Tag:Ted Lilly
Posted on: November 30, 2010 2:56 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2010 12:07 pm
 

Dodgers' early moves eye-opening

Come on now, the week's most intriguing issue isn't what the scales said when new Dodger Juan Uribe stepped on them during his physical examination Tuesday.

It's what the scale says when the Dodgers plop their 2011 payroll on top of it.

Maybe Uribe's new three-year, $21 million deal in Los Angeles will be looking a little ragged in 2013. Who knows, it might not look so great by the end of 2011. He's 31, seems like 36, and do you really think he can pop 24 homers in a summer again as he did in 2010?

But while the addition of Uribe provides plenty of cordwood for Hot Stove League debate, the fact that the Dodgers now have signed four significant free agents and we're not even to the Winter Meetings yet is the strongest signal yet that perhaps the worst of the Great McCourt Divorce Trial is starting to move through.

In handing left-hander Ted Lilly $33 million, right-hander Hiroki Kuroda $12 million, right-hander Jon Garland $5 million and now Uribe $21 million, the Dodgers have shelled out some $71 million during the offseason's first month.

You can argue that there is nary an impact player like a Cliff Lee or a Carl Crawford among them.

But neither, now, is there a Charlie Haeger in the projected mix for 2011.

The Dodgers are back in the game. Nobody's predicting a division title here but, already, the rotation is improved over that wing and a prayer they trotted out in 2010. Vicente Padilla as opening day starter was the organization's most embarrassing moment since the 1986 club filmed The Baseball Boogie music video.

In Garland and Lilly, general manager Ned Colletti is taking a smart, calculated gamble with veterans who are reliable and will handle a heavy innings-pitched workload. No, they don't completely close the gap with the world champion Giants of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. But more threadbare clubs like the Padres shouldn't run circles around them again.

Meanwhile, Uribe at second base at least has a better chance for a happy ending than Uribe at shortstop. No, that pear-shaped body isn't prototypical for a middle infield position. But a couple of things about Uribe:

-- He's a winner. He played pivotal roles on two World Series champion teams, the '05 White Sox and last year's Giants. When the stakes are high, he's come up big. He had nine RBIs in 14 post-season games last month.

-- He's beloved in the clubhouse. The Giants thought the world of him. On a Dodgers club that had clubhouse issues before Colletti arrived (Milton Bradley) and with a roster of younger players that still don't all get it (Matt Kemp), Uribe will add more than, say Manny Ramirez (no matter how the Dodgers spun his influence in the early days).

Again, this isn't to make Uribe out to be more than he is, which also is a man who batted .248 last season, owns a career on-base percentage of .300 and rarely works the count.

Truth be told, given where the Giants are and where the Dodgers are, this move is excellent for San Francisco, too. The Giants, who already specialize in ancient middle infielders (Omar Vizquel, Edgar Renteria), were smart not to over-extend with Uribe.

But for a Dodgers team that many figured would be drowning in the McCourt divorce saga for the next several years, the four moves so far at least represent hope that the clouds will part sooner rather than later.

And those don't even count what could be Colletti's best stroke of the winter, bringing back Dodgers legend Davey Lopes to coach first base. Lopes, a free agent after a dispute with the Phillies over his value, is the sharpest baserunning coach in the game.

That, and the possibility that maybe he can reach the still-maturing Kemp, make this way more than your average coach hire.

The Dodgers still have plenty to do and will be in the market for a catcher if they non-tender Russell Martin on Thursday (and the catching market is weaker than month-old iced tea).

But at the very least, a fourth-place club that finished 80-82 in 2010 has sprung out of the blocks quickly toward 2011. It's a start.

Posted on: July 30, 2010 1:57 pm
 

Dodgers, Cubs talk Lilly-Theriot -- or just Lilly

Seven games behind San Diego in the NL West and at a clear crossroads in their season, the Dodgers continue to pound the phones searching for starting pitching and are looking at all options.

The latest on Friday involved discussions with the Cubs on a couple of different fronts: One involving a package that would send left-hander Ted Lilly and infielder Ryan Theriot to the Dodgers, the other a deal that would only involve Lilly, according to CBSSports.com sources.

The Dodgers are not overly enamored with Lilly in that, at 34, he is not the same pitcher he was a few years ago. But, the trade market is what it is and, with Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee and Dan Haren off the board, contenders looking for starting pitching are left to sort through the Lillys, Jake Westbrooks and Jeremy Guthries.

Any deal sending Lilly, or Lilly and Theriot, to the Dodgers would have to include the Cubs shipping cash as well. One other factor that makes Lilly less attractive is that he's owed about $4 million for the rest of the summer. And given the Dodgers' precarious financial situation -- the divorce trial between owners Frank and Jamie McCourt is expected to kick off in August -- they cannot take on much salary.

A Lilly-Theriot package certainly would be more attractive to the Dodgers at this point in that Theriot, who has a .285 batting average and .321 on-base percentage, would give them more options. Bench depth has become an issue for the Dodgers, who acquired outfielder Scott Podsednik on Wednesday to help get them through Manny Ramirez's third disabled list stint of the season.

The Dodgers -- or, more likely if a deal is consummated, the Cubs -- would owe Theriot a pro-rated portion of his $2.6 million 2010 salary.

While Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti -- among the more creative GMs -- is determined to find a way to add a starting pitcher, he did note earlier this week that he would not jump at something undesirable in July because there are always ways to add help in August as well.

"We'd like to get it done by Aug. 1," he said Wednesday. "But sometimes other people come available."

Remember, the Dodgers last August alone acquired starting pitchers Vicente Padilla and Jon Garland, pinch-hitter Jim Thome and infielder Ronne Belliard. And two years ago, they added starting pitcher Greg Maddux in August.

Posted on: July 29, 2010 5:08 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 7:01 pm
 

Toronto's Downs hot property & other trade notes

Toronto was the focal point of last year's trade deadline, then-Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi was the point man and ace Roy Halladay was the bait.

A year later, Cliff Lee, Dan Haren and Roy Oswalt having been traded and Saturday's 4 p.m. EDT non-waivers trade deadline bearing down?

Toronto again is a focal point, first-year GM Alex Anthopoulos is the point man and reliever Scott Downs is getting as much action as anybody on the market.

Now Downs might not pack as much marquee punch as Halladay, but this year's trade market isn't exactly heavyweight, either.

And given the overwhelming bullpen needs of the majority of contenders this summer. ...

"He might be the best guy out there," the general manager of one club with interest in Downs says. "He's owed just a little more than $1 million, he's left-handed, he can close, he can set up. ..."

Among other clubs, the Blue Jays have fielded inquiries about Downs from the Yankees, Red Sox, Twins, Mets, Dodgers, Rockies, Giants, Reds and Phillies over the past several days.

Clubs also are watching Jays relievers Kevin Gregg and Jason Frasor.

-- The Nationals are holding out hope of signing slugger Adam Dunn to a contract extension between now and Saturday's trade deadline, which is why talks remain slow between them and other clubs like the White Sox, Yankees and Giants. If contract talks don't progress, trade talks are expected to.

-- The Dodgers, who obtained outfielder Scott Podsednik from Kansas City on Wednesday, still want to acquire a starting pitcher and worked hard to try and pry Roy Oswalt from Houston until the Phillies finally finished the deal. The Dodgers were given indications that Oswalt would have waived his no-trade clause to go there.

-- The Dodgers have scouted the Cubs' Ted Lilly but are lukewarm on him, particularly given that they'd get only about 10 starts for the roughly $4 million he's still owed. They also have had a scout sitting on Pittsburgh's Paul Maholm, who was blasted by the Rockies in Coors Field on Thursday (five earned runs, seven hits, 4 2/3 innings). The Pirates have not indicated yet whether they intend to move Maholm.

-- GM Ned Colletti thinks the chances of the Dodgers acquiring pitching help might be better in August given the slim pickings right now. Plus, Dodgers under Colletti have made several of their key moves in August. Last year, they added pitchers Vicente Padilla and Jon Garland, infielder Ronnie Belliard and pinch-hitter Jim Thome in August. Two years ago, they added Greg Maddux in August.

-- The Twins and Mets also continue to engage the Cubs regarding Lilly.

-- The sinking Rockies want to move starter Aaron Cook, according to one source, but there has not been much interest.

-- Philadelphia scouted Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa as a fallback in case Roy Oswalt did not work out.

-- The Angels, who are just about DOA right now, had been working toward a deal for the Cubs' Derrek Lee for several weeks before Lee nixed it. Angels outfielder Torii Hunter had dinner with Lee in Chicago on June 18 after that afternoon's game that doubled as a recruiting session. Lee must be one of the few people in baseball who can't be charmed by Hunter.

-- Multiple clubs have asked Milwaukee about veteran outfielder Jim Edmonds, but Edmonds has told the Brewers he does not want to go anywhere. He particularly would make sense for San Francisco, which is looking for an outfielder who can improve the offense.

-- This shoulder stiffness that sent Washington's Stephen Strasburg to the disabled list on Thursday is something completely new. His college coach, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, said at Petco Park on Wednesday night that Strasburg never had a shoulder or arm problem in three seasons at San Diego State. Not even something minor. "None. Zero. Nothing," Gwynn said.

Posted on: July 28, 2010 10:01 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 11:10 pm
 

Dodgers acquire Podsednik, eye pitching help

The Dodgers made a trade Wednesday, but it wasn't one to strengthen their rotation and solve their dilemma of who's going to start Saturday against San Francisco.

Instead, they struck for an outfielder, acquiring veteran Scott Podsednik from Kansas City for a couple of minor-league prospects while continuing their search for a starting pitcher.

As for whether the Dodgers will be able to add a starter by Saturday's trade deadline -- they've inquired about Houston's Roy Oswalt and the Cubs' Ted Lilly, among others -- general manager Ned Colletti said it's still too early to know.

"Tough to tell," Colletti said early Wednesday evening. "You take it as it comes. This deal [Podsednik] came about. You don't have to put it in order. You get them done when you can."

Looking to beef up their versatility and add depth with Manny Ramirez disabled with a strained calf, the Dodgers sent two minor leaguers -- Triple-A catcher Lucas May and Double-A right-hander Elisaul Pimentel -- to the Royals for Podsedik. No money exchanged hands -- the Dodgers will pay the roughly $600,000 owed to Podsednik for the remainder of the year. His contract includes a $2 million club option for 2011 or a $100,000 buyout.

It's not a blockbuster deal, but with Ramirez on the DL for a third time this season and with the Dodgers running third in the NL West, the acquisition of Podsednik at least gives manager Joe Torre another option. Especially with another outfielder, Reed Johnson, also on the disabled list with a back injury and not expected to return for at least three or four more weeks.

"He brings a lot of different things to the club," Colletti said. "He's a good hitter -- his average is over .300 -- he drives in a lot of runs for hitting in a high spot in the order, he has speed, he can add a lot of different dimensions to the club.

"That he played on a World Series winner in Chicago a few years ago is also a plus."

In 94 games for Kansas City this season, Podsednik hit .310 and stole 30 bases. He also posted a .352 on-base percentage.

The Dodgers hope Podsednik arrives in San Diego in time for Thursday's 3:35 p.m. PDT start. He'll bring a 15-game hitting streak with him.

Meantime, the Dodgers right now are going with "to be determined" as the starter opposite San Francisco's Barry Zito on Saturday. Likely, it will be right-hander John Ely, who was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque on July.

Unless, of course, Colletti pulls a rabbit out of his cap for the Dodgers on the trade market.

Posted on: March 15, 2010 10:51 am
 

Masterson master of destiny with Cleveland

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Justin Masterson is off the yo-yo string. His days of bouncing back and forth between the bullpen and rotation in Boston are over.

Now, all he has to do is prove he can start in Cleveland.

The Indians have plenty of questions as they turn things over to the kids, and how Masterson fares is high atop the list. Acquired as part of the Victor Martinez trade last July, the 25-year-old right-hander is hoping to complete his first full season as a starter this summer since 2007.

Boston's second-round pick in the 2006 draft, Masterson made his major-league debut just two years later, appearing in 36 games and starting nine for the Red Sox. That fall, in '08, he became the seventh-youngest pitcher ever to win a postseason game for the Red Sox (23 years and 208 days).

With the Red Sox loaded with pitchers, he broke camp with the team in 2009 as a reliever but moved into the rotation after only four relief appearances when Daisuke Matsuzaka was disabled. Masterson wound up appearing in 31 games for the '09 Sox, starting six of them.

He was traded to Cleveland on July 31, whereupon he made one relief appearance before finishing the season with 10 consecutive starts. He went 1-7 with a 4.55 ERA for the Indians, putting him in a classic spring position now: Happy to be given a clean slate in a new place, where the sky is the limit

"It's a real fun place," Masterson says. "What's also interesting is that there's a lot of energy here, but not the nervousness that comes with it. These guys believe they can play."

Sunblock Day? It's into the 70s and predicted to be into the 80s by week's end. Better late than never.

Likes: Cubs manager Lou Piniella, in describing pitcher Ted Lilly's low-key rehabilitation from arthroscopic shoulder surgery over the winter: "We want to keep him under the radar gun and not talk about it much." Not sure if Lou wants to keep him low profile this spring or keep Lilly's velocity down. ... Gotta love that spring training team bonding. There was a signup sheet on the door to the Indians' clubhouse the other day entitled "Bull Riding Event" at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale. And there were 17 Indians' players signed up to attend. ... Arizona manager A.J. Hinch says that Conor Jackson, who missed almost all of last season with Valley Fever, is swinging to well this spring that he wishes he could put Jackson "on ice" until opening day. I don't think he meant that literally, but you get the drift. ... Cool that actress Betty White will host Saturday Night Live's Mother's Day show in May. ... New discovery: Frank & Lupe's Mexican joint in Old Scottsdale. Outstanding fish tacos there the other night. ... Exactly how Bob Dylan came to record the old children's song This Old Man, I don't know. But it's here, and it's highly entertaining.

Dislikes: RIP Merlin Olsen, who seemed like one of the nicest men on the planet.


Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"He's going back to New York, pack it up and let everyone know
"It was something that he should have done such a long time ago
"Still time to start a new life in the palm trees
"Ah, Billy Clyde wasn't insane
"And if it doesn't work out
"There'll never be any doubt
"That the pleasure was worth all the pain"

-- Jimmy Buffett, The Weather is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful

 

Posted on: May 27, 2009 7:50 pm
 

In Cubs vs. Umps, umpires will win

Maybe the Chicago Cubs are right and they've been hosed by a rash of bad umpire calls lately.

Or maybe they're dead wrong and totally delusional.

Whatever, one thing could not be more clear in the midst of the emotion:

The Cubs are going to have to get a grip, because there is no way they can win this battle.

While Carlos Zambrano's sensational meltdown against Pittsburgh on Wednesday will be grist for video highlights and high entertainment the rest of this season and beyond, it was the Cubs' third major incident with an umpire in the past four days.

One day after being called out on strikes by plate umpire Doug Eddings, Milton Bradley on Sunday told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that, following an April 16 run-in with umpire Larry Vanover that resulted in a one-game suspension for Bradley, Vanover's colleagues are out to get him.

Monday night, starting pitcher Ted Lilly was ejected for chirping at plate umpire Bob Davidson over balls and strikes calls from the dugout. Lilly wasn't even the starter that night -- he had pitched Sunday in San Diego. Lilly told reporters that he was run after telling Davidson to "concentrate" more.

Tuesday, Davidson accused Lilly of lying, telling The Tribune's Sullivan that "everything [Lilly] said was bull. Everything I read in the paper that he said was untrue. He never said one of those words. What he said to me, you couldn't print in the paper."

Wednesday came Zambrano's tirade against plate umpire Mark Carlson. Zambrano was just activated from the disabled list on Friday. Now he's certain to miss more time with a hefty suspension.

One thing manager Lou Piniella liked about the addition of Bradley was that he thought the outfielder might bring an edge to the club that at times was soft last year. But they can't keep going on like this.

Losers of eight of their past 10 games, clearly, the Cubs are frustrated. But right now, they have the look of a team that's totally out of control.

If this persists, say goodbye to the notion of any close call going in their favor. The umpires have the final word. Teams have to figure out a way to get along with them. It's just the way it is.

Likes: Zack Greinke just keeps on rolling in Kansas City. He's now gone 14 consecutive starts without allowing a home run. That's a good baseball city in need of a good story, and good for Greinke. ... Baltimore set to summon catcher Matt Wieters from the minors on Friday. The Orioles continue to sail north under president/GM Andy MacPhail, even if they are fifth in the AL East. In Wieters, Nick Markakis and growing star center fielder Adam Jones, and with some young pitching developing quickly in the minors, this is a team that's a year -- maybe two at the most -- away. ... Texting taking a toll on America's teenagers? Very interesting story in the New York Times the other day.

Dislikes: You get the DVD from Netflix, you set aside for a few days, you finally pop it in and sit down to watch it one night and ... it's cracked and unplayable. At least Netflix is terrific in quickly solving the problem, and it happens only very rarely. But you've still gotta come up with Plan B that night.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

" If you want you can get to know me well
We get along so we shouldn't argue
And I don't know, said I don't know
All these feelings, cloud up my reasoning"

-- Matchbox 20, Argue

Posted on: December 8, 2008 4:18 pm
 

Towers: Peavy talks won't go past Christmas

LAS VEGAS -- San Diego general manager Kevin Towers described the Jake Peavy trade talks with the Chicago Cubs as "ongoing" during a discussion with several reporters Monday morning, then added a twist: If the Padres don't complete a Peavy deal by Christmas, they'll keep him.

"If we haven't made progress on a deal ... I don't want to go through the holidays with tons of holes and a guy who we don’t' know if we're going to move," Towers said.

As of now, the GM reiterated, he's speaking with exactly one club: The Chicago Cubs.

And in a development that should continue to keep these talks alive, GM Jim Hendry confirmed Monday that the Cubs are not a part of the bankruptcy filed by their current owner, the Tribune Co.

"All I know is I was told over the weekend that the Cubs are completely separate," Hendry said. "We're not worried. With new ownership in the next couple of (months), there have been no restrictions placed on me."

The Cubs are hoping to add a left-handed hitter, probably an outfielder, and also continue talking with the Padres regarding Peavy. They've already re-signed Ryan Dempster this winter, giving them a rotation of Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Rich Harden and, for now, Jason Marquis.

A third team likely will have to be included if Peavy is to head to the Cubs. Baltimore has been involved in those discussions.

Towers said he and Hendry have talked casually since arriving at the winter meetings and have "no major sitdown (planned) as of yet."

"I know where to find him," Towers said. "And he knows where to find me. He has a couple of things he's working on. Our focus is Peavy."

For this week and next, at least. And if no deal is completed by then, Towers said, the Padres likely will announce that they will keep Peavy.

"I don't think it's fair to our fans or to our ballclub to drag this thing out for the next couple of months," Towers said.

 

Posted on: November 18, 2008 4:44 pm
 

Cubbies on the move

The Cubs didn't necessarily guarantee themselves a World Series win by re-signing Ryan Dempster on Tuesday. Depressing truth on Chicago's North Side, of course, is that the move probably didn't even guarantee them one playoff win.

But it's important to remember that, before the fall, this is a team that won 97 games last year and, as general manager Jim Hendry swings to get better this winter, bringing Dempster back so swiftly was a key move.

It frees up Hendry to set out for new business, and not worry about the old.

"A week before Thanksgiving, pitching-wise, we're in good shape compared to a lot of teams in the industry," Hendry said Tuesday afternoon.

Don't underestimate the Cubs getting pole position in the winter race to set 2009 rosters thanks to the ultra-aggressive Hendry.

Think Atlanta, which needs two starting pitchers, failed to trade for Jake Peavy and was spurned in negotiations with Dempster, isn't envious right about now?

The Yankees, who made a monstrous offer to CC Sabathia and are also chasing A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe and every other starting pitcher in Free Agent-land?

The Cubs' rotation is at least four-fifths set now with Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden and Ted Lilly. Chicago's rotation led the National League in ERA (3.75) and winning percentage (.633) in 2008, and the winning part wasn't even close.

In going 69-40, the Cubs' starters far outdistanced St. Louis' rotation (second in the NL with a .587 winning percentage, 64-45).

Now, things change, and none of this guarantees cake and ice cream in 2009. But as far as starting points, the Cubs are far ahead of most of the rest of the industry.

There is still plenty Hendry would like to do. The Cubs' never-ending quest to add a significant left-handed batter remains a high priority. Adding even more depth to the rotation would be helpful, too. The Cubs have had several conversations with San Diego about Peavy this winter, and free agent left-hander Randy Johnson sure would be a nice fit in the rotation's No. 5 slot.

Dempster, 31, was 17-6 with a 2.96 ERA for the Cubs in '08.

"It's huge for us," Hendry said. "It was such a priority. Ryan did a terrific job. He had a phenomenal season. He's as good a clubhouse guy and teammate as we've ever had here."

Hendry, who acquired Kevin Gregg from Florida last week to help strengthen the bullpen, plans to meet with assistant Randy Bush and the rest of his brain trust again on Wednesday to plot where the Cubs' next moves.

"I don't think we're ever done looking," Hendry said. "There's always ways to get better. ... I wouldn't necessarily rule out anything."

Dempster's deal is four years at a reported $52 million, and he freely acknowledged he probably took a hometown discount to stay.

"For me, it's about being somewhere you like being," Dempster said in a conference call with reporters. "It's about being somewhere you think you can win.

"For me, it's more money than we deserve to be getting, but it's the marketplace."

Here's one more glimpse at the marketplace: Dempster said he did not receive any other firm offers, but since the free agent period opened up on Friday, he named Atlanta, the Mets, the Yankees, Toronto and the Los Angeles Dodgers as some of the teams that expressed interest.

 
 
 
 
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