Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and here are some random thoughts I had while watching the Dave Roberts news conference:
---Andrew Friedman seems really uncomfortable speaking in front of people.
---It was nice they could get the normally reclusive and camera shy Magic Johnson to show up and give Roberts his Dodgers jersey and cap.
---Roberts did the right thing, calling attention to Dodger legends in the audience such as Don Newcombe, Maury Wills and Tommy Lasorda.
---Farhan Zaidi is a master at giving a lengthy answer to a question without actually saying anything of substance.
---Roberts said Vin Scully called him on Scully’s 88th birthday. Roberts spoke for a couple of minutes on how honored he was, and you could get a sense that Roberts does know about the rich history of the Dodgers.
Some key Roberts quotes:
“I'm a former Dodger, and I know what it means to put on this uniform. This is my dream job.”
“The culture will be more positive driven. Guys need to care more about their teammates.”
“I'm looking forward to getting to know Yasiel Puig. He's a tremendous player.”
“It’s our responsibility to all Dodgers fans, home and away, to put a team out there that plays their tail off every game.”
“You should be goal-oriented. And the goal is to be great.”
It was a typical news conference, with nothing too exciting happening, just an introduction to Roberts and a chance for everyone to welcome him. He seems loved by the players (Adrian Gonzalez was in attendance), and seems to be well-liked by the media. But because he has no managerial experience, we really can’t say what kind of a job he will do. All Dodgers fans can do is hope for the best, give him support and see what happens.
My question for Friedman and Zaidi: Are you going to let Roberts manage, or are you going to micromanage everything he does? It should be a collaborative process, yes, but when it comes to the lineup and game decisions, Roberts should be given the freedom to make all the decisions, factoring in stats and ideas Friedman and Zaidi send him. Otherwise, you haven’t hired a new manager, you have hired a babysitter.
Reaction to the hiring from readers of this newsletter has been split, with some saying it is a great hire, and some concerned that Roberts will just be a puppet of the front office. I don’t think he will. I think Friedman and Zaidi wanted Gabe Kapler, and ownership pushed them toward Roberts. If that is the case, I think ownership will want Roberts to have a free hand. Either way, the first six weeks of the season will be very interesting.
The email came across and the subject line began “Dodgers re-sign right-handed pitcher….” and I thought to myself Zack Greinke. But no. The Dodgers re-signed Joe Wieland, who was eligible for salary arbitration. Wieland will earn $590,000, good dough for a guy who was 0-1 with a 8.31 earned-run average.
What about Greinke?
He has been linked to four teams in the off-season: the Dodgers, Giants, Cubs and Red Sox. If you are wondering what it will take to sign him, consider this: David Price agreed to a seven-year, $217-million deal with the Red Sox. Price went 18-5 and led the AL with a 2.45 ERA last season. Greinke went 19-3 and led the NL with a 1.66 ERA. Price has a Cy Young Award and finished second in the voting last season. Greinke has a Cy Young and finished second in the voting last season. Price is 30, Greinke just turned 32. So if Price is worth $31 million a season, Greinke is worth at least that much.
The question remains: Are the Dodgers serious when they say they want to get their payroll down around $200 million? Because if they are, they probably won’t sign Greinke. If they don’t sign him and he goes to the Giants, expect a lot of irate Dodgers fans. I’m still in the “Dodgers won’t sign him” category, but I hope I am wrong.
Other pitchers available
Johnny Cueto’s asking price is apparently quite high, as he rejected a six-year, $120-million offer from Arizona. Reliever Darren O’Day received a “competitive offer” from the Baltimore Orioles and is expected to make a decision soon. The Dodgers, Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves are also interested in him.
And what about hitters?
The Dodgers have been strangely quiet when it comes to rumors about them signing hitters. Will they really just hand the second base job to Jose Peraza? Is there a trade in the making? Times Dodgers blogger Steve Dilbeck looks at some of the options here. The Dodgers have been linked to outfielder Jason Heyward, but I just don’t see that happening. I do see the Dodgers trading either Andre Ethier or Yasiel Puig for a pitcher (perhaps Shelby Miller). I think pitching is their first priority and they will fill those holes before turning attention to any improvements on offense.
More trouble for Puig
Yasiel Puig was involved in a fight at a Miami nightclub last week. That sound you hear is his trade value plummeting.
Times baseball columnist Bill Shaikin says the Dodgers can only hope Roberts turns out as good as Walter Alston. You can read it here. and best wishes to Newcombe, who passed out after the news conference and was taken to the hospital.
Have a comment or something you'd like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter: @latimeshouston