Articles by Dave Regan

A listing of all the articles written by Dave Regan for the RotoWire Blog.

Dodgers for sale…now what?

Christmas Day is officially December 25, but for Dodgers fans, it came nearly two months early, with the announcement this week that the universally-reviled Frank McCourt finally succumbed to the inevitable.
He agreed to sell the Dodgers.
As a fan, I have a certain amount of built-in bias, but this is an organization that opened up shop in 1884, broke the color barrier in 1947, featured Tommy Lasorda, Kirk Gibson’s iconic home run, and was generally among the elite franchises under the stewardship of the O’Malley family. The decline began when O’Malley sold out to Fox, who subsequently brought about the trade of franchise icon Mike Piazza and the disastrous regime of Kevin Malone. It only got worse however, once Fox sold out to the carpetbaggers from Boston, Frank and Jamie McCourt. These are people that looted $189 million from the organization to buy mansions, three-figure haircuts, limo drivers, massages, etc. All in a failed attempt to integrate into the LA lifestyle and as some have speculated, eventually run for office. Attendance plummeted to the point, where the estimated crowd for the final Wednesday day game of the seasons was a Marlins-like 8,000.
EPIC FAIL.
Well, it’s a new day. The team will be sold, with MLB hoping for a new owner to be in place by Opening Day. That’s great and all, but what happens to the team this offseason? Let’s look at where the club has holes and what might be done to fill said holes.
CatcherA.J. Ellis / Tim Federowicz – This should be a serviceable combo, so no need to bring Rod Barajas back or sign a free agent such as Ramon Martinez. Ellis handles pitchers well, can get on base, and showed a little pop at the end of the season. He’ll likely get 60|PERCENT| of the starts, with the rest going to “Fedex”. Projected starter: Ellis.
First baseJames Loney has never hit .300 over a full season and has never hit more than 15 home runs. He did however, bat .320/.380/.534 after the All-Star break in 2011, so offering him arbitration (est. salary $6.5 million) seems likely. Of course I’d love to see Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols brought in, but that seems unlikely. Projected starter: Loney.
Second base – This spot is ripe for an upgrade. Jamey Carroll could be back, but not as a starter. I’d expect the Dodgers to pursue free agents Kelly Johnson and Aaron Hill. If that doesn’t work out, we’re looking at Justin Sellers as the top in-house option, and that’s not good. Projected starter: Johnson.
Shortstop – This is Dee Gordon’s job. Expect .280/.320/.350 or so, but .300 could be a possibility, as could 50 stolen bases. Projected starter: Gordon.
Third base – Hmmm…Juan Uribe’s job to lose I guess. Aramis Ramirez would be a nice fit here. The Dodgers could also bring back free agent Andy LaRoche or another ex-Dodger Wilson Betemit, but it’s probably Ramirez or Uribe here. Likely Uribe considering they still owe him $16 million. Projected starter: Uribe.
OutfieldMatt Kemp and Andre Ethier get two of these spots, with the only question being whether the Dodgers can lock them up to extensions this year. The pending free agents should be in line for something like this: Kemp – 8 years, $160 million; Ethier – 6 years, $84 million. As for left field, that is Jerry Sands’ job to lose after Sands batted .342/.415/.493 in September. Expect Juan Rivera to be brought back to fill in in left and first base. Projected starters: Sands/Kemp/Ethier.
Rotation – Three spots will go to Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, and Ted Lilly. I’d expect Hiroki Kuroda back on another one-year deal unless he chooses to return to Japan. If that happens, expect the Dodgers to pursue someone like Mark Buehrle or Paul Maholm. The fifth spot will be up for grabs, with Nathan Eovaldi the early favorite, along with the usual assortment of veterans and SF Giants castoffs. Projected starters: Kershaw, Kuroda, Billingsley, Lilly, Eovaldi.
BullpenKenley Jansen and Javy Guerra will again form the 8th-9th inning duo, with Jansen coming off an all-time major league record 16.1 K/9 season. Will he take over as closer though? Too early to tell. The Dodgers will bid farewell to Jonathan Broxton barring Broxton’s willingness to take a significant discount to remain in the organization. LA Minor League Pitcher of the Year Shawn Tolleson is also ready to make an impact after a 105:18 K:BB in just 69 minor league innings last year. Projected bullpen: Jansen, Guerra, Guerrier, Elbert, Lindblom, Tolleson, free agent lefty (Mike Gonzalez perhaps).
Opening Day lineup:
Not an inspiring group by any means, and one highly dependent on James Loney’s second half being for real, Andre Ethier rediscovering his power stroke, and Chad Billingsley not regressing further. I’d expect the new owner to try and deal for someone like David Wright in-season, while casting their sights on the 2013 free agent class, which barring extensions, could include Mike Napoli, Josh Hamilton, and a huge crop of free agent pitchers – Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, John Danks, and Shaun Marcum. The focus now though should be locking up Kemp and Kershaw while seeing whether Ethier will sign for a reasonable sum and if not, trading him for young talent.

NY Times Blog – Setup Targets

Just published this on the New York Times site.

Fantasy Focus: Setup Men to Pursue

By Dave Regan

The July nonwaiver trade deadline brought little movement on the closer front, as rumored-to-be-available guys like Leo Nunez, Andrew Bailey, Drew Storen and, most surprisingly, Heath Bell all stayed put. Owners who had stashed their probable replacements were left disappointed, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see current setup men become closers this season. Some almost certainly will.

Let’s take a look at a few of the more likely current setup men/future closers (all statistics through Sunday):

Frank Francisco, Toronto Blue Jays – With five runs in his last five and a third innings and a 4.53 earned run average overall, Jon Rauch appears to be hanging on by a thread. Francisco, meanwhile, has allowed just one run in his last 10 1/3 innings, with an impressive 10 strikeouts and no walks. I’m not sure what Manager John Farrell is waiting for, but we could see a switch anytime.

Mike Adams, Texas Rangers – N.L.-only leaguers obviously aren’t pleased, but holders of Adams in mixed leagues could still reap a few saves from Adams over the next eight weeks. Adams was spectacular for the Padres (1.13 E.R.A., 0.79 WHIP, 49 strikeouts and 9 walks in 48 innings) before moving to the Rangers for a pair of pitching prospects. With Neftali Feliz struggling (blown save Saturday, 6.75 E.R.A. since June 21), and having pitched in three consecutive games, Adams picked up the save over Koji Uehara on Sunday and is clearly the preferred option should a change be made.

Tony Sipp/Vinnie Pestano, Cleveland Indians – “Tony and Vinnie” sounds like a cop show on TBS, but it could soon be the new closer tandem in Cleveland. Chris Perez has an 8.64 E.R.A. in his last nine appearances and an ugly 26-to-20 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 40. 2/3 innings over all, so he’s vulnerable. Sipp (2.89 E.R.A., 0.99 WHIP, 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings) probably has the edge over Pestano, though Pestano has also been impressive himself, with a 2.95 E.R.A and 12.9 K/9.

Bobby Parnell, New York Mets – It could be a case of a lesser of two evils here, as while Jason Isringhausen has allowed five runs in his last two innings (and six in four innings), Parnell hasn’t been great himself, with a 6.75 E.R.A. in his last nine and a third innings. Parnell, though, does have 11 strikeouts in that span, and he represents the closest thing the organization has to a closer of the future, so perhaps he gets a long look soon. Option No. 3 would be Pedro Beato if you want to throw $1 in F.A.A.B. his way, but Beato’s upside is limited.

Brad Lidge, Philadelphia Phillies – Lidge is averaging just 88.4 miles per hour with his fastball, so he’s far from the flamethrower he used to be, but procuring saves is all about opportunity, and Lidge could potentially have that opportunity here and there, if not permanently. Since returning from a shoulder injury, Lidge has allowed just one run on one hit over four and two-thirds innings, though he has walked four. Lidge even picked up a save this past week with Ryan Madson on the paternity leave list. Both Madson and Antonio Bastardo are ahead of Lidge on the closer depth chart, but if Lidge can keep this up and add a little velocity, perhaps Manager Charlie Manuel’s loyalty to “his guys” will give Lidge more opportunities.

Wilton Lopez, Houston Astros – A switch from Mark Melancon to Lopez is far from imminent, but Melancon appears incapable of stringing together more than two or three scoreless outings. Melancon hasn’t blown a save since June 26, but Lopez has a 1.26 E.R.A. since July 1 and would probably be just as good a closer option should the Astros need a change.

Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds – With a 2.45 E.R.A. and an 0.99 WHIP, Francisco Cordero is secure in the closer’s job, but I just wanted to point out the absurdity of what Chapman is doing. After striking out the side Sunday while hitting between 98 and 101 m.p.h. with his fastball, and with the Reds all but out of the N.L. Central race, might they look toward 2012 and see what Chapman can do as a closer? Since returning from Class AAA on June 25, Chapman has a 1.33 E.R.A. in 20 1/3 innings with a whopping 37 strikeouts and just six walks.

Talkin’ Baseball

Brewers at 75:1 to win the World Series? Put me down for $100. Great rotation and lineup, but the bullpen concerns me. Factor in a farm system that probably would rank in the mid-20s, and the Brewers might be hard-pressed to find a mid-season upgrade unless they are willing to take on significant salary.
I love the MLB Network, but can someone please tell Mitch Williams that wins aren’t everything? He found it absolutely outrageous that Ross Ohlendorf received a 355|PERCENT| raise for a 1-11 record. Yeah, wonder who has the higher IQ.
Please do a YouTube search for “Madden Greg Jennings Broken Leg”. Love that guy.
Huge sale at Kohl’s this weekend. Got three work shirts for under $30. Oh and yes, I’m married and stuff like this excites me.
Anyone seen “The Town”? Fell asleep watching it last night and wondering if it’s worth watching when I’m a bit more alert.
I love Scoresheet Baseball. Check it out if you can.
Can you imagine the Rays with Buster Posey at catcher? Instead, they went with Tim Beckham #1 overall a couple years ago. Hard to criticize that organization, but while hindsight is 20/20 and all, that was a major flub.
Wondering if Daric Barton is the next Kevin Youkilis…. Yeah the power gap is certainly there right now, but if Barton can show 20 homer power, that could translate into .320/.430/.510 at some point.
If I’m in a keeper league, particularly one of the NL-only variety, I’m targeting LA’s Kenley Jansen. Electric stuff to say the least, and with Jonathan Broxton set to be a free agent after 2011 and Hong-Chih Kuo’s elbow an ongoing concern, Jansen could be the favorite to close in 2012 with a strong 2011.
The Braves are never hesitant to put young players in key positions. Jason Heyward in 2010, Freddie Freeman this year. Then there’s Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel will compete with Jonny Venters for saves in 2011, but I like Kimbrel in this race slightly. The Braves also have left-handers George Sherrill and Eric O’Flaherty, so don’t write off Venters quite yet. Then there’s Billy Wagner who has yet to officially file his retirement papers. Is Wagner the baseball version of Brett Favre with Andy Pettitte seemingly retired?
Dodgers lineup 2012:
SS Dee Gordon
C – Who cares? Albert Pujols IS ON THIS TEAM.
 
Won’t happen, but just wanted to write that.
 
Lindsay Lohan won’t serve time, and one of my fantasy teams will be named “Charlie Sheen’s Briefcase of Coke”. Just two small predictions.
 
Danny Espinosa whiffs a bit too much for my taste, but he has an outside chance at a 20/20 season this season. I’ll be targeting him in most leagues this year, particularly those of the keeper variety. Espinosa homered six times in 103 at-bats for the Nats in 2010. Over 550 at-bats, that’s 32 homers. Just sayin’…
 
Let’s see, so far the “best shape of their lives” stories include Pablo Sandoval, John Lackey, and CC Sabathia. There are probably more that I missed, but don’t put much stock in these stories. Will dropping 15-30 lbs. help Sandoval from chasing sliders two feet out of the zone?
 
Most of the projections I’ve seen have Jose Bautista anywhere between 30 and 35 home runs in 2011 after his magical 2011 season. Perhaps that prognostication turns out to be accurate, but this guy is no Brady Anderson. I’m taking the over on 39 homers.
 
Things aren’t looking too optimistic for the Cardinals re: the Albert Pujols negotiations. Pujols is likely looking for a 10-year deal at $28 million to $30 million per. Basically A-Rod money plus a little more. It’s not an unreasonable request, but the Cardinals may not go beyond seven or eight years. I expect Pujols to enter free agency after 2011, as he’s already stated that he won’t approve any sort of trade this year. The Cubs appear to be the early front-runner for his services, and I’d put the Angels right there as well, but they have to deal with Jered Weaver and Kendry Morales again next year. One also has to wonder whether doling out $21 million a year to Vernon Wells would impact a Pujols offer.
 
So we’re already hearing J.D. Drew and “hamstring” in the same sentence. Bump Ryan Kalish up on your cheatsheets, as he could get significant playing time in RF along with perhaps Mike Cameron.
 
Brandon League could open 2011 as Seattle’s closer given the concerns over David Aardsma’s hip. League has the talent to keep that job even once Aardsma is ready. Speaking of the Mariners, I really, really like Michael Pineda. I got to see him pitch a couple times in the PCL last year and he was quite impressive. Looked like he belonged.
 
I’m willing to give Alex Gordon another shot. Rotowire has Gordon projected to hit .257/.350/.445. Not bad, but certainly nothing special for a left fielder.
 
Will Venable’s 29 stolen bases may eventually represent a career-high, but I like him as a cheap source of speed this year. The 67|PERCENT| contact rate however is abysmal, leaving batting average projections above .250 scarce.
 
I see where Edinson Volquez turned down a four-year $27 million deal in favor of a one-year pact for $1.6 million. Coming off Tommy John surgery, that is a fireable offense for his agent.
 
David Freese is an interesting sleeper again this year as the Cardinals’ probably starter at third base. Freese has a .360 career OBP in 271 major league at-bats, though he’s yet to show the type of power he did in 2008 in hitting 26 homers in 464 Triple-A at-bats. Nick Punto is the biggest threat to Freese’s playing time, so that should help his fantasy prospects.

Talkin’ Baseball

Nothing Charlie Sheen does these days should surprise, but a party involving porn stars and a “briefcase of cocaine” is over the top even for the former “Men at Work” (LOVE LOVE that movie) star. Let’s just hope the dude finally gets help, even though his infamous benders are sadly fun to watch.   Now I read that Lindsay Lohan is concerned about Sheen’s well-being. This is rich.

Anyway, on to baseball…
I’m quite intrigued to see how the Rays’ closer situation plays out. On one hand you have the oft-maligned Kyle Farnsworth who had a couple ugly years in the Bronx, but who also rallied to post a 2.42 ERA and 36:12 K:BB in 44.2 innings a year ago. The stuff is still somewhat there, but can he mentally handle the position? In the AL East? I’m skeptical. On the other hand you have Jacob McGee, 2 ½ years removed from Tommy John surgery. He’s the guy I’m pulling for as he went to a High School near me here in Reno. McGee posted double-digit K/9 rates at all three stops a year ago, and while he could also serve as a starter at some point in the future, his 2011 role is likely to be as a reliever. One to watch.
I wonder what the reaction would be if Albert Pujols left St. Louis after the 2011 season? On par with the LeBron situation? Somehow I think Pujols would handle things with a bit more class. That said, I’ll take anyone’s money that thinks he won’t be in a Cards uniform in 2012. And I’ll give 50/1 odds. Ok, not really, but…
It’s funny/sad to listen to Angels fans try and justify the Vernon Wells deal. Yes, the team is better with Wells in the lineup than with Juan Rivera, but taking finances and what was given up in the deal into account, this should go down among the 15 or 20 worst trades in baseball history. Meanwhile, Adrian Beltre is playing third base for the Rangers and not the Angels, who are planning to go with Alberto Callaspo at the hot corner.
Not really sure why the Orioles would take playing time away from Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold via a Vladimir Guerrero signing. Are Pie and Reimold that hopeless?
The D-backs appear to be leaning towards Juan Miranda as their starting first baseman. Miranda doesn’t project for big-time power, but he can get on base at an above-average clip and has some NL-only allure.
Lovin’ me some Danny Espinosa. He may not hit more than .270 this year, but a 15/15 season or better is very possible.
No, I still don’t believe the Russian baby-swinging video is real. I just can’t take that leap.  I’m too lazy to provide the link, but scour through Dalton Del Don’s blogs and you’ll find it.
I see where Bryce Harper is hoping for a September call-up. That wouldn’t surprise me a bit, as Harper is set to start his pro career in High-A, something that is pretty much unprecedented.
To me, Buster Posey is a leading candidate for NL MVP, but man the Giants sure are old yet again? Bringing back Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, and Aubrey Huff while adding Miguel Tejada to man shortstop (that could be ugly) continues a Sabean pattern of signing old/washed-up veteran hitters, but boy is that rotation impressive. Then there’s top-10 (IMO) prospect Brandon Belt who tore through three levels last year in hitting .352/.455/.620.
The Reds are seven deep in their rotation if you add Aroldis Chapman to the mix, so why not deal a guy like Travis Wood or Edinson Volquez to upgrade the offense? On the other hand, we’ve all heard the mantra that “you can never have enough pitching”, so this should all sort itself out this year. I’d still love to see Chapman in the No. 5 slot in the rotation tossing 160 or so innings. That of course has everything to do with Chapman being a part of my Scoresheet team.
Toronto GM Alex Anthopolous appears to be this year’s Jack Z., as he’s somehow managed to unload the Vernon Wells contract while making other notable deals involving Shaun Marcum and Frank Francisco. Some have criticized the Mike Napoli / Francisco deal, but the Jays are now four deep in the bullpen while dealing Napoli clears the way for J.P. Arencibia to get 400+ at-bats. Love it.
The Mets apparently are punting the 2011 season, and I can’t say I blame them. No Johan Santana until perhaps July, and the pending free agencies of Francisco Rodriguez, Luis Castillo, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Beltran leave the organization in a state of flux. It doesn’t help that the farm system has very little ready to contribute, so this could be a team that is bad for the next several years.
I’m not sure why, but I love that the A’s are spending a ton of money on relievers (Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour). I subscribe to the “Beane is a genius” theory, so it will be interesting to see how 2011 plays out for the A’s. They still have a very pedestrian offensive infield, but I think they can win the AL West with what they have now plus a solid deadline acquisition.
I will likely wind up with B.J. Upton on most of my teams this year. I just can’t forget about three things – he was a #2 overall pick (should have been #1 over Bryan Bullington), he had an .894 OPS at age 22, and he’s still just 26. …and I love his brother even more.
Don’t count the Padres out this year. Sure they lost Adrian Gonzalez, but their pitching is very deep, Mat Latos is an ace, and they’ve totally rebuilt their infield, likely for the better.
I guess James McDonald wilted under the expectations put upon him in LA, as he was a completely different pitcher for the Pirates last year. I’ve probably seen 12 of McDonald’s 16 career starts, and with the Pirates, there was more zip on his fastball and far more confidence in his breaking ball. Like our Rotowire projectionists, I think McDonald could post a sub-4.00 ERA and 180 strikeouts this year.

Talkin’ Baseball

While I applaud the selections of Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar today, if Alomar is a HOFer, why not Barry Larkin? Having gone from 52.1|PERCENT| to 62.1|PERCENT| year-over-year, Larkin will get in eventually, but is there going to be a flood of new information suggesting Larkin is more Hall-worthy in 2012/2013 than he is now? Unlikely. Anyway… I’m about done getting outraged about these selections each year. I will say it is fun to see guys like B.J. Surhoff get two votes.
Can anyone suggest a better defensive left side of the infield in Elvis Andrus / Adrian Beltre not only now, but in baseball history? Ozzie Smith played with the likes of Terry Pendleton and Luis Salazar, not exactly defensive wizards. The only other combo that comes to mind is Luis Aparicio and Brooks Robinson, a worthy duo indeed.
Playoff predictions:
AL West – Rangers – another arm would help, and they have the farm system to make a July deal for a guy like Matt Garza.
AL Central – Twins – suspect infield (don’t get letting J.J. Hardy go), and Tigers will be there as well, but getting Joe Nathan and Justin Morneau back will be huge.
AL East – Boston – need I say why? Look for a Josh Beckett bounce-back.
NL West – Giants – pitching, pitching, and more pitching.
NL Central – Brewers – are the Cardinals really relying on a keystone combo of Skip Schumaker and Ryan Theriot? Too many holes. This will be a tight three-team race (Reds), but Fielder will stay in Milwaukee and the Brewers will prevail.
NL East – Phillies – on paper, this could be a 115-win team, though things rarely work out quite as well as we might think they will in January.
Wildcards – White Sox and Braves.
ALDS – Boston over Chicago; Texas over Minnesota
NLDS – Phillies over Braves; Brewers over Giants
ALCS – Boston over Texas
NLCS – Phillies over Brewers
World Series – Phillies in 6.
Fearless (and not so fearless) predictions:
Bryce Harper is up by July and homers off Roy Halladay in his first big-league at-bat. He then saves a drowning baby after the game on his way to helping out at the local animal shelter.
The Phillies DON’T have four 20-game winners a la the ’71 Orioles.
Matt Kemp takes a liking to Davey Lopes’ tutelage and pushes for a 40/40 season.
Arizona manager Kirk Gibson is seen yelling at Xavier Nady in the dugout when Nady, nursing two bum knees, refuses to pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth with the D-backs down 4-3 and [insert unhittable reliever here] on the hill.
Pablo Sandoval will come to camp out of shape and find himself playing third base for Fresno come Opening Day.
The Rangers will get a look at Brandon Webb in camp and immediately strongly re-consider Neftali Feliz’s role as closer.
Albert Pujols will sign a 10-year $300 million extension with the Cardinals prior to Opening Day.
Clayton Kershaw will throw a no-hitter, but so will someone with less than half the talent a la Dallas Braden.
Justin Upton will get off to another slow start before being traded to Kansas City for Billy Butler and Danny Duffy. Upton will then be the centerpiece of your 2015 World Champion Kansas City Royals.
Aubrey Huff won’t post an .891 OPS or better…ever…again.
Writers will tire of being ridiculed and will not hand Derek Jeter another Gold Glove.
Matt Wieters will NOT prove to be Alex Gordon with a catcher’s mask.
Buster Posey will win the NL MVP, Tim Lincecum the NL Cy Young, and Brandon Belt the NL ROY once the Giants realize Pat Burrell can’t hit.
Jordan Walden will finish 2011 as the Angels’ saves leader once Fernando Rodney coughs up the closer job in mid-April.
The Indians will come to the conclusion that they have no hope and deal Shin-Soo Choo come July.  This after "Free Choo" signs are banned at the Jake.
Notes:
I’m not sure Delmon Young is good for another 112 RBI, but a BB/PA jump from 2.9|PERCENT| to 4.6|PERCENT| is progress. Love to see that number in the 7|PERCENT| range in 2011. I think .300/.350/.510 is possible.
Angel Pagan was a nice surprise, but he turns 30 in July and with below-average power, much of his fantasy value lies in last year’s. I’d expect more like 25 this year.
Drew Stubbs wasn’t a total bust last year (22 HR, 30 SB), but unless he can improve upon last year’s 67|PERCENT| contact rate, he’s going to lose playing time.
The Cardinals are reportedly moving Matt Holliday to right field and playing Lance Berkman in left. Despite getting memorably cracked in the sack by a James Loney flyball in the 2009 playoffs, Holliday has been a very good defender in left field. Of course Lance Berkman has no range, so he’s best served in the less-demanding LF slot, but Colby Rasmus is going to be one tired dude come August.
If you’re looking at closer situations to monitor, watch Anaheim, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago (AL), Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, and Toronto. Deeper sleepers I like include Jordan Walden, TB’s Jake McGee, Kenley Jansen, Mark Melancon, and Jeremy Jeffress.
I’ll defy conventional wisdom and say that Jose Bautista hits between 45-55 homers this year. He had 11 after August in 2010, so it’s not like pitchers figured out how to avoid serving it up. I do wonder whether the shift to third base will put a dent into Bautista’s numbers…
Cole Hamels had a 2.23 ERA and 104:22 K:BB in 96.2 innings after the All-Star break. Not a bad No. 4 starter.
Mat Latos saw his innings spike from 123 to 184.2 year-over-year. I write about this in a Verducci Effect section for the 2011 magazine, but I just have to wonder whether pushing Latos last year in an effort to win the NL West will come back to haunt the Padres.

Strasburg’s Debut

Unfortunately I had to work until 5:30 PST tonight, but that didn’t stop me from watching Strasburg’s debut on my PC, picking it up via the IPhone on the way home (sorry Reno drivers), and catching the rest at home in front of my quizzical family (who is this guy?).

Clearly it was a debut for the ages – a franchise-record 14 strikeouts, 100 mph fastball (99 mph in the seventh inning), and no walks.

I own Strasburg in a couple keeper leagues, and am lamenting not owning him in my others.

So this got me wondering – what would it take to acquire him right now?  Tim Lincecum straight up in a dynasty league? Jason Heyward for Strasburg?  Pujols and say Billingsley for Howard and Strasburg?

Thoughts on what he did tonight? The future of Nationals’ baseball considering Bryce Harper is also on the way? What would you offer in a trade right now?

Ned Colletti to Matt Kemp: Your Defense Sucks

Matt Kemp won the NL Gold Glove award last year, a year in which he batted .297/.352/.490 with great counting stats – 26 HR, 101 RBI, 34 SB. As we’ve seen over the years, offense does matter in the minds of myopic Gold Glove voters, and that was certainly the case in this voting where Mike Cameron and Aaron Rowand were better defenders by most measures, including UZR/150 and the Fielding Bible awards.

Fast forward to 2010 and it’s apparent to anyone who has watched Kemp regularly this year (raises hand) that he’s struggling out there in center. Misplaying balls, taking poor routes, and not throwing to the correct base have all been more frequent occurences so far this year. Is it a slow start? Poor work ethic? The money? Rhianna? Only Kemp and the Dodgers "know", but what Ned Colletti did on Tuesday is grounds for firing (just add it to that ever-expanding list).

In a radio interview, Colletti, understandably frustrated with the product HE and Frank McCourt have put out on the field had these things to say about his best player:

In referring to his poor defense:

"Why is it? Because he got a new deal?" Colletti said in reference to Kemp’s new two-year, $10.95 million contract.

"If this is the last day of the season and people are voting for the Gold Glove, his name is not even on the ballot. It’s a shame that he would go from where he was a year ago to revert back to when the ball goes up in the air and you’re not sure where it’s going, or if it’s going to get caught."

I didn’t get to listen to the full interview, but apparently there were no references to any of the following:

Vicente Padilla being given $5 million and then predictably laying an egg and getting hurt

– Not offering Randy Wolf arbitration

– The horrendous job Rick Honeycutt has done with the pitching staff

– The fact that the Dodgers broke camp with two pitchers with the last name of Oritz.

– Colletti’s own egregious decisions that have resulted in $14 million of McCourts money being paid to Juan Pierre, Andruw Jones, Jason Schmidt, and yes, Nomar Garciaparra tihs year. Tell me that doesn’t impact the 2010 payroll and the quality of the product on the field. Can’t do it.

Calling out your best player is supposed to help motivate a flawed team with a good offense and a pitching staff with more holes than Jon Gosselin’s argument that he’s a good guy?  Look in the mirror Ned. You may have done irreparable harm to the relationship with your franchise player. Dodgers fans just have to hope that the team is sold prior to Kemp’s contract being up. Oh for the days of Fred Claire…

Thank you for your time. Rant over.