I Can Already Feel It…

…this is going to be a particularly painful rumor season. You would have thought that with so many of our top young players ceasing to be prospects and becoming major parts of the current team (Martin, Billingsley, Broxton, etc.) that we’d no longer be high on the list of a team with a ton of young parts available to move in trade. And even if the Dodgers are involved in a trade, you’d think it’d be to, oh, I don’t know: fix a position of need? Like the offense?

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, come on down!

Dodgers: This team, Ned Colletti specifically, must dip down and come up with a rabbit to make them a viable playoff contender. So they will likely be players for Sabathia, Bedard, and others as long as they’re within striking distance. The Diamondbacks’ recent tumble has made a Dodger comeback possible for the time being, but they need to get to .500 before they start thinking playoffs. They have chips they could deal for Sabathia in Matt Kemp, Chad Billingsley, etc.

He’s not wrong to say that Colletti is going to feel the pressure to get this team in the playoffs and will almost certainly make a move towards that end. Fine. But we really need to put a stop to this “Dodgers after C.C. Sabathia” business before it gets out of hand. I’m not so much against C.C., who’s a fine pitcher, as much as I am against the idea that the Dodgers need a pitcher at all. Yeah, I know – Penny and Kuroda are hurt. But neither are expected to be out for very long, and not only was Eric Stults pretty good in his first start up, there’s still more guys down on the farm who deserve a shot like James McDonald and Jon Meloan – not to mention the possible return of Jason Schmidt. (Sidenote – Clayton Kershaw picked up the nickname of “the Minotaur”, due to being a powerful mythical creature that everyone worshipped. In that vein, I think we need to start calling Schmidt “the Unicorn” – a mythical creature that just doesn’t actually exist, damn it.) But look at the split stats on this team, and I mean, how much more obvious can this be?

(all stats entering Sunday)
2008 Dodgers Offensive ranks, NL
2B: Last!
HR: Last!
OPS: 14th of 16
Total bases: 15th of 16

2008 Dodgers Pitching ranks, NL
ERA: 4th
K: 5th
OPS against: 2nd

What more do you need? The Dodgers have above average pitching. They have extremely below average hitting. I feel like I shouldn’t even have needed to post the stats for that, since it seems so common knowledge to anyone who’s followed baseball at all this year. So of course, it makes sense for the Dodgers to go after a rent-a-pitcher. Of course. I particularly like Cafardo’s idea that the Blue should trade Kemp (one of the few offensive performers they have) or Billingsley (who’s outperforming Sabathia this year and is four years younger) to do it. Brilliant!

Let’s move back to the middle infield for a moment. In a reply to my shortstop post the other day, preferred Cubs blog of MSTI Wrigleyville23 asked,

Might I interest you in something in a Ryan Theriot? Please??

Okay, North Siders. You’ve stumped me. Theriot’s 28, and while he offers zero power, a .308 BA is pretty good and a .385 OBP is excellent – plus I’m sure Vin can come up with some story about how his last name isn’t actually pronounced “The Riot” and repeat it twice a night, every night (hey – did you know Todd Helton used to be the backup QB for Peyton Manning at the University of Tennessee? It’s true!). The stats say he might not be the slickest gloveman, but you guys clearly haven’t lived through the Angel Berroa error yet (no, that’s not a Freudian slip.) From here, as long as it doesn’t cost too much to acquire him, he looks like 1996 Nikki Cox as compared to Berroa’s, well… 2008 Nikki Cox. So let’s hear it, guys, why the hate? And by all means, send us Theriot cheap.

Next, Joe Torre. Joe. Come on. What are you doing, here. You’re killing me with this. Remember the old “Good idea/Bad idea” shorts on the Animaniacs? (Note: Yes, I’m a loser, and yes, no one else is going to remember that, but watch the video anyway). I bring this up because today’s lineup reminded me of it.

Good idea: resting Jeff Kent for a 105 degree day game.
Bad idea: playing Luis Maza in his place.

Why, why is Andy LaRoche not getting a shot at second base on days like today? Hey, maybe he can handle it, and maybe he can’t. But we’re never going to know until we give it a shot, right? Maza’s not helping the offense with that 52 OPS+, and he sure as hell isn’t a good enough glove to justify that lack of offense, like Chin-Lung Hu nearly was. (Maza is, as I write this in the 8th inning, 0-3 today, so that OPS is sure to drop down into the 40s). This means that we had a foursome at the turn of the lineup today of Berroa, Maza, Billingsley, and Pierre. No wonder we can’t hit!

And finally.. I was going to post about how brutal Scott Proctor’s been. But he says it himself better than I possibly could, and I at least give him a lot of respect for standing up and being honest about his performance:

“I’m not talking about that,” the Dodgers reliever said after failing to retire any of the five batters he faced in what became a decisive, six-run 11 thinning for the Cleveland Indians on Saturday. “There is nothing (wrong), and I’m tired of people making excuses and saying I’m hurt. My job is to get outs, and I’m (expletive) pathetic. It’s embarrassing to know this team battled like that all day and I pitched like that. It’s (expletive) stupid.

“I’m embarrassed for myself in front of my teammates.”

Hey – maybe we can trade him back to New York for Wilson Betemit! 

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