Monday, February 28, 2011
I haven't written anything Kings related in awhile. So, if this isn't your cup of tea I suggest moving on to another post.
I had been watching faithfully and patiently as the roller-coaster of a season went on. Just a few weeks back the team was on a turbulent downward spiral. The Kings looked lost on the ice, unable to score with any consistency while the defense, for the most part, held their own. Fortunately, the conference and division continued to be tight as the Kings found themselves in the bottom of the division, but only a few points away from a playoff spot. Fast forward a few weeks and you could hardly believe that dry spell existed. Over the past 15 games they have won 11 games while losing only one game. Additionally, they had 3 overtime loses that provided them a point apiece in the standings. Now, they find themselves in 5th place in the conference and just a hair's away from taking the division title from San Jose. Slowly, but surely, it looks like the Kings are on the verge of leaving the pack of teams clustered around the final playoff spots. With 20 games left to go in the season the Kings sure know when to get hot.
But, the team still had some glaring holes. They were looking for some up front speed and more consistent scoring. Furthermore, it was obvious that a 1st line left winger was desperately needed. Would todays trade deadline pay dividends for the Kings? Could the Kings actually pull off a trade for someone significant?
The answer is a resounding yes! This morning, provided some great news for us fans as the Kings pulled off, arguably, the biggest deal of the trade deadline. They get left winger Dustin Penner, former Anaheim Duck (who happened to win the cup with them), for a prospect, a 1st round draft pick and a conditional (2nd or 3rd round) draft pick. Considering the Kings depth in the minors and the relative consensus that those draft years are weak, I think we made out like a bandit. Heck, Colton Teubert (the prospect we gave up) isn't even considered one of our top 2 or 3 defensive prospects.
Penner provides the big bodied scoring winger the team desperately needs on the left side. He's not particularly fast, but he makes up for it with a great scoring touch. Penner should match up well with Kopitar and Brown (or Williams) on the 1st line, and has the kind of playoff experience a young team like the Kings really covet.
Needless to say, I am ecstatic beyond words. The management has done a masterful job of drafting and stocking the team with the kind of pieces that often lead to long term success.
Read more about the trade here:
LA Kings Insider: Lombardi Talks Trade: Full Trascript
Inside the Kings: Kings Trade for Penner
Battle of California: Kings Trade for Dustin Penner
WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR: In a 1959 World Series rematch, the Dodgers and their Camelback Ranch – Glendale neighbor Chicago White Sox meet for the first of four Spring Training games. Los Angeles is today’s designated home team. The clubs will also face off during Interleague Play in Chicago from May 20-22.
MOURNING THE DUKE: Today, the Dodgers will honor the memory of Hall of Fame outfielder Duke Snider, who passed away yesterday at the age of 84. The eight-time All-Star center fielder won two World Series championships in his 16 seasons with the Dodgers from 1947-62 and ranks as the franchise’s all-time leader in home runs (389) and RBI (1,271). The club will ask fans to observe a moment of silence prior to today’s game in memory of Snider.
GOOSE EGG: Don Mattingly won his first Spring Training game as Dodger manager yesterday as Los Angeles blanked the Angels 5-0. John Ely allowed one hit and struck out three in 2.0 scoreless frames and six Dodger relievers combined to limit the Halos to just four hits in the victory. Matt Kemp delivered a two-run single to the put Dodgers on the board in the first inning and Rod Barajas powered the first Los Angeles home run of the spring with a solo shot in the fifth inning.
HURLERS: Dodger Opening Day starter Clayton Kershaw will make his first start of Spring Training this afternoon. The 22-year-old posted career-highs in wins (13), strikeouts (212) and innings (204.1) in 2010 and over the past two seasons, Kershaw ranks sixth in the Majors with a 2.85 ERA and leads the big leagues with a .208 opponents’ batting average. He will be followed to the mound by Jonathan Broxton, Matt Guerrier, Ron Mahay and Travis Schlichting. Right-hander Gavin Floyd will take the hill for Chicago.
- IT’S LIKE CAREER WITH A “G”: Matt Guerrier will make his Dodger debut today after signing a three-year deal with the club in the offseason. Over the past two seasons, the former Minnesota Twin ranks second in the Majors with 56 holds and has posted a 2.75 ERA with a .213 opponents’ batting average. The 32-year-old has been a model of consistency with 70 appearances and 70.0 or more innings in each of the past four seasons with his 311.2 innings pitched since 2007 leading Major League relievers.
SHUTTING THE DOOR: Jonathan Broxton is slated to make his first appearance of Spring Training today against the White Sox and the Dodger closer ranks fifth in the National League (min. 300 IP) with a 3.00 ERA over the past five seasons. Over the course of his six Major League seasons, the 26-year-old leads all big leaguers (min. 300 IP) with an average of 11.70 strikeouts per 9.0 innings.
SWITCHING IT UP: Switch-hitters occupy three of the first five spots in today’s Dodger lineup with Aaron Miles, Dioner Navarro and Trayvon Robinson capable of hitting from both sides of the plate. Miles, who gets the start at second base, has been slightly better over the course of his eight Major League seasons as a right-handed hitter (.282) than from the left side (.279), while Navarro has been better as a left-hander (.263) in his career. Robinson, who has yet to crack the Majors, batted .319 as a left-hander and .291 from the right side last season with Double-A Chattanooga.
HIGH NUMBERS: Seven minor leaguers will join the Dodgers today, including 2010 California League All-Star right-hander Nate Eovaldi (#95) and catcher Matt Wallach (#90), the son of Dodger third base coach Tim Wallach. Left-hander Michael Antonini (#94), who was obtained from the Mets in exchange for Chin-lung Hu, will dress for the Dodgers this afternoon after leading Double-A Binghamton in strikeouts (106) and innings (131.1) and finishing the season with Triple-A Buffalo last season. Stuart Pomeranz (#96), who tossed 0.2 scoreless innings on Saturday against the Angels, Elian Herrera (#89), David Pfeiffer (#87) and Merkin Valdez (#97) will also be available for the big league club today.
- LAST SEEN ON LOPEZ TONIGHT: The Dodgers would like to welcome Dodger legend Tommy Davis to Camelback Ranch. Davis will be visiting camp over the next few days to work with minor leaguers. He played eight seasons with Los Angeles from 1959-66, batting .304 with 86 home runs and 465 RBI in 821 games. The three-time All-Star batted .400 (6-for-15) with two triples and two RBI to help power the Dodgers to the 1963 World Series championship and finished his 18-year Major League career with a .313 batting average in 20 postseason games.
#CAMELBACK TWEETOFF – That’s right, today on Twitter the @Dodgers and @WhiteSox will be having their first-ever #Camelback Tweetoff. Fans following the two clubs’ twitter feeds can win prizes during today’s game with Dodger prizes including Matt Kemp Gold Glove Bobbleheads, autographed baseballs from Rafael Furcal and James Loney and Spring Training tickets. Fans will need to use #Camelback in their responses to win.
- Here is a new Dodger blog called Fellin' Kinda Blue.
- Let's Go Dodgers found a bunch of the team photos taken of the Dodgers online. Check them out here. (Photo Credit: Getty Images- Harry How)
- Baseball Nerd, Keith Olbermann, tells us a bit about the 1969 Topps Aurelio Rodriguez card that actually features an Angels bat boy.
- Jackie Robinson's old apartment in Montreal to be commemorated. (Hat Tip: Baseball Think Factory)
- These are some incredible photos from Boston.com. It's of Nyiragongo Crater, the worlds largest lava lake, in the Congo. Click here to see all 28 pics. To give you some perspective of its size check out the fellow on the bottom left in the picture below. (Pic Credit: Boston.com Olivier Grunewal)
- Josh Suchon provides a analysis and breakdown on the 2011 Dodgers.
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