MSTI’s 2010 in Review: Left Field

Would you believe that nine different players started a game in left field for the Dodgers in 2010? We’ve already discussed Jamey Carroll and Russ Mitchell in the infield/files/includes/,.css and you’ll see Trent Oeltjen in center field. Then/files/includes/,.css even though they had more starts in LF than anywhere else/files/includes/,.css I’m putting Reed Johnson and Xavier Paul with Andre Ethier in right field just to balance out these articles a bit. That still leaves four men here…

Manny Ramirez (C)
.311/.405/.510 .915 8hr 1.3 WAR

I feel like I wrote a pretty definitive review of Manny’s time in LA back in August/files/includes/,.css and as little as I want to write more about him/files/includes/,.css that’s about as much as you probably want to read more about him. So let’s just look at the 2010-only section of that piece:

Heading into 2010/files/includes/,.css expectations were high. The expected controversy over whether Manny would exercise his opt-out clause never came/files/includes/,.css as he quietly acknowledged he wouldn’t be passing up his guaranteed 2010 payday on November 6. With that out of the way/files/includes/,.css conditions were ripe for a comeback. Manny had had the entire winter to rest his hand/files/includes/,.css he was in a contract year/files/includes/,.css and if the thought of playing for his next payday didn’t motivate him/files/includes/,.css the embarrassment he’d suffered in 2009 certainly would.

Well/files/includes/,.css it didn’t work out exactly like that. Manny landed on the disabled list with leg issues three separate times/files/includes/,.css and played just 65 games with the Dodgers/files/includes/,.css the fewest in his career other than a cup of coffee as a 21-year-old with the 1993 Indians. Eight homers/files/includes/,.css 232 plate appearances/files/includes/,.css months on the disabled list/files/includes/,.css and far more Scott Podsednik and Garret Anderson in left field than we ever could have dreamed. That’s not exactly what we’d hoped for/files/includes/,.css I’ll grant you.

Classic Manny? Clearly not.

But again/files/includes/,.css nor was it the post-steroid disaster that the media liked to portray it as. Manny’s .915 OPS was 13th in MLB/files/includes/,.css among players with at least 225 PA. That’s higher than players like Adrian Gonzalez/files/includes/,.css Joe Mauer/files/includes/,.css Prince Fielder/files/includes/,.css Ryan Zimmerman/files/includes/,.css and Evan Longoria. Remember/files/includes/,.css PED suspension or not/files/includes/,.css we’re still talking about a guy who’s 38 years old. A .915 OPS is 91% of his career average 1.000 OPS; for a 38-year-old to get that close to matching his usual Hall-of-Fame level is impressive. In fact/files/includes/,.css it was the 21st highest OPS+ of any ballplayer 38 or older (220 PA or more) in history/files/includes/,.css and the list above is littered with names like Ted Williams/files/includes/,.css Hank Aaron/files/includes/,.css Babe Ruth/files/includes/,.css and Ty Cobb.

I’m not saying he was worth every penny this year; it’s hard to do so with how much time he missed. But to keep up the facade that he could no longer produce is just wrong. If the numbers above aren’t convincing proof of that/files/includes/,.css how about the fact that they’ve scored more than 5 runs per game with him in the lineup/files/includes/,.css and fewer than 4 without him? If he’s not classic/files/includes/,.css “in his Boston prime” Manny/files/includes/,.css or superpowered “just got to LA” Manny/files/includes/,.css he’s still an effective force in the lineup/files/includes/,.css one the Dodgers have proven they cannot win without.

Manny ended his Dodger career with a bizarre ejection after just one pitch while pinch-hitting with the bases loaded/files/includes/,.css which is oddly appropriate. He also ended his Dodger career atop the team’s all-time leaderboards in OBP/files/includes/,.css SLG/files/includes/,.css OPS/files/includes/,.css and OPS+ (minimum 500 at-bats)/files/includes/,.css all in exchange for a failed third baseman/files/includes/,.css a mid-level pitching prospect/files/includes/,.css and a ton of heartburn. Now/files/includes/,.css he’s gone/files/includes/,.css dropped onto the White Sox for nothing but salary relief/files/includes/,.css and no matter how you feel about Manny’s time in LA/files/includes/,.css there’s not much argument we got exactly what we signed up for. Dominant offensive performance/files/includes/,.css more than a little controversy/files/includes/,.css and a less-than-glorious exit? Yeah/files/includes/,.css that sounds about right.

None of that’s really changed/files/includes/,.css with the exception of this week’s revelation that Manny had hernia surgery to fix a groin issue which had bothered him all season. To put up the line he did despite all of the leg issues he had is impressive/files/includes/,.css though of course all the time he missed due to them balances that out quite a bit.

Scott Podsednik (D)
.262/.313/.336 .648 1hr -0.2 WAR

When Podsednik came to town/files/includes/,.css I didn’t hate the deal as much as you might think/files/includes/,.css reasoning that he could be of value as depth in LF and CF and as speed off the bench. (Let me clarify that by saying that I didn’t hate his acquisition; the team overpaid to get him/files/includes/,.css but that’s not his fault.)

That’s not how it worked/files/includes/,.css however. Podsednik basically became the everyday LF until he was hurt/files/includes/,.css a role he was woefully unqualified for/files/includes/,.css especially since he’s about one-tenth the hitter that Manny was. This was clear less than a month after he arrived:

So here’s all I ask of the team: whichever path you choose/files/includes/,.css don’t half-ass it. If you think you really have a shot/files/includes/,.css then don’t trade Manny. There’s no question that his presence fundamentally changes the lineup/files/includes/,.css and you can’t really be saying you’re trying to win if you’re playing Scott Podsednik (one of the three worst .300 hitters this year/files/includes/,.css according to baseball-reference) in left field instead of Manny/files/includes/,.css because that’s a huge dropoff in production. There’s no way you can let Manny go/files/includes/,.css and act as though you’re still a contender.

But pretend they did/files/includes/,.css and Podsednik didn’t really do much to contribute before his season ended due to plantar fasciitis in early September:

If this is indeed it for Podsednik’s season/files/includes/,.css his Dodger tenure ends as a disappointing one. His line of .262/.313/.336/files/includes/,.css with 5 steals and 3 caught stealing/files/includes/,.css comes out to just a 79 OPS+ (and -0.2 WAR)/files/includes/,.css well below his 107 OPS+ line for Kansas City. By comparison/files/includes/,.css Lucas May had an .878 OPS with 5 homers in 24 games for the KC AAA team. So there’s that.

Podsednik will be 35 in March and showed zero power/files/includes/,.css poor defense/files/includes/,.css and mediocre on-base skills with the Dodgers. There’s absolutely no way he should be back in 2011. So of course he’ll be back in 2011.

Garret Anderson (those damned kids are on my lawn again!)
.181/.204/.271 .475 2hr -1.1 WAR

Like with Manny/files/includes/,.css I’ve already spent far too much time this season discussing a late-30s outfielder who didn’t even last the season. So we’ll just point out that it was a bad idea when the rumors surfaced in January

Yes/files/includes/,.css I don’t like him because he’s old (38 in June). Yes/files/includes/,.css I don’t like him because he’s coming off the worst year of his career despite having just moved to the easier league (.705 OPS/files/includes/,.css the third year in a row that decreased). Yes/files/includes/,.css I don’t like him because he is by all accounts a horrible fielder (-16.5 UZR/150 last year). Hey/files/includes/,.css a senior citizen who can’t hit or field? Sign me up?!

But what I like even less than the fact that Garret Anderson is a terrible baseball player is the idea of Garret Anderson. Let’s say he was where he was three or four years ago/files/includes/,.css when he was past his peak but still an average-ish hitter. That’s still valuable/files/includes/,.css but you’re not playing that guy over Manny/files/includes/,.css Kemp or Ethier/files/includes/,.css right? Nor was his glove so good that he’s really a huge upgrade over Manny in the late innings/files/includes/,.css agreed? And since he’s not much of a LF/files/includes/,.css you’re sure not going to put him into center or right to rest those guys either.

It was a bad idea in March when he was signed…

Since then/files/includes/,.css the Dodgers have imported Reed Johnson to be the 4th outfielder/files/includes/,.css plus Giles and others to battle for the last bench spot.  What Garret Anderson adds to that mix is… well/files/includes/,.css not “quality” exactly… I don’t know. Formaldehyde?

It was a bad idea at the end of April when he had proven he had nothing left…

Speaking of Manny’s absence… Garret Anderson needs to be cut. Now. Not when Manny comes back. Today. After another 0-4 last night/files/includes/,.css in which he didn’t even get a ball out of the infield/files/includes/,.css he’s hitting an almost unbelievable .122. This experiment was a terrible idea from the beginning/files/includes/,.css and it’s a terrible idea now. The pinch-homer he hit on April 22 is the only hit he’s had in nearly three weeks. How much more do we need to see here? He’s had a nice career/files/includes/,.css but he’s cooked/files/includes/,.css and it’s time to acknowledge that. And for the love of GOD/files/includes/,.css Torre/files/includes/,.css if you must play him/files/includes/,.css can you please stop batting him second? The thought process here is almost unfathomable.

And how did it all end up? With arguably the worst season by a Dodger hitter in 100 years:

The list you’re looking at above is of the ten worst seasons by OPS+ in Dodger history/files/includes/,.css among hitters with as many plate appearances as Anderson’s 163. You’ll notice that of the six seasons worse than Anderson’s/files/includes/,.css not a single one came after World War I. Let me put that another way: none of those seasons were even recent enough to take place in Ebbets Field/files/includes/,.css which didn’t open until 1913. Jul Kustus played just that one season as a backup for the Dodgers/files/includes/,.css never returned to the big leagues/files/includes/,.css and was dead six years later. Bill Bergen was so historically bad that he still holds the record for the longest hitless streak by a non-pitcher (0 for 46 in 1909)/files/includes/,.css though he was regarded as an outstanding defensive catcher. Not exactly the company you want to keep if you’re Anderson/files/includes/,.css especially when you’re not contributing at all on the bases or in the field.

The whole experiment was actually pretty painful to watch/files/includes/,.css just because of the respect Anderson had earned in his long career in Anaheim. He never should have been out there/files/includes/,.css and knowing that the Dodgers chose to not go with their best 25 men for two-thirds of the season was infuriating. I’ll be shocked if we see Anderson in the big leagues again.

Jay Gibbons (∞)
.280/.313/.507 .819 5hr 0.1 WAR

Here’s how little I thought of Gibbons being signed to a minor-league deal in the spring: if you search “Gibbons” on this blog/files/includes/,.css you’ll first see a mention from December of 2007/files/includes/,.css when he was mentioned in the Mitchell Report. Though he was doing well in the minors/files/includes/,.css he didn’t even warrant a second mention until July 8/files/includes/,.css 2010/files/includes/,.css when I noted that he would be taking part in the AAA Home Run Derby. (That’s how come he gets “infinity” as a grade. How can I say he bested a preseason expectation when I didn’t even spend one brain cell thinking about him? It’s like dividing by zero. It’s dangerous.)

Of course/files/includes/,.css then I mentioned him several times over the next month/files/includes/,.css pointing out that he kept raking as Garret Anderson kept failing/files/includes/,.css until he was finally recalled when Anderson was DFA’d on August 8. At the time/files/includes/,.css I tried to discuss what you could expect from him:

Still/files/includes/,.css simply besting Anderson isn’t a high bar to clear/files/includes/,.css and the fact that Gibbons can play 1B as well as LF or RF offers some much-needed bench flexibility. As with any Isotope/files/includes/,.css you have to look at the home/road splits to see how much the Albuquerque environment helped him. It certainly has – his OPS is nearly 200 points higher at home – but he’s also been effective on the road as well/files/includes/,.css hitting .306/.335/.503.

Hey/files/includes/,.css if he works out/files/includes/,.css great. If not/files/includes/,.css you bring back up Xavier Paul or try someone else. Either way/files/includes/,.css he’s far more deserving of the opportunity right now than Anderson is/files/includes/,.css and this is an experiment which should have been tried months ago.

Gibbons bashed a homer in his first start and stayed hot before tailing off at the end/files/includes/,.css and though he drew just four walks and did a hilarious impression of “defense” in left field/files/includes/,.css his bat made the decision to keep him on the farm in favor of Anderson look all the worse. Or as I said on September 6

If you look at #5 on my list of things I wanted to see over the rest of the season/files/includes/,.css you’ll see “finding out if Jay Gibbons is worth a roster spot for next season.” So what happened? Gibbons got the start on Saturday and collected his third homer of the season. Someone remind me again why it took so long to get rid of the corpse of Anderson and get Gibbons up here – not like many of us hadn’t been calling for just that for months – because I sure as hell can’t come up with a good reason.

Gibbons almost certainly earned himself a spot on the 2011 club/files/includes/,.css and with good reason; with six double-digit homer seasons under his belt/files/includes/,.css he’s got the track record/files/includes/,.css and the defensive versatility is great to have on the bench/files/includes/,.css though he’s hardly a plus at either. Just keep in mind that/files/includes/,.css like Rod Barajas/files/includes/,.css one hot month does not make an All-Star. Gibbons as a power bat off the bench? Love it. Gibbons as your full-time left fielder? Not good. That said/files/includes/,.css he’ll likely sign for the minimum or something close to it/files/includes/,.css and that’s great value to add to your reserve corps.


Next! Matt Kemp disappoints everyone! And who the hell is Trent Oeltjen?! It’s center field!

The Worst Offensive Season in LA Dodger History

(Note: I had written 90% of this before Anderson was DFA’d yesterday/files/includes/,.css always planning to run this on today’s off-day. I can’t tell if the fact that he’s now gone makes this anticlimactic or perfectly timed. Still/files/includes/,.css a season this historically bad deserves its own post/files/includes/,.css so here it is anyway.)

Part of me feels like this is mean-spirited/files/includes/,.css because by all accounts Garret Anderson is a fine person with an excellent career behind him. The other part of me wants the team to/files/includes/,.css you know/files/includes/,.css win/files/includes/,.css and having a guy who can’t hit/files/includes/,.css run/files/includes/,.css or field wasn’t exactly helping to do that.

So the point here isn’t to bash Anderson any more than necessary/files/includes/,.css because you never heard any stories about him complaining/files/includes/,.css loafing/files/includes/,.css or causing problems in the clubhouse – all you need to do is just read Steve Dilbeck’s piece on how he took the news to realize what a classy player Anderson was. But that doesn’t change the fact that he wasn’t getting the job done on a historic level/files/includes/,.css so let’s look at just how Anderson’s 2010 ranks in the Dodger record books.

1 Bill Bergen -4 250 1911 33 84 227 8 30 0 10 .132 .183 .154 .337
2 Bill Bergen 1 372 1909 31 112 346 16 48 1 15 .139 .163 .156 .319
3 Bill Bergen 6 273 1910 32 89 249 11 40 0 14 .161 .180 .177 .357
4 Bill Bergen 16 372 1906 28 103 353 9 56 0 19 .159 .175 .184 .359
5 Jul Kustus 25 192 1909 26 53 173 12 25 1 11 .145 .204 .191 .395
6 Bill Bergen 28 347 1904 26 96 329 17 60 0 12 .182 .204 .207 .411
7 Garret Anderson 29 163 2010 38 80 155 8 28 2 12 .181 .204 .271 .475
8 Bill Bergen 31 320 1908 30 99 302 8 53 0 15 .175 .189 .215 .404
9 Rube Walker 32 187 1957 31 60 166 12 30 2 23 .181 .243 .265 .508
10 Bill Bergen 32 265 1905 27 79 247 12 47 0 22 .190 .213 .219 .431

The list you’re looking at above is of the ten worst seasons by OPS+ in Dodger history/files/includes/,.css among hitters with as many plate appearances as Anderson’s 163. You’ll notice that of the six seasons worse than Anderson’s/files/includes/,.css not a single one came after World War I. Let me put that another way: none of those seasons were even recent enough to take place in Ebbets Field/files/includes/,.css which didn’t open until 1913. Jul Kustus played just that one season as a backup for the Dodgers/files/includes/,.css never returned to the big leagues/files/includes/,.css and was dead six years later. Bill Bergen was so historically bad that he still holds the record for the longest hitless streak by a non-pitcher (0 for 46 in 1909)/files/includes/,.css though he was regarded as an outstanding defensive catcher. Not exactly the company you want to keep if you’re Anderson/files/includes/,.css especially when you’re not contributing at all on the bases or in the field.

Now/files/includes/,.css I mentioned this on Twitter a few weeks ago/files/includes/,.css and Eric Stephen of TBLA noted/files/includes/,.css completely reasonably/files/includes/,.css that the plate appearance ceiling may be somewhat arbitrary/files/includes/,.css as it’s hard to think that 163 PA of a 29 OPS+ was worse than Maury Wills putting up 152 PA of a 3 OPS+ in 1972. It’s a fair point. However/files/includes/,.css I’m giving the prize to Anderson for several reasons. First/files/includes/,.css Wills was a Dodger legend who/files/includes/,.css at 39/files/includes/,.css had completely and suddenly fallen off the cliff. In 1971/files/includes/,.css he had a 91 OPS+ and finished 6th in the MVP voting; in 1972 he didn’t start a game after July 31st and finished up as a backup 3B and pinch-runner. It’s understandable that they wouldn’t want to simply cut such a historically important player coming off a good year/files/includes/,.css as opposed to Anderson/files/includes/,.css who had no history with the Dodgers. (As Chad from MOKM correctly noted/files/includes/,.css all due respect to Anderson’s career/files/includes/,.css but Dodger fans shouldn’t be expected to care about how good he was for a rival a decade ago). Besides/files/includes/,.css Anderson had a higher K rate (21.9% to 13.6%)/files/includes/,.css lower BB rate (3.1% to 6.6%)/files/includes/,.css higher BABIP (.215 to .149)/files/includes/,.css and lower WAR (-1.2 to -0.5) than Wills did. Taking that all into account/files/includes/,.css Anderson’s 2010 is more detrimental to the team than Wills’ 1972.

Back to the present/files/includes/,.css when the news broke yesterday/files/includes/,.css Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times posted some thoughtful insights on his Twitter. He didn’t disagree with the decision to cut Anderson loose/files/includes/,.css but he noted that he found it surprising that fans seemed to care so much about the failings of the 25th man/files/includes/,.css more so – in his opinion – than the team’s inability to go out and get an ace/files/includes/,.css for example. They’re fair questions/files/includes/,.css but I think this goes back to the heart of the matter: no one hated Garret Anderson as a person. As I mentioned/files/includes/,.css he’s a class act and all that/files/includes/,.css but on a team that is apparently trying to win this year – judging by the deadline deals – it’s hard to accept that a roster spot is completely wasted on a guy who just can’t get the job done anymore. The anti-Anderson campaign this year was never an indictment of him personally/files/includes/,.css but of the team for actively choosing to not go with the best 25 men available to them for most of the year. When you’ve got coaches complaining that they don’t think all of the young players are doing their best to win/files/includes/,.css how can you look back at the team and not note that they’ve let several veterans hang on all year with little to no production?

And it’s not like this was some sort of surprise to us. I hated the idea in January when we first heard even the rumors that they might be interested in Anderson/files/includes/,.css hated it in March when he signed/files/includes/,.css and said he needed to be cut immediately at the end of April when he’d been basically hitless for three weeks. He was never going to be a fit on a team which had three plus bats in the outfield/files/includes/,.css two of whom are below-average defensively and one of who requires regular time off. Veteran presence or not or not/files/includes/,.css a declining outfielder who can’t hit/files/includes/,.css run or field isn’t helping the team – but even I never thought that he’d end up with the most punchless season we’ve seen in nearly a century.

So I think we’re all sorry to see it end like this/files/includes/,.css a proud ballplayer who hung on a year too long being unceremoniously sent packing/files/includes/,.css after having to endure calls for his job from fans all year. Almost as sorry as I was for us to have to watch him play all year.

Good luck/files/includes/,.css Garret.


So what can you expect from Jay Gibbons? To be honest/files/includes/,.css probably not a whole lot/files/includes/,.css though the fact that he contributed an RBI single in his first pinch-hitting opportunity yesterday got him off to a good start. Gibbons is a veteran of seven seasons in Baltimore/files/includes/,.css hitting over 20 homers three times/files/includes/,.css but he was in the Mitchell Report/files/includes/,.css hasn’t seen the bigs since 2007/files/includes/,.css and has a career .314 OBP.

Still/files/includes/,.css simply besting Anderson isn’t a high bar to clear/files/includes/,.css and the fact that Gibbons can play 1B as well as LF or RF offers some much-needed bench flexibility. As with any Isotope/files/includes/,.css you have to look at the home/road splits to see how much the Albuquerque environment helped him. It certainly has – his OPS is nearly 200 points higher at home – but he’s also been effective on the road as well/files/includes/,.css hitting .306/.335/.503.

Hey/files/includes/,.css if he works out/files/includes/,.css great. If not/files/includes/,.css you bring back up Xavier Paul or try someone else. Either way/files/includes/,.css he’s far more deserving of the opportunity right now than Anderson is/files/includes/,.css and this is an experiment which should have been tried months ago.


A final thought: why now? I’m certainly not complaining/files/includes/,.css but I also don’t quite understand why August 8 was the breaking point. Sure/files/includes/,.css Gibbons was hot in AAA (.433/.485/.600 in his last 10 games)/files/includes/,.css and Anderson was as useless as ever/files/includes/,.css but you could have said those things in May/files/includes/,.css too. With just a weeks until rosters expand/files/includes/,.css it’s a bit confusing why they wouldn’t let him just stick it out until then. Again/files/includes/,.css though/files/includes/,.css no complaints here.

The Dodgers Finally Put Garret Anderson Out of Our Misery

Garret Anderson is finally/files/includes/,.css mercifully gone. His quest to be the worst Dodger in team history has been short-circuited/files/includes/,.css as the Dodgers came to the realization that the rest of us had known for months/files/includes/,.css and designated him for assignment today.

Since I’ve been somewhat leading the anti-Anderson charge/files/includes/,.css you’re probably expecting me to laugh/files/includes/,.css gloat/files/includes/,.css and cheer. But that’s not really what you’re going to get/files/includes/,.css because Anderson deserves better than that. Let us not forget that he was a solid player and a great person for many years in Anaheim/files/includes/,.css and that his one terrible partial year in Dodger blue shouldn’t whitewash over the rest of his career.

Oh sure/files/includes/,.css I’m happy that the last spot on the bench will finally be filled by a player who can do/files/includes/,.css well/files/includes/,.css anything/files/includes/,.css but mostly I’m happy for Anderson. I’m happy that we won’t have to watch him stumble around out there and further embarrass himself.

Fun fact: I had written the above months ago/files/includes/,.css in preparation for this day. And of course it comes while I’m on a ferry/files/includes/,.css of all places/files/includes/,.css but it still applies. I’ll still be posting about how he’s had the worst season in LA Dodger history tomorrow/files/includes/,.css since I already have it mostly written.

It’s Friday…

…so why is everyone at work in such a foul mood? Anyway/files/includes/,.css the less said about last night’s game the better (I’m only half kidding when I say that watching it was less entertaining than watching the cat chase bugs around)/files/includes/,.css so  let’s touch on a few widely varied topics.

Let’s start off with the rotation/files/includes/,.css where James McDonald appears likely to get the Monday start in John Ely‘s place/files/includes/,.css and while that’s not confirmed/files/includes/,.css McDonald was scratched from his start today. McDonald missed over a month with a hamstring pull/files/includes/,.css and his three starts since his return have been mixed. Four shutout innings on July 1 was a nice start/files/includes/,.css but then he allowed four earned runs in 6.2 IP at Iowa on July 6. Then on the 11th/files/includes/,.css he allowed just one run over 6.1 at Omaha/files/includes/,.css but did so while walking four and striking out just two/files/includes/,.css so it’s hard to say what to expect. I’m not convinced that he’s any better than Ely is right now/files/includes/,.css but I’m glad to see him get a chance – and fortunately for him he gets to face the Giants.


How many people were confused when George Sherrill got into last night’s game? I asked that on Twitter/files/includes/,.css and the answer was: a lot/files/includes/,.css since they thought he had been immediately removed from the roster. Think of this like the month of August/files/includes/,.css where trades are still allowed but only once players have made it through waivers. You never hear about it/files/includes/,.css but tons of players - even ones teams don’t really plan on trading – are placed on waivers/files/includes/,.css just to see who makes it through and is available to be used in deals. It’s kind of the same thing for Sherrill/files/includes/,.css who finds out if he clears waivers today and is on the roster until then. The only difference here is that if Sherrill is claimed/files/includes/,.css he can’t be pulled back by the Dodgers/files/includes/,.css unlike the usual August waivers I mentioned.

In a related topic/files/includes/,.css I suppose this is why waiver deals are supposed to be kept so secret. Imagine if Sherrill had come out and struck out the side last night? (I know/files/includes/,.css you’d probably need some sort of medicinal help to imagine that.) How would that have made things look then?


BP’s Jay Jaffe says that the Dodgers have regressed more on defense from 2009 to 2010 than any other team in baseball:

Having accentuated the positive/files/includes/,.css we’ll move on to lambasting the negative/files/includes/,.css since eliminating it doesn’t seem to be an option/files/includes/,.css or even very much fun. And No. 1 on the list of teams that deserve it are the Dodgers/files/includes/,.css who went from leading the league in DE last year by a whole seven points to ranking 10th this year. Not surprisingly/files/includes/,.css one key culprit appears to be the loss of Orlando Hudson (+17)/files/includes/,.css though Blake DeWitt and friends have been a respectable two runs above average at the keystone. At third base/files/includes/,.css Casey Blake has declined (+13 to -5)/files/includes/,.css and Rafael Furcal has dropped off (+13 to +4)/files/includes/,.css surprising given how much more Furcal-like he’s been when available. In the outfield/files/includes/,.css Matt Kemp has lost 10 runs himself (+8 to -2)/files/includes/,.css a particularly rough blow when coupled with his 20-point drop in True Average. Luckily for the Dodgers/files/includes/,.css they’re second in the league in strikeout rate/files/includes/,.css minimizing the number of balls in play.

It’s really hard to argue with any of that.


Ramon Troncoso‘s pitched in four games for the Isotopes/files/includes/,.css and he’s allowed two homers – though he has struck out five and walked just two. Only one of the two homers was at home/files/includes/,.css so it’s not all the ABQ effect/files/includes/,.css though last night’s was a walkoff. Not good.


ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates on who may want to buy the Dodgers should the McCourts be forced to sell:

There is speculation within the sport that if the McCourts are forced to sell the Dodgers as they go through their divorce proceedings/files/includes/,.css the person who is most perfectly positioned to buy the team is Dennis Gilbert/files/includes/,.css the longtime agent and team executive. Gilbert lives in the L.A. area/files/includes/,.css is a known quantity to commissioner Bud Selig/files/includes/,.css and Gilbert essentially finished second in the bidding for the Texas Rangers last year — largely because Nolan Ryan chose to align himself with Chuck Greenberg. Gilbert knows a whole lot of people/files/includes/,.css big hitters in the money world/files/includes/,.css and if the Dodgers’ franchise needs rescuing — and in the sport right now/files/includes/,.css the team’s ownership troubles are regarded as a cover-your-eyes embarrassment — Gilbert will have the financial wherewithal to restore the club to its past greatness.

Garret Anderson update: his 0-1 last night kept him steady at #10 on the list of “worst seasons in Dodger history“/files/includes/,.css though with only six more hitless at-bats/files/includes/,.css he’ll likely be up to #7.

Also/files/includes/,.css while I have a lot of respect for Tony Jackson/files/includes/,.css this part of his chat yesterday killed me:

Sam (Fullerton)
How much longer will the Dodgers leave the corpse of Garret Anderson out on the field before they waive him?

Tony Jackson 
That’s a good question/files/includes/,.css Sam/files/includes/,.css but I get the sense they’re not going to wait much longer/files/includes/,.css unless Garret suddenly gets hot. I do think Torre and the coaching staff likes having him around for what he brings to the clubhouse. He lockers next to Matt Kemp at home/files/includes/,.css and I think they think he has been a good influence. So it may come down to how long the front office is willing to go along with the wishes of the staff.

Maybe I’ve been off on a distant planet or something/files/includes/,.css but haven’t we heard plenty of whispers that people aren’t always thrilled with Kemp’s attitude/files/includes/,.css culminating in the benching that seemed to be a direct result of a spat he had with bench coach Bob Schaefer? So… wouldn’t that then mean that Anderson’s actually doing a terrible job at mentoring/files/includes/,.css too? Guess we can just add that to the list of things he can’t do anymore.


As long as we’re getting on Anderson/files/includes/,.css I should be an equal opportunity naysayer and expand on the D I gave Ronnie Belliard in the first-half grades. He’s got one hit in his last twenty-eight at-bats/files/includes/,.css and he’s hitting just .220 on the season. Clearly/files/includes/,.css he’s not much of a contributor in the field/files/includes/,.css either.

I don’t think cutting him is as clear-cut as it is for Anderson/files/includes/,.css simply because there’s not an Xavier Paul behind him ready to step in. Chin-lung Hu isn’t any sort of a bat/files/includes/,.css and Ivan DeJesus needs to play every day after losing last year to injury. In addition/files/includes/,.css Belliard is really the only backup 1B on the team/files/includes/,.css unless you count Casey Blake.

So his spot is secure for now/files/includes/,.css but I’d really like to see if the Dodgers can cheaply go after Russell Branyan/files/includes/,.css as I suggested earlier this week. Think about it: dump Anderson/files/includes/,.css dump Belliard/files/includes/,.css keep Paul/files/includes/,.css acquire Branyan. You’d then have your non-catching bench split between two righties and two lefties/files/includes/,.css you’d be covered in the outfield with Paul and Johnson/files/includes/,.css Jamey Carroll could cover backing up 2B/SS/3B/files/includes/,.css and Branyan would be a true lefty power bat who could actually play some 1B. Even if you think that stretches the non-1B backup infield to have only Carroll/files/includes/,.css remember that it’s only six weeks until rosters expand/files/includes/,.css ABQ isn’t that far away should injury happen/files/includes/,.css and if worst comes to absolute worst/files/includes/,.css you could still stick Russell Martin at 3B for the late innings of a game where injuries mount until reinforcements arrive.

The Least Depressing Shutout Loss Ever

Sometimes your team gets completely shut down/files/includes/,.css and you get frustrated. You wonder why your stars look bad at the plate/files/includes/,.css you can’t figure out how the opposing pitcher is getting everyone out with his junk/files/includes/,.css and you wonder why Garret Anderson continues to exist.

Not last night/files/includes/,.css though. Despite getting about 10% of the press that Ubaldo Jimenez gets/files/includes/,.css Josh Johnson is just about indisputably the best pitcher in the NL right now/files/includes/,.css if not all of baseball. And when you run into a train like that/files/includes/,.css sometimes it’s better to just sit back and appreciate the performance/files/includes/,.css even if it’s sending your team directly to a loss.

Besides/files/includes/,.css as Jon noted/files/includes/,.css the Dodgers tossed out 8 scoreless innings of their own/files/includes/,.css so aside from a tough 2nd inning/files/includes/,.css it was hardly a disaster. Definitely one of those games where you say/files/includes/,.css “yep/files/includes/,.css that happened” and move on.

Anyway/files/includes/,.css tons of other minor notes to get to:


Remember the other day when I mentioned that Brad Ausmus‘ recovery from back surgery was ahead of schedule and that he might be looking to begin a rehab stint after the All-Star break? Apparently/files/includes/,.css it was even closer than that/files/includes/,.css since he DH’d for Lake Elsinore last night/files/includes/,.css going one for two. He’s supposed to catch three innings today/files/includes/,.css and while 1/3 of a game after DH’ing the night before may not sound like much/files/includes/,.css not forcing a 41-year-old coming off of back surgery to take a day off after his first game back sounds like he’s in better shape than any of us anticipated.

Barring a setback/files/includes/,.css that means Ausmus’ 30-day rehab clock is ticking/files/includes/,.css putting his return in the first week of August at the latest. I already discussed whether that was really a good thing or not/files/includes/,.css but it’s also worth noting the domino effect that will have throughout the organization. A.J. Ellis would likely get sent back to AAA/files/includes/,.css where Lucas May has a .902 OPS that’s only partially fueled by the ABQ effect. You’d think the team would want each to play every day/files/includes/,.css but it’s hard to demote May to AA now.


Still no news on what sent Ronald Belisario to the restricted list/files/includes/,.css but the more I hear about it the more it sounds like it’s a family emergency and not a substance abuse problem. Tony Jackson:

Kinzer also said that Belisario was still in Los Angeles/files/includes/,.css but indicated the pitcher might be heading home to Venezuela at some point.

“It’s just some personal problems/files/includes/,.css and he’s got some things he’s got to work through/files/includes/,.css” Kinzer said. “It’s just a lot of anxiety/files/includes/,.css and that is about all I want to say right now.”

 Pressed on what he meant by the word “anxiety/files/includes/,.css” Kinzer declined to offer details.

“Right now/files/includes/,.css he is [still in town]/files/includes/,.css but we will have to see how things work out later/files/includes/,.css” Kinzer said. “Obviously/files/includes/,.css his family is in Venezuela. But we haven’t set up [any travel].”

If it was some sort of disciplinary action or rehab issue/files/includes/,.css you’d think that leaving the country wouldn’t be an option. The fact that he’s from Venezuela is doubly concerning/files/includes/,.css as Yorvit Torrealba/files/includes/,.css Victor Zambrano/files/includes/,.css and Ugueth Urbina have all had to deal with kidnapping situations there in recent years.

Again/files/includes/,.css we have no idea if that is the case/files/includes/,.css but the pieces all fit. For the sake of everyone involved (and while I include the Dodger bullpen on that list/files/includes/,.css they’re about 78th on it) let’s hope it’s something else entirely.


Garret Anderson put up another 0-4 with 2 K/files/includes/,.css plummeting his line to .182/.197/.280. For once/files/includes/,.css I’m actually not trying to single him out here/files/includes/,.css because it’s no shame to go hitless against Johnson/files/includes/,.css and Casey Blake and Rafael Furcal suffered the same fate.

However/files/includes/,.css earlier this week I noted that 1/files/includes/,.css337 Dodgers in history had as many plate appearances as GA did/files/includes/,.css and his OPS+ rank was 1/files/includes/,.css318/files/includes/,.css putting him in the bottom 1.33% as far as productivity goes. The four chances last night knocked out a few of those players who now have fewer PA’s than his 138/files/includes/,.css and the four outs pushed GA’s OPS+ from 34 to 29.

That means the updated standings have Anderson at 1/files/includes/,.css322 of 1/files/includes/,.css334 seasons/files/includes/,.css or in the bottom 1%. With one more plate appearance/files/includes/,.css he’ll be able to remove Moe Berg’s 1921 and Ben Geraghty’s 136 from the cutoff point/files/includes/,.css and another out or two will probably push his OPS+ below Bill Bergen’s 1904.

And yes/files/includes/,.css I am going to keep track of this/files/includes/,.css because the historical significance is stunning. He just needs 14 more plate appearances to qualify for the worst offensive season in Los Angeles Dodger history by someone with that many chances/files/includes/,.css and that’s something worth tracking. Fortunately for him/files/includes/,.css the -4 (yes/files/includes/,.css negative) that Bergen put up in 250 PA in 1904 is probably safely out of reach.


Albuquerque updates: Claudio Vargas got lit up for 7 earned and 10 hits in just 3.2 innings for the ‘Topes last night against the Iowa Cubs. His ERA is 7.71. It’s ah/files/includes/,.css not working out. In better news/files/includes/,.css Jay Gibbons will be taking part in the Home Run Derby/files/includes/,.css before playing in the game alongside teammates Lucas May and John Lindsey. Gibbons is somewhat a result of the ABQ air/files/includes/,.css but he’s also a lefty who can play outfield and a bit of 1B/files/includes/,.css and doesn’t have his OBP about to drop below .200/files/includes/,.css like Garret Anderson‘s is. Just sayin’.


For the sake of completeness/files/includes/,.css let’s note that the Dodgers released Timo Perez from AAA and signed former D-Back Trent Oeltjen/files/includes/,.css who had opted out of his minor-league deal with the Brewers last week. The Australian native has had minor league OPS’s over .800 in each of the last three years/files/includes/,.css and had been on a hot streak recently. But it’s not his bat that denied him a call-up:

Oeltjen had been on an offensive tear with the Sounds/files/includes/,.css raising his batting average to .301 with 24 doubles/files/includes/,.css two triples/files/includes/,.css eight homers/files/includes/,.css 38 RBI and a .851 OPS. But his defense wasn’t considered major-league ready/files/includes/,.css so the Brewers opted not to call him up and move out one of their players.

“Our reports were that he was coming on dramatically with the bat/files/includes/,.css” said assistant general manager Gord Ash. “We liked him/files/includes/,.css obviously. That’s why we signed him. But as a defensive outfielder/files/includes/,.css he wasn’t what we were looking for.”

So after opting out of his deal/files/includes/,.css a man who clearly should have signed with an AL team in order to keep the DH option open not only stayed in the NL/files/includes/,.css but he signed with perhaps the only other team who can top Milwaukee’s level of outfield stackitude. Time for a new agent/files/includes/,.css maybe?