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February 5, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Tony Jackson

Tony Jackson
  (2:59 PM)

Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to my first Dodgers chat for ESPNLosAngeles.com

Jordan (Minneapolis)

Where will Matt Kemp hit in the lineup this season?

Tony Jackson
  (3:06 PM)

Hi Jordan. My guess is he'll hit fifth, behind Ethier and Manny, but I could also see him hitting second behind Furcal and ahead of Manny. There really isn't an obvious candidate for the two hole when you look at that lineup, so he could very easily end up there. He's probably not a great hit-and-run guy, but his speed could come in handy in that spot.

Joe (El Segundo)

Where are the Blue shirts gonna get SP from this season?

Tony Jackson
  (3:08 PM)

Joe, I think we have gotten to a point in the winter when what you see is what you're going to get, for better or worse. I really don't think it's that much of a dropoff from last year. Other than that one spot, where Vicente Padilla replaces Randy Wolf, it's mostly the same guys. If Billingsley, Kuroda, Kershaw perform to their capabilities, I think they'll be OK. But I also think this is going to be an offensive team first and foremost, so most of the time, the starters just have to keep the team in the game.

Mark (Los Angeles, CA)

Tony, Do you think Matt Kemp's off-the-field dabblings will affect his ability to focus and keep improving in the long term? Just curious what your hunch is.

Tony Jackson
  (3:10 PM)

Great question, Mark!!! To be honest, I worry a little about that. The last guy the Dodgers had who dated a lot of celebs was Brad Penny, and while it didn't seem to affect him that much initially, there did come a time where it appeared baseball wasn't very high on his list of priorities. You would hope there are enough strong personalities around Matt in the clubhouse to keep that from happening. If I had to predict, I think this issue will eventually take care of itself. Having the paparazzi chasing him around all the time is eventually going to get old for Matt. I could be wrong, but I don't look for this to be a real long-term relationship.

Tony Jackson
  (3:14 PM)

Well, that certainly puts my mind at ease.

Rihanna (Abu Dhabi)

Don't worry Big T and all you Dodger fans, I will make sure to keep Matt in line. See you at Chavez Ravine in the summer!

Tony Jackson
  (3:15 PM)

Sorry about that. Forgot to post the question before I posted the answer. Bear with me, I'm new to this chat business.

Brandon the don juan from boca raton (Fawcett)

TJ, can you snag me some kind of event tix for the miami festives?? its my wife and I's 2yr anniversary and she doesnt even have a ring yet. No im not a bumb, weve just been through a lot and i would love to suprise her with something big. We dated for 3 wks and took off to vegas and got married. Her family still has not forgiven her and she has had a rough couple years of a wonderful marriage

Tony Jackson
  (3:20 PM)

Hey Brandon, wish I could help. Haven't covered the NFL for at least a decade, so I don't have any contacts there anymore. Congrats on making it to 2 years though. They say the first two are the hardest.

Dennis (NC)

Tony have you seen prospect Chris Withrow rhp? Does he look like a future starter?

Tony Jackson
  (3:24 PM)

Dennis, I have NOT seen him, but Logan White raves about the guy. Granted, it was Logan who drafted him, but I know he throws about 95. He's definitely pegged as a starter. He moved up to Chattanooga from Inland Empire the latter part of last season and put up good numbers there, 2-2 with a 3.95 in six starts and had a K/BB ratio of 2:1. He's going to be a good one. He'll probably do a full season at Double-A this year, putting him possibly on track to get at least some big-league time in 2011.

Brandon the don juan from boca raton (Fawcett)

thanks, honestly that was just kind that you would even take your time and reply!! Thanks and thanks!!! Colts by 12

Tony Jackson
  (3:26 PM)

No problem Brandon, and thanks for joining the chat.

Dennis (Asheville,NC)

Tony Dee Gordan being groomed to replace Furcal at ss in the fyture? Does he have more power or the same make up as Furcal?

Tony Jackson
  (3:31 PM)

From what I understand, Dee Gordon is a speed guy first and foremost. They tell me this guy can really fly. He's not a switch hitter like Furcal, but he is a leadoff-type hitter who knows how to work a walk. He's still probably at least two years away. The more immediate heir apparent to Furcal is Ivan De Jesus Jr., but a lot is going to depend on how he comes back from that horrific injury he suffered in spring training last year.

Jordan (Minneapolis)

2 guys going to the AL Central in Hudson and Pierre, will they have big impacts on their new teams or are they past their prime?

Tony Jackson
  (3:38 PM)

Well, in Pierre's case, I think it all depends on which Pierre shows up. This guy has to do a better job of playing to his skill set, which I think he did when he took over for Manny last summer and he also did back in his younger days with the Marlins. But for most of his stint in L.A., he just didn't put up the kind of OBP that a guy like him has to. And he HAS to get better at bunting his way on. ... As for the O-Dog, he's a really smart player, which I think is most evident in the way he runs the bases, and there is no questioning his defense at 2B. It's just a matter of whether he can find his bat again. He was awful at the plate the last month of last season. If that comes around, he'll be a good pickup for the Twins.

Brandon Fawcett needs your help T-cracka (jack)

pierre is done, doesnt even need the fork

Dennis (Asheville,NC)

How Many Clebs show up on any given game? See alot sitting behind home plate!

Tony Jackson
  (3:40 PM)

Depends on the night. The Yankees are coming in for an interleague series, I seem to recall when they last came in 2004, those three games were like a parade of celebs. There are some regulars that you see fairly often, and I'm sure Rihanna will show up some this year. In the past, I have seen Jennifer Love Hewitt, Cameron Diaz, James Vander Beek, Adam Sandler, and of course Alyssa Milano. There is usually at least one celeb there almost every night. The Dodgers used to have an employee who was responsible for taking care of them, but he's no longer there.

Sean (westchester)

Is furcal showing any signs of back problems after his previous issues in the past few seasons?

Tony Jackson
  (3:42 PM)

Sean I don't believe there were any issues at all last year. Torre has made a point of making sure he rests Furcal frequently, and I think that has gone a long way toward alleviating the wear and tear. They'll be able to continue doing that this year because Jamey Carroll, Casey Blake and Blake DeWitt can all fill in at SS if needed.

Keary (DUMBO, brooklyn)

Hey Tony, a shout from Dodgers ol' nabe -- Is Logan a Dodger lifer? I hope so, the guy is as close to money when it comes June draft time. Thanks.

Tony Jackson
  (3:43 PM)

Hi Keary. I agree, he's as good as there is in the biz when it comes to drafting. I still get the feeling that there is some friction between him and Colletti. Everybody has contracts for now, so everybody is secure. But if this continues, I don't see the two of them co-existing for too many more years. However, Logan's name does pop up on a lot of GM lists whenever there are openings. My guess is if he leaves, it'll be for a GM gig somewhere else.

Brandon Fawcett needs your help T-cracka (jack)

About Pierre, his mental physc is gone, he will absolutely need bunting to regain some confidence at the plate, however, bring in the corners and take that away and what do you have besides a run-on sentence? Nothing!!

Tony Jackson
  (3:45 PM)

You're right Brandon, but from what I have seen, you don't even need to bring in the corners. Most of the time, when JP tries to bunt his way on, it's a hard bouncer back to the mound. Even he doesn't have the speed to beat that out. He just has to get better at placement. The worst part is, he works on it every single day. He just doesn't seem to get any better at it.

Brandon Fawcett needs your help T-cracka (jack)

Anyword on the Nasti's Aroldis? How is he lookin?

Tony Jackson
  (3:50 PM)

Haven't heard any word on that whatsoever. But what I can tell you -- and I have intimate knowledge of the Reds organization from having covered them for four years -- is that if Cincinnati is willing to spend that much money on a guy, he must be the real deal. The Reds could actually contend in that division this year. Not saying they will, just that they could.

Brandon Fawcett needs your help T-cracka (jack)

Yes you are most likely correct, however I am still waiting to see if Homer is going to pay off. Whats the word on the best hitter of all times...Manny?

Tony Jackson
  (3:57 PM)

I wish there was a word on Manny, but like you and me, Dodgers officials can only hold their breath and hope for the best. I'm a little concerned with what I'm reading about how he wanted to go back to the A.L. and be a DH because his legs take too much of a pounding in LF. I think he'll get a day off a week, but the Dodgers can't afford to take his bat out of the lineup much more than that. If his second-half numbers take a nose dive, I guess he'll have a ready-made excuse that he's tired from chasing balls in the outfield.

Jon (California)

Man i hate manny! He let me down so many times when he played for the Red Soxes!

Jon (California)

NO! Not manny!

Brandon Fawcett needs your help T-cracka (jack)

you covered the red machine? Dont you think it is pretty sorry how they divert all there business to Kentucky before and after the games?

Tony Jackson
  (3:58 PM)

yeah, except they weren't much of a machine when I covered them (2000-03). And as far as diverting their business to the Bluegrass State, that's largely the fault of the downtown Cincinnati businesses more than it is the Reds. All the new hot spots in Newport/Covington stay open late. Downtown Cincy is usually dead by the time the game is over.

Brandon Fawcett needs your help T-cracka (jack)

spot-on on the manny reply!!! sorry guys, have you played baseball? cuz manny is a little unorthodox, but he is the best all around hitter ive ever seen. However im only 26

Tony Jackson
  (4:01 PM)

Well, sadly, my time is up. Going to turn it over to Mark Saxon for his Angels chat. Thanks everyone for your participation and your great questions. Let's do it again soon. Have a great weekend!!!