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 (6:06 PM)
Good afternoon everyone from AT&T Park. Going to be another chilly evening here for the rubber game of this three-game series. Good pitching matchup between Ted Lilly and Jonathan Sanchez. To your questions ...
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Will Joe Torre be back as a Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Next Year? If Not Who will be the Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Next Year?
Tony Jackson (6:07 PM)
Probably not. And probably Don Mattingly. But maybe Tim Wallach.
Hello Tony.There's some interesting coverage (in addition to your own) about the McCourt trial online and in print. But one element that seems to not get covered is how MLB allowed McCourt to buy the team in such a leveraged manner. I know there are rules about debt/equity ratios. Do you know of any reporting to this end, or do you plan to? Any comment on this subject?
Tony Jackson (6:09 PM)
Tom, from everything I have been told over the past several years, Bud Selig pushed to have the McCourts approved as buyers for the Dodgers. Their primary competition was a group headed by Eli Broad, the local real estate developer/home builder. The Broad group included a handful of investors, including Peter O'Malley, and there may have been some lingering bad feelings between Selig, who had been a small-market owner (Brewers) and O'Malley, whose family had owned the big-market Dodgers. Most of that is just speculation though. I don't know that any of it has ever been definitively proven.
Tony: I haven't heard about divorce court recently. I can't believe that this isn't being covered extensively in LA. Are the major dailies/websites treating it as a life/entertainment story than a sports story? When is the trail expected to be completed?Is Jaimie McCourt's limo driver/body guard attending the hearings daily? Only because it's in his job description, of course.
Tony Jackson (6:10 PM)
Fred, that's just because it's in recess for two weeks. It resumes on Monday, at which point I'm sure you'll be able to read about every detail of it again.
Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)
Dear Tony Could you see Kevin Malone as a GM again?
Tony Jackson (6:11 PM)
Possibly, but not likely. If you're a GM, and then suddenly you're not a GM, your window of opportunity to be a GM again is usually no more than three or four years. After that, you kind of fall off the carousel because people tend to forget about you. And don't forget, the Dodgers never went to the playoffs under Kevin Malone.
Benry (San Diego)
The Dodgers are a mess. Who stays and who goes in the off season?
Tony Jackson (6:12 PM)
Only time will tell, Benly. But my GUESS, and this is only a guess, is that the roster will look dramatically different next season. The only guys I would bet the house WON'T be traded are Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley. Everybody else is probably fair game.
What are the odds the Dodgers finally dump James Loney this offseason?
Tony Jackson (6:14 PM)
I don't think there is much chance of that. He is still going to lead the team in RBI, and he is still a solid defensive 1B. AND, there really isn't an obvious heir apparent in the system, unless you want to replace Loney with 34-year-old Jay Gibbons as an everyday 1B
Is leading the in RBI really an impressive accomplishment when you play everyday and bat in the middle of a lineup?
Tony Jackson (6:16 PM)
Well, you do have a point there. It's probably more a reflection of the fact nobody else in the lineup (Ethier, Kemp, Blake) has produced as expected. But I still don't see them trading Loney this winter.
Coug (So Cal)
Oy vey, oy vey, oy vey!! What in the world is this once-proud franchise doing with these great young arms (Kershaw and Billingsly)?? No support at all! Matt Kemp seems to play with the interest and motivation of a dead corpse! I hope they can go to the slate with power and somehow dig out of this soon without starting over! Can someone please give me an oy vey??!!
Tony Jackson (6:17 PM)
Depends on what your definition of starting over is. I do think the Dodgers are going to have to start from some degree of scratch next year, although that doesn't mean year one of a five-year plan. They don't have that luxury in this market. But whatever they're doing now isn't working and needs to be tweaked.
What is the deal with Loney's wide stance in the batter's box? Seems to diminish his power. I don't get the wide stance. Any thoughts?
Tony Jackson (6:18 PM)
I hadn't noticed any difference in his stance, but I'll watch for it. I might even ask him about it if I see him in the clubhouse.
J (Los Angeles)
Any cornerstone free agent sluggers out there for Coletti to grab who could protect Ethier/Kemp in the lineup as Ramirez did?
Tony Jackson (6:22 PM)
J, I honestly haven't reviewed the list of possible free agents. I know Carl Crawford is one, but he's not exactly a premium power guy, and he's probably headed to the Yankees anyway. That list will start coming out right after the World Series. But suffice to say I think it'll be a busy winter for the Dodgers and for the beat writers who cover them.
Why are that not more Somaon baseball players like in the NFL?? I love Somaons!!
Tony Jackson (6:25 PM)
That's a good question, Ingrid. The one guy I remember off the top of my head, from when I first started watching baseball as a child, was Tony Solaita. He was kind of a pinch-hitting specialist who played for a bunch of different teams in the '70s, then unfortunately died very young (43) in 1990. Other than that, I can't think of a one. If anyone out there can remember any other Somoan players, feel free to chime in with their names.
My dad stressed the bunt when I was young. And slapping the ball the other way. Why does there seem to be so many unproductive outs in present day baseball??
Tony Jackson (6:28 PM)
Glen, I think fundamentals are a lost art in the game, mostly because guys are rushed to the majors now. All that stuff used to be ingrained in guys while they were still in the minors. Personally, I'm all for slapping the ball the other way. But the bunt I could do without (unless it's a pitcher at the plate in an obvious bunting situation). I think it's the most counterproductive play in baseball.
Speed really puts pressure on the other team's defense. Why do more teams not have speed? I was called "scooter" when i played.
Tony Jackson (6:30 PM)
Glen, it's another example of the changing culture in the game. With smaller ballparks now, the emphasis is on hitting and hitting for power. The Padres are actually the antithesis of that. They play in a big ballpark and they utilize their speed. They remind me a lot of those Whitey Herzog-managed Cardinals teams in the 1980s, who never hit for much power but always won because they had so much speed and executed the fundamentals so well.
Do you see Scott Podsednik coming back? He seems to give it all and I like his speed.
Tony Jackson (6:31 PM)
Todd, well, it's up to him now that he has enough plate appearances to make the option on his contract a mutual one. It's for $2 million, so it will all depend on whether his agent thinks he can get more than that on the open market. At his age, if I'm him, I'm taking the guaranteed money and what probably would be an everyday job in LF. But that's just me.
Lucas (Victorville, CA)
Out of Kemp, Loney, and Eithier. Which player is likely to be out of LA this year if any?
Tony Jackson (6:32 PM)
Tough to say. Wouldn't surprise me if any of them was traded. Wouldn't surprise me if none of them was traded. What would surprise me is if more than one of them is traded.
BH (Los Angeles)
I am by no means a hitting coach but Kemp looks like he is cheating to hit the inevitable outside pitch that he generally can't get good contact on anyway, you are there during BP, do you see Kemp working with the staff on his stance and mechanics?
Tony Jackson (6:33 PM)
BH, I generally don't pay much attentoin to BP, as that is when we are talking to Torre, writing our pregame notes packages, etc. But what Kemp needs to do regarding those outside pitches is learn to lay off them, not try to cheat so he can hit them. They're balls, plain and simple, and if he learns not to swing at them, the pitchers will eventually have to start throwing him strikes or risk walking him. That's the key.
Can the Giants win the championship with their lack of offense? They don't seem to get to the slate enough to make a legit run. Your thoughts?
Tony Jackson (6:36 PM)
Bob, they can win the division. This is going to be a great, down-to-the-wire, three-team race, and my money at this point is probably on the Rockies, but they're currently in third place. But I don't see any of the three going deep into the postseason. I think the Phillies are the heavy favorites to at least get to the World Series out of the N.L. The Giants offense is better than anyone thought it was going to be coming into the season, and no one could have predicted the season Aubrey Huff has had. But at the end of the day, they're still not going to score many runs, and even though the postseason is mostly about pitching, you still have to outscore the other team to win.
Was the Aaron Rowand signing a mistake? He is a great center fielder, but at times is about as productive as a dead corpse in the batter's box. Do you see him getting much play down the stretch?
Tony Jackson (6:37 PM)
No, they got some good years out of him. But age is catching up with him, especially considering the way this guy goes all out all the time.
Since most of us don't get a chance to see behind the scenes in the clubhouse, can you shed any light on the rumor that the Dodgers are one of the few MLB teams that use frozen Otter Pops as a form of hydration for players? I've heard this for years, but it is a bit perplexing. I mean they are refreshing, but for hydration???
Tony Jackson (6:38 PM)
Cap, I have never heard this. In fact I have never even heard of Otter Pops. Is this some kind of popsicle?
Do you think Aubrey "The Big One" Huff should be considered for an MVP?
Tony Jackson (6:39 PM)
Bob, as an MVP voter, I can tell you he will be on my ballot, but he won't be at the top. There are 10 names that go on there. Right now, I'm leaning heavily toward Carlos Gonzalez
sacramento z (tustin, ca)
what is the closer situation for next year?
Tony Jackson (6:39 PM)
muddled. But if they don't bring somebody in, I think the best candidate is Kenley Jansen, unless they decide to take their chances on Broxton again, which probably would be a mistake.
Ricky (Yuba City)
Are the Dodgers broke? I heard they are trading Ethier? Is because they can't afford him? They appear broke.
Tony Jackson (6:42 PM)
It'll all depend on how the divorce plays out. I think Frank McCourt's best option when this is all said and done is to sell the team to somebody who has more money, but I don't expect him to do that for a while, if at all. There could be a few lean years in the Dodgers' immediate future.
J (Los Angeles)
Haven't heard of Otter Pops? Were you never a child? :-)
Tony Jackson (6:43 PM)
Actually, J, no, I was never a child. I came out of the womb in a suit and tie, with a briefcase in my hand. But I would love to try these Otter Pops. They sound delicious.
Susan (Mountain View)
Is "The Panda" hurting the Giants being in the lineup? The announcers said last night he is the heaviest he has been. He leads the MLB in double plays. He runs like he is running through a vat of donut dough.
Tony Jackson (6:43 PM)
Susan, he is what he is, a big guy and a free swinger. I guess if he was really hurting them, they would bench him and play somebody else. But the Giants know exactly what they're getting when they put that guy in the lineup.
Sir Isaac Lime (Your Freezer)
Yes, we are refreshing and delicious. Try me and all my buddies: Poncho Punch, Alexander the Grape, Louie Blue Raspberry...
Tony Jackson (6:45 PM)
My mouth is watering. I land at LAX around 8:30 tomorrow morning. I'm thinking a trip to Ralph's on the way home is in order. ... I'm going to cut it off here. Great questions this week, everyone. Thanks for your participation.