Dan Haren confirms return for 2015

Right-handed pitcher Dan Haren has exercised his option to play for the Dodgers in 2015.

Haren had a 4.02 ERA and 4.09 FIP with the Dodgers in 2014, striking out 145 batters in 186 innings while allowing 222 baserunners. In his final 10 starts of the 2014 season, Haren had a 2.43 ERA with 50 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings. He turned 34 in September.

His best start came June 30 against Cleveland, when he allowed two baserunners in seven shutout innings on the night the Dodgers moved into first place in the National League West after a 9 1/2-game deficit.

— Jon Weisman

Kershaw, Puig lead as Dodgers grab 15 GIBBY noms

By Jon Weisman

The GIBBY Awards aren’t named after Kirk Gibson specifically, though the awkwardness of the full name — Greatness in Baseball Yearly — suggests a determined attempt to arrive at that acronym. In any case, the Dodgers are nominated for several in 2014, and you can vote online through November 7. (Winners will be announced December 6.)

San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles DodgersClayton Kershaw and Yasiel Puig were each nominated in three categories. Here is your full list of Dodger nominees:

  • MLB MVP: Kershaw
  • Starting pitcher: Kershaw
  • Closer: Kenley Jansen
  • Bounceback player: Matt Kemp
  • Manager: Don Mattingly
  • Play: Puig’s double play, July 5 at Colorado
  • Outfield throw: Puig, September 22 vs. San Francisco
  • Moment: Vin Scully announces his return for 2015, July 29
  • Hitting performance: Dee Gordon 5 for 6 with three steals, May 3 at Miami
  • Hitting performance: Puig, 4 for 4 with three triples, July 25 at San Francisco
  • Pitching performance: Josh Beckett no-hitter, May 25 at Philadelphia
  • Pitching performance: Kershaw no-hitter, June 18 vs. Colorado
  • Oddity: Dodgers’ defensive wall, August 29 at San Diego
  • Walkoff: Hanley Ramirez’s 12th-inning homer, August 2 vs. Chicago
  • Cut4 topic: Mo’ne Davis at Dodger Stadium

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Maury Wills, Gil Hodges on Golden Era Committee ballot for Hall of Fame

Wills-Hodges

By Cary Osborne

Dodger legends Maury Wills and Gil Hodges have their shot at the Hall of Fame again.

On Thursday morning, the National Baseball Hall of Fame announced its 10-name Golden Era Committee ballot, and the Dodger greats are on the list of candidates.

“You mean the National Baseball Hall of Fame?” Wills asked incredulously from his home in Sedona, Arizona when informed of the honor. “Ah shucks, this is one of my dreams.”

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Vintage Vin

vin 2vin 1By Mark Langill

How does an oversized Vin Scully collectible stay hidden for nearly 50 years?

Gary Cypres, the owner and curator of the Sports Museum of Los Angeles, couldn’t believe his ears recently when he received a phone call from a collector in Texas, describing an advertising banner used at Union 76 stations in 1966 promoting the company’s Dodger record collection.

“I’ve never seen something like this before,” Cypres said. “I didn’t even know it existed.”

Cypres jumped at the chance to add another one-of-a-kind item to his exhaustive collection, which this season was on display at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.

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The consolation prize: Why the World Series matters most, but the regular season still matters

San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

Now that Madison Bumgarner has gone full Hershiser and then some, now that the San Francisco Giants have a well-earned dynasty of three World Series titles in five years, now that history has recorded this all in fresh ink, I’ve reached the stage of acceptance with the 2014 season.

But I am left with a sincere question …

Clayton Kershaw will win the National League Cy Young Award and maybe the MVP, the Dodgers won the NL West, and all anyone will say this winter is how they are inferior to Bumgarner and the Giants. I’m not denying people the right to say it.

But if winning the World Series is all that matters, and what you do in the regular season matters not at all if you win the World Series, and if how you finish in the regular season gives no hint about whether you’re going to win the World Series, then why worry about what is happening during the regular season?

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Dodgers set Los Angeles record in BABIP … what happens next year?

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Yasiel Puig had a .356 BABIP despite declining from 2013. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Were they feeling lucky?

The Dodgers had a team batting average on balls in play of .318, which was third in the Majors but the franchise’s highest in 84 seasons, since the Brooklyn Robins had a .321 BABIP in 1930.

In general, the Dodgers’ BABIP has trended upward in recent years, thanks in part no doubt to strikeouts becoming a larger percentage of outs. It was a different story, for example, in the 1960s, when the Dodgers’ BABIP bottomed out at .266 in 1967 and .268 in 1968.

The oddity is that several prominent Dodgers underperformed their recent or career BABIP marks in 2014 …

BABIP chart (more…)

The Dodgers-Lakers-NBA connection

Kobe Bryant and Tommy Lasorda (Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Kobe Bryant and Tommy Lasorda (Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Cary Osborne

The NBA season tips off tonight, including the Lakers hosting the Houston Rockets at Staples Center. With that in mind, we thought we’d give you some amusing Dodger-Laker connections and throw in some other Dodger-NBA connections.

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Seasons: Tommy Davis’ 1962 — thou shalt not pass

tommy_davis

This marks the first in a series of stories where we look back in depth on some of the greatest individual seasons in Dodger history.

By Cary Osborne

The RBI is like the vinyl record of baseball statistics.

Traditionalists love it — still find beauty in it and won’t let go of it. The modernists have less regard for it and think of it as analog in a digital world because the stat is dependent on other factors, namely the ability of the guys ahead of the line to get on base.

But like an audiophile might tell you that there is no sweeter sound than needle meeting spiral groove, a batter might tell you that there is no better satisfaction than bat meeting ball and run crossing the plate.

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Time and urgency, winning and losing

By Jon Weisman

Somewhere right now, someone is driving a car and texting about the horrors of ebola.

But let me get back to that …

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Corey Seager an AFL Fall-Star

By Jon Weisman

Dodger prospect Corey Seager has been named to the West Division roster for the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game, taking place at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Scouting and farm directors from every Major League organization, in consultation with Arizona Fall League director Steve Cobb and his baseball personnel staff, made the selections. The game will air on MLB Network and MLB.com.

Playing shortstop, the 20-year-old Seager has a .345 on-base percentage and .412 slugging percentage in 13 games.

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