Following the Dodgers and Exploring The Team’s Past
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Valentine’s Day came and went last week with pitchers and catchers reporting to their respective clubs training facilities. However, reliever Ronald Belisario has showed no love to the Dodger faithful as he still has yet to report. Sources also are saying that Belisario could potentially miss the 2011 season according to his agent.
Ending relationships suck, but, it is clearly not working as Belisario seems to not be giving his complete devotion to this relationship. It is time for both Dodger fans and the organization to move on from Belisario so as not to get heartbroken but more importantly to stop wasting money on a poor investment.
This marks the third straight year Belisario has reported significantly late to Spring Training. Even during the 2010 season he had to leave Los Angeles. The reasons resurfaced as they all dealt with his “struggle” to obtain a visa in his native country of Venezuela. The Dodgers organization had filled out all the necessary paperwork so Belisario could report on time, but as outsiders can see, Belisario is MIA. Belisario obviously does not care about the Dodgers, otherwise he would be in the states working out with his teammates. It is time the Dodgers show the same respect and release Belisario as the Dodgers can and do not have to compensate Belisario for this season.
While he was believed to a big a factor in the bullpen this season, as he was two years ago as well as this winter, the Dodgers need to say so long and find another reliever who possess more devotion. If Belisario has any common sense or respect for L.A., this issue would have been settled out months ago. He should know what the visa process is by now and should have been working to obtain it as soon as possible so he could be practicing at this very moment. Either he does not know or care what the process entails or that right there shows the kind of guy he is. He is not committed to the Dodgers and they should not be committed to him. It is time to part ways Belisario and Dodger Nation. As the saying goes, “there are always more fish in the sea.”
Since the Los Angeles Dodgers Spring Training has begun, it seems that too many important roles have already been decided before a game has yet to be played.
Manager Don Mattingly has already named Clayton Kershaw his Opening Day starter which will be the first ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game against probable starting pitcher Tim Lincecum of the defending World Series Champions, San Francisco Giants. Mattingly has also said that Jonathan Broxton will be his closer too.
Baseball has yet to be played and roles are already being filled up, much too early. Spring Training is the time used to determine who will be a team’s number one starter unless one has a C.C. Sabathia or Lincecum. And even if a team does, not until the middle of Spring Training should the announcement be made. Los Angeles does have some well known starters to complete their rotation (Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda, Jon Garland, and Vicente Padilla). Throughout the spring, both Garland and Padilla will battle for the fifth and final spot, with the other ending up in the bullpen. Even during the regular season, both pitchers could be swapped back and forth if quality starts are not reached. The starting cast needs to have a big year to have any chance to keep up with San Francisco. While all starters had solid ERAs in 2010, they need more wins to battle for this division. Like most of the Dodgers who had disappointing 2010 seasons, Jonathan Broxton and others need to have season similar to 2009 to take the West. Last year, Broxton had 22 saves out 29 attempts. In 2009, he converted 36 of 42 save opportunities. Broxton needs to be a bigger impact this season as closer, especially against those close games with the Giants.
Similar to Broxton, the offense needs production out of its franchise stars. Outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier and infielders James Loney and Casey Blake all need big years. Both Ethier and Kemp need another 2009 season to compete. If Kemp can give the Dodgers another 20-plus home run, 100 RBI, 30-stolen base and low strikeout season and 25-30 home runs and 100 RBIs out of Eithier, they can challenge the Giants. However, to win the West, James Loney and Casey Blake each need 20 home runs and respectively a 90-plus RBI and 75 RBI season. The addition though of infielder Juan Uribe from San Francisco will significantly help the Dodgers offense this season so long as he can contribute a 20 home run and at least an 80 RBI season of his own. By the end of September though, Dodgers fans will be disappointed that their team will not be playing in October, finishing with 88 wins, but six games behind San Francisco for the West crown.
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