Fangraphs Crowdsource HOF Ballot

Can I have a do-over? Jay Jaffe reminded fangraphs members that today was the last day to submit their 2019 HOF vote in their HOF Crowdsource ballot. I used to be a big HOF debate person as I watched solid HOF candidates get zero traction and disappear off the ballot before a groundswell of support could get them in like Bert Blyleven but my passion for that debate has waned.

I had stayed so far out  I didn’t’ even know who was on the ballot until I decided to put in my two cents. I probably should have stayed out of the discussion. I voted with my gut and sent it in. Only after I voted did I read the awesome breakdown by Jay Jaffe on the 2019 HOF ballot. 

This is my HOF ballot.

Rick Ankiel – no

Roy Oswalt No this time, have to look closer
Andy Pettitte – no this time, but I think he’s on the cusp
Manny Ramirez – Yes, it was between Manny and McGriff for my last vote
Scott Rolen– No for now, but I think he has a valid case
Curt Schilling – No for now, but I think he has a valid case
Sammy Sosa – Yes
Omar Vizquel – No for now, but I think he might have a case
Billy Wagner – No, and will always be no

Because so many of the PED-tainted group were still on the ballot it was easy to use all ten of my votes. I would have used more but I decided to use my votes on the guys who should have been in a long time ago.  Did the election of Harold Baines change my mind? Yes, I can’t leave out Edgar Martinez if Harold Baines is in the HOF. I did think that Scott Rolen, Lance Berkman, Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling, and Andy Pettitte had legit cases but they didn’t make my cut.

This wasn’t a fun exercise, I had to hold my nose to vote for players who at one time cheated or who I actually loathed. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were players I couldn’t stand from day one, long before their PED days. They were also the two of the best players of their era and my easy first two picks. Mariano Rivera was my 3rd pick. Roy Halladay was my 4th pick. Edgar Martinez was my 5th pick.

At this point, Jay Jaffe and I are seeing eye to eye. It gets dicey after that. Larry Walker was my 9th pick, just before Manny Ramirez. He was Jay’s sixth pick.  Gary Sheffield, Manny Ramirez, Jeff Kent all got my vote, but their defensive shortcoming didn’t get them much JAWS support. Each was borderline at best according to Jay. That left Sammy Sosa whose offensive career wasn’t enough and may have been my poorest choice.

This meant that four of my ten would not have passed the JAWS test. They were borderline choices but Jay really likes Rolen who I noted in my notes was someone who I planned on voting for.  The others were Mike Mussina, Todd Helton, and Billy Wagner. I have no plans of supporting Billy Wagner for the HOF. I knew Mussina had a good argument and can easily support that vote. Todd Helton? I’ll have to review the data for that one.

Even if I had a do over I would not include Wagner or Helton. I suppose I would drop Jeff Kent and Sammy Sosa for Scott Rolen and Mike Mussina. I’m good with that.

 

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Lou Williams gives sellers remorse over and over

Watching Lou Williams once again decimate the Lakers on Friday Night, I got to thinking that every team that has traded him, has to be suffering from sellers remorse and he’s been traded three times in five years.

Lou Williams was traded by the Hawks in the summer of 2014 for John Salmons. Lou would go onto win his first Sixth man of the Year award, while John Salmons played one year before retiring.

On July 9th, 2015, the Lakers signed Lou Williams who quickly become their best scorer but the team was going nowhere so they traded him to the Houston Rockets for Corey Brewer and a 2017 1st round pick which turned into Tony Bradley.  The Lakers traded Tony Bradley to Utah for Josh Hart, so I guess they got value as Josh Hart has been a nice addition but he’s no Lou Williams.  More on that in a moment.

Houston only kept Lou for 1/2 a season before sending him to the Clippers in the Chris Paul trade. Houston got a legendary point guard on the wrong side of 30 and are now paying Chris Paul a ridiculous $185 Million over the next five years. Chris Paul hasn’t been able to play over 60 games since he was thirty and if you tell me that doesn’t matter as long as he’s healthy in the postseason, remind me the last time Chris Paul played a full set of healthy postseason games? I don’t think Clipper or Rocket fans can remember.  And guess what? He’s hurt again. In return, the Clippers got Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, and Patrick Beverly. I’m not going to say that Lou Williams right now is better than Chris Paul but I’m going to ask you who would you rather have in an NBA cap league. Chris Paul at five years and $185 Million or Lou Williams at two years and $16 Million?  Lou Williams won his second Sixth Man of the Year award in 2017-2018. He also was one of the best scorers in the 4th quarter. He is so important to the Clipper offense in 2018 that when he missed four games the 21 – 15 Clippers lost them all.  With Lou, the Clippers are 21 – 11, without him they are 0 – 4.  Seems like he’s kind of important to the team.

The NBA is a young man’s league but Lou Williams seems to be getting better. He’s shooting 38% on three-pointers, averaging almost 5 assists a game, and scoring 18 points a game while playing only 25 minutes per game. His PER is 20.5, there are only 16 NBA players in the past two years have played significant minutes and who are over the age of 30 that have a PER > 20.  

Chris Paul made that list in 2017-2018. He does not make that list this year. Lou Williams is on that list for both years.

Back to the Lakers and Lou. Lou is 5 – 0 playing against the Lakers since they traded him. He has three games over 30 points.  Sellers remorse?

A simple Christmas Story

While we wait to see what the Dodgers are able to do with their new found financial flexibility after trading one of the most popular Dodgers, I’ve decided to tell a little Christmas Story inspired by a CBS Sunday Morning episode about Sears. The CBS story isn’t a good story about Sears, it is about the rise and fall of Sears but it reminded me of one particular Christmas that was one of my favorites.

SearsChristmasCatalog

Like many people who are near my age and came from humble middle-class families, the Sears Christmas Catalog was how one turned their Christmas wishes to presents under the tree.  In the winter of 1967, our family was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany and the five boys had gone through the Wish Book and put our initials next to everything we wanted. We knew we wouldn’t get everything we wanted, but we would always get just enough that Christmas was something to look forward too.

I have no idea how my parents decided which gifts to get, and which to ignore while making sure that it was a somewhat equitable distribution of gifts among five boys. Due to circumstance in 1967, my parents faced a stark decision. Sears had informed them that the Christmas order they put in would be late and would not arrive until early January.  They had two choices. An empty Tree on Christmas day with promises of presents to come or biting the bullet and shopping local for immediate boyish gratification on Christmas day. The reason we used the Sears Wish Book wasn’t simply for convenience it was also a budget issue.  We weren’t poor, my father was a Lt Colonel and was the commander at Fort Edwards, but that sounds more impressive on a resume compared to what it meant in actual money so they never spent money needlessly.  I was not privy to the conversations that took place between my mom and Dad and I have no idea if they were in agreement or had a debate about what to do, but what they did do was to turn a normal Christmas into an outstanding Christmas.

They had decided that a tree without presents just wouldn’t do, so unknown to me (the youngest and most vulnerable to an empty tree) they went into Frankfurt and shopped like a local.  If I had known that beforehand I’d been petrified that those bundle of presents would have somehow involved Lederhosen

lederhosen-boy-costume

as my mother had been trying to get me to wear a pair ever since we had arrived in Germany.  What they did get me, a nine-year-old boy was my favorite Christmas present ever. A miniature medieval castle complete with knights, peasants, maidens, catapults, moat, drawbridge, and the animals. If memory serves me correct these weren’t cheap plastic toys. This was a German toy made in 1967 these things were detailed and unfortunately fragile. It just needed my imagination to make it all come to life and imagination was never something I was short on.

Whatever presents Sears finally delivered to us, I don’t remember. I thought it was cool that we got two Christmases even though Christ was only born once, but I haven’t a clue what I or my brothers got from the Sears Wish Book. I only remember my friends and I playing with that castle during the long winter months in Germany.  Sixteen months later we were headed back to the states and I don’t think my castle made the trip. I have no memory of playing with it after coming back to the states, but I know that for a time it was my favorite way to past the time and I was always amazed that my parents had picked that out for me.  I wish I had a photo but photographs of our time in Germany are rare after a flood in Alexandria destroyed most of them and a search of Ebay/Google didn’t find anything that resembled what I remember my castle looking like.

Shame, I would like to look upon that castle again.

My story does give the Sears Wish Book the short end which is not proper. That Sears Wish Book was a large part of my families history, and at one time, most of America.

for many kids, the arrival of the annual Wish Book was nothing less than the unofficial herald of the holiday season. We like to grumble that Christmas comes earlier every year, but the Wish Book would appear in late summer, just as school was returning; which meant, by Thanksgiving, the catalog was dogeared and mangled, its pages circled and scissored out, to act as helpful illustrations for wish lists to Santa

Ours was also dogeared with items circled with our initials. I don’t know when we stopped using the Wish Book, probably when we moved to Glendale and had a real retail Sears right smack in the middle of town but I do remember the palpable excitement when we were allowed to browse the Wish Book and make our choices. It says in the article that the book would arrive in late summer, so I think our parents kept it from us because I don’t think we got a look at it until after Thanksgiving but that could be why they weren’t able to deliver the presents in time for Christmas.

Anyway, I’ll always appreciate how my parents turned disappointment into joy by taking the extra step that they didn’t have to take. I’m a little embarrassed that my favorite Christmas moment involved a toy and not something charitable I’d done for someone in need.  I need to fix that, maybe next year I’ll have a different Christmas Story, one I’m not embarrassed about. That would be cool.

 

 

 

LAD RF OPS+/bWAR cumulative leaderboard

Once you start looking at the cumulative leaderboard for LAD right fielders, you lose the Gary Sheffield’s and Pedro Guerrero’s because they played most of their Dodger career at other positions.  It is still a strong group, and I was curious where Puig would stand since he had six full seasons at the position under his belt.  From 2006 until 2018 the Dodgers basically had two right fielders. Andre Ethier and Yasiel Puig.  Puig was basically the 21st-century version of Raul Mondesi who manned right field for seven seasons before being traded for Shawn Green.  Those two manned right field from 1993 – 2003 before Green turned into a 1st baseman.  Basically from 1993 – 2018 the Dodgers made do most of the time with just four right fielders. Mondesi/Green/Ethier/Puig.

That will change in 2019, but right now we have no idea who that is going to be.

Player            WAR/pos OPS+   PA From   To   Age   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS      Pos
Reggie Smith         19.4  152 2055 1976 1981 31-36 .297 .387 .528 .915  *9/H835
Shawn Green          21.0  130 3462 2000 2004 27-31 .280 .366 .510 .876  *93/DH8
Yasiel Puig          18.6  127 2765 2013 2018 22-27 .279 .353 .478 .831  *9/8H7D
Frank Howard         10.9  125 2321 1958 1964 21-27 .269 .326 .495 .822   *9/H73
Raul Mondesi         21.6  122 3765 1993 1999 22-28 .288 .334 .504 .838   *98/7H
Andre Ethier         21.2  122 5425 2006 2017 24-35 .285 .359 .463 .822 *97H8/D3
Willie Crawford      19.8  118 3199 1964 1975 17-28 .268 .351 .413 .764   *97H/8
Mike Marshall        10.2  117 3546 1981 1989 21-29 .271 .325 .449 .774  *937/H5

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/24/2018.

Puig averaged 3.1 bWAR during his six seasons with the Dodgers. If you add that to his cumulative bWAR of  18.6 he might have ended 2019 with 21.7 bWAR which would have made him the highest bWAR right fielder in LAD history.  As it is, he will end his Dodger career in 6th place.

Player            WAR/pos OPS+   PA From   To   Age   R    H  2B 3B  HR RBI
Raul Mondesi         21.6  122 3765 1993 1999 22-28 543 1004 190 37 163 518
Andre Ethier         21.2  122 5425 2006 2017 24-35 641 1367 303 34 162 687
Shawn Green          21.0  130 3462 2000 2004 27-31 505  842 183 12 162 509
Willie Crawford      19.8  118 3199 1964 1975 17-28 437  748 125 29  74 335
Reggie Smith         19.4  152 2055 1976 1981 31-36 314  516  89 11  97 301
Yasiel Puig          18.6  127 2765 2013 2018 22-27 365  686 129 19 108 331
Frank Howard         10.9  125 2321 1958 1964 21-27 293  567  80 14 123 382
Mike Marshall        10.2  117 3546 1981 1989 21-29 395  882 155  6 137 484

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/24/2018.

Whoever becomes the Dodgers right fielder in 2019, if history is your guide, you can probably make a safe bet, that he’s going to be there for quite a while.

LAD RF Seasonal OPS+/bWAR leaderboard

The Los Angeles Dodgers have had a plethora of fantastic right fielders which ran the gamut from Ron Fairly – Yasiel Puig so cracking the leaderboards for LAD right fielders you hade to earn it.  The names roll off your tongue, some of the greatest LAD players have been their right fielders. Frank Howard, Reggie Smith, Raul Mondesi, Shawn Green, Gary Sheffield, Andre Ethier, and Yasiel Puig.  Willie Crawford should also be mentioned, possibly the most underrated player during the ’70s for the Dodgers.

Puig earned it. His debut season was one of the top five seasons for a LAD right fielder. His second season also made the top 20 cut. The criteria were 51% of games played in RF with at least 300 plate appearances.

Sheffield and Guerrero made the leaderboard but neither were full-time right fielders for the Dodgers, they just happened to play a lot of right field for one season.

Player              WAR/pos OPS+  PA Year Age   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
Reggie Smith            6.1  168 603 1977  32 .307 .427 .576 1.003
Reggie Smith            4.5  162 531 1978  33 .295 .382 .559  .942
Gary Sheffield          3.4  162 383 1998  29 .316 .444 .535  .979
Yasiel Puig             4.7  159 432 2013  22 .319 .391 .534  .925
Pedro Guerrero          6.8  156 652 1982  26 .304 .378 .536  .914
Shawn Green             7.0  154 701 2001  28 .297 .372 .598  .970
Shawn Green             6.9  154 685 2002  29 .285 .385 .558  .944
Reggie Smith            4.3  151 362 1980  35 .322 .392 .508  .900
Frank Howard            4.1  150 459 1963  26 .273 .330 .518  .848
Frank Howard            3.4  146 538 1962  25 .296 .346 .560  .906
Ron Fairly              2.5  146 301 1961  22 .322 .434 .522  .956
Yasiel Puig             5.1  145 640 2014  23 .296 .382 .480  .863
J.D. Drew               3.2  145 311 2005  29 .286 .412 .520  .931
Ron Fairly              1.8  142 409 1966  27 .288 .380 .464  .844
Mike Marshall           3.5  141 564 1985  25 .293 .342 .515  .857
Raul Mondesi            5.7  140 670 1997  26 .310 .360 .541  .901
Willie Crawford         5.3  140 543 1973  26 .295 .396 .453  .849
Darryl Strawberry       3.7  140 588 1991  29 .265 .361 .491  .852
Al Ferrara              2.5  140 384 1967  27 .277 .345 .467  .812
Duke Snider             2.3  140 435 1959  32 .308 .400 .535  .935

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/24/2018.

As good as Andre Ethier was, he couldn’t crack this leaderboard when sorted by OPS+. Let’s see what the top 20 looks like sorted by bWAR:

Player              WAR/pos OPS+  PA Year   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS    Pos
Shawn Green             7.0  154 701 2001 .297 .372 .598  .970 *9/8H3
Shawn Green             6.9  154 685 2002 .285 .385 .558  .944  *9/HD
Pedro Guerrero          6.8  156 652 1982 .304 .378 .536  .914   *985
Reggie Smith            6.1  168 603 1977 .307 .427 .576 1.003  *9/8H
Raul Mondesi            5.7  140 670 1997 .310 .360 .541  .901   *9/H
Willie Crawford         5.3  140 543 1973 .295 .396 .453  .849 *9H7/8
Yasiel Puig             5.1  145 640 2014 .296 .382 .480  .863 *98/HD
Raul Mondesi            4.8  123 580 1995 .285 .328 .496  .824  *98/H
Yasiel Puig             4.7  159 432 2013 .319 .391 .534  .925 *98/H7
Raul Mondesi            4.7  123 673 1996 .297 .334 .495  .830     *9
Reggie Smith            4.5  162 531 1978 .295 .382 .559  .942  *9/H8
Reggie Smith            4.3  151 362 1980 .322 .392 .508  .900  *9/H8
Frank Howard            4.1  150 459 1963 .273 .330 .518  .848  *9H/7
J.D. Drew               4.0  126 594 2006 .283 .393 .498  .891  *9H/D
Darryl Strawberry       3.7  140 588 1991 .265 .361 .491  .852   *9/H
Willie Crawford         3.6  130 540 1974 .295 .376 .432  .808  *9H/8
Andre Ethier            3.5  123 618 2012 .284 .351 .460  .812 *9/HD8
Mike Marshall           3.5  141 564 1985 .293 .342 .515  .857 *9/3H7
Gary Sheffield          3.4  162 383 1998 .316 .444 .535  .979   *9/H
Frank Howard            3.4  146 538 1962 .296 .346 .560  .906  *9H/7

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/24/2018.

I’m always shocked to see Willie Crawford on this list whenever I do them. Not just once, but twice. Willie Crawford was better as a Los Angeles Dodger right fielder than Darryl Strawberry was.  Let that sink in.

 

The Wild Horse has left the corral

It seemed inevitable that number 66 would not be a Dodger in 2019 but when the news came yesterday that the Dodgers had moved the iconic right fielder in an effort to clear salary space for possible future moves it still left many Dodger fans stunned that one of their favorite players would no longer be making tongue wags at them after some type of sensational play.

Number 66 was a victim of an overcrowded outfield, a top prospect who plays his position, or a possible free agent who also plays his position, along with the fact this was his last season under Dodger control.

Blake Harris at TrueBlueLA does an excellent recap of the Puig highlights.  I can’t improve on that but I can impart my own little Puig history.

In the summer of 2012 Puig had been signed but very little was known of him. Well-known baseball writer Keith Law didn’t have many positive things to say about Puig but at some point, we got a photo of Puig playing in the Arizona rookie league and the basic reaction was Holy Shit.  Puig might have been the best-muscled player I’d seen and word was starting to reach us that he had power, a gun for an arm, and was a bit of a wild card. Still, this was a man playing against boys in the rookie league so his stats were taken with a grain of salt.

That changed the following spring when Eric Stephen and Craig Minami were covering the team. Report after report came out that Puig was destroying the ball, and Craig who is the last person to get involved in hyperbole was saying that the sound of the baseball was just different when Puig was hitting.

As fans and bloggers, we were all excited but the Dodgers didn’t put Puig on the roster to start the season. Eric used to do a thing where he would ask all the contributing writers for Truebluela to write up Season Predictions and I wrote it up and forgot about it until Eric wrote this post at the end of the season.

There are some things we got right, many things we got wrong, but mostly this is an exercise to embrace the genius of Phil Gurnee.

Yup, I’m pulling a Trump and making this about me.  It turns out I had been lucky enough to predict the exact date that Puig would make his debut and even though I wrote over 1,000 articles for TrueBlueLa from 2007 – 2013 this little lucky ditty is what I’m remembered for.

By June the Dodgers can not hold back the Dodgers fan chants of PUIG PUIG PUIG, and Yasiel Puig is inserted into the every day lineup against the Padres on June 3

For the next six years, Puig would infuriate but mostly entertain me with his antics.  He was truly one of kind.  I suspect that Puig will go one of two ways, The Raul Mondesi route where the highlights of his career all occurred before the age of 27, or the Roberto Clemente route whose talent explodes after his age 27 season.  I hope the Reds and health give Puig a shot at 600 plate appearances, and like many, I plan to be in the stands on April 15th when the Reds come to Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers and Reds have become quite the trade partners. Who knows, on April 15th the Reds could have Scott Schebler, Jose Peraza, Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Kyle Farmer, Connor Joe, and Alex Wood in the lineup. Wouldn’t that be something?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fab Five Dodgers

This is two days too late to properly asses how much Yasiel Puig was beloved by Dodger fans but it is something I wanted to do this week.  Back in February of 2010 Michael White wrote for TrueBlueLA and did a fab five edition in which each of the regulars or even the semi-regulars commentators would list who their current five favorite Dodgers were.

We had quite a few replies and it was a fascinating look into how Dodger fans view their favorite players. Mike himself had a strange five that included James McDonald. How many of you even remember James McDonald? His full five were Billingsley, Kuo, Kershaw, Manny, and McDonald.

My five at the time were:

Kuo, Kershaw, Kemp, Andre, Loney

Posted  by meercatjohn  on Feb 12, 2010 | 10:57 AM
Looking back I remember my infatuation with Kuo, my amazement at Kershaw who was about to start his HOF run, my belief that Kemp was someday going to be an MVP but I’m surprised that Andre and Loney made my list. I liked Andre but don’t remember being that big a fan. If this had been the Feb of 2009, I could understand Loney, after all, he had just hit the biggest postseason home run for the Dodgers since Kirk Gibson, but his 2009 was a disappointment. I must have still been a believer.
Eric Stephen put forth these five:

Bills
Kemp
Kershaw
Broxton
Ethier

Posted  by Eric Stephen  on Feb 12, 2010 | 11:28 AM

If I had posted this yesterday morning my fab five would have been very tough to come up with. Unlike 2010 I like so many of these Dodgers. The team is full of good folk with Bellinger, Muncy, Seager, Turner, Taylor, Buehler, Kershaw, Hill, Ryu, Urias, Ferguson, ad Jansen among the contenders.

But number one the list would have been Yasiel Puig. He simply made watching baseball fun.

So my list yesterday morning would have been:

Yasiel Puig, Walker Buehler, Kershaw, Bellinger, and Justin Turner.

My list today would be:

Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, and Max Muncy

It is a strange list that includes Max Muncy but not Corey Seager or Kenley Jansen, but Max Muncy just had one of the most bizarre seasons in baseball history and while he may not even be on the team next year at this time, right now, he’s a fab five.

Surprisingly, Harper is still on Dodger radar

On the surface, a match of the Dodgers and Harper does not seem like something you’d expect from a team who has more outfielders than they have spots on the roster. You could make a case the Puig/Bellinger/Taylor/Joc/Kemp/Verdugo/Toles/Hernandez are all at least average, running from average (Toles, Kemp, Hernandez), to above average (Joc, Puig, Taylor, Verdugo), to star quality (Bellinger).

Yet, the rumors persist that Harper wants to sign with the Dodgers and that the Dodgers would love Harper if they can get him to sign the kind of deal they would want.

I estimate that a Harper contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers would be in the ballpark of ten years, $360 million, split up into three different stages of the contract.

Jason Reed gave the above estimate as something he thinks the Dodgers and Harper can agree too.  The key to that kind of contract are the option years.  It remains to be seen if Dodger management would do that kind of deal.

That still doesn’t seem likely to me, but what if the Dodgers do pull that off? Puig would for sure need to be traded. I’d say even Verdugo would need to go. If they sign Harper, I’d expect that Verdugo is the centerpiece headed to the Marlins for Realmuto. With Verdugo the centerpiece, I think a trade of Verdugo / Dennis Santana / Will Smith should be good enough to net them Realmuto.

Now they have to figure what to do with Puig. I love Puig, but if you have signed Bryce Harper to be your right fielder, Puig is the first odd man out.

Before we move Puig let’s look at the lineup with Harper and Realmuto in it.

Against RHP POS Against LHP POS
J.T. Realmuto Catcher Chris Taylor Left Field
Corey Seager Shortstop Corey Seager SS
Bryce Harper Right Field Justin Turner 3rd Base
Justin Turner 3rd Base Byrce Harper Right Field
Cody Bellinger 1st Base David Freese 1st Base
Max Muncy 2nd Base Kiké Hernandez 2nd Base
Joc Pederson Center Field J.T. Realmuto Catcher
Andrew Toles Left Field Cody Bellinger Center Field
Walker Buehler Pitcher Walker Buehler Pitcher
Kiké Hernandez Joc Pederson
Chris Taylor Max Muncy
David Freese Andrew Toles
Austin Barnes Austin Barnes

Can’t say I’m a huge fan of the possible lineup iterations. Signing Harper makes us lefty-heavy with Joc, Seager, Harper, Muncy, and Bellinger as the big left-hand hitting group. Plus, J.T. Realmuto crushes RHP (.875 OPS) which is why he’s leading off against RHP, something he did alot of in Miami.  That group should mash right-hand pitching.

The right-hand hitting group is no piece of cake either with Turner,  Taylor, Freese, Harper, and Kiké all likely to tear into left-hand pitching.

The hitting part I like, but in the scenarios above, Max Muncy is basically a 2nd baseman. Can we live with that? Do we want Cody bouncing from CF to 1st base depending on who is pitching? Chris Taylor only has a part-time role and he seems better than that. Andrew Toles is the left fielder against RHP, but if he fails, Chris Taylor can simply take that job full time.

I’m starting to talk myself into this roster. With Puig/Verdugo/Kemp all gone, we are one roster spot shy.  I added Toles back to the 25 man roster from the forty man roster, but we need one more player. I would look to add a left-hand pinch hitter but I don’t have a name for you right now.

This seems like a delicious roster, is it something you’d be comfortable with? Bryce Harper is an enigmatic player, someone who is at times the best player in the National League, and others no better than Yasiel Puig. The salary would be huge, would it be worth it? We have to remember that after this year Puig is a free agent so we’d only be moving him a year early.

The Dodgers could move Joc Pederson instead of Verdugo and they just might try to do that. Let’s say they do move Joc / Puig / Kemp and sign Harper. Let’s say they create a complicated three-way deal involving several of those three that brings Realmuto to the Dodgers. Let’s also say we believe Dave Roberts when he says that Bellinger/Muncy are full-time players.

How does that lineup look?

Against RHP POS Against LHP POS
J.T. Realmuto Catcher Chris Taylor Left Field
Corey Seager Shortstop Corey Seager SS
Bryce Harper Right Field Justin Turner 3rd Base
Justin Turner 3rd Base Byrce Harper Right Field
Cody Bellinger Center Field Kiké Hernandez 2nd Base
Max Muncy 1st Base J.T. Realmuto Catcher
Alex Verdugo Left Field Max Muncy 1st Base
Chris Taylor 2nd Base Cody Bellinger Center Field
Walker Buehler Pitcher Walker Buehler Pitcher
Kiké Hernandez Alex Verdugo
Andrew Toles David Freese
David Freeze Andrew Toles
Austin Barnes Austin Barnes

I think I like this iteration better.  The defense is much better, and while the offense against LHP will suffer from Cody and Max getting full-time at-bats, we do have Freese sitting on the bench waiting to crush LHP if Cody or Max don’t produce enough.

Anyway, at least I can see how Harper fits if he shocks me and signs with the Dodgers.

I personally would give Puig 600 Plate Appearances in 2019 and sign a backup for Austin Barnes instead of signing Bryce Harper for a bazillion dollars but I can understand those who want Harper in Los Angeles.

This could play out many ways, it is not like the Dodgers would have to trade for Realmuto if they sign Harper. They may think they have enough offense they can carry Barnes. Remember Barnes is still a great framer, one year removed from a break out offensive season. If he can just get back to an average hitter, with his defensive and framing skills he’d be fine as a full-time catcher.

I’m just not sure what they can move Puig for. Maybe an elite second baseman? Heck, just one year ago Brian Dozier was an elite second baseman and now he can’t get anyone to give him a contract. I’d love a Scooter Gennett but why would the Reds move him and his great contract?

The Dodgers could go big or simply do nothing. Right now I’m okay with either scenario.

She was in a league of her own

A few months ago I started thinking about Penny Marshall. I play softball with Fred Fox who was the showrunner for the iconic TV series Laverne and Shirley. The senior softball league I play on in the San Fernando Valley was created by Gary Marshall and is filled with folk who worked in the local TV industry. When Fred told me about his involvement with Laverne and Shirley I remembered how Penny used to be one of the few celebrities who came to the old Sports Arena to watch the Clippers. I don’t think she was a big fan of the Clippers, just of basketball but the few fans would still give her a big shout out when she was spotted.  You could tell she was only there to watch basketball, not to be seen.

I hadn’t seen Penny at a Clipper game in years, and I wondered if she was doing okay. Evidently, the answer was no.  Penny passed away yesterday but she left behind quite a legacy.  Only those of a certain age will remember Laverne and Shirley and I have no idea if it has aged well, but during it’s run, it was a madcap sitcom that made me laugh on a regular basis. Laverne was a character that has never been matched and it is hard to be a one of a kind after seventy years of sitcoms.

As good as Penny was as Laverne, I never expected her to direct one of my all-time favorite movies.

Penny Marshall was able to do what Kevin Costner has tried to do multiple times. Make a great baseball movie. Not only is “League of their own” my favorite baseball movie, but it is also my favorite sports movie. This may have been the first “sports” movie my wife enjoyed as much as I did.  Some movies are good signals. If your significant other did not like this movie, maybe they shouldn’t be your significant other.

Geena Davis has a had a long and varied career but she will always be Dottie to me. Lori Petty is and always will be Kit, not Tank Girl.

Gary and Penny Marshall are both gone now, but they left behind quite a legacy. They made us laugh, think, and cry.

Hell of a duo.

Yikes!!!! Dodgers extend Charley Steiner

for three years so if you live in the West San Fernando Valley you won’t have to lament the fact you can’t get KLAC 570 anyway.

I’ve tried to be fairly snarkless when I moved from TBLA over to here but it is hard when a move is made that doesn’t seem reasonable on so many levels.  Normally,  in the media world of 2018, who is doing PBP on the radio is of little consequence but in Los Angeles, it matters because of the Dodger TV deal with Time Warner that has left thousands of fans out of the loop when it comes to watching the Dodgers on TV.

The other alternative is the old-fashioned one that brought many a fan into the Dodger family.  The Radio. With that being the case you would think the Dodgers would try to hire the best possible play by play announcer to be the voice of the team for those who don’t have the Time Warner option.

Instead, the Dodgers have plugged away with Charley Steiner who is considered the worst play by play announcer to ever grace a microphone in Los Angeles. One has to ask why? I’ve met Charlie, he’s a good guy, he loves the game of baseball, he is passionate about the game of baseball, but…………he isn’t good at being the play by play announcer of baseball for radio. This isn’t a new thing, Charley has been the play by play guy since they unceremoniously removed Ross Porter from the gig back in November of 2004. and even fourteen years ago you noticed the drop off from Ross to Charley.

There are two compelling reasons for not extending Charley Steiner. The foremost is that he simply can’t describe over the radio the action on the field well enough that you have any idea of what is happening. He can handle the simple plays when he takes the time to actually tell you what happened, but give him something complex and you can forget about it. Am I alone in this assessment? I don’t think so, it seems fairly unanimous across the multiple modes of communication (bloggers, blog commentators, sports radio commentators, writers, fans at the stadium, twitter, Instagram) that the majority don’t think he’s good at his job.  I could give you all the links but that is a lot of work, and rarely does anyone who reads this drivel ever click on a well-researched link so I’m going to save myself some time and expect you to believe me because I’m an older white male and if you can’t trust the opinion of an old white male, who can you trust in today’s environment?

The other reason is problematic. Charley is old school. The Dodgers are the new school. Charley still thinks wins and RBI’s are important and every game he’ll try to explain why he feels that way. The Dodgers went out of their way to hire a progressive young TV announcer by the name of Joe Davis. Joe has tried very hard to enlighten Dodger fans on what it is to be a baseball fan in the 21st century.  He hasn’t turned Nomar but it is fairly clear that Orel is on the bandwagon.  Dodger management makes every baseball decision using the latest baseball knowledge and you can bet that “wins” and “runs batted in” are not part of those equations. Wouldn’t they want their radio voice to also be part of that group think? Why give voice to those who still live in the 20th century? Why not try to educate them?

Those are the two major reasons I would not have extended Charley, but I have a third and it may surprise many of you. I’m sixty, I was basically aged out of my career at the age of 56, so I’m a little sensitive about discrimination against seniors. Charley is 69 years old. He wasn’t good at his job when he was 55, and he’ll only get worse.  There are very few job openings for play by play announcers in major league baseball.  It would have been nice after a lengthy career, for Charley to simply retire and let one of these would be announcers get a chance.

At any given moment, Major League Baseball’s 30 clubs have at least 750 roster spots to fill. Between the 60 full-time play-by-play jobs and other assorted radio and TV gigs, there are a fraction as many broadcasting jobs in the majors. The play-by-play positions are the pies in the sky for minor league broadcasters, and it’s basically impossible to rise quickly or cut corners in pursuit of one of those.

Charley got his chance and ran with it having a long and varied career announcing sports.  I think he should have stepped aside and let someone else get his shot.

But wait a minute. What about Vin Scully, he was on the job for 66 years and no one was asking him to retire at the age of 69, why should we ask Charley Steiner to retire at age 69?

Because, Vin Scully was Vin Scully, the best at his craft in describing the action on the field and even at age 69 he was still in his prime as a play by play announcer. Charley Steiner is not Vin Scully, Charley is the nice guy in the office who let you hang around because he’s a nice guy but you’d replace in a minute if you found someone who could do the job better, and believe me the minors are filled with folk who can do the job better.

Yet, the Dodgers went with Steiner, and like a host of other fans, if I’m driving and the Dodgers are playing, my only choice is Charley Steiner, so for the next three years I’ll continue to curtail my driving experience while the Dodgers are playing because I can only take so many shivers down my spine when hearing Charley try to explain a close play at the plate while trying to finish a story he started that we have all heard one hundred times before.

Hours after I wrote this post, the Dodgers announced they added Tim Neverett to their broadcast team.  I was unaware when Charlie Steiner signed his extension that he was cutting back his schedule, so when he takes a day off, Tim Neverett will handle the play by play duties. Tim will also be seen on the TV side when Joe Davis does his national assignments.

Tim has a varied background whose latest work was doing radio play by play for the Red Sox but buried in that resume was some work for the Dodgers AAA team when they were in Las Vegas.  He has been in the business since 1985 and I’m happy to see the Dodgers give someone with that extensive resume a shot. All the other play by play announcers who have been toiling for thirty years in the minors will have to wait their turn.
Here is a snippet of Tim talking about his gig with the Red Sox.

Here is a snippet of Tim being made fun of by his TV mates when he drops a fly ball

Here is a snippet of Tim doing a big radio call of the Red Sox winning the 2018 ALDS