We Survived January

January is traditionally the slowest month of the baseball calendar, and this year was no exception. We still have to survive a few more slow weeks, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel: pitchers and catchers report in less than three weeks.

* This morning, I was walking home from an appointment when an older man stopped me to ask about my Brooklyn Dodgers cap, saying he doesn’t often see younger folks wearing the B and that he’d grown up going to games at Ebbets Field. It’s not the first time that’s happened, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop getting a kick out of that.

* As we’ve been pointing out for a while, the Left Field Pavilion charity softball game is next Saturday, February 11. Team MSTI is just about full – still room for another one or two more, I believe – and the estimable Dave Pomerantz will be captaining the squad. Team member Jason asked me to put up a post where you guys can connect and figure out positions, so please feel free to use the comment section here for that.

* ESPN’s Jim Bowden has been on something of an Andre Ethier kick lately. In ESPN Magazine this week, he puts the chances of Ethier leaving following 2012 at 45%, and claims he’d offer Ethier a 4/$48m contract if he were running a team next year. While Bowden recieves a lot of ridicule online and that’s more than most of us would like to give Ethier, Bill at The Platoon Advantage pointed out earlier this week that Bowden was actually very successful at predicting the contracts that this year’s free agent class would get.

Ethier also came up in Bowden’s ESPN.com piece about five trades that could boost contenders, saying that the Yankees should trade pitching prospect Dellin Betances and catcher Austin Romine to the Dodgers for Ethier:

Ethier is eligible for free agency after this season and this deal would have to be contingent on the Yankees signing him to a long-term deal. That said, as a left-handed pull hitter with power, he is a perfect fit for Yankee Stadium, and he and Nick Swisher could share right-field/DH duties, with Alex Rodriguez also getting some reps at first base.

From the Dodgers’ perspective they get a future middle-of-the-rotation starter in Betances and solve their long-term catching situation with Romine. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has had a busy offseason satisfying the game’s senior citizens with deals and signings that include: Mark Ellis, Matt Treanor, Adam Kennedy, Jerry Hairston Jr., Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang. For Colletti to secure his job with the new incoming Dodgers ownership, he needs to make some deals that improve the long-term outlook of the club.

I do think Ethier will have a big 20112 and casual Dodger fans would hate that move, but yeah, I’d do it. For the record, Yankee fans I know on Twitter hated the idea, so that’s a good sign that it’s positive for the Dodgers. (For the record, in case anyone is too dense to get it, this is NOT a real trade rumor, it’s just Bowden spouting ideas out of nowhere.)

* I plan on doing on doing an entire post about this sort of thing in the next few weeks, but it’s worth pointing out that the Indians look like they may have gotten a bargain by signing reliever Dan Wheeler to a mere minor-league pact. In 47 innings for Boston last year, the 33-year-old righty had a 4.88 K/BB and a 3.78 FIP; by comparison, 34-year-old Mike MacDougal had a 1.41 K/BB and a 3.96 FIP in 57 innings for the Dodgers. Yet MacDougal gets the guaranteed deal, while Wheeler essentially gets a tryout. Why? Too much reliance on shiny but essentially useless ERA, I’m guessing.

* Chris Jackson of the Albuquerque Baseball Examiner kicks off a position-by-position series looking at the 2012 Isotopes, starting with the catchers.

* Another minor-league signing, per ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The Dodgers have added former Angels farmhand Chris Pettit, an outfielder who released by Anaheim earlier this month. I’ll be honest and say this is a name I’m not familliar with, partially because his MLB experience consists of 10 plate appearances in 2009 and 2011, and partially because after missing all of 2010 with a shoulder injury, he hit just .182/.279/.308 in 124 games for Anaheim’s AA and AAA clubs in 2011. As far as I know, he didn’t even get an invite to big-league camp, so this is a depth signing at the absolute most.

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