Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Dodgers Lack of Major Acquisition May Damn Them, Possibly, Perhaps

Tim Brown takes that fence and not only straddles it, but wedges it so far up that it threatens to eviscerate him altogether, in his latest piece, "Dodgers remain a pitcher short." Believe me, the headline takes much more of a position than the wishy-washy article:

LOS ANGELES – So the general manager with a few months left on his contract, who could have spent a few players nobody would have missed for years, opted for long-term good, as he saw it.

So now what for the Dodgers?

“I guess we’re going to find out,” Ned Colletti said.

In reading this article, in which Brown goes through the organization and asks different people how they feel about the lack of a major acquisition, I found myself imagining Brown trying in vain to incite a violent response, and getting nothing for his efforts.

Dodger pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, for example, is furious that we didn't pick up Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay. Just listen to him:

“My job,” Rick Honeycutt said, “if this is what we have, then this is what we go with. I believe in these guys.”

Hmm. Well, what about Dodger catcher Russell Martin? Surely, he's gotta be pissed off that he has to deal with a bunch of young and inexperienced arms rather than a proven ace:

“It doesn’t matter if you’ve won a Cy Young,” Russell Martin said. “You’ve still got to make a pitch when you need to. We can do that. Right now we have a young pitching staff. They just don’t have a lot on their résumés.”

And Joe Torre? He's beside himself when describing the risks put upon the shoulders of his young pitching staff:

“It could happen,” Joe Torre said. “It’s going to have to. They’re going to have to live up to their capabilities.”

(I also had to laugh when reading the Torre quote, as it's unclear what Joe is talking about in the first place. he could be talking about Bills and Kershaw. Or he could be talking about Honeycutt and Dodger first base coach Mariano Duncan. Or he could be talking about Nancy Bea Hefley and the peanut guy in the Loge section. Or he could be talking about SoSG Lasorda and Pedro Guerrero.)

Yep, the Dodgers needed an arm, but didn't get one, so it's obvious they must be in trouble, right?

After a lot of mid-summer commotion, the Dodgers are who they are. They are a pitching staff that could be bound for collapse, that won’t have enough reinforcements to cover for a rotation that gets an average of 17 outs a game, two fewer than the best in the league. [...] They’re also the staff with the best WHIP in the league, and the lowest batting average against, and a bullpen that isn’t dead yet, though they run through elbows like nobody’s business.

Well, if it doesn't work out for the Dodgers this year, you can't say that Tim Brown didn't tell you so. Sort of. Possibly.


Ken said...

I wanted them to get a good bullpen arm and they did. But from what the other contenders did, I felt like they needed one more big trade to put them over the top. However, if Bills and Kershaw both start going insanely good in October, we won't have to worry about it.


Mr. LA Sports Fan said...

Everyone's written off the Dodgers as ace-less. What if they get Bronson Arroyo off waivers?

Eh? Eh? Nothing? Okay, nevermind.

Hong Like a Chih Kuo said...

Adding Arroyo makes the team worse. I'll take Schmidt and his huge bat over Arroyo and his huge hair.

Did Eric Stultz drop off the face of the Earth?

Fred's Brim said...

what's the difference between this year and last year? A year of experience on Clayton and Chadley, plus a decent pitching Randy Wolf (*knocks on wood*), but no Lowe and Penny. I liked Lowe but Penny killed whatever Lowe brought to the table. If we are worse than we were last year, it isn't by much. I think the starters will steady their recent wobbles as we get to September and will be in good shape for the stretch

Hong Like a Chih Kuo said...

Its this Hong's opinion that Sherrill wasn't enough. I've been banging the "we need a pitcher" drum for a good long while. That bullpen better lock it down for the rest of the year, because we're going to be seeing even more innings from them down the stretch. Manny better get back on track, and by on track I mean hit .400 and average an RBI per game like he did last year.

Steve Sax said...

Hey Ken,
Glad to have you around here and everything, but please mellow out a bit on the blog promoting. Doing this on every single one of your comments is a little excessive. Thanks--SoSG Sax

Ken said...

@ Hong

Do we need need a starting arm? I was kinda mad we didn't get Victor from the Indians. We would have needed the power from 1B, sorry Loney, but this team doesn't need more singles, we need some power to back up the base hits and walks.

Hong Like a Chih Kuo said...

I think that starting pitching was more important to this team than another bat. I'm not so sure that I would have sold the farm for Halladay, but I think that when you look at the offer the Phillies made Cleveland, Coletti could have come up with something enticing to land Lee.

Sure, it would have been a nice addition with V-Mart, but I think Loney is capable enough (just stop grounding out so much!).

Mr. LA Sports Fan said...

Let's wait and see what happens with waiver deals. The Dodgers can still get another starter or a reliever, though it just won't be close to the caliber of Halladay or Lee.

Steve Sax said...

I like Loney. And I'm sure you saw his two-RBI ground rule double last night.

Josh S. said...

"Dodgers remain a pitcher short."

At least they don't remain a short pitcher.

fanerman said...

Randy Wolf chat time is coming soon. Get your Star Wars questions ready!

Josh S. said...

I don't know why I keep going into these Dodgers chats expecting them to be good.

For the record, I asked him if he used the Jedi mind trick on Ubaldo Jimenez to get him to balk. They did not choose my question.

Mr. LA Sports Fan said...

Josh, I don't know how the bible question was more interesting than that. Wolf should hang his head in shame.

Hong Like a Chih Kuo said...

"What do you think of Twitter?"


karina said...

Agree with Sax. It's surprising so many fans dislike Loney. What good use has power when it's not translated in RBIs?. Might be a singles hitter, but he's very opportune when he has runners on base. He's rarely on a slump, he's consistent , someone you can rely on when other players are not performing well. He also looks like a team player, which is very underrated in professional baseball nowadays.

He's also a solid defender (no matter what some people and sabermetrics say) who can perform extraordinary plays, hints he hasn't reached his full potential yet. Besides, he's home grown, it gives him some love and respect for the uniform he's wearing (ask Victor Martinez about leaving the Indians)

For all those reasons, he's called King James

karina said...

Remember last year when everyone wanted Coletti to keep the young core of the club?. He did and now, we all are seeing the results.

Without any doubt, this is the best talented Dodgers team in years and we could be confident this team will achieve a lot this season. I sense a lot of cynicism now, when the team is having a rough time, isn't it normal for a 162 game season to slow down a little bit? this is a job like any other one and it's human not to achieve %100 every day.

Steve Sax said...

@ Mr LA SF 2:39: I had to check out your reference:

godslove: do you own a Bible Randy?

Randy Wolf: No...but every hotel I've ever been in has one!

Way to filter only the best questions, mlb.com. I also was dying to know what he thinks of twitter, where he eats in canoga park, and whether he watches entourage. Oh, and what he thinks of Barack Obama's performance to date.

I feel bad for Randy. Today's chat had to be worse than any ND outing.

Orel said...

Karina with the passionate defense of James Loney. Love it.

Ken said...

Time will tell when this team needs to get 3 singles to get one run. Try doing that off an elite pitcher, and that task gets even harder.

It is good to have average hitters if you have power or slugging to back it up. You can't expect to play small ball all the time. This isn't the 80s or early 90s. Some ball won't win you a World Series.

I always have seen 1st base as a power hitter's position. I am not too inclined to get a Olerud, Grace, or a JT Snow unless I have some sluggers. When your team has a power difficiency, it is hard to overcome it in the playoffs.

Hong Like a Chih Kuo said...

I'm not LoneyFan, but I try not to hate on the Dodgers in general. Ken is right though, first basemen typically get paid to hit for power. Look around the league and you'll see that a player like Loney is not the norm. With his lack of power and 43% ground ball rate, he'd have to hit way better than .290 to be considered a top tier 1B. He does make good plays, but first base is the least demanding defensive position on the baseball diamond. If you run to his RBI totals, which are pretty nice considering his lack of power, I'd give more credit to the guys in front of Loney getting on base and being aggressive baserunners (Furcal, Pierre, Hudson, Ethier, etc). He's a good guy, and the fans like him, but we all loved Paul Lo Duca at one point too.

I'm hoping Loney can find some muscle and lift the ball a little more. Here's to hope.

karina said...

@Ken: small ball was a factor for the White Sox, an American League team, to win a World Series. You could argue that team hit a lot of HRs that season, but the "small ball" or "Ozzieball" or "Caribbean baseball", whatever you want to call it, gave them an edge.

As entertaining power is, truth is baseball games are way more fun when strategy and tactics are involved, at least in my very humble (and girlish if you want to touch that subject)opinion, because i love the sport this much because it makes me think a lot.

The only thing i really regret about the so-called "Steroids Era" is people got tired or bored of the concept of "manufacturing a run"

karina said...

@HLACK "getting on base and being aggressive baserunners "

Numbers are nice, but the fact Loney hits a single in the precise moment to drive his teammate to home plate, very often, in a sport where you are remarkable when you hit the ball 3 of 10 times, reveals a favorable trait that is beyond measure.

Case in point: Last night, a single by Manny (one of the greatest hitters of all time) could have tied or won the game.

Accuse me of a Joe Morgan like reasoning, but i guess appreciate contact and consistency a lot, i'll rather take a James Loney than a Adam Dunn. I do think Loney will get better with time, maybe his so called of power is due to an old injury wrist.

karina said...

@Orel: i'm afraid people will stop talking to me :(

Ken said...

@ Karina

yes that was a very good power hitting team. their 1st baseman, Paul Konerko, hit 40. there was only one man in their postseason starting lineup who didn't hit 10 or more homers that season.

small ball doesnt always win it. you can argue that the phillies last year didnt use any small ball and crushed everyone the played.

also, i am not bored of manufacturing runs. i love manufacturing runs. but that is actually harder than it seems. this dodgers team would sometimes get 2 men on with less than 1 out and fail to score. i have seen it on dozens and dozens of occasions. now, you might say that doesn't matter because we are winning. but what separate a playoff team from a world series team is executing on moving runners over, hitting sac flies, and stealing bases. i am a dodgers fan, and i worry more about manufacturing rallies against a Josh Beckett, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain because you are lucky to get 2 hits off them in a particular inning.

I hope you understand where I am coming from. The 80s baseball of manufacturing runs every game is over.

Ken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken said...

@ karina

i commend you on your defense of loney, but could you ask him to stop GIDP or at least run a lil faster?