Friday, March 21, 2014

Dodgers 25-Man Roster is Now Set

With Game #1 less than 5 hours away, the Dodgers officially set their 25-man regular season roster this morning... er, this evening.  There are some notable surprises.

Backup catcher Tim Federowicz has been sent back to the minors.  He finished up the 2013 season as our backup.  Now, Drew Butera comes in to replace him.  Considering that both players were expected to primarily play defensive roles on the team, I find this change a bit boring.  Although, Federowicz does appear to have more potential upside at the plate, based on his minor league stats.

The most surprising news is that Alex Guerrero has made the club out of Spring Training.  I had assumed that the Dodgers would follow the same path they laid for Puig - Have Guerrero get his feet wet in the minors before giving him a taste of the 'Bigs'.  Instead, he makes the Opening Day roster as an infielder.  I suppose the fight for the 2nd baseman starting job between Gordon and Guerrero will extend to the regular season.  Extra infielder Miguel Rojas will be reassigned to the minors.  Other players reassigned to the minors includes Zach Lee and Joc Pederson.

Being placed on the 15-day DL include Chad Billingsley (right elbow surgery), Josh Beckett (right thumb contusion) and outfielder Matt Kemp (ankle surgery), retroactive to March 19.  Also, Dan Haren, Zack Greinke and Brandon League have been placed under a roster exemption. Carl Crawford has been placed on paternity leave.  So, when the club gets back to the States there are likely to be some more significant moves.

Below is the full 25-man roster:
Pitchers (12):
Jose Dominguez
J.P. Howell (L)
Kenley Jansen
Clayton Kershaw (L)
Paul Maholm (L)
Chris Perez
Seth Rosin
Paco Rodriguez (L)
Hyun-Jin Ryu (L)
Brian Wilson
Chris Withrow
Jamey Wright

Catchers (2):
Drew Butera
A.J. Ellis

Infielders (6):
Dee Gordon (L)
Alex Guerrero
Adrian Gonzalez (L)
Hanley Ramirez
Justin Turner
Juan Uribe

Outfielders (4):
Mike Baxter (L)
Andre Ethier (L)
Yasiel Puig
Scott Van Slyke

Infielder/Outfielder (1):

Chone Figgins

Pic above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014

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The Dodger Koala

A couple of days ago, Jon Weisman at the @DodgerInsider on twitter shared a photo of something many older Dodger fans will remember.

Way back in the 80's, the Dodgers had a Blue Crew fan club for kids that had a Koala Bear as a mascot. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but this was the closest the LA Dodgers ever came to having a team mascot.  The Koala Bear became a symbol of youthful Dodger fandom, and many kids dutifully signed up and cherished that little stuffed mammal. 

Naturally, as a devoted collector of everything Dodgers, I have a Koala in my possession and had to pull it out for 'show and tell'.  See it below.

As you can see, it's very different from the Koala Jon showed in his tweet.  In fact, based on a quick search on eBay there were numerous different kind of Koala's made.

My favorite might be this catcher Koala.
(eBay auction link)

So, does anyone else have an old Dodger Koala sitting around, or am I the only one?

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Dodgers Post Up Their Opening Day Starting Lineup

Last night, Don Mattingly shared his preliminary starting lineup for the first game of the Opening Series match-up against the Diamondbacks in Australia.  Check it out above.

As you know, the Dodgers start the season down under, and the first game will be at 1:00 AM Saturday morning (pacific time).  So, we are about 14 hours away from the start of the 2014 season.  Later that evening, Game 2 will start at 7:00 PM (pacific time). 

The Dodgers will be facing Arizona lefthander Wade Miley.  In his career, Miley has started 7 games, is 3-1 against the Dodgers and has a 3.59 ERA.  Furthermore, he has given up 8 home runs to Dodger players - more than any other club in his career.

As for the Dodger lineup, it should be no surprise that Yasiel Puig will be batting leadoff.  This batting position has been discussed in ad nauseum since the start of Spring Training.  He isn't your typical leadoff hitter, but with his combination of speed and OBP he should do fine.  BTW, last season he leadoff in 27 games, batted .333, OPS'd 1.026 and belted more home runs on average than at any other batting position. 

One surprise to this Opening Day lineup is who is batting 2nd.  Recent free agent signee, Justin Turner, will get the start at 2nd base and hit 2nd in the lineup over Dee Gordon.  Considering his phenomenal Spring, we shouldn't be surprised.  He has been splendid with the glove and has batted an impressive .355 the past month.  Something tells me that he'll make us forget about not signing Mark Ellis over the winter.  He appears to not only be more than capable, but also versatile.  Turner can play every infield position.

Just to let you know, the Diamondbacks lost to Team Australia this morning, 5-0.  Their top pitching prospect Archie Bradley was wild, and gave up 3 runs in 3 2/3 innings.  Team Australia sent out 7 different pitchers to blank the Diamondbacks.  They were gracious about the loss, via a tweet from the @DBacks.

Graphic above via @Dodgers on twitter.

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2014 Topps Opening Day Baseball - The Dodger Base Cards

Once again, Topps has decided to put out their Opening Day set, and I can barely muster up a fist bump to celebrate it.  As I've written in the past, this is probably the most unnecessary card set Topps will put out all year.  The only good thing about it is that it is usually cheaper to purchase than its companion flagship Series I Baseball card set put out just a few weeks ago. 

The Topps Opening Day set uses the exact same design as the Series 1 counterpart and the exact same photos from the base set.  The main difference between the two is the inclusion of a 2014 Opening Day logo on the front of the cards.  Furthermore, there are always a handful Dodger players inserted into this set that did not make it into the Series 1 flagship set, so we get an early peek at what their cards will look like when the Series 2 version comes out.  For instance, we get a first look at base cards of Clayton Kershaw, Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp in a Dodger uniform (see the 2014 Topps Series I Dodger base cards here). 

There are only 8 Dodgers' players represented in this 220 card set.  See them all below.  I'll a have the Dodgers' inserts to show in a future posting.

Base Set

#45 Carl Crawford                              #50 Clayton Kershaw

#135 Zack Greinke                             #182 Adrian Gonzalez

#193 Matt Kemp                            #208 Hanley Ramirez

#213 Hyun-Jin Ryu                                #219 Yasiel Puig

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Blog Kiosk: 3/21/2014 - Dodgers Links - Kershaw, Greinke, Adrian to Play

Check out Brian Wilson's hand-painted shoes, pic via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.  You should definitely check out Jon's photos from the Dodger exhibition game against Team Australia, here.
"Baseball is so hard as it is," he says. "For me, if you simplify it, it takes a little bit of the weight off, rather than trying to figure out all these other things. It's just peace of mind."
"I need to rest, get off my feet," said Gonzalez, who was removed from Thursday night's 4-2 exhibition win against Team Australia in the fourth inning. "I've done a lot of walking around the city. I'll be good [for Saturday night]. I'm positive I'll feel better tomorrow."
He could have been Clemson’s slugging third baseman as well as its Friday night starter, if not for the impeccable command and pitching savvy that earned him a $2.475 million bonus from the Royals that June. 

  • Via Chris Olds at Beckett, Topps is creating limited edition poster prints using old-time ballplayers from the 60's.  They look really cool.  Unfortunately, there is no Dodger on the checklist.  Boo!
  • Controlling the message.  Via Pedro Moura  at the OC Register, "Dodgers PR director speaks candidly in Australia".
"I’m of the view of giving it to our own website, which is double or triple what the readership of the Los Angeles Times is in print and online," Jareck said. "And we can spin it any way we want. You can tell the (in-house) writer, ‘here do this’ and they’ll do it.”

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