Chat with Tony Jackson
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPNLosAngeles.com Dodgers writer Tony Jackson stops by to chat about the MLB season.
Jackson covered the Dodgers for the Los Angeles Daily News for more than five seasons. He has covered Major League Baseball on a regular basis for 15 years in Denver, Cincinnati and Los Angeles.
Send your questions now and join Jackson Thursday at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT!
Tony Jackson (6:03 PM)
Good afternoon everyone, from a very windy Dodger Stadium. It's blowing HARD from left to right. Not sure if it's going to stay that way all night. Let's get right to your questions.
Rob (Bonn, Germany)
Is it Matt Kemp's fault that our pitching staff right now includes a 22 year old who can't make it to the 7th inning, a fellow who made his major league debut yesterday, a former all-star who has seriously regressed, a knuckler who pitches BP, and Hiroki Kuroda?
Tony Jackson (6:08 PM)
OK, Rob has posted a whole series of questions that begin with the question ''Is it Matt Kemp's fault that ..." so rather than posting and answering all of them, let me just say this about the whole Kemp/Colletti issue: Ned is a passionate guy, and he is a bit of a rollercoaster ride from an emotional standpoint. When he sees something on the field during a game that he doesn't like -- and I'm not talking about a guy striking out in a key situation, I'm talking about the way a guy goes about playing the game -- it drives him absolutely nuts. During the past couple of weeks, and for that matter at various times over the past five years, Matt Kemp has been guilty at times of jogging when he should run, making mental mistakes on the basepaths and taking bad routes to fly balls. It's just a fact. And no, Matt isn't the only player on the team about which those things could be said. If Ned had it to do over again, my guess is he wouldn't have said what he said publicly. But I also think it was smart of him to stand by those comments and not back off them, because what he said was true, even if he shouldn't have said it.
what do you think about McCourt selling team to Jerry Buss???
Tony Jackson (6:09 PM)
Hard to believe that would even happen, Bryan. If Jerry Buss were interested in owning a baseball team, don't you think that at some point during all his years in Los Angeles that he would have made some kind of bid to buy one of the TWO teams in town? Can't see it.
If Colleti wants to call someone on the team out he should start with every pitcher not named Kuroda or Broxton. He's an absolute idiot. A man who signed Jason Schmidt and Juan Pierre to big deals should have no right to call anyone out...especially one of our top producers!
Tony Jackson (6:14 PM)
Leo, I'm sure there are many who share your sentiments, and they are at least somewhat valid (other than the idiot part, if you have ever had a conversation with Ned, he is actually a very intelligent guy). But again, this whole thing wasn't about RESULTS. It was about, to steal one of Ned's favorite words, PRESENTATION. These players are paid a lot of money to do what they do, and the fans pay a lot of money to come and see them play. So the least they can do is play hard ALL THE TIME, regardless of the score or the situation.
Warren (Dalton, GA)
Hey Tony is it possible to have ESPN make it easier to find your chats? I never know they are coming until I go digging for them in the archives. That said, once again everyone is calling out the Dodger for lack of pitching depth and I agree. However what I never see are the names of those pitchers who were available that could have made a difference. Lackey and Pinero? Possibly. But both included their own risks and were arguable upgrades. Am I missing someone? To state the problem over and over without offering any solutions is fairly pointless. I'm not sure there were any impact pitchers that could have been added. Your thoughts?
Tony Jackson (6:16 PM)
Hey Warren, I'm sure the powers that be will see your first question, as I believe they monitor these chats fairly regularly. As for the pitchers, the free agents who are still out there, and who probably will sign somewhere around midseason when it becomes clear who is contending and who isn't and who needs another starter and who doesn't, include Pedro Martinez, Braden Looper and Jarrod Washburn.
Warren (Dalton, GA)
One more question... Colletti called out the starters for not throwing strikes. Basically saying get beat throwing strikes not beating yourself with walks. Billingsley then went out, pounded the zone, and got lit up by the Reds. After he said he was making good pitches and Torre disagreed publicly. Is it fair to say the manager and the GM are sending mixed messages?
Tony Jackson (6:17 PM)
No I don't think that's fair. I just think throwing strikes is the first and most basic thing a pitcher has to do, but beyond that, they have to be quality strikes, and the strikes Billingsley was throwing that night, for the most part, weren't. Contrast that to Sunday, when he lost the game but had a stellar outing at Washington. That day, he was throwing quality strikes.
Padilla looks like he'll be out a while, Haeger's knuckler hasn't been knuckling all that much these last few starts, and Ely is not a big league starter. Any chance Ned goes outside the organization for a starter? If so, who's out there? Pedro? Doesn't exactly instill confidence...
Tony Jackson (6:25 PM)
Steve, they could go get one of those guys, but they aren't going to pay what those guys are asking for right now. As Ned said yesterday, it's not like you just go to the mall and buy a pitcher. And even if they did sign one of those guys, that guy would need about a month to get himself into shape for regular-season, big-league competition.
Tony Jackson (6:27 PM)
I just inadvertently deleted a question from Steve as I was trying to post it. He wants to know why the McCourts can't just sell the team if they can't afford a higher payroll. Well, they could sell the team, if they knew who would be doing the selling. Jamie's claim to ownership won't be decided until August now, so there is no way the team can be sold before that issue is resolved. My guess is once all the divorce smoke clears, Frank eventually will have to sell the team, if not this year then within the next couple of years. It's just hard to imagine him having the financial wherewithal to keep this team competitive year in and year out into the distant future.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
With all the Brand New Stadiums In Major League Baseball do you think in the future that the Los Angeles Dodgers will get a Brand New Stadium?
Tony Jackson (6:29 PM)
Well, eventually, they will. But it might be another 30 or 40 years. For now, the Dodgers are absolutely committed to Dodger Stadium, which has become one of the game's true classics. It isn't Wrigley or Fenway yet, but it's now the third-oldest park in the majors, and while the stadium itself is nothing special and is a bit outdated, there isn't a more beautiful setting in baseball.
Steve (Irvine, CA)
What do you think of Ely's debut? Could have been much better if not for the Wright mishap.
Tony Jackson (6:30 PM)
Yeah, by the standards of major-league debuts, I thought it was fine. My guess is he'll get one or two more, then back to the minors when Padilla comes back. He probably isn't ready to be a regular presence in a major-league rotation yet, but he certainly wasn't a disaster against the Mets.
Tony Jackson (6:31 PM)
OK, looks like we're out of questions and the clubhouse is about to open up, so I'm going to cut it off here for this week. See you all next Thursday. Thanks for your questions.