Great day in L.A. today! I woke up this morning — phone blowing up with some of the greatest news I’ve seen in a while. Ned Colletti had acquired Hanley Ramirez from the Miami Marlins. Who would have thought this was an option even two weeks ago?? Not me. When Ramirez’s availability first became available a week or so ago, my original thoughts were that the Dodgers stood the best chance to get him due to the fact that they would be one of the few teams that could afford his salary. When it came down to it, the Marlin’s were going to pay the A’s half of Hanley’s salary, before the Dodgers came in and accepted it. Let’s look at what we gave up and accepted on.
Marlins Give Up:
Hanley Ramirez, SS/3B and Randy Choate LRP (Lefty)
Hanley, as stated before, is going to be a huge addition to L.A. He is an All-Star caliber player that also has some hardware on his shelf. He has won the Batting Title and also won Rookie of the Year. He is expected to initially start at shortstop in the absence of Dee Gordon. However, when Dee is scheduled to come back around mid-August, the idea is for Hanley to move over to 3B. Now most of you are probably wondering, If Hanley is so good, why didn’t we have to give up big name players for him? The fact that we took on his large contract is a big factor in it, but also, Hanley does come with a little baggage. This deal can either go two ways, and this is just me being entirely honest with you guys. The first way, and the way we all hope, is that he returns to the Hanley he was in recent years, and makes an immediate impact on the team. the second way, and the way we could all be dreading, is if he continues on his head-case path that he is currently on. There has been a lot of rumors going around saying that Hanley didn’t like being moved to 3B when Miami brought in Jose Reyes. Hanley, earlier in the year, punched out a dugout fan with his hand in July, which eventually developed an infection in both his hand and with manager Ozzie Guillen. Ned, Don, and all of the Dodgers organization believes that with the new team, and change of scenery, a whole nation away, that Hanley will fix his attitude and return back to his form. If he does…the Dodgers definitely just made one of the better moves they have in a very long time.
Randy Choate is a guy that is definitely not going as talked about in this deal. He is a left handed reliever which was another major hole that we needed to fill. He isn’t the “come in and completely shut teams down” kind of player, by any means, but he is definitely a good contribution. The fact that he is a lefty is great, and this year, in just 44 innings, he has only allowed 7 runs. Randy should also be decently familiar with Dodger stadium, seeing as he pitched for the Diamondbacks for four years through 2004-2007. Aside from the Dbacks, Randy has played on three other teams dating back to 2000 (Yankees, Rays, Marlins), making the Dodgers his fifth team in his career. I don’t think he will be dominant or mind-blowing by any means, or else we’d be talking about him a lot more. However I do think that he will provide that lefty stability that we needed in the pen.
What the Dodgers Gave Up:
Nathan Eovaldi, RHP (Starter) and Scott McGough RHP (Reliever)
We have all grown to love Nate. He has pitched his heart out for us after Ted Lilly went down, but in the end, just never got the run support he needed and found himself with a 1-6 record. His 4.15 ERA may not sound great, but is better than Clayton Kershaw’s ERA in his rookie campaign, (4.26) so that should say something there. It’s tough to see Nate go, especially when we have pitchers like Chad Billingsley still in the rotation consistently being inconsistent, but in the end, we have to realize that Nate was a prospect this entire time. The minute Lilly returned, he was going to be sent down to the minors anyways. At least we could get something for him, while his value is still high.
Scott McGough, although our own prospect, is the one guy in this trade that not many people know anything about. Let me give you a quick report on who exactly we let go. Scott was drafted in the 46th round of the 2008 Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of high school, but instead, opted to attend the University of Oregon. It proved to be a good choice for him, because his college career bolstered him up 41 rounds where the Dodgers took him in the fifth round (164 overall) in the 2011 draft. He began his professional career with Ogden in Rookie League, and made just six appearances before being moved to Class A Great Lakes Loons. He recorded decent numbers (2.21 ERA with 8 saves and 25 strikeouts in 20 innings) but when he was promoted to High-A Rancho, his numbers began to decrease. In my opinion, he allows far too many baserunners to be a major league pitcher. He allows roughly a hit per inning, and a walk every other inning. Although he does have 48 K’s in 47 innings, the baserunners was the thing that always worried me. This year, for Rancho, he is 3-5 with a 3.99 ERA. While those numbers aren’t terrible, if a prospect is going to be a talent at the major league level, those numbers need to be a lot better. Usually, I hate to see a prospect go with so much developing to do, but the fact that Scott is a right handed reliever, that doesn’t seem to be dominant in the Class A levels…I think it’s safe to say that there isn’t much development to be had on this one.
The corresponding move was to send Todd Coffey to the 60-Day DL, and move Adam Kennedy to the 15-Day DL with a strained groin. In the end, the major part of the deal was that the Dodgers would be taking on Hanley Ramirez’s big contract. He is towards the end of a six year contract that pays him $15 million this year, $15 million next year, and $16 million in 2014. The Dodgers are planning to pick up around $40 million of that remaining contract. The nice part about this deal, is that we have 2 more years where Hanley is guaranteed to the Dodgers, in which time we can continue to build, and allows us to offer him a good deal when it comes to sign again, assuming that Hanley puts up the numbers we all know he is capable of. All I know for sure now is…I can’t WAIT to see Hanley in that Dodger Blue.
Reports are saying that Kevin Youkilis is leaving Boston by this weekend. Question is — Where is he going?
For those of you that have read anything I’ve posted before, you would know that I never liked this Youkilis trade. However, in the past 24 hours, my tune has 100% changed. I’ll tell you why.
Now Dodgers sources are saying something a little bit different than before. They are saying that they would use Youkilis to replace Uribe at third, rather than Loney at first. Now this I love. I never thought Loney was our number one problem. He is a problem, for sure, don’t get me wrong, but not our number one problem. I think Youkilis would give a slightly bigger threat in the middle of the lineup than Uribe would anywhere.
Last night was fantastic. It gave me hope of a Uribe-less future. Adam Kennedy may have only gone 0-2 with a walk, but not seeing that haggard swing that tries to blow the guts out of every ball he sees in the lineup was so refreshing. If we want to improve this team – Uribe HAS to go. No questions asked.
Now Youkilis will not be our savior. He will not come to the team and have a Manny-like impact back in 2008. We still need a big bat. I thought a perfect example of the impact he’ll have would be a Casey Blake. Someone that is in the lineup, and stays consistent with a homerun every now and again. Youkilis obviously isn’t having the year that he would have hoped, and his numbers have dropped off immensely. His batting average is .225 and his wOBA is .306. However, I think these numbers could change when he leaves Boston. Here’s why:
If you remember back in 2008, Manny’s numbers were no where near where they were compared to his career. It’s because he was practically doing it on purpose to make a point that he was unhappy in Boston. Now I’m not saying this is a case of “Youk being Youk” but it could very well be a morale problem that has his numbers down. Bobby Valentine has recently sat down and told him that his playing time is getting cut because of how well Middlebrooks is playing at third.
“He doesn’t necessarily totally agree with it and doesn’t wake up in the morning and hope that’s the case,” Valentine said. “But I think the professional person that Kevin is, he understands it,” Valentine told reporters. “Yes, I think he’s fine.”
So Youkilis definitely wants to move, and he definitely wants no part of the Red Sox anymore. So could his numbers improve with a better morale? Absolutely. And who better to help that than Donnie who is an absolute player-friendly manager.
Like I said before, Youkilis is not the only answer to our offensive problems. But he does help. If by some off chance that you still aren’t convinced that Uribe is a detriment to the team…let me help.
Back in 2010, when Uribe was signed on, Ned Colletti said this about Uribe. “He will provide more power, he has thunder in his bat.” Funny part about that is…he has no thunder in his bat. In fact, there isn’t even a storm brewing. This year he has one homerun. One. That was hit May 11th, at Coors Field. For those of you that don’t know, baseballsfly out of that stadium. Point in case…Dee Gordon also has one homerun this year…at Coors Field. See where I’m going with this? When Ned wants to give an argument about how Dee has thunder in his bat, I’ll be all ears, but until then, my argument stands.
In June, Uribe is hitting a horrendous .179 with two RBI’s, eight strikeouts and no walks. That means every 3.5 at-bats that he gets, is a strikeout. On the year, Uribe is hitting a line of .231/.278/.324.
I wanted to bring up that statistic wOBA. This stands for weighted on-base average. It’s a great stat that tells you in a little bit more precision exactly how much someone gets on base. The league average this year is .309. Just for a bit broader understanding of where a player should be, last years average was .316. So anywhere around there is average.
Youkilis’ wOBA for this year is .306. Just 3 points below the leagues average. Uribe’s is .283 — 26 points below.
I did the math for our potential lineup before (without Youkilis) and after (with Youkilis). Keep in mind the lineup will change drastically after the trade deadline with the arrival of Kemp and Ellis from the DL.
Our team’s wOBA goes from .309 (not bad, considering league average) and shoots up to .333 with Kemp, Ellis and Youkilis. Only three teams have wOBA’s better than that.
I like this trade, I think it would be a great addition, however I still think we need to add another big bat in July. We’ll see what happens. But sources are saying that talks are getting very intense with regards to Youkilis and this deal could happen anytime from as early as today, to at least the end of this weekend. So be looking out for more updates on this.
For those of you that are wondering what we’ll have to pay — not much. Boston will most likely be eating most of, if not all of, the remaining $12 Million on his contract, and the $1 Million buyout. However, with that being said, Boston is paying more of the contract in order to get a better prospect. Who that is will probably determine which team Youk goes to. As of right now, the top two teams are the Dodgers and the White Sox. Check back to see if any updates have occurred.
I feel like I’ve said this quite a bit this year…but what a game!! These guys just never stop fighting. Although, most of tonight’s was quite frustrating to watch, it was still an incredible race to the finish.
I need to be a little negative at first. I want to get this out of the way, because I told myself that I would talk about it, but overall I’m pleased with tonight’s performance. Now, I’m not a major league manager…obviously. Nor do I claim to be. However, with that being said, I have no idea what we’re doing with Uribe and Kennedy; mainly Kennedy. Today, he had a very costly error that cost the Dodgers a run early in the game. Then in the fourth inning, after a Juan Rivera single that scored Ellis and moved Ethier to third, Kennedy grounded into a double play to end the rally. I just don’t feel like there’s any energy from him. Not only from him alone, but it just seems like the team never plays the same with him in the lineup. I dunno, thats just my opinion, and like I said, that’s probably why I’m not a major league manager…but if it were up to me…I definitely wouldn’t have him in, unless it was a last resort type situation. Uribe and Kennedy combined to go 0-6 on the night.
Anyways…now that I have that negativity out of the way. Time for some good reports. I think its safe to say that Andre Ethier was very thankful for his new contract extension. At the press conference today, and while interviewing him, you just saw this constant glow and that famous Ethier grin. It was like it was pasted on all day, even in the dugout before the game. Ethier loves L.A. and he always has. “This is the place I’ve wanted to be all along and I hope to finish my career in LA,” Ethier said after the conference. Tonight, he showed Dodgers fans everywhere that he’s not taking that money for granted. He played a huge factor in tonights game from not only making a superb catch in right field to save a run, but also added on to his NL Leading 54 RBI’s as he knocked in the game tying run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. I’ve heard a lot of people, both Dodgers fans and non-Dodgers fans, say that they don’t think ‘Dre is worth near $100 Million. After tonight’s game, have their opinions changed? Only time will tell. All I know is…I’m happy to know that we will have Kemp and Ethier going back to back for at least the next five years.
I can’t only talk about Andre though…he definitely wasn’t the only one that made an impact tonight. Dee Gordon (DeeGo) had an incredible game as well. For the third time this season, he had three stolen bases in the game. THREE! He made a costly catching error in the sixth inning, however, if you watch, I want to blame that on Kennedy as well. And no, not just because its Kennedy. With two outs and a soft grounder like that, you go to first base to get the automatic out. Sure, second base is a shorter throw, but its also a shorter run. When you have the pitcher (Jerome Williams) running down to first, its an easy, easy play. That error also scored another run that put the Angels ahead 2-1.
And theeen there was Rivera. Juan Rivera hit a go-ahead three run homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning immediately after Ethier tied it up. And honestly…I have not heard that stadium erupt like that in a LONG time. It honestly gave me flash backs of the 2008 and 2009 playoff runs. With a sellout crowd of over 50,000 fans, every single one of them were on their feet. It got so loud, that when I rewatched the telecast, they had to blackout the sound just because it was peaking so much. It was absolutely breath taking. I know that’s kind of a ridiculous term, but I honestly don’t know how else to describe it. Seeing Matt Kemp jumping for joy, being that incredible cheer leader that he is, seeing the faces of the young guns that haven’t gotten a chance to see that stadium erupt, everything about it was just amazing.
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, this team is an absolute “Wonder Team.” They never give up, and I couldn’t be happier to see where this season will go. Here’s to hoping that the Stanley Cup Champion, L.A. Kings will give us some good luck when they throw out the first pitch tomorrow, with the Stanley Cup right beside them, inside the stadium.
The rubber match is set to start at 7:10 PT at Dodger Stadium. Nathan Eovaldi takes the mound, looking for his first win since being brought up. He has pitched amazing, but just ran into some bad luck along the way with run support. Hopefully tomorrow the Dodgers can take the series and give this kid the Win that he’s deserved for a while now!
It has just been made official by Dodgers sources. Andre Ethier has signed a 5 year, $85 Million extension through 2017. Vesting options for 2018 at $17.5 Million would push it to around $100 Million with a $2.5 Million buyout. Andre is going to be a Dodger for a while! It is good news in L.A. and for Andre Ethier fans.
After being traded from the Oakland Athletic’s he has been a Dodger the rest of the time. Andre has repeatedly not put a deadline on extension talks but the time has finally come. I posted earlier about speculation I had about his agent and Ned Colletti being in Seattle together, that I thought an extension agreement was close to being settled. Turns out, I was correct. I love that ‘Dre is going to be a Dodgers for at least five years, most likely six, and I think its going to be great for this organization to have a base of Kemp and Ethier for the next half decade.
A formal announcement is expected sometime tomorrow (Tuesday), at which point Ethier will officially be the owner of the third-largest contract in Dodgers history, behind Matt Kemp and Kevin Brown.
Andre Ethier Confident Dodgers’ New Management Will Extend Contract
‘Dre is very optimistic about his contract extension. Although still standing by the fact that he is letting his agents and the club discuss it so he can keep his focus on the field, there are still hints that something could happen within the next couple of days. Such as: Nez Balelo, Ethier’s agent, is in Seattle during the Dodgers-Mariners series. Weird? A little…but what makes it a little bit more interesting is the fact that Ned Colletti also made the trip to seattle. Balelo seems to insist he is there because he represents Seattle’s pitcher, Jason Vargas, however no one really knows why Ned would be there as well. It all may be one big coincidence, and I may be looking too far into it, but you never know. I would keep my eyes open in the next couple days to see if Ethier has signed anything long term. I would love to see us lock up ‘Dre for a couple more years, so would he.
“I expect to be here a long time, and both sides have expressed that. They want me here and I want to be here. Mutually, both sides want me here. Obviously, this is a good fit. It’s where I want to be and a great opportunity to play with these guys who have put a lot of hard work in, and I hope we continue what we’re doing right now.”
As of immediate updates, not much has changed since the beginning of the season. Until there is an offer that Balelo feels comfortable showing Ethier, Ethier won’t know anything. At the same time, they could be talking behind closed doors and Ethier would be none the wiser.
“Nothing’s changed, they haven’t made anything that I’m aware of,” said Ethier. “Maybe they made something to my agent, but I told him not to tell me until there’s something for me to consider. I’ll keep playing and helping the guys win.”
Hopefully, I can update a post soon talking about his new extension…until then…I can only speculate and hope.
Kershaw Takes the Mound, Night After No-Hit Effort for the Mariners
Clayton Kershaw gets to take the mound today, despite dealing with plantar fasciitis all week. For those of you that don’t know (because I sure didn’t), Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fasciitis which is a connective tissue in the sole of your foot. The injury is actually very common, and somewhat difficult to treat, but with proper inspection from the Dodgers training staff and Sue Falsone, it should all be fixed in a short matter of time. Fortunately for Clayton and for Dodgers fans, the injury does not affect him while he pitches.
As all of you know, Kershaw is insane about his daily routines. He is very much on a routine every single day, almost down to the minute, and that routine includes running in the outfield before starts. Scratching that will be a must and so that effect is what is annoying him.
“It kind of got progressively worse the last 10 days to two weeks,” he said. “Kind of the peak of the pain was when I was running to first, but it’s gotten better the past three or four days. I should be fine.”
Luckily for everyone, due to it being an interleague game, playing AT Seattle, Kershaw won’t have to worry about batting or baserunning because of the DH position. He can focus on the one thing that doesn’t hurt him…pitching. Don Mattingly isn’t consider either.
“Right now it’s not concerning at all,” Mattingly said. “He’s not feeling it pitching. With Javy, it affected his pitching, and that we can’t allow to happen with Kershaw. As long as it doesn’t get worse, I’m not really concerned about it. Maybe I should be, but I’m not worried about tomorrow today.”
It should be interesting to see how Kershaw pitches, not only to see how he handles the injury, but also to see how he pitches without having to worry about swinging the bat.