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

2009
02  01 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Evening Sedative
2007-08-05 20:00
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Six weeks ago, it was runners left on base. The Dodgers were stranding too many of 'em, and critics felt it was indicative of a serious problem.

The team then averaged a nifty 5.4 runs per game in July.

Unfortunately, the starting pitching simultaneously deteriorated, and the team couldn't make the most of the offensive rejuvenation, going 12-13.

Things look serious again for the Dodgers, as the offense is back to grinding its gears. People are taking note of the Dodgers' failing with runners in scoring position again - I think they're 1 for their last 25 or thereabouts - as if this again is an irredeemable condition. July taught some people nothing.

Jeff Kent is out. James Loney, Russell Martin, Luis Gonzalez and Matt Kemp are having a tough time. So yes, that's making the offense look bad again, even though Nomar Garciaparra and Andre Ethier had solid weeks. But the same talent that carried the team in July (except for Wilson Betemit) is still there. It's unreasonable to think that the offense won't cycle upward again. Kent will come back any day now. And while no one thought Loney and Kemp were .400 hitters, guess what: They're not .071 hitters either, as Loney is batting in August.

The real concern remains the pitching, because the pitching continues to have a straightforward manpower problem. You lose Jason Schmidt, Randy Wolf and Hong-Chih Kuo (not to mention Scott Elbert) to major injuries and watch Brad Penny and Derek Lowe struggle through minor ones, you're going to have a problem. It's going to be a lot harder than we anticipated a couple months back.

So I don't know if the Dodgers are going to make the playoffs this year. There's never been a point that I've known. But before you rule them out, make sure you take notice that other teams have their own problems, and their own hot and cold streaks.

The Dodgers are four games behind the Diamondbacks, whom no one besides me and a handful of other folks seemed to give any respect three weeks ago. Suddenly, that lead is supposed to be insurmountable? Suddenly, they're an unbeatable foe?

The Diamondbacks themselves had a streak of ugliness before the All-Star break worse than the Dodgers are having now. Arizona went 11-19 heading into the All-Star game. The Dodgers, currently in their poorest stretch of 2007, are 13-17. (The Padres are 14-16 - only after winning four of their past five.)

So what's the deal? If playing bad baseball in the summertime means you're hopeless, then why are the Diamondbacks suddenly so unstoppable? As much as I've believed that they would contend all season, I still don't believe they are infallible.

It's going to be an uphill race now for the Dodgers, but the standings aren't the problem. The offense isn't the problem. The problem is the starting pitching. And even then, every single one of the Dodgers' NL West rivals is having problems with the back ends of their rotations.

So, sorry, it's too early to make plans for October. Too early to book a playoff spot, and too early to order the white flag.

* * *

For those of you who might want the Dodgers to show a little fire on the field, Brad Penny showed some today during his confrontation with umpire Gary Cederstrom - who himself seemed a little over-confrontational to me. Penny gets picked on for having a temper, but as long as he doesn't go overboard, I like the passion.

* * *

Update: Today's Fungoes at SI.com quickly describes the starting pitching issues that all four NL West contenders are facing:

  • Diamondbacks: Randy Johnson is out for the season, Byung-Hyun Kim has just gone from waivers (cast off by Florida) into the starting rotation, and Micah Owings (9.55 ERA in July) has struggled -- at least until his most recent start, a six-inning, one-run affair.

  • Padres: All-Star Chris Young has been hurt, and Justin Germano (7.24 in July) and David Wells (7.31 since July 1) have been unreliable.

  • Dodgers: As discussed here two weeks ago, the Dodgers have scuffled without injured starters Jason Schmidt, Randy Wolf and Hong-Chih Kuo. Replacements Brett Tomko and Mark Hendrickson (6.14 ERA in July) have been particularly shaky, and staff leaders Derek Lowe and Brad Penny have slipped a little as well.

  • Rockies: Rodrigo Lopez is gone for the year, and Jason Hirsh (6.23 ERA in five starts since June 16) has been injured or inconsistent.
  • Comments (210)
    Show/Hide Comments 1-50
    2007-08-05 20:14:10
    1.   underdog
    I posted this in the previous thread (except for the part I omitted):

    Wait, Kevin Howard's been with the Jax Suns for at least 1-2 months, so something's off on that report.
    http://tinyurl.com/3d9ghc

    And he came from the Yankees organization, after being with the Reds in the Tony Womack deal a long while ago. He started the 2007 season with the Phillies minor league teams and then was picked up by the Dodgers at mid-season. I think BA was a little off. But anyway, it's cool to have some added depth in the infield.

    2007-08-05 20:18:58
    2.   underdog
    Btw, Jon, this sort of post is one of the many, many reasons I read your blog every day and can skip Tony Jackson's. (Even though sometimes he does provide valuable information.) I was particularly frustrated with his point of view this weekend. Anyway, thanks for remaining rational.
    2007-08-05 21:00:38
    3.   Bob Timmermann
    Jon is more even-tempered because he doesn't have to go up and down the Dodger Stadium elevator.
    2007-08-05 21:03:03
    4.   underdog
    Yes, the things poor Tony has to deal with. I can't wait until he experiences the awful humidity this week. That oughta be good.

    Meanwhile, I was wondering (and maybe Nate or others could answer this better than I) if the Dodgers would consider promoting Miguel Pinango this season? He's been quite good at Vegas, after making the leap from Inland Empire. He threw a no-hitter in the Mets' farm system before joining the Dodgers this off season.

    One story on him from a month or so ago:
    http://www.lvrj.com/sports/8222037.html

    2007-08-05 21:04:30
    5.   Louis in SF
    Nice post Jon and am trying to remain optimistic, but the main question I have are there any starting pitchers who could come up and contribute. Tomko may only get worse and Lowe seems to be one move away from going on the DL. I think the innings they have gotten out of Hendrickson are amazing-he at best is only a five inning pitcher. Is there a starting pitcher who they could insert and perhaps extend the rotation to 6 pitchers?
    2007-08-05 21:05:29
    6.   DadofMondy
    Brad Penny's reaction to what he thought was a third strike was unconscionable. The umpire definitely needed to walk out to the mound to set him straight. To not do so would cause Brad Penny to become a veritable monster.
    2007-08-05 21:06:11
    7.   max power
    Hey, at least we're not the local team with a well-publicized rodent problem...
    2007-08-05 21:07:38
    8.   Jon Weisman
    5 - Remember last year, when Hendrickson was acquired to be an innings-eater? Seems so long ago.

    6 - Huh? Penny just raised his arms in the air and yelled. If the umpire had just stood behind the plate, what are you suggesting Penny would have done next?

    2007-08-05 21:18:36
    9.   Gen3Blue
    Good-night I can't take anymore, its late here; but Jon keeps going-and going-and going.
    2007-08-05 21:25:15
    10.   Bob Timmermann
    To prepare for this upcoming series, I'm watching "John from Cincinnati" now. I'm determined that one episode will make sense!

    I think the Reds rotation resembles this show.

    2007-08-05 21:29:59
    11.   Louis in SF
    8- Yes I do and sadly if Lowe goes down, we are putting more pressure and asking someone with far less talent to do so much more. Any thought to bringing up Jason Orendorf?
    2007-08-05 21:31:27
    12.   The Mootz
    This week was brutal, but keep your chin up.

    And for extra incentive to be happy, here's the Danny Kaye song staring Legos.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=gvqO9q8yi-A

    2007-08-05 21:33:27
    13.   gpellamjr
    6 I think you might ought to look up the word "unconscionable" in a dictionary. While you're at it, look up "veritable" and "monster". I'm not sure what combination of meanings you have in mind.
    2007-08-05 21:39:07
    14.   Suffering Bruin
    2 Second that.

    My weekend? Hundreds of miles driving to weddings, transporting family to airports (plural!) and, of course, summer school work.

    I wonder how much I would complain if the Dodgers were winning? Not much...

    Until Cincinnatti...

    2007-08-05 22:00:17
    15.   underdog
    So, would the Dodgers have a place for old friend Mike Piazza?
    2007-08-05 22:00:35
    16.   dzzrtRatt
    10 Tonight on "John From Cincinnati":

    "Shaunie's gone!"

    (Repeat 183 times, increasingly hysterical.)

    2007-08-05 22:02:29
    17.   underdog
    10 Don't they more resemble WKRP in Cincinnati?

    6 Wasn't the umpire's reaction more out of line? He basically charged the mound himself. I thought umps were supposed to be the voice of reason and mediation.

    2007-08-05 22:05:36
    18.   das411
    From the last thread, El Lay Dave was comparing the Wiggonton-for-Wheeler deal to the Betemit-for-Proctor. Nobody mentioned, however, that Devil Rays assistant GM Gerry Hunsicker is pretty clearly still on good terms with his former peepz in Houston, and unless you count Ms. Ng's years with the Yankees way back when...

    and congratulations to Mr. Glavine!! Just think, that one rotation had three pitchers with a combined 840 career wins. Somehow I don't think the Oakland Three will get anywhere near that total.

    2007-08-05 22:09:26
    19.   Bob Timmermann
    16
    I'm just watching the show out of sheer stubbornness.
    2007-08-05 22:16:21
    20.   dzzrtRatt
    19 Me $&%^$ing, too.

    Thank John there's only one more.

    2007-08-05 22:17:26
    21.   MSarg29
    16 - You certainly are glib. I mean Shaunie can really be gone.

    If he is won't you feel foolish.

    2007-08-05 22:27:21
    22.   Bob Timmermann
    20
    Woo hoo! Just 10 episodes!

    I'm sure Milch will wrap everything up in a nice, neat package!

    2007-08-05 22:31:38
    23.   DadofMondy
    Sorry. I umpired for several years and I'm very sick of umpires making asses of themselves. If you just let Penny raise his arms a bit and yell, most of the Dodger fans think he's just being his hothead-self. When you trump out to the mound, you get even our dumb fans booing your every call the rest of the game.
    2007-08-05 23:10:21
    24.   Greg Brock
    Looks like I picked the right time to miss three games.

    Ugh.

    2007-08-05 23:27:23
    25.   Neal Pollack
    Jon:

    I appreciate your intelligence and thoughtfulness, and the thoroughness of your coverage. I know way more about the Dodgers than is probably healthy for me because of this site. But there's nothing positive to say about the team at this point.

    Players have hot and cold streaks, of course. And only the most deluded hothead would count Loney and Kemp out for the count because of their recent run. But there's no way this team is going to turn itself around with the current management structure in place.

    The Padres and Diamondbacks gave their rosters some serious retooling in the last week, much of it revolving around the waiver wire. We traded one of our best power hitters for a mediocre middle reliever. The manager consistently puts out an inadequate lineup. Any one of us could fill out a better lineup card than Grady Little. Yes, the pitching staff has been brutalized by injuries, but one could largely chalk the brutalization up to the fact that Coletti signed two injury-prone veterans in the offseason. Note how they're the ones who've left us bereft.

    This wasn't supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Dodgers. I don't trust this current regime to build for 2008. The Dodgers won't finish over .500 this year, and no one will take the fall. Sure, a comeback is technically possible. Technically, I could win the Pulitzer Prize, too. But we all know that's not happening.

    2007-08-05 23:38:58
    26.   Bob Timmermann
    If the Dodgers finished below .500 this year, there would be some serious fall taking. A head or two would roll. Little would likely be told to take his services his elsewhere in that eventuality.

    I don't think I could fill out a lineup card better than Grady Little because I have really bad handwriting and all the players would be wondering what I wrote. Kent and Kemp would likely never know where they're batting.

    And my 8s and 6s look alike, so Juan Pierre might end up at shortstop.

    That would be really bad.

    2007-08-06 01:05:06
    27.   Dodgers49
    25. We traded one of our best power hitters for a mediocre middle reliever.

    The trade does seem strange to me. Without getting into whether the guy we received is mediocre or not I just don't understand why we couldn't have at least taken a look at Meloan against major league hitters before trading away Betemit.

    2007-08-06 01:05:33
    28.   Improbable88
    With all this talk of filling out the line-up card, I realized how much I enjoy all the hypotheticals dangled on these pages.

    But I don't think we need any such top to bottom shake-up. Does anyone else think a switch of Pierre and Ethier in the order might net the Dodgers a few more runs a week. Ethier is just too smoking hot to languish in the 8 hole.

    Plug a healthy(ish) Kent in at the 4, especially in Cincinnati, and Hendrickson, Tomko and Billingsey willing, we can turn this slide around--or at least the dismal mood that is currently accompanying it.

    2007-08-06 02:24:02
    29.   dsfan
    Jon, your reviews are excellent. You are fair and rational. For your next analysis, why not take a look at the front offices in the West?

    Seems to me, here is where the Dodgers are getting outclassed. The Padres and Diamondbacks strike me as more resourceful. They appear to get more results from far less dollars. The Dodgers also seem to be reacting to events, rather than anticipating them. And when they do react, they seem overly convention (example, the Proctor trade) or devoid of imagination. The Dodgers trade a fine talent like Betemit for a middle reliever. The Padres don't seem to make that kind of move. They are getting a lot of value out of the waiver wire and designated players. They traded an over-rated middle reliever for a pretty good haul of minor leaguers.

    Byrnes and Colletti each inherited good farm systems. Who is doing a better job of spending money and making trades?

    Jon, maybe you have been a bit too kind to the Dodgers' front office. Can they match Alderson/Towers/Depodesta? That's a tough assignment. I think they are getting heavily outpointed. None of this is to say the Dodgers can't win the West. Of course they can. But if the people in charge aren't as capable as the rivals, that's a red flag. If they don't have a grasp of integrity of process, a devotion to intelligent profess, that also is a red flag.

    For what it's worth, nothing from what you related from the McCourts tells me that either McCourt is up to the task of matching Alderson.

    2007-08-06 02:25:12
    30.   dsfan
    process got typoed, sorry.
    2007-08-06 03:35:38
    31.   LAT
    Unfortunately, absent Ned being caught receiving kickbacks from the $40 million being paid to Nomar, Tomko, Gonzo, Schimdt and Mueller, his job is safe. Listening to Frank a few weeks ago, I don't think Ned would get fired if he were found in bed with Jamie. Post 25 is right, this was not supposed to be a rebuilding year. Ned is clearly getting the least performance for the most amount of money. Wolf and Schmidt going down isn't exactly a shock given their history, yet Ned seems caught off guard. And while JP is not the disaster he was the first few months of the season no matter how well he performs he was never right for this team. The debate over whether he is any good is irrelevant. Even if he exceeded all expectations he was never a fit for this team. At the end of 2006, raise your hand if you didn't know the Dodgers needed a power hitting OF or 3B. And while Ned arguably got some power at 3B last year, he didn't use it much and was then forced to trade it away because he wasn't prepared for the the injuries.

    Moreover, while you can say Ned hasn't traded away any of our valuable prospects the deals he has made has netted very little. Most of what he has traded for is no longer with the team. The bright spots for this team have nothing to do with Ned. They were either signed by Depo or were raised on the farm. Yes its true, the Dodgers are not this bad and they may make the post-season but given their farm and their payroll they should be better, much better.

    2007-08-06 03:43:39
    32.   LAT
    Just in case it didn't come through in my previous post, there can be little debate that Ned is getting jobbed by the other GMs in the division. Heck, when considering payroll and farm systems he is being smoked by, dare I say it, Jim Bowden.
    2007-08-06 04:13:40
    33.   LAT
    According to USA Today, the following teams have less payroll and a better record.

    2007 D'Backs Payroll $ 52,067,546
    2007 Padres Payroll $ 58,110,567
    2007 Brewers Payroll $ 70,986,500 2007 Braves Payroll $ 87,290,833
    2007 Indians Payroll $ 61,673,267
    2007 Tigers Payroll $ 95,180,369
    2007 Twins Payroll $ 71,439,500 2007 Mariners Payroll $ 106,460,833

    2007 Dodgers Payroll $ 108,454,524

    Only the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets have a higher payroll and each of them have a better record than the Dodgers.

    FYI, 2007 Nats Payroll $37,347,500. Dodgers have seven more wins to show for their extra $71 million.

    2007-08-06 06:52:51
    34.   Bumsrap
    I am okay with the Dodgers not making the playoffs if I get to watch Kemp, Ethier, Loney, Martin. Just let Kemp and Ethier start most of the time and let Gonzo and Pierre take turns playing.

    I miss Abreu when Kent is ailing and hope things work out soon.

    Heard Tejada was put on waivers and the Whitesox claimed him but a deal couldn't be worked out so he was taken off waivers. If he would play CF for the Dodgers that could be intrigueing.

    2007-08-06 07:10:28
    35.   Andrew Shimmin
    Finally, an explanation of why Barry Bonds hasn't been indicted for tax fraud, yet. I wonder if you have to say "Simon says give me your username and password," or if it's just printed on their business cards.

    http://it.slashdot.org/it/07/08/05/1834201.shtml

    2007-08-06 07:40:23
    36.   Jon Weisman
    25 et al - "The Padres and Diamondbacks gave their rosters some serious retooling in the last week, much of it revolving around the waiver wire."

    I don't think one significant move happened via the waiver wire in the NL West last week. I do not think Kim, Ensberg and his ilk are going to be difference makers.

    The management criticisms being made now are largely the kind that were leveled at DePo in 2005. Both just got swamped with injuries. No one in April said, "All five Dodger starting pitchers will get hurt, three seriously, and Colletti isn't prepared." And the fact that Colletti doesn't have a high-quality No. 7 and No. 8 starter makes him like every other GM in baseball. Again, take a look around the division at who is being thrown out there.

    Meanwhile, I don't think anyone is suggesting that their favorite GM choice would have gone out and gotten Santana last week - and certainly, it's unfair to suggest that their favorite GM choice would have had an injury-proof starting rotation.

    Calling this a rebuilding year is a misuse of the term. A rebuilding year is when you trade the present for the future. It's a surrender. Having enough talent to contend for the World Series, only to be undermined by injuries, is by no stretch a rebuilding year. It's a disappointment, and it's life.

    As for me not being hard enough on Colletti, well, no, I haven't called for his head specifically, but I have been clearly critical of many of his moves and his philosophies. Has there really been any mistaking that I feel that I think someone else could do better?

    Oh, and by the way, based on last night's "Entourage," I think Ned would get fired if the team finished out of the playoffs and he slept with Jamie.

    2007-08-06 07:46:52
    37.   Andrew Shimmin
    36- Would he take Pierre with him to his next job, when he got fired? Also, please stop relating everything to Top Gun.
    2007-08-06 07:47:44
    38.   CanuckDodger
    I think people are making a false assumption, the assumption that a team that is spending more money than its competitors should automatically be expected to be better than its competitiors. Read Baseball Prospectus publications and you will see them repeat over and over that the key to building a winning ballclub is spending money. Poppycock. The assumption is wrong not only because there is no guarantee that money spent will be put to optimum use, but because there are too many forces at play in pro baseball that make large amounts of money prone to be misspent, and once money is misspent, to add more injury to injury, the money acts as an obstacle to making better, smarter baseball decisions.

    Let me illustrate. Nomar Garciaparra is getting $20 million from us over the next two years. That is money down a rat hole, sure, but it is not JUST money down a rat hole. The money is not just gone, its expenditure has a negative ripple effect. The money becomes a "reason" (not a good reason, but a reason) to keep a lousy player playing when he would have been DFA'ed long ago if he were making league minimum. And because that lousy, expensive player is a fixture, a better, cheaper player (like LaRoche) is blocked. In this way, and in Nomar's specific case, the misallocated money is not just failing to HELP us, it is positively, actively HURTING us.

    But what is we weren't a rich team? What if Ned, coming into 2007, had had a $50-60 million payroll to work with? I can assure you that that would have meant no Schmidt, no Pierre, no Wolf, no Nomar, no Gonzalez. Colletti would have had no choice but to "trust the kids." Teams with smaller budgets usually make smarter decisions because they have to. A premium is put on efficiency. A larger budget means a much bigger margin for error, so that disincentivizes the avoiding of errors.

    I have said for a long time that the Dodgers, to become great again, need to build from within, to get young. The problem is, that means getting cheap with the payroll. Now, this shouldn't BE a problem. In most businesses, cutting labor costs is seen by ownership and management as a GOOD thing. But baseball is different, and there are all kinds of added political issues that go along with Los Angeles and its population's expectations for Dodger payroll, and the McCourts, and having the big-spending Angels in our back yard. The youth movement that I see as a pre-condition to future Dodger success is really threatened by the fact that I don't see McCourt being willing to shed nearly enough payroll to accommodate all the young players who should be coming to L.A. from the farm in the next two years. Thus, Colletti is going to have no reason to trust the youth, and he will continue to have lots of money to throw at the Schmidts and Pierres and Nomars.

    To reiterate my point, Colletti is screwing up not in spite of all the money he has at his disposal, but precisely because of it.

    2007-08-06 07:49:54
    39.   Bob Timmermann
    I would give the DBacks front office great marks if it hadn't reported that their waiver pickups of Kim and Cirillo were because they wanted to block other teams from getting the. They didn't really want either player.

    And if the Dodgers had acquired Rob Macowiak would fans in L.A. be all that energized? Would be building an artificial body of water in the parking lot and dubbing it Macowiak Cove?

    2007-08-06 07:53:33
    40.   CanuckDodger
    38 -- To start the third paragraph, that should be "But what IF we weren't a rich team?"
    2007-08-06 07:59:29
    41.   Andrew Shimmin
    39- When the Unocal station goes belly up, I say we do that, even though he's a Padre. A good idea is a good idea.
    2007-08-06 08:08:47
    42.   Jon Weisman
    38 - I think that's a great comment (presuming that if Colletti had half the payroll, he wouldn't have given away all the Dodgers' draft choices for fear of paying bonuses.)
    2007-08-06 08:16:30
    43.   D4P
    Teams with smaller budgets usually make smarter decisions because they have to

    I've noted the ironic flipside of this before, which is (to some extent) that:

    "Teams with larger budgets usually maker dumber decisions because they have to."

    Teams with large budgets are expected by their fans to spend those budgets. More often than not, this means paying overpriced veterans for services that could be provided equally well if not weller by younger, cheaper players. And since veterans are presumably more likely to get injured than younger players (is that true...?), millions of dollars end up being wasted by paying people to sit on the bench.

    2007-08-06 08:33:33
    44.   Hythloday
    I would think (with absolutely no evidence) that injuries by age follow a sort of negative parabolic curve. Young players who aren't proven suffer a lot more injuries as a population, but then they get weeded out. What is left is relatively sturdy veterans who don't get injured much. Then when they become grizzled veterans the injuries spike again. I feel much more certain about this relationship in football, but it seems likely to me in baseball too.
    2007-08-06 08:33:42
    45.   Jon Weisman
    The Dodgers have already conquered one emotional public relations hurdle. They have learned they don't have to trade the kids for short-term gains. The next emotional public relations hurdle is to not trade the kids' playing time for short-term free-agent production gains. Both require some backbone.
    2007-08-06 08:35:35
    46.   Hythloday
    44 - positive parabola that is
    2007-08-06 08:38:05
    47.   MC Safety
    33- that seventy one million for seven wins stat is just disgusting. ned is feeling the heat and it isnt even nine am yet.
    2007-08-06 09:09:46
    48.   Jon Weisman
    See update above: My Fungoes post today describes the starting pitching problems that other NL West contenders are having.
    2007-08-06 09:10:56
    49.   Neal Pollack
    Of course Kim, Cirillo, and Rob Mac(SP) wouldn't equal a pennant for the Dodgers. But the Padres also added Bradley and Hairston and, oh, someone else over the last month. The Padres and D'Backs already had a winning core. They've been nibbling around the edges all year, tinkering to make things better.

    It seems to me that all Ned has done is remove any impediments to Garciaparra playing every day and make it impossible to have anyone but Tomko as an emergency rotation replacement. Remember, this is the team that decided that Tomko was better off starting the season in the rotation than Billingsley.

    Let's put it this way: The D'Backs lost a Hall Of Famer from their rotation. The Padres lost an All-Star. And they're still rolling. It's not really because they have better players. It's because they're better managed, in every sense of the word.

    2007-08-06 09:14:01
    50.   Andrew Shimmin
    48- You're using "scuffled," now, too. Has that word always been used that way? I really don't remember seeing it before this year.
    Show/Hide Comments 51-100
    2007-08-06 09:18:12
    51.   D4P
    I've mentioned this before, and it was mentioned above as well. It seems to me that Ned is a "conventional" GM who thinks inside the box and is not given to innovation. He pursues "safe" deals with limited upside, where "safe" refers to his own job security. Proceeding according to conventional baseball wisdom won't likely get you fired if your plan doesn't work out. The failure just gets chalked up to "bad luck".
    2007-08-06 09:18:54
    52.   Andrew Shimmin
    A DT site search returns two "scuffled" hits, both from 2005. One was Bob and the other was Zappala, which is pretty terrific evidence that it's an acceptable construction. Hmm.
    2007-08-06 09:21:39
    53.   D4P
    scuffled

    Andrew - try your DT search again. I'll think you'll find the results even more compelling...

    2007-08-06 09:25:25
    54.   underdog
    Well guys, I'm gonna take the day "off" from the Dodgers - from thinking about them, from writing about them, from obsessing about them. I hope to resume tomorrow just as I hope they resume playing like they're capable of tomorrow, too.

    Be nice to have Jeff Kent back...

    See you all tomorrow.

    2007-08-06 09:26:42
    55.   Sam DC
    Did I miss the discussion of the Billingsley/Everybody Loves Raymond controversy?

    It's a Screen Jam/Dodger Thoughts crossover opportunity.

    2007-08-06 09:26:50
    56.   MC Safety
    51- Did he really think that we( the dodgers ) were " safe " with Randy Wolf and Jason Schmidt being counted on as key contributors? Or " safe " with Juan Pierre at the top of our lineup to get knocked in by such respected veterans such as Nomar Garciaparra, Jeff Kent, and Luis Gonzalez? I hope he didnt think we were safe, because as of now Plan B is sputtering. When do we say it's time for Plan C?
    2007-08-06 09:28:30
    57.   underdog
    49 Btw, not to invalidate all your points, but there's no way on God's green earth the Dodgers would have brought Milton Bradley back. So while it's too bad the Padres could acquire him for a song (or an Andrew Brown), you can't blame the Dodgers for not. I do agree that the other teams have made all these moves while the Dodgers basically stood pat (so far) except for one trade, but except for Bradley I don't see any of those guys helping those teams very much. If they didn't have some holes to fill they wouldn't have been desperately signing all those players. All the teams in the West are flawed. And frankly, I don't find Bud Black any better of a manager than Grady Little, but that could just be me.
    2007-08-06 09:28:52
    58.   Andrew Shimmin
    53- Can I get a hint? I'm only getting two hits on scuffled, every time I do it.
    2007-08-06 09:30:33
    59.   D4P
    58
    Hint: at some point in the unspecified future, 53 will show up in your search...thus providing additional "evidence"...
    2007-08-06 09:37:30
    60.   GoBears
    To reiterate my point, Colletti is screwing up not in spite of all the money he has at his disposal, but precisely because of it.

    I'm not sure here if you're blaming the money or just Colletti's view of what to do with it. I understand how you got to this conclusion, that there's a pressure to spend money, and that there's then a pressure to play overpriced has-beens.

    But really, an owner-GM team with smarts and a little less sensitivity to the Plaschkes of the world could find a way to resist those pressures, and use the money available to build the best team possible.

    It's a clever thought, and you might even be right that Colletti DOES think that way (gotta spend on famous guys!), but that's about Colletti (and maybe McCourt), not about any disadvantage inherent to a big budget.

    2007-08-06 09:38:07
    61.   Jon Weisman
    49 - The Padres were behind the Dodgers in the standings until about three days ago. Is there really a night and day difference between the two teams' performances? And are the Padres' starting pitching injuries really comparable to those of the Dodgers? Losing Chris Young for two weeks vs. losing Jason Schmidt for 16 weeks and Randy Wolf for six, etc.?

    Again, I'm not trying to argue a pro-Colletti case. But you're not giving the Padres and Arizona nearly the scrutiny you're giving the Dodgers.

    Example: Three-fifths of the Padre rotation was Germano, Wells and Maddux, with no depth behind it. And it's not as if two of those guys are kids making the minimum salary. Is that rotation an example of some real genius?

    2007-08-06 09:38:13
    62.   Daniel Zappala
    scuffle
    intr.v. scuffled, scuffling, scuffles

    1. To fight or struggle confusedly at close quarters.

    Appropriate for our pitching staff. Interestingly, as a noun a scuffle is a hoe that is manipulated by pushing or pulling:

    http://www.bartleby.com/61/imagepages/A4scuffl.html

    I wish Colletti would use a scuffle to clear Pierre out of CF and play Ethier there instead.

    2007-08-06 09:38:47
    63.   LAT
    36. Could it be said that Ned should have been more prepared for the injuries after seeing Depo's 2005 season. Not to mention that Depo was held accountable for that season even if he didn't sleep with Jamie. Ned will not be held to the same standard.

    38. I see your point and understand it but doesn't that meant that the Red Sox, Mets and Angels should not be in first place while the Marlins rule the league. I know that's absurd but suggesting that having more options through more resources is a negative, likewise doesn't make sense. The problem is not the resources themselves but when those resources are misused. Ned is misusing the money.

    I'm not suggesting anyone here is tauting what a great job Ned is doing. In the end, I had hoped that we at DT were wrong and Ned's approach was correct. That is not the case.

    2007-08-06 09:40:21
    64.   Sam DC
    And one thing Colletti has done that strikes me as a smart way of addressing that dynamic is working higher-dollar, shorter-term contracts for the FAs he really wants. Thinking of Furcal and Schmidt.

    Obviously, he didn't deploy that strategy on the Pierre contract.

    2007-08-06 09:41:19
    65.   regfairfield
    36 While getting Byung probably isn't significant, is he any worse than Proctor over 20 innings? It's seeing that type of resource management from other GMs that's frustrating.
    2007-08-06 09:42:17
    66.   Sam DC
    64 is directed at the payroll pressure dynamic discussed in 38 and 60 and others, if that's not clear.
    2007-08-06 09:42:46
    67.   dkminnick
    38 45 - Great comment, Canuck. I wonder if the big spending is more a result of baseball team-building philosophy or of PR concerns.

    Considering all the early flak McCourt got from the press about his lack of finances (which turned out to be false, by the way), I think the PR aspect of expensive FA signings is a big factor.

    I believe Dodger fans are more supportive of home-grown teams than other fans. If McCourt believes that fans demand a big payroll, I think he's wrong. Player development has been the Dodger trademark even as free agency changed the way other teams are built. Besides, free agent signings have rarely worked out well for the Dodgers.

    Maybe the fans have changed over the years. I'm a product of the 70's infield, Fernando, Orel, Piazza, etc. so I see things through that prism, but I still think going with a lower salaried, home grown team would be the better PR move. The better baseball move, too.

    2007-08-06 09:47:37
    68.   GoBears
    56. See, I think the problem is that the answer to each of your questions is "yes." I don't think the problem is that Colletti was throwing money at expensive mediocrities because he felt he had to spend it. I think the problem is that Colletti really thought (and, from all evidence, still thinks) that these guys were/are the best players that money could buy.

    Little, too, seems to prefer veterans over kids whenever he has a choice (why else would Pierre start every game and Nomar move from blocking one prospect to blocking two others (I include Betemit there). However, it really doesn't matter if Little disagrees, because he'll lose his job if he defies his boss.

    I don't blame the money. I don't even blame Plaschke. I blame horrible player evaluation by the GM, and an owner who is too worried about short-term perceptions. My hope on the latter is that McCourt can build enough good will through the stadium improvements and the admirable charity work to become immune to cut himself a little slack on the baseball operations side.

    Damned if Nomar isn't the most popular guy on the team though.

    2007-08-06 09:47:55
    69.   Daniel Zappala
    65 10 below versus almost 15 above in ERA+, and Proctor hasn't had the benefit of being in the NL.
    2007-08-06 09:48:12
    70.   Humma Kavula
    Nothing I felt about this team before this weekend has changed.

    I know Jon has focused on the pitching that needs improvement. I'll respectfully disagree -- it's the offense that's bothered me all season (with the exception of the three weeks in which all my favorite players played over their heads).

    I'm not surprised to find the pitching is where it is -- I did not think the staff was quite as good as they pitched in April and May. I'm also not surprised to find the offense is where it is -- they are, as they were earlier, distinctly average, though this could improve.

    The result is that the team's lost some games. I don't think the pitching situation is likely to improve, because I feel like the current performance from the current personnel is what is to be expected... but I also don't think it's likely to get worse.

    The offense situation, on the other hand, could get better. If it does, things will turn around. If not, they'll end up somewhere around .500 for the season.

    None of this changes how I root for the team. I root for the kids, even when they fail. I get frustrated with the veterans, and wish they were jettisoned.

    2007-08-06 09:49:50
    71.   dkminnick
    45 67 - To be clear, the press has been overtly demanding a high payroll. I'm not sure the fans neccessarily agree. That's where the backbone comes in.
    2007-08-06 09:52:07
    72.   still bevens
    70 How come defense doesn't come up when people talk about the team? We constantly talk about pitching and offense, but its our defense thats Tampa Bay/Marlins bad. Something has to change on this front but I'm not sure how you can accomplish it. Is this something you blame the coaches for? The players?

    Im of the mind that should we even make the playoffs this year, we'll be giving up outs on errors that will cost the team games that are truly important.

    2007-08-06 09:53:09
    73.   Humma Kavula
    I don't understand the criticism of Colletti that he wasn't prepared for the injuries.

    The Dodgers had EIGHT starting pitchers at the start of the year: Schmidt, Penny, Lowe, Wolf, Tomko, Hendrickson, Billingsley, and Kuo. Nine if you count Dessens.

    Sure, some of those guys aren't very good.... but if Colletti had compiled eight guys capable of putting up a sub-5.00 ERA as a starter, that would be worthy of criticism, too -- why not trade some of those guys for a big bat?

    Colletti WAS prepared for the injuries. This is what that preparation looks like. Whether it makes signing injury risks like Schmidt and Wolf a good idea is a different matter.

    2007-08-06 09:53:12
    74.   regfairfield
    69 ERA is not a good evaluative tool in pitchers, and ERA+ should adjust for that league difficulty.

    Over 20 innings, if that swing in ERA is indicative of true ability, that means one, maybe two more runs allowed by Byung. This ignores the inherient randomness in reliever performance.

    2007-08-06 09:54:03
    75.   MC Safety
    65- exactly. its almost as if wilson never got of some doghouse or something? i find it quite bothersome..
    2007-08-06 09:54:21
    76.   Humma Kavula
    72 I, for one, don't talk about defense because I don't understand it.

    Juan Pierre looks terrible to me, but his numbers say otherwise.

    When I figure out what good defense is, I'll talk about it.

    2007-08-06 09:57:31
    77.   Jon Weisman
    63 - I don't think two wrongs make a right. DePo shouldn't have been held accountable for all the injuries that happened that year.

    If someone could point to me where all the great No. 7 and No. 8 starting pitchers are that Ned should have had, I'd be glad to know about them.

    And no matter whether you're pro-Pierre or anti-Pierre, pro-Garciaparra or anti-Garciaparra, pro-rest Martin or anti-rest Martin, how can you argue that Colletti wasn't prepared for injuries among the position players? Until Kent and Abreu got injured in the same week Betemit was traded to shore up a beleaguered pitching staff, the Dodgers were more than covered at every position (at some, the bench was better than the starters!).

    Did Ned take advantage of the maturation of the farm system in a way DePo couldn't? Of course. But I don't see how that turns him into being underprepared. Ned's biggest problem this offseason was that he over-prepared.

    2007-08-06 10:00:29
    78.   Daniel Zappala
    74 My understanding of ERA+ is that it adjusts only for the league you're in, so it doesn't account for differences between NL and AL.
    2007-08-06 10:00:34
    79.   D4P
    Did he really think that we( the dodgers ) were " safe " with Randy Wolf and Jason Schmidt being counted on as key contributors? Or " safe " with Juan Pierre at the top of our lineup to get knocked in by such respected veterans such as Nomar Garciaparra, Jeff Kent, and Luis Gonzalez?

    Again, I mean "safe" with respect to Ned's job security, not with respect to the quality of the team.

    For example: an unconventional trade (e.g. trading the "heart and soul" of your franchise for a top line starter) might be a good move from the standpoint of team quality, but it jeopardizes a GM's job if it doesn't work out.

    Conversely, opting for "proven" veterans over upside kids might not be a good move from the standpoint of team quality, but it doesn't jeopardize a GM's job (as much) because it is generally viewed as the "right thing to do" among "Baseball People". In that sense, it's a safer move for the GM.

    2007-08-06 10:01:10
    80.   Jacob L
    There's one sure fire way to tell what's wrong with the Dodgers, and that's to listen to post-game Dodger talk and conclude that its the opposite of whatever they're talking about. Thusly, I've concluded that the problem is not Grady's lack of yelling at people. And the problem is not Olmedo Saenz.

    Its funny, though, how a tough stretch for the regular contributors (Martin, Loney, Kent being out) exposes the role players. Yeah, Saenz is having a real crummy year (and has failed in some big ABs lately), and Ramon Martinez isn't good for much in the first place, but they're not the reason we're "scuffling." Its frustrating, though, that the Dodgers neither put their best 25 on the roster, nor their best 9 on the field.

    2007-08-06 10:01:18
    81.   regfairfield
    2007 numbers for Byung and Proctor:

    Proctor (with Yanks): 6.13 K/9, 1.28 K/BB, 1.32 HR/9

    Kim: (Almost entirely as a starter who have worse perhiperals than relievers): 7.71 K/9, 1.22 K/BB, 1.21 HR/9

    2007-08-06 10:03:54
    82.   Humma Kavula
    77 I disagree that DePodesta should not be held accountable for the injuries of 2005. Sure, the team had many more injuries than could have been predicted... but many of them could have been, and were, predicted... and besides, when the worst-case-scenario plan involves the Mike Edwardses of the world, that is no plan at all. I was (and am) a fan of DePodesta, but that doesn't mean that he isn't responsible for that team's failure.

    Maybe you meant that he shouldn't have lost his job over it -- with that sentiment I would agree.

    2007-08-06 10:09:06
    83.   bryanf
    Great post as usual to put things in perspective. It turned out to be a morning sedative for me since I have been absurdly busy the past few evenings (twice because I was at the game).
    2007-08-06 10:12:46
    84.   SG6
    Whatever McCourt's doing with Ned at the helm seems to be working in a positive sense for his "bottom line":

    From the LATimes:

    If there is one thing -- besides a great baseball franchise -- that Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt like, it's a fine home.

    They bought one in Holmby Hills for about $25 million when they first came to L.A. from Boston in 2004. Now, they have purchased a Malibu house for close to its $33.5 million asking price. Escrow closed last week.

    The sellers were actress Courteney Cox Arquette, of "Friends" fame, and her husband, actor David Arquette, star of the "Scream" series of films. They paid nearly $10.2 million for the home slightly more than six years ago and put it on the market in February. (nice gain for the Arquettes)

    2007-08-06 10:15:57
    85.   Humma Kavula
    Malibu? That's a long trip to the Stadium.
    2007-08-06 10:26:17
    86.   Neal Pollack
    I think if we've learned anything during the McCourt era, it's that PR is everything. Therefore, the TV ads keep pushing Nomar, long after other teams would have shuffled him aside. If this were New York, they'd be marching Frank to the guillotine.
    2007-08-06 10:27:51
    87.   SG6
    85 - That's why he still has his pad in Holmby Hills. Though the article didn't say, I thought I had read that the McCourts also bought their next-door neighbor's Holmby Hills house, giving them a double-lot.

    They'll be kicking it in Malibu on road trips and off-season.

    2007-08-06 10:33:26
    88.   Jon Weisman
    82 - I think the Mike Edwards thing has been blown out of proportion.

    DePo could have resigned Beltre. Having not done that, he provided Jose Valentin, Olmedo Saenz, Antonio Perez and Willy Aybar as alternatives before you get to Edwards. I hated the Valentin signing, but look what he did in 2006 with the Mets. Meanwhile, the other three of those guys had OPS+ over 100.

    The slagged Hee Seop Choi was second in games played for the 2005 Dodgers with 133. To say that the extent of injuries that team had was predictible and that DePo should be held accountible for being underprepared was and remains unfair.
    It was a team in transition, avoiding bad long-term commitments like the Pierre signing, and needs to be seen in that light.

    2007-08-06 10:37:10
    89.   Sam DC
    Two innings and no runs for the Yankees. They're slipping!
    2007-08-06 10:40:31
    90.   regfairfield
    It should be noted that Jim Rome mentioned the Barry pirouette this morning, so Plaschke has successfully rewrote history.
    2007-08-06 10:44:40
    91.   Jon Weisman
    90 - Ridiculous.
    2007-08-06 10:47:35
    92.   Humma Kavula
    88 I meant him as an example. The team was also forced into a position where Jason Repko's .281 OBP got 276 AB, where Oscar Robles' .700 OPS got 364 AB, where there was no better answer for Cesar Izturis' .624 OPS (444 AB!), and where smaller roleplayers like Grabowski, Rose, Nakamura, etc., all got playing time -- sure, not very much playing time for any one of them, but some for all, and it adds up. They were straws and they were grasped at.

    I don't want to go to far with this, and I don't think I am going too far. I'm hardly the guy who keeps coming to the OutWatch just to say "71 and 91!" All I'm saying is that the general manager does not get off the hook for compiling such a team. He did not deserve to lose his job, but neither was it a success in any way.

    2007-08-06 10:49:30
    93.   Bob Timmermann
    89
    The Yankees never play well on Simcoe Day.
    2007-08-06 10:51:11
    94.   SG6
    90 - not to go completely off topic, but check out this article on Bonds' armor. This guy does a well-researched piece on his unique armor, and estimates that it is good for 75-100 HRs. Not just from the standpoint of "protection" but how it actually aids his swing. Source is Editor and Publisher website. Here is one excerpt:
    1) The apparatus is hinged at the elbow. It is a literal "hitting machine" that allows Bonds to release his front arm on the same plane during every swing. It largely accounts for the seemingly magical consistency of every Bonds stroke.

    http://tinyurl.com/2bbcoa

    2007-08-06 10:51:33
    95.   regfairfield
    How many plans can we realistically expect a GM to have. Plan A, obviously, plan B can be built for on the bench, and plan C probably focuses on the farm system.

    Since the Dodgers had no usable farm system in 2005, what more could you expect when plan B gets derailed by the manager.

    2007-08-06 10:53:11
    96.   D4P
    neither was it a success in any way

    Penny and Lowe have been (huge?) successes. They're essentially Aces getting paid half of the going Ace salary.

    Kent has been a success, arguably our best hitter.

    Depo also didn't really block any prospects, or burden the team with any bloated, long-term contracts.

    All successes.

    2007-08-06 10:58:00
    97.   Humma Kavula
    95 96 OK, let me rephrase.

    Since the Dodgers had no usable farm system in 2005

    That's kind of my point. He compiled a team with injury risks. Some of those risks had a backup plan. Others did not. He did this even though there was no usable farm system, and he bears responsibility for that.

    All successes.

    I did not say that DePodesta was not a success in any way in his tenure as GM. I said -- maybe not explicitly enough -- that the 2005 season was not a success in any way.

    2007-08-06 10:58:50
    98.   WillieD
    I appreciate your perspective, Jon. Saturday afternoon, I took my son out for a belated birthday lunch, and was commiserating with him about the Dodgers current skid. Then Sunday afternoon, after watching another slightly depressing loss, on a dreary cloudy day here, I was thinking about this year's team. If they don't make it to the playoffs this year, I could live with that. I'd still be happy about the good times, and happier still with the young players becoming established, and still on our roster too. The season's far from over though, as you write. Better to have a slump now, than at the end of the year. Who knows, maybe this year the Dodgers will peak at the right time - if we field enough pitching.
    2007-08-06 10:59:18
    99.   Jon Weisman
    95 - I agree. The only thing DePo didn't do in 2005 was bump the payroll up to Colletti levels. It remains unclear to me to this day whether he was allowed to or not.

    Obviously, 71-91 is not a successful season, but there are some things that are out of a GM's control.

    2007-08-06 11:00:53
    100.   Jon Weisman
    97 - "Some of those risks had a backup plan. Others did not. He did this even though there was no usable farm system, and he bears responsibility for that."

    But how much more could he have done?

    Show/Hide Comments 101-150
    2007-08-06 11:03:09
    101.   D4P
    97
    the 2005 season was not a success in any way

    I'm saying that it was a success in the sense that it had minimal negative externalities for future seasons.

    Say, for example, that the Dodgers make the playoffs this year, but lose in the World Series. Some would say that that constitutes a successful season. Yet, there we are stuck with Pierre for the next 4 years in centerfield, Nomar for another year at a corner infield position, Schmidt possibly being the next Dreifort, etc.

    The 2005 season didn't have much such spillovers, and that's to Depo's credit. He clearly planned to do the best he could in 2005, biding his time until the kids were ready, without harming future seasons.

    2007-08-06 11:10:08
    102.   Chris H
    A large payroll is only a problem if you use it foolishly. Being able to afford to play a player like ARod $30 million is a good thing. Of course, if you use that $30 million on Nomar, Wolf, and Pierre then you have turned that advantage into a liability.
    2007-08-06 11:11:29
    103.   Humma Kavula
    100 I don't know. Getting into the specifics of which specific players should have been signed is out of my league. I'm not well-versed enough to get into it.

    That said, I seem to recall that the Braves went though a similar rash of injuries that year, but had the farm system in place to plug those holes. The Dodgers did not, at their peril that year. Constructing a team that, like the Braves, could experience those injuries without the farm system to plug in -- that's what he's responsible for.

    Where I guess this comes from -- and this gets into 101 as well -- is that I watched as he wrote off the season, and that was frustrating. It's one thing to recognize where you are on the success cycle, but quite another to expect fans to sit on their hands as it happens.

    When you're the GM, the buck stops with you. That's all I mean.

    I should have known better than to get into a DePodesta discussion. You guys have been very polite in your disagreements, but I'm sorry I got into this.

    2007-08-06 11:15:27
    104.   D4P
    103
    I don't think Depo wrote off the season at the beginning. But there came a point when the injuries got so bad that there wasn't a lot that could be done without jeopardizing the future.

    When it got to that point, I don't know whether it's accurate to say he chose "Writing off the season" over "Jeopardizing the future", but I think that was the correct to decision to make. Some people (myself included) think that "Doing everything possible to win this year" isn't necessarily the best policy.

    2007-08-06 11:23:49
    105.   Jon Weisman
    103 - I don't mean to put you on the defensive - My question in 100 was rhetorical. I couldn't name specifics either. My point is that when you don't have prospects ready to make the leap, there are very few cheap fixes you can make. You use the Braves comparison against DePo, when it proves the opposite.

    DePo sacrificed the 2005 season - and ultimately his own job - by not killing the future so that Dodger fans wouldn't have to go through another season like it.

    So when you write, "It's one thing to recognize where you are on the success cycle, but quite another to expect fans to sit on their hands as it happens." Well, I mean, no one was happy about the poor season. But I guess I'm not seeing the argument for what DePo should have done even in a general sense to solve the problems he had, short of selling off the future.

    2007-08-06 11:30:18
    106.   Jon Weisman
    Head right over to this:

    http://www.truebluela.com/story/2007/8/6/123411/8519

    2007-08-06 11:35:50
    107.   Humma Kavula
    104 I agree with that, and I think you know I do. Midway through the season -- you're absolutely right, there was no way to reverse course and he made the correct choice.

    Where I disagree is that I think he was smart enough to see at the beginning of the season that he'd constructed a roster where he might have to do that and was OK with that. I'm asking: were there different pieces, at the start of the season, that would have been less risky that would not have required sacrificing the farm? I don't know, but I think it's certainly possible.

    I think, instead, in between the 2004 and 2005 seasons, he knew that the worst case scenario was something like what ended up happening and that the best-case scenario probably did not include the WS. I think he said to himself, well, what difference does it make if they lose 78 games or 91, and with that in mind, he constructed a roster where it didn't matter.

    I've reached the end of how far I can go here, because if the question is what else should he have done -- and it is -- that's unanswerable. I don't know what other players were available, I don't know their cost (in dollars or trade), and I don't know what resources were available to him.

    To me, it shakes out like this.

    1. He gets credit for saving the farm system when it would have been so easy to empty it.
    2. Along with that, he bears responsibility for the 91 losses.
    3. I believe, though I cannot prove, that the 2nd point above does not necessarily follow from the first; that is, that there might have been a way of protecting the farm while winning more games.

    If I'm wrong about that, then I'm wrong.

    2007-08-06 11:40:55
    108.   Jon Weisman
    107 - Certainly, he could have made different bets that would have panned out better. But I don't see a lot of waste in how he spent his free-agent money, so I can't just assume that there were choices to be made that were significantly better bets.
    2007-08-06 11:41:48
    109.   Xeifrank
    38. Kind of late but... Canuck, once again a great post.
    vr, Xei
    2007-08-06 11:42:03
    110.   D4P
    I think he was smart enough to see at the beginning of the season that he'd constructed a roster where he might have to do that and was OK with that

    I don't necessarily disagree with that. I don't think for one moment that Depo thought the 2005 roster in April was anywhere near the best possible roster any GM could construct. I think he thought is was "good enough" to have a reasonable chance of making the playoffs, particularly given such a weak division (1 team had a winning record: the Padres, with 82 wins).

    Barring the ridiculous injury onslaught, and barring ridiculous on-field management and lineup decisions, I think he was right. I think the team easily would have won 83+ games and the division title.

    2007-08-06 11:47:46
    111.   regfairfield
    The following outfielders signed long term contracts in the 2005 season

    Carlos Beltran
    Jermaine Dye
    J.D. Drew
    Moises Alou
    Magglio Ordonez
    David Dellucci
    Steve Finley
    Rickey Ledee

    The only one of these players that the Dodgers could have afforded that wasn't substantially worse than Drew, or just as injury prone, was Jermaine Dye. Seeing as Dye was coming off a decent, but not spectacular 265/.329/.464 season and had his share of injuries, I don't know if that would have been as good of a move at the time.

    I'm that if given the choice the Dodgers wouldn't have had quite as many injury risks in the starting lineup, but that's just what was available that fit in the Dodgers presumed budget.

    2007-08-06 11:48:30
    112.   Humma Kavula
    108 That's fair.

    This is all coming down to our different interpretation of two words: "held accountable."

    2007-08-06 11:55:49
    113.   D4P
    I think some portion of "held accountable" would be better described as "given credit for".

    If you look at what has gone right in 2007, among the most obvious things are things Depo deserves either direct credit for (e.g. Penny, Lowe, Kent) or indirect credit for (e.g. Martin, Billingsley, etc. still being around).

    2007-08-06 12:00:29
    114.   jasonungar07
    We would be so much better of if Depo was still our GM. No one can convince me otherwise. He had a plan and was willing to do things his way, popular or not. He did not seem to react, but seemed to create action.
    2007-08-06 12:03:48
    115.   bigcpa
    38 Love your post but you're really presupposing that big payrolls are inherently wasteful. What about the Red Sox... Moneyball with money? Our 2008 opening day roster is a GM's wildest dream- above avg players making the minimum at 5 of the 8 postions! Furcal/Kent signed with middle IF backups at the ready in Abreu/Hu.

    To your point signing Pierre was a luxury a middle-market team couldn't afford. But a smart big-market team would have foreseen the Jones/Hunter/Rowand/Cameron flood coming and shelled out $100M next year on quality.

    2007-08-06 12:04:22
    116.   Humma Kavula
    113 Right. That's what I was trying to say in 107.

    In my book, you can't give him credit for the things that went right without holding him accountable for the things that went wrong. The ledger needs to be balanced.

    You can say it was worth it. I'd agree. But how does it make him not responsible for the season?

    OK, I've got to do some work.

    2007-08-06 12:05:05
    117.   norcalblue
    [25 and 31]

    Add the most recent Betemit give-away to the evidence you have each presented.

    2007-08-06 12:11:54
    118.   fanerman
    114 I think most people here certainly trusted DePo's player evaluations more than Colletti's, but dreaming of "what could have been" probably isn't gonna do much good.

    Colletti at least hasn't screwed up majorly, and while I may be searching for silver lining, I do give him credit for that. I guess I hold out hope that a middle-of-the-pack GM (he's not Littlefield after all) with our resources (the farm, White, Ng) can still put us in position to win.

    2007-08-06 12:12:38
    119.   Jon Weisman
    116 - He's responsible to the extent anyone is responsible, of course. But putting it in those terms seems to undermine the big picture.
    2007-08-06 12:15:58
    120.   Jon Weisman
    The constant thread in all this is Logan White. Until I'm convinced otherwise, he looks indispensible.
    2007-08-06 12:24:16
    121.   bigcpa
    Even with perfect hindsight last offseason it would hard to construct a .600 team this year. I guess you sign Ted Lilly, start Loney opening day, platoon LaRoche & Betemit all year. Lofton in CF. Is that a .600 team? Might be a much less frustrating .520 team at least with a tidy CF opening for 2008.
    2007-08-06 12:24:25
    122.   bhsportsguy
    120 And even Logan is living off his great great 2002 and 2003 drafts.

    2004 - Elbert, we will have to wait and see, DeWitt, Dunlap, etc.

    2005 - Meloan we shall see hopefully soon, Josh Bell (the hitter) is a ways away.

    2006 - Kershaw (oops sorry to write his name) is great (see what you can do if you have a top 10 pick), Morris and Mattingly, one is hurt, the other is not exactly hitting the cover off the ball yet.

    2007 - Too soon to tell, though both Lambo and Gallagher are pleasant enough diversions.

    Certainly Elbert, if he had not gotten hurt could have seen time in LA this year and many believe Meloan should be here already but I don't think Logan White is infallible but drafting is inexact science and to reap the bounties of 2002 and 2003 should be seen as not quite a fluke but extremely unlikely to be done year after year.

    2007-08-06 12:24:58
    123.   Xeifrank
    payroll has a weak correlation (~0.43 or ~19%) to wins in major league baseball. A team really only needs to spend 20-30% more than the league average to be sufficiently competitive. This is all stuff in studies I have read. vr, Xei
    2007-08-06 12:37:06
    124.   underdog
    Okay, if we want the Dodgers to improve themselves cheaply, or at least improve their bench - would they benefit from trying to sign Bobby Kielty? From MLBTraderumors.com:

    Bobby Kielty is a 31 year-old switch-hitting outfielder. He can typically draw a few walks and hit lefties. He can handle the corner outfield positions but hasn't played center with any regularity since 2002. Kielty is a free agent now after being released by the A's.

    According to the Boston Herald, Kielty is receiving interest from the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Diamondbacks, and Astros. The Herald mentions Kielty's ties to New England, while the San Francisco Chronicle considers him the favorite. [me: the favorite of what?] Question: why would the Astros be interested?

    [my question: would the Dodgers? Would he help the bench?]

    2007-08-06 12:37:34
    125.   underdog
    And now back to my "not caring about the Dodgers for a day Day" ;-) Also known as "work."
    2007-08-06 12:53:05
    126.   ToyCannon
    122
    I've broken down the drafts for an upcoming post but just a quickie for 2005, don't forget DeJesus. At his age he's far more advanced then HU was and Dewan Watson said they were already comparable defensively. He broke out big in July showing some power that no one expected. He's playing in High A only two years removed from High School, while the more highly touted Josh Bell is still in Low A. Some scouts have always liked him more then Hu due to his advanced plate discipline at such a young age. I'm sure the hot air of the California league is helping his power numbers but I'm just saying he should be on our radar.
    2007-08-06 12:57:02
    127.   D4P
    123
    For 2007 data, when you control for Runs Scored and Runs Against, Salary does not make any additional significant contribution to Winning Percentage.

    This makes sense, in that Salary influence Runs Scored and Runs Against, which in turn influence Winning Percentage. Salary doesn't affect "Winning" directly.

    2007-08-06 13:02:10
    128.   PlayTwo
    It seemed that Depo lacked PR skills. He was not much of a communicator. His approach was such a change that he needed to keep the fans on board. Hopeful of a payoff in the near future. He came across as stoic, solitary and pained. He will get another chance, somewhere, to call the shots. Whatever the approach, this GM stuff is not easy.
    2007-08-06 13:04:36
    129.   Some Guy in San Diego
    Usually I read all the comments before posting, no time today. I just had to say that I completely appreciate Jon's approach to the current slump, yet I feel just down, down, down about the Dodgers today. I'm trying not to be apoplectic, but it felt like the season got away from them in 4 days. I hope that feeling is completely misguided and wrong.
    2007-08-06 13:05:45
    130.   Penarol1916
    122. Given the fact that we tend to go high-cieling, high risk, far away from the majors guys, and we are just now starting to reap the rewards of 2002 and 2003, what exactly were you expecting from 2005 and 2006? Especially since our top pick in 2005 didn't sign? To me, it's not even worth thinking about the Walls and Mattingley's until 3 years after they've been drafted. I mean, we're still seeing guys from 2002 just emerging as prospects (James McDonald).
    2007-08-06 13:06:42
    131.   D4P
    His approach was such a change that he needed to keep the fans on board

    The more innovative, secretive, and proprietary your approach, the more difficult it becomes to keep the fans on board. Explaining your transactions to the fans can involve revealing "trade secrets" to competitors when the rationale for those transactions is non-obvious and based upon your own stats and unique analysis.

    Colletti doesn't have that problem. He can be completely forthright about acquiring guys because they saved 40 games once or get 200 hits every year or "know how to win".

    2007-08-06 13:07:17
    132.   Dodgers49
    60. But really, an owner-GM team with smarts and a little less sensitivity to the Plaschkes of the world

    In defense of Plaschke :-) I distinctly remember him writing a column shortly after the season ended practically begging Ned not to resign Nomar because Loney was ready but Ned signed him anyway. :-) And for two years instead of one.

    2007-08-06 13:12:34
    133.   bhsportsguy
    126 You are right about DeJesus and any others that I left out from 2004 draft and beyond.

    But to hold White to the standard of Loney, Broxton, Billingsley, Kemp, LaRoche, Martin and McDonald, would not only be tremendously unfair but also would only be setting yourself for disappointment. Those quality of players could easily represent a decade's worth of production from a farm system instead of just two drafts. Add on the Int'l signings of Hu and Abreu at around the same time and you have yourself a haul that only the late sixties drafts that added the foundation of those great '70's and early '80s teams.

    2007-08-06 13:15:18
    134.   Jon Weisman
    128 - DePo repeatedly talked to the press and television interviewers. Not enough to satisfy them, apparently, but he was quoted all the time explaining what he was doing.

    We should probably short-circuit the DePo discussion soon - old wounds have been reopened enough.

    2007-08-06 13:18:14
    135.   dzzrtRatt
    38 I'm going to disagree with CanuckDodger. I am sure there are GMs with big budgets who make less disciplined choices, but I don't see that as a necessary outcome. The flip side is that a GM with a big budget can afford to sit a Garciaparra or a Pierre, if necessary. They won't pull that trigger quickly, but can afford to pull it -- that's part of the luxury.

    I mean, it's illogical to say "if they have it, they will spend it," is true, but to say, "if they spent it, they won't waste it" is not true. The point of the big budget is not to attract expensive players -- it's to win. Expensive players, including re-signing your own, can contribute to winning, and the lack of them can be a barrier to it. Look at Minnesota. Having developed what they developed, they were never ever to bring in the complementary piece from FA or a trade.

    We can't be sure Garciaparra is "blocking" LaRoche; his presence might be protecting him from premature exposure to the pressures of a pennant race. Garciaparra's poor play unblocked first base for Loney far sooner than I think almost anyone on this site expected. Gonzalez played well, so he stayed in the lineup, but have you noticed? Since his slump, we've had Ethier and Kemp in the same outfield, several times. Pierre is, I think, a case of misjudging his talent, not any kind of gravitational effect of his paycheck. Colletti and Little obviously think Pierre is the only qualified center fielder on the club, and that his baserunning skills offset his deficiencies. But even there, I think Pierre was on the road to the bench about a month ago, and then started playing better. Right now, I'm much more irritated by Matt Kemp's inability to hit outside pitches than I am by anything Pierre's doing. I'm sure that will change. But as Rawitch said, the money being paid to Pierre is already less than a big deal, and as the contract progresses will become a bargain if he plays well, and an acceptable write-off if he doesn't. And that's the point of a big budget. If Billy Beane had somehow signed Pierre (don't laugh; he signed Jason Kendall), the fact of Pierre's salary would play a far larger role in baseball decisions for him than it would for the Dodgers.

    Look at it this way: Do you really want to give Ned Colletti the excuse of saying, "Waaah, I had too much money! That's why we lost." And, do you really think that if the Dodgers had had no choice but to play Loney, Kemp, LaRoche, Billingsley etc last season out of desperation, that would have aided their development? That's the Tampa Bay Devil Rays scenario, and they are almost always in last place.

    2007-08-06 13:26:03
    136.   Penarol1916
    135. You don't want to give him the excuse, but the fact is that people have a need to acquire and don't seem to think that spending any less than they do is possible. There is a reason that everyone seems to think that they need $50,000 more a year to be comfortable, we cannot put ourselves in a box that our budget does not force us into.

    The same thing happens in the professional world, where managers can't think of what should be cut until actual budget restrictions are placed on them, otherwise, they tend to spend the maximum allowed, it's just human nature.

    2007-08-06 13:26:47
    137.   dzzrtRatt
    134 Depo's problem was internal PR. He didn't do enough making-nice with Frank and Jamie. I think they were puzzled by his managerial search, which was full of names they'd never heard of.

    DePo is a gentleman, but not a warm and fuzzy type. Look at all of what the McCourts are doing to identify the Dodgers with curing cancer. That big warm bear of a man Grady Little and that other big warm bear of a man Ned Colletti fit right into that. Such strong, kind fellows -- against them, cancer's got no chance! DePo -- too cool, too reserved, too much the actuary who realizes that, regrettably, curing cancer is statistically improbable.

    2007-08-06 13:29:16
    138.   bhsportsguy
    132 Really, was Paul's deals really that hard to figure out.

    1. Trade prospects (including the No. 1 position prospect at the time) to Cleveland for Milton Bradley. He took a chance on an undervalued player with the best the system had to offer in 2004.
    2. Trade LoDuca, Mota, et. al for Penny, Choi. Both LoDuca and Mota were arbitration eligible and ready for big increases, scouting reports on Martin were already beginning to bubble up but also he thought he was going to get Charles Johnson. He had Brazoban plus Dreifort had been healthy to that point in the year and again Mota was about to hit a big payday. Wanted Penny to be a legit top of the rotation starter and also he would have under control for a couple of more years. Choi would allow Green to move back to OF.
    3. Added Steve Finley, again to shore up the offense, with an OF of Bradley, Finley and Green with Werth as the 4th OF, the Dodgers would be set and allow the Cora/Izzy and catcher to just play defense and not worry about offense, Choi would add some power too.

    Off-season, added Lowe, Kent, Drew. Beltre, Finley left. Dodgers did spend some money, especially Drew's and Lowe's contracts. Again shoring up needs not readily available in the system. Signed a 20MM two year deal with Gagne.

    Paul's deals were not that hard to figure out, he signed big money free agents when he could, the LoDuca/Mota trade was as much about saving future money as it was to get Penny.

    Again, his biggest problem was not getting his manager in place before he was let go, if he could have found someone to work with him, it might have worked out differently.

    But Paul really never did anything that was drastically innovative or secretive, in many ways he was like all GMs, some successes, some failures but his failures got more publicity and examination than his successes.

    2007-08-06 13:49:38
    139.   weatherman
    have y'all read this yet:

    http://tinyurl.com/2bbcoa

    The author posits that Bonds' arm guard not only protects him but gives him a distinct mechanical advantage. I'm convinced.

    2007-08-06 13:53:16
    140.   Fallout
    134 Jon Weisman

    Yeah, b4 I can't stand it and have to jump in.

    2007-08-06 13:55:41
    141.   fanerman
    134 I think the DePo talk should stop soon, too. I was rather heavily emotionally scarred from that ordeal and it's a bit painful to read everything again.

    139 That's interesting. Someone should try to conduct a scientific or quasi-scientific test.

    2007-08-06 13:58:09
    142.   D4P
    Is Bonds the only player in the league to use the arm guard thingie...?
    2007-08-06 13:59:20
    143.   regfairfield
    You do need a lot of heart and soul to find a cure for cancer. A computer isn't going to help at all.
    2007-08-06 14:00:56
    144.   weatherman
    142 - Certainly the only player to wear one so complex.
    2007-08-06 14:02:02
    145.   weatherman
    143 - I doubt we'll see it done without a computer.
    2007-08-06 14:10:31
    146.   WillieD
    137 Last night, I was looking through my Tivo'd things and noticed the postgame show from Saturday night. So I played that, skipping through most of it, to the Grady Little interview at the end. One of the reporters asked something about how badly the Dodgers were doing. Grady started his reply, something like, "That's baseball...." It wasn't what he said, it was how he said it. Like some others here, I really enjoy listening to Grady Little. I instantly felt better. There's something to that warmth and fuzziness. Grady's no Jim Tracy! ;-)
    2007-08-06 14:15:19
    147.   Fallout
    139 weatherman

    94 SG6 ---was ignored.

    I do not know if that device helps him like some golf contraption helps a golfer's swing, but it definitely makes him braver and immovable at the plate. It is an unfair advantage for him for that reason alone.

    2007-08-06 14:19:36
    148.   fanerman
    Sorry SG6!
    2007-08-06 14:19:57
    149.   weatherman
    94 - Apologies to SG6. I try to read everything but sometimes I fail.
    2007-08-06 14:21:47
    150.   jtrichey
    Just wondering for this off season, what would people give up for Johan Santana? I think he would be a gigantic difference maker to turn the Dodgers into an elite team instead of a fringe playoff team. I am especially interested in what Canuck thinks, as I knew him on a previous message board and he railed against moving any youngsters until the time was right. I think that the Dodgers are at that point in the "success cycle" to wield their minor league strength and grab Johan.
    I was thinking Kershaw, Kemp, plus a third guy a notch below like McDonald or something. So what do you think?
    Show/Hide Comments 151-200
    2007-08-06 14:30:13
    151.   Louis in SF
    While much of the discussion today is focused on the future, is their anything out there presently that could help the Dodgers this year. Mike Meyers just was desiginated for assignment by the Yankees-far from exciting, but would that help.

    Again I ask the question where is the next Wilson Alvarez and right now Mark Hendrickson seems to be the answer and that is scary

    2007-08-06 14:30:44
    152.   Indiana Jon
    150 Kershaw, Kemp and McDonald????? Way too high of a price to pay for any pitcher.
    2007-08-06 14:40:16
    153.   Xeifrank
    Santana as a 1 year rental, no. You can wait one year and try to sign him as a free agent and not give up any of the kids. Of course the money he will command will be off the chart. Atleast he doesn't have [You know who] as his agent. Say hello to pinstripes. :)
    vr, Xei
    2007-08-06 14:44:31
    154.   Humma Kavula
    153 I agree in principle. Is there any prospect you would give up into order to "buy" a full year of exclusive negotiation for a contract extension? Is there any chance that such a negotiation would be successful?
    2007-08-06 14:44:54
    155.   fanerman
    Scott Boras = Lord Voldemort? Do his clients have a "Dark Mark" on their forearm?
    2007-08-06 14:47:05
    156.   Bob Timmermann
    As opposed to Eric Stults and Eric Stoltz, the baseball Mike Myers and the actor spell their names the same way.
    2007-08-06 14:52:54
    157.   SG6
    148 / 149 - No worries! I knew it may be headed for "overlook" since it was posted in the middle of a heated debate.

    I'm glad someone else brought it up - it was an interesting read.

    2007-08-06 14:54:17
    158.   Vaudeville Villain
    135

    Just a small quibble, Beane signed Jason Kendall because he actually used to get on-base at a higher percentage then Pierre. I don't think anybody could predict how badly Kendall would fall off.

    2007-08-06 14:54:45
    159.   Greg Brock
    Scott Boras isn't the first person to be reviled simply for being the best at what he does.
    2007-08-06 14:55:43
    160.   Xeifrank
    154. I don't really see the Twins trading Santana for a full 1 year rental, without asking for an arm and a leg. It would probably take the players that were mentioned (or more) for a full year. They'd be more likely to trade him for a 1/2 year rental, as they could still pickup some decent prospects and take a shot at the NL Central title. Probably somebody else with more of an eye for talent evaluations could answer this one for you.
    vr, Xei
    2007-08-06 14:56:33
    161.   Vaudeville Villain
    124

    I don't think we need Kielty. We've got plenty of outfielders.

    2007-08-06 14:59:31
    162.   Humma Kavula
    160

    I agree about the price being too high for what you'll get pitching-wise -- the only reason I'd do it is if I thought I could get him to sign an extension.

    I wonder if an extension negotiation would even be successful. If it were me, and it were July 31, 2008, I would take my chances for the last two months and try out free agency. Six months -- a whole baseball season? Maybe the same thing, but not necessarily.

    2007-08-06 15:00:03
    163.   regfairfield
    161 I wouldn't mind because I think part of the reason Kent hasn't been DLed is because there's no other hitters left on the 40 man to call up.
    2007-08-06 15:00:52
    164.   Fallout
    About Depo and The Trade. Xxxx xx xxxx xxxxx x xx xxxx xxx xx xxxxxx xxxx xxx xxxx xxx awful xxx x xxx xx xxxxx.
    And, xxxxx xxx x xxx nothing. Xxx x xxx xxxxxx xx xxxx xx first place.
    In the short term, xx xxxxxxx LoDuca xxx x xxxxxx. In the long run, xx xxx Penny. Xxx xxx x xxxxxx x xxxx x xxx xx x xxxx. But, xx xxxxxx x xx xx xxxx Martin xxx x xxx x xxxxx xxx LoDuca xxx others xxx x xxxxxx xx xxxxxx xx xxx maybe Beckett.
    2007-08-06 15:01:35
    165.   Humma Kavula
    LaRoche isn't on the 40 man?
    2007-08-06 15:02:22
    166.   Vaudeville Villain
    165

    La Roche is hurt? I think?

    2007-08-06 15:02:28
    167.   regfairfield
    165 He tweaked his back.
    2007-08-06 15:03:29
    168.   Humma Kavula
    Did that happen this weekend? Geez. Missed that.
    2007-08-06 15:04:37
    169.   silverwidow
    167-He took batting practice yesterday and is expected to be in the lineup tonight.
    2007-08-06 15:04:44
    170.   underdog
    ...But he's better now, apparently. Supposed to be back in lineup tonight. He is indeed on 40 man. LaRoche and Abreu (also injured) are the only remaining hitter options on 40 man, now that DYoung is up.

    I was thinking of Kielty as someone who could help our bench, not specifically thinking of him as an outfielder.

    Anyway, I expect to see LaRoche up well before Sept. 1, if he's healthy.

    2007-08-06 15:05:20
    171.   Jon Weisman
    164 - That made me laugh.
    2007-08-06 15:11:27
    172.   dzzrtRatt
    I don't see the Twins trading Santana. He called them out on this "always the future" stuff. His statement was somewhat lost in the larger tragedy of Minneapolis, but I'm sure fans heard him. Assuming Liriano can return to form next season, I think the Twins will be buyers this offseason and will try to prove Santana wrong in 2008.

    I mean, think about it. They could trade him for prospects this winter and get, oh, maybe three of them, discounted for Santana's pending free agency. Or they could use him next season, lose him, and get two prospects.

    GMs are getting wiser about making a trade before a young star's walk year. The star will test the market; the idea that "oh, we'll have him under our control and he'll like us so much, he'll sign with us," doesn't change the fact that he's on his new team through no choice of his own, and would be negotiating with this team with much less leverage than he would have if he waited.

    So, bottom line, Twins have little incentive to trade him unless they're overwhelmed by what they'd be getting back, and if a team was willing to overwhelm the Twins, it would be a dumb move.

    2007-08-06 15:15:24
    173.   El Lay Dave
    I believe Johan Santana has also earned the no-trade clause incentive in his contract; usually players (and their agents) want to be compensated for waiving their right to block the trade.

    He'll be 30 at the start of his first year in the next contract. I suspect he'll be demanding a much longer, Zitoesque contract for his services, than I, and possibily Ned, would be comfortable giving a pitcher, even with no injury history.

    2007-08-06 15:27:05
    174.   D4P
    In other news, the Yankees are in a virtual tie with Detroit for the AL Wild Card.
    2007-08-06 15:28:17
    175.   Bob Timmermann
    The Tigers are .001 ahead and they play Tampa Bay in about a half hour.
    2007-08-06 15:29:34
    176.   Bob Timmermann
    Braden Looper will be in the 8 hole tonight for the Cardinals with Aaron Miles batting ninth.

    The Padres will be starting prize acquisitions Rob Macowiak and Morgan Ensberg.

    2007-08-06 15:30:48
    177.   D4P
    175
    Are you saying Detroit has a chance to increase its lead...?
    2007-08-06 15:34:43
    178.   Bob Timmermann
    177
    Or fall behind the Yankees.
    2007-08-06 15:36:13
    179.   D4P
    178
    What a unique situation.
    2007-08-06 15:38:25
    180.   Bob Timmermann
    Edwin Jackson takes on Justin Verlander! Josh Paul starting behind the dish for the Rays!
    2007-08-06 15:54:13
    181.   Xeifrank
    175. Bob, how's that script working out for you? Did you notice the code I put in there to always keep the Yankees out of the playoffs by .001? vr, Xei
    2007-08-06 15:57:34
    182.   El Lay Dave
    180 Perhaps you have a side job lettering for Rex Morgan, M.D.! Or perhaps Mary Worth! I am not accustomed to seeing this punctuation style from Bob Timmermann!
    2007-08-06 15:58:49
    183.   Bob Timmermann
    181
    It's great, but the Cubs are ahead of the Braves and I had do that by hand.
    2007-08-06 16:01:13
    184.   bigcpa
    Neyer mentioned something today I totally missed last month- Felix Hernandez changing his repertoire based on advice from USS Mariner?! http://tinyurl.com/2f6sta
    2007-08-06 16:06:37
    185.   PDH5204
    Jon,

    Back to fielding thirdbasemen, this one doesn't even need the glove ["Iwamura's Barehanded Play"]:

    http://tinyurl.com/2seemm

    Russell had his campaign, and so I'm leading one for Aki.

    2007-08-06 16:10:19
    186.   Xeifrank
    183. I will look into that pronto. I have two of my best guys working on it right now.
    vr, Xei
    2007-08-06 16:14:38
    187.   Jon Weisman
    184 - I can't believe you missed that. You must be working too hard.
    2007-08-06 16:26:19
    188.   Bob Timmermann
    Will Carroll is pooh-poohing any idea that Bonds gains a mechanical advantage from his elbow guard, but more importantly, Alan Nathan, a physics professor at the University of Illinois and one of the leaders of SABR's Science in Baseball Committee, has said on the organization listserv that Bonds can't be helped in his swing by the guard because the amount of time the bat is in contact with the ball for such a brief time.
    2007-08-06 16:27:52
    189.   Bluebleeder87
    otherwise, they tend to spend the maximum allowed, it's just human nature.

    Tell that to my penny pinching mom, for years we've told her my dad left her pretty well off but she keeps on cutting those coupons like theres no tomorrow.

    2007-08-06 16:30:56
    190.   bigcpa
    187 Well I don't read USS Mariner so maybe that explains it. Did you plug that story here?
    2007-08-06 16:36:41
    191.   Jon Weisman
    190 - I didn't plug it, but it's gotten national coverage in mainstream outlets as sort of a tipping point for sports blogs.
    2007-08-06 16:37:30
    192.   Bluebleeder87
    Sept. can't come quick enough I'm really interested in seeing the new & judging from the #'s improved La Roche along side Jonathan Meloan, we just need to shake this little funk we're in.
    2007-08-06 16:40:17
    193.   underdog
    Abreu update from Press Enterprise:
    >> Infielder Tony Abreu is scheduled to see a specialist in Los Angeles today to further examine the abdominal strain that has limited him since he suffered it fielding a bunt July 6.

    Conte said the reason many players struggle to recover from an abdominal strain is that the abdominal muscles are used all day, every day, in countless activities, which can hinder their recovery.

    Abreu appeared in four consecutive games for Los Angeles July 14-17, but he has not played in a game since being optioned to Class AAA Las Vegas on July 18. He has been doing baseball activities, however.

    "He's doing better and better, he's hitting and throwing and running," Conte said.<<

    2007-08-06 16:46:31
    194.   PDH5204
    Re Barry:

    V = k sqrt(M/(m+M/81))

    sqrt = square root
    M = Barry's weight in pounds
    m = bat weight in pounds
    k = constant of 10 mph

    Barry went from 206 in 1997 to 229 in 1999 [unusual weight gain from someone his age in that it wasn't that spare tire around the middle but muscle mass that was gained]. Mr. Nathan has apparently otherwise reported that an increase of 1 mph in bat speed equals roughly 6 feet in distance on the flyball. Bonds' change in bat speed owing to his weight gain is a little under 1.5 [1.48]. So that's about 9 feet added distance. And so the warning track fly balls became homeruns.

    See: http://tinyurl.com/2k8e9h

    2007-08-06 16:48:00
    195.   dkminnick
    188 - ..."Bonds can't be helped in his swing by the guard because the amount of time the bat is in contact with the ball for such a brief time."

    I'm no scientist, but this seems odd. Isn't the force with which the contact is applied more important than the length of contact? Wouldn't the length of contact be essentially the same for a home run as a blooper, or a bunt for that matter?

    2007-08-06 16:49:40
    196.   dkminnick
    194 This appears to be science.
    2007-08-06 16:50:20
    197.   Gen3Blue
    When you have had no positive stuff from your ball-team in a week, A hiatus like this from Sunday afternoon to late Tuesday night is hard to take. Often you can find some minor league prospect accomplishments; but no--all you find is stories about Abrue or LaRoche's injuries. (thank god Hu is still going, and going well)

    Actually I am spending time rather enjoying a Pads vs. Redbirds game. I seem to feel OK if either gets beat.

    2007-08-06 16:50:36
    198.   Bob Timmermann
    195
    The point he was disagreeing with was this one:
    6) At impact, Bonds has additional mass (the weight of his "assistant") not available to the average hitter. The combined weight of "assistant" and bat is probably equal to the weight of the lumber wielded by Babe Ruth but with more manageable weight distribution.

    Prof. Nathan argues that you can throw the bat at the ball and as long as it hits it in the right spot (both of the ball and the bat), it doesn't matter what's on the other end.

    2007-08-06 16:51:26
    199.   Bluebleeder87
    (193)

    hmm, that's interesting I remember a couple of posters here mentioned that Abreus injury was of the phantom type, It's good to here he's getting better.

    2007-08-06 16:53:03
    200.   Andrew Shimmin
    When D4P was harping on about Nomar over Betemit being worse than Phillips over Choi, I asked for (and got) the 2005 PECOTA projection spreadsheet from BP. Then Betemit got traded and nobody cared (those aren't necessarily related). But it was nice to have today, considering the assertion that the 2005 team wasn't built to compete. Especially in a down year in the NL West, that team, if things had broken their way, would have been decent. Reading the Gagne line hurt the most. Reading the Odalis projection made me LOL.
    Show/Hide Comments 201-250
    2007-08-06 16:57:11
    201.   Gen3Blue
    194 ... 198 this could be science and seems much more edifying than certain of my friends at bars conversations, which seemed to top off at Boob*3= Mass of the Ash. I hope I have conveyed the story without violating any rules.
    2007-08-06 16:58:20
    202.   Jim Hitchcock
    Wow. I've had MLB EI since a week ago Sunday, and the Dodgers have won...one game.

    Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player.

    2007-08-06 16:58:27
    203.   Humma Kavula
    200 the assertion that the 2005 team wasn't built to compete

    I didn't do that, but I'm going to let it go.

    2007-08-06 16:58:42
    204.   Xeifrank
    Bob, what do the baseball fans in Japan think about the home run record mark? Do they think Sadaharu Oh's 868 is the real tally, or do they fill that the US mark of 755 is the true mark?
    vr, Xei
    2007-08-06 17:02:10
    205.   dkminnick
    198 - Well yes, bat speed and point of contact is probably more important than mass, but if one can bring more mass into contact at the same speed, wouldn't that be better?

    The logical extreme of this is to imagine swinging one of those little toy bats at the same speed as a regular bat and making ideal contact with both. Obviously, the result would be different, so mass must be a factor.

    Soounds like this device Barry wears helps him make a more consistent point of contact and to maximize the force he can apply by minimizing his own mechanical weaknesses.

    2007-08-06 17:02:50
    206.   Bob Timmermann
    204
    Only the really hard-core Japanese fans think Oh's record means more than Bonds/Aaron.

    Even Oh doesn't acknowledge himself as being a better home run hitter than Aaron or Bonds. Although I do think Oh would have hit a bunch in the U.S. However, he would have been playing in a very low offense era in the majors.

    2007-08-06 17:04:26
    207.   Jon Weisman
    Speaking of math and physics and what not, new post up top.
    2007-08-06 17:06:18
    208.   Gen3Blue
    200 got me thinking. Is there a rational reason why Perez went from a 10 mil. pitcher to worthless so quickly. Driefort, Schmidt, and Wolf had their arms or body fall apart, but this didn't seem to happen to Perez. His arm must have failed--didn't it.
    2007-08-06 17:09:26
    209.   regfairfield
    208 He was a junk baller that was getting by on very marginal stuff with exceptional control. Once he lost just a little bit, it all fell apart.

    At least, that's what I like to tell myself.

    2007-08-06 17:13:32
    210.   fanerman
    201 I'm not entirely sure what that means but I don't think it's safe to google it at work.

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