December 20, 2014

Rumored ESPN Los Angeles Team is Full of All-Stars

Like all MLB trade rumors, let’s take the following with a grain of salt until all parties have confirmed or denied the accuracy of The Big Lead’s story below.

From The Big Lead:

A source has leaked us the staff for the new ESPNLA.com team, and Eric Neel, the site’s managing editor, has assembled a talented group of writers. ESPN has done some serious poaching, allegedly stealing writers from the LA Times, LA Daily News, and Sports Illustrated.com. If all the following names are correct, this lineup is stronger than what ESPNBoston, ESPNDallas and ESPNChicago have assembled. The site launches Monday … just in time for ABC to relentlessly promote it during Lakers-Cavaliers on Christmas Day.

According to our source, this is the assembled team:

* J.A. Adande will be a columnist
* Ramona Shelburne is leaving her columnist position at the LA Daily News to be a staff writer
* Andrew Kamenetzky, who was/is a freelancer for ESPN the Magazine and LA Times Lakers blogger will be an ESPNLA staff writer*
* Brian Kamenetzky, who is/was a freelancer for ESPN the Magazine and LA Times Lakers blogger will be an ESPNLA staff writer*
* Dave McMenamin, who is/was at NBA.com, will cover the Lakers
* Jon Weisman, who blogs about the Dodgers for the LA Times 
* Arash Markazi, who is SI.com’s pop culture maven/resident party guy will be a staff writer
* Tony Jackson, formerly of the LA Daily News, will cover the Dodgers for ESPNLA
[UPDATE]: * We hear that Mark Saxon of the OC Register has been hired to cover USC and the Anaheim Angels.

If true, this is one hell of a collection of some of LA’s best sportswriters and a real coup for ESPNLosAngeles.com in collecting so many of them under one banner (or Web address).  If the site shakes out as outlined above, it really does have the opportunity to eventually change the way in which LA fans get news and communicate about their teams.

So far, in the last hour and a half, both Ramona Shelbourme and Arash Markazi have confirmed their moves via Twitter.  Tony Jackson was confirmed about 10 days ago.  Diamond Leung (long a favorite of Dodger fans everywhere) is also going over to ESPN.com as a college hoops writer.

My question is: what about Jon Weisman?  Either way, we’re lucky to have him covering the Dodgers!

So Long Juan Pierre…Hello John Ely and Jon Link!

Juan-PierreAhhh…the departure of Juan Pierre.  Looking back, it’s still amazing to me how polarizing Juan (and his contract) were to Dodger fans everywhere.  It’s crazy to think how many arguments I got in with friends and fellow fans over his value to the team (will we ever forget Beast Mode?).  As noted previously on this site, I was (and still am) a huge Juan Pierre fan.  I loved his speed on the base paths, and whether in the clubhouse or in the dugout, Juan always had a smile on his face.

From the Dodgers’ press release:

“Juan always put the Dodgers first, even when it wasn’t in his personal best interest,” said Colletti. “In this day, that is a rare attribute. When he and I spoke at the end of the season, we agreed that if an opportunity presented itself in which his chance to play would be enhanced, we would pursue it and that’s what we’ve done. He deserved the chance to play more.”

During his three seasons with Los Angeles , Pierre batted .294 with a .339 on-base percentage and 134 stolen bases in 173 attempts. Last season, his 10th in the Majors, Pierre hit .308 (117-for-380) with a .365 on-base percentage in 145 games.

And as all Dodger fans will remember, Juan’s ability to not just fill in but excel when Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games was amazing.  What was even more amazing was how he returned silently to the bench when Ramirez returned to the lineup.  Still, it was time for Juan to go…he never would have been a legitimate starter for the Dodgers, and the fourth outfielder spot really should go to an up-and-comer like Jason Repko or Xavier Paul.

As for the trade itself, I thought Ned did a great job.  Not only did he save over $8 million over the next two years, but he aquired two righties: John Ely and John Link.  Ely is 23 and last year had a 14-2 with a 2.82 ERA in 27 starts with Double-A Birmingham.  He also led the Southern League in strikeouts (125) and was tied for the lead in victories…not bad!

The 25 year-old Link had 13 saves for Triple-A Charlotte  last year with a 3.99 ERA in 48 relief appearances.

Time will tell if these guys pan out (the Chicago mediaand bloggers are pretty dubious on this, given the White Sox inability to develop much in the way of pitching from their minor league system).  Still, Ned likes these guys and told “Mason & Ireland” on 710 ESPN that he’s received some calls from other teams asking about the pitchers.

Photo credit: Yahoo News

Carroll Makes Sense for the Dodgers

Lots to get caught up in Dodgerland these days (which we’ll get to over the course of the coming days), but the most recent news is the Dodgers signing veteran  infielder Jamey Carroll to a two-year $3.85 million deal to share time with Blake DeWitt at second and back up Rafael Furcal at shortstop.  The split with DeWitt will most likely include Carroll facing right-handed hitters with DeWitt taking on the left-handers.

According to Dylan Hernandez, the 36 year-old Carroll played in 93 games last season for Cleveland, hitting .276 with two home runs and 26 RBI.

This deal also is a classic Ned Colletti deal: Carroll is also known as a good guy in the clubhouse and Ned likes adding those guys to the mix for obvious reasons.  Plus, he’s reasonably affordable and only with the team for two years (short contracts being another signature Ned Colletti move).  Hell, Carroll could even play third base or the outfield, so he gives Joe Torre a ton of options, which I love.  And as has been previously reported, Carroll was excited to work with Joe Torre and Don Mattingly and that’s what pushed the Dodgers to the top of his list.

Ned was on the “Mason & Ireland” show this evening on 710 ESPN this evening and explained how a veteran bench can help you as much when they’re not playing, as when they’re on the field, coaching and giving advice to the Dodgers’ younger players.  Carroll fits that description.

“I see him (Carroll) as a more versatile player than Mark (Loretta) right now, and someone who can get more playing time…Carroll is maybe a 300 or 350 at bat kind of guy.”

Good move, Ned!

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

The dodgerfan.net 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 dodgerfan.net 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.