Los Angeles Dodgers Rumors
Here's the latest on a few managers on the hot seat after their clubs have gotten off to disappointing starts in 2013...
- Don Mattingly isn't in "imminent danger" of being fired as Dodgers manager, ESPN's Buster Olney and Jayson Stark report. GM Ned Colletti met with Mattingly and the coaching staff after Tuesday's game and a source believes “the air was cleared and a new direction was given.” Colletti wasn't behind Mattingly's criticisms of the team, though sources say the GM did encourage Mattingly's choice to be more assertive.
- Dodgers president Stan Kasten was also not offended by Mattingly's comments, telling FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal that the skipper was trying to motivate the club. “I know what Don is trying to do, what his intention is. It’s to light a fire, kick-start the team. He’s trying everything he can think of. We’re all behind him," Kasten said.
- If this is Mattingly's last season in Los Angeles, some predict he could find a new job managing the Nationals next year, CBS Sports' Danny Knobler reports. The Nats previously considered Mattingly for a managerial opening (though he wasn't interviewed) and the team is believed to "strongly favor hiring a high-profile manager" to replace the retiring Davey Johnson rather than promote an internal option.
- Brewers manager Ron Roenicke is "not the issue" with the team's problems, owner Mark Attanasio tells CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. An anonymous scout recently criticized the Brewers for lacking in effort but Attanasio disagrees: "The guys may be a little down. But I saw them before (Wednesday's game), and there was a lot of energy and enthusiasm. That was a very spirited dugout. One thing I like about Ron Roenicke, the players play hard for him." Attanasio chalked his team's woes up to "streakiness," a lack of situational hitting and struggling starting pitching.
Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier isn't going to ask for a trade in the wake of his recent benchings. "I don't think there's ever a question," Ethier told reporters, including MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. "I made a commitment to what we're doing. We all have tough times. We just have got to figure out what's going on and battle through it. Quitting is not an option."
- Unsurprisingly, Ethier was upset at seemingly being singled out as not being a tough player given manager Don Mattingly's recent criticism of his team's competitiveness. "Yeah, I take offense to that, without approaching me first," Ethier said. "Other than that, I show up every day and find ways to compete, to work hard whether I'm going good or bad. Just like everyone here, I have to get a grip and a handle on what's gone on." Ethier also said he thinks Mattingly will keep his job as the Dodgers are just a hot streak away from getting back into the pennant race.
- Mattingly told the media (including Ken Gurnick) that the Dodgers had talked internally about calling up Double-A outfielders Yasiel Puig or Joc Pederson. Both players are among MLB.com's list of baseball's top 100 prospects (Puig at #76, Pederson at #85) while Puig was also ranked as the 47th-best prospect in the game by Baseball America. Puig would probably be the first of the two prospects to be called up, given Puig's huge spring numbers and the fact that he's already signed to a $42MM contract.
- The Dodgers aren't in a good position to trade Ethier given that they have little leverage to demand a fair return for him, ESPN Los Angeles' Mark Saxon argues. The Dodgers will likely have to eat a large piece of Ethier's contract in a deal anyway, so they could get more back if they wait until closer to the trade deadline.
Here's tonight's look around baseball as Wednesday turns to Thursday..
- With Terry Francona returning to Fenway Park later this week as the Indians' manager, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes that solid relationships have contributed to his success at the helm of his new club. Morosi notes that part of the reason Nick Swisher signed with the Indians was because of Francona. “We’ve got the best manager on the planet leading us," Swisher said.
- Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com argues that the pointed remarks from Don Mattingly are not a sign of an imminent dismissal, but rather honest assessments that the Dodgers should heed. Heyman contends that while Mattingly does deserves some responsibility for the poor start, it was the right move to criticize the roster construction.
- Meanwhile, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs thinks that Mattingly is almost certainly on his way out. The Dodgers may also consider moving Andre Ethier, though his sizable contract could deter teams.
Max Fogle contributed to this post.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly offered up some brutally honest and scathing remarks for his players and the team's upper management prior to Wednesday's game, and Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times has a recap. Mattingly benched $85MM right fielder Andre Ethier in favor of rookie Scott Van Slyke, commenting that to use his “most competitive lineup” and one that would “fight the hardest.” Mattingly wouldn't confirm whether or not he still viewed Ethier as an everyday player. He also noted that the front office tried to buy an All-Star team, stating: “All grit and no talent isn’t going to make you successful. But all talent and no grit is not going to get you there, either.” Here's more out of baseball's Western divisions...
- One rival general manager told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that it seems like Mattingly is trying to get himself fired.
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs writes that Ethier is now "eminently available" and suggests some speculative trades. Cameron proposes a swap of Ethier and Jeff Francoeur, with the Dodgers picking up the tab (Twitter link) on Ethier's final two seasons. Doing so would save the Dodgers up to $40MM, allow them to call up Yasiel Puig and give Kansas City an upgrade over Francoeur. He also suggests a swap with Franklin Gutierrez of the Mariners or dumping Ethier on the Rangers.
- Jordan Norberto's preference is still to re-sign with the Athletics after being released earlier in the month, according to John Shea and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Norberto was cut loose due to an elbow strain, and he's throwing again as he rehabs from the injury. The Cubs, Royals and Rays are all interested in Norberto, but he told Shea and Slusser: "I've never felt anything for a team before like I do about the A's - the teammates, the pitching coach, the manager, the fans."
- The Mariners need better than what Aaron Harang is giving them every five days, writes Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, who suggests that it's time to designate Harang for assignment and give Jeremy Bonderman a try. Bonderman has a 3.79 ERA in nine Triple-A starts.
- The Mariners are better than their record indicates, writes Rosenthal, but a number of their key offensive pieces are free agents. Rosenthal feels that the Mariners and GM Jack Zduriencik are at a crossroads, but an improved record could make Seattle a desirable destination for Northwest natives Jacoby Ellsbury and Tim Lincecum.
With 40% of their innings coming from relievers, the Pirates' bullpen has been worked the hardest among all National League teams. The onus is on GM Neal Huntington to add depth at the trade deadline, writes Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports, who notes that the NL Central is "tougher than many of us expected" due to the Pirates playing .591 ball so far. Elsewhere in baseball's central divisions...
- The Royals are the frontrunner to sign 15-year-old Italian shortstop Marten Gasparini, sources tell Ben Badler of Baseball America, with the Dodgers and Cubs also showing interest. Gasparini, who turns 16 on Friday, is "expected to sign the biggest contract ever for a European amateur player," according to Badler. The speedy switch-hitter may top the $800K the Twins gave to German outfielder Max Kepler in 2009. Be sure to check out Badler's full profile of Gasparini.
- Josh Vitters is the future at third base for the Cubs, president Theo Epstein told Ian Stewart, Stewart explained to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. That means playing time will be hard to come by for Stewart at Triple-A Iowa, where he landed after being removed from the Cubs' 40-man roster this month. Stewart wondered if the comment was Epstein's way of trying to get him to give up his contract, but the third baseman told Muskat, "It wouldn't really make sense for me to take a release or ask for free agency, because then I'd be giving up my contract, and that doesn't make sense for me financially or for my family." Stewart signed a $2MM deal to remain with the Cubs after being non-tendered in December, and hoped to be with the big league club after rehabbing a February quad injury.
- Matt Garza will make his season debut tomorrow with the Cubs in Pittsburgh, and he's eligible for free agency after the season. Jesse Rogers and Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com discussed Garza's future, with Levine suggesting, "I believe if he stays healthy the Cubs will offer him a short-term extension that could be a plus for both sides."
- The Twins "will get a close approximation of what it would be like to have Mike Trout and Bryce Harper in the same lineup" when top prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano reach their primes, writes Jim Callis of Baseball America. Asked to rank prospect tandems in terms of potential five years down the road, Callis ranked Buxton and Sano ahead of Oscar Taveras and Shelby Miller of the Cardinals, Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich of the Marlins, and Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado of the Orioles, among others.
The Blue Jays announced today they've recalled 22-year-old outfielder Anthony Gose, who has a .227/.343/.325 line playing center field at Triple-A. Gose, who played in 56 games for the Jays last year, ranked #59 on Keith Law's top 100 prospects list for ESPN prior to the 2012 season and 39th on Baseball America's list. Gose was surprised by the promotion, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, while Jays manager John Gibbons said he will not be used in an everyday role at this time. On to today's links:
- The Dodgers have "no plans" to fire manager Don Mattingly when the team returns home Thursday or before then, a club official tells Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Last night, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports put forth a guess that Mattingly will be fired if things don't go better for the Dodgers in this week's three-game set in Milwaukee.
- With a 4.61 ERA, the Dodgers' bullpen ranks 14th in the National League, and they're tied for third with eight blown saves. After yesterday's problems with Kenley Jansen and Brandon League, Mattingly said to reporters, "We had guys get away early who seemed to fit." Mattingly was seemingly referring to the Cubs' Kevin Gregg, who was released by the Dodgers' front office in April after they couldn't find a bullpen spot for him.
- "Non-existent" was the word one American League executive used to describe the relief pitching market, writes WEEI's Rob Bradford. Here in May, the market looks short on sellers with quality relief pieces.
- Speaking of relievers, are you following @CloserNews on Twitter? Win the saves category in your fantasy league by following our updates on all things closer-related.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly will soon be fired, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal argues. "My guess is that Mattingly gets this series, and if things don’t go better, that’s it," Rosenthal says. "The Dodgers are off Thursday, then begin a five-game homestand against the Cardinals and Angels. You can look it up — managerial changes often occur on off-days before a homestand." The Dodgers are currently 17-25 after being swept by the Braves. Rosenthal notes that GM Ned Colletti might find himself on the hot seat as well, but that the typical pattern is for the manager to be the first out the door. When asked recently whether Mattingly would remain with the Dodgers through the end of the season, team president Stan Kasten replied, "I assume so," but noted that he expected the team to play better. Here's more from the NL West.
- Despite his hot start, Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt isn't worried about money he might end up losing as a result of his recent extension, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports. "You make the best decision at the time," says Goldschmidt. "I love it in Phoenix. I was happy we got a deal done. And I'm happy to get it done in spring training, so it didn't become a distraction." Heyman cites an anonymous agent who says that the extension could cost Goldschmidt $75MM. That seems like an exaggeration, but Goldschmidt could easily make his five year, $32MM deal look like a bargain from the Diamondbacks' perspective if he continues hitting anything resembling his current .335/.418/.645 pace.
- Didi Gregorius' surprising hitting so far in the big leagues is making the Diamondbacks' end of the Shin-Soo Choo / Trevor Bauer deal with the Reds and Indians look better with time. But Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic wonders whether Gregorius' hitting can last. No one in the last ten years has posted a career minor-league OPS below .725 (minimum 1,900 plate appearances) and a career major-league OPS above .741 (minimum 500 plate appearances). Gregorius had a .694 career minor-league OPS; his major-league OPS through 106 plate appearances is .884.
- Rockies pitcher Roy Oswalt will join the Double-A Tulsa Drillers on Tuesday and will make his first start on Friday, ROOT Sports' Tracy Ringolsby notes (on Twitter). Ringolsby projects Oswalt would make his fifth minor-league start June 14. Oswalt can opt out of his contract with the Rockies on either June 18 or June 28 if he has not been added to the big-league roster. Oswalt's command was strong in extended spring training, MLB.com's Thomas Harding notes (on Twitter).
Credit Dodgers' scouting director Logan White for ensuring that Clayton Kershaw's big league successes have come in a Dodger uniform, says Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The club had targeted Kershaw and Evan Longoria in the 2006 draft, but were worried that neither would last until the team's seventh overall pick. Several pieces had to fall into place: Luke Hochevar failed to sign in 2005, leading to his being taken first overall the next year. Meanwhile, with many scouts on hand for the last pre-draft starts of Kershaw and Brad Lincoln, the former struggled while the latter dominated. Lincoln went fourth overall to the Pirates. According to White, with Longoria already off the board to the Rays, the Dodgers "were hoping and praying Clayton would get to us." That's just what happened: consensus top arm Andrew Miller fell, perhaps owing to signabilty concerns, and was nabbed by the Tigers at number six, leaving Kershaw for L.A. The decision to take Kershaw caused some initial consternation when Tim Lincecum, taken with the tenth pick by the rival Giants, began his career with a bang. Now, of course, the Dodgers (and their fans) could not be more pleased with their selection. Here are a few more notes from the leagues' western divisions:
- With the Rockies off to an up-and-down start, the Denver Post's Woody Paige has some harsh words for the team's ownership and management. He says that, with a top-12 attendance but a bottom-7 payroll, the club appears "content to produce a .500 team." Among the decisions Paige disagrees with are the team's apparent intention to rely on veteran pitchers like Roy Oswalt and Jon Garland while former top prospect Drew Pomeranz toils in Triple-A and Tyler Chatwood bounces between the minors and the big club. He also faults the club for going with the now-departed Chris Nelson and Reid Brignac instead of bringing up Nolan Arenado and DJ LeMahieu to start the season. He warns that the Rockies could be in danger of losing the affections of stars Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez. Unhappy superstars can always cause problems by demanding a trade, of course, but it is worth noting that Colorado has no immediate need to sell its shortstop and left fielder on staying in town. Tulowitzki is inked through at least 2020 (with a 2021 club option), while Gonzalez is under contract through 2017.
- Despite four starters on the disabled list, the Rangers lead the American League in ERA (3.38). Richard Justice of MLB.com writes that the success of the pitching staff is attributable to GM Jon Daniels's efforts to create a deep, talented organization. Likewise, Justice praises Daniels's confidence to enter the season without prior stalwarts Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, Mike Napoli, Mike Adams, and Koji Uehara, and to bring in veterans Lance Berkman and A.J. Pierzynski on one-year deals. The 37-year-old Berkman, in particular, has hit .299/.422/.465 in 154 plate appearances as the club's primary DH.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow says it is still too early for the club to narrow down its likely pick with the first choice in the upcoming amateur draft, tweets Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle. The club will likely have more clarity when it conducts staff meetings in early June, Smith further tweets.
- As the Astros gear up for an important draft, the club is holding a series of four regional player workouts, writes Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. According to scouting director Mike Elias, the workouts will allow the club to "get up close and personal with the process and see some guys further down the list." He further notes that the process was utilized with success by the Cardinals: "It really helps those players get drafted and helps us make better decisions in the draft."
- Meanwhile, Houston is beginning to see returns from its efforts to develop a pipeline of talent from the Dominican Republic. According to another tweet from Smith, Luhnow is excited about the first Dominican prospect that the club's efforts produced. Jose Cisnero, a right-hander that was originally signed in 2007, checked in at fifteenth on Baseball America's ranking of the club's prospects and has been pitching from the club's bullpen this year.
The impending return of Franklin Gutierrez from the disabled list could lead the Mariners to designate Endy Chavez for assignment, Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times writes. The M's have no plans to carry six outfielders, and Baker thinks they won't drop Jason Bay or Raul Ibanez, since they've been hitting well. That leaves Chavez without a chair. Chavez has hit .282/.288/.310 so far this season. Here are more notes from the two West divisions.
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and owner Jim Crane are in Chapel Hill today to watch a draft prospect, Mark Berman of FOX 26 reports (on Twitter). That would likely be UNC third baseman Colin Moran, who the Astros could be considering selecting with the top overall pick.
- The Angels could form a good team of players they've traded, let go or left unsigned, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times argues. That includes Matt Harvey, who rejected their $1MM offer and went to UNC after the Angels drafted him in the third round in 2007. DiGiovanna writes that Harvey, Patrick Corbin, Zack Greinke, Ervin Santana and Dan Haren would form a very strong non-Angels rotation. The Angels' 15-27 record naturally leads to second-guessing.
- Dodgers president Stan Kasten says he assumes Don Mattingly will remain the team's manager for the rest of the season, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports. Nonetheless, Kasten doesn't exactly offer a ringing endorsement of Mattingly. "I assume so because I assume we're going to play the rest of the year even better than we've played so far and I like the way the ballclub is set up," Kasten says. The Dodgers are currently 17-23.
- Kasten sounds more enthusiastic about about the Dodgers' international scouting efforts. "With this recent group of hirings, we made sure to cover not just Japan and not just the Dominican Republic, but also more in Venezuela and even other countries in South America," Kasten says, noting that the Dodgers are also hunting for talent throughout Europe. Hernandez reports that the Dodgers are also planning to renovate their Dominican facility.
Even after signing Carlos Zambrano this week, the Phillies might not be done shopping for pitching, tweets Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. When asked if the club is still considering starters with opt-outs, team exec Scott Proefrock said "we're still scouting". Here's more from around baseball..
- It may not be fair, but Dodgers skipper Don Mattingly will be expected to turn things around once Zack Greinke is back in action, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. The banged up Dodgers are 16-22 heading into tonight's game versus the Nationals.
- After announcing the departure of team president George Postolos this week, Astros owner Jim Crane reached out to one of the most beloved figures in club history in Larry Dierker, writes Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle. For his part, the 66-year-old is definitely open to returning to the organization.
- Meanwhile, Reid Ryan, son of Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan, is being strongly considered by the Astros to become the team's next president, according to Mark Berman of FOX 26.