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The Dodgers' off off-season

Now, hasn't this just been the most exciting Dodgers off-season? Just get chills thinking about it.

Gibson_picnik They added Jamey Carroll and Reed Johnson and somebody named Justin Miller.

Be still, my beating heart.

It has been one of the most passive Dodgers off-seasons in history, made only mildly acceptable by the fact that baseball-wide, off-season movement fluctuated between slight and nonexistent.

On the bright side, the Dodgers didn't drop $47 million on a broken-down Jason Schmidt or $44 million on singles-hitting Juan Pierre.

But as an off-season to juice up the fans and build excitement for the coming season, it was a letdown of "Land of the Lost'' proportions.

The Dodgers used to love to sign or trade for a big name in the off-season -- Kirk Gibson, Darryl Strawberry, Eddie Murray, Kevin Brown, Shawn Green, Joe Torre -- to create a buzz, to help generate interest in the coming season.

Last year their off-season was filled with news as they re-signed Manny Ramirez. This off-season, the team's biggest news was the divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt. Thinking that won't sell a lot of tickets.

The Dodgers are poised to tell their fans: If you liked last season, come back for more of the same.

They're counting on continuing improvement from their no-longer-quite-so-young core and a full season out of Ramirez to improve. Could happen, particularly with no other team in the National League West exactly tearing up the off-season either.

Their rotation, though, is filled with question marks: Chad Billingsley faded in the second half (3-7, 5.20 earned-run average), Hiroki Kuroda turns 36 on Wednesday and battled injuries last year, Vicente Padilla still has to prove he can find peace and harmony in the Dodgers clubhouse a full season, Clayton Kershaw is a potential ace but only 21, and there is no fifth starter.

Kinda fragile for a team that, for the first time, will be trying to reach the postseason for a third consecutive year.

And the team that beat them in the National League Championship Series  the last two years, the Phillies, did add Roy Halladay. That should get the hearts going in Philly.

In L.A., the Dodgers are hoping last year still gets you going.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Kirk Gibson. Credit: AP.

Comments () | Archives (20)

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I like this new blog. Seems like we're getting more solid information in a higher quantity. I'm also enjoying having multiple bloggers. That way no one gets comfortable enough to start blogging about their pest problem.


the dodgers are gonna be fine. they had less holes to fill. i'd prefer they save that money to sign our young guys to longer contracts.

for those still hung up on the mccourt devorce ... thats your problem. stop meddling into others personal business. the players don't sweat it. why should we? GET OVER IT!

and i for one am excited about the battle for the fifth spot. i'd like to see one of our own home grown take it. my money's on elbert.

it wasn't as bad as some people think.

more like "addition via lack of subtraction"

where were they going to upgrade ???

not any position player except 2B

other than via trade, there weren't any 3B/ss/1B or cathers that were much better than who we have.....

we certainly weren't going to upgrade the best OF in baseball

other than not paying through the nose to get Halladay, who didn't want to play for a team that didn't have Florida spring training, (kind of ironic with our 50+ year Vero Beach history), signing Padilla was actually a very cost-efficient way of filling out 4 spots in our rotation......and he might prove to be better than guys like Wolf/Pineiro, etc. who signed for a lot more

we weren't going to upgrade the bullpen

so, really, where were we going to upgrade ???

look at the Angels....they lost Vlad, Lackey, and Figgins....

we kept everyone of our productive players, with the exception of Wolf, and he woulda cost $30 mil for three years, which is a big gamble he will be

sometimes it certainly does pay to "make a splash" and not only generate fan interest, but vastly improve the team

but we filled bench spots, and as a recent article (Daily News ?) suggested, we are also stocking our 40-man roster with proven MLB talent for the inevitable situations we will need it

knowledgeable fans will recognize that there were few spots to fill this year, and we should feel lucky that 98% of our NLCS team the past 2 years is not only intact, but the core is signed for the next few years....

let's think positive and not cry wolf about off-seasons that simply weren't as bad as some people want to make them out to be

I would like to extend a warm welcome to Steve Dilbeck. The Daily News' loss is not only the LA Times, but all of Los Angeles sports fans gain!

craigsports: "where were they going to upgrade???" Are you sniffing glue? How about starting pitching?!?!?! Free Agency isn't the only option. There are plenty of great starting pitchers out there who are available via trade, and the Dodgers didn't lift a finger. Weak!

Thanks Steve Dilbeck. I like this blog so far. The guy before was kind of a homer, like he wanted to be an announcer or something. I know the internet is full of ugly sarcasm but you seem to have a good balance. Some LA fans really want a championship and some just want to get drunk and kill time at the ravine. I'm part of the former so the sarcasm works well for me.

terrible off-season......cannot hear anymore MCCourt stuff please
may not even make the playoffs with the current rotation.....
we need the O'Malley's back

The Phillies also subtracted Cliff Lee. Their net gain is the difference between Halladay and Lee in the #1 starter role, which is something, but not huge.

If "there are plenty of great starting pitchers out there who are available via trade", why have Halladay and Lee been the only ones to move? Halladay would never have approved a trade to LA; he's on the record for wanting to train in Florida and never in Arizona. The Dodger's best prospects are at the lower-levels so Philadelphia wasn't interested in LA as a trade partner for Lee. Now, if Ned hadn't traded Carlos Santana for $2M to cover Blake's contract, and Tony Abreu for Jon Garland and the money to cover his contract and buyout, maybe LA could have put a package together to tempt Ruben Amaro, Jr. to send Lee packing for Dodger Stadium.

trade only if you know you're getting a better player back. who's out there to trade?! we got some good pitchers inhouse who are dieing to get the chance to prove their worth. elbert has nasty nasty stuff! mcdonald has the attitude and makeup of a good starting pitcher. those are my two who have the best chance.

If the past tells us anything it is that the Dodgers will end up with either Halladay, or Lee, or both, a year or two after their best years. Anybody in the room over 40 remembers the names Allen, Howard, Eric Davis, Alex Johnson, Burt Hooten...i could go on for an hour.
As for this coming season...holes in the starting pitching are just too glaring to miss...even from 2800 miles away here in oHIo. always, I'm bleedin blue right along with the rest of the real fans! p e a c e

Luis Ayala was also picked up by the Dodgers this off season.

Welcome to The Times, Steve. This was a very good were your previous ones, especially Jackie Robinson show-and-tell, Vin Scully, Matt Kemp. I agree, the Dodgers will go only as far as their starting pitching takes them...and it may not be very far. They don't have an ace, or for that matter, a solid No. 2 guy (unless Billingsley comes through with flying colors), and there's still no No. 5 starter. And yes, there's the Manny Ramirez's he gonna do...will he stay injury free, will he go into a slump, will he start dogging it?. If the answer to any of those turns out to be yes, the Dodgers are in trouble.

I think the Dodgers will be fine this year. If Manny can be Manny not Super-Manny, and Martin comes back to half of what he can be, than the offense will be scary. Kid-K will be the ace of this team, Bills and Koruda can be as good as any #2-3 and maybee a #1, and Padilla is way better #4 than anyone, as long as he stays out off conflicts, and if the dodgers can find a solid #5 than this team will be playing in Oct for sure

I can't think of a better way to defend an NL West championship than to come right back with the same team.
This is close, with the exception of Randy Wolf and a few others but just about the same team that fought for the second straight time with the Phillies.
Yes the Dodgers have never won three years in a row but there is always a first time.

Normally I would agree with the poster who said divorce is a private concern and none of our business. However. when Jamie McCourt gets $1.4 million which is more than half of the team and can't hit left handed pitching (or right handers either), then I feel I have a legitimate gripe.

The Dodgers led the league in wins (95) and team ERA (3.41) in 2009, so yeah, 2009 still gets me going.

You forgot to mention that the Dodgers uncharacteristically avoided arbitration with their top players this off-season and actually paid them -- something they NEVER did in the O'Malley and FOX years (how time coats the mediocre with gold).

Yeah, the McCourts are media-hungry, cash-starved egomaniacs. Most sports franchise owners leave lots to be desired.

Seems this blog has been reduced to the kind of facile non-analysis that plagues baseball journalism.

Sadly Steve, I go back further into the days of laet season additions as Al Oliver, Jorge Orta, Mad Dog, etc.!
But I agree w/ Tom & SouthOC as our SP is a train wreck! Kershaw WILL be an ace - not there yet. Bills & Kuroda are not the best 2 & 3 in baseball & Padilla is no replacement for Wolf. But again Dread is trying, bless his little heart, to build the best back up team in baseball!

I'm not going to disagree with much of the comments stated here. There is no doubt the Dodgers have one of the better offensive lineups in baseball. That's definitely going to carry them a long ways. The problem with me and has always been the starting rotation. Yeah, we'll win the division and that's great. But in order to move up to the next level, we need a stronger starting rotation and there are too many question marks there. If were ever going to advance past the Phillies in the playoffs, we need to get a solid rotation. Otherwise, we are destined to come away disappointed at the hands of the Phillies yet another season and that doesn't sit well with me.

You are so right Thomas as I stated in my Welcome letter to Steve - the team we have to beat, got a lot better, & we on the other hand, without Wolf are not as good as last season. This, & the 200+ Mil Dread & Frank have spent on players that were injured, past their primes, fat & lazy, & one a PED use (& subsequent suspension) & none are game changers, are my reasons for me ragging on this poor excuse of a GM. I would also play Ausmus a lot more this year as Martin has fallen terribly since season 1.

The Japenese pitcher ,Hisanori Takahashi, sounds intruiging.


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