Baseball Toaster Dodger Thoughts
Help
Jon Weisman's outlet
for dealing psychologically
with the Los Angeles Dodgers
and baseball.
Frozen Toast
Search
Google Search
Web
Toaster
Dodger Thoughts
Archives

2009
02  01 

2008
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2007
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2006
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2005
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2004
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2003
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2002
09  08  07 
About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Two Words on the Dodger Season (Or 2,000 - Take Your Pick)
2008-06-10 11:00
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Information Underload to Information Overload

I find the Dodgers endlessly fascinating, and if you're here reading this, you probably feel that way at least occasionally.

Dodger coverage was still barebones when I graduated from college, nearly 20 years ago. Your local paper would have a game story and some notes. Vin Scully, Ross Porter and Don Drysdale were your entire broadcasting team, each working individually to tell you what was going on in a game and occasionally commenting on what strengths or weaknesses the Dodgers might have.

National coverage before the explosion of the Internet consisted of hanging on for acknowledgement by ESPN (if you had cable) or USA Today, Sports Illustrated or The Sporting News. Accusations of East Coast bias always hung in the air, but the challenge to conventional wisdom about baseball, as represented by Bill James' Baseball Abstract, was a small fraction of what it is today.

Sportstalk radio perhaps offered a precursor to what the Internet age would ultimately offer, as this was the one forum where the common fan could find a voice. But the medium had already descended into the land of mindless, knee-jerk opinions, and was not to be taken seriously by anyone.

Today, of course, there's round-the-clock chalk talk on the Dodgers. Newspapers, though suffering as an industry, offer more than ever before: blogs and online-only reports in addition to their regular coverage. So do various local and national broadcasters. The Dodgers offer news via their own website. Message boards are everywhere. And then there are your garden-variety independent contractors, like me. Somewhat to my amazement, as someone who has blogged for more than five years with a philosophy never to force myself to write if I had nothing to say, I never run out of topics. Not in the dog days of summer nor the cold days of winter. If I take a break for more than a day or two, it's usually because of what's going on in my non-Dodger life, not because of what isn't going on with the Dodgers.

But unless you are an ardent follower of the Dodgers – or anything, for that matter – all the different angles and nuances get sifted, molded, smothered, ignored, plundered, packaged and finally reduced into easily consumed morsels. Even in this information age, most learning takes place at the shallow end of the pool.

Simplicity at Its Not-So-Finest

So, at the risk of undermining my own purpose, you could sum up the 2008 Dodgers' season in two words.

Ned Colletti.

The Dodger general manager signed Jones specifically to solve a weakness in the Dodger outfield. Jones instead exacerbated it with a .191 EQA (.260 is the major-league average) and a -8.3 Value Over Replacement Player in 154 plate appearances. His inefficiency and subsequent injury led to increased playing time for a previous Colletti mistake, Juan Pierre. And though the myth of Pierre (.249, 3.5) as bonafide leadoff man is alive and well, he remains the team's worst-hitting active outfielder – even including his basestealing ability. Together, Jones and Pierre have:

373 plate appearances
.317 on-base percentage
.301 slugging percentage
.618 OPS with 23 steals in 29 attempts.

Now, there's no doubt that the Dodgers have suffered without Rafael Furcal. Dodger shortstops have 263 plate appearances this season, and Chin-Lung Hu, Luis Maza and Angel Berroa have 109 of them. Their on-base percentage is .152, and their slugging percentage is .168, for an OPS of .320. This is worse than the post-Paul LoDuca catching combo of Brent Mayne and Dave Ross in 2004. By comparison, Dodger pitchers this year have a .325 OPS. But Furcal was so extraordinary while he was active (.349 EQA, 26.8 VORP – by far the highest on the club despite the fact he will miss his 32nd of 64 team games tonight) that the Dodger shortstop position has been, on the whole, adequate.

And there's no doubt that Jeff Kent has struggled for most of the season. Until roughly 10 days ago, Kent (.242, 3.7) was abysmal at second base.

A Million Stories in the Dodger City

In fact, there are dozens of things going on with the Dodgers, if you want to look deep enough. They include:

  • James Loney (.257, 5.1) is having a pedestrian first half, though people can hope that he will rebound in the second half like he did in 2007.
  • Unlike past seasons, Andre Ethier (.280, 9.0) has struggled against lefty pitchers, opening himself up to being benched occasionally – though he still is fourth on the team in plate appearances with a solid season.
  • Matt Kemp (.281, 12.4) has struck out 63 times in 60 games, homers less frequently than people would like, has been weirdly inefficient against fastballs and still makes mistakes on the bases, yet remains an indispensable contributor to the Dodger offense. People freaked out when he struck out in a key situation against Chicago last week, without bothering to see how effective he has been with runners on base and in scoring position in 2008.
  • Blake DeWitt (.284, 9.6) was expected to be every bit the offensive black hole that Chin-Lung Hu (.132, -9.7) became, but instead emerged as an asset - at least for a while. He has OPSed .614 in his past 21 games.
  • Russell Martin (.302, 18.8) worried some with his .395 OPS – but that was after only nine games. Since then, he has been a rock. And with Danny Ardoin emerging in place of the embarrassing Gary Bennett as someone who at least can hold his own defensively, Martin is actually beginning to get some rest, to appease those concerned with the Dodgers burning him out.
  • Despite being buried on the bench for most of the year, Delwyn Young (.263, 1.6) has shown he can be a spot hitter.
  • Confounding physical maladies have limited Nomar Garciaparra (.233, -0.5) and Tony Abreu to a combined 35 plate appearances.
  • Mark Sweeney (.119, -5.5) has sullied the Office of Top Left-Handed Pinch-Hitter.
  • Chad Billingsley (3.57 ERA, 13.7) is striking out 10 batters per nine innings, and since being mismanaged at the start of the season, has a 3.14 ERA in 11 starts, averaging six innings per start.
  • Derek Lowe (4.15, 7.4) has recovered from a May slump to post a 1.89 ERA in his past four starts, covering 29 innings. Opponents have an OPS of .512 against him in that stretch.
  • Hiroki Kuroda (3.49, 12.4) has allowed only seven homers in 80 innings, none with more than one man on base, and has allowed more than three earned runs twice this season.
  • Brad Penny (5.38, -0.2) is not pitching like a formidable starter, allowing three runs or fewer in seven of his 14 starts.
  • Clayton Kershaw (4.91, 1.0) has lost his MLB virginity and is now a man. He can surely make batters miss and just needs to minimize the damage when they don't.
  • Takashi Saito (2.03, 9.3) still strikes out batters by the bushel – 35 Ks in 110 batters faced this season, including eight of his past nine. He has allowed an earned run in four of 25 appearances, with the Dodgers losing three of those games.
  • Jonathan Broxton (4.68, 1.3) has an ERA that matches his size, in no small part because he allowed six runs in a third of an inning against Houston. He has blown three leads this season. Overall, he has been good.
  • Hong-Chih Kuo (1.93, 15.0) has been scintillating, with 40 strikeouts against 41 baserunners in 37 1/3 innings, but more than half the batters he has faced have been in low-leverage situations.
  • Chan Ho Park (2.09, 13.8) is the opposite of Kershaw – he can hardly make batters miss anymore, but little harm has come so far. He's having the results Penny would like to have.
  • Cory Wade (1.45, 4.5) has been even more Park than Park, with the exception that he has walked only two batters unintentionally this season.
  • Scott Proctor (5.40, -0.8) allowed a .904 OPS to a total of 48 batters in May (6.10 ERA), perhaps discouraging Joe Torre from relying on him in June. He may be more rested now – he has faced only 11 batters this month.
  • Jason Schmidt hasn't thrown a major league pitch this season.
  • Until tonight, Andy LaRoche hasn't seen a major-league pitch this season.

    All of these are interesting stories worth exploring further. None, by itself, has had the singular impact of Colletti.

    So there you have it as far as explanations of the 2008 Dodgers go – the short and the long of it, almost literally.

    Misdirection

    Now, the media hasn't ignored Colletti, but there's been an out-of-sight, out-of-mind aspect to him. When you're broadcasting or covering a game, he's not in front of you, so he's not an obvious topic of conversation.

    On the other hand, the relative youth of the Dodger starting lineup – and certainly, except for Kent, it is one of the youngest starting lineups in baseball – has gotten inordinate attention, with particular focus on their mistakes relative to their contributions. Rather than rehash the reasons why this kind of coverage has been unfair and misleading, let me advance the following point.

    Mistakes come in different forms. There are well-intentioned honest mistakes, there are mistakes made of ignorance, and there are mistakes made out of stubbornness. Some are more excusable than others. Some are more correctable, others more damaging. This matters when evaluating a team looking forward, but when looking back, a mistake is just a mistake, and its import is directly related to how it affects the win and loss columns.

    In no way, shape or form are the mistakes made by Dodger players in their first, second or third seasons remotely as significant as the mistakes made by the Dodger general manager in his first, second and third seasons: Ned Colletti.

    Let me make sure I'm perfectly clear. I'm not intending to evaluate Colletti systematically – not today. Some of his mistakes have been honest mistakes, others out of ignorance, others out of stubbornness. That's not relevant to today's conversation. And to be sure, Colletti has made some good decisions.

    What we're talking about today is the story of the 2008 season to date, and in particular – since the Dodgers have lost more games than they have won – what has gone wrong. And Ned Colletti has more to do with what is wrong with the Dodgers than any Dodger player, young or old, could ever be guilty of. The acquisition of the Dodgers' most damaging players rests entirely on the shoulders of Colletti and his advisors. (And when you hear a Dodger insider being quoted anonymously on the problems with the kids, it's getting a little hard not to wonder if a little misdirection isn't being pursued.)

    Whatever your positions are on the moves Colletti has made, whether you are a fan or a reporter, whether you think about the Dodgers 24 hours a day or 24 minutes a month … if you are trying to tell the story of what's gone wrong with the Dodgers, and you spend time hashing out what's right and wrong with the kids when you could be hashing out what's right and wrong with Colletti, you're missing the defining story. Period.

    I'm not saying you have to do either. But one story is of way more value than the other.

    Oh, and by the way, the Dodgers might still win the National League West. This is not a lost season yet. But speaking from the present, let's at least understand where the issues really are. Blaming a Kemp swing on a 2-0 pitch for the Dodgers being 30-33, when Colletti is spending $22.1 million this season on two craters in the outfield, is a remarkable failure of common sense.

    What's the Story of the Dodgers in Two Words?

    "Ned Colletti." Not "The Kids."

  • Comments (316)
    Show/Hide Comments 1-50
    2008-06-10 11:26:20
    1.   GoBears
    Amen and amen.
    2008-06-10 11:29:45
    2.   Neal Pollack
    Beautifully put, Jon. I wish Joe Morgan would express similar wisdom. On Sunday, he credited the Rays' success this year to Cliff Floyd and Troy Percival.

    The battle between "veterans" and "kids" on this club is absolutely psychotic. I can't think of another team where that rift causes so much melodrama. And you have to place the blame squarely on management.

    2008-06-10 11:31:26
    3.   D4P
    Well said.
    2008-06-10 11:31:29
    4.   Xeifrank
    ohhhh, sticky this one.
    vr, Xei
    2008-06-10 11:33:29
    5.   Zak
    Very nice post Jon. Your eloquence almost always makes me ashamed that I am not as good a Dodger fan as I should be. You are wonderful at putting feelings into words.
    2008-06-10 11:35:26
    6.   Daniel Zappala
    Is it even realistic to expect "the kids" to produce at high levels this season? Won't that be more likely a year or two from now?
    2008-06-10 11:35:41
    7.   cargill06
    2 and the dodgers would win more games, if their hitters choked up with 2 strikes. it was at least very entertaining to listen to him as the game was not very.

    jon, well put. i just always can't help but wonder how much different this team would look had JD Drew not opted out, it maybe still likely he signed pierre anyway though.

    2008-06-10 11:39:50
    8.   Bluebleeder87
    Good stuff man. BH mentioned Ng yesterday & you know what, I dig it.
    2008-06-10 11:40:47
    9.   ChicagoDodger
    I couldn't agree more! Very nice write-up Jon!

    And it's time that some stop patting Ned on the back for "only" making a 2-year mistake on Jones instead of a 5-year mistake on him or someone else.

    Isn't it about time, heck isn't it long past time for management to "stop" making the mistakes in the first place, however long they are?

    2008-06-10 11:42:16
    10.   Zak
    Is there ever a situation where you can look at the problems of an underachieving team and not find the GM or owner mainly responsible? In other words, can any one or two players ever be the main culprits for a team's terrible form? Even the coach is rarely that influential. Often, a bad team, or a sub-500 team either has an owner unwilling to spend or a GM who has spent foolishly.
    2008-06-10 11:43:22
    11.   Bob Timmermann
    Old friend Jolbert Cabrera is back in the majors with the Reds.
    2008-06-10 11:43:36
    12.   ChicagoDodger
    6 Absolutely! I thought conventional wisdom had hitters peaking around 28-32.

    So what type of wisdom would it be to expect them to peak at say age 24? Or is that just a lack of wisdom?

    2008-06-10 11:43:48
    13.   underdog
    Well said, Jon. Hear, hear. (Or is that, "here, here"?)

    I only have one question: Who is Tony Abreu?

    :-/

    2008-06-10 11:44:21
    14.   jasonungar07
    Oh man that was awesome Jon.

    --

    "In no way, shape or form are the mistakes made by Dodger players in their first, second or third seasons remotely as significant as the mistakes made by the Dodger general manager in his first, second and third seasons: Ned Colletti."

    2008-06-10 11:45:05
    15.   SG6
    Ned has to be feeling the heat. His DL payroll is higher than many clubs.

    Sorry if this has been posted, but what about this Jeff Kent quote? Is this what Ned wants from PVLs:

    Jeff Kent pointed to his ejection Friday for arguing a called third strike as an example of how he differs from the latest generation of players.

    "You know what's missing in this game, maybe in the last six or seven years?" Kent said. "People don't question or challenge plays that are made in this game anymore. We allow umpires and we allow coaches and we allow players to do things and we just turn the other cheek. That didn't happen when I played.

    "And it happens a lot. Because the generation gap is so large between me and the rest of the team, I guess I get stuck in that challenge mode more often that not, so everybody looks at me as being more passionate, and I'm not."

    2008-06-10 11:45:12
    16.   D4P
    10
    Are you suggesting that Joe Torre is not worth $4 million a year...?
    2008-06-10 11:46:37
    17.   Doctor
    Has McCourt made any comment to the media that he is getting tired of this? I haven't heard anything, but don't live in LA.
    2008-06-10 11:47:24
    18.   Eric Stephen
    From Bill James Online, here is a breakdown of Clayton Kershaw's pitch selection:

    Overall
    Fastballs - 73%
    Curve - 20%
    Change - 6%
    Not Charted - 1%

    Vs RHB
    Fastballs - 73%
    Curve - 19%
    Change - 7%
    Not Charted - 1%

    Vs LHB
    Fastballs - 70%
    Curve - 28%
    Not Charted - 2%

    He has yet to throw a changeup to a LHB (46 pitches over 10 PA).

    2008-06-10 11:49:03
    19.   ChicagoDodger
    10 If the understanding were that you could always get what you needed simply by spending correctly, then perhaps you would be right.

    But that's not reality. Many or most times, you cannot get what you need, simply because it is not available. So then you sign what is available: Pierre or Jones for example, and then wonder why the team is underacheiving.

    In my opinion, the correct move would have been to understand what is needed is not available, and passed on any signing.

    The problem there though is the GM may be fired for that, even though it is more then likely in the best interests of the organization, longterm, to not sign anyone.

    2008-06-10 11:49:10
    20.   Bob Timmermann
    The sky is always blue in Frank McCourt's public world. Behind closed doors, Frank and Jamie have likely made up a big wheel of names of employees that they can spin and whoever ends up on top gets the boot.
    2008-06-10 11:49:41
    21.   Zak
    16 I have no problem with Torre making $4 million a year. As usual, it's up to Colletti to decide if that's the best use of resources. As usual, he could have done better.
    2008-06-10 11:51:14
    22.   regfairfield
    9 There's two arguments to the Jones signing:

    1. Jones represented a guy with upside, that could help the team without making a long term commitment. Yes, the guy had the chance of being completely terrible, but it was still a worthwhile risk.

    2. Jones stunk to begin with, so making any kind of commitment to him is a bad idea.

    There's compelling sides to both arguments. I go with the first because it represented Colleti actually taking a risk on something for once. His previous signings were safe guys that would probably be average to below average, and not cost much money. While that's nice on a wins per dollar basis, that means nothing in the end, since you can't win with too many guys like that, especially without dominating players on your team. I'd much rather take a chance on Jones than bring some stopgap like Corey Patterson, or lock myself into five years of Torri Hunter.

    2008-06-10 11:51:15
    23.   underdog
    16 Torre's worth his money far more than Colletti is. (And far more than Andruw Jones or Juan Pierre are, whatever that's saying.)
    2008-06-10 11:51:37
    24.   Eric Enders
    18 is a fairly common pattern, isn't it? I think many pitchers have one pitch, usually a lousy one, and often a changeup, which they reserve for opposite-handed batters only (presumably they don't need the extra help against same-handed batters.)
    2008-06-10 11:51:47
    25.   Zak
    20 You just gave me a perfect game idea for Halloween night. Complete the following sentence

    Behind closed doors, Frank and Jamie...

    2008-06-10 11:53:46
    26.   D4P
    Torre's worth his money far more than Colletti is

    What are the things you think Torre's doing that are improving the team, and in what way are they things that other managers couldn't have done?

    2008-06-10 11:54:06
    27.   Jon Weisman
    In other news:

    "CMT is preparing an eight-episode reality show titled "Outsider's Inn," which features Maureen McCormick, who played always-got-her-way Marcia on "The Brady Bunch." In the series, McCormick runs a B&B in Tennessee, but finds out it's actually hard work and needs the help of pals such as Bobby Brown and Carnie Wilson."

    2008-06-10 11:56:16
    28.   Eric Enders
    It's debatable whether Carnie Wilson would be a better option at shortstop than Angel Berroa.
    2008-06-10 11:57:09
    29.   Zak
    19 But the argument isn't that all decisions should have perfect results. But at some point, you have to make more correct decisions than wrong ones. It's unfair to criticize one decision in a vaccum (even though I do it), but in aggregate, there are GMs who make more good decisions than bad and unfortunately for the Dodgers, Colletti is not one of them. Nor is his mentor.

    The Jones signing, in my view, is forgiveable. It was an expensive gamble, similar to the one taken with Furcal. If it had even pretended to work out, the Dodgers would be leading the NL West. But signings like Pierre, Schmidt and Nomar are pretty inexcusable.

    2008-06-10 11:57:57
    30.   ChicagoDodger
    22 I'd much rather take a chance on Jones than bring some stopgap like Corey Patterson, or lock myself into five years of Torri Hunter.

    And I would much rather have taken a chance with Kemp, Ethier and Young in the outfield instead of any of the signings.

    Your logic in defending the move makes total sense if the thought process is someone "must" be signed. However, that wasn't the case. They didn't have to sign anyone.

    2008-06-10 11:57:59
    31.   fracule
    27 Haha!! I like the title.
    2008-06-10 11:58:57
    32.   Neal Pollack
    You should always call in Bobby Brown when the going gets tough.
    2008-06-10 11:59:20
    33.   Howard Fox
    15 what I felt most interesting in Kent's quotes when I read them was that he seemed to be speaking in the past tense
    2008-06-10 11:59:59
    34.   JoeyP
    Spot on post.

    4--has it right. Deserves a sticky.

    2008-06-10 12:00:07
    35.   Eric Enders
    29 Schmidt was also an expensive gamble similar to the one taken with Furcal. It didn't work, but it wasn't a bad move at the time. If you recall, most everybody here was in favor of it, and Baseball Prospectus called it the best signing made by any GM that offseason.

    Like Jones, the Schmidt signing was awful only in retrospect, and isn't really something Colletti should be raked over the coals for.

    2008-06-10 12:00:30
    36.   fracule
    29 I really don't see how the Nomar signing is inexcusable. We got an 6 mil. dollar season for 1 mil, and then took a gamble that he could give us two more. No more no less, maybe a little on the foolish side, but hardly inexcusable.
    2008-06-10 12:01:28
    37.   Howard Fox
    30 but Ned's logic not only applies to the signing of Jones, but also Nomar, and extending Kent for that matter...

    he made a conscious decision that the kids were not ready to carry the load

    2008-06-10 12:02:02
    38.   D4P
    35
    I'm not convinced that the former Giant GM and his former Giant trainer conducted a thorough physical examination of the former Giant pitcher before giving him a giant amount of money.
    2008-06-10 12:02:02
    39.   Bob Timmermann
    I just realized that xeifrank was using "sticky" as a verb. I thought he was writing like Yoda and thought that Jon's piece had some sort of tackiness.

    Good it is not when you first read things like Yoda.

    2008-06-10 12:02:29
    40.   ChicagoDodger
    29 True enough, except I think Jones signing belongs with the Pierre, Nomar and Schmidt signing. And it continues a pattern of the Dodgers signing high-priced "maybes" if you will. Build from within, and sign can't miss free agents. Translation: Stay away from most all free agents, because most are not can't miss! And by all means, stay away from free-agent pitchers unless it's a re-sign of one of your own.
    2008-06-10 12:03:34
    41.   Zak
    And I would much rather have taken a chance with Kemp, Ethier and Young in the outfield instead of any of the signings.

    I know that this is against the popular view here, and I am not opposed to the idea, but the Andruw Jones upside is huge compared to what at least Ethier and Young would have brought to the table this year. And, unless you want the McCourts to pocket it, there is no guarantee that the $18 million would have been better spent somewhere else this year. In fact, based on track record, it probably would not have. Again, the Jones signing was tremendously expensive to the organization, but no one, and I really think no one, expected Jones to be this bad.

    2008-06-10 12:03:35
    42.   Eric Enders
    Even the best GMs make mistakes. Billy Beane found himself stuck with a white elephant in Esteban Loaiza, until he found a sucker to pawn him off on. One of the best GMs around is Mark Shapiro, who's the author of what is probably the worst contract in baseball right now (that of Travis Hafner).
    2008-06-10 12:03:50
    43.   Howard Fox
    35 if you recall, I was against the Schmidt signing from the get go...if he was still in his prime, why would the Giants have let him go, then spend more money on Zito? it made no sense for them to let him go if he was alright

    and Jones not hitting isn't a new thing

    and Pierre looking better than he really is is not a new things

    the list goes on...

    2008-06-10 12:04:09
    44.   fracule
    38 I think he was probably also looked over by an Dr. of sports medicine. I'm not sure McCourt would allow that decision to be made by someone with a BS in Physical Therapy.
    2008-06-10 12:06:03
    45.   JoeyP
    His previous signings were safe guys that would probably be average to below average, and not cost much money. While that's nice on a wins per dollar basis

    I disagree with the "not cost much money" part.
    Colletti's spent plenty of money on guys that have no upside at all, which actually hurts the wins per dollar basis:

    Nomar--2yrs, 20 mils
    Druw--2yrs, 36 mils
    Pierre- 5yrs, 45 mils
    Schmidt--3yrs, 48 mils
    Gonzalez--1yr, 7.5 mils
    Kuroda--3 yrs, 36 mils
    Loaiza---1yr, 8 mils
    Tomko- 2yrs, 11 mils
    Baez--

    Ned's been paying premium for average to below average vets for a long time. That is the exact opposite way to get more wins per dollar.

    Only Kuroda out of that group has been a pleasant suprise so far. But I dont think many expected him to be much better than average, and at 3/36---> thats quite a bit of cash to shell out for league average.

    2008-06-10 12:07:06
    46.   Bob Timmermann
    44
    An insurance company had to sign off on Schmidt's contract. They must have assumed that the risk was acceptable.
    2008-06-10 12:08:01
    47.   ChicagoDodger
    37 Absolutely! Those were moves that also should not have been made.

    I think the real issue is the perception that "LA" shouldn't have to wait for the young players to develop, and instead should just sign whatever they need to mix in with the youth.

    For me anyway, the best plan of action would have been to forgo signing a Jones or Pierre or a Nomar or a Schmidt or extending a Kent, and just brought up the young players and let them develop.

    But it's this perception that LA "has" to win that prevents a plan like this from ever taking place. Nevermind that the Dodgers haven't won in 20 years with this free-agent plan anyhow. But that's just me!

    2008-06-10 12:08:15
    48.   underdog
    26 - I think Torre's imperfect but he's handled some tough situations that he was handed pretty well. I actually think he's even handled pitching better than I was warned he would. His skill has always been more the way he deals with various egos and issues than in-game strategy but with the latter he's been fine overall, too, imho. (There were a few games where I wondered what the heck he was thinking, but far less than I felt with Grady or Tracy.) I also think it's one of those things where people only speak up when the manager does something they vehemently disagree with, or more often that's the case anyway, and at least with me I've found myself less openly disagreeing or wondering about him than I have with past Dodger managers, so that's something. There's been some manager double-speak from him, but overall I like the way he's communicated pretty openly about things. Compare him with Joe Girardi in NY this season for instance.

    I feel like he's given some guys a fair shake, more so than I expected, too - like Blake DeWitt, who played great, and they didn't have many other options, but still, he could have insisted on a veteran fill-in there and instead really had confidence in him. His words about Hu, despite his struggles, were pretty fair, too, and he gave him every chance to hit and stay up here. And, despite the fact that he did play Pierre more than he said he would at the beginning, part of that was due to Jones obvious suckitude. He initially had made Pierre the 4th outfielder which I respected, too.

    If his line-ups haven't always been perfect, and there are some other quibbles with him, overall I'm probably the happiest I've been with a Dodger manager in the past 10 years (and that isn't super high praise, you're right).

    I'm sure I'll be taken apart here, but this is just my feeling about it. I don't see many other managers out there that I would think obviously would be an improvement over him. (For younger managers, I do like Trey Hillman, though he hasn't magically turned the Royals around completely, but they're clearly more competitive.)

    2008-06-10 12:09:33
    49.   ChicagoDodger
    Great talk everyone! Back to work! For me!
    2008-06-10 12:10:41
    50.   fracule
    48 I agree, I can't honestly think of a better person for the job. That's really the issue anyway, not whether he's been perfect or not.
    Show/Hide Comments 51-100
    2008-06-10 12:12:19
    51.   Howard Fox
    the flaw in the "LA won't wait on the kids" argument is that the last time we were good, we rode the coattails of the kids back then as I recall, but I could be wrong
    2008-06-10 12:12:51
    52.   Sagehen
    15 I find myself wondering sometimes if Jeff Kent, with his distain for the younger generation, is a large part of the problem. His comments about "professionalism" take the fun out of the game. The team is pressing because they aren't having fun. My prediction: Kent retires, and the kids go on a roll.

    This is by no means to disagree with the thoughts about Colletti -- nice post Jon -- I'm just tossing out an idle thought here.

    2008-06-10 12:12:55
    53.   JoeyP
    Torre still bats Pierre lead off.
    For that reason alone, he's not worth 4 mils.

    He hasnt bunted much (at least nothing on the Jim Tracy levels of incompetance), and I think has handled the pitching staff pretty good---but all in all, I dont think he's adding much to the Dodgers. Of course, the managers who manage least manage best...Whether you need to pay someone $4mils to do that is up to McNedCo.

    2008-06-10 12:14:52
    54.   fracule
    53 Let's consider 2.5 Mil marketing expense.
    2008-06-10 12:16:29
    55.   D4P
    From what I recall, Torre was hired for two primary reason.

    1. "His" championships in New York
    2. His (alleged) ability to deal with the mixture of veterans and youngsters.

    The first point is a farce.

    The second point is becoming less compelling the more we hear in the media the same kind of stuff about veterans vs. kids that we were hearing last year.

    2008-06-10 12:17:09
    56.   Eric Stephen
    The Padres are going to DFA Wilfredo Ledezma before tonight's game, and call up reliever Joe Thatcher. You may remember Thatcher as the reliever who came into the 7th inning of the Dodgers' first game at Petco this season and promptly gave up 4 runs (3 walks and a hit) to break open a 1-1 game.

    http://tinyurl.com/6eqoex

    The Dodgers have scored 6+ runs in an inning four times this season, and I've been in attendance for two of them. I'm going tonight and tomorrow, so you're welcome in advance.

    2008-06-10 12:17:42
    57.   Eric Enders
    Once upon a time, the Dodgers hired a GM. He'd never been a GM before, but was a longtime assistant GM for a Bay Area team which he helped win numerous division titles, but never a World Series.

    The rookie GM made the playoffs in his first season, had a lousy second year, and was immediately and vocally crucified by the local media for being in over his head, and for being too inexperienced to get the job done. So he was fired.

    So the Dodgers hired another GM who was basically the same GM: He'd also never been a GM before, and was also a longtime assistant GM for a Bay Area team which he helped win numerous division titles, but never a World Series.

    He also made the playoffs in his first season, had a lousy second year, and a lousy first half of his third year. Yet there has not been even the hint of a whisper in the media that he might be too inexperienced, or in over his head, even though all the available evidence points in that direction.

    2008-06-10 12:21:33
    58.   Eric Stephen
    57
    If Colletti goes 71-91, I'm sure he'll be gone too.
    2008-06-10 12:21:43
    59.   D4P
    Once upon a time, the Dodgers hired a GM who (they would later discover) didn't mingle at team Christmas parties, so they fired him.

    So the Dodgers hired another GM who did nothing but mingle and shoot the (stuff), so he got to keep his job.

    2008-06-10 12:23:35
    60.   JoeyP
    If the Dodgers were wanting to hire more of an old school GM, I think the best hire may have been Walt Jocketty (impossible now since he signed with the Reds).

    Jocketty had a pretty good track record in St. Louis of trading prospects for elite players--->something the Dodgers could use in deciphering whom they should keep amongst the youngsters and those they should move. The Mulder deal blew up in his face, but---> Rolen, McGwire, Larry Walker, Edmonds, Chris Carpenter is hard to argue against.

    If Ned does go, I think McCourt makes another run at Epstein or hires another new schooler this time around. It'll be easier for him to justify the move to the media bc it'll be fresh off the Colletti failure of bloated contracts and dumb trades.

    Plus, it doesnt hurt that some of DePo's players that Ned traded away are doing really well this year. Players that were previously thought to have no worth according to the media.

    2008-06-10 12:24:13
    61.   OhioBlues12
    38 - Wasn't it determined that they didn't know the full extent of Schmidt's injuries until they actually went into his shoulder. I have heard the complaints of due dilligence but performing exploratory surgery is probably too much to expect prior to signing a FA.
    2008-06-10 12:25:12
    62.   Eric Enders
    It's not like Colletti is the world's best schmoozer. My impression of him in interviews is that he's cordial but blunt and not excessively friendly.

    I just find it odd that the "inexperienced" and "in over his head" tags have stayed firmly off-limits among the fourth estate.

    2008-06-10 12:27:18
    63.   CajunDodger
    30
    I tend to disagree. There is a small percentage of fans (most of us here) that wants the best team on the field regardless of payroll size. If that means that the Dodgers could wipe the slate clean with Jones, Pierre, Schmidt, and Nomar then we would.

    However, this is LA. Home of 12,000,000 people within driving distance of the stadium, and the McCourts are put in the unique position of having to market the team to the other 90% of fans than may not show up. This can explain how Nomar can somehow still hold as much sway over the casual fan as he does. Popularity.

    The McCourts hired Colletti to do one thing: win ballgames while staying within some unknown reasonable spending limits. From there it is the McCourts job to market players.

    Colletti is at fault for picking the wrong players to spend his large sums of money on. Schmidt may not have been his fault, but when he took the chance on players like Jones, Pierre, Hendrickson, Mueller, and Tomko he has to be held responsible.

    I liked his Jones gamble, but it didn't work out, he is a big boy executive, and he should be held responsible even if it wasn't entirely his fault.

    2008-06-10 12:29:00
    64.   Eric Enders
    61 Exactly. And remember, the Dodgers as it was were only the third-highest bidder for Schmidt, so lowering their offer due to supposed injury concerns would have been the same as telling him to take a hike.

    Any notion that due diligence was not done in the Schmidt signing is revisionist history, and is not supported by the available evidence.

    2008-06-10 12:29:44
    65.   JoeyP
    I ask this half seriously---but do the Giants have an actual shot in the NL West this year?

    You look at their position players--->and think no way in hades...Too old, limited upside, etc etc.

    But:
    Lincecum
    Cain
    Sanchez
    Zito
    Lowry (when he gets back)----> thats not a bad rotation. Is that good enough?

    Can they stay in it, or is it just them playing bad teams that has allowed them to get this close?

    2008-06-10 12:31:01
    66.   D4P
    Any notion that due diligence was not done in the Schmidt signing is revisionist history, and is not supported by the available evidence

    If "due dilligence" can't detect existing (and potentially career-threatening) injuries, it's not worth very much.

    2008-06-10 12:32:23
    67.   D4P
    65
    I was looking into the 2008 performance of their best hitters (Molina and Rowand), and discovered very high BABIPs for each. Once they come back to earth, SF should regain its rightful position near the bottom of the division.
    2008-06-10 12:32:27
    68.   Bob Timmermann
    Lowry is gone for the year I believe.

    The Giants would still need a lot more offense. And a lot more production from first base, second base, third base, and the outfield.

    But Bengie Molina is having a good year.

    2008-06-10 12:34:35
    69.   Howard Fox
    61 64 so it makes no difference that there was an unexplainable decrease in his velocity and performance in the years leading up to our signing him....

    63 the reason Nomar is still the rock star is because we are not winning...if the team was doing well and winning pretty consistently, it would be Nomar Who...

    2008-06-10 12:34:49
    70.   Bob Timmermann
    66
    Fortunately, you are in urban planning and not actuarial science.
    2008-06-10 12:35:22
    71.   Eric Enders
    66 As OhioBlues noted, it was an injury that could only be detected and diagnosed by performing surgery. It was unfortunate, but what are you going to do? Never sign any free agents, in case they happen to have undetectable injuries?
    2008-06-10 12:35:37
    72.   OhioBlues12
    66 - If the technology available can't detect an injury without opening him then how is that Colletti's fault?
    2008-06-10 12:36:00
    73.   regfairfield
    30 Without supporting players the Dodgers don't have, you can't win a championship with Delmon Young in a corner. He's a limited upside .270/.320/.450 kind of hitter with adequate defense. Obviously, that's better than what we've been getting, but Jones is a great defender with the potential to put up an .850 OPS. He obviously had a chance to be much worse, but putting Delwyn in a corner is just giving up, Jones at least represents trying.
    2008-06-10 12:36:50
    74.   Ken Noe
    Jon, columns like that are why I come here first for Dodger news, plus your writing is just a pleasure to read. Thanks.
    2008-06-10 12:37:31
    75.   Howard Fox
    71 that happens to be a valid solution, never signing free agents....

    you are always going to overpay and not know what you are getting like you do with the home grown talent

    2008-06-10 12:37:57
    76.   Gen3Blue
    Wow, I have been busy and it has been very busy here with a pair of nice posts by Jon and Canuck. I will never catch up on the comments so I can't say much.
    It seems like teams that have to go with their youngsters often go through a few lean offensive years ala Rocks and Snakes. And this whether you can't afford additions or if you spent your money on the wrong players.
    I agree with Underdog that Torre hasn't been bad and in the overall picture his salary isn't that important. It's about the same magnitude as Jon's "It's the young players" vs. "it's Colletti" inequality.
    2008-06-10 12:38:21
    77.   D4P
    how is that Colletti's fault?

    I tend to suspect that the Giant triad was more likely (than a more objective group would have been) to overlook any potential problems (e.g. Schmidt's reduced velocity) and to hope/assume that he would be back to normal in 2007.

    2008-06-10 12:39:09
    78.   madmac
    9 a majority here would have made that same mistake.
    2008-06-10 12:39:30
    79.   Bob Timmermann
    77
    You can suspect that, but you don't offer proof. I choose to suspect that Joe DiMaggio assassinated JFK.
    2008-06-10 12:40:13
    80.   Howard Fox
    77 the same assumption as made that the last couple of years by Jones were an aberration (sp?)...poor thought process by the GM....
    2008-06-10 12:40:44
    81.   Jon Weisman
    From the press notes:

    "When Kershaw was born in Dallas, TX on March 19, 1988, Maddux was at Spring Training in Mesa, AZ, preparing for his second full season in the big leagues and undoubtedly listening to #1 song "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley on his way to the No. 1 movie of the time, "Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach.""

    2008-06-10 12:41:24
    82.   Jon Weisman
    LaRoche's callup is official, by the way.
    2008-06-10 12:41:26
    83.   Howard Fox
    79 he didn't?
    2008-06-10 12:42:09
    84.   Bob Timmermann
    83
    I've never read about an alibi for him.
    2008-06-10 12:42:18
    85.   Eric Enders
    "so it makes no difference that there was an unexplainable decrease in his velocity and performance"

    It was very explainable. Schmidt was getting old, and pitchers lose velocity as they age. Which is exactly why we signed him for the shortest possible term, three years. And Schmidt hadn't had an appreciable loss in his level of performance.

    It was not until spring training that Schmidt's velocity began to drop enough to raise injury concerns.

    Look, we signed a guy who was an All-Star pitcher with a 125 ERA+ the year we signed him. The notion that he did that while pitching with a completely torn labrum is laughable. Although nobody, even his doctors, knows for sure, the chances that he was already hurt when we signed him are infinitesimally small.

    2008-06-10 12:42:22
    86.   JoeyP
    This "rick-roll" thing has gone too far. Its even hitting the Dodger press notes.
    2008-06-10 12:44:39
    87.   the count
    Why are the young Dodgers always referred to as "kids" whereas most other teams' young players are simply "young players" or "rookies"?
    2008-06-10 12:46:06
    88.   Howard Fox
    because they are our kids, its more personal
    2008-06-10 12:46:23
    89.   Bob Timmermann
    I think we sometimes give medical science credit for being able to predict a lot more than it does.

    Look how long it took for Jayson Werth to find out what was wrong with his wrist. He eventually went to the Mayo Clinic and they diagnosed a fracture so small and hard to distinguish that few people could even spell it. I had a hard time finding that bone in an anatomy textbook.

    And just what exactly is wrong with Tony Abreu? It's something, but just what is it? Lots of doctors have looked at him.

    They're doctors, not wizards.

    2008-06-10 12:47:18
    90.   Ken Noe
    I've been hard on Ned this year--Bennett was the tipping point for me--but let's be honest. Isn't this exactly what you'd expect hiring a Sabean assistant? Except Sabean was smart enough to bid Ned up to five years for JP? No, ultimately, as scareduck often points out, it comes back to McCourt. If Ned goes, pray that Torre wants someone good to replace him.
    2008-06-10 12:47:42
    91.   Eric Enders
    From BP:

    "While Maddux will be facing Kershaw for the first time, he will also renew a long-time rivalry with the 20-year-old rookie's oldest teammate, second baseman Jeff Kent. Maddux has faced Kent 91 times, more than any other active player save for Luis Gonzalez. Kent, meanwhile, has faced Maddux more than he has any other pitcher, and that familiarity has made for success. Although Kent started his career 3-for-22 against Maddux, he gradually began to hit the righty hard, and has now collected 10 hits in his last 13 at-bats against Maddux; for his career, Kent is at .341/.374/.588 against him."

    2008-06-10 12:48:36
    92.   D4P
    You can suspect that, but you don't offer proof

    I'm not trying to convince anyone else of the veracity of my suspicion. I suspect that Ned's relationship with Conte while with the Giants had a greater than zero percent influence on Ned's decision to hire Conte as a Dodger, I suspect that Ned and Conte's respective relationships with Schmidt had a greater than zero percent influence on Ned's decision to sign Schmidt, and I suspect that their collective relationship had a greater than zero percent influence on Ned's willingness to overlook Schmidt's age/declining velocity.

    I don't expect anyone else to share my suspicions.

    2008-06-10 12:49:31
    93.   Eric Enders
    89 "And just what exactly is wrong with ________? It's something, but just what is it? Lots of doctors have looked at him."

    You could insert Nomar's name in there too.

    2008-06-10 12:49:42
    94.   CajunDodger
    81
    wow...

    I wonder what kind of parallels I could make with McCain and Obama without a Rule 5 hand slap.

    2008-06-10 12:49:48
    95.   Bob Timmermann
    92
    But the Dodgers still had to get insurance to cover Schmidt's contract. And that required people who weren't Colletti or Conte to sign off on the deal.
    2008-06-10 12:49:56
    96.   bryanf
    I love DT.

    I come back from lunch and there's a NPUT and it's spot on and well written and, well that's all I have to say.

    I love DT.

    2008-06-10 12:50:30
    97.   silverwidow
    "If the Dodgers can replace DePodesta with Pat Gillick, they'd likely be OK. They'll probably hire someone a lot worse." -- Rotoworld, 10/29/05
    2008-06-10 12:50:50
    98.   D4P
    I think we sometimes give medical science credit for being able to predict a lot more than it does.

    They're doctors, not wizards.

    They get paid like wizards. They also get way too many TV shows based on their love lives and such.

    2008-06-10 12:51:17
    99.   scareduck
    0 - at the risk of this becoming an echo chamber, hear, hear.

    20 - le bon mot.

    30 - Your logic in defending the move makes total sense if the thought process is someone "must" be signed. However, that wasn't the case. They didn't have to sign anyone.

    This is the vital key: Ned simply does not trust the Dodgers' youngsters, something he makes abundantly clear almost every time he opens his mouth on the subject. Take Helene Elliott's interview in today's Times:

    http://tinyurl.com/3h4x4o

    "It's part of the process of having young players, especially as many as we do. It's incumbent upon myself, it's incumbent upon Joe, it's incumbent upon the coaching staff to continue to implore them to be as good as they can be and to take every at-bat seriously."

    Holy mother of dog! Did your eyes pop, like mine, when you read that last sentence? He's all but openly accusing Matt Kemp, James Loney, etc. of failing to take every at-bat seriously, as though this were some sort of character flaw and not one due to predictable inexperience. Does Paul Konerko not ring a bell?

    57 - this is an interesting way to look at it. Their stories are remarkably similar, viewed from that angle, at least, so far as their backgrounds are concerned.

    60 - when was the last time Jocketty made a good trade, though? Larry Walker?

    63 - The McCourts hired Colletti to do one thing: win ballgames while staying within some unknown reasonable spending limits. From there it is the McCourts job to market players.

    This is a total misreading of the motivations behind the Colletti signing. DePodesta was fired because the local press didn't like him before he was even announced as a GM. With the thin-skinned McCourts running the Dodgers, that simply wouldn't do, and DePodesta was fired, not because he was incompetent as a GM, but because he couldn't manage the press. Colletti was hired, first and foremost, as a GM who could keep the local press at bay; other considerations lagged far behind that one.

    Along with his other baggage from San Francisco, Colletti took an ineffable love of veterans. That was understandable considering the nature of the god-like Barry Bonds in left and the win-now pressure it put on the front office there; but it made absolutely no sense for the Dodgers, with a wave of upcoming talent. In applying that same strategy to a wholly different team, Colletti has misfired on every possible cylinder (save for the one virtue of failing to clear the decks utterly of key youngsters), confusing depth for starters, and blocking his young talent at every step.

    64 - "revisionist"? What about Schmidt's declining velocity in the second half of the 2006 season? On a 33-year-old, that's pretty damning.

    2008-06-10 12:51:22
    100.   still bevens
    89 Bob we need you to employ your search skills to find us the best dang wizard in Southern California and dispatch Tony Abreu forthwith!
    Show/Hide Comments 101-150
    2008-06-10 12:52:21
    101.   D4P
    95
    How common is it for insurance companies to refuse to sign off in those situations?

    (Serious question: I don't know the answer).

    2008-06-10 12:53:36
    102.   Bob Timmermann
    I don't believe wizards get paid. They just conjure up what they need.

    Does anyone really think Gandalf got a W-2?

    2008-06-10 12:54:04
    103.   Howard Fox
    93 I know what is wrong with Nomar...he has a boo-boo
    2008-06-10 12:54:07
    104.   Eric Enders
    The only wizard I'm on a first-name basis with is the Software Installation Wizard.
    2008-06-10 12:54:48
    105.   Howard Fox
    102 yes he did, but because he is in Nevada, there were no state taxes withheld
    2008-06-10 12:54:54
    106.   Bob Timmermann
    101
    Most recently, the Red Sox demanded a rider on J.D. Drew's contract. The big difference would be the insurance carrier's premium which is not something the team will reveal.

    If the insurance premium is too high, the team will likely just not bother with the signing.

    2008-06-10 12:55:22
    107.   D4P
    Does anyone really think Gandalf got a W-2?

    He definitely didn't get a Mach3...

    2008-06-10 12:56:08
    108.   Eric Stephen
    The thing is, with Nomar, he never really claimed to be a bowler.
    2008-06-10 12:56:33
    109.   El Lay Dave
    From the last thread: * 117 underdog
    Yay! I won a bid for a Wii Fit on ebay, so I can give it to my g/f for her birthday next weekend.*

    Dude, isn't giving the gf/wife exercise-related stuff as a gift considered a HUGE faux pas, i.e., you might as well say, "honey, you're getting fat!" ?

    Now to catch up on a big post and 100 comments.

    2008-06-10 12:57:02
    110.   D4P
    The only wizard I'm on a first-name basis with is the Software Installation Wizard

    http://tinyurl.com/y3prgo

    2008-06-10 12:57:31
    111.   scareduck
    22 - Jones' line-drive rate had been in decline for three straight seasons, something that Dave Studeman pointed out months before the Dodgers signed him.

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/andruw-jones-batted-balls/

    Combine that with his godawful average and his apparent indifference to physical conditioning, and the Dodgers should sign him, why?

    2008-06-10 12:58:10
    112.   scareduck
    109 - does this Wii make me look fat?
    2008-06-10 12:58:21
    113.   regfairfield
    99 Jocketty made pretty much nothing moves and the Mulder trade after getting walker, but he was able to assemble his Rolen/Edmonds/Pujols/Renteria/Walker lineup with the draft, Placido Polanco, Adam Kennedy, Braden Looper, and a whole lot of nothing. That gives him a lot of leeway.
    2008-06-10 13:00:51
    114.   jasonungar07
    Will anyone score on Greece? And what a game by the spaniard David. Ok back to baseball.
    2008-06-10 13:02:23
    115.   D4P
    111
    As expected, Andruw has lost a lot of oomph on his outfield flies (despite hitting more of them), but his line drive production has also declined; in fact, it's declined each of the past four years. Add in lower production on his groundballs and more strikeouts, and you pretty much have a quadruple whammy.

    Press Your Luck, with Ned Colletti.

    "Big bucks, quadruple whammies, and...stop!"

    2008-06-10 13:03:09
    116.   Bob Timmermann
    Steve Trachsel was DFAd by the Orioles. Normally teams have 10 days to figure out what to do with a player in this situation, but I think with Trachsel it will actually be two weeks.
    2008-06-10 13:03:39
    117.   bigcpa
    I still completely endorse the Jones and Schmidt signings. I can't stand when fans or media types decry Dodger FA flops like Jones, Schmidt, Pierre and Nomar as if they're equivalent mistakes.

    I wish Ned showed more creativity/will to acquire cheap talent with upside (e.g. Penny, Bradley, Werth, Navarro by you know who). And I wish he didn't sell low on young talent leaving the org. And I wish he wasn't so obsessed with quantity over quality. And I wish he called up and played Loney, Kemp & LaRoche a few months earlier. But on the $150M he shelled out to Furcal, Schmidt, Jones, Kuroda and JP- I like 4 of those 5 at the time they were signed. So B/B- overall from me.

    2008-06-10 13:06:51
    118.   scareduck
    117 - I still completely endorse the Jones and Schmidt signings.

    Out of nothing other than stunned curiosity, why?

    2008-06-10 13:10:46
    119.   CajunDodger
    117 118
    Is what you mean that there is no way that Colletti could see into the future and that they were good ideas with reasonable risk at the time?
    2008-06-10 13:13:08
    120.   scareduck
    102 - Does anyone really think Gandalf got a W-2?

    Sure, and right after he did, he conjured up a CPA to deal with the 1040. Wizards are beasts at itemization.

    2008-06-10 13:15:22
    121.   D4P
    Will anyone score on Greece?

    At least two Swedes...

    2008-06-10 13:16:46
    122.   okdodge
    118 I know it's my question to answer, but I can at least justify those signings. They were both short contracts given to players with really good pasts. So Jones was declining and Schmidt was getting older, but I liked the deals they received compared to other deals that other teams made (GMJ, Hunter, Bedard, and too many others to name, etc.).
    2008-06-10 13:17:10
    123.   bryanf
    116 That is hilarious.

    From my perspective, Ned's acquisitions have not been all that great, but the bigger problem seems to be how long he waited to get the young kids up and how much time was wasted on the likes of Luis Gonzalez, Nomar, Tomko, Hendrickson, et al. I wonder what it would be like if Ethier, Kemp, Loney, LaRoche, Young or others were given more playing time last year to help them develop. I don't know if that's a particularly strong argument, but either way, my frustration was rarely the signing/trades but more often how the players were used after the fact. Maybe that lies more with the manager, but at least in the past it felt more like Ned's influence/philosophy.

    2008-06-10 13:20:37
    124.   bigcpa
    117 If you believe 34-yr old power pitchers with injury histories are not worth the risk you wouldn't have acquired Randy Johnson or Curt Schilling pre WS title and you would have let Clemens leave for the twilight of his career. Throw in Smoltz post TJ surgery as dominant closer then dominant starter through 39. Plenty of counterpoints out there.

    I know you were outspoken against the Jones signing at the time, but if he was hitting .260 with 15 HR right now then what? All the guys paid to project this stuff had Jones hitting 28-33 HR. And I'm not one to question Studes but since when is a single season drop in HR/FB easily isolated as a "loss of oomph." What about Ned's spray chart? When the peripherals start to deteriorate on a 37 year old with limited defensive value, I'm likely to call it a cliff dive. The way I see it, how often are 30-yr old near certain HOF sluggers with plus plus defense even available on a short-term deal? I saw Jones 2007 dip as a nice buy-low oppty.

    2008-06-10 13:21:54
    125.   bigcpa
    And I meant 118 !
    2008-06-10 13:22:01
    126.   ToyCannon
    Ned Colleti is the problem and not the players who are performing less then expected? In many areas Ned has made decisions that I have not liked but still the end result headed into 2008 was a team I was very comfortable with and felt it would compete. Based on the wins that many of you choose for the Dodgers, you were also optimistic. If Ned had assembled a crappy team heading into 2008 I could agree with Jon but I was fairly happy with the team.

    He had a young 1st baseman who should be outpeforming his current numbers and not making a run at the 4-5-3 record. A 2nd basemen on the decline but with Abreu expected to fill in as his backup he had his backup covered. The SS was supposed to be healthy but if not Hu should have been able to provide adequate replacement. A battle at 3rd base that seemed to be a win win situation. If the Veteran won then he would have to hit to keep his job, if he didn't then the heralded prospect would get his chance. Between the two of them it was expected to be in safe hands. A glut of outfielders and between the 5 of them you would have expected a semblence of production. Even with all the problems this team is still very much in the hunt to win a division and in a very weak NL, win a NL Championship. If you are going to pigeonhole Ned as the biggest problem on this team then you need to be prepared to give him the credit if they turn things around. You can't blame him when things aren't going well, and then give credit to the players when things start to go right.

    Ned has many faults but the under performing team we have at the moment is the fault of the players and health. I liked the Schmidt and A Jones signing so it would be the biggest hypocrisy for saying Ned was an idiot for signing them.

    This team should be playing better and in time they probably will. I can give Ned plenty of grief on many fronts but not for this teams current record. The record isn't even really very bad considering out best player has missed a month, his replacement was the biggest hole in baseball, and the guy who was supposed to hit 35 bombs was a big zero before finding safe passage on the DL.

    Everyone is to blame for this current situation and it shouldn't come down to just two words.

    2008-06-10 13:22:18
    127.   Eric Enders
    119 I assume that's what he means, and that's my take on things, too.

    Look, virtually every free agent signing in history has had something which you could interpret as a red flag if you wanted to. You just have to make judgments as best you can, and limit your risk as much as you can. Kirk Gibson was one of the most injury-prone players in the game when we signed him. I didn't hear anyone moaning about that one.

    Look at the best free-agent signings in the history of baseball:

    - Roger Clemens. A couple of years of crapola in his last years with Boston. Declining velocity. 33 years old. A lot of similarities to Schmidt, actually. Could be interpreted as an aging pitcher on the downhill side of his career. Instead, wins two Cy Young Awards in the first two years of his contract, and four more overall.

    - Randy Johnson. Chronic back problems. 35 years old. Lousy for the first two-thirds of the season during his walk year. Goes on to win the next four consecutive Cy Young Awards.

    - Vladimir Guerrero. Recurring back problems rob him of about 40% of his walk season. Wins MVP in first year of free agent contract.

    2008-06-10 13:23:45
    128.   underdog
    109 Hah hah, Dave. I think that's a fair thing to worry about BUT my g/f has begged for one of those for months, tried to get one on Amazon and they were sold out and couldn't hint about it less subtly. She knows all the depressing aspects of it already but wants something that will motivate her to get more exercise and it's a start. And since it seemed like it was either get or that or hear the sound of disappointment, well, then there ya go. ;-)

    Last year was easier, and that involved buying shoes.

    2008-06-10 13:24:10
    129.   ToyCannon
    118
    For the same reasons that made sense when they were signed. Just because you are right at this moment doesn't mean the signings didn't have plenty of backers who are not ignorant of the ways of baseball.
    2008-06-10 13:26:33
    130.   underdog
    I will say the Jones signing is the one thing I feel uncomfortable criticizing Colletti about, mostly because I was fully in favor of it at the time. Thought we needed power desperately, had always liked him, hoped that his decline last year was an aberration (sigh) and thought it was good to see the admission that signing Pierre to play centerfield was a mistake. So however mistaken that looks right now, I try not to rip on him for that one (even though you'd hope a GM should know better than a layperson fan like me.)
    2008-06-10 13:27:40
    131.   Bumsrap
    95 - The Dodgers refuse to comment on who they take insurance policies for and they reminded us of this many times as they were asked many times if Schmidt was insured.

    92 - Although others have won the debate here, I agree with you.

    2008-06-10 13:27:55
    132.   okdodge
    127 Roger Clemens may not be the best example considering what he's been accused of on his way to producing those results. With that said, he did produce later in his career and he did have similarities to J.S.
    2008-06-10 13:30:47
    133.   D4P
    I just saw on the ESPN ticker thing that someone is suing NASCAR for $250 million for some kind of sexual harassment offense or something.

    There are some offenses that $240 million just won't cover.

    2008-06-10 13:30:58
    134.   scareduck
    124 - If you believe 34-yr old power pitchers with injury histories are not worth the risk you wouldn't have acquired Randy Johnson or Curt Schilling pre WS title and you would have let Clemens leave for the twilight of his career.

    Ask the Yankees how well that trade for the Big Unit worked out. As for Schilling, are you talking about Arizona or Boston?

    I know you were outspoken against the Jones signing at the time, but if he was hitting .260 with 15 HR right now then what?

    Hypotheticals do not win pennants.

    126 - Everyone is to blame for this current situation and it shouldn't come down to just two words.

    http://losangeles.dodgers.mlb.com/team/front_office.jsp?c_id=la

    Ned Colletti still appears to be the general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Every time a decision about the roster needs making, he all but unerringly makes the wrong one. Andruw Jones, Nomar, Schmidt -- Angel Berroa, for God's sake! Oh, yes, this is very much Ned's fault.

    2008-06-10 13:32:02
    135.   Bob Timmermann
    Sometimes I wonder if this is a discussion of the Dodgers or just a reenactment of those scenes on "The Colbert Report" where the balloons come down from the ceiling and Colbert yells "I CALLED IT!!!"
    2008-06-10 13:34:28
    136.   Bumsrap
    It appears the Jones signing was a mistake but those things happen. The complaint was compounded by continuing to give him as many at-bats as he was getting. It was the compounding that mystified me the most. Good businesses put mistakes behind them and not in front of them.

    I think, and admit to having said this before, that injuries have done for the Dodgers what Colletti and Torre was refusing to do (Jones, Nomar).

    2008-06-10 13:34:41
    137.   scareduck
    127 - there were mitigating factors with Clemens, though. The Boston press was actively hostile to him, and his relationship with the team was deteriorating (not a surprise considering his performance).
    2008-06-10 13:36:27
    138.   regfairfield
    134 The Diamondbacks one one championship with Schilling and the Sox won two, does it matter? Johnson way under performed his perhiperals in New York because inordinately horrible with runners on.
    2008-06-10 13:37:35
    139.   ToyCannon
    134
    I can accept the fact you think this teams current plight is Ned's fault since you weren't high on the team to start with. We disagree on what this team can accomplish as they are currently constituted.
    2008-06-10 13:38:53
    140.   Jon Weisman
    126 - I didn't say Ned Colletti was the problem. I said Ned Colletti is the story, and that he deserves the scrutiny that the kids are getting. I said, "I'm not intending to evaluate Colletti systematically – not today." And certainly, it was not my point to say that the current situation should come down to two words.
    2008-06-10 13:39:30
    141.   Bob Timmermann
    Dontrelle Willis won't be facing the Dodgers. He got sent to the minors today.

    All the way down to A ball in Lakeland.

    2008-06-10 13:40:02
    142.   Eric Enders
    If it did, the two words would probably be "whiskey chaser."
    2008-06-10 13:40:21
    143.   bigcpa
    134 The Schilling example works for AZ and Boston- but I prefer the Arizona case since he was 33 when they got him and had missed ~15 starts the prior 2 seasons.

    Re: Jones I'm sure you weren't 100% certain he would hit like Maza this year. So what probability did you think there was that 2007 was an outlier and he would bounce back to career norms?

    2008-06-10 13:40:26
    144.   Jon Weisman
    140 - And to add to that, I obviously don't need to tell many readers here that Colletti deserves more scrutiny than the kids. Colletti gets plenty of scrutiny here. My point, I suppose, is more for the world at large.
    2008-06-10 13:40:33
    145.   ToyCannon
    Does anyone find Colbert funnier then Stewart?
    2008-06-10 13:40:45
    146.   scareduck
    138 - he way underperformed his peripherals because he was lousy due to a cranky back that got worse when he had to pitch in 50 degree weather for months at a time. He was awful in the postseason for the Yanks.
    2008-06-10 13:40:56
    147.   D4P
    141
    "And to think: he was once a 20-Game Winner™..."
    2008-06-10 13:41:01
    148.   schoffle
    95 Bob Timmermann

    What information is known about this insurance on Schmidt's contract, I can only recall an obscure mention of the existence of insurance last year with no specifics regarding the percentage of salary that was covered. Also the mere presents of insurance doesn't really prove anything without the details as to coverage and costs.

    2008-06-10 13:41:54
    149.   Eric Enders
    141 At least, like Rick Ankiel, Willis has something to fall back on. He could probably become an even better hitter than Ankiel did.
    2008-06-10 13:43:05
    150.   scareduck
    143 - something like 20% for a bounceback, maybe 1 in 3 at the outside.
    Show/Hide Comments 151-200
    2008-06-10 13:43:19
    151.   Bob Timmermann
    148
    The Dodgers don't and probably can't reveal how much, if any, insurance was taken out on Schmidt's contract.

    Most of the insurance policies keep the team on the hook for the first year of the contract but defray costs in subsequent years.

    Albert Belle hung around on the Orioles DL for a couple years for insurance purposes.

    2008-06-10 13:43:28
    152.   scareduck
    145 - me.
    2008-06-10 13:44:05
    153.   Vaudeville Villain
    139

    Even if the team turns it around, why should Ned get any credit? The players likely to turn things around for us are not going to be Ned's players.

    Will Juan Pierre suddenly develop the ability to hit?

    Will Andruw Jones/ Jason Schmidt/ Nomar Garciaparra miraculously get healthy and put this team on their backs?

    The only upside with this team is in the youngsters, and in hoping that they stop playing at a barely above league average pace.

    2008-06-10 13:47:34
    154.   ToyCannon
    153
    You mean the youngsters he didn't trade this winter ala Arizona and Detroit.

    Jones and Schmidt could still play key roles on this team. Furcal was our best player. Everytime someone disses Ned, they always find a way to exclude Furcal from the conversation when they say Ned's players, like he was somehow a Depo after thought.

    2008-06-10 13:47:41
    155.   Jon Weisman
    145 - I have a short Variety story coming out in the next 24 hours about who is more likely to win an Emmy.
    2008-06-10 13:47:56
    156.   Howard Fox
    153 if they are above league average in their first full year, hey, I for one am impressed and pleased
    2008-06-10 13:49:41
    157.   ToyCannon
    Anyway I'm done playing BHsportsguy role for the day. Enjoy the marquee matchup between the untraded phenom(drafted under Ned's reign) and the person who was probably Ned's best trade that didn't involve magic.
    2008-06-10 13:51:10
    158.   RELX
    I have said this before, but the problem with the Dodgers is that they are stuck between two philosophies, and refuse to commit to either one. Are they a veteran, win-now team, or are they a young team that needs a few years to develop? The Dodgers seem to want it both ways, which is why they sign win-now veteran players, and then play them alongside young players. Except for rare cases, it takes time for young players for develop, yet the Dodgers act like they are a veteran team on the verge of winning it all, if only the young players would somehow skip two years in their natural development. And when they don't, management gets upset. Look at the call-up of Kershaw as an example. If the Dodgers think they are going to win this season, then what was the point of calling him up, as he undoubtedly will struggle, as Billingsley did at first.

    This analogy could be extended to the hiring of Torre as manager, certainly a win-now decision. In 2-3 years, when the young players are hopefully coming into their prime, Torre will most likely be retired.

    2008-06-10 13:52:47
    159.   Jon Weisman
    158 - I don't think either philosophy needs to operate in exclusion of the others. It'd be silly to say this team can't benefit from having any veterans - as long as they're contributing veterans.
    2008-06-10 13:54:04
    160.   Gen3Blue
    99 That Colletti quote is some of the scariest, most irrational pap I have ever heard. You later talk about missed motivation --These "kids" at the point in their career and for what they are getting paid have much more motivation than veterans or Colletti. (Although Colletti may be getting some motivation from fear at this point
    2008-06-10 13:54:45
    161.   bryanf
    155 Jon, do you still do articles for SI.com? It's been a while...since preseason I think.
    2008-06-10 13:56:11
    162.   bryanf
    145 Colbert, I think, has a drier sense of humor, which I often find funnier. However, Jon Stewart is still a master.
    2008-06-10 13:56:40
    163.   Eric Enders
    158 "Look at the call-up of Kershaw as an example. If the Dodgers think they are going to win this season, then what was the point of calling him up, as he undoubtedly will struggle, as Billingsley did at first."

    I agree with your larger point, but this part of it isn't really true. There's no reason to think Kershaw can't be an above average major league pitcher right now, and I think the Dodgers called him up because they think exactly the same thing, and they want to win this year.

    Billingsley's so-called "struggles" in his first year were struggles only in terms of our huge expectations for him. With a 7-4 record and a 118 ERA+, he was one of the best pitchers in the National League the year he was called up.

    2008-06-10 13:57:36
    164.   JoeyP
    113---Whats crazy is that Jocketty brought Kennedy and Looper back...The former being useless, and the latter of some use.
    2008-06-10 13:58:35
    165.   ToyCannon
    155
    I was just curious which way the sense of humor leaned here.
    2008-06-10 14:00:08
    166.   Andrew Shimmin
    Sure, it's a good post, but I think Jon should have at least aired the theory (supported by Doctors AND wizards!) that the best two word explanation of this season is: Gary Bennett.
    2008-06-10 14:01:57
    167.   Eric Enders
    159 "I don't think either philosophy needs to operate in exclusion of the others."

    I think it might need to, though, given the addled thinking of the current administration. The two philosophies are often in conflict. For example, a team truly committed to a young-players philosophy would have installed Kemp and Ethier as everyday outfielders in April 2007, would have kept Dioner Navarro as a second catcher, would have given Wilson Betemit and Andy LaRoche legitimate chances at the third base job in 2007, would have made James Loney the first baseman from Opening Day 2007 forward, would have stayed with the clearly superior Chin-Lung Hu over Angel Berroa, would have kept Hong-Chih Kuo in the rotation, would have given Delwyn Young at least a few starts over the putrid Juan Pierre, and would have replaced the carcass of Mark Sweeney with Andy LaRoche several weeks ago.

    2008-06-10 14:03:56
    168.   LoneStar7
    I can't do this thing called working, let alone interning..

    I can't stop thinking about tonight's games, and how nervous I am that it'll all end with another Dodger Laker combo loss..

    thursday was, sunday was worse considering I watched both games at dodger stadium...

    glad Laroche is coming up, when does bison officially start serving the suspension?

    2008-06-10 14:03:59
    169.   bryanf
    167 True, but in some of those cases, injuries played a role in the decision-making.
    2008-06-10 14:04:10
    170.   Vaudeville Villain
    154

    I don't understand why people want to give a GM credit for not doing something stupid.

    You should get credit for doing something smart, not avoiding something bad.

    Furcal was playing way above his head and is likely to do some regression when he comes back.

    Suffice it to say that I disagree that Jones/ Schmidt will be able to give us anything even league average when they return from injury.

    2008-06-10 14:05:19
    171.   Jon Weisman
    161 - They froze their freelance budget temporarily in March, around the time I got the book deal. So I'm taking a hiatus, since I'm overwhelmed as it is. Might start writing for them again after I turn in the book copy Oct. 1.
    2008-06-10 14:06:49
    172.   Jon Weisman
    167 - "I think it might need to, though, given the addled thinking of the current administration."

    Valid point, but again, that's more about the administration than the philosophies in general.

    2008-06-10 14:08:06
    173.   68elcamino427
    166
    Bennett, Sweeney, Berroa.

    Pierre, Schmidt, Jones.

    Small payroll decisions, big payroll decisions, same result.

    2008-06-10 14:08:42
    174.   Marty
    145 I find Colbert much funnier than Stewart. But I like Stewart's show better.
    2008-06-10 14:08:58
    175.   JoeyP
    I thought the Furcal deal was pretty good in the context that Izturis was awful, and therefore the improvement of going to a still in their prime Furcal was a good move.

    But in hindsight, was paying Furcal 3/39 to play SS a great move? If Furcal puts up this year's numbers all the way through---of course.

    If he's the .280/.350/.410 player he's been his whole career---probably not. Not a move worthy of great praise, but not a move to deride either.

    I think a GM should be lauded when they take nothing, and make it into something. Rather than just taking gobs of money, and applying it randomly.

    No one's going to claim Brian Cashman or Omar Minaya are great GMs.

    2008-06-10 14:10:37
    176.   Bob Timmermann
    Marc Crawford is out as coach of the Kings.
    2008-06-10 14:10:48
    177.   D4P
    No one's going to claim Brian Cashman or Omar Minaya are great GMs

    ...outside of New York and Bristol, Connecticut.

    2008-06-10 14:11:26
    178.   Eric Enders
    175 I think it's hard to judge whether Cashman's a good GM because it's so hard to distinguish which moves are really his, and which moves were made over his head by Steinbrenner.
    2008-06-10 14:13:13
    179.   Jon Weisman
    Worlds colliding: Tommy Lasorda on TMZ.

    http://www.tmz.com/tmz_main_video?titleid=1599932109

    2008-06-10 14:13:45
    180.   Jon Weisman
    176 - I suppose I should have known the name of the Kings' coach.

    You do mean the L.A. Kings, right?

    2008-06-10 14:14:25
    181.   Bob Timmermann
    180
    Reggie Theus is still employed in Sacramento.
    2008-06-10 14:15:06
    182.   Vaudeville Villain
    175

    Furcal is a good player, don't get me wrong. But if your best offensive player is a guy with a career .779 OPS, then you have constructed a weak offensive team.

    2008-06-10 14:18:05
    183.   ToyCannon
    174
    I think you hit the nail on the head.
    2008-06-10 14:18:45
    184.   CajunDodger
    175
    I may agree with you about Minaya, but what do we really know about Cashman? If we want a good feel for how good he is as a GM, then it will take another year or two. This is a big offseason for him. He will finally be rid of Giambi's albatross contract and will also have to replace Abreu, and Mussina. In addition, Damon, Pettite, and Matsui are gone after 2009.

    He is also dealing with the regression/growing pains of youngsters like Cano, Kennedy, Hughes, and Chamberlain.

    This offseason and next will go a long way to determining his true ID as a GM.

    2008-06-10 14:19:44
    185.   CajunDodger
    184
    Forgot to mention the whole point which was that big brother Steinbrenner was looking over his shoulder for the past 12 years.
    2008-06-10 14:20:46
    186.   underdog
    So, who IS a great GM? Just curious. Who is a working GM right now who is unequivocally great?
    2008-06-10 14:20:48
    187.   Jon Weisman
    181 - Who coaches the Mambo Kings?
    2008-06-10 14:21:38
    188.   Bob Timmermann
    187
    Armand Assante
    2008-06-10 14:22:17
    189.   Jon Weisman
    183 - One guy is being himself, basically, and the other guy is playing a character. So in some ways, you're comparing different kinds of fruit.
    2008-06-10 14:22:57
    190.   blue22
    What was Cashman's stance on acquiring Santana? Who labeled Ian Kennedy an "untouchable"?
    2008-06-10 14:23:18
    191.   Bob Hendley
    0 - Jon, I was struck by the fact that Torre's name does not come up once in your write-up and wasn't part of the discussion (except for a couple of D4P jabs and a comment by underdog). I assume that this is intentional and he is not the story here (as Bob, would say, "move along, move along...). At the same time, one can see Torre's hand in a couple of player references, such as the nummber of plate appearances by Druw; the myth of JP as a lead-off man; Pee Wee being buried on the bench much of the season; Billz being mismanaged, at least at the start of the season; Kuo not appearing in high leverage situations; and Proctor's month of May. So, it is your judgement then that the sum of these don't amount to much in terms of W?L and where we are today? Its hard to disagree with that, though I love being outraged by Torre's moves.
    2008-06-10 14:23:31
    192.   ToyCannon
    186 I hate to say it because my brother used to work for him and he's a big jerk but I have to say I'm always impressed with how the Atlanta GM does his job.
    2008-06-10 14:23:49
    193.   CajunDodger
    This may be well known, but I just read that Jeter will be making $21 million in 2010...

    I'm not even sure how to wrap my head around that...

    2008-06-10 14:24:35
    194.   Eric Enders
    186 Mark Shapiro. Andrew Friedman. And I think Billy Beane's still got game.
    2008-06-10 14:25:49
    195.   adrian beltre
    i think bill smith from minnesota was widely considered to be pretty good. billy beane generally fields good teams. theo epstein, obviously, despite his payroll allowance. josh byrnes, other than the eric byrnes signing, could be lauded, at least for his ability to commit to the right philosophy of playing "the kids."
    2008-06-10 14:26:04
    196.   Sushirabbit
    158 , 159, 163, etc

    I'm not sure, but the way I read some of the signings is that Coletti ultimately values "the kids", the young core of talent, more than the flashy free-agents and sought to sign gambles with power upside to short term deals. That makes some sense to me. Pierre, not so much.

    2008-06-10 14:26:39
    197.   Marty
    Colbert was the best thing on the Daily Show when he was a regular. Now that he's gone, I'm pleasantly surprised that TDS continued to be very good. But I have to admit, I haven't seen the show in a few months so I have no idea how it's been lately.
    2008-06-10 14:26:51
    198.   ToyCannon
    189
    You are right, the question should have been, which show is more enjoyable to watch. Marty's answer made that obvious to me.
    2008-06-10 14:27:47
    199.   Eric Enders
    Andrew Friedman, Rays GM, is not to be confused with Andrew Freedman, former owner of the Giants, who Bill James once described as "George Steinbrenner on quaaludes, with a touch of Al Capone."
    2008-06-10 14:28:48
    200.   Jon Weisman
    191 - You're mostly right. I could have included Torre in the bullet points, but sort of felt he was implicitly covered. And again, my point was not really to start assigning blame or credit to people, but to advocate where the focus of coverage should me for those who need help focusing :)

    Since that all took a long time, I just didn't want to get into a Torre debate. The use of Kuo alone is worth a blog post.

    So for the record, I have offered no opinion on Torre today :)

    Show/Hide Comments 201-250
    2008-06-10 14:29:09
    201.   bigcpa
    189 To me Stewart is imitating Letterman. I know he's a smart guy but he seems to feign the dumb guy who ironically is smarter than the supreme idiots running the country (his opinion not mine). Am I off there?
    2008-06-10 14:29:41
    202.   ToyCannon
    197
    I never watched either show until this spring during the primary coverage when my brother was visiting and would be appalled if I didn't turn them on.
    2008-06-10 14:29:56
    203.   Eric Enders
    "The use of Kuo alone is worth a blog post."

    What use of Kuo? Is he still on the team?

    2008-06-10 14:30:07
    204.   CajunDodger
    186
    My definition is a GM who consistently wins and is doing everything they can to win in 5 years.

    Beane
    Gillick
    Epstein

    Byrnes in AZ is doing a pretty good job and Dayton McClane(sp) in KC and Friedman in Tampa are doing pretty well, but the jury is still out since they have not been there too long.

    2008-06-10 14:31:12
    205.   Bob Timmermann
    But Andrew Freedman did get much of New York City's subways and rail systems built.

    He just had trouble getting along with people.

    2008-06-10 14:31:13
    206.   Daniel Zappala
    I haven't watched a lot, but I do prefer Stewart to Colbert.
    2008-06-10 14:31:41
    207.   CajunDodger
    204
    Forgot Shapiro
    2008-06-10 14:31:57
    208.   Eric Enders
    I vote for Stewart.
    2008-06-10 14:32:07
    209.   Bob Timmermann
    You misspelled Dayton Moore as Dayton McClane.
    2008-06-10 14:32:22
    210.   underdog
    I like Shapiro, too.
    And the Atlanta GM, though he's also made some really bad moves (but he's made some great ones, too). He takes some risks that would scare me if I were a Braves fan. But it's hard to argue with how competitive they are every year.
    Epstein, too, has been successful, though yes you could argue he also had some great pieces in place before he arrived and has a huge payroll. (But then, so does Colletti.)
    2008-06-10 14:32:34
    211.   scareduck
    170 - You should get credit for doing something smart, not avoiding something bad.

    There is a homily that says, "Sometimes, the best trades you make are the ones you don't do." This is not the same as what Ned is presently doing; what I find frustrating in discussing Ned is that those defining his tenure as successful simultaneously lower the threshold of success. Did Dodger Stadium not burn to the ground? It's a great day! Did Ned fail to trade all the core kids? Success!

    167 - it's possible to have both, but if you sign veterans to block up-and-coming kids, that opens the door to legitimate criticism.

    2008-06-10 14:32:51
    212.   CajunDodger
    204
    Dang...Dayton Moore not McClane. Maybe I'm drunk...
    2008-06-10 14:32:53
    213.   underdog
    208 For GM? ;-)
    2008-06-10 14:33:52
    214.   Jon Weisman
    This is a DMV FAQ on the imminent hands-free law, in case anyone's interested:

    http://www.dmv.ca.gov/cellularphonelaws/index.htm

    2008-06-10 14:34:05
    215.   scareduck
    201 -
    2008-06-10 14:34:20
    216.   ToyCannon
    Joe Torre has not disapointed me because I expected to be disapointed. Just the fact he brought along his pet pit bull to handle all the unpleasantness he's to old to deal with anymore was a sign that his admininstration would be an unpleasant one for me.
    2008-06-10 14:35:56
    217.   scareduck
    214 - and this law will be used selectively to bust those whom the police dislike. Society generally will ignore it, just as everyone ignores speed limits on the freeways.
    2008-06-10 14:35:57
    218.   underdog
    Dayton Moore, Dayton Moore,
    galloping through the sward,
    Dayton Moore, Dayton Moore,
    and his horse Concorde.
    He steals from the rich,
    he gives to the poor,
    Mr Moore, Mr Moore, Mr Moore.

    ("I want you to hand over all the lupins you've got.")

    2008-06-10 14:36:25
    219.   scareduck
    201 - <rule 5 violation>
    2008-06-10 14:37:25
    220.   Howard Fox
    197 The Daily Show still has it. I watch it periodically and Jon Stewart keeps finding great writers and bit players (which is what Colbert and Lewis Black once were).

    Colbert is very good too, his bits are really good, but sometimes he is a bit too much for me and give me a headache...funny thing to say, cause I love Lewis Black and he does scream alot...

    I'd put The Daily Show just a notch below Letterman.

    2008-06-10 14:38:37
    221.   ToyCannon
    217
    the way it has always been
    2008-06-10 14:39:13
    222.   regfairfield
    Bill Smith has been pretty terrible in his short tenure:

    Got no real difference makers for Johan Santana
    Despite the fact that he claimed he couldnt afford Santana, he commited 20 million for the next few years to Joe Nathan and Michael Cuddyer, the latter may be the worst right fielder in baseball.
    It's far too soon to tell on the Delmon/Garza trade, but it was generally accepted that the Twins gave up way too many secondary players.

    Not too great for a guy with six months on the job.

    2008-06-10 14:40:04
    223.   ToyCannon
    Wow, Lewis Black came from TDS? I love Lewis Black.
    2008-06-10 14:40:23
    224.   oldfan60
    Great post Jon.
    One thing you can always get is a good field no hit SS or C. Like Wilson Valdez or Paul Bako (please forget his 2 HRs). Instead we have Bennett and Berroa.
    The worst mistake Ned ever made --and I haven't seen anyone bring it up--he offered Gonzo a second year. Imagine if we had Gonzo now and Young DFA'd.
    2008-06-10 14:41:40
    225.   Jon Weisman
    214 - Oh no, I've stumbled into another rule 5 violation, haven't I?
    2008-06-10 14:42:12
    226.   bigcpa
    219 Was not!
    2008-06-10 14:43:12
    227.   ToyCannon
    224
    You mean the Luis Gonzalez with the higher OPS+ then any outfielder on our team?
    2008-06-10 14:43:39
    228.   Bob Timmermann
    225
    ToyCannon will have a Bluetooth accessory hardwired into his Larry Bowa model helmet.
    2008-06-10 14:45:56
    229.   ToyCannon
    I once got a ticket for having headphones on long before cell phones existed. How bored must a CHP be to notice a guy wearing headphones and then decide he needed to pull him over?
    2008-06-10 14:46:04
    230.   underdog
    223 Have you seen Black's Root of All Evil show on Comedy Central? I guess there are too many potential rule 5 violations there, too, to discuss it in great detail, but needless to say I've enjoyed it.
    2008-06-10 14:49:02
    231.   Howard Fox
    I try to see everything Lewis Black does, I just find his whole schtick terrific. I saw him in Vegas, I laughed through the whole show and my wife was looking at me like "what gives?"
    2008-06-10 14:50:29
    232.   Eric Stephen
    DePo's blog post today uses a blackjack analogy in discussing the MLB draft. How can you not love that?
    2008-06-10 14:51:50
    233.   still bevens
    227 LuGo was good at the first half of last season for us, too but we all know how that turned out.
    2008-06-10 14:52:41
    234.   ToyCannon
    I should be working but I have a political football to deal with that I don't want to.

    I have a software consultant who I need to remove on a project, but the company already committed an additional 3500 to him before I came on board. No big deal except he uses an India middleware company to do all his sub contract work and they won't work with my other consultant unless they are told to do so by the guy I need to remove. I hate stuff like this. Makes me want to become Michael Scott and ignore the problem.

    2008-06-10 14:53:54
    235.   underdog
    There are several DVD releases today which I would not recommend as good first date movies.

    Funny Games (remake)
    The Wayward Cloud (unless you want to both fall asleep together, so that could work)
    The Bucket List

    Not sure where I'd rank The Other Boleyn Girl. It is a bit of a boddice ripper, so that could be a good thing. Or it could make one person want to behead the other.

    2008-06-10 14:53:55
    236.   ToyCannon
    233
    I know, I just find it funny in a bad way that he is outhitting our plethora of outfielders.
    2008-06-10 14:54:59
    237.   ToyCannon
    235
    Would the "bucket list" be a good 1st date for the AARP crowd?
    2008-06-10 14:57:20
    238.   Bob Timmermann
    One of the librarians on my staff was offered a free ticket to the Lakers-Celtics game tonight. She turned it down. She says her hand hurts and is afraid that someone in the crowd will bump into it and make it hurt more.

    She's not much of a sports fan.

    2008-06-10 14:57:46
    239.   Zak
    Bob, I hate correcting you for something said 2 hours ago, but I cannot let this go. Gandalf was obviously an independent contractor. I'm sure he's received 1099s and that's probably why you wouldn't find any W-2s.
    2008-06-10 14:58:09
    240.   Howard Fox
    237 yes
    2008-06-10 14:58:32
    241.   Eric Stephen
    238
    I'll give her credit for at least coming up with a creative or different excuse, but that pains me.
    2008-06-10 14:58:41
    242.   Howard Fox
    237 especially if he wants to get lucky
    2008-06-10 14:59:26
    243.   underdog
    237 Actually, yeah, sort of. Personally, I just didn't think it was very good. But I could see it making people teary-eyed.

    I'd be more keen to recommend a nice classic Michael Powell movie instead. Or something really meaningful and tear-inducing in a non-manipulative way, like the Italian two-parter The Best of Youth. But that's just me.

    2008-06-10 15:00:59
    244.   adrian beltre
    222- my bad, who was the twins gm before bill smith? he was pretty good, wasn't he?
    2008-06-10 15:02:06
    245.   D4P
    She says her hand hurts and is afraid that someone in the crowd will bump into it and make it hurt more

    She should try to stand near Celtic players the whole game. They (apparently) never touch anyone.

    2008-06-10 15:04:15
    246.   Ian Capilouto
    Maybe you guys should just all admit to yourselves that this team is what we all wished for with the young guys playing, but they just aren't very good. Hopefully in the future they will be. But, management has done what was largely hoped for by most fans, and this team is just not very good. They are young and collectively, they don't play very good. One bad at bat a game by Kemp might be acceptable if that wasn't followed by bad at bats by Ethier, Loney, Dewitt, Hu, and many other guys. They all swing at way too many bad pitches. Flops like Jones could be played through and JP can be nice addition, but the whole club plays bad a lot of nights.

    The team isn't good, and there is a chance they may get better as a whole and a good chance they won't. Baseball in a lot of ways is a crapshoot to me. It can never be completely defined in my opinion.

    Kemps strikeouts would be ok if he were hitting more home runs, but he is rarely hitting the jackpot which would be a nice boost in a close game where manufacturing runs is their only way.

    Anyhow, that is my Dodger synopsis.

    2008-06-10 15:04:18
    247.   Howard Fox
    243 237 it was a great movie, I was surprised when I saw it that it was as good as it was
    2008-06-10 15:07:17
    248.   scareduck
    244 - Terry Ryan, IIRC.

    Winner, Leaving At The Right Time Award: Pat Gillick (2003, from Seattle)
    Runner up: Lou Piniella

    2008-06-10 15:08:39
    249.   scareduck
    246 - I have no problem admitting that the Dodgers' kids aren't perfect, and in fact are struggling. I'd rather watch that and see them develop than watching a team of has-beens slowly (or quickly, in the case of Andruw Jones) descend toward retirement.
    2008-06-10 15:09:52
    250.   Neal Pollack
    This team sure looked good when it was clicking on all cylinders during the win streak. I still think it has potential. I just don't trust management to maximize that potential.
    Show/Hide Comments 251-300
    2008-06-10 15:11:11
    251.   adrian beltre
    thats right. he was good, if for no other reason than the liriano-nahtna-bonser heist for pierzynski. i have two questions with regards to evaluating gm's. 1) does one awesome deal have the potential to make up for other mistakes, like ryan's or whoever pulled off the kazmir for v. zambrano deal? and 2) do we need to divide gm's into two classes, based on "market" size, to fairly consider their performance?
    2008-06-10 15:11:57
    252.   cargill06
    don't know if it's been posted, sorry if it has

    dontrelle willis to A ball

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3436274

    2008-06-10 15:12:26
    253.   PHilldodger
    158 . I would look to the Cubs as an example of you can have veterans and young guys. The difference is that they have a number of veterans earning lots of money who are producing (Zambrano, Soriano, Fukodome, Lee, Ramirez, DeRosa), along with young players doing the same (Theriot, Soto, Marmol). And where they had gaps, they took fliers on low-risk guys without long-term commitments (Reed Johnson and Edmonds in CF for example).
    Dodgers have been hurt by key injuries (Furcal, to some extent Schmidt), and underperformance (Kent/Jones/Pierre/Nomar/Sweeney/Loaiza) from the big-ticket items on the roster.
    2008-06-10 15:13:08
    254.   D4P
    Maybe you guys should just all admit to yourselves that this team is what we all wished for with the young guys playing, but they just aren't very good

    I'm not opposed to this idea, but the young guys are combining to OPS somewhere around .800, which is "good". If the entire team was OPSing .800, we'd probably be in first place.

    2008-06-10 15:14:25
    255.   underdog
    Wow. I didn't realize Dontrelle had options remaining, for one thing.

    Bummer, I was hoping the Dodgers would get to face off against him.

    2008-06-10 15:18:03
    256.   PHilldodger
    246 We agree on the fact that the Dodgers haven't been very good, disagree on the why. If all the young guys swing at too many pitches, how is it that the highest OBP on the team belong to Ethier/Martin/Dewitt? Kent swings at a 3-0 pitch up out of the zone, flies out to right-center, and ho-hum, no big deal. If a youngster were given the green light and did the same thing, it would be an example of not knowing how to play the game.
    Everyone wishes Kemp would hit more homers. Two in the last week is encouraging.
    Juan Pierre is a nice addition, as a fourth outfielder. Hogging up 650 plate appearances as he will do this year is not the way to build a winning team.
    2008-06-10 15:19:15
    257.   CajunDodger
    245
    Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.

    I actually LOL'd at that one.

    2008-06-10 15:19:37
    258.   Eric Enders
    246 "Maybe you guys should just all admit to yourselves that this team is what we all wished for with the young guys playing, but they just aren't very good"

    Well, let's run down the "not very good" young players one by one then:
    DeWitt: Good. (At least so far.)
    Loney: Average.
    Hu: Bad.
    Kemp: Good. (Not great, but good.)
    Martin: Great.
    Ethier: Good.
    Billingsley: Good.
    Kuo: Great.
    Broxton: Average.
    Kershaw: Incomplete.

    So where are all these players who "aren't very good"? Sounds like the only guys you could be talking about are Hu (who wasn't supposed to be playing anyway), Broxton (who's been as good as anyone in baseball the last two years), and Loney.

    Color me underwhelmed by your argument.

    2008-06-10 15:20:24
    259.   Eric Stephen
    The leading candidate to replace Dontrelle's spot in the rotation, and presumably Sunday against LA, is Eddie Bonine, a RHP. That means a potential LaRoche opportunity (vs LHP Willis) could be lost.
    2008-06-10 15:23:54
    260.   Eric Enders
    259 "LaRoche opportunity"

    A phrase which will inevitably enter the lexicon alongside "jumbo shrimp" and "military intelligence."

    2008-06-10 15:24:13
    261.   underdog
    259 "The leading candidate to replace Dontrelle's spot in the rotation, and presumably Sunday against LA, is Eddie Bonine, a RHP."

    But he'll be useful to have around in case anyone gets motion sickness.

    2008-06-10 15:24:14
    262.   silverwidow
    258 Billingsley should be "very good"
    2008-06-10 15:25:03
    263.   CajunDodger
    258
    Is the Jeff Kent era over yet?

    His quotes were tiresome over a year ago. Now they are just disingenuous and spiteful.

    2008-06-10 15:26:58
    264.   CajunDodger
    256 not 258

    Having an off-day posting, but I'm a grinder. I'm old school. I post the "right way".

    2008-06-10 15:27:16
    265.   underdog
    The biggest problem for the Dodgers this season (okay, one of several) is that when they were hitting, their starting pitching wasn't good (except for times when both were bad), and then when starting pitching got much better, their hitting went way south (like, Antarctica). They have the talent, they have the pitchers, they have good young hitters, if they get Furcal back and put some consistency together so pitching and hitting both show up on the same day, they'll get some winning streaks. Could be a big If, but it's very possible.

    There, that'll be 50 cents, please.

    2008-06-10 15:32:33
    266.   cargill06
    265 i feel you on that.

    i can still see this team put together a lot of hot streaks and make a run.

    2008-06-10 15:35:28
    267.   LoneStar7
    263 Jeff did restore my faith in the home run in Dodger stadium, I was beginning to imagine that no one has or ever will hit more than 30 home runs in a season...it just feels like that kind of hitter will never be a possibility for us again.

    After that amazing Beltre and Green seasons, I lost faith that home run hitters can exist in dodger stadium.

    maybe its the crack down on steroids, but why does it seem so hard to get a power bat nowadays

    2008-06-10 15:39:07
    268.   bhsportsguy
    Emegrency Broadcast Alert

    For Lewis Black fans

    http://tinyurl.com/6r4s4f

    Now back to our regularly scheduled program

    2008-06-10 15:39:24
    269.   ToyCannon
    245
    Dat was funny
    2008-06-10 15:40:03
    270.   JJ42
    Anyone headed out to the game tonight at Petco? I'll be there but wouldn't mind bumping into some DTers.
    2008-06-10 15:41:53
    271.   ToyCannon
    263
    Why is there some myth that Jeff Kent is a 30 home run hitter as a Dodger?
    2008-06-10 15:42:02
    272.   LoneStar7
    267 and I mean he restored it briefly, this past week, by hitting two on thursday...I miss the long ball
    2008-06-10 15:43:39
    273.   LoneStar7
    271 sorry I didn't mean to portray Kent as a 30 home run hitter, or even a power hitter ever worthy of being worthy of the cleanup spot..

    I just meant his two jacks did get my fired up, even in a losing effort to see the long ball like that again..

    2008-06-10 15:49:34
    274.   Sharkie
    I agree Colletti is the main problem. He has not done well with FA signing, and most of his trades haven't worked out well. Ned doesn't seem to understand basic things, and he certainly overvalues "veteran."

    On overvaluing "veterans," I think it comes down to his time in SF. Bonds was such a force at the peak of his career that adding Bonds to a .500 makes the team a 90+ win team. Ned and Sabes probably thought that their idea of adding "professional" hitters around Bonds was the key to their success. So they may have simultaneously overvalued "veteran" and undervalued Bonds (in terms of affect on wins).

    Now fast forward to today. Ned uses a similar approach. He brought in some experienced guys to add to a core of youth. He blocked young players with older vets with no upside, which naturally creates tension and perhaps infighting. It's terrible mismanagement.

    Rather than learn the inner details of what makes a winning team, Ned probably would rather use easier to comprehend (but erroneous) labels like veteran, RBI, wins, and ERA. If this is true, then he needs to be fired. Because that's the sort of mentality that is not amenable to learning on the job.

    2008-06-10 15:51:29
    275.   ToyCannon
    Yeah, I love the solo home run, almost as much as a bunt single, stolen base, ground out to 2nd, score on a wild pitch.

    Matt Kemp actually hit some bombs that resulted in multiple runs scoring and a win or two last week.

    2008-06-10 15:54:59
    276.   jujibee
    Anyone here have any update on Greg Miller? His stats seem to have gotten pretty good over the last couple of weeks. Is he back on track, and maybe a possible call up later in the season?
    2008-06-10 15:55:29
    277.   Sharkie
    We'd see fewer solo shots, if the Dodgers would actually use their brains when they make a lineup. How about some OBP at the top of the order???
    2008-06-10 15:55:33
    278.   LoneStar7
    275 Its a visual thing for me, and I should of known even a half hearted compliment toward Jeff Kent would ruffle some feathers, and trust me I'm all aboard the Laroche to 2nd bandwagon

    I was merely trying to give some props to the 'stache for knocking a couple out, and regardless of how much we dislike him, hes old school, and is still one tough dude

    2008-06-10 15:56:32
    279.   MonkeyBlue
    Why aren't the Dodgers fan voting? Martin has been bump down to 5th place.
    2008-06-10 15:57:20
    280.   Howard Fox
    278 more like one crotchety old dude
    2008-06-10 15:58:51
    281.   LoneStar7
    279 I submitted about 6 or 7 today, but yea its embarrassing that Russ is that low
    2008-06-10 16:01:04
    282.   Eric Enders
    Martin is probably the leading vote-getter among mustachioed players, however.
    2008-06-10 16:01:28
    283.   Eric Stephen
    270
    I'll be there...don't know where I'll be sitting yet. Probably in LF, because I'll be trying to avoid the scoreboard as well as any possible references to the NBA Finals (which I plan to watch once I get home).

    Shoot me an email...eric d stephen (all together) at gmail dot com.

    2008-06-10 16:07:41
    284.   68elcamino427
    278

    Jeff Kent is a cranky agitator and he's been one for a long time. I wonder how he liked "There Will Be Blood"?

    2008-06-10 16:09:04
    285.   Neal Pollack
    Dodger fans are not voting because they're alienated from the team. Without Nomar, they're nothing.
    2008-06-10 16:10:15
    286.   ToyCannon
    The last time I went goofy for the all-star game was in 2004 when Izzy was tearing it up right about now and I filled out several hundred ballots for him. Then he realized he was Izzy and I felt foolish.

    Martin is nice but it is not like Molina, Soto, or McCann wouldn't be just as good a choice.

    The Dodgers don't really have an all-star this year so Martin will probably get the call as the backup catcher.

    2008-06-10 16:11:01
    287.   ToyCannon
    Sorry, 2005
    2008-06-10 16:11:28
    288.   Eric Stephen
    Tony Jackson probably revels in tormenting his anti-JP readers.

    Headline: Dodgers are taking early BP, but where's Juan Pierre?

    First sentence of blog post: "Oh, wait, there he is."

    2008-06-10 16:13:40
    289.   underdog
    I voted a few times today, including Russell of course. I mixed some of my other votes, but that was the one consistent one.

    284 That was his biography, so of course he liked it.

    2008-06-10 16:14:21
    290.   68elcamino427
    The Dodgers are obligated to Jones and Pierre this year and next year. Jones will be back after the All-Star break.
    What will the Dodgers do with all of their outfielders when Jones returns?
    2008-06-10 16:14:57
    291.   underdog
    I'm going to the Yankees-A's game tomorrow; my dad just told me he has two tickets. I'll be the one guy wearing a Dodger hat sitting next to a Yankee fan.

    --

    Tonight is going to make me too nervous. The Lakers in particular. I may need to be fed intravenously.

    2008-06-10 16:16:57
    292.   Kevin Lewis
    I just remembered that I ran into Judge Ito the other day, and I told no one about it. The problem is I forget where I saw him. Man, this lack of sleep from parenting is catching up to me.
    2008-06-10 16:19:18
    293.   ToyCannon
    290
    If it was only so easy, Pierre until 2011.
    2008-06-10 16:21:29
    294.   ToyCannon
    Which is harder to get up from the next day, lack of sleep from parenting or lack of sleep from partying. I've done neither in my life so I'm just curious from those who have done both.
    2008-06-10 16:21:37
    295.   Jon Weisman
    Tonight's lineup:

    Pierre, LF
    Ethier, RF
    Kent, 2B
    Martin, C
    Loney, 1B
    Kemp, CF
    DeWitt, 3B
    Berroa, SS
    Kershaw, P

    2008-06-10 16:22:10
    296.   dzzrtRatt
    Not spending much time on the internets today, so I'm late in agreeing that 0 was fabulous. Thanks, Jon, for being so perceptive and such a great writer. Clarity, it's a wonderful thing.

    As for 246 , where the nearly precise opposite view is articulated, you need to look at the teams ahead of the Dodgers that went with a larger than average infusion of system youth over a brief period. Tampa, Arizona, Colorado (last year), Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee (with one killer flaw): Their youth didn't all have MVP-type seasons as soon as they arrived. In some cases, you had teams go from the worst record in their divisions to contender in one or two years with basically the same players, who all grew into their roles.

    Whatever you think of Matt Kemp's performance right now, this week, biding our time with him playing this way is an investment in having a potentially great player in the next couple of years. That's not a rationalization for pushing for his inclusion on the roster, that's what happens. Ditto with Loney, DeWitt, LaRoche, even Hu (altho I agree with sending him down.) I'll be furious if LaRoche strikes out in his one at-bat tonight and the Times leads with it tomorrow, but I fully expect it. Pierre and Kent can go 0-4 and no one notices, but God forbid Loney hits into a double play with the game on the line. Incredibly hypocritical and damaging.

    What's going to irritate the heck out of me is when Jones recovers from his surgery, and Kemp is pushed back from being the starting CF into a three-way platoon with Ethier and Pierre for the corner spots, with Pierre presumed to be the most essential by Torre and Colletti. That's a decision to run a weaker lineup out there to justify a couple of very bad transactions. That's team management trying to sell spit as shinola.

    Naturally, I hope Jones comes back and hits for power now that his knee issue is resolved. But if he doesn't, Colletti should just admit his mistake and drop him onto the waiver wire, and let someone else try to profit from his mistake. Take the heat and get out of the way. Like Oprah, this team needs to "live its best life" by playing its best lineup.

    2008-06-10 16:24:32
    297.   LogikReader
    Dodger fans are not voting because they're alienated from the team. Without Nomar, they're nothing.

    I don't get it.

    2008-06-10 16:26:39
    298.   dzzrtRatt
    Rather than learn the inner details of what makes a winning team, Ned probably would rather use easier to comprehend (but erroneous) labels like veteran, RBI, wins, and ERA.

    If he wants to use those numbers, I could live with it as long as he used numbers from 2007-08 and not Y2K.

    2008-06-10 16:26:54
    299.   Eric Stephen
    295
    Jon, do you get a heads up email with the lineup? I haven't seen it yet from Josh Rawitch, Tony Jackson, or Diamond Leung. Or are you in fact at the game or have some lackey feeding you the info?
    2008-06-10 16:28:47
    300.   Jon Weisman
    299 - Yes to #1.
    Show/Hide Comments 301-350
    2008-06-10 16:29:46
    301.   underdog
    Jon's the only one who actually checks both his email and his blog more than once a day. ;-)
    2008-06-10 16:30:39
    302.   Jon Weisman
    Haven't linked to any Variety stuff in a while. Since it was brought up earlier, here's my short, short piece on Colbert and Daily Show:

    http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117987220.html

    And a slightly longer piece on Extras:

    http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117987218.html

    2008-06-10 16:34:42
    303.   CodyS
    The GM's move need to be evaluated largely on the information available at the time of the move. If your signing turns out way more terrible than anyone could have predicted, chalk that up to bad luck, not bad GMing. At the beginning of the year, we generally felt the Dodgers had a good team and would compete for the division and the pennant. That is because the management of the team did a decent enough job of roster composition. That the team finds itself where it is is partially bad luck and partially underperformance of many players compared to expectations. I don't mean to pick out underperformers by age, as we have underperformers all the way up and down the age spectrum.
    2008-06-10 16:40:11
    304.   ChicagoDodger
    158 I have said this before, but the problem with the Dodgers is that they are stuck between two philosophies, and refuse to commit to either one.

    I have felt this way for some time, and would take it a step further, saying they refuse to fully commit to the philosophy that would best support them in the long run.

    In my opinion, it's not enough to put young players in positions at some point, or if injuries dictate. A full commitment is a better plan, in my opinion.

    The frustration, most likely from many fans comes from the team not winning. Fully commiting to youth would erase that expectation (in the short-run), and should eliminate the frustration. At least for sane thinking fans.

    And this should not be looked at as a "giving up" thought process. Far from it! It is more a "gearing up" thought process!

    Jon's point about the team not being able to benefit from "any" veterans is valid, but by having so many expensive ones including the manager brings the expectation of winning to the forefront and again, provides the frustration for many of the fans.

    Perhaps inexpensive veteran free agents like a Shawn Estes type to fill out a rotation would make sense. But certainly not a $47 million pitcher with the expectation that he is all they need, when clearly that's not the case, even if he were to have pitched well.

    Is it impossible to think that rationale fans could not look at a plan in place to develop a core of young players, and if it took 2-3 years for the team to become a winner so be it? Especially given that said team had not won in 20 years anyway?

    Build the team up with youth. Save the money to sign the young players if/when they develop, and spend money on free agents that are truly difference makers, when you have had sufficent enough time to clearly define where your weaknesses are and will be over the next 5-7 years.

    2008-06-10 16:45:51
    305.   dzzrtRatt
    [303} But...a young player just starting his career who is two or three years away from his peak isn't "underperforming." He's ascending, not always in a straight line, but inexorably until he reaches his peak.

    I'm sorry, but unless someone can point to some specific issue with one of the young players ignoring good advice or failing to practice or stay in good condition, I'm just not going to go along with blaming them for where the Dodgers are in the standings.

    I almost feel the same way for players like Kent and Garciaparra of whom not much more than what we're getting should be expected because of age and physical infirmities. Apparently Ned didn't realize that also applies to Jones and Schmidt when he sent them bags of money to reproduce their great 1997 seasons.

    The "underperforming" Dodgers' list is pretty short actually. Brad Penny. Jonathan Broxton. Mark Sweeney. We've also had slumps, now over, from Russell Martin and Derek Lowe. Jones is still a mystery as to whether he's underperforming, hurt or just done. Everybody else is doing about what Ned should've expected, barring injury.

    2008-06-10 16:50:48
    306.   Fallout
    Ned Colletti has to be given some credit for not trading some of the kids for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. Cabrera was suppose to be the answer to the Dodger 3rd base problem. The Tigers, winners of the quest for Cabrera, came to realize that he can't play 3rd. Oh well...they also got Willis. Oh, well...Maybe next year.
    2008-06-10 16:53:14
    307.   Bluebleeder87
    Arizona's magical season is dwindling thus far, 3-1 Metropolitans 2nd inning, the Snakes had a nice chance to score a few runs but messed it up & the Mets took advantage of some "rookie" mistakes
    2008-06-10 16:53:32
    308.   Kevin Lewis
    294

    I would say the parenting. Although it depends on whether the feeding times were in-between sleep cycles. Sometimes I am very alert, and other times it is the hardest thing to just get out of bed.

    2008-06-10 16:59:12
    309.   Bluebleeder87
    306

    Ned is NOT Malone but he's signed some bad dudes, I don't know I smell the wind of change & it has Kim Ng written all over it.

    2008-06-10 17:01:15
    310.   Bluebleeder87
    5-1 NY, D-Wright just hit a BOMB with a runner on.

    NL West is up for grabs peepz.

    2008-06-10 17:04:52
    311.   Jon Weisman
    NPUT
    2008-06-10 17:07:20
    312.   Bluebleeder87
    Ned signed these guys & I gave my thumbs up too:

    1)Schmidt
    2)A-Jones
    3)Nomar
    4)Kuroda (to be fair I new nothing of him but it looked good)

    Ned signed these guys & I scratched my head:

    1)Pierre
    2)Loaiza
    3)Berroa
    4)[I know there is more but can't remember, little help please]

    2008-06-10 17:11:59
    313.   CodyS
    305 Did you expect the Dodgers to play .475 ball this year, based on the April 1 roster? If not, then they are underperforming expectations / having bad luck. It's pretty simple.
    2008-06-10 17:18:29
    314.   dzzrtRatt
    313 No, but I didn't think they were going to be any higher than second place.

    If you asked me would they be three games over .500, I would've probably assented to that forecast, however.

    Furcal is the Dodgers' MVP when healthy. Losing him was huge. Penny's "underperforming" and the less-than-a-lock performances from Broxton and Saito have also made a difference. Based on spring training, I was discouraged about Jones already, but I was excited about Ethier. Ethier started the season on fire...and then he started getting benched so Pierre could play.

    2008-06-11 11:14:15
    315.   PhillyBlue
    158 I haven't read through all the posts re: today's Thoughts, but it doesn't seem that many people are questioning the real talent of the "Kids." Martin is seemingly the only legitimate star of the pack. Perhaps Billingsley is close. Everyone else is still largely unproven. None of these guys are sure bets. If Kemp drives in 82 RBI this year with 15 HR, does that mean he is maturing into a legit slugger, or he is plateauing as the next Gary Matthews, Jr? Ditto Ethier and Loney. These guys really aren't that impressive so far: real good sluggers typically show their real good slugger-ness right from the get go. Maybe they aren't fine wines, maybe they're Jay Paytons. I'm getting tired of the 3-1 losses.
    2008-06-11 14:21:54
    316.   Mike De Leon
    Great article Jon and it's about time someone laid the blame where it belongs.

    19 22. I can't understand how anyone thought the Schmidt signing was a good one. I've said this before but I guess it was ignored, Schmidt suffered from shoulder problems while he was still with the stnaiG and when den was still the assistant gm. If you're a GM and you have that knowledge why would you sign him to such an expensive contract? If you're going to take a chance on him than it should be at as low a cost as you can get.

    The AJ signing was also a HUGE mistake and competant GM's saw it and didn't bite. There was a DRAMATIC fall off from 06' to 07', over 100 points in SLG% and 50 in OBP. It could have been just a bad year but instead of signing him to a 1 year deal with an option, to make sure that was the case he gets signed to a huge contract. As far as it goes I saw that AJ would be a bust and predicted a below Mendoza line BA with at the most 15 dingers.

    Then there's tha JP signing which was also a mistake. Kemp showed in AA that he could handle CF with a little more maturity. A smart GM would have signed a competant inexpensive journeyman CF til Kemp was ready. Instead he signs a guy who has a weak arm, no power- for dingers muchless doubles and, for a LO hitter, a terrible OBP.

    He also extends Nomar's contract in a panic move when Drew opts out, after Nomar has 1 good month when before that he was close to worthless.

    Top that off with the trades he's made, getting less value than he's sent and it adds up to an incompetant GM that has no idea how to build a consistant winning team: by building it from the inside out. IOW you have a great farm and bring up the cream and fill what you don't grow with trades and FA's.

    10. I disagree I think the manager has a ton to do with how the players are playing. Look at last year, Little, who I thought was a terrible manager, had basically the same team and had them in first place and playing well.Even with all the injuries to the SP staff. Martin was having an AS year, Kemp and Ethier, Loney were all doing well both at the plate and in the field and the future looked great. So what's the difference? Torre.

    Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.