Following the Dodgers and Exploring The Team’s Past
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Andy LaRoche tops a list of the top 20 Dodger prospects over at John Sickel’s fantastic site. LaRoche tore up the PCL after getting promoted and he finished the season with a 64/66 strikeout to walk ratio at both Double A and Triple A. This is a good, patient hitter with a ton of pop and he could be the Dodgers starting third baseman at some point in 2006 with the retirement of Bill Mueller. Oh yeah, and to make it even better, he won’t turn 24 until September, 2007.
Coming in at second was Clayton Kersaw. He tore up the Gulf Coast League and you’ expect the youngster (he’ll be 19 in March) to start the season at Low A.
Rounding out the top five are James Loney, Scott Elbert and Chin-Lung Hu. The Dodgers may not be as stacked as they were last year, but that’s because of all of the promotions.
Baseball America named the Los Angeles Dodgers as their organization of the year. There’s no surprise here as the Dodgers went into the 2006 as the best farm system in all of baseball and that helped fuel a turnaround from one of the worst seasons in the franchises history back into the playoff mix.
Nine rookies made an impact on this Dodgers team and they give a lot of credit to Dodgers scouting director Logan White.
One of the best relief pitchers to ever don Dodger blue will no longer be with the franchise. Eric Gagne signed with the Texas Rangers today for $6.5 million and I guess that was a little too rich for the Dodger’s blood.
With guys like Jon Broxton and Takashi Saito, it probably makes Gagne’s departure a little easier to take. We’ve gotten little out of him the past two years and hopefully a change of scenery does Gagne some good.
Man, the Dodgers have been busy this week. They shored up their outfield last night by signing Luis Gonzalez to a one year, $7.5 million deal. Gonzalez is pretty far removed from his career season 2001 but he’s a reliable bat who can take a walk. He should be good for ,275/.360/.450 with 20 homeruns and 85 RBIs. Gonzalez will probably play left field while Andre Ethier, who had a nice rookie season last year, will likely shift to right field.
Man this would be huge. The Dodgers are close to signing Jason Schmidt for three years at $47 million. That’s a hefty price tag but the Dodgers would be getting a front of the rotation starter and this move would probably make the Dodgers the favorites in the National League Central.
Schmidt had a career year in 2004 and probably should have walked away with the Cy Young. Since then he’s faced some injuries but he’s still been solid. He was 11-9 last year for a mediocre Giants team but he had a 3.59 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP with 180 strikeouts. Schmidt would join Brad Penny, Randy Wolf, Derek Lowe and Chad Billingsley in the rotation. Now all the Dodgrs need is a bat to bolster the lineup and it’d be hard not to count the Dodgers in a conversation when you talk about potential National League champs.
The Dodgers also signed Mike Lieberthal to a one year deal. He’ll make $1.25 millon and he’ll most likely back up Russ Martin, who had a nice rookie year. Lieberthal has played his entire career with the Phillies and had some really good years but injuries have been a concern. He only played in 67 games last year and he’s four years removed from one of his best seasons.
The Dodgers inked Takashi Saito to a one year, $1 million deal today. This is a virtual bargain based on the going rate for relievers who have closed. Saito came through huge for the Dodgers after Eric Gagne went down and Danys Baez struggled. Saito saved 24 games and he struck out an impressive 107 batters in only 78 1/3 innings.
With Gagne’s future in doubt, it’s nice knowing we have a guy like Saito to fill in at the closer role. Heck, just having a strikeout guy like this in the pen with another one like Jon Broxton is a luxury a lot of other teams don’t have.
I’m a little behind, but late last week, Kevin Goldstein rolled through the Dodgers top 10 prospects in his Future Shock column. No big surprises here. Left handed starter Clayton Kershaw tops the lists after a monster season in rookie ball and it looks like the only thing that’s stopping him from rapidly ascending to the big league club is his age. Andy LaRoche and Scott Elbert are the other two near the top and Goldstein calls them “Excellent Prospects.”
I’ve been talking to a friend of mine who’s more into minor league baseball and we might collaborate on a site devoted to the Dodgers minor league system. More to come on this as it develops.
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