Tag: Carlos Monasterios

Weakest Links: Five Pitchers the Los Angeles Dodgers Should Lose

It’s that time of year when it becomes apparent certain teams have players remaining on their rosters that don’t really belong.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are no exception, and they have several pitchers that should be on their own, or at the very least in the minor league system. 

Here are five pitchers the Dodgers could do without, and why.

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Just a Tease: Charlie Haeger Designated For Assignment By L.A. Dodgers

It’s finally over for right handed knuckleballer Charlie Haeger. The Dodgers designated Haeger for assignment on Friday, effectively ending Haeger’s days as a Dodger.

The 26-year-old holds a 1-5 record as a Dodger while allowing 35 earned runs in just 30 innings pitched.

Haeger never really got on track in two abbreviated seasons for L.A., and spent several days on the DL in two separate stints with Planter Fasciitis in 2010. During both minor league rehabs, Haeger was impressive and earned a promotion back to the major league roster. 

However, following his second activation from the DL, Haeger was pulled one out away from qualifying for a win with a four run lead. The surprise move raised eyebrows and confused the knuckleballer. Less than 24 hours later, he was DFA’d.

The Dodgers now have ten days to trade Haeger, release him, or after clearing waivers, assign him to Triple-A Albuquerque. 

It is not likely Haeger will garner much attention on the trade market. However, he is young and has plenty of time to perfect the dancing pitch that is so rare in baseball. 

With Vicente Padilla resuming his spot in the rotation, and Chad Billingsley on the disabled list, the Dodgers have four set starters: Clayton Kershaw, Vicente Padilla, Hiroki Kuroda and John Ely. 

Expect relievers such as Jeff Weaver and Carlos Monasterios to make spot starts during Billingsley’s rehab. Once Billingsley returns, Ely will most likely continue filling the fifth starter position.

To fill the newly vacated roster spot, the Dodgers have called up reliever Jon Link, one of two pitchers (John Ely) acquired in the trade that sent Juan Pierre to the White Sox.

The call-up is Link’s fourth already this season, but he has a combined 4.1 innings pitched in four games. 

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Los Angeles Dodgers Losing Streak Is No Surprise

If you didn’t see this coming, you truly know what it means to be a fan and love blindly.

The Dodgers stumbled into interleague play with a pitching staff turning out one brilliant performance after another, while the offense provided just enough of a pulse to keep the team alive.

Minus a couple of run-scoring outbursts, one against the Cardinals and a week later against the Reds, the Dodgers have scored five runs or fewer in 14 of 18 games in June, including back-to-back 1-0 wins against the hapless Diamondbacks.

It was only a matter of time before the thin starting rotation began to falter and the bullpen was exposed for its lack of effectiveness.

The routine goes something like this: The starting pitchers sharpen up and therefore go deeper into games. The bullpen, therefore, doesn’t have to participate in extended inning appearances and can get by while being effective in short relief.

The offense then simply has to cover the gap. A small number of runs will be held up by the opposition’s lack of offense during superb Dodgers pitching.

The Dodgers experienced success with Hiroki Kuroda remaining healthy, a young pitcher not preceded by a scouting report, and a 22-year-old work horse fronting a veteran staff.

However, more injuries to the starting rotation and bullpen, along with borrowed time catching up to John Ely and the Dodgers who are finding themselves dropping to third place in the N.L. West.

The offense that went previously undetected now looks like a watermelon on the radar screen, having been swept by the Angels and the Red Sox.

American League teams specialize in hitting while having no pitcher spot to account for, and the comparison between American League offensive production and the lack of Dodgers production was made glaringly obvious.

Andre Ethier’s batting average has steadily dropped to .318 since returning from the Disabled List. Matt Kemp went through a 0-16 slump and saw his batting average plummet to .258 with just a small handful of RBI in June.

The Dodgers continue to struggle to produce with runners in scoring position and have their hands full this week. The Dodgers are set to take on the Angels for a three-game series in Anaheim.

So where do the Dodgers go from here? They have signed Kiko Calero and Claudio Vargas, figures on the horizon that Los Angeles hopes are not a mirage.

The veteran pitchers will come in with low expectations; they simply have to stay healthy and will already be faring better than current Dodgers pitchers. Their assignment, if called upon, will be to eat up innings and provide spot starts while rotation starters Chad Billingsley and Carlos Monasterios lick their wounds.

Vicente Padilla is back just in time, as his start Saturday bridged a gap and bailed out manager Joe Torre, who was relieved to be out of a pickle. Padilla wasn’t overly impressive, but kept the team in the neighborhood before the bullpen gave it away.

If the current trend holds up, fans can expect some serious shuffling of names on the active roster, with notable names and new faces adorning the blue and red.

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Claudio Vargas to Join Los Angeles Dodgers Starting Rotation

Now, it seems as if the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting rotation is on the verge of total collapse.

Carlos Monasterios, the rookie right-hander who was battling to find himself a spot as the team’s fifth starter, has joined fellow starters Chad Billingsley and Charlie Haeger on the disabled list, the Dodgers announced on Friday afternoon.

Monasterios (3-2, 3.88 ERA) was sent to the DL with what was described as “a pre-existing blood blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand and a split nail on the index finger that occurred Friday night.”

Although one would assume that the team is getting “extra creative” with their phantom injuries and unorthodox roster shuffling, the Dodgers are now left with four starters: Hiroki Kuroda, Clayton Kershaw, John Ely, and Vicente Padilla.

Los Angeles could try to tough it out with a four-man rotation or start a middle-reliever to pick up the slack, but all signs are pointing to Claudio Vargas making a start for the Dodgers as soon as Wednesday against the Angels.

Vargas was signed by the Dodgers last week after being released by the Milwaukee Brewers and clearing waivers earlier this month.

Vargas, who is no stranger to a Dodger uniform, had a 7.32 ERA in 17 relief appearances before being cut by the Brewers. However, he had a productive start with Dodgers’ triple-A affiliate Albuquerque on Thursday, when he threw three solid innings and only allowed one run, a solo homer, while striking out four and walking none.

In 2009 before being traded, he went 0-0 with a 1.64 ERA in eight relief appearances and 11 innings of work for the Dodgers.

Allowing Vargas to start on Wednesday would give John Ely an extra day of rest. Ely (3-4, 4.15 ERA) has struggled recently, seeing his earned run average increase more than one full run in his last two starts alone.

With all of the recent shuffling in the starting rotation, Dodgers’ general manager Ned Colletti is beginning to look around the league in an effort to obtain an additional starter.

“The conversations have picked up a little,” Colletti said. “It doesn’t seem that anything is really hot. There are six or seven weeks to go [until the trade deadline]. Teams holding on to pitchers, their value won’t go down unless they get hurt.”

As the July 31 deadline creeps ever so near, Dodger fans everywhere have made no secret of their top choices for an acquisition. The Dodger faithful have two players in mind, and two players only: Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee.

It still remains unclear whether Colletti will target the big market pitcher or focus on a starter with type-B status. He’s open-minded and hasn’t ruled out anyone, but Ned has stated that he hasn’t yet approached ownership to ask for more money.

Regardless, the Dodgers face a difficult challenge in producing quality starts until a deal, if any, is made.

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The Dodgers Are Missing Jon Garland

On May 12, 2010, the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrated their first sweep of the season, defeating the Arizona Diamondback in a three-game series.

With the help of six consecutive losses from the stumbling D’backs, coupled with a four-game winning streak of their own, the Dodgers have climbed out of the bottom of the National League West.

The last three games against the D’backs have showcased a potent Dodgers offense headlined by a healthy Manny Ramirez and Andre Ethier, NL Leader in all Triple Crown categories. 

Considering the recent Dodgers surge some may be even convinced that their slow start to the season was just a minor aberration for a team destined to take the NL West for a third consecutive year.

However, their offensive successes have only managed to temporarily mask their blatant weakness in starting pitching. With only three starters healthy from last season, forty percent of their pitching rotation remain in flux.

Charlie Haeger (0-4, 8.49 ERA), the team’s 5th starter, imploded in his May 8 appearance against the Colorado Rockies allowing five runs before getting an out and promptly getting the hook.  He is now trying recover from a broken psyche (correction bruised heel) on the 15-day disabled list.

Vicente Padilla, the Dodgers’ opening day starter is (1-1, 6.65 ERA) this season and has been on the DL since April 24, is not expected to return until June. 

Rookie John Ely (1-1, 3.86 ERA) has been a pleasant surprise in three starts but it’s still too soon to see if he can be consistent. 

Rule-5 draftee Carlos Monasterios provided the team with a decent effort in a spot start (4.0 IP, 1 ER, 73 pitches) although the team believes he is better suited to pitch out of the bullpen. 

Putting further emphasis on the Dodgers’ need for starting pitching, 36-year-old Ramon Ortiz with a 5.16 ERA out of the bullpen is slated to make his first start over the weekend against the Padres.  Ortiz will be the 8th different Dodgers starting pitcher this season. 

The deficiencies in the starting rotation have been exposed this season.  Rumors swirling out of Los Angeles is that the Dodgers are trying to acquire a starter via trade.

It could have all been avoided if the Dodgers had simply brought back Jon Garland.

Fact is, the Dodgers overestimated the availability of starting pitching this past winter.  

Looking to trim payroll during the off-seasonthe team elected to buyout the last year of Garland’s $10 million contract for $2.5 million.  They also opted not to re-sign Randy Wolf who went on to sign a three-year contract totalling nearly $30 million with the Milwaukee Brewers.

With $7.5 million in net savings from the Garland buyout they chose to re-sign the enigmatic 32-year old Vicente Padilla to a $5 million contract. 

Had the Dodgers not re-signed Padilla and picked up Garland’s $10 million option instead, it would have only required an extra $2.5 million commitment from the team. 

In retrospect, retaining Garland who is two years younger than Padilla, at an additional cost of $2.5 million is a small to price to pay for a proven veteran pitcher that can help solidify the starting rotation.

Garland v. Padilla

Since becoming a starter in 2002, Garland has started at least 32 games over the last eight seasons.  He has won 18 games twice with the White Sox and 14 games once with the Angels.

On the other hand, the last time Padilla started at least 32 games was in 2006 when won a career best 15 games in 33 starts.  Over the last two years he has served four stints on the DL. 

And who can forget the much publicized fallout with the Rangers organization?  When he was designated for assignment late last season, a move which Rangers management said was the result of his behavior on and off the field. 

Where is Garland Now?

Now pitching for the Padres, Garland (4-2, 1.71 ERA) has found a home in San Diego.

Despite being offered a more lucrative contract by the Washington Nationals, Garland chose to stay in Southern California, close to his Valencia home. 

Moreover, he recognized that playing half of his games in the confines of pitcher-friendly Petco Park would be beneficial to his career. 

As a Dodger in 2009, Garland went 3-2 with a 2.73 ERA in six starts. 

At the time, the Dodgers could not justify investing $10 million on a number 4 or 5 starter.  But the reality–is buying him out and finding someone else to replace his consistent production will probably cost the Dodgers more money had they just kept him.

If the Padres go on to win the NL West, this mistake could haunt the Dodgers for a very long time.


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