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March 25, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Tony Jackson

Tony Jackson
  (3:01 PM)

Good afternoon everyone from beautiful Camelback Ranch. Dodgers playing the Brewers in about an hour. Russell Martin playing in a minor-league game against the Rangers up in Surprise, so news from there will come later today. And Vicente Padilla is your opening-day starter.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Which Players that either played in the Minor Leagues or other teams will make their Los Angeles debuts in 2010?

Tony Jackson
  (3:05 PM)

It's impossible to name them all without knowing what the opening-day roster is going to be. But the definites are Reed Johnson, who came from the Cubs, and Jamey Carroll, who came from Cleveland. You can probably bet on Garret Anderson being in that group as well, and probably Carlos Monasterios, the Rule 5 pick, who I think will make the club as a reliever.

Brian (Long Beach, CA)

Hey Tony. I don't really care about the sordid details, but how long will this McCourt split take, and how will it affect the in-season operation of the team? I have a feeling they will need another piece to become a true World Series threat, but they won't get it.

Tony Jackson
  (3:08 PM)

Well, when wealthy people get divorced, it tends to take a long, long time. However, if they are in contention at the trading deadline, I do think the money will be there to add another piece, especially with the opening-day payroll expected to come in under $90 million. The biggest point in the divorce as far as the team is concerned will come when the court decides on whether Jamie's claim to partial ownership is valid. Highly unlikely that she'll win that case, but if she does, the franchise is in deep, deep trouble

Ryan (Frank)

Hey Tony I have been wondering for a while now when the Dodgers are going to start trading away their core players (Loney, Billingsley, Broxton, Ethier, Kemp, Martin, Kershaw). As much as I would love to see them keep them all, it just is not realistic considering when they hit the free agent market they will all become extremely expensive and the McCourts have no money. How much longer is Ned going to wait before he trades at least some of them to ensure the Dodgers are not left empty handed when they all leave via free agency?

Tony Jackson
  (3:09 PM)

Ryan, most of those guys are under club control for at least two more years before they become free-agent eligible, and some of them (Kemp, Ethier) have already been signed through next year. A lot can happen between now and then, so I wouldn't worry about it just yet. The McCourt divorce aside, these are still the Dodgers. They're not the Montreal Expos.

Marcelo (Hollywood)

Tony, I know im looking ahead but who do you see coming in to play left field for us next year? Im not sure if there is anybody on the minor league level that will be ready...We would have to go the free agent route but will this McCourt divorce affect the signing of an outfield superstar?

Tony Jackson
  (3:10 PM)

Probably a free agent or trade acquisition. I don't see Andrew Lambo being ready, or even close to ready, by 2011. Carl Crawford is a free agent next winter, but depending on how the divorce shakes out, he could be out of the Dodgers' price range.

Nos720 (Los Angeles, CA)

What affect - if any - do you think the selection of Vicente Padilla for opening day will have on the rest of the staff? Nothing against Padilla, but he is an unlikely candidate and am quite surprised. I thought it would be between Kershaw and Kuroda. Thanks

Tony Jackson
  (3:12 PM)

I can't make any sense of that, and Torre couldn't give us any coherent explanation of it this morning. I wonder if this might be Joe's way of sending a message to ownership that, hey, if you're not going to spend the money to get me a No. 1 starter, then I'm going to start Vicente Padilla on opening day. But that's just me speculating, and it could be totally off-base. I did think it was interesting that one of Joe's reasons for the decision was that the Dodgers don't have a true No. 1 and so they could have put the four names of the starting pitchers they have into a hat and drawn one out. But ultimately, I think the biggest lesson here is that opening day is just one of 162 games and the identity of that day's starter tends to be way overblown.

Jason (Los Angeles, CA)

The Padilla choice doesn't make sense. But, that aside, can you wave a wand and make Billingsley consistent?

Tony Jackson
  (3:13 PM)

Jason, only Chad Billingsley can do that. And after four years, I think it's time for it to happen. He has made a mechanical adjustment this spring, where he is staying a little more upright on the mound and coming more over the top in his delivery, so that might do the trick. We'll see.

Nos720 (Los Angeles, CA)

Do you believe the selection of Vicente Padilla for opening day will have any negative effects on the rest of the staff? Nothing against Padilla but he is an unlikely selection, I figured it would be between Kershaw and Kuroda. Thanks.

Tony Jackson
  (3:14 PM)

Not at all. I think everybody will take the ball on their day to pitch and approach it like any other start -- which is exactly what opening-day is, just another start.

chris (jackson)

At what point do the dodgers give up on russell martin and start to look for a legitimate catcher? Do the dodgers have anyone in mind if a.j ellis doesnt make an impact?

Tony Jackson
  (3:16 PM)

Well, Martin has been a legitimate catcher in the past, and I think the Dodgers would have no trouble trading him if they were looking to do so. It looks like Martin is going to be ready for opening day anyway, meaning Ellis will start the season in Triple-A. Martin's added bulk this spring is a cause for concern, but if he can find a way to be as productive as he once was, the Dodgers still have one of the best catchers in the game.

Jonathan ((Valencia, CA))

Tony, I'm not sold on James Loney as a short or long term solution at first base due to his lack of power and with the Nationals saying they may not give Adam Dunn an extension. What are the possibilities of the Dodgers trading for Dunn at least for the stretch run.

Tony Jackson
  (3:18 PM)

Adam Dunn isn't the answer. He draws a lot of walks and has a high OBP, but other than that, he's a feast-or-famine guy who strikes out way too much, he isn't a good first baseman because it isn't his natural position, and my experience from having covered him on a daily basis when he first got to the majors is that for some reason, his attitude seemed to sour over the years. He had a great attitude when he first came up, but it didn't last.

Chris (Granada Hills, CA)

Tony, the other day you made a comment IF belliard makes the team, as if its not a sure thing... do you really think its possible Belliard isnt on the team? and would Dodgers really stick to the 209 clause, or will they keep him anyways?

Tony Jackson
  (3:18 PM)

Chris if I had to guess, I think they'll keep him even if he doesn't make weight because he's the only backup infielder who can play first base. You can't just stick Casey Blake over there every time James Loney needs a day off.

Jon (Los Angeles)

How concerned should we be about Dewitt's defense at 2b? He's had a lot of errors this spring, but he seems like an athletic defender. And it's not like Belliard is that much better.

Tony Jackson
  (3:20 PM)

Well, his defense is going to be an adventure until he gets completely comfortable playing there. Torre talked about it a little yesterday, said it's mostly about footwork, and that has been pretty obvious in the handful of errors I have seen DeWitt make this spring. But I think the bigger question is whether DeWitt even makes the team. He has certainly performed well enough this spring to earn the job, but there is still a good chance he'll get squeezed out for a lack of roster spots. I think the last spot will be between DeWitt and a seventh reliever, if the Dodgers decide to carry seven relievers.

Chris (Granada Hills)

2010 is the year of the Loney....I'll take Loney's lack of power and clutch postseason hitting over Dunn's power and 1000 K's anyways

Tony Jackson
  (3:22 PM)

And don't forget, Loney is still a pretty good gap-to-gap guy.

Justin (Lethbridge Alberta Canada)

with such a solid young core what is the possibility of trading an aging slower furcal? and what middle infields and pitching would the dodges be looking for in return?

Tony Jackson
  (3:25 PM)

They can't afford to trade him this year because DeJesus isn't ready, Hu is now viewed as a utility guy and Gordon is years away. But if the team is struggling and out of contention at the 2011 trading deadline, I could see Furcal being shipped off somewhere, especially if DeJ or Hu is ready to take over.

Jon (Los Angeles)

I can't imagine Dewitt not making the team at the starting 2b. Neither Carroll or Belliard is a capable starter, and Dewitt has shown that he's not a very good bench player.

Tony Jackson
  (3:26 PM)

I agree, Jon, but often, that isn't what the decision is based on. Ned Colletti is a huge believer in inventory, keeping as many players in the organization as possible, and a lot of these non-roster guys have escape clauses if they aren't in the majors. If there is a possible seventh reliever who might walk if he doesn't make the team, and Ned decides to keep him, that doesn't bode well for DeWitt, who still has options and is under club control for years to come.

Kent (Charlotte)

What is your prediction for this years Dodgers? I think we would be lucky to get to the NLCS without adding a legit arm...

Tony Jackson
  (3:29 PM)

Kent, I still think they win 90-plus games and probably the division. But you're right, once you get to the playoffs, you need that No. 1 guy. Perhaps by October, somebody (Kershaw) in this rotation will emerge as that guy. But it's more likely they'll have to find somebody at the deadline.

Jose Szabo (Pacoima, CA)

Do the Dodgers have cliques? Are there outcasts, popular kids, etc? Who do you see always hanging out, and who deserves the "Best Friends" designation on the team?

Tony Jackson
  (3:32 PM)

Jose, almost every team I have ever been around has cliques, and the Dodgers are no exception. But it's not so much about outcasts and popular kids. It's more about just groups of guys who tend to gravitate toward each other and have a lot in common.

Jose Szabo (Pacoima, CA)

Some people say that Lindblom can be a legitimate middle of the rotation starter and others say his ceiling is a good setup man. What do you think about his stuff, makeup, etc.?

Tony Jackson
  (3:33 PM)

They see him as a starter down the road. He'll be a starter at ABQ this year. However, if he is called up during the season this year, which I think he probably will be, it could be as a reliever if that's what the club needs at that particular time. But long term, yes, he will be a starter, possibly even a front-of-the-rotation starter depending on how he develops. Talked to him briefly after last night's game, when he didn't pitch particularly well, and it became obvious very quickly that this kid gets it, that he has an aptitude that most players at his stage of development don't have.

Dan (Long Beach)

Can you give me an update on Xavier Paul? He was such a hot name last spring.

Tony Jackson
  (3:42 PM)

He's still a legit prospect, but only as a fourth or fifth OF, and that's the problem: the Dodgers already have a fourth (Johnson) and fifth (Anderson) OF this year. Somebody probably has to get hurt before X gets called up, and even then, Repko might get the call first. Don't forget, Repko is guaranteed a half-mil no matter what.

Paddy (St. Louis)

Tony, I think Torre made his decision so Kershaw could start the home opener. What's the funniest thing you've seen this spring?

Tony Jackson
  (3:45 PM)

Well, that's part of it. Kershaw IS starting the home opener. But that doesn't explain why Padilla is starting the actual opener instead of Kuroda or Billingsley. Good question on the funniest things, I don't really recall anything off the top of my head. The weirdest thing I have seen was Angel Berroa flying his remote control helicopter around the clubhouse, always with a absolutely NO expression on his face whatsoever. It was just this look of intense concentration. If he had put that much effort into making the team, maybe he wouldn't have been released. But who am I kidding? He wasn't going to make the team anyway.

Juan Carlos Zweig (North Hollywood, CA)

Do you work from home or in an ESPN studio when you are not at Camelback? As far as I remember from your Daily News Blog you live in Arizona, correct?

Tony Jackson
  (3:47 PM)

That's correct, I do live in Arizona, but I'll be living in SoCal during the baseball season. During spring training, I always work at Camelback or wherever the Dodgers are playing that day, or sometimes I work at home on an off-day or in the evenings if I have more work to do than I can get done during the regular work day. As for the season, I always work at the ballpark. I don't think I have gone into the office to work since I worked at the Rocky Mountain News in the late 1990s, and that was only because I didn't have a cell phone in those days and the paper wouldn't reimburse me for long distance calls I made from home.

Juan (Irvine)

Anything on Manny?

Tony Jackson
  (3:49 PM)

Anything as in what? Any news? Nope, he's just hanging around being Manny. He's having a decent spring, though, hitting .304 with a .407 OBP.

Tony Jackson
  (3:51 PM)

I supposed they COULD. He has played 10 games there in his career. But it's not likely, not when you have Carroll, who has much more experience there. Belliard will play first, second and third, Carroll second, third and short.

Tony Jackson
  (3:51 PM)

Oops, I posted the answer before I posted the question. Here's the question

Justin H (Lethbridge Alberta Canada)

Why wouldnt the dodgers be able to use Ronnie Belliard at SS? sure not as "skilled" but if your compare their stats last year G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS BelliardSeason 110 264 39 73 14 1 10 39 20 56 3 0 .277 .325 .451 .776 FurcalSeason 150 613 92 165 28 5 9 47 61 89 12 6 .269 .335 .375 .711 There isnt a huge difference, other than less games played, plus Belliard is a large cap space relief for potential signings or trades.

Gary Bell (Torrance, CA)

With the Dodgers shopping Stults who is out of options, does it appear that one of the Ortiz's may be in line to take on the fifth starter role?

Tony Jackson
  (3:52 PM)

yeah, I think both of them make the team. Based on what I'm hearing, it looks like Russ will be the fifth starter, at least at the beginning of the season, and Ramon will be in the pen.

Tony Jackson
  (3:56 PM)

I'm going to shut it down about five minutes early this week since we seem to have exhausted all the questions in the queue. Ten minutes to game time. Strange setup today, the Brewers agreed to allow the Dodgers to use the DH, but the Brewers themselves chose NOT to use it. Josh Towers pitching for the Dodgers, Manny DH'ing. Have a great day everyone.