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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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Sense and Sensibility
2008-01-09 06:47
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Jeff Kent, quoted by T.J. Simers in the Times today:

"Last year I might offer a one-line comment at the batting cage about hitting the curveball, and I'd get scoffed at, and a 'What the hell do you know?' in return. ...

"I don't get paid to take rookies out to dinner. I'm not a baby-sitter. I don't coach."

Why even try to make sense of it all?

The fact is, the clubhouse breakdown was overblown last year. I still think that the accusations have been one-sided - it's not that the kids shouldn't have respect for their teammates or be held accountable for their actions, it's that should be held to the same standard, publicly and privately.

It still bothers me when that doesn't happen. There are good eggs and bad eggs in every age group.

But in the end, what's important really is what happens on the field. And based on the premise that the presence of Joe Torre and the passage of time will limit how much clubhouse friction undermines on-the-field performance, we should probably just move on.

Not that it won't be a topic of conversation in the media all spring long ...

Comments (75)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-01-09 07:22:48
1.   Disabled List
"Last year I might offer a one-line comment at the batting cage about hitting the curveball, and I'd get scoffed at, and a 'What the hell do you know?' in return. ...

Tough to know what to make of that. Maybe Kemp and the rest of them really are a bunch of entitled brats who act like jerks to the veteran players. Maybe Kent really is like my grandmother, who would accuse us of wishing she was dead just because we didn't use her recipe for brisket.

I'm officially sick of the discussion. Nomar and Gonzo say it was overblown, and that's good enough for me.

2008-01-09 07:40:57
2.   Gen3Blue
Gotta like Kents consistancy. He's never got along with anyone and its pretty funny thinking of him in the dugout with Bonds or Milton Bradley. I just hope he can still hit.
2008-01-09 07:58:26
3.   Marty
There's so much that could be interpretation. We don't know what Kent said. It could've been:

"Today's pitcher always throws three-quarters when he throws the curve"

or it could've been:

"You need to start hitting the curve better"

The reaction that he took as what the hell do you know could've been:

"Mind your own business"

or it could've just been:

"hmm-hmm"

2008-01-09 08:13:12
4.   Bumsrap
I wonder if Kent understands the concept of framing his words. It is one thing to say you are never going to hit a curve swinging like that and quite another thing to say at just the right moment and not necessarily at the batting cage, something like: you are really gaining on the curve ball, it wasn't until I changed my aproach that I got better at hitting it. Anytime you want know what I started doing differently let me know.
2008-01-09 08:18:19
5.   Bumsrap
If Abreu is healthy and letting bad pitches go by without swinging at them, and actually look like a hitter under control, I am ready to give him second base and trade Kent.
2008-01-09 08:21:15
6.   cargill06
.302 20 HR, 80+ RBI in limited time, he can still swing the bat when he's in there. With the limited power on the team we can't afford to lose him. If you gave Abreu 500 AB's he'll probably be about .265, 2 HR, 35 RBI's... i'll take Kent.
2008-01-09 08:22:55
7.   Bumsrap
Since Kemp is still a big question mark I was thinking that having Pierre as a backup until we know more about Kemp is a good thing but then I it occurred to me that Pierre might not be a better alternative to playing a Kemp hitting .235 and batting 8th.
2008-01-09 08:24:28
8.   MLKaplan43
Sure Kent isn't "a baby-sittter." It's just too bad the Dodgers had to go out and hire the most expensive manager in the game to baby-sit Kent.
2008-01-09 08:27:03
9.   Bumsrap
6 - I think the Dodgers are more likely to be successful due to good pitching, speed, and great defense than because they hit more homeruns in 2008.
2008-01-09 08:28:11
10.   regfairfield
6 Consider the defensive difference though. I'm not up for trading Kent, Abreu would have to be by far the best defender in baseball if Kent even has a decent season to make up the difference, but Abreu does make up a ton of value there.
2008-01-09 08:34:00
11.   cargill06
10. Ok, but the difference between their offensive numbers is so huge it's crazy to say you'd rather have Abreu, no one would take a healthy Scott Rolen over Miguel Cabrera and the difference in defense is huge.
2008-01-09 08:34:10
12.   Bumsrap
8 - I don't think Torre will manage the clubhouse any better than Little and I don't know who Torre will give playing time to yet. McCourt, in my mind, hired Torre to be the new face of the Dodgers until some of the younger players can build their reputations mostly because they are rebuilding or gambling with young players.
2008-01-09 08:34:39
13.   MLKaplan43
10 - Hopefully the acquistion of Jones would offset the loss of Kent's offense. And maybe you could get a nice prospect or two in return.
2008-01-09 08:39:13
14.   regfairfield
13 Do you really want to put the hopes of an already shaky offense on a guy who OPSed .724 in 2007? Our offense was terrible last year, and becoming maybe as good this year doesn't seem like a great plan.

I also can't imagine getting much more than a B-/C+ prospect for Jeff Kent's age 40 season.

2008-01-09 08:40:18
15.   regfairfield
11 I'm definately in the keep Kent camp, but keep in mind only 10 players ever have had an OPS of .800 in 500 plate apperances at age 40 or above, he's far from a sure thing.
2008-01-09 08:40:21
16.   Bumsrap
11 - Remember I did qualify my thought about trading Kent by saying Abreu would have to show a marked improvement with his swing selection and be healthy. Abreu will not hit with the same power as Kent but he will sting the ball.

I am hoping other players will allow Torre to hit Kent 6th in the lineup, maybe 7th and when that is the case, Abreu's speed and defense might contribute more than Kent's bat.

2008-01-09 08:40:32
17.   cargill06
14. exactly
2008-01-09 08:43:50
18.   Ben P
Maybe I'm too cynical, but I just don't believe Kent's anecdote. Either he said something nasty ("Learn how to hit a damn corveball") and got a nasty response, or this never really happened at all and it's just apocryphal. And yes, this is piling on, but it's not like Kent hasn't lied before about something much more important:

http://tinyurl.com/3758by

2008-01-09 08:53:59
19.   Andrew Shimmin
There's got to be some biological switch that gets flipped when you have a kid, that makes a situation in which the obvious response is daring the kid to try it, seem like a time for a trite little speech, instead. I'm sure it's for the best, since no good could come from fathers daring their kids to try their hands at shoplifting, but it's got to be disjointing to see an innate reflex spun 180°.
2008-01-09 08:55:27
20.   Marty
I''m guessing that at the Kent household the trashcans are all where they are supposed to be.
2008-01-09 09:05:29
21.   Bumsrap
20 - I''m guessing that at the Kent household the trashcans are all where they are supposed to be. --Right in the middle of their sons' bedroom.

What would Kent have said if he and his son were in Home Depot and his son said, hey Dad, let's have some fun and move the trash cans around.

2008-01-09 09:12:20
22.   Eric Stephen
15 keep in mind only 10 players ever have had an OPS of .800 in 500 plate apperances at age 40 or above

Lower the threshold to 300 PA, and we're all the way up to 30 geezers with an .800 OPS! :)

There have also only been 26 men 39 or older with 500 PA & and .800 OPS, and Kent is in the upper half of that group (11th) with his .875 OPS last year.

2008-01-09 09:15:05
23.   wronghanded
I think that their is a little bit of truth to what Kent said, I would probably just question his timing in giving the advice. When a player is working hard on something and struggling, it can become very frustrating and if Kent approached Kemp (or whoever) during the BP session and started picking apart his swing, I could see how Kemp might have popped off to him. The better approach would have been to allow him to struggle through his round and pull him aside when he was done. Once Kemp finished his round, he would have been in a much better and more receptive mindset to take Kent's advice.
2008-01-09 09:16:10
24.   regfairfield
Part of me thinks it will be immensily entertaining if Kent was right this whole time.
2008-01-09 09:30:32
25.   eekrock
20 Zing!
2008-01-09 09:32:51
26.   ToyCannon
14
And none of them were middle infielders. On the other hand only Jeff Kent has posted an OPS higher then 850 at the age of 39 as a middle infielder. One of these will have to change. I'm still betting on father time.
2008-01-09 09:35:55
27.   Eric Stephen
I'm firmly in the keep Kent kamp (only for one year of course), but the numbers truly are sobering. There have been 25 men to produce an .800 or higher OPS (min 400 PA) in their age 39 season.

http://www.bb-ref.com/pi/shareit/Mbvz

First of all, it's awesome that Matt Stairs has the 5th highest 39-year-old OPS.

Of the 25 men listed above, three were last year (Stairs, Kent, Thomas) and one was out of baseball before his age 40 season (Chili Davis).

Here are the average numbers of the remaining 21 (and I know averaging the OPS is a terrible way to do this, but it's quick and dirty):

Age 39 Season
.911 OPS
548 PA

Age 40 Season
.798 OPS (a 12.4% drop)
380 PA (a 30.6% drop)

Only 9 of the 21 players even reached 400 PA during their age 40 seasons, and only 6 reached 500 PA.

The cliff is fast approaching!

2008-01-09 09:36:30
28.   ToyCannon
24
Right about what, that young kids don't want to take advice from old cranky guys? What a revelation that is. Stop the presses we have a news flash. The youth of today is ignoring the advice of their elders and even "gasp" feel contempt for it.
2008-01-09 09:36:38
29.   Jon Weisman
I think it's completely possible that Kent's anecdote is true, and that Matt Kemp was a disrespectful jerk who makes mistakes and has a lot to learn.

That's not the point.

The point is that there are people of all ages on this team that can be disrespectful jerks who make mistakes and have a lot to learn.

I don't see Kent as the villain in this story. The villain is most of the media reports.

2008-01-09 09:37:43
30.   Eric Stephen
26
Did we set a minimum number of PA for our bet? And what was the number again? Did I say Kent would have an .800 OPS or a 100 OPS+?
2008-01-09 09:38:58
31.   ToyCannon
27
The most sobering fact I found during my research was the comp of Steve Finley. His 39 year old season was as good as it gets. He was healthy at the end of his 39 year old season and all the pundits projected pretty much the same year for him as a 40 year old. We know how that turned out.
2008-01-09 09:39:27
32.   Eric Stephen
Following up on 27 , a 12.4% drop in OPS and a 30.6% drop in PA would result in a .766 OPS in about 390 PA for Kent in 2008.
2008-01-09 09:40:28
33.   Jon Weisman
29 - assuming the anecdote was about Kemp. You can apply my comment to whatever name you want.
2008-01-09 09:40:50
34.   ToyCannon
30
OPS+ of at least 110 and I think he had to have over 400 at bats but I'm not sure on the at bats. My gut feeling is that he will get hurt often which will bring down his production since he seems to lose his timing when coming off the DL.
2008-01-09 09:44:53
35.   GoBears
26 And none of them were middle infielders.

Another way to put this is that Kent has no business being a middle infielder.

2008-01-09 09:44:56
36.   Eric Stephen
I've always thought of Hank Aaron as pretty amazing, just an awesome ballplayer, but I was shocked at his productivity when looking at 39 year olds.

Aaron's age 39 season produced a 1.045 OPS, good for a 177 OPS+. That marked the 19th consecutive season with at least a 142 OPS+.

He of course fell off a cliff at age 40 and only produced a meager 128 OPS+ (.832 OPS). :)

2008-01-09 09:46:59
37.   D4P
Last year I might offer a one-line comment at the batting cage about hitting the curveball, and I'd get scoffed at, and a 'What the hell do you know?'

This is the kind of thing that, if true, the kikds should be critiqued for, not silly stuff like moving trash cans.

2008-01-09 09:47:10
38.   regfairfield
In irrelevent transaction news, another DePo favorite, Mike Megrew, went to the Padres.
2008-01-09 09:47:13
39.   ToyCannon
Here was the Jeff Kent falling off a cliff link. At the time I was in the minority.
http://www.truebluela.com/story/2007/11/12/1762/4000

I may be eating those words come August.

2008-01-09 09:48:05
40.   Eric Stephen
34
I'm liking your chances at a free DT Day ticket in 2009!
2008-01-09 09:52:09
41.   ToyCannon
35
Certainly not when Lowe is pitching.

If Torre is smart and uses Kent as an everyday 2nd baseman who gets lots of time off, he could still be an asset. I expect alot of double switches in 2008 much like Little did with Gonzo.

2008-01-09 09:53:54
42.   scareduck
Christ, it feels like Groundhog Day in here.

Remind me again, when do pitchers and catchers report?

2008-01-09 09:56:54
43.   Eric Stephen
41
Also, Gonzo just missed the age 39 cut, with an OPS of .792 in 526 PA last year.

He was taken out of the game in a whopping 61 of his 127 starts.

2008-01-09 09:57:50
44.   scareduck
39 - for what it's worth, I agree with you. I don't think this season will be kind to Jeff Kent.
2008-01-09 09:58:54
45.   ToyCannon
Love the Bronx Batter column. Someone is always a head of the curve.
2008-01-09 09:59:00
46.   Eric Stephen
For comparison, Kent was taken out of the game in 45 of his 132 starts.
2008-01-09 09:59:20
47.   fanerman
42 Oh sorry about that. We can change the conversation and talk about Juan Pierre if you like.
2008-01-09 10:00:19
48.   kinbote
I'm far from his biggest fan, but it would be foolish to trade Kent right now. He's playing his last season: let the grump bat 5th or 6th, knock in his runs, and we'll retool next offseason. I still like to see Kent at the plate with runners on base. He pulls R.B.I. doubles into the corner better than any player we've had in years.
2008-01-09 10:03:41
49.   wronghanded
29 Yes I totally agree with your assessment, it just seems like so many are quick to say that Kent is bad and Kemp can do no wrong. In reality they both probably crossed the line but c'mon little arguments like that occur on every team (young v. old, old v. old, young v. young). The media was trying to make sensational headlines when nothing was really there and they apparently just took that ball and kept running with it.
2008-01-09 10:06:18
50.   silverwidow
If you gave Abreu 500 AB's he'll probably be about .265, 2 HR, 35 RBI's

I would say .280, 8 HR, 30+ Doubles

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-01-09 10:11:22
51.   cargill06
50. damn so if you asked Colletti Abreu is worth about 8.5 million... nice season Nomar
2008-01-09 10:14:38
52.   regfairfield
ZIPS has Abreu at a terrible .267/.313/.362 for what it's worth.
2008-01-09 10:15:47
53.   Eric Stephen
God, I hope Carroll doesn't take the Falcons job.
2008-01-09 10:16:26
54.   cargill06
maybe after this year we could trade Kershaw for Brian Roberts... oh wait a similar trade may have happened about 15 years ago
2008-01-09 10:16:30
55.   regfairfield
51 Again, you're ignoring defense which is where a good deal of Abreu's value lies.
2008-01-09 10:17:58
56.   cargill06
i would bet my first born (if i had one) that Carroll does not coach the Falcons next year. why would he, the last college coach they hired was such a big hit. and it's a terrible job, he may just be waiting for Norv to get fired if he ever coaches in the NFL again
2008-01-09 10:19:07
57.   cargill06
55. Furcal or Izturis since defense means so much to you
2008-01-09 10:21:11
58.   cargill06
don't get me wrong, i like Abreu. But Kent is a much much better option for your everyday 2B in '08
2008-01-09 10:21:21
59.   cargill06
don't get me wrong, i like Abreu. But Kent is a much much better option for your everyday 2B in '08
2008-01-09 10:21:23
60.   cargill06
don't get me wrong, i like Abreu. But Kent is a much much better option for your everyday 2B in '08
2008-01-09 10:22:33
61.   regfairfield
57 I didn't realize "defense matters" was a controversial opinion.
2008-01-09 10:24:40
62.   fanerman
Okay. So if Kent falls off the cliff, how bad would he have to be for Abreu to be a better option?

61 Neither did I.

2008-01-09 10:24:52
63.   cargill06
61 of course defense matters, but i think you maybe over-valueing it a bit. who do you think should be the everyday 2B in '08 Kent or Abreu?
2008-01-09 10:28:42
64.   regfairfield
63 As I've said before, Kent.
2008-01-09 10:28:57
65.   Eric Stephen
63
In 10 he said "Consider the defensive difference though. I'm not up for trading Kent, Abreu would have to be by far the best defender in baseball if Kent even has a decent season to make up the difference, but Abreu does make up a ton of value there"

He'd take Kent in 2008, but is just saying defense should be considered here. That's all.

2008-01-09 10:30:09
66.   cargill06
ok, i thought you were trying to tell me that the difference between Kent and Abreu offensively Tony makes up completely in defense.
2008-01-09 10:31:00
67.   Blaine
Listening to NY Giants GM Ernie Accorsi quoting Dick Vermeil who quoted John Wooden in saying that if he had a choice between the experienced veteran and the talented youngster he would prefer the talented youngster. This made me smile and think of DT.

Then i check in here today and see the post and I remembered what Accorsi said and how appropriate it is for this conversation.

What is more likely, a talented youngster to go into the tank or the experienced veteran to fall off of the cliff?

2008-01-09 10:31:54
68.   Jon Weisman
New post up top.
2008-01-09 10:31:58
69.   cargill06
10 that statement is said perfectly. Must have missed that one
2008-01-09 10:33:46
70.   wronghanded
61 Defense definitely matters for a team that is built on quality pitching which is obviously the Dodgers strong suit. I look at it like this if Kent didn't play for us in '08:
Andruw takes Kent's '07 role
Abreu takes what should have been Pierre's '07 role (#8 hitter)
Pierre takes...a seat.

I would actually prefer Abreu or possibly even Hu over Kent for our team next year.

2008-01-09 10:34:50
71.   regfairfield
70 Wouldn't defense matter less if your pitching is good?
2008-01-09 10:37:01
72.   cargill06
tu shay
2008-01-09 10:39:41
73.   wronghanded
71 I honestly think so, if you have a terrible pitching staff, you better load up your roster with mashers to attempt to stay competitive. Conversely, if the glaring strength on your team is the pitching, then you better have 8 guys out there that can flash some leather (especially up the middle).
2008-01-09 10:41:40
74.   wronghanded
73 oops, I thought your comment was:

Would defense matter less if your pitching wasn't good?

2008-01-10 21:53:41
75.   bosc1966
What is interesting is whether Kent is correct that he did not intend to be the voice of the veterans' dissatisfaction and the extent of his fellow veteran's irk at the perceived lack of rook intensity and supplicance.

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