Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Jamie McCourt Flexes Her Power

Carolyn Hughes.

From Dylan Hernandez at the LA Times:

The Dodgers never made an effort to re-sign [Derek Lowe], even though they lost Brad Penny and Greg Maddux this winter.

Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said many times this off-season that Lowe made it clear to the club that he intended to sign elsewhere.

Lowe's agent, Scott Boras, said the pitcher never told him anything of that nature.

"Derek told me he enjoyed pitching for [Dodgers Manager] Joe [Torre] and would have considered L.A.," Boras said. "But early in the process when I was collecting information from teams, I spoke to the Dodgers and they indicated they were going in a different direction."

Torre and his coaching staff wanted Lowe back but that sentiment wasn't shared by owners Frank and Jamie McCourt, with whom the pitcher had personality conflicts. Lowe's relationship with a Fox Sports West anchor who covered the team -- which resulted in the dissolution of their respective marriages -- did not help in the eyes of ownership.

This week on "Front Office Confidential": Torre wanted Lowe back. Frank & Jamie didn't, because they didn't like him. Stuck in the middle is Ned.

What does it take for a useful player to fall into disfavor with Frank McCourt? Answer: Milton Bradley. That is to say, a great deal of public misbehavior—which Lowe wasn't guilty of. Even if Lowe was a jerk, it's difficult to imagine Frank disapproving of one of his best pitchers, a player who helped make him a lot of money during the Dodgers' 2008 playoff run.

Hernandez mentions Jamie specifically. Perhaps she's the one who decided Lowe didn't fit with the Dodgers' family-friendly mandate. But a major league roster is hardly the first place one goes to seek character, and the gray area of player-media relations presents a slippery slope of judgment.

Why was a still-effective Lowe let go when a past-his-prime Jeff Kent was given $9 million in 2008? Does Kent's work with Jamie's Women's Initiative Network provide a clue? Is TMZ responsible for Brad Penny's 2009 option not being picked up by the Dodgers?

This is not to say Lowe is worth the $60 million for four years the Braves gave him. But Colletti's "Why bother?" attitude, as promulgated by the McCourts, is a reminder that putting the best team on the field isn't always consistent with corporate ideals.

Earlier: Five Reasons the Dodgers Should Re-sign Derek Lowe (SoSG)


Steve Sax said...

Alas, I miss Carolyn Hughes.

Orel said...

And she misses you.

Bluboy said...

Mrs. McCourt, it could be worse: