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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

Dodger Thoughts Solicitation for Mail Continues to Pay Off in Lengthy Dodger Thoughts Content
2003-09-24 09:16
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Chris Hamilton writes:

Re: Tracy vs. Evans

I donÕt envy the jobs that Jim Tracy and Evans have had to do the last 3 years or so. They have both had to deal with restraints created outside their control and unrealistic expectations. Tracy might be the most patient man in all of baseball and even he seems ready to snap these days. Unfortunately, life isnÕt fair and they both knew what they were taking on when they accepted the job.

So where do the Dodgers go from here? LetÕs look at the pros and cons for Evans:

Pros

1) Evans has done a solid job rebuilding the farm system. It would have been easy for Dan to try and save his own skin and trade the farm for Giles, but he didnÕt.

2) Evans hasnÕt signed any dangerous long term contracts. Not that he had much choice in the matter.

3) Evans hasnÕt been an embarrassment to organization like previous General Manager Kevin Malone. He has towed the company line almost to a fault.

4) Evans has put together an amazing collection of pitchers that take advantage of one of the Dodgers biggest assets - Dodger Stadium.

Cons

1) Evans hasnÕt been very creative and when he has tried to be creative he has failed. Dan doesnÕt have much of a track record, but his one big deal, Karros for McGriff, has been a disaster. Editor's note: this is the de facto version of a series of transactions. Having to pay $6 million to Todd Hundley next year is really going to hurt. $6 million would fill at least one and probably 2 lineup holes this off-season. (Full disclosure: I was optimistic about this deal up until the Dodgers signed McGriff.)

2) Evans (or the people he has hired) loves tools. It has worked well enough for the pitching, but the hitting is a mess. By pretty much any standard the Dodgers are terrible hitters. It is questionable whether or not Evans even knows what makes a good hitter. This is a big problem in our minor league system.

3) Evans might get some undue credit for the farm system. Other than Loney and Miller, our other top prospects were not signed/drafted by Evans. Hanrahan and Jackson were both drafted by Malone and Gutierrez was signed in 2001 from Venezuela. Drafting HS players has turned out ok, but it remains to be seen whether or not the Dodgers can succeed long term drafting high schoolers.

4) Evans doesnÕt appear to have a good relationship with other GMs. The only way the Dodgers ever close a deal is to pay a premium or deal with someone who is desperate. Also, others have complained that Evans doesnÕt return phone calls. Because of the nature of MLB it is critical that a GM can work well with his peers.

In my opinion, it is time for the Dodgers to thank Evans for his hard work and part ways. There is reason for optimism in the future and I think it makes sense to make a clean break with the past. The decision becomes easier when you realize that Billy Beane could probably be enticed to take the job. Beane has a strong track record and is strong in every area where Evans is weak. If the Dodgers donÕt at least try I will be very disappointed.

I think Tracy is a good manager and I donÕt think that anyone else could have gotten more wins out of this group the last few years. But if the Dodgers bring in a new GM, they should let the new GM make a decision on the manager. It is critical that everyone is on the same page.

Re: Gammons

Judging by Gammons' track record, IÕll bet he was two busy listening to American HI-FI (or whatever is his new pop punk flavor of the week) to give his column a good once over for errors.

Re: Odalis

The Dodgers are going to trade one of their starters for a bat and Odalis looks like the odd man out. Hopefully, the Dodgers trade him to the AL because he isnÕt the type of guy I would want to be facing for the next 10 years.

Without neglecting or downplaying what Dan Evans has brought to the Dodgers as a general manager, Chris makes by far the best arguments I've seen for letting him go.

In a bit of a coutnerpoint to the long-term optimism found on this side, Rick Todd writes:

I think many of us are a little too positive on the future of the Dodgers. I'm not sure about you specifically, but the John of John's Dodger Blog and others that I've seen seem to think that the Dodgers chances will be regained with new ownership. The influence of FOX will still be felt. The best-case scenario I can think of with the Dodgers is they are sold immediately after the regular season, Evans remains GM, or Beane becomes GM after the A's do whatever they will do in the playoffs. I find this
scenario unlikely. I think more realistically, the Dodgers will not be sold in the off season, or at least not until late in the off season, which will prevent us from getting any big free agent position players, which we can afford and desperately need.
On top of that, even if Beane, whose name has been rumored for the job, were to take over, it's likely that his new style of leadership, and inevitable shakeup of the scouting and front office teams, will slow down any chances a quick and easy takeover.

If you look at our acquisitions, and the crap that Evans has had to put up with, since FOX announced that the Dodgers would be put up for sale, Evans has made ZERO multi-year free agent acquisitions. The last one he made was Shuey, in the middle of the 02 season. This is important because, no free agent wants to sign a one-year contract. They want stability. Unless they're old and broken (McGriff and Henderson), a good
free agent wants nothing to do with a one-year contract. All the trade and free agent acquistions this year have been to players who will retire after this season (Ventura), or be at best bench players next year (Henderson, McGriff, Burnitz). I guess the rub of this tale is, expect more of the same from the Dodgers next season, unless the team is sold
post-haste. And with the Glazer family running into trouble from Tagliabue and NFL, and FOX refusing to hand over cable TV rights, no one is chomping at the bit for this team. Not good.

Here was my e-mail reply to Rick:

Thanks for your letter. I think you make some good points - particularly that the Dodger sale may take a lot longer than people realize, or at least be a lot more complicated even after a buyer is chosen.

I'm not sure I agree with you about the one-year free agent in this day and age - look at Ivan Rodriguez, for example. I would be willing to say that Rodriguez is an exception to the rule you state, but perhaps not the only one.

My reasons for being positive about the Dodger future don't have much to do with potential new ownership - in fact, I might be as pessimistic as you on that front. What makes me optimistic is that at a minimum, some discipline has been instilled in the organization after a chaotic stretch under Malone. Yes, Evans doesn't always make the right decision, and I can concede perhaps better GMs can be found. But only one team in baseball has been able to buy its way out of its problems, and that team plays in the Bronx. I think that setting a spending limit has forced the Dodgers, in a sense, to go back to school, to learn what works and what doesn't. (And yes, they are clearly still learning.) The payoff isn't immediate, but it could be a long-term one. If you don't build a winning baseball team with one-year free agents, you certainly don't build it with one-year plans.

That leaves me cautiously optimistic about the team. Very cautiously. I stated saying several years ago that the Dodgers could become the 21st century version of the Cubs - 100 years without a title - if they're not careful. They still need to be careful.

Rick wrote back saying that Rodriguez was a good exception but perhaps more unique than I think he is. In any case, again, a reader has come in with some good points to be made.

Finally, in response to my query Tuesday about whether the lack of negative letters to this site indicated that I was merely preaching to the converted, Dan Reines writes:

Jon, is that your intent? To convert minds?

I, for one, enjoy reading your blog more than any other Dodger site -- actually, more than any other sports site. It's smart and insightful, and it serves as a sort of reference point for me when it comes to this team. But I'm not sure how or why I should be "converting," though I grant that perhaps it's not me you're aiming to win over.

In any case, I wouldn't be disappointed by flat numbers -- leave that to the boys at Fox. If you want hits, start raving about the team like Michael Savage or someone. I'm sure you'll get plenty of visitors. I won't be one of 'em, but whatever.

Seriously, Jon. I think you make a mistake in interpreting the silence of your audience as disapproval or disinterest.

I wrote Dan back to say that his point was well taken. My primary goal is to communicate - I wasn't supposed to worry what the reader does with that information. So after these few days of self-examination, I'm just gonna get back to going about my business, and let you guys react however you want. But thanks for indulging me to this point.

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