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Los Angeles Dodgers, Page 2

20 Days of Thinking Blue: Who is the pre-season offensive MVP?

The countdown has begun, kids. Opening Night (well, American Opening Night) is fast approaching as the Dodgers take on the Padres down in San Diego on March 30th. Leading up until then, MAMBINO will tackle 20 of the most important–and some not so important–questions that will get you set up for a season of almost unparalleled expectations. Let’s get it going:
 
Who will be the team’s offensive MVP this year?
 
An interesting question, considering my stance on the team’s offense overall. If for no other reason besides lack of variables, it’s most likely going to be Adrian Gonzalez.
 
The contenders of course will be the returning Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig and of course, Hanley Ramirez. But with each of them, there are massive questions, each of which we’ve more or less covered in depth in our 20 Days of Thinking Blue preview:… Read more...

20 Days of Thinking Blue: Early returns on the offseason’s best move

The countdown has begun, kids. Opening Night (well, American Opening Night) is fast approaching as the Dodgers take on the Padres down in San Diego on March 30th. Leading up until then, MAMBINO will tackle 20 of the most important–and some not so important–questions that will get you set up for a season of almost unparalleled expectations. Let’s get it going:
 
What’s an early season candidate for the front office’s best offseason move?
 
Right now, it’s got to be to fortifying the bullpen with former closers and power arms.
 
At the disappointing end to the 2013 season, LA’s ‘pen was extremely formidible. With all-world closer Kenley Jansen holding down the ninth inning, former All-Star Brian Wilson, J.P. Howell and Ronald Belasario helped to create a very good relief corps. The game was essentially just 7 innings long, with a future that was almost nearly as promising. Youngsters Paco Rodriguez (who admittedly struggled down the stretch) and Chris Withrow looked to be long-time future fixtures of the bullpen with breakout seasons in 2013. Combined with Jansen and young flamethrower Jose Dominguez, LA’s relievers looked very solid going into 2014.
 
But what GM Ned Colletti did was not take the future for granted, and instead bought his young arms more time to fail.… Read more...

20 Days of Thinking Blue: Early returns on the offseason’s biggest blunder

The countdown has begun, kids. Opening Night (well, American Opening Night) is fast approaching as the Dodgers take on the Padres down in San Diego on March 30th. Leading up until then, MAMBINO will tackle 20 of the most important–and some not so important–questions that will get you set up for a season of almost unparalleled expectations. Let’s get it going:
 
What’s an early season candidate for the front office’s biggest offseason blunder?
 
Without question, turning down Mark Ellis’s $5 million dollar option looks like a staggeringly bad move by the organization’s head decision makers.
 
As I’ve written this spring, the second baseman’s lack of production has led to a domino effect of disaster for the Dodgers. Perhaps in anticipation that Cuban import Alexander Guerrero would be Major League-ready, LA turned down Ellis’s option for the season. Instead, the Dodgers found that Guerrero was not at all prepared to man second, leaving potential utility player Justin Turner as the starter. This wouldn’t be such a problem if the team had anyone else to take hold of that utility spot. Instead, Dee Gordon and Chone Figgins–both who may not belong in the Majors at this point–are going to be the back-ups around the diamond.… Read more...

20 Days of Thinking Blue: The strangely disheartening effect of Paperless Tickets

The countdown has begun, kids. Opening Night (well, American Opening Night) is fast approaching as the Dodgers take on the Padres down in San Diego on March 30th. Leading up until then, MAMBINO will tackle 20 of the most important–and some not so important–questions that will get you set up for a season of almost unparalleled expectations. Let’s get it going:
 
Does anyone else think the move to paperless tickets ONLY is a disastrous one?
 
(An answer from our friend Jack Stonetree in his MAMBINO debut post!)
 
It’s 2014. We’re at the point with our technology where I can literally do everything from home. I can work, shop, “see” friends, and stay completely connected to everything on the outside. This is good for a hermit crab such as myself. However, allow me to vent to the lovely MAMBINO readers about one technological advancement that has been thrust upon Dodger fans without our consent.
 
Paperless tickets.
 
Now you might say, “dude, what’s the big deal? Of course there should be paperless tickets for Dodger games. Save some trees bro, get with the times.” Okay dude, just put down the bubbler for a second and listen to me. This season, the Dodger front office has decided to make a mandatory switch to paperless tickets. The fans were not given a choice… you do not even have an option to use paper tickets. I’m not taking issue with the move to paperless… I’m taking issue with the mandatory nature of it.… Read more...

20 Days of Thinking Blue: How concerned should we be about Yasiel Puig?

The countdown has begun, kids. Opening Night (well, American Opening Night) is fast approaching as the Dodgers take on the Padres down in San Diego on March 30th. Leading up until then, MAMBINO will tackle 20 of the most important–and some not so important–questions that will get you set up for a season of almost unparalleled expectations. Let’s get it going:
 
Puig is fat right now. Concerned?
 
I’m not overly concerned that the Rookie of the Year runner-up landed in Spring Training 15-20 pounds overweight. He’s 23 years old. 15 pounds can come off of him in a few days of hard workouts and gluten-free meals.
 
What does worry me is… everything else. As per usual.
 
Puig started off… well, you know. In his first month of Major League service, he hit .436 with 7 homers. He “tapered off” from July to August, hitting .305, with a .858 OPS. His September? Not as great. Puig hit just .214 (but still maintaining his power at .477 slugging) and looked noticeably overmatched on many nights. His troubles extended to this spring, when he notoriously hit just .122 while, yes, looking out of shape for the first weeks of training camp.
 
And even as bad as his batting average has been for the past month in exhibition play, Puig’s troubles seem to have extended past just the percentage of at-bats he’s gotten hits. In Mark Saxon’s recent article for ESPNLA, he details how the young superstar in waiting has gotten on the nerves of his veteran teammates, screwing around in practice and generally acting like a butthole. None of this information is particularly out of line with his past behavior, as Don Mattingly benched him last season for lackadaisical play in the field.… Read more...

20 Days of Thinking Blue: How Much Does Matt Kemp Have Left?

The countdown has begun, kids. Opening Night (well, American Opening Night) is fast approaching as the Dodgers take on the Padres down in San Diego on March 30th. Leading up until then, MAMBINO will tackle 20 of the most important–and some not so important–questions that will get you set up for a season of almost unparalleled expectations. Let’s get it going:
 
Will Matt Kemp ever run again?
 
Well, he’ll run. He ran the other day when he played outfield in an intra-squad game. But if you’re asking if he’ll run well during a Major League game ever again? He will. At what level, I’m not sure.
 
Matt Kemp is part of an outfield quagmire that we’ve covered a couple times on 20 Days of Thinking Blue. He’s the biggest reason why Andre Ethier isn’t on the trade market and why Joc Pederson is just one injury away from being called up to the big show. It’s a situation largely of Kemp’s own doing, as a shoulder injury (from running into a fence in Colorado) and severe ankle sprain (from a lazy slide into home plate in Washington) have left him a shell of the MVP-caliber player he once was.
 
The problem isn’t recovering from those injuries, as hard as it is to believe. He’s still just 29 years old, and given enough time, should heal up from several surgeries. The problem is that he nature of his skill set is going to be severely compromised from the nature of his injuries.… Read more...

20 Days of Thinking Blue: Paul Maholm’s Role

The countdown has begun, kids. Opening Night (well, American Opening Night) is fast approaching as the Dodgers take on the Padres down in San Diego on March 30th. Leading up until then, MAMBINO will tackle 20 of the most important–and some not so important–questions that will get you set up for a season of almost unparalleled expectations. Let’s get it going:

Is Paul Maholm going to be on the roster?

In short, yes.

Maholm is a proven arm. He can eat up a bunch of innings (he’s almost thrown 200 IP in each of his 6 full big league seasons). He also is signed to a major league deal worth $1.5 million with a possible $5.5 million in appearance incentives. The Dodgers signed Maholm with the intention of having him as a workhorse. He doesn’t have an abundance of experience out of the bullpen, but he has signaled his willingness to pitch at any time for a contender like the Dodgers.

The question remains, what are the Dodgers going to do if they have so many arms?… Read more...

20 Days of Thinking Blue: How Bad Do the Dodgers Need Chad Billingsley?

The countdown has begun, kids. Opening Night (well, American Opening Night) is fast approaching as the Dodgers take on the Padres down in San Diego on March 30th. Leading up until then, MAMBINO will tackle 20 of the most important–and some not so important–questions that will get you set up for a season of almost unparalleled expectations. Let’s get it going:
 
Chad Billingsley says he feels like a new pitcher…is that a load of crap?
 
Hopefully it’s not. Because the Dodgers may need him.
 
Last season, the team went into the regular season with 8 starting pitchers: Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano. All winter, fans and critics noted how great it was to have a surplus of arms and that the team should be able to fill some internal needs by trading one, two or even three pitchers. It was a great situation to be in, even though Ned Colletti still stated his discomfort. With good cause, it turns out.
 
Harang was soon dealt to the Colorado Rockies for back-up catcher Ramon Hernandez (who was cut just weeks later). Lilly was already shelved with shoulder issues that would soon end his career. Greinke was hurt a couple weeks into the regular season when he thought he’d participate in an in-game football hitting drill with San Diego outfielder Carlos Quentin. Zack missed over a month with a broken collar bone. Beckett was ineffective before he had the radical surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome–a procedure in which a rib is removed to alleviate pressure on a clump of nerves in the chest. Capuano too was dogged with a calf strain and other injuries throughout the year and Billingsley only lasted two starts before the team realized that his partially torn UCL would need Tommy John surgery.… Read more...

20 Days of Thinking Blue: Utility Problems

The countdown has begun, kids. Opening Night (well, American Opening Night) is fast approaching as the Dodgers take on the Padres down in San Diego on March 30th. Leading up until then, MAMBINO will tackle 20 of the most important–and some not so important–questions that will get you set up for a season of almost unparalleled expectations. Let’s get it going:

At times last year, it felt like the Dodgers had too many utility guys. Nick Punto, Jerry Hairston, Jr., Skip Schumaker and Michael Young all had multi-positional versatility. They’re all gone. Who’s going to emerge for LA as their go-to guy?

It’s past mid-March and… I have no idea.

Every single one of those guys are gone. Punto and Schumaker bailed for more money in Oakland and Cincinnati, respectively. Hairston and Young both retired after very fruitful careers. A utility man had to be on GM Ned Colletti’s winter shopping list and yet, here we are in Spring Training with no clear guy.

The candidates are Justin Turner, Chone Figgins, Clint Robinson, Miguel Rojas and Brendan Harris, each of whom are deeply flawed players in their own ways.… Read more...

20 Days of Thinking Blue: Third Base Depth at a Premium

The countdown has begun, kids. Opening Night (well, American Opening Night) is fast approaching as the Dodgers take on the Padres down in San Diego on March 30th. Leading up until then, MAMBINO will tackle 20 of the most important–and some not so important–questions that will get you set up for a season of almost unparalleled expectations. Let’s get it going:
 
Is anyone else worried about the lack of depth at third base? Uribe and then…?
 
In a word, yes. Very.
 
Juan Uribe was more or less the Dodgers’ only option this offseason at the hot corner, as scary as that sounds. Faced with no other alternatives besides Michael Young (who decided to retire after the Dodgers signed Uribe, giving you an idea of where he was skill-wise) and giving up a ransom in prospects for players like Chase Headley, LA re-signed their incumbent three-bagger to a two year, $15 million dollar deal. To a fan with any long-term memory beyond the 2013 season, it’s damn near unfathomable to believe that Uribe was at all a palatable signing. Before this past year in which he redeemed himself with fantastic defense and a very serviceable .769 OPS, Juan had been one of the worst everyday players in baseball. In the first two seasons of his three-year, $21 million dollar contract, he only played in 143 games combined, batting .199 with a .552 OPS and just 6 homers. He was benched for long periods because of his complete ineffectiveness, perhaps as a mere salve to get the fans to stop booing him. Out of sight, out of mind, right?… Read more...