It’s been very negative around here lately, no? “The McCourts are a joke.” “The Dodgers are poor.” “While other teams go after John Lackey and Chone Figgins, the only Dodger rumors are for broken-down replacement players like Kameron Loe, Nick Green, and Alfredo Amezaga.”
Clearly, these are not the best of times for Dodger fans, and there’s the strong possibility that it only gets worse from here. But if you squint hard enough and put your hands in your ears, there’s a possibility that there may be one good thing coming out of this, and it’s not just watching the Diamondbacks make silly trades that give them a more expensive, less talented team. It’s thanks to comments that Ned Colletti made to various reporters (helpfully collected at Dodger Thoughts):
From a personnel standpoint, I’d say the main Dodgers news of the day was Ned Colletti telling reporters that he thinks one of the two vacancies in the starting rotation can be filled by one of the in-house candidates, including James McDonald, Scott Elbert, Josh Lindblom, Charlie Haeger and Ramon Troncoso. (Yes, a long reliever could potentially be converted into a starting pitcher.) Details can be found with Dylan Hernandez of The Times and Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
Bear with me here, because this isn’t exactly the same kind of excitement that goes with acquiring Curtis Granderson or trying to trade for Roy Halladay, and it’s also very possible – if not extremely likely – that Colletti is just indulging in some gamesmanship by trying to position himself as not desperately needing several starters.
Still, for how many years have we been dying to see young players rather than veterans? You might say that a large part of the Dodger core last season was homegrown prospects, and you’d be right. Remember, though, those guys for the most part either were successful immediately upon reaching the bigs (Billingsley, Martin) or had to wait until less-talented older players got out of their way (Ethier, Loney).
So think about the possibilities here. We’ve been supporting giving Charlie Haeger a role constantly. We were dying for James McDonald to get the #5 job out of spring training last year. There’s a dozen teams that would fall all over themselves to give an arm like Scott Elbert a shot. Josh Lindblom was the surprise of the spring last year, and Ramon Troncoso was a stalwart of the big league bullpen. It’s not as though there’s not talent here.
Depending on who else is signed/acquired and which of this group really does get a chance, you could be seeing a Dodger rotation that is 80% under-30, with the potential for 100% when Hiroki Kuroda gets hurt again. It might not be the recipe for a championship in 2010, but it sure is better than watching Josh Fogg, Kris Benson, or Noah Lowry.