Dodgers Now

Steve Dilbeck and The Times' Dodgers reporters
give you all the news on the boys in blue

Category: Javy Guerra

Dodgers have to be liking the dreamer in Matt Kemp

Why you need to dream big ... sounds like the title of 32 different motivational books.

Matt Kemp, however, is dreaming really big. Record big. You’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me big.

His 2011 cry of “40-40” was impressive stuff, and he nearly became the fifth player in major-league history to pull it off, finishing the season with 39 home runs and 40 steals.

Now he’s upped the ante.

“Fifty-fifty,” Kemp said.

That’s his 2012 goal. And hey, why not? Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown examines and applauds Kemp for giving himself lofty goals. Fifty-fifty never has been accomplished in a single season by any player in baseball history.

Of course, hitting 50 homers can get a little in the way of stealing 50 bases. Hard to steal when you’re trotting around the diamond.

Also on the Web:

-- Jonathan Broxton told the Associated Press he’s happy to be in the Kansas City camp and isn’t worried about his post-surgery velocity: “I could come out this year and throw 100 or come back and throw 95. You never know what your velocity is going to be.”

-- The Times’ Bill Shaikin reports on the Bryan Stow family charge that the Dodgers are using bankruptcy court to shield them from their liability claim.

-- In a Fox video, manager Don Mattingly looks to the team’s coming season.

   

 -- Veteran baseball writer Tony Jackson is ESPN/L.A.’s new Dodgers bloggers, and here reports on Rubby De La Rosa’s progress.

-- True Blue L.A.’s Eric Stephen is scheduled to be with the Dodgers all spring, and reports on Jerry Sands arriving at camp and wanting to start.

-- The Dodgers have claimed speedy outfielder Matt Angle off waivers from the Orioles, and in a corresponding move, placed De La Rosa on the 60-day disabled list to create roster room.

-- Mike Petriello gets in touch with his optimistic side in this look at the Dodgers’ coming season.

-- Reid Forgrave at Fox looks back on the historic effect of Dr. Frank Jobe’s ground-breaking Tommy John surgery.

-- Remember, he can play first! Jay Gibbons has signed a minor-league deal with the Brewers.

-- In a video from MLB, excited closer Javy Guerra says he thinks the Dodgers can win it all.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Dodgers Web musings: 2012 team is not wowing followers

Kershaw-kemp_600

It seems Ned Colletti’s off-season maneuverings aren’t exactly converting the skeptics. Guess a $90-million payroll just doesn’t buy what it once did.

So the team that returns the National League Cy Young Award winner and MVP runner-up is not exactly getting a lot of off-season media love. Of course, they did have Clayton Kershaw and Matt Kemp last season and all it netted them was an 82-79 record.

Know those power rankings that are still the rage in professional sports? In the early results, the Dodgers are not faring well. Not even as good as last year’s squad.

Sports Illustrated’s Joe Lemire ranks the Dodgers’ baseball’s 18th-best team. That’s actually down four spots from where he had them finish last year. Arizona is listed at No. 11 and San Francisco at No. 15.

Earlier, Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown ranked the Dodgers 19th.

I don’t put much stake in these rankings, particularly at this time of the year, but it does indicate how the Dodgers are being perceived nationally.

Also on the Web:

--Bloomberg Businessweek’s Roben Farzad has a lengthy overview of the Dodgers’ sale.

“It’s a sports-business circus here,” said David Carter, executive director of the Sports Business Institute at USC.

Farzad claims the three current favorites in the bidding are the Rick Caruso-Joe Torre group, the Magic Johnson-Stan Kasten group and Steven Cohen.

--Hall of Fame baseball writer Ross Newhan doesn’t think South Korean conglomerate E-Land's financial backing of Peter O’Malley should negatively affect his bid.

Wrote Newhan: “No one has the ability to put the organization back together faster than the former owner.”

--Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall said he was staying with the team despite overtures from potential owners wanting him to run the Dodgers should their bids succeed. But, really, what else is he going to say?

--Dodgers.com’s Ken Gurnick said the Dodgers were thrilled with the results of their "young guns" mini-camp in Arizona. Also joining the prospects were Chris Capuano, Javy Guerra, Kenley Jansen and Scott Elbert.

--The Dodgers and White Sox have scheduled a spring game March 23 in Tucson to benefit the Christina-Taylor Green Foundation.

--Jamey Carroll tells MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger he’s ready to be the Twins’ everyday shortstop.

--The Red Sox are hoping right-hander Vicente Padilla arrives to camp on time after a report in Nicaragua he may not be able to leave that country over a failure to pay child support.

--The Dodgers have released a copy of the Dodger Stadium 50th anniversary logo, sponsored by State Farm. The Times’ Dylan Hernandez wonders if it includes a discount on fire insurance.

RELATED:

Dodgers' Frank McCourt: MLB owners' new inspiration

If Stan Kroenke gets the Dodgers, doesn't L.A. get the Rams?

Potential Dodgers owners already reaching out to Derrick Hall

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw and slugging center fielder Matt Kemp celebrate after Kershaw's shutout against the Detroit Tigers last summer at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images / June 20, 2011

Why Dodgers -- despite it all -- can still win the NL West

Matt Kemp
Because they play in a division where there is always hope. Every season, for most every team. Like it's required.

Parity hasn't simply arrived in the National League West, it's taken up residence. Not some shingle temporarily hung on the wall, but carved in granite at the front door.

The Arizona Diamondbacks finished last in the NL West in 2010 and then won the division last season. In five of the last six seasons, an NL West team coming off a losing season advanced to the postseason the next year.

The Dodgers are filled with "ifs" and crossed fingers and gambles. Not unlike every team in the division.

If Andre Ethier and Juan Uribe return to form, if James Loney hits like he did in the second half, if Matt Kemp approaches his 2011 season, if Juan Rivera can keep up his RBI form, if Dee Gordon can perform over a full season, if young closers Javy Guerra and Kenley Jansen can keep it going, if new starters Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano pitch effectively ... then the Dodgers win!

There is no juggernaut in the NL West, no powerhouse team, nothing even approaching a dominant club.

Continue reading »

Really, it's OK: Dodgers re-sign reliever Mike MacDougal

Mike-macdougal_300The Dodgers have re-signed reliever Mike MacDougal to a one-year deal for $650,000 with an option for 2013, and don’t go and get your I-just-sucked-a-lemon face on.

MacDougal proved a very useful, mostly reliable setup man in 2011. And that rare Dodgers veteran who remained healthy all season.

The popular refrain about MacDougal from last season is how horribly deceptive his 2.04 ERA was because he was truly so abysmal in preventing inherited runners from scoring. Which isn’t completely true, at least in terms of inherited runners.

Which is not to say it was sterling, but neither was it as horrific as memory tries to serve. MacDougal allowed 33.3% of his inherited runners to score, slightly above the 30.0% league average.

Few relievers, however, inherited more runners – 51, sixth highest in the National League – so when 17 came home, it still seemed like a lot. On the season with runners in scoring position, batters hit just .157 against MacDougal.

And since the Dodgers’ bullpen is loaded with youth – Kenley Jansen, Javy Guerra, Scott Elbert, Josh Lindblom – they could use another veteran along with Matt Guerrier and Blake Hawksworth.

MacDougal was a non-roster invitee last season, so anything positive the team received from him was something of a bonus. He came relatively cheaply at $500,000.

Having somewhat rebuilt his career, he no doubt was looking for a bump. The club opiton for next season is $2.35 million with a $350,000 buyout, meaning his one-year deal will really earn him $1 million next season, which sadly seems the norm these days. It at least beats the two-year deals being thrown around this winter. And right now it's hard to believe the Dodgers would pick up the option at that price.

MacDougal is mostly a middle-innings eater, who despite that glossy ERA still had a fairly fat 1.46 WHIP. He’ll turn 35 in two months and his best days clearly are behind him, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a role for him in 2012. Sure beats Ramon Troncosco.

RELATED:

Joe Torre adds to the best show the Dodgers have going

Time Warner Cable 'interested' in Dodgers bid

Joe Torre joining Rick Caruso in bid to buy Dodgers

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers reliever Mike MacDougal is congratulated by catcher Dioner Navarro after a victory over the White Sox in an interleague game last season. Credit: Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press

The Jonathan Broxton ride moves to Kansas City

Broxton-blog_640And so ends that, Jonathan Broxton the Dodgers’ next great closer.

It had looked so promising for a while. Big, imposing Broxton on the mound, firing serious heat. His mere presence intimidating, if not his 100-mph fastball.

But the promise waned in the postseason, and then after a strong start to 2010, came completely undone.

Now Broxton has officially moved on, signing a one-year contract Tuesday with the Kansas City Royals for a reported $4 million guaranteed.

That’s not a bad deal for a guy who missed most of last season with a sore elbow and ultimately had minor surgery. Broxton appeared in just 14 games, going 1-2 with a 5.68 earned-run average and seven saves.

In Kansas City, the pressure figures to be much less than under the bright lights and heavy expectations in Los Angeles. Plus, the Royals are not asking him to close but to set up Joakim Soria.

That, of course, is the role in which Broxton first gained acclaim with the Dodgers, and just possibly, is best suited.

Continue reading »

Jonathan Broxton not returning to the Dodgers, agent says

Jonathan Broxton

Jonathan Broxton has ruled out the possibility of re-signing with the Dodgers, according to his agent, BB Abbott.

“He will not be back in L.A.,” Abbott wrote in a text message Monday morning.

Abbott said his client is close to moving on.

“He had multiple suitors and we should have something tentative in the next few days,” Abbott said.

Abbott acknowledged he had conversations with the Dodgers about Broxton, but declined to say how far the talks advanced. Abbott had previously said Broxton was open to returning to the Dodgers.

Broxton’s departure wasn’t surprising, considering the uncertainty about his form and the emergences of Javy Guerra and Kenley Jansen in the back of the Dodgers’ bullpen. Guerra and Jansen flourished last season, as Broxton pitched in only 14 games because of elbow problems.

Broxton, 27, underwent a minor procedure in September to shave down a bone spur and remove loose bodies. He last pitched on May 3.

Broxton was the Dodgers’ second-round pick in the 2002 draft.

A hard thrower, Broxton quickly turned into a reliable and frequently used setup man. He became the Dodgers’ part-time closer in 2008, when Takashi Saito was sidelined with elbow issues. The Dodgers parted ways with Saito the following winter and made Broxton their full-time closer.

As a closer, Broxton was often spectacular, utilizing his 100-mph fastball to become a two-time All-Star.

But equally, if not more, memorable were his postseason failures.

He gave up the winning home run to Matt Stairs of the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 4 of the 2008 National League Championship Series. The Dodgers were eliminated a game later.

In Game 4 of the 2009 NLCS, Broxton walked Stairs on four pitches, starting a three-run rally for the Phillies. Again, the Dodgers were eliminated a game later.

Broxton was arguably at his best in the first half of the next season. He had a 0.83 earned-run average in through the first 33 games. But his season and career took a turn in a 48-pitch appearance in a loss to the New York Yankees on June 27 of that year. He wasn’t the same after that.

MORE:

Joe Torre reportedly weighs joining bid to buy Dodgers

Bill Plaschke: Writers strike out not choosing Matt Kemp as MVP

-- Dylan Hernandez

Photo: Jonathan Broxton. Credit: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times.

Daily Dodger in review: Blake Hawksworth delivers middle ground

Blake-hawksworth_600

BLAKE HAWKSWORTH, 28, reliever

Final 2011 stats: 2-5, 4.08 ERA, 49 games, 1.17 WHIP.

Contract status: Under team control.

The good: Had nice stretches and overall was useful enough as a middle reliever. Appeared in a career-high 49 games, and had personal bests of 7.3 strikeouts and 2.9 walks per nine innings.

Remember, he came in exchange for Ryan Theriot, who was generally a bust and wasn’t going to be brought back anyway after that wondrous signing of Juan Uribe. So any positive contribution was going to be a plus.

Went on the disabled list with a groin strain in the middle of May, which instigated the call-up of Javy Guerra, so I’ll give him some points for that.

The bad: He still had a 2.92 ERA on Aug. 9 when he went through a horrid eight-game stretch (11.88 ERA). Was considered a potential swing man when acquired from the Cardinals for Theriot, but he never did start a game.

He’ll be 29 at the start of next season, so this might be as good as it gets, and that’s OK.

What’s next: He’s out of options and in his final year under team control before becoming eligible for arbitration, so he figures to be back in the bullpen in 2012.

The take: So maybe you didn’t fall madly in love; there was still enough there to keep you interested.

General Manager Ned Colletti has a thing for bringing in journeyman relievers in the off-season, some of whom work out OK (Mike MacDougal) and some of whom who don’t (Lance Cormier). He’ll probably go fishing again this winter, but at least with Hawksworth he has a known arm. And if he stays healthy a full season, may yet have more upside.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo credit: Joe Murphy / Getty Images

Rookie of the year voters mostly bypass Kenley Jansen, Javy Guerra

It’s not that they blew it or anything, or that it’s the worst idea since somebody actually thought the world was clamoring for another "Charlie’s Angels" series, but it’s still somewhat disappointing.

Kenley Jansen, who was so good last season it was almost stupid, received just three third-place votes in the National League rookie of the year voting announced Monday. Javy Guerra, who emerged as the Dodgers unexpected closer, did not receive a single vote.

Jansen’s numbers in the more commonly used pitching categories just didn’t jump out at voters -- 2-1, five saves, 2.85 ERA -- though his major-league record 16.1 strikeouts per nine innings should have garnered more attention.

Guerra saved 21 of 23 games and fashioned a 2.31 ERA in 47 unexpected games.

Jansen finished tied for seventh in the National League rookie of the year voting with Cubs infielder Darwin Barney, who hit .276 with two homers, 43 RBI and a .353 slugging percentage.

Nationals shortstop Danny Espinoza -- who hit .236, but with 21 homers and 66 RBI -- was sixth, Diamondbacks starter Josh Collmenter (10-10, 3.38 ERA) was fifth and Nationals catcher Willie Ramos (.267, 15, 52), just back from his kidnapping scare, was fourth.

The top three were unanimous winner Craig Kimbrel, closer of the Braves (NL-high 46 saves), Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (.282, 21, 76) and Phillies starter Vance Worley (11-3, 3.01 ERA).

It was a pretty deep rookie field, which clearly affected the attention that came the way of Jansen and Guerra. It’s not like voters were distracted by giving Dodgers Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw attention for MVP and the Cy Young -- the voters are completely different.

Still, Jansen and Guerra certainly should have received more rookie of the year notice, particularly after the top three.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Daily Dodger in review: Kenley Jansen goes lights out

Jansen1
KENLEY JANSEN
, 24, reliever

Final 2011 stats: 2-1, 2.85 ERA, five saves, 1.04 WHIP, 16.1 strikeouts per nine innings, .159 opponent batting average.

Contract status: Under team control.

The good: Get serious. He was so good, it was scary. At least for opponents. In his last 30 appearances, he allowed just two earned runs (0.55 ERA).

A converted catcher, in just his second full season as a pitcher he set the major league record for strikeouts per nine innings. He had an 0.72 ERA when ahead in the count. He allowed just 17 earned runs all season (53 2/3 innings) and 12 of those came in three early-season games.

He was someone you wanted to see pitch.

The bad: Struggled in April and the end of May before finally acknowledging a sore shoulder. Once he returned, he was practically unhittable.

He did go on the disabled list a second time with an irregular heartbeat at the end of July.

With runners in scoring position, had a 10.22 ERA (12 1/3 innings). Otherwise, it was get out of his way.

Continue reading »

Daily Dodger in Review: Javy Guerra, the unexpected closer

Javy3
JAVY GUERRA
, 26 on Halloween, reliever

Final 2011 stats: 2-2, 21 saves in 23 opportunities, 2.31 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings, .218 opponent batting average in 46 1/3 innings.

Contract status: Under team control.

The good: The great surprise of the Dodgers’ 2011 season. If you saw this one coming, you predicted Lady Gaga. You knew the Cardinals would make the World Series.

The rookie may not have consistently blown people away in that classic closer mode, but he was a model of consistency. If he hadn’t allowed a pair of runs in his final game of the season — coming on his fourth appearance in five days — he would have finished the season with a sub-2.00 ERA. Until that last appearance, had been successful in all but one of his 22 save opportunities. Has a good, confident presence on the mound.

Continue reading »
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