Monday, December 18, 2006

Colletti vs. Sabean, Round 2

It’s always good to keep tabs on the competition. In the case of the Dodgers, said competition is obviously the hated Giants. So let’s see how the lineups for 2007 compare (new players in italics):

Position Dodgers Giants
1B Garciaparra Aurilia
2B Kent Durham
SS Furcal Vizquel
3B Betemit Feliz
LF Gonzalez Bonds
CF Pierre Roberts
RF Ethier Winn
C Martin Molina
SP Lowe, Schmidt, Penny, Wolf, Billingsley Cain, Morris, Lowry, Hennessey, Sanchez
RP Broxton, Kuo, Tomko, etc. Kline, Worrell, Correia
CP Saito Benitez

Position by position, it does look like the Dodgers beat the Giants almost all the way down the line. But I’d expect this given our relative performances last season, in which the Giants went 76-85 and ended up 11.5 games out of first place.

Say what you will about Ned Colletti’s moves this season, both safe (Schmidt) and risky (Pierre), when you compare his moves with those of his counterpart Brian Sabean of the Giants, Colletti looks brilliant—or at least ready to make some moves to try and improve the ballclub, which is admirable (and will be even more admirable with that power-bat-to-be-named-later). All of the Giants’ new players (Aurilia, Roberts, Molina) are pretty old and/or team retreads—which is, I suppose, consistent with the rest of Brian Sabean’s re-signings of last year’s team (Bonds, Feliz, Durham, and Kline). But it is odd that, coming off an under-performing season, Sabean hasn’t shaken it up a little more.

To be fair, it may not be all Sabean’s fault. Rumors have it that his hands may have been tied—owner Peter Magowan wants to keep a $85M payroll, of which Bonds (whom Magowan wanted back) is allocated ~$20M. Magowan even begrudged his own lineup in a recent quote: “I think the lineup is better than OK….I think the pitching has a lot of potential, but let’s face facts, it also has a lot of uncertainty, as does the closer situation. Last year I felt in some ways we were one of the favorites, and I know this year we won't be.”

If you want to improve, you gotta spend money—and as for the incremental difference, as Frank McCourt knows, you can always stick it to the fans. But, even having been one of those fans who has been stuck (twice in two years, I might add), I have to say that I’d rather be a Dodger fan in 2007.

Oh yeah, and we have a deep farm system, too.