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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
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11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Martin Has Staying Power
2008-11-05 08:21
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Dodger general manager Ned Colletti has quashed the nonsensical rumors that the Dodgers were looking to trade Russell Martin, putting an end to a theoretical conversation that went something like this:

"Martin tends to slump in the second half of the season."
"He plays a lot of games. He probably needs more rest."
"I hear he also enjoys the nightlife."
"Hmm. I don't know if that's true, but if it is, then he really needs more rest."
"So, we'll make sure he gets more rest next season."
"Sounds simple enough. No - wait - let's trade him."
"Cool!"

In the Dodger Thoughts world view, no one is ever off the trading table. You could have the best player in the world, but if there's a deal that somehow improves your team, go ahead and make it.

But the idea that the Dodgers would actively seek to unload a catcher whose only problem would appear to be, frankly, that he hasn't been able to sit still ... this just never made any sense.

* * *

As for Martin's need to rest ... I'll take this opportunity to question the conventional wisdom. Even three seasons into his career, we still don't really know what Martin's rest needs are.

In 2007, Martin's highest OPS for a month came in the dog days of August.

In 2008, a well-rested Martin had about 80 plate appearances in a month of Spring Training, skipped the China trip - then began the season 3 for 29.

It's true that Martin only hit three home runs in the second half of the 2008 season. But second-half slumps aren't limited to everyday catchers. They happen to ballplayers of every ilk.

If I were the Dodgers, yes, in 2009 I'd make an effort to rest Martin more in the first half of the season. It seems like a logical path. But I'd keep in mind that there's no guarantee this will make Martin a more effective player. The damage the rest does to his productive first halves, in terms of time missed, could outweigh the gains it provides to his second halves.

All I'm saying is that we just don't know. Let's feel free to form hypotheses. Let's keep gathering information. And we'll go from there.

Comments (65)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-11-05 08:36:57
1.   TellMeTheScoreRickMonday
All Martin rumors start with Gammons. Get over it, Peter!
2008-11-05 08:43:07
2.   Eric Stephen
1
I wonder how close the RuSS™ experiment ever was to fruition.
2008-11-05 08:43:17
3.   natepurcell
1

Gammons sees that his Red Sox have nothing at catcher, so he is trying to facilitate a lopsided trade for them.

2008-11-05 08:54:20
4.   savvyjr
In all honesty, the word from my "source" in the organization, was that management was disappointed with Martin's lack of development and attitude in the clubhouse this year. This may be the impetus behind the rumors. All of that said, I would have to think that as an ex-catcher Torre has a lot of say what happens here. I think if the Dodgers bring in a quality guy like Brad Ausmus, you're killing 2 brids with one stone. You all of a sudden have a suitable backup that can spell Martin, esp defensively. And, you're addiding a player known to play nice with others who may rub off more leadership skills on Russell that he's never been exposed to from another catcher on the Dodgers roster. Paul Bako and Bennett don't count.
2008-11-05 08:54:42
5.   CanuckDodger
What I wonder is, why is there no accountability for a sports journalist when he is shown to have got the facts in a story completely wrong? This happens again and again with Gammons and Rosenthal, and others. Is Gammons going to print an apology to his readers for misinforming them? Judith Miller at the New York Times said in newspaper stories that there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and when that proved false, she said she just wrote what my sources told her. But did that let her off the hook? No, she practically got thrown out of the New York Times' building. Now where's the accountability for Gammons and his ilk? And don't say the stakes were bigger with the subject matter that Miller was reporting on. Journalistic standards are not supposed to be relevant in proportion to the importance of a story in the grand scheme of the universe.
2008-11-05 08:57:13
6.   regfairfield
4 Should Joe Torre rub off on Martin, or does it take two guys to do that?

That just sounds dirty out of context.

2008-11-05 09:01:50
7.   ToyCannon
5
What are you blathering about? Gammons could easily have talked to a source within the Dodger organization. You don't know. What is he supposed to apologize for? This is baseball not some war scenario where accountability can be counted in human lives. His rumor did not damage anyone other then getting the hackles of some fans up.
2008-11-05 09:02:03
8.   Ken Noe
Is there a metric that identifies an optimum number of games caught by a starter before perfomance suffers? If so, would it break down in stages of the season as Jon suggests?
2008-11-05 09:05:37
9.   kinbote
If we sign or trade for a capable 3b, Torre may be less inclined to continue with his Martin/3b experiment. I am a DeWitt backer, but I could see Torre still tempted to play Martin there if DeWitt mans the hot corner. Personally, I saw enough of DeWitt at 2b to think he can be at least an average fielder at that position. We might be heavily in the 3b market this offseason.

As for SS, I'm ready to bid farewell to Furcal. I just can't see giving him a multiyear deal at full value after his injury past. I'm not sure if Hu/DeJesus/Abreu are realistic options, but there are other names out there: Renteria, Cabrera, Jack Wilson, et al.

People on this blog spend a lot of time debating individual moves Colletti has made, but it's the team's overall turnover that makes every year with Colletti a new opportunity for failure. Perhaps that's not phrased well. What I mean is that we are not a stable organization with a constant core of returning players. This whole "fill in the gaps with veterans" philosophy makes us way too dependent on the whims of a crazy free agent market.

2008-11-05 09:06:59
10.   Tripon
After two sturdy months with the Dodgers, free agent Casey Blake is hoping for a three-year contract, which might seem like a lot for a serviceable third baseman, but he has very little competition out there.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ti-gmmeetings110408&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

2008-11-05 09:10:51
11.   Tripon
Gammons updated his rumor on Martin, throwing Matt Kemp in the fold.

2. Russell Martin. Some Dodger officials have spread the word that Martin will either be traded or moved to third base, with a Jason Varitek signing a possibility. Whether or not it actually happens will be interesting to see, but teams looking for catching, like the Red Sox, will do a headfirst dive to get in on Martin, who turns 26 in February. I've also heard that the Yankees are making a major push on Martin and Matt Kemp.

Why the heck would the Yankees want Martin? They'd want Kemp to field CF, but unless Posada can't catch anymore, this makes no sense.

2008-11-05 09:11:10
12.   Ghost of Carlos Perez
5 ,7
My feeling is that this was a bad rumor started by the media (whether they started it from nothing, or whether they irresponsibly used a bad source does not really matter), but keep in mind that just because Colletti denies the rumor does not mean the rumor was false to begin with. In sports, people often repeatedly deny rumors only to take action that completely validates the rumors a short time afterward.

That is to say, I would be surprised to see Martin traded, but I would be no more surprised to see him traded now than I would have been before Colletti's comment.

2008-11-05 09:13:13
13.   Eric Stephen
9
What I mean is that we are not a stable organization with a constant core of returning players

Martin
Loney
DeWitt
Kemp
Ethier
Billingsley
Kershaw
Broxton

just for starters. The gaps to be filled by veterans have gotten smaller and smaller the last few years.

2008-11-05 09:13:55
14.   Eric Stephen
11
but unless Posada can't catch anymore

Bingo.

2008-11-05 09:17:41
15.   silverwidow
Dodgers have made no contact w/Beimel's agent.

Looks like Kuo/Elbert/Miller time.

2008-11-05 09:20:50
16.   Eric Stephen
15
Looks like the Dodgers may have lost one stalker/fan/public drunkard.
2008-11-05 09:21:35
17.   Tripon
16 And the Mets have gained one stalker/fan/public drunkard.
2008-11-05 09:23:22
18.   oshea2002
Back to the discussion last night of what Furcal was asking - Heyman claiming it's 4 years.
2008-11-05 09:25:23
19.   Kevin Lewis
17

And he will be closer to the home games for Beimel.

2008-11-05 09:26:33
20.   D4P
I don't have a problem with Furcal wanting 4 years.

But for he and his agent to expect the Dodgers to give him 4 years is downright insulting.

2008-11-05 09:26:50
21.   savvyjr
My point was that simply, as the manager, and having been a catcher himself, Torre shold be able to provide invaluable advice to management on how to proceed with Martin. I would assume that they will go after a much more legitimate backup catcher this year. The growth and maturity thing takes time, and I don't see it as having anything to do with his own stats per say.
2008-11-05 09:30:43
22.   savvyjr
Furcal is a difference maker and catalyst this offense will desperately need if they don't sign Man-Ram. Hu is nothing more than a glove off the bench, and the Dodgers aren't in a position to turn the every-day SS job over to Dejesus. Give Furcal 4 years if need be.
2008-11-05 09:31:41
23.   MC Safety
The Yanks want Kemp and Martin! Hah!

What a crazy couple of weeks this has been for me. That child predator they arrested in Long Beach a couple weeks ago was a good friend of mine from the neighborhood I grew up in. Talk about out of the blue. I'm still in shock.

2008-11-05 09:31:52
24.   D4P
Furcal was injured for 2 of the 3 years the Dodgers paid him, and he's older now than he was then.

No thanks.

2008-11-05 09:32:10
25.   Tripon
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?page=winterforecast/081105dodgers

John Shea profiles the needs of the Dodgers in the offseason. (And everyone else in the NL West.)

2008-11-05 09:32:13
26.   fanerman
Ned Colletti, voice of reason.
2008-11-05 09:38:00
27.   regfairfield
21 So what can Brad Ausmus do that Torre can't?

Danny Ardoin is pretty much the definition of "competent backup catcher", the Dodgers can look high and low, but we're not going to find someone actually useful to back up Russ.

2008-11-05 09:39:01
28.   CanuckDodger
7 -- And Miller talked to sources that she had good reason to believe knew what was going on in Iraq. And since you IMPLY that Miller's unintended misinformation DID "damage" people (as opposed to the decisions of politicians), I find it highly ironic that you would accuse me of "blathering." If Miller can be fired for relying on people in high places who told her things that weren't true, why is Gammons unimpeachable when he relies -- to just cite the latest case of about one hundred -- on information from "Dodger officials" that every Dodger fan immediately said didn't pass the smell test? In other words, why was Gammons so ridiculously gullible? Oh, sure, we're going to repalce Martin with Jason-freaking-Varitek. Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction was about 100 times more believable on its face than that load of crap. A good baseball journalist should have known that. I almost think these anonymous Dodger officials were having a joke at Gammons' expense. Perhaps they had a bet going over whether Gammons would be dumb enough to print the nonsense they fed him.
2008-11-05 09:39:51
29.   regfairfield
Are you honestly comparing WMDs to Russell Martin for Varitek rumors?
2008-11-05 09:40:41
30.   D4P
25
Furcal should be affordable after a back injury cost him most of the season

I guess no one informed his agent.

2008-11-05 09:41:35
31.   delias man
Now I really see the Dodgers wisely letting Furcal leave. That is another 10m/yr freed up. I see no reason why MANNY AND CC are not possible.
2008-11-05 09:46:21
32.   jasonungar07
I am gonna speak like an agent from now on!!
--
Though Paul Kinzer said that Furcal's value shouldn't be affected by his surgically repaired back because he has been medically cleared by the doctor who performed the midseason operation, he was told that Dodgers owner Frank McCourt doesn't share the same thoughts.

"It's no secret that they've had a lot of injuries in the last few years," Kinzer said.

---

"It's no secret that Furcal has had a lot of injuries in the last few years," Kinzer said.

2008-11-05 09:48:01
33.   Harold M Johnson
I don't think the Yankees are going to let anyone get CC. I think Manny is the Dodgers for the taking, but they may have to give him 4 years (I think 3 years is ideal).
2008-11-05 09:50:00
34.   CanuckDodger
29 -- I am comparing Judith Miller's gullibility to Peter Gammons' gullibility, and saying Gammons was even more gullible. Miller faced professional consequences for her gullibility; Gammons will no doubt continue to be judged a great credit to his profession.
2008-11-05 09:51:11
35.   Jon Weisman
5, 7, 12 - "In sports, people often repeatedly deny rumors only to take action that completely validates the rumors a short time afterward."

In baseball, at least, this is not true. It's very rare for a flat-out denial to be reversed.

You're correct that the likelihood of Martin being traded hasn't changed from yesterday to today - that illustrates the complete irrelevance of the rumor. But there is a big difference between a Dodger official going publicly on the record and saying something won't happen, and some unnamed Dodger official saying anonymously that it might. In short, Colletti's denial - while reiterating what most of us knew - is meaningful.

5, 7 - Gammons, Rosenthal, Heyman - all these guys should have no credibility. They are wrong so much more than they are right. But the vast majority of baseball's followers has decided to give them a free pass - people have decided that false news is better than no news. I get that people like these rumors to jumpstart conversation, but as you know, I think it's terribly unfortunate. There should be credibility in journalism, top-to-bottom. It demeans the entire profession. The fact is, whoever Gammons heard the rumor from, he did not take the time to check its credibility before running it. And that is his job. Printing news that you have every reason to believe might be wrong ... I don't know how, in the end, one supports that.

Any two guys in a bar can say "Maybe the Dodgers will trade Martin to the Marlins." Journalists - even baseball journalists - should aim higher.

2008-11-05 09:52:44
36.   savvyjr
I agree that CC is going to the Yanks as the highest bidder. The Dodgers better be prepared for "Plan B" when they are quickly out of the running for him, and Manny if they choose to stick to their guns of not offering more than 3 years. Where do we go from there?
2008-11-05 09:55:58
37.   fanerman
29 Russell Martin = Radioactive Man.

Up and atom!

2008-11-05 09:56:46
38.   Daniel Zappala
35 I absolutely agree. The problem is that 99% of the time there is nothing going on, so then journalists have nothing to talk about. We've built up a massive culture of sports opinions and rumors, and it's all as fluffy as a marshmallow.
2008-11-05 09:57:24
39.   kinbote
25 is a nice comeback to 13 . I don't think any Dodger fan really knows what the team will look like next year. We've been hearing about this "bridge to the future" for so long, but the reality is we still plan on restocking through free agency. We need to develop talent, not always look to the outside market for help. At this point, it's more than a trend. Admittedly, we have a core of talent; but, we keep making short-term decisions that lead to more short-term decisions.

It's easy to look at successful teams in hindsight, but Philly and Tampa Bay pretty much know what they're bringing back. Certain other teams have gone "all-in" and now need to regroup (Angels). I'm tired of finding ourselves with the Mets and the Yankees: large-payroll teams desperately trying to sort through a 30-team pile for the best available talent.

(I'm not picking a fight. Your comments are consistently among the very best on this site. Thank you for the response.)

2008-11-05 10:00:14
40.   Daniel Zappala
Today the Brad Penny Option Watch comes to an end.
2008-11-05 10:01:19
41.   Jon Weisman
Farewell, Michael Crichton.
2008-11-05 10:02:38
42.   Jon Weisman
NL Internet Baseball Awards:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8282

2008-11-05 10:03:56
43.   regfairfield
34 And no one really gets hurt when Gammons reports something, so I really don't have a problem if he gets something wrong.
2008-11-05 10:06:00
44.   CajunDodger
31
There are 4 reasonable (and I didn't say cheap) SS options out there: Furcal, Renteria, Cabrera, and Jack Wilson. If Furcal is gone, which is better...
2008-11-05 10:08:27
45.   Bob Timmermann
41
I met Michael Crichton once about 15 years ago at a County Library function.

He was a very, very, very, very tall man.

2008-11-05 10:10:48
46.   regfairfield
39 Philly either has to massively raise payroll, or they have no idea who's coming back. Hamels, Myers, Rollins, and Utley are the only sure things that matter.
2008-11-05 10:11:18
47.   Jon Weisman
43 - You really don't care whether what you read in a news story is true or false?
2008-11-05 10:12:38
48.   Bob Timmermann
43
Sports stories should have the same standards as news stories. Or feature stories.

Gammons is writing what is ostensibly a sports news column. He's not writing the NY Post Page Six for baseball gossip.

2008-11-05 10:14:35
49.   Eric Stephen
39
I didn't take anything personally, but I think the Dodgers are making strides. The need to develop talent is always there, of course, to avoid reliance on the free agent market. Their farm system has been consistently rated in the top 6 the last five years, but it takes time to blossom.

Look at Philly and Tampa Bay; how much losing (especially in TB) did they have to endure before it all came together? The Dodgers have a pretty good base to build around.

I don't mind jumping into the FA pool for premiere talent (CC, Manny, etc). There's a very legitimate concern that we may commit to the "wrong" free agents, but there is also an opportunity too.

Just throwing this out there: if the Dodgers sign CC, but not Manny, the 2010 lineup could be something like:

C Martin
1B Loney
2B Abreu/Hu
SS DeJesus
3B DeWitt
LF Lambo
CF Kemp
RF Ethier
SP CC
SP Billingsley
SP Kershaw
SP McDonald
CL Broxton
RP Kuo
RP Elbert
RP Wade

That's a hell of a core of homegrown talent (all but CC), and that's not even considering possible contributions from E.Martin/Withrow, and other recent draftees.

I think the club is in a good position this winter, and can the Dodgers "always compete" for the near future? Yes, we can. :)

2008-11-05 10:16:23
50.   Kevin Lewis
So, how long did it take Ned to squash this rumor? That is another thing that bothers me about the whole process.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-11-05 10:16:58
51.   CanuckDodger
43 -- So, like ToyCannon, you are drawing a causal link between Judith Miller articles and people getting hurt -- with "people getting hurt" of course being a euphemism for the Iraq War? We have been skirting close to Rule 5 territory -- and sure, I started that skirting -- but I am certainly not going to plunge into it. I brought up Miller simply because she was a high profile example of a journalist paying a price for falling short of journalistic standards, and I used that as a jumping off point to ask why these high standards are thrown out the window when it comes to the Peter Gammons of the world. At any rate, it is nice to see that Jon and I are the same page about this.
2008-11-05 10:19:34
52.   fanerman
I was hoping for a Politic-free chat today. Yesterday was exciting, but I'm spent and I could use a break.

I guess my Radioactive Man nickname for Russell Martin isn't gonna stick.

2008-11-05 10:20:19
53.   kinbote
49 I'm starting to warm to the C.C. plan . . .

Here's an icebreaker: Who will be the Cory Wade of 2009?

2008-11-05 10:21:44
54.   savvyjr
We've done a nice job of developing talent in the farm system, and have stuck with our "bridge to the future" plan. Trouble is, our gaping holes are going to be the middle infield, and that's the one spot we haven't developed major-leauge-ready players yet.
2008-11-05 10:23:26
55.   Jon Weisman
I think bringing in Judith Miller makes this a more emotional conversation than it needs to be.

The reality is this: Those who supervise Gammons, Rosenthal, Heyman et al (and I've worked for some of those people) value readership over reliability. It's not surprising, but it is disappointing.

As readers, I would just ask yourselves, what do you gain out of this? Say one were to concede that false Hot Stove rumors do no real harm. What do you gain from them?

The only answer I can see is entertainment - but that kind of entertainment is available anywhere. Whereas reliability is a precious thing.

2008-11-05 10:23:27
56.   savvyjr
Hu and Dejesus shouldn't be counted on as everyday players this year. If you want to keep them on the roster, then we should be shopping for back-up infielders in the mold of an Alex Cora or Angel Berroa to bridge that gap.
2008-11-05 10:24:25
57.   Ken Noe
53 Me too, unless we can get Manny for three years or less, which I doubt. I do like the looks of 49 .
2008-11-05 10:30:53
58.   CajunDodger
39
I like that thought. The problem with the Dodgers continues to be that even given the luxury of being able to afford expensive free agents, we have an incredible knack for choosing players who get hurt for an extended period (Schmidt, Furcal, Nomar (on his extension) Randy Wolf, Bill Mueller, Gary Bennett, Paul Bako, Andruw Jones) or just plain suck (Tomko, Pierre, and Jones).

Every team needs to build from within to be free from the burden of complete reliance on free agents or trades, but even Tampa made some shrewd choices that worked out well (Pena, Percival, Floyd, Iwamura) in filling in the gaps they had.

2008-11-05 10:36:19
59.   Eric Stephen
Let's look at this another way. The Dodgers have grown increasingly reliant on their core of homegrown talent. I looked at the last few years, and only counted original draftees or signees as "homegrown." I didn't count minor leaguers we traded for (Ethier) or international veteran signees (Saito & Kuroda).

Here is the percentage of PA & IP by homegrown Dodgers the last few years:

PA
2006: 17.6%
2007: 27.5%
2008: 46.7%

IP
2006: 16.8%
2007: 21.5%
2008: 42.7%

I see a positive trend here.

2008-11-05 10:38:41
60.   Jon Weisman
NPUT
2008-11-05 10:44:40
61.   kinbote
59 See, now you had to go bring "facts" into the discussion again ;)
2008-11-05 12:37:54
62.   TellMeTheScoreRickMonday
55 Wow, interesting direction in which the conversation pursued. The Judith Miller / Peter Gammons analogy would be a lot worse if Judith Miller was found to have had a bone to pick with political doves prior to writing her ill-fated stories. If she had been perceived as having such compromised objectivity, I assume she wouldn't have been in a position to have written the WMD articles in the first place.

I like Gammons, I think he's thoughtful and relatively insightful and I appreciate the fact that he was a three-time sportswriter of the year and he plays guitar and he's battled back from a stroke blah blah blah. I'm sure he's a nice man and would make an entertaining guest at dinner. But ever since this Manny trade to the Dodgers, I have really had to question his objectivity on all of his Dodgers "reporting", which seems burdened with personal vendettas and anti-Dodgers bias. And the Martin-for-Varitek BS is a prime example of his lack of objectivity in covering our boys in blue.

2008-11-05 12:38:28
63.   TellMeTheScoreRickMonday
sorry, that first sentence should have no "in"
2008-11-05 13:55:04
64.   Mariano Duncan Sheik
To even think this would be a possibility is ridiculous. What is this trip that the $20 bill is on to get Jason Varitek to LA?!?! That stroke must have really fried his brain.
2008-11-05 15:59:39
65.   68elcamino427
Let's keep gathering information

Has Torre said that he might like the idea of Martin playing 3B?

Has Martin said that he now sees the value of more rest?

Just say'in

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