For all that trouble, I hope they were at least going for an Xbox 360.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
From this week's issue of Sports Illustrated:
They Said It
BOBBY BOWDEN, Florida State coach, on how Internet chatter about the team's poor play led to the resignation of his son Jeff as the Seminoles' offensive coordinator:
"You listen to eBay and e-mail and all that junk, and you all kept writing about it, and that fans it and makes it grow."
Murray Chass, the baseball beat writer for the New York Times who makes people like Bill Plaschke weep in awe (who doesn't, though), has a nice piece in the NYT today about the many teams in the hunt for Manny Ramirez (registration required) (Chass lists the Mets, Dodgers, Padres, Giants, Phillies, Rangers, and Orioles). The very mention of the Mets in the chase has to make Dodgers fans smile, as the math would have you believe the Mets are willing to jettison former Dodger Shawn Green to accommodate a Ramirez signing.
Chass describes how Ortiz would be "naked" in the Red Sox lineup without Manny (as an aside, the thought of Big Papi naked was enough to make me lose my morning appetite), and could walk 250 more times next year without Ramirez after him. And we've already heard about the long list of prospects the Red Sox would want in return for Ramirez. So why are the Dodgers even in the hunt? Consider these quotes:
“Why would you get rid of Manny if you want to win?” one executive said.
“He’s the guy who will lead you to the promised land,” another one said.
Wouldn't it be ironic if, as cards start to fall, another "very spiritual" person ended up squandering his opportunity to go to the promised land with Manny?
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
At one point in time, it seemed Albert Pujols would be one of the classy sluggers who would lead baseball out of its steroid-induced morass. But then came Wright Thompson's disturbing ESPN.com profile on former Cardinals scout Dave Karaff, the scout who discovered and signed Pujols.
According to Thompson, Pujols took offense to the scouting grades Karaff assigned him:
The slugger, for instance, told The Kansas City Star: "He said I wasn't going to make the big leagues. That's why he got fired."
He told USA Today : "How can you draft a guy and say you don't know if he's going to make the big leagues? All of a sudden, the next year (I'm) in the big leagues, and he wants to take all the credit."
Now comes this latest quote from an article on Pujols' reaction to losing this year's NL MVP award to the Phillies' Ryan Howard:
"I see it this way: Someone who doesn't take his team to the playoffs doesn't deserve to win the MVP," Pujols said in Spanish at a news conference organized by the Dominican Republic's sports ministry.
There's nothing wrong with Pujols being driven and taking pride in his work, but doing so at the expense of others only diminishes his achievements. Let's hope Howard learns a few PR lessons from the NL MVP runner-up.
Will Carroll: If you take known injuries like Mulder out if this equation, I'd say it's Juan Pierre. He's one hamstring pull away from losing the one real skill he has. Stan Conte's got a whole new challenge this year.
lexomatic (Toronto): Hi. who is the biggest injury risk as a free agent, and why? Thanks.
Will Carroll: If you take known injuries like Mulder out if this equation, I'd say it's Juan Pierre. He's one hamstring pull away from losing the one real skill he has. Stan Conte's got a whole new challenge this year.
After missing much of the past two seasons following two elbow operations and one on his back, [Eric Gagne] reports feeling "unbelievably good." He began throwing Tuesday and vows a healthy return.
Let's just say we shouldn't hold our breath on this one.
(uncredited photo from 6-4-2 blog)
"If you choose a uniform number somewhere near my contract salary, I'll choose a number near yours."
Somebody please reassure me that the second digit on Randy Wolf's uniform (obscured by teammate Juan Pierre) is indeed a 1. If it's a 2 hiding back there, I'm guessing Drew McCourt was involved somehow.
ESPN's Phil Rogers puts the Giants at the top of his list of teams which will have a "restless December" due to a lack of moves (to date) and a lot of roster holes to fill. It's interesting that the Giants have been quiet while they have so many holes to fill (by Rogers' count, "two outfielders, a third baseman, a second baseman, possibly a first baseman and at least one, maybe two, starting pitchers"). I don't know if Rogers is counting Randy Winn or Jason Ellison as the other outfielder in the Giants' field (or maybe he's counting Dave Roberts?), but it's clear that they have tons of holes.
On the flip side, here's the Dodgers' lineup, if we start today:
Infield: Garciaparra, Kent, Furcal, Betemit (Loney, LaRoche in the wings)
Outfield: Ethier, Pierre, Anderson (Kemp, Repko, and possibly the return of Werth in the wings)
Catcher: Martin (Hall or potentially Lieberthal as backup)
Starting rotation: Lowe, Penny, Billingsley, Kuo, Wolf (Tomko, Hendrickson in the wings)
Relief pitchers: Brazoban, Broxton, Saito (and a bunch of other guys in the pen, including Elmer's Glue and that guy who sliced his hand open in a bar the night before the playoffs)
So the Dodgers have fewer holes, true. But we still have a lot of work to do; a power bat and a couple more pitchers come to mind.
Vin Scully and Ross Porter share the same birthday, according to John Weisman at Dodger Thoughts.
How lucky are we to have Vin? Not only is he one of the last solo sports broadcasters, he's one of the fairest. And if some games he seems too fair, e.g., waxing poetic about Miguel Batista or Khalil Greene, just change the channel to, say, an Angels game and savor Vin's impartiality.
As for Ross: We miss you. Rick Monday has nothing on you.
LA Times reports that 34-year 11-month old Mike Lieberthal, who missed 95 games last season, wants to be a Dodger. He is willing to take $1M salary for a one-year deal, which is a huge discount from current $7M+/year salary run rate.
Heck, I want to be a Dodger too. Will Ned give me a call as well? I'm all for targeting people who want to play at Chavez Ravine, but I'm starting to think that Colletti is looking for his players by looking for old guys with a limp who are hanging out at the Silverlake Dog Park.
Okay, maybe this isn't entirely fair. As Steve Henson reports in the article, "[Lieberthal] sat out because of a strained left hip and a sore back, and had surgery to repair an injured stomach muscle in early October. However, he has resumed working out and is feeling good.
Guess I'll start working out and feeling good.
"But Mr. Boras, you told me to bolt eastward!"
Looks like JD Drew is setting up for a five-season, $70M deal with the Red Sox, according to the Boston Globe. [Note that I wrote five-season, since he will likely play the equivalent of only three of those "years".]
Included in the article is Theo's list to Santa Colletti:
The Dodgers, because of their wealth of appealing young talent -- outfielder Matt Kemp, first baseman James Loney, third baseman Andy LaRoche, reliever Jonathan Broxton -- and their paucity of power are becoming a popular choice among industry speculators as a [Manny] Ramírez landing spot. But their position is still somewhere on the periphery, as they weigh whether they want to part with their kids. There were strong indications yesterday, however, that the Sox would pay at least a portion of Ramírez's salary.
The Padres are also in the hunt for Ramirez, potentially offering Jake Peavy or Scott Linebrink, as well as Adrian Gonzalez. Yikes.
I hope Ned waits until after the Drew deal closes (and the Daisuke Matsuzaka deal has evolved) before offering up any of our key prospects (I would hate to lose any of those four mentioned). If the Pads want to bite early, let 'em. The Red Sox will be more desperate to unload ManRam after they sober up from the other two deals.
The latest column from FOXSports.com's Dayn Perry is titled "The worst deals this off-season ... so far." The Dodgers rallied to make a strong showing in Perry's bottom five signings, decisively capturing positions #2 (Pierre) and #5 (Nomar).
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
If the Dodgers are serious in their pursuit of Jason Schmidt, they had better move quickly, as well as bring the briefcase of money that they were going to pay to JD Drew. SI.com is reporting that the Cubs are ready to unload $45M for three years of Jason Schmidt. ESPNEWS tonight said it was only $44M, but hey, who's counting?
Schmidt had a respectable 2006 WHIP of 1.26 (#20 in the NL) and 7.59 K/9 (again #20 in the NL), but walked 80 people (#11 in the NL) with a 11-9 record that looked even worse in person. He may have been nails back in 2003-2004, but he does not appear to be the same pitcher today. But in this market, apparently that's good enough for a ~50% raise ($10.5M salary in 2006).
If Schmidt ends up being the latest addition to the Cubs, he should at least check out the perks negotiated by potential teammate Alfonso Soriano, who recently signed the fifth-largest contract in baseball history but made sure that there were extra benefits besides the paltry eight-year, $136M salary. Like a suite for all road trips (perfect for cultivating team camaraderie!). And performance incentives out the wazoo. And six tickets for each home game, including spring training (wouldn't want to slum on StubHub.com for those!). Guess this Onion article wasn't all that far off base.
UPDATE: Now the Cubs say they didn't offer $45M to Schmidt after all. Maybe tomorrow, they'll retract the Soriano deal, too. Idiots.
Communiqué Regarding Cognomen Restoration Impending; Surnames Resurfacing; Thesaurus Consulted Repeatedly; Obfuscation Achieved
A uniform blurb from Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts:
At Wednesday's press conference introducing Wolf and Juan Pierre as Dodgers, the team will officially unveil the 2007 Dodger uniform with last names back on the back.
This item from Steve Henson's L.A. Times online "Dodgers Q&A" column:
Question: Now that the Dodgers signed Randy Wolf, will they try to sign the most expensive free-agent pitcher, Barry Zito?
Raphael Paredes, Los Angeles
Answer: No. Even before signing the left-handed Wolf to a one-year deal with vesting and club options, the Dodgers had no intention of pursuing Zito — despite numerous published reports to the contrary.
At least temporarily, General Manager Ned Colletti is soured on negotiating with super agent Scott Boras because one Boras client, outfielder J.D. Drew, opted out of the last three years of his Dodgers contract, leaving a gaping hole in the batting order. Boras also represents Zito, who is seeking a seven-year deal for more than $100 million. Colletti wants no part of those numbers and no part of Boras — until, of course, a Boras client is someone the Dodgers really want. Then, most likely, all will be forgiven.
Guess it's time to move those Zito eggs to the Schmidt basket.
When Lady Drew opted out of his Dodgers contract, we fans called him many things. But one thing we didn't call him was crazy—it was a money grab and most of us would have acted the same, given the chance. But newest Dodger Randy Wolf...this man just might be insane. The L.A. Times reports:
A source close to the negotiations said the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals made offers to sign Wolf for three years, with the deals ranging from $21 million to $24 million.
That's potentially $16 million Wolf left at the table. (Obviously not a Boras client.) Give Randy Wolf a medal. Or get him a straitjacket.
Buried at the bottom of the LA Times' article on the signing of Randy Wolf as our new #5 starter was the news that Ned Colletti wouldn't include Dodger prospect Matt Kemp with two other players in a deal for Manny Ramirez:
The Dodgers also are pursuing a power hitter, most likely through a trade. They have had discussions with the Boston Red Sox regarding left fielder Manny Ramirez, but the asking price has been too high. According to a source, the Red Sox want three players, including budding slugger Matt Kemp, the top outfield prospect in the organization.
I like Kemp, but if the other two players are Julio Lugo and Toby Hall, I say do the deal. Alas, Colletti has a penchant for players with four-letter last names (welcome, Randy). Maybe Colletti is a Boggle fan?
(For the record, FLOWAGE is the longest word I get. And it's ironic that FLUKE is in this particular grid as well, given the players. But then, so is WALLOP.)
"I assure you that the notion that this is a primarily defensive maneuver is preposterous," [Red Sox president Larry] Lucchino said, adding that 51.1 million is "obviously a historical number but we are talking about a national living treasure and an exceptional baseball player."
I'm no business expert, but isn't it generally considered poor strategy to confer godlike status upon the opposition during negotiations?
Buried at the bottom of a Boston Herald article about potential Manny Ramirez trades:
On the shortstop front, the Red Sox are said to be fading from the lead pack of suitors for free agent Julio Lugo. The New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers, the team that traded for Lugo during last season, are believed to be the most aggressive pursuers.
Not according to this Associated Press article at ESPN.com:
The Associated Press surveyed about 20 percent of eligible voters, and only one in four who gave an opinion plan to vote for McGwire this year. That's far short of the 75 percent necessary to gain induction.
Will Mark McGwire become the next Pete Rose? Stay tuned—balloting results are announced January 9.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Some youth-sports coach is a few years away from hitting the jackpot--a roster with the offspring of major league dad NOMAR GARCIAPARRA, 33, and ultimate soccer mom MIA HAMM, 34. Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Garciaparra and retired Women's World Cup champ Hamm met at a 1998 charity event and wed in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 2003. The pair told the world (at least the reporters who hang around the Dodger locker room) that they expect twins. No word yet on gender or due date, but news of the first kid for both athletes leaves sports fans pondering pressing questions: Can you bronze teeny cleats? How many points for sinking a shot in a Diaper Genie? Can Derek Jeter be counted on to baby-sit? In any case, we're sure these babies will come out kicking.
Thanks to TIME MAGAZINE for the explanation! Scrooge McCourt and Ned Cratchit didn't resign Nomar because they didn't think that Loney wasn't ready; they resigned him because they didn't want to get scorched in the press when it found out that Mia was expecting twins and Nomar wasn't offered a job!
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DodgerDugout.com was one of our original "Dodger Links" (see sidebar). Not only is the site comprehensive (Dodger-themed media reviews and merchandise links in addition to news and rumors), but the webmaster's opinions are succinct and even-handed (i.e., none of this Pamela Anderson crap).
Anyway, Sons of Steve Garvey would like to thank DodgerDugout.com.
I don’t know why I’m so fascinated by the Daisuke Matsuzaka soap opera (train wreck?), but I had to chuckle when I saw the latest posting in SI.com’s Truth and Rumors section, which reports that the Red Sox and Matsuzaka are far apart in their initial negotiations.
The Red Sox and Daisuke Matsuzaka still have nearly three weeks to come to terms on a contract, but preliminary indications are that the sides may have to overcome an initial gap as wide as the Pacific Ocean. According to sources, the Sox' initial proposal was roughly half of what the pitcher's agent, Scott Boras, proposed.
It’s not that shocking that Boras’ asking price is high (we’ve seen his greed before). What made me laugh was thinking about Theo and company, coming off a $51.1M bid that was reported to be north of $10M in excess of everyone else, suddenly becoming parsimonius now that they're at the negotiating table. It conjured visions of paying $100K for the chance to sit at the high-stakes poker table at Bellagio, pulling up a chair to the big boy table, and then raising one’s opponent by two red chips, a peanut shell, and a handful of pocket lint. Somehow, the excuse that the ATM suddenly isn’t working doesn’t seem to be very credible at this stage of the negotiations. Or is it a sudden case of cold feet?
Congratulations to UCLA for their #1 ranking in the latest AP poll for college hoops, for the first time since the 1994-1995 title-winning season. My heart did not go out to Joakim Noah and his Florida crew during their overtime loss to Kansas Saturday night (in fact, two of us Bruin fans stopped into a Berkeley bar to watch the Gators go down, cheering all the way).
Northern California has exactly 0 teams in the AP Hoops poll, including the “Others Receiving Votes” addendum. UCLA hoops and USC football are really making Southern Californians proud.
Not so fast—Manny Ramirez could end up being the Dodgers' very own expensive headcase. ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney reports that most of the NL West (Giants, Padres, Dodgers) and the Rangers and Orioles are having conversations with the Red Sox about trading for Manny.
Please, Ned, don't trade Chad Billingsley or Matt Kemp for two years of flakiness.
One year, $8M deal. Wow. Randy Wolf, a career 69-60 pitcher with a 4.21 ERA after eight seasons with the Phillies, cashes a big check after his worst year with 12 appearances and a 5.56ERA (granted, after surgery).
Believe it or not, $8M is a discount from his $9.125M 2006 salary.
The San Francisco Comical reports that the Giants are working a deal for Manny Ramirez of the Red Sox. Ramirez has two years left on his current deal for $14M and $16M, plus $8M of deferred salary. So let's call it an effective $18M and $20M. Obviously, signing ManRam would push Barry further down the plank into McCovey Cove.
Buried at the bottom of the same article is the news that the Giants are also close to a return tour of duty with Rich Aurilia, 35. Maybe next year's sponsor of the oft-name-changed ballpark will be Metamucil?
I spent all Thanksgiving weekend hearing from my brother-in-law, a Giants fan, about how ridiculous the Juan Pierre signing was, even in this inflated free agent market. With this deal, I'm not so sure that the trade market is any less expensive. Though I would hate to see the Giants pick up such an offensive power in ManRam, I'm hoping that they end up feeling compelled to pick up Barry too and have true clubhouse camaraderie.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
What is it about the Dodgers than can turn decent players into chumps? Danys Baez was good for the Devil Rays, bad for the Dodgers, rebounded a little with the Braves and now the Orioles are giving him $19 million for three years. And to think just last season that was starter money.
Hope Orioles fans are able to stomach games like this.
Call me a traditionalist, but in a pre-BCS setup, wouldn't we have a classic Rose Bowl between USC and Ohio State? Am I the only one thinking that the Rose Bowl has gotten screwed (again)? Wasn't it 3 or 4 years ago that the Iowa-USC game was played in the Orange Bowl? Since I first got my lather up about this issue, the BCS standings just came out this evening with USC edging Michigan as #2 in the rankings. Funny how all of those voters and computers forgot that USC gagged against Oregon State (where in the Top 25 are the Beavs, by the way?), whilethen #2 Michigan lost by a field goal to #1 Ohio State in Columbus.
Under the old Rose Bowl setup, this would have been a moot point. The Trojans and the Buckeyes would meet on January at the Rose Bowl. Now, the Rose Bowl ends up getting sloppy seconds. How does a Michigan-Boise State Rose Bowl sound?
I'm thinking that Pandora's Box is already open, so we will never get back to the "good ol' days" in Pasadena. Interestingly enough, it sounded like the Rose Bowl officials at least tried to make a stand for tradition.
OK, I'll now go back to gumming my oatmeal and complaining about how that Harry Truman fellow is going to ruin our country.
Wolf, who missed nearly 13 months after undergoing elbow-ligament transplant surgery on July 1, 2005, pitched inconsistently after rejoining the Phillies last season, going 4-0 with a 5.56 ERA in 12 starts.
Pitchers generally are stronger in their second season removed from the surgery. Any team that signs Wolf would be banking on such a comeback; his last season without elbow trouble was 2003.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Baseball Think Factory reports the Red Sox are going hard after Lady Drew and produces this tidbit from the Boston Globe:
His nickname in the Dodger clubhouse, according to one big league coach, was "Nancy Drew," and according to one major leaguer who has played against Drew for much of his career, one Dodger player greeted the news of Drew’s departure by phoning friends in jubilation.
Who knew Jeff Kent had friends? And Tony La Russa, it's not nice of you to make anonymous quotes like that.
From Ken Gurnick's "mailbag" at Dodgers.com (bottom of page):
Will the Dodgers have their names on the back of their jerseys for the 2007 season?
-- Mal M., Denver, Col.
This is one of the most frequently asked questions of the mailbag, even though management very publicly announced last Spring Training that, YES, they will. Please e-mail this answer to your friends.
Excuse us fans if we take Dodger management's announcements with a grain of salt.
MLB Trade Rumors fills us in on the movements of some old (in more ways than one) NL West friends:
It looks like Dave Roberts is going to be a Giant. This will save San Francisco fans from self-immolation over their front office's apparent inability to make stupid deals, and ensure that the Giants theme of "oldsters in the outfield" remains intact even with Steve Finley and possibly Barry Bonds on their way out.
In other news: Woody Williams got a two-year deal with the Astros for $12.5M. That seems remarkably sane, though I wouldn't plan on drafting Woody for your fantasy team. He had an okay year in Petco, but he's moving to one of the unfriendliest parks in baseball for pitching. If the short porch in left is going to do wonders for Carlos Lee, it's going to hurt Williams nearly as much.
Looks like Dave Roberts (age 34) is taking the Steve Finley route and trying to play for every NL West team, while Woody "Spielberg" Williams (age 40) just made sure Greg Maddux will get at least a two-year deal.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Not that Ned was interested in Carlos Lee in the first place. Shockingly, Keith Law finds something negative to say about this deal as well:
The primary problem with his $100 million deal with the Astros is that Lee, 30, doesn't profile as the type of hitter who'll age well into his 30s.
Have any of this off-season's deals gone over well with the press? I guess sportswriters eking out a living find it hard to justify guys half their age signing nine-figure deals.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
The Dodgers and Mariners are the leading candidates to sign Giants free-agent starter Jason Schmidt.
-- Orange County Register
I'd rather get Zito than Schmidt, but really—we'd be lucky to sign either one.
Happy Thanksgiving! The folks at Sons of Steve Garvey would like to remind you not to drink and drive, lest you be subjected to a sobriety test almost as stringent as Blogger's Jabberwockian anti-spam system.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Shouldn't Nomar be reading Green Eggs and Hamm?
I'm finally coming around on Juan Pierre, who is now an official member of the Los Angeles Dodgers after finalizing the five-year, $44M deal today. And it's not only because the Angels went out and signed Gary Mathews Jr. for the same length of time and $6M more in coin. I'm not an ESPN Insider, but it appears from the first couple of paragraphs (available free as a tease) that Keith Law hates the Angels' deal even more than the Dodgers' deal. Head-scratching deals abound in this free-agent market, and Pierre is at least not as expensive as Mathews (three years older than Pierre), so at very least he could be trade bait later.
But I'm getting okay with the Dodgers deal, and here's why: The little secret that Colletti must know is that the Dodgers have had great recent success with players that have two first names (Jeff Kent and Russell Martin come to mind). Given this, Juan Pierre should fit in nicely.
Just don't remind me of Milton Bradley. Or David Ross. Or Billy Ashley.
Angels Attempt to Steal Head-Scratching Spotlight from Dodgers; Free-Agent Bubble Inflates to Bevacquaesque Proportions
Ken Rosenthal at FOXSports.com reports the Angels have signed Gary Mathews Jr. to a five-year, $50 million deal. He also writes:
Time will tell if the Angels and Dodgers should have pursued short-term stopgaps in center rather than Matthews and Pierre. Three elite center fielders — the Braves' Andruw Jones, Blue Jays' Vernon Wells and Twins' Torii Hunter — are eligible for free agency after next season.
In and of itself, Juan Pierre on the Dodgers doesn't irk me. (Because I haven't had to watch him regularly, some Cubs fans would say.) What's baffling is the length of his contract. Why five years, after rumors of the Giants offering a three-year deal?
Ned stated the Dodgers need power, then proceeded to seemingly lock himself out of one of next year's most exciting power markets. Money obviously isn't the issue, so perhaps Ned is eyeing power at another position (second base after Kent retires?).
Another possibility, mentioned earlier: "As for Years 4 & 5, Ned can just trade Pierre because in 2010, $9M for a slap-hitting center fielder will be a bargain."
I eagerly anticipate Ned's next move, if only because there has to be a next move. Right? (Hello, is this thing on?)
Juan Pierre as an off-season addition to the Dodgers: not necessarily bad.
Juan Pierre as the primary off-season addition to the Dodgers: bad.
Other rumors have him in deep talks with the Giants, which would be awesome, if they pay more than his current $5M/year and he takes his .219 BA up north.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
DodgerDugout.com churns the ol' rumor mill:
ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reports that the Dodgers are in the mix for Cliff Floyd, who is probably looking at a multiyear deal even though he appeared in only 97 games with the Mets because of an Achilles injury last season. Floyd is a career .279 hitter who averages 24 homers and 89 RBI's, when healthy. Taking a one or two year flyer on this guys would seem OK, but anything longer than that seems a bit risky.
Floyd in left, Pierre in center...would Ethier have to move to right?
I had some trepidation reading ESPN's report of the alleged Juan Pierre signing by the Dodgers (5 years, $45M). But now that I've read Ned Colletti's take on it, on dodgers.com, I'm even more concerned. Listen to our GM as he rants and raves like Kramer at the Laugh Factory:
"Our priority is to get as many good players as possible," said Colletti. "We sought a power hitter for the middle of the lineup. There were three on the market. Two are gone [Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez] and the third [Carlos Lee], based on conversations I've had, is on his way someplace.
"We had pitching, good defense and manufactured runs last year and, depending the way the pitching [free agents] goes, maybe you get enough pitching and move one for a hitter.
"We lost 20 home runs with Drew, but our people feel there could be more power from [Wilson] Betemit [who hit 18 overall and nine after his acquisition], more from [Andre] Ethier , maybe more from [Russell] Martin ," Colletti said.
Okay, "getting as many good players as possible" may work when picking teams for Red Rover in second grade PE class. But it's not as good a strategy in the major leagues. (And even if it was Red Rover, a big strong guy with a power bat is still going to be a better player for your team than a speedy little guy who can't break the other team's chain of connected arms.) And Betemit and Ethier may be the real deal, but they may also be as slumpy as their second halves demonstrated; further, to pile even more expectations on Martin (a top-10 ROTY candidate) in his sophomore year is a little unfair.
It sounds to me like either Colletti is crazy, quasi-apologizing for the Pierre move already; or, this is just an appetizer for a trade-to-be-named-later. At least he is acknowledging the still unmet need for a power bat (or three). But I'm still hoping it doesn't come at the cost of one of the Dodgers' key young players, of whom he was so protective in the 2006 season.
Colletti also announces that he's in the hunt for Schmidt (good), and not in the hunt for Bonds (also good). Maybe Ned's strategy is to block all of Sabean's moves while slowly stealing the apples from the Giants' tree?
Monday, November 20, 2006
According to Dodgers.com, the Dodgers are all set up to give away Thanksgiving turkeys.
Insert Juan Pierre joke here.
Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports reports that Juan Pierre is close to signing with the Dodgers for $9M/year. This would be a discount to Drew’s $11M/year deal (which had three years remaining before he chose to
go back on his word opt out), but a heck of a lot more than Limited-Range Lofton’s $3.8M last year. Pierre's deal is reported to be long, potentially five years (which is sending a rock to the pit of my stomach as I write this).
As a sidebar, apparently one of the dominoes that would fall from this deal is Dave Roberts, who could then end up with the Giants. Reports had surfaced last week that the Giants had offered Pierre $30M for three years, so one would anticipate the Dodgers deal, if $9M/year, must be for a longer duration. Pierre earned $6M this year.
Pierre played in every game last year for the Cubs, and his numbers were .292 BA / .330 OBP / .388 SLG. All of these numbers were slightly below his career highs, as well as below Lofton's. He also swiped 58 bases (but was caught 20 times), had an Alex-Cora-like three home runs, and 40 RBI with 87 runs. Lofton's power numbers were the same, and he stole fewer bases but was also caught fewer times. All of Pierre's numbers are not outstanding (Pierre is known as a slap hitter, so this does nothing to solve our power bat hole), and on top of that he has a poor arm.
So given the comparable-to-worse offensive numbers, why sign Pierre for such a premium? I can only assume it's defense (Lofton's arm was not all that good either), as Pierre's range has to be better than Kenny's. Watching Lofton in center was like having a heart attack each time (particularly as he seemed to wait for hours to get a read on each ball). Chicago Cub fans didn't like Pierre because his numbers didn't merit leadoff hitter status--which hopefully would be avoided with LA given leadoff hitter Rafael Furcal.
Adding Pierre to the mix would give the Dodgers an outfield of Andre Ethier, Pierre, and Jason Repko, with Matt Kemp in the wings along with Jayson Werth (who asserts he will be back for 2007, but I'll believe it when I see it).
UPDATE: ESPN is now reporting (3.31pm PST) that it's a five-year $45M deal for Pierre, pending him passing a physical. Anybody know Jeff Gillooly's phone number? (Okay, maybe I'm not feeling that pessimistic about this, but five years is a long time. It's like, JD Drew length of time.)
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Loney becomes expendable and tradable, unless the club decides his chronic knee problems are not serious enough to prevent a move to the outfield.
Say it ain't so! James Loney is one of the Dodgers' brightest young stars and has shown the potential to perform at the major league level. Trading him because Nomar and/or Kent could play first base would be shortsighted.
Looks like the dodgers re-signed Nomar, according to early reports.
Again, it looks like it had to be done secondary to JD Drew leaving. He did have a pretty good year up until the end when he got hurt. Made for some memorable moments at Chavez Ravine, looking forward to many more...
In a New York Times piece today, Alan Schwarz unveiled the "2006 All-Average Lineup", which consists of the players whose 2006 statistics were closest to the major league averages at their positions, among players with at least 400 plate appearances. No Dodger made the list of "All-Average", at any of the nine positions.
But buried at the end was a nice quote from our man Ned Colletti, who shed light on how he approaches average players in a free-market system:
Average is in the eye of the beholder, no doubt. But in building their clubs in off-seasons like this one, most baseball executives grab onto average players like trees in a hurricane.
"They may be average, but they look above average to me," said Ned Colletti, the Dodgers' GM. "They're definitely closer to positive than negative. You try to make average your minimum, because average is pretty darned good."
Given how expensive this hot stove season is already becoming, I was a little surprised to hear Ned fan the flames further. I thought average was average--but apparently the mean is "closer to positive," in Ned's mind. Frank better have his checkbook ready and more parking lots to sell.
In the Colletti household, if you come home from school with a C+ grade, does Ned see it as an A-? Cool.
Eight years? I'm glad the Dodgers aren't handing out those kinds of deals.
"I guess this means more layoffs at the LA Times" —Baseball Toaster poster "dzzrtRatt"
Saturday, November 18, 2006
The Dodger version of Pujols, that is:
(Thanks to Dodger Thoughts poster "Steve" for the tip.)
Kinda makes those 81 points pale in comparison, eh?
Also from that article:
Odom and reserve Brian Cook were tardy arriving to the arena, which Jackson duly noted by writing their names and the word late on the greaseboard in the locker room.
Way to lay down the law, Zenmeister.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Just how costly was Joe Beimel’s bar tab the night he sliced open his hand in New York City, preventing him from pitching in the Dodgers’ fateful 2006 playoff series against the Mets? Let’s look at the per-player shares given to the teams in or close to the 2006 post-season:
|World Series winner||Cardinals||$362K|
|World Series loser||Tigers||$292K|
|LCS losers||A’s, Mets||$124-141K|
|Division series losers||Dodgers, Padres, Twins, Yankees||$27-38K|
|Second-place, non-wild card||Angels, Astros, Blue Jays, Phillies||$10-12K|
Amounts are based upon gate receipts from the first three games (ranges are due to the team’s discretion on how many player shares to allocate). The Dodgers, in specific, distributed an extra $27K to each of 50 players for their first-round exit. Had they beaten the Mets but lost in the LCS, they would have had ~$130K per player to distribute among the same 50 players.
I haven’t priced tattoos lately, but I think an incremental $103K buys a crapload of sappy broken heart tattoos. Thanks, Joe.
Bill Mueller retires to join the Dodgers front office, as per ESPN. He now goes on to spend next year fetching Ned Colletti’s dry cleaning…er, to become “a very special person in the executive ranks” with the Los Angeles Dodgers, as a special assistant to GM Colletti.
A $4.5M payout next year is a pretty nice salary—heck, I’d even throw in medium starch for free (Ned, you know how to reach me, here at SoSG). But more importantly, now this cleanly opens up third base for Wilson Betemit or prospect Andy LaRoche. Or even, the return of Adrian Beltre?
According to the Chicago Tribune: "Frank Thomas' deal with the Blue Jays, pending his passing a physical; no slam dunk at least will force Oakland to consider Bonds. Mike Piazza is another possibility." Wonder if those new Cisco ads that are programmed to target the ticketholders, will put up Nutritional Supplement signs when Bonds is up to bat?
They also write: "Nomar Garciaparra would be an ideal post-Thomas possibility for the A's, but reports have him close to re-signing with the Dodgers." With our outfielder gone, re-upping with Nomar would be a priority, both in order to keep his RBI's AND to see if that new trainer can do something with all of that free time post-JD Drew.
The LA Times reports that the Dodgers are close to re-signing Nomar Garciaparra for next year. As big of a risk it is given his second-half injuries in 2006, I hope the reports that it’s a multi-year deal are accurate, and that any contract incentives don’t have Nomar risking his health for bonus payments.
Given Nomar’s reported willingness to play multiple positions beyond first base, I also hope this doesn’t retard James Loney’s major league development. I don’t think it will.
And although my spirits are buoyed by this news, does Ned know that there are other people we need to sign besides the names on the 2006 Dodger roster?
Scott Boras is talking a big game, and the Red Sox are apparently interested. According to the Boston Globe, JD Drew’s price tag is four years, $56M. That's $3M/year more than the salary he opted out of (plus one additional year), if the rumors are true.
"That's the money we're hearing," said one National League general manager concerning Drew, a Scott Boras client. "It's getting a little crazy. I don't know if people will pay it, but he's a guy a few teams are eyeing and in the end, they'll probably come close to that."
The Dodgers are not one of the teams in the running for Drew, who is apparently of interest to the Cubs, Red Sox, and possibly four other teams.
The same article reports the Red Sox are also hot on Julio Lugo and “closely monitoring Eric Gagne’s rehab.” I thought that it was our own Frankie McCourt who wanted to build Red Sox West. Maybe I had it backwards. Or (more likely), maybe the Red Sox just think of themselves as in play for every free agent—a residual impact of Matzusaka Mania?
Thursday, November 16, 2006
From ESPN, reports have the Astros making multi-year offers to both Carlos Lee and Alfonso Soriano, as well as opening discussion with Woody Williams.
Where is Ned? Where are the Dodgers?
Thanks to Dodger Thoughts poster "ninjavshippo" for linking to the mp3 file of yesterday's T.J. Simers/Fred Roggin interview with Ned Colletti on AM 570. Here's a transcript of the J.D. Drew-related discussion:
Simers: I was shocked, surprised, stunned, overwhelmed by your clear anger, whatever words you want to put to your reaction to the whole thing, and bringing in the fact that you put "spiritual" and "breaking his word" in the same sentence.
Colletti: Right, well let's clear this up....First of all, I wasn't angry, okay, I really wasn't angry....I was disappointed more than—I was not angry. The spiritual thing, I didn't mean anything about that from a religious standpoint. I just, you know, you meet people in life that you learn about and I really felt that this was a guy that I had a good relationship with, that when he would tell me things, I'd believe him....
Had he ever said to me at the end of the season or any point in time, "You know, I don't know if I'm going to come back..." but we never had any indication that he wasn't happy. So I was a little bit surprised by it. I was not angry, I didn't mean to offend anybody with the word "spiritual," I mean, J.D. is a guy I believe that's deeply entrenched in the word of the Lord, and I thought that he was a guy that I could take his word for it.
That said, he did have the right to change his mind. I can't argue with that. I can't also argue that what he did wasn't within the rules of the contract that he signed.
Simers: But did he really break his word, or are you suggesting—
Colletti: I think—no, he changed his mind.
Simers: Changed his mind in terms of what he told reporters. But he never told you, point blank, correct, that he was going to come back again?
Colletti: He inferred to me that he loved it there and that he had no reason to look elsewhere.
Roggin: And when did he do that?
Colletti: I would say some time August, September-ish....
You know, one other thing: He talked to one of our coaches on Tuesday night, the Tuesday before the Thursday, and never mentioned anything but coming back and how excited he was about the club.
Simers: But you had already met with Boras, too, over lunch and Boras had given you indications, correct, that this might be in the air?
Colletti: Well yeah, he had mentioned it. But you know, Scott's the best there is.
Hey Ned, if you announce a dazzling trade or free-agent signing, we'd be happy to stop talking about this.
This is two days late, but I’m finally getting around to commenting on TJ Simers’ LA Times article defending JD Drew. The piece basically says that Drew’s decision to leave is a business decision, people are entitled to change their minds, and the Dodgers will find it challenging to fill his team-leading 100 RBI hole. Fine. But what really surprised me was Simers’ dissection of Colletti’s play of the religious card, smack dab in the middle of the article:
Colletti went on a conference call with the media and said, "I know J.D. is a spiritual guy and a man of his word. I guess he changed his word."
As a rule, no one will say it with their name attached. But there is a feeling in the sports world that a player who talks openly about being a Christian will be too soft to compete all out, and it's well known Drew is a devout Christian.
And when you have the laid-back personality that Drew has and you're a Christian, it's the explanation — along with his penchant for getting hurt — that you hear most often around baseball when it comes to explaining Drew's inability to live up to expectations.
Over Drew’s ephemeral two seasons here in Los Angeles (during which he played in only 2/3 of the Dodgers’ games), people have had ample opportunity to form their own opinions on Drew, his play, his behavior, and personality. And those opinions are irrelevant to what religious practices Drew chooses to embrace. Simers’ assertion that Drew’s Christianity implies that he is “too soft to compete all out” is absurd; history has many cases of Christians being excitable and aggressive and emotional (take, for example, the Crusades).
Our dislike of JD Drew stems from the fact that, when he wasn’t sidelined by injuries, he would play right field with timidity and strike out at the plate without any apparent care. His religious background had nothing to do with the fans’ opinion or expectations, which were formed by his actions and behavior on the field. Even former Dodger Shawn Green dove head-first a couple of times in the playoffs for the Mets—granted, both times were in vain, and he looked like a beached seal—but at least he gave some effort out there in right field. Green, who is Jewish, also drew frustrated boos from Dodger fans with his unemotional visage during his final year with LA. And when he was traded to the D’backs, despite 162 HRs and 509 RBI over his five years of service here, it was also applauded by the fans—which had nothing to do with his religion, either.
Yes, Colletti played the religion card when describing JD, implying hypocrisy when Drew went back on his verbal promises to return, apparently uttered to multiple Dodger organization members. (Shame on us for not recalling Drew’s contract history, including a year-long hold out on the Phillies, demands for $10M/year, and then acceptance of a $7M salary with the Cardinals the next year. To think of Drew, flanked by his agent Scott Boras, as a man of negotiating integrity is a stretch.) It is unfounded, though, to link religion to what has catalyzed opinions about Drew’s play.
Drew's former manager Tony La Russa, in his book Three Nights in August, described Drew as a cruiser who has great natural talent but low desire to push himself to greatness—without mention of Drew’s religion. Drew’s failure to live up to his own expectations may be personality-driven, action-highlighted, and agent-augmented. But don't insult Dodger fans by insinuating that our opinions reflect what we think of his god.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
This was just posted this evening as an ESPN insider article, so I can't read the text behind the jump, but come on. This is ridiculous. Piazza and his 22 HR and 68 RBI are an improvement over Toby Hall's 2006 numbers, but what isn't? Piazza would be an unnecessarily expensive backup to Russell Martin.
This may make for a great Hallmark Channel special ("Atoning for a 1998 Mistake"), but it does not make sense for the Dodgers, with their many pressing needs.
And another thing. If ESPN is looking for carrots to dangle, in order to extract subscriber revenues from its site, one would thing they would at least put some meat on those carrots. Or something like that.
No way the Giants let Barry break the home run mark elsewhere, especially with a division rival.
Looking back on the 2006 season, I loved this shot from the dodgers.com gallery on Sept 23, 2006, which was accompanied by the caption “Dodger player wives were on hand to show their support during a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks."
Wait, who’s that to the right of Mia Hamm? (Gulp.)
(photo by Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers)
Because not all bad news is Dodger-related:
"During a game"? Isn't Kobe too busy not passing the ball to take the time to assault fans?
Today's L.A. Times column by Bill Plaschke is titled "Contrite Beimel wants to mend shattered hearts" and contains some remorseful quotes from Mr. Slicey himself:
On the effects of that ill-fated brewski: "I have not touched a beer since that night, and I don't plan on drinking alcohol again."
His apology: "I'm sorry to everyone for doing something that was really, really stupid."
His current drink selections? "Diet Coke or Red Bull."
Sounds like Ol' Slipperyhands is really, really, really sorry. I think he'll find fans can eventually forgive—but it's almost impossible to forget. Just ask Bill Buckner.
Great news, there has finally been a Ned Colletti sighting at the GM meetings in Naples, according to dodgers.com. Given the conspicuous absence of Dodgers news early in this hot stove season, I would have thought that Colletti was in Naples Italy rather than Naples Florida. Nice to know that he is at least present—attendance is half the battle.
From a free agent perspective, Colletti claims to be looking to bring heart-attack-generating Kenny Lofton back in centerfield, and possibly Nomar as well. He is not interested in bringing back Nancy Drew. Notably absent from mention (remember, attendance is half the battle) was Eric Gagne.
The Dodgers Fan Rewards Club always seemed like a ripoff to me, but maybe I'm just skeptical of anything "Dodgers Director of Marketing" Drew McCourt conceives. After all it was Drew McCourt's genius which resulted in a fleece blanket giveaway promotion commemorating the Dodgers' six World Championships--by producing 50,000 blankets WITH THE WRONG DATES ON THEM.
But after seeing this ad on dodgers.com, I'm suddenly more interested in the Fan Rewards Club. Nice shot of a clearly avid Dodgers fan!
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports that Luis Gonzalez is planning on meeting with the Dodgers, along with a handful of other teams. (Let’s hope Ned doesn’t bring up those pesky steroid comments.) Meanwhile, the Giants are honing in on Juan Pierre for a JD Drew-like $10M/year for 3 years.
For years, the mnemonic I utilized to remember the AL West was “COST” for California, Oakland, Seattle, and Texas. And then the Angels changed their city name to make the AL West “LOST.”
As of 2011, the A’s may have gone and f’d up the whole AL West mnemonic thing altogether. I mean, I don’t want to STiFLe what appears to be a pretty new ballpark design, but the "Fremont A’s”??? Or maybe "The Oakland A's of Fremont"? Yucch.
Maybe now the McAfee folks will get rid of those horrendous tarps on the upper deck (in the little time they have left).
I thought this diagram of a gyroball (the Daisuke Matsuzaka special), from the November issue of Popular Mechanics, was pretty cool.
Note how the gyroball effects completely erase any traces of the batter’s neck. That's one hell of a pitch.
That's right, Sons of Steve Garvey is one worldly blog. We're reading Popular Mechanics, for Pete's sake, just to keep you informed.
Congratulations to Andre Ethier, Takashi Saito, and Russell Martin for their top-10 finishes in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. Each of them made great contributions to the Dodgers’ run toward the 2006 playoffs. Only the Marlins had more players in the top 10.
Player, Club 1st 2nd 3rd Total pts Hanley Ramirez, Marlins 14 11 2 105 Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals 10 16 3 101 Dan Uggia, Marlins 6 3 16 55 Josh Johnson, Marlins 2 0 1 11 Matt Cain, Giants 0 1 1 4 Andre Ethier, Dodgers 0 1 1 4 Prince Fielder, Brewers 0 0 2 2 Takashi Saito, Dodgers 0 0 2 2 Russell Martin, Dodgers 0 0 1 1 Scott Olsen, Marlins 0 0 1 1 Anibal Sanchez, Marlins 0 0 1 1 Josh Willingham, Marlins 0 0 1 1
Even given the strength of our farm system, though, you’ve gotta wonder how often we are going to be struck by rookie lightning three times in a season. In 2007, we can’t depend on Loney, Kemp, and LaRoche to all have breakout rookie seasons for the Dodgers, lifting the team to the playoffs (nor should we count on Ethier, Saito, and Martin having breakout sophomore years to match 2006). We need some more proven bats!
It didn't used to be like this, but we have become Hoop City, USA. We need another sign in the Hollywood Hills. We don't just follow the bouncing basketball, we worship it.
Thank you, NFL.
Monday, November 13, 2006
John Heyman at SI.com reports:
Boston, burning from its disappointing 2006 season, is acting quickly to get back on the right track. It is believed they are preparing to make a megabucks offer to J.D. Drew by the end of Monday that will easily top the $33 million Drew walked away from in Los Angeles. One person suggested it may even exceed the deal former Red Sox center fielder Johnny Damon got with the Yankees, $52 million over four years. Boston tried to keep Damon last winter but for $40 million over four years.
As we breathlessly anticipate which team has won the privilege of haggling with Saddam Boras over a multi-year contract for an MLB-untested pitcher, John Heyman in his SI.com "Daily Scoop" column notes:
What about Zito and Schmidt?
Boras said "12 to 15 teams" are showing interest in Zito, not surprising considering the incredible lack of quality pitching available. Besides Matsuzaka and Zito, the only other starter who could genuinely be called a No. 1 or 2 and who's widely available and sure to play is Jason Schmidt....
But while many more teams are involved, the most likely landing spots for Zito are all the losers in the Matsuzaka derby....
While the Yankees were originally thought to be "lukewarm" on Zito, that could change in a hurry. Zito's handlers insist his acting and music are sidelights and won't cause him to focus only on the New York and Los Angeles teams....
Meanwhile, Schmidt's agents have been fighting the perception that he is a West Coast-only guy who's likely to sign with the Mariners, though people around the game definitely view Seattle as the favorite to land him.
"12 to 15 teams"? (deep breath) Okay, assume Boras is lying because his lips are moving. Unfortunately, that means there are still, say, eight to 10 legitimately Zito-centric teams. The seven to nine teams who don't sign Pretty-Boy Barry will vie for Schmidt. What happens if the Dodgers fail to sign either pitcher?
After trading Jaret Wright, the Yankees still need pitching, even if they win the Matsuzaka Bowl. The Dodgers need power; what would it take to land A-Rod? For starters, perhaps a young power arm, like Brad Penny. And maybe a starting pitching prospect or established middle reliever. Also possibly a major league-ready corner infielder, like Andy LaRoche. If necessary, toss in Rick Monday. Add a squeeze of lemon and serve.
If the Dodgers could cook up such a trade and re-sign Greg Maddux, then the pitching rotation (Lowe, Maddux, Billingsley, Kuo) would require a middle-of-the-order starter (with middle relievers Tomko and/or Hendrickson available for spot starts) and J.D. Drew becomes J.D. Who?
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Jim Edmonds has re-signed with the Cardinals as well. Alfonso Soriano must be licking his chops right about now.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
And he's moving on with his usual grace and aplomb:
"Everybody knows when I go to another team, I'm coming back looking for you. That's just the way it is," he said earlier this week. "When you let me go, I've got a chip on my shoulder, and I'm coming with it. That's how I play the game."
"So, to start off with, thanks to the powers of Clay Davenport's translations, let's take a look at Matsuzaka's performance for the last four years, as well as the closest line to it in baseball (again using just the last four years):
IP NRA H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 PERA dH dR
736.1 3.37 7.5 0.6 2.5 7.4 3.41 -28 +2
765.0 3.11 7.1 0.6 2.5 7.6 3.30 -47 0
Some terminology to get out of the way:NRA is Normalized Runs Allowed, where the scale to compare a guy against is a world where an average pitcher allows 4.5 runs per nine innings. PERA is a pitcher's ERA based on his peripheral statistics-his hits, homers, walks allowed, that sort of thing, also set to where 4.50 is the baseline. The two at the end might be particularly foreign to you, but "dH" describes how many (in this case) fewer hits a pitcher allowed than you might expect, and "dR" is how many fewer runs."
So for those of you who didn't believe that math would be on today's test, let me summarize. The first line of numbers above shows Matsuzaka's rate stats for the past 4 years; the second line is the top comparable for that same period. Both lines are translated to the same scale so the comparisons are "apples to apples." Who's line is Player "B" you might ask? None other than Roger Clemens circa 2003-2006. May I also remind you that Matsuzaka is just 27?
Query whether it would it be worth staying in the bidding to get a Clemens-type starter who will be in his prime? Boras or no, I'd argue that it would have been.
Four names keep coming up in light of Lady Drew's latest business decision: Drew himself, Scott Boras, Eric Gagne and Ned Colletti.
- DREW: " 'At some point, you make your commitments and you stick to them,' he told the Orange County Register" (L.A. Times). Comments like that have been dredged up by Dodger supporters to demonstrate Drew's supposed hypocrisy. But I have no doubt that Drew meant such words when he said them.
"Let's have lunch—I'll call you!" is heard a lot here in L.A. But nine times out of ten, said lunch is not had. "Let's do lunch" is code for "Nice seeing you" just as "You make your commitments and you stick to them" is code for "I enjoy playing here." Period.
- BORAS: Evil? Maybe. Smart? Yes. You don't convince someone to abandon $33 million if you're not certain you can get them more.
- GAGNE: "[Boras] said Drew simply made a business decision to exercise a contractual right, much as the Dodgers made their decision not to exercise their $12-million option on injured closer Eric Gagne" (L.A. Times). True, but the Dodgers ended up paying Gagne $19 million for 9 saves; the player was overpaid and the organization walked away from that. The Dodgers paid Drew $22 million for 218 games; again the player was overpaid but this time the player walks away from that? Not a parallel comparison.
- NEDDY: Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts makes this canny observation: "...if Paul DePodesta had been caught off guard by Drew's departure in the exact, exact same fashion as Ned Colletti was, however innocently, however insignificantly, with that month going by without a phone call, we would be hearing all about how rotten a communicator DePodesta was....But I expect Colletti will be let off the hook - which is fine, just different."
Why? I think Ned will be "let off the hook" because in one set of quotes he showed more emotion—embarrassment, frustration, a little vindictiveness—than did DePodesta in his entire Dodger tenure. What Dodger fan can't identify with those feelings when something like this happens? (Besides Bill Plaschke, that is.)
This is why we should never ever have any Scott Boras clients on the Big Blue Wrecking Crew...
Normally I'm not down with any George Bush-like policies...but I like what Colletti essentially said and did, "either you're with us or against us."
From the LA Times...
Outfielder J.D. Drew opted out of the final three years of his contract with the Dodgers on Thursday, forfeiting $33 million in a bet he can make more money by signing with another team.
The decision blasted a gaping hole into a lineup already in need of reinforcement and scrambled the Dodgers' winter strategy three days before the start of the free-agent signing period. General Manager Ned Colletti said he was "surprised" and "disappointed," because Drew said repeatedly last season that he did not plan to exercise his opt-out clause.
"I know J.D. is a spiritual guy and a man of his word," Colletti said. "I guess he changed his word."
In a free-agent market Colletti described as "thin," Drew joins Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Lee and Barry Bonds as the top available outfielders. The Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Houston Astros and Texas Rangers could pursue Drew, a baseball source said.
"In the marketplace for five-tool players and the marketplace for guys who can play center field, J.D. would certainly move to the top," said Scott Boras, the agent for Drew. "This will provide him with a situation that will give him more rights in his contract and a chance to improve his situation contractually."
Drew, 30, signed a five-year, $55-million contract with the Dodgers after the 2004 season, when Paul DePodesta was general manager. The contract allowed Drew to opt out after two years, a provision for which he said he asked in case he and his wife did not like living in Los Angeles.
During the season, Drew said he and his wife had discovered that they enjoyed Southern California. Drew repeated throughout the year that he did not plan to exercise the opt-out clause, telling Times columnist T.J. Simers in August, "I just want to give you some fun for the next few years."
In the final week of the regular season, he reiterated he would remain with the Dodgers. "At some point, you make your commitments and you stick to them," he told the Orange County Register.
Drew did not return two messages left on his cellphone.
Boras said he does not discuss contractual issues with players during the season. After a recent meeting with Drew to discuss what Boras called "the escalating market," he said Drew simply made a business decision to exercise a contractual right, much as the Dodgers made their decision not to exercise their $12-million option on injured closer Eric Gagne.
"This decision had nothing to do with the Dodgers," Boras said. "J.D. is happy with the Dodgers. He enjoyed his time with the Dodgers. He would certainly consider returning to the Dodgers."
Said Colletti: "I'm done. He wants out. He can have out."
Thursday, November 09, 2006
The lingering question is whether the Padres will further boost their offense by trading for Braves second baseman Marcus Giles and Yankees outfielder Gary Sheffield....
The Padres might prefer a free-agent option to Giles, major-league sources say, while the Yankees have balked at their offer of right-handed reliever Scott Linebrink for Sheffield.
And this was before Lady Drew opted out of his contract. But don't be surprised if Drew ends up back in the NL West, a division in which just about every team could use him...
...even the Dodgers. From Ken Gurnick's article at Dodgers.com:
Drew's agent, Scott Boras, said the move was a "business decision" and that Drew would like to discuss a new contract with the Dodgers.
Hmmm, with that injury history? I hope not.
Minus 20 home runs but plus eleven million dollars. Somewhere, Matt Kemp is smiling.
Ned Colletti discusses the myriad holes that the Dodgers have retooling for 2007, according to dodgers.com. Of note are the candidates on our “short list”:
The list is believed to include pitchers Barry Zito and Jason Schmidt and hitters Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez. The Dodgers also have made contact with Mark Mulder (coming off shoulder surgery) and Gary Matthews Jr., among others. Colletti has said he wants to add a front-line starting pitcher, a middle-of-the-order bat and bullpen depth.
What Colletti has made clear is that the offseason is like a game of dominoes, where each decision dictates the next.
"Every time you acquire a player, it changes how the club looks," he said.
For example, if a Soriano is acquired to play second base, Kent could move to first and leave no room for Nomar Garciaparra or James Loney. Because of that, it would seem that a decision on Garciaparra would be delayed until after big bats like Soriano and Ramirez are either acquired or ruled out.
If a Ramirez is added, both Wilson Betemit and Andy LaRoche become expendable or candidates to change positions. Or the Dodgers could acquire a center fielder like Matthews Jr., which would leave the infield intact. If they don't, Colletti has indicated Kenny Lofton could return.
Okay, I may not be Gladys Knight, but I'm smart enough to get the domino analogy. What's lost here though is that the order of the dominoes, and how they might fall, is not entirely under our control. Here’s hoping Colletti makes a bold move at the GM meetings (Nov 13-17) to start the dominoes falling, rather than let other teams cherry pick either the best candidates (I’d argue that Soriano is pretty compelling) or our current “fallback options” (Garciaparra and Lofton are also going to be reasonably compelling for other teams as well).
While the Dodgers have a busy off-season ahead of them, another Los Angeles institution also sits in turmoil: the Los Angeles Times. The recent ousting of the LA Times publisher and subsequent firing of the editor, complicated by the Tribune Company’s failed attempts to sell the company and/or asset pieces, threaten the stability of the best source of information about our favorite team. What’s worse, the cost-cutting efforts to the LA Times staff have already manifested itself in tabloid-like layout changes, particularly on the front page, and interior pages filled by recycled Chicago Tribune feature stories and Associated Press wire reports. It’s a severe pendulum swing away from the old LA Times, which had a penchant of running news articles that jumped to seven different interior pages—and perilously closer to a rag like the New York Post.
The changes haven’t been too abrupt yet in the LA Times sports section, one of the highlights of the entire paper (those of you that know the San Francisco Comical know how much a quality sport section matters to a newspaper). I was secretly hoping that the job cutbacks would help Bill Plaschke or TJ Simers consider an early retirement. But now I fear that the beat writing on the Dodgers, which was excellent last season, might suffer next year. Those of you who live in LA should keep a watchful eye on the sports section over the next two to three months. Banner ads across the bottom of the page (like we had today), shrinking the available room for copy, worry the hell out of me.
It would be sad if the Trib writers started picking up all the Dodgers' beat writing responsibilities east of Chicago. But given the chaos at the Tribune Company, I wouldn't put it past them.
photo by Jon Willey/Arizona Diamondbacks
Talk radio yesterday evening said that the Texas Rangers were interested in having Barry Bonds DH for them next year, a rumor which wasn't picked up by the national press this morning. I can't imagine why a team with a 4.60 team ERA (8th of 14 AL teams, and tied for last in the AL West) would focus on hitting before pitching. But if they drive up the price for Bonds in his negotiations with the Giants, I'm all for it. Given the Rangers' history of overpaying for bats, this could be an expensive proposition for the Giants, who I still believe would hate to lose The Big 'Roid.
In other news, not to sound like thesuperficial.com, but Bonds was spotted in the second row of the Laker game vs. Minnesota on Tuesday evening. One witness said he looked "incredibly out of shape." This drama keeps on getting better and better.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
A free-agent market thin on five-tool players could grow stronger if Dodgers outfielder J.D. Drew opts out of his contract. Drew, who turns 31 on Nov. 20, must decide by Friday whether to void the final three years and $33 million on his current deal.
While Drew seems content with the Dodgers, his agent, Scott Boras, generally prefers his clients to determine their values on the open market. Drew compares favorably to the top free-agent hitters; he's a more proven defender than Alfonso Soriano, a more established hitter than Gary Matthews Jr. and a better all-around player than Carlos Lee.
Rosenthal mentions the Red Sox, Angels, Cubs, Astros, Giants, Padres and Orioles as "possible fits."
A year ago I would have given the world for Drew to opt out of his contract. But now, because we already have enough holes to fill, I'm hoping he won't. If .283/.393/.498 with 20-100 doesn't seem worth $11,400,000 right now, it might after this off-season.
According to Bill Shaikin at the L.A. Times:
Colletti said Arn Tellem, the agent for Garciaparra, told the Dodgers his client would be "open-minded" about "playing first base, third base, maybe the outfield." If Garciaparra returns, Colletti said he envisions him playing one or two positions but not moving around the field on a regular basis.
As with the previously mentioned Gagne conundrum, Nomar's case illustrates just how dispassionate an effective GM must be. And it's not as if Ned is working in a vacuum. You don't think that in the Dodger executive washroom—which, by the way, features Dodger blue urinal cakes—McCourt doesn't casually mention to Ned how good Gagne and Nomar would be for ticket sales?
Despite our many needs as we re-tool the lineup for the 2006 season, the Dodgers are not one of the teams prominently mentioned in much of the “hot stove” discussions that are roaming around the web. I don’t know if this is because Ned is lulling everyone to sleep, or if we are just considering some of the people off the free agent radar-—but it’s fair to say that, at minimum, the Dodgers have needs in starting pitching, middle relief, utility infield (or outright holes at first and third), and center field. So it’s surprising to me that the hot stove talk that I’ve seen really doesn’t involve the Dodgers.
MLB Trade Rumors.com has a very thorough list predicting where the top 50 free agents will go, and the Dodgers are only mentioned twice in the top 50 predictions, nabbing #18 Greg Maddux (in a one-year deal) and #30 Juan Pierre. Pierre is an interesting one. Despite his obvious advantage in speed, Pierre doesn’t make a ton of sense to me over Lofton offensively, given his .292BA/.330OBP/.388SLG numbers (relative to Lofton’s .301/.360/.403). Yes, we’d have a terror on the basepaths in Pierre, who stole 58 bases to Lofton’s 32—-but Lofton was caught only five times relative to Pierre’s 20 CS. And we already have a leadoff hitter in Furcal (especially if he can perform like his second-half of the season). Pierre earned $5.75M last year, which is almost a 50% premium to Lofton’s $3.8M. I agree that we need more coverage defensively in center field, but I don’t know if Pierre is the answer.
MLB Trade Rumors also predicted where all of the current Dodger free agents would go. It’s got #17 Julio Lugo going to the Red Sox (not fast enough for my tastes), #31 Nomar Garciaparra going to the Angels, #36 Kenny Lofton going to the Rangers, and are you sitting down#41 Eric Gagne going to the Indians. I don’t mind losing Lugo and his .219 BA (almost 100 points less than he batted at Tampa Bay prior to coming over to the Dodgers) or Lofton (as mentioned above). However, I’m still considering bringing back Nomar who, despite his injuries, would be a nice insurance play as we use 2007 to watch if Betemit/LaRoche will pan out at third base, Loney will pan out at first, and Kent will get injured washing his truck. I remain convinced that there will be enough opportunity for everyone on the infield to get a fair shot next year (barring a Mueller return, of course). But Gagne going to the Tribe—that would be a sad end of an era that I don’t want to consider at this point. It hurts too much to think about it, even if it might be the most prudent fiscal move.