Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Prospect Joe Wieland To Start for Dodgers on Wednesday

One of the pieces received from the Padres in the Matt Kemp trade over the winter will make his first start for the Dodgers tomorrow.  Joe Wieland, a right-handed starter, is already in Milwaukee in preparation for his upcoming start.

I wrote this about Wieland back in December:
Known as a pitcher with fantastic control, he throws from a three quarters angle and an easily repeatable delivery.  Wieland has a two seam and four seam fastball, a curveball and a changeup. His heater is clocked in the low 90's. 

Weiland made his Major League debut in 2012 against the Dodgers on April 14th.  Unfortunately for him, he got hit hard.  Ironically, the man he was traded for, Matt Kemp, hit two home runs off him.  Andre Either hit one, as well.  Over five innings pitched he gave up six earned runs on six hits.

Then, after his fifth start that season he experienced arm problems that soon lead to Tommy John surgery, and it's been a hard road ever since.  After missing the entire 2013 season, Wieland had arthroscopic surgery on his pitching elbow in early 2014, and finally made a return to the mound in San Diego later that year. 
So far, Wieland has made four starts for Oklahoma City this season, and has done well.  He is 3-0 with a 3.60 ERA, 22 strike outs and only two walks in 20 innings pitched.  His pinpoint control has obviously not disappeared, and now he's striking out batters at a rate greater than at any other time in his career.  In his last start against Iowa City he gave up three runs over five innings, striking out five, walking none and yielded two triples.

In celebration of Wieland's arrival to the Dodgers I made the above fantasy card for him.  I used a photograph taken by Dodger photographer Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015 and the 1968 Topps Baseball card design.

Below are his career stats, via Baseball-Reference:

UPDATE:  Per a Dodger press release (5/6/2015):
The Los Angeles Dodgers today recalled right-handed pitcher Joe Wieland from Triple-A Oklahoma City and optioned left-handed pitcher Daniel Coulombe to Triple-A.

Wieland, 25, will make his Dodger debut this evening, taking the hill tonight for a start against the Milwaukee Brewers. Wieland made four starts for Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, going 3-0 with a 3.60 ERA (8 ER/20.0 IP) and has struck out 22 batters with just two walks.

The Nevada native is 1-4 with a 5.31 ERA in nine Major League games (seven starts), all with the Padres in 2012 and 2014. Wieland was acquired from San Diego on Dec. 18, 2014, along with catcher Yasmani Grandal and right-handed pitcher Zach Eflin, in exchange for outfielder Matt Kemp and catcher Tim Federowicz.   

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DirecTV Stuck a Knife into Time Warner Today

This afternoon DirecTV CEO Mike White tossed some kindling into a fire that has the makings of a war of words with Time Warner, and I can't help but sit here to laugh and cry about it.  With no end in sight to the Dodgers/SportsNetLA programming issues fans can only have mixed feelings whenever news surfaces.

Earlier today I came across various tweets by SportsBusiness Journal reporter Eric Fisher (thanks to retweets from DodgerBeat) regarding DirecTV's 2015 first quarter earnings conference call this afternoon.  Fisher referenced several quotes from the CEO, and they were less than kind to Time Warner.  Below is one of the tweets:
Ouch, that's gotta hurt.  If anything, it's a subtle signal to Time Warner that their previous offer for SportsNetLA is now off the table.  Their price has gone down.

Digging further, I came across an article at Variety by Cynthia Littleton about the same conference call:
“It was a reckless deal at many multiples above what anybody else would have bid, and then they tried to force consumers to pay for it,” White said. And DirecTV hasn’t been hurt much in terms of customer defections by not having a deal for the Dodgers.

“My view is we made a very fair offer and it was rejected out of hand. We haven’t lost any customers. The channel’s probably worth less to us than it was a year ago,” White said. Beyond the Dodgers’ channel, there’s a tendency among in the TV biz, White said, “to abuse customers by overpaying for stuff and then try to jam them. There’s a lot of that in this industry. It behooves all of us to be more responsible when striking these deals with sports teams, to recognize that there is a limit beyond where customers will go.”
Having a competitor bad mouth your business is a significant development, and this war of words can't be good for fans still hoping to watch the Dodgers on television.  

BTW, Time Warner held their own first quarter earnings conference call recently, and they did their mighty best to avoid the Dodger issue.  After acknowledging that SportsNetLA continues to adversely affect their balance sheet CFO Art Minson added:
With respect to the Dodgers, I'm not going to get into sort of any of the specifics – underlying assumptions in the plan. We continue to think that Dodgers product is a great product and I will leave it at that.
I have no doubt that the Dodgers are a great product, but it's becoming more clear that execution is a big problem for Time Warner.

On one hand, I'm a bit delighted at seeing a company like Time Warner being strung out over the coals.  On the other hand, all this fighting only prolongs what is already been a tiresome situation.  And, I think it's fair to say that we just want it all to end.

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2015 Panini Diamond Kings Baseball - The Dodger Base Cards

Since buying the Donruss brand Panini America has done everything they could to revitalize the legendary franchise.  They've brought back sets that had long since been forgotten, and have now turned an iconic subset into a standalone product.  Featured here are the Dodger base cards to Panini's Diamond Kings Baseball card set.  Go here for a complete checklist.

The Diamond Kings subset found in 1980's Donruss sets were drawings by famed Baseball artist Dick Perez.  This new product, just released last week, do not have that kind of personal touch.  Instead, they appear to be images that have been photoshopped to look like a painting.  Not that there's anything wrong about that.  With the technology being available this is, of course, the most cost effective way to make this set.  Still, it would have been nice for them to consign one drawing per team with a noted artist - just to give it an original Diamond Kings feel.

Below are pics of all the Dodger base cards in the set.  Over the next few days I'll share pics of the inserts, relic and autograph cards.

Please note that Dodger top prospect Corey Seager has a base card in only the mini parallel version of the set.

#4 Adrian Gonzalez                                #23 Carl Furillo

#30 Clayton Kershaw                            #39 Don Drysdale

Blog Kiosk: 5/5/2015 - Dodger Links - Kershaw, Grandal and Another Dodger Trade

Last night was another tough day for our ace.  Don't get me wrong, he pitched really well and certainly deserved to win his 100th career victory.  Unfortunately, Baseball is more than the sum of its parts.  It's a battle that includes skill and some chance, and last night Clayton was stung by the latter.  Via Andrew Wagner at ESPN.com:
“He was just being Kershaw,” said catcher Yasmani Grandal. “Just pounding guys in, breaking bats, getting ground balls, getting ahead of guys. Other than that, he was just being him.”
For seven innings Kershaw was brilliant.  He had out-dueled Brewers pitcher Kyle Lohse but ran into some trouble in the eighth inning.  Kershaw yielded a home run to rookie shortstop Hector Gomez and a double thereafter to Adam Lind to put the tying run in scoring position.
“I felt fine,” said Kershaw, who threw 91 pitches. “Gomez hit a good pitch. The ball was in, he was just ready to ambush and did a good job, and Lind, I just threw a slider right down the middle, overthrew it and he hit it hard.”
A couple of pitches here and there, and all of the sudden it's a different game.  Chris Hatcher came into the game in relief and proceeded to give up the winning run.  Oh, well.  At least Clayton Kershaw is showing improvement with every outing, and I'm far from believing that there is anything wrong with him.  On a side note, Clayton is clearly frustrated with the end results; via David Schoenfield at SweetSpot ESPN:
"I don't feel like answering questions right now. I don't want to analyze it right now. Thanks." 
Below are some more links to check out:
  • The times sure are changing for the better.  Via Samer Kalaf at Deadspin, "Two Dudes Smooch On Dodgers' Kiss Cam, To Hearty Applause."  It wasn't too long ago when two women were thrown out for doing the same thing.
  • That guy who's riding his bike to every MLB stadium made it to LA on Sunday.  Check out his blog post that tells you all about it.  Via Matt Stolz at Biking for Baseball, "Welcome to LA."
I did stumble upon Nomar Garciaparra and Orel Herscheiser. I actually overheard them talking with a Dodgers player and discussing different techniques they would use to gain an advantage. Orel spoke of purposely batting without batting gloves so he could claim the pine tar on his hands came from his previous at bat. Nomar spoke of how players would wear fake fingernails so they could better grip a baseball. It was pretty unbelievable, I felt like I was right in the clubhouse with the guys.
  • They picked up another reliever in a minor trade yesterday.  Via a Dodger press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today acquired right-handed pitcher Matt West from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for cash considerations and moved left-handed pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu to the 60-day disabled list.

West, 26, has allowed just one unearned run in 12.1 scoreless innings for the Blue Jays’ Double-A New Hampshire affiliate in the Eastern League this season. The Houston native also has one save and 17 strikeouts against just four walks in his seven appearances.
“We have a great training staff here, they were able to get me healthy,” Grandal said. “It wasn’t a huge injury, it was just an injury where it just bothered me here and there. It’s not that I couldn’t catch or I couldn’t really hit, but there were certain movements that I did that bothered it a lot and we just needed to get it over with.”

  • Here's a short little video of Roy Campanella playing captain on his boat, via Flagstaff Films:

Video Link:

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