Don Mattingly, Matt Kemp and the Ned Colletti's Next Move
While speculation about Don Mattingly’s job security was rampant a week ago, one Dodger official made a cogent observation:”We had a clearly-defined projected lineup before the season opened. That lineup has not been together for one game.”
Matt Kemp’s pulled hamstring is viewed as a blessing in disguise, because he is now beginning his weights program to strengthen his surgically-repaired left shoulder, and that lead shoulder is what has left his mechanics a mess in the first half.
Carl Crawford’s pulled hamstring has further weakened the Dodger lineup, although the word around the game is that they would like to deal Andre Ethier, knowing they have to eat a chunk of the contract. Considering Ethier is owed a guaranteed $70M 2014-2018, he’s 31 and is sometimes considered a platoon player(.634 OPS, 1 HR vs. LHP) that isn’t going to happen.
The scouting department would love to see Joc Pederson, who is hitting .303 with a .387 on base percentage and 17 steals in Chattanooga and has a plus-plus makeup, get a chance, but the front office believes he needs more time.
“If the Dodgers get closer to Arizona and into the race in the next month, it will be interesting to see if Dodger ownership tries to force Ned Colletti to deal a couple of their prospects to make a run at the playoffs,” says one rival GM.
Pederson, RHP Zach Lee and LHP Chris Reed would all be trade chips. Reed was a reliever at Stanford and has taken time to learn to start, but while he’s 2-5, 4.34 at Chattanooga scouts following the club say Reed has consistently been throwing in the 90’s and is an attractive piece, either as a starter or a reliever.
Nationals on the Mend
Ryan Zimmerman’s continued throwing problems have him up to 10 errors, and Mike Rizzo’s suggestion voicemail is getting all kinds of advice. Make Zimmerman a Jeff Kent-style second baseman, where he can throw sidearm, and put Anthony Rendon at third. Or put Zimmerman at first, bring up Rendon and trade Adam LaRoche. For now, Zimmerman will continue to work on his footwork and try to get his throwing back to normal.
There have been suggestions that Stephen Strasburg’s strained oblique is an ongoing problem, but the day after his previous start against Philadelphia several Phillies players talked Strasburg. “I think he’s going to end up better than Justin Verlander,” said one, which is high praise, indeed. “Not only does he throw 98 with that great breaking ball,” said another, “but his changeup has evolved into an 89 mile an hour sinker, a nasty sinker, at that. It’s an unbelievable pitch.
In one week, three different general managers have said, “the Twins right now have the best talent up and down their organization—by far.” With Terry Ryan absolutely the right man to decide who can play, and who cannot.