Tag:Los Angeles Dodgers
Posted on: July 30, 2011 2:37 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2011 12:09 pm
 

Furcal to Cardinals deal done

The Cardinals officially obtained the shortstop they were seeking on Sunday morning when Rafael Furcal waived his no-trade clause and the deal with the Dodgers was formalized: Furcal heads to St. Louis, and the Cardinals send Double A outfielder Alex Castellanos to the Dodgers, along with $2.5 million.

In the midst of rearranging things on the fly while trying to fend off the Brewers, Pirates and Reds in the NL Central, the Cardinals shipped center fielder Colby Rasmus to Toronto the other day for pitching help, and now are close to filling a huge hole at shortstop.

They've been going with Ryan Theriot and Daniel Descalso. But they moved him to second base on Saturday against the Cubs for his first start there.

Furcal in the past has been a dynamic shortstop and top-of-the-order player, but he has battled injuries all season. An oblique strain struck him early in the year and, consequently, Furcal is hitting a career-low .197 with a .272 on-base percentage and a .248 slugging percentage. A switch-hitter whose game normally is getting on base and running, Furcal has been limited to 15 runs in just 37 games in 2011.

However, he's feeling better now than he has all season, and he's getting healthy at the right time. Over the past two weeks, Furcal has batted .270 with a .400 on-base percentage in 11 games, and over the past seven days, he's hit .333 with a .455 on-base percentage in five games.

Approximately $4 million remains from Furcal's $12 million salary through the rest of this season. His contract also includes a $12 million option for 2012.

Because Furcal, 33, waived no-trade rights as a 10-5 player -- 10 years in the majors, the past five with the same club -- the deal would did not become official for 24 hours after the Dodgers and Cardinals agree to terms, which was Sunday.

The deal allows the Dodgers to save a couple of million from Furcal's contract and opens a position for prospect Dee Gordon. The Dodgers also now will keep Jamey Carroll for infield depth.

St. Louis' interest in Furcal was first reported by Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday.
Posted on: July 29, 2011 1:28 pm
 

Five teams talking Dodgers' Kuroda

Five clubs continue to engage the Dodgers in talks for right-hander Hiroki Kuroda in trade discussions that probably present the biggest wild card between now and Sunday's non-waiver trade deadline.

The Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Indians and Tigers all continue to push the Kuroda talks as the weekend nears, sources with knowledge of the discussions tell CBSSports.com.

As they do, there is still no indication as to whether Kuroda will waive his blanket no-trade clause. One source close to Kuroda says he continues to "seem apprehensive" about doing so, which is where the wild-card part of it comes in this weekend.

Several industry sources believe Kuroda will only accept a deal to the Yankees or Red Sox, but that has not stopped the Tigers, Rangers and Indians from positioning themselves to attempt to swing a deal.

As colleague Danny Knobler wrote Thursday, in a summer in which no clear ace is available at the July 31 deadline -- unlike, say, Cliff Lee last year or CC Sabathia in '08 -- the handful of mediocre starters has only muddled the trade market picture.

The Tigers have been tied to every pitcher this side of Walter "Big Train" Johnson, and the Red Sox and Yankees are expected to have a scout in Seattle on Friday night when Erik Bedard makes his long-awaited exit from another disabled list trip to start for the Mariners.

Jeff Niemann? Jeremy Guthrie? Jason Marquis? Aaron Harang?

You can see why Kuroda, who is just 34-43 with a 3.50 ERA in four big league seasons, is being hawked like a field mouse as contenders scramble to pick up any scrap of starting pitching they can.

Because of the glut of mediocrity combined with the high prices being asked, guys like Kuroda, Bedard, Harang and Co. probably will be last minute deals on Saturday or Sunday.

But one thing to remember about Kuroda: Because of his no-trade clause and the fact that he appears reluctant to leave Los Angeles, this one will take longer than others to put together. The process will involve the Dodgers putting a deal together (if they decide to pull the trigger), then taking it to Kuroda, then Kuroda taking time to decide on the no-trade clause.

In other words, this process for the Dodgers is going to have to begin with more lead time than, say, an hour before Sunday's 4 p.m. EDT deadline.
Posted on: July 27, 2011 8:38 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2011 8:49 pm
 

Finally home, Harang contemplates moving

Aaron Harang does not want to be traded.

No. I mean, the Padres' starter REALLY does not want to be traded.

"You hear the rumors and hope it doesn't happen," says the native San Diegan, who signed with his hometown Padres as a free agent last winter.

His wife just gave birth to a twin son and daughter seven months ago. Three uncles, two aunts, both of his grandmothers and six cousins all live in San Diego. Two of the cousins have children the same age as Harang's oldest daughter, who will turn 5 in October. Not only do Harang's parents live in the area, so, too, do his wife's parents.

No, this guy wants nothing to do with a deal.

Yet ... with the Padres out of the race, Detroit is interested in Harang. Boston is watching. So, too, are several other clubs.

Somebody is not going to land Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez. Somebody is going to miss on the Dodgers' Hiroki Kuroda. After that ... well, there's just not a lot out there this summer in the starting pitcher department.

"I'd like to stay here," says Harang, who has bounced back from back, appendix and forearm issues over the past three seasons to go 9-2 with a 3.45 ERA over 17 starts this season. "I want to stay here.

"It's been nice for me. My family is here. It's a comfortable fit. I like the guys in the clubhouse.

"I feel like this is where I'm meant to be."

Over the next four days, we'll see whether the Padres feel the same way.

In his favor to stay: He and the Padres have a mutual $5 million option for 2012. That's very affordable, even for the Padres, for a starting pitcher.

Working against him: The Padres need a major influx of talent and are not exactly overloaded with trade chips. And there is no reason why they can't trade Harang while at the same time telling him they'd like to re-sign him as a free agent this winter.

Amid the uncertainty in the Padres' clubhouse, Harang has plenty of company with whom to discuss things. Closer Heath Bell, set-up man Mike Adams, reliever Chad Qualls and outfielder Ryan Ludwick all are in play at the trade deadline.

"We talk about it a little bit," Harang says. "We're all in the same boat. We don't know what's going on. Until we get told something ... we hear all the rumors. We get family and friends texting us telling us, 'We hear this' or 'We hear that.'

"There's nothing we can do to control it."

The bright side for Harang is, hey, at least he's healthy and productive. That's the whole reason he's in this fix.

"Obviously, people who are seeing me know I've been throwing well," Harang says. "I had a little fluke setback with my foot, but that had nothing to do with my arm or my back."
Posted on: July 12, 2011 7:33 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 8:16 pm
 

Pitching plans for tonight's All-Star Game

PHOENIX -- Talked to both All-Star pitching coaches during batting practice, Mike Maddux of the Rangers and Dave Righetti of the Giants, and here's the tentative pitching plans for tonight's All-Star Game:

AL starter Jered Weaver is only expected to go one inning. Angels manager Mike Scioscia talked to Rangers and AL skipper Ron Washington and requested Weaver go no more than one inning or 25 pitches because he's due to start Saturday during the Angels' doubleheader in Oakland.

Boston's Josh Beckett is expected to follow Weaver to the mound, according to Maddux. After that, look for either Michael Pineda of the Mariners or Texas' C.J. Wilson. The way things were set up going into the game, Washington and Maddux were planning to use Pineda as the third pitcher in.

After that it's less planned, though Angels rookie closer Jordan Walden has been told there is a good chance he'll pitch in the fifth inning. While that's not guaranteed, Maddux said he did speak with some of the closers because, obviously, not everybody can pitch the ninth.

"Guys used to pitching the ninth inning, we gave everybody a heads up because if we need them early, normally, they wouldn't have even gone to the training table yet," Maddux quipped.

As for overall pitching plans, Maddux had another good line: "The only sure thing is, if Weaver carries a no-hitter into the second inning, he's not gonna get it."

As for the NL, starter Roy Halladay likely will pitch two innings unless he goes through a long first inning. Phillies teammate Cliff Lee will follow him to the mound. Then, Righetti said, it will be either the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw or Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens -- probably Kershaw.

 

Posted on: July 12, 2011 4:55 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 7:17 pm
 

AL skip Washington's speech highly anticipated

PHOENIX -- Texas manager Ron Washington is extremely excited to guide his first All-Star team and, as Rangers designated hitter Michael Young says, he should be.

Washington waited many, many years before getting his first managerial opportunity. And then, in his fourth season guiding Texas, he led the Rangers to their first-ever World Series. This after he tested positive for cocaine during his third season and survived.

Yes, Washington is a survivor, an underdog, however you want to put it. He is beloved by his players -- just as he was by players in Oakland during his 11 seasons as an Athletics coach. Part of it is his baseball knowledge. Part of it is his humanity -- his compassion, his understanding, his ability to relate to people. And part of it is his directness, which comes peppered in his own unique, colorful language.

Which is why one of tonight's All-Star Game highlights figures to occur in the privacy of the American League clubhouse, away from the public eye.

"His pre-game speech is going to be a classic," Rangers designated hitter Michael Young says. "I'm going to have to record it. I'm going to make sure I have a front-row seat.

"It might be the first All-Star speech where f--- is said about 30 times."

Young's point is well taken, though his accuracy is ripe to be questioned.

Let's remember, the Dodgers' Tommy Lasorda managed the NL club five times.

Meantime, Washington's response? Don't hold your breath.

"It's not going to happen," he said, chuckling, in the AL clubhouse Tuesday just before batting practice. "I gave it to them yesterday. Today is the fake stuff."

Posted on: July 7, 2011 3:23 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 3:45 pm
 

Love Letters: The All-Star voting edition

Hot fun in the summertime. ...

FROM: Michael S.
Re: Weekend Buzz: Nice work on All-Star Voting

Are you out of your mind, Mr. Miller? Lance Berkman as a starting outfielder for the NL? He's a first baseman for ... sake! How about Andrew McCutchen of the Pirates? What are you smoking with your agreement with the Berkman selection?

Hmm, let's find out if I can see through all of the smoke from whatever it is I'm not inhaling: Berkman has started 62 games in the outfield for St. Louis this season, 19 at first base and two as a DH. So apparently, Mr. Michael, Berkman IS an outfielder. And I'm just high on life.

FROM: Frank D

Great job on your All-Star picks. I agree 100! You are by far the best writer on the site.

Don't tell that to Doyel. He just won a fancy award as the second-best columnist in the country and he might get his feelings hurt.

FROM: Thomas H.

So a team's position in the standings should factor into a player's inclusion in the All-Star starting lineup? These are INDIVIDUAL selections, not team awards. And how do you know that Rickie Weeks has made a better contribution to the Brewers than Brandon Phillips to the Reds? If you are going that route, then also include the contribution in the clubhouse, where Phillips is outstanding.

Your points are well taken. I'm a huge Phillips fan. Both he and Weeks are having great years. But on this one, I'm right.

FROM: John D.

Yankees at all positions -- second, shortstop and third. Shortstop, no Yankee should be selected. J.J. Hardy from the Orioles is better than Derek Jeter. How did you even become a sports writer?

First part of your argument is correct: A Yankee shouldn't be starting at shortstop. However, good as Hardy has been, you lose me with your second part. The correct answer is, Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera should be starting.

FROM: Adam S.

Adrian Gonzalez is the runaway MVP in the AL so far? You may want to take another look at Jose Bautista's numbers. Bautista's OBP is 63 points higher, his SLG is 85 points higher, he has more HR's, over 40 more BB's, more Runs, and fewer K's. Don't get me wrong, Gonzalez is having a great year, but I think Bautista has the edge right now, and I'm not sure it is even close. Other than that one argument, I enjoyed the article quite a bit.

I was overzealous (and careless) with my use of the word "runaway." You, sir, are correct. But given what Gonzalez has brought to the Red Sox, and given how he's propped them up into second place in the division, I'm still gonzo over Gonzo.

FROM: Capt. Hook
Re.: Padres resurgence could put trades on hold

Scott,

I'm not sure about your GM skills, much less your math skills, if you think San Diego's current resurgence will stop them from thinking trade. With 80 games left, if they go 56-24 (.700) and San Francisco creeps along at their current .586 over their remaining schedule, the Padres would win by one game. Well, playing .700 may be just a little far-fetched, ya think? Hmmm. Sell the farm, Padres, as the Fantasy of Mr. Miller is just that: A fantasy.

Come on now, read the entire column, not just the headline. I pinpointed the exact time the Padres will start to deal, about a week after the All-Star Game. All I said by pointing toward the Padres' current "resurgence" is that it will delay their plans to trade until later in July. I never suggested they would get back into the race. That would be silly now, wouldn't it?

FROM: Jason
Re. With Nationals, Davey Johnson ready to win again

I'm excited to see the Nationals hire Davey Johnson and think he's perfect for this team. I'm still in shock over the way Jim Riggleman left, but happy we got Johnson here!

How about the suicide squeeze bunt he masterfully called on Wednesday night? Guy is 68 years old and called it for the first time in his managerial career. He's a keeper.

FROM: Josh M.
Re.: Oft-injured Twins have limited options with Cuddyer

I can't see the Twins trading their highest-producing player. Michael Cuddyer has been the one guy who has been stable over the last few seasons. He is the most underrated player in the show. I don't know who they could trade for that would be better. I don't think they could get the power starting pitcher that they need. It would be a waste of a star player to trade him for some long-shot nobody.

Not only is he the most underrated player in The Show, he's the Twins most INVALUABLE player. Some really smart guy called that one way back during spring training in this column.

FROM: Jeff P.
Re.: Payroll deadline likely last straw for McCourts' regime

Scott,

I've been a Dodgers fan since 1960. Every cheap shot you threw at McCourt is well-deserved and earned. However, the parking lot beating had no place in this story. It doesn't hurt me as a Dodgers fan, but, as a compassionate human being, I hurt for the Giants fan and his family. I urge you to post a sincere apology and then refrain from such distasteful attempts of Andrew Dice humor.

Look, it was not a cheap attempt at humor, and yes, I'm sorry to those who were offended by that line. But the tragic parking lot beating this year is part of the overall body of McCourt's shoddy and irresponsible work as "caretaker" of the Dodgers. And I'm offended at being compared to a class-less, trailer-trash comic like Andrew Dice Clay.

FROM: Richard

MARK CUBAN, all that's right. Baseball don't like his type. Get rid of the CAR SALESMAN BUD SELIG. He did nothing about steroids.

Not sure that Mark Cuban is all that's right. But compared to Frank McCourt, a common house rat is all that's right, so I guess your point is well taken.

Likes: Mid-season, and the All-Star Game. Still, by far, the coolest All-Star Game in all of sports. Not even close.

Dislikes: Super 8. Just because today's technology can produce cool special effects, it doesn't always mean the more, the better. Just sayin'.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"The moon beams we can dream on, when the working day is done
"And the stars we can wish upon, at the setting of the sun
"The sunsets we could cry over, put our troubles on the run
"But more than these miracles above, good people, we need love"

-- Eddie Hinton, Everybody Needs Love




Posted on: June 28, 2011 8:42 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2011 2:56 pm
 

Why Tuesday was better for MLB than McCourt

The takeaway from baseball's date with the Dodgers in bankruptcy court Tuesday?

Major League Baseball is very happy with the way the day went, according to sources, for at least two very specific reasons:

-- Lawyers agreed to "delete" language ordering the auctioning of "media rights" (television contract) by a specific date that Frank McCourt is attempting to wangle as part of his financing agreement. In layman's terms, this for now prevents the bankruptcy judge from auctioning off a Dodgers television deal, which essentially would have allowed McCourt to go back door around Major League Baseball.

For now, the Commissioner's Office retains power to accept or to deny whatever media deals McCourt strikes. That is hugely important to MLB because it fears two things:

One, that McCourt is so desperate that he will wind up striking a television deal for below market value (the Dodgers' current television deal still has two more years remaining, that's how far out in front he's negotiating).

And two, that he will use the money from a new television deal to pay off some of his enormous debt (including ex-wife Jamie in their divorce), thus crippling the Dodgers further (and possibly an incoming new owner) because money that should be used for the team won't be there.

-- The deal struck Tuesday allows the Dodgers to draw an initial $60 million of a $150 million agreement with Highbridge Capital to maintain operations essentially for another month, until a July 20 hearing. This allows McCourt to meet this Thursday's payroll, among other things -- and, for baseball, means the other 29 owners will not have to pony up millions of dollars to cover the Dodgers' payroll for at least another month.

Without question, Tuesday's court proceedings were just one more round in what's become a blood bath between McCourt and MLB. Many rounds are left, and what nobody knows is how many more moves McCourt has left before he runs out of money and is squeezed out of the game.

To hear him tell it in meetings at Dodger Stadium, according to sources, he continues to think that he will find a way to retain the team.

Upon filing for bankruptcy early Monday morning in Delaware, one of McCourt's next moves was to bar MLB appointed "monitors" Tom Schieffer and John Allen from their Dodger Stadium offices.

Next? MLB is expected to take steps toward seizing the Dodgers, a right available to baseball as part of the game's constitution. According to the constitution, the commissioner can take the liberty of seizing any club that enters Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Procedurally, MLB must first file a motion seeking termination of the franchise, which a source told the Associated Press is "probably going to happen."

Exactly when is not yet clear.

What is clear is, Tuesday's day in bankruptcy court extended, however briefly, the financially suffocating McCourt's grip on the franchise. But his status as an owner remains on life support.

Posted on: June 22, 2011 7:17 pm
Edited on: June 22, 2011 7:20 pm
 

Dee the Flea and Lopes' Philly/LA influence

LOS ANGELES -- He scoots. He scrams. He flips and darts.

The Dodgers list rookie shortstop Dee Gordon at 5-11 and 150 pounds, and while he's still growing at 23, he's already grown much in the eyes of first-base coach Davey Lopes.

See, that's because Lopes has been working with Gordon since 2006, when Gordon's father, Tom, worked in the Philadelphia bullpen and Lopes served as a Phillies' coach.

Dee Gordon was 18 then, and even skinnier.

"He used to come to the ballpark and work out, take ground balls before he signed," says Lopes of Gordon, whom the Dodgers drafted in the fourth round in 2008.

Three years later, here they are, together again on the other coast.

"It's crazy," says Gordon, getting a chance while Rafael Furcal is on the disabled list. "It's the game, I guess."

Lopes was high on Gordon back then, and remains high on him.

"Most people question him because of his build, whether he can stand up to the rigors of a major-league season," Lopes says. "But the only guy I can compare him to is, when Ozzie Smith started, he wasn't very big, either," Lopes says. "And from the left side, you could knock the bat out of his hands, literally.

"He was very thin in San Diego. Maybe not as thin as Dee. But he was no body builder. Can it happen [with Dee]? Who knows? I don't think with Ozzie, people back then said he would be a Hall of Famer."

Lopes isn't putting Gordon in the Hall, rather, his point simply is, who knows? It's tough to put limits on kids this young either way -- what they can't do, or what they can do.

Gordon punched out multi-hit games in six of his first 13 starts -- he's also got four steals -- and he impressed Tigers manager Jim Leyland this week.

"He's going to be a hell of a player," Leyland said. "He's not bigger than a half-minute right now. He's going to be a tremendous player."

In 13 games, he's hitting .273 with a .298 on-base percentage. He remembers Lopes hitting him hundreds of ground balls when he was a kid in Philadelphia, and he remembers watching intently as Lopes talked stealing and baserunning with Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino.

"He's very receptive to constructive criticism," Lopes says. "He wants to know when he's done something wrong. And that's the only way to get better.

"He's got a lot of energy. He has good genes, he's been around the clubhouse."

Likes: Congrats to Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper on his new five-year deal in Chicago. Good broadcaster, good guy. ... Cameron Diaz on the Late Show with David Letterman this week. ... Bad Teacher looks like it's going to be a hoot. ... The Drive-By Truckers on Letterman this week. ... Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the art of bringing people together and bridging the gaps between disagreements: Mexican food and beer.

Dislikes:
Goodbye, Big Man.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"We said we'd walk together baby come what may
"That come the twilight should we lose our way
"If as we're walkin', a hand should slip free
"I'll wait for you
"And should I fall behind
"Wait for me"

-- Bruce Springsteen, If I Should Fall Behind

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com