Thanks For Reading, Bill!

Rob over at 6-4-2 brings to my attention something amazing, from Bill Plaschke’s column about Andruw Jones:

Plaschke Steals MSTI’s Gag Line

In today’s column:

“Are you saying you’re sorry?”

Are you sorry for showing up at spring training looking like a blue manatee? Sorry for not working hard enough to fix that weight? Sorry for ripping the fans who booed you for that weight? Sorry for asking to be put on the disabled list so you could disappear from those boos?

Funny, I coulda sworn I’d heard that before… where was it now? Oh, yeah.

Oh, Bill. I never knew you felt that way about me. After all the times I’ve pointed out just how bad you are at your job on this site, I never imagined you actually cared to read the thoughts of, well, someone who uses more than one sentence in a paragraph. Fine, it might not be as egregious as when literally plagarized FireNedCollettiNow, but surely the use of the term “blue manatee” can’t be a coincidence, right? Not after I made a Photoshop of an enormous blue manatee to represent Jones? Especially when I made the joke above not because we ever called Andruw Jones a whale, but because the nickname “Hindenburg” had stuck due to both his resemblence to a blimp and the fact that his explosion injured nearly as many people?

Bill, I appreciate your readership. The invoice will be in the mail shortly.

On to far, far more important things, Jon Heyman has some rumors about Dodger third baseman:

There was talk at Dodgers camp that the Yankees might have interest in excellent contact hitter Mark Loretta, who could upgrade their third base situation.

Cashman wants to guard against an overpay, and opposing teams will be looking to take advantage of the Yankees’ situation. Blake DeWitt is another Dodger who would make sense, but one Dodgers person suggested L.A. might want young pitcher Phil Hughes for DeWitt — which definitely would qualify as an overpay. The Yankees would likely be willing to trade USC product Ian Kennedy but not Hughes, who’s having an excellent spring.

First, let me say that I find all of this incredibly unlikely. As a free agent signed this offseason, Loretta would have to give his consent to be traded before June. I’m not sure I can see a local boy who finally made his way to the Dodgers agreeing to be moved to New York to start for a few weeks just to sit on the bench when A-Rod returns. Besides, even if he did want to go, the Yankees surely wouldn’t want to give up all that much for a 37-year-old stopgap who’s miscast as a starter. Since Loretta is actually pretty valuable to the Dodgers as a backup at all four infield positions and a lefty-masher, whatever the Yankees would be willing to give up probably wouldn’t be worth it. So, scratch that.

iankennedy.jpgAs for DeWitt, well, I’d do DeWitt-for-Hughes in a heartbeat. But the Yankees never would, so we can drop that right now. Ian Kennedy’s an interesting proposition, though. A USC product and a former first-round pick, he’s been dominant in the minors (1.99 career ERA with more than a K per inning!) and got off to a hot start in his 2007 MLB debut, allowing just 4 earned runs in 19 innings. Of course, he got torched when pushed into the rotation in 2008 (8.19 ERA in 39.2 innings). Since he was still pretty good back in the minors (2.35 ERA), I’m willing to chalk that up to a 23-year-old who wilted under the pressure of his first real test in New York City.

Kennedy’s still just 24, and those minor league stats really impress me. And to be honest, while I really like Blake DeWitt, I do think that Dodger fans have overrated his potential slightly just because of how amazing his out-of-nowhere 2008 was. I do think he can be a solid regular, but I really don’t see him being an All-Star. I might say the same for Kennedy, but wouldn’t you rather a solid starting prospect than a solid infield prospect?

The other issue is one of depth. Even with the loss of Ivan DeJesus, Jr., to a broken leg, the Dodgers have plenty of middle infield depth between Loretta, Chin-Lung Hu, Tony Abreu, and perhaps even Juan Castro and Hector Luna, so losing DeWitt’s contributions at second base isn’t an issue. At third base, there’s a nice crop of youngsters coming up like Josh Bell and Pedro Baez, but none who would be ready this year if something were to happen to Casey Blake. If DeWitt were moved and something happened to Blake, you’d likely be looking at Loretta or Abreu playing every day, which isn’t a great situation.

On the other hand, an all 25-and-under group of Billingsley/Kershaw/McDonald/Kennedy, plus Kuroda or another veteran, in 2010 is drool-worthy. I think this is one of those deals I’d be okay with either way – if Kennedy gets added to the crop of pitchers, that’s great and I wouldn’t be crushed at losing DeWitt, and if not, it’s not like I’m dying for Kennedy anyway and then we’d still have DeWitt. But I would probably go ahead and do it, were this offer actually on the table.

Finally, yes, I have heard that Pedro Martinez is interested in coming back to the Dodgers, and no, I’m not all that interested. Yes, it would be nice to bring him back home after all the pain that was caused by the historically bad deal that sent him to Montreal in 1994, but that was fifteen years ago. He’s hardly the same player, and while I wouldn’t object to giving him a look, I do object to the two things he wants: a guaranteed rotation spot, which we don’t have considering that Jason Schmidt is the guaranteed #5 if he’s healthy, and a “Smoltz-like” contract of $5.5m guaranteed with $5.5m in incentives. If he’s willing to work for half of that, say, the possibility of getting to $5.5m total if he gets all his incentives, I might have interest. But even then, that’s still high and he might not sign for that little anyway. So, no.

You really can’t go home again.