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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Bench Beat
2006-03-14 12:16
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

George: What does she need? Maybe there's something that she needs.
Jerry: I think I heard her say something about a bench.

- Seinfeld, "The Deal"

Fairly or unfairly, people complained that former Dodger general manager Paul DePodesta did not prepare for the cataclysm of injuries that befell the team - that his spare tires were mostly flat. But it's worth looking to see if Ned Colletti has done much better with his bench, especially considering that his starting lineup will also feature players of questionable durability.

The assured returnees from the 2005 bench are Ricky Ledee and Olmedo Saenz. Joining them could be as many as three other holdovers, brought to you by the letter "R": Jason Repko, Oscar Robles and Cody Ross.

In addition, Sandy Alomar Jr. replaces Paul Bako - an exchange probably not worth analyzing, although it's worth noting that backup catcher wasn't a problem for the Dodgers last year.

Two other possible newcomers to the bench are:

  • Andre Ethier, who will be 23 next month and who had an .882 OPS at AA Midland last year, shows more potential to contribute than Repko, Mike Edwards and Jason Grabowski did. Grabowski, for example, had an .860 OPS in AA at age 24, back in 2000.

  • Ramon Martinez, something of a lock to make the team at this point as a reserve, is 33 years old and has seen his OPS decline from .749 in 2002 to .709 in 2003, .659 in 2004 and .639 in 2005. If Martinez is superior to what Antonio Perez offered the bench last year, his defensive value would have to be through the roof.

    So Ethier could be a step forward, but Martinez almost certainly will be a step back.

    Five other players could make an immediate difference for Colletti's bench.

  • Willy Aybar, if he is anything like the Willy Aybar of late 2005.

  • Hee Seop Choi. The debate about Choi has long since grown tired, but the fact remains that he could at a minimum platoon with Saenz should Nomar Garciaparra get hurt.

  • Joel Guzman. If Guzman earns the starting left-field job, that makes Jose Cruz, Jr. the fourth outfielder - which would be a tremendous boost for the reserves. Cruz isn't anyone's idea of Manny Ramirez, but his OPS has been above the league average the past three seasons.

  • Cesar Izturis. Colletti might benefit from Izturis' speedy recovery, if that recovery means that Izturis can pick up his early 2005 form that made him a superior bat to Robles (and of course, equivalent-to-superior defender).

  • Russell Martin, who could provide an on-base bat and solid defense behind the plate if the Dodgers embrace Alomar's coaching destiny. Martin and Dioner Navarro could each get into 100 games (accounting for late-game replacments), which would be plenty for them at their ages.

    The best-case scenario bench for the Dodgers, barring a trade, would be something like this: Martin, Ledee, Cruz, Saenz, Choi and Aybar. Some might mix Robles or Ethier in there, and I don't think it would make much of a difference either way. In reality, though, the more likely bench will include Martinez, Repko and Robles/Ethier in place of Aybar and Choi, with Cruz the nominal left-field starter.

    The 2006 Dodger bench might turn out to be better than the 2005 bench. But if that happens, it will be an improvement that is mainly the product of Dodger prospects becoming a year closer to readiness, rather than anything proactive Colletti has done. No matter where you fall on the DePodesta debate, it's hard to imagine that Colletti's two main outside acquisitions for the bench, Alomar and Martinez, excite you.

    This isn't necessarily a big deal, and it certainly isn't the make-or-break criteria for Colletti's value as GM. It's just a what-if warning in case Murphy's Law remains in force at Dodger Stadium. If the Dodgers have another injury onslaught but survive, credit at this point would be due to the team's minor league executives.

  • Comments (119)
    Show/Hide Comments 1-50
    2006-03-14 14:05:28
    1.   Uncle Miltie
    The best-case scenario bench for the Dodgers, barring a trade, would be something like this: Martin, Ledee, Cruz, Saenz, Choi and Aybar. Some might mix Robles or Ethier in there, and I don't think it would make much of a difference either way.
    I agree that this would be a great bench, but who would play SS? Aybar hasn't played SS in years. Robles would have to make until Izturis comes. I also don't expect Izturis to accept a role on the bench. That is something that Ned "the Communicator" Colletti is going to have to work out. Will Izturis be traded? Kent traded? I don't see Nomar moving to the outfield. I'd love to see the Dodgers package Izturis, Kent and a prospect or two for a big bat (preferably a LF). Aybar could then take over at 2B.
    2006-03-14 14:09:35
    2.   Faramond
    Bako has a more interesting name, so I prefer him to Alomar.
    2006-03-14 14:19:06
    3.   Jon Weisman
    1 - Yeah, you have to have Robles (or Martinez) there, I guess, if you don't think Aybar can pitch in at short.
    2006-03-14 14:22:34
    4.   thinkblue0
    great article Jon.

    This whole Martinez thing scares me. It seems like one of those stereotypical "earns a spot in ST but can't hit the broad side of the barn in the regular season" types.

    Again, the Choi debate has been talked about ad nauseum, but I don't see any reason he shouldn't at least have a bench spot.

    I think one of the more interesting things is what we do at catcher. Looks like we're going with one young and one old...but four guys to fill those two spots.

    I'm one of the few who thinks Guzman will be starting in Vegas...I'd actually really like to see Eithier make the squad over Repko...looks like we've got a lot of different scenarios.

    Speaking of, what's the date all teams have to have their rosters finalized by?

    2006-03-14 14:26:19
    5.   Bob Timmermann
    Teams don't have to finalize their rosters until Opening Day I believe.
    2006-03-14 14:28:14
    6.   King of the Hobos
    Uncle Miltie, to answer your question from the last thread, Lugo did pitch for the Devil Rays, so what you saw is correct. However it's Ruddy Lugo, not Julio
    2006-03-14 14:29:14
    7.   Faramond
    Is is ever a good idea to evaluate a player based on spring training stats?
    2006-03-14 14:31:01
    8.   Jon Weisman
    4 - I think most people would be surprised if Guzman were in the opening day lineup.

    The main thing with Repko is that if Cruz, Lofton and Drew start and Ledee is on the bench, his right-handed bat becomes more attractive to managment.

    6 - Ruddy - "The Dodgers traded me for Daryle Ward" Lugo?

    2006-03-14 14:42:03
    9.   anthscoot
    with Abreu playing so much SS this spring, any chance they're doing that partly so he can be a reserve IFer at the ML level until Izturis is ready? i.e., Izturis will rehab at Vegas playing SS and, once ready, will swap positions with Abreu, who would then go down to Vegas to play SS full-time?

    I don't know -- just curious to me that Abreu logging so much time at SS rather than at 2B.

    More generally, I wonder if the excess of 3Bmen and 2Bmen -- and the move of Guzman to LF -- might mean that they're considering moving Abreu to SS. Abreu supposedly can handle the position, only not quite as well as Chin Lung Hu. Since Abreu is more advanced with the bat (and a better overall prospect than Hu), my thought is maybe they're planning on using Hu as SS at AA, and Abreu (once Izturis is healthy) at AAA. That'd leave room for LaRoche, Aybar, DeWitt and Delwyn Young to man 3B-2B at AA and AAA.

    Just musings -- but wonder if there is more definitive knowledge out there on Abreu.

    2006-03-14 14:46:03
    10.   blue22
    Didn't Delwyn Young go to the OF with Guzman (maybe even last year)?
    2006-03-14 14:46:54
    11.   jasonungar05
    alomar
    ledee
    choi
    saenz
    repko
    ramon or robles

    is my guess

    2006-03-14 14:49:33
    12.   Johnson
    At this point is it accepted that Nomar can no longer play shortstop? If he can still cut it at SS, we don't have to worry about Aybar, Robles, or Martinez (or Izturis, if healthy) stepping in if Furcal goes down - we only have to find a first baseman. But I'm not about to mention who that could be.
    2006-03-14 14:50:34
    13.   ToyCannon
    What is more important is what we have in AAA ready to play if and when the injuries hit. I don't see the bench being any better then last year at the beginning of the year but we don't have the hubris of the 2005 AAA team. Come September we will have one of the strongest benches in baseball with LaRoche, Guzman, Ethier, Martin, and D Young all ready to play an important part in the 2006 pennant race.
    2006-03-14 14:53:36
    14.   King of the Hobos
    9 Abreu was reassigned to minor league camp today, along with Truby. He's a natural SS, but Hu has been blocking him, so to see him as the SS for Vegas wouldn't be a surprise (other than the fact he had a hard time with AA pitching, and probably isn't ready for AAA)
    2006-03-14 14:55:19
    15.   atg109
    Ramon Martinez has never been any good. He's aa scrap heap utility IF'er IMO.

    I'll be very disappointed if he makes the team over any of our young players. Aybar, Choi, or Robles.

    Hopefully Ramon Martinez gets sent to Vegas.

    No more Ex- Giants.

    2006-03-14 15:01:57
    16.   thinkblue0
    12-

    I believe Little has said that he might think about Nomar at SS if the situation arises.

    I'm more skeptical about our OF than anything else. I'm assuming Drew will be there at least most of the time...if for no other reason than this is a potential contract year. But can Lofton repeat? Can Cruz repeat his good year? If those guys falter, we're in some SERIOUS trouble with our lineup....

    2006-03-14 15:02:45
    17.   dzzrtRatt
    For Paul DePodesta to have been able to engineer a back-up crew of players who could have kept the Dodgers in contention after losing Gagne, Drew, Bradley, Werth and the rest, he would have had to almost violate the laws of physics. Other than Navarro, Broxton and maybe Aybar, everyone the team brought up to fill in DL-created slots were un-prospects. DePo did well enough to improve the ML team, and to throw a few new minor league pieces into the mix, but he simply didn't have the tradeable assets available to do too much more -- unless he wanted to wave goodbye to Guzman, Billingsley, LaRoche, et. al.

    There is a hole in the Dodger system. In 2005, the hole had settled firmly over the AAA team, but at least you could see to the other side of it on the AA team.

    DePo didn't create the hole. Evans didn't create it. It was Malone. The Malone effect will finally leave us, I think, after this season. By next season, we'll have a solid major league team, with a bunch of likely prospects who could step in if necessary, and will be pushing their way into the major leagues. We'll be Atlanta, or Oakland, at last.

    Colletti had less of a challenge than DePo, but I also think he did mostly okay in dealing with it. But the hole will hurt us this year. Not as bad as lasty year, but we'll feel it.

    2006-03-14 15:05:19
    18.   Gen3Blue
    Our core of prospects seems to show a good tendency of young players crowding around two of the most valuable position player places--SS and 2nd.( Aybar, Abrue,Guzman,Hu,Young etc.) As they ascend to the upper levels, if their bat merits it they can be spread to corners of both the outfield or infield.( Repko also?). At least its better than having a huge cluster of first basemen and left fielders!
    Also it occurs to me that a bunch of good high level prospects is not the same as a good bench for several reasons.
    2006-03-14 15:15:42
    19.   Jon Weisman
    17 - Well said.
    2006-03-14 15:29:17
    20.   Bob Timmermann
    So there's a hole in the Malone Layer?
    2006-03-14 15:36:37
    21.   ToyCannon
    Seaon Tickets have arrived. Now I'm officially geeked up and ready for a big season. We have plenty of holes but my 2006 wish list would be for

    1. Nomar to have a healthy season and give us a 2003 season.
    2. If Nomar can't be healthy then for Choi to make the team and break out his 250/400/500 line that we all think he could do given full time at bats.
    3. Kent to only degrade around 10% and to actually be the silent presence in the dugout instead of the needler that we don't need.
    4. Furcal to replicate 2004/2005
    5. Mueller to replicate 2005. Not asking for much.
    6. For Navarro to prove he's equal to the task of handling a pennant winning pitching staff at a young age while continuing his plate discipline.
    7. JD Drew gives us 2004 or even 2001
    8. Grittle realizes that Lofton's deal with the devil ran out in 2005 and moves Drew to CF and Cruz to RF and gives the LF job to JtD on June 1st. From June 1st on JtD gives us a Franceour imitation.
    9. Cruz proves that Aug/Sept were for real and only regesses from 301/391/532 to 260/350/475.

    1. Gagne stays healthy and becomes Trevor Hoffman since I think his velocity will never be what it was.
    2. Our Killer B's (Baez/Broxton/Brazoban) dominate as setup man.
    3. Kuo stays healthy and he and Hamulack become the best lefty twosome out of our bullpen since the days of Brewer/Perranoski or Howe/Forster
    4. Once our Killer B's are in place and 3 prove to many then we trade one of them to a team desperate for a "closer" and get a better return then Jackson/Tiffany.
    5. Lowe replicates last Aug/Sept but for the whole season.
    6. Penny pitches 200 innings.
    7. Odalis pitches 200 innings.
    8. Seo is sensational.
    And for the coupe de grace
    Tomko hits Bonds in the 1st Giant game and Bonds in a roid rage charges the mound and takes him out for the season but in so doing Bonds also re-injures his knee and is unable to ever play again. This of course happens before Bonds can pass Ruth and the silver lining is that Billingsly becomes our 5th starter and proceeds to win Rookie of the Year just beating our JtD.

    I'll let Oldbear take the negative view on each player and explain why we could be the worse team in the West which is also very possible if Colorado didn't inhabit the Western Division.

    2006-03-14 15:40:25
    23.   Linkmeister
    21 Is your real name Harry Turtledove? ;)

    (Google him, folks)

    2006-03-14 15:42:24
    24.   regfairfield
    22 Given an 85 million dollar budget, how does T-Dogg fix the Dodgers, giving them both a solid team on the field along with a deep bench?
    2006-03-14 15:42:28
    25.   thinkblue0
    speaking of Malone and terrible GM's...it always boggles my mind that Steve Phillips gets on ESPN and trashes and/or questions the moves of other GM's when he obviously didn't have the slightest clue as to what he was doing when he had the position.

    It would be like Repko criticizing the way Jeff Kent hits...

    2006-03-14 15:49:46
    26.   regfairfield
    Here's a fun contest: what was the worst move that Steve Phillips made?

    Off the top of my head:
    Kevin Appier for Mo Vaughn
    Jason Bay for Steve Reed

    Play along at home, it's fun and educational!

    2006-03-14 15:52:30
    27.   bhsportsguy
    The Dodgers lost significant time from all 3 projected starting outfielders, 3B, SS and their closer. Whatever you think about Baez deal, Neddy learned from last year that its nice to have a back up plan for the closer.

    Not only was it the Kevin Malone/Evans era of free agent signings (I believe Evans signed Dreifort) but a decade and more of horrible drafts that only changed when Logan White arrived.

    2006-03-14 15:54:42
    28.   regfairfield
    27 Nope, Evans is notable in that his two biggest free agents were Nomo and Wilson Alvarez.
    2006-03-14 15:58:04
    29.   Uncle Miltie
    26- Bay really hadn't done much in the Mets farm system and he was kind of old for a prospect. He looked like he'd be a backup at best. He didn't really develop until he got to San Diego (especially in the power department).
    2006-03-14 15:58:46
    30.   Gen3Blue
    17 yes-- very well said!

    21 if we are going wishing like that, why not just wish Kuo and Broxton become a starting pair remeniscent of Koufax and Drysdale, and thus inspired, Greg Miller says "Hell, I can do this," and eventually out does them both.

    2006-03-14 16:01:18
    32.   regfairfield
    29 All very true, but I don't think that's any consolation to Mets fans.
    2006-03-14 16:06:12
    33.   Telemachos
    31 So you'd effectively mortage the Dodger future for the next 5-10 years for essentially getting the same results as 2004? Finley, Penny, Pavano would all cost significant A-level prospects.

    Ironically, you said DePo made all the wrong choices yet you'd still have made some of the same moves: getting Finley, removing Encarnacion from the lineup, keeping Bradley, etc.

    2006-03-14 16:10:21
    34.   oldbear
    Its interesting that our bench last year is probably better going into the season than this year. Alomar, Robles, Martinez, Repko is ultra weak.

    Last years bench was better:

    C- Phillips
    1b/3b- Saenz
    SS- Perez
    OF- Ledee
    OF- Cruz
    Utility- Robles, Aybar

    2006-03-14 16:13:12
    35.   Jon Weisman
    34 - I don't consider that Cruz was a bench player last year. Sub in Edwards/Repko/Grabowski in that spot.
    2006-03-14 16:13:37
    36.   Gen3Blue
    I hope we develop a really great pitcher although Gagne fit the bill.
    I can remember watching S.Koufax vs. the Mets. Two pitches starting the same and yet so different. If you were looking for the curve--you could never hit the fastball. And if you were looking for the fastball, you couldn't hit it anyway.
    And Fernando: At his best I loved to watch him throw 3 screwballs in a row for strikes.
    Actually, the D's seem to spend a great arm to win the WS. Fernando was never quite the same after(was it 1981?) Same with Orel after 1988.
    2006-03-14 16:13:58
    37.   ToyCannon
    30
    Other then the Tomko fantasy I think it is very possible to have all the other scenarios come true. Having Nomar rebound to a 2003 level is probably the biggest reach but everyone else is certainly capable of that kind of success.

    34
    Except we didn't start the year with Perez(DL) or Cruz(Arizona) or Robles(Mexican League) or Aybar(AAA).

    2006-03-14 16:14:11
    38.   regfairfield
    Okay, assuming we can get these players for the ill defined prospects, we have the following team in 2005. (Dollar figures in millions).

    C Lo Duca - 5.5
    1B Green - 16
    2B Kent - 8
    SS Izturis - 3
    3B Undefined - .33
    LF Werth - .330
    CF Bradley - 2.5
    RF Finley - 7.5

    OF Encarnacion - 4.5

    SP Penny - 5
    SP Moyer - 8
    SP Perez - 3
    SP Ishii - 3.2
    SP Houlton? Lima? - .33
    SP Dreifort - 5

    RP Gagne - 10
    RP Scrubs - 2

    This leaves you with 1.5 million dollars to distribe between a bench and a third baseman. You also have no farm system. So I have to ask, how is this a good team?

    In case you forgot, the 2004 Dodgers were three games over .500 entering June. It was really only one really good month.

    2006-03-14 16:15:54
    39.   oldbear
    Couldn't have turned out worse

    Not winning the NL West would have been worse.

    Depo left us with a 7-8-9 of Cora, Mayne, pitcher

    I'd rather have 1 hole in the 8th spot, than Loduca, Encarnacion in the middle.

    2006-03-14 16:17:25
    40.   oldbear
    35. Cruz would have been a bench player had Drew, Bradley, and Werth been healthy. Now maybe DePo doesnt acquire Cruz if those 3 were healthy I guess.
    2006-03-14 16:17:33
    41.   natepurcell
    one of my favorite pitchers, daniel cabrera is pitching for the DR today in the WBC. With mazzone, i expect cabrera to improve greatly in the next couple of seasons.
    2006-03-14 16:18:22
    42.   regfairfield
    Wait, I forgot Weaver. While that does make your staff better, you're now 7 million dollars over budget.
    2006-03-14 16:21:35
    43.   Jon Weisman
    40 - Right, I just don't think listing Cruz as a reserve is useful for the comparison that's being made.
    2006-03-14 16:35:14
    46.   Jon Weisman
    45 - The goal was to do more than win the division. You can debate that goal, and you can debate the Lo Duca trade, but you can't fairly judge the trade without acknowledging that goal.

    The Dodgers won the division without Penny being healthy. Some say DePodesta should have know that Penny was going to get hurt immediately. Evidence shows that it was an unusual/freak injury. If Penny had pitched the innings expected of him, he would have been more valuable than Lo Duca.

    For all their problems at the bottom of the lineup in September and October 2004, the Dodgers' biggest problem was their starting pitching. That's what the Penny trade was designed to solve. Again, you don't have to agree with the move, but there was a legitimate purpose.

    2006-03-14 16:45:03
    47.   Marty
    44 is practically incoherent, but basing an argument on "Arizona is idiots" isn't much of an argument.
    2006-03-14 16:51:18
    50.   oldbear
    If the Dodgers stand pat and do nothing at the deadline they still win the division

    Why didnt that strategy work in 01,02,03 then? I think it was perfectly reasonable to try to win now (getting Finley), and build for the future (Penny, Choi, getting Nacion, Loduca off the books). It was the best move of both worlds.

    The Dodgers needed Penny moreso than Loduca. They needed Finley moreso than the 3 B prospects they gave up.

    And the best thing about it, was that Loduca and Mota werent going to be offered arbitration anyhow. They were gone either way at the end of the year.

    Its no surprise Mota broke down. He had logged alot of innings and was also an older pitcher. Sure Brazoban probably did better than they expected, but I think DePo expected to have a healthy Penny (like the 2005) version, not the one that got a freak injury.

    The 2004 trade was done to help the present and the future. What do the Marlins have to show for the trade? Arent they the real losers?

    Show/Hide Comments 51-100
    2006-03-14 16:53:45
    51.   Uncle Miltie
    nate- I'm a big fan of Cabrera. He has great potential, he just needs better command. I think he'd be a great closer, but that would be a waste of his arm. He and Bedard are a nice 1-2 punch.

    Which duo will be better in 2 years?
    Penny-Perez
    or
    Cabrera-Bedard

    I'm going to go with the Orioles, even though I like both Perez and Penny.

    2006-03-14 17:14:21
    53.   natepurcell
    wow. is anyone watching the WBC? cabrera is amazing.
    2006-03-14 17:24:25
    54.   King of the Hobos
    49 I hadn't realized how bad Arizona's transactions had been the last few seasons. While I'm not sure I'd base an argument on them being idiots, they definitely didn't help themselves with many of those deals. And yet, they still have all those annoying prospects. But at least they don't have Capuano and Overbay

    To make the Schilling deal worse, they traded Fossum for Cruz, and Fossum turned into a decent, although hardly spectacular, pitcher, and they cut Cruz a few months later, only for him to improve drastically once he was healthy

    2006-03-14 17:24:47
    55.   Steve
    Arizona was idiots. The jury is still out on their new regime.
    2006-03-14 17:26:57
    56.   Jon Weisman
    So our DVD player is broken, and my 10-year-old 27-inch TV - our main TV - needs $120 in repairs to be functional. I can't afford to make the leap to high definition. What would you recommend?

    a) repair the TV and buy a new DVD player
    b) buy a new TV and a new DVD player
    c) buy a new TV/DVD combo

    2006-03-14 17:32:15
    57.   Uncle Miltie
    b.
    or bet all of your savings on the Dodgers season with the hope that you'll win enough for HDTV and DVD recorder.
    2006-03-14 17:43:02
    58.   MartinBillingsley31
    Great post Jon, just like your previous post, i love it when you analyze the team.

    My wish list is similar to post 21.

    I'm wishing that we end up sometime during the season, somehow with a 25 man roster consisting of this:

    Penny lowe perez seo billingsley

    gagne baez brazoban broxton osoria kuo hamulack

    navarro/martin c, choi/saenz 1b, kent 2b, furcal ss, nomar 3b, drew cruz guzman of

    the 3 bench guys other than navarro/martin and choi/saenz being ledee mueller lofton

    I don't think we need a utility infielder on the team, if furcal or kent get hurt in a game then move a starter like nomar to ss or 2b for that particular game insert a bench guy like mueller or saenz at 3b, and immediately call up a ss or 2b from the minors and put the injured guy (furcal kent) on the 15 day dl.

    Otherwise carry a utility infielder and don't carry hamulack.

    2006-03-14 17:45:45
    59.   Linkmeister
    56 I just ordered a DVD player from Amazon (Philips DVP642), although I intend to use it initially as a CD player. They're having a free-shipping day on the thing, so it's $55, regularly $79.

    We bought a Sony 27" HDTV mid-2005 for about $600 with a free stand thrown in. Sell your car, buy the tube. ;)

    Actually, there's still relatively little offered in HD format (other than ESPN, which might be enough for this crowd..grins). It's gonna take some time.

    2006-03-14 17:56:32
    60.   dzzrtRatt
    50 We need another FAQ on the LoDuca trade, apparently.

    The primary rationale as I recall it is DePodesta didn't believe he had enough starting pitching to get to, or through the playoffs. Yeah, we were in first, but the Giants wuz not dead.

    Interestingly, the Dodgers ended up in first place even though they had little to show for that trade, i.e. Ross playing instead of LoDuca, but Penny on the DL after pitching only twice, and Choi playing himself onto the bench. Would LoDuca and Mota have made the difference against the World Series-bound St. Louis in the playoffs?

    We still have Penny and Choi. That in itself suggests the trade was a defensible one.

    2006-03-14 17:56:54
    61.   Jon Weisman
    59 - The leases are up on my car and my wife's in July. Two more rivers to cross.
    2006-03-14 18:07:22
    62.   Linkmeister
    61 Hmm. Use some of those "no-interest" checks the credit card companies send to you?

    We did that for the tv, and AMEX lost the charge for about 8 months. Finally the store wrote us a letter; we had a free tv for all that time.

    2006-03-14 18:10:07
    63.   Telemachos
    Your lease on your wife is up in July? :)

    Unless you want to spend $400-600 on a decent 27-32" TV, I'd say get it repaired and plan on going HD in the next year or so.

    But if you think your HD purchase is farther away, you can get a very nice 27-32" standard-def set that will probably be significantly nicer in quality than the one you got 10 years ago.

    52 Tdogg, what's your definition of "melting down"? Mota is practically the dictionary entry. While I was surprised and concerned that he was traded away (at the time), it seems pretty unavoidably obvious that Mota went into a complete nosedive ever since late-2004.

    2006-03-14 18:12:37
    64.   MartinBillingsley31
    I'd love a lineup somehow, sometime this season like this:

    Vs righthanders
    furcal ss
    choi 1b
    drew of
    kent 2b
    nomar 3b
    guzman of
    cruz of
    navarro c

    Vs lefthanders
    furcal ss
    martin c (obp machine i predict)
    drew of
    kent 2b
    nomar 3b
    guzman of
    seanz 1b
    cruz of

    With martin sometimes starting against righthanders and i would even put martin in the #1 slot vs righthanders when he starts vs righthanders, and put furcal in the #8 slot.

    Wishfull thinking tho.

    2006-03-14 18:55:40
    65.   Sam DC
    A little spring fire down in FL: "Diaz scored on a balk by reliever Taylor Tankersley. After the balk, Marlins manager Joe Girardi was ejected by home-plate umpire Angel Hernandez."

    from nationals.com notes on the game.

    2006-03-14 18:56:59
    66.   Sam DC
    Duaner Sanchez in for the DR in the top of the ninth, tying to hold a 1-run lead against Venezuela.
    2006-03-14 18:57:51
    67.   Sam DC
    Ouch -- he faces Bobby Abreu and Miguel Cabrera, then Victor Martinez.
    2006-03-14 19:01:35
    68.   dsfan
    26, 32

    Jason Bay had more going for him than you suggest at the time the Mets traded him. That he later evolved into core player was far from stunning to people other than Steve Phillips.

    Bay was a consistent hitter at each level with a broad skill set (not that Willy Aybar has ever shown Bay's power, but one of the similar things I like about Aybar is he does a lot of things at least OK).

    The Midwest League favors pitchers; Bay OPS'd over 1.000 there. Even at age 22, that's stout.

    Bay was solid or better in high A and double A leagues. His bat control was excellent -- tough to strike out and his slug rates were pretty good. Could've walked more, yes.

    Factor in plus athleticism, no PED rumors, scouting reports of the ball jumping off his bat to all fields and a slower immersion to baseball caused by growing up in Canada.

    2006-03-14 19:07:48
    69.   Sam DC
    Sanchez got Abreu on a called strike three, then got Cabrera to fly to center. Martinez walked, and then Orioles catcher Ramon Hernandez reached on a fielding error by Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada. Two on two out Carlos Guillen at the plate.
    2006-03-14 19:08:45
    70.   Sam DC
    Four pitch walk by Duaner loads the bases!
    2006-03-14 19:11:49
    71.   Sam DC
    phew -- Edgardo Alfonso flies to left. A scary save for Duaner.
    2006-03-14 19:19:14
    72.   dsfan
    Jon,

    I gave Depo good marks for the Penny trade. Still do.

    Still, there are related blunders:

    It seems evident that Depo inexcusably failed to collect background information on Penny's medicals. John Boles knew Penny well. Boles, a former Marlins manager, worked for Depo. Accounts are that Depo failed to consult Boles and that Boles quit because of it. Aside from being poor leadership, that's failed process.

    Would insider knowledge of Penny's shoulder ailments have precluded the trade? Hard to know. Did Penny's history of shoulder injuries signal the upper-arm ailment that shut down Penny? No concrete evidence either way. Some medical theories suggest a relationship between labrum damage and the symptoms Penny experienced. Were Penny's prior problems related to the labrum? Possible. If so, were they known by Boles? Possible.

    Two: Please don't seize upon this as a strong endorsement of "heart and soul" defense -- that whole angle was overworked by both the trade's backers and critics. But if you concede that such intangibles manifested in one player have any significant value, better to have another everyday player who can fill that void. Perhaps no such player existed post PL-D.

    2006-03-14 19:20:22
    73.   dsfan
    22

    Lots of good points, save perhaps the final graph.

    2006-03-14 19:26:49
    74.   ToyCannon
    Jon, your other option is to buy a used TV through the recycler while waiting to spend the big money on a HDTV flat screen. I got an excellent 27 Sony for 80.00 when my big screen died and I decided I didn't have the time to decide what my next great TV was going to be. Many people who have bought their flat screens are moving out their perfectly good TV at very reasonable prices.
    2006-03-14 19:48:26
    75.   Uncle Miltie
    68-
    The Midwest League favors pitchers; Bay OPS'd over 1.000 there. Even at age 22, that's stout.
    I don't know where you are getting those stats.
    http://tinyurl.com/zh948
    I remember Bay in the minors. He had good tools, but didn't really put it together until he got to San Diego.
    2006-03-14 19:50:01
    76.   Steve
    I tend to believe anything that makes Steve Phillips stupider, since there probably isn't much of a limit there.
    2006-03-14 19:58:58
    77.   Andrew Shimmin
    I was all set to rail against Jon, but then I reread the post and he qualified the part I disagreed with:

    Fairly or unfairly, people complained that former Dodger general manager Paul DePodesta did not prepare for the cataclysm of injuries that befell the team - that his spare tires were mostly flat.

    So it's the people who complained about the spare parts that I'm disagreeing with. DePo's bench/Plan B pickups were, largely, amazingly good. Probably mostly luck, but still. Jose Hernandez 2004, Dessens, Antonio Perez, Lima 2004, Finley 2004, Cruz, Houlton, Robles, Gio (I know what Steve thinks of him, but his 2004 numbers were spectacular, and his 2005 ones were only so-so). They aren't, and weren't, blockbusters, but as filler they were really great. And he gave up nothing, getting them. I'd even throw in Phillips as a good backup, which he could have been half of last year, and all of this one, practically for free.

    His big misses were Grabowski, Nakamura, and Erickson, but he got them practically for free, and their biggest problem was that they played. The other mistake was sending Roberts away for nothing, which hurt in 2005. I think that all of these, fairly examined, were much more harmful to the psyche of the fans than the W-L record.

    DePo had three big problems:

    1. Tracy's pet players and his vendetta cases.

    2. What looks to have been a very tight trade market in 2005. No big deals were made. If even the idiots aren't buying, prices are probably too high.

    3. Bottom heavy farm system. You can't be three deep at every position without a useful AAA team.

    So, even though the backups were probably better than league average, and maybe much better (I'm eyeballing it, so it's just a guess), he couldn't overcome the three big problems.

    2006-03-14 20:10:48
    78.   das411
    So flame away if this has been discussed already but did everybody see this quote about --someone--'s take on the whole Bonds steroid thing?

    "You know damn well that what you see is what you get. You can look at other people and speculate all you want. But you guys know that from looking at me, I didn't touch a thing. I don't worry about other people's numbers. You guys know me. I don't worry about your relationships with other people."

    http://tinyurl.com/o9bft

    2006-03-14 20:11:56
    79.   Andrew Shimmin
    77- I meant to explain why injuries didn't end up on the list of big problems, but didn't. The theory is that you have to plan for injuries, so, saying that there were injuries doesn't exonerate a failure to plan for them. Anyway, I wanted to point out that I'm not crazy, just more narrowly focused.
    2006-03-14 20:22:30
    80.   Steve
    Well said, and I concede the point about Carrara. He, like most middle relievers, frustrates me, but it's not like we traded Jackson and Tiffany for him. Or did we?
    2006-03-14 20:25:06
    81.   D4P
    To be fair, we traded Jackson and Tiffany for two Gios.
    2006-03-14 20:35:16
    82.   Andrew Shimmin
    Gio was a FA, signed June 2, 2004. The Cubs dumped him the day before, without his having thrown a pitch for them, it looks like. Maybe he had a bad ST.
    2006-03-14 20:43:41
    83.   ToyCannon
    The comments from Drew about his wrist on the Dodger site have to make Dodger fans happy. Maybe the surgeries will result in a better player, who was already quite a player when he played.
    2006-03-14 20:49:49
    84.   Andrew Shimmin
    Weird, Gio did have a bad 2004 ST (3 HR over 9 IP), but it was with Cleveland, according to Baseball Cube. They're not listed in his retrosheet transactions, and his 2004 salary is missing, too. This is evidence that, while we all might not be, Gio Carrara might well have been a figment of Choi's autistic imagination. Is there anything Choi can't do?
    2006-03-14 20:54:21
    85.   Steve
    Is there anything Choi can't do?

    Make Jason Grabowski go away.

    2006-03-14 20:59:28
    86.   dsfan
    75

    You and perhaps others trusted a suspect web site -- the Cube has holes in bios and it has at least one big one with Jason Bay. It omits Bay's Midwest League season with Clinton in 2001.

    Oh yeah, not a bad bit of work: .572 slugging percentage, .449 on-base percentage, about 360 plate appearances in a pitchers league.

    You can check the Clinton LumberJacks web site:
    www.mwlguide.com/years/2001/teams/lkings.html

    Jason Bay didn't just "put it together" after Steve Phillips traded him to San Diego.

    As I wrote, Bay had been a broad-based producer. I cited other factors in his favor -- stats, scouting profile and intangibles.

    Good-speed, three-position OFs who OPS at 1.041 in pitchers leagues should be cherished, not traded for the likes of Steve Reed.

    I highly doubt San Diego or Pittsburgh viewed Bay as some sort of obscure longshot. He likely was viewed as a very good bet to help as an extra outfielder, with the potential for good returns as an everday player.
    At least San Diego used him as part of a package that got Brian Giles. Phillips deserves the flogging he gets for this trade. Aside from being clueless about Bay, he traded him for Reed. Those Mets needed a whole lot more than Reed that July to become a WS contender.

    2006-03-14 21:01:14
    87.   Jon Weisman
    84 - the figment line is catching on! Faster than one can burnish the cat!
    2006-03-14 21:32:31
    88.   Bob Timmermann
    Stanford lives to fight another day as they beat Virginia 65-49 in the opening round of the NIT.

    The Cardinal move on to play Missouri State on Friday night in Springfield.

    2006-03-14 21:35:37
    89.   Uncle Miltie
    86- thanks for the stats. That was only half of a season though (I believe).

    I highly doubt San Diego or Pittsburgh viewed Bay as some sort of obscure longshot. He likely was viewed as a very good bet to help as an extra outfielder, with the potential for good returns as an everday player.
    Go back and read my post. I said he was basically projected as a backup in the majors. I think he did play CF at one point in his minor league career, but he had shoulder surgery, which weakened his arm. He never had a great arm though. He does have great range for a LF, kind of like Barry Bonds when he was younger. When I was following him in the minors, I thought of him as a guy with good speed and defense. He could occasionally pop one, but he definitely wasn't a power hitter.

    2006-03-14 21:36:01
    90.   dsfan
    77

    Am I reading this right? Are you crediting Depo with signing Lima and Jose Hernandez?

    IIRC, Dan Evans signed Lima and Hernandez shortly before Plaschke/Newhan/McCourt fired him.

    I'm pretty sure those were the last moves Evans made.

    2006-03-14 21:51:02
    91.   dsfan
    89

    It's all good, just talking baseball here.

    About 360 PAs of 1.041 OPS/.572 slug in a pitchers park is a pretty juicy "half of a season," no?

    You said it looked like Bay would be a backup at best. Indeed it likely did -- to Steve Phillips and many others.

    I'm saying that a few smart clubs likely thought Bay could be an everday guy -- that Bay didn't just take MiracleGro after the Mets dealt him.

    Beyond anything you said, I also believe "backups" too often is pejorative (again, I'm not saying that was your intent).

    I just think that's a whole class of talent that often gets lumped together.

    If you project as a good backup, one who can play all three OF spots, get on base and show decent power, at age 25 or so, you're probably underpaid.

    2006-03-14 22:04:47
    92.   Jon Weisman
    I completely forgot Stanford was playing tonight.
    2006-03-14 22:05:34
    93.   Steve
    That's true. It's also true that Plaschke/Newhan/McCourt fired Dan Evans.
    2006-03-14 22:14:57
    94.   Andrew Shimmin
    90- You're right. I didn't even look it up, since I thought I knew they were both DePo's. That's irritating.
    2006-03-14 22:16:34
    95.   Steve
    The BYU/Stanford street battle is one step closer to reality. Keep your kids indoors that night!
    2006-03-14 22:20:16
    96.   bigcpa
    New Rosenthal is up:
    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/5412672

    Caution, this might induce cramping:
    Looks like right-hander Edwin Jackson, the Dodgers' former top prospect, might tempt the Rays into putting him into their rotation. Jackson retired 15 of 16 hitters in his first two outings, throwing 94 to 96 mph with a devastating slider and decent changeup."

    2006-03-14 22:23:48
    97.   Steve
    Not to mention that Baez creates a "surplus" at closer -- along with Carter, Brazoban, Osoria, and 100 other middle relievers
    2006-03-14 22:41:33
    98.   tjshere
    93 As I recall, Simers deserves some "credit" for that firing, too.

    I certainly had no beef with Evans. Then again, I suppose when you follow Kevin Malone it's easy to look good.

    2006-03-14 22:43:08
    99.   Steve
    I would have felt much better about Evans if he had traded Mota. To anybody. For anyone. But not Jeromy Burnitz.
    2006-03-14 22:46:19
    100.   bigcpa
    99 Evans must have thrown you for a loop trading a middle reliever for another middle reliever (Herges for Mota).
    Show/Hide Comments 101-150
    2006-03-14 22:56:06
    101.   dsfan
    98

    Sure, give Simers a slice of the pie, too.

    96

    Rosenthal's laying it on pretty thick, portraying Ned as ulta-astute by signing Furcal and Nomar. They are defensible signings -- but plopping down $45 million ain't exactly clever.

    However, Rosey's optimism over the Izturis return is warranted (yes, I smell a Steve quip coming). I'd love to watch Furcal and Izturis up the middle.

    2006-03-14 23:02:36
    102.   Steve
    I'd love to watch Furcal and Izturis up the middle.

    For the Braves

    2006-03-14 23:19:54
    103.   Steve
    Seriously, even if I were to stipulate that he has value as a good field/no hit middle infielder, his Dumb Manager Abuse Factor (DMAF) coupled with his General Manager Porn Factor (GMPF) is way, way too high to keep on a roster to merely do whatever it is that Rosenthal is talking about (Rosenthal, I think everyone will have to admit, is kind of babbling when it comes to what Izturis will actually do if he does come back.). Moving Kent to first has no value unless you move Garciaparra to left, and even then, the value is dubious since you have two other first basemen. I realize that we have to massage this issue in order to get something close to market for him (otherwise the injury and the surplus could combine to net us Bob Wickman or some other functional equivalent of another Danys Baez), but I do think that whatever his limits, his market price will far exceed them. But the solution can't come at the expense of the team's talent or simply as an extension of Grady Little's latest love affair.
    2006-03-15 06:28:26
    105.   oldbear
    Isn't Penny in the final year of a contract.

    Penny signed an extension last season. He's here through 2008.

    Paul LoDuca was playing great baseball and had just played in the all star game. Guillermo Mota was the most dominant set up man in the game. Mota was awesome

    Yes, so DePo traded them at their highest value, and subsequently got back the highest return possible. If the Dodgers had waited till the end of the year to trade them, Mota would have lost all his value (since he imploded). And Loduca was due arbitration. He wasnt going to be tendered by the Dodgers (similar to Finley). So they couldnt have traded him bc other teams knew that he'd be released anyway.

    think 99.9999% of GM's would have brought back a lot more for LoDuca, Mota, and Encarnacion (salary dump) on 7/30/2004.

    What do you logically expect to bring back? I think Penny, Choi, and the prospect needed to ensure Steve Finley was pretty good. What should the Dodgers have gotten back instead, according to you?

    2006-03-15 06:40:14
    106.   Sam DC
    I knew comment 84 was going to make Jon happy.
    2006-03-15 07:29:58
    107.   sub4eraplz
    I look at the Penny trade now, and while I hated it when it happened it gave us something. Penny is definetly a great pitcher when hes on, and Choi has his moments...although far and few between. But I have to think who is to say Mota didnt implode because of the stress of a new team. If 50%-90% (whatever the hell that saying says) is mental that would definetly attribute to a guy going from a sub 2 era to a plus 4. Essentually I feel that the Navarro/LoDuca is a wash now. A .273 line v .283 line is washed out after taking age into account. Let alone the fact that hes cheaper.
    2006-03-15 07:57:54
    108.   scareduck
    84 - So our DVD player is broken, and my 10-year-old 27-inch TV - our main TV - needs $120 in repairs to be functional. I can't afford to make the leap to high definition. What would you recommend?

    (c) Putting up a wish list item on Amazon so Dodger Thoughts posters can buy you a new one.

    2006-03-15 08:12:17
    109.   RunninRebel
    Great post Jon. Regarding Ethier and Martin as bench options, if neither are guaranteed regular playing as starters they'd both be better served playing in Vegas everyday until a spot opens up on the big club. As polished as Ethier appears we still don't know if he's the type of player who needs to work everyday to stay in rhythm or can roll out of bed and play whenever his name happens to appear on the lineup card. The same goes for Martin (or Navarro if the Dodgers send him down instead). Instead of letting two young players languish on the bench, get them regular at bat in AAA. That said, my wish would be the Dodgers give Ethier the starting gig in CF and make Lofton the 4th OF while trying to ship Repko out for a spare piece ala Jason Romano for Antonio Perez.
    2006-03-15 08:35:34
    110.   jasonungar05
    "If I remember correctly, KC was willing to give us Beltran for him (Mota)".... but the deal was pulled off the table by KC because the dodgers insisted on including Loduca and Encarnacion
    2006-03-15 08:53:02
    111.   dsfan
    109
    Ethier doesn't profile in CF. He's a corner guy who can play CF in a pinch.
    2006-03-15 09:04:36
    114.   Steve
    113 -- He was kidding. We stopped giving out Sarcasm Meters a while back. Everyone has to bring their own.
    2006-03-15 09:23:06
    115.   regfairfield
    Encarnacion was at best a replacement level player getting 4.5 million, he has negative value.

    Unless the other GM values nothing but batting average, LoDuca's value isn't that high. His best on base percentage since 2001 was .335 and his best slug was .402. Plus, his second half slump is amazingly well documented. Dealing him at the trade deadline is the ultimate fantasy trade.

    Mota had a good ERA, but he showed signs of slipping in 2004, with his walk rate almost doubling. Obviously this was a bad sign, since he's stunk since he left the Dodgers.

    Even if we ignore Choi, what do you expect for these players but a young, established pitcher, and a prospect that could be turned into Steve Finley?

    2006-03-15 09:36:49
    116.   Bob Timmermann
    A sarcasm meter? Now that's a really useful device!
    2006-03-15 09:52:20
    117.   jasonungar05
    Sorry about the sarcasm!
    2006-03-15 09:56:44
    118.   Jon Weisman
    I'd still prefer a baby translator. "This leash demeans us both."
    2006-03-15 10:01:58
    119.   D4P
    118
    Or a wife translator...
    2006-03-15 10:04:21
    120.   Marty
    A sarcasm meter and a BS detector.
    2006-03-15 10:08:34
    121.   Marty
    If we could only bottle September 2004 Beltran and forget 2005 Beltran
    2006-03-15 10:11:27
    122.   D4P
    If we could only bottle 2004 Beltre and forget 2005 Beltre.
    2006-03-15 10:48:13
    123.   D4P
    Project BROTheR alert:

    Repko has gone deep.

    Repeat: Repko has gone deep.

    2006-03-15 11:14:37
    124.   D4P
    Navarro just left the game with a hamstring injury.

    Where is everyone today?

    2006-03-15 11:16:31
    125.   D4P
    Projecgt BROTheR alert:

    RBI single for Repko, with another runner thrown out at home.

    2006-03-15 11:22:20
    126.   oldbear
    I'm worried that there really isnt much difference between Repko and Kenneth Lofton.
    2006-03-15 13:25:57
    127.   overkill94
    112 A 3.15 ERA isn't dominating enough for you?

    Plus, Choi's playing time had not diminished one iota by July, here are his games played by month:
    April - 21
    May - 26
    June - 24
    July - 25

    and an .882 OPS is below average? Then you'll say "it's only because he had a great April" to which I would say, "his OPS was still over .800 in June and July".

    I swear you're just making this up as you go.

    2006-03-15 14:39:56
    128.   the count
    112
    Houston would not give up Oswalt if they were trying to contend. That year they dealt from their bullpen because it was a strength, so trading Dotel and picking up Mota would not make much sense.
    2006-03-15 19:49:54
    129.   Fearing Blue
    If I were GM, I'm sure I could have gotten three monkeys and a box of Cracker Jack for Mota, LoDuca, and Encarnacion. Take that, Depo! Making up ridiculous fictional trades is fun :).

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