Not all 12 will be back, but here’s an educated guess at the likelihood of each player returning to the Dodgers, ranked in order of least likely to most:
The World Series is over, making ringbearers of the Red Sox and free agents of dozens of players around baseball.
The Dodgers will have at least 10: Ricky Nolasco, Michael Young, Juan Uribe, Carlos Marmol, Jerry Hairston, Edinson Volquez, Skip Schumaker, Nick Punto, J.P. Howell and Brian Wilson. Per MLB rules, the Dodgers have exclusive negotiating rights with each player up until midnight Eastern Time Monday, after which all are free to sign with any club.
Sometime within the next five days, general manager Ned Colletti and staff must ultimately decide whether or not to extend these players a qualifying offer, a guaranteed contract for 2014 equal to the average salary of the highest-paid 125 players. This year, that’s $14.1 million.
The potential risk every team faces in extending a qualifying offer is that the player will accept the offer and receive more money than he would by testing the open market. The potential reward is twofold: 1, you might re-sign the player at a discount compared to his open-market value; 2, if the player doesn’t accept the qualifying offer and signs elsewhere, your team receives a first-round draft pick in 2014 from the team that does sign the player.
Of the Dodgers’ 10 free agents, Nolasco is the only viable candidate to receive a qualifying offer. He made $11.5 million last year. What’s another $2.6 million? That’s the, um, $2.6 million question that’s been floating around the front offices at Chavez Ravine this month. The answer should be an easy one: Since Nolasco didn’t begin the year with the Dodgers, they won’t receive any draft-pick compensation if he signs elsewhere.
More on him, and the other free agents, later today.
We should also note here that Chris Capuano and Mark Ellis have options for 2014 in their contracts. Capuano’s is a mutual option for $8 million with a $1 million buyout; Ellis’ is a $5.75 million club option with a $1 million buyout. If the team declines the option on both players, that’s a dirty dozen Dodgers destined to hit the free-agent market.
Sorry for the delay here. I spent the morning critiquing my college newspaper. I tried to lift their spirits, since any of them intending to pursue journalism professionally are in danger of being crushed upon receiving their first paycheck. There’s a time and a place for everything.
That segues clumsily into my topic for today, advance scouts.
I was surprised to learn that the Dodgers had only one advance scout listed in their 2013 media guide, Wade Taylor, and he was let go last week. Many members of the front office do some advance scouting from time to time, but indeed, there’s only one major-league advance scout assigned to the task full-time, working mostly on the road.
“For the postseason, we have an army of scouts,” Dodgers president Stan Kasten said. “We have two or three guys on each of the possible teams we could meet in October, in September. Regular season, there’s one principal one. Teams are going away from advance scouts, doing it via video.”
A small sampling of major-league teams affirms this trend. For convenience’s sake, let’s look at the other four National League West teams. All have exactly one advance scout listed in their media guide. Two have at least one assistant dedicated to advance scouting via video. Like the Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants deployed a similar “army” of scouts during their playoff push in September 2012.
The Dodgers aren’t expected to be adding more than one advance scout this off-season. Thanks to video, the full-time traveling advance scout is something of a dying breed, a department of one from April to August.
Maybe if his team is contending in September, the advance scout has help — a time and a place for everything.
Some bullet points for a Wednesday:
Confirming an earlier report by CBSsports.com, Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach is a candidate for the Seattle Mariners’ managerial vacancy. Wallach has also interviewed for the Detroit Tigers’ managerial job.
Wallach wasn’t believed to be a candidate in Seattle as recently as yesterday, so that might not bode well for San Francisco Giants bench coach Ron Wotus, Detroit Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon and Oakland A’s bench coach Chip Hale, all of whom interviewed for the job previously. However, CBSsports.com reports that the Seattle has a very long list of candidates to replace Eric Wedge, so the vetting process might be unfolding slowly by design.
At least one former Dodgers pitcher has endorsed Wallach for his hometown team:
M's need to steal Wallach and hire him as manager. He's gonna be a great skipper
At 320 pages, the most recent edition of The Fielding Bible is shorter than most editions of the more famous Bible, but still rather long for a topic that’s proved difficult to qualify and quantify over the years. There’s no Cliffs Notes version of the Fielding Bible, but I’ll recommend this excerpt that claims Matt Kemp shouldn’t have won a Gold Glove Award in 2011. Whether you agree with the conclusion or not, the thought process behind the conclusion is very insightful.
Today is a big day for fielding. THE big day. The Gold Glove award winners will be revealed at 5 p.m. in a live show on ESPN2, and five Dodgers are among the finalists. Their fates depend in part on a new wrinkle to the voting process: The SDI, short for the SABR Defensive Index.
The SDI counts for approximately 25 percent of the vote, according to SABR’s website, and that 25 percent can be further broken down into a series of acronyms that look like a disorganized jumble of refrigerator magnets: DRS, UZR, RED, DRA and TZ. Managers and coaches still hold a majority of the vote, and each player’s SDI score was included on the ballots distributed to each team’s staff.
What does it all mean, and what does this have to do with The Fielding Bible?
Fielding Bible co-author John Dewan is the co-founder of Stats LLC and the owner of Baseball Info Solutions, whose data feeds into all those nifty acronyms — and this year, the Gold Glove Award. And Dewan’s data believes that Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke should win a Gold Glove Award.
Yesterday, TheFieldingBible.com posted its annual picks for the best fielder at each position in the majors. Greinke is scarcely mentioned, because the two leagues weren’t separated and Toronto Blue Jays right-hander R.A. Dickey was chosen as the best fielding pitcher in baseball. But Greinke was chosen as the second-best fielding pitcher in baseball, and the best in the National League.
Greinke has never won a Gold Glove Award (a tiny shame, since his current contract holds no Gold Glove Award bonuses but his last contract, signed with the Kansas City Royals in 2009, did). Tonight could be his night. If so, he can thank SDI and TMI — too much information.
The two Dodgers were part of Baseball America’s 2013 all-rookie team, announced on Monday. Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez was left off the list, which covers both leagues and only left room for one relief pitcher, five starting pitchers, and three outfielders.
Here’s what Baseball America wrote about Puig and Ryu:
OF Yasiel Puig • Dodgers
Though he plays the game with a flair that rubs some opponents the wrong way, Puig hit .319/.391/.534 to lead all rookies with at least 400 plate appearances in average, OBP, slugging percentage and isolated power (.215). Like Myers, his performance leaves no doubt about future power production in right field, not after belting 27 homers between Double-A Chattanooga and the Dodgers. His arrival in Los Angeles on June 3 also coincided with returns to form by Zack Greinke and Hanley Ramirez, leading the Dodgers to a 69-38 (.645) record the rest of the way. Pitchers succeeded in expanding Puig’s strike zone early in the year, but he stabilized his hitting approach in August and September, batting .273/.373/.487 with 21 extra-base hits in 54 games and a workable 24-to-46 walk-to-strikeout ratio.
SP Hyun-Jin Ryu • Dodgers
Ryu had no trouble slotting into the Dodgers rotation behind Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke as he transitioned from the Korean major league to the NL. While he didn’t provide the jaw-dropping highs of the other pitchers here—or the impact of Myers or teammate Puig—he did deliver the most innings by a rookie (192) while not hurting himself with walks, home runs or stolen bases. Opponents succeeded on only one of three steal attempts despite Ryu’s heavy diet of changeups (22 percent of the time), sliders (14) and curves (10).
Baseball America also chose Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez as its Rookie of the Year. If that’s any preview of how the Baseball Writers’ Association of America plans to vote — given Fernandez’s credentials, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be — neither Ryu nor Puig will be collecting any hardware on Nov. 11 when the BBWAA announces its rookies of the year.
Some bullet points for a Monday morning:
The finalists were announced Friday morning. Winners will be announced on ESPN2 at 5 p.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday.
The Dodgers’ five finalists are second only to the Baltimore Orioles, who have six. The Kansas City Royals also have five Gold Glove Award finalists.
At Dodgers headquarters, this was not a good week for clarity in the information age.
The Dodgers are worth $2.1 billion and are generating $450 million in annual revenue, according to a new analysis by Bloomberg. The report — which comes with a nifty infographic comparing the values of all 30 teams — lists the Dodgers’ franchise value second to that of the New York Yankees among among MLB teams.
Since Castellanos had been designated for assignment on Oct. 17 (to make room for Mike Baxter), Hazelbaker does not immediately join the Dodgers’ 40-man roster.
Hazelbaker, 26, spent the entire 2013 season with Triple-A Pawtucket, batting .257/.313/.374 with 11 home runs and 54 RBI in 121 games. He was fifth in the International League with 37 steals.
The Muncie, Indiana, native has a .258/.338/.421 with 194 steals, 60 home runs and 247 RBI in 530 games in five professional seasons since being selected by Boston in the fourth round of the 2009 draft out of Ball State University — the alma mater of former Dodger Larry Bigbie.
The Red Sox designated Pedro Beato for assignment to make room for Castellanos on their 40-man roster.