Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Welcome to the Blue, Hector Olivera!

Let's just sign all the Cuban infielders!

Word has come down the pike, originally via a tweet from Jesse Sanchez at MLB.com, that the Dodgers have nabbed soon-to-be 30-year old Hector Olivera.

Oh, boy!  Maybe we shouldn't be so angry about the Time Warner deal.  After all, could the Dodgers throw money around like this if they hadn't signed that $8Billion contract?

There's still some uncertainty about when he'll be ready to contribute to the Dodgers.  He requires a visa to come over to the states, and I suspect he'll need some time in the minors before being ready.  Heck, maybe he spends the entire season in AAA - just like his countrymen.  As for the past reports about a damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm, I hope they prove false.  BTW, this deal has not yet been confirmed by the Dodgers.

Clearly, this signing is all about shoring up the infield beyond this season.  Uribe, Rollins, Kendricks, Barney and Turner are free agents after 2015.  And the Dodgers now have Corey Seager, Kike Hernandez, Alex Guerrero, Arruebarrena, Darnell Sweeney and now Olivera in the mix going forward.  Olivera is purported to be better suited for third base, so imagine that's were we should expect to see him.

Below are a bunch of links about Olivera:
It sure is good to be rich.  Now, if they could only get the team on television.

In celebration of Olivera's arrival to the Dodgers I made the above fantasy card for him.  I grabbed a photo from Bronx Baseball Daily and used the 1962 Topps Baseball card design.

Below are the career stats in Cuba for Hector Olivera, via Baseball-Reference:

And here are some videos:

This is a video from a open workout for scouts in early February, via FanGraphs.

Video Link:

Here is another showcase video - with really bad music.

Video Link:

Here's an overview of the deal by Matt Snyder at CBS Sports.

Video Link:

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* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

2015 Topps Tribute Baseball - The Dodger Autograph Cards

Here are the cards that has collectors in a tizzy.  Below are all of the Dodger autographed cards that can be found in boxes of 2015 Topps Tribute Baseball.  As you know, this issue has been rife with problems.  Many of the autographs are found smudged or fading (the Valenzuela and Gonzalez cards are good examples of this), so Topps issued a full recall to rectify the problem.  Nevertheless, many of the cards have made it to eBay anyway. Check them out below.


#TA-FV Fernando Valenzuela

#TA-HR Hanley Ramirez

Time Warner Said to Take $1Billion Loss on Dodger Deal

Per a report this morning, via Claire Atkinson and Josh Kosman at the NY Post, Time Warner is expected to write down the value of the the Dodger RCN asset by $1Billion.  That's a whole lot of change lost in the couch, and based on the indicated report a necessary move in order to satisfy Comcast.
Sources told The Post that the market rate for the channel is more likely $3 per subscriber per month, meaning the charge will be almost $1 billion when adjusted over the life of the contract or in the region of $700 million in present-day terms.

“Comcast will be made whole,” said the source, suggesting this mess had to be cleaned up as a condition of Comcast’s proposed deal to acquire Time Warner Cable.

“Unless the deal closes, there will not be another [Dodgers] season shown outside of Time Warner Cable. I don’t believe they’ll get carriage,” a source told The Post.
That last bit should not be lost on Dodger fans.  If the merger between Comcast and Time Warner falls apart then you should not expect to see SportsNet LA in a majority of Los Angeles homes any time soon.  Should this happen, is bankruptcy the likely scenario?  Counter to what Rob McMillan has been saying on his 6-4-2 blog, I am not entirely certain. 

Per a 3rd Quarter conference call with TWC: (Robert Marcus - Chairman and CEO)
But I will say that L.A., of all of our markets, had the best year-over-year video performance in Q3 (2014). So draw whatever conclusions you want from that. Obviously, as we approach the new baseball season, we'll be back in the market trying to cut distribution deals that we weren't able to cut this year. I don't think there's a meaningful change in our view on the -- our relationship with third-party RSNs from our experience here. We know from our viewership data that our Dodgers network got meaningful viewership during the season -- both in terms of percentage of customers watching the network and the amount of time that they watched the network. So I don't think our view of the value of that network is in any way diminished as a result of the affiliate sales experience we've had in season one.
At the same time, TWC acknowledged that the Dodgers were the biggest driver of expenses: (Artie Minson-CFO)
Operating expenses were up $147 million or 4.2%, with total programming and content costs up $160 million or 9.6%. The biggest driver of the increase, as in Q2, was Dodgers costs. Programming cost per residential subscriber, including an intercompany charge for a market rate Dodgers deal, increased 11.1%.
So, yeah.  Mixed messages there.  They still like the RCN model, but the Dodger debacle is costing them - big time.

But could it cost them so much that bankruptcy is the only solution should the merger fail?

I dunno.  I think they should just bite the bullet (write-down), sign them up at a lower per subscriber rate and count on the Dodger growth exceeding their expectations.  Given enough time, I think they do well.  It's just that the short term prospects will be a struggle.

The more I research and think about it, the more I want to pull my hair out.  After all, it appears very likely a majority of fans will not be able to watch the Dodgers at home any time soon.

If anyone out there has any expertise in these matters I'd love to hear from you.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

Blog Kiosk: 3/24/2015 - Dodger Links - Rollins and Fernandez

There is nothing like the gleeful celebration after a big win.  You want to cheer loudly, chant boldly and storm the field like a bunch of rabid kids searching for a can to kick.

Featured above is one instance where all three of the above emotions were likely carried out. The vintage International News photo shows the celebration of several local Brooklynites on the diamond after an April 30, 1945 game against the hated New York Giants.  The Dodgers had trailed 3-1 going into their portion of the 8th inning, but rallied to win.  Fans on-hand had been witness to the powerful heroics of Dixie Walker. Via the caption attached to the reverse:
Young Brooklyn Dodger fans are chasing Dixie Walker as the "Peepul's cherce" legs it for the dugout after the end of yesterday's game against the Giants.  Walker added to his popularity with the flatbushers by striking the blow that humbled the New Yorkers 4-3.  He belted out a homer that netted three runs in the 8th inning.
I wonder if that kid with the trumpet was a part of the "Sym-Phony Band."  The press photo above was found on ebay.  Check out the auction here.  Below are some more links to check out:
We had that meeting, and they were talking about all those things. When I chose the Dodgers as a team to go to, I wanted a team that had history. The Phillies have been around for a long, long time (dating to 1883). They weren’t -- and I use the term lightly – a “pop-up franchise.” They were part of the original makeup of baseball.

I needed a team, I wanted a team, that had the same historic value in this game, a footprint in this game. This was a place that had it, and even moreso because of the integration factor. Then you start thinking, “OK, that’s in the past. I have to somehow tear that wall down, and start letting it come in.”
"It's a great privilege to sign with such a great team like the Dodgers," Fernandez told MLB.com in a phone interview from the Dominican Republic. "I've always liked the Dodgers, even back when I never even imagined playing at that level. I'm ready to do what they want me to do. I know there are still things to learn."
“Good control, command, great kid, good attitude, that’s all I can say,” Guerrero said by way of a scouting report. “Slider, fastball — the best thing is that he locates them good.”
  • Here's some Baseball business news.  Via Darren Heitner at Forbes, "Louisville Slugger To Be Acquired For $70 Million" by Wilson Sporting Goods.

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