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False or Not, Ledee Alarm Goes Off
2004-12-05 09:55
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

In answer to Rob McMillin, no, a bad move is not automatically a good one because your GM has a rep as a sabermetric guy.

Similarly, reports in the city's two major newspapers, the Times and the Daily News, that a player will be signed are not automatically accurate when neither paper provides a source for their story.

The guideline I grew up with for printing a story required two named independent sources. So why am I complaining? These newspapers are only missing their target by the square root of four.

I've been asking why the Hot Stove League is exempt from the rules of journalism. The answers I got was: because the Hot Stove League is fun. Fun entitles you to speculate in the newspaper however wildly that you want, without any consequence of being wrong.

Talk about your slippery slopes. You know, people find some rather serious issues to be fun.

To clarify again, though, it's not that I don't find the Hot Stove League fun - I do - it's just that I find the suspension of journalism's basic rules to be a downer. That's all. It's like watching baseball without any strikes. Swing at anything - it won't count against you if you miss. I know some of us like watching batting practice, but do we want to pay to see it?

But, I guess we all have such fond memories of the "Dodgers might be closing in on an agreement with free agent outfielder David Dellucci" era, that it's pointless to fulminate against it all.

So, back to Ledee, which I'll assume isn't a phantom because it's nice to get away from the steroid talk. If Ledee gets offered a guaranteed contract much above the minimum, the signing raises questions. On the other hand, Ledee isn't quite the hack that McMillin implies. Before his Hee Seop Choi-like August and September last year, Ledee had the following OPS+ stats, according to Baseball-Reference.com (100 is average):

Year  Age  OPS+
1999   25   116
2000   26    75
2001   27    72
2002   28   108
2003   29   113
2004   30   131 (with Philadelphia)
2004   30    -8 (with San Francisco)
2004   30    90 (season total)

Those stats improve when you limit the left-handed hitting Ledee to facing right-handed pitching.

Ledee is an inconsistent placeholder, more like a Jason Grabowski or a Robin Ventura, but without Ventura's third base skills or bases-loaded mystique. He is worthy of being a major league reserve, but perhaps only at a six-figure salary.

Continuing to build the back end of the roster before the front, the Dodgers must be concerned that their left-handed hitting off the bench, if Choi starts in 2005, only has two candidates, Grabowski and minor league Henri Stanley, on the 40-man roster. With Steve Finley and Ventura currently gone from the team, the Dodgers have two vacancies to fill from the left side, even assuming Grabowski makes the final 25.

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