December 20, 2014

Matt Kemp Celebrates Thanksgiving Like All Dodger Fans – With Plenty of Food!

The team is celebrating Thanksgiving in AZ this week and enjoying a little R&R.  From Matt Kemp’s Twitter feed, it looks like he’s having a great time with his family, and they are equally psyched with his Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards!  Thanks for sharing your life with the people, Matt!  Check it out:

Matt Kemp's Thanksgiving, Part I

“Don’t I look hungry?”

Matt Kemp's Thanksgiving, Part II

“Guys, when u have 115 people in da house u can’t eat on the best of plates. Straight plastic baby!!!”

Matt Kemp's Thanksgiving, Part III

“Family got a cake for me. Luvs the fam.”

Black Friday Shopping: Dodger Style

After we’re all stuffed our faces on Thanksgiving, our attention will slowly turn to that other great American tradition: shopping!  The team was particularly excited to learn that all (yes, all) authentic team merchandise is being sold at a 50% discount through Monday, November 30th at The Dodger Stadium Store at Dodger Stadium.

So if you’ve been waiting to get pick up some official on-field jerseys, hats, playoff gear, women’s apparel or signed memorabilia for that special Dodger fan in your life, then this is your time!  Throw in free parking, and this is looking like a great way to beat the crowds at the mall on Friday.

Dodger-hatThe Dodger Stadium Store at Dodger Stadium:

(Left field area of the ballpark)

1000 Elysian Park Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012

Store hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday (Not sure what the Turkey Day hours are); 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday.

Dodgers, Blue Jays Discuss Roy Halladay Trade Again

Roy Halladay

Roy Halladay

The trade rumors around Roy Halladay are flying again – this time courtesy of Tim Brown from Yahoo Sports. While he has most recently cited the deal as “highly unlikely” at this time, it’s clear that the Jays are trying to determine if they can extract maximum value from Halladay before his contract expires at the end of 2010.

Payroll will likely play a big role in whether the Dodgers can land Haladay or any other top-tier pitcher this winter. There are lots of players eligible for salary arbitration this off-season, and this will likely cause the Dodgers 2010 payroll to swell beyond $100 million – a figure even higher than 2009. Even if the Dodgers can scrape together the right combination of talent for a trade, they would have to deal with Halladay’s $15.75 million salary in 2010 – a formidable figure to be sure.

Halladay has been a target of the Dodgers throughout the 2009 season. He finished fifth in the Cy Young voting with 11 third-place votes. Halladay went17-10 with a 2.79 ERA and 208 strikeouts and was the starting AL pitcher in the 2009 All-Star Game.

The Chicago Cubs have also indicated they are currently in talks with the Jays regarding Halladay. The Yankees have said they are monitoring the Halladay situation but aren’t taking any direct action in the talks.

Dodgers Out on Lackey?

John LackeyAccording to Bill Shaikin, the answer is yes.

“We’re not going to make any outlandish-type decisions in a rough economy.” [said Dennis Mannion]

He [Manion] said that would rule out Lackey “unless there is an effective way to make that kind of deal.”

Given the financial uncertainty in the ownership ranks of the Dodgers, I’m not surprised that club president Dennis Mannion is out of the John Lackey sweepstakes, but I am surprised the Dodgers are out before any offers have been made.  As I wrote earlier, Ned Colletti has a history of going after value picks, and giving Lackey a long-term, big money contract would be out of character.  However it’s a bit early to call any Lackey contract an “outlandish-type decision” at this stage of the game.

While I would argue that what the Dodgers really need is a #1 starter and true ace of the rotation, the Dodgers feel that they have that with the combination of Billingsley and Kershaw at #1 and #1a.  They need a #3 starter to replace Randy Wolf, followed by Kuroda and a #5 starter from their ranks of potential candidates.  In theory, given another year of maturity for Bills and Kersh, this would be a better starting five than we had the previous season.

One question I’ve been mulling in my head this off-season is what I really think about Chad Billingsley in my heart of hearts.  Will he develop into a dominant #1 starter, or will his head always get in the way of his natural talent?  I’ll save that for a future post.

Ben Sheets a Future Dodger?

Ben Sheets

It’s actually not as much of a long shot as you might first think.  Here’s why:

1.) The free agent market for starting pitchers is pretty thin.

2.) Ned Colletti doesn’t like offering contracts longer than three years to anyone.

3.) Ned likes signing players that have something to prove and giving them an incentive-laden contract (Orlando Hudson).

Now the Dodgers, like many teams, also have a history of giving big money contracts to starting pitchers that flame-out in notorious fashion, leaving the team on the hook for tens of millions of dollars (Jason Schmidt – 10 wins over three years, Darren Dreifort).  I’m not saying that Ben Sheets is the next in this line, but all teams need to be cautious with his medical history.  That may play into the Dodgers’ thought process when considering premiere free agent starters like John Lackey.

From ESPN:

Agent Casey Close said that Sheets is doing “very well” in his rehab from flexor tendon surgery and plans to be 100 percent by the start of spring training. Close also anticipates no shortage of interest from clubs in the coming weeks.

“We have already heard from a number of teams inquiring about Ben’s health and availability for 2010,” Close said in an e-mail Friday to “I will tell you that he has a very good chance to be one of the most impactful free agents, without question.”

Now I’m a PR guy by trade, and that is classic agent-speak.  As Jerry Crasnick and his sources speculate in the article, I imagine Sheets will eventually sign late in the off-season when teams that don’t land some of the prominent free agents available come sniffing around, kicking the tires on Sheets and deciding how much of a gamble they’re willing to take on a rehabbing former All-Star. 

Given that Sheets’ injuries are known, I believe we’re looking at more of an Orlando Hudson contract situation, and think it’s totally plausible that he could end up a Dodger if he checks out medically and the deal is done late in the off-season.  Either way, it’s certainly going to be interesting!