Dodgers' offseason: Lawyers, guns and money

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Thumbnail image for padilla.jpgWhat has been a disconcerting offseason for the Los Angeles Dodgers just got a little bit weirder.

I’m talking Warren Zevon weird.

Things have gone downhill since L.A. was ousted quite easily by the Phillies in the NLCS. There is of course, the ongoing saga of the McCourt divorce, which includes a non-stop stream of he-said, she-said brief filings, and sordid accusations that would make the Gosselins blush.

It’s been so much fun that there is now a new blog devoted to the proceedings called – I kid you not – Dodgerdivorce.com. (What’s next? Jeterdates.com?)

But the menacing cloud swirling around Chavez Ravine got a little more toxic on Tuesday when the news came down that pitcher Vicente Padilla had been shot in the leg.

Details have been sketchy, but it appears Padilla was at a shooting range outside of Managua in his native Nicaragua when he accidentally shot himself.

At least Plaxico Burress was in a dark nightclub with a pistol in his pants when he accidentally wounded himself. You would think Padilla would be a little safer in a controlled environment. Then again, maybe they play things kind of fancy free at Nicaragua gun ranges.

I wouldn’t make light of the incident if Padilla were badly hurt, but as he was hospitalized only 40 minutes before being released “without gravity,” I figure it’s fair game.

Besides, the Dodgers don’t seem too concerned, as GM Ned Colletti said after the incident (through Tweeting L.A. Times writer Dylano Hernandez) that his team is still interested in re-signing Padilla.

I’d suggest L.A. hire a bodyguard to protect the wild-shooting pitcher from himself, but maybe the Dodgers don’t want to go down that road again.

Follow me on Twitter at @bharks. For more baseball news, go to NBCSports.com.

Cardinals will bring back Mike Matheny for the 2017 season

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Manager Mike Matheny #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on while the umpires review a call against the San Francisco Giants in the top of the third inning at AT&T Park on September 16, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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The Cardinals went from winning 100 games last season to 82 entering Wednesday evening’s game, and they might not even make the playoffs. Still, the organization will bring back manager Mike Matheny for the 2017 season, Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Owner Bill DeWitt, Jr. said, “Mike’s done a really good job for us. There’s no thought that we’re going to go in any different direction.”

GM John Mozeliak also expressed his support, saying, “Mike takes a lot of heat, and I’ve defended him and I will continue to. I really feel like some of the things that we’re dealing with aren’t fair to put on the manager.”

Mozeliak continued, “I do feel like all of us are always held accountable for what we do here, so there’s nobody excluded from that. But having said that, I don’t look at him as someone that we are where we are because of that.”

Matheny has received criticism for his bullpen usage, but the Cardinals have only 15 blown saves as a team, the fourth-lowest total in baseball this season.

Pete Mackanin on Phillies’ bullpen: “Somebody else has to [bleeping] step up.”

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 15: Manager Pete Mackanin #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies makes a pitching change in the eighth inning during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park on June 15, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Blue Jays won 7-2. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
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The Phillies’ bullpen led to yet another loss on Tuesday. Severino Gonzalez, Luis Garcia, Joely Rodriguez, and David Hernandez combined to allow six runs in five innings, allowing the Braves to come back and win 7-6 after falling behind 6-0 after the first two innings.

The game prior, the Phillies’ bullpen surrendered 14 runs in four innings in a 17-0 loss to the Mets. The game before that, the bullpen yielded four runs in four innings, nearly squandering the Phillies’ 10-0 lead after four innings. And last Thursday, the Phillies had taken an 8-6 lead in the top of the 11th, but Edubray Ramos served up a walk-off three-run home run to Asdrubal Cabrera. It’s been a tough month.

Manager Pete Mackanin ripped the bullpen when speaking to the media after Tuesday’s game. Via Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly:

Neris was going to close for us. I thought about using him with two outs in the eighth. But, at some point, somebody else has to do a (bleeping) job. Somebody else has to (bleeping) step up. In two games now, every reliever I brought in has given up a (bleeping) run. That’s unheard of.

The Phillies currently own the fourth-worst bullpen ERA in baseball at 4.97.  Only the Rockies (5.12), Reds (5.07), and Diamondbacks (4.98) have been worse.

In fairness to the bullpen, aside from Jeanmar Gomez (who lost his job as closer earlier this month) and free agent signee David Hernandez, the bullpen is intentionally comprised of young, inexperienced pitchers as the Phillies are still rebuilding. If the Phillies were aiming for a playoff spot, it would be one thing, but the struggles are to be expected when one throws 24-year-olds into the deep end.