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BREAKING: Dodgers sign Cuban Infielder Hector Olivera

The Dodgers have signed Cuban infielder Hector Olivera, per MLB and dodgers.com.  The deal is for six years and $62.5 million, with a $28 million signing bonus.

The 29 year old Cuban infielder is a potential long-term solution at third base as Juan Uribe enters the final year of his contract.  Olivera also has an ability to play second base.

Regardless of the position he winds up with, it is clear that Olivera gives the Dodgers a talented player with a great deal of experience who can start now.

The Dodgers beat out the Yankees, Braves, Marlins, Padres and Giants in the bidding on the Cuban star.

 

Who’s The Biggest Threat to the Dodgers in the N.L. West This Year? 

The Dodgers are preparing for the 2015 Major League Baseball season.  How do their counterparts in the National League West stack up?  Wyatt Lim-Tepper reports.

The Dodgers are preparing for the 2015 Major League Baseball season. How do their counterparts in the National League West stack up? Wyatt Lim-Tepper reports.

Spring training is upon us, and it’s wonderful. Try and tell me you’re not loving the bright sunshine of Arizona and tuning into games even though you may only know half the players on the field.

Now’s as good as time as any to look at the other teams within the division to see how everyone stacks up with their revamped rosters. The Dodgers went 50-26 against the NL West last year, and my math tells me that’s a significant reason why they won the division title. Let’s take a look at how the other teams break down.

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Dodgers Option Austin Barnes To Triple-A; Reassign Two To Minor League Camp

Austin Barnes was one of three players optioned/reassigned after today's game.  Photo Source: Dodgers.com.

Austin Barnes was one of three players optioned/reassigned after today’s game.
Photo Source: Dodgers.com.

Shortly after Monday’s contest against the Athletics, the Dodgers announced they have optioned/reassigned three more players.

This news comes after the team announced that pitchers Zach LeeJoe Wieland, Carlos FriasChris Reed and Mike Bolsinger were all optioned down to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

The three players who were sent down were catcher Austin Barnes, infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena and first baseman O’Koyea Dickson.

Barnes was acquired by the Dodgers this past offseason in a trade with the Marlins. This spring Barnes had a slash line of .182/.286/.364 with a triple and a RBI in 11 at-bats. Barnes, 25, will serve as the team’s third catcher and could reach the majors in the event an injury occur to either A.J. Ellis or Yasmani Grandal.

Arruebarrena is entering his second year with the franchise after being signed as a free agent out of Cuba last spring. This spring Arruebarrena had a slash line of .143/.200/.143 with a RBI in 14 at-bats. Arruebarrena, 25, will likely play second base, shortstop and third base at Triple-A and provide insurance should a rash of injuries to the big league team happen.

Dickson is entering his fourth year with the franchise after being drafted in the 12th round of the 2011 draft. This spring Dickson had a slash line of .357/.400/.857 with a double, 2 home runs and 3 RBIs in 14 at-bats. Dickson, will likely play first base and some left field at Triple-A and could be called up should both Adrian Gonzalez and Scott Van Slyke go down for lengthy stints on the disabled list.

The team now has 50 players remaining in camp, including 26 pitchers, and 14 non-roster invitees.

Dodgers Option Zach Lee And Four Others To Triple-A

Zach Lee was one of four players reassigned to Triple-A today.  Photo courtesy of Jon SooHoo.

Zach Lee was one of five players optioned to Triple-A today.
Photo Source: Jon SooHoo.

The Dodgers have made their second round of cuts this spring by assigning five players to Triple-A Oklahoma City .

Among the five players reassigned is former top pitching prospect Zach Lee. Lee, 23, was once the franchise’s top pitching prospect after being drafted in the first round of the 2010 draft but has yet to make his major league debut. This spring appeared in 2 games starting in 1 pitching 4.0 innings allowing 0 earned runs on 1 hit while striking out 1 and walking 1. He is however likely to make his debut this season should injuries to the starting rotation occur.

Along with Lee, the Dodgers optioned pitchers Joe Wieland, Carlos FriasChris Reed and Mike Bolsinger.

Wieland was acquired from the Padres in December along with catcher Yasmani Grandal for outfielder Matt Kemp and catcher Tim Federowicz. This spring Wieland, 25, appeared in 3 games pitching 6 innings allowing 1 unearned run on 4 hits while striking out 5 and walking 1. Like Lee, Wieland will serve as rotation depth should an injury happen.

Frias has been with the franchise since being signed as an amateur free agent in 2007. This spring appeared in 3 games pitching 4.2 innings allowing 3 earned runs on 6 hits while striking out 6 and walking 4. Frias, 25, will serve as both insurance for the rotation as well as the bullpen.

Reed, like Lee, is a former first round draft pick who has yet to make his major league debut. This spring appeared in 2 games pitching 3 innings allowing 1 earned run on 2 hits while striking out 0 and walking 0. Reed, 24, will serve as rotation and possible bullpen depth.

Bolsinger, like Wieland, was acquired via trade this offseason from the Diamondbacks. This spring appeared in 2 games starting in 1 pitching 4.0 innings allowing 1 earned run on 3 hits while striking out 1 and walking 0. Bolsinger, 27, will serve as rotation and bullpen depth just like Lee, Wieland, Frias and Reed.

The team now has 53 players remaining in camp, including 26 pitchers, and 16 non-roster invitees.

Dodgers Reassign Julio Urias And Three Others To Minor League Camp

Julio Urias was one of four players reassigned to minor league camp today. Photo Source: Eric Vrsalovich.

Julio Urias was one of four players reassigned to minor league camp today.
Photo Source: Eric Vrsalovich.

The Dodgers have made their first cuts of the spring by assigning four players to Minor League camp.

Among the four players reassigned was top pitching prospect Julio Urias. This spring Urias appeared in 2 games pitching 2 innings allowing 1 earned run on 3 hits while striking out 2 and walking 3. Urias, 18, is the crown jewel of the franchise’s farm system but was a long shot to make the major league roster out of camp. He is expected to start the season at Double-A Tulsa.

Along with Urias, the Dodgers reassigned pitchers Chris Anderson, Ryan Buchter and Josh Ravin.

Anderson is another one of the franchise’s top pitching prospects after being selected in the 1st round in 2013. This spring Anderson, 23, appeared in 2 games pitching 3 innings allowing 1 earned run on 1 hit while striking out 1 and walking 1. Like Urias, Anderson is expected to start the season at Double-A Tulsa.

Buchter is a career minor leaguer who has spent the better part of 9 years in the minors all with the Braves. He was signed by the Dodgers last month and this spring appeared in 3 games pitching 3 innings allowing 1 earned run on 2 hits while striking out 3 and walking 0. Buchter, 28, is expected to start the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City and could see time in the majors should an injury to left-handers the likes of J.P. Howell, Paco Rodriguez, Adam Liberatore, Daniel Coulombe and David Huff occur. Howell, Rodriguez, Liberatore, Coulombe and Huff are all still in the mix for a bullpen spot.

Ravin, like Buchter, is a career minor leaguer who has spent 8 years in the minors with the Reds and last season with the Dodgers. This spring Ravin appeared in 3 games pitching 2.2 innings allowing 0 earned runs on 0 hits while striking out 4 and walking 0. Ravin, 27, is expected to start the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City and could see time in the majors this season.

The moves are necessitated by the reduction of available innings for Minor Leaguers as Major League starting pitchers stretch out with each start. These moves will allow Urias, Anderson, Buchter and Ravin to get regular work in Minor League camp, which opened workouts on Saturday. The team now has 58 players remaining in camp, including 31 pitchers, and 16 non-roster invitees.

USC Downs UCLA In College Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium

The USC Trojans beat the UCLA Bruins on Saturday in front of a crowd of over 14,600 at the College Baseball Classic at Dodgers Stadium.

The win went to Trojan freshman pitcher Mitch Hart (3-0), despite giving up four runs and eight hits over 5.2 innings. UCLA junior Cody Poteet (2-1) suffered his first loss of the season, getting hit hard for four runs and eight hits in 3.2 innings. The save went to junior Tyler Gilbert, who pitched 3.1 innings in relief for USC.

While pitching was unimpressive overall, the offense for both clubs delivered. USC finished with 14 hits, and the Bruins had 11. Seven different Bruins recorded hits. Second baseman Sean Bouchard recorded a career-high three hits, going 3-for-4 with a run scored.

The Bruin’s big inning came in the third, as they scored three runs including a two-run bomb by outfielder Christoph Bono. But the Trojans scored in six different innings, including two in the fifth and two in the seventh, thanks to multi-hit games by senior Garrett Stubbs, junior Timmy Robinson, senior Dante Flores, infielder Blake Lacey, and outfielder David Oppenheim.

The game was close and went back and forth as the two lineups exchanged blows for the first six innings as USC led 6-4. But the Trojans put the game out of reach in the seventh, going up 8-4, as Tucker Forbes out of Pebble Beach, CA gave up two runs on two hits for the Bruins. UCLA was unable to score after the sixth and lost by four runs.

The atmosphere overall at Dodgers Stadium was fun-spirited, enthusiastic and full of family fun. The players and fans were both fired up to take center stage at the greatest baseball stadium in the world. Both USC and UCLA bands were in attendance near the dugouts, with fight songs breaking out after every run scored.

The field level and pavilion seats were speckled with different shades of light Bruin blue and cardinal Trojan red. This was my first time attending the College Baseball Classic, and I was very impressed with the amount of fans who came out for both universities.

Regardless of how far their baseball careers persist, this experience will undoubtedly be a memorable and valuable one for the young ballplayers.

I had the privilege of playing at Dodgers Stadium twice as part of the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (R.B.I.) program when I was playing on the Varisty squad at Hamilton High School in West L.A. The grass was so soft and smooth it reminded me of running around my living room carpet as a kid. The dirt was so thin yet smooth-when I stole second base, I glided for about seven feet on a routine slide.

I wanted to spend the whole week on the field, practicing all day and all night. Playing on the same field as my childhood heroes was a dream come true.

There is no place like Dodgers Stadium, the true blue heaven on earth.

 

Brandon League Gives Up Alcohol, Feels Great, Ready For 2015

Could giving up alcohol help Brandon League have a monster season?  Photo Source: Dodgers.com.

Could giving up alcohol help Brandon League have a monster season?
Photo Source: Dodgers.com.

In an interview Monday morning with J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles News Group, Brandon League announced that he has given up drinking alcohol.

League said, “I was enjoying myself more than I should’ve been.”

League, 31, has been in the major leagues for 11 seasons now and has spent the last 3 seasons with the Dodgers after being acquired via trade from the Mariners.

While League has went through seasons of both success and failure, he felt that he needed to make a change in his life for the better. The right-hander who said that he has never had a problem with alcohol said that he feels much more energized now that he is no longer drinking and is also 20 pounds lighter entering 2015.

Since August of 2014 when he stopped drinking cold turkey, League has not had a drop of alcohol. By September, his energy level had greatly increased. The positive results from League’s life choices also translated to on-field success at the end of last season. In his final 9 regular-season appearances, League did not allow an earned run and had a 7/2 K/BB ratio.

With relievers like Brian Wilson, Jamey Wright and Chris Perez no longer a part of the organization and closer Kenley Jansen on the shelf for the first month of the season due to injury, League is expected to help shoulder the load with veterans like Joel Peralta, Chris Hatcher, Juan Nicasio, Dustin McGowan and J.P. Howell.

Alex Guerrero Wants To Help In The Majors, Not Play In Minors

Alex Guerrero is determined to make it and stay in the majors in 2015 and beyond.  Photo Source: MLB.com.

Alex Guerrero is determined to make it and stay in the majors in 2015 and beyond.
Photo Source: MLB.com.

In an interview Sunday morning with Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, Alex Guerrero stated he has no intention of returning to the minor leagues.

Guerrero said, “I don’t want to go down. I’m not going down. I feel like I can get better here at this level and play every day. I think that’s what every player wants. You want to be in the Major Leagues and play as much as you can.”

Guerrero, 28, signed a 4-year, $28 million contract with the Dodgers last offseason after playing shortstop in Cuba. His contract included a clause that stated that he can not be optioned to the minors without his permission after his first season. Once signed, the team had tentatively penciled him in as the starting second baseman for the 2014 campaign.

Unfortunately for both Guerrero and the franchise, he suffered a hamstring injury while playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic and did not get enough reps. The team then asked fellow shortstop Dee Gordon to move to second base as insurance and to compete with Guerrero for the job. Gordon ended up winning the position with Guerrero spending the majority of 2014 in the minors. In 77 games in the minors, Guerrero hit .333 with 19 doubles, 6 triples, 17 home runs, 57 RBIs and 47 runs scored while playing at second base, shortstop, third base and left field.

Guerrero is expected to compete with fellow infielders Justin Turner, Darwin Barney, Enrique Hernandez and Erisbel Arruebarrena for 1 of the 2 projected back-up infield spots on the bench.

Manager Don Mattingly said that he expects Guerrero to see time at second base, third base and outfield this spring. He is confident that Guerrero is going to help this team in 2015. Mattingly quote, “This year is going to be a big year for him.”

Dodgers Sign Reliever Mike Adams To A Minor League Contract

The Dodgers have decided to add reliever Mike Adams to the mix.  Photo Source: CBS Philly.

The Dodgers have decided to add reliever Mike Adams to the mix. Photo Source: CBS Philly.

According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, the team has signed right-handed reliever Mike Adams to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.

The Dodgers have certainly been busy this week with the additions of right-handed starting pitcher Brandon Beachy, right-handed reliever Dustin McGowan, right-handed reliever Chad Gaudin and outfielder Travis Witherspoon. Now they have made another one.

Adams, 36, is a 10-year veteran who has spent time with the Brewers, Padres, Rangers and Phillies during his career. He was considered an elite level reliever from 2008 to 2012 but he has an extensive injury history.

J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles News Group broke down his injury history this morning. Adams has had labrum and rotator cuff surgery in October 2008, inguinal hernia surgery in January 2012, thoracic outlet surgery in October 2012, labrum and rotator cuff surgery in July 2013, and sports hernia surgery in December 2013. He also spent most of this past season recovering from a frayed labrum.

Adams has a career ERA of 2.41, a 1.09 WHIP and a 409/126 K/BB ratio in 407.1 innings. When healthy he is a valuable piece to any team’s bullpen but as recent history as shown he has struggled greatly with that.

He will wear No. 0, positioning him to become the second active Major Leaguer to wear that number for the Dodgers, after outfielder Al Oliver in 1985.

Dodgers-LowDown Live VodCast February 27th, 2015 9:30 PM PST

Eric Becker and Ernie Villa broadcast live from San Dimas, California on Friday, February 27th, 2015 at 9:30 p.m.  You can watch the live stream and the replay here.  To speak to the hosts or to leave a voicemail with your thoughts, call in at (626)-578-5737!