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Los Angeles Dodgers: An Early Breakdown of Their Best Trade Bait

On paper, the Dodgers have too many good problems. Too many good outfielders, too many All-Star closers, and, for the first time in many years, a well-stocked farm system. So barring a rash of injuries, the Dodgers shouldn’t have the need to make any major trades this season. 

That said, general manager Ned Colletti isn’t exactly a frugal businessman, especially with the Guggenheim Group’s deep wallets backing him. He’s been known to pull the trigger on huge mid-season moves, including ones that brought his current starting first baseman, shortstop, left fielder and fifth starter to Los Angeles.

With the team off to a bit of a disappointing start, none of the standard trade subjects have made enough of an impact to raise their stocks. And if the Dodgers do swap one of their high-priced outfielders, they’ll more than likely have to eat a large chunk of any contract. 

But, if the Dodgers find themselves floundering in June and trailing in the division, Colletti might feel the need to make a trade and salvage their World Series-or-bust season. At that point, who will be the most attractive trade chips to other teams? Who might the Dodgers be willing to ship away for a younger, fresher bat or a group of minor league players?

Read on to find out who the Dodgers best trade bait is so far in 2014.


All statistics taken from

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Los Angeles Dodgers: Playing Patience or Panic with Team’s 5 Worst Early Slumps

Are you familiar with the popular baseball phrase “small sample size?” Well, that’s what we’re dealing with here. I won’t sugarcoat it. One week and eight games of baseball is not nearly enough to measure who is “slumping” or “surging.”

But every game truly does count, so the quicker the Dodgers who are struggling can snap out of it, the sooner they can distance themselves from the rest of the NL West.

Right now, a few of the big bats are struggling, but the depth of the stacked lineup has allowed the Dodgers to continue playing well and winning ball games. But for the ones who are slumping, is it time for Dodgers fans to panic? Or is it time to take a step back and exercise some patience?

Here are five guys who are fighting early struggles in Los Angeles, and whether or not they can snap out of it.


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3 Biggest Winners and Losers of the Dodgers’ Opening Series

The Dodgers picked up 2014 right where last season left off—dashing the rival Diamondbacks‘ hopes and dreams on their home field. Only this time, the “home field” was in front of thousands of Australian fans at Sydney Cricket Ground. 

Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu teamed up to pitch the Dodgers past Paul Goldschmidt, Mark Trumbo and the D’Backs in a two-game sweep that looked very much like a World Series contender crushing a team still stuck in spring training.

In the first game, Kershaw twirled a masterpiece and Scott Van Slyke provided the power in a 3-1 win. Game 2 saw an early 7-0 lead for the Dodgers turn into a 7-5 win after a shaky bullpen performance made it interesting late. 

But, the Dodgers flew home winners with a very premature two-game lead in the NL West and unlimited bragging rights in hand. Not everyone’s March will end on a happy note, though, even for the winners. Here are three players who “won” in Sydney, and three who “lost” and may be sent packing for the Dodgers.

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Los Angeles Dodgers: Grading the Offseason Moves so Far

It’s been a relatively quiet but expensive offseason for the Los Angels Dodgers compared to years past. Last winter, they signed Hyun-Jin Ryu and Zack Greinke to big contracts. This year, it’s been…Jamey Wright?

Though the jury is still out on Masahiro Tanaka and extensions for Clayton Kershaw and Hanley Ramirez, the Dodgers seem to be pretty much set for 2014. The team could definitely bolster the bench a bit and look for a little more starting pitching depth, but the moves it’s made so far have shored up the bullpen and filled two holes in the starting infield.

How do the additions and re-signings the Dodgers have made so far grade out? Will they help the team earn a berth in the NLCS or get it to its first World Series since 1988? Or will they have little to no effect on the season in 2014?

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Los Angeles Dodgers: 4 Things Still Left to Do Before Spring Training

The Dodgers, who claim to be gearing their organizational philosophy more towards developing the farm system and spending less on flashy free agents, are now rumored to be the front runner for flashy free agent Masahiro Tanaka’s services.

This comes after spending a four-year contract on Cuban second baseman Alexander Guerrero and overpaying Brian Wilson and J.P. Howell (granted, these moves were necessary) to return to the bullpen.

So despite the ownership going back on their word about financials, the Dodgers are poised to repeat as NL West champions and have an even better team than the one which lost in six games in the 2013 NLCS.

But no team is perfect—the Dodgers still have some glaring holes to fill, and fans probably won’t get comfortable with the 2014 team until those needs are addressed. Read on to find out where the Dodgers can still improve before spring training.

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Los Angeles Dodgers: New Year’s Resolutions in 2014

It’s that time of year again. Everyone is swearing off junk food, buying gym memberships and looking up local charities in order to hit their New Year’s resolutions. But if the Dodgers want to return to the NLCS and have another shot at the World Series, they better make a few of their own.

With the re-signings of Brian Wilson, J.P. Howell and Juan Uribe, the Dodgers addressed their biggest needs in the offseason. They strengthened the bullpen further with Chris Perez and Jamey Wright coming to Los Angeles. Dan Haren was brought in on a one-year deal to give the rotation a slight boost.

The starting lineup is ready to roll with the only identifiable weakness at catcher, where A.J. Ellis is slightly offensively challenged. There’s a question mark at second base with the unproven rookie Alexander Guerrero taking over, and plenty of injury questions between Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Hanley Ramirez.

So as good as the Dodgers may look on paper, there are plenty of things that can still be tweaked. Which resolutions should GM Ned Colletti, owner Stan Kasten and manager Don Mattingly be making for the new year? Read on to find out.

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Grading the Dodgers on the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings

You’d think TMZ would have signed on Ned Colletti as a consultant after these Winter Meetings. From Matt Kemp being traded to Seattle (wait, Boston; wait, Detroit; wait, nobody?), David Price coming over to the Dodgers, Brandon Phillips taking a non-existent spot at second base, Stephen Drew coming aboard as the priciest mediocre shortstop in the world, Masahiro Tanaka getting posted and signed and Dee Gordon finally getting the boot, Colletti has been busy.

Well, busy shooting down ridiculous rumors perpetrated by writers who were hungry for content during a very uneventful week, that is.

Absolutely nothing happened in the past four days for the Dodgers, unless you count trading for minor league relief pitcher Seth Rosin as a relevant move. The closest they came to actually pulling the trigger on a deal was Colletti almost ordering the pastrami sub instead of the BLT at the executive lunch. Good choice, Ned. Good choice.

Most of the team’s action took place before the Winter Meetings actually began, as they re-signed Brian Wilson, took a one-year flier on Dan Haren, signed Cuban second baseman Alexander Guerrero and started exploring an extension for Hanley Ramirez.

As it stands now, the Dodgers have had a successful winter by not actually doing anything. The biggest losses from last year’s almost-World Series team were mainly backup infielders and a couple relief pitchers, who can be replaced in free agency.

It would be nice to get J.P. Howell back in the bullpen and to re-sign Juan Uribe as a stopgap at third base until Corey Seager is ready to roll, but losing one or both won’t affect the Las Vegas oddsmakers who have the Dodgers going off at 5-1 to win the 2014 World Series.

The worst thing the Dodgers could have done at the Winter Meetings would have been to sell low on Kemp and receive a bad return for a massive PR headache, or trade away the diamonds in the very rough farm system that is just starting to get back on its feet for Price. 

They could have signed Drew for far more money than he’s worth and the cost of a first-round pick, which would have pushed Ramirez over to third base for the time being. 

Honestly, Colletti could have traded Kemp, Ethier, Seager, Zach Lee, Julio Urias and $78 million in cash for eight years of Hideki Irabu and a minor league catcher to be named later, and nobody would have been all that surprised.

It’s out of the Dodgers’ nature lately to stand pat during the meetings, but they did. And for that, they grade out well. 

Here are how things shake out for the Dodgers right now:

Projected Lineup:

1. Carl Crawford, LF

2. Yasiel Puig, RF

3. Hanley Ramirez, SS

4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B

5. Matt Kemp, CF

6. A.J. Ellis, C

7. Juan Uribe, 3B*

8. Alexander Guerrero, 2B

*Still a free agent, has narrowed final two teams to Dodgers and Chicago White Sox


Andre Ethier, OF

Dee Gordon, IF

Justin Sellers, IF

Scott Van Slyke, 1B/OF

Tim Federowicz, C


1. Clayton Kershaw, LHP

2. Zack Greinke, RHP

3. Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP

4. Dan Haren, RHP

5. Stephen Fife, RHP*

*Until Josh Beckett/Chad Billingsley are healthy


Paco Rodriguez, LHP

Scott Elbert, LHP

Brandon League, RHP

Chris Withrow, RHP

Jose Dominguez, RHP

Brian Wilson, RHP (set-up)

Kenley Jansen, RHP (closer)

Obviously, that lineup and rotation stack up against the best in baseball, and the bullpen can take care of business. But getting Howell back would be enormous for the Dodgers, and actually retaining Uribe would soothe a couple headaches. 

I’m sure the Dodgers will continue to move to find a back-end starter, a couple more bullpen arms and maybe some bench depth. But as it stands now, Colletti and Stan Kasten have done a good job putting a very competitive team back on the field without falling into the media trap most teams do. It’s cold and lonely down there. Just ask the Toronto Blue Jays.

If the 2014 season started with the above roster, this writer would be totally fine with it. Most importantly, Colletti balked on trading Kemp and hasn’t given up the handful of top-tier prospects the Dodgers have developed.

As it stands now, the Dodgers have earned a “B+” for their work in the offseason, and an “A” for the Winter Meetings specifically, if only for brushing off the wild rumors flying around Kemp and others, and avoiding drama about Kershaw‘s extension or Don Mattingly’s contract situation.

There is room to grow in both directions here though. If the Dodgers do add another starter, a bullpen arm, a couple backup infielders and a third baseman of quality, that “B+” could easily register in the “A” range.

If they give up a draft pick for Drew, trade an outfielder for too small of a return or move half the farm system for Price, Colletti and Kasten might just be suspended from school.


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The Definitive Blueprint for a Successful Los Angeles Dodgers Offseason

With the 2013 baseball season over, the sting of a six-game NLCS loss still fresh in Dodgers fans hearts, it’s time to do one of two things:

  • Pretend to care about the NBA, NFL, or NHL
  • Or, count down the days until pitchers and catchers report for the 2014 MLB season.

Sure, you could combine those tasks, but I prefer focusing on the latter. With a checkbook deeper than the Pacific Ocean and a wish list as long as Highway 1, the Dodgers’ front office will definitely be focusing its efforts on improving the team before next season rolls around.

And aside from some players who need some basic R-and-R to heal injuries, the Dodgers are already in great shape to return to the postseason and make a run at the World Series. In fact, oddsmakers currently have Los Angeles as a hefty favorite to win the 2014 title.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There are still plenty of weaknesses that can be shored up before the Dodgers are again put on display at Chavez Ravine. This will serve as your all-inclusive guide to making sure the only sting Dodgers fans feel next October is from the spray of champagne.

By the way, since you were wondering, that magical date is approximately 100 days away.

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The Rivalry Heard ‘Round the World: An Interview with Joe Konte

Red Sox versus Yankees. Cardinals versus Cubs. Cowboys versus Redskins. Duke versus North Carolina. The list of great rivalries in American sports is endless. And many would consider Dodgers versus Giants the best of them all.

I can’t say I disagree. As a diehard Dodgers fan born and raised in San Francisco, my lifelong sports fandom has been…interesting. 

And anyone else who has lived and died with one of these powerhouse franchises, whether it be well after they moved to the West Coast, or through the entire process of leaving New York, can identify with me.

Through all the on-field brawls, fan violence, controversies and tight pennant races, the Dodgers and Giants have never disappointed to bring an extra element of suspense to each and every baseball season. 

Joe Konte has tracked the progress of the rivalry through research and devoted fanaticism and recently published The Rivalry Heard ‘Round the World. Joe, who took hundreds of individual three-plus hour trips at the San Francisco Public Library to dive into research for this book, attended his first Dodgers vs. Giants game in 1958 and never looked back.

Joe was kind enough to speak to me about the book, the rivalry and his thoughts on everything Dodgers versus Giants. From an on-field, pregame, cow-milking competition in 1966 to the infamous Juan Marichal bat incident, Joe has an endless knowledge of the greatest rivalry in sports history.


Jeremy Dorn: Let’s dive right into it—is the Dodgers versus Giants rivalry the single greatest rivalry in American sports history?

Joe Konte: It’s the only real great rivalry that spans the entire country. And it goes back to 1858 when organized ball was just starting. Did you know the 1858 All-Star series was made up of the best players just from Brooklyn and New York? The fact that it started so deep and then came out here to the West Coast and we’ve still seen so many great and crazy moments makes it so unique and special. There’s just something about this rivalry. 


JD: Was there one rivalry moment that you appreciated more after doing your research?

JKIt was one of the most tumultuous moments of the rivalry’s history: Marichal versus Roseboro. We all know that story, but I was foggy on how it came to be, so one of the most interesting things going into it was the game-by-game buildup. Don Drysdale had made target practice of Giants batters, and earlier in the season there was a verbal war between Drysdale and Marichal that built up to the iconic incident. 


JD: Who are the most fiery players you came across in your research for each franchise as far as hatred for the other team goes? 

JKJohn “The Count” Montefusco was special in that way. He said he had “hatred for all things Dodgers.” I covered how Drysdale was the poster boy for the rivalry in the early years of the West Coast because he was known to throw at batters. But the one guy who really stands out is Tommy Lasorda because he had this legendary problem with the Giants fans. There are a number of quotes over the years from him saying the Giants fans were the worst fans in baseball. And they made a case for themselves by throwing beer into the dugout and at Lasorda on his walks from the clubhouse in Candlestick to the dugouts. In the 1951 season though, the Dodgers tried to hold a “Willie Mays” appreciation night before his career ended which started with a nice Mays tribute and ended with Dodgers fans getting mad about a bad call in the ninth inning. So even the one time the Dodgers tried to have a nice night in an appreciated player’s honor, it turned out bad.


JD: What motivated you to write this book?

JK: I went to my first Dodgers vs. Giants game in 1958. My father was a fan, and we watched together, so I learned about the rivalry from an early age. The combination of being a big baseball fan from San Francisco and following the rivalry over the years, plus working as a sports editor all these years gave me a really good knowledge of the topic. I had a lot of interest in it, but felt I needed more to do a book, so I dove into over 900 games of history. 


JD: Nine hundred games? That’s dedication!

JKSince moving to the West Coast, the Giants and Dodgers have played nearly 1,000 games against each other. Actually, they will play their 1,000th game together next season. I went over every game, every box score and every summary because if I skipped one, I felt I’d miss out. 


JD: Wow. I’m guessing the head-to-head rivalry is pretty even in terms of wins?

JKSince the first National League game against each other in 1890, they’ve played 2,375 games, and San Francisco has a 27-game lead (1,201-1,174). The Giants kind of dominated the years in New York, and then the script was flipped when the teams moved to California. 


JD: So tell me more about the research process. Did you uncover any moments that nobody knows about?

JK: The heart of the research was going to the San Francisco Main Library’s microfilm room where they have newspapers going back as far as possible. I pulled up individual sports pages and looked through all the numbers and game stories one by one. It was a labor of love, but you have to do the research to pick up the best stuff and compile it in some way and look for a scene of every season. Then I just tried to weave it all together. The thoroughness of the research was needed to tell the story. But by thinking that deep, I found out all sorts of things, like this gem: In 1966, the Dodgers and Giants held a cow-milking contest in the on-deck circle before a game to salute the dairy industry. 


JD: I wish they still did things like that before games! So, let’s talk about a more sensitive topic. Based on your research, has the fan mentality changed at these rivalry games? Given all the postgame incidents over the few years?

JKWell, Candlestick Park was definitely revving up the rivalry in terms of fan participation because it was a very edgy place—it was cold, there was virtually no security and there was lots of booze. Fights there were a normal thing. They were expected. The bleachers at Dodgers vs. Giants games [at Candlestick] were sold out, and by the fifth inning, only half the people were left because cops had to eject people for fighting and drinking. I see a huge difference at AT&T with more security and a more family-friendly atmosphere. Things really unraveled in Los Angeles with Brian Stow in 2011 and the McCourt family running the team into the ground. But right now, it’s much cleaner in both environments. 


JD: Did you see anything that serious in years past while researching?

JKAlcohol has something to do with it spilling over after the games. But the weapons make it incredibly serious. They didn’t really have those back in the day. Even the Stow incident was very violent still [without weapons]. It was beyond a normal brawl. The violence and the availability of weapons did seem to have been stepped up. But, for example, a fan in the 1930s killed another fan after a postgame argument at a bar. So it’s hard to say what is old and what is current. 


JD: How can this issue be fixed? Any ideas?

JKYou think about these incidents—Stow of course, and the Dodgers fan getting fatally stabbed after a game at AT&T this season—and it’s interesting how logos and colors still trigger the mono-a-mono reaction. It’s almost acceptable once those colors are in the street after a game. You wouldn‘t hit a normal person in the street, but just the team colors makes it “okay.” The sad part is none of it is really happening in the stadiums themselves these days. The ballparks are kind of like fortresses, but once you leave the park and are walking back to your cars, it gets dangerous. I wouldn’t walk down streets of San Francisco in Dodger garb at night. A fan should have the right to do that, but there are too many people on the fringe out there. When you’re two or three blocks from the park, you might as well be a mile away. Two-three blocks from the park you might as well be a mile from the park. I think 2012 was the most pivotal year of rivalry since 1958 because the Giants got really good and suddenly they set a bar so high for themselves that the Dodgers’ new ownership did whatever it takes to win, and now there’s a mono-a-mono thing with the organizations, not just the fans. If they have a year where they’re both strong in September, I think the passion and tension will bring out even more security and even more worry for people in opposing gear.


JD: A Giants versus Dodgers divisional race would be good for baseball again. The Dodgers will go into the 2014 season as the NL West favorites, but the Giants should be better. Can you forecast the pennant race between the two for next season?

JKIt’s hard to believe Los Angeles won’t be a factor. Certainly next year and for the short-term future. And one reason is because right now, if the Dodgers make a bad decision on a player, they can write the millions off. If the Giants spend money on Hunter Pence and he doesn’t work out, they can’t bring a new guy in the same way the Dodgers can. Also, the Dodgers can be active in the international market with Yasiel Puig, Alexander Guerrero, etc. The Giants lack of success this year could have been injuries, a World Series hangover or something else. They have to deal with left field and their rotation, but the lineup is pretty good, and it’s hard to believe the Giants management will stand pat at this point. The Dodgers kind of ruined San Francisco’s whole business plan last year. I think the Giants were surprised because they thought the NL West was a winnable division with 88 victories. You’d think the Giants will put more money into it than they have already to stay on pace. Either way, it would be a lot of fun if the 1,000th game they played on the West Coast was in a pennant race. 


You can follow Joe Konte on Twitter @JoeKonte and his blog For a copy of the book, visit Joe’s website.

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Ranking the Best Dutch-Born Players in MLB

If you weren’t swept up in “Honkbal” fever during the 2013 World Baseball Classic, you’re officially behind the curve. Team Netherlands made a surprise run through the early rounds of the tournament to the semifinals in San Francisco and proved they can become an international baseball power.

Maybe their success shouldn’t have been such a surprise. The Kingdom of the Netherlands encompasses the Netherlands, Curacao, Aruba and other islands of the Netherlands Antilles, and some of baseball’s best young talent calls those places home.

The trend began with legendary pitcher Bert Blyleven and then was carried on by Curacao’s Hensley Meulens and Randall Simon, as well as Aruba’s Sidney Ponson. But now, more than ever, we see the Dutch infiltrating Major League Baseball and making their mark among the best players in the game.

From Andrelton Simmons’ brilliant defense for the Atlanta Braves to Roger Bernadina’s blazing speed for the Philadelphia Phillies, and a handful of promising prospects in the minor leagues, the future belongs to the Netherlands and its young stars.

Here, we rank the 10 best current players from the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Major League Baseball.

All stats courtesy of

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