Gammons Notes: Latest Dodgers’ drama, Yankees, Yasmani Tomas and more

matt kemp yasiel puig dodgers

What Don Mattingly has to worry most about is whether Hanley Ramirez’s elbow injury is serious, and whether Hyun-Jin Ryu is going to respond to the cortisone shot and be ready to pitch in the post-season.

The rest? So Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp have words, and some days some feel slighted when Kemp, Puig, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, Scott Van Slyke and Joc Pederson aren’t all in the lineup. “It’s been an interesting year,” says Mattingly. “A long, interesting year, and we have a chance to do a lot of good things.” Even if it means that former third base phenom—turned power setup man, a la Kenley Jansen—and Carlos Frias have to step to the forefront.

Mattingly has laughed off the latest drama by comparing it to the glory days of the Oakland A’s. In the clubhouse celebration following the Game 5, 2-1 ALCS clincher over the Tigers, Vida Blue—who pitched four shutout innings in relief of Blue Moon Odom—got to the clubhouse, gave the choke sign to Odom and the two ended up on the floor.

Then on the off-day before the opener of the 1974 World Series against the Dodgers, Reggie Jackson and Billy North had a little fisticuffs scene.

The A’s won the 1972 World Series over the Reds. They beat the Dodgers in five games in 1974.

Better Living Through Chemistry.

Braves and Rockies

Speculation had been centered on the futures of Frank Wren and Fredi Gonzalez long before the Nationals clinched in Turner Field, making the Braves 58-69 since April 27. Bobby Cox remains a staunch Gonzalez defender, and despite leading the league in quality starts—helped by Wren picking up Ervin Santana and Aaron Harang after losing three-fifths of their rotation—the offense has been dreadful, second-to-last in the league in runs.

John Hart, who is one of John Schuerholz’s closest friends, may be asked to oversee the baseball operation, maybe as GM, maybe as an overseer, as was his role in Texas with Jon Daniels, as it appears John Coppolella is a prime young GM candidate.

No one in Colorado seems to know what owner Dick Monfort intends to do, unless he brings former Rockies assistant Thad Levine in from Texas. Monfort is an extraordinarily loyal man. When there were exploratory talks about deals for Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez last winter, he nixed them. When they had a July deal with Baltimore to send Jorge De La Rosa—originally signed by Dan Duquette—to the O’s for 21-year old lefthander Eduardo Rodriguez, Monfort killed the deal. For what it’s worth, Colorado’s baseball people considered Rodriguez the best prospect on the deadline trade market; Duquette then traded Rodriguez for Andrew Miller, who gives the Orioles one of the best bullpens in the game and gave Boston a pitcher several teams rate the best top-level pitching prospect in the American League.

Yankees scouting and development

Brian Cashman’s contract hasn’t been completed, but Hal Steinbrenner knows what his father always understood: that Cashman, no matter what, always has tried to do what’s right for the Yankees. Cashman and Damon Oppenheimer have taken some heat for the lack of production out of their scouting and development, but teams that scout the Yankees feel the problem has been on the development side, and ask why so many of their draftees have players do well when they sign, then do not progress.

Oppenheimer missed on Gerrit Cole, although he felt he was told what it would take to sign him, which turned out to be below the price to keep him from UCLA. Andrew Brackman didn’t work, although some of us loved the picture of Tyler Hansbrough stuffing him that sat in Brackman’s spring training locker. C.J. Henry? OK, but in that same draft they got Brett Gardner and Austin Jackson.

Then there was the 2006 draft: Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain, Zach McAllister, George Kontos, Dellin Betances, Mark Melancon, Daniel McCutchen, David Robertson.

Because the Yankees have to live from year to year, the draft has never been a priority. Two hundred miles up the road, John Henry has always made scouting and development a priority, and allowed the baseball ops folks to spend what needed to be spent to get a Mookie Betts in the fifth round. Henry’s initial general manger hire was Theo Epstein, whose vow was to build scouting and development, and as one rival GM said this week, “in our ratings, the Cubs and Red Sox are two of the four best systems in the game. That speaks volumes for Theo, and it speaks volumes for Henry.”

Yasmani Tomas

There will be at least two dozen teams represented this weekend at the Giants’ complex in the Dominican Republic to see slugging Cuban outfielder Yasmani Tomas. “He’s a pure power guy, a really good hitter,” says one international scouting director. The early favorites are the Giants, who were in hard on both Jose Abreu and Rusney Castillo, the Phillies, Padres, Rangers and the Tigers. But that can change, in a hurry.

Bud Black safe in San Diego?

It would seem that Bud Black, the rock of stability, would be safe with the Padres, even with a new GM in A.J. Preller. But one GM interviewee was asked by CEO Mike Dee what he thought about changing directions and hiring Jason Varitek, whose leadership Dee witnessed in Boston.


  1. So the Red Sox have one of the best farm systems? At least one of the most hyped. The failure of Bradley, Middlebrooks , Bogaerts and Workman put that myth to rest. Bogaerts still has a chance to be a good player–but the first three seemed to have received more hype than any other prospects memory. The problem is that the team and the “journalists” covering them seem to have spent too much time reading the teams press clippings.

    • kinda quick to call Bradley, Boegarts and Workman “failures” after only a rookie season. Take a look at some of todays “star” players first and second year stats… takes time to adjust to the majors. Workman is a bust as a starter but he will be a very good bullpen arm for the next few years. Bradley is a smart kid and will make adjustments to become an acceptable bat to go along with what is already the best CF skills in baseball. I agree to a point about the boston media hype but that is only because there is actually a boston media that cares about baseball.

  2. This prospect hugging has gotten crazy in the last few years – the Yanks pull Greene / Mets pull deGrom out of nowhere and they are terrific, and its taken years and failure to get Betances to the ML as a bullpen arm after a $1mm bonus and years of failure in the minors.

    as much as i respect Theo, the road from a stockpile of young players to a .500 record is a long one, and working in two markets ( Boston and Cubs) where there is no real opportunity cost lost with rebuilding because of their fan-base really isnt indicative of skill in delivering a consistent winning product to their fans.