Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles Dodgers’

“Thome’s Hommies” Are Headed To Minnesota

January 27, 2010

One of the more interesting debates that will occur six or seven years from now is the question of whether or not Jim Thome is a Hall of Famer?

Thome has all the stats you look for in a HOF’er. He has well over 500 home runs (564 to be exact), he is fifth all-time in HR/AB (13.7), 10th in walks (1,619), and 20th in OPS (.961). Those are some pretty impressive credentials.

Will Thome be a Hall of Famer?

But with only one, top-five finish in MVP voting during his career, plus playing in the steroid era, I am not sure how much love Thome will get on his first shot at the HOF.

I have the same take on Thome that I had with Barry Larkin. Yeah, the numbers might be there over a long period of time, but I never viewed either as a HOF player. I have never watched Thome play and say “There is an all-time great.”

Thome is like Fred McGriff, but with more home runs. McGriff only received 21.5 percent of the vote in this past HOF vote.

The reason I am bringing this up, is because yesterday Thome will be given another chance to add to his resumé. The Minnesota Twins inked Thome to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. Thome can earn another $700,000 in incentives.

This is a pretty sweet deal for the Twins. Despite already having a DH in Jason Kubel, the signing of Thome does give the Twins some options.

Thome’s main role will be a power source off the bench, but he could also DH against right-handed pitching. Thome hit 18 of his 23 home runs last year off of righties. The Twins could then move Kubel to left field and put Delmon Young on the bench.

I am kind of surprised there wasn’t more of a market for Thome this offseason. I know he is 40 and only is a DH at this point, which limits his options, but he was having a pretty legit year with the Chicago White Sox in 2009 before he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers and just rotted on the bench.

With the White Sox, Thome hit .249 with 23 home runs and a .377 OBP in 107 games. A team like the Seattle Mariners could have certainly used Thome as a full-time DH in 2010. I would rather him getting regular AB’s at this point than Ken Griffey Jr.

This will be Thome’s third stop in the American League Central. He played with the Cleveland Indians from 1991-2002 and for the White Sox from 2006-2009. Perhaps next year he can choose between the Detroit Tigers or the Kansas City Royals so he can play for every team in the division.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Dodgers To Play Games In Taiwan During Spring Training

January 25, 2010

The Los Angeles Dodgers, a team that has always had strong ties to the Far East, will hope to strengthen those ties this spring.

The Dodgers will travel to Taiwan in March to play two games against a team from the Chinese Professional Baseball League. The two games will be played on March 13 and 14 and the team the Dodgers will be playing has not been announced yet.

This will be the Dodgers’ second trip to Taiwan. In 1993, the Dodgers became the first Major League team to play in Taiwan, when they competed against a team of CPBL All-Stars.

As I mentioned, the Dodgers have always had strong ties to Taiwan. The Dodgers became the first Major League team to sign a Taiwanese player when they signed left-handed pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo in 2000.

Of the six Taiwan-born players to appear in the Major Leagues, four have played for the Dodgers: Kuo, Chin-Feng Chen, Chin-Lung Hu and Chin-hui Tsao.

The two games the Dodgers will play in Taiwan will not be part of the Dodgers’ spring training schedule.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Starting Rotation: National League West

January 23, 2010

The last last starting rotations I will look at are the starting rotations of the National League West. It’s no surprise that nine out of the last 11 NL Cy Young award winners have come from the West.

With the divisions big ballparks and offensively challenged lineups, the NL West is a pitcher’s dream. Any pitcher worth their salt, would love to pitch in this division.

Here are the starting lineups for each National League West team as presently constructed.

Colorado Rockies

1. Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP

2. Aaron Cook, RHP

3. Jorge De La Rosa, LHP

4. Jeff Francis, LHP

5. Jason Hammel, RHP

Quick Take – I like this rotation, but I don’t love it. I would love for the Rockies to add one more reliable pitcher like Jon Garland. Francis returns to the Rockies after missing the entire 2009 season with a shoulder injury. Cook is really underrated.

San Francisco Giants

1. Tim Lincecum, RHP

2. Matt Cain, RHP

3. Barry Zito, LHP

4. Jonathan Sanchez, LHP

5. TBD

Quick Take – Linceum and Cain form one of the best one-two punches not only in the NL, but in all of baseball. Lincecum is aiming for his third straight Cy Young award. There is a big dropoff after Lincecum and Cain. I am not sold on Sanchez.

Los Angeles Dodgers

1. Chad Billingsley, RHP

2. Clayton Kershaw, LHP

3. Vicente Padilla, RHP

4. Hiroki Kuroda, RHP

5. James McDonald, RHP

Quick Take – Which Billingsley will show up in 2010? The one that was an All Star in the first half of 2009 or the one that faded in the second half? Dodgers need him to come back strong next season. This rotation will miss Randy Wolf , who pitched well for them down the stretch in 2009.

Arizona Diamondbacks

1. Dan Haren, RHP

2. Brandon Webb, RHP

3. Edwin Jackson, RHP

4. Billy Buckner, RHP

5. Ian Kennedy, RHP

Quick Take – Can Webb come back in 2010? That is the big question surrounding this rotation. If he can, the Diamondbacks will be in business in 2010. Jackson needs to pitch like he did in the first half with the Detroit Tigers, not the second half. Kennedy thinks he is a great pitcher, now he gets a chance to prove it.

San Diego Padres

1. Chris Young, RHP

2. Clayton Richard, LHP

3. Kevin Correia, RHP

4. Mat Latos, RHP

5. Tim Stauffer, RHP

Quick Take – Gone is staff ace Jake Peavy, but in is Latos and Richard. Richard pitched well last year (5-2 with a 4.08 ERA) for the Padres after coming over in the Peavy trade. Latos is a top prospect, who showed glimpses of brilliance in his first stint at the majors.

That concludes my starting rotation series for this week. I will revisit each starting rotation as the regular season approaches.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Fantasy Impact: Arizona Diamondbacks’ Edwin Jackson

December 28, 2009

I think I am going to make today a very fantasy focused day on The Ghost of Moonlight Graham.

Earlier in the day I talked about the fantasy possibilities of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s Brandon Wood. Now I will talk about Arizona Diamondbacks’ RHP Edwin Jackson.

Jackson should do well in the NL West

Jackson came over the Diamondbacks in the big three-way trade that sent Curtis Granderson to the New York Yankees and Max Scherzer to the Detroit Tigers. While many–including myself ripped the trade from a Diamondbacks perspective–I want to take the time to look at the fantasy impact of the key player the Diamondbacks got in the trade.

This will Jackson’s second tour of duty in the NL West. While many people just remember Jackson as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays and the Detroit Tigers, he actually started out his career in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization.

Jackson didn’t have great success with the Dodgers, but I expect him to have a much better go around in the NL West this time around. My logic is pretty simple for this–the NL West is the most pathetic offensive division in baseball.

Any time you can pitch against the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants and pitch in AT&T Park, Petco Park, and Dodger Stadium the majority of the time, your numbers will improve. There is a reason why nine out of the last 11 National League Cy Young award winners are from the NL West.

Over the last two years, Jackson is 27-20 with a 3.99 ERA and 269 K’s in 397.1 innings in the AL. However, Jackson has really slipped in the second half over those two years.

In the second half over the last two years, Jackson has a 5.11 ERA. What is really concerning is that Jackson has played on two contenders the last two years and has faded when his teams have needed him the most.

The Diamondbacks could be a dark horse contender in 2010, so I wonder if the pressure will get to him for a third year in a row? While I don’t like the fact that Jackson has faded the last couple of years, there is a lot of things I do like about Jackson in 2010.

Like I said, he is going to the AL from the NL, which is always a plus. The Diamondbacks should improve upon their 70-win season in 2010. And I also like the fact that he is going to be a No. 3 starter in 2010, which means he won’t be facing other team’s No. 1 or No. 2 starter.

I expect Jackson to go 13-10 with a solid 3.40-3.50 ERA in 200+ innings. Jackson has never been a big strikeout guy, so expect around 150-160 K’s in those 200+ innings.

With those numbers, Jackson should be a very solid No. 3 fantasy starter in most fantasy formats in 2010.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Chan Ho Park Wants To Get Paid

December 26, 2009

There have been a lot of bizarre stories in baseball this year, but this one might take the cake.

Chan Ho Park is a free agent this offseason and wants to get paid. But he doesn’t want to get paid by a team first–he wants to get paid by a former teammate.

In a story released by the Associated Press, Park is suing former Los Angeles Dodger teammate Chad Kreuter for failing to fully pay off an unpaid loan.

The suit claims Park loaned Kreuter $460,000 in October 2005 to be repaid a year later with interest. Park alleges Kreuter paid back $290,000 in April 2007 and the unpaid balance has grown, with interest, to $281,869.73 as of Dec. 1.

This is so great on so many levels.

First, according to Baseball-Reference.com, Kreuter made over $8 million in his career, so why on earth is he borrowing $460,000 from Park? And why $460,000? Seems like such an odd figure to me.

Second, how can we get this settled on the People’s Court? That would easily be the most watched episode in the long history of the show.

Two ballplayers going at it–one barely speaks English–and the other is a guy from California. Who wouldn’t watch just to hear Park try to defend himself. That would be high comedy.

I will definitely be updating this story once more information comes out.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

The Dodgers Add A Carroll For Christmas

December 17, 2009

I know, I know the headline is perhaps the cheesiest of The Ghost of Moonlight Graham era–an era which is approaching one year by the way. But I like the tie in with the holiday season.

The other headline I was thinking of was “The Jamey Carroll Sweepstakes Comes To An End.” Which would have been fitting because there was a serious sweepstakes for the 35-year-old.

I am not joking either. There were about 10-12 teams showing interest in Carroll. You can make the argument that Carroll was the most sought after free agent on the market this winter.

However, the team that eventually landed Carroll’s services were the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Carroll landed with the Dodgers

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers inked the utility infielder to a two-year, $3.85 million deal. Carroll hit .276/.355/.340 in 93 games with the Cleveland Indians last season.

I am guessing Carroll signed with the Dodgers for one main reason–playing time. Most teams who were after Carroll looked at him as strictly a utility player.

The Dodgers give Carroll a chance to start. With Orlando Hudson and Ronnie Belliard departing as free agents, 24-year-old Blake DeWitt is currently the only second baseman on the roster.

The Dodgers will give DeWitt every opportunity to win the starting second base job in spring training, but if he doesn’t pan out, Carroll will step in.

Carroll is a career .273 hitter in eight seasons with the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals, Colorado Rockies, and Indians.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Wanting On-Field Changes, Bud Selid Forms Study Group

December 16, 2009

When someone mentions the term “study group” to me, the first thing I think of is college.

I think of four or five friends getting together to study a subject they have very little interest in and after 15 minutes saying screw this and play Madden.

Hopefully Bud Selig’s “study group” is a little more productive.

The Commissioner of baseball announced today he is formulating a special committee or study group for on-field matters. These on-field matters include the expansion of instant replay, expanding the first-round of the playoffs, scheduling, the pace of the game, and the umpire’s strike zone.

Selig has put together a study group

Here are the members of the committee who will be discussing these matters:

Tony LaRussa: Manager, St. Louis Cardinals

Mike Scioscia: Manager, Los Angeles of Angels of Anaheim

Jim Leyland: Manager, Detroit Tigers

Joe Torre: Manager, Los Angeles Dodgers

Andy MacPhail: President for Baseball Operations, Baltimore Orioles

Mark Shapiro: General Manager, Cleveland Indians

Terry Ryan: Former General Manager, Minnesota Twins

John Schuerholz: President, Atlanta Braves

Paul Beeston: President, Toronto Blue Jays

Dave Montgomery: President, Philadelphia Phillies

Chuck Armstrong: President, Seattle Mariners

Bill DeWitt: Chairman, St. Louis Cardinals

Frank Robinson: Hall of Fame player and currently works in the office of the commissioner.

George Will: Political Communist

I have a couple of thoughts on all of this.

First, I love the idea, and I love the fact that Selig does his best to try to improve the game. I have said it before and I will say it again–Selig always works on improving the game of baseball.

That is one thing you can not fault him on.

I would expect that some changes come out of this meeting. Changes to instant replay and pace of the game seem to be the easiest to implement.

Pace of the game came under question when Jorge Posada seemingly went to the mound on every pitch during the postseason. I always believed that there should be a maximum of two visits per pitcher per game.

That visit includes trips made by the catcher, pitching coach, or manager to the mound. On the third trip by any of the above during a game, the pitcher has to be removed.

If you have to visit a pitcher more than twice in a game, then that pitcher is probably not having a good night.

My other thought on this is why are there no current players in this meeting? Wouldn’t the people who play the game know what changes need to be made?

If I am Selig, I would much rather get input from a Curtis Granderson or a Carlos Pena than George Will. Why on earth is Will involved in this? For some reason this guy has Selig’s ear and I still haven’t figured out why.

When I think of Will, I think of that great Saturday Night Live skit in the 80’s when they did “George Will’s Sports Machine.” Dana Carvey played Will, Corbin Burnsen played Mike Schmidt and Jon Lovitz played Tommy Lasorda.

Will kept asking Schmidt and Lasorda questions they couldn’t answer. Questions like “The precarious balance between infield and outfield suggests a perfect symmetry. For $50, identify the effect of that symmetry.”

It was just classic. That skit makes me laugh every time I see it.

The group will meet for the first time during the Owner’s Meetings next month in Phoenix.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

White Sox Continue To Add, Trade For Juan Pierre

December 15, 2009

Guess which team has been the most aggressive this offseason?

The New York Yankees? Nope. The Los Angeles Dodgers? Not even close. The Boston Red Sox? Maybe.

How about the Chicago White Sox? Bingo.

On top of adding Jake Peavy and Alex Rios towards the end of last season, the White Sox have added Mark Teahen, Omar Vizquel, Andruw Jones, JJ Putz, and now they have added Juan Pierre this offseason.

According to various sources, the White Sox have acquired Pierre from the Los Angeles Dodgers for two minor league pitchers. The Dodgers will get to pick two minor league pitchers from a list provided by the White Sox.

Pierre is waving goodbye to LA

Pierre has two-years and $18.5 million remaining on his contract. However, the Dodgers will pay $10 million of Pierre’s contract. The White Sox will pay Pierre $3 million in 2010 and $5 million in 2011.

The White Sox are really being aggressive this offseason. There is no reason for the White Sox not to be aggressive playing in the weak AL Central.

The Cleveland Indians are rebuilding, the Kansas City Royals are a mess, and the Detroit Tigers are selling off pieces left and right. That leaves just the White Sox and Minnesota Twins to compete in the AL Central.

Does Pierre put the White Sox ahead of the Twins in 2010? Probably not because I really don’t see how the White Sox are better because of this trade.

Player A hit .308 with zero home runs, a .365 OBP, a .392 Slugging Percentage, and 30 stolen bases in 2009.

Player B hit .304 with seven home runs, a .353 OBP, .412 Slugging Percentage, and 30 stolen bases in 2009.

The difference between these players is negligible. Player A is available via trade and Player B is available via free agency. So if all things are pretty much equal, wouldn’t you go with the player that is going to cost you less?

Player A is Pierre and Player B is Scott Podsednik.

I have no idea what prospects the White Sox are giving up. But I don’t care if they include me in the deal–a prospect is still a prospect and a prospect is a commodity.

Why give up two prospects and pay Pierre when they could have had essentially the same player (Podsednik) for no prospects and probably less than what they are paying Pierre?

I don’t get it.

I like the fact that the White Sox are being aggressive, but sometimes they would be better off making the simpler move. The simple move here would be to just re-sign Podsednik.

As for the Dodgers, this is a pure salary dump. The Dodgers are in such a financial mess right now that saving $8 million is a big deal for them right now.

I’ll update this story once it’s confirmed what prospects are going to the Dodgers.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Brewers Boltster Rotation, Ink Randy Wolf To Three-Year Deal

December 9, 2009

Like Brad Penny earlier in the week, Randy Wolf heeded my advice–stay in the National League.

Perhaps the best second-tier pitcher is now off the market. In search of another starting pitcher, the Milwaukee Brewers found their man today.

The Brewers signed LHP Randy Wolf to a three-year, $29.75 million contract. The deal also includes a forth-year club option.

Wolf has a new home in Milwaukee

Am I the biggest Wolf fan? No, I am not. But this is a good deal for the Brewers.

The Brewers desperately needed someone to give them quality innings behind Yovani Gallardo and Wolf can provide that.

Over the last two seasons, Wolf has made 33 and 34 starts and has pitched a total of 404.2 innings. His 34 starts in 2009 with the Los Angeles Dodgers led the National League.

Here is one thing that would make feel good if I was a Brewers fan today. Wolf wasn’t just a product of the pitching friendly Dodger Stadium. Wolf was actually better on the road than he was at home in 2009.

Here are his home vs. road splits last season:

Home: 3.63 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .676 OPS Against

Away: 2.78 ERA, 1.056 WHIP, .641 OPS Against

Usually pitchers who pitch in the friendly confines of Dodger Stadium have it the other way around. They are usually much better on the road than they are home.

Now there are negatives to this deal. First, Wolf is going to be 34-years-old next season–making him no spring chicken and second, he does have a history of injuries.

From 2005-2007, Wolf made a grand total of 43 starts because of various injuries.

However, Wolf seems to be getting better with age and he was never a power pitcher to begin with. He really doesn’t have to adjust his style of pitching to compensate for his age.

I still think the Brewers need another pitcher to really be a factor in the National League, but landing Wolf is a good start.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

St. Louis Cardinals Add Brad Penny To Rotation

December 8, 2009

In my free agent primer, I wrote that Brad Penny and Randy Wolf had to stay in the National League in order to be successful.

Yesterday, one of those pitchers followed my advice.

Yesterday, the St. Louis Cardinals signed RHP Brad Penny to a one-year, $7.5 deal that includes another $1.5 million in incentives. With the Penny signing, the Joel Pineiro era officially comes to an end in St. Louis.

Penny signed with the Cardinals

Just like with Pineiro and Jeff Suppan, this is a classic Dave Duncan reclamation project in St. Louis. I actually like this move for the Cardinals.

As we saw last year with the Boston Red Sox, Penny couldn’t pitch in the American League. Penny had his moments in a Red Sox uniform like the six inning, six hits, no runs performance against the New York Yankees in April, but for the most part, Penny was terrible.

Once he went to the San Francisco Giants and to the National League, Penny starting pitching like it was 2007 all over again. With the Giants he posted a 2.59 ERA in 41 innings.

Pitching in Triple-A, I mean the National League will help any pitcher.

Here is what I see happening for Penny in 2010. He won’t strike out many batters , he will pitch to contact, and be very successful with the Cardinals.

I could easily see him going 15-9 with a 3.75 ERA and pitching around 180 innings. Of course, then he sign a three-year, $35 million contract at the end of the 2010 season and go 8-13 with a 4.90 ERA in 2011.

But for this year and $7.5 million this is a good deal for both Penny and the Cardinals.

Penny is 105-84 with a 4.14 ERA in 10 seasons pitching for the Florida Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, Red Sox, and Giants.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg