Mailbag: What will Kuroda bring?
Fans ask about Valdez's departure, prospects, Pierre's arm
The statistics for the Japanese pitcher the Dodgers signed, Hiroki Kuroda, don't look like he's worth almost $12 million a year. What should we expect?
-- Eric E., Beverly Hills, Calif.
-- Sally S., Houston Kent really has no bearing on Valdez, and vice versa. Valdez was out of options. He was unlikely to make the club out of Spring Training and could have been taken by another club if the Dodgers tried to send him to the Minor Leagues to be an insurance policy, which he was last year. Ramon Martinez was the primary utility infielder last year and has left as a free agent. Tony Abreu is expected to fill that role this year, although Chin-Lung Hu gives the Dodgers two options. The likely replacement for Valdez as the insurance policy is non-roster invitee Angel Chavez, who was originally signed by the Giants and then was in the Yankees' farm system, giving him ties to both general manager Ned Colletti and new manager Joe Torre. Abreu is the heir apparent to Kent. Will the Dodgers have a preseason caravan as they have the past few years?
-- Jimmy S., Hollywood, Calif. Yes, it will be Feb. 5 and 6. Details of times and places have not been announced, but it's likely to include Torre, Matt Kemp, Jeff Kent, Nomar Garciaparra, Andre Ethier and James Loney. Do you believe the players attending the current mini-camp at Dodger Stadium provide an accurate read on the best prospects in the organization?
-- Juan R., San Juan, Puerto Rico
Have a question about the Dodgers?
E-mail your query to MLB.com Dodgers beat reporter Ken Gurnick for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
-- Pete L., Temecula, Calif. Dan Fox of Baseball Prospectus recently wrote a column about a fielding computation system that ranked outfielders based on all-around defensive play, not just throwing arm, but also factoring in range, extra bases taken by runners, stadium variations and the like. Fox had Pierre ranked 21st and last among qualifying Major League center fielders. Andruw Jones was 10th, Aaron Rowand was 15th and Coco Crisp first. Andre Ethier was 11th among right fielders. Has Rich Donnelly landed anywhere?
-- Charles V., Las Vegas Donnelly, the Dodgers' third-base coach the last two years, has been hired by the Pittsburgh Pirates to serve as a Minor League supervisor.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.