It’s technically the Winter Meetings in Nashville, and I have no idea how often I’ll be doing these day-long recaps (probably not often), but I want to write right now, so write I will. Here’s what’s going around the mill tonight:
- Geovany Soto has signed a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers. Right now he would be their starting catcher.
- James Loney is close to a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays. You may remember he was a part of the massive deal that sent him from the Dodgers to the Red Sox. He should be the Rays starting 1B unless a deal that gets done with someone like the Nationals in a James Shields for Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa exchange, as Jim Bowden suggests.
If more stuff happens tonight before I go to bed then I’ll update it. Otherwise… we wait until they go back at it tomorrow at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Resort which seems like a huge place from all the photos and maps I’m seeing on Twitter and MLB Network.
If you’re a baseball fan, unless you’ve separated yourself from anyone with internet access, you’ve been hearing about this blockbuster of a deal for the last 24 hours or so. If you’re from the LA Times, you’ve actually thought about this since Thursday. We’ve had plenty of time to digest what players would be involved, and really the only thing we’re not exactly sure of is the dollar amount that the Red Sox will cover. I’ve also personally wondered how the Dodgers finances with the luxury tax would go, and luckily there are people that know how that works.
A lot of people, Giants fans especially, aren’t sure how they feel, with the emotions ranging all over the place. While I can’t tell you how to feel, let me tell you what I feel:
How the trade impacts 2012: The Dodgers won’t get these guys
until Sunday at the earliest I believe until Saturday’s game, so the Dodgers will get 36 37 games out of Gonzalez, Beckett (6-7 starts?), and Punto for this season. Carl Crawford is out due to Tommy John surgery, so we won’t see him until 2013. While Adrian Gonzalez makes the Dodger lineup more formidable all by himself, he doesn’t all of a sudden make it invincible. After the Giants got swept by a team led by Kemp, Ethier, and Hanley, they returned the favor by sweeping them in their own house with the same team in Dodger blue. While the addition is scary, we should be realistic as well. All together, these guys may add 1-2 extra wins to their lineup than what they would’ve had without them. I do not think the Dodgers win the West this year, but I think they’ll be competitive for the 2nd wild card spot.
How the trade impacts 2013-2016: This is what Giants fans should be worried about and where the Dodgers get their money’s worth out of their players. Assuming good health, you’re looking at a lineup that has Crawford, Hanley, Gonzalez, Kemp, and Ethier. This doesn’t even include guys the Dodgers might add or bring up from the farm. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Giants play second fiddle to the Dodgers these years a la Nationals in the NL East, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see them and the Giants neck-and-neck again (Clayton Kershaw can’t do everything).
Important to note Hanley will be a FA in 2014, Clayton Kershaw in 2015, and Josh Beckett in 2015 as well. I think the Dodgers will hold on to two of the three of those guys. I’ll let you guess which two.
How the trade impacts 2017-2019: This is when the contracts are starting to end, and more importantly when some of the players start to get old. Carl Crawford (age 36, contract ends in 2017), Adrian Gonzalez (36, 2018), Andre Ethier (35, 2017), Matt Kemp (35, 2019), and probably Clayton Kershaw and Hanley Ramirez will all be in their mid-30’s (probably for CK and HR = if they’re on the LAD) and taking up from $100-$120MM of their team’s payroll. You may not be worried about guys like Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw if you’re a Dodger fan, but what about Adrian Gonzalez? Carl Crawford? Even Hanley Ramirez? I’m not convinced these every one of these guys are still amazing when we’re closer to the year 2020 than we are to 2012.
I don’t know what the Giants will be these years, and the climate of the NL West could be totally different — the Rockies could be relevant! — who knows! Maybe realignment will have happened! All you need to know is that the Dodgers won’t be as great in 2017-2019 as they will be in 2013 and 2014 for sure. So until the next couple years, enjoy the pennant race of 2012.
Here we go again. The Dodgers lead the season series 5-4 over their cross-state rivals and there’s nine more games between these two love birds set to happen, alternating venues per each three game series. You probably know by now the 162-game season will very likely end with the Giants visiting the Dodgers in early October (as opposed to making up a rained-out game or something). If there’s any team that’s confident right now, it’s the Dodgers. They just went to Pittsburgh and Atlanta and won a 5 of 7 from those playoff contenders, while the Giants lost a series to the Nationals (really no shame in that) and couldn’t sweep against the Padres (I blame you, Everth Cabrera), so it’s no wonder these two teams are still within a game of the top. The Dodgers know they swept the Giants back into contention with their full squad and now the Giants are missing Melky due to his suspension which really has been getting stupider by the day. Nevertheless, both teams know it’s time to put their full focus on each other in a series that is sweepable for both teams, but at the same time, if you called each game a “pick ’em,” I wouldn’t blame you.
Monday, August 20th: LHP Madison Bumgarner vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw
One sentence summary: ESPN has the pleasure of picking this game up, and there is probably no better way to start it off as both of these lefties are straight up dominant at what they do, especially Bumgarner in “high leverage” situations.
Tuesday, August 21st: RHP Tim Lincecum vs. RHP Joe Blanton
One sentence summary: As much of a low-scoring game as the first game could be, this one has the potential to be the exact opposite as Timmy still looks for his groove while Blanton has allowed 26 HR this year.
Wednesday, August 22nd: RHP Matt Cain vs. RHP Chris Capuano
One sentence summary: Don’t let Capuano’s name fool you as he’s pitched to a level any team would want to feature in a division series, while Matty Cain hopes for the same kind of run support he got in San Diego.
Your Bats May Not Do Much This Series, But Bring ‘Em Anyway
File this under the “things you never thought you’d hear” article for 2012, but the two “hottest” guys in the past week have been that infield duo of Joaquin Arias (.475 wOBA, .290 wOBA overall) and Brandon Crawford (.441 wOBA, .277 wOBA overall). Hunter Pence has turned it up lately since his slow start (.420 wOBA L7, .328 wOBA overall). What isn’t necessarily surprising is that there have only been three HR in the last seven days by the Giants (Arias, Crawford, Scutaro), and there has only been one stolen base (Scutaro). Chances are if the Giants want to score more and increase that chance of winning, both those numbers will need to get turned up a notch. Notably cold is Ryan Theriot (.176 wOBA L7, .281 wOBA overall), but I’ve talked about it on Twitter before, he and Scutaro are better bench players than regulars, so to rely on them for consistent production is — while understandable — a little silly.
How time flies, as Hanley Ramirez already has 100 PA with his new team, and it looks like he’s settling in just fine (.489 wOBA L7, 3 HR L7, .339 wOBA overall). The guy who’s lighting it up is Luis Cruz, who after plenty of Minor League action did not even have a ML HR before having 4 this year (.557 wOBA L7, 2 HR L7, .344 wOBA overall), so we’ll see if/when he regresses or he’s just doing the 2010 Andres Torres thing. James Loney is another name that has been the focal point of a lot of Dodger frustration, but every dog has their day (.399 wOBA L7, 2 HR L7, .274 wOBA overall) for a guy contributing less than Ryan Theriot is for the Giants. Someone who’s been surprisingly cold but you wouldn’t expect it to last much longer is Matt Kemp (.233 wOBA L7, .421 wOBA overall) because he just has too much talent to stay sleeping, but you know not many people outside of the Dodger organization would mind if he took a rest-of-the-season break.
I’m predicting it won’t be a sweep, and the Giants come out a 0.5 game ahead of the Think Blue crowd.
Monday: Dodgers win (MadBum gets Cain’d)
Tuesday: Giants win (Timmy finds a way to do less worse than Blanton)
Wednesday: Giants win (Matt Cain because he’s Matt Cain)
When 2012 started, the Dodgers were supposed to be a middle of the pack type of team. Maybe if Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw could carry their team, they could be a dark horse. Instead, they’re going all 2010 San Diego Padres, 2010 San Francisco Giants, 2011 Arizona Diamondbacks on the NL West. They’re 13 games over .500 and 3 games better than the good guys. The Giants can make up all that ground over the course of a series, but with Zeeters and an inconsistent Timmy going, they’re just as likely to go backwards as they are forwards.
Monday, June 24th: RHP Nathan Eovaldi vs. LHP Barry Zito
One question summary: Can you believe Barry Zito went 6 against Texas after that horrific outing against LAA?
Tuesday, June 25th: LHP Clayton Kershaw vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong
One sentence summary: After outdueling Kershaw in May, TV viewers will get to hear non-stop questions about whether Vogey can do it again (and if the offense can blah blah blah).
Wednesday, June 25th: RHP Chad Billingsley vs. RHP Tim Lincecum
One sentence summary: You know Timmy’s story, but Billingsley just got roughed up in Anaheim to a lesser extent than Zito did (10 H, 6 ER in 5 IP), and is hoping he can go more than 4 this time around against the orange and black.
Small Sample Sizes (Last 7 Days) and Overall Numbers
Lineup rant: Pablo needs to stop swinging out of his shoes and Belt’s gotta bat higher in the order. One of the points in baseball is to get on base, right? So why do you have the guy who’s tied for the top OBP batting 6th or 7th? Makes no sense to me. I’d love to see him 1st and Melky 2nd, but that’s another story for another day.
For everyone wondering, Matt Kemp was put on the 15-day DL May 31st, and he has been taking BP, but I haven’t heard a timetable for his return. Looking from a SSS perspective, Juan Rivera (.425 wOBA, .279 overall) is the only Doyer that’s really been looking good lately, but have 6 guys with a batting average under .155 (Abreu, Gordon, Herrera, Uribe, AJ Ellis, Loney) and 4 at/under .100 (EH, JU, AJ, JL) with 3 of them having a wOBA under .100 (JU, AJ, JL). Since all of them don’t normally bat that poorly, it’s only a matter of time before they jump out of their slump, especially Abreu and AJ.
Speaking of guys not hitting well, Nate, Angel, Gregor, and Crawford all have wOBA under .200 and batting averages under .155 themselves, and you may have noticed, but Melky has been cooling down as well, to the tune of a .259 wOBA (.388 overall). As cold as the first four have been, Brandon Belt has been hot: .555 wOBA (helped by a .500 BABIP, and now a .362 wOBA, and .388 OBP… .gif courtesy of David Tiao), and he continues to slowly raise that walk rate and lower that K rate. Joaquin Arias has a .492 wOBA going with a .556 BABIP, but that’s all in 12 PA, so that’s almost a SSSS (super small sample size). Hail to the Buster with his 2 HR in the last 2 games has a .235 BABIP, but a .400 wOBA (.361 wOBA overall, 3rd to Melky, then Belt).
If the Giants can steal one on Monday, fans will dream of a sweep since Vogey’s beaten Kershaw before. The bats need to light up Eovaldi more than rely on Zito to hold down an MLB/AAAA/AAA/AA/A+/A lineup.
Monday: Dodgers win (Zito)
Tuesday: Giants win (Kershaw gets Cain’d)
Wednesday: Giants win (Timmy restores faith in the hearts of millions, Giants go all BilLOLingsley on Chad)