Let’s forget for a moment that Ken Rosenthal likes to rip the Yankees and Red Sox new ones for outspending everyone and making a mockery of their division and just enjoy him ripping Frank McCourt a new one for not outspending everyone and making a mockery out of the NL West:
The Dodgers should have capitalized upon their revenues, traded for an
ace at one of the last two non-waiver deadlines and reached the World Series by now. They
should be dominating the NL West, a division in which no other team
approaches their financial might. Instead, they’re fretting over their
starting rotation, which lacks an ace at the top and depth at the bottom.
Goes on and on like that, with Rosenthal noting that their payroll will be lower than the Twins’ payroll this year and asking us, multiple times, to imagine what life would be like if the Dodgers spent $150 million on players. He ends the article by saying “They’re the Los Angeles Dodgers, for crying out loud. Imagine if they acted like it.”
My slight dig at him aside, Rosenthal is absolutely right about this. Between the size of their market, their attendance, their merchandising reach and the fact that they own the ballpark and all the land around it, the Dodgers basically have a license to print money. If the Dodgers, as Rosenthal says, acted like the Dodgers, they could have made trades for any number of pitchers that have come available in recent years. They could have come to represent a west coast counterweight to the Yankees in the free agent market, diminishing some of Bombers’ power. And if they stepped things up perhaps another NL team steps things up like the Red Sox did in response to the Yankees getting their act together in the 90s.
Except the McCourts (a) bought the team by leveraging themselves to the hilt; and (b) decided to suck money out of the team for their own personal use
at an astonishing rate. Yes, there has been some recent on-the-field
success in Los Angeles, but what they’ve done while running that
franchise has prevented sustained Yankees-and-Red Sox-style dominance
that they so easily could have realized by now. It’s a friggin’ crime,
Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon hasn’t selected a fifth starter for his 2017 rotation yet, but told reporters that he could envision left-handers Brett Anderson and Mike Montgomery sharing the spot throughout the year. Neither pitcher was stretched out to the full 200-inning threshold last year, Maddon added, and suggested that the two could alternate innings out of the rotation and bullpen as needed (via MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat).
Anderson, 29, was acquired by the Cubs in January on a $3.5 million deal. He’s coming off a rough 2016, during which he underwent back surgery and missed all but 11 1/3 innings of his last season with the Dodgers. His last full, healthy year in the majors yielded a 3.69 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 5.8 SO/9 over 180 1/3 innings with Los Angeles in 2015.
Montgomery, meanwhile, is vying for a rotation spot after pitching almost exclusively from the bullpen during the second half of the Cubs’ 2016 run. The 27-year-old lefty put up a 2.82 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings for Chicago last year, returning in the postseason to post a 3.14 ERA during the Cubs’ championship finish.
Maddon also mentioned the possibility of throwing a sixth starter into the mix, which would help prevent his other starters from getting overworked too early in the year. Either way, Anderson and Montgomery are expected to get a lot of looks early in spring training as rotation spots are finalized in the weeks leading up to Opening Day.
Orioles’ center fielder Michael Bourn is expected to be sidelined for four weeks while he rehabs a broken ring finger on his right hand, according to reports from the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck. Bourn broke the finger while playing catch with a football after a spring training workout.
The veteran outfielder re-signed with the club earlier this week on a minor league deal and was prepared to compete for a bench role this season. He’s in line to receive a $2 million salary if he makes the major league roster and can make an additional $3.5 million in incentives based on a set number of plate appearances. Now, however, his chances of cracking the roster out of spring training look considerably diminished, as his current timetable gives him an approximate return date of March 25 if all goes well.
Bourn had an impressive, if short-lived run with the Orioles following his trade to Baltimore last August, batting .283/.358/.435 with two home runs and a .793 OPS in 55 PA. While still somewhat removed from the totals that brought him an All-Star nod with the Braves in 2012, his defensive chops should give the Orioles some depth in center once he’s healthy again.