The Dodgers figure to be a busy bunch over the course of the next seven days. Aside from playing 8 games in the next week, they also have to trim their current roster of 41 players down to 25. So with just 7 days left until opening day who will make the cut, and who will be sent packing? Great question, and one Lasorda’s Lair will try to answer tomorrow.
Today Kurt Badenhausen at Forbes published an article on the current value of Major League Baseball teams, while Monte Burke and Nathan Vardi produced a disturbing article for Dodger fans detailing baseball’s debt disaster. There is so much information to digest that I would recommend you visit Dodger Divorce.com, where Jeff Fisher does a fantastic job breaking down the information presented in the Forbes pieces.
You can also view the full list of the value of all 30 MLB franchises by clicking here. The good news is the Dodgers come in 3rd overall at $800 million, up $73 million from 2010. The bad news is the McCourts have managed to rack up a staggering $459 million dollars in debt since they took over the reigns of the franchise in 2004. Much of the debt was used for personal use, and the $459 million in debt is 54% of the franchise’s total worth.
Forbes sums it up best when they state that “ (The Dodgers) are in financial turmoil because of the debt-fueled financial recklessness of their owners, left unchecked by the league.” You’ll get Lasorda’s Lair’s view on the situation over the course of the next couple days as we digest all of the information.
For now, let me just state the obvious and tell you that as far as the Dodgers are concerned it’s not pretty, and as the divorce heads into it’s second year, and many of the Dodgers back loaded contracts come due, it’s bound to get worse. Again more on this subject later, let’s focus on the good news surrounding the team on the field.
The Dodgers improved to 6-1 and 1 in their last 8 spring training games, with a 6-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox. Matt Kemp’s 5th homer of the Spring, a three-run shot, provided the Dodgers all the offense they would need. Ted Lilly making his first start since March 12, pitched 6 solid innings allowing only 2 earned runs while striking out 6.
Along with Kemp, Juan Uribe, Aaron Miles, James Loney, and Ivan De Jesus Jr also had 2 hits each, with Loney adding his first extra base hit, a double, and his first stolen base. On the mound Scott Elbert strengthened his case for a roster spot, striking out 2 after allowing a leadoff single. Elbert started off the spring by walking 9 of the first 19 batters he faced. Since then he has faced 9 batters, walking ZERO and striking out 4. (Thanks to True Blue LA for the info)
The battle for the coveted 2nd left hander out of the bullpen spot has shifted dramatically in the former 1st round pick’s favor. His main competition is 40 year old Ron Mahay who is coming off of season ending rotator cuff surgery last year. Watching Mahay pitch against Arizona earlier this week really told me all I needed to know. His fastball topped out at 86 miles an hour and his off-speed pitches were only 6 to 8 MPH slower than his fastball. The first lefty he was brought in to face, Juan Miranda, rocketed a double off of him down the right field line. Today Mahay lasted only two-thirds of an inning allowing a hit and a walk, but fortunately Lance Cormier minimized any damage and Mahay actually saw his ERA drop below 10.00 for the spring.
Meanwhile, Elbert has done a complete 180 since his rough start. Yesterday he entered the game in the 7th inning with runners on 1st and 3rd, and the Dodgers clinging to a 1 run lead. He quickly fell behind Cubs lefty Tyler Colvin 2 balls and 0 strikes. This situation in the past may have turned ugly, however, Elbert paused for a moment to slow down his delivery (something he has been working on with Dodger pitching coaches) and struck out Colvin on 3 straight pitches.
Today, pitching on back to back days, after giving up a leadoff single to Alex Rios, the young lefty fought back and struck out former Dodger Paul Konerko, as well as AJ Pierzynski to get out of the inning unscathed. With a fastball regularly hitting 94 MPH, and improved command of his breaking balls. There is no question he has significantly better ‘stuff’ than his competition. If he can minimize his walks, and continue to show that he has put his troubles behind him, Elbert could add another valuable piece to what should be an improved Dodger bullpen.
The Dodgers face off against their division rival Colorado Rockies at 1:05 pm PT tomorrow at Camelback Ranch. Hiroki Kuroda will get the start. Be sure to check in with Lasorda’s Lair after the game as we break down the action on the field, and provide our predictions on who will make up the final 25 man roster.