MLB.com: New year to bring changes on, off field in LA

Discussion in 'Los Angeles DODGERS' started by irish, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. irish

    irish DSP Staff Member Administrator

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    New year to bring changes on, off field in LA
    By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com | 12/30/11 12:59 PM EST

    LOS ANGELES -- Despite a flurry of roster moves after the 2011 season, you can't help but think the big moves are still ahead for a Dodgers team ready to escape bankruptcy drama.

    The starting rotation has been bolstered by the addition of Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano to offset the loss of Hiroki Kuroda, and Mark Ellis arrives at second base.

    The second-half offensive improvement after the bargain addition of RBI machine Juan Rivera has convinced management that jumping a few slots in the standings is doable, especially after watching Arizona go from worst to first. There was no big-bat addition of Prince Fielder -- at least not yet. Who knows what changes a new owner could make possible? Even though the magnitude of winter changes was muted, there is excitement about the improvements that should soon be possible.

    1. Who will be the next owner?
    Magic Johnson/Stan Kasten? Dennis Gilbert? Peter O'Malley? Mark Cuban? Ron Burkle? Rick Caruso/Alan Casden? Tom Golisano? Steve Garvey/Orel Hershiser? Time-Warner? FOX Sports? And those are just the potential bidders we know about. There are more than 1,000 billionaires in the world, so the pool of candidates is quite a bit larger than the most-often mentioned names. As long as the lawyers don't get in the way, the answer could come by the end of April. So if the Dodgers can stay afloat with their pieced-together roster, there should be plenty of financial resources for mid-season reinforcements.​

    2. If Prince Fielder is still available in January, will the Dodgers find the money to sign him?
    From all indications, the Dodgers haven't been in on Fielder, although it's a pretty easy case to make that they should be. Whatever contract they would give him, the bulk of it would be paid by the next owner. He is the one player on the market who could sell tickets, and anybody who visited Dodger Stadium last September knows how badly that's needed. And what pitcher would want to face Andre Ethier/Matt Kemp/Fielder back-to-back-to-back? The Dodgers waited out Manny Ramirez three winters ago. Who's to say it won't happen again?​

    3. Which Juan Uribe shows up?
    After signing a three-year, $21 million to provide a professional presence in the lineup, Uribe never looked the part. He struggled offensively and couldn't stay healthy. That doughboy body, which never prevented him from being a clutch run producer in the past, broke down. General manager Ned Colletti met up with Uribe in the Dominican Republic recently and Uribe insisted he'll be ready to redeem himself come Spring Training. The Dodgers are counting on him at third base, where they hope there will be fewer physical demands than at second base.​

    4. Which James Loney shows up?
    Even before his bizarre game of bumper cars, Loney was a roll of the dice. The Dodgers can only hope he repeats a jaw-dropping second half of 2011 comeback and not the disaster he encountered from the middle of 2010 to the middle of 2011. The problem is, nobody's adequately explained what went wrong or what's changed, including Loney. In a strange way, Loney's resurgence might have prevented a run at Fielder. Without it, Loney likely would have been a non-tender with his $6 million salary redirected.​

    5. Can Clayton Kershaw and Kemp do it again?
    They are the faces of the franchise, the defending National League Cy Young winner and the MVP that arguably should have been. It's likely they haven't reached their ceiling and 2012 will be a good year to prove that. Kershaw can continue to live up to the comparisons to Sandy Koufax, while Kemp is already being paid like one of the rare talents in the game. Both showed leadership skills as well in 2011, an impressive trait considering that the team's journey was a rocky one.​

    6. Will Javy Guerra and Kenley Jansen repeat their rookie bullpen success?
    Jonathan Broxton is gone and even if Hong-Chih Kuo returns, not much will be expected from him. The baton has been passed to Guerra and Jansen, either of which could emerge as the closer. Guerra has more pitching savvy and ninth-inning experience having taken over for Broxton in 2011, while Jansen has the stuff to have already become a record-breaking strikeout machine. In the Minor Leagues, Shawn Tolleson could be right behind them.​

    7. Can Dee Gordon repeat his September for a full season?
    He still can't fill out his uniform, but the replacement to Rafael Furcal as shortstop and leadoff hitter showed the aptitude that often comes with big-league bloodlines. Tom Gordon's son hit .372 with 12 stolen bases and 21 runs in September alone. He can be spectacular on defense, but also erratic on routine plays and he'll need to learn to take a walk if he's ever going to have the on-base percentage expected from a leadoff hitter. That said, he also could steal 100 bases and score 100 runs.​

    8. Will Andre Ethier stay healthy?
    Ethier played with a healing broken finger in 2010 and a knee that needed surgery in 2011 and posted decent numbers, but he was a star when healthy in 2009. The Dodgers need a return to that clutch, dangerous hitter in 2012, as does Ethier, who will be eligible for free agency and seems to be looking forward to it. He's still in his prime with motivation off the charts, all signs that Kemp could have competition for MVP from a teammate.​

    9. Can Chad Billingsley regain his All-Star form?
    Billingsley's problem is expectations. He's won in double-digits each of the past five seasons, yet is considered by many an inconsistent underachiever. He's durable enough to average 195 innings the last four seasons, but the Dodgers need more and he has shown it in stretches. Manager Don Mattingly has asked Billingsley to "step up" and be more like Kershaw and less like a .500 pitcher.​

    10. Now that A.J. Ellis gets his chance, will he make the most of it?
    Ellis has never had more than 128 plate appearances in a big league season, but the starting catching job is his to lose and Mattingly said if Ellis' defense is as good as he's already shown, the club will take whatever offense comes with it. The pitchers love him as a receiver and he has a sharp eye at the plate that translates into a lot of walks. Matt Treanor was brought in exclusively as a backup, not to compete with Ellis. The heir apparent actually is Tim Federowicz, who is expected to open the season at Triple-A.​

    Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
     
  2. blueplatespecial

    blueplatespecial DSP Legend

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    I like the optimism for Prince Fielder. It's really the only rational chess move against the AHoles.
     
  3. irish

    irish DSP Staff Member Administrator

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    ^ agreed, he could really change the meat of the order
     
  4. BigDaddyKaine

    BigDaddyKaine DSP Legend

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    Prince n Kemp back to back.
    WOW!
    If only it would happen.
     
  5. irish

    irish DSP Staff Member Administrator

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    ^
    yeah
    think dre would see any fastballs
    if those two were hitting behind him
     
  6. THINKBLUE

    THINKBLUE DSP Gigolo

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    SS Gordon
    2B Ellis
    CF Kemp
    1B Fielder
    RF Ethier *Contract year
    LF Loney/Rivera
    3B Uribe
    C AJ Ellis

    Not horrible. But not crazy about the Uribe, Gordon, Ellis foundation... but still division champ worthy.
     
  7. blueplatespecial

    blueplatespecial DSP Legend

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    And Prince Fielder would be bring the fans back to DS.
     
  8. THINKBLUE

    THINKBLUE DSP Gigolo

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    The empty seats were good for getting Frank out, but those empty seats are also ugly and embarrassing. Watching or being in a packed stadium is what it is all about. I am done with yellow seats glowing in the night.
     
  9. irish

    irish DSP Staff Member Administrator

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    not to mention the pressure it would take off guys like uribe, loney and others
     
  10. Dodgers99

    Dodgers99 DSP Legend

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    Not getting my hopes up, but if he is still available a week after the auction closes for initial bids on 1/13, at which point their should be a winner, it just might happen.
     
  11. irish

    irish DSP Staff Member Administrator

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    stranger things have happened
     
  12. blueplatespecial

    blueplatespecial DSP Legend

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    It's possible Boras is holding out for new Dodger owners. Not much of a market out there for a 1Bman seeking a superstar contract.
     
  13. Dodgers99

    Dodgers99 DSP Legend

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    Exactly.

    At this point, nobody is willing to commit 8/190+. So rather than take a 4 year (or less) deal at 25 per, they'll likely wait for the auction to end around 1/20, and try to get the Dodgers in on it. Negotiating with the winners that are looking to make a splash through McCrook and back-loading the deal.
     
  14. Doughty8

    Doughty8 DSP Legend

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    He may just seek a 2 year deal and become a FA once again while still in his prime. I mean the teams being mentioned as front runners like the Mariners are hardly appealing. Some say if Darvish gets away from the Rangers that they could swoop in and sign him.
     
  15. THINKBLUE

    THINKBLUE DSP Gigolo

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    Boras already made it crystal clear that is out of the question.
     
  16. dodgers

    dodgers DSP Legend

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    Now that I think about it, it'd actually be a smart move for Boras to wait to see what's up with our new owners. He's always had an easy time getting ridiculous contracts out of the Dodgers. Damn. Here's to hoping.
     
  17. TuborgP

    TuborgP DSP Legend

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    Boras still has a number of clients not signed and that is typical of him. With luck we could pick up a couple. It is worth his while to wait and see what happens with us if no one will give him what he wants. If in the next week or so things for us start to become clearer and positive that will put pressure on other teams to ante up if they want him before we get in the game for real. If not then we may find ourselves with a gift from our new owners. One would think knowing his style that Boras has already talked to perspective owners to both try to influence and feel them out. Several have former agents or front office folks who have worked with Boras previously as part of their team. So Boras has a natural working relationship with most of the would be possible owners. Betcha Boras will have no problem finding out who is actually bidding for the team.
     
  18. rube

    rube DSP Legend Staff Member Administrator

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    so wait a second
    this is fishy
    which makes me think...
    the deal is essentially done
    boras doesnt wait on a hope and a prayer
    he must have already made verbal agreements with each of the groups who are angling to buy the team
    first move... massive contract for prince fielder
    and thats why boras is keeping him off the market so to speak
    move two?
    trade bills and guerra plus some minor league pitchers to the marlins for hanley ramirez
     
  19. THINKBLUE

    THINKBLUE DSP Gigolo

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    lol I wish.

    Move Dee to 2nd? Cuz Hanley wants to play SS.
     
  20. rube

    rube DSP Legend Staff Member Administrator

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    yup, let all the scrubs platoon at 3rd

    1. dee/de jesus/sellers
    2. hanley
    3. kemp
    4. fielder
    5. ethier
    6. sands/rivera
    7. ellis/uribe 3b
    8. fedor/aj
    9. pitcher
    i would have no problem going into the season with that lineup
     

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