Sunday, January 9, 2011
Larry Bowa comments on the N.L. West
I just got around to watching what has been recorded on my DVR the past week. You all might find this a bit interesting. Larry Bowa was on the MLB Network “Hot Stove” show on January 6th where he participated in a roundtable discussion hosted by Greg Amsinger. Aside from Bowa, Mitch Williams and Harold Reynolds talked about the National League West. I’m not sure if Bowa has joined the network. I could easily see him sliding into an analyst chair there.
Below I key on the statements by Larry Bowa here and not the other commentators. There was a lot more that they addressed, but out of the interest of time and space, I provide the Bowa quotes only.
The San Francisco Giants:
“I like the Giants pitching. I like their closer. I don’t like the left side of the infield. I mean, Tejada’s a good hitter, his range is limited. The Panda I think is gonna come back offensively, but range-wise he’s limited at third base. And these pitchers that the Giants have, some of them are ground ball pitchers. You’ve got to make plays behind them. That would be a question for me right now. Pat Burrell in left field. Swings the bat, but not real good defensively.”
The San Diego Padres:
“They’ve got two studs at the top. Latos and Richards. And Bell can close a game with anybody.”
When asked by Amsinger where they’ll finish he said:
“Towards the bottom. In my opinion it’s going to be a disappointing year.”
The Colorado Rockies:
“My player to watch next year: Dexter Fowler. I’m telling you he is on the verge of breaking out. I’ve watched this kid, he struggled, he struggled, he got sent down. He’s starting to figure it out. He can do everything out there. He’s going to put it together and have a monster year this year.”
The Arizona Diamondbacks:
”In that ballpark, you better have pitching. It’s worse than Coors Field. That ball flies out of there. I think Mora is a great pickup at third base. He’s a veteran player, knows how to play, knows how to win. I think Nady in left is gonna help them out. But the guy in right field, Upton, he’s a beast. I was shocked they were thinking of trading him. He hits balls where people don’t go. Believe me this guy is strong.”
The Los Angeles Dodgers:
after Harold Reynolds stated that Matt Kemp needs to be moved to a corner outfield spot, Bowa said:
“Definitely, he nailed that. Matt Kemp is a corner outfielder. There’s a lot of “ifs” on this ball club. Loney and Ethier hit a total of five home runs last year off left handed pitching. It got so bad from the 7th inning on, all the other manager would do was bring in another left hander to face them, in the middle of an inning, it didn’t matter, because they struggled. They’re capable of hitting much higher, they had two off years. Furcal’s a huge key, the last three years he’s missed a total of well over 100 games. Bad back, chronic back, he’s getting up there in age. I think Ned did a good job in solidifying the pitching staff, they’re deep there.”
Then there was a heated exchange between Bowa and Mitch Williams on the topic of Jonathan Broxton.
Williams hinted that Torre didn’t show proper patience with Broxton and destroyed his confidence. Bowa couldn’t disagree more stating:
“Joe Torre went as far as he could with him, and there’s a “deer in the headlight look” that as a manager, you don’t want to see. And Brox had that last year. He had a great first half...he was confused. And they need him... He needs to bounce back or they’re in trouble.”
So I have a few questions that I wish I could have posed to Larry Bowa, and unfortunately the MLB network team doesn't focus as much on the Dodgers as we do. First, if Mr. Bowa is so agreeable to Harold Reynold's belief that Kemp is inadequate in center field, where was he during the season on this? Did he and others on the coaching staff suggest moving Kemp to Torre? Did the coaching staff all believe that Kemp shouldn't be in center field? Was some of the acrimony between the coaching staff and Kemp caused by their suggestion that he move to a corner outfield spot? If the baseball establishment truly believed that Kemp is a failure in center field and should be moved to a corner outfield position, why did it not occur? I never even heard a mention of this suggestion last year and Bowa addressed it as if it was a well known fact that Kemp can't play center field.
We all knew Loney and Ethier were lacking in pop last year in the second half. But if I recall, their splits at the all star break were decent. Ethier was leading the league in the triple crown categories in May, prior to the pinkie finger break, and Loney was putting up some excellent RBI numbers that dropped significantly at the all-star break. What hurt was the absence of Manny Ramirez in the lineup and Kemp having an off year. There was little protection for them. The Ramirez drop off in production and the lack of a big bopper in the clean up spot played a significant role in the Dodger offensive failures in the second half of the season.
On the Broxton front, I have let my feelings be known in previous posts. Torre destroyed him on June 30th during that 50+ pitch ninth inning in a meaningless game against the Yankees. Broxton's stats before that outing were the best of any closer in the game. I found it interesting that Bowa avoided even approaching that topic and stressed his loss of confidence and "deer in the headlights" look that he had. Well, yes, Larry. Your buddy Joe left him hung out to dry on a national stage and didn't even warm anyone up in the bullpen in his first bad outing of the year. He never recovered from that and the jury is still out on Broxton whose ERA soared above 7.00 from that point on.
It should be noted that all three analysts agreed that the Colorado Rockies will win the division.
On a serious note. I wish to express my condolences to the Green family and all those that lost loved ones in the Tucson shooting incident yesterday. What a tragic situation. it puts in perspective the insignificance of sport when it comes to life and those things that we hold dear. From what I have read, 9 year old Christina Green was an amazing little girl. My prayers and thoughts are with all those suffering at this tragic time.