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Tag:Blake DeWitt
Posted on: December 16, 2011 7:39 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 7:41 am
 

HomegrownTeam: Los Angeles Dodgers



By Matt Snyder

What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

Do the Dodgers do well in drafts and international signings? The answer is a resounding yes. What they do with those players could certainly be questioned, but as far as building a foundation, few have been better in recent years. See below.

Lineup

1. Dee Gordon, SS
2. Shane Victorino, RF
3. Matt Kemp, LF
4. Paul Konerko, 1B
5. Adrian Beltre, 3B
6. Carlos Santana, C
7. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
8. Miguel Cairo, 2B

Starting Rotation

1. Clayton Kershaw
2. Edwin Jackson
3. Ted Lilly
4. Hiroki Kuroda
5. Chad Billingsley

If you don't like us using Kuroda -- some commenters have disagreed with including guys who were professional players in Japan in this series -- you can slide in James McDonald or the youngster Rubby De La Rosa.

Bullpen

Closer - Joakim Soria
Set up - Javy Guerra, Joel Hanrahan, Kenley Jansen, Takashi Saito, Jonathan Broxton, Pedro Feliciano, Cory Wade
Long - McDonald

Notable Bench Players

Russell Martin, Henry Blanco, James Loney, Blake DeWitt, Trayvon Robinson, Jerry Sands, Alex Cora

What's Good?

Spoiler Alert: This section is going to be much longer than "what's not." How about starting with the offensive firepower Victorino, Kemp, Konerko, Beltre and Santana bring in the 2-6 spots of the order? That is sick. Gordon has good potential and Gutierrez was a decent hitter before his stomach issues derailed him a few years ago. The starting rotation is good, deep, has a good lefty-righty mix and a true ace sitting at the top. The bullpen is so deep it's unimaginable. It's not as great as the Yankees' bullpen (Clippard-Robertson-Axford-Rivera) in this exercise, but this is definitely an elite unit. The bench is pretty damn good, too. Best of all, though, how about the defensive range? Gutierrez was widely considered the best center fielder in baseball before his stomach woes. Victorino is a three-time Gold Glover while he lost out to Kemp this season. I decided to shift Kemp to left because Victorino has a cannon that is an asset in right. Not that Kemp can't throw. This would be one insane defensive outfield. Beltre is the best defensive third baseman in baseball, too. That's a lot of help for an already-good pitching staff.

What's Not?

Anything would be a nitpick. Maybe that Dee Gordon might not yet be ready to lead off for this team? If that was the case, you could move up Victorino and then the bottom of the order becomes a bit weak. But, again, that's a nitpick.

Comparison to real 2011

I kind of chuckled during all the MVP arguments when people would say that Kemp played for a team that "sucks." The Dodgers finished 82-79. Yes, they were out of contention for pretty much all of the season, but they finished above .500, so they definitely don't suck. Of course, those real-life Dodgers couldn't hold a candle to this group. This is a World Series-caliber club, but the funny thing is, did you see Arizona's team? The D-Backs lineup is much better, but the Dodgers have the better defense and pitching. We'd have a nice battle for the NL West title and maybe even see a rematch in the NLCS. If only ...

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Posted on: July 29, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 6:51 pm
 

Looking back at impact of 2010 deadline deals

Westbrook

By Evan Brunell

As we hurtle toward the trade deadline on Sunday, it can be instructive to take a look back to the previous trade deadline. Looking at just the 30th and 31st, we see 13 trades were completed, with 10 on the day of reckoning. It's possible there could be a similar amount of deals this time around, but keep in mind that many teams are still in the postseason hunt, so that does limit the number of sellers and buyers.

Last season's deadline lacked one true blockbuster player, thanks to Cliff Lee being traded way back on July 9. That could change this year, with the increasing likelihood that both Hunter Pence and Ubaldo Jimenez will be traded, but last season still provides a good barometer of what to expect.

Many always think about the biggest names on the free agent market when the trade deadline rolls around, but players like Austin Kearns, Javier Lopez, Will Ohman and others were also on the move. It's not just big names teams deal for, and you'll see plenty of these small deals happen, even if they end up being insignificant in the long run.

Last year's deals can be broken up into three groups of similar size. Obviously, every team wants to be in the "paying dividends" category, but there are some that just plain "worked out," plus others that were irrelevant, either now or as early as the second the trade took place.

PAYING DIVIDENDS
There's a bit of a mix of trades in here. We've got those that instantly bore fruit for the buyer, with Jake Westbrook helping to solidify what was a flagging rotation at the time. Interestingly enough, Edwin Jackson was just acquired by St. Louis to (wait for it...) solidify a flagging rotation -- and here he is, represented in this list from a year ago when Chicago's Kenny Williams irrationally sent Hudson and Holmberg packing for Jackson, whom he hoped to flip for Adam Dunn before Washington walked away. (And that deal, by the way, has worked out just splendidly for Arizona.)

Another mid-rotation starter was dealt in the Cubs deal, but Chicago walked away the losers. They thought they were getting a possible starting second baseman in DeWitt, but instead he's been buried on the bench. (The jury is still out on Smit and Wallach, but don't hold your breath; DeWitt was the main piece) The real winner has turned out to be L.A. with Ted Lilly, who pitched well down the stretch then re-upped with the team. He's struggling this year, but is still a solid starter.

MLB Trade Deadline
You may think it odd the Royals/Braves trade is on this list, especially since Ankiel and Farnsworth are gone from Atlanta and two of three players heading back to Kansas City were no one of note, but Tim Collins is certainly of note. The fireballing lefty has been fantastic for the Royals in his rookie season, posting up a 3.49 ERA in 49 innings. If he firms up his control, he could become an elite setup man. Heck, even if not, this trade has already paid off.

Another team that considered itself buyers but ended up shooting itself in the foot was the Dodgers, who sent away James McDonald for Octavio Dotel, a pitcher that was later moved to the Rockies, signed with the Blue Jays and was dealt again to the Cardinals along with Edwin Jackson. McDonald has been a dependable middle of the rotation starter, something that was already the case when he was traded. This deal was flat out dumb, but the Pirates are certainly happy.

The last trade was a swap between two contenders hoping for fresh starts. Texas wanted its haul to help restock the farm system to deliver dividends down the road while Boston was hoping to strike gold with Saltalamacchia. After getting the year off to a bad start, Salty is hitting .287/.359/.544 since May 15.

Sometimes, it's those trades taking fliers on players or sellers taking advantage of buyers to come out ahead just a year later.

WORKED OUT
  • Yankees acquired 1B Lance Berkman and cash considerations from Houston for RHP Mark Melancon and INF Jimmy Paredes.
  • Yankees acquired RHP Kerry Wood and cash from Cleveland for a player to be named or cash.
  • Pirates acquired RHP Joseph Martinez and OF John Bowker from San Francisco for LHP Javier Lopez.
These trades here all essentially worked out, but not for typical reasons you would expect.

Mark Melancon was the true prize in the Berkman trade, and has established himself as the closer in Houston. Of course, he won't get many save chances, but has racked up 10 in 49 1/3 innings, posting a 3.10 ERA while Berkman was just a passing wind, but now the Yankees get to claim that yet another 90-00s star wore pinstripes if only for a second, a la Ivan Rodriguez. Ditto the Kerry Wood deal, but Wood was actually lights out down the stretch and was a major boon to New York. This is one deal that doesn't matter anymore, but was huge for the final months of 2010.

Javier Lopez, of course, walked away with a ring in San Francisco and developed into a devastating weapon in the playoffs, giving up nothing of consequence.

IRRELEVANT
  • Indians traded OF Austin Kearns to the New York Yankees in exchange for a player to be named or cash.
  • Orioles traded LHP Will Ohman to Florida for RHP Rick VandenHurk.
  • Diamondbacks acquired OF Ryan Church, INF Bobby Crosby and RHP D.J. Carrasco from Pittsburgh for C Chris Snyder, INF Pedro Ciriaco and cash considerations.
  • Rays acquired RHP Chad Qualls from Arizona for a player to be named.
  • Tigers traded OF Wilkin Ramirez to Atlanta for a player to be named or cash considerations.
  • Braves traded OF Mitch Jones to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash.
These deals are irrelevant, so we won't write much about them. But note that just as many deals paying dividends were made as irrelevant deals. Some of these, like Qualls or Snyder, were flyers that just didn't work out. It happens, but you can't blame the teams for trying. Most of these, though, were minor deals that didn't affect much of anything.

So what have we learned? The takeaways should be this: The one player that you may see in a trade deadline and not register at all may end up walking away the best player in the deal, and it may not take years for that to happen. And that for all the hubbub around big names being traded, most of the deals that go down are of the garden variety. A small deal can win a World Series (ask the Giants) just as much as a blockbuster.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 31, 2011 4:04 pm
Edited on: May 31, 2011 4:15 pm
 

Soriano hits DL with quad injury, Colvin recalled

By Matt Snyder

After straining his quad Monday afternoon, Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano has been placed on the 15-day disabled list (Cubs.com via Twitter). Soriano injured his left quadriceps when trying to beat out a grounder in his first at-bat against the Astros Monday in Chicago. He left the game immediately and was replaced in left field by Blake DeWitt. As a corresponding move to Soriano hitting the DL, Tyler Colvin has been recalled.

Soriano has been swinging a power bat for the Cubs this season. His 12 home runs are the second-highest total in the National League behind Cincinnati's Jay Bruce, and he's hitting .271 with an .823 OPS. Soriano is a bit of a circus act in left, but the Cubs will definitely miss the pop in his bat.

Cubs manager Mike Quade will reportedly use DeWitt as his regular left fielder, but there's no doubt that Colvin will see some looks as well. DeWitt was in the second base mix to start the season, but that job has been grabbed and held strong by rookie Darwin Barney. DeWitt is hitting .280 with a .714 OPS in 51 plate appearances. He was 3-4 Monday in taking over for Soriano.

Colvin, 25, had a good season as a rookie for the Cubs in 2010. He hit .254 with 20 home runs and an .816 OPS in less than 400 plate appearances. He scuffled in a big way early in 2011 with part-time at-bats, hitting just .113 with an abysmal .449 OPS. He was demoted to the minors a few weeks ago and hasn't really been great in Triple-A (.260 average, .783 OPS).

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: February 25, 2011 3:22 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2011 3:25 pm
 

Quade has zero good leadoff options

Sunday, the Cubs will begin Cactus League play. Kosuke Fukudome will bat leadoff for Mike Quade's team, but that doesn't mean traditional fast-starter will be the first Cubs hitter on April 1 in the season opener. Quade told the Chicago Tribune it's far too early to know who he is going to lead off on that day.

The problem is, Cubs fans are going to complain no matter who Quade pencils into that leadoff spot, because every single player on the team is ill-suited to hit there.

In the above linked article, the Trib noted how dreadful Fukudome was in the leadoff slot last season. He does have a career .446 OBP in March and April, however, so he might be the best option. Still, he generally regresses as the season moves along and is only a career .233 hitter in the leadoff spot -- so it's not like he appears the long-term solution.

But look around the rest of the roster.

Starlin Castro is going to hit second, Quade has announced. The future star still doesn't have enough grasp of the strike zone to man the top of the order.

Alfonso Soriano? That's old hat and let us all thank Quade for not subjecting us to those debates again.

Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto and Carlos Pena are obviously not options.

Marlon Byrd had a good season last year, but only 31 walks in 630 plate appearances to go with a .293 batting average doesn't fit. He's more a six-hole at this point.

Blake DeWitt has a career .335 OBP, which would be awful for a leadoff man. He has never shown signs of being able to handle much more than the eight-hole, but he is only 25.

Tyler Colvin's .316 OBP is even worse, so even if he supplants Fukudome as the early-season starter -- there's no doubt the job is his for good once mid-May strikes -- he's not viable at the top.

So, if you were Quade, who would you bat first? I honestly think I'd go into the season with Fukudome and hope that someone else shows a good penchant for getting on base during April and the first few weeks of May. Maybe Castro adapts, DeWitt surprises or Colvin alters his approach. The most likely scenario is this will be a hole for the entire season, which isn't the worst thing in the world. He could always just force Byrd up there out of necessity -- the veteran is enough of a professional to deal with it well. After all, the Giants entered last season with Aaron Roward atop the order.

-- Matt Snyder

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: October 15, 2010 6:03 pm
 

R.I.P. Cubs: More meltdowns, more problems

RIP As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. The lovable losers everyone knows as the Chicago Cubs are up next.

In the last season of Lou Pineilla's managerial career, the Cubs stumbled out of the gate and never got on track although the team responded under the leadership of interim manager Mike Quade.

WHAT WENT WRONG

Give the Cubs credit: they got the losing out of the way in the first half so fans weren't crushed by a late-season swoon.

Carlos Zambrano Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez, the two big boppers who were expected to anchor the order, must have thought they were retired. After all, when your 3-4 combo combines for an OPS under .700, you know things went wrong. Lee finished at .233/.329/.366 in 371 plate appearances while Ramirez one-upped him (or is it one-downed?) with a .207/.268/.380 mark in 261 PA.

That wasn't even the story that got national attention. What did was Carlos Zambrano's season from hell. He began the year as Cubs ace, found himself in the bullpen before the end of April, then was moved back only to have a meltdown while pitching against the White Sox on July 25. Big Z (pictured, left) and Lee had to be separated in the dugout and the right-hander was suspended. He returned days later to the bullpen before moving back to the rotation where he ended the year on a roll with a 1.41 ERA in 11 starts. The strong finish wasn't enough to wipe the puckered lips from Cubbie fans -- especially with Z due just under $36 million the next two seasons.

And to cap it all off, rookie sensation Tyler Colvin had his lung impaled by a shard of a broken bat. Nice.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

If Zambrano's turnaround didn't do it, then Aramis Ramirez' own turnaround helped. As soon as Ramirez got a three-day respite in mid-July, he came back strong, cranking 15 homers the rest of the way for a .276/.321/.526 line. While the second half saw veterans such as Lee and Ted Lilly traded, the play of new blood plus a 24-13 finish under Quade turned frowns into half-smiles, dreaming of what could be in 2011. (Stop it, Cubs fans! Stop it right now. These are the Cubs.)

One thing Chicago did have going for them was a dominant closer and setup man. Carlos Marmol struck out a wicked 138 batters in just 77 2/3 innings, making his 52 walks irrelevant as he posted a 2.55 ERA and nailed down 38 saves. He was joined by converted starter Sean Marshall, and the lefty appeared in 80 games en route to a 2.65 ERA.

Former Rookie of the Year catcher Geovany Soto shook off a dismal 2009 to provide the Cubbies with a .280/.393/.497 line in 387 PA with 17 home runs. That's incredibly rare production out of catcher, but he kept inexplicably losing playing time to Koyie Hill. And one wonders why the Cubs lost almost 90 games.
 
HELP ON THE WAY

The Cubs introduced plenty of youngsters to the team, none more than on pitching where Casey Coleman, Thomas Diamond, James Russell and Andrew Cashner saw extensive playing time. Cashner has a spot locked up in the bullpen and Coleman has a good shot of opening the year in the rotation.

Tyler Colvin and Starlin Castro also made impressive debuts as rookies, but unfortunately for Chicago, there is not much behind these names that will be ready for 2011. However, there's a host of candidates that could see major-league time in 2011 in advance of major contributions in 2012. Those include outfielder Brett Jackson, third baseman Josh Vitters, infielder Ryan Flaherty, starter Chris Carpenter and starter Jay Jackson, who could step in the rotation in case of injury.

EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

The Cubs have enough horses that contention isn't impossible, but too much has to break right. So while the Cubs will talk up a good PR game, privately they'll take a third-place finish behind the Cardinals and Reds in some form. All that may require is a .500 finish, although Chicago should expect to win a few more than 81.

SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

Tyler Colvin The Cubs won't have much money to play with as quite a few of their valued players are in arbitration. The good news is that payroll drops precipitously after 2011 and off a cliff after 2012. Unfortunately, until then, the Cubs are essentially locked into near every position, but there's still room to improve. They will have an open first base spot (unless Tyler Colvin moves to first) and second base (unless the team keeps Blake DeWitt as a starter). The bullpen could also use some reinforcements.

There isn't much in the way of first base prospects, so the Cubs might be better served to see what Colvin (pictured, right) can do at first base. That would leave Kosuke Fukudome manning right, but since the Japanese import can't hit lefties, Jeff Francouer could come in and serve as a platoon partner and serve as fourth outfielder.

At this point in DeWitt's career, he is essentially a backup so the Cubs have to go and get another player. Inking Bill Hall could pay major dividends if his comeback in Boston was for real and should be available for short years and reasonable dollars. The Cubs can then stack the bullpen with an arrangement of solid relievers that don't break the bank and use the savings for two things: signing bonuses in the draft and getting rid of players with no future in town. That includes Ramirez and Fukudome as well as the all-but-untradeable Alfonso Soriano.

2011 PREDICTION

The Cubs will have some growing pains in 2011 as the team shakes free of the old regime and begins a new one in town with plenty of cash to sign upcoming free agents. Not only are the Cubs in too transitional of a stage to play heavily in the free-agent market this offseason, the market is poor as well. Next season will have some strong free agents that the Cubs could jump at. Look for Chicago to finish around 85 losses.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here .

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Posted on: August 23, 2010 6:25 pm
Edited on: August 23, 2010 6:58 pm
 

Soriano dropped to seventh in lineup

Alfonso Soriano Interim manager Mike Quade wasted no time in putting his stamp on the Cubs, dropping Alfonso Soriano to the No. 7 spot in the batting order, according to ChicagoBreakingSports.com.

Soriano has batted sixth 88 times on the year, hitting .272/.324/.522 in 350 plate appearances. He also has 12 games at fifth and three games at fourth. He batted in the pitcher's spot 11 times and made one appearance later in the game at the seven-slot as well.

In the season, Soriano is hitting .260/.319/.499 with 19 home runs and 31 doubles in 424 PA. It's not clear why Soriano was dropped, as he has the necessary power to produce out of the sixth and seventh slots. Sure, he doesn't have the on-base percentage, but neither does Tyler Colvin, the new occupant of the sixth spot and is at .251/.310/.505 in 324 PA.

Quade also has second baseman Blake DeWitt leading off and Geovany Soto in the eight spot.

Soto being so low is nonsensical. Yes, he is making his return from the disabled list (shoulder), but is one of the team's best hitters -- if not the best hitter -- at .288/.401/.519 in 317 PA. An injury doesn't automatically mean one should bat last (or in the NL, eighth).

The DeWitt add to the leadoff spot is intriguing. With a .360 OBP on the year, it's a solid move. DeWitt has the fourth-highest OBP on the team behind Soto, Kosuke Fukudome and Marlon Byrd. Fukudome does not play regularly and Byrd is batting third. In addition, DeWitt's OBP with Chicago is .392 over 74 plate appearances, which vaults him past Fukudome.

Here is the full lineup:

DeWitt 2B
Castro SS
Byrd CF
Ramirez 3B
Nady 1B
Colvin RF
Soriano LF
Soto C
Coleman P

UPDATE : Quade said he doesn't particularly care whether Soriano hits sixth or seventh, but Colvin was inserted to break up the run of righties that Starlin Castro kicked off and ran through Xavier Nady in this specific lineup. "I wanted to break all that mess up with Colvin in there and see if that doesn't help a little bit," he said .

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: August 3, 2010 5:01 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2010 5:02 pm
 

Macha wanted scoring change with 18-1 lead


Do you ever wonder what a manager is thinking about with a 17-run lead and one out left in the game?

Scoring decisions.

According to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune , Brewers manager Ken Macha wanted a fielder's choice and error call on shortstop Starlin Castro overturned and a hit given to Casey McGehee.

With two outs, McGehee hit a grounder up the middle that Castro was able to field, but made a bad flip to Blake DeWitt at second to force Prince Fielder.

The Brewers called up to the press box and asked Rosenberg to review the tape and chance the call to a hit. No change has been made.

Had McGehee's grounder been ruled a hit, it would have been a record 27 hits allowed by Cubs pitchers in the game.

Now, it's easy to make fun of Macha. And really, not unjustified -- your team won, who cares about the rest? But that's one of the those things that could help endear Macha to his players. At that point, everyone probably wanted to pad their stats and McGehee is probably no different. It shouldn't be overturned, but McGehee likely appreciates Macha giving it a shot, even if he comes off like a d-bag to the rest of the world.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com