Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Brandon McCarthy is Now Officially a Dodger

Just in case you didn't already know, the Brandon McCarthy signing was made official this morning.  Via a Dodger press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced the signing of free-agent right-handed pitcher Brandon McCarthy to a four-year contract.
McCarthy, 31, established career highs in wins (10), strikeouts (175) and innings pitched (200.0) last season with the Diamondbacks and Yankees, going 10-15 with a 4.05 ERA in 32 starts. He ranked ninth among MLB starters with a 5.30 strikeout-to-walk ratio and averaged only 1.49 walks per 9.0 innings, the eighth-best mark in the Majors. Beginning with his final two starts with the D-backs and through his 14 starts with New York following his July 6 trade, McCarthy was one of the game's best pitchers, going 9-5 with a 2.80 ERA (32 ER/103.0 IP) from June 27 to the conclusion of the season.
Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times also shared some contract details on twitter:

And as I stated in a post earlier today, the Dodgers DFA'd Brian Wilson to make room for McCarthy on the 40-man roster.  Dodger GM Farhan Zaidi had this to say about it,
"We don’t want to be sort of tied down by financial obligations — we’re just trying to build the best team we can for 2015."
Well, this morning Zaidi held a telephone press conference today, and I had an opportunity to listen in on it.  Below are some brief notes on what was discussed:
  • Brandon McCarthy made changes to his winter routine by doing some upper body lifting.  Zaidi believes that should make him a more durable player going forward.
  • Last season McCarthy added 2MPH to his fastball; which is unheard of for a pitcher of his age.
  • The 4-year contract to McCarthy was based on an interest in a long-term solution and in response to potential opt-out clauses to Kershaw and Greinke contracts.  Zaidi also mentioned that the marketplace dictated the length of deal.
  • Zaidi continue to emphasize that McCarthy pitched 200 innings last season.
  • Said Stan Conte was heavily involved in vetting the health of both McCarthy and Anderson.
  • Zaidi refused to say whether they would be looking around for another starting pitcher, saying "we feel very good about where we are having five starting pitchers who give us a chance to win every time out."
  • Farhan made the point of saying that when he was with the A's no pitcher made him more comfortable on the mound.  He knew McCarthy would execute their plan.
  • With regards to pending trades, they have no worries or concerns.  They are just logistical issues; i.e. scheduling physicals, etc.
  • Farnhan then stated the obvious, "On the defensive side of the ball, I do think that we've upgraded significantly."
At this point they announced that Brian Wilson had been DFA'd, and my mind went blank.  Like, really?  I just didn't think the Dodgers would walk away from his huge contract.  Of course, this is a different crew and they obviously want to quickly rid themselves of anything that might get in the way of their plans.  In fact, Zaidi stated that they just didn't consider Wilson to be one of their top 7 reliever options.

Later in the afternoon, Brandon McCarthy held his own telephone press interview.  Below are my notes:
  • Was born in Glendale, but lived in Pasadena til 11. 
  • Brandon idolized Orel Hershiser when he was a kid - he recalled running into him at Disneyland as a kid.
  • Said, "there was nothing that didn’t intrigue me about the Dodgers.  I grew up 10 miles from the stadium. The Dodgers were what I knew."
  • He looks forward to learning from Kershaw and Greinke.
  • He did some heavy lifting over winter to emphasize strength in shoulders and his back; lifting heavy and lifting often.  Knows that runs counter to what most folks think a pitcher should do.
  • He had a seizure after a head injury in 2013 and felt weaker due to a 13lbs. weight loss.  As a result, he decided to get into workout program to gain strength.  
  • Said Brett Anderson ( a former teammate in Oakland) is a "good quiet guy." An "unbelievable competitor... Always envisioned himself as being great... It's been devastating to see him go thru all these injuries."  He looks forward to spending the season with him and seeing him perform.

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Clayton Kershaw Can't Sing - And More Videos from the ACCA

Clayton can strike you out.  He can win Cy Young Awards and an MVP.  Heck, he's an overall good guy.  But, he surely can't sing.

The American Country Countdown Awards were last night, and NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson and Clayton Kershaw were asked to announce the winner for the 'Artist of the Year.'  Instead of the usual staid performance you'd expect, we were surprised with a duet.  A horrible, off-key, ear-shattering serenade.  Watch it below (Hat Tip: Stu Hothem at Nascar.com)

Oh boy!  I don't know what else to say.

While you're trying to rid yourself of what you've seen above, check out a couple of videos of Clayton and his wife on the red carpet below:

Video Link:

RaeLynn and Chelsea Cannell interview Clayton Kershaw on the Red Carpet at the 1st Annual American Country Countdown Awards. Clayton Kershaw talks about presenting Artist of the Year with Jimmie Johnson, being excited to meet Florida Georgia Line, and being a Taylor Swift fan.

Video Link:

Pic at the very top via @ACCAwards on twitter.

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Brian Wilson has been DFA'd

Holy Moly.  I didn't think they'd do this.

During this afternoons telephone press conference regarding the official signing of Brandon McCarthy, it was announced that the corresponding move to the 40-man roster would be to DFA Brian Wilson.

So, unless Wilson accepts a demotion to the minor leagues, he has likely already spent his last days within the Dodger organization.  There was no word of a possible trade for him, but if something comes along the Dodgers will consider it. 

Wilson is owed $9.5Mil for 2015, so that's quite a bit of change the Dodgers are walking away from.

UPDATE:  12/19/2014 According to Dylan Hernandez on twitter Wilson has been released by the Dodgers; meaning that the Dodger were unable to find a trade partner and are now on the hook for his $9.5Mil contract. 

Photo above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014

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Welcome to the Blue, Brett Anderson!

The Dodgers appear to have signed their #5 starter and his name is Brett Anderson.  Follow him on twitter here: @BAnderson_30.  His impending signing was initially announced by Buster Olney on twitter:

Anderson is a 26-year old left-hander who can throw a fastball, a curve, a changeup and a slider for strikes.  Originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2006 Draft, he quickly rose up the ladder.  In 2008 he was ranked the 36th-best prospect in the Major Leagues, and 7th overall by Baseball America in 2009.  Unfortunately, a lengthy injury history has slowed his progress.  Go to Baseball Prospectus to see the ugly details. 

Still, he remains an interesting player with significant upside potential.  After all, when he's healthy, he's very good.  Per Ron Cervenka's recent story at Think Blue LA:
Make no mistake about it, when Anderson is healthy he has been quite effective. In his career 81 starts over six MLB seasons he is 27-32 with a 3.73 ERA – not top-of-the-rotation stuff but excellent numbers for a fourth or fifth starter. In his 494.0 major league innings pitched he has a K/9 ratio of 7.0, a BB/9 ratio of 2.4 and a K/BB ratio of 2.90. But where Anderson is perhaps most effective is his ground ball rate of 55.4% (61% in his limited work in 2014).
From what I understand, Anderson still needs to have a physical performed by the Dodgers, so this is far from a done deal (especially considering his injury-riddled 2014).  So, stay tuned.

For more stories about Anderson check these out:

In celebration of Anderson's arrival to the Dodgers I made the above 2 fantasy cards for him.  I used Anderson's own avatar photograph on twitter and the 1987 Topps Baseball card design.  Which one do you like best - the normal photo or the photoshopped madness pic?  BTW, I believe the photoshop pic was created by twitter user @Dezzerrayy and subsequently adopted by Anderson. 

Below are the career stats for Brett Anderson, via Baseball-Reference:

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2014 Bowman Draft Baseball - The Dodger Autograph and Relic Cards

Here's a final look the Dodger cards available in 2014 Bowman Draft Baseball.  Go here to see all my previous post on this set.   This time we check out the various autograph and relic cards.  Check them out below.

Chrome Draft Pick Autographs

#BCA-AV Alex Verdugo                      #BCA-GH Grant Holmes

#BCA-JB Jeff Brigham

2014 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game Relics

#FGR-CS Corey Seager

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Blog Kiosk: 12/16/2014 - Dodger Links - McCarthy Can't Draw, Yasmani Grandal and a Brief Update on TV Situation

I just had to do it.  

If you've been hanging around twitter then you know that Brandon McCarthy has been making quite an impression on social media.  He's engaging, quirky and has a poor sense of aesthetics - that last part being the most important factor of all.

Although his signing with the Dodgers is not yet finalized, I think it's fair to say that he is hyped about coming to Los Angeles.  In fact, he's so excited he just couldn't allow his avatar photo on his twitter feed to remain as it was.  He had to erase Yankee pinstripe and move to Dodger Blue.  So, he found a photoshop-style program and did it the old fashion way.  Brandon McCarthy found his inner child and painted in Blue.  The results of which you can see in the fantasy card I made above.  You can also check out his twitter to see it in its original glory: @MCcCarthy32.  (UPDATE: I stand corrected, the photo was drawn by twitter user @a20261.)

Best yet, his wife had some choice words about his efforts.  Check that out below.

You should take note that Amanda McCarthy has her own glorious Blue painted avatar photo that she now uses.  That was created by Lasorda's Lair blogger Stacie Wheeler

Below are some links to check out:
  • Via Ron Cervenka at Think Blue LA, "Kemp’s departure guarantees Eric Karros L.A. Dodgers immortality."
  • Via Dustin Nosler at Dodgers Digest, "Yasmani Grandal could make trading Matt Kemp palatable."  I hope your right, Dustin.  Other than pitch framing, his skills behind the plate are lacking.  He is just not my ideal vision of a catcher; especially after learning about his injury history.  My fear is that his days as a catcher will be over sooner than later. 
  • Via del4rel at Gaslamp Ball, "The Many Levels of the Matt Kemp Trade."  This one part about Yasmani Grandal is disconcerting:
A discussion of Grandal is incomplete without discussing his surgically repaired knee.  In the sports medicine world there are three kinds of lower body injuries: 1. Injuries.  2. Knee injuries.  3. ACL tears.  Even without a comprehensive survey, you can say with relative certainty that ACL tears have ended more football, baseball, and basketball careers than any other kind of trauma.  To put it in Padres terms - ACL tears are the lower body equivalent to Tommy John surgery.  Already an iffy defender, Grandal is now even less mobile behind the dish than he was pre-injury.  Catcher is easily the hardest position on a player's knees, and unless Grandal breaks into a much much better hitter, his value is tied to staying at catcher.  Couple this with a guy who isn't winning any popularity contests, you have to consider moving him before he has a chance to prove the hype wrong.
“I’m reasonably confident,” Kasten told Christopher Russo, “because of all the various business deals going on. We think when that gets settled we expect the full coverage to be a part of the overall solution.”
  • Via Dodgers Low-Down on facebook, he lets us know that the Dodgers on Direct TV is a big NO.  It sounds like it ain't going to happen.  Boo!
  • As I noted yesterday, Sy Berger died on Sunday morning at the age of 91.  He was a legend in the card and memorabilia hobby, and an important player within the business of Baseball.  All collectors and fans of the game owe him a bit of gratitude.  Fittingly, Keith Olbermann went on his show last night and honored him with a fantastic obituary.  Watch it below.

Video Link:

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