Thursday, January 18, 2007

Gurnick Getting Candider

We've been noting the increasing honesty, if not sarcasm, of writers. The trend continues with Ken Gurnick's preview of the Dodgers' middle infielders.

In the puzzling spirit, Sons of Steve Garvey offers this handy Ken Gurnick Adjective Decrypter:

  • "curious" = bad
  • "excessive" = bad
  • "puzzling" = bad
  • "risky" = bad
  • "unnecessary" = bad
  • "worst run production in a decade" = bad
Furcal and Kent were two of Colletti's more scrutinized signings after he took over in November. There was criticism of Furcal's $39 million signing, even by rival general managers, because the $13 million annual salary seemed excessive. The extension of Kent, while he was coming off wrist surgery, appeared curiously timed, unnecessary and risky.

One year later, it appears Colletti batted .500. Furcal proved to be a bargain, as he shook off early season nagging injuries and a spate of errors to emerge as the most consistent offensive player on the team. He hit .300, provided significant power leading off with 15 homers and scored 113 runs, the most for a Dodgers leadoff hitter since Maury Wills (130) in 1962.

But Kent's signing remains puzzling, as his body appeared every bit of its 38 years. He played in only 115 games and, despite a .294 average, hit only 14 home runs and drove in 68, his worst run production in a decade.

Kent spent two stints on the disabled list, one for a sprained wrist from late May to mid-June, another for a strained oblique muscle from mid-July until early August. He turned himself into a singles and doubles hitter over the final six weeks of the season, when he hit .355 but had only one home run over his last 92 at-bats.

Gurnick also mentions, you guessed it, "the curious acquisition of Julio Lugo" (wasn't that a Sherlock Holmes tale?).

Glad to see Ned is taking some heat for keeping the increasingly injured Jeff Kent ($11.5 million for 2007), a move four months into Colletti's tenure that seems to have been made in some sort of post-celebratory haze.

Although Ned extended Kent after his productive 2005 season, Kent had just turned 38 and the Dodgers had to have known about his off-season conditioning habits.

Now, as Gurnick points out, Kent has injuries and expectations to fight.


Steve Sax said...

Wow, I can't believe Gurnick posted such a critical piece yesterday. Yikes.