The Dodgers most attractive trade asset decided he just didn’t want to leave LA. Hirkoi Kuroda surprised most everyone when he announced Saturday afternoon that he would not be accepting a trade to either the Red Sox or Yankees, who were considered the top two destinations.
While I completely respect Kuroda for his decision, and question Ned Colletti for giving Kuroda a full no-trade clause in the first place, I really don’t understand what Kuroda is thinking. I understand he likes living and pitching in LA, but I cannot understand why he would not want the opportunity to pitch in the playoffs and possibly the World Series.
I don’t know Hiroki Kuroda, I can’t possibly imagine what drives him as a professional, but I cannot believe that he would rather pitch on a mediocre team that will not be in the playoffs, than pitch in the post-season. Furthermore, he has 6 wins and 13 losses for the club yet sports a 3.11 ERA, which is good enough to put him in the top 10 in the NL.
But you have to question his motivation or pursuit for greatness as the best in the game want to shine on the biggest stage and that is during the playoffs. Hiroki Kuroda just turned down the opportunity to possibly help a team win a championship and to pitch on baseballs biggest and brightest stage, and do so for one of the most notable franchises in all of baseball, the Yankees or Red Sox.
He also denied his current club the opportunity to pick up a couple of much needed talented youngsters who could possibly help the Dodgers in the future. Sure we appreciate Kuroda and the Dodgers will benefit the rest of the year from his talents, but in the long term the Dodgers come out as the biggest losers in Kuroda’s surprising decision.
For Dodger fans the news isn’t all bad, in trading Rafael Furcal to the Cardinals for AA outfielder Alex Castellanos (more on him in a bit), the Dodgers also recalled Dee Gordon from AAA. He will be inserted into the lineup as the everyday shortstop, and will gain 2 months of valuable experience at the Major League level, which will no doubt make him that much better of a player next year.
Now that the Dodgers have begun the Dee Gordon era it’s time for them to do the same with their other 2 top hitting prospects Jerry Sands and Trayvon Robinson. James Loney is currently mired in a slump that has seen him get just 6 hits in his last 53 at-bats, he has 2 RBI during that span and his average has dropped almost 30 points. He is now hitting .256 with a measly .302 on base percentage and he’s slugging a paltry .326.
According to MLB.com among all first-basemen who qualify, Loney is dead last in Slugging Percentage. And this is not just a slump or power outage that has just lasted a couple of months, this has gone on for over a year now. Matt Kemp was blasted on a daily basis last year for his struggles, yet Loney seems to be given a free pass because of his “Stellar Defense.”
Loney has 13 doubles on the season to go along with his 4 home runs and 33 RBI, in 359 at-bats. Sands had 125 at-bats for the Dodgers, he had 10 doubles, 2 homers, and 17 RBI, times those numbers by three, giving Sands the same number of at-bats as Loney, and despite his struggles to hit for average Sands would have better numbers across the board than Loney.
It’s time for Sands to be given the same opportunity as Gordon. He should be in the lineup everyday, earning valuable experience, which will make him and the Dodgers that much better off. The Loney experiment has been a failed one. I’m sure he’s a great guy and a super teammate, but you cannot justify his offensive ineptitude at such an important position, particularly since he’s at the magical age of 27 where he is supposed to be developing power.
As for Castellanos here’s what the Dodgers press release has to say about him:
Castellanos has spent the entire 2011 campaign at Double-A Springfield in the Texas League where he ranked in the Top-10 in batting average (.319, 8th), home runs (19, 5th), runs (72, 4th), hits (113, 5th), triples (4, T-10th), RBI (62, T-8th), total bases (199, 5th), slugging percentage (.562, 6th) and OPS (.941, 9th). The Miami, FL native started in right field for the North All-Stars in the Texas League All-Star Game after hitting .308 with 14 homers and 41 RBI during the first half.
“In Castellanos, we’re getting a player who has shown a combination of power and speed,” said Colletti. “We hope that he can refine those abilities to a big league standard.”
The strong-armed outfielder has showed no signs of slowing down in his first season at the Double-A level, batting .419 (18-for-43) with 10 RBI and 11 runs scored over his last 10 games. The 24-year old twice won Texas League Player of the Week during the first half, taking home the honors on April 25 and May 23. The 5-11, 180-pound right-handed batter has stolen at least 20 bases in each of his first three minor league seasons (2008-10) and has swiped 10 this year.
I can honestly say I had never heard of this guy before but we’ll see how he ends up, to me it seems like the Dodgers best position for depth in the minor leagues is outfield so I have a hard time seeing him move ahead of other Dodgers prospects.
I’m seeing tweets about the Dodgers trading Trayvon Robinson, if so I’m going to be pissed as hell as he is one of my favorite prospects. I will research the details and get back to you ASAP.