October 31, 2014

Dodgers Roll the Dice with RP MacDougal

One of the most intriguing parts of Spring Training for me each year is seeing which young buck or grizzled veteran will emerge from the sea of players to unexpectedly make a major league roster.  And when you’re a general manager, finding those diamonds in the rough has added significance, with the potential savings of million upon millions of dollars.

Ned Colletti is definitely not a GM who shies away from such projects, and yesterday’s addition of former Royals and Nationals relief pitcher Mike MacDougal is yet another proof point. The former closer (who turns 34 in March) will look to reclaim some of the magic he had in 2003 when he had notched 24 saves in half a season and was named to the American League All-Star team (he finished the year with 27 saves).

MacDougal did sign a minor deal with the Dodgers, so it’s expected that he will start the season in Albuquerque, but will eventually rise up to LA as additional bullpen options are needed.

MacDougal bounced around the Cardinals minor league organization last season, but did play in 17 games for St. Louis, giving up 23 hits and 15 runs in 18.2 innings for a 7.23 ERA.

Photo Credit: Keith Allison (per Wikipedia)

Steve Garvey Looking to Own Pro Sports Franchise

Steve Garvey - photo credit stevegarvey.com

USA Today had a short interview with Steve Garvey earlier this week where the 62 year-old former Dodger indicated he’s part of a consortium that’s looking to purchase a professional sports team.

The investor group seems to have a pretty wide range of candidates, as Garvey indicated that they had looked at everything from European and British soccer teams to basketball and baseball franchises. Garvey said he was looking for a franchise that was “downtrodden or beaten up a little bit” so his group could restore it to its former glory.

Although Garvey didn’t mention interest in the Dodgers specifically in his video remarks, USA Today indicated that the investor group was specifically interested in the team should it come up for sale in the future.

Check out the entire USA Today interview with Garvey below

A Dodgers Deal for Eric Chavez Not Dead Yet

If you believe the comments from a rival NL Scout, the Dodgers were “raving” about free agent third baseman Eric Chavez’s recent workout, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle and Mark J. Miller of the Yahoo! Sports blog “Scoop Du Jour.”

As we know from Ken Gurnick, the 33-year-old often injured power hitter worked out at Camelback Ranch this past Thursday for assistant general managers De Jon Watson and Logan White and batting coach Jeff Pentland.  Remember when Chavez was a young hitter, full of potential?  The kid seemed like a lock for 100 RBIs and 25+ home runs. 

I’ve always felt that, if healthy by the start of Spring Training, Chavez would be a great value-based signing for Colletti and the Dodgers.  Plus Chavez loves playing in California (in Ned-speak: “a guy who wants to be here.”)  Here’s part of what I wrote back on November 17, 2010 ( “Eric Chavez and the Dodgers are a Good Fit” ):

Ned’s going to be looking at inexpensive sources of power, and having Chavez platoon with Casey Blake at third base seems completely realistic.  Plus the Dodgers like signing players that are rebounding from injuries that they might be able to catch on the uptick.  The Dodgers’ signing of Orlando Hudson is probably the best comparison to how a possible Chavez deal could look (obviously the dollars would be different), but the Dodgers did work Hudson out in secret on two consecutive days to test out his surgically repaired wrist before signing him.  Granted, Chavez could be considered a bigger gamble than Hudson was at that time, but I could easily see Chavez working out for Ned & Co. a couple of times and then getting a one-year deal that’s low on base salary, yet full of incentives if everything checks out physically.  I like it.

And here’s what Gurnick reported on Thursday:

If the Dodgers are impressed, they would be looking at Chavez as a backup or platoon-mate with Casey Blake at third base and a power left-handed bat off the bench. They would likely offer him an incentive-filled Minor League contract, as their 40-man roster if full.

The deal isn’t done yet, but this is totally the type of signing that has Ned Colletti written all over it.  If there was a way to bet on free agent signings, I would put money down on Chavez being in Dodger Blue by this time next month.

Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images, Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America

Another Milton Bradley Blowup

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised to hear that former Dodger Milton Bradley was arrested today for allegedly threatening a woman according to the Los Angeles Times. This is the same Bradley that was traded after throwing a water bottle at fans in the outfield and getting in the face of former L.A. Times reporter Jason Reid.

Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik had the following statement:

After reaching Milton Bradley’s representatives tonight I was able to confirm that Milton had been arrested, and subsequently released, in Los Angeles. While we do not yet have full details on what occurred, we are aware of the situation and take it very seriously. We are in the process of determining the full circumstances of what occurred today. Until we have more information, we will not be able to comment further.

I seriously doubt anyone in the Dodgers organization misses Bradley’s infantile behavior or ejections.

dodgerfan.net Offseason Moves

Many of you have noticed that things have been a little quiet on the dodgerfan.net front recently. We’ve been in the midst of some significant changes around here, some not related to the site and some very related to it.

    Site Upgrades and Hosting Changes

We decided to make a pretty significant change to our site at the end of the year.  We run on the WordPress platform and have been chugging away on a good (but unsupported) platform for some time.  We decided the time was right to take the plunge and upgrade to a new platform (Genesis) that enables a lot more customization and enhanced functionality.  Stage 1 was enabling feature parity between the old platform and the new platform (which is now complete).  Stage 2, which will be taking place between now and the start of spring training, will involve changing some aspects of the site to improve content discoverability, enhancing partner content and a few other suggestions that various folks have passed along to us.

We’ve also made a change to our hosting provider, which takes a lot of work to complete when you are a two-man operation and have full-time jobs and families.  We’re very happy with our new provider and believe you’ll see better page load times as a result of this switch.

    Job-related Changes

Chris has been hard at work planning the next stage of his career and recently accepted a new position which included a move to Seattle over the holidays.  While not ideal for covering Dodger games in person, it’s definitely a positive step forward for his non-blog related work.

Finally, we’re hard at work assessing our staffing and determining what the right level of involvement is to create a solid product going forward.  You may see some new names and faces associated with the blog in the future, but rest assured that our approach, style, and content will stay at current levels.

With all that being said, let’s get back to work.  It’s hard to believe Spring Training is just a month away!

Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo / LA Dodgers 2010