Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, reminding you that we are only a month away from the Dodgers’ first spring training game, March 3, against the Chicago White Sox.
Welcome back Howie
The Dodgers and second baseman Howie Kendrick agreed to a two-year, $20-million deal Friday, which means the Dodgers’ chances of winning the NL West just improved. Last season, Kendrick hit .295, had an OPS+ 0f 106 with the Dodgers and played steady defense. He is one of the more consistent players in the game; in the past four seasons, his batting average has been between .287 and .297.
Or, as Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts put it: “He’s a heck of a ballplayer. I know that he enjoyed his time here last year. ... [Having him] makes us a better ball club.”
It does indeed. The Dodgers can now return Kike Hernandez to the role he is most valuable in: playing any position needed on any given day. He’ll be able to spell Kendrick at second, Justin Turner at third and any of the outfielders.
Re-signing Kendrick makes the decision to bring back Chase Utley a bit more puzzling, but despite his shortcomings on offense, Utley did bring an aggressive demeanor that the Dodgers sorely lacked most of last season. If some of his aggressiveness can rub off on his teammates, perhaps that one-year, $7-million deal will be worthwhile.
By the time Kendrick’s contract expires, Micah Johnson, their top second base prospect in the minors, should be ready to take over.
Speaking of prospects
MLB pipeline released its list of the top 100 prospects in baseball, and the Dodgers have five players on the list and were judged to have the third-deepest farm system overall, behind Texas and Colorado.
Leading the way was shortstop Corey Seager, who was named the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball. Joining him were left-handed pitcher Julio Urias (No. 4 overall), and right-handed pitchers Jose De Leon (24), Grant Holmes (62) and Frankie Montas (95).
Vin Scully Way
The Los Angeles City Council has passed a motion to change the address of Dodger Stadium to 1000 Vin Scully Ave.
“A path to Dodger Stadium is a pathway to my heart,” Scully said in a statement. “For 55 years, it has been an honor to walk that road to one of the greatest entertainment centers in the world, a place that has brought so much joy to all of us. I thank God for this great honor.”
What do you think the Dodgers should do to honor Scully in his final season? Email me and let me know, and I will publish the best ideas in a future newsletter.
Just a reminder that Scully is heading into his final season, and most of us still can’t watch the Dodgers on TV. I’m going to repeat this in every newsletter until someone important, either with Time Warner Cable, the cable/satellite providers or the Dodgers decide to do something, or at least pretend like they care. Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke had a great take on the whole situation here.
Fernando blasts Zack
Dodgers legend Fernando Valenzuela had an interesting comment about Zack Greinke at Dodgers Fan Fest on Saturday. According to dodgersnation.com, Valenzuela said: "A better pitcher wouldn't leave."
Times baseball columnist Bill Shaikin takes a look at how it is almost impossible to afford to take your family to a Dodgers game. Read all about it here. Here’s the worst part, which again shows how inept the Dodgers are at talking to their fans: “The Dodgers’ average 2015 ticket price of $28.61 was below the league average, according to Team Marketing Report. The spokesman said the Dodgers ‘are declining to answer’ what their average ticket price would be this year.”
Have a comment or something you’d like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter: @latimeshouston