I am happy in the fact our key players avoided salary arbitration as they were able to settle on one or two year contracts. I am happy that Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier have signed on for two years. As for what happens after 2012, only time can tell. I would like for the current group of Martin, Kemp, Ethier, Loney, and Broxton to remain with us for a long time. This has been a fun bunch to watch, the most enjoyable group of Dodgers to watch since the ’04 team, and this core group is still on the rise. And of course, in this day and age of free-agency, we’ll be lucky if we keep even half the team after 2012. I see Matt Kemp going 30/30 this year, ( I said the same thing last year and Matt was 4 home runs away from making me look like I knew what I was talking about ) , I see Russel Martin coming back to form and hitting .280 with 20 plus home runs, I see Chad Billingsley bouncing back from his 2nd half meltdown from last year and winning 15 plus games this year, I also see us walking of with ‘ Dre Ethier again and again.
As for 4 walk-off homeruns ? Hitting a walk-off homer once a year is hard, twice even harder, anything after that and one has to wonder why he’s even pitched to. Then again, if our lineup continues to be a force to be reckoned with, the opposition may not have much of a choice but to pitch to ‘Dre. But I dont see another 4 walk-off home runs in 2010. ( The 4 walk-off homers tied a MLB record last season ). However, I STILL want ‘Dre up there in the clutch from the 9th inning on. I see ‘Dre repeating his 30 home run 100 rbi feat. His batting avg. dropped 33 points last year, which of course went unnoticed because his power numbers and rbi totals went up from ’08 ( 20 homers to 31, 77 rbi’s to 106 ) so I guess that would be the trade-off, and not a bad one if you ask me. Also unnoticed is that in ’08 he played in 141 games where as to last season he played virtually the entire season, 160 games. So, as to what I see on ‘Dre’s plate is for hime to raise his average above .280 while maintaing his 30 home run 100 rbi total. ( I know, I sound to critical, but it’s only because I think he can do it, and knowing how Andre expects a lot of himself, sometimes too much, he may have an even higher bar than what I’ve stated here. ) .
I still want to see some depth added to our bench. One of the keys to a successful season is bench depth, especiallly when 162 games are being played in a season. And as for our 5th starter, now that we’ve re-signed Vicente Padilla, I am going to go out on a limb here and say that James McDonald wins the 5th spot come April . McDonald certainly has the stuff to be on the 5 man rotation, and after being demoted early last season to work on command issues, I think Jimmy Mac is ready to prove he belongs.
And in my perfect world of Dodger baseball, I see Broxton getting another chance at Philly in the LCS to redeem himself after saving 45 games in ’10 and over 56,000 blue clad fans loudly singing in unison I LOVE L.A. after J-Broc strikes out Utley-Victorino-and Howard in Game 7 of the LCS . And of course, as I said, that’s in MY PERFECT WORLD. Stay tuned…….
Here is something that may be of interest to you and I think you should check out. It’s the Florida Marlins blog from Iraq, as they visit our troops.
Get an inside look into the Marlins’ first ever trip to Visit the Troops! Chris Coghlan, John Baker, Fredi Gonzalez, Larry Beinfest and the Mermaids will be visiting our Armed Forces in Kuwait and Iraq from January 24th to February 1st. Check back for daily blog updates. You can keep track of everything that’s going on during our visit to Iraq by going to marlins.com/troopsvisit.
You can check it out @ http://marlinsvisitthetroops.mlblogs.com/
I think it’s great what these Marlin players are doing. I may not agree with our stance on the war, but to have our ballplayers showing the troops that we care about them is a great thing for them to do. As for our troops, you are one of the many reasons why we Americans can live in a country where we have the right to agree to disagree.
And finally, a huge THANK YOU to Mark Loretta, who has announced his retirement. 15 years and a career .295 hitter, we will always remember you for that ONE BIG HIT. I still feel the top deck shaking……