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About Jon
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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
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Dodgers Lag in International Signing
2007-11-13 20:20
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Dodger Thoughts commenter CanuckDodger offers the following assessment of the Dodgers' efforts on the international amateur market:

When the Dodgers' scouting czar Logan White engaged in an online chat at Dodgers.com on June 12, he was asked, "Are the Dodgers looking to sign any top flight Latin American players?" White replied, "Absolutely." At that time, the next signing period for international amateur players was only a few weeks away. The window to sign Latin talent opened on July 2, and on July 7 Dominican Today quoted White as saying, "We're aggressive. We're going to spend money. The word is out the Dodgers are a player, baby." The problem with what Dominican Today quoted White as saying - aside from the fact that in 2007 the word "baby," used the way White used it, shouldn't be heard from or attributed to anyone who isn't a character in a rerun of Kojak - is that the Dodgers ended up being anything but a "player" in the market for Latin American talent. Again.

On the latest incarnation of my Top 30 Dodger Prospects list, there are only three players who were signed as international free agents, and two of them, RHP Ramon Troncoso and SS Chin-Lung Hu, were signed in 2002 and 2003 respectively. For three years after the Dodgers were bought by Frank McCourt, the Dodgers kept their efforts to bring young talent into the organization through the international amateur free agent market at the barest minimum. That was supposed to change when Logan White was promoted from Amateur Scouting Director for the Dodgers - a position that made White responsible only for the domestic draft and non-drafted free agents in the U.S. - to Assistant General Manager, Scouting, as White was specifically, publicly, given the job of reviving the Dodgers' moribund international scouting endeavors. And White was also supposed to be given the money to do the job right.

In the international signing period that lasted from July 2 to August 20, the Dodgers didn't sign a single player who ended up among the top 20 for signing bonuses received. The New York Yankees signed five such players, giving them bonuses that ranged from $500,000 to $1.1 million. The Seattle Mariners gave out two of the top five signing bonuses, awarding $1 million to one shortstop, and $800,000 to another. The Boston Red Sox made the largest expenditure of all for one player, with 3B Michael Almanzar collecting $1.5 million to sign with Boston. The Atlanta Braves made RHP Julio Teheran of Columbia the highest-paid pitcher, with a bonus of $850,000. The New York Mets and Texas Rangers each signed two players with bonuses of $550,000 or higher. And it wasn't just the larger market teams that opened their wallets. The San Diego Padres shelled out $750,000 for SS Jonathan Galvez, and gave $350,000 to OF Rymer Liriano. The Milwaukee Brewers snapped up OF Hitaniel Arias for $450,000. Even the penurious Kansas City Royals were of a mind to spend some money, inking one player for $250,000, another for $230,000, and another for $200,000, although not one of those three bonuses made the top 20.

One might wonder just how much the Dodgers were willing to spend on a single player during the international signing period. It's unknown if they put in bids on any of the pricier players available, but by all accounts the Dodgers regard their big "get" from the international signing period to be RHP Jose Dominguez, from the Dominican Republic, and he cost only $50,000. The Royals spent $200,000 to $250,000 on three different players, but all the cash the Dodgers could muster for their best signee was $50,000? Is that what Logan White was contemplating when he boasted that the Dodgers were going to be a "player" in the international market? Frankly, I am skeptical that the Dodgers spent a sufficient sum of money to even qualify as a "bit player." While other organizations, not all of them made of money, were shopping on Rodeo Drive, the Dodgers were rummaging through bins at a flea market - and one shabby enough to actually have fleas.

Logan White may well have had a mandate from Frank McCourt to get more talent out of Latin America than the Dodgers had been getting since McCourt took control of the Dodgers, and White almost certainly had to have more money for the task than McCourt was willing to spend before, but "more" is not the same thing as "enough." The Dodgers' budget to sign international amateur talent is still small, and the Dodgers' reputation in the international market is that they are still cheap. Scout.com's Bill Shelley claims that in the Dominican Republic the men who steer talented kids to MLB organizations - and take a cut of the kids' signing bonuses - outright avoid the Dodgers when they have kids whom they think are worth a million dollars or two, with Shelley quoting White as saying, "We don't get to talk to them. They know we won't pay that."

Since he took over responsibility for signing international amateurs, White's biggest signing has been that of 3B Pedro Baez, the sole international free agent from the McCourt era on my Top 30 Dodger Prospects list. But even that one player came very close to slipping through the Dodgers' fingers because of money. After Baez's agent accepted White's offer of a $200,000 signing bonus, the Red Sox offered more money. Bill Shelley quotes White, "The Red Sox and Yankees do that sort of thing. If they want a player, they'll simply top your offer." Fortunately for the Dodgers, Baez's agent had integrity. Baez had not yet signed a contract, and even though the agent could get more money for his client elsewhere, the agent felt honor-bound to accept the Dodgers' offer, because he had already agreed to it verbally.

Dodger fans don't expect their team to throw around tens of millions of dollars as liberally as the Yankees and Red Sox. At least the reasonable ones don't. But it should cause Dodger fans pause to consider that their team won't even match the Yankees and Red Sox when it comes to throwing around hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the last couple of years, the Yankees and Red Sox have improved their takes from the domestic draft simply by kicking a few extra million dollars into their draft budgets. The international market for amateur free agents is another area in which a relatively small investment can lead to rewards far out of proportion to the investment. In Bill James' recent ranking of the top 50 young MLB players in the game, seven of the players named had been signed as international amateur free agents. That might not seem like a lot measured against the 26 players on the list drafted out of high schools, or even the 13 drafted out of four-year colleges, but it is a good return given how much less money MLB teams collectively spend on international amateurs compared to how much money they pour into the draft.

This past summer, the Dodgers' failure to come up with the cash needed to sign RHP Kyle Blair - a legitimate first-round talent who fell to the Dodgers in the fifth round of the draft - could have been justified, albeit feebly, as a sacrifice on the altar of good citizenship in the MLB community, while other organizations, in defying the "slotting" system for bonuses, catered strictly to their self-interest. That excuse won't play for the international market. MLB places no restrictions, either formally or informally, on how much money can be spent on any individual international free agent, or how much money a team can spend on those players in total. Only misplaced frugality on Frank McCourt's part can account for why the Dodgers take a slingshot to a gunfight any time the Dodgers venture into the international amateur talent market. The Dodgers, a team that can be fairly said to have pioneered the scouting and signing of international players, are spitting on part of their own leagacy, and McCourt - not for the first time, nor, I'm sure, for the last - should be ashamed.

Update: The Logan White quote attributed to Dominican Today originally appeared in this Diamond Leung Press-Enterprise piece on the Dodgers' Dominican Republic presence.

Comments (137)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-11-13 20:30:04
1.   Eric Stephen
Very well written, Canuck! That's excellent insight hard to find anywhere else.
2007-11-13 20:30:52
2.   Greg Brock
Good stuff, Canuck. Very nicely done.

Except for the stadium renovations and ludicrous Torre contract, the Dodgers sure don't act like a big-market monster.

2007-11-13 20:33:31
3.   Suffering Bruin
CanuckDodger, this is one terrific effort. Next DT night, I'm buying the first round of dogs or beer, your choice.

My question: how long has this been going on? Is the, ah, frugality with international players a relatively new phenomenon? Did it exist with DePo in charge or is this a Ned thing?

Not that it matters, I guess. It's truly sad. I grew up with the idea that the Dodgers were big players in the international community. Why we took such a huge step backward is beyond me.

2007-11-13 20:38:31
4.   Paul Scott
If I were Beaz and my agent had not disclosed to me the counter offer, I'd be suing him now. (No idea if he did or did not, but the write-up implies that Baez' agent, not Baez himself, made the decision.
2007-11-13 20:42:33
5.   Paul Scott
"This past summer, the Dodgers' failure to come up with the cash needed to sign RHP Kyle Blair - a legitimate first-round talent who fell to the Dodgers in the fifth round of the draft - could have been justified, albeit feebly, as a sacrifice on the altar of good citizenship in the MLB community, while other organizations, in defying the "slotting" system for bonuses, catered strictly to their self-interest."

Teams that "sacrifice" to the slotting system are fools. Draft signings are a huge huge bargain. The slotting system is a gross undervaluation. Quite frankly, the slotting system should be illegal (and would be in any other multi-billion dollar monopoly).

2007-11-13 20:48:26
6.   trainwreck
Definitely have to echo the statements of others and thank Canuck for that great piece.

Someone needs to convince Frank that the best way to save money in the long run is to spend it on amateur players.

2007-11-13 20:55:09
7.   natepurcell
preemptive strike...

I haven't read it yet but I already know this is going to be a great write up. Kudos in advance.

2007-11-13 20:55:12
8.   bigcpa
Great work Canuck. Would love to hear a response from the organization on the subject. As always we're left to wonder why the local writers can't expend the effort to make these observations and ask the relevant questions.
2007-11-13 21:04:35
9.   Bob Timmermann
I'm not even a prospect maven like others here and I found that to be compelling reading.
2007-11-13 21:04:49
10.   natepurcell
The Dodgers' philosophy baffles me. They spend outrageous amounts of money for scrub players at the Major League level because Management is obsessed with having enough depth, but they penny pinch when it comes to the long term investment of the organization.

Why don't they see that if they just spent the extra bit of money initially, then down the road they don't have to pay outrageous amounts of money for mediocre depth since you will already have that depth available in your system.

2007-11-13 21:05:58
11.   natepurcell
I don't know if it a mandate from higher up in the organization, but Logan White has been guilty of this for a couple of years now.

Yes, he does have a flaw.

2007-11-13 21:22:11
12.   Eric Stephen
Let me just say that I like the font of this article.
2007-11-13 21:32:56
13.   LAT
What Bob said. Compelling.
What CPA said. Why isn't the MSM ever on stuff like this?

I have no orginial thoughts tonight.

2007-11-13 21:34:49
14.   underdog
well done, indeed, canuck. this is quite spot-on. alas. while I don't advocate the dodgers throw a lot of money at players they're not crazy about, there's too much talent out there and too much competition for the talent for there to be any excuse for not committing funds. I realluly hope mgmt reads this and passes it around.
2007-11-13 21:37:45
15.   FirstMohican
I'm going to say this, then duck: Is it possible the Dodgers decided the cost of scouting and signing these players versus the expected return wasn't acceptable? Also, I believe Ned recently made a comment about overseas free agents being less of a known quality, suggesting to me that he's more interested in safe bets. Now I can already think of a few moves Ned's made that would suggest otherwise, but not necessarily examples dealing with the draft.

Without any expertise or experience, I would guess that the international draft would be more of a high risk, high reward endeavor relative to the domestic draft. My reasoning is that there has to be less data available for international FA's relative to HS or college players. Not sure if this is true, so feel free to roast me.

Anyway, great write up and something I hadn't considered before.

Anyone think the Dodgers' leasing of one of thier fields in the DR has any relation to this? Maybe its an organizational thing that's been in place for a while.

---

Is it too late to say I'm interested in a shirt?

2007-11-13 21:37:54
16.   Eric Stephen
Quick question regarding the 40-man roster:

After the new collective bargaining agreement was signed, players must be placed on the 40-man roster:

1) within 5 seasons after the year drafted if signed when 18 or younger
2) within 4 seasons after the year drafted if signed when 19 or older

Requirements used to be 4 and 3 seasons, respectively.

James McDonald was drafted in 2002, and signed when he was 18, so he must be protected on the 40-man roster next month or he will be subject to the Rule 5 draft.

What about Justin Orenduff? He was signed at age 21 in 2004, so shouldn't he not have to be placed on the 40-man until December 2008?

Same with Xavier Paul...signed at age 18 in 2003...shouldn't he also be a 2008 addition?

2007-11-13 21:38:33
17.   ChicagoDodger
10 Why can't the Dodgers see that if they just give the young players an honest chance, they wouldn't have to spend outrageous amounts on the present free agents?

Answer that question, and you will find the answer to the question you ask!

2007-11-13 21:48:06
18.   Eric Stephen
Speaking of T-shirts, I would be willing to pay a markup so Jon can actually profit from shirt sales this time.
2007-11-13 21:58:24
19.   Kevin Lewis
How much are the shirts likely to cost?
2007-11-13 21:59:06
20.   Greg Brock
I'd like to concur with Eric. Mark up the price of his t-shirt. Double it, even.

The things I'm willing to do for you, Philosopher King. It's all about sacrifice, I think.

2007-11-13 21:59:20
21.   das411
This is a great post, Canuck, but I wonder if there is not a little DePodesta Disease at work here, namely a refusal to spend more $ than is necessary and being called out on it, rightly or wrongly, as "not doing what it takes to win" or "not acting like a large-market team"...I think I'd echo 15 and say that perhaps the org has made a conscious decision that the payoff is too low on these types of players to spend as much as other teams do, and that perhaps the front office (again, rightly or wrongly) really does value a $4 million manager more highly than 4 $1 million potential prospects...
2007-11-13 22:04:13
22.   Jon Weisman
20 - Heck, you can always just give me cash and forget the shirt.
2007-11-13 22:04:28
23.   Greg Brock
21 I'd draw your attention to the recent work Omar Minaya has done in New York. For the 250,000/500,000 dollars he spends on a 17 year old Latin baseball player, the equivalent talent in the amateur draft is way more. If they're dominant college players, or represented by a very good agent, they may fetch major league contracts in excess of five million dollars.

Even if two out of ten signings pan out, it's a huge return on a relatively small investment.

2007-11-13 22:05:57
24.   Greg Brock
22 I'd love to. Got thirty bucks I can borrow to donate?
2007-11-13 22:10:05
25.   dzzrtRatt
21 Your response is a variation on what I was thinking, wondering if this tendency might have even deeper roots. When the Dodgers were leaders in finding international players, was it so costly to sign them? Or weren't they able to pick up some prime talent at a low price? Maybe the organizational culture hasn't adapted to the idea of there being a "market" in international talent where you have other bidders pushing up the price.

That's just speculation, though.

Mainly I wanted to salute Canuck's superb report. Who needs the MSM? I assume the Dodger PR staff monitors DT, so I would like to ask for a response from the organization to the issues Canuck has raised. Let's hear your side. I'm sure Jon would be more than happy to post it.

2007-11-13 22:23:59
26.   dzzrtRatt
A judge after Bob Timmermann's heart:

http://tinyurl.com/2qyny4

2007-11-13 22:38:58
27.   Eric Enders
23 Perhaps there's a bit of a Moneyball thing going on here, though, with the Dodgers deciding that it's wiser to invest their hundreds of thousands in the "safer" amateur draft players; that is, players who are older, closer to the major leagues, whom you have had far more opportunities to scout, and who need no cultural adjustment period when they begin their minor league careers. The American-born guys are simply the safer bet (to the degree that any amateur signee is a safe bet, anyway).

Of course, if the Dodgers really thought that, they'd have signed Kyle Blair.

It's worth noting that the last three high-profile international signings the Dodgers have made (or at least, the last three I can remember) all panned out to a reasonable degree. Guzman was used as a trade chip that eventually got us Chris Withrow and James Adkins; Kuo gave us a starting pitching boost without which we'd have missed the 2006 playoffs; and Hu was the best SS in minor league baseball this year.

2007-11-13 22:41:00
28.   Xeifrank
Ok, looks like I have a solid post from CanuckDodger, who I might add is one of my favorite DT posters. I always agree with everything he says, and he can of course explain his thoughts very well.

Was driving home from my softball game (we lost in the finals 21-16) tonight and Joe McDonnell was on one of the local sports radio stations talking about AROD. I thought I'd listen in, either that or some bad reception on a RHCP song. The first thing he said made sense about AROD taking a big risk by opting out because there were only a few teams that could afford him. Then he started going through a few of the teams. First up was the Mets. His first thought was, oh they have David Wright so just move Wright to firstbase. Blah blah blah they have Delgado. So move Wright to the outfield or put AROD at SS and can their shortstop. Uh, ok. Now if he would've said Wright or Reyes to 2B, I could've agreed a little bit. Then he said the Cubs, with no mention of ARAM at 3B. Then the Dodgers. He said the Dodgers owner doesn't have the money to pay AROD 1/4 of the team's payroll (probably some truth). He said the Dodgers could afford him by having McCourt build a mall and condos in the Dodger Stadium parking lot. He said from the money made at the mall and from the condos they could pay AROD. He then added, how cool would it be to live in a Condo in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium. Luckily, that's when I got home and turned the radio off.

vr, Xei

2007-11-13 22:43:12
29.   Louis in SF
Echoing everyone else this is a great post and of course it would be wonderful to get some official Dodger response.

First Mochican makes a point that I thought of as well, it seems that the Dodgers, I think in the early Fox years made a conscious effort to to lower their efforts in the Carraiban. In addition to the leasing of their facility in the DR, didn't they also get into trouble with signing players who were too young.

If my memory is correct after the Dodgers were fined by MLB, they also made cuts in their scouts down there. All of this adds up to a lower profile coupled with more competition in the area and not paying top or even mid-level dollar and you end up with more examples of bad Dodger management.

2007-11-13 22:48:08
30.   Greg Brock
27 But the rationale behind forgoing the international scouting market is based on economic disparity. Other teams stay away because they lack the resources to pay their amateur draftees and compete for international amateurs. This is not an issue with the Dodgers.
2007-11-13 22:59:20
31.   silverwidow
Rosenthal: "Hunter to Dodgers a perfect fit"

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7445434

2007-11-13 23:02:08
32.   silverwidow
31 Make that "just makes sense"

He pretty much said the same thing about Torre and we know how that turned out.

2007-11-13 23:02:09
33.   Bob Timmermann
Thinking internationally, if you happen to be up at 2 am PT, you can watch the US take on Taiwan in the Baseball World Cup at http://www.stadeo.tv/baseball_world_cup_2007/games/

For political reasons, Taiwan has to call its team "Chinese Taipei" even when it is playing at home. It keeps China happy.

The winner of the game gets first place in its group and will play either Canada or the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.

2007-11-13 23:03:06
34.   Greg Brock
I don't think I've ever seen a more talented player as easily disposable as Matt Kemp.

It's like some bizarro world.

2007-11-13 23:08:16
35.   CanuckDodger
Thanks to everyone who said kind things about my article, and thanks, Jon, for publishing my piece on the "front page" of DT.
2007-11-13 23:12:12
36.   Bob Timmermann
Rosenthal thinks Torii Hunter would be a "modern day Duke Snider."

That seems nice. I'm glad to know that Torii Hunter would also bring the Dodgers "presence."

And all this speculating is predicated on Juan Pierre playing left field. Ugh.

In unrelated news, if anybody knows how I transfer the data (contacts and calendar) from one Blackberry to a new one, please send me an email.

2007-11-13 23:13:49
37.   CanuckDodger
3 -- The "frugality" really started with McCourt buying the team, so I don't think DePo or Colletti are at fault, but who knows how much, if any, effort they put into talking to McCourt about putting up more money for international signings.
2007-11-13 23:16:14
38.   Xeifrank
34. Good young players are traded or rumored (Miguel Cabrera) to be traded every year. Hopefully Kemp rides out the storm. I really don't think the Dodgers need to make any big moves this offseason. They should put all their energy into praying that their starting pitchers are healthy.

vr, Xei

2007-11-13 23:17:11
39.   Greg Brock
I still can't believe the Dodgers are going to pay Esteban Loaiza seven million dollars next year.

Just reminding everybody of that particular bit of stupidity.

2007-11-13 23:18:18
40.   Xeifrank
Canuck, do you have an email address we could send offline questions/comments to? If you don't want to make it public, you could email it to me at my monicker at yahoo dotcom.
vr, Xei
2007-11-13 23:20:40
41.   Greg Brock
38 I agree. If Kemp plays centerfield, it's corner outfielder production from a CF. It almost makes what's-his-face playing LF tolerable. Almost. But not really.

When ESPN releases it's January "Free Agent Winners and Losers" claptrap, I'd like to be a loser. Let's go to bat with what we have. We have a lot.

2007-11-13 23:20:52
42.   CanuckDodger
11 -- I'm not sure what you are saying White is "guilty" of. I think he has no choice but to work with the budget he is given by the team owner, and that is true of the draft budget and the international free agent budget. If anything White is guilty of being a company man who misleads the fans with statements that sound like PR-speak rather than the truth, and I pretty much expect that from any baseball executive, even while a deplore it.
2007-11-13 23:21:19
43.   Xeifrank
39. What do you think Loaiza would get if he were on the free agent market right now? The Dodgers were desperate for pitching depth when that waiver claim was made. I'm willing to atleast give him 10+ starts before I call that move a dumb one. Perhaps I shouldn't, but I will give him a shot.
vr, Xei
2007-11-13 23:23:05
44.   CanuckDodger
40 -- People can e-mail me at rbostan@shaw.ca.
2007-11-13 23:24:08
45.   Xeifrank
Pierre/Kemp-gate makes the top billing in this article on bad free agent moves.
http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/
vr, Xei
2007-11-13 23:24:48
46.   Vishal
kudos for the article. i totally agree. the dodgers seem dumb for not wringing more value out of the international player market. especially since we pay so much money for crappy filler veterans. at the least we should be getting these players for cheap from abroad.

and i also agree with whomever said they liked the font in canuck's article better than the fonts on rest of the site.

2007-11-13 23:25:37
47.   regfairfield
39 He's no worse than Lohse or Silva who are going to get paid this offseason. Since we'd have to go to Stulton or Wolf (which I personally think would have been a better idea) instead, it wasn't a horrible move.

However, I don't agree with Christina Kahrl's thoughts of brilliance of the move. Loaiza is good for somewhere between a 4.50-5.00 ERA, which is good enough for a 5th starter.

2007-11-13 23:25:57
48.   silverwidow
New L.A. Times article speculates that the Marlins may want BOTH Billingsley and Kershaw.

Ridiculous.

http://tinyurl.com/yp6hmz

2007-11-13 23:26:56
49.   Vishal
41 we're gonna be a loser. but it will be because we have signed torii hunter and mike lowell rather than a-rod.
2007-11-13 23:27:11
50.   Greg Brock
43 The Dodgers have Lowe, Penny, Billingsley, Wolf (possibly), Schmidt (at some point), McDonald in the wings, Holton, Stults, Kuo (at some point), Hull, Proctor can start, and any other marginal starter.

You're a more forgiving soul than I, Xei. Bad, bad move.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-11-13 23:29:15
51.   Greg Brock
I can't believe the acceptance of Loaiza around these parts. This reminds me of the "Kuo could be better than Billingsley" stuff I heard after September last year. Man.

What?

2007-11-13 23:29:32
52.   bigcpa
.271/.352/.444 69 XBH, 69 BB
.278/.336/.490 54 XBH, 45 BB

Matchup these clubhouse presences with their 2006 stat lines:

Torii Hunter
Luis Gonzalez

2007-11-13 23:35:45
53.   Xeifrank
51. Hey man, for that one month stretch when Guo was healthy he was better than Johan!
vr, Xei
2007-11-13 23:36:50
54.   regfairfield
51 He's not terrible. It's not the most ringing endorsement but if you ignore the cost effectiveness I've got more faith in him than Stulton.
2007-11-13 23:42:10
55.   Greg Brock
54 He's not terrible. Ignore the cost consciousness

Wow, Andrew. Why don't you and Esteban get a room already. But really, come on. He'll surely be better than Stulton. At only twenty times the cost.

2007-11-13 23:44:35
56.   regfairfield
55 The point isn't to build the best team for the money, it's to build the best team. Unless he actively prevents us from getting someone, I've got no issues.
2007-11-13 23:48:02
57.   Greg Brock
56 But doesn't seven million dollars to Loaiza mean seven million dollars that can't be spent on, you know, actually good players? Alex Rodriguez, or a Johan Santana extension? Or seven million dollars that can't be spent on a couple of sixteen year old Dominican centerfield prospects?

It's just endemic of a "spend now, think later" philosophy. Zero long term investment.

2007-11-13 23:50:12
58.   CanuckDodger
15, 21, 23, 27 -- There is an argument to be made that some very big-dollar international signings have not worked out for the clubs that made the investments, and in the Dodgers' case, when you look at the total spent on Willy Aybar, Chin-Feng Chen, Hong-Chih Kuo, and Joel Guzman (each of whom received seven-figure bonuses), it has to be admitted we got very little in return for the money. But anybody can point to a longer list of top draft picks who flamed out or contributed little at the MLB level despite teams paying these draftees millions.

And I can't believe that the Dodgers would adopt the position that the international kids are too far from the majors to assess accurately, because that is an argument that saber teams use to justify avoiding high schoolers and picking college players, and White's drafts show a preference for younger draftees whose tools he believes in, rather than a record of performance. Scouting international kids is all about trusting the tools you see, so that is right up White's alley. Now maybe White can say that he thinks the Latin boys getting big money are getting more than they are worth, but then I would have to say that as good as White is, can so MANY teams giving out these big bonuses be completely wrong in their scouting evaluations? Are there NO Latin kids worth more than a couple hundred thousand dollars? That doesn't sound reasonable to me. In fact, that position would be practically racist. It makes more sense that White would spend the money if he had it, and he simply doesn't have it.

2007-11-13 23:54:12
59.   Greg Brock
58 I'd go with "bigot" instead of "racist" since Latins really aren't a race. Plus, "racist" is such an overused term. Most people just tune out when they read or hear "racist" today.

But "bigot" has a real bite, and is appropriate when discussing ethnic groups. Just food for thought.

2007-11-13 23:58:01
60.   Vishal
you're so owning this thread, brock.
2007-11-13 23:58:09
61.   bigcpa
59 That's what Kemp is a victim of- the soft bigotry of low expectations.
2007-11-14 00:01:32
62.   bhsportsguy
51 Part of it is the realization that it was unlikely that the Dodgers would just sit tight and not sign a free agent pitcher this off-season considering the uncertainity about Schmidt and not wanting to rely on Hull, Stults and Houlton. The youngsters are probably not in play to start the season on the big club.

Second, he is only signed for one year with a very low buyout and if they can make it through the year, then the young guys should be in better position to fill in.

It is unlikely you could sign any free agent (unless it is someone like Wolf) for only one year and Loiaza is probably at the going price.

2007-11-14 00:03:32
63.   Greg Brock
61 Imagine if Kemp was a Presbyterian kid named Matty McGee. Even as a Lowland Scot, He'd be untouchable.
2007-11-14 00:05:12
64.   Greg Brock
62 If Esteban Loaiza makes 20 starts for the Dodgers, I'll buy you dim sum and a UCLA sweatshirt.

Which I probably owe you anyway.

2007-11-14 00:11:32
65.   CanuckDodger
On the subject of what the Marlins would want from the Dodgers for Cabrera, I have to say that while other people get exasperated by articles like the one in the Times or the one in a Florida paper discussed earlier today, they make me relieved. Please, Marlins, try to rape the Dodgers blind in a deal for Cabrera, because that is the only way I can be sure a trade won't happen. I have long suspected that other teams' unmitigated greed when talking trades with Colletti is the only thing that has kept Colletti from making far more dumb trades than he has.
2007-11-14 00:20:32
66.   dzzrtRatt
65 A competing GM has to bag the big game in a deal with the Dodgers. If the Marlins trade Cabrera for anything less than the outlandish packages being discussed, they would lose face. Our kids are too famous.

I was hot on Cabrera, but not at these prices. My focus is now on Andruw Jones, a player who might well be happy with a Furcal-type of deal and, if he's able to bounce back could make a difference in our offensive productivity. A full year of Loney, Kemp, Kent, healthy Furcal, Martin and Jones, combined with good pitching and it could be a decent year, something to build on.

Torre's got three years, after all. A World Series in 2010 would be fine with me.

2007-11-14 00:23:38
67.   thinkblue0
66-

Agreed.

Here's what I don't get: We know that locking up Cabrera is going to take a MASSIVE deal...well, if you're going to do that, why not just sign Arod?

Sure, Arod might take 25-30 a year....but will Cabrera be THAT much less to extend? If we're going after a third baseman, I'd MUCH rather just sign Arod than deal Kershaw, Laroche, Kemp and whatever else for Cabrera.

2007-11-14 00:25:42
68.   thinkblue0
62-

I have to agree with you on Loaiza. I'm not a huge fan, but at 7 mill per if he can pitch at least average than things have worked out.

To put it another way, I'd much rather have Loaiza starting every fifth day than Tomdrickson.

2007-11-14 00:35:37
69.   Xeifrank
67. You have to list and weigh the pros and cons (AROD vs MCAB). The biggest factor in my opinion is which players you have to give up to get MCAB. If that can be widdled down then MCAB becomes the better deal, if not then AROD... or perhaps niether is a good deal, just the lesser of two evil$.
vr, Xei
2007-11-14 00:36:08
70.   bhsportsguy
First off, great take by Canuck and I agree with the premise that the Dodgers should spend a little more on its scouting as it comes to bonuses for the draft and international signings.

However, just for context, here is a little more of what was quoted above, this appeared in Diamond Leung's blog at around the same time of the referenced quotes.

"I'm not going to go and spend money and give someone $500,000 if we don't think the talent is there. I don't believe in throwing around money trying to beat competition. That's not scouting."

http://tinyurl.com/2uvzpx

Part of this could be PR or arrogance but this was also what Logan White said about his philosophy about signing bonuses.

My impression has been and I know it is only mine but to some extent, Logan White has demonstrated that he plays by the rules set forth by whoever he works for. The drafting of Kyle Blair in the 5th round was the exception rather than the rule as he generally has signed in first 10 picks in every draft he has overseen for the Dodgers and has done that by rarely paying above slot. (LaRoche being the real rare exception)

Sure he has drafted some players (high school pitchers) late in the teens and has seen them go in the first round three years later but not until the last few years have teams used those rounds to get players that have been skipped due to bonus concerns and he has also said that he has generally used those rounds in the past for draft and follows (a practice no longer in play) and to just check in with those players to see what they want with no expectation to sign them.

Whether or not that is the correct business strategy is another question but I think you cannot just single out ownership on the issue of how much the budgets are for these type expenditures.

Logan White has shown signs of arrogance when it comes to how he views player rankings by "outside experts" and also when it comes to just throwing money at players. I think he enjoys getting the Russell Martins and James McDonalds as much if not more than Chad Billingsleys and Clayton Kershaws of the world and just increasing his budget for the draft and international signings may not result in a change of his philosophy. White goes his own way and for now, it has worked.

2007-11-14 00:36:55
71.   Xeifrank
wow, only 1.5 hours til the USA vs Formosa game... and only 5 hrs til the alarm clock goes off. vr, Xei
2007-11-14 00:37:50
72.   bhsportsguy
64 Please tell me you have something that is occupying you in the daytime. I would hate to think you have to spend time thinking about Esteban Loaiza.
2007-11-14 00:42:02
73.   jasonungar07
well 67 my guess is that A-rod is not really on the market and a deal is already done..why else would he opt out...
2007-11-14 00:44:00
74.   Greg Brock
72 You know I now have daytime business. Thankfully.

My nights, however, belong to Esteban.

2007-11-14 00:53:40
75.   jasonungar07
well his beard alone has experienced more than a lesser mans entire body so I can see why your nights belong to Esteban
2007-11-14 00:59:18
76.   bhsportsguy
75 Really, I cannot believe anyone wants to drink more beer based on those commercials. However, I like when he frees the "bear."

74 Good, and if it works out for you and your dad, December 18th is yours to go see Kevin Love at Pauley, if Saturday is better, how about December 15th. Just let me know.

2007-11-14 05:25:53
77.   Billy Buck
It's really hard to take anything this outfit is saying seriously with the continued reports that, at worst, Pierre will be playing lf instead of cf. There is no-one on this PLANET that believes Pierre is a better player now or ever than Ethier will be. The only thing he has on Ethier is speed, but you can't steal first base. McCourt and Colletti-ot refuse to admit Pierre was a mistake and bench him, which weakens the team immediately by NOT playing the best people. I fully expect them to trade the farm for Cabrera, who will eat himself out of a position within two years, and then we'll be faced with having two firstbasemen for one spot. There is ZERO foresight on the part of the ownership/general manager- but this isn't exactly a revelation, is it?
2007-11-14 06:03:43
78.   Ken Noe
Most all of this Cabrera for the moon talk is coming out of Miami, and may well be a case of setting the bar too high on purpose. Or simply window shopping. Reading back through Colletti's comments and other remarks out of DS over the last few weeks, I think it's reasonably clear what he wants to do: sign one of Hunter/Jones/Rowand, move JP to left, and try to move one of Kemp/Ethier/Young for pitching. And I hope that JP to left is only the first step to JP out of the lineup. Accepting that, unappetizing as it is, may be the best real option, since I don't think he will stand pat as he should. Of course, Grady Little thought it was reasonably clear what NedCo was going to do, and the addition of Torre is an unknown factor. NedCo's short leash may induce panic. Who knows. But Colletti's past actions at least don't suggest he'll trade good pitching away, which is key to any Fish deal. (He didn't consider Jackson good pitching).
2007-11-14 06:27:44
79.   Xeifrank
So was the USA vs Formosa baseball game rained out?? What time does Bob wake up?

vr, Xei

2007-11-14 06:31:03
80.   Bumsrap
If Boras can wave 10 years and $30 Million around as the starting poing for AROD, why can't the Dodgers and Angels start waving around that their interest in AROD starts at 5 years and $100 Million.

Maybe the media will hype/pimp the smaller numbers instead of Boras' numbers.

2007-11-14 06:34:12
81.   Sam DC
Thanks for the great read Canuck. Learned a lot; laughed a bit. Good stuff.
2007-11-14 06:35:07
82.   D4P
80
Exactly. I don't see why two (or more) can't play at that game.

Boras gets too much exposure.

2007-11-14 06:52:59
83.   Terry A
Just in time to screw with your Thanksgiving:

"Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti, who inherited a dynamic group of young and inexpensive players, went on an ill-advised spending binge for veterans that guaranteed $117.5 million to Jason Schmidt, Juan Pierre, Nomar Garciaparra and Randy Wolf. Responding to Colletti's preference for veterans, the Padres are contemplating three-team trade scenarios that would bring them young Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp."

http://tinyurl.com/2p2n9s

2007-11-14 07:02:50
84.   Bluebleeder87
really nice morning read!
2007-11-14 07:03:14
85.   Sam DC
I feel like we're all huddled in the village, watching the mountain smoke, wondering what comes next . . .
2007-11-14 07:05:32
86.   CarlosDeC
Matt Kemp as a Padre just made me throw up in my mouth. ugh real bad taste.
2007-11-14 07:06:58
87.   Sam DC
For those who have wondered about the mysterious Rule 13, it's been breached!!
2007-11-14 07:14:10
88.   Ken Noe
83 I'm sure lots of teams now "contemplate" trying to get Kemp, and notably a good one that has Alderson and DePo in the front office. It does say a lot about other GM's low view of Colletti. Doesn't mean he'll pull the trigger though.
2007-11-14 07:15:38
89.   Bumsrap
85 - I feel like we're all huddled in the village, watching the mountain smoke, wondering what comes next

Perhaps a sacrafice?

87 - The word breached compounded the rule 13 thing in previous post.

2007-11-14 07:19:48
90.   Humma Kavula
Canuck: let me pile on by saying your piece was both informative and well-expressed. Your introduction is masterful.

83 Matt Kemp is my favorite young Dodger. Yesterday, I advocated him being a part of a potential trade for Cabrera, but the trade (Billingsley-Kemp-Pierre) was so outrageous that there's no chance that it could actually happen, so I'm on safe ground in my Kemplove.

If Matt Kemp gets traded and ends up as a Padre, I will -- offline, out of respect for this site -- violate rule one, and I will violate it with extreme prejudice.

2007-11-14 07:20:16
91.   ToyCannon
I can't imagine any hitter who has decent options taking any short term deals from the Padres no matter how much money the contract is for. The park will kill the stats and the agents know it.

If Matt Kemp brought us Jake Peavy wouldn't you have to listen?

I find it strange that the Loaiza deal is coming under criticism. We got him for nothing and he's only under contract for one year at a decent price. Quite a few teams will be bidding on Kyle Lohse and Carlos Silva and end up spending 40million for 4 years for pitchers that aren't as good as Estaban. Billy Beane thought enough of him to give him that contract in the 1st place. If his team was going to be competitive next year he'd still have him on his roster but since they aren't he cut his salary loose.

2007-11-14 07:35:16
92.   Xeifrank
83. The article doesn't say who the Padres might contemplate trading for Kemp. Besides Peavy or the tall Chris Young, who on the Padres would we even want?

Looks like the Padres and Dodgers for 2 games in Beijing next March. I really hope the pollution and dust storms cooperate. March is prime dust storm season, with winds whipping up huge plumes of dust off of the Gobi desert. We are talking, stay indoors or wear a mask type of dust storms.

vr, Xei

2007-11-14 07:35:16
93.   Disabled List
Terrific write-up by CanuckDodger. Yet again, the internet runs circles around traditional media. And people wonder why nobody reads newspapers any more.

---

Re: Bobbing for Matt Kemp. Every single rumored trade involving the Dodgers includes Kemp. I can only hope that the fact his name is mentioned every time clues Colletti into the fact that Kemp is an asset to be hoarded, or dealt only under the most optimal of circumstances.

And even if Colletti deals Kemp, I can't believe he would allow him to go to a division rival. That SD piece is pure wishful thinking.

2007-11-14 07:37:58
94.   Bluebleeder87
I really doubt Kemp will be dealt, Ned has made it known that he REALLY likes Kemp.
2007-11-14 07:42:22
95.   Xeifrank
Simers article this morning says AROD to the Angels is probably already a done deal (shhhh, tampering police). vr, Xei
2007-11-14 07:43:21
96.   Ken Noe
91 The article refers to "three-team scenarios" so I assume we wouldn't be getting Peavy outright, but rather a pitcher from team X. The Pods have been talking to several teams: Brewers, Mets, Twins among them.
2007-11-14 07:44:55
97.   Daniel Zappala
We've been focusing far too long on the Minotaur as a fictional creature. In reality, it's Juan Pierre who should be fictional. He doesn't exist. Problem solved. So we have Kemp in right, a free agent in CF, who should play left? Ethier or Young? Which would you play?
2007-11-14 07:45:10
98.   kegtron
I have a feeling Coletti may have put Kemp out on the trading block during that GM roundtable the other day if teams like the Padres are getting in on the sweepstakes.
2007-11-14 07:46:38
99.   Xeifrank
97. Play all three of them.
Young-Kemp-Ethier
FA scrub to backup Kemp.

vr, Xei

2007-11-14 07:47:24
100.   Daniel Zappala
The thing I find funny in the trade proposals from the Marlins is that they are quoted as wanting four "prospects" and then the writer lists Kemp and Billingsley as prospects. If people could instead see that they are asking for our starting RF, starting pitcher, soon-to-be-starting 3B, and #1 prospect, then this would be revealed quite easily as foolishness.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-11-14 07:48:30
101.   Daniel Zappala
99 Assume we sign A. Jones to play CF. Just because Colletti has to sign someone. So who starts in LF? Do they platoon?
2007-11-14 07:51:21
102.   Humma Kavula
101 What kind of pitcher can Ethier get in a straight-up trade?

If you like the answer to that question, trade Ethier and start Young. See what he can do with 500 ML at-bats. If you don't like, trade him and sign a LF next year.

If you don't like the pitcher you can get for Ethier, they share playing time. We know what Ethier can do. The question is if Young can outplay him.

2007-11-14 07:51:44
103.   Ken Noe
101 Slappy starts, because he's also traded Ethier or Kemp for pitching. This SD article only reinforces what I suggested in 78 . The most consistent talk out of DS has been JP to left. Sad to say.
2007-11-14 07:52:46
104.   Daniel Zappala
103 He doesn't exist!
2007-11-14 07:55:47
105.   Xeifrank
101. If we sign someone like A.Jones to play CF then that probably means ethier Kemp or Ethier gets traded, as Pierre is untradeable and has that consecutive game streak and all.
vr, Xei
2007-11-14 07:55:49
106.   Ken Noe
104 LOL. Sorry, I forgot the new rule. I think I'll also pretend that Dan Evans is still GM.
2007-11-14 07:57:03
107.   Gen3Blue
Excellant report Canuck. The kind backed up with real research.
Kind of depressing though, for I was sort of content to think of the D's as still a leader in Latin America, even though I knew something was wrong. And apparently the efforts in the Pacific rim don't make up for anything. I see our system dropping from the elites faster than a brick if something isn't turned around.
2007-11-14 07:59:32
108.   Gen3Blue
Read the Rosenthal thing-Blah,blah. Most of these guys seem to think its a social club, not a baseball team, and are more concerned that they can be comfortable when they drop in, than playing good ball.
2007-11-14 08:06:00
109.   Vishal
if the padres are willing to trade us peavy it must mean his arm is about to fall off his torso.
2007-11-14 08:06:55
110.   LAT
I find it hard to believe that Frank would allow Ned to trade Kemp, especially to a division team. Frank has been the one who has mandated keeping the kids, why switch now? Moreover, Frank just paid Joe a ton of money to bring the clubhouse together. You don't need Joe to do this if you are going to start trading some of the kids. Finally, we need power and Kemp is one of the few Dodgers with raw power. I really cannot see this happening.
2007-11-14 08:09:29
111.   Disabled List
One of the things that should be clarified about that Kemp-to-Padres rumor is that it was 3-team deals the Pads were contemplating. That means it's doubtful any significant Padre player (like Peavy) would make it to LA. This could just be another iteration of a Cabrera deal, for example, with the Pads sending prospects to Florida and the Dodgers sending Kemp to SD.
2007-11-14 08:16:15
112.   regfairfield
I really like how Rosenthal out and out admits that Andruw Jones is better than Torii Hunter, then advocates going after hunter anyway.
2007-11-14 08:21:33
113.   D4P
Relative to Jones, Hunter has a lower ceiling, but a higher floor.
2007-11-14 08:21:48
114.   SoSG Orel
Canuck: Excellent, if depressing, piece.
2007-11-14 08:28:36
115.   Xeifrank
113. AJON's 2007 season scares me a little bit, as if he was playing hurt or coming off PEDs. I am going to say they are about the same offensively, AJON might get a bump for being slightly younger. The better sign of the two will probably be the one with the better contract. vr, Xei
2007-11-14 08:34:35
116.   D4P
115
The bottom line is that neither will really deserve the contract they get. Signing either to a long-term deal is fool's gold.
2007-11-14 08:37:21
117.   Xeifrank
Interesting article in the WSJ, wondering if baseball players are actually being underpaid. (SFW) vr, Xei
http://tinyurl.com/3aj7e4
2007-11-14 08:47:45
118.   Gen3Blue
117 There they go again, fingering the "collusion" card.
2007-11-14 08:50:32
119.   D4P
If GMs don't blindly give out $100 million contracts right and left to mediocre hacks, they must be colluding.
2007-11-14 09:09:31
120.   Kevin Lewis
64

That's kind of like saying, "I'll beat anyones advertised price or your mattress is free."

I will only accept Peavy for Kemp.

And I too threw up a little in my mouth

2007-11-14 09:13:41
121.   Daniel Zappala
117 Interesting article. The main point is that a contract going up in raw dollars compared to previous years is the wrong metric. Their main reasons for this are that (1) the dollar is worth less than previous years, and (2) teams are bringing in a lot more revenue. Baseball players are making less than before as compared to their share of overall revenue.

I would agree that it's too simplistic to point to increasing dollar values of baseball contracts while ignoring currency value, inflation, and overall revenues.

Now if only we could all get raises that way.

2007-11-14 09:15:25
122.   Jon Weisman
No more throwing up in your mouth. I'm tired of reading that phrase.
2007-11-14 09:19:53
123.   underdog
I'm LATing myself here, but I keep seeing AROD and AJON and thinking they're NASDAQ stocks, not players. And in a way, they sort of are.
2007-11-14 09:21:36
124.   Jon Weisman
122 - I didn't mean that as harshly as it sounded. But just hoping to see it go away.
2007-11-14 09:22:34
125.   regfairfield
122 I fully support this motion.
2007-11-14 09:31:47
126.   JoeyP
We got him for nothing and he's only under contract for one year at a decent price

A decent price for Loaiza would be the veteran minimum that any NRI might command if he were to make the team.

Not only is 7mils down the tubes for Loaiza, but he carries with him alot of PVL that may make him difficult to remove from the rotation.

Loaiza is just another road block in the way of a kid (like McDonald, Orenduff, Kuo) getting a chance.

Loaiza has virtually no upside at this point in his career.

2007-11-14 09:33:34
127.   Xeifrank
123. Perhaps all baseball players should have a ticker symbol. KEMP up $1.50 per share on rumors of a takeover of SLAP.
vr, Xei
2007-11-14 09:36:39
128.   LogikReader
I'm listening to a Steve Phillips interview at the moment and he is basically saying that he'd rather spread 30 million for 3 players instead of 30 mil for one A-Rod.

In theory it makes sense, but as I always say:

What gives you more value, one BIG box of corn flakes, or three little boxes of Corn Flakes?

[I know, what am I doing listening to Steve Phillips?]

2007-11-14 09:44:57
129.   Kevin Lewis
122

No problem. But in my defense, I actually thought that in my head before I read the first comment on it.

2007-11-14 09:46:04
130.   Eric Stephen
126 Not only is 7mils down the tubes for Loaiza, but he carries with him alot of PVL that may make him difficult to remove from the rotation

Last year, Torre removed Mussina from the rotation, with another $15m left on his contract. Granted, it was later in the year but the Yankees didn't have many better options.

Loaiza's is essentially a one-year deal at below market price. If he doesn't produce, I have no doubt he will be removed from the rotation. Hell, Torre probably remembers Loaiza as the 8.50 ERA toting HR machine from 2004, so he may be on a short leash already.

I'm not sold that McDonald or Orenduff will be better than Loaiza in early 2008. Give Loaiza the rope to hang himself; if he's healthy and productive, great. If not, then let one of McDonald/Orenduff/Kuo take over. Will Kuo ever be healthy enough to be a contributor for a full season? I hope so, but it's not something you can count on.

2007-11-14 09:56:54
131.   Eric Stephen
T.J. Simers actually has a non-horrible article today! It's relatively free of cheap shots and stupid nicknames.
2007-11-14 11:01:03
132.   scareduck
One of the best posts I've read all year about Dodgers player development.
2007-11-14 11:42:07
133.   ThinkBlue116
Great writeup, Canuck. When I asked Logan White that question and he replied so positively, I was really hoping the Dodgers would again become players in the international market. But it seems as though they're scraping the bottom of the barrel and trying to pull out a surprise here and there.

Pedro Baez looks like he'll be something special, but imagine how many more Pedro Baez's there'd be if the Dodgers would spend more than one or two hundred thousand dollars.

2007-11-14 17:19:11
134.   oldfan60
Great writeup, Canuck.
I cannot see Logan staying with the Dodgers for very long. GM offers will be coming his way. Also, if his choices keep getting rejected (like Blair) he may take the same job somewhere else.
2007-11-14 21:35:54
135.   trainwreck
I said the day we got Loaiza that we will never be able to count on him and I hope Ned is thinking the same way now.

Ned talked about trading for pitching. Who could he go after? I am worried that Billy Beane may try to fleece us with a Blanton trade.

2007-11-14 21:39:50
136.   trainwreck
Doug Gottlieb just mentioned the Melvins during the Utah/Washington game.

I am impressed.

2007-11-15 09:01:33
137.   Andrew Shimmin
Now that this thread is safely dead. . .

61- You know what I blame Matt Kemp's trashcan moving on the breakdown of? Society.

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