No matches in sight
Well, so much for the old adage that a fight can fire up a team. The Dodgers have lost three of the four games they’ve played since the brawl against Arizona last Tuesday night.
It is still a mystery to me why the Diamondbacks Ian Kennedy had to throw at Zack Greinke after things were squared up in the old eye-for-an-eye theory of baseball. Puig was hit by Kennedy and then Greinke hit Miguel Montero. Case closed, right? No, Kennedy and Arizona manager Kirk Gibson decided to push the envelope and zonk Greinke. So tell if me, if you break a rule that doesn’t really exist, did you do anything wrong?
In a way, a pitcher will always get off easy when it comes to suspensions. Many were applauding MLB for giving Kennedy one of the harshest penalties it could by suspending him for ten games. Yet the fact is Kennedy will miss just two games for his violent action.
It would be easy for Selig to stop benches from clearing altogether if he implemented an NBA rule, of sorts – leave the dugout and you are automatically suspended a game. Still, I can see why he can’t do it.
First, like hockey, you can talk about dissuading violence in a game yet the fans don’t mind it. Second, baseball’s “unwritten rules” are so ingrained into the game you really can’t mess with them. Third, Selig is not necessarily a progressive commissioner. Sometimes I think the game thrives in spite of him instead of because of him.
True, the wild-card and interleague play were implemented under him. The result has kept more fans interested when September rolls around. But making an exhibition game the determining factor for home field in the World Series? Tackling steroids was important but now to go NCAA on everyone and start punishing players after the fact? Not sure I see that working out well for anyone. But the biggest obstacle is baseball may have the single most powerful union in all of sports.
Selig was able to win a victory over PED’s, perhaps by wasting a little bit of Congress’ time in the process. But telling players they can’t retaliate would be a losing proposition.
And speaking of fires….
You figure Don Mattingly won’t be fired this week. The Dodgers visit the Yankees for a quick two game set Tuesday and Wednesday and Mattingly is still revered there. Give him his moment. At least this week.
The only problem with the series is how the schedule maker screwed the Dodgers over a bit. They play a night game on Wednesday in New York and then have to play in San Diego the next night.
Uh, didn’t anyone tell him the NSA already knew?
Clayton Kershaw is reportedly upset with the Dodgers that someone “leaked” a story about him entering into long-term contract negotiations with the team. Kershaw is currently in the middle of a three year, $19 million deal that allows him to become a free agent in 2015. After Justin Verlander signed a $200 million deal with the Tigers this spring, several writers speculated the Dodgers were under pressure to sign Kershaw long term. It wasn’t exactly a secret Verlander’s money would be the just the starting point for Kershaw’s agent.
So now, in this day and age of email monitoring by our own government, let alone TMZ, Kershaw is perturbed at the idea his asking price, supposedly $225 million, has become a distraction(?)
“I think the reason we’ve been able to continue discussions for this long is that it’s not been talked about,” Kershaw said. “And now that I’m having to talk about it, it’s a distraction because people are talking about it. I guess you’ll have to talk to the Dodgers as to why it came out now. I don’t love the fact that I have to talk about it.”
Ahh, get over it Clayton. The contract talks are more exciting than the team is. Besides, fans are pulling for you. After all, this is a team still paying Manny Ramirez and Andruw Jones. It would be nice if some money actually went to a guy currently on the team.
Taking up a trade
It appears the Dodgers will be dumping rather than gathering when the July trading deadline rolls around. As far as who goes, the list may be somewhat easy to jot down.
Both pitcher Chris Capuano and infielder Mark Ellis are nearing the end of their contracts. I could see Ellis as a good fit for the Orioles who could use a second baseman. As evidenced by the Orioles success with developing young talent, they must have someone to move. The Dodgers could make it through this year with a Skip Schumaker holding down the fort at second. So who starts at second for the Dodgers in 2014?
The Yankees Robinson Cano becomes a free agent and with the Dodgers in line to collect $6 billion in television revenue, money may not be an object. Okay, so maybe the Dodgers should take a lesson from the Angels and not offer Cano, who will be 31 at the beginning of next season, one of those 10 year deals. But the funny thing is, I think Dodgers fans would love it.
The only “big” name the Dodgers may put on the marquee is Andre Ethier. The emergence of Yasil Puig certainly makes Ethier expendable assuming, of course, Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford can come back from nagging hamstring injuries. The question is whether the Dodgers could command the top prospects from another team.
Ethier is batting just .254 this season (221 against lefthanders) with five home runs. You can’t quite give Ethier the clutch label either since he is batting .190 with runners in scoring position. If the Dodgers were to move Ethier, chances are they would have to suck up some of the $87 million he still has coming to him. The main intangible may be whether Don Mattingly will be around long enough to have a say. The word is he and Ethier don’t get along too well.