November 1, 2014

Is the Sun Setting on the Dodgers Season?

My fellow Dodger fans, I apologize for the lack of posts since the trading deadline.  Life sometimes gets in the way of things, and that’s been the case as of late.  But I’m back, and will be at the game tonight covering all the action of Ted Lilly’s first start in Dodger Blue.

Before then, I did want to address the trade deadline dealing.  Like our friends over at the Sons of Steve Garvey, I really noticed an interesting schism between the “mainstream media” that seemed to love the Dodgers recent acquisitions, and the bloggers that cover the team who did not (I also just noticed that Orel and I both share a love for the word “schism”).  Here’s my take:

Yes, Ned Colletti did continue to live up to his reputation as a dealmaker, making two three trades at or near the deadline, landing veteran outfielder Scott Podsednik, veteran lefty starter Ted Lilly, veteran infielder Ryan Theriot and veteran reliever Octavio Dotel.  See a pattern?

We know Joe Torre likes his veterans, but I’m sure he’s not excited about the quality of these moves, despite what he says publicly.  Afterall, he came from the Yankees…a team that makes big moves when they need to.  And the Dodgers (other than last night) are a team that’s had an absolutely horrific time scoring runs over the course of a six-game losing streak. 

I give Ned credit for making moves given the financial restrictions that he’s facing (the Dodgers assert there are no financial restrictions) and not sacrificing a ton in terms of the prospect department, but when I look at these moves, I just don’t think they’re collectively big enough to turn this club around.

Right now, I’m think of the Dodgers like a slow-moving freighter, slowly making their way down the NL West standings.  The effort to turn around said freighter is going to be a Herculean task requiring all hands on deck.  Do the recent additions (and the subtraction of fan favorite Blake DeWitt) help the Dodgers accomplish this?  Theoretically, yes it helps, but I fear it’s just too little, too late.  What the Dodgers desperately needed was a shot of addrenalin…ala Manny Ramirez at the trading deadline in 2008.  As I noted on my Twitter feed yesterday, the Dodgers need motivation.  Passion.  Desire.  The offense is simply listless and the position players are like zombies out there. Short of the arrival of Kenley Jansen, I just don’t see the necessary heroics for the team or its fans to rally around.

Yes, there’s still time, but winning the remaining three games against the Padres is an absolutely critical first step.  Otherwise, the sun might set on the Dodgers’ season a lot quicker than we all would like.

Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2010

No Joke! DeWitt and Haeger Land Starting Jobs

To the delight of Dodgers fans everywhere, second baseman Blake DeWitt and knuckleball starting pitcher Charlie Haeger were named to the club’s 40 man roster for the start of the 2010 season.

Now DeWitt seems like an obvious choice.  The guy has been a monster with the bat throughout Spring Training hitting .339 with an amazing .975 OPS.  But his offense has never been the issue: it’s his fielding.  Yes, DeWitt made three errors this spring that he probably shouldn’t have, but not enough to dislodge him from second base.  Plus let’s remember it’s Spring Training, so ALL of these numbers I just cited need to be taken with a grain of salt.  If DeWitt falters, Ronnie Belliard and Jamey Carroll will be there to pick up the slack, but here’s hoping the kid can be productive and hold in to the job throughout the season.

Jon Weisman has the details on the particularly cruel way Ned Colletti and Joe Torre delivered the news today.  Per Joe Torre:

“We initially pulled the April Fools’ Day prank on Blake. We told him he was going down, but we didn’t keep him there long. He was joyed, relieved. That’s as emotional as I’ve seen him in a long time.”

Charlie Haeger will be the fifth starter when the Dodgers open the season, meaning he’ll open the season on the road against the Florida Marlins.  Personally (and for totally emotional reasons), I’m psyched the 26 year-old made the team.  Having a knuckleballer on the club is pretty unusual, and I think the fans will love seeing Haeger throw.  I had a chance to watch him during Spring Training in Arizona (where throwing a knuckleball is notoriously difficult) and it was a treat.  Clearly Haeger has learned a lot from Dodgers pitching instructor, and former knuckleballer, Charlie Hough.

Per Rhett Bolllinger at MLB.com:

“I feel like a little kid,” Haeger said. “I just feel happy. It’s like a dream come true. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this for a long time and it’s finally here.”

But do I think Haeger will be the fifth starter at the All-Star Break?  Doubtful.   Torre has plenty of options with the Ortiz “brothers” (Ramon and Russ) should Haeger struggle, to say nothing of McDonald, Stults, Weaver and potentially Towers.  In my opinion, McDonald and Stults have the most pure potential, but Haeger makes sense to start now based on what he did at Camelback Ranch.

* Editor’s Note: I picked this heading before noticing that MLB.com also shares my same sense of humor!

Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2010 (DeWitt Photo)

Photo Credit: Chris Volk/Dodgerfan.net 2010 (Haeger Photo)