December 19, 2014

Dodgers Roll Out Kasten and Colletti at 5th Annual Blogger Night

Friday night at Dodger Stadium was pretty special, as the Dodgers hosted the 5th Annual Blogger Night, inviting a wide range of Dodger blogs to experience the game from a luxury box while getting a chance to hear from a few special guests.

Blogger Night had a few of the old stalwarts in attendance, including Craig from True Blue LA, a few of the “new Sons” from Sons of Steve Garvey, Roberto from Vin Scully is My Homeboy and Roger from Dodger Dugout, among others.  There were also some new blogs that made the cut, including Save the Dodgers and something called Angry Albert.

Alex and I arrived around 6 p.m. via lot P and the Top of the Park entrance and secured our tickets to the suite after a few ID checks and a long wait for those aged Dodger Stadium elevators.

We made our way to suite #232 (down near the Stadium Club) which was packed with lots of snacks and Dodger Dogs. 

General Manager Ned Colletti and Director of Contracts, Research and Operations Alex Tamin arrived shortly thereafter and we launched right into a wide-ranging Q&A session on the state of the Dodgers for about 30 minutes. Tamin is pretty new to the organization but has worked in arbitration cases where Colletti had a chance to evaluate him and is a whiz with Sabremetrics and other quantitative aspects of the organization

Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten was the next to arrive, and brought along two former bloggers from the former Washington Nationals blog Nats320 that he’s still friendly with.  Kasten made a point of emphasizing his support of the blogging community, noting that one of his first questions he asked after arriving was “What are we doing with the blogs?”

We’ll have more on Kasten’s views on the Dodgers soon, but he seems like a super passionate, dynamic, accessible and engaging leader.  It’s still very early on, but it seems like we may have struck gold with Kasten.

The rest of the evening featured a few more special guests popping by to chat, including team historian Mark Langill, Dodger legend Ron Cey, LA Times beat reporter Dylan Hernandez and of course the entire Dodgers PR team.

If you haven’t met Mark Langill, the guy has an incredible memory.  When he learned that Alex and I grew up in Pasadena, he immediately began reciting key players and specific games from our high school the early 90’s when he was a local sports reporter.

All in all, a great night was had by all.  Special thanks to Joe, Yvonne, Garrett, Jon and H.J. for putting together a great event.

Sunset at Dodger Stadium July 13,2012

Let the Manny Ramirez Negotiations Begin!

So ESPN is reporting that the $20-$25 million per year isn’t the issue, it’s the length of the contract, with Ned pushing for two years instead of five or six.

My take is that this is a smart move by Ned for several reasons: one, this is a negotiation. We all know a five or six-year deal for Manny makes absolutely no sense for a NL team. Where’s he going to hit when his knees break down? At 33, Manny’s no spring chicken! Two, the team has been burned by long-term contracts in the past. Does Darren Dreifort’s infamous five-year, $55 million contract in 2000 ring any bells? Personally, I’d take Manny for three years at A-Rod money. He proved a lot to me during his short stint in LA, and the effect he had on the players both on and off the field was undeniable.

Plus, Ned has shown that he likes short-term contracts while in LA, and it probably kept him from getting fired this off-season. Could you imagine if the Andruw Jones and Jason Schmidt deals were for 4+ years??

I’m sure we’ll now see Scott Boras start talking about mythical offers from “unnamed clubs” in an effort to get Ned to bid against himself, but I think we’re long past the Boras shenanigans of old working in 2008 (God, at least I hope we are).

Your move, Manny…

Welcome Casey Blake!

Cleveland Indians' Casey Blake, right, and Grady Sizemore celebrate after Blake's two-run home run against the Los Angeles Angels in the fifth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, July 21, 2008.

Finally!  On Saturday morning, the Dodgers pulled the trigger and landed 3B Casey Blake from the Indians for a pair of lower-tier minor leaguers giving them a solid bat at one of the positions where one was desperately needed: third base.  He also gives the Dodgers a ton of flexibility, playing first base as well as in the outfield when needed.

Let’s first talk about Blake’s numbers: he’s hitting .289, 11 HR, 58 RBI.  Nice.  Sure, he’s a free agent after this season, but there’s no reason to think that Casey can’t re-sign with the Dodgers who will be looking for a replacement for Raffy Furcal.  Plus, this guy plays hard and the Dodgers need gamers.  I bet he and Jeff Kent are going to get along famously.

Plus the guy is a clutch hitter, hitting .398 with runners in scoring position (something the Dodgers most certainly are not this year).  If you want to get as psyched as we are about this trade, check out this article in yesterday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer: “The Mighty Casey: Blake Maintains Pace as Tribe’s Best in Clutch in ’08”

This year, the Tribe’s versatile third baseman entered Friday’s series opener with Minnesota hitting .402 with men in scoring position, .326 with runners on second or third with two out and .600 with the bases loaded. But he is hard-pressed to explain it.

“I’m not doing anything different. … I tried to keep the same approach [as 2007], and that’s why it’s so weird,” said Blake, who is hitting .287 (92-for-321) with 11 homers and 58 RBI. “It’s one of those things. I just try to hit the ball hard somewhere.”

Blake said he hopes that fans appreciate his blue-collar work ethic and said it is a privilege to roll up his sleeves everyday and go to work.

“I’m not real flashy … I don’t believe in that,” Blake said. “I show up every day ready to play hard. … I’ve had some tough times here [with the fans] but I’m glad they’re embracing me. It’s nice to have them on my side.”

In return, the Indians will receive Carlos Santana, a catcher in the Class A California League where he has 14 homers and is hitting .323.  Also acquired in the deal is AAA pitcher Jon Meloan who is 5-10, but is also a strikeout machine, racking up 335 in 262 innings.

Sure the Dodgers gave up some potential major league talent in this deal, but the NL West is ripe for the picking and the Dodgers managed to strike first in a big way while not giving up the farm in the process.  Nice job Ned, but you’re not done yet!

GM Contenders: Kim Ng and Logan White

Unfortunately, both are not candidates are not for the Dodgers GM position.  From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

GM CHATTER: The Mariners probably will wait until the offseason before deciding what to do about their general manager’s job. For now, Pelekoudas is the interim GM, and he will be one of the candidates down the line.

Club president Chuck Armstrong isn’t saying who else he might be thinking about, but the speculation around baseball is getting up to speed.

The Los Angeles Times reported that while the Mariners haven’t called to ask about any of the potential Dodgers candidates, Los Angeles GM Ned Colletti said he would grant permission if asked.

The Dodgers personnel include Kim Ng, an assistant GM for the past seven seasons who is seen as the most highly qualified woman when GM jobs are talked of, and Logan White, who has run the L.A. scouting department the past seven years.

“They’re both worthy,” Colletti told the Times.

Ng is believed to be interested in the job and White, who played in the Seattle minor league system, told the Times he would be interested in discussing the job.

Losing either Ng or White would be really bad news for the Dodgers organization.  Ng is known as a shrewd negotiator (she handles many of the club’s arbitration cases) and we all know White’s credentials with the copious amounts of young talent currently in the farm system.

Frank McCourt, now is the time to act.  If Ned is your man, so be it.  But don’t be naive enough to think that the club could afford to lose either of these two All-Star front office execs.  Do what you need to do to lock these two up for the foreseeable future.

Here’s something Ned Colletti can actually win!

Yup, it’s a poll looking for the worst GM in baseball from the folks at Our boy Ned is the #3 seed battling #6 seed J.P. Ricciardi of the Toronto Blue Jays. As of 11:10 p.m. on Monday evening, Ned is “winning” 2-1 with 30 votes compared to J.P.’s 15 votes. Supporting arguments for Ned are supported by the following quote: “Juan’s ability to hit combined with his speed make him a perfect catalyst for our lineup,” general manager Ned Colletti said. “I’ve long admired how he plays the game.” Only time will tell how this plays out, so get out there and vote!