Thursday, January 18, 2007

Dodgers Get A- Grade in Winter Quarter

Jon Heyman over at SI.com weighed in on the Dodgers' off-season moves, giving them an A- grade:

Los Angeles Dodgers
For the price of Gil Meche, they signed Jason Schmidt and Randy Wolf, enabling them to construct a deep rotation to go along with an almost-as-deep bullpen and their long litany of talented youngsters. Luis Gonzalez and Juan Pierre are a fair trade for Kenny Lofton and J.D. Drew at almost exactly the same price ($70 million plus, counting Drew's new contract, not his old one). The one question that haunts is: What did the Giants not see in Schmidt that they let him go to their competitors without so much as a whisper?
Grade: A-.

The Rockies also got an A-, the Diamondbacks got a B+, the Giants got a B-, and the Padres got a C+. Heyman's one-paragraph summaries are too succinct to fully understand his thinking, but given he loves the Maddux signing and expects Wells to join the Padres too, I'm surprised that the Padres didn't grade higher. Conversely, the Giants' assembling of Zito and the Geriatrics (which sounds like the name of a great band, by the way) should have graded worse. But hey, I'm biased.

Even though he's grading the NL West on a curve, it's still nice to be at the top.

Expanding to the rest of the NL, Heyman gives another A- to the Cubs (A- is his highest NL grade), a D to the Mets, and an F to the Nationals. In the AL, he gives a A to the Red Sox and a D to the Twins and Athletics.

Clearly, Heyman gives credit to those who have made a lot of big, expensive moves, relative to those who have not done anything. This reminds me of how in college, even if you didn't get the full answer on the calculus question, it still advantaged you to scribble a bunch of random integrals and derivatives all over the page, in order to get points for partial credit. Those that left their blue answer books with blank pages were guaranteed a zero. Understanding this left one to very perverse incentives during the last half-hour of the exam. A campus a cappella group even scribed a ditty, "Pray to the God of Partial Credit," to illustrate this point.

Let's hope that the Dodgers' A- grade reflects more than mere scribbles on the page, but rather, a thoughtful strategy (arguably consisting of a strong pitching rotation and a healthy mix of veterans and youngsters, but also two leadoff hitters and no power bat).

2 comments:

Jon said...

"Luis Gonzalez and Juan Pierre are a fair trade for Kenny Lofton and J.D. Drew at almost exactly the same price ($70 million plus, counting Drew's new contract, not his old one)."

This is a rather extraordinary sentence, I have to say. Five years of Pierre + one of Gonzalez = five years of Drew + (say) one of Lofton? Do Drew's detractors even believe that?

Orel said...

Pierre: 5 years/$45M
Gonzalez: 1 year/$7.35M

Drew: 5 years/$70M
Lofton: 1 year/$6M

Pierre (2006): .292/.330/.622, 3 HR-40 RBI
Gonzalez (2006): .271/.352/.623, 15 HR-73 RBI

Drew (2006): .283/.393/.676, 20 HR-100 RBI
Lofton (2006): .301/.360/.661, 3 HR-41 RBI

Am I missing something? More like "paying less and getting less" rather than "a fair trade...at almost exactly the same price."

Anyone have VORP information for these players?