Thursday, April 09, 2015

Welcome to the Blue, Ryan Webb and Brian Ward!

The Dodgers front office never seems to take a day off.  Today is the first break between games of the season, so the head honchos decide to take the time off to complete a trade.  This afternoon they announced a deal that has the Dodgers sending a couple of minor leaguers to the Orioles for a Major League relief pitcher, a minor league catcher and a Rule 4 Draft Pick. 

Per a Dodger press release:
The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced the acquisition of a Rule 4 competitive balance round B draft pick (No. 74), right-handed pitcher Ryan Webb and minor league catcher Brian Ward from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for minor league catcher Chris O’Brien and minor league pitcher Ben Rowen. Dodger President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman made the announcement.

Webb was 3-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 51 relief appearances for Baltimore last season and has appeared in 317 career games (all in relief) for the Padres (2009-10), Marlins (2011-13) and Orioles (2014). The 29-year-old Florida native was originally selected by the Oakland A’s in the fourth round of the 2004 player draft. He will be added to the Dodgers’ 40-man roster.

Ward, a Santa Monica native, appeared in 65 games (60 behind the plate) for Triple-A Norfolk last season, hitting .227 with two homers and 20 RBI.
As for the draft pick we got, the Dodgers are stocked and ready to do some major damage later this year.
With the acquisition of the Orioles’ Rule 4 competitive balance pick, the Dodgers now hold four of the first 74 picks (No. 24, No. 35, No. 67 and No. 74) in the upcoming June player draft.
Webb has one year remaining in his two year contract, and it will pay him $2.75Mil.  He is a right handed sinkerball pitcher who gets a lot of groundballs, so he'll fit right in with our revamped middle infield.  Webb will be placed on the 40-man roster (there was space already available for him), and we should expect a corresponding move on the active roster for him to join the Dodgers in Arizona.  Either a reliever (likely with options like Baez or Yimi Garcia) or a bench player (like Darwin Barney) will be sent to AAA.

BTW, Eric Stephen at True Blue LA notes that he is third on the all time list of relievers with the most career relief appearances without a save.

Brian Ward was born in Santa Monica and went to Marina High School in Huntington Beach.  He is thought of as a defensive specialist who has yet to show anything with the bat.  BTW, in 2012 he incurred a 50 game suspension for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program a second time.  It was not for using a PED.

In celebration of Webb and Ward's arrival to the club I made the above fantasy cards for them.  For Webb I grabbed a photo taken during photo day last year by Kevin C. Cox/Getty (found at Zimbio) and the 1972 Topps Baseball card design.  For Ward I grabbed a 2012 photo day photo taken by Tony Firriolo/MLB Photos and the 1972 Topps Baseball card design.

Below is Webb's career statistics, via Baseball-Reference:

Below is Ward's career statistics, via Baseball-Reference:

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Yes, the Dodgers Did Wear Red Caps

I had seen the pictures and read all about it, but refused to believe it until an actual cap was found.  And now through SCP Auctions, here it is.  Featured is an honest-to-goodness Los Angeles Dodgers cap in red.

RED!  Holy smokes!  Check out the auction here.

It originally comes from a former Dodger prospect named Tommy Dale Wells. He was picked by the Dodgers in 1958 and proceeded to pitch in the low minors for the club from 1959 to 1962.

How he came to take one of these home, I don't know.  Good thing he did, though, 'cause it has my mind doing cartwheels.

As was the speculation by Paul Lukas of Uni Watch in a post in 2011, the Dodger minor league coaches and instructional staff likely wore these caps during Spring Training for much of the 60's in order to distinguish themselves from the players in camp.  In other words, there were so many ballplayers and fresh faces in Vero Beach they decided they needed to stand out.  Check out a photo on the right that I grabbed from Lukas' post.  It shows a Dodger coach wearing a similar hat - and fantastic red stirrups.

It's strange that the Dodgers once wore green uniforms (the 1937 Brooklyn Dodgers), but red too?  Thankfully, it was just a Spring kind-of thing.  Still, it is fascinating, if not a little weird.

I wonder what this item will sell for.  It's paired with 1959 Dodger team signed Baseball, so who knows.
(Action Link)

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REA: Dickey Pearce - The Greatest Shortstop You've Never Heard Of

I was going through the current REA auction, searching under Brooklyn, and came across a circa 1908 cabinet card of a former player that I had never heard of named Dickey Pearce.

I thought to myself, "who is this Dickey Pearce guy and what does he have to do with Brooklyn?

Naturally,  I did a little bit of research, and what I found was spectacular.

(Circa 1876)
Born in Brooklyn, Dickey Pearce was a legend.  Short and stout, he battled against men bigger and stronger than he.  Nevertheless, Pearce would be revered as one of the greats to play the game.  Dickey came onto the scene during the middle of the 19th Century and along the way revolutionized the shortstop position, was one of the first to be paid to play the game, and no doubt to the consternation of todays statheads invented the modern bunt (bunt for a hit, that is - not as a sacrifice).  Furthermore, he became one of the more famous and popular players in the game as a member of the Brooklyn Atlantics from the 1850's to 1870's. (Not exactly a part of the Dodger franchise, but certainly a precursor to them)  Although currently not a member of the Hall of Fame, he is oftentimes found on the shortlist of players who should be.

Via John Thorn at his blog "Our Game":
That accidental chance to play made Dickey Pearce. He was put on the regular team and placed at shortstop, for the reason that he was considered to be too short-legged to cover ground in the outfield. It was a fortunate selection, for Dickey took to shortstop like a duck to water, and in the first game he played in that position, he showed such ability that none of the old-timers on the team had a chance to beat him out of the job. And none did that that for years and years. Dickey Pearce’s name at shortstop for the Atlantics was stereotyped, and the scorecards always had his name in that position as long as he played baseball with that club, and that was for many years.
Unfortunately, statistic during the time he excelled on the diamond are virtually nonexistent.  What we do know is that he was an able fielder with an uncanny ability to get on-base.  He was the first person to place the shortstop position where it is today and revolutionized how you hit by utilizing the bunt and placing a batted ball in areas fielders where not stationed.  In other words, he was an early innovator of the scientific game.

Per Bill Whelan at Wareham Village Soup, "Baseball legend called Onset home":
"Yes I was the first to introduce the bunt hit," Pearce said in a 1905 article in The Boston Globe.  "While with the Brooklyn Atlantics, in 1867, the idea came to me, and I figured out just how a ball would bound when met from different angles. First I practiced bunting, then hitting the ball on top so that it would carom from the fair ground to the ground back of third base."
"I played ball about 20 years too soon."
Below are some links and articles about Dickey Pearce that I thought you should check out:

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Blog Kiosk: 4/9/2015 - Dodger Links - AGon had a Huge Day

Adrian Gonzalez, along with fellow Gold Glove winner Zack Greinke, started the evening off in the best of ways - by taking home the award to add to their mantel place.  AGon did one better, though.  He also received his Silver Slugger award, and did his best to show the world why he deserves another this year.  The photo above is via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015Go here to check out even more great pics from yesterday by Jon.

Gonzalez had a heck of a game.  He accomplished a feat never achieved before in Baseball.  By walloping three dingers last night he became the first player in MLB history to slug five home runs in his team's first three games.  He also became only the third Dodger (joining Carl Furillo and Jimmy Wynn) to homer in each of the first three games of the season, and the 23rd player ever to homer in four consecutive at-bats (he also homered in his last at-bat on Tuesday).  Needless to say, Adrian Gonzalez is dialed in.

With regards to his fourth at-bat on the evening he said this, via Mark Saxon at ESPN:
"I definitely wasn't thinking of hitting another [home run] against the lefty, just thinking, 'Hit something hard up the middle,'" Gonzalez said. "I told myself, 'Don't try to do too much.'"
He hit a single to drive in an insurance run in the sixth inning.  Overall, he hit three home runs, had four hits total and recorded four RBI's.  Gonzalez is also the early favorite for the MVP.  OK, I'm getting way ahead of myself... I know... But I can't contain my excitement. 

Below are some more links to check out:
  • Via David Armstrong at Bloomberg, "How an Insurer Is Taking Money From the Fan Beaten at Dodger Stadium."  Bryan Stow continues to get shafted.
It’s all because Stow’s health insurer is entitled to a huge slice of the settlement, even before Stow is paid. A growing body of federal law, including a recent U.S. Supreme Court case, gives insurers power to recoup medical costs caused by a third party—in the face of state laws that specifically prohibit it. “This is what people pay premiums for,” says Stow’s ex-wife, Jacqueline Kain. “To worry about some insurance company taking what is his is absurd.”

"The mindset in everything we do is to be the casino," (Andrew) Friedman said. "We want to be the house. We're going to make a lot of decisions. It's a high-volume business. We can't be afraid of making mistakes. The key is to be right more than we're wrong and ... trust that it will work out well."
More interesting is this quote about the Heaney for Kendrick trade:
"That's a trade -- in a vacuum -- that you wouldn't make in a small market," (Josh) Byrnes said. "A guy like Heaney, a six-year [club-controlled] pitcher, for a one-year player? Even though Kendrick is a really good player, that's the one that went against our traditional instincts."
Other new items include an Asian-inspired "Far East dog," a "Gyro dog" and a hamburger with sliced ham and coleslaw on it named after Dodgers pitching ace Clayton Kershaw.
  • I love the Mother's Cookies sets.  GCRL takes, "an abbreviated run through the 1997 mother's cookies dodger set."
  • Joe Posnanski at NBC Sports wrote a fantastic piece about Earl Weaver and the enigma that was Steve Dalkowski: "How do you solve a problem like Dalkowski?"

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