Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Elbert's 2013 season in serious doubt

For Scott Elbert, it's once again back to the old phrase of "one step forward, two steps back."

Elbert's fragile left elbow just endured it's second arthroscopic operation since September 19 on Wednesday.  He'll begin a throwing program in six weeks, with Spring Training starting up in three.

Being out of action is no surprise for him, as he battled arm problem all through 2012.  He did manage to pitch in 32 2/3 innings covering 43 games, good for a 2.20 ERA.  In 2011, he gathered a 2.43 ERA in 33 1/3 innings.

Let's not forget about his personal issues that pretty much wiped away his entire 2010 season.

It's easy to see why the Dodgers like him with numbers in the mid-2's.  On the other hand, it wouldn't be a surprise to eventually see them part ways with him, as staying on the field has proven to be a difficult task.  Right now, missing the season appears to be speculation, but when you're talking elbow injuries, you're talking big chunks of time missed.

It's a good thing J.P. Howell was signed from Tampa Bay earlier this month, as he's clearly the #1 lefty in the bullpen.  Elbert's loss could also be Paco Rodriguez's gain, as his 1.35 ERA in a short amount of time last season could easily earn him a trip back to LA.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Minors deals for Flores and Moylan

The Dodgers signed a couple of minor league deals on Wednesday, bringing in catcher Jesus Flores and right-handed reliever Peter Moylan.

Flores spent five seasons with the Nationals, though he's more known for racking up injuries than hits.  He has a career .241 average, and last season hit a mere .213 in 83 games.  Shoulder injuries KO'd him for the entire 2010 season, so he's obviously trying to prove he can stay healthy and contribute.

Looking at the Dodgers' catching situation, it's easy to see why Flores thinks he has a chance.  A.J. Ellis is the starter, and after a red-hot start to 2012, he really came back to Earth in the second half.  Tim Federowicz is the backup, and he's largely unproven.  A good spring and a healthy body could be the ticket for Flores.

Speaking of injuries, there's Peter Moylan.  He's appeared in 295 games since 2006, but in four of those seasons he only saw the mound 15 times or less.  The last two seasons saw him appear in 21 games combined thanks to shoulder injuries.

The good news is that a career 2.95 ERA and 1.29 WHIP give the Dodgers plenty of reasons to give him a chance.  He's a side-arming righty, so it's obviously a different look than what hitters are used to.  The Dodgers' bullpen is very crowded right now; ditto for their starting rotation.  So the chances of him making the team appear slim, but who knows?  The Dodgers have a way of reviving old pitchers, so maybe he'll be the latest to turn the trick.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lefty Howell bolsters the 'pen

One big item left on the offseason "To-Do" list was adding another southpaw in the bullpen.  With Scott Elbert coming off of elbow surgery and Paco Rodriguez still rather inexperienced, the Dodgers needed an upgrade.

J.P. Howell could very well be that man.

The lefty reliever has jumped ship from Tampa Bay with a one-year, $2.85 million contract, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.  There's more money to be made with performance bonuses, though those numbers are currently unknown.

Last season was a great one for Howell, which he certainly needed after a dreadful 2011, which followed missing the entire 2010 season with a torn labrum.  In 2012, he appeared in 50 1/3 innings covering 55 games, tossing a 3.04 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.  Most importantly, he was awesome against lefties, as he held the 99 batters he faced to a .200 AVG and only five extra-base hits.

That's welcome news for the Dodgers, as the NL West has some good sluggers from the left side.  Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies, Yonder Alonso of the Padres, Jason Kubel and Miguel Montero of the Diamondbacks, and Brandon Belt of the Giants are the biggest threats.  OK, so maybe Alonso and Belt are a bit of a stretch, but they both look like they could be good power hitters.

In my last post I discussed what I believe to be the 25-man roster right now, but with the Howell signing, that obviously bumps somebody out.  If I have to take a guess, I'll go with Javy Guerra.  That would leave Brandon League, Kenley Jansen, Ronald Belisario, and Matt Guerrier from the right side, and Chris Capuano (if he's not traded, which is a strong possibility), Elbert, and Howell from the left side.