MSTI’s 2010 in Review: Relievers, Part 5

This is it – we made it! After slogging through all of the Jack Taschners and Nick Greens, we’re finally at the end of the line as far as player reviews go. Unfortunately, these three aren’t pretty.

Ronald Belisario (D)
5.04 ERA, 4.31 FIP, 6.2 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, -0.4 WAR

You know, part of the reason that we had to suffer through two different awful Ortizes on the Opening Day roster is because Ronald Belisario wasn’t there taking up the roster spot he’d otherwise have been assured of. For that sin alone, he deserves his F and then some. Of course, there’s a lot more to it than that. Belisario was a completely out-of-nowhere contributor to the 2009 bullpen, and he was expected to be a main cog in the 2010 crew.

That was before he got stuck in South America with visa problems for the second year in a row. There was a ton of back-and-forth about where the fault really belonged there, but none of it mattered; Belisario missed all of camp, and had to spend weeks in extended spring training trying to catch up. It was April 21 by the time he made his season debut, an absence exacerbated by Hong-Chih Kuo starting the year on the disabled list.

The layoff clearly hurt him, as he allowed seven earned runs over 7.2 innings in his first seven games of the year. But he got back into gear once May began, and was excellent for the next two months – between May 6 and July 5, he allowed just 8 ER over his next 28 IP, with a 21/9 K/BB ratio. That stretch included 19 consecutive games without allowing more than one earned run. Belisario had proven he wasn’t a fluke, and could be just as effective as he’d been in 2009. Except on July 7

Eric Stephen (a blogger!) scoops the “real” media with some out-of-nowhere news:

Ronald Belisario placed on restricted list for personal reasons (!!!) to make room for Carlos Monasterios, who was activated from DL.

We have no idea what those reasons are yet, so while I’ll note his DUI last winter and two late arrivals to camp in a row thanks to visa issues, we can’t really speculate on what’s going on yet. (That’s your job, commenters.)

Initial reports were that he was entered in a substance abuse facility, though we never did find out for sure what happened. Belisario missed over a month, and once again he was rusty upon his return, allowing nine earned runs in his first three games back. The second of those games was particularly painful, and indirectly led to Jonathan Broxton losing his closer’s job:

All I ask is this: while you burn him in effigy, you don’t ignore the fact that Ronald Belisario faced five men in the 8th and got zero outs, and that Broxton induced a perfect double-play ball that went right through Casey Blake‘s legs. Broxton’s going to get the lion’s share of the blame here, and probably rightfully so. But he’s not alone in this loss, and that’s important to remember.

But just like before, he was very good after working out the initial kinks, not allowing more than one earned run in his last 21 games of the season. So while the 5.04 ERA looks awful, it’s kind of misleading since so many of the runs he allowed came immediately after returning from his stretches away from the team.

Of course, that doesn’t excuse the fact that Belisario’s personal issues were the cause of those absences. So there’s that, and you absolutely cannot depend on him going forward. Still, he’s proven that he’s an effective reliever when he’s available, and he’s not going anywhere; he’s out of options, and his trade value is low. There’s no question you bring him back next year, but there’s also no question that you duct tape his visa applications to his face and make sure they get taken care of on time. A third season in a row with a delayed arrival would be funny if it weren’t so frustrating.

Octavio Dotel (C-)
3.38 ERA, 4.69 FIP, 10.1 K/9, 5.3 BB/9, 0.2 WAR

Must… not… kill… Dotel… for… awful… trade. I’m trying so hard not to blame Dotel for the circumstances which brought him to Los Angeles, because it’s really not Dotel’s fault. I know, I know; I can’t even say his name without thinking of how James McDonald & Andrew Lambo were wasted. But Dotel probably wasn’t sitting in Neil Huntington’s office helping the Pittsburgh GM abuse Ned Colletti, right?

For all the words spilled on Dotel, he only pitched 18.2 innings as a Dodger and didn’t even end the year on the squad. During his short time in blue, he was basically as expected. He struck out plenty of batters (10.1/9,), walked a lot (5.3/9) and was homer-prone (1.4/9), yet actually had a lower WHIP than he did in Pittsburgh. So I’m not going to kill him too much for his on-field performance.

That said, it’s not like he was really good or contributed a whole lot, either. Sure, a 3.38 ERA looks nice, but I don’t have to remind you yet again how useless ERA is for relievers, particularly in small sample sizes. And in case I do have to remind you

Sherrill did his job in the 8th, coming into a situation with two men on and getting out of the inning. After allowing two singles and getting two outs in the 9th, Dotel allowed a walk and a double, letting both runners score. Those runs are charged towards Sherrill’s ERA, not Dotel’s.

That was from August 10 against the Phillies; less than a week later, this happened, after Hong-Chih Kuo loaded the bases:

At this point, Joe Torre can take no more, and he comes out to rescue the All-Star. Octavio Dotel offers no relief, however, by allowing all three runners to score on a walk and a walkoff single.

In neither of those two games was Dotel charged with an earned run, so let’s not put too much stock in that stat, okay? It’s why the 4.69 FIP is a far more accurate indicator. As the Dodgers fell further out of the race, Dotel was sent to Colorado on September 18 for a player to be named later. Three of the nine games he pitched for the Rockies in the last two weeks came against the Dodgers.

Last week, the player to be named was revealed as 26-year-old outfielder Anthony Jackson, who just put up a .676 OPS in his second season in AA. He’s a complete non-prospect, not even ranking in the top 30 Rockies prospects before the season per Baseball America, and many just saw that as the distasteful icing on a terrible cake, but it’s really irrelevant. Did we really think the Rockies were giving up a top prospect for two weeks of Dotel? Of course not; it was just a way for the Dodgers to save his $250k buyout for 2011, but mainly, it was a fittingly anticlimactic ending to a trade which never should have happened.

Russ Ortiz (F-)
10.29 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 7.7 K/9, 6.4 BB/9, -0.6 WAR

Much as I’d like to blame Ortiz for everything that went wrong with the Dodgers in 2010, he only pitched seven innings for the club and was cut before April ended, so it’s hard to act as though he had a huge impact on the season. While I do not want to spend even five more seconds of my life thinking about or writing about Russ Ortiz, it is pretty fun to see how little we thought of this at the time.

January 20:

Finally, via Diamond Leung, Troy from West Virginia has some strong thoughts on the Russ Ortiz signing (along with a wicked beard). Hey, I can’t say I disagree with him; Ortiz is abysmal and has been completely cooked for years. Troy is probably on his way to jail, and if the things in that article are true, then his future is well deserved. Still, when a man has that much facing him and he’s still bothered by a minor-league invite to Russ Ortiz… well, it probably means you shouldn’t have signed Russ Ortiz.

March 16:

Russ Ortiz. I know that he’s not allowed a walk or a run in 5 innings, and I do not care. I refuse to live in a world where Russ OrtizRuss Ortiz! – can win a rotation spot on a team with playoff dreams. Since his last decent season in 2004, his MLB line is 10-28 with a 6.56 ERA. He is, quite possibly, the worst pitcher in baseball, and he’s about to be 36. No amount of spring training niceties should be able to undo that. Odds: 0.0000001%

If you’re wondering why I’m giving slightly more hope to one busted R.Ortiz over another, it’s because Ramon has thrown nearly twice the innings Russ has in camp – and because I’ll be the first to admit I have an irrational hatred of Russ Ortiz. The Giants and D-Backs connections, the huge contract, the total flameout, the age – I don’t want any part of it.

April 11 (from Tony Jackson, on why Jonathan Broxton‘s usage was questionable):

In part, then, it was the ripple effect of Ortiz’s failure to carry out his assignment Friday that led to the Dodgers’ ninth-inning woes Saturday — although that could hardly be blamed for Sherrill’s personal implosion because he hadn’t pitched since Wednesday night at Pittsburgh, when he turned in a scoreless eighth inning and appeared finally to have found his long-lost mechanics.

He made it all the way to April 18 before getting DFA’d, and it was hard to hide the enthusiasm:

Hurrah! He’s gone! And thus ends the short and painful era of having the worst pitcher in baseball wearing Dodger blue. Shockingly, a mildly productive spring against inconsistent opponents didn’t mean more than six solid years of being horrible. Who’d have thunk? It’s just surprising that it took this long to happen, is all. Ortiz ends his Dodgers career with a line of 0-1, 10.29 ERA, 2.143 WHIP thanks to allowing 12.9 hits/9 and 6.4 BB/9, along with a trail of Dodger tears, and one surely hilarious entry in our season review series this fall.

Hilarious? Perhaps not. Just relieved at the proposition of never having to write about Russ Ortiz ever again.

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Next! Ned Colletti cashes in his goodwill! Joe Torre mails in a farewell tour! It’s the last installment of the 2010 season in review, management!

The Best Start of Clayton Kershaw’s Career…

…was also the 4th-most-valuable game any starting pitcher has had this year, based on WPA (Win Percentage Added):

Rk Player Date Opp Rslt IP H R ER BB SO Pit WPA RE24 aLI
1 Edwin Jackson 2010-06-25 TBR W 1-0 9.0 0 0 0 8 6 149 0.880 4.934 1.758
2 Roy Halladay 2010-05-29 FLA W 1-0 9.0 0 0 0 0 11 115 0.842 4.570 1.226
3 Mat Latos 2010-05-13 SFG W 1-0 9.0 1 0 0 0 6 106 0.841 4.661 1.348
4 Clayton Kershaw 2010-09-14 SFG W 1-0 9.0 4 0 0 0 4 111 0.832 4.661 1.338
5 Jake Peavy 2010-06-19 WSN W 1-0 9.0 3 0 0 2 7 107 0.825 4.440 1.809
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/15/2010.

In case you’re wondering why Kershaw ranks above “better” games like Dallas Braden‘s perfecto, it’s because WPA takes into account the game situation, so Kershaw’s performance with a razor-thin 1-0 lead was worth more than Braden holding down a 4-0 lead.

Last night’s outing tops his previous WPA score of 0.628, which he got by tossing 8 shutout innings against the Cardinals in July of 2009. Since allowing six runs in six innings against Washington on August 6, Kershaw’s torn off seven solid games in which he’s allowed 10 ER in 48.2 IP, striking out 48 against just 15 BB. The Dodger record in those games? Just 3-4, thanks to lousy offense, though last night’s one hit was certainly the worst.

And people say the Dodgers “don’t have an ace”…

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Just when you thought you couldn’t hate the James McDonald (and Andrew Lambo) for Octavio Dotel deal any more, McDonald tosses out yet another quality start for the Pirates, this time going eight shutout innings in New York. Needless to say, the internet is all over it…

Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts:

The fact remains, the Dodgers parted with their two-time minor league pitcher of the year and an effective member of their 2009 bullpen, earning a minimum salary, in order to acquire Octavio Dotel. They nurtured McDonald through eight years in the organization, and then gave up too soon.

Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

It appears to be an outstanding trade by Neal Huntington, even at this early stage, given that it will not take any time to know what the Dodgers have in Octavio Dotel at this stage of his career. James McDonald has been very good, and Andrew Lambo has shown promise while playing around that nagging shoulder injury.

Jack Moore at Fangraphs:

McDonald’s peripheral numbers are actually quite similar to those of hard throwing left handed pitcher David Price of the Rays. Both have K/9 rates around 8.0 and walk rates around 3.5. McDonald has allowed fewer HRs this year in his small sample, but that’s unlikely to continue, as Price has a ground ball percentage in the mid-40s. McDonald’s fastball averages 92.5 MPH to Price’s 94.5, and Price’s arsenal contains a slider whereas McDonald relies on the curveball and changeup as his offspeed pitches. Both draw similar amounts of swinging strikes, with Price at 9.0% on his career and McDonald at 8.8%

Eight starts is nowhere near enough to say that McDonald can be an ace or that he’s the next David Price. Still, he’s shown tremendous potential and has a minor league track record to back it up. The Pirates haven’t seen much in the way of starting pitching talent in a long time. It’s looking like James McDonald will be the first step for the Pirates in their quest to put together a playoff-quality starting rotation.

Meanwhile, Dotel has walked 5.6/9 as a Dodger before shuffling off into free agency, and right now, the #4 and #5 starters in the 2011 Dodger rotation appear to be Charlie Haeger and Orel Hershisher. Great trade.

******

Man, I never get tired of hearing that players have hidden injuries, only to see said injury get worse. And by “never get tired”, I of course mean, “hiding an injury just never ends well”. In this case, it’s Travis Schlichting

“I was just trying to fight through it, because my mechanics were bad at the beginning of the year, and I think that’s when it started. I was just forcing it, and it kind of never went away. It wasn’t affecting me in games, so I didn’t want to make a big deal of it.”

Conte was unsurprised to hear the pitcher had a problem that he hadn’t talked about.

“That’s sort of part of the game,” he said. “Our job, of course, is not to let it get that far, so we always appreciate it when a player tells us when he has something going on. But we understand when players don’t.”

Not a Good Night For Management

Geez, where to start? For all the blame we’ve heaped on guys like Matt Kemp, Russell Martin, Manny Ramirez, and Jonathan Broxton – much of it deserved, some of it less so - last night was the culimination of about twenty different poor management decisions.

Perhaps we’ll go with the obvious, and that’s that the Octavio Dotel deal looks more horrific with every terrible Dotel appearance and every quality James McDonald start for the Pirates. I hated this deal from the moment it was made, but that was because I thought the pricetag was far too high. I’ll admit that I thought that Dotel would be a decent addition to the pen, yet he’s been horrendous; last night’s meltdown was painful to watch, made bearable only by the knowledge that the playoff hunt is over and one more brutal loss doesn’t make much of a difference at this point.

FanGraphs sums up my frustrations:

Ned Coletti and Joe Torre are living in a world where James McDonald (20 K, 4 BB, 0 HR in 17.2 IP with Pittsburgh) and Andrew Lambo are an acceptable price to add a middling reliever to a team six games out of the playoffs and then turn him into the relief ace over two superior pitchers. The Dodgers are now 12 games out of the NL West lead and 8 games out of the Wild Card. I don’t know what the Dodgers’ endgame was with Octavio Dotel, but there’s no doubt that Coletti and the Los Angeles front office missed big on this one.

Basically, yes. I still can’t believe there were people who liked that deal at the time. In fact, let’s take a quick comparison at the performance of the veterans the Dodgers acquired at the deadline as compared to those who were shipped out. Yes, I know that three weeks is hardly a fair sample size, but this will be a useful comparison tool when I repeat this exercise in the months and years to come.

Coming to LA:
Scott Podsednik – .724 OPS, and surprisingly lousy defense.
Ryan Theriot – .663 OPS, which doesn’t make up for surprisingly good D.
Octavio Dotel – 1.765 WHIP, 7 BB in 5 IP, 2 blown games.
Ted Lilly – 4 ER in 19 IP. No argument that he’s been excellent, but it hasn’t mattered.

Leaving LA:
Blake DeWitt – .783 OPS, 120 points higher than Theriot, and who could have predicted that?
James McDonald – 20/4 K/BB in three Pirate starts.
Andrew Lambo – .904 OPS in 61 PA for AA Altoona.
Brett Wallach – 13/9 K/BB in 3 games for A Peoria.
Kyle Smit – 9/3 K/BB in 8.1 IP for AA Tennessee.
Lucas May – .848 OPS and 4 HR in 62 PA for AAA Omaha.
Elisaul Pimentel – 2.053 WHIP in 4 games for A Burlington.

So the only Dodger who’s really done well is Lilly, but he was added to the part of the team that needed a boost less than anywhere else, and the only prospects who haven’t gotten off to a good start are the two still in Low-A ball. That’s without even considering the implications in salary (Theriot, for example, costs far more than DeWitt) or team control (about 40 years out the window).

This team would have been so much better off making zero of those three trades that it’s scary.

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Front office issue #2: not having a backup catcher should Martin get hurt, which he did. A.J. Ellis had another oh-fer last night (including looking horrible on a suicide squeeze, and more on that in a second). Ellis is down to a .440 OPS on the season, which is laughable only in that it’s somehow better than Ausmus’ .433. To put that in perspective, Garret Anderson was at least at .475. Chad at MOKM did a good job recently of pointing out just how good these two are making Martin look, but I don’t consider this a new issue.

Really, how was going into the season with a guy we all knew couldn’t hit (Ellis) and a guy we knew couldn’t hit and was over 40 (Ausmus) a smart idea? Back on March 7, when Martin was injured in camp and Ellis looked like he’d be the Opening Day catcher, I looked at Ellis and said that his total lack of offense meant I had no hopes for him as a major leaguer. In December, I said the idea of getting into a bidding war over Ausmus was ludicrous.

In fact, this goes all the way back to last October, and my 2010 plan, where I was resigned to the fact that you had to stick with Martin (look for a repeat of that in the 2011 plan), but that you had to sign a better backup. I suggested Ramon Hernandez. All he ended up doing this year is hit  .303/.367/.437/.804 for the Reds.

This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone, and now the team is paying for it.

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Speaking of the Ellis bunt, I never thought he’d figure out a way to look worse at the plate than he usually does, but he sure did it. I actually didn’t hate the idea of bunting in that situation, because Ellis isn’t any better of a hitter than your average pitcher; but why did Torre need to wait until there were two strikes to make the call?

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I’ve said this before, and I’ll keep saying it: there is no rational reason that Ryan Theriot should be hitting higher in the lineup than Jamey Carroll. Carroll gets on base more often, and even hits for a bit more power. I said it before last night’s game, and look what happened: Carroll got on twice, Theriot just once. There’s no question that this offense needs a shake-up; isn’t this an easy and obvious way to do it?

******

Finally, we have the game-ending play where Reed Johnson tried to score from first on a bloop single. Yes, read that again, because it actually happened. What in the world Larry Bowa was thinking was beyond me, but for someone who’s not shy about talking about Kemp in the paper, we need to realize that he played a pretty large role in this loss as well. I can’t even accurately express to you in words how much Johnson was out by, so I’ll let Chad from MOKM‘s animated .gif do it for me:

I mean, that’s not even close to being close. I realize with a punchless offense you try to take chances where you can, but good lord, give the runner a chance there, Larry.

The worst part? Torre was completely on board:

Torre, on Bowa sending Reed Johnson: “That’s certainly what I would have done”

Of course it is. I have a lot of respect for the years Torre, Bowa, & Bob Schaefer have spent in the game, but I hardly think I’m alone when I say I can’t wait for a new regime. And I’m not…

ESPN’s Rob Neyer:

Maybe the solution here is to keep Kemp and find a new coaching staff. Because the old staff doesn’t seem to have accomplished much this summer.

LA Times’ Bill Shaikin:

But, by keeping Kemp out of the lineup until he begged forgiveness, the old-school manager and his old-school coaching staff played by old-school rules that no longer fly. If Kemp had sinned for the Angels, Mike Scioscia would have summoned him to the office, immediately after the game or before the next one, read him the riot act and moved on.

Scioscia also checks in with his players during batting practice. On the day Kemp snapped, Torre never set foot on the field during batting practice. He held court with the media, then visited with some Hollywood friends.

Torre says he won’t make his decision on 2011 until the team is eliminated from playoff contention. That ought to be any day now; I know which choice I’m hoping for.

Changes in the Bullpen

I’m still working on my mega-Broxton post (believe me, it’ll be interesting), but in the meantime we have changes at the back end of the bullpen. Dylan Hernandez, take it away:

Kuo is the #Dodgers‘ closer — for now. Dotel will be closing tonight if the #Dodgers are ahead.

This is going to be seen, I’m sure, as a massive demotion for Broxton. I don’t think it should be seen as such, but it’s the right move. As both Eric Stephen and Steve Dilbeck called for, Broxton needs to not be the closer right now. You can chalk up his struggles to whatever you want – overuse, injury, mechanics, etc. – but he’s not getting the job done. He needs some time to recharge, time the Dodgers probably don’t have right now (this if you’re still under the impression they’re in contention, which I am not), so it’s the right move for him and for the team. I think that once he gets himself together, he deserves to get his job back – and he will.

Hernandez explains further:

Torre said he will still use Broxton in close games; just wants to take him out of closing role until he gets his feet under him.

Exactly. I’m fully behind this move, for now. So they turn to Hong-Chih Kuo, one hell of an option, because he’s been all but untouchable. Of course, he’s pitched two nights in a row and is almost certainly unavailable tonight, so they’ll go with Octavio Dotel, as Hernandez said.

Here’s the problem with Dotel, though: he’s basically the opposite of George Sherrill. Dotel crushes righties, allowing them only a .176/.238/.330 line so far this year. But lefties kill him, to the tune of .304/.424/.594. Unfortunately for Torre,  he may not have any great options tonight should the Dodgers have a lead in a close game.

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If there’s one concern I have, it’s this: despite the panicked effort by the club to act as though they’re in the race, they’re not. It’s just not their year. What really worries me is the idea that in the effort to pretend they’re contending, fragile arms like Kuo (now allowed to pitch on back-to-back nights) and young rookie Kenley Jansen will be overworked in the name of finishing 6 games out of the playoffs. That’s not even close to worth it, and that’s something I’ll be watching closely.

******

Oh, I almost forgot. This blog is bashing me. Or not. I can’t even really tell, but I like it anyway.

Three Trades: The Other Side

Now that everyone’s had a night to sleep on it… well, yesterday was still pretty bad, and I’m not even just talking about the painful loss to the Giants (yes, I’m getting a bit worried about Jonathan Broxton, though it’d be nice if the offense would score more than one run every once in a while too.) Really, my main problem with the deals yesterday was not just that I think the price was too high for improvements which are minimal at best, but that it’s just too late to bother. This isn’t a team that only needed a few rough edges smoothed out, so trading prospects for veterans who aren’t likely to make a difference seems like a mistake, especially when the biggest problem (the offense) was not only not upgraded, but arguably made worse. On top of that, for the number and quality of players who were traded, it would have been far better to get one impact player rather than four decent-ish guys.

Still, thousands of words were written about that yesterday, and SOSG did a great job of showing how the “mainstream” writers all liked the Dodger moves while Dodger bloggers almost uniformly hated them. What I’m interested in right now is how the other side felt. If we all hated the deals, how did fans of the Royals, Pirates, & Cubs see them?

This, ah, is probably not going to make you feel any better.

On the Octavio Dotel deal….

Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke?:

McDonald is the great get here; he’s 25 and though he’s had trouble cracking the Dodgers rotation the last two years, he’s got great minor league numbers. Before the Dodgers used him in the bullpen through most of 2009, he was Baseball America’s 56th best prospect. He’s in Triple-A right now, but presumably could be called up and put in the Pirates’ rotation right away.

Lambo’s a decent prospect with a PED suspension drug of abuse suspension in the past, but he’s 21 and putting up decent numbers in Double-A, which is encouraging. The numbers aren’t great for a four-corners type player (which is what Lambo is), but to get him and McDonald in return for a 36-year old closer who could have been a free agent next year, well, it’s really hard not to be pleased with this trade.

Where Have You Gone, Andy Van Slyke?, part 2:

James McDonald is a solid upper-middle rotation prospect who at the very least should be a very useful bullpen player. Andrew Lambo is a very young, raw player who’s had some struggles but who is still a good prospect. To pull those two in for a 36-year old reliever is a pretty impressive haul and it’s the sort of trade I’m still smarting from being on the other end of so many times in the past.

Bucs Dugout:

The players the Pirates got are mostly help-now types, but McDonald, in particular, used to be a very well-regarded prospect, and his performance actually hasn’t faded all that much since that was the case. His upside is probably something like a #3 starter, which isn’t usually the sort of thing you can say about a 25-year-old Class AAA pitcher.

Lambo is the wild card here. Like McDonald, he was once among the Dodgers‘ top prospects, but unlike McDonald, he probably won’t be with the Pirates anytime soon. He’ll probably be at Class AA, where he’s been for the past two seasons. He’s struggled to master the level, but then he hasn’t been overwhelmed either, despite skipping Class A+ and being somewhat young for the league. It would be hard for me to argue that a couple of random Class A arms, which is about the return I would have expected for Dotel, have more upside than Lambo does. He isn’t a surefire prospect by any stretch, but he’s a nice addition.

Raise the Jolly Roger:

I thought McDonald was plenty to get in return for Dotel, someone that wasn’t going to be of much use for the Bucs going forward. Who know’s what’ll happen with Lambo, but we’ll gladly take him in and give him a shot. He only makes the deal better, with the potential to make it a lot better.

RTJR also posted what I believe was Dotel’s entrance video and… well, I can’t not post this here.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klcFJ-knID0&feature=player_embedded]

On the Ted Lilly/Ryan Theriot deal…

Bleed Cubbie Blue:

About Blake DeWitt, people who call him “a Theriot clone” or “another Fontenot” miss the point. DeWitt is only 24 years old. His OPS this year is almost 100 points higher than Theriot’s, and two years ago at age 22, he hit nine home runs. I am not expecting him to be a power hitter; just hit for a decent average, play good defense and don’t make dumb baserunning plays! He did hit for some power in the minor leagues; it’s possible that might develop more as he gets older. Remember, he is two years younger than Theriot was when Theriot got a fulltime starting job in the major leagues.

Another Cubs Blog comments on the deal, then shows us exactly what a TOOTBLAN is:

I like Wallach, FWIW. Here are his numbers at Great Lakes (MWL):

17 GS, 84.2 IP, 73 H, 39 R, 7 HR, 43 BB, 92 K

And Smit’s numbers between Inland Empire (A+) and Chattanooga (AA):

37 G (1GS), 53.2 IP, 52 H, 17 R, 10 BB, 47 K

Not too shabby of a return for an expiring deal and a nontender candidate.

On the Scott Podsednik deal…

Royals Review
:

Pimentel is a 21 year old pitcher who has been in A-ball. (B-R page) Pimentel has a 3.49 ERA this year, with good strikeout numbers. A definite interesting live arm. He is the second Pimentel from the Dodger organization to be acquired by Dayton Moore. He has a 3.68 career minor league ERA. (I had earlier written the Dodgers had been using him as a reliever, I must have went cross-eyed when I looked at his stats. He hasn’t been. He’s been a starter.)

Lucas May / Luke May is a 25 year old catcher with an .848 this season in AAA. (B-R page) May also hit decently last season in AA. I’m sure Albuquerque is a good hitters park, but for a catcher in his first AAA season, those are interesting numbers. I would have taken one of these guys for Pods.

Well done to the GM on this one.

Kings of Kauffman:

Moriyama and other Dodgers bloggers had Pimentel jumping into their in-seasno top 30 prospects lists, so to get both minor leaguers is a steal for Dayton Moore.  I believe I saw that the Dodgers are also picking up the remainder of Podsednik’s 2010 salary, which is another win. So basically, I’m ecstatic.

Royals Prospects:

The Royals made a very good trade today in acquiring 25 year old catcher Lucas May and 22 year old P Elisaul Pimentel

The Royals currently employ an aging catcher and a backup catcher that does not have much of a future at that position.