Dodgers Now

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

Category: T.J. Simers

Dodgers Web musings: Can Clayton Kershaw do it again?

Short answer: Not likely.

At least not at the same glorious heights he pitched during his 2011 Cy Young season. ESPN/LA’s Jon Weisman examined the top pitching seasons by pitchers 21-25 years old since 1958, using ERA+ (earned-run average adjusted for the type of ballpark pitched in).

Of the top 50 performances, only four showed a slight improvement the next season. The rest dropped off fairly significantly.

Also on the web:

-- Here is a video of Kershaw’s acceptance speech for the Cy Young award last week.

  

-- Former Dodgers managing partner Bob Daly had a lot to say to The Times’ T.J. Simers on Frank McCourt: "The man got a gift from God and unfortunately blew it, and blew it on his own personal craziness."

And this wise word for McCourt’s successor: "Here's the test to see if we get a smart or stupid owner. If you make a deal and allow McCourt to keep the land and parking lots, you are out of your mind.”

-- The Times’ Bill Plaschke thinks the Dodgers’ main priority now should be signing Kershaw to a long-term deal.

-- USA Today’s Bob Nightengale examines the pros and cons of each group reportedly bidding on the Dodgers, as does blogger Chad Moriyama.

-- Thanks to blogger Roberto Baly of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy for pointing out this roundtable segment on the Steve Mason and John Ireland show on ESPN 710-AM called "Meet the Bidders."

-- Hall of Fame baseball writer Ross Newhan said of all the groups interested in the Dodgers, only three or four may actually have the equity to purchase the team.

-- Andre Ethier "punked" his good friend, Red Sox Dustin Pedroia, on a WEEI sports show, actually getting him riled when he pretended to be an irate Boston fan unimpressed with Pedroia’s talents.

-- Ethier is also scheduled to appear with Mark Willard on Saturday at 710-AM, but a release of the interview includes this comment: "I've kind of dealt with this knee thing for the past two years, put it off for one off-season and then last season it just became a thing where a lot of things started multiplying and getting worse and something where I couldn't quite get back my swing."

-- Forbes’ Mike Ozanian writes Stan Kroenke’s bid for the Dodgers implies he’s bringing the Rams with him.

-- ESPN’s Buster Olney looks at the legacy of McCourt (Insider status required), and it ain’t pretty: “Frank McCourt will be remembered as the Richard Nixon of baseball owners, as someone who inexplicably squandered enormous opportunity and went out the door in shame.”

-- Safe to say, Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown is unimpressed with the Dodgers’ off-season, ranking them 19th best team in MLB.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Getting all emotional about purchasing the Dodgers

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Do you love the Dodgers? Do you just love them sooo much? So much than when reason screams — “Stop, what in the hell are you thinking?” — love whispers — “Ah, come on, what’s another $100 mil?”

Love can do that to someone, of course, get them all out of whack, making goofy decisions that turn the rational side of their brain into goo.

And this love affair comes equipped with something money can buy — status. Not just red-Porsche status or even side-by-side Malibu homes status. That’s just so common.

We’re talking the super-elite. Owning not just a Major League Baseball team but one of the most iconic teams in baseball history, situated in one of America’s most glamorous cities.

Bids for the Dodgers are due Monday, and all indications are the investment firm handling the auction could receive up to 20 preliminary proposals.

And one of them is apparently going to pay way more than the team is actually worth. Last March, Forbes estimated that the Dodgers were worth $800 million. Now they’re expected to fetch well over $1 billion. Maybe much more.

Which means you can look at all the flow sheets and income projections and potential TV media rights packages you want, but in the end if you want to come out on top of the auction, the bankrupt Dodgers are going to cost a lot more than makes practical business sense.

Continue reading »

Hey, Dodgers, I've got your bobblehead

Now that the Clippers have Chris Paul and have discovered the great wonder of running full-page ads in The Times that actually feature their own players, I am so thrilled to learn the Dodgers are stepping into this great advertising void.

The Dodgers are just as likely to run an ad trying to lure you back to Dodger Stadium with the likes of Matt Kemp as they are of Sandy Koufax. Of course, it’s been 46 seasons since Koufax actually pitched at Dodger Stadium, but I applaud the idea.

Koufax is the centerpiece of their "Dodger Stadium Greats Bobblehead Series," and on Thursday they announced six more dolls in the giveaway program. Included is the Mike Scioscia bobblehead on June 12 when the Dodgers host Scioscia and the Angels.

If you don’t want to come watch our mediocre team play, come for the bobblehead featuring a manager or player from the other team! It’s pure marketing genius.

The Dodgers still have to announce three more bobbleheads, which means three more opportunities to pick up memorabilia featuring someone from the opposing team.

Two are scheduled for games against the Diamondbacks, and tell me that doesn’t scream out for a Kirk Gibson model. Hit his head and it looks like he’s limping around the bases.

There’s also a June 28 date against the Mets. [Corrected: No current ex-Dodgers, but new manager Terry Collins was a former minor-league manager in the Dodgers' system.]

That still leaves an extra date against the Diamondbacks, who are otherwise devoid of ex-Dodgers, but then they did just win the National League West. Only check out who’s their president and CEO -- former Dodgers VP of communications Derrick Hall, the one executive who saw what was coming when the McCourts purchased the team and exited the organization of his own volition. They’d have to figure out a way to rig the bobblehead so you tap it and he shakes his head "no" to the McCourts.

The one bobblehead fans would love but that’s not coming is of Vin Scully, who has nixed the idea. If they still want to add media greats they could always do a Jim Murray model. Or maybe T.J. Simers, taking a bite out of some over-important player’s, uh, ego. Or if they really want to fill up the ravine, a smug Steve Dilbeck bobblehead. I have a very large family.

The 10 bobblehead games are offered in their own ticket package. Just check out our latest Sandy Koufax ad. I’m telling you, marketing genius. This is only the most money Koufax has made for the Dodgers since 1966.

RELATED:

Fox appeal to be heard quickly

Dodgers still fighting over Paul Shuey's salary

Ned Colletti shifts front-office duties of two assistants

-- Steve Dilbeck

Dodgers Web musings: Are the Angels now L.A.'s No. 1 team?

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Heard that one before.

Heard it when Disney bought the team. When the Angels won their first World Series in 2002.  When Arte Moreno bought the team and signed Vladimir Guerrero. And when Frank McCourt drove the Dodgers into bankruptcy.

And, of course, now that the Angels' off-season has been just a tad more impressive than that of the Dodgers’.

You sign the best hitter of his generation, Albert Pujols, and the top starter available, C.J. Wilson, and people tend to notice.

The Times' T.J. Simers said the Angels' moves were clearly in response to the Dodgers signing Aaron Harang and Jerry Hairston Jr. Wrote Simers: "There’s only one Los Angeles baseball team that anyone cares about and it isn't located in Los Angeles."

Added ESPN/LA’s Tony Jackson: "The Dodgers are all about history and tradition and lore. The Angels are all about the here and now, and the future, both short- and long-term."

For the Dodgers, it's a bad convergence of the darkest point in their franchise history and one of the highest for the Angels. And it should be noted that last season the Angels, for the first time, outdrew the Dodgers in attendance.

Also on the web:

-- The roster is looking full, but General Manager Ned Colletti tells Dodgers.com’s Ken Gurnick: " ... There's also more work to do. We're by far a finished product. Take the rest of the winter off? No."

Colletti can't seem to stop his love affair with utility infielders. Gurnick wrote that the Dodgers had been trying to trade for the Mets' Daniel Murphy.

-- The Times' Bill Shaikin and Kevin Baxter explain how Frank McCourt enabled the Angels to finance their stunning signings by maximizing their own TV-rights deal.

-- The Times’ Esmeralda Bermudez and Eric Spillman have more troubling details about James Loney's arrest last month on suspicion of driving under the influence.

-- Gurnick also has Clayton Kershaw's agent saying they're in no hurry to sign a long-term deal.

-- The Times' Joe Flint writes that the gloves are coming off between Time Warner Cable and Fox Sports in the battle over Dodgers media rights. The 2004 contract that prevented the Dodgers and Time Warner from partnering for a regional sports network doesn't apply to Time Warner Cable, that company argues, because it was spun off as its own seperate operation in 2009.

-- True Blue L.A.'s Eric Stephen has an overview of all the Dodgers' player moves this off-season.

-- Scott Boras, funny man? Who knew? Speaking to The Times’ Dylan Hernandez on the off-season spending of the Dodgers and Mets: "Normally, they're in the steaks section, and I found them in the fruits-and-nuts category a lot."

-- Dodgers individual spring training tickets are now on sale.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Angels owner Arte Moreno, left, introduces Jerry Dipoto as his general manager in October. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press

Dodgers Web musings: Bryan Stow lawyer suggests settlement to MLB

The lawyer for the family of the Bryan Stow family has approached Major League Baseball about working out a "reasonable settlement’’  in its lawsuit against the Dodgers, ESPN/LA’s Ramona Shelburne reports.

Stow, the Giants fan who was brutally beaten in the Dodger Stadium parking lot on opening day, is the largest unsecured creditor. The Stow family lawyer, Tom Girardi, has suggested that damages could approach $50 million.

Whoever buys the Dodgers will inherit the lawsuit, so Girardi reasons it is in the best interest of  Frank McCourt, the Dodgers and MLB to know what the damages will be heading into the sales process.

Also on the Web:

-- The Times’ T.J. Simers thinks you can’t go home again, and believes Peter O’Malley is the wrong man to take the Dodgers into their future.

-- Unlike me, Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal isn’t convinced that the looming team sale means the Dodgers are out on Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.

-- ESPN/LA’s Tony Jackson tries to walk through the still complicated process that lead to the Dodgers’ ultimate sale. A new owner by opening day looks like a pipe dream.

-- Oh, that’s all it took. Yahoo Sports’ Jason Cole thinks the Dodgers pending sale could hasten the NFL’s return to L.A.

-- The Chicago Tribune’s Mark Gonzales takes a look at the background of Dennis Gilbert, the L.A resident and White Sox executive who has expressed strong interest in Dodgers ownership.

-- The Times’ Dylan Hernandez writes that  Tommy Lasorda is big on the prospect of O’Malley returning as the Dodgers owner.

-- In a video, Lasorda tells CBS Channel 2’s Jim Hill that  he wants an owner with L.A. roots.

   

-- NBC Sports’ Matthew Pouliot and MikeSciosciasTragicIllness’ Mike Petriello both think Ned Colletti rushed and seriously overpaid outfielder Juan Rivera at $4.5 million.

-- True Blue L.A.’s Brandon Lennox looks at the Dodgers adding Scott Van Slyke and Alfredo Silverio to their 40-man roster and there isn’t much room to add other minor leaguers with the roster at 33 and free agents still to sign.

-- In a video, Fox Sports’ Rick Harrow -- the sports professor -– examines why that  despite their problems, the Dodgers will still attract a hefty sales price.

 

-- ESPN/LA’s Jon Weisman said one good thing to come out of the team’s sale is that it almost ensures that the new owner will sign Clayton Kershaw to a long-term deal.

-- Jackson, also reports that Dodgers assistant general manager DeJon Watson has withdrawn his name for consideration as the Orioles GM.

-- MLB Trade Rumors has its list of projected arbitration salaries, and it is estimating Matt Kemp could earn $16.3 million, Andre Ethier $10.7 million and Kershaw $8.4 million.

-- A Times’ editorial slams McCourt and his attorney for trying to cast blame on Stow.

-- In a video, MarketWatch.com’s Matt Futterman and Dennis Berman explain why they think the Dodgers may yet attract the largest sales price of a professional team in American sports history.

 .

 -- Steve Dilbeck

Dodgers Web musings: Frank McCourt and all that jazz

Mccourt_600It’s hard to live up to a titanic build-up, but I’m thinking the Frank McCourt versus Bud Selig face-off is going to pull it off just fine.

The bankruptcy showdown is scheduled to begin Monday in Delaware, but the pre-court filings have continued to come and they aren’t getting any sweeter.

Now Major League Baseball has attempted to put a precise number ($189.16 million) on how much money McCourt took from the team for his personal use –- or as MLB called it, "looting."

The Times’ Bill Shaikin has that update, plus how Bryan Stow could prove pivotal in the case and McCourt’s claim that Selig appointing a task force to examine stadium security after Stow’s beating was largely responsible for the attendance decline. Wrote Shaikin:

"Two days after Stow was beaten, and two weeks before Selig appointed the task force, the Dodgers drew their smallest crowd in eight years for a weekend Giants home game. The crowds remained small -- the Dodgers' attendance dropped 18% this season -- and the team blamed Selig for trumpeting his dispatch of a security task force and a trustee to Dodger Stadium within six days in April.’’

Right, that’s why attendance plummeted. Everybody was talking about that task force. Or it could be 99.9% of the fan base knew nothing about it.

Continue reading »

Dodgers web musings: Court battle is where the entertainment is

Frank3Are we having fun yet?

Nerves appear to become just a tad frayed as the Dodgers’ bankruptcy moves forwards. The big showdown doesn’t even start until Halloween, but already attorneys are sharpening their fangs.

Accusations have been flying the past two days. Turns out calling Major League Baseball’s proposed loan a "deal with the devil" may have must been a mere warmup.

On Tuesday it was MLB again threatening to kick the Dodgers out of the league, Fox threatening not to air their games the final two years of their existing contract and Frank McCourt’s attorney accusing the MLB of choking off McCourt's money supply in a dastardly scheme to oust him as owner.

By Wednesday it was a Fox attorney accusing McCourt of holding their existing TV rights hostage, MLB accusing McCourt of not turning over documents involving an IRS investigation, McCourt’s attorney suggesting MLB and Fox were trying to put off a media rights auction to "chill the market" and a dispute over a mysterious locked cabinet left behind by trustee Tom Schieffer in his former office at Dodger Stadium.

Just wait until Commissioner Bud Selig and McCourt take the witness stand.

Also on the web:

-- Howard Cole makes his case for how James Loney remains with the Dodgers at his blog at the Register.

-- MLB Trade Rumors takes a look at the arbitration cases looming for the Dodgers this winter, and estimates that if Clayton Kershaw wins the Cy Young he’ll earn a record $8.4 million for a first year of eligibility and that Matt Kemp could be looking at a much as a $16.3 million award.

-- The Times’ T.J. Simers finds it curious McCourt is fighting so hard in court to maintain ownership of the team when he’s been almost invisible as the team steward.

-- Josh Fisher at Dodger Divorce wonders exactly what McCourt is fighting for, because even if he should emerge victorious in bankruptcy court, his fan base has deserted him: "There’s nothing left to win."

-- Since Mike Petriello of Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness doesn’t believe there’s any chance the Dodgers will actually acquire an impact bat, he argues the best way for them to improve is to simply quit giving playing time to lousy players.

-- Chad Moriyama, probably leader of the sabermetrics crowd that worships Matt Kemp, attempts to take an unbiased statistical look at his MVP candidacy and concludes –- are you ready? -– he is the deserving winner.

--  Bryan Stow, the paramedic beaten into a comma on opening day at Dodger Stadium, has left the hospital and been transfer to a rehabilitation facility. His family said in recent weeks he has shown marked improvement and become conversational.

--  D. Clay Best of the Smithfield (N.C.) Herald reports that Jerry Sands plans to wed his high school sweetheart, Morgan Pace, in November and play winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

-- And don’t say Sands isn’t game for a good time. Here’s a video of Sands the superstar in a Dodgers.com video:

-- Steve Dilbeck

Twitter.com/stevedilbeck

Photo: Dodgers owner Frank McCourt. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Dodgers Web musings: The finish, the future and the payroll

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There they go, off into that Dodger blue sunset. A little hard to figure it all out, what with that horrendous start and then very respectable finish.

For the Dodgers too, and their followers. What to make of the boys of the summer of '11? One day into the offseason, the review begins:

-- The Times' Dylan Hernandez said the Dodgers' finish has them hopeful but also realistic that changes still have to come.

-- The Times' T.J. Simers likes/doesn't like the job Don Mattingly did in his rookie season as manager, but still expects a house cleaning when a new owner is in place.

-- ESPN/L.A.'s Tony Jackson said the challenge for the organization now is to figure out which improved play was for real and how to improve the rest.

-- ESPN/L.A.'s Jon Weisman thinks fans shouldn't get too excited about the Dodgers adding an impact player, estimating that they already have almost $100 million committed to next year's roster.

-- A Los Angeles Daily News editorial says the first thing the Dodgers must to do improve is get new ownership.

-- The Daily News' Vincent Bonsignore writes that Mattingly's chaotic years as a Yankees first baseman prepared him well for his tumultuous first season as the Dodgers manager.

--  The New York Times' Karen Crouse finds Matt Kemp a daily light in a dark Dodgers season.

-- Reliever Hong-Chih Kuo tells Dodgers.com's Ken Gurnick that he would like to return next season, but would understand if the Dodgers want to move on without him.

-- MikeSciosciasTragicIllness' Mike Petriello recognizes that there is a lot of work for the Dodgers to do, but says this season's finish offers hope.

-- Troubled ex-Dodger Milton Bradley has been arrested again, police saying he swung a bat at his wife Wednesday in their San Fernando Valley home.

-- Jamie McCourt sold the first of what could be several mansions. This is the one in Holmby Hills with the infamous pool, selling for $6.5 million.

-- A medical update on the improving condition of beaten Giants fan Bryan Stow.

-- Here's that curious photo shoot of Kemp at Flaunt.com,

-- The Orange County Register's Howard Cole finds that the Paul DePosdesta character in the film "Moneyball" is hardly the heroic type,

-- For a great visit to a classic baseball night, try this from Sports Illustrated's Joe Posnanski: an overview of the wildness and drama of Wednesday night's end of the regular season.

-- And don't say we hate country-western music -- OK, maybe after this Clayton Kershaw rendition of Taylor Swift's "Our Song," you might think otherwise.

  

 -- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp is greeted by Manager Don Mattingly and teammates after hitting a two-run home run in the seventh inning Wednesday night at Arizona. Credit: Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Ned Colletti: Dodgers open to signing major free agent

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General Manager Ned Colletti intimated Tuesday that the Dodgers could pursue a high-end free agent such as Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols this winter, saying he understands the value of adding a star attraction to appease an increasingly disgruntled fan base.

Colletti said he is more open to offering a long-term contract than he has been in the past. In his time with the Dodgers, he has signed only one player to a contract longer than three years: Juan Pierre.

Citing baseball’s tampering rules, Colletti wouldn’t talk about any specific potential free agents, but said the Dodgers would be open to signing the right player to a nine-figure deal.

“I think if there’s a player like that out there, we’ll inquire on it,” Colletti said.

Colletti reiterated what he told Times columnist T.J. Simers,  that he has a general idea of what he can spend this winter and could sign Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier to long-term extensions.

Colletti also said he expected the Dodgers’ entire coaching staff to return next season.

RELATED:

Fox Sports sues Dodgers, trying to halt TV rights sale

Dodgers season ticket holders ask for a say in bankruptcy

Frank McCourt vs. MLB: Stamina and patience of Job required

Dodgers want hearing on team sale delayed until December

-- Dylan Hernandez in Phoenix

Photo: Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti speaks on the phone at spring training in March. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

Andre Ethier is headed for knee surgery

Sharpen up the blades -- or whatever those itty-bitty things used in arthroscopic surgery are called -– because Andre Ethier is headed for surgery.

Just like he said to T.J. Simers two weeks ago. You know, before all the shocked response and he’s good to go far as we know reaction.

Ethier met with Dr. James Andres in Alabama on Friday, who confirmed the right knee would require arthroscopic surgery. Which apparently is what team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache is now also on board with. And just to make sure, they are sending a copy of Ethier’s MRI to famed Colorado knee surgeon Dr. Richard Steadman for a final confirmation.

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said Friday the clean-up surgery has yet to be scheduled, but the procedure typically requires about eight weeks of rehab. Meaning, Ethier should well on his way to full recovery long before spring training.

Meanwhile, if the Dodgers were privately hoping to deal him, his trade value has to have plummeted. And re-signing him to a long-term contract is now somewhat risky, given his lack of power this season and general uneven production since he broke his pinky in May, 2010.

Best guess: They gamble and re-sign him for one year, hoping he makes a full, power-laden recovery. And then just maybe at the end of the next season, they know more about Ethier and their ownership situation.

-- Steve Dilbeck

 

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