Bob Nightengale sat down for an interview with Dodgers owner Mark Walter and team president Stan Kasten yesterday. And if there was any notion that Walter is going to be some sort of behind the scenes, business-oriented owner, it was put to rest.
Walter sends Kasten trade ideas all the time. He talks about how damn frustrating it was to see the Dodgers not be able to hit against the Rockies, essentially saying, “hey, their pitchers suck, why can’t we hit them?” And, he says, the Dodgers are going to become as dominant in the NL West as the Braves were in the East throughout the 90s:
They believe the Dodgers will become a dynasty, and when asked whether it’s possible for anyone to duplicate the Atlanta Braves’ era when they won 14 consecutive division titles with Kasten as president, they weren’t shy.
“It’s going to be done again,” Walter said, “this time on the West Coast. Oh, sorry.”
Kasten, briefly taken aback by the bravado, said: “I’m saying, ‘Yes.’ But that’s all I’m going to say.”
I like owners to be fans. I like them wanting to win. While you don’t want a guy to constantly meddle or turn into some sort of old Steinbrenner/Loria figure, I sorta hope Walter becomes one of those hands-on owners who is happy when the team wins and loudly complains when they lose. It’d be good for business.
Mariners’ right-hander Felix Hernandez is looking at a 3-4 week recovery period, the team announced on Friday. Hernandez has been officially diagnosed with bursitis in his right shoulder after getting pulled from his last start against the Tigers on Tuesday.
It’s not the first shoulder issue the 31-year-old righty has dealt with during his career. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times notes that Hernandez was previously diagnosed with bursitis during a minor league stint in 2005, several weeks prior to making his major league start for Seattle. This time around, however, the injury is coupled with a few years of not-so-sharp stuff, waning velocity and career-low numbers, and while it’s certainly not a worst-case diagnosis, it seems like greater cause for concern.
Without Felix, the Mariners will keep rolling with James Paxton, Hisashi Iwakuma, Ariel Miranda, Yovani Gallardo and Chase De Jong in their rotation. They’ll also keep Ben Gamel in right field, with starting right fielder Mitch Haniger expected to miss 3-4 weeks after sustaining a Grade 2 strain in his right oblique on Tuesday.
The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.
Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.