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.

******

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.

******

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?

27 comments
Mark
Mark

Mike, One could argue that it is you who is already in mid-season form with your negativity? It took McCourt a quite while to ruin the Dodgers financially and it's going to take a quite a while to fix it. Think Blue

Taylor Maricle
Taylor Maricle

They may have all been earned but Uribe and Sands both gave up doubles instead of getting grounders.

Mike Sharperson Lives!
Mike Sharperson Lives!

I think the value of a MLB club isn't in potential annual revenue, but in the resale price 5 or 10 years from now. The Yankees were sold to Steinbrenner for $10 mil in 1979; today forbes values them at $1.1 billion. McCourt (ucchh) bought the Dodgers for $355 mil in '04 and will be selling them for 3x times the value. Even if you lose money every year, it's a great investment. I'd love it if my house tripled in value in 8 years.

Jake
Jake

Guys, I need some fantasy advice. First, I have a pretty solid offensive team. My lineup is Napoli, A. Gonzalez, Utley, Hardy, J. Bautista, Choo, Hamilton, Bruce, Zimmerman, and Freeman. My pitching is not as good, I have David Price, Pineda, and Bucholz among others, but I need an upgrade. I am being offered Roy Halladay for Hamilton and Utley. I have Ackley, but I dont know if he is good enough to balance out the loss of Utley. What should I do? Should I accept this deal? What is Utley going to do compared to Ackley? My only fear in not doing it is the injury risk for both Utley and Hamilton. Anyways, any imput you guys could give me would be great.

Bob
Bob

Mike, the other 2-300 million dollars is for the final couple years they can get out of Vin Scully. He alone pushes the value of this franchise into the billions.

Nj-Dodger-fan
Nj-Dodger-fan

Alright youse guys, Ted Lilly, over/under 30 home runs allowed this year? I'll take the over.

crushinator
crushinator

"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! " I lol'd all over the place. Seriously, it gave me a cramp.

Bip
Bip

For all the crap we've talked about the Ellis deal, he's the only thing keeping us from being 32nd on that list behind a couple of AAA teams.

shmolnick
shmolnick

Aw c'mon Mike, lay off ol' Ted Lilly. It's only spring training after all. He could primed for a HUGE year!!

Nj-Dodger-fan
Nj-Dodger-fan

Remember when Ted Lilly was an effective top tier starter? Me neither......

ishii-mania
ishii-mania

I reminded of what the Reds' Mario Soto once said after a similar outing, "If I keep pitching like this, I'm going to get a sore neck."

Lane.Stephen
Lane.Stephen

Just thought you'd like to know that I laughed out loud seeing Teddy's card.

Dave Pomerantz
Dave Pomerantz

Belisario did what Belisario does best: 5 batters faced, 5 ground balls. The Dodgers should have great infield defense and shaky outfield defense this season, so that's a pretty damn valuable skill. I think he'll do well once his suspension is over.

Mike
Mike

Well, you can change your user name, but I still remember you. Welcome back.

Dave Pomerantz
Dave Pomerantz

At some point, though, the rising values become unsustainable, a bubble forms and then pops. Whoever buys the Dodgers ain't gonna make a good return on just holding them and selling them in a decade, they'll have to make a return on business operations. Two ways that can happen: 1, Build a winning team, rebuild the Dodger brand, and draw fans, TV money, playoff game money, merchandise, etc. 2, Develop the land around the stadium into a retail/entertainment venue like LA Live sprung up around the Staples Center. This will work best if you've already got over 3 million people visiting the area every year, so building a winning team is still an important goal. Gotta wrest that land away from Frankie though.

Paul
Paul

I'm fairly new at this whole fantasy baseball thing, so take it for what it's worth, but I would make that trade in a heartbeat (provided you could fill at least one of the offensive holes with an above replacement level player). Hamilton is one of the riskier picks. He could be incredible (walk year) or he could be hurt/out of focus all year. My money is on the latter. Utley is okay, but I wouldn't sweat losing him. Halladay is a known commodity, coming off probably his best season yet, and it sounds like you have a pretty solid offensive team anyway. If he's available or you can get a reasonable offer, I would try to pick up Jason Heyward. I think this will be his breakout year.

Bip
Bip

Top tier? No. Effective? Yeah.

James
James

Hah, I laughed when I saw Lilly's card photo too!

Mike
Mike

Hooray! I like to throw in one funny picture ever year. It's not quite "Jason Schmidt as coffin" though.

Mark
Mark

Mike, Random, yet serious, question time. Can an organization like the Dodgers or Giants make players like Jason Schmidt or Barry Zito work in the concession stand or as parking lot attendents when they sign big time bust contracts and are unable to pitch? There are beers riding on your answer........................... Thanks.......

Jake
Jake

Thanks for the help, I am going to go ahead and make this deal. Ill move zimmerman to third and Bautista back to the outfield. Ackley will be my second baseman, and Ill look for a Heyward-type or maybe Kendrys Morales if hes coming back to fill my utility spot.

Wil
Wil

Something must be wrong with me. I don't laugh at all when I see that pic...I just get sad and hope I don't watch those games on TV or have to listen to Charlie Steiner going, "there's a lazy fly ball off the bat of to RF, Ethier goes back to the wall to make the grab and IT IS GONE!!!!!!!!!!" And while I'm on the subject of Steiner, I guess those calls aren't as bad when he does the opposite, with "ETHIER UNLOADS AND HITS ONE DEEP TO RIGHT CENTER, IT'S BACK, A WAAYYYYYYYYYYYY BACK, and catches is easily just before the warning track." Frikkin' Steiner.

Mark
Mark

Appreciate your answer.....

Mike
Mike

Sadly, no. I wish.

john m
john m

Ross Porter used to do the exact same thing. "There's a high fly ball..., and it's caught by Steve Sax."

Trackbacks

  1. [...] check out MSTI’s piece on today’s game…Ted-Lilly-already-in-midseason-form…..We all were thinking the same thing about Lilly today. Tags: Andre Ethier, Dee Gordon, [...]

  2. [...] Tony Gwynn (DH), Mark Ellis (2B), James Loney (1B), Jerry Sands (LF), Juan Uribe (3B), Trent Oeltjen (RF), Tim Federowicz (C), Justin Sellers (SS), Matt Angle (CF), with Ted Lilly attempting to rebound from his poor first outing. [...]

  3. Genius is naught but a greater aptitude for patience….

    The Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance….