So, So Many Dodger Pitchers In Camp

We're pretty sure he's going to be on the roster... right?

We’re pretty sure he’s going to be on the roster… right?

Baseball is happening! Pitchers and catchers — most of them, anyway — are already in Dodger camp, ready to get to work. But maybe that should say “pitchers and pitchers and pitchers and catchers,” because with Paul Maholm now in the mix… good lord, that’s a lot of pitchers in camp.

32, to be exact, and while some are obviously just getting a camp look, that’s a still a giant number of names, and it gets hard to keep them all straight. While we’ll get to the rotation and bullpen later on in our spring position previews, which start tomorrow, let’s try to at least get a handle on just how all of these guys break down.

Obvious big leaguers (10): Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu, Dan Haren, Kenley Jansen, Paco Rodriguez, Brian Wilson, Jamey Wright, Chris Perez, J.P. Howell

It’d take injury or disaster to keep them off the roster.

Fighting for a spot (5): Josh Beckett, Maholm, Chris Withrow, Javy Guerra, Brandon League

This is splitting hairs, maybe, because both Beckett and Maholm have big league contracts, a sizable one in Beckett’s case, and Maholm is open to pitching out of the bullpen. So maybe this is more “fighting for a rotation spot” than a job, but there’s still some question about how this shakes out. League probably falls under the same category — the team won’t DFA him, but I’m sure they want to — and Guerra is still fighting to prove himself. Withrow deserves a roster spot, but may find himself squeezed to start the year.

Even if you discount Withrow and Guerra here, that’s still 13 pitchers, and it’s tough to see that being a standard this season.

You couldn’t be in a worse place to be a Rule 5 pick (1): Seth Rosin

Sorry, Seth. The more I hear about you the more I like you, but there’s just no room at this inn.

DL’d or headed there (2): Scott Elbert, Chad Billingsley

Elbert recently had his appendix removed and was placed on the 60-day DL yesterday as he continues to work back from Tommy John surgery. Billingsley, recovering from his own zipper, will certainly join Elbert on the DL before the season starts.

Thanks for stopping by (14): Pedro Baez, Sam Demel, Jose Dominguez, Stephen Fife, Onelki Garcia, Yimi Garcia, Carlos Frias, Zach Lee, Matt Magill, Jarret Martin, Daniel Moskos, Red Patterson, Chris Reed, Ross Stripling

A combination of the organization’s top non-Julio Urias pitching prospects and your usual non-roster invites, this group probably comprises the majority of Albuquerque’s pitching staff to start the season. We’ve seen several of these guys before, and should see at least half of them in the bigs this year. Don’t hold your breath on Onelki Garcia, however, who is reportedly “behind schedule” in his rehab from elbow surgery.

Pitchers and Catchers Report, Life Worth Living Again

The Super Bowl ended like 10 minutes ago, the Winter Olympics just got moving yesterday, much of the nation is still gripped by frigid temperatures, seemingly half of the free agent pitching class is still unemployed… and in Arizona, Dodgers pitchers and catchers are reporting for duty today.

You can obviously thank the unique March trip to Australia for the early start date, and while the players may not love having their winter break cut short, I think I can safely say that it’s wonderful news for the rest of us. Nearly four months after the season ended with a disappointing NLCS loss to St. Louis, I think we’re all ready for something new to start happening and for the 2014 season to get into gear, because this isn’t going to be just any season. This is a full year of Yasiel Puig, and hopefully of Zack Greinke. This is a season where PECOTA thinks the Dodgers will win 98 games. It’s where we learn about Alexander Guerrero, and see if Chad Billingsley — who has reportedly already thrown nine bullpen sessions — can come back strong.

That’s not to say there’s likely to be a lot of news for the next few weeks, because the early part of camp is always about workouts, stretching, and endless reports of players “being in the best shape of their lives”. (Looking at you, Dee Gordon, and Hyun-jin Ryu.) But I say that now, and realize that might not be so true: there’s still a good possibility that they add another infielder or pick up another rotation option (no, it’s not going to be Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez or probably A.J. Burnett, but half-decent and inexpensive options remain behind them), and then the first spring game is two weeks from Wednesday.

Whether or not any of us will be able to see that game is an open matter, of course, as we’ve heard little about any updates on SNLA carriage issues. (I assume you’ve already seen http://www.ineedmydodgers.com, and as I am reminded from the network via email, “The last – and most important – thing is that I want to make sure you, and fans, know that your voices really do matter. The more tweets, Facebook posts, Instagrams, emails and phone calls that are send to providers, the more apt they are to listen.”)

That will be sorted out in time, but for now, know that out in the desert, pitchers and catchers wearing Dodger blue are starting to get loose. It’s been the shortest winter in Dodger history (I assume), but it’s felt so long. Spring is near.

Dodgers Unveil Somewhat Pointless Alternate Jerseys

kemp_road_grays

Earlier today, the Dodgers announced that they’d be wearing alternate road jerseys with “Dodgers” spelled out rather than the usual “Los Angeles” for a handful of games. The official site relays the history of the jersey:

When the team moved to California in 1958, their road uniforms read “Dodgers” but were changed the following season to “Los Angeles” and remained that way until 1969. The team name returned from 1970-98, but the club has worn road uniforms with “Los Angeles” since then.

So they’ve gone back and forth between “Los Angeles” and “Dodgers” a few times, and frankly it doesn’t really matter much to me which it is. They’re both fine, they’ve both been used, and to be honest, had I seen that picture of Matt Kemp above without the accompanying story, I probably wouldn’t even have noticed that his jersey said the team name rather than the city name.

That’s fine, but I guess it’s also sort of the issue, because it’s also something no one’s really going to notice, and so… why bother? I know that Lon Rosen followed with a quote about “iconic brand names” and all that, but that doesn’t resonate with the fans. It seems to me that if you’re going to have an alternate jersey, then have a true alternate jersey, not something that will be barely recognized and probably ignored.

That, I know, opens up an entirely different can of worms, which is that a large contingent of Dodger fans hate the idea of them ever having a true solid blue alternate jersey. I get that, I do. They’re proud of the Dodgers being one of just three teams (along with the Tigers and Yankees) who wear only white and gray, and I respect that opinion. I absolutely would not want the Dodgers to turn into one of those teams — thinking here about the Marlins in black — who wear their alternates so often that it’s a rare treat to actually see a white or gray uniform.

park_fightBut… Dodger blue is great, isn’t it? Is it so bad to want to see more of it? Not every night, for sure, but in a long 162 game season, is breaking out blue for Sunday home games or day games or something similar the worst idea in the world?

Chan Ho Park was wearing blue in the iconic “I’m going to dropkick Tim Belcher” game back in 1999, and you know what: that’s a good, clean look. (Fine, it probably doesn’t hurt that it’s being modeled against those ludicrous 1990s Disney-fried pinstriped vest debacles the Angels had on, and Mo Vaughn doesn’t really make anything look better. But still.)

crawford_blue_springIt works for gray pants, too, as this picture of Carl Crawford that I grabbed from Dustin shows. Obviously, you’d want to lose the silly white side panel and have it be fully blue, but again, another solid look. Maybe you prefer it say “LA” in white rather than “Dodgers,” but whatever. If you’re going to have an alternate, have an alternate.

On the other hand, having two jerseys that look so similar does open up the possibilities for hilarity, as we’ve seen more than a few times in the past. Look no further than Chris Colabello wearing a dark blue “Twins” jersey last year while his teammates were all wearing dark blue “Minnesota” uniforms… or the same thing happening with the Astros in 2011… or old friend Chris Capuano wearing the wrong dark blue jersey for Milwaukee in 2010… or half a dozen other examples.

I don’t really think a blue alternate Dodger jersey is ever going to happen on a permanent basis, and that’s fine. I just don’t really get the point of this, either. The Dodgers are no longer one of the teams who don’t have an alternate… except they still don’t really have an alternate.

One Month Until Dodger Baseball

(via)

Soon. Soon. (via)

One month from today, on Wednesday, February 26, the Dodgers will kick off their spring training schedule in Talking Stick, against the Diamondbacks. That game will be televised, like all other spring games, and while it’s anyone’s guess as to whether any of us will actually be able to see SNLA a mere 24 hours after it’s launched, the fact is that in a month there will be Dodger baseball.

Considering that it’s still the dead of winter in most of the country, the idea that we’re even thinking about baseball being played soon is a pretty nice treat. It’s even better than that, really, because while games don’t begin until Feb. 26, pitchers and catchers report on Saturday, Feb. 8. That’s two weeks from yesterday, and it means that we’ll finally start getting daily reports and updates from camp. It’s been a long winter, but the end is near. That’s a nice thought to have.

Of course, the question is, who will we see in Dodger camp? At this point, I don’t think anyone really expects an outfielder to get traded — nor should you, with Dave Stewart still dropping hints about Matt Kemp‘s health — and the bullpen is beyond stuffed. But will they still add another starter, as has been rumored? Are they satisfied with Dee Gordon, Chone Figgins, Justin Sellers, and Brendan Harris behind Alexander Guerrero at second base? Will that same group comprise the majority of the bench, or will they still bring someone in?

We know what the majority of the roster will look like, but I’m guessing we don’t know what it all looks like. In a month, we’ll have a Dodger team on the field and on television. Frankly, it can’t come soon enough.