Thursday, December 31, 2015

Welcome to the Blue, Kenta Maeda!

Oh Boy!

Reports are swirling that the Dodgers have added another arm to their starting pitching staff, and for once it's not a lefty.  Instead, they appear to have signed recently posted Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda, per Jon Heyman on twitter:
Since we've all been bitten badly in the recent past on these kind of non-confirmed announcements, I would suggest taking this news with a grain of salt.  Still, after weeks of false starts and non-movements I can't help but be excited about what has happened the past few days.  All of the sudden, the Dodgers have a deep staff to go along with the best pitcher in the game - Clayton Kershaw.  Hopefully, this signing doesn't end up falling apart.  BTW, Jeff Passan mentions that it could be quite a few days before it becomes official.  On a side note, this signing should calm Brandon McCarthy's nerves.

For those who don't know, Maeda is suppose to be the next BIG Japanese import.  He throws five pitches, a four-seamer, a sinking fastball, slider, curveball and changeup.  Ben Badler at Baseball America said this of him:
Maeda has shown solid stuff across the board, with a fastball that sits at 89-93 mph and can touch 94, a tick above-average slider that he leans on heavily, along with a curveball and a changeup he will use to try to keep hitters off balance … (in the Premier 12 tournament in November), Maeda’s changeup was a plus pitch. At times, the pitch had good sink, at others it had excellent fade, and sometimes it had both.
(Pic via ‏@YakyuNightOwl on twitter)
Check out some more stories and reports on Maeda in the links below:
Make no mistake, Maeda's secondary pitches and his ability to locate them explain how he's been able to have sustained success in NPB without overpowering stuff. His low-80's slider is known as his best pitch despite true wipeout, bat-missing break because he's able to flip it for strikes to both righties and lefties in any count.
I don’t see Maeda — his nickname is Maeken, by the way (MAEda KENta) — as an ace or anything like that. It does seem like he has a chance to contribute as a mid-rotation guy for someone though.
Exact terms of the agreement are not yet know, but it had been previously noted that the posting fee expected by the Hiroshima Carp was $20 Million. 

In celebration of his signing I made the above two fantasy cards of him.  On the left, the photograph is from Koji Watanabe/Getty Images/ and I used the 1986 Topps Baseball card design.  On the right, the photograph was taken by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images North America during a WBC game in 2013 and I used the 1972 Topps Baseball card design.

Below are his career statistics as a player and a manager, via Baseball-Reference:

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Dodgers Cards on Milk Cartons

Where the heck have I been?  What are these?

I recently came across several eBay listings (here and here) featuring single serving sized milk cartons featuring Dodger players on a side panel.  Check out the pics above and below.  Four Dodgers are known to me (Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier), and I wonder if there are any more.

As you can see, they were created by Driftwood Dairy and the LA Dodgers Foundation appears to be a sponsor.  Apparently, unopened cartons (without any milk inside) where distributed at a Dodger game on June 16, 2014 to the surprise of fans in attendance - although, it's not clear to me if everybody got one or only folks within a certain section.

Being the fanatic collector that I am, I had to dig a little further to find out more and came across something on the Dodger website (link here).
The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) strongly believes that children who are healthy can achieve far greater results in the classroom than those who are ill and lack basic nutrition.

School Fuel is a 3-year campaign supporting universal breakfast for 700,000 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District. School Fuel was created by the LA Fund for Public Education.
LADF is the exclusive sports team partner of School Fuel. In addition to program support, the LADF features the Dodgers Foundation logo, player images and content on milk cartons and breakfast trays distributed to students each morning. Current Dodger players, Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford have lent their brand to this program that promotes health and wellness, a key pillar of LADF.
It appears that only four Dodger players are currently available, and that (along with the game giveaway) full cartons with milk where also distributed at schools as a part of this meal program.  Based on the numbers above these cartons do not appear to be rare; as it's likely that hundreds of thousands were printed up (if not millions).  Of course, it's also unlikely that large numbers of these will survive the test of time, so who knows.

Of note, the unopened empty cartons given away at the Dodger game in 2014 might prove to be scarce as time goes on; especially if kept in original unopened carton form.  For now, you can probably purchase them for only a few bucks a piece.  Sooner or later I'll have to track these down to add to my collection.

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Blog Kiosk: 12/31/2015 - Dodger Links - All About Kazmir

Here's another fantastic vintage International News press photo I ran into on eBay.  It is dated September 23, 1951 and features Phillies outfielder Richie Ashburn, Gil Hodges and the days umpire in the middle.  Via the description on the reverse:
Ump Larry Goetz (center) presents $500 US Bonds Singer Awards (Jack Singer, INP writer killed in WWII) to Ashburn and Hodges their Good Sportsmanship.
BTW, the Dodgers defeated the Phillies, 6-2, that afternoon.  Dodger starting pitcher Preacher Roe pitched a complete game for the victory.  Also, Roy Campanella hit his 36th home run of the season, and Andy Pafko hit his 26th.  Below are more links to check out:
We did come to an agreement in principle (to acquire Chapman), but as (additional) details came to light, we just weren’t comfortable making the move. 
For the Dodgers, this isn’t a major move. That’s a weird thing to say about a $48-million free-agent contract, but Kazmir isn’t going to be one of the stars on the roster. He’s depth, a potential No. 2 starter in a rotation full of No. 2 candidates behind the No. 1. I don’t know if Kazmir is better than Brett Anderson. I don’t know if Kazmir is more dependable than Brett Anderson. I don’t know what Hyun-Jin Ryu is going to do after his shoulder surgery. The most important thing here is a bit of stability. Kazmir comes with his question marks, but his presence removes one question mark from the Dodgers’ list. Others remain, but you can’t address everything. Nor do you need to with the season months away.
Via Farhan Zaidi: “He was really a fastball-breaking guy in the Tampa days,” Zaidi said. “In Oakland, he really evolved into a fastball-changeup guy. His changeup is one of the best in baseball. I think when pitchers have that type of athleticism, that ability to adapt as pitchers … those guys tend to be more successful.”
  • Adrian Gonzalez wonders aloud (on twitter) about the implications to him with an all-lefty starting staff:

  • Panini America shares a bunch of preview pics of their newest Baseball card set: 2015 Elite Extra Edition.  (Link here) It is now available in stores.  Below are autographed cards of Corey Seager, Julio Urias and Grant Holmes.
Of particular interest to Cubs fans was Mr. Kendrick's description of Buck O'Neil, who was instrumental in bringing down the walls of segregated baseball, by being hired by the Cubs as the first African-American scout and coach in the Major Leagues. He is credited with bringing Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Lou Brock, among others, to the Cubs and serving as an inspiration and father figure to many of the first black players

"There's no denying Buck O'Neil's influence on Ernie Banks, on Lou Brock, on Billy Williams, all those guys that came up for the Cubs, George Altman, Gene Baker," Mr. Kendrick said. "Buck took Ernie under his wing. Buck O'Neill was like a father figure to Ernie, He taught him how to be a pro."

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Another Lefty Causes Dodgers' to Chat on Twitter

Dodger fans finally have something positive to talk about, and so do the players.  In fact, following the announcement that Scott Kazmir is officially a teammate several players took to twitter to celebrate.


Much of the starting staff, including one of the catchers, decided to have a little bit of fun.  Check out what fellow lefty Brett Anderson had to say:
AJ, of course, had to get in on the act.

Then out of the Blue, Clayton came on:
The lone righty in the bunch decided that this signing calls for some serious intervention. 

Could a case be made?
I don't think this situation calls for any kind of "affirmative action" to the starting staff.  Although, there is that outside possibility that the Dodgers could still go after Japanese right-hander Maeda.

And finally, Kazmir ingratiates himself to the team and it's fans with the below tweet.
On a side note, I'm still waiting for the other lefty's in the group to chime in.  I'll let you know if Alex Wood or Hyun-Jin Ryu let their voices be heard.

BTW, I had so much fun making fantasy cards for Scott Kazmir I decided to make another.  You can see that at the very top.  I used a photograph by Rob Tringali/Getty Images North America taken during an Angels photo day in 2011 and the 1982 Topps Baseball card design.  Frankly, this entire post is just an excuse to put up this card.

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Welcome to the Blue, Scott Kazmir!

Finally!  A deal that gets done.

The Dodgers announced today that they have just (officially) signed 31-year old free agent left-handed pitcher Scott Kazmir.  So we won't have a cancelled deal here.  It is a three-year contract, at $48 million and according to Jon Heyman on twitter he has an opt-out agreement after year one. 

This signing gives the Dodgers a very heavy left-handed starting rotation (Kershaw, Anderson, Wood & Ryu).  He throws a four-seam and two-seam fastball in the low-90's, a mid-80's slider, a change in the loow 80's and an curveball.  BTW, Michael Beller at SI noted that Kazmir started to throw his curveball with more regularity last season (link here).  Also, Dustin Nosler at Dodgers Digest put together a nice write-up on Kazmir recently that is worth checking out here.

Per a Dodger press release:
Kazmir, 31, has a 98-90 career record with a 3.96 ERA in 272 games (271 starts) in 11 big league seasons, all in the American League, with the Rays (2004-09), Angels (2009-11), Indians (2013), Athletics (2014-15) and Astros (2015). The three-time All-Star (2006, ’08, ’14) has posted double-digit victories in seven of his 11 MLB seasons and has averaged nearly a strikeout per inning during the course of his career with 1,474 Ks in 1,553.1 innings, including a career high and AL-best 239 strikeouts in 2007 with Tampa Bay.

In 2015 with Oakland and Houston, Kazmir combined to post a 7-11 record with a 3.10 ERA in 31 starts, ranking among the AL’s best in ERA (4th), opponents’ batting average (.237, 15th) and WHIP (1.21, 15th). He produced a 43.4 groundball percentage and forced an average of 0.84 double plays per 9.0 innings, the eighth-highest mark in the AL.
In celebration of his hiring I made the above two fantasy cards of him.  On the left, the photograph was taken by Scot Tucker/SF Bay and I used the 1979 Topps Baseball card design.  On the right, the photograph was taken by Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America and I used the 1974 Topps Baseball card design.

Below are his career statistics as a player and a manager, via Baseball-Reference:

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Blog Kiosk: 12/30/2015 - Dodger Links - Yimi, Frankie and Happy Birthday to You Sandy

Happy Birthday, Sandy!

Today is his 80th birthday, so I figured I'd begin this kiosk with a vintage AP Press Photo of Koufax gleefully decimating the Yankees.  Check it out above.  This pic recently sold on eBay (link here).  The photo is the aftermath of his 15th strike out of the evening during Game 1 of the 1963 World Series in New York.  The Dodgers easily beat the bombers 5-2 that day, and went on to sweep them to become World Champions.

BTW, earlier this month I wrote several post featuring every Sandy Koufax card and memorabilia item from his playing days.  Check them out here: Part 1 (1955-1959); Part 2 (1960-1962); Part 3 (1963-1964); Part 4 (1965-1967).   

Below are more links to check out:
  • You gotta check these all out.  Dan Glickman at the Hall of Very Good shares a great list of some of the best links of 2015.  They are all worth a read.
  • I'm sure you heard that Yimi Garcia was in a little car accident in the Dominican Republic (link here) recently.  No worries, though.  He tells us, via his twitter, that he and his family are doing fine.

  • Newest Dodger prospect Frankie Montas continues a tradition that I hope never ends.  On his twitter (@frankmontas) he replaced his profile pic with a fantastic photoshop creation.  Check it out on the right.  He credited McCarthy and Anderson for the inspiration.
  • Alex Campos at Dodgers Way is absolutely right; "Dodgers Did the Right Thing With Chapman."  The front office is in a "damned if they do, damned if they don't" situation, so why worry.  They should stick to the plan (as they have been) and move forward as best they can.  I firmly believe they were right to move past Chapman, and I am truly excited about the future of the franchise. 
  • Night Owl Cards shares a final look at his wallet card (link here).  I too didn't keep up with sharing pics of my wallet card, but I promise to put up a photo of it soon.
  • Listen to former Dodger GM Fred Claire talks and Baseball with Clubhouse Chatter:

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Check Out this Vintage Brooklyn Dodger T

Here's something you don't see everyday.

Featured is a vintage, circa 1950's era, Brooklyn Dodgers t-shirt found at Inside the Park Collectibles current auction (link here).   It has some fantastic graphics of Baseball action divided by crossed bats.  It also displays several Baseball phrases well known to fans of the game: "Double Play, It's a Hit and Yer Out!"  Strangely, the Dodgers script (typically in Blue) is seen here in red.

It's sized for a child, so if you're as old and as big as myself then you won't be able to wear it.

Which is too bad. 

I wouldn't mind trying this one on.

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Blog Kiosk: 12/29/2015 - Dodger Links - Seager, Maeda and Ethier's Popular Tirade

Here's another fantastic photo shared by Dodger photographer Jon SooHoo on the teams Instagram page.  It is of Vin Scully sitting behind within the bowels of Boston's Green Monster at Fenway Park on June 11, 2004.  They are celebrating some of the work of the 30-year tenured photographer as we near the end of the year.  Go to this link to check them all out. 

Below are more links to check out:
  • Via Jonathan Mayo at, "Youth tube: Top prospects in execs' eyes."  He polls the leagues GM's and other executives to discover that Corey Seager is the top ranked position prospect in the game.
Many polled pointed to Seager's advanced hitting skills as the reason for picking him. The fact that most see him able to stay at shortstop, at least for the time being, means he's also an up-the-middle player with the ability to make a tremendous offensive impact.

"I certainly understand Buxton's upside, but I'd go with Corey Seager," a second general manager said. "Rarely do you find a player with both a high floor and high ceiling. He not only has skills and tools, but also great makeup to go along with it."

"The impact bat at the shortstop position, plus the fact that he has been more durable, gives him the edge for me," one pro scouting director added.
Could they use another starter? Sure. Maybe they will make a big trade yet. Maybe they will hold on to Julio Urias and Jose De Leon, who could crack the rotation later in the season. The fans are restless, but the Dodgers are still the team to beat in the West.
"A solid mid-rotation guy," the American League scout said. "If you're expecting him to be a 1 or a 2, I don't think that's fair to him."

"A prototypical blue-collar starter," the other scout, who works for a National League team, said. "Think of a guy who might go 13-9 or 14-10."
  • Rich Mueller at Sports Collectors Daily takes a look at the "Most Valuable Sports Memorabilia of 2015," and a Sandy Koufax game-used jersey made the cut.
  • Via Blowout Buzz, they point out a feature in the 2015 Topps Strata set that I forgot to mention.  The "Clearly Authentic" insert cards include an MLB Authentication sticker denoting authenticity and specific game-dating of the jersey piece.  With the recent scandals centered around fake uniforms still fresh in many minds of many this feature is a welcome surprise. 

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Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 Bowman's Best - The Dodgers Insert Cards

Following up on the Dodgers base cards I shared last week, check out all of the insert cards that are available in Topps 2015 Bowman's Best packs below.  Several top-flight prospects are in this set; including Julio Urias and Corey Seager.  Autograph cards can be found for former 1st round draft picks Grant Holmes and Walker Buehler.

Best of 2015 Autographs

#B15-AG Adrian Gonzalez                    #B15-CD Chase De Jong

Blog Kiosk: 12/28/2015 - Dodger Links - Some Odds and Ends

Check out this fantastic action press photograph, found on eBay, of future Cardinals Hall of Famer Frankie Frisch being forced out at third base during a Thursday afternoon game at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis.  Making the play for the Dodgers is third-sacker Jim Bucher.  It is from a game played on September 19, 1935.  Unfortunately, the Dodgers would get walloped 9-1 this day by the eventually World Series victors.  BTW, this photo was once a part of the fantastic George Michael Collection (a noted sports broadcaster) of Baseball sliding press photos.

Below are more links to check out:
  • RIP, Dave Henderson.  He died yesterday at the age of 57, via an AP report on FoxSports.  I still vividly remember his crushing home run during the 1986 ALCS against the Angels, and recall being kinda sad for my other 14-year old friends.  Secretly, though, I was overjoyed (since the Dodgers were nowhere near as good that season), and forever considered Henderson to be the greatest clutch hitter of all time (hey, I was 14).  I also remember being more fearful of him than anyone else in that A's lineup during the 1988 World Series.
  • Via Rick McNair at Bosox Injection, "Former Boston Red Sox Alex Hassan signs with Dodgers."  He is 27 years old and signed a minor league contract as an outfielder.
  • Look who's back.  The Dodgers signed Elian Herrera to a minor league contract over the weekend, via Mark Polishuk at MLB Trade Rumors.  Via Elian's twitter:

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

2015 Bowman's Best Baseball - The Dodgers Base Cards

After a decade long hiatus Topps has decided to bring back their Bowman's Best Baseball card brand as a standalone product, and it was officially released yesterday.  Check out all of the Dodger base cards below.  Go here for a complete checklist.

There are five Dodger players in the 100-card base set and two Dodger prospects in the companion Top Prospects set.

#10 Yasiel Puig

Blog Kiosk: 12/24/2015 - Dodger Links - Some Odds and Ends Before the Holidays

With the year coming to a close the Dodgers are sharing a bunch of old photos from the past 30 years of Jon SooHoo's tenure.  As you know, he's been the Dodgers official photographer for the past three decades.  You can check out those pics exclusively on their Instagram account; using the hashtag #soohoo30Go to this link to check them out.  The photo above features two young Dodger prospects before they would ever have an opportunity to put on a Major League uniform.  Meet prospects Blake DeWitt and Clayton Kershaw - "Before the Bigs."

Below are more links to check out:
  • Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, "Dodgers continue to show interest in Kenta Maeda."
  • Former Dodger Jerry Sands has been claimed by the White Sox, via Jeff Todd at MLB Trade Rumors.
  • A minor transaction.  Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, "Astros claim Daniel Reynolds off waivers from Dodgers."
  • Panini provides an early peek at some of the 2015 National Treasures Baseball cards that will be hitting stores come early January; including the Joc Pederson card on the right.  Go here to check out a bunch more pics.
  • The other night the LA Kings wore some fantastic Christmas themed jerseys for their pregame skate, and auctioned them that same evening to benefit the victims of the recent San Bernardino shooting.  Go here to check out the results.  Surprisingly, backup goalie Jhonas Enroth's jersey sold for the most - at $4,000.  Other sales include Jonathan Quick at $3,025; Anze Kopitar at $2,525; Drew Doughty at $2,275; and Alex Martinez at $2,025.  The below are pics of the jersey's via the LAKings on twitter:
  • Panini shares a bunch of preview pics of their 2015 USA Baseball Box Sets that include cards of some of the best and brightest prep stars in the country.  Check it out here.  It doesn't look like any current Dodger prospects is a part of this set yet, but I suspect a player or two will eventually be in our system as some of the prep stars get old enough to be drafted.  Go here for a complete checklist.  BTW, this set is now officially available in stores.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 Topps Strata Baseball - All the Dodgers Cards

Once just a fancy insert, Topps Strata has gone legit.  It is now its very own standalone Baseball card brand.  As you know, these are acetate cards that promises two hits per box.  BTW, boxes will cost you about $75 to $90 a piece for two cards.  Go here for a complete checklist.

As you can see, there is no base set.  Instead, every card either has an autograph, relic or both.  One of the Kershaw cards comes with a redemption.  There are a couple of cards I have yet to see, so I'll update this post once they come to light.


#SA-AGZ Adrian Gonzalez                  #SA-CKW Clayton Kershaw

Happy Festivus Day! - The Airing of Grievances

A Festivus for the rest of us!

As has been the tradition on this blog, I will now begin this merry occasion with the "Airing of Grievances."
  • SportsNet LA, Time Warner and the Dodgers management shall be forever hated by this and any right thinking fan for allowing this television debacle to continue.  For the love of God... This is Vin Scully's last season, and there are millions of fans STILL unable to hear his words!
  • Damn you Zack Greinke!  Didn't you like it in LA?  Didn't we fans treat you right?  Are a few more dollars really worth moving to the hell-hole that is Phoenix?
  • STOP with the Jose Fernandez rumors!  It's not going to happen.  
  • And will those reporters/bloggers who keep pushing the Fernandez narrative, please stop.  It's obvious click-bait and it's disgusting.
  • To those fans who insist that we should be willing to trade the farm for someone like Fernandez, I say you are wrong.  The Dodgers have a plan, and it consist of building a farm system that will continually provide players to feed the big club.  To turn around now, just as we are about to reap some rewards, is foolhardy.  As Peter Gammons said, this is about "21st century Branch Rickeyism."  Deal with it!
  • There is never a reason to strike a woman - I'm looking at you Aroldis Chapman.
  • Screw you TMZ.  You sensationalist A-holes!  You pushed the story that Puig committed some heinous violent act at some bar recently only to share a video of said altercation that is not him - obviously (link here).  Not only that, we learned that the initial story is likely far removed from reality (link here).
I'm sure as the day progresses I'll discover even more folks who should be on this list.  For now, this will have to do.  In the meantime, anyone want to wrestle?

Video Link:

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Blog Kiosk: 12/23/2015 - Dodger Links - Turner, Alvarez and Stan Kasten

Following up yesterday's announcement that Dodger Stadium would soon have a Jackie Robinson statue on its grounds I thought I'd put up this fantastic United Press photograph of the Hall of Famer in action.  (Check out the eBay auction here)  It is from late-August in Chicago during the 1952 season.  Per the descriptor on the reverse:
Jackie Robinson got the Dodgers off to a flying start in the first inning of todays game with the Cubs by hitting a triple to right field.  Robinson slides safely into third as Cubs third sacker Randy JAckson reaches for the throw from right fielder Bob Addis.  The umpire is Lee Ballanfant.  Robinson then came home on George Shuba's base hit as the Dodgers went on to beat the Cubs 9-6.
It should come as no surprise that he was the bellwether in the game - as he was in life.  Below are more links to check out:
Was [president of baseball operations] Andrew Friedman given a mandate to decrease the payroll?

Kasten: Let's go back to the start. Did you not see us make big offers? Don't pretend that's not there. What is important is that we continue the program we began three years ago of becoming more self-reliant on our own development. Over the course of time, becoming a younger team will be cheaper, but it will also be one that stays good longer. From the start, I said we don't make decisions by looking at payroll. I didn't know what it was going to end up being last year. We had to do some cleanup for the new administration. If you told me it would be the highest in baseball again next year, that might well be right. I just don't know yet. It's not the biggest consideration. The biggest consideration is putting winning teams on the field.
Perhaps of greater interest with Alvarez is how easy his arm works to generate velocity. Alvarez has a fluid motion, though the arm action can be long, creating velocity so effortlessly. It’s that type of ease that makes many believe he will be an elite starter at his peak, needing little effort to produce plus stuff. 
"It feels great," he said at Friday's annual children's holiday party. "I got off crutches beginning this week, started strengthening stuff, doing cardio stuff as low impact as I could. I saw ElAttrache and he was pretty pleased with how it looked."
  • Craig Edwards at FanGraphs writes about, "Joc Pederson’s Ugly Second Half."
  • Via Zach Links at MLB Trade Rumors, "Latest On Kenta Maeda."  The Dodgers appear to be players for his services.
  • Panini provided an early look at some of the 2015 Immaculate College cards on their blog (link here); including the Dodgers 2015 1st round draft pick card of Walker Buehler on the right.  This set officially goes live today.
  • Via Joe Posnanski at NBC Sports, "Set the record straight: Even Pete Rose's career-defining record is a fake."
  • This is fun.  Via Blowout Buzz, ""Five top Santa Claus cards *serious* collectors need right now."
  • Blowout Buzz shares a bunch of preview pics from 2016 Topps Pro Debut; including the below Julio Urias card.  This set comes out in late-May 2016.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

2015 Topps Dynasty - All the Dodger Cards

This product is as high-end as you can get.  For the price of $250 to $300 you get a single box with one encased autographed card.  So this Baseball card brand is not for the weary.

On the positive side, the cards are attractive, and they feature many of the best current and former ballplayers in the game.  Go here for a checklist.

Like last years set, each players "Autographed Patches" have numerous variations available.  For Kershaw and Puig there are at least five different cards available.  So far, I count only three Pederson cards.  I'll update this post should any more pop up.  Also, each variation only has 16 possible copies in existence (including parallels).  There is a blue tint parallel card numbered to ten, a green tint parallel numbered to five and a red tint parallel numbered to only one copy.

I've done my best to collect pics of all the different cards available.  Check them out below.  BTW, you will notice that the backs of each different card has a different description.  Click on any pic to embiggen.  Of note, there is a Will Ferrell (in a DBacks & Angels uni) and John Elway (as a Yankee) cards available.

Autographed Patches

#Nomar Garciaparra

  • redemptions only - printed checklist indicates he'll be a Dodger on these cards.

#Clayton Kershaw

#Clayton Kershaw AP-CKE1

Dodger Stadium to get its First Statue - Jackie Robinson

It's about time, right?

This morning the Dodgers announced that Dodger Stadium would be getting its very first statue and to the surprise of no one it will be of Jackie Robinson.
“The Dodgers have a rich history of breaking barriers and it all began with Jackie Robinson in 1947,” said Dodgers’ President and CEO Stan Kasten. “Therefore, it is altogether fitting that our first statue at Dodger Stadium be of Jackie. The class that Jackie exhibited while still performing at the highest level made everything that has happened since not only in baseball, but in many respects throughout American society, possible. It is with great humility and joy that the Dodgers launch this project in concert with Rachel Robinson and the Jackie Robinson Foundation."
Per Rachel Robinson:
"We're thrilled that the Dodgers will honor Jack with the inaugural statue at Dodger Stadium," said Rachel Robinson, wife of Jackie Robinson and founder of the Jackie Robinson Foundation. 
The exact location of the statue is still up in the air, but the sculptor commissioned to complete it is not.  The Dodgers have chosen New York City-born (once living in Brooklyn) and now California-based sculptor Branly Cadet. 
(pic via NY Art Foundry)
“I am so honored to have the opportunity to design a sculpture memorial to Jackie Robinson for the Los Angeles Dodgers,” said Cadet.  “He is an icon of American history being celebrated by a legendary team in a grand city.   I’m excited to create a design that is both befitting of this context and pays homage to his legacy as a sports hero and civic leader.”
The piece will center around the theme, “Leveling the Playing Field.”  It is expected to stand approximately nine to ten feet tall, and is expected to be unveiled during the 2016 Baseball season.

You can view Branly Cadet's website here.  Cadet began studying sculpture at Cornell University, continued his studies in figurative art at the New York Academy of Art, The Arts Students League, and in France at the Vaugel Sculpture Studio and L'Ecole Albert Defois.  He had previously won the James Wilbur Johnston National Figure Sculpture Competition.  Notable past works include a William Shakespeare medallion at the former Booth Theatre site in New York City and an Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Memorial in front of the New York State Office Building in New York City.  A couple of pics of the Powell statue (including Cadet himself) can be seen on the right and below.

(photo via his website)

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Blog Kiosk: 12/22/2015 - Dodger Links - Anderson, Hatcher and Friedman's Rebuild

Old Dodger Skipper Leo Durocher is doing what many of us hope to be doing soon in the photo above.  He is about to embark onto a plane towards the Dodgers Spring Training home in Havana, Cuba for the 1947 season.  As you know, the emergence of Jackie Robinson that year would cause all kinds of strife behind the scenes that spring; including a petition by several players against Jackie.  Nevertheless, the breaking of the color barrier would soon commence.  BTW, Durocher's was eventually suspended as manager before the start of the season (it was related to his association with known gamblers), but not before squelching the aforementioned petition.  On a side note, Durocher so admired Robinson he started calling him a "Durocher with talent."  The ACME press photo above was found on eBay.

below are more links to check out:
  • This is exactly right.  The Dodgers are rebuilding the minor league system while at the same time staying competitive, and within a few short years we'll reap the benefits.  Via Nick Lampe at Beyond the Boxscore, "Andrew Friedman is building a long-term juggernaut without sacrificing the present."
Despite everything that has happened this offseason, the Dodgers are in a better position than ever to compete in 2016 and beyond as a result of some of the moves made by Andrew Friedman and company over the last year. Looking ahead to 2016, the Dodgers are in an excellent position to win the NL West title for the fourth year in a row. At this point in time, FanGraphs depth charts have the Dodgers at 47.6 WAR, which roughly equates to a 95-win team. This total is the second-best in all of baseball behind only the Cubs (51.8 WAR), and it puts them eight games in front of the Giants and 16 games in front of the Diamondbacks.
The waiters who had been hustling to set tables for dinner on the patio a few feet away suddenly stopped and looked out at the lawn, then back at one another, completely confused. The guy was throwing heat.

A hotel guest ran over and asked in disbelief, “Is that … Clayton Kershaw?”
  • Check out who's on the cover of Baseball America 2016 Prospect Handbook - Corey Seager.  Check it out on the right.  You can order a copy here.
  • Via David Hood at True Blue LA, "Dodgers top prospects 2016: No. 13, Chris Anderson."
It’s possible that Anderson has more value in trade for the Dodgers, but 2015 was a step back and he could use next season to rebuild value or repackage himself as a reliever. He could return to Tulsa to start next season if the Dodgers wish to continue his development as a starter, but I most likely see his 2016 role in the Oklahoma City bullpen. He’s ranked as high as he is because the potential is still there for late relief, but next season is a make or break season for Anderson’s prospect value. If Anderson’s best stuff shows itself more frequently in relief, it’s possible that he could make his Dodgers’ debut at the end of the 2016 season.
“I think early on in the year, I sat there and overanalyzed what I was doing,” he said. “But at the end of the year, it was more, ‘Give me that ball. I’ll move on. If I give up one, give it to me tomorrow.'”
  • The Dodgers activity in the international arena continues abated.  Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA, "Dodgers international notes: Carlos Sierra, Juan Camilo Zabala, Emmanuel Marcano."

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Monday, December 21, 2015

Meet Your Dodgers Minor League Managers - Some Fantasy BB Cards

In what should be expected to be a slow news week, the Dodgers unveiled who will be skippering their fast rising prospects throughout the minor leagues.  As you'll recall, this past Thursday they shared who would be coaching the big club in Los Angeles (see my post here about this).
  • Bill Haselman at Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers
  • Ryan Garko at Double-A Tulsa Drillers
  • Drew Saylor at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
  • Gil Velazquez at Single-A Great Lakes Loons
  • Shaun Larkin at Rookie-advanced Ogden Raptors
  • John Shoemaker at the Rookie-level Arizona League Dodgers
As I am want to do, I made several fantasy Baseball cards for the new coach's.  Check them out below.  BTW, I paired the fantasy cards with a brief biography provided by the Dodgers PR group.

All of these fellows will be managing their teams for the first time.  Garko, Saylor and Larkin are brand new to the organization.  So, as a die-hard Dodger fan I'd like to welcome them all to the Dodger Blue family.

Bill Haselman continues his ascent up the Dodgers’ organization ladder as manager of Triple-A Oklahoma City after leading Single-A Rancho Cucamonga to a California League title in 2015. The 49-year-old enters his third year in the Dodger organization and his sixth season as a minor league skipper after leading Single-A Great Lakes in 2014, the Angels’ Single-A Inland Empire in 2012-13 and the Rangers’ Single-A Bakersfield in 2010. The UCLA product was a first-round draft pick of the Rangers in 1987 and went on to play 13 big league seasons with the Rangers (1990, 1998, 2000-02), Mariners (1992-94), Red Sox (1995-97, 2003) and Tigers (1998).  Via a story written by Michelle Gardner at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in June:
“He has got so much baseball knowledge, more than we’ll probably ever have,” said outfielder Brian Wolfe, who also had Haselman as a coach for a brief time while he was at the University of Washington. “He really lets you just be yourself.”
Ryan Garko, 34, will take over as Double-A Tulsa manager after 10 professional seasons as an outfielder, catcher and first baseman, including six big league seasons with the Indians (2005-09), Giants (2009) and Rangers (2010). Garko entered the coaching ranks in 2014 as an assistant coach at Stanford University, where he played college ball prior to being selected by Cleveland in the third round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft. Born in Pennsylvania, Garko grew up in Orange County and graduated from Servite High School in Anaheim.  Via Eric Stephen at True Blue LA:
"I'm very excited to join the Dodgers organization and to come to Tulsa," said Garko. "No city or affiliate has a better reputation than Tulsa, and I look forward to bringing my family there."
Drew Saylor, 31, joins the Dodger organization as Single-A Rancho Cucamonga manager after four years in the Rockies’ system as hitting coach for Rookie-advanced Grand Junction (2012) and Single-A Modesto (2015),  and manager for Single-A Tri-City (2013-14), where his club compiled a 67-85 record (.441) over two seasons. Prior to his time in the Colorado organization, Saylor served as an assistant coach at the University of Akron (2011) and Cleveland State University (2009) following the conclusion of a five-year professional career in the Astros and Marlins minor league systems. He was originally selected by the Marlins in the 13th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of Kent State University.  You can follow Shaun on twitter here: @drewsaylor19.  Via a tweet by Saylor:
Excited to be a part of the Los Angeles Dodgers! Thanks to the Rockies for 4 great years!
Gil Velazquez assumes a manager’s role for the first time in his career with Single-A Great Lakes following his coaching debut last season as the fourth coach for the Rookie-level AZL Dodgers. The 36-year-old enjoyed a 17-year professional career as an infielder, including five big league seasons with the Red Sox (2008-09), Angels (2011) and Marlins (2012-13) after being selected by the Mets in the 14th round of the 1998 First-Year Player Draft.

Shaun Larkin, 36, joins the Dodger organization as Ogden’s skipper following three seasons coaching in the Indians organization, including his managerial debut last year with Single-A Lake County (71-66, .518). Prior to his time in the Cleveland organization, which included stints as hitting coach at Single-A Mahoning Valley (2013) and Lake County (2014), Larkin served as an assistant coach at several schools in his native Southern California, at his alma mater, Cal State Northridge, from 2011-12, Orange Coast College in 2010 and Newport Harbor High School in 2009. Selected by the Indians in the ninth round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, Larkin played six professional seasons as an infielder in the Cleveland organization from 2002-07.  You can follow Shaun on twitter here: @SLarkin04.  Via a tweet from him:
Pumped to have the opportunity to also manage this year!
John Shoemaker.  After serving as Ogden’s manager in 2015, Shoemaker will lead the AZL Dodgers as he embarks on his 40th season in the Los Angeles organization and 23rd season as a minor league manager. Drafted by the Dodgers in the 35th round of the 1977 draft, Shoemaker has been with the club ever since, as a player (1977-80), manager, coach and coordinator, and, last season, he was appointed as the Dodgers’ “Captain” of Player Development. He was also recognized by Minor League Baseball as the 2015 recipient of the Mike Coolbaugh Award, which is presented annually to an individual who has shown outstanding baseball work ethic, knowledge of the game and skill in mentoring young players on the field.  Via a story in September by JP Hoornstra at the LA Daily News:
“Often-times you get into coaching and your objective is, ‘I want to manage in the big leagues.’ I feel like that is so far removed from me right now,” (Shoemaker) said. “I just enjoy what I’m doing in the minor leagues and I happen to have an important job.

“I know that hard work and dedication and loyalty, understanding that the boss is the boss, and you do what the boss says, and you follow the rules and you’re able to adapt.”

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