Diving into the depths: Los Angeles Dodgers

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This is part of a 30-article series looking at each team’s depth chart headed into spring training.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Rotation
1. Hiroki Kuroda
2. Clayton Kershaw
3. Chad Billingsley
4. Vicente Padilla
5. James McDonald
6. Eric Stults
7. Scott Elbert
8. Russ Ortiz
9. Charlie Haeger
9. Josh Lindblom
10. Josh Towers
11. John Ely
12. Chris Withrow
13. James Adkins
It was a certainty that the Dodgers would add a fourth starter, and they got that done by re-signing Padilla. Now it just remains to be seen whether they’ll also pick up a No. 5. I think McDonald would be just fine in that role, but he could be as valuable while spending another year in the pen. The alternatives are plentiful, but there aren’t really any standouts. I prefer Elbert in the pen.
Bullpen
1. Jonathan Broxton
2. George Sherrill
3. Ramon Troncoso
4. Hong-Chih Kuo
5. Ronald Belisario
6. James McDonald
7. Scott Elbert
8. Cory Wade
9. Justin Miller
10. Eric Stults
11. Brent Leach
12. Luis Ayala
13. Scott Dohmann
14. Carlos Monaterios
15. Josh Lindblom
16. Juan Perez
17. Travis Schlichting
18. Javy Guerra
19. Armando Zerpa
20. Kenley Jansen
The bullpen will be deep regardless, but extremely so if the Dodgers do ink a fifth starter and let McDonald and Elbert battle it out for relief spots. Broxton, Sherrill, Troncoso, Kuo, Belisario and McDonald all had ERAs of 3.00 or better last year (McDonald was at 4.00 overall, but he came in at 2.72 in his 49 2/3 innings out of the pen).


Catcher
1. Russell Martin
2. A.J. Ellis
3. Lucas May
First base
1. James Loney
2. Casey Blake
3. Doug Mientkiewicz
4. John Lindsey
Second base
1. Blake DeWitt
2. Jamey Carroll
3. Nick Green
4. Argenis Reyes
Third base
1. Casey Blake
2. Blake DeWitt
3. Jamey Carroll
4. Nick Green
5. Angel Berroa
Shortstop
1. Rafael Furcal
2. Ivan DeJesus
3. Nick Green
4. Chin-Lung Hu
DeWitt is supposed to get a chance to be the full-time second baseman, but it’d make sense to have Carroll start over him against lefties. Green will probably have the edge on the other utility slot, given that the Dodgers don’t seem to be as high on Hu as they once were. DeJesus won’t be a candidate for a utility role, but he just might take over as the starting shortstop if anything happens to Furcal.
Left field
1. Manny Ramirez
2. Xavier Paul
3. Jason Repko
4. Michael Restovich
Center field
1. Matt Kemp
2. Jason Repko
3. Xavier Paul
4. Brian Barton
Right field
1. Andre Ethier
2. Xavier Paul
3. Jason Repko
4. Michael Restovich
If the Dodgers add another bat, it will probably be a veteran fourth outfielder. They’d be OK with Repko and Paul in reserve, but odds are that someone will fall into their price range. That’d set it up so that Repko and Paul would battle for one spot. Paul is the fantasy sleeper of the two, but the Dodgers won’t want to keep him in the majors unless they know they’ll be able to find him at-bats.

Report: The Yankee Stadium charity is a secretive, self-dealing boondoggle

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The New York Times has a blistering report on the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund. The Fund is the charity the Yankees created in 2006 as a means of making up for the negative impact the construction New Yankee Stadium had on the surrounding community, primarily via its taking over 25 acres of parkland.

The idea of the Fund was a good one: to distribute $40 million in cash grants and sports equipment, and 600,000 free baseball tickets to community organizations in the Bronx over four decades. And it has been distributing funds and tickets. As the Times reports, however, the manner in which it has done so raises some red flags. Such as:

  • Charitable donations have, in an amazing coincidence, often gone to other charities which share common board members with the New Yankee Stadium Fund;
  • Funds have gone to many wealthy groups in affluent parts of the Bronx far away from the Stadium while the area around the stadium remains one of the most impoverished in the nation. For example, a private school in a wealthy part of the borough and a rec center in a gated community have gotten a lot money that, one would think anyway, could be and should be devoted to organizations closer to the ballpark that are in greater need; and
  • There has been almost no transparency or oversight of the Fund. Reports which were supposed to have been submitted have not been. And no one, apart from the Times anyway, seems to care. The Yankees certainly don’t seem to. Indeed, as the article notes, the team has worked hard to keep the Fund’s operations out of its hands. They just got their new ballpark and write the checks and hand out the tickets. Everything else is someone else’s problem.

Cronyism in private philanthropy is not uncommon. As is a lack of oversight. Often it’s the best connected people who receive the benefit of such funds, not the people most in need. This is especially true in charities whose creation was not born of a philanthropic impulse as much as it was born of a need to put a good face on some not-so-good business dealings.

If the Times’ report is correct — and the lack of anyone coming forward to dispute it on the record despite the Times’ requests that they do suggests it is — it appears as if the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund is one of those sorts of charities.

Who is the fastest sprinter in baseball?

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We’re not talking the 100 meters here. We’re talking practical baseball sprinting. That’s defined by the StatCast folks at MLB as “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window,” while sprinting for the purposes of, you know, winning a baseball game.

StatCast ranked all players who have at least 10 “max effort” runs this year. I won’t give away who is at the top of this list, but given that baseball’s speedsters tend to get a lot of press you will not be at all surprised. As for the bottom of the list, well, the Angels don’t pay Albert Pujols to run even when he’s not suffering from late career chronic foot problems, so they’ll probably let that one go. I will say, however, that I am amused that the third slowest dude in baseball is named “Jett,” however.

Lately people have noticed some odd things about home run distances on StatCast, suggesting that maybe their metrics are wacko. And, of course, their means of gauging this stuff is proprietary and opaque, so we have no way of knowing if their numbers are off the reservation or not. As such, take all of the StatCast stuff you see with a grain of salt.

That said, even if the feet-per-second stuff is wrong here, knowing that Smith is faster than Jones by a factor of X is still interesting.