Thursday, January 03, 2008

40YO M C-A M Seeks MLB Team with No Arrogant Youth

C-A means "Cuban-American"

Generally considered "good guy," though lack of attention can lead to visible discontent.

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If you'd rather not peruse craig's list for the rest of the details, you can read all about it in Jerry Crasnick's wistful and longing post:

Gonzalez also hit .294 in April, May and June [2007]. But as the season progressed and he and other Dodger veterans began losing time to prospects, generational tensions bubbled to the surface. The veterans thought the young players were coddled, and they chafed over fundamental lapses. Outfielder Matt Kemp, in particular, displayed a little too much big league attitude for the veterans' tastes. [There we go, bagging on "disgruntled" Matt Kemp again; do we really need to reference the horrors of the trash-can incident again?]

When Jeff Kent chastised the youngsters in September for their inability to "get it," James Loney and Kemp fired back in the papers. The Dodgers went 3-11 down the stretch to fade from contention, prompting owner Frank McCourt and general manager Ned Colletti to fire manager Grady Little and replace him with Joe Torre.

In hindsight, there was plenty of blame to go around. Little, by most accounts, was woefully out of touch and incapable of healing the rifts.

"The kids came up with some arrogance," said a person with knowledge of the Dodgers' situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "They've been told how great they are for so long, they think they're accomplished when they're not. But when things start to falter, you look for the veteran guys to steady it. When [Gonzalez's] playing time decreased, he started to become a little less of a team guy."

In October, Gonzalez went on Dan Patrick's radio show and said the Dodgers sacrificed winning for the sake of development in 2007. "We had no game plan," he said.

Although Gonzalez prides himself on his mentoring skills, an official with one of his former clubs said he can be critical of young players who spend too much time in the trainer's room or fail to play the game with the requisite fervor.

"I like Luis," said another person with ties to the Dodgers. "He's a nice guy. But under that smile, he's got a little pit bull in him."

"I'm an old-school player," Gonzalez said. "I'm a ballpark rat. I get to the park early and I stay late, and I haven't changed that approach. Nothing was ever handed to me as a young kid all the way up. I had to earn everything I've got."

Can he still back it up between the lines? Gonzalez has a notoriously weak throwing arm, doesn't run well and is adequate at best in the outfield. He also tailed off drastically last season, posting a .855 combined on-base and slugging percentage before the All-Star break and a .684 OPS after it.

I really don't see how "earn everything I've got" meshes with public discontent when one's OPS falls almost 200 points down the stretch. Nor do I see how someone who "prides himself on his mentoring skils" can show conflict when those mentees outperform the veteran. But hey, that's an issue for another team in 2008--not for the Dodgers. Right, Ned?