13 January 2011
Dodgers Media Day
Roberto from 'Vin Scully is My Homeboy' has a whole bunch of stuff from the media day he was invited today. The Dodgers treat him very well, which is cool I guess.
Mattingly addressed the media's questions...
-Barajas looks to be our starter with Dioner Navarro relegated to being fat guy on the bench.
-Left field will be Gibbons, Gwynn, and (sometimes) Casey Blake, who should be able to play out there all right. He spent time there in Cleveland and it would allow the team to play Jamey Carroll. Carroll may not be much when it comes to pop but he's the only guy on the team who can possibly get on base at a .375 clip like he did last year and that makes him incredibly valuable, especially when surrounded like guys such as Uribe. I still can't believe we gave that fatass 3 years.
-More fat guy news (boy, we're just inundated with flab this year) - Broxton will be the closer and Donnie Baseball expects him to do well.
-Davey Lopes was there and said he's going to work on Kemp. It's nice to see a legit Dodger on the staff again after the past few years of carpetbagging Yankees. I guess Mariano Duncan was a "legit Dodger" too, but he was also crazy. Dave Hansen is also with the team as a second hitting instructor, so we should at least have some good pinch hitting I guess.
-New bench coach Trey Hillman speaks Japanese. At least he can yell some interesting new things at umpires.
-Mattingly was asked by the snarky Dylan Hernandez quite bluntly, "are you going to be any good this year?" The new skipper seemed confident that, even though we're basically working with the same parts as we had last year, there is plenty of room to improve. A lot of that falls on the shoulders of Kemp, who needs to regain his 2009 form. The same goes for Ethier, who really needs to remember how to hit left-handed pitching, and Loney, who really needs to just not suck like he did last year.
-Furcal and Blake will get more rest this year.
-While not naming anyone specifically, Mattingly implied that some of the youngsters who were working out today could see time with the big club. Ivan DeJesus Jr. is ready for big league pitching and will likely get a call up when Uribe goes down for the season after pulling a muscle reaching for the last chicken wing. Jerry Sands and Trayvon Robinson could also see some time in the bigs next year when they realize that gaping wound in left field isn't going to stitch itself up (nor will a couple Hello Kitty Band-Aids do the trick). Scott Elbert has a chance of making the team out of Spring Training.
Overall it's nice to see Donnie Baseball confident and green with anticipation for his big debutant ball. It's nice to see that for the first time in a while we don't appear to have any worthless old veterans taking up roster spots that should be reserved for better youngsters. The pitching staff is impressive on paper and the bullpen shouldn't be any worse than it was last season, Broxton notwithstanding.
Unfortunately, those pitchers aren't going to score any runs for themselves and Colletti's big failing this winter was not improving the offense. He added Uribe, who can provide a little pop and supplies adequate defense, but he also doesn't get on base enough and wasn't even holding down a full starter role last year with the Giants. Giving him 3 years was the kind of move a general manager with Down's Syndrome would have made.
I can't say I'm hugely confident in the core players all returning to their 2009 form, but it's not unreasonable to expect significant improvement after last year's abortion of a season. Kemp ended 2010 on a tear and is now liberated from the management with whom he didn't connect, so he has no excuses. Ethier is healthy and in the middle of his prime years. Loney... well, Loney sucks but hopefully some new coaches can at least get him looking like a real ballplayer.
Expect to see a full Spring Training preview in the coming weeks.