Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and I'm wishing the weather in L.A. would decide to be either cold and rainy or warm and sunny.
Clayton Kershaw gave an interview to Texas radio station KTCK (Kershaw lives in Texas during the offseason, and I am thoroughly and irrationally convinced that he will opt out and sign with Texas or Houston after the 2018 season). In it, he was asked if he is over Game 7 yet. (Dodgers Nation was the first to report the details.)
"Yeah, I think so. People say you need to get over it and wait for next season and they're probably right, but it's just so hard …. When you start thinking about it you just were one game away from winning the World Series. When you start thinking about that, it makes it a little harder. If you haven't noticed, I'm not quite there, yet. Spring training's coming up soon, so I guess I've got to get over it."
And on Yu Darvish:
"Yeah, Yu's awesome. I think he was great when he came over. He speaks great English, so I got to talk to him a lot. He's actually my throwing partner this offseason, we've been throwing every day. It's been great to get to know him. That World Series was tough, but nobody remembers the start against the Diamondbacks, or that start against the Cubs that got us to the World Series. I mean, he was dominant for us."
The greatest of all time
Last time, I asked you to send me your list of the 10 greatest Dodgers of all time. Anyone who had a Dodgers connection was eligible, including managers, announcers and front office people.
Well, I have received more than 2,000 ballots from you. Some interesting trends so far:
—No one has been named on every ballot.
—Eleven different people have received first-place votes.
—Most interesting votes: Peanut man Roger Owens, Helen Dell, Gladys Gooding, Wilbert Robinson. Two people think Yasiel Puig is one of the 10 greatest Dodgers of all time.
—The top three are far, far ahead of everyone else.
There is still time for you to vote! It closes at midnight, Jan. 31. So, I need you to email me your list of who you consider to be the 10 greatest. Please list them in order from 1 to 10. Points will be assigned based on their place in the ballot, with 12 points going to your No. 1 choice, 10 points for No. 2, eight points for No. 3, seven points for No. 4, all the way down to one point for No. 10.
Soon after balloting ends, I will count down the top 20 vote getters, starting with No. 20 and one each newsletter until we reach No. 1.
Season tickets prices
Just before Christmas, the Dodgers raised the price of season tickets. The increases are above 20% in certain sections in the loge, reserve, top deck and pavilion and above 30% in other sections. Some field-level seats between the bases went up only 3-5%.
Many of you wrote me very angry about the increase, and understandably so. The main point of contention was that the Dodgers are cutting payroll this season, but raising ticket prices.
We can go back and forth all day about the reason for price increases (I'm not happy about them either. Taking my wife and three daughters to a game almost requires a second mortgage when you include parking, food, drinks and souvenirs).
But to cut a long story short, there's really only one way to force season ticket prices down: Don't buy them. The Dodgers are like any business, they will increase prices until demand stops. If people suddenly stop buying season tickets, then the prices will stop going up. It's not a fun solution, but it's the only one that will work.
Last week, in a three-team deal, the Dodgers traded left-handed reliever Luis Avilan to the Chicago White Sox and right-handed pitcher Trevor Oaks to Kansas City. In return, they got left-handed reliever Scott Alexander.
The Dodgers also received minor league infielder Jake Peter from the White Sox, while sending minor league infielder Erick Mejia to the Royals. The White Sox also received right-handed reliever Joakim Soria from Kansas City.
Alexander is the key to the deal on the Dodgers' side. He is 28 and won't be a free agent until 2023. Last season, he had a 2.48 ERA in 58 appearances, while leading all qualified relievers with a 73.8% groundball rate.
He will join Tony Cingrani as the two main lefties in the bullpen.
Avilan is eligible for salary arbitration, while Alexander is not, so this helps the Dodgers remain under the $197-million salary threshold, which they need to do in order to not pay a luxury tax.
Shameless Plug Dept.
Some of you came out for my discussion with Ned Colletti a few weeks ago at the South Pasadena Library Community Room. Well, another discussion is taking place later this month (Jan. 29) with Dodgers announcer Joe Davis.
The Community Room is at 1115 El Centro St. Admission is free and doors will open at 6:30 p.m. No tickets or reservations are necessary. For more information go here, or call (626) 403-7332. I guarantee you will have a good time. Please come out and say hi.
As spring training approaches, Dodgers Dugout will become more active. We will take a look at the Dodgers' top 10 prospects next week. In the meantime, send me your 10 greatest Dodgers ballot.