Death To MSTI. Long Live MSTI.

Six years — a little longer than six, really — is a long time to do anything. It’s a long time to write about the Dodgers almost entirely by yourself. Hell, it’s a long time to be a Dodger. Back in the summer of 2007 when I first started this thing up, we were talking about Grady Little, Juan Pierre and David Wells and Mark Hendrickson and Olmedo Saenz and whether Wilson Betemit should be starting at third base over Nomar Garciaparra and wondering why Luis Gonzalez was getting playing time over Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. Zack Greinke was working mainly out of the Kansas City bullpen. Clayton Kershaw wasn’t making $200 million; he was a 19-year-old walking nearly five per nine at Great Lakes and Jacksonville. You know, Jacksonville, which isn’t even a Dodger affiliate any longer, just like Vero Beach and Las Vegas.

At the time, I was pretty close to being the blogger stereotype: partially employed, fully single, and making a pit stop at my parents’ house. Now, I’m over 30, married, and probably over-employed. Along the way I’ve had a lot of fun, met some great people — I can’t say enough about the commenters on this site — and managed to take a stab at a career working fully in sports. All of which is to say, I can’t really keep up with being a one-man band at a daily baseball site any longer. I’ve loved doing it, but it’s exhausting, and it just no longer works. (I’ve also developed quite the reputation for, you know, being asleep or on vacation when awesome things happen.)

That’s a long way of saying that this is both post number 2,771 and the final post you’re going to see on Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness, and that’s both a happy thing and a sad thing.

So long!

But don’t worry: you’re not getting rid of me that easily.

You see, I love writing about the Dodgers. Wherever that takes me, I don’t intend to stop. And while I can’t do it myself any longer, I do like working with great people, and that means something exciting is going to happen.

So on Monday morning, don’t click over to MSTI.co like you otherwise might have. Instead, browse over to DodgersDigest.com, which will be my new home along with three of my favorite people: Chad Moriyama, Dustin Nosler, and Daniel Brim. That’s right, it’s a team effort, but this team spans about 6,000 miles, includes great prospect work from Dustin & Chad, awesome math things I don’t understand from Daniel, and whatever it is I add, which I believe is just funny GIFs and posts that end in “…and that’s okay.”

It’ll look a lot like this site —  not entirely, dig Eephus Blue’s cool logo —  but it’ll be better: more content, more timely, and more awesome.

Until then,
Smell ya later.

The True Face Of The Dodgers

MLB is running this “face of [team]” promotion, which is mildly interesting, I guess. Fans can vote by using hashtags for the “face” of their team, and so far the results have been expected — Joey Votto, Felix Hernandez, Joe Mauer, etc… with the obvious exception of the fact that Oakland fans trolled the game and voted Eric Sogard.

So I got to thinking, and well, people aren’t taking this seriously enough. Giants fans, you’re really voting for Buster Posey when this face exists? Come on now. People are making this a popularity contest, but it’s supposed to be about faces.

And the Dodgers, well… they have some faces. Who is the true face?

Dee Gordon, out at second:

gordon_shocked_nlds_gm2

Gordon, looking at his stat line:

dee_gordon_face

Former utilityman and future broadcaster Jerry Hairston either in shock or realizing he chose poorly:

jerry_hairston_shocked

Super mega happy A.J. Ellis:

aj_ellis_celebrates

Evil Zack Greinke:

Passive-aggressive face:

mattingly_colletti_press_conference“I have so many dollars face,” even though this picture is two years old:

“You may have thought you heard me say I wanted a lot of money, but what I said was: Give me all the money you have." (via)

“You may have thought you heard me say I wanted a lot of money, but what I said was: Give me all the money you have.” (via)

Derp face:

league_sad_2013-05-31
Whatever the hell this is:

wilson_celebrate-2013-09-19

MLB Reportedly Approves SNLA, Mainly To Funnel Dollars To Clayton Kershaw

dodger_money_tvWe’ve been waiting for a long time for Clayton Kershaw to finally sign that extension, and yesterday he finally did. And yet if this is even possible, that’s not the news from the last 24 hours that I think we’ve been waiting on the most. Bill Shaikin explains:

MLB has approved the Dodgers’ deal with TWC, two people familiar with the matter said Wednesday. Although there has been no announcement, the Dodgers have hired on-air talent for the new channel — including former players Orel Hershiser and Nomar Garciaparra — and have reached agreement with MLB about how much television revenue the team would share with the league.

Mark Walter, the Dodgers’ controlling owner, said documentation had delayed formal league approval of a deal to which both parties agreed long ago.

“Our understanding with MLB has not changed in months and months,” Walter said. “I never felt it was in any way hostile.”

First off: finally. That’s great news, since pitchers and catchers report in less than a month, and the lack of updates over the last few months was somewhat shocking. Shaikin adds that SNLA plans to air every spring training game, which is fantastic and, I believe, unprecedented. (Of course, whether you’ll be able to see any of those games is an open question; there’s still the endless fight about the channel’s carriage with DirecTV and U-verse and everyone else to get through, and as we saw with the Lakers in 2012, those battles tend to be drawn-out and ugly.)

While neither Kershaw’s deal nor MLB approval of SNLA have been officially announced yet, there’s just absolutely no way that the timing here is a coincidence. A month ago, when we were all getting panicky about Kershaw remaining unsigned, I spitballed a few possible reasons for the delay. This was one of them:

3) The Dodgers are waiting on the SNLA deal to be officially announced.

Despite the fact that we keep hearing new names being added to the team — ABC’s John Hartung is reportedly the latest — you’ll notice that there is, as of yet, not an official deal in place, or at least not one that has been approved by MLB. We keep hearing that it will be, but even when it is, there’s going to be some messy carriage fights with providers. Considering just how much a Kershaw deal is likely to cost, it’s theoretically possible that the team prefers to know for sure, in officially approved writing, that all the billions they’ve been banking on are actually coming in.

A month later, both are happening — or at least, reported to be done or close to it — within hours of one another. I’m having a real hard time believing those two things have nothing to do with one another, though Shaikin says that the MLB deal was agreed to long ago and just not announced yet.

Anyway, 48 hours ago Kershaw didn’t have a deal and the TV situation was up in the air. The carriage fight looms, but we have a lot more clarity and resolution on both situations. Not a bad few days, as far as days go.

 

Clayton Kershaw’s Contract Looks Even Better

clayton_kershaw_openingday2013Jon Heyman comes through with the details on Clayton Kershaw‘s contract:

2014: $22m ($18m signing bonus, $4m salary)
2015: $30m
2016: $32m
2017: $33m
2018: $33m
—————-
2019: $32m
2020: $33m

Why is there a dotted line after 2018? That’s because that’s when his opt-out date is, and if he chooses to opt out — and walk away from the $65m due him in the final two years — the Dodgers would have essentially signed him to a 5/$150m contract.  Think about that for a second, won’t you? We were worried this would be $300 million, and that’s less guaranteed money than Manny Ramirez got 13 years ago

Yes, pitchers carry more risk than hitters, but still. I’m not saying that I want him to opt out, of course, but the fact that Kershaw is staying for at least the next five years on a contract that is large but not even close to being obscene, as we all worried? Honestly, I’m stunned. I love this deal. I love it hard.

Clayton Kershaw Signs For Only Some of The Years and Some Of The Dollars

kershaw_nlcs_game2

It says a whole lot about both the greatness of Clayton Kershaw and the financial health of the game in general that the Dodgers just signed him to a $215 million extension over seven years, and my reaction is, “wow! that’s not that bad!” Think about that. Two hundred and fifteen million dollars, and I’m wondering if he could have managed more.

And it might not even be $215m, since it comes with an opt-out after the fifth year, which would be after his age-30 season. You’ll probably hear why that’s a bad thing, because it means that he could leave, but it’s really not: if he does, it means you signed Kershaw to a five-year contract when every rumor said he’d require ten.

This does more than lock up the best pitcher in baseball, by the way. It avoids an entire season of “does he want to stay? does he want to go?” annoyance. It avoids distraction. It avoids questions about his relationship with the team. It keeps the focus on the field, and it just had to be done before the season got going.

This, I can say without reservation, is a great contract. It’s the next one — when he’s in his 30s and probably gets $300 million — that might scare me. But for a team with no budget limit to lock up a man who is well on his way to being one of the best pitchers in the history of the game for his age 26-30 seasons, at the very least, well, this was a no-brainer. It had to be done. It’s done.

Next stop: Tanaka. Is that greedy? Probably. It’s good to be a Dodger fan. But it’s better to be Clayton Kershaw.