Brady Clark

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that they have acquired right-handed hitting outfielder Brady Clark and cash considerations from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for right-handed pitcher Elmer Dessens, according to Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti.

"Brady is a very versatile outfielder who will add depth to our club," said Colletti. "He’s shown that he can hit and that he can play all three outfield positions well. His character and work ethic will only add to the positive atmosphere in the clubhouse."

Brady Clark will be the fourth outfielder, the fact that he is right-handed was very important, since Jason Repko is facing season ending surgery.  This trade will allow the Dodgers to keep young Matt Kemp (who also hits from the right side) and James Loney playing everyday in Las Vegas until they are need back in LA.

Look at the Brady Clark deal as nothing more than a quick fix.  Clark remains a weak-hitting journeyman player at this point in his career.  He will help the Dodgers more than he will your fantasy team.  He should be avoided at draft time.

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Dodgers’ Furcal injures left ankle

X-rays on Rafael Furcal’s ankle were negative. Jason "Hard Luck Life" Repko is back on crutches and will be having an MRI on his left hamstring. Pretty scary scene. 

"I was relieved with the results. I had a similar injury in 2002 with the Braves in spring training," Furcal said. "I may be out four or five days. I could play if it’s 80 percent. You don’t always play at 100 percent — sometimes you play hurt."

Andy LaRoche and Wilson Betemit

Andy LaRoche is the best power hitting prospect the Dodgers have had since Paul Konerko. He has good hands, a decent arm but no range or speed. Still, he can flat out hit and has bucket loads of confidence and swagger. He entered the spring in a battle for third but, unfortunately, has done nothing to advance his case to start over Betemit, at this time.

That said, at some point in late 2007 or 2008 he will become the Dodger de facto third baseman. He’s that good and his talent (25-30 Home Run Power) will win out in the end. Another good thing is that his shoulder appears to be healed (he had surgery at the end of last season). Look for him to open the season in Las Vegas.

For now, Wilson Betemit has the inside track on the position. Betemit, however, is far better suited for part-time utility work and his hold on the job is not iron clad. It’s very possible that Nomar will eventually see enough time over at third to qualify in most leagues since Grady Little will be trying to get first baseman James Loney’s potent bat into the line-up as often as possible.

Don’t draft Betemit as anything more than a role player, since there are better third base options out there, but do add LaRoche, if you are in a keeper league. He is going to be a good one

Brad Penny

Brad Penny was scratched from his scheduled start against the Mets tonight because of right shoulder stiffness.   An MRI reportedly showed no new structural damage. "I just don’t want to go into the season not feeling 100 percent," said Penny. "If this was the regular season, I wouldn’t miss it. It’s just a little stiff and I don’t want it to progress and get any worse and affect the next start."   Penny has two starts remaining this spring and will be closely watched. 

R.I.P. Bowie Kuhn (1926-2007)

Former MLB Commissioner, Bowie Kuhn passed away.  Kuhn was a true giant of the game.  No one, with the possible exception of Marvin Miller, has had a greater impact on the business of baseball in the past 40 years.  As many of you will remember, Kuhn was commissioner from 1969-84, fifteen years of tremendous labor strife including the infamous Messersmith and McNally saga that led to the demise of Baseball’s draconian reserve clause and ushered in the era of free agency and record television revenue.  Let us also not forget that he was also the man behind the designated hitter “experiment” that many of us (yours truly included) feel has cheapened the statistics of the grand old game. 

Kuhn was also the target of much deserved criticisms for his perceived racial insensitivity. He missed Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, wanted to house the plaques of Negro leaguers in a separate wing of the Hall of Fame, personally added Carl Yastrzemski to the 1983 All Stars even though he had refused to give the same honor to Willie Stargell a year earlier, and described Jim Bouton’s now classic Ball Four  as "detrimental to baseball" and demanded it’s recall.  Bouton’s book detailed, among other things, the widespread use of recreational drugs in baseball, a point made all the more apparent and poignant after the sensational Pittsburgh drug trials of 1985 which saw the suspensions of eleven ballplayers and tarnished the reputations of many more.

Notes from Vero Beach Part II

Today in front of a big crowd at Dodgertown, Hong-Chiu Kuo was matched against Japanese sensation Daisuke Matsuzaka.  Unfortunately, Kuo did very little to advance his chances of winning the hotly contested 5th and final spot in the Dodger rotation.

In an unusual move Hong-Chiu Kuo chose to pitch “out of the stretch” for the whole of the rain-shorted game against a much depleted Boston line-up (no Manny or Ortiz).  For someone poised to become either the 5th starter of Los Angeles or the ace of Las Vegas, it was a curious decision – and one that he will rue for the rest of this season.  Not only was he tagged for three home runs, but during one terrible at bat against Matsuzaka, he still managed to walk him despite an 0-2 advantage!  And this with Dice-K under strict managerial orders not to swing at anything. (Mike Hampton seriously injured himself during batting practice a week ago so Terry Francona was taking no chances.)  How do you say very ugly in Taiwanese?  It’s likely Kuo just booked his passage to Las Vegas with today’s performance.

Earlier this week, Grady Little raised a few eyebrows by deciding to send Chad Billingsley to the pen.  Clearly, he feels that Billingsley is just not ready for the rotation yet.  Long relief duty should allow him to work on his command and poise without the added pressure of starting.

It would appear that veteran Brett Tomko has once again shown enough in spring training to warrant becoming the 5th starter.  Let’s hope that ‘Mr. March” has better luck sustaining his early success in 2007 then he has had in the past two seasons.  Still too early to tell but the race for the 5th Dodger starter is fast coming to an unpleasant conclusion.  If you are looking to round out your fantasy rotations I would look elsewhere.