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Three That Got Away

Many players start out in one team’s system, and for some reason, they do not make enough of an impression. They are then either released, traded or lost in the rule 5 draft.

This has happened a few times with the Dodgers but I am going to profile three who ended up being pretty good for their new teams.

One of those players was John Franco. The Dodgers selected Franco in the 5th round of the 1981 draft. Less than 2 years later, in May of 1983, the Dodgers traded Franco and Brett Wise to the Reds for former Dodger, Rafael Landestoy.

Landestoy hit .200 that year and retired. Franco made his debut with the Reds in 1984 and for much of the next two decades, he was one of the top relievers in the game.

He helped the Reds to four straight 2nd place finishes in the west. He was the Rolaids relief man of the year twice 88 and 90. He was traded to the Mets on Dec 6th, 1989 and would spend the bulk of his career there.

He led the league in saves three times and pitched in the 2000 World Series for the Mets. He finished with 424 saves, a 2.89 ERA and a 90-87 record. He got less than 5 percent of the vote in his only year on the HOF ballot and dropped off.

The next player who comes to mind is John Wetteland. Wetteland was drafted twice, once by the Mets, 1984, in the 12th round. Then the Dodgers took him in the second round in 1985.

He was originally a starting pitcher. He got his first chance in 1989 and made 12 starts in his 31 appearances. He had a 5-7 record and one save.

He had a couple more brief shots with LA in 90 and 91. The Dodgers had actually lost him to Detroit in the 1987 rule-5 draft, but he was returned. In Nov of 1991, he was shipped to the Reds along with Tim Belcher for Eric Davis and Kip Gross.

Two weeks later, the Reds flipped him along with Bill Risley to Montreal for Willie Greene, Dave Martinez and Scott Ruskin.

In Montreal, Wetteland became their closer. He would post 37, 43 and 25 saves over the next three seasons. Then in what has to be considered a bad trade, the Expos sent him to the Yankees for Fernando Seguignol and cash.

Wetteland would spend two seasons with the Yanks, 95-96. He had 31 saves in 95 and led the league with 43 in 96. He would help the Yankees with the World Series in 96 when he saved all four wins. He also had three more saves in the playoffs.

On the move again, he signed with the Rangers as a free agent after the 96 season. Over the next four years, he was the Rangers closer. He saved 31, 42, 43 and 34 games. He pitched in two games in the postseason for the Rangers, logging two innings of perfect baseball.

After the 2000 season, he was granted free agency but he did not sign with anyone. At the age of 33 he was out of baseball.

The last player I will look at is Shane Victorino. ” The Flyin’ Hawaiian”. Victorino was drafted by the Dodgers in the 6th round in 1999.

He spent the next three seasons, 2000-2002 in the Dodger system. Then the Padres took him in the 2002 rule-5 draft. He debuted with the Pads in April of 2003.

Oddly, he got his first AB against the Dodgers on the following day. After 31 games and a .151 BA, he was returned to the Dodgers.

He played the rest of the 03 season in the Dodgers system and all of 2004 reaching AAA. In the winter of 04, he was again selected in the rule-5 draft, this time by the Phillies.

He started the season in 05 with the big club. Again he was offered back to LA after 21 games with the Phils, but this time, the Dodgers declined and he was sent to Wilkes-Barre Penn, the Phillies AAA affiliate.

In 2006, he finally came up to stay. He appeared in 153 games for the Phillies hitting .287. Over the next 6 seasons, he was the Phillies primary center fielder.

He would play in 10 postseason series and help the Phillies beat the Rays in the 2008 World Series. At the deadline in 2012 he was traded to the Dodgers for three players, Josh Lindblom, Ethan Martin and Stefan Jarrin.

He got into 53 games for the Dodgers and hit .245. He then signed with the Red Sox as a free agent that winter. He played two full seasons for the Red Sox and then went to the Angels in a trade for Josh Rutledge. Victorino retired after trying to make it back to the majors with the Cubs in 2016.

Three players, all drafted by the Dodgers who went on to much success with other teams. Two of them became very good closers for their teams, and Victorino was a Brett Butler type leadoff hitter

   

 

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Hondo

How about doing a look back at Frank Howard when you have the time? He was my first favorite baseball player. Huge guy. Was nicknamed “Hondo” and later “The Capitol Punisher.” I wish the Dodgers would have kept him. He would have hit all those homeruns for Los Angeles.

Oldbear48

I can do that

Bobby

Phils had 2 of our castoffs: Victorino and Jayson Werth on those 2 pennant winning teams in 2008-2009.

Oldbear48

Werth was signed by Philly as a free agent. He had a wrist injury and the Dodgers felt re-signing him was a risk. Sean Manaea signs a two-year 28-million-dollar deal with the Mets. One starting pitcher who is still a free agent who has gotten zero attention this winter, Mike Clevinger.

Brian Perkins

Clevinger’s a P.O.S.

Oldbear48

Your opinion. How many MLB games have you ever won? Clevinger was one of the best and has had arm troubles for a couple of years.

Brian Perkins

7

Oldbear48

Your IQ??? He pitched well as late as 2020.

tedraymond

Looks like LADT has been closed down….again. Too bad. Hopefully, there will be some migration over to LADC. Although many of the posters over there post here as well. Interesting times.

Oldbear48

I totally understand why he did it. He ran the site for 20 years. That is a long run. It was down to just him and I as contributing writers, that is not easy, just ask Jeff. But like most of us, you can tire of some things, and he had his fill. But he went out on his own terms. Have to respect him for that.

Zeke

Internet Blogs can sure test the site’s content creators patience especially in the off season when there are no games being played.

Last edited 1 month ago by Zeke
Oldbear48

Trying to come up with topics for discussion can be very daunting. Especially when there is little action, and then suddenly there is a flurry. This season was hard because in my humble opinion, there was so much negativity being tossed around. Not only about the team, but about certain individuals on the team.

Jeff

He’s been promising this over and over again. Loves to hear himself talk.

Baseball1439

I am not sorry to see him go. I enjoy this site very much and I thank Jeff for his views, backed up with facts and being respectful to all posters.

Oldbear48

Try taking abuse, sometimes warranted I grant you, but many times not, day after day. Mark knows his baseball. His main purpose was to incite dialog, and that he did very well. Jeff is equally astute about the game. They just have totally different styles.

Jeff

You don’t have to be an asshole to run a blog, do you?

Oldbear48

With Mark closing LADT I will do all I can to help Jeff keep this site running. Mark gave me my chance to share baseball experiences and my love of Dodger history by becoming a writer for the site. We lost some excellent writers over the last couple of years. Mark basically kept the site floating and viable on his own. I did what I could, but sometimes story lines are hard to come by. I love doing this and I will continue for as long as I can. If you have a favorite player or era you might want written about, I will do my best.

Brian Perkins

I have never once read excellent writing on that site.

dodgerram

That is not true IMHO. Mark provided some excellent content and insights. However to me- though I only followed his site for app. 2 years now he appeared to be a little thin skinned. He liked to dish out but appeared to have problems taking it too. Still sorry to see him close his site down. I wish him nothing the best. I hope he enjoys his time with his family and running his company.
And maybe, just maybe the Dodgers can gift him with a championship in this 2024.
Go Dodgers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark Timmons

Thanks, Dodgerram! Godspeed to you!

Anthony H

Thanks, Mark for the 20+ years, and the best to you and your family. Thank you Jeff for signing up for another year of Dodger Chronicles and to you Bear for all your writing contributions.

Brian Perkins

I like Mark.

Oldbear48

Really? Jeff used to write there and he is always excellent. So did Harold before he passed and Rob Schelling. Evan Bladh wrote for the site also. All of them are excellent writers. I do not count myself even close to any of them. I have only been doing this since 2020. Bulldogs and Penguins wrote for the site and had some very interesting articles. But to each his own, maybe they were just too cerebral for you.

Mark Timmons

Never have I claimed to be a writer. Why did you keep coming back?

Oldbear48

Your a lot better than you give yourself credit for.

tedraymond

Like I have expressed to you in the past, I very much appreciate the time and research you put into each of your articles about Dodger history. This is done without compensation for the love of the game and the Dodgers. This is opposed to the garbage that is mostly created for click bait and written by highly paid, lazy, ignorant writers. So, how fortunate for us.

Really Brian? Like, literally, not once in over 20 years has any of the articles or comments not been excellent? OK. As a person who was asked by Mark to f’ off and leave the site, I can state that there has been a huge amount of excellent information shared on that site. But, each to our own opinions.

Carry on.

Oldbear48

Thanks Ted, I appreciate it. As one who has met Mark a couple of times, I know how knowledgeable he is about the game and the team. But running that site by himself and writing probably 75 percent of the posts has to be exhausting while also running his company. But he always took the time to do so. It has to be hard on Jeff too. I would probably write more but I have to do all my stories on an email to Jeff. Then attach photos on the end of the email. Before they overhauled Marks WordPress dashboard, I could do all of my stories on there. Edit them and add photos. You can go on Marks site, find one of the stories I wrote, like Is Dave Roberts on the hot seat, and when the story comes up, go to the top, click on Bear, and you have access to every post I have made since I started. It is hard to do on your own. Ask Jeff, ask Scott Andes.

porpoiseboy

Hey Bear, yesterday on the other site which I can’t respond to you on now you asked if I was talking to you or another poster on that thread. It was definitely the overly verbose, thesaurus loving, other poster. Not you. I can’t even imagine that.
Cheers

Last edited 1 month ago by porpoiseboy
Mark Timmons

BLD! Ahhh…

Oldbear48

Thanks, I just needed some clarity on the issue at hand.

Mark Timmons

Well, that is not entirely true, but you are a good man. Godspeed!

Norcaldodgerfan

I like LADC very much. I also enjoyed LADT but could never understand why the need to be bombastic and confrontational.

A blog is designed to exchange ideas/comments some that make sense while others seem absurd and bizarre. Who cares it’s a freaking blog where bored Dodger fans post ideas and suggestions some factual some emotional.

I’ll continue to read here and thanks Jeff and Old Bear.

Last edited 1 month ago by Norcaldodgerfan
Campy

Don’t worry, Mark’s ego is too big to let the site go. This has happened at least 4 other times I can remember and he always comes back. I have read the column for years, seldom commenting, and his writing consists of; building a straw man, tearing down the straw man, justifying his offensive attitude. Yes, Bear, he has endured a lot of criticism, but almost all of it is well deserved. He loves a fight and will never give up even when he is wrong. He is often just a “Dodger knowledgeable” bully. That is why I came over here. And, Bear, while you are much gentler and kinder than Mark, and just as knowledgeable you are his right hand man and chief defender (as this thread shows) and I hope you don’t bring his style over here.

Last edited 1 month ago by Campy
tedraymond

Campy, good analysis of LADT. I never understood MT’s approach and why all the name calling and belittlement. But, it was his ball so he had the right to make the rules. We were not obligated to stick around.

I once thought about re-writing one of his articles, but eliminate all the moron, idiot, etc references in order to reveal some very good content and thoughts.

I agree that the site will come alive again at some point. That being said, I could tell from his rants the last couple of weeks that the end was coming soon. It was time….again!

Mark Timmons

Godspeed. You are a good man.

tedraymond

Thanks Mark. The same can be said about you and damn near everyone who was a contributor to LADT. I’m still waiting for your book to be finished and published. Speaking of books I bought Future Value the day you recommended it. It’s a slow read for me, but very interesting.

Best of luck with how ever you decide to spend your time.

And, of course, carry on!!

Jeff Dominique

Future Value is a fantastic book. Eric Logenhagen (FanGraphs) and Kiley McDaniel (ESPN) are two of the very best talent evaluators in print today.

Oldbear48

Mark is Mark. I think I understand him, but yes, I have defended him when I thought he was right. I also chided him more than a few times when I felt he was wrong. And we started out really disliking each other when we both posted on Scott’s site. We got into a rather heated discourse over several days. I have never felt I was his right-hand man. I do things my way. I did not go to his site until a couple of his regular posters said he should invite me. I believe every person is shaped by their life experiences, as probably most of us do. I know things that happened to me have shaped what I have become as a person. It took me many years to get over what was at one point a mercurial temper. I have also tried since I began doing this to become more sensitive to other people’s feelings and not be just an old grump all of the time. But there are times, especially when you are doing stories about something you love dearly and that has become a part of your person, when people can push you to a breaking point. Not using that as an excuse, site administrators have a tough job. I do not write like Mark does.

Last edited 1 month ago by Oldbear48
Mark Timmons

God bless you, Bear! You are a good man and I count you as a friend.

Oldbear48

Same to you Mark, I consider you a friend also. Loved going to the Quakes game and seeing you, Jayne Cobb and a couple others.

Mark Timmons

Watch and learn!

RC Dodger

Thanks Jeff and Bear for running this site. You guys both do a great job and provide great information. It looks like LADT is shutting down, and I appreciate the insights that are offered on both blogs.
Andrew Friedman was on MLB radio this morning with Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette. He indicated that his biggest remaining need is a RH bat that can hit LHP, either in trade or as a free agent. Bowden asked him specifically about Teoscar Hernandez but AF had limited comment on him, just that he has admired his game from afar.
Walker Buehler was discussed, and AF called him an ultimate competitor and said they are really confident he is ready but they may need to limit his innings to make sure he is available for October.
AF said Dustin May is progressing well but not sure if he will be available this year yet.
A short segment with AF but he is obviously very pleased with the offseason additions.

Singing the Blue

If Vargas was listening to that AF interview, he isn’t very happy right now. It seemed as though his only chance at a roster spot was going to be in left field and if Andrew finds that righty bat, that really narrows Miggy’s chances.

Unless the addition of that righty bat would mean the departure of Margot.

Badger

It’s my opinion, already stated here, the longer Friedman references the interest in a RH bat, the more value Vargas loses in any trade negotiations. Unless he’s already talked to Vargas and is just blowing smoke I think he needs to shut up about it.

As for DT, I haven’t talked a lot about why I left, it was just clear to me that I didn’t belong to Mark’s tribe any longer. When it comes to conversation I try to live by something I read years ago – is it true? is it kind? is it necessary? Too much of what was going on there didn’t hit all of those note.

I still consider Mark a friend, but he didn’t respond to my last two emails so I figure he is done with me. We didn’t agree on much of anything outside of the Dodgers, and he did show up and speak up, but I can sure see why he left. If he indeed did leave.

Last edited 1 month ago by Badger
Mark Timmons

Badger,

I am sorry if I did not respond. I get 500+ emails a day, and some go to spam. I must have missed them. Sorry! We are OK! Godspeed.

Mark Timmons

I will post here on occasion. Nowhere else… unless Jeff kicks me out. I promise to be a good boy! 😉

Brian Perkins

Good luck to you and your family.

Jeff Dominique

Mark, you have always been welcomed here. Any time!!!

Oldbear48

Jefe, have another almost ready. Have to see Dracula tomorrow and have blood drawn, should finish it tomorrow evening and it will be in your inbox.

Last edited 1 month ago by Oldbear48
Jeff Dominique

As always, thank you. You know they are all appreciated.

Badger

Thanks Mark.

Oldbear48

I read a story, I think earlier today on one of yahoo/news streams that said the Dodgers have offered Hernandez at least a four-year deal and are the leading candidate to land him. Hope it is wrong.

Badger

I trust Friedman knows what he’s doing.

I also hope it’s wrong.

Bluto

Sounds very fake.

Friedman’s appearance on MLB.com and his comments on a power RHB to balance out the lineup is summarized here:

Then the host digresses into uninformed speculation about Soler (can’t field), Teoscar, Santander and others….

Oldbear48

Was repeated in an interview supposedly on a podcast. Can’t remember which one.

Hondo

My guess is that Mark’s site will be back shortly after baseball is back. This is the perfect time for his hiatus — during the off season. And I believe the main intent is to make people miss the site so much, that when he returns, people will be more appreciative and more accepting of the way things were: “Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until it is gone!

Oldbear48

Possible but not probable.

Jeff Dominique

Some of you may know the story. Shortly after Mark started LADodgerTalk, our son, Andy, suffered a stroke, late January 2017. I do not know if it was providence or what, but late February, Mark called me and asked if I would write with him on LADT. I never fashioned myself as a writer, but I loved doing research, and it was a perfect antidote to the depression wafting over me. Mark promised he would never edit anything I wrote, and would never tell me what to write. He kept his word.

I believe my first post was in March 2017. I consistently published with LADT from that time until December 2021. I have told Mark why I stopped writing, and while the name calling got to me, there were other reasons. Those reasons will remain between Mark and me. Suffice to say, amongst other issues, there were a couple of commenters on LADT that will never be allowed on LADC that pushed me over the edge. 

I cannot count the number of times I have disagreed with Mark on issues. However, we never had a cross word towards each other while I was writing there.

While I have never agreed with the name calling, I will always have a great deal of respect for what Mark did for me and my family. He was gracious to me when I started LADC, and even gave it great preferential spot on his Dodgers Dashboard section. It is listed right below Dodgers MLB site, and Dodgers Insider. For a startup blog, I could not ask for more. LADC is not on included as a site to visit on anyone else’s blog. Mark personally purchased two other LADodgerChronicles domains and transferred them to me, so nobody else could snatch them up.

When I started, I had two genuinely great writing partners: Harold Uhlman and Rob Schelling. Both wrote for Mark at the time but came with me (with Mark’s understanding and blessing). Unfortunately, Harold passed away last year, and Rob has since retired from writing. Fortunately, Bear has come to assist me at LADC while also writing for Mark at LADT.

I am not a mind reader, and I have no idea how serious Mark is this time about shutting down LADT. I do know he has other endeavors he wants to tackle. If he does permanently shut it down, it was a terrific run at 20 years. I do not believe many here understand just how difficult it is to try and publish something every day, and try to make it interesting to the readers. I have only been writing for 7 years, and it wears on you.

Mark is welcome here at any time. If he wants to occasionally write a column, I will not say no.

For any of Mark’s regular commenters that choose to comment here, you are also more than welcome. I am not naïve, I understand that if Mark does decide to call it a career, LADC does seem to be in a position to benefit. My only admonition is that there is no name calling. I have never had to ban anyone from the site, and I hope I never will.

All opinions are welcomed and respected. Some of us may not agree, but we can

disagree respectfully. I know it can be done, because we have been doing it here for two years. And no Mark, we do not all sing kumbaya. 😍

Mark Timmons

🙂

LADT is gone!

Last edited 1 month ago by Mark Timmons
Frank Howard

Nah…just wait and see 😇 

Oldbear48

I understand why and I am with you. You never edited anything I wrote, and you were always fair. BJD said something in his last post about toeing the company line, well, it never has been a company so there was no line to toe. He said something about Ohtani showing the Happy. I guess he meant the statement after he signed with the Dodgers. Hell, I would be happy too if someone offered me 700 million to play baseball. I get that guys do not believe everything ballplayers say, and in some cases, their statements are probably watered down some and the teams PR department comes into play. But there are players who have been brutally honest. I mentioned Duke Snider. What Duke said in an interview with Roger Kahn was a matter of record, and the Brooklyn fans were furious at him for a while. Ted Williams was pretty blunt too. He did not like writers, and it showed. He also had some disdain for the fickleness of fans. One reason he never tipped his cap after a homer. He did it once, after his last homer in 1960. I applaud you for a 20 year run on a blog that I never knew existed until 2020. It has been a great ride. I like going back and seeing how I first wrote and compare that Bear to this one.

ToyCannon23

Thanks Mark I really appreciated LADT hope it’s not the end. But I respect what you have to do.

Oldbear48

No politics either. That ruined Scott’s site.

Dionysus

Now can you two please put your heads together and figure out which RH LF is close to signing with us?

Singing the Blue

Do we know that it has to be a left fielder? If it turns out to be a center or right fielder and the guy is really good, others could be moved around.

Although most expect AF to go shopping in the free agent aisle, who says he can’t use some of his prospect capital and trade for a younger outfielder who will be with us for a while?

That would actually be my preference since we are sadly lacking in outfield prospects who are close to ready. Really nothing beyond Pages.

Dionysus

I swear there’s a thing where Heyward doesn’t play LF. Makes no sense.

Dionysus

I think you both do a great job on the prospects. I enjoy Jeff’s scouting angles and Mark’s more intuitive takes. Both are interesting and equally valid.

Bluto

Per Passan:

BREAKING: Outfielder Teoscar Hernández and the Los Angeles Dodgers are in agreement on a one-year, $23.5 million contract, sources tell ESPN. Hernández joins Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Tyler Glasnow on the new-look Dodgers, who add another All-Star bat to the lineup.

Sam Oyed

The current bench for the Dodgers is Taylor, Rojas, Barnes and Hernandez/Margot. Are the Dodgers really going to stick both Vargas and Busch back in AAA? Or is a trade for a left handed pitcher in the offering?

Singing the Blue

I’m thinking Teoscar is going to be pretty much the every day left fielder and not subject to much platooning.

Wouldn’t be surprised to see Margot moved shortly since the bench you’re showing doesn’t have any lefty batters.

Oldbear48

He played all of his 135 games last year in right field. He has very limited experience in left. He will be the primary right fielder, just watch and see. Ends all the speculation about moving Mookie back to right. Heyward, Taylor, Margot, will all get shots at left. What this does is send Taylor back to his reserve role which he excels at.

Oldbear48

I would think that is possible. I like Luzardo from the Marlins if they could pry him away. Hernandez played all of his games in RF. So, Margot and Heyward have left field and Margot can back up Outman in center as can Heyward. Taylor can go back to being a Swiss Army knife. Only 15 mil of Hernandez’s deal will be paid this season. The rest is deferred. Guy was signed as a countermove to the Giants trading for Ray.

Jeff Dominique

$8.35MM is deferred to 2030-2039.

Singing the Blue

I guess the Dodgers are the place to be. Can’t believe Teoscar couldn’t have found a better deal for himself somewhere else.

Badger

2 WAR negative dWAR outfielder that projects under .800 OPS. They must either believe Vargas or Busch can’t do that or they have something in place to move them.

Last edited 1 month ago by Badger
Singing the Blue

His home/away splits last year were ridiculous (way better on the road). Can’t speak for his defense, but I expect he’ll have a good year on offense.

ToyCannon23

Like signing even more with deferrals. Have our LF. Vargas,Busch on way out for SP

Oldbear48

Cannon, he played right field exclusively last year. He has played 229 games in left, 446 in right and 110 in CF. He has also been the DH 64 times. His fielding percentage is better in right than left, and his percentage in center is better than both of those. He also has 11 assists as a right fielder. 6 from left.

RC Dodger

Another high priced signing for the Dodgers. Paying Hernández a $23.5 million salary for a corner OF with iffy defense who had a 741 OPS last year. Seattle didn’t even give him the qualifying offer for $20 million. Clearly the Dodgers have a lot of money to spend on external players. Hopefully, they also pay Buehler, Smith, Gonsolin, and Kershaw who have already helped them win a WS and several division titles.

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