Ted Lilly Already in Midseason Form

I know, I’m usually the first to say that spring training results rarely count, especially in the first week of games, and particularly so for veterans who are just trying to get into shape, so take this with the Juan Uribe-sized grain of salt that it deserves.

Ted Lilly‘s thirteen batters today:

1. Melky Cabrera homers to left
2. Emmanuel Burriss doubles to left
3. Nate Schierholtz grounds out 6-3
4. Brett Pill homers to left
5. Hector Sanchez strikes out swinging
6. Mike Fontenot walks
7. Conor Gillaspie grounds out to first base
(Second Inning)
8. Brandon Crawford singles to right
9. Eli Whiteside flies out to left
9a. Crawford advances on wild pitch
10. Cabrera grounds out, 5-3
11. Burris doubles to left (arguably an Uribe error)
12. Schierholtz doubles to right
13. Pill pop to catcher

That’s two innings, six hits, five runs (all earned), two dingers, one strikeout, and one walk. Hey, at least he didn’t allow any stolen bases, though I suppose that’s hard to do when five of the six hits were homers or doubles. Again, is this meaningful? Not in the least. Is it inspiring? Well.. no. Tony Jackson was chatting live during the game and caught up with Lilly soon after he hit the showers:

Lilly said he had no fastball command, which forced him to throw way more breaking balls than he had intended to in his first spring-training start. Two different times, he said, “even though it’s spring training,” which was followed by him saying he definitely wasn’t happy with the result of this start.

At least Andre Ethier crushed a homer off a lefty, an event that is so rare and momentous (it happened just once in 2011) that it should be noted no matter what time of year it happens, though as many people were quick to remind me on Twitter, it came against Barry Zito and therefore barely counts. Still, I’ve been saying all winter that Ethier’s going to have a big year as he prepares for free agency (or perhaps the July trade deadline), and the first two games have been very promising in that regard.

Out of the bullpen, Ronald Belisario actually appeared in a Dodger uniform for the first time since October 1, 2010, even if MLB.com refuses to believe he still really exists (at right). The simple fact that he appeared is notable enough in itself, though it was a bit jarring to see him in Jonathan Broxton‘s old #51 rather than his regular #54 – which now belongs to Javy Guerra – but even though he allowed two hits in one inning, he didn’t break any state or federal laws. Progress! Josh Lindblom, Michael Antonini, and Josh Wall each pitched scoreless innings along with Belisario, while Jamey Wright, Ramon Troncoso, and Matt Chico all allowed one run in their sole innings of work. (As Charley Steiner noted regarding Chico, seeing a lefty wearing #56 who wasn’t Hong-Chih Kuo is going to take some getting used to. Or at least it would, if Chico had the slightest prayer of making the club, which he doesn’t.) Troncoso probably didn’t do much to help his long-shot bid to avoid a DFA by allowing Cabrera’s second homer of the day.

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Speaking of progress, we all bemoaned the Dodgers’ last-place finish in FanGraphs‘ catcher positional rankings series, and it’s not any better at second base, where they also finish dead last…

Mark Ellis is still capable of providing stellar defense, but he cannot be relied on to stay healthy. When he eventually succumbs to an injury, the Dodgers don’t great backups. Adam Kennedy and Jerry Hairston Jr. should pick up at-bats when Ellis is on the shelf, but the team also has Justin Sellers waiting in the wings. At 25, Sellers isn’t particularly young, but there’s a good chance he would be as good as — if not better than — the Dodgers current reserve options.

…but at least first base finally gets out of the cellar to finish a relatively lofty 22nd:

Given the continued hilarity of James Loney, it is amazing that Dodgers are even this high on the list. The brilliant plan to back him up apparently involves two outfielders and Adam Kennedy, a classic aging utility man without utility. Loney still will get most of the at-bats, I think, as Rivera can only platoon for one guy at once. No word on what Ned Colletti offered Juan Pierre.

I feel like I’m not going to enjoy this series until it gets to center field.

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We’ve been talking a lot about the potentially record-breaking sale price the Dodgers might fetch, and many have had trouble reconciling the fact that it might double the previous price that the Cubs went for a few years ago. CNBC’s Darren Rovell asks the same question today:

And yet, no one I talk to can figure out how there’s money to be made if the Dodgers are sold for more than $1.3 billion, as has been speculated.

The team itself is worth about $800 million and the land is worth another $200 to $300 million. One insider who has seen the financials confirmed that valuation.

But former owner Frank McCourt is intent on keeping that land.

So where is the additional $500 to $700 million coming from? There’s sponsorship money and ticket money and in good years, that could mean a $50 million swing in revenue.

Some will say it’s in the TV money, but it’s not there either. A deal with a network would yield about $150 million a year, but if the Dodgers start a regional sports network, they’ll likely be sharing at least 25 percent of the overall revenue, which would affect the rights fee.

I would argue you could also kick in an “ego” fee, in which a potential owner would like to be seen as the white knight riding in and rescuing a crown jewel of the sport which has fallen into terrible disrepair. Still, it’s a question we’ve been wondering about for a while; at what point does a ludicrous sale price impact the amount of additional money available to put back into the team?