Despite lack of experience, Mattingly to replace Torre as Dodgers’ skipper

Aug. 02, 2010 - Los Angeles, California, United States of America - 2 August 2010: Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly (R) talks to Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman James Loney.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Don Mattingly will replace Joe Torre as the Dodgers’ manager for the 2011 MLB season.

An official announcement will be made Friday before the Dodgers’ game against the Colorado Rockies.

Mattingly has been the Dodgers hitting coach since the middle of the 2008 season, which was Torre’s first with the team. Before that, they were together with the New York Yankees.

The Dodgers announced earlier this season that Mattingly, who has never been a manager, would guide a team in the Arizona fall league, fueling speculation he was being prepared to take over the major league club.

The article reports that Torre may stay with the Dodgers organization in some capacity, although nobody knows at this point what role he would have with the club.

It’s been long believed that Mattingly would take over for Torre some day, but there has been recent speculation that the Dodgers were considering Tim Wallace for the position. L.A. hasn’t exactly been an offensive juggernaut under Mattingly’s instruction this year and considering he doesn’t have any managerial experience on any level, this could prove to be a bad move in the long run.

Although hey, he has been learning under Torre for the past couple of years, so maybe “Donny Baseball” will surprise.

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Are Dodger fans protesting against the McCourts?

Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times observes that all the empty seats at Dodger Stadium might be due to fans protesting against Frank and Jamie McCourt.

Whether it’s over their extravagant lifestyle, not paying taxes for six years, a shrinking team payroll or just their nasty divorce, many have seemingly turned against Frank and Jamie McCourt.

And the only way for people to ultimately protest is to stay away. To punish the McCourts by withholding funds.

The cost of a ticket, of course, is only the beginning of the revenue generated off those in attendance. There is parking and food and beer and souvenirs.

That’s a lot of missed revenue on nights when stadium seats seem half empty.

Dodgers fans have been historically — some would argue ridiculously — loyal through the years. The Dodgers have drawn over 3 million fans for 14 consecutive years.

But when a stadium that big is barely half full, it gets noticed. And if it continues, the lack of revenue will have an impact.

Lion fans talked of boycott for years during the Matt Millen regime, but not even they stayed away. It’s unrealistic for fans to conspire together on one massive protest against any sports ownership. Losing is usually the only thing that keeps people away and in the case of the Lions and Cubs, not even that works sometimes.

It’s a logical thought by Dilbeck, but I think it’s a stretch to think that fans are actually staying away from games because of the McCourts. The economy and high ticket prices make more sense than a protest.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Video of Prince Fielder trying to get into the Dodger locker room

No suspension coming for Fielder

Major League Baseball has decided not to suspend Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder after he attempted to barge into the Dodgers’ clubhouse following a game Tuesday night in L.A. Fielder was upset after being on the receiving end of a retaliation pitch by Dodgers reliever Guillermo Mota and had to be stopped by teammates and security guards outside of L.A.’s clubhouse when he attempted to confront Mota following the game.

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

More surprisingly, MLB isn’t suspending Dodgers reliever Guillermo Mota or manager Joe Torre, either. The penalties are undisclosed fines for Fielder and Mota and no suspensions.

Mota obviously intentionally hit Fielder with a pitch in the ninth inning of a 17-4 loss in retaliation for Manny Ramirez being hit earlier in the game. And Torre obviously ordered it, which catcher Russell Martin admitted to after the game.

As several of our readers pointed out yesterday, if Fielder was that angry about Mota’s retaliation pitch, then he should have confronted the reliever on the field during the game. Why he wanted until after the game is beyond me, unless he knew that his teammates would eventually stop him and thus, he wouldn’t have had to throw any punches in front of a stadium full of people. (Hey, maybe he was thinking about the children and their innocent, fragile minds.)

Either way, it is surprising that neither Mota nor Torre will face any punishment. Usually MLB hands out one or two game suspensions for incidents like this one, although maybe the league thought that if they weren’t going to suspend Fielder, they couldn’t touch Mota or Torre either.

Dodgers, Indians in discussions about Lee and Martinez?

Ken Rosenthal of is reporting that the Indians and Dodgers are in serious discussions about a possible trade that would send Cliff Lee and Victor Martinez to the Dodgers for a package that would include either Clayton Kershaw or Chad Billingsley.

Top club officials from both teams strongly denied a report saying that the teams were in serious discussions about a blockbuster that would send left-hander Cliff Lee and catcher Victor Martinez to Los Angeles for first baseman James Loney, one of the Dodgers’ young rotation members and prospects.

Those names have at least surfaced in internal discussions on both sides, but a deal involving those specific players is not under consideration, the club officials said.

The Dodgers have had steady interest in Lee. They have not discussed Martinez with the Indians, one source said, but some club officials evidently view Martinez as another potential upgrade.
One thing is clear: The Dodgers are exploring ways to improve a team that has built a wide lead in the NL West and the best record in the National League.

Wow. L.A. would be giving up a ton of young talent, but one of the unwritten rules in baseball is that if you have a chance to win now, you take it. And the Dodgers definitely have a chance to win now.

Personally, I think losing Kershaw would be a bigger blow to the Dodgers than losing Billingsley, who has electric stuff but seems streaky. At the ripe age of 21, Kershaw has been outstanding this season and has the highest ceiling of any pitcher in L.A.’s organization, which is why it’s understandable that the Tribe would want him in return for a deal that included Lee.

But still, the Dodgers would be getting Lee, who I’ll stop shy of saying is a guarantee in terms of production. Martinez (who’s hitting .287 with 14 home runs and 64 RBI this season) would also be an excellent addition to the Dodgers’ already solid lineup. This is a deal that could essentially put L.A. over the top and considering Lee and Martinez’s salaries can be controlled next season, a move that could make the Dodgers World Series contenders not just for this year, but next year as well.

Even though this is just a rumor I’m a big believer in, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And there’s a ton of smoke coming out of L.A. and Cleveland at the moment.

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