November 26, 2014

Dodgers Focus on Free agent Discussions During Exclusivity Period

The Dodgers may have waived their 2014 option on Mark Ellis and lefty Chris Capuano but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be negotiating with both players for a reduced role of some kind.

The team has exclusive negotiation rights through Monday to try and sign both players (along with the 10 other free agents from last season’s roster) and would likely be interested in each one of the price is right. While Capuano had the larger option ($8 million) he is less valuable to the team given his limited role this year due to injuries and the hefty average opposing batters had against him (.312).

Ellis seems like a good security blanket for the Dodgers if freshly signed Cuban free agent infielder Alexander Guerrero isn’t ready to go next spring. Whether he’s willing to accept a backup role (Ellis was a Gold Glove finalist) is another story. The Dodgers will be evaluating Guerrero during the Dominican winter league so I doubt their offer to Ellis over the next three days will be a strong one.

The Dodgers 12 free agents (according to MLB) are: Capuano, Ellis, Jerry Hairston, J.P. Howell, Carlos Marmol, Nolasco, Nick Punto, Skip Schumaker, Juan Uribe, Edinson Volquez, Brian Wilson, Michael Young, and Peter Moylan (he was designated for assignment and also elected free agency).

A Primer on Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy and Why it’s the Hot Treatment with Pro Athletes

So as I was listening to the first part of the game tonight, I heard Vin mention that Chad Billingsley is having a form of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy to help his ailing elbow.  I happen to know a little about PRP, as I’m set to undergo the procedure myself in just under two weeks.  Important note: I am NOT a doctor…this is a layman’s assessment of PRP for the purposes of this blog post and nothing more.

For me, I have a degenerative tendon in my knee that just isn’t healing through traditional physical therapy.  I also love to run, and being in my early 40s and not able to do so just isn’t an option that I want to consider right now.  Fortunately my sports medicine doctor (who also happens to be a team physician for the Seattle Mariners) knows the PRP procedure, and we decided it was something to consider after much discussion.

Here’s what it is (per the info I’ve received from my doctor’s office): “PRP is an emerging treatment in a new health sector called ‘Orthobiotics.’ The philosophy is to merge cutting edge technology with the body’s natural ability to heal itself.  Blood is made of RBC (Red Blood Cells), WBC (White Blood Cells), Plasma and Platelets.  Platelets were initially known to be responsible for blood clotting.  In the last 20 years, we have learned that when activated in the body, platelets release healing proteins called growth factors.  There are many growth factors with varying responsibilities, however cumulatively they accelerate tissue and wound healing.”  With PRP, blood is drawn from the patient, “spun” until it’s rich in the good healing platelets, and then those platelets are injected back into the patient’s ailing part (in my case, my tendon).

Interestingly, PRP was initially used over 20 years ago in the dental field to enhance wound healing in cancer patients with jaw reconstruction.  Soon afterwards its applications extended across many fields of medicine from cardiovascular surgery to orthopedics.

It’s not a treatment that works 100% of the time (and it apparently hurts a lot), but it doesn’t take a lot of time, has a relatively quick recovery period when compared with surgery and is popular with many pro athletes.  In addition to Bills, I read today that David Ortiz is having a version of this treatment done.  Other athletes that are reported to have had similar treatments include Kobe Bryant, Rafael Nadal, Hines Ward, Alex Rodriguez and Tiger Woods, among others.  Jonah Lehrer at Grantland and Elizabeth Lopatto at BusinessWeek both wrote great overviews of PRP that I highly recommend.

Anyway, this is probably more information on PRP than you really wanted, but given Billingsley’s treatment and the popularity of it among pro athletes, I suspect it’s something we’re going to be hearing a lot about in the years to come.

Oh, and I’ll also keep you posted on my experiences with PRP in the coming weeks…it should be interesting!

New Dodgers Owner Bobby Patton Seems Like a Regular Guy

Yesterday the CBS affiliate in Dallas had a great story on Bobby Patton, one of the five partners of Guggenheim Baseball Management that now own the Dodgers.

The piece has some detail on Patton’s life in Fort Worth, Texas, but what really comes through is that he seems like a regular family guy who loves his sports teams (he’s a lifelong Rangers fan, loves the Texas Longhorns and has Dallas Cowboys season tickets). There were two parts of the article that me smile and realize how refreshing this ownership group really is.  The first was when Patton asked if would have to pay for parking, or if there was some perk that came along with being an owner:

Perhaps the fact that, as a MLB owner, he can walk into any ballpark in the major leagues makes up for that.  That’s certainly a good perk but, ever the thorough businessman, he was curious about parking.

“I was a little bit embarrassed when I asked this question.  ‘What about parking?  Is there a parking aspect of this?’  A fella looked at me and said ‘Well, most of the owners usually have a driver’.  I was like ‘oh, well I knew that. I was just asking,” he says with a smile.

The other great moment was when he was offered one of Matt Kemp’s bats during a tour of Dodger Stadium:

At the heart of it, Patton is first and foremost a fan of the game.  The new owner was even reluctant to take home a souvenir from one of his first tours of Dodger Stadium.

“The clubhouse manager said ‘if you want to take a bat home to your kids you can.’  I was like ‘I can’t take Matt Kemp’s bat’ and he said ‘No, you really can.’”

His son and daughter now have Kemp’s and Andre Ethier’s bats hanging in their rooms.

All in all, it’s great to see an ownership group that has a little humility.  Can’t wait to see who Patton roots for if the Dodgers meet the Rangers in the World Series.

Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers 2012

Decision on Ownership of the Dodgers Expected This Week

To describe the slow, grinding road toward the eventual sale of the Dodgers as tortuous would be too kind, but my friends, the end is in sight.  The final three bidders have been identified, and per Bill Shaikin, a modified auction will take place with Frank McCourt selecting the eventual winner.  The two parties then have until April 3o to close on the transaction.

While there are lots of details still to be worked out, Shaikin’s article answers some of the most burning questions Dodger fans have.  The most interesting, of course, is what happens to the Dodger Stadium parking lots.  If Dodger fans have their way, they will be part of the sale, leaving McCourt with no stake in Chavez Ravine.  Per Bill Shaikin:

McCourt and his advisers have projected a sale price of at least $1.5 billion. Is that going to happen?
That might depend on whether McCourt includes the Dodger Stadium parking lots in the sale. The bidders would like him to sell the lots. He is not required to do so, and he has said he intends to keep them.

If he does, the offers for the Dodgers could drop to the point in which McCourt might not make much more than $1.1 billion, the approximate amount he needs to pay off debts and taxes, according to multiple people familiar with the sale process. McCourt could bet on revenue from future development.

The parking lot options might not be limited to “sell” or “keep.” A bidder could get an option to buy them a later date, for example, or offer McCourt a share of any development revenue.

So what does that really mean?  Well, if the parking lots are not included and the offers come in “low” (around the $1.1 billion mark), McCourt may change his mind and include them in the deal, driving up the value of the offers and leaving him with a profit after taking care of the debt, taxes and his divorce settlement.  And if I was a betting man, I would say that favors the really rich ownership bid of billionaire hedge fund manager Steven Cohen and local LA billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong.

But if there’s one thing Dodger fans have learned over the past few years, Frank McCourt rarely does what’s expected, so buckle up and get ready for some fireworks.


Vin Scully Is My Homeboy Talks Matt Kemp

If you’re a Dodger fan, you probably read Roberto’s stuff from time to time. There is no better person for sourcing Dodger appearances or discovering hidden gems of content out there than Roberto from Vin Scully is My Homeboy. He has some great videos up from the MLB Fan Cave with Matt Kemp talking about the story behind some of his tattoos, thoughts on working out, and more.

Read his post here and watch the videos