5 Surprises: Los Angeles Dodgers

Five surprises about the Dodgers I would not have predicted in the offseason…

  1. Zach Lee signing.  Signability concerns dropped Lee to #28 in the June draft, and many accused the Dodgers of purposely taking a player they knew they wouldn't sign.  Instead, they gave Lee a club-record $5.25MM bonus to pass on a baseball and football career at LSU.
  2. Manny Ramirez claim.  It wasn't shocking that the Dodgers let Manny go to save $3.8MM.  It was a surprise that a team that still considers itself a contender felt they'd be better off without Ramirez.
  3. Matt Kemp's struggles.  The .299 career hitter slumped to .255 this year and his defense dropped off too, according to UZR.  The difference from '09 might end up being a matter of four wins or so. 
  4. Jonathan Broxton's struggles.  More than anything, Broxton's batting average on balls in play jumped up.  He's also lost a few miles per hour on his average fastball, bringing him back to his still-respectable '07 level of about 95.  It's been enough to allow Hong-Chih Kuo to sneak into the closer role.
  5. Rafael Furcal's season.  He's missed significant time due to injury, but is having his best season outside of his 36-game '08 stint.


52 Responses to 5 Surprises: Los Angeles Dodgers Leave a Reply

  1. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    How about Clayton Kershaw really coming into his own.

    • wintwins 5 years ago

      this is clearly labeled as surprises. Does Clayton Kershaw “coming into his own” surprise you? It shouldn’t.

      • ivdown 5 years ago

        It doesn’t surprise me, but because the national media doesn’t seem to realize Clayton Kershaw not only exists, but is a sick pitcher, it would be a surprise to many of them with how great Kershaw is doing.

      • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

        Good point. I just think it’s a really good story…I mean this 22 year old is really pitching. Not throwing.

        • ivdown 5 years ago

          I’ve been following Kershaw so closely all year, he’s really transformed his pitching style to someone who can go deep into games and throw strikes, it’s been amazing to see.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            And he repeats his delivery, saves the bullpen, and is a really good guy as well.

          • ivdown 5 years ago

            You’re not wrong about the good guy part, every time something good happens he is always on the top step cheering on his teammates, and he is one of the first guys (might have been the only guy for Belasario the other night) to give a guy some love when he gets rocked. He seems like he’s always got the best attitude on the entire team. I know some people like the intense guy who is always focused only on playing, but I love the fact that Kershaw has a fun-loving personality.

          • ivdown 5 years ago

            It may be because the team is underachieving, but I don’t see a lot of his teammates acting the same way he does. I say this because I know there are a ton of players like this, so it’s not incredibly rare.

    • ivdown 5 years ago

      People would rather talk about most of the bad things rather than the good things.

      • I’m not one of those people. The reasoning, as suggested, is that Kershaw breaking out wasn’t a huge surprise. But if you made that #5 I wouldn’t argue too much.

        • ivdown 5 years ago

          It wasn’t a shot at you, that’s more towards pretty much the other 99% of the national media. I’m just bitter about almost everything written about the Dodgers this year, just about all of it is in a negative light, even though there are some big positives (The rotation has been stellar since April, Kuo and Jansen have been incredibly good, Jamey Carroll has been so great as the primary backup, and I hated the signing the first couple of months).

          All that said, so much dissapointment with Martin, Loney (again), Kemp, and really just the lineup in general (Manny being the biggest, if he were healthy all year I’d imagine the Dodgers would be right in the thick of the race). The only way I can keep watching my Dodgers is if I’m thinking about the positives, lol.

          • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

            All the negatives started last year when the McCourt divorce soap opera began. Every story about the Dodgers leads with it, even (especially) in the LA Times. Since then, whenever the Dodgers spent money, the story was about how “surprising” it was, not how maybe the Dodgers aren’t as cash-strapped as nearly everyone assumed, and what Colletti was telling the press about that wasn’t actually a lie. I’m afraid Tim is falling into the same trap, still not acknowledging that what “some people” were saying was just plain wrong.

        • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

          I just figured it’s a really good story and something that Dodger fans probably hoped for that wasn’t expected for another season or two after this one. He’s 22, lowered his walk total, learned how to repeathis delivery, and he’s anchored this staff all way through with extreme consistency. You know?

        • yankeesfan5891 5 years ago

          Tim what happened to the 5 Surprises series? I was really looking forward to seeing the rest of these.

    • That happened in 2009, so it doesn’t fit into the time frame this post covers. Plus, as has been pointed out below, not a surprise regardless.

      • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

        No, last season, he couldn’t make it out of the 4th inning. This year he’s saving the bullpen and he is a complete pitcher.

        • That’s a completely false statement.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            Its not a false statement. His pitch count was at 100 in the 3rd 4th and 5th. now he makes it to the 7th and 8th with the same amount of pitches.

          • Jason_F 5 years ago

            In precisely 2 of his 30 starts did he not “make it out of the 4th inning” in 2009.

        • ivdown 5 years ago

          Yeah, that’s not true at all. He wasn’t going deep into games last year, but he still had a very good season. Now he’s been limiting his walks and going deeper into games than last year, but he wasn’t averaging 4 and a half innings a start (I know what you said was hyperbole, but still).

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            I didn’t say he didn’t pitch well. But last year he would get taken out because of walks and pitches in the 4th inning or 5th.

          • ivdown 5 years ago

            You’re are being completely hyperbolic.

            7 out of 31 games last season he did not make it through at least 5 innings. 3 of those times he did not make it through at least 4 innings. Obviously not great, but still not as bad as you make it seem.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            Fine. But you have to understand, I don’t know how to use big words like hyperbolic.

          • You exaggerated things.

            And were making false statements.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            I was thinking chemicals

  2. BlessedIAM 5 years ago

    To me, Jamey Carroll having a .385obp, an average around .290 with sparkling defense at SS (60 starts), 2b, and 3rd has been great! Any of us who saw Carroll play in Colorado, where he deserved a gold glove in 2006, and Cleveland KNEW he was more than just a 200pa guy coming to LA! What a gamer..Larry Bowa and Vin Scully called him the team MVP!

    • ivdown 5 years ago

      I was NOT a fan of the signing when he was first signed, but he has made me a Carroll believer for sure. He literally does everything he can for the team. He’s been playing with a broken finger for a couple weeks now and refuses to get anything done about it because he wants to play. The other day someone on the infield made a great play and he started shouting “F*ck yeah!”

      Gotta love this guy.

  3. Anybody know what date the pitchers and catchers show up for spring training?
    Absolutely stinks not having anyone to pull for the rest of the season…anyone other than Ozzie puttin Manny out there everyday and lettin him show what he’s got left. Really looking forward to tracking his “comeback” next year!

  4. with Kemps downfall this year do you dodgers fans wish you traded him straight up for Cliff Lee? Imagine having Lee Kershaw lilly Padilla and that other guy. look pretty damn good to me

    • No. With Kemp’s talent, it would be foolish to give up on him after one bad year. That rotation does look good though.

    • thegrayrace 5 years ago

      I regret trading Carlos Santana for Casey Blake…

      … thereby not having Carlos Santana to trade for Cliff Lee…

      • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

        Easy to say now, forgetting that the Dodgers didn’t have anyone to play third at the time.

        • ieblue 5 years ago

          Yeah but everyone seems to forget that Santana was traded so that the Dodgers wouldn’t have to pay Blake’s remaining salary. Blake could’ve been had for just Jon Meloan. Even Ned Colletti admits that the trade was a mistake.

          • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

            Good point, if we actually know that to be true. The Dodgers were willing to eat some of Manny’s salary for a prospect, but the Sox weren’t prepared to deal anyone.

          • ieblue 5 years ago

            Yeah I was pretty disappointed that the Dodgers weren’t able to get a prospect for Manny. It’s nice that the team got out of paying some of his salary, but that doesn’t really help the team in the future. To me it just doesn’t seem like McCourt is going to take the money saved and apply it to signing free agents next year or extending guys like Kershaw.

          • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

            The team could be sold between now and the end of the year, for all we know. It’s all really up to a judge at this point. Best case scenario, McCourt kicks Torre upstairs as president, brings Wallach up as manager and pulls in some new partners to make up for whatever he ends up owing Jamie. Otherwise I think you are right, the financial situation becomes so precarious that management won’t be able to make even as many payroll commitments as they did last year.

          • markjsunz 5 years ago

            The trade was not a mistake based on the information coming out of the McCourt divorce trial. The Dodgers are claiming to be broke, they cannot get loans. They will only sign a player who will defer a large portion of salary.They are run like the ST. louis Browns, or the Kansas city A`s two teams that had to sell there best prospects to meet payroll.It is goona be a rough road for Dodger fans as long as the present group owns them. Every asset will be liquidated every year to profit the owners.

        • thegrayrace 5 years ago

          It’s widely known Carlos Santana was included in the trade because the Indians paid Blake’s salary. They could’ve easily worked out a deal for different prospects. It’s Casey Blake we’re talking about here, hardly a top commodity. Blake’s line as a Dodger in ’08 was .251/.313/.460.

          • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

            I’m always a little suspicious of things which are “widely known.” More often than not, this means a rumor which keeps getting repeated. Next thing we’ll hear that’s “widely known” is that the Dodgers could have gotten a prospect for Manny but decided to take the salary relief instead. Nothing anyone says will change anybody’s mind, once this becomes “widely known.”

          • And Blake was awful in 2008 with us, has been awful this year, and was awful in the 2008 and 2009 playoffs.

        • DeWitt was doing just fine.

          • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

            At the beginning. Then he hit a major slump at the plate. I remember.

      • Guest 5 years ago

        No Casey, No Playoffs

        • thegrayrace 5 years ago

          First of all, Casey Blake could’ve been had for marginal prospects had the Dodgers been willing to pick up his salary. No way was he worth the Dodgers top prospect.

          Secondly, Casey Blake as a Dodger in ’08 hit .251/.313/.460. You think that is what propelled them to the playoffs? Blake DeWitt could’ve put up those numbers.

        • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

          No kidding. He’s provided more stability at that corner than the Dodgers have had since Beltre. Lots of backseat managing going on here. DeWitt was a AA rookie.

        • NO MANNY, NO PLAYOFFS. Blake did nothing.

    • ieblue 5 years ago

      You forgot Billingsley (I’m guessing that’s who you were referring to by that other guy). Anyway having Cliff Lee right now would be nice, but it still wouldn’t be enough for the Dodgers to make the postseason. Since the all-star break the pitching has been excellent and it’s been the offense that’s really been lacking.

    • Then we have a hole in center. Our pitching is fine.

  5. SmackSaw 5 years ago

    Kemp for Lee? Bwahahaha!! Nope. Kemp is having a down year, but if the Dodgers did that trade, who would have any power? Ethier would get pitched around.

  6. cookmeister 5 years ago

    i am somewhat confused about Furcal. How is it a suprise? he has been hurt and missed significant time it seems like for the past 4 years or so

    • BlueSkyLA 5 years ago

      Surprised he wasn’t hurt as much this year, I guess.

    • I’m wondering about this one as well. I’m not surprised he “missed significant time due to injury”… it was totally expected.

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