgers are left with a thin rotation. Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, and Clayton Kershaw are the top 3, with James McDonald and (don't laugh) Jason Schmidt possibly in the mix. They could use another stud to solidify the rotation.

Hmm..... C.C. Sabathia???

An 18th Gold glove... and a career?

It appears as if the long, glorious run of Greg Maddux may finally have to come an end.

A couple days before picking up his record 18th Gold Glove, Maddux has indicated through his agent Scott Boras that he intends to retire. While the move is not official, at age 42 and having spent 23 years in the Majors, it certainly seems as if it's the real deal.

First, a brief look at his numbers. Of course, they're unbelievable. He has a career 355-227 record with a ridiculous 3.18 ERA. He's officially 8th on the all-time wins list, which he barely got to last year by going 1 up on Roger Clemens. He's played with the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, and Dodgers.

There's not a whole lot left for him to accomplish. He's won 4 Cy Young awards and a World Series ring, to go along with the insane amount of Gold Glove awards. He's generally regarded as having perhaps the most pinpoint accuracy in the history of baseball. After tasting playoff success with the Dodgers this year, I'm not surprised to see him ride off into the sunset.

We'll all wait to see when Maddux will talk, as everything else is still speculation. I've read that the Dodgers would welcome him back to anchor the back end of their rotation, which I'm sure he could still do.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Free agency update

Add Chan Ho Park to list of names who have filed for free agency. He has stated that he wants to start again. After putting up a 3.40 ERA in 95.1 innings this year, I think some team will give him a shot, even in his mid 30's. I thought the signing was a joke at the time, but he really proved all doubters wrong. The problem is that he's never been good anywhere but LA, so if he does leave, he better be careful not to self-destruct again.

Here's the list of who has filed:
  • Manny Ramirez, OF
  • Derek Lowe, SP
  • Greg Maddux, SP
  • Casey Blake, 3B
  • Joe Beimel, RP
  • Nomar Garciaparra, INF
  • Jason Johnson, SP
  • Mark Sweeney, 1B/PH
  • Chan Ho Park, SP