The Los Angeles Dodgers not only did some sweeping this weekend but they re-organized the garage as well. Coming off a weekend sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, GM Ned Colletti made good on a few off season promises.
Last winter, Colletti said that obtaining a veteran back-up catcher for A.J. Ellis, who was coming off knee surgery, and clearing out the logjam of starting pitchers created when the Dodgers signed both Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, would be high atop his “to do” list when 2013 rolled around. Colletti took care of both situations in one fell swoop by trading pitcher Aaron Harang to Colorado for catcher Ramon Hernandez.
Hernandez, 37, was a well respected starting catcher back in his younger days averaging 127 games a year between 2000 and 2008. Age and injuries have caught up with him as he has averaged just 81 games a season since then. Last season with Colorado, Hernandez batted a career low .217 in 52 games. The Dodgers are his third team in three years but his six seasons of playoff experience may be an intangible should the Dodgers achieve their goal of playing in October.
For the next few days at least, the Dodgers will have three catchers on the roster. Tom Federowicz, who was beyond thrilled when the Dodgers named him to the opening day roster, will move from number 2 to number 3 on the depth chart. But assuming pitcher Chad Billingsley comes off the DL sometime this week as planned, Federowicz will probably be sent back down to Triple A in order to make room on the roster.
As good as advertised
Although you can make a case it was only the Pirates, the weekend series made good on the theory the Dodgers may have one of the strongest rotations in the majors. The starting trio of Greinke, Ryu, and Clayton Kershaw went a combined 3-0, striking out 21 batters in 19.2 innings while amassing a microscopic a 0.93 ERA.
Not to be outdone, the bullpen has surrendered exactly one hit in their 13 innings of duty so far this season.
They’ll be coming round the corner when they come
Talk about giving new meaning to turning the corner. The Pirates appeared to be on the right path when they entered the 2011 All-Star break with a 47-43 record and were one game off the division lead. But they’ve gone 105-135 since then, including crawling out to a 1-5 start this season.
It is a shame the Pirates can’t get their act together given that Pittsburgh is a city that gets things done when it comes to their sports teams. They were able to open not one but two new stadiums in 2001 whereas Los Angeles is still just drawing pictures of a new one.
Dodger Stadium on ice
The Los Angeles Times is reporting the NHL will play a regular season game between the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks next January 25th at Dodger Stadium.
The annual New Year’s day “Winter Classic,” played outdoors at major stadiums, is very popular with the fans and players. Players say it reminds them of their childhood days in Canada and other northern points when the ponds and lakes would freeze over. The 2014 game is scheduled to be played in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Technology has advanced to the point that even in Los Angeles, an outdoor game is possible. Of course, not sure if it will exactly evoke memories for the players. A January evening in, say Montreal, sees temperatures usually range between 4 and 22 degrees. In Los Angeles, the January average nighttime temperature is a balmy 49 degrees. I guess this game will literally be a hot ticket.