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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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5) discussing politics
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Whack
2007-05-22 08:55
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Things that my father and I said at Monday night's Dodger game.

"Chad Billingsley is going to mow these guys down." - me.

"Luis Gonzalez looked overmatched on that swing." - me.

"I can't believe I've never caught a foul ball." - him.

And then Billingsley allowed two inherited runners and three of his own to score, Gonzalez homered on the next pitch and a foul ball came screaming at my father, through his fearless hands, off his 72-year-old stomach and into the possession of a man two rows in front of him.

* * *

People worry too much about batting order. All the talk about whether Russell Martin should bat higher in the lineup and Juan Pierre should bat lower is just a smokescreen. It hardly matters. What's important is that the right guys play. Martin can bat eighth in my lineup if the guy batting second deserves to be in the game.

Fooling with the batting order is just a stall tactic. Though a new batting order might help a little, if it allows a team to postpone making critical decisions about the regular eight to begin with, it actually can be a negative.

Now, all that comes without any sort of thorough examination of the idea that moving Pierre to the leadoff spot or Andre Ethier to the No. 8 spot would somehow ignite the offense. To me, it's 52-pickup. If we make the conversation about batting order, even if it's framed in the context of making lemons out of lemonade, we're doing a disservice.

No one knows better than me that Pierre is here to play, which is why I try to spend as little time as possible talking about him. But batting him eighth won't help enough to make a difference. If we have to talk about Pierre at all, let's save our energy for what really matters. There are no consolation prizes.

* * *

Milwaukee whacked the ball Monday night. Whacked it. You forget what it's like sometimes. Now, this was a night that the Dodgers hit two home runs themselves and send a couple of balls to the warning track, which all in all is good for this team. But the Brewer bats had the snap of a great Italian sausage. They clobbbered the ball. And that's with their leading hitter, J.J. Hardy, going 0 for 5.

And still, the Brewers almost lost. Manager Ned Yost left Jeff Suppan in too long, and despite trailing, 8-0, at one point, the Dodgers put the tying run in the on-deck circle with none out in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Even in what appears to be a rout, the margin between winning and losing can be so thin. Team fortunes can reverse so quickly. We see it happen all the time, yet the primal need to anticipate the future can suck us into seeing only what will validate our beliefs. This week, I've heard the Dodgers called hopeless. Does that make sense?

It may get worse before it gets better, if tonight's starting pitcher for Milwaukee, Ben Sheets, has any say about it. But Sheets will face other teams this season, too. The Dodgers' rivals will face adversity. It goes around.

A week ago, we were talking about how, beyond all logic, the Dodgers could not beat St. Louis. Then they beat the Cardinals twice in a row.

The dynamic of the Dodgers hasn't changed. They're still a team strong in parts and weak in parts, and when you add it all together, you have a contender.

* * *

But the Dodgers do seem paralyzed by a belief system.

The initial analysis of Monday's pitching debacle was that Chad Billingsley didn't prove himself ready to take Brett Tomko's starting job.

But that ignores the question of why it's Tomko's job to lose in the first place? Why shouldn't Tomko have to prove himself worthy of keeping Billingsley out of the rotation?

Gonzalez homered and walked and Nomar Garciaparra singled in a run, which in theory means that we don't get to talk today about Matt Kemp or James Loney, which in theory is good because Kemp has holes in his game and Loney hasn't been hitting well himself. Meanwhile, home runs for Gonzalez and Garciaparra remain blue-moon occurences, and Pierre's on-base percentage fell below .300. Why do they get dibs?

Because they're veterans.

There isn't a doubt in my mind that if Billingsley, Kemp or Loney were promoted into bigger roles, they'd struggle at various times and turn in some downright horrible performances. Odds are, at least one of them could outright fail. That makes them no different from the vets. Not a stitch.

Meanwhile, if it clicks for the kids, you've got something spectacular. The vets, on the other hand, are out of clicks.

Wilson Betemit lost his grip on the third base job before Andy LaRoche appeared ready to take it. Is there anyone now unhappy that LaRoche is on the team? But the only reason it happened is because the Dodgers were willing to let Betemit lose the job. It was a debatable choice, but if that's what you're willing to do, why not do it with Tomko or Pierre? Heck, if it makes you feel better, follow Tony Jackson's suggestion in the Daily News and let D.J. Houlton, "who overhauled his mechanics in spring training and as a result is 5-2 with a 3.28 ERA for the 51s," have a shot.

The kids are better bets than the vets. They just are. I know the reality; I know vets have tenure. But the reality is wrong. And even if the Dodgers kick off a winning streak tonight, that won't change anything. The best bets are sitting and waiting.

The team's fortunes do not depend on these decisions, because in many spots, the right guys are playing. Most of the starting rotation and the bullpen is the best it can be. The Dodgers can win a division even if Pierre starts 160 games. This isn't about Pierre. It's about a belief system.

Not, as the opening to this post indicates, that I haven't been wrong before, but after the Dodgers forced us to be open-minded about so many uninspiring vets, now it's their turn to be open-minded about the youth.

Comments (125)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-05-22 11:09:10
1.   kngoworld
but after the Dodgers forced us to be open-minded about so many uninspiring vets, now it's their turn to be open-minded about the youth.

From your keyboard to Colletti's ears. I hope.

2007-05-22 11:13:36
2.   bhsportsguy
Just reposting something here.

At some point the pitching component will straighthen itself out, Chad and Hong-Chih are already here and Schmidt was fine yesterday after his bullpen session so I think in about a month we may see the pitching staff that a lot of us wanted out there every day.

As for the offense, I am worried that what we may have is a similar issue with Nomar that the Angels had with Steve Finley in 2005. But for an entirely different reason.

I am sure no studies have been done on this but let's examine the facts, Nomar hits better at home and at night. He hits worse on the road and in the daytime.

He is the father of twin girls. They are Nomar and Mia's first kids. By all accounts, at least in L.A., familiar surroundings and family have played a big role in his deciding to play here.

I just wonder if he is having some difficulty adjusting to the life as a father and as a professional baseball player.

I am not trying to be glib here but I don't think he is hurt, though that could be but his legs and knees seem fine.

Any thoughts on this possibility.

2007-05-22 11:15:54
3.   blue22
Pierre is due for a turn-around as his flyball outs revert to their career norms. If it takes getting him in the leadoff spot for him to have a better approach, then so be it (though I don't think the two things are necessarily correlated). I'd rather have a .330 OBP'ing Pierre in the leadoff slot, than a .295 OBP'ng Pierre hitting 2nd.
2007-05-22 11:16:07
4.   Dark Horse
#1 beat me to the punch. If only, if only, if only Ned Colletti would read this, and realize "veteran presence" ain't worth squat if said veterans can no longer play the game of baseball as well as those who are ready to replace them. That's not "new-fangled," it's merely a truth that's as old as the game itself...
2007-05-22 11:21:09
5.   paranoidandroid
Batting order changes won't fix the issue but can help shake things up a bit. And Pierre at the top is an ongoing issue that simply has to be discussed if you want to improve your team's chances of winning.

He is struggling. An on base percentage that is the LOWEST on the team and he's leading off? Remember when Furcal was dropped in the line-up last year? Remember how he responded?

It has to be more about winning than about veterans and their pride. Pierre isn't setting the table and he will get more at-bats than anyone else on the team at the top of the order. I'd rather have Furcal coming up with two outs and runners on base from the bottom of the line-up than Pierre. It doesn't always work out, but Pierre has been inconsistent and can use a wake-up call. I'd gladly move him back up there after a few games of getting it together. A day off won't hurt either, and I'm not talking about Thursday. I'll leave out my daily Matt Kemp diatribe, but...

Yesterday's game:
1. If Furcal put the ball in play last night with a runner on third and one out, we inch that much closer. Matt Wise had some nasty breaking stuff.

2. Tomko was at 100 pitches. Why not pinch hit for him in the bottom of the fifth if you aren't going to let him pitch to the bottom of the order after a dink hit and a walk to the guy hitting sixth who can bash the ball? Billingsley seems to be pitching well out of the pen, but seems to be having more success when he starts an inning than when he inherits runners.

Have I mentioned Matt Kemp yet today?

2007-05-22 11:21:10
6.   Jon Weisman
3 - But as you say, why would batting first make him less of a flyball hitter? Again, I feel the batting order talk is just a distraction. If the need is to get him hitting line drives, let's just talk about that. I would have loved to cut off your comment after the first sentence :)
2007-05-22 11:22:22
7.   underdog
Well said, Jon.

I really think some tweaking is in order rather than out and out panicking or overhaul. But whether it's Bills, Kuo or sure, Houlton, one of them should be given the chance over Tomko. We already know what he can and will do. Some of what an infusion of youth brings you, even if it's no more consistent, is making it more fun to watch the team and root for them. As you say, for the most part the right guys are starting, but in a few key places that may not be the case. A little bit of tinkering with some more youth will at least make this team more fun to watch.

Pierre's not going anywhere, it's true, and I expect his numbers to perk up at least a little bit as we go along, but I do hope Grady can see that sitting him once in awhile won't be such a bad thing.

More importantly, sorry y'all just missed the foul ball.

2007-05-22 11:22:33
8.   Kevin Lewis
2)

I think you are on to something. Nomar is probably not sleeping as well, and he certainly looks like he could use some rest. Honestly, it looks like some of the pitches he is missing would have been out of the park last year...sometimes he even looks surprised by it.

2007-05-22 11:23:35
9.   bhsportsguy
Great post Jon.

I agree with what you say, I am not sure why that it is though they were certainly ready to let Martin and Ethier play even after the vets (in Russell case, it wasn't a veteran) came back from their injuries.

This year it seemed like they were really prepared on the position player side for what always appeared to be the annual variety of injuries that would sit a number of the vets down. That way, Loney, Kemp, LaRoche, etc. would get the chance to play and if they happened to "take the job" then that could be taken into account if and when the incumbent returned.

Now that hasn't happened as yet.

Betemit was in easier call because he was in a battle for 3B in spring and had LaRoche not forgetten how to field in Vero Beach, perhaps the outcome would have been different in April.

But once Nomar and Gonzalez were signed over the winter, was there ever a chance that Loney and Kemp could compete for a starting job, even when Kemp made the team, it was because they wanted a RH bat and also Ethier was a little shaky out of Spring Training.

But there was never a chance that Kemp was going split time with Gonzalez or Pierre.

Now the season still has over 4 months to go and things could happen in a blink in the eye. Just look at the Yankees, everytime a pitcher starts, he finds a new way to hurt himself.

But short of some type of run of injuries, it would take bold steps to fix the everyday lineup because it would involve bringing guys up and that really can't happen unless those other guys are moved somewhere.

2007-05-22 11:24:14
10.   Jon Weisman
5 - "Batting order changes won't fix the issue but can help shake things up a bit."

It can just as easily make things worse as better - if it has any meaningful effect at all.

Letting Tomko bat didn't make much sense except for the fact that, with two outs, bases empty and Juan Pierre on deck, there wasn't much upside. But yeah, I was surprised he batted.

2007-05-22 11:25:24
11.   Jon Weisman
2 - I can only say that sometimes my job is a refuge from the kids, but having kids didn't make my job any easier.
2007-05-22 11:26:51
12.   paranoidandroid
2,8

He is stiking out a lot more this year. So is Pierre. Maybe Vin will stop with the "among the hardest guys in the league to strike-out" bit soon. It just isn't true this year.

2007-05-22 11:27:43
13.   Xeifrank
(ramble)
I have to keep reminding myself to be patient but that requires trust in Colleti and Little. My trust level hasn't quite made me comfortable in this area. It's true that on a day-to-day, game-to-game basis that lineup construction is not all that important. We are talking about tenths of runs or sometimes even less. Over the aggregate of a full season of 162 games, it could easily make the difference in a win or two depending on the change. I would welcome a move out of the #2 hole from Pierre into the #8 hole, as it would reduce his plate appearances by over 100, but it's not worth losing any sleep over. The Dodgers are what they are, a team built around depth, or lots of spare parts... and some of those spare parts can't be replaced because we overpayed for them out of a Macy's catalog. (/ramble)
vr, Xei
2007-05-22 11:28:20
14.   bhsportsguy
8 I don't have any kids so I don't know how that totally encompasses your thoughts once they are born.

It is often said that Tiger Woods accomplished a lot of his golf achievements as a single then as a married man but unlike Nicklaus, who started having kids around the same time he started his pro career, Tiger will begin that journey this summer.

And even then, given his status, money and scheduling flexibility, he will be able to plan out his golf and family life much better than pro athletes in team sports.

I am not saying that all the other guys who play baseball and have kids don't make the same adjustments, I am just saying that it might be a situation that Nomar is still getting used too.

2007-05-22 11:30:45
15.   Jon Weisman
14 - It depends greatly on what kind of father you choose to be.
2007-05-22 11:31:31
16.   blue22
6 - Why is he striking out more, and hitting more flyballs than ever? I don't know. Could be a small-sample size issue, could be him pressing to justify his contract or impress the new fans/teammates. Lineup spot seems to be something you can control, and like you said, doesn't make much of a difference overall (in terms of team offensive production). But if it causes him to even slightly alter his approach, then I'm for it.

He's going to play, and play often. I just want the best Pierre possible, regardless of where he's hitting.

2007-05-22 11:32:37
17.   bhsportsguy
Will Carroll had good and perhaps bad news for us today.

The good, Jason Schmidt could head out on a rehab assignment by next week. If so, he's about three weeks away from returning, well ahead of most predictions.

The bad, Derrick Lee is probably going to start playing again, maybe even today in San Diego. (Why is it that these things happen just before they play the Dodgers.)

2007-05-22 11:33:47
18.   bhsportsguy
15 Am I just swinging at air with this train of thought?
2007-05-22 11:36:15
19.   paranoidandroid
10

Sometimes it seems the appearance of trying something different can get something going. It can be the Hawthorne effect for all I care, I was just glad to see something change. That doesn't fix the offensive issues (nor defensive lapses), but it lets everyone know that things will change if necessary.

Regarding Tomko's hitting in the fifth, Kevin Kennedy said that in the organization it was taught to him that if a pitcher had given up three runs or less through five, you let him hit and try to get the win. That has to be old school and no longer relavent. We are trying to win as a team, not as an individual.

I would still like to see how it would shake out with just one day of Pierre, Martin, Furcal, Kent, Nomar being the top five.

And Gonzo got a day off on Sunday, but Pierre needs a day off too. Brady Clark is a fine 5th outfielder, but that other guy we have in AAA can steal a job from all three of our starters if we gave him a shot to do it. He must still be having more trouble with the off speed stuff than we realize. Or he's having maturity issues. Or he isn't 100% from the shoulder injury. Or Ned doesn't see what we see?

2007-05-22 11:36:38
20.   El Lay Dave
15 Exactly. How great is it for you to still attend a ballgame with your father, even (or especially) at our age (my father is 73)? I need to head to the stadium soon with my old man - thanks for the reminder Jon. Saaay, Father's Day is around the corner....
2007-05-22 11:37:12
21.   bhsportsguy
ToyCannon - BaseballAmerica.com will have a feature on the Chatsworth twosome on Memorial Day plus a rundown of the So. Cal. talent for the upcoming draft.
2007-05-22 11:37:24
22.   StolenMonkey86
6 - about the only way the order could change Pierre's OBP is if batting with the bases empty somehow made him more likely to reach on a bunt hit (less risk of a fielder's choice maybe?), or if batting 8th led to him being pitched around more often.
2007-05-22 11:38:57
23.   StolenMonkey86
which is to say I agree with Jon in 6 that Pierre won't stop popping up if you switch his position in the lineup.
2007-05-22 11:43:02
24.   Jon Weisman
I think the best way to get Juan Pierre to pop up less is to say, "Juan, we love you, but please pop up less."
2007-05-22 11:43:50
25.   paranoidandroid
14

Being a parent changed my life entirely. It matured and motivated me to be better and more efficient.

It also made me want to be at home as much as possible. It made other things seem so much less important than they were before my first child was born.

Getting to the level that Nomar is at though, he has to block out everything and can disconnect when playing the game.

He seems to not be driving the ball lately. He's pulling some grounders through to left field and pushing some to right, but I haven't seen him nail a ball to the gap or to the outfield wall in a while. One homer? Something is not clicking, but I have much less of a concern about him than Gonzo and Gonzo has 24 walks and 5 homers. It isn't logical, but I just have more confidence seeing Nomar up with runners on base than just about anyone else on the squad.

2007-05-22 11:45:11
26.   Hallux Valgus
"...and when you add it all together, you have a contender."

For me, this is beyond frustrating. The Dodgers front office seems content with just building a contender, rather than a real World Series threat. The best analogy I can think of is a sprained wrist. In terms of Championship contenders, the Dodgers weren't broken, but we were obviously sprained. When you sprain a wrist, at some point you have to take off the splint and let it get stronger naturally. It may hurt a little more at first, but it'll be stronger in the long run. Gonzalez, Pierre, and the like are the splint that's been left on too long. The youngsters may hurt a little more right now, but we'll be better off in long run.

2007-05-22 11:46:22
27.   JoeyP
Batting 8th and batting 1st comes to over 100Abs a year if the player plays 162 games.

100 less Abs for Pierre is a good thing, no matter how marginalized some make it seem.

If Martin batted 8th and Pierre batted 1st the whole season---or they flip flopped--that would make a difference. To pretend that it doesnt make enough of a difference to warrant a change, is ignoring an opportunity to improve.

Even in what appears to be a rout, the margin between winning and losing can be so thin.

So with such thin margins, wouldnt it be better to position the lineup in the best way possible, rather than just throw up your hands and say "It wont make much of a difference anyway."

2007-05-22 11:48:08
28.   bhsportsguy
2006 was by far the best year for rookies in a long time and fans of giving prospects a chance hoped that it was a new beginning for giving youngsters a chance.

Now we are still less than 50 games in the 2007 season but without looking, how many "rookies" of the position player variety have enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title. I am talking the entrie MLB.

I'll be back soon with the answer.

2007-05-22 11:51:55
29.   jasonungar07
Jon-The quality of your writing and perspective never ceases to amaze me. You say things so much better than I hope to.
2007-05-22 11:52:46
30.   Greg Brock
Lineup constructs are overrated, but they do matter. Moving an inferior hitter up in the order gets said inferior hitter more at-bats. More chances to do damage (and not in a good way).

Let's not totally disregard how the lineup is set. It matters.

2007-05-22 11:52:59
31.   underdog
How about adding one of those little dog-collar shocking devices that jolts Pierre everytime he pops up? After awhile, he'll learn, trust me, he'll learn. (You think I'm kidding...)
2007-05-22 11:55:13
32.   Jon Weisman
26 - "The Dodgers front office seems content with just building a contender, rather than a real World Series threat."

I don't think that's true. I just think they have blind spots about how to build a real threat.

27 - "So with such thin margins, wouldnt it be better to position the lineup in the best way possible, rather than just throw up your hands and say "It wont make much of a difference anyway." "

That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that changing batting order might make a difference, but not enough of a difference to compensate for not making the real decision that needs to be made.

I said I understand the reality that Pierre is here to play. That doesn't change the fact that if moving Pierre down to eighth makes it easier for Matt Kemp to remain in Las Vegas, by mollifying Pierre critics, than the fixation on the batting order is a net negative.

If, on the other hand, the goal is getting Pierre out of the lineup or bust - if that's the platform, if batting him eighth isn't tolerated as a solution, than if the Dodgers do fall out of first place, the important change can come more quickly.

Tolerating Pierre at the No. 8 slot gives the Dodgers more excuses to play him at the expense of a better player.

I'm basically saying, if we're going to fight, let's fight the bigger fight.

2007-05-22 11:56:25
33.   underdog
I know the roster is just not big enough for all my hopes and dreams, but ideally I really think Nomar and Loney should be platooning at first. Nomar really does look tired - whether it's age, the babies, injuries or whathaveyou - he needs more time off, and the severe day/night splits would seem to be an indicator of that. If Olmedo Saenz hadn't been such an amazingly productive pinch hitter for us the last couple of years I'd almost suggest replacing him with Loney, but I know that's probably heresy. I don't know where else to find a place for Kemp or Loney other than one less pitcher, or Brady Clark - but I think it's good to have that 4th/5th outfielder. If only we could just expand the roster by one.
2007-05-22 11:58:08
34.   JimBilly4
As a recent father (7 months) of twins, I can tell you they sap a lot out of you. Now I am sure Nomar has live-in help, but if he wants to be a fully participating dad and husband he will have very little psychic energy left for baseball. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there was a connection to his reduced level of play.

That being said, Gonzo managed some of his best years with newborn triplets, so it doesn't have to be so. I just know for me, my batting average and slugging would be down.

That is, if there is something less than .000 which is probably what I would be hitting if I played major league baseball.

2007-05-22 11:58:11
35.   Greg Brock
32 Do you really think there is any possiblility that the 44 million dollar man sits? I'm not being sarcastic at all...I'm really curious if you think it's a possibility.

As long as he hits north of .270, I don't see any way he gets pushed out of the lineup. It's hard to admit a mistake that horrendous.

2007-05-22 12:00:46
36.   regfairfield
I'm still completely baffled about Nomar having a no trade clause. If Loney becomes amazingly productive at any time over the next two years, he's not doing anything until Nomar gets hurt.

The only thing I can infer from this is that Colletti has zero faith in Loney, I just have to figure out why.

2007-05-22 12:03:56
37.   D4P
The only thing I can infer from this is that Colletti has zero faith in Loney, I just have to figure out why

It's strange, in that Loney would seem to be Ned's kinda player/person in a lot of ways. Other than the obvious fact that he's young, of course.

2007-05-22 12:04:01
38.   ToyCannon
21
Thanks for the headsup.
2007-05-22 12:04:19
39.   weatherman
How do we get the young guys on the field? Here's a solution:

We start 4 outfielders and have Raffy cover both Short and Third.

What do you think?

2007-05-22 12:06:02
40.   blue22
36 - I was surprised yesterday to learn that Loney has quit playing the OF in Vegas. That means that Loney's future in LA is as tradebait or insurance against a Nomar injury. With the lackluster OF play in LA, that is very discouraging.
2007-05-22 12:06:22
41.   kinbote
one impression i had in watching last night's game was flat-out envy for prince fielder, or at least the idea of prince fielder. even though he will never hit bombs quite like fielder [who will?], loney at least brings the possibility for excitement to the plate. i'm starting to think nomar is our weakest link: a 3-hole hitting 1b with no power and little patience.
2007-05-22 12:07:38
42.   Jon Weisman
35 - I think there's a possibility that's slim enough that to make it easier for the Dodgers to not do it would be a mistake. But yes, I think there's a possibility.

I don't think there's a possibility that Pierre will be traded this year, as some have floated, but I do think that if the guy continues as he is doing and Kemp plays well, Pierre could find himself on the bench.

For example, some have pointed out that Pierre keeps hitting the ball in the air. If he can't stop it, that's the kind of visual thing that could grate on Grady.

No doubt, there would be the typical cycle - he gets a day off but pinch-runs, then he plays some more. But yes, I think it could happen.

Whatever the difference between Pierre batting first or eighth is, there are way more important things to worry about.

I know this comment room pretty well. I know how worked up people get. I'm just suggesting that if you're going to expend any energy on Pierre, expend it where it can help the most. For my part, I hope to not talk about Pierre for a while after yesterday and today. But I know others will keep talking about him. Pierre batting eighth is small potatoes.

2007-05-22 12:07:52
43.   bhsportsguy
28 Actually using that standard is probably not fair since they were not that many rookies who qualified for the batting title even in the year of the rookie.

But the answer is five:

Chris B. Young, ARI .268/.307/.465/.772
Troy Tulowitzki, COL .258/.348/.361/.710
Delmon Young, TAM, .234/.279/.377/.657
Elijah Dukes, TAM, .222/.338/.452/.790
Alex Gordon, KAN .177/.297/.270/.566

There a few others who have played quite a bit:
Josh Hamilton
Adam Lind
Kevin Kouzmanoff
Carlos Ruiz
Reggie Willits
Alberto Callaspo
Travis Buck
Dustin Pedroia
Hunter Pence

Pence and Willits have had the biggest impact thus far, Kouzmanoff, who was probably only saved from being exiled by the lack of any other viable replacements in San Diego and in the last week has begun to hit a little. Buck has filled in the injury-plagued Oakland outfield. Pedroia is splitting time with Alex Cora in Boston.

And while the Youngs, Delmon and Chris, and Alex Gordon have all been mentioned among the best prospects in the game, we will see if they can fulfill those lofty words as the season goes on.

2007-05-22 12:08:27
44.   Jon Weisman
35 - And by the way, Pierre is now batting .271. So "batting north of .270" is no lock.
2007-05-22 12:09:18
45.   D4P
i'm starting to think nomar is our weakest link: a 3-hole hitting 1b with no power and little patience

The #3 spot is usually reserved for the team's best hitter. Nomar is the team's 5th best hitter, at best.

2007-05-22 12:09:30
46.   Doctor
Nice post- I don't agree with it all, but I found it very inspiration in a way. Which brings me to a concern. Does anyone feel Grady has enough charisma to get a team down in the dumps inspired? Sometimes the body language of the team is very defeated. I wondered this last year during various (long at times) loosing steaks. Some may say nah- it's just a game of numbers, im not sure.
2007-05-22 12:11:31
47.   blue22
41 - And a bad (overrated, at least) firstbaseman to boot!
2007-05-22 12:11:32
48.   D4P
Whatever the difference between Pierre batting first or eighth is, there are way more important things to worry about

To be fair, I'm not sure anyone who has suggested moving Pierre down in the lineup preferred that option over benching him.

2007-05-22 12:12:52
49.   ToyCannon
Wouldn't you expect that with the struggles of Nomar that Loney is less likely to be trade bait?
2007-05-22 12:13:29
50.   Greg Brock
42 From your keyboard to God's monitor.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-05-22 12:14:32
51.   paranoidandroid
32,35

I never cheer an injury, but I wasn't heartbroken to see Pierre hit in the ninth last night. It might take that to sit him down for a while.

The Pierre signing isn't looking great right now but it can still work.

I understand Jon's point that moving Pierre around the line-up isn't addressing the issue of whether or not they'd consider taking him out of the starting line-up. If he doesn't produce in the 8th spot, I think that increases the chances of making a move to platoon him or let him be the 4th outfielder rather than doing it that now.

To include him in a trade would be the best case scenario, but we'd eat some dollars and have to give up someone else to get someone to take him.

2007-05-22 12:14:57
52.   D4P
Wouldn't you expect that with the struggles of Nomar that Loney is less likely to be trade bait?

I'm not sure we can taken as given that Management thinks Nomar is struggling.

2007-05-22 12:19:24
53.   goofus
So much for shaking up the lineup... The reality is that all of our players border on mediocre, but they all have hot streaks and cold streaks, seldom are they all hot at once. That being the case, the genius has to put egos aside, including his own, and tailor his lineup, day by day, according to who's hot. Right now only Furcal and Kent are in that territory. So,

Pierre
LaRoche
Furcal
Kent
Martin
Gonzalves
Nomar (Sure wish it was Loney)
Ethier
Pitcher

When Furcal/Kent cool down, and they will, replace them in the 3/4 slot with whomever is going well. Until the overall level of player proficiency improves, a set lineup is impossible. A different lineup hole wouldn't bother a real professional and nobody has a contractual right to one.

2007-05-22 12:19:58
54.   GoBears
More on batting order. Let's say you give Martin 100 more ABs than Pierre. If his OBP is, say, 50 pts higher (.350 vs. .300), that's 5 more times on base over the course of a season. Really not that big a deal. Even if one of those extras is a double.

Jon is right. The bigger question is not about 1 PA per game, but about 5 PAs per game (starting vs. not starting).

I've actually been wondering if part of Little's reluctance to rest Nomar or Gonzales is to get as much as possible out of them before FA-signees can be traded, and if they break down, so what? Run them into the ground. Their replacements are better anyway. This would be the politic way to let Colletti's choices play until they can't play any more, and let the kids take over when there's no other choice.

The only fly in that ointment, of course, would be if Colletti were to respond to injuries with more lousy trades.

Now that Pierre seems to have exorcised his defensive demons, I bet that Colletti is quite happy with him. Under oath, with truth serum, he'd say he thinks Pierre is worth the money. The problem isn't Colletti's pride getting in the way of correcting an error - it's that his player evaluation skills keep him from seeing that it was an error.

2007-05-22 12:20:30
55.   Jon Weisman
48 - I never said that anyone preferred that.

I'm only going to say this once more so that I don't violate my own rules: If you compromise on batting Pierre eighth, you give the Dodgers the excuse they need to keep playing him.

2007-05-22 12:20:36
56.   JoeyP
As long as the fans love Nomar, I think management will love Nomar.
2007-05-22 12:27:04
57.   Greg Brock
I wonder what Ned Colletti is thinking. He obviously outbid a couple of teams for Pierre (Sabes in SF couldn't save us), rational people around baseball were mocking the signing, Dodgers fans were screaming for this not to happen, and he signed the guy anyway. Thus far, he's been a bust X 10.

An unanswerable question, since Colletti would never be truly honest about it, but I wonder what he thinks about with respect to The Player these days. It's not as though he wasn't warned.

And where was Kim Ng to stop this insanity? I wonder what input she had on this.

2007-05-22 12:27:25
58.   bhsportsguy
One last thing on rookies, last season the Dodgers had over 1200 plate appearances by Martin, Ethier, W. Aybar, Kemp and Loney.

I think it is fair to day that without those plate appearances, the team does not get to the playoffs.

Four of those players are still with the team plus we have a new third basemen to make up for Aybar.

But the question is, will the Dodgers get anywhere close to that level of participation by prospects and/or rookies this year.

2007-05-22 12:28:32
59.   Jon Weisman
56 - Yeah, Nomar's a tougher pill because the Dodgers have marketed Nomar and the fans have gotten behind him. Pierre doesn't have much backing right now of anyone outside management and Chone Figgins.

Plus, with the excuse of Loney's mediocre AAA stats this year, it requires a bigger leap of faith to play Loney ahead of him.

When push comes to shove, I'm sure that the Dodgers still see third base as their biggest problem to solve.

2007-05-22 12:29:11
60.   Jon Weisman
Is "The Player" really going to be the nickname for Pierre?
2007-05-22 12:29:32
61.   D4P
If you compromise on batting Pierre eighth, you give the Dodgers the excuse they need to keep playing him

I agree. Let's leave it at this:

Pierre on bench >>>>> Pierre batting 8th > Pierre batting leadoff

2007-05-22 12:29:44
62.   Greg Brock
What I wouldn't give for 30 minutes with Ned Colletti and an injection of Sodium Pentathol.

In a truth seeking way, not in a Marathon Man torture type way. I promise!

2007-05-22 12:30:07
63.   ally
anyone hoping nomar is going to pull a reverse of last year by having a horrible first half and then posting a 1000 ops in the second
2007-05-22 12:31:03
64.   D4P
Is "The Player" really going to be the nickname for Pierre?

I'm fine with it, though I also like "The Vulture"

2007-05-22 12:31:29
65.   regfairfield
63 I don't think anyone isn't hoping that. The question is if they believe it's going to happen.
2007-05-22 12:33:00
66.   Doctor
So is the general feeling that we want management to play the younger players because we think they can do better, even though they are not actually doing so (by much if at all)? I suspect the FO is sticking to its motto that for a younger guy to get the playing time, he needs to bust down the door for the chance (except 3B- where there was no door).
2007-05-22 12:33:54
67.   Hallux Valgus
For now, I choose to blame every Nomar-related struggle to that creepy lady and her van in the commercial.
2007-05-22 12:34:34
68.   Jon Weisman
64 - I'd rather go with The Volstead Act.

I don't throw my weight around on nicknames, but it's just going to be hard to see that used on a regular basis.

2007-05-22 12:36:29
69.   ToyCannon
It is not like Loney is doing any better in AAA in a hitters park. He is not doing his part in knocking the door down. If he can't handle the mental part of being sent down then I have little use for him as the mental part will only get tougher not easier. If he wants to put pressure on the Dodgers then he needs to produce and produce big.

I love the kids to but it is hard to clamor for the kids when they are all performing at forgettable levels based on their historical performances in the same league.

2007-05-22 12:38:51
70.   Jon Weisman
69 - I think Kemp and Billingsley have justified getting starting shots based on their 2007 performances, let alone their pedigrees.
2007-05-22 12:38:54
71.   bhsportsguy
57 When I see this kind of comment I will repeat what I said months ago (sorry Jon).

Ned did not want to start the season with only Ethier left who had over 400 plate appearances on the team from the prior year.

He also wanted someone who basically he could not worry about going down with an injury (to the extent you can rely on past history) and then given his known qualities, someone who was consistent in what he does do.

I would be shocked if he expected Pierre to become some new player, all he wanted was basically the guy who has been playing for the past 6 years.

Last year he had one guy who they thought 130 games would be great (Drew), another guy where 110, maybe 120, would be outstanding (Lofton) and then the other spot would be filled in by Cruz, Ledee or Repko. But there would be a lot of work for the 4th, 5th guys.

But GMs and managers like playing with the same lineup as much as they can and once Drew left and he didn't get Soriano or Lee, he wanted someone who was going to be there everyday, where he wouldn't be looking an outfield of rookies, guys coming off injuries or second year guys.

That is why he signed Pierre. Dave Roberts, cheaper but more injury prone, is on the DL right now, Alou, strong hitter but too is injury prone and is on the DL right now.

I also looked at the ages of players in MLB right now, just a quick glance tells me that the youngster the Mets called up is the only player younger than Matt Kemp in the league, just not too many 22 years old play everyday.

And yet, Kemp was on the opening day roster so he must still be a big part of the future. But I don't think Ned Colletti had any illusions about Pierre, whether or not that is a problem is an another issue.

2007-05-22 12:39:08
72.   Jon Weisman
... compared to who currently is blocking them.
2007-05-22 12:39:53
73.   Dark Horse
68-Whether either could or should stick (I was sort of warming to "The Player,") I must say "The Vulture" isn't bad. Not only for its image of the Spiderman villain with his miniscule head, but also for the general sense of being stranded, runners out there moldering on the basepaths. It rather fits...
2007-05-22 12:40:10
74.   Greg Brock
66 That is an unwinnable and convenient argument. Kemp is projected to do better than our current CF, but can't, because he doesn't play. Loney is projected to out-OPS Nomar (and did last year), but can't, because he doesn't play. Billingsley is already outperforming Tomko, but can't prove that he'll do it in the rotation, because they won't put him in the rotation.

Smush Parker is a better basketball player than Kevin Durant because Smush has averaged double figures in the NBA, and Durant hasn't.

2007-05-22 12:40:17
75.   paranoidandroid
60
How about "The Alabama Ant"?
2007-05-22 12:42:27
76.   Doctor
69

I think thats a real concern. A hitters park, in one of the most hitter frienedly divisions in the minors, against... well, AAA pitching.
If youre at a table with Ned, how to you convince him to call up Loney and sit Nomar- if that's what you want.
Some to some extent with Kemp- although his ability to get XBHs is still an upgrade, all of the above not withstanding.

2007-05-22 12:43:08
77.   Marty
I was pushing for LOOGY, but it didn't catch on.
2007-05-22 12:43:25
78.   natepurcell
Mayo kind of answered my question on his draft blog but he kind of didnt either.

http://draft.mlblogs.com/

oh well.

2007-05-22 12:44:23
79.   paranoidandroid
71
I think Ned was pleased with Kenny Lofton and wanted to replace him with a younger Lofton in his prime.

Pierre doesn't drive the ball as well as Kenny and while neither has an arm, Lofton had range and could catch a ball he got to. Pierre is one of the worst gloves I've ever watched. I'm frankly surprised at how poor of an outfielder he is. Goes to show how having zero errors last year is an ignorable stat.

I think he could have gotten to the ball in the sixth last night. Estrada dinked it and Ethier almost got to it, but a good jump by Pierre and I think he can catch it.

2007-05-22 12:44:57
80.   Doctor
74

They ARE playing though. And not all that well.

2007-05-22 12:50:24
81.   ToyCannon
70
Chad is not in AAA so I don't think he's part of the question but Kemp is and I'm unimpressed with his production. If I'm unimpressed then he sure isn't going to make Ned make a move. 8 walks in 100 ab's for a guy who was suppossed to work on his plate discipline. The power is okay but again were talking Vegas and there are plenty of PCL hitters who are banging the door down and our Vegas boys(Loney, La Roche, Kemp) are not part of the parade.
2007-05-22 12:50:36
82.   twerp
23 24 31 Could it just be that JP misunderstood when he heard the Dodgers needed more pop and thought they said more popups? :)

A bit more seriously, if JP persists in popping up when he's urged to hit the ball on the ground, Grady has all he needs to introduce JP to Mr. Bench.

Seems like if you swing down on the ball you're not too likely to pop it up?

2007-05-22 12:52:29
83.   Greg Brock
80 Then, in the interest of fairness, let's put Nomar, Tomko, and our CF in the minor leagues for a month and see how they do.

Then, let's completely judge their entire worth on that one month.

2007-05-22 12:55:36
84.   Doctor
70

as for Billingsly, dont you think a WHIP < 1.50 at some point is needed in order to say he deserves a shot at the rotation? He hasn't really had that since 2005. Although if Tomdrickson is the alternative maybe not ;)

2007-05-22 12:55:47
85.   Bob Timmermann
83
I guess the only solution to having Juan Pierre in center field is to replace him with a platoon of two guys named Izzy and Moe.
2007-05-22 12:57:36
86.   underdog
I still aim to stick with Slappy McPopup as a nickname for JP until he (or you) gives me reason not to.
2007-05-22 12:58:14
87.   regfairfield
84 WHIP is completely useless in a small sample size. Billingsley's peripheral stats combined with his track record indicate that, at the very least, there's a chance he's better than Tomko.
2007-05-22 12:59:00
88.   Jon Weisman
84 - Right now, Billingsley just has to offer better hope than Tomko. And Tomko is a 34-year-old pitcher with a WHIP of 1.70.
2007-05-22 13:00:17
89.   Doctor
83

I dont think anyone has suggested they are not worth while. Just that they need to play their way into roles. Closer to 2 months, which is… well about 1/3 of a season. Not nothing.
Kemp I think has made the case to some extent, Loney has not.

2007-05-22 13:00:22
90.   ToyCannon
83
Ain't nothing fair in baseball. If it was Roberto Petagine would have been given as many chances as Cust before he fled to Japan and became the star he could of been here.
2007-05-22 13:03:45
91.   ToyCannon
Anyway I'm not saying that any of the kids I've mentioned aren't better alternatives but they certainly haven't given Ned the pressure to use them that it will take to replace the contracts in place.
2007-05-22 13:06:21
92.   Jon Weisman
89 - I think Kemp has made the case that he deserves a shot over Pierre. Even if Kemp isn't walking any more than Pierre, he is hitting, and just the threat of power that he brings is worthwhile. No, I don't expect that change anytime soon.

I agree with ToyCannon, though, that whatever happened last year, Loney has made it easy for the Dodgers to keep him in AAA this year. If he played third base, he'd be up here already, but to unseat a guy with Nomar's rep, he's going to have to do better.

2007-05-22 13:08:58
93.   Greg Brock
Colletti got his first GM job fairly late in the game. I'm sure, since he's had to pay his dues, he's a big fan of making other people wait as well. Pay your dues, trust the veterans, and so on.

Epstein, Friedman, and Daniels are probably not his favorite people. Whippersnappers and their sense of entitlement!

Get off my lawn.

2007-05-22 13:10:37
94.   Doctor
Id still like to see a 4 man rotation in the OF.
Its odd to have an entire starting OF thats left handed. Either, LuGo, Pierre- none of those guys are playing at a level where they couldn't share time with Kemp.
2007-05-22 13:23:42
95.   paranoidandroid
92

Do better? He played well with a series of call ups last year, had four hits in game 3 of the NLDS, and hit .440 in spring training this year.

Result? AAA. How can he do better?

He's ready. He might be having a hitting stretch in the minors like all players have at every level, but "has to do better" to unseat Nomar is not the issue. Nomar isn't going anywhere unless injured or he finds himself with Chone Figgins numbers, so Loney is simply odd man out. He isn't able to win the job regardless of what he does. Unless he hits ten homers a month or something, then they might platoon him, but Nomar is your everyday first baseman for two years I think.

2007-05-22 13:24:24
96.   bhsportsguy
78 He ran one draft in 2001 for the Texas Rangers as their scouting director, otherwise he served as their national cross-checker.

The only player of note, fortunately, was his first round pick, Mark Teixeira out of Georgia Tech. He went 5th and signed a MLB player contract for approximately 9.5 million as he was represented by Scott Boras.

Hallgren was the Dodgers national cross-checker since 2003 so he has been part of all but one of Logan White's drafts and since you have to believe White had a big say in who took this job, I would think that they would share the same philosophy.

2007-05-22 13:25:03
97.   jasonungar07
67 that's so funny.
2007-05-22 13:25:56
98.   JT Dutch
... There's a couple of reasons why I haven't posted here as much as I used to over the past two seasons.

One -- I get too emotional about this team, which leads me to post irrationally. This happened during last year's playoffs, where I found myself as disappointed in this team's performance as I did back in 1995 (and before that, 1985 and 1983).

Two -- Every time I have a well-thought-out point to make about the state of this team, there's usually a fantastic write-up here covering nearly everything I wanted to say. Thanks, Jon, for saying exactly what I was thinking during the game last night. Fantastic, as always.

2007-05-22 13:30:07
99.   Doctor
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU8DDYz68kM

Awesome link I came across today, will help with the 5 more hours till game time boredom. Worth the 8 min, I think.

2007-05-22 13:31:09
100.   Bob Timmermann
93
I don't see how you from the idea that since Colletti had to wait a long time for a front office job to assuming that he thinks players have to play in the minors for a long time.

Front office jobs on field jobs

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-05-22 13:31:15
101.   Jon Weisman
95 - I'd be happy to see Loney called up - I believe in him. But ToyCannon is right. The fact that he should have been on the Opening Day roster to begin with is not an excuse for him having a sub-.700 OPS in AAA. So that's how he can do better. Not that I don't think he will.

If Loney starts raking again in AAA, with an OPS way higher than Nomar's, then you might see the Dodgers at least call him up and let him spot Nomar in the lineup. And the better Loney did, the more he would play.

But the way Loney is playing right now, the Dodgers don't even need to have the converstation.

2007-05-22 13:33:08
102.   Bob Timmermann
In 100 I typed and it turned into "on". Honest!
2007-05-22 13:35:04
103.   Brian Y
Tony Abreu gets his shot

http://tinyurl.com/2aothg

2007-05-22 13:35:08
104.   Bob Timmermann
Ahh, you cannot type a

right next to each other.

2007-05-22 13:36:18
105.   Disabled List
One of my biggest disappointments so far this season has been Billingsley's inability to wrest a starter's spot away from Tomdrickson. He has been very spotty out of the bullpen, and he's given Little and veteran-lovin' Colletti cover in sticking with Tomko, who has stunk all year long, and Lurch, who has struggled in his last few starts.

As far as benching Pierre, I can't see it happening unless hiss batting average really starts to drop. You don't pay $44 million for a guy to sit on the bench unless he is clearly hurting the team. "Clearly" in this case being the kind of stats that even LA Times sportswriters know are crummy.

And maybe this is irrelevant, but Pierre has a consecutive games played streak going back a few years, right? Streaks like that turn into sacred cows after a certain point, so that's working against a potential benching as well.

2007-05-22 13:36:24
106.   ally
100
totally agree, i mean it's not as if ned is promoting general managers
2007-05-22 13:37:54
107.   still bevens
103 I wonder if anyone is hitting the DL.
2007-05-22 13:38:41
108.   Brian Y
107. My guess is LaRoche is getting sent down.
2007-05-22 13:39:13
109.   Jon Weisman
103 - Didn't see that coming today. Thanks.
2007-05-22 13:40:01
110.   kinbote
for whatever reason, "juan for five" is the funniest nickname to me.
2007-05-22 13:40:52
111.   Brian Y
109. no problem. that's the job of all of us kids who lurk on this site. To scoop Jon is a pleasure. lol.
2007-05-22 13:41:29
112.   Jon Weisman
Or back to an 11-man pitching staff.

New post up top.

2007-05-22 13:41:30
113.   schoffle
If I am not mistaken LaRoche had put up substantially worse stats in AAA than either Loney or Kemp but got the call up due to Betemit's poor start. So it does not appear that knocking down the door is a prerequisite for getting called up, as many here are suggesting. Unfortunately it does seem (well to me at least) that the two factors that weigh heaviest on getting a shot have to do with public perception of the player to be replaced and veteran status. This has me believing that while Pierre could end up in a platoon by years end (given his splits) and that nothing short of an injury will displace Nomar, which makes me wonder why Ned did not look to move Loney while his value was high (either after Nomar was resigned or soon after spring training).
2007-05-22 13:42:15
114.   Disabled List
DT really is feast or famine when it comes to assigning nicknames to players. "Bison", "Bombko, "Lucille II", "Ghame Over" and "Lurch" were inspired. But "The Player", and some of the nicknames that were thrown around for Martin were really awful.
2007-05-22 13:42:58
115.   ToyCannon
103
That is a kid who knocked the door down. Strange that they would call him up now instead of when they called up La Roche. Ned and his shortstops. Kind of makes you do a crazy giggle.
2007-05-22 13:45:53
116.   Greg Brock
100 Well then, I guess we don't agree. Not much to argue over, really. Some people go with promise, some people go with "proven" or "experienced" this or that.

Ned is a proven/experience guy. I believe it may be colored by his own experiences.

2007-05-22 13:45:57
117.   ToyCannon
As someone in my office just said "great another two hitter, the whole team consists of two hitters"
2007-05-22 13:46:58
118.   bhsportsguy
109 Okay, lets see, who has options.
1. Chad
2. Hong-Chih
3. Tsao
4. Broxton (okay, just kidding)
5. Saito (now I am really kidding)
6. Ethier (uhh nope)
7. LaRoche

Straight out DFA
1. Rudy Seanez (don't see it until Yhency comes up)
2. Ramon Martinez

Safely attached to the team
1. Martin
2. Lieberthal
3. Nomar
4. Kent
5. Furcal
6. Betemit, only because he has trade value.
7. Saenz
8. Gonzalez
9. Pierre
10. Clark
11. Lowe
12. Wolf
13. Penny
14. Tomko
15. Hendrickson
16. Beimel

If I had to guess, I would say Hong-Chih, with all the off days, they probably feel that their pitching depth is okay for now.

As for the 40-man roster move, when they DFAed Valdez, they effectively opened up one spot on that roster, otherwise they could put Repko on the 60-day DL and do it that way.

2007-05-22 13:50:42
119.   Bob Timmermann
116
Not many people get into management positions in baseball today if they are that hidebound about whom they hire. You have to be creative within your budget.
2007-05-22 13:51:55
120.   Bumsrap
So, it looks like Abreu will be starting at third as soon as tonight.

Maybe that will serve as a message to Loney and Kemp. Hit and we will call you up.

2007-05-22 13:55:14
121.   Bumsrap
It is scientifically proven that people overvalue what they have. An example is that a $1 lottery ticket is worth fifty cents. But few will sell it back for a Dollar because of the fear of it maybe be a winning ticket.

Colletti is overvaluing his veterans.

2007-05-22 13:55:49
122.   Jon Weisman
112

In case anyone missed it.

2007-05-22 13:58:20
123.   gibsonhobbs88
105 - I'm upset that they sent Kuo down. They never really gave him a shot at his natural inclination to start. He proved last year that the "pen" was not a place for him as he struggles with his control when coming in the middle of the game. However, Kuo "seized the day" when he was allowed to start last year. Why have they turned their back on him so quickly this year?" I think Bills can eventually turn it around in the pen but Kuo needs to start and should be replacing "Tomdrickson or Hendko" along with Jason Schmidt by the time mid-June arrives. Then you can have Schmidt,Lowe, Penny, Wolf and Kuo. Two lefties and 3 righties that you can integrate to give a team different looks in a series and have no more than 2 righties in a row pitching. Then you can package either Tomko or Henrickson and some spare parts to a pitching poor team at the trade deadline and acquire a position player that can be of use. The other can be in our bullpen for long/spot relief.

BTW, at the game last night! Fielder's prodigious 2nd inning drive was a thing of beauty. He really crushed it!! Tomko seems to have already hit the wall that he hit in Mid-June last year.

2007-05-22 14:28:59
124.   Michael D
When I posted on Scout my nickname for Pierre was black hole of suck, but I don't think that will fly here. Maybe just Black Hole. The Player definitely sucks and needs to go though.

It seemed like last year Grady and Ned were willing to shake things up if they weren't working, but not this year. If Ned can let Odalis Perez get sent to the pen with his contract where are those cajones this year?

2007-05-22 16:00:02
125.   Andrew Shimmin
Posting this here because there are 200 comments in the new thread that I haven't read yet, and I just finished this one. Also in hopes that nobody reads it.

I no longer care what Ned's reasons for signing Pierre were. There's no reason good enough to mitigate against the damage it has done. That Pierre doesn't get hurt is immaterial. It's the joke about a restaurant where the food is bad, and, what's worse, the portions are chinsy. Fine, but so what? It's explanation without exculpation.

I also don't care if Kemp isn't knocking down the door in AAA. Unless somebody wants to mount a defense, on the merits, of Pierre's being likely better than Kemp, it's onanism.

If picking the right players were a matter of seeing who had the highest batting average, or lowest ERA, at the moment and plugging him in to the spot, we wouldn't need human management. These people are supposed to exercise expert judgment. That's the only reason they have jobs. They are failing; and I'm afraid I can't be swayed to pity them over Kemp's refusing to hit .400 to convince them not to make the wrong choices.

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