NEWS/RUMORS/AROUND MLB Thread

Discussion in 'Los Angeles DODGERS' started by irish, Feb 15, 2017.

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  1. N.Z

    N.Z DSP Legend

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    Exzacklee what I was thinking.
     
  2. Bluezoo

    Bluezoo Among the Pantheon

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    I liked Zack Wheat.
     
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  3. irish

    irish DSP Staff Member Administrator

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  4. Fall Winslow

    Fall Winslow McRib

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    Need this about as much as anything concerning the offense.
    Yasmani already has a near .400 OBP VS LHP since joining LAD..if he's more comfy swinging the bat from that side at this point he could be moved up in the order, just basically swap he and JT at least until JT proves he's over his struggles VS LHP




    Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal hones right-handed hitting skills in off-season

    Andy McCullough
    February 19, 2017


    In late October, days after the Dodgers crashed out of the playoffs, Manager Dave Roberts called Yasmani Grandal. The organization had spent the last two seasons transitioning Grandal from a platoon player to a full-time performer. As he pondered the blueprint of a World Series run in 2017, Roberts hoped Grandal could bridge the final step of that progression in the off-season.

    A switch-hitter gifted with immense power and a keen eye, Grandal profiles as an exemplary modern backstop. Yet, his discomfort as a right-handed hitter often forced him to the bench against left-handed pitchers, a reality that both player and manager want to avoid this season. When they discussed the off-season, they agreed on what Grandal needed to accomplish before reporting to Camelback Ranch this spring.

    “That was obviously a glaring flaw,” Roberts said. “For us to be great, for him to be great, I don’t want to have to sit him against left-handed pitching.”

    No catcher in baseball hit more home runs in 2016 than Grandal’s 27. He ranked fourth on the Dodgers with an .816 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. He led the team in walks. Yet, the bulk of his production stemmed from only one side of the plate: Grandal hit 23 home runs as left-handed hitter, and had 102 more slugging points.

    The Dodgers recognized the deficiency. In August, the team acquired veteran catcher Carlos Ruiz to face left-handed pitchers in Grandal’s place. By jettisoning Ruiz a few months later, the club displayed confidence in Grandal’s ability to handle an expanded offensive role.

    The challenge intrigued Grandal, who does not, his teammates and coaches say, lack confidence in his ability. He shed some bulk on a team-recommended, plant-based diet. Twice a week he met with former Dodgers hitting coach Jeff Pentland to polish his right-handed swing, and this spring he has already displayed “better leverage in his lower half, and a well-balanced plane for his swing,” hitting coach Turner Ward said.

    “We made everything so simple and easy, to fix everything we thought we needed to fix,” Grandal said.

    Grandal learned to switch-hit as a teenager in Miami Springs High in Florida. He had dabbled from both sides of the plate as a child, but chose the left-handed approach “because that’s where I had the most power,” he said. Eventually he grew tired of the talented left-handed pitchers in Miami picking him apart. Gio Gonzalez, the future major leaguer, was particularly vexing.

    “He was throwing . . . whatever, I don’t want to talk about him,” Grandal said. “It was a little unfair at the time. I didn’t like it.”

    In high school and later at the University of Miami, Grandal treated his summers as a workshop for his right-handed swing. But a switch-hitter often develops a split personality, explained Ward, a switch-hitter himself.

    “You’re two different people, almost,” he said.

    For Grandal, the difference was easy to discern. From the left, he supplied power. From the right, he practiced patience. The split became sizable in 2016, when Grandal’s on-base percentage as a right-handed hitter (.385) nearly surpassed his slugging percentage (.395). Grandal was like many members of the 2016 Dodgers: He struggled to do damage against left-handed pitchers.

    “Lefties were our nemesis,” Ward said. “That’s no secret.”

    The Dodgers appreciated his ability to take a walk, but his lack of foot speed and dormant strength offered room to grow. Aware of Grandal’s zeal for improvement, Roberts wanted to connect him with a hitting instructor living nearby in Arizona. On the recommendation of Andre Ethier, Roberts considered reaching out to Pentland.

    Roberts pitched the idea to Ward and to Andrew Friedman, the president of baseball operations. Because Ward lives in Alabama during the off-season, it made sense to put an experienced set of eyes on Grandal’s progress. Pentland coordinated with Ward, and talked with Grandal on the phone. The two agreed to meet at a cage near Grandal’s home in Peoria. A three-hour conversation established a base for the relationship.

    After a lengthy stint at Arizona State, Pentland coached with the Chicago Cubs, the Seattle Mariners and the Kansas City Royals before joining the Dodgers in 2008. He was fired amid the misery of 2011, but maintains a strong reputation around the sport. He commuted from Tempe to work with Grandal.

    Pentland believes a hitter should emphasize his strengths rather than try to compensate for his weaknesses. Grandal can provide brute force, and his arms are short enough to create a compact swing, Pentland said. He preached to Grandal about finding balance, reducing the amount of body movement in his swing and focusing on “how to maneuver the hands and arms to square up baseballs,” he said.

    Grandal insisted that his philosophy was not dependent on where he was standing at the plate, as “my approach is always to attack,” he said. But Pentland felt Grandal “had some doubt” about handling pitches on the inner half as a right-handed hitter. He encouraged Grandal to move closer to the plate to reach those pitches.

    As the weeks went by, they focused on efficiency. They debated strategies for situational hitting. Pentland gave Grandal DVDs of hitters like Ted Williams, Henry Aaron, Chipper Jones and Nolan Arenado to study what they had in common.

    “If you talk to Yaz, he wants to play in all 162 games,” Pentland said. “This guy has incredible desire. Very, very high standards for his performance. He’s the kind of guy you want on your ballclub.”

    Grandal will not play 162 games in 2017. His backup, Austin Barnes, is a right-handed hitter. But Roberts does not envision a platoon again this season. He envisions Grandal replicating his left-handed production from the other side of the plate.

    “His confidence right-handed,” Roberts said, “is through the roof right now.”
     
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  5. Bluezoo

    Bluezoo Among the Pantheon

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    Some of the greatest baseball names ever...Along with Zack.
    Just don't have names like this any more.
     
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  6. LASports96

    LASports96 DSP Legend

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    What dude? You're saying Joc would be sad if his teammate is better than him?
     
  7. Fall Winslow

    Fall Winslow McRib

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    Context clues..nothin more than a casual crack on Joc in response to irish's Jordan meme.
    Simply put, if Joc is sad that he didn't make the Top 100 list this time, he'll need another crying Jordan meme if the much younger Bellinger ends up making the Top 100 list before he does.
    And that's really it..can't help you if you're still lost at this point and it wouldn't matter either way
     
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  8. irish

    irish DSP Staff Member Administrator

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    that zach has a different gig...
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. irish

    irish DSP Staff Member Administrator

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    Kazmir looks to rebound in second season with Dodgers
    by Andy McCullough | Los Angeles Times — 6 hours ago

    Scott Kazmir signaled to catch the attention of Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. The rest of the pitchers were trudging a muddy path toward the clubhouse Sunday at Camelback Ranch. A gray sky threatened more rain, and Kazmir had already thrown live batting practice, but still he felt dissatisfied with his performance.

    Roberts called back catcher Austin Barnes. Honeycutt instructed Barnes to set up a few feet in front of the plate. Barnes set a target as Kazmir attempted to purge the deficiencies he had developed in desperation during his brief, unsatisfying career as a Dodger.

    For 10 minutes on the empty diamond, Kazmir threw. He murmured with his coaches in between pitches. The only exclamations came from his manager.

    “That’s the one!” Roberts yelled after Kazmir finished a pitch with particular precision.

    In his second season in Los Angeles, Kazmir does not exactly qualify as a reclamation project. At 33, he has been a productive pitcher in the majors for a decade. Only Kenta Maeda made more starts for the club last year. Kazmir won 10 games and made nine quality starts.

    Yet his performance in 2016 still undershot expectations. By August, a season’s worth of injuries compounded to the point where he could no longer rotate his neck to the plate before he threw. Left off the playoff roster, he finished with a 4.56 earned-run average, his worst since 2009.

    Despite a shallow market for free-agent pitchers this winter, Kazmir declined to opt out of the final two years and $32 million of his contract. He chose to enter a crowded field for one of the final two spots in the Dodgers rotation. Kazmir will compete against Brandon McCarthy, Julio Urias, Alex Wood, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brock Stewart and Ross Stripling.

    Given his resume and a lack of minor-league options, Kazmir appears a favorite to make the club. But he is not interested in replicating the woes of 2016. Which is why he spent the winter receiving acupuncture to recover his flexibility, and why he intends to spend the spring re-syncing his delivery.

    “He’s in as good a place as he’s been since he got here,” Roberts said.

    The Dodgers had signed Kazmir in the wake of Zack Greinke’s signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He had overcome a slew of mid-career injuries to post a 3.54 ERA in his previous three seasons. He had hoped that physical infirmity was behind him. It was not.

    The trouble started after his first start, a brisk, six-inning, one-hit gem against the San Diego Padres. In the days before his next outing, his left hip tightened up. The injury weakened his base when he threw, and he got pounded in his next three games.

    With his hip impaired, Kazmir scrambled. Unable to produce velocity with his legs, he compensated by using his right shoulder as a lever. He viewed the decision as necessary, but it proved devastating. The discomfort traveled from his hip to his lower back to the trapezius muscles to his neck. The journey took months, but it compromised his performance.

    “He had to end up using his upper body to pitch and got into some really bad habits,” Honeycutt said. “It was just a lot of negative things that happened, right up the body.”

    Kazmir lost track of the number of examinations on his neck and back. The images showed inflammation but could not identify the source of it. There was no structural damage. So he kept taking the ball.

    “Looking back on everything,” Kazmir said, “there was probably a lot of stuff that I would do differently, in hindsight.”

    As Kazmir searched for an answer, his performance suffered. And he chafed at the restraints placed upon him. In his last 17 starts, he logged fewer than 100 pitches on 14 occasions. He reached the seventh inning only three times. Kazmir described the team’s caution about letting starting pitchers face hitters on a third trip through the batting order as “crazy frustrating.”

    “But what are you going to do?” he said. “You’ve got to go out there and perform. That’s all you can really concentrate on.”

    On multiple occasions, he visited Roberts’ office after games seeking clarity about his usage. Roberts understood Kazmir’s gripes. He saw a pitcher dealing with physical ailments, mechanical mis-alignments and a bumpy schedule created by an onslaught of injuries to the starting rotation. He advised Kazmir to “control what you can control,” Roberts said.

    Kazmir’s body did not cooperate. The end was near Aug. 22 at Cincinnati, when Kazmir could not turn his head to the plate. His right shoulder was swollen and immobile. Sent to the disabled list, he saw his comeback short-circuited after he experienced back spasms in a one-inning outing Sept. 23. As the team entered the playoffs, Kazmir and McCarthy toiled through simulated games at Camelback Ranch up until the Dodgers were eliminated.

    For Kazmir, his issues lingered into the off-season. In January, one of his trainers at Dynamic Sports Training in Houston connected him with Casey Ho, a chiropractor who specializes in acupuncture and was part of the medical staff for the U.S. taekwondo team at the Rio Olympics. Ho noticed that Kazmir utilized his quadriceps more than his gluteus muscles, reducing the flexibility of his hips.

    Ho prescribed acupuncture and rounds of chiropractic adjustment. He talked to Kazmir about preventive exercises. The education opened Kazmir’s eyes. “He was just dumbfounded, really, because he didn’t know all those things worked together,” Ho said.

    At Camelback Ranch, Kazmir abides by the daily suggestions from Ho. A more intriguing challenge involves sharpening his delivery, rediscovering how he pitched before the maladies of 2016.

    And so Kazmir stood in the rain Sunday, Roberts and Honeycutt nearby. He threw until he felt content.

    “He’s been extremely diligent in a lot of areas that he was having some issues,” Honeycutt said. “It was a lot of things that he tried to battle through that just hindered him from being able to do what he wanted to do. Now he’s trying to get back to where he feels good, and he can do the things that he feels more comfortable doing.”
     
  10. fsudog21

    fsudog21 DSP Legend

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  11. fsudog21

    fsudog21 DSP Legend

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    double post
     
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  12. Fall Winslow

    Fall Winslow McRib

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    Puig needed some good ink right about now too because when Sean Casey rips you a new one you know you've done some fucking up.
    Casey is probably the happiest man alive, or at least that's the role he plays on MLBTV, and he let Puig have it just days after Millar did the same.
    Those are two guys who are very soft and cuddly on TV, so they must have heard enough.
    Old friend John Valentin was on yesterday and said Puig just cannot control the strike zone whatsoever, is too emotional, can't concentrate/focus for 9 innings let alone 5-6 days a week, thinks we'll look back at Puig 5yrs from now and ultimately call him a flash in the pan
     
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  13. 1988Blues

    1988Blues DSP Legend

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    He looks Great.....He had been working out. I hope he steps it up this year and be the player he is supposed to be.
     
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  14. Fall Winslow

    Fall Winslow McRib

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    Nats close to signing Matt Wieters to a 2yr deal
    They needed this because Derek Norris ain't it
     
  15. ColoradoKidWitGame

    ColoradoKidWitGame DSP Legend Administrator

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    Didn't realize he was dealing with injuries all year, but I'll admit that I'm a bit worried that he didn't identify the problem until January. Kinda wonder what he could have done with a full offseason to target the issue and strengthen his lower half a bit better. If by chance he is right, he'd be great for the 3 slot in the rotation. It sounds like Kazmir is a somewhat tireless worker and his career shows that he does have a knack for overcoming obstacles. His mechanics being out of whack also make sense for the first inning issues that followed him all season. Fingers crossed that he has fixed the issue that plagued him last year and he can go back to being the pitcher we signed him to be.
     
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  16. fsudog21

    fsudog21 DSP Legend

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    Casey was known as "The Mayor" because he got along with everyone. That he would lay into Puig says a lot. When did this occur?

    I'm with Valentin. I've always thought Puig's problems were between his ears.
     
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  17. Fall Winslow

    Fall Winslow McRib

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  18. ColoradoKidWitGame

    ColoradoKidWitGame DSP Legend Administrator

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    Funny I was getting on here to say just this. I believe that Puig does have some sort of learning disorder, whether it be adult ADHD or something else due to his inability to understand people's feelings/how to read a room. As someone that dealt with ADHD from childhood until early adulthood, it is not an easy thing to live with. I think it would be a good idea for Puig to sit down with a doctor and see if maybe he should get treatment for something, it sure got Crush on the right track and it would likely do the same for him.
     
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  19. rube

    rube DSP Legend Staff Member Administrator

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    Hispanics don't get adult ADHD.
    It is usually beaten out of you as a kid.
     
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  20. Bluezoo

    Bluezoo Among the Pantheon

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    I wonder what mental malfunction a guy like Lester falls under ?
    Or Sax back in the day?
    I don't think "yips" covers it.
     
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