While it may seem like an eternity since we said goodbye to Dodger baseball for 2012, it’s only been a week. But not to worry my friends, because pitchers and catchers report in 126 days.*
That’s assuming a Valentine’s Day camp opening, which minus an actual announcement works for me, especially since it’s the anniversary of the day I proposed to the Main Squeeze.
*There’s an inside joke to the “my friends” insertion above, re the beautiful pitchers-and-catchers-report phrase, but in my effort to be less “caustic” this year (per my mother), I’ve abandoned the actually written-word knee-slapper. Apologies to those who don’t get it.
I’m also dispensing with the post-mortem which often comes around this time of year, in favor of something that includes both the negative and the positive perspective. Since “post-mortem” implies an “after death” investigation, I just didn’t feel like it this time. It was an up and down mostly frustrating season, but the Dodgers didn’t die.
I wasn’t going to give you a one-per-day treatise on the 50 men who appeared for the team during the season either, as some of my colleagues are pursuing, God bless em. I didn’t want to write them, and I’m quite sure you weren’t going to read them stretching all the way to Thanksgiving. I believe a quick review is all that’s required, and that’s what you get below. Then it’s on to next year.
The criterion used to grade the players is simple enough. I watched a good 155 out of 162 games, lived and died with the team as always, blogged throughout and feel like I know each and every man’s accomplishments backwards, forwards and sideways. So it’s statistics mixed with actually watching baseball. What a concept, huh?**
**Less caustic, remember, not completely devoid of causticness.
Traditional A-to-F letter grades, with incompletes reserved for those who, through no fault of their own, were not given sufficient opportunities to be graded objectively.
Bobby Abreu: Riding high in May, shot down in June, and the rest of the way. Grade: C-
Alex Castellanos: Twenty-five plate appearances over 16 games. Grade: incomplete.
Luis Cruz: A revelation in every way imaginable. .297, six home runs and 40 RBIs in a half season, and as clutch as is humanly possible. Grade: A
Ivan De Jesus, Jr. May 22nd game-winning double gave Dodgers their season-best 30-13 record, and that’s not to be forgotten, but never stood a chance in Los Angeles. Respectable .273. Grade: B
A.J. Ellis: Key player, thoroughly deserving of the Roy Campanella Award as the “Most Inspirational Dodger.” Better-than-expected-by-most bat, great with staff and limiting the stolen base. Third-from-the-bottom-in-MLB 11 passed balls and generally catching the baseball a problem. Grade: B
Mark Ellis: Great with the glove, genuine veteran leadership, .228 against right-handers a concern, one-too-many TOOTBLANs. Grade: B
Andre Ethier: Great at home, weak on the road; great vs. righties, weak vs. lefties. Streaky as always, too many quick easy outs, fine but unspectacular. .284, 20 and 89 RBI passable, but not enough oomph. Grade: B-
Tim Federowicz: Didn’t get a single start with Ellis slumping and tired. Final game of the season counts for nothing. Skipper’s bad, unfortunate. Grade: incomplete.
Adrian Gonzalez: Rousing debut and final eight games in Los Angeles, but not much in between. Understandable perhaps, and a ton on his shoulders, but a better showing might have had Dodgers in the postseason. .297 in Blue. Grade: B-
Dee Gordon: No D, very little O. A work in progress. Grade: D
Tony Gwynn: Hit .291 while helping team win 16 games in the important month of May, subbing for Matt Kemp on an everyday-basis. Struggled afterwards. Grade: C
Jerry Hairston, Jr. As advertised and then some. Better than his .273, .342, four and 26 indicate. Some spectacular play in the field, along with a few errors. Can’t wait to get him back in there in 2013. Grade: B+
Elian Herrera: Surprise call-up made an immediate impact before coming down to earth. Clutch hits. Does several things well. Grade: B
Matt Kemp: Behold the walls of Jericho – uh, Coors Field. .303, with 23 homers and 69 RBIs are pretty good numbers for a lost season, but a lost season it was, and it cost the Dodgers a division. A little wisdom from the manager might very well have made the difference. Grade: B
Adam Kennedy: Splits show a .356 second half, which is nothing to sneeze at, but .262 overall with 16 RBIs overall and a weak glove count too. Not as bad as his critics made him out to be, but his guaranteed major league contract was a mistake. Grade: C
James Loney: MFD – Most Frustrating Dodger…uh, ex-Dodger. No idea what in the world happened to the guy, but wish him well in Houston or Toronto or wherever. Grade: D
Nick Punto: Made an impact with a nice little effort in September, fun to watch around the bag. His .286 and .390 helped, but will be remembered for jersey snagging. A good bet to return next year. Grade: B
Hanley Ramirez: Scary-to-watch shortstop who ought to play third in 2013. Hit .271with 10 homers post-trade, which translates to four more RBIs than Cruz. Grade: C
Juan Rivera: A product of the final winter of McCourt, and wouldn’t have been re-signed otherwise. More failures than successes, soon to be unemployed. Grade: C-
Jerry Sands: Didn’t have a prayer as a 2012 Dodger, manager’s decision. Grade: incomplete.
Justin Sellers: Easy-to-root-for kind of player. Plus glove, minus bat, disabled primarily. Grade: C-
Matt Treanor: Did some good things early, fell off the planet after that. Shouldn’t have been signed in the first place. Grade: D
Juan Uribe: A veritable dart board for fans across the globe. Looks like a globe. If there was an F-, he’d get an F-, but alas there is no F-. Grade: F
Scott Van Slyke: Three-run pinch homer important, but resembles a minor league DH type, unimpressive generally. Grade: D
Shane Victorino: Stole bases and caught the ball, but did little else well after acquisition. Disappointing .245 and .316 and disappointing all the way around. Grade: C-
Josh Beckett: Pitched better than 2-3 L.A. record indicates. Small sample size, but definitely a turnaround from his 2012 five-month Boston campaign. Will be a key player in 2013. Grade: B
Ronald Belisario: C’mon, who among us even expected him to show up for work? Great most of the time, especially with fresh innings. Grade: B
Joe Blanton: Hit town in July with a 4.59 ERA, and it went up. Enough said. Grade: Charitable C-
Chad Billinglsey: More of the same in the unwatchable starts department before turning it around convincingly, sandwiched around two elbow injuries. God knows what’s next. Grade: B-
Chris Capuano: Great start, should’ve been an All-Star and an about-face second half. Still, 12 wins plus a 3.72 equals exactly what Dodgers signed up for. Took the ball every fifth day, just missing 200 innings. Grade: B-
Randy Choate: A fine addition, does well when used properly. Should return in 2013. Grade: B
Todd Coffey: Improved after a rough start but injured twice, once seriously. Tub of something or other. Time to hang em up. Grade: C-
Rubby De La Rosa: As textbook an INC as any 2012 Dodger. Grade: incomplete.
Scott Elbert: Looked good in spots, not so good in others, health issues semi-wrecked season. Grade: B-
Nathan Eovaldi: Good stuff and loads of potential, but not ready for a spot in a rotation just yet. Grade: C-
John Ely: One memorable blowup leading to a gut-wrenching loss, but given no reasonable chance to succeed. Grade: incomplete.
Stephen Fife: Took the ball in tough spots and did as well as could be expected. Grade: B-
Javy Guerra: Disappointing second season, but misused by manager and hurt much of the time. Grade: C
Matt Guerrier: Injured most of the season, hit hard in parts of April and September, but too small a sample size to critique fairly. Grade: incomplete.
Aaron Harang: Ten wins, 3.66 ERA and 31 starts. Precisely par for the course, but in a good way. B-
Kenley Jansen: From setup to closer and back to setup, while barely skipping a (heart) beat. One egregious steal of home allowed. Grade: A-
Clayton Kershaw: World’s greatest Dodger – a god, essentially. All glowing adjectives apply. In fact, new ones ought to be invented. Grade: A+
Brandon League: Credit Ned Colletti for this one. After a rough spell, nothing but zeros. Absolutely unhittable; must be re-signed. Grade: A
Josh Lindblom: 2012 well below what 2011 forecast. Expendable, and despite Victorino, Los Angeles should have no regrets. Grade: C
Ted Lilly: Pitched well before breaking down and near the end of the line. Grade: B
Mike MacDougal: Signed based on 2011 performance, which he couldn’t replicate. Grade: D
Steven “Paco” Rodriguez: First 2012 MLB draftee to reach bigs, pitched like a veteran in a pennant race, his 6 2/3 innings seemed like more. Impressive start. Grade: A
Shawn Tolleson: A mixed bag – gave up some big hits, countered with multiple good outings – a fine start to his Dodger career. Expect growth in year two. Grade: B-
Josh Wall: Looked good and bad but in too few appearances to fairly assess. Grade: incomplete
Jamey Wright: Gave L.A. plenty. Took underserved heat from the blogosphere. Will almost assuredly be back. Grade: B
Don Mattingly: Too many bunts, too much predictability, too few solutions to problems in front of him. Good with the media and in the clubhouse; a leader who should improve going forward. Head-in-the-sand-hold-your-breath approach to star players’ injuries bordering on negligence. Grade: C-
And remember, glove conquers all.
Ok, I'm gonna sing here and now as if I'm in the shower. Ready?
When the Giants come to town,
It's bye-bye baby,
[C'mon, Howard, join in. I know you iknow the words]
crackin' up. Come along, Randy, get on the boat, the train, the wagon...be an apostate to all your Blue Buds
Tom in San Mateo
shit ..if you count the 50 grand a year the school cost me it should come with apair of world series tickets...
state your new allegiance and wake up to eggs all over your house and nails under your tires from your wonderful neighbor! hehe, haha
training is smoking some reefers with Timmy and drinking with me. not too bad
Some Dodger FAN atics are at the game tonight. They texted me and said after I asked if they were wearing their "Blue"? They said "No blue. We are already suspect through lack of enthusiasm". How true!
Oh well -- I'm done. Going to watch 666 Park Avenue. My friend is an extra. He's a waiter in a white shirt and glasses. In some scene with Terry O'Quinn.
@The Commish don't know who terry oquinn is, don't know what 666 park avenue is. but 30 rock it is not.
whoda thought it would matter, but it was melky cabrera who gave the nl home field advantage. so he helps the evil ones even while in purgatory.
here's a question for ya: would you trade mattingly for bochy, with dee gordon as compensation?
Bochy is one of the top managers in baseball, period.
Funny that the Red Sox made that trade.
maybe vogelsong tires in the seventh before bochy can get him outta there, and they score another run or two. or not.
I was 11 during the 1967 World Series and watching it when my Mom says, Jim Lonborg? I used to babysit him all the time when he was a baby. I changed his diaper many times. HAHA
as hideous an embarrasment as the stick was, it was absolutely perfect for the giants. I wish they were still there.