Could Reason Actually Win Out?

I don’t think I need to rehash just how most Dodger fans feel about Juan Pierre; you can find a few hundred negative articles about him on this and and many other blogs. It’s no secret that 99% of us would love to see Pierre dumped for peanuts on anyone and go with an outfield of Ethier-Jones-Kemp, with Delwyn Young and Jason Repko (if… must keep straight face… healthy) as the backups. Failing that, at least make Pierre a backup OF/pinch-runner extraordinaire, especially now that Jones has taken his CF spot, because as indefensible as it was to roll him out there every day, letting him play a corner spot is borderline criminal. But when a guy has 4 years and about $36 million left on his deal, it’s not unusual to see sound baseball sense take a decided back seat to writing huge paychecks for a guy you won’t let play. (Come on, McCourt, I was a history major and even I know what the concept of a sunk cost is).

Anyway, most of us are resigned to the fact that due to his contract, Pierre’s going to be our everyday left fielder, leaving Ethier and Kemp to battle it out in right field, which is so ass-backwards I can’t even talk about it coherently.

Except Tony Jackson of the LA Daily News injects some much-needed hope

Juan Pierre showed up early today, but declined to meet with reporters, promising to do so when he returns on Tuesday. He also hinted that he knows exactly what we want to ask him about, which is the situation in left field. Torre said hello to Pierre but didn’t address the LF matter with him beyond what the two discussed over the telephone this winter. Looking more and more like J.P. will have to actually beat out Andre Ethier for the job, although Torre did admit that his history suggests he likes veteran players.

Obviously this is a reporter’s speculation, but still – extremely promising. Does that mean Kemp is going to get the RF job, as well know he should? Does this mean Pierre won’t just be handed the LF job, as we all know he shouldn’t? Looks like a sad situation just got a whole lot more interesting.

In other news, how glad are you to be a Dodger fan and not a Royals fan?

Pitching coach Bob McClure said 11 pitchers will open camp as candidates for the rotation: Gil Meche, Zack Greinke, Brian Bannister, Brett Tomko, Jorge De La Rosa, Luke Hudson, John Bale, Brian Lawrence, Kyle Davies, Hideo Nomo and Mike Maroth.

Only an injury is likely to keep Meche, Greinke and Bannister from making the rotation. Club officials also indicate Tomko must pitch his way out of the No. 4 slot.

First of all, that’s no typo, that’s no impersonator – that’s the Hideo Nomo. But read that last sentence again. “Tomko must pitch his way out of the No. 4 slot.” How sad is that?

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

David Wells Is A Funny Guy

Alternate title: “Brett Tomko Classy Enough To Take Jokes After Being DFA’d”.

Hey, say what we will about Brett Tomko – and I have – the following story makes me like him awellslaughing1.jpg whole lot more as a person for taking his fate with a lot of class. As for David Wells, making jokes to a guy whose job you just took – about the job you just took – isn’t really the nicest thing you can do.. unless it’s actually funny. And, well, this is. At least he makes fun of himself just as much.

From Steve Henson’s Yahoo! blog:

To make room for Wells, the Dodgers severed ties with veteran right-hander Brett Tomko, designating him for assignment. In a surreal scene, Tomko talked to reporters about his fate while Wells, an unapologetic jokester, dressed not two feet away at the next locker.

Tomko: “I’m OK with it. Last night I saw it coming.”

Wells: “Really? You saw it on the sports ticker?”

Tomko: “Funny.”

Tomko: “I hope the (general manager Ned Colletti) can get me to another team and not let me sit around and rot. I’ll go home and start throwing at the local high school field. I don’t know what to do first, it’s uncharted territory.”

Wells: “You’ve got to find a catcher.”

The Dodgers kept Tomko on the roster through Thursday, allowing him to reach 10 years of major league service time and guaranteeing him the maximum pension.

Tomko: “That was important. It’s a good time for me. I’m ready for a new opportunity. And it’s not like they brought in a chump to replace me.”

Wells: “Yeah, they did.”

Well, David, you’re right – the needle is starting out at ‘chump’. But hey, let’s see what you can do. I know you always dig the big stage – how’s a nationally-televised Sunday night game in New York strike you?

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

There IS A God! Brett Tomko Designated For Assignment!

Per InsideTheDodgers

Because I am going to be way too busy doing cartwheels around my house right now, I don’t have to explain why this is a good move. Heck, David Wells could give up 23089472983749236498723 ER on Sunday for all I care… TOMKO IS GONE!!

Take it away, Kool And The Gang!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcHbkiMwIqU&mode=related&search=]

- Vin vinscully-face.jpg

David Wells To Start Sunday?

Update: According to ESPN, Wells has signed with LA and will start Sunday. 

Well, according to the Newark Star-Ledger and backed up by Tony Jackson’s LA Times blog, David Wells might sign with the Dodgers in time to start Sunday night’s ESPN game in New York vs. the Mets. And don’davidwells2004.jpgt you know, now that we live in the future, a rumor confirmed by two separate blogs is concrete evidence.

The obvious question, of course, is: is this a good thing or a bad thing? Let’s find out.

Right off the bat, Wells was pretty terrible this year. A 5.54 ERA, a 74 ERA+, a 1.59 WHIP, all in the spacious confines of DogFood Park. Not pretty. Much like David Wells himself. This was bad enough to get him flat-out cut by the Padres a few weeks ago, because in their opinion, not having David Wells pitch for them was better for their division chances than having David Wells pitch for them.

Plus, he might not be cheap. According to Jackson, this would cost about $80,000 in salary, which is not a big deal. But his Padres deal called for $176,471 for each start, based on his performance incentives. While that contract is no longer in effect, it’s rumored that he might insist upon having those incentives restored in order to play. On top of that, he’s still got a 7-game suspension coming his way at some point in September.

So let’s recap: 1) ineffective this year. 2) always in the shape of a Miller Lite World Champion. 3) May cost a lot of money. 4) Will be lost to a suspension.

Why, then, is the official position of Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness that this is a good idea?

Quite simple. David Wells might be old, broken-down, and expensive, but there is one stat he’s off the charts on – his NBT ranking is 112,073%! The NBT, of course, is “Not Brett Tomko”. If Wells is pitching for the Blue on Sunday night, that means Brett Tomko is not pitching for the Blue on Sunday night. Considering that at this point, I’d take Dave Dravecky over Tomko (what, too soon?), this is a huge bonus.

As for the rest of it? Well, the money – I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned, contracts only matter in terms of what it does to your flexibility. Juan Pierre’s contract stinks because having $45 million earmarked for a mediocre centerfielder both prevents us from upgrading in center and might prevent us from spending to upgrade other areas. $1 million or less for David Wells, with no responsibility following this season, is not a big deal to me. Perhaps even more importantly – it’s just money. The Dodgers won’t have to trade any players to get him.

And the mediocre performance? Sure, I can’t argue that. He’s been bad. But here’s the thing: what was bad enough to get David Wells booted out of San Diego is still better than Brett Tomko this year. Wells’ ERA isn’t good at 5.54, but it’s still better than Tomko’s 5.80. So I’m more inclined that a crappy pitcher with a history of success (17 seasons with an ERA+ of 99 or above, including 10 in a row up until this year) can turn it around with a change of scenery than can a crappy pitcher with very little success (2 career seasons out of 11 with an ERA+ of 99 or above, with 2007 being his worst by far) that has had the hometown fans completely turn on him.

David Wells isn’t good. Brett Tomko is worse. Let’s do it. Besides, how can you not like a man who stole Babe Ruth’s actual hat and wore it during a game?

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

ps. Many thanks to our fine friends at DodgerThoughts and 6-4-2 (two of my favorites) for giving us a little press.. our usage numbers have skyrocketed today. Hope our new readers like what they see.

ARGH #*(#@(&$(#$!!!!!

As I sit here on this lovely Wednesday evening, watching the Dodgers give a shellacking to the Phillies 15-3 (payback’s a bitch, isn’t it, Philadelphia?!), including seeing the best lineup of the year, watching Kemp go 4-6, Ethier going 2-4 with a HR and 3 RBI’s, scoring a season high in runs, I didn’t think anything could damper my night…

I was wrong.

PHILADELPHIA — The Dodgers apparently haven’t given up on Brett Tomko, and he hasn’t given up on himself.

The day after Tomko’s record fell to 2-11 with a loss to the Phillies, manager Grady Little said Wednesday that he still planned to start the right-hander Sunday night against the Mets.

Aww… isn’t this nice? Tomko might have a 5.80 ERA, he might have a 1.59 WHIP, a 77 ERA+… he might get lit like every time he steps on a mound… but you know what? He still believes in himself and so do the Dodgers.

“Yes, he’s one of our five starters right now,” said Little. “Anything is subject to change. I don’t look for it to change between now and Sunday.”

There remains a chance that the Dodgers sign David Wells, recently released by the Padres. But Little shot down the possibility of promoting 22-year-old right-hander James McDonald from Double-A.

“It’s not going to happen,” Little said. “When he’s ready, he’ll be here like the other young players.”

Yes, what a shame it would be to give a young kid who is posting a 11.17 K/9 rate and 1.40 ERA at Jacksonville a chance to claim the #5 job because the Dodgers really need Brett Tomko in the rotation. Granted, there have been reports of McDonald’s velocity dropping recently, but even D.J. Houlton – currently sporting a 3.69 ERA in the PCL, although a 1.40 WHIP – should have a chance to claim the #5 spot over Tomko.

Look, I realize that I’m beating a dead horse with this, but seriously… how much more rope can Tomko get? It’s utterly comical at this point. Sure, I know some might say “well, he’s all we have,” but there’s no reason not to give Houlton or McDonald – if his current velocity issues aren’t Schmidt-esque – a chance. What’s the worst that can happen? That they end up sucking and putting up like a near 6 ERA? Oh wait… don’t we have that already? At least there is still the chance of possible upside with the kids. Tomko has not provided that in his entire career; sorry, folks, this is about as good as he’ll get.

Tomko went back over video of Tuesday night’s loss and compared it to last year, when he started the season 5-1. He said he spotted mechanical flaws that made him “look like a completely different pitcher.

Alas, the last time he WAS a completely different pitcher was back in… oh, 1997, when he put up a 3.43 ERA. Overall for his career: a 4.62 ERA with a 93 ERA+. Keep trying, Brett.

But, hey, look on the bright side: he believes in himself.

- Vin vinscully-face.jpg