In Which MSTI Attempts to Jinx the Entire Pitching Staff

I’d written up a whole bit about how Vicente Padilla had shaken off the rough start to his 2010 by throwing out quality start after quality start, capped by tonight’s 9 K, 0 BB gem. As he struck out Ronny Paulino for the 2nd out in the 7th, it became clear that the bullpen would be coming in for the 8th, and I started doing some research on Padilla’s season, including this nugget, which I oh-so-brilliantly put on Twitter:

Unless something awful happens right here, this is going to be Padilla’s first outing of 2010 in which he doesn’t allow a homer.

Less than two minutes later, Marlins rookie Mike Stanton deposited the 112th and final pitch of Padilla’s night into the left field stands, because of course he did. I invited the punishment which I so richly deserved, which I’ll post along side to the right here for your enjoyment, because it’s the only way I’ll learn.

Still, Padilla’s got a pretty interesting stat line going on. 9 K against 0 BB is quite impressive, and he joins Chad Billingsley (11 K on May 31 against Arizona) in being the only Dodger to strike out as many as 9 without a walk this season. (Four Dodgers did it last season, including Padilla himself when he set down 10 on October 4th against Colorado).

Following up on what I mentioned last time regarding Padilla:

Vicente Padilla showed just how effective he can be when he’s right, allowing just three hits and a run over seven innings. Remember, his ERA has been misleading all season. After his first two lousy outings, in which he allowed eleven earned runs while not making it out of the fifth inning either time, Padilla’s allowed three, two, (DL stint), four, two, and one earned runs in the five starts since.

Just two earned runs in 6.2 innings certainly qualifies as a solid start in keeping that streak alive, though the fact that he has become so oddly homer-prone is disconcerting at best. Regardless, his slow start and ensuing injury were huge parts of this team’s May starting rotation panic, and his turnaround is of utmost importance.

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But wait! There’s more jinxing to come. Travis Schlichting started off his 2010 season by putting up 10 scoreless innings in his various MLB stints. (That’s 10.2 consecutive if you cheat a little bit and include the two outs he got to close out a 6-0 loss on June 12 of last year, in a game also started by Padilla… but for Texas.) Schlichting set down the Fish in the 8th inning, and as Vin Scully pointed out that Jonathan Broxton was warming to enter in the 9th, I noted the scoreless streak fact. What could go wrong?

Well, Rafael Furcal just had to go and extend the lead to five in the bottom of the inning, meaning that Broxton wasn’t needed (yet, anyway)… and you can note my increasing horror at this fact in this succession of tweets as Schlichting allowed his first run to cross the plate:

Ha. I only said it when Vin made it clear JB was coming in. @DodgersDynasty: @MikeSciosciasTI hopfully Schlichting doesn’t pitch the ninth.

Uh-oh. Vin: “With a 5 run lead, Broxton has stopped throwing, so Schlichting will go back out for the 9th inning.”

I’m more nervous about Travis Schlichting‘s mop-up 9th inning than his mom is right now.

Farewell, Twitter. I’ll miss you.

If you want to see the replies I got to those… well, you’re just going to have to go search it out yourself. Disaster city on my part.

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Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, & Casey Blake all hit homers, two of which came off of Marlins starter Chris Volstad (who was optioned back to AAA within 10 minutes of the game ending). Kemp’s blast was a particularly monstrous shot, in addition to two stolen bases. He’s OPSing 1.124 with three homers over the last seven days. Can we please at least agree that whether or not he did need some sort of wake-up call, that this is the result of an immensely talented player coming off a poor month far more than it is some sort of voodoo clubhouse magic worked by Joe Torre? I’m not immune to the idea that the time on the bench may have gotten into Kemp’s brain a bit, but the level that some people are going to credit this all to Torre is mind-blowing.

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Rafael Furcal had two more hits and 3 RBI. You may have noticed this, but he’s sorta good. I’m in the middle of writing the dedicated post to him which he sorely deserves, but know this: we’re in the midst of some of the finest shortstop play in the long history of the Dodger franchise, dating back to Brooklyn.

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I posted this on Twitter earlier, but I can’t help but add it here as well. In all of Dodger history, there have been 1,337 seasons in which a Dodger has received at least 134 plate appearances, or exactly what Garret Anderson had seen entering tonight’s game.

Rank those 1,337 seasons by OPS+ (Manny’s 2008 is at the top, no surprise), and you’ll see that Anderson ranks 1,318th. That means that 98.57% of previous Dodger hitters dating back to the 19th century were more productive with that amount of plate appearances than he’s been. And some could even play defense, too!

But why stop there and just say those things, when through the magic of baseball-reference I can show you them specifically? (And no, I didn’t have to start with Andruw Jones on the list. I could have just put GA at the top. But I wanted to make it clear that GA has some work to do just to reach the tubby depths of Jones’ 2008 debacle.)

Rk Player OPS+ PA Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS
1315 Andruw Jones 35 238 2008 31 LAD 75 209 21 33 8 3 14 .158 .256 .249 .505
1316 Juan Castro 35 246 1998 26 LAD 89 220 25 43 7 2 14 .195 .245 .255 .499
1317 John Shelby 35 371 1989 31 LAD 108 345 28 63 11 1 12 .183 .237 .229 .466
1318 Garret Anderson 34 134 2010 38 LAD 64 128 6 24 5 2 11 .188 .203 .289 .492
1319 Jeff Torborg 34 136 1969 27 LAD 51 124 7 23 4 0 7 .185 .241 .218 .458
1320 Wally Gilbert 33 171 1928 27 BRO 39 153 26 31 4 0 3 .203 .274 .229 .503
1321 Rube Walker 32 187 1957 31 BRO 60 166 12 30 8 2 23 .181 .243 .265 .508
1322 Bill Bergen 32 265 1905 27 BRO 79 247 12 47 3 0 22 .190 .213 .219 .431
1323 Bill Bergen 31 320 1908 30 BRO 99 302 8 53 8 0 15 .175 .189 .215 .404
1324 Randy Jackson 30 145 1957 31 BRO 48 131 7 26 1 2 16 .198 .246 .252 .498
1325 Bill Bergen 28 347 1904 26 BRO 96 329 17 60 4 0 12 .182 .204 .207 .411
1326 Doug Camilli 26 134 1964 27 LAD 50 123 1 22 3 0 10 .179 .226 .203 .429
1327 Ben Geraghty 25 138 1936 23 BRO 51 129 11 25 4 0 9 .194 .241 .225 .466
1328 Jul Kustus 25 192 1909 26 BRO 53 173 12 25 5 1 11 .145 .204 .191 .395
1329 Ramon Martinez 24 147 2007 34 LAD 67 129 10 25 4 0 27 .194 .248 .225 .473
1330 Moe Berg 16 138 1923 21 BRO 49 129 9 24 3 0 6 .186 .198 .240 .439
1331 Bill Bergen 16 372 1906 28 BRO 103 353 9 56 3 0 19 .159 .175 .184 .359
1332 Tommy Brown 14 160 1944 16 BRO 46 146 17 24 4 0 8 .164 .208 .192 .400
1333 Bill Bergen 12 143 1907 29 BRO 51 138 2 22 3 0 14 .159 .165 .181 .347
1334 Bill Bergen 6 273 1910 32 BRO 89 249 11 40 2 0 14 .161 .180 .177 .357
1335 Maury Wills 3 152 1972 39 LAD 71 132 16 17 3 0 4 .129 .190 .167 .357
1336 Bill Bergen 1 372 1909 31 BRO 112 346 16 48 1 1 15 .139 .163 .156 .319
1337 Bill Bergen -4 250 1911 33 BRO 84 227 8 30 3 0 10 .132 .183 .154 .337
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/6/2010.

That means there’s 19 seasons in which a Dodger has performed more poorly than Anderson, but two things should have jumped out at you immediately. First of all, a solid eight of those 19 belong to the legendary catcher Bill Bergen, who was an excellent defender but was infamous for being the worst-hitting player in baseball history (no, really; he holds the record for longest hitless streak by a non-pitcher) and who was out of baseball by 1912. Second, note the third column on line 1332; Tommy Brown was just 16 when he was pressed into service for the wartime 1944 Dodgers.

Finally, note that I’m even in a situation where I’m comparing Garret Anderson to a 16-year-old – and that the teen had a higher OBP. Anderson’s not going to come anywhere near the 250+ PA Bergen got on several occasions, and he’s probably not even going to get up to the 192 that Jul Kustus got in his one season in Brooklyn, 1909. But if you look at the PA numbers on the list below him, he’s going to be knocking some names off quickly. His next PA will dislodge Doug Camilli, and it won’t take long to say goodbye to Jeff Torborg, Ben Geraghty, and Moe Berg either. Even the 152 PA Dodger legend Maury Wills got in his final season (when he didn’t start a game after July 31 and was used strictly as a defensive replacement for the final two months because the team didn’t want to just cut him) isn’t out of reach.

We could be looking at the worst season in Los Angeles Dodger history;  with a little luck, the worst in Dodger history since Bergen’s 1911. Or as you know I’d call it, “the worst season by a Dodger in one hundred years.”

Tough Night in the Desert


No way around it: Hiroki Kuroda‘s start last night was almost as ugly as those horrendous white hats that MLB is forcing upon every team in an attempt to ruin each holiday of the summer. He got just five outs, allowing six runs on eight hits and two walks (with two wild pitches thrown in for good measure) – really, just terrible no matter how you try to spin it. All you can do is realize that even a pitcher with Kuroda’s record of effectiveness is going to have a poor game every now and then (especially in a ballpark like Arizona’s, and who knows how much of an impact Thursday’s bloodbath had on a team desperate to not be further embarrassed had), and move on.

It wasn’t all bad, though. Rafael Furcal continued his hot streak with two more hits, and James Loney and Andre Ethier had three apiece. Even Blake DeWitt had 2 hits and 3 RBI, and for all the worry about his offensive production this season, it’s worth noting that if he had enough plate appearances to qualify, his OPS would be 11th in MLB among second basemen, far above noted contemporaries like Aaron Hill, Chone Figgins, and Howie Kendrick.

Really, if there’s anything to take away from this game, it’s that the bloom might be off the rose of Justin Miller. After starting his Dodger career with 6.1 scoreless innings over 4 games, Miller has now allowed runs in six of his last ten outings, letting opponents pile up a .995 OPS in that time. Since Miller was never all that good in the first place, this isn’t all that big of a surprise, but worth noting – and if it continues, it might not be a bad idea to start thinking about calling up a Travis Schlichting or Jon Link from ABQ to take his place.

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Kuroda’s lousy outing last night was somewhat obscured by the fact that – despite what we’d been told earlier – Manny Ramirez will indeed go on the DL to rest his hamstring. Xavier Paul is coming back up, and you would think that between Paul’s dominance in AAA and Torre’s previous statements about not wanting him to be somewhere he isn’t playing every day, that he’d be the starting left fielder, at least against righties, with Reed Johnson spotting against lefties. Right?

With Manny Ramirez unavailable Friday night and possibly headed to the disabled list with a bad right hamstring, manager Joe Torre indicated he would choose daily between Garret Anderson and Reed Johnson to replace him.

“It will be the type of pitchers or the match-up,” Torre said.

I don’t want to belabor the point here, because clearly there’s been absolutely no shortage of Anderson-bashing on this blog. But, seriously, what is it going to take to get Torre to come around on this? What pitchers are going to make a good matchup for Anderson right now, six-year-old girls with muscular dystrophy? He accounted for four outs in his first three at-bats yesterday before managing to drop a single into right field, and he’s hitting .183/.198/.296. This isn’t a situation where he needs time to acclimate to his new role. He’s DONE, and everyone seems to see that except for Joe Torre.

Meanwhile, Xavier Paul is hitting .348/.404/.635 for the Isotopes, and lest you think that’s a stat line which is entirely due to the ABQ atmosphere, note that he’s still got a pretty tasty line of .320/.381/.534 on the road. This is the fifth year in a row in which he’s increased his OPS in the minors, and he has a 103 OPS+ in his limited time in the majors. 90% of the rest of baseball would be falling over themselves to give a prospect like that a chance at a full-time job. Granted, most of those teams don’t have an outfield like Manny/Kemp/Ethier, but to say that you’re going to play a husk of a corpse of a cadaver like the 38-year-old Anderson, who has proven that his value is zero, is obscene. It’s hard to say that the Dodgers are doing everything they can to win when you see situations like these, isn’t it?

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A quick note about the story that Matt Kemp got into an argument with bench coach Bob Schaefer, and that’s why he was benched: ESPN’s Buster Olney has a pretty good dig at the situation:

Joe Torre wouldn’t talk about why he didn’t seek out a meeting with Matt Kemp, as Mr. Hernandez writes within this notebook. “It’s none of your business,” Torre told a reporter.

Not until the publicist calls as the next book is released, anyway. That’s when everything is fair game, apparently.

Funny How A Sweep Makes Everything Better


We all know where today’s focus is going to be, right? After the much-publicized benching, alleviated only by Manny’s hamstring injury, Matt Kemp came back today to get three hits, including a homer (plus a walk), drive in three, and make a few running catches in center field.

Clearly, Joe Torre’s benching/punishment/time out worked wonders, right?

That’s what the stories will say, anyway. As for me, I think it’s BS. Remember, Kemp got on base three times in his previous start, on June 26th against the Yankees. To act as though he was on an 0-40 streak headed into the benching, and that somehow Torre’s action snapped him into shape, just ignores the facts. Which is exactly why that’s how you’ll read it in Bill Plaschke’s column tomorrow.

But let’s not let this whole unfortunate situation overpower two performances which were just as important today. Vicente Padilla showed just how effective he can be when he’s right, allowing just three hits and a run over seven innings. Remember, his ERA has been misleading all season. After his first two lousy outings, in which he allowed eleven earned runs while not making it out of the fifth inning either time, Padilla’s allowed three, two, (DL stint), four, two, and one earned runs in the five starts since. It’s not ace-quality, but it is more than acceptable from your #4/5 starter, and better than what the majority of MLB teams are getting from that spot.

Suddenly, the Dodgers have five reliable starters again, and no wondering about which Haeger/Monasterios/Ortiz is going to have to be stuffed into a spot start. (Speaking of which, via Dodger Thoughts, Haeger will be joining the Isotopes. Glad he’s staying in the organization; I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him.) It’s a nice feeling to have.

Secondly, Rafael Furcal put up four more hits today. In his last five games, he’s got fourteen hits (and three walks), and he’s got his season average up to .333/.382/.488. He’s really playing some of the best baseball of his career, and the Dodger lineup just looks markedly different when he’s playing well and getting on base so often for the big guys.

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Still, as if this hasn’t been a bad enough week for Torre, only he could spoil an 8-2 sweep-capping victory over your biggest rivals. Kemp situation aside, you almost think this team is winning in spite of Torre sometimes. First, he hits Jamey Carroll (.397 OBP) 8th, while putting Garret Anderson (.197 OBP, and more on that in a second) 6th, above Reed Johnson and Carroll – both superior players.

However, that’s nothing compared to the bullpen usage. After Padilla went seven effective innings – and he’d thrown just 98 pitches, so I have no idea why he couldn’t have just stayed in – Ramon Troncoso came in for the 8th. I’m seeing others complain about that, but Troncoso hadn’t pitched since the Yankee disaster on Sunday, and it’s not the worst idea to let him go in a low-pressure situation, so fine.

Here’s what killed me, though. In the 9th, George Sherrill came in. He got Aubrey Huff to ground out, and then allowed singles to Pat Burrell and Pablo Sandoval (on a side note, note that this means he got the lefty out and let two righties reach base. Why does that sound familiar?) Remember, this is a seven-run lead. Rather than, you know, letting your struggling reliever try to work out of the situation against the likes of Juan Uribe and Eli Whiteside, here comes Torre with the hook, to bring in Justin Miller. I know there’s a day off tomorrow, but I also know that with a lead like that, you can give Sherrill the tiniest bit of rope. Or, as Chad from MOKM perfectly noted:

It’s like Joe Torre reads everybody’s blog and Twitter and just starts wasting the bullpen to troll us.

Still, none of that is the best part. When Miller entered the game, none other than Hong-Chih Kuo started warming. Yes, in the 9th inning of a seven-run game, by all means get your fragile superstar lefty up. Why not?

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Finally, Anderson went hitless in five at-bats today, striking out four times and popping out to first. I’m just completely out of things to add to this situation. I hate to bag on a guy on his birthday (he’s 38 now), but to say that he’s a waste of a roster spot is about the kindest way I can think of to describe it. He’s now hitting .180/.197/.287. What do we have to do to finally end this already?

Xavier Paul’s hitting .345/.402/.633 with 12 HR in AAA, by the way, and three of those homers have come in his last ten games. But no, I’m sure he’s not a better fit for this defensively-challenged, injury-prone outfield, right?

We’re Going to Need Charlie Haeger (Updated)

With Carlos Monasterios joining Chad Billingsley on the DL, the Dodgers don’t currently have a 5th starter. With Monday’s off-day, they can juggle things so that the #5 spot doesn’t come up again until next Saturday (against the Yankees, unfortunately). So who’s it going to be?

Jon at Dodger Thoughts suggests that a bullpen game would be the best course of action, arguing that…

Right now, the best solution for the Dodgers might just be to start Jeff Weaver even if he can only go for two or three innings, and then follow him with a bevy of relievers. And then make a roster move the following day to help rebuild the bullpen if necessary.

Which is completely a fair point. However, with Monasterios out, the closest the Dodgers have to a long man is Travis Schlichting, who – while impressive so far – has all of 10.1 major league innings to his name. So, if Weaver were to start and go 2-3 innings, you’re looking at 1-2 inning stints from basically the entire bullpen, which could be a problem considering that John Ely and Vicente Padilla start two of the three previous games, and neither one merits a whole lot of faith that they’d go deep into games right now.

So what you need is an arm who can be used to eat up a good deal of innings in order to avoid totally destroying a bullpen which may already be stretched, and the Dodgers just so happen to have the man to do it: Charlie Haeger, who (also via Jon) threw six shutout innings today for Albuquerque. I know, I know; he hasn’t done much to engender confidence either. Still, he does have a few things running in his favor, even besides today’s quality start. First, he’s already on the 40-man roster, which is more than you can say for the other inferior options being tossed around like Claudio Vargas and Seth Etherton, so you wouldn’t have to risk losing someone like Justin Miller to get him on the roster. And unlike Vargas, who was cut by Milwaukee just a few weeks ago, and Etherton, who hasn’t seen the bigs since 2006, Haeger has at least had some success this season. I know it seems like eons ago, but we were all in love with him when his dancing knuckler struck out 12 Marlins in his season debut.

Besides, the clock is ticking on him anyway. He’s just about halfway through his latest rehab stint, so there’s only about two weeks left to make a decision on him. Short of coming up with another injury or exposing him to waivers, Haeger was going to have to come back at some point. It might as well be to fill a major need.

Granted, I’m a big Haeger fan and knuckleball supporter, so I don’t deny I’m looking at this with a slightly-less-than objective view. That said, there’s not exactly a ton of better options right now. Plus, as Eric Stephen noted in his profile of Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, Wakefield spent his age-26 year (which is where Haeger is now) split between the majors and minors before spending all of his age-27 year on the farm, and being cut in the spring of his age-28 year. The point is, knuckleballers are notorious for being late bloomers. I’d like to think that if Haeger ends up having a career that’s in any way reminiscent of Wakefield’s, the Dodgers won’t be looked upon in the same way the Pirates are for Wakefield.

Now, if you want to toy with semantics and have Weaver start with Haeger ready to go seven “bullpen innings” just to keep Steve Dilbeck off your back, I suppose that’s fine too. Regardless, this is looking a whole lot like a Haeger game.

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I don’t believe this is exactly “news”, but since Buster Olney’s put it out there

Heard this: The Los Angeles Dodgers and Joe Torre are headed for a divorce after this season. Torre broke off negotiations over a contract extension this spring, and there are a couple of folks in power who are ready to turn the managerial page. Remember, things can change in a short time, feelings can be altered, but right now, it seems unlikely that Torre will be back.

My feelings regarding Torre are well-known, I think. Overall he’s done a satisfactory job, especially in keeping clubhouse harmony during the Manny hoopla, but his bullpen usage, lack of rest for Russell Martin, and affinity for over-the-hill veteran bench players continue to infuriate me. If this is indeed it for him, I’ll look back on these three years fondly, but I won’t exactly mourn his departure.

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Credit where credit is due: Garret Anderson has seven hits in his last fourteen at-bats, including a home run. That said, he had two hits in the previous twenty-two plate appearances. I know it seems as though I just despise the man, but that’s really not true. I just want a bench player who can contribute, and Anderson has shown he can’t field, run, or (until the last few days) hit. If he’s found something to fix that allows him to be useful for the rest of the season, then all the better for him, the Dodgers, and us. Let’s just wait until he gets the batting average over .200 before we start to celebrate, as Anderson’s line headed into the Sunday night game is still just .194/.213/.311. Meanwhile in Albuquerque, Xavier Paul is hitting .340/.400/.617, the sixth year in a row his OPS has increased, dating back to 2005 in advanced-A ball.

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Update: Apparently, they’re not going to maneuver the rotation to push the #5 slot back to Saturday. I assume this is to ensure that the emergency starter avoids the Yankees (we’re now looking at Padilla/Kuroda/Kershaw for Fri/Sat/Sun). Dylan Hernandez reports that Haeger or Vargas are indeed the two leading candidates for the Thursday start. Obviously, I lean towards Haeger, though as helpfully pointed out in the comments, the Dodgers do have an open 40-man spot so Vargas could be recalled without having to add anyone to the roster.

Claudio Vargas, Really?

I’m not entirely sure I remember writing this on Twitter late last night, but apparently I did:

I could have sworn I just saw dodgers.com say Claudio Vargas may be the 5th starter soon. Clearly, I have alcohol poisoning.

Well, at least it was legible and without typos. And apparently it’s true:

Vargas could take over fifth-starter role

BOSTON — The Dodgers’ fifth-starter shell game has a new/old name in play: Claudio Vargas.

In his first start for Triple-A Albuquerque on Thursday night, the right-hander allowed one run on a solo home run in three innings, with four strikeouts and no walks.

Vargas was signed earlier in the week, two weeks after being cut loose by Milwaukee, where he had a 7.32 ERA in 17 relief appearances. The three innings was his longest outing of the year, an indication the Dodgers will try to stretch him out and make him a starter again.

I think the only indication here is that the rotation is in serious trouble, hurt by the injury to Chad Billingsley and the poor outings of John Ely and Carlos Monasterios – and that’s without having any idea how Vicente Padilla will do in his return today. I guess I don’t really understand why people are all that surprised Monasterios struggled last night; he’s a Rule 5 pick who’s striking out just 4.1/9. The fact that he’s been able to stick in the big leagues without completely embarrassing himself, and with some small successes, is remarkable in itself. It says far more about the Dodgers that he’s been asked to start so much than it does about him.

As for Vargas, well, why not? I actually was sad to see him go last season, mostly because the trade made no sense at all. It’s not like he’d come up until he shows he can get hitters out at AAA, so that’s at least a few more turns of the rotation.

Really, I think people are looking at the problem here in the wrong way. The issue isn’t really whether guys like Ely, Vargas, or Monasterios can pitch like All-Stars. They’re your #5 starter, and there’s plenty of teams in the bigs who have even larger issues at the back of the rotation. No, the problem is having more than one of them in the rotation at the same time. Now, part of that will be helped when Billingsley returns, hopefully as soon as his 15 days are up. But if and until Padilla proves himself… well, everyone seems to want the Dodgers to get a Cliff Lee or a Roy Oswalt. I’m not going to go through the reasons again why they’re so unlikely; we’ve been through that. But even if the Dodgers were able to get one of those guys, it likely wouldn’t be for another month. Maybe what they ought to be doing is getting a lesser veteran who wouldn’t cost as much – sort of like Jon Garland last year – right now, just to solidify things.

And no, I’m not talking about Pedro Martinez. I want someone who’s actually pitched this year. I’m talking more along the lines of (and I’m just tossing names out without really looking into salary concerns or doing a ton of research) Kevin Millwood or Jake Westbrook. They’re certainly not the piece that’ll push you to a championship, but they may be the stabilizing force in the middle of the rotation that will keep things from imploding until Billinglsey is healthy and you can work on getting a top starter.

(Although if you really want a good laugh, go read some of the jokers on the Dodger Facebook page, replying to the Vargas story. I’m not sure how some of these people managed to even turn their computer on; I particularly like the suggestion that the Dodgers should trade Vargas to Florida for Josh Johnson.)

Of course, Tony Jackson has the perfect last word on the situation:

Even when he is ready to go, well, he is still going to be Claudio Vargas.

Yep. He sure is.

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Ramon Troncoso got rocked, again. Travis Schlichting was effective, again. Whether you think Troncoso’s problems are that Torre ran him into the ground, that he was never that good in the first place, or both, there’s a roster move to be made today to activate Padilla, and it makes no sense to keep Troncoso over Schlichting. I’m not saying you demote Troncoso, but at least come up with an injury to get him some time off and away from the mound.

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I’m sure some people will read this as arrogance, but these anecdotes from Jackson’s story on Manny make me think that Matt Kemp is just hilarious:

Before any of the real reporters could approach him, a phony one did. Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, holding his blue batting-practice bat like a microphone, immediately stuck it into Ramirez’s face and said, “How does it feel to be back in Boston?”

Ramirez gave Kemp about as much time as he was going to give anyone. After Kemp returned to the other side of the clubhouse, which was about seven feet away, he yelled at the assembled media, “Manny smells good today. If y’all get close enough, you can smell him.”

and…

When Ramirez stepped out of the cage after taking his first allotment of hacks, he received another loud cheer. Kemp, who had followed Ramirez into the cage, who had his right back pocket hanging out of his uniform pants and who, like Ramirez, was helmetless, stopped after one swing and turned to wave an acknowledgement to the crowd, feigning as if he thought the ovation was for him.

No complaints about immaturity, old people. That’s good clean fun.

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Yes, I saw that Garret Anderson hit a homer last night, and yes, it is making me reconsider the DFA-o-meter on the right sidebar, though not for the reasons you’d think. I still think he’s awful and want him to get cut, but since I don’t think the team will ever actually do it, I’m not sure I feel like updating it for the entire season.

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Hey, Nick Green signed with Toronto. Hooray! Gone for good.