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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
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

Martin Passes on Long Term
2008-01-23 12:55
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

There's usually no news to report from the online chats at Dodgers.com, but Tuesday general manager Ned Colletti disclosed that Russell Martin's agent declined to pursue a long-term contract with the Dodgers this offseason.

Actually, it's unclear from Colletti's words whether Martin declined a specific offer or declined to negotiate at this time. Either way, it'll be a one-year deal for the team's All-Star catcher until further notice.

Coincidentally (not ironically, folks, but coincidentally), this news came less than 24 hours before Tampa Bay announced the longest contract that I believe a non-free agent pitcher has ever received: four years plus three annual team options for 26-year-old righty James Shields, according to Dick Scanlon of The Lakeland Ledger. Shields moved into the Rays' starting rotation in May 2006, the same month that Martin (who turns 24 on February 15) became the Dodgers' starting catcher.

Comments (155)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-01-23 13:12:56
1.   El Lay Dave
In the comments section of an earlier entry where Ned's comment on Martin's contract came up in the discussion, bhsportsguy speculated that Martin and his agent "want to wait until next year when he is a Super Two and can submit a number for arbitration", which makes some sense to me. Of course they are risking that Martin has on off-year or something in '08, but perhaps they have more leverage when arbitration is an option.
2008-01-23 13:17:33
2.   Eric Stephen
Ryan Howard last season got a record salary for someone with less than 2 years service time, receiving $900k after accumulating 1 year, 145 days. And this was after winning an MVP.

If this Shields article is correct -- http://tinyurl.com/3569yr -- than Shields' salary next season, with 1 year, 125 days service time, will be $1 million. I find that hard to believe.

Total breakdown not quite available, but it looks like this so far:

2008 - $1m (2nd year)
2009 - 2011 - $9.25m total (3rd year, 1st two arb years)
2012 - $7m option (final arb year)
2013 - $9m option (1st FA year)
2014 - $12m option (2nd FA year)

There is a $2m buyout mentioned as well, but I'm not sure if that applies to only the first option year or all.

2008-01-23 13:19:01
3.   Eric Stephen
1
Also, if Martin puts up another season anywhere close to 2007 his contract demands will be justifiably higher.
2008-01-23 13:24:01
4.   Eric Enders
Wasn't Shields a high school pal of one of the posters here? Can't remember who.
2008-01-23 13:24:15
5.   Andrew Shimmin
What kind of agent refuses to even listen to an offer? I guess it could happen, but it doesn't sound right.
2008-01-23 13:28:48
6.   El Lay Dave
5 The quote from dodgers.com is:
Thanatos: When will you sign Russell Martin to a long-term deal?

Colletti: We explored this possibility early in the offseason and the agent declined.

Read into it what you will, but I tend to take "explored" to mean a little more than one phone call. On the other hand, I'm not always sure what words are supposed to mean when Colletti speaks them.

2008-01-23 13:30:56
7.   Eric Stephen
Martin's a bit different because of his pending Super Two status (meaning he will get 4 years of arbitration), but to get an idea of the difference in sticker price between signing now and signing later, let's look at Brian McCann and Joe Mauer and their final three arb years.

McCann
-Signed with under two years of service time (essentially where Martin is now)
-Total cost of years 4-6 (arb years 1-3): $15.5m

Mauer
-Signed with three years of service time
-Total cost of years 4-6 (arb years 1-3): $20.5m

That's a $5m difference for those 3 years. If Martin signed next offseason, I would imagine that's about the difference it would cost the Dodgers rather than him signing now. (He'd be signing a year ahead of Mauer, but will have a 4th arb year to make up the difference)

2008-01-23 13:31:15
8.   Eric Enders
Funny, but in this sort of CYA context, I take "explored" to mean exactly one phone call.
2008-01-23 13:35:13
9.   Eric Stephen
By "explored", I like to think Colletti offered Martin the same 25-year / $25m contract that Magic Johnson signed in the early 80s.
2008-01-23 13:36:33
10.   Terry A
Whether it's one phone call or six spam e-mails, I give Colletti due credit for trying.
2008-01-23 13:40:54
11.   Jon Weisman
9 - Maybe it was the Steve Young-L.A. Express deal instead.
2008-01-23 13:42:45
12.   Eric Enders
10 "Whether it's one phone call or six spam e-mails"

To the esteemed Mr. Russell Martin,
In brief introduction, I am Crown Prince Ned Colletti, a citizen of Nigeria, and the Eldest son of the late Chief Brian Sabean. I have a business proposition which may interest you..."

2008-01-23 13:47:52
13.   CajunDodger
12
Good one...
2008-01-23 13:54:46
14.   CajunDodger
Jon,

If we order a DT shirt, I vote that we be able to put our number and position on there somewhere. It will look cool at the DT game (though it might make us look like dorks to outsiders).

2008-01-23 13:56:34
15.   Eric Stephen
I'll be wearing my Billingsley jersey to the next DT Day. If it's cold enough, I'll have the long sleeve DT shirt on underneath.
2008-01-23 13:59:11
16.   silverwidow
15 I want a Bills jersey, but can't decide if it should be home or road.
2008-01-23 13:59:34
17.   ibleedbloo
14 I put together a trip to a Dodger game for a message board I used to frequent. I brought some friends who were not members of the board and much more casual fans then those they were surrounded by. My friends used some adjectives to describe me and the other members; dork being the mildest of the lot. I took it as a complement. I learned at a very young age you have to embrace your dorkdom.
2008-01-23 14:02:36
18.   FirstMohican
12 - My coworkers are now wondering what's so funny...
2008-01-23 14:03:36
19.   CajunDodger
16
I know that this is probably because I have trouble spending more than 100 bucks on a jersey, but I am always partial to a Spring Training jersey.

Koufax #32 is my choice...

2008-01-23 14:04:27
20.   regfairfield
14 Dork might be a nice way to put it.
2008-01-23 14:05:05
21.   Eric Stephen
16
My Billingsley is a road jersey, but only because I already own a home jersey (blank with no name or number).
2008-01-23 14:05:20
22.   CanuckDodger
Young players accept "buyouts" of their arbitration years if they are thinking more about security than the superior financial reward if they continue to perform at a high level year in and year out. They are almost betting against themselves, in a sense. I think Martin and his agent are confident that Martin is just going to get better, that 2007 is by no means "as good as it gets." Foolish or wise? I'm thinking wise.
2008-01-23 14:09:12
23.   Jon Weisman
14 - It'll make the cost prohibitive.
2008-01-23 14:13:22
24.   Marty
Almost nobody wore their DT shirt to the DT outing I'm guessing mainly because of the dork factor.
2008-01-23 14:14:05
25.   Joe Pierre
Since it was the Agent that past, it looks clear that Colletti would be happy to sign Martin to a long term contract. Of course who could blame him? I hope that means we can expected it to happen. I guess they're waiting for the time to come when he can really ask for alot. When Russell will be more of a proven player, than he is now.
2008-01-23 14:15:18
26.   silverwidow
I miss the "Dodgers" script on the road jersey. Those were cool.
2008-01-23 14:15:49
27.   El Lay Dave
24 That was my reason. I've worn my DT shirt to other games, but all of us in DT shirts like following Jon like ducklings to our seats - or McCourt's conference room - would have definitely been dorky.
2008-01-23 14:16:04
28.   CajunDodger
23
Ah, well.

24
In real life, I am not all that much of a nerd/dork at all, but when it comes to the Dodgers and this site, I tend to embrace my inner dork...

c'est la vie...

2008-01-23 14:17:12
29.   CajunDodger
27
I suppose anything we can do to prevent becoming one of Jim Rome's Clones is a step in the right direction.
2008-01-23 14:17:30
30.   Eric Enders
26 I like "Los Angeles" better myself. Reminds me of Sandy Koufax.
2008-01-23 14:18:25
31.   Jon Weisman
24 - Well, I actually kind of told some people not to because of that, so that didn't help. But next time around, I'll let people embrace the dorkiness if they want.

26 - I like the Los Angeles.

2008-01-23 14:18:58
32.   Kevin Lewis
12

That was awesome.

2008-01-23 14:19:14
33.   Eric Enders
"following Jon like ducklings to our seats - or McCourt's conference room"

I was thinking more along the lines of a Pied Piper analogy, but that one works too.

2008-01-23 14:19:15
34.   Eric Stephen
22
That's a good point. Martin is likely to make $500k or so this season, but that's nothing to retire on. For a lot of young players, especially those that didn't get a huge draft signing bonus, this first contract will set them for life if they are smart about it.

I don't blame Martin one bit for waiting at least one more year to inflate his contract. It will likely add at least $3-5 million to the total deal.

2008-01-23 14:20:55
35.   Eric Stephen
I like "Los Angeles" as well. I'm a big fan of the team name at home, city name on the road uniform philosophy.
2008-01-23 14:23:52
36.   CanuckDodger
What do people think of the 2007 uniforms not having the white piping around letters and numbers, and the fact that the numbers and letters weren't -- I don't know the technical term -- "on top" of the shirt, sort of attached to the shirt, and instead were like they were part of the fabric of the shirt? I suppose that was meant to look more old fashioned.
2008-01-23 14:27:31
37.   El Lay Dave
28 You could still customize your own shirt. The name "CajunDodger" has a built-in coolness factor, for true! Not like mine, which is dorky from the start.
2008-01-23 14:27:54
38.   Eric Enders
Major league cities that do not currently appear on road uniforms:

Baltimore
Minneapolis*
Anaheim
St. Petersburg*
Arlington*
Denver*
Miami*
Milwaukee
Philadelphia
St. Louis

(* - Geographic designation appears, but city does not.)

So the only five teams that use their nickname on their road jersey are the Orioles, Angels, Brewers, Phillies, and Cardinals.

2008-01-23 14:28:58
39.   Eric Enders
"Not like mine, which is dorky from the start."

Unless you start making up stories about why people call you "El Lay."

2008-01-23 14:31:29
40.   Eric Enders
36 I was a fan of the white borders (and, for that matter, the blue piping which was also removed), but I don't think they look too awful without it or anything.
2008-01-23 14:32:13
41.   Xeifrank
Snow near the top of the Grapevine.
http://www.frazmtn.com/fpschool/fpschoolcam/latestpic.jpg

vr, Xei

2008-01-23 14:34:07
42.   Terry A
12 was indeed a gem. I think "Crown Prince" ought to replace "Flanders" as Colletti's unofficial nom de guerre.
2008-01-23 14:38:11
43.   Xeifrank
If Jon has access to Photoshop or gave the logo to someone who does, they could easily put someone's name on the back of a shirt. It's easy if you use something like Cafepress or one of the other shirt companies. Their shirts may or may not be more expensive than what you use now, but it's pretty easy to set something up like that. They take care of all the shipping too. vr, Xei
2008-01-23 14:42:28
44.   Humma Kavula
36 To me, the numbers look like iron-ons. Regardless of how much work actually goes into getting the number on, it just looks cheap.
2008-01-23 14:42:50
45.   Disabled List
Putting "Los Angeles" on the road jerseys was the soly, solitary improvement to the franchise that occured during the Fox years.
2008-01-23 14:43:48
46.   Disabled List
45 sole

Damn, I hate stupid-looking typos.

2008-01-23 14:44:53
47.   El Lay Dave
39 I'm the new advertising character for a certain brand of corn chip?

Isn't it dorky if I tell those stories myself?

2008-01-23 14:47:41
48.   El Lay Dave
I'm with 44 . The white trim makes the lettering/numbering look finished. Without it, they're like a window or door without casings, functional, but lacking style.
2008-01-23 14:49:34
49.   CajunDodger
37
I would bask in my #44 CajunDodger jersey and my inherent dorkiness therein.

This thread has "dork" in it more times than in any other one I can remember...

2008-01-23 14:52:18
50.   natepurcell
I'm going to get a jersey that says "El Minotauro"

Everyone will look at my funny except the cool kids.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-01-23 14:53:03
51.   Andrew Shimmin
Martin shouldn't take a Granderson style buy-out, but I'd think there could be some middle ground. Like ten years, five hundred million dollars. That's what I'd open with. Then it could scale up to twelve years, eight hundred million. With a couple hundred million in incentives. And a mutual option on each of the next four seasons.
2008-01-23 14:54:51
52.   natepurcell
The Minotaur works as well.

Maybe a McDizzle one.

2008-01-23 14:54:53
53.   Disabled List
After more than 20 years of wanting to make the pilgrimage to Dodgertown, I'm finally gonna make it happen this year. I just booked my flight for the first weekend in March. Gonna catch the home-and-home with the Mets on Mar. 1-2, and the Orioles on Mar. 3.

I'd love to hear from anyone who's made the journey... Anybody have suggestions on where to stay? Eat? What to do when the game's over? The best place to spot wildlife, like bison and minotaurs?

2008-01-23 14:57:13
54.   Sagehen
51 Why not just offer him part ownership of the team? I suppose that would be against the union contract, wouldn't it?
2008-01-23 14:58:00
55.   ToyCannon
At the 1st DT outing I was the only one to bring Jon's book and thus may have the only signed copy of BODT. Other then Lee Lacy it is the only time I've asked for something to be signed. At this point it seems that it will not be worth much at the LA Antiques Roadshow in 2050 but you never know. At the 2nd I may have been the only one to wear the DT shirt which I think makes me a chartered member of the Dodger Thoughts Dork Tribe. Jon has yet to embrace his Dodger Thought Nation. I think next time we need to bring our better halves ala El Lay Dave which would alleviate some of the dork factor. Also it would show them that the people we converse with are no crazier then their companion. That may or may not bring them any comfort.
2008-01-23 14:58:53
56.   Sagehen
As we see all the other young catchers signed to long term contracts for their own security, I have to ask: what is the injury rate on catchers? It would seem to me (but I don't have any statistics to support me) that that's one of those positions where you take the security if you can get it. Not to be pessimistic here about Martin longterm, but rather trying to explain why the other catchers seem to be signing these early contracts.
2008-01-23 15:02:53
57.   Lexinthedena
50- A "Crazy Eyes" jersey would be sickiwidit....

I saw a guy at a Dodgers V Pads game at PETCO wearing an authentic Darryl Strawberry Dodgers Jersey....now that's cool...

2008-01-23 15:08:23
58.   CajunDodger
51
You jest, but I wonder if there will be a billion dollar player in our lifetime. I predict it will happen by 2025 or so.
2008-01-23 15:09:39
59.   Eric Enders
53 In Vero you basically have only three options -- 1) Dodgertown resort, which will cost you your firstborn, 2) A couple of McHotels like Hampton Inn, or 3) B&B's.

I stayed at this place...
http://www.seaturtleinn.net/
...last year, which I found to be fairly nice and reasonably priced. It's in the "beach" part of Vero Beach, a 20-minute drive away from Dodgertown, which is further inland.

I'd definitely hit up the Everglades, which is a doable day trip from Vero. Hike the Anhinga Trail there, which is a boardwalk through a small marsh that will get you within 2 or 3 feet of alligators.

After the games the announcers and team officials sometimes hang out at Bobby's, a bar-restaurant on Ocean Drive.

2008-01-23 15:10:20
60.   Andrew Shimmin
54- But it's not against the rules to give him enough money to buy the team. Russell Martin should be a Dodger forever. When he dies, his firstborn son should take over as titular head of the team, but Russell the First should remain owner. Like Kim Il Sung, except Martin actually is G-d.
2008-01-23 15:11:41
61.   CajunDodger
56
The closest situation to Martin would be Joe Mauer and Victor Martinez. I do not know offhand their contract details, but I would expect Martin to do at least as well as either of those two plus 10% if he can just duplicate what he did last year.
2008-01-23 15:11:55
62.   Eric Enders
"his firstborn son should take over as titular head of the team, but Russell the First should remain owner. Like Kim Il Sung."

Or, you know, Steinbrenner.

2008-01-23 15:27:12
63.   CajunDodger
62
Throw Angelos in there too...
2008-01-23 15:29:35
64.   Jon Weisman
55 - I believe Suffering Bruin, Stan from Tacoma and Ross Porter also have autographed copies of TBODT. But I fully intend for them to be worth something in 2050. I'll be 83 then and I'll need the money to buy my spacedogs.
2008-01-23 15:32:27
65.   Eric Stephen
61
The best Martin comps are Victor Martinez and Brian McCann, who both signed their contracts with roughly the same service time as Martin has now. Mauer signed his after 3 full seasons, and got a more lucrative deal.
2008-01-23 15:34:30
66.   Marty
I'd be happy to autograph anyone's copy of BODT
2008-01-23 15:36:12
67.   Andrew Shimmin
By opening day, I guess I'll be happy to know Martin may eventually be available to my new team, or at least a major limiting factor to the Dodgers' future payroll. But still. If he ever leaves, it'll be wrong in a fundamental way.
2008-01-23 15:46:52
68.   Bluebleeder87
Me & TC wore ours & I'm sure we didn't look like dorks (or did we...)
2008-01-23 16:06:16
69.   fanerman
I wore my DT shirt to the unofficial NorCal Dodger Thoughts meet. I don't think anybody would have recognized me if I didn't.
2008-01-23 16:06:58
70.   D4P
69
Couldn't they just look for the guy carrying his TiVo around...?
2008-01-23 16:10:19
71.   fanerman
70 I also carry Mexican Coke with me wherever I go. But, without the DT short, I could have been any Joe Schmo at the stadium carrying a TiVo and Mexican Coke.
2008-01-23 16:13:52
72.   CajunDodger
71
If someone had no idea of the conversation, that second sentence might be the weirdest ever put to print...
2008-01-23 16:14:47
73.   Jon Weisman
I wore my DT shirt to the UCLA-USC game last weekend and was on the scoreboard directly behind Michael Warren when they showed him. Anyone spot me?
2008-01-23 16:17:40
74.   Disabled List
59 Great info, thanks! I don't suppose you know where the players hang out after games?
2008-01-23 16:19:08
75.   Daniel Zappala
41 I remember when I thought snow at the Grapevine was cool, and I remember wishing fervently for snow to fall in OC while I was growing up. Now I get snow several times a week, but I still run to the window to take a look every time it happens.
2008-01-23 16:19:34
76.   El Lay Dave
68 If we all had, we all would have, but we all didn't, so you didn't.
2008-01-23 16:20:48
77.   Marty
I'm wearing my white long sleeve DT shirt right now as I watch the rain finally start to fall in Altadena.
2008-01-23 16:22:32
78.   El Lay Dave
75 My Norwegian student was quite amused by our excitement when we could see snow had dusted the top of the hills in the north San Fernando Valley (Oat Mountain). I had to explain that it didn't happen every winter.
2008-01-23 16:23:40
79.   eekrock
Speaking of the DT shirt and it's importance in life, when can a recent convert expect to see one on sale again, Jon?
2008-01-23 16:28:27
80.   Bob Timmermann
I wore my white long sleeve DT shirt to the Deutsches Museum and the Alte Pinahotek in Munich.
But I was wearing a sweater over it so nobody knew.
2008-01-23 16:29:35
81.   bhsportsguy
73 Not me, and I was there, though I did not have as good as seats as you.

I wore mine to DT day but it was covered by a jersey.

2008-01-23 16:30:29
82.   Jon Weisman
79 - I am determined to open the store up again before Spring Training.
2008-01-23 16:32:17
83.   fanerman
78 I saw snow fall for the first time in my life last week on a business trip to Denver. I also got to hike in the snow, which was quite fun.

I also was hoping to get a picture of my rental car covered with 2 inches of snow on all sides, but when I got up one morning, I found it mysteriously cleaned off. Is there some fancy contraption that automatically does this to vehicles in the morning? And cheap enough to be considered a "hotel amenity"? I'm quite sure it snowed the previous night.

2008-01-23 16:36:09
84.   El Lay Dave
83 The sun is free.
2008-01-23 16:37:05
85.   El Lay Dave
83 How much Mexican Coke did you have the night before?
2008-01-23 16:37:31
86.   fanerman
84 It was still below freezing in the morning. There was plenty of snow lying around lawns and roofs and such. I think....
2008-01-23 16:37:53
87.   eekrock
82 - haha, that'll make me pay more attention to the counter on the Dodgers website.

Currently at - 22 days 16 hr 24 min 17 sec

2008-01-23 16:39:47
88.   Jon Weisman
http://tinyurl.com/35dapr

Dodgers had highest NL payroll last year.

2008-01-23 16:41:58
89.   Jon Weisman
The Dodger games in Beijing March 15-16 are scheduled for 1300 local time each day, if I read the press release correctly.
2008-01-23 16:42:30
90.   Jon Weisman
Dodgers are the home team March 15 and the away team March 16.
2008-01-23 16:43:39
91.   Eric Stephen
Tulowitzki deal is done:

2008 - $750k
2009 - $750k
2010 - $3.5m (1st arb year)
2011 - $5.5m (2nd arb year)
2012 - $8.5m (3rd arb year)
2013 - $10m (1st FA year)
2014 - $15m option; $2m buyout (2nd FA year)
----------
Total: 6yrs / $31m

2008-01-23 16:48:42
92.   Bob Timmermann
90
For those not converting time at home, the games will start at 10 pm PT on March 14 and 15.
2008-01-23 16:50:03
93.   underdog
ESPN SportsNation poll, latest tally:

"Which young catcher is better?
Joe Mauer --- 76.3%
Russell Martin -- 23.6%

Well, whatever!

2008-01-23 16:51:31
94.   Bob Timmermann
93
Midwestern bias!
2008-01-23 16:54:12
95.   Xeifrank
89. Will the Dodger/Padre games in Beijing be televised live/locally? vr, Xei
2008-01-23 16:56:10
96.   Bluebleeder87
Joe Mauer is 6'5 & I've heard the Twins will move him as soon as he "out grows" the pisition, 6'5 HALLO!
2008-01-23 16:57:18
97.   underdog
94 Darn tootin'! Midwest bias + East Coast lack of awareness of Martin's existence. Well, hard to argue against Joe Mauer, too.

Hey did anyone see that two of the Arizona Winter League (AWL) teams will be coached by ex-Dodgers - Steve Yeager, and Mike Marshall (not sure which Marshall)...

2008-01-23 17:01:28
98.   Bluebleeder87
I'm sure Mauer is a good defender but at 6'5 you KNOW Martin's OVERALL D is far more superior then Mauers, to Mauer's credit he did gun down 44% of would be base steelers so he dose have that going for him.
2008-01-23 17:05:43
99.   Bob Timmermann
97
It will be General Soreness Mike Marshall doing the managing. Cy Young Mike Marshall would never be allowed to manage a team of young players by the Powers That Be.
2008-01-23 17:22:26
100.   El Lay Dave
91 His age 23-29 seasons. In his best case scenario, he is an established, quality FA SS for his age 30 season with $44M of earnings already accrued.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-01-23 17:43:20
101.   Eric Stephen
101
Eight years from now the Giants will ponder whether to bring in Tulo to help rescue their moribund franchise, or keep 48 year old Omar Vizquel at SS.
2008-01-23 17:43:31
102.   LAT
So I went to this luncheon. It was really a sales effort to get people interested in the Dugout Club and Base Line seats (which I must say were nicer than the last time I had been in them. But still very expensive.) Ned spoke for about 45 minutes. Right out of the gate he said he was just there to answer questions, so fire away. He took all questions and I thought he was very honest and straight forward. I'll do my best to summarize.

Of course, the first question was about the four man outfield and JP. Most of Ned's answer was stuff we have heard before. He said a little healthy competition for playing time is good and that it was unlikely that anyone would start 162 games in the outfield. But he did say JP gave us what got him for. He gave us 200 hits and 60 SB and that is what was expected of him. My impression is Ned is a big work ethic guy and he likes JP's attitude. He acknowledged a couple of times that Furcal's injury and weakness in the 3-4-5 spots in the order really hurt the team last year. He was also asked about Torre's view of JP consecutive game streak and said it doesn't matter to Torre or him (Ned). I think Ned's view is the streak is going to come to an end at some point this season so it doesn't really matter when. Not like we're chasing Cal Ripkin here.

He acknowledged there had been a rift last year between the vets and the rookies and basically said both sides were to blame. The rookies who have been successful to this point in their career and focused on by the organization view themselves as "complete players" who did not need advice from the older players. One example was a complete player who had three base running errors in one week. The vets were put out when their advice was shunned. But in fairness, Ned pointed out that many of these players have dominated high school, and minor league ball so completely that other aspects of their game have not fully developed and when they get to the ML they think they know it all but they still have a lot to learn. I got the impression that some of the younger guys had some serious 'tude and some of the older players were real red asses. In sum, Ned stated it was a combination of arrogance by the youth and lack of understanding by the vets. Ned laid the blame equally on both groups and although he praised Grady and clearly respects Grady, he suggested Grady was overwhelmed at the end of the season. In the end, my impression was Grady was just too nice a guy for the job. Ned is confident Joe will have the respect of his players and won't tolerate anyone who puts himself above the team. (you know, "The Yankee Way", my words not Ned's. Although Ned did talk about the professional way the Yankees go about their business, even batting practice, where you could tell they were Yankees even if they weren't wearing a NY jersey))

I, woops, I mean a very astute observer, asked what was being done to repair the damage and make sure it didn't happen again. Ned said there had been a number of meetings with certain players at the end of last season to address the issue and he thinks everyone has a better understanding of each other. He also doesn't think Joe will tolerate any such nonsense. Joe is a professional and expects his team to behave accordingly.

Ned didn't think the Dodgers were as good as their first half record.

Kuroda is a middle of the rotation guy and while a lefthander would have been preferable, Kuroda is a better righty than the available lefty FAs .

On the subject of Abreu, Hu and LaRoche: 2 of the 3 will probably make the club. I got the feeling it was likely to be Abreu and LaRoche. While at one point he talked about the battle for third base between Nomar and LaRouche he later agreed with someone who said given Nomar's ability to play at least three infield positions wouldn't he be more valuable as a super utility guy. "That's the way I see it" was Ned's response. My take was that it is LaRouche's job to lose but Ned won't say that for fear of anyone getting complacent. I think attitude and desire mean a lot to Ned. The desire to win over someone who may be as good or better but just there to collect a paycheck is an important factor to him. He likes competition.

He loves, loves, loves Russell Martin and reiterated that he tried to speak with Martin's agent about a contract and was told not right now.

Interestingly, he had some interest in bringing back Rudy Saenz but Saenz's agent was making it too difficult and Ned's interest has waned.

Someone asked about resigning Gonzo. Ned said nice things about Gonzo but that a guy like Mike Sweeney goes to working preparing to see five pitches that night. He knows that is his role. Gonzo is not ready to accept that role. Ned had no interest in bring Gonzo back I got the impression Gonzo had no interest being Mike Sweeny. I'm guessing Sweeney will be re-signed before Vero.

With respect to the prospects Ned was man crushing all over Clayton Kershaw. Best pitcher in the organization. Unbelievable stuff and hopes to fast track him. But a pitcher like that has been so dominate he has never really been challenged to this point in his career. He hasn't had to adjust to the game. So Ned will be looking to see how he responds this year in AA and AAA. James McDonald is a great prospect with a bright future. Not as electric an arm as Kershaw but will be an important contributor. Greg Miller, lots of talent but has gotten off track. Can't remember if it was McDonald or Meloan but one of them was exhausted by end of last year. Had pitched 145 innings in minors (more than ever before) so they took it very slow when they brought him in. Another pitcher he spoke highly of was Ramon Trasco (at least that's what I think his name was. I had never heard of him before.)

As for remaining moves before the season starts, he said that there was a small chance that he might do a major deal before the season. He put it at 10%. Sounded like he had something specific in mind didn't expect it would materialize. He said he is still looking around for a left handed reliever and a left handed bat. He mentioned that he was talking to Tony Clark's agent but I did not get the sense that it was serious. He acknowledged the problem with Clark is he can only play on position.

The only place I felt he was a disingenuous was when he spoke about steroids and referred to "that player where he used to work." He said they had no idea Bonds was juicing. Ned criticized juicers but never discussed his signing of Bennett or Gagne's issues.

I think that's it. I'm sure I forgot some stuff and I will add it if I think of it but for the most part I felt he was pretty direct and honest.

(My longest post ever.)

2008-01-23 17:53:50
103.   swood
I also think Russ is better, although I can't come up with a good argument against Mauer(except for maybe durability). Anyway, I think Pierre on the opening day roster might not be as bad as some of you think. I think Pierre would make an OK 4th outfielder/pinch runner/pinch hitter. He's not great, probably not even good enough to start, but he has some value.
2008-01-23 17:54:26
104.   eekrock
102 - that...was...awesome. thanks for sharing, LAT.
2008-01-23 17:55:21
105.   Andrew Shimmin
If Pierre, Ethier, and Kemp split time more or less equally, Pierre will probably only cost the team one or two wins this year. Feel the burn, Nate Silver!
2008-01-23 17:58:11
106.   Bluebleeder87
101

:o)

2008-01-23 17:59:18
107.   swood
105 Maybe even more then 1 or 2.
2008-01-23 18:03:10
108.   Humma Kavula
Good stuff, LAT.
2008-01-23 18:03:25
109.   El Lay Dave
102 Thanks for taking the punishment for us!

The "exhausted" pitcher was perhaps McDonald; there were reports they he was tired at the end of the year. But according to B-R, he pitched 135 innings last year, and 142 in '06.

The other young pitcher is likely Ramon Troncoso.
http://minors.baseball-reference.com/players.cgi?pid=29310
He'll be 25 in mid-Feb, and has only a partial AA season under his belt, so he seems a little old for the leagues he's been in. From the Dominican Rep. Maybe he'll be in Vegas to start the season to really test him?

2008-01-23 18:04:57
110.   Bluebleeder87
fast track Kershaw sounds risky but from everything I've read, Kershaw is not your average kid, thanks for the info LAT.
2008-01-23 18:22:05
111.   Sam DC
Thx LAT, really interesting.

For whatever reason, I had an extremely positive reaction to this sentence (I suppose it's the flexibility and practicality inherent in looking at the issue this way): [W]hile a lefthander would have been preferable, Kuroda is a better righty than the available lefty FAs .

2008-01-23 18:22:39
112.   Sam DC
So when does Kobe wear and not wear the arm wrap thing?

I had assumed that was a fashion thing; it's not injury related is it?

2008-01-23 18:42:04
113.   Bob Timmermann
102
1,260 words for those not scoring at home.
2008-01-23 18:43:36
114.   El Lay Dave
LAT, was Ned wearing the now-famous boots today?
2008-01-23 19:09:47
115.   oklahomadodger
Thanks LAT, awesome write up.

I'm so pumped for this season and stuff like this just add to it.

2008-01-23 19:10:16
116.   oklahomadodger
typo.....adds to it.
2008-01-23 19:32:19
117.   Terry A
111 - Oh, I don't know about that. Was he saying Kuroda was a better pitcher than the available lefties, or was it that Kuroda is a better right-handed pitcher than free-agent pitchers who naturally throw with their left hands?

Regardless, it's clear Kuroda was the best left-handed starter on the market this year. For a righty.

2008-01-23 19:44:40
118.   Jason in Canada
101 Wow, great post. Did he wear his white tie?
2008-01-23 19:51:45
119.   dkminnick
102 - Thanks for the fantastic re-cap LAT!

Sounds like Ned is much more candid in real life than to the press. To be expected I guess, but I get tired of his usual political evasions. This was very refreshing.

2008-01-23 20:00:17
120.   regfairfield
What argument is there that Martin is better than Mauer aside from some intangibles based one? Mauer is arguably a better hitter, and has possibly the best arm in the game. Russ is great, probably the second best catcher in baseball, but Mauer is far and away number one right now.
2008-01-23 20:06:40
121.   immouch
if there's some kinda online tip jar, LAT earned some serious change. that's a lotta time to chat with Better Dead Than Ned... thanks.
2008-01-23 20:06:49
122.   Summer Saint
Martin is ours.
2008-01-23 20:09:10
123.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
My Dad just ordered tickets for the Dodgers-Red Sox exhibition game on March 29 at the Coliseum! I'll be flying down for the game. I'm sooooo psyched!
2008-01-23 20:10:37
124.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
120 Some think that Mauer will not last as a catcher. Russ is more built like a catcher than Mauer. Mauer's value will decline if he's not behind the plate, hence, Russ has longer-term value.

That's one theory.

2008-01-23 20:30:23
125.   overkill94
74 I went last year, but I don't have a ton of information to give.

- Stayed at the Best Western for something like $120 per night. The cheaper option was the Howard Johnson, but it had gotten terrible reviews so we decided to pay a little extra.

- The younger players sign a lot more than the veterans, so I easily got Kemp, Loney, LaRoche, Hu, Abreu, etc. Billingsley, Meloan, and Broxton weren't too hard, I just had to flag them down while they were near the bullpen. Martin was my white whale, but I finally got him when they had all the players come out on the field before one of the games.

- You can watch the minor leaguers practice on the smaller fields, but it's hard to tell who's who because there's so many of them and they don't have names on their jerseys. I asked Steve Yeager if he knew where Kershaw was, but he was pretty clueless.

- Watching the pitchers take batting practice on the practice fields was one of the more entertaining sights. They were all joking around with each other and everything seemed much more genuine than where the regulars take BP.

- Can't help you with where the players hang out after the games, but I did go to one pretty good seafood restaurant close to the water - something like Joe's Crab Shack maybe? All the best restaurants are by the water with most everything else being chains.

- If you have any more questions you can e-mail me at karl dot hungus at gmail dot com

2008-01-23 20:39:39
126.   El Lay Dave
Cot's Baseball Contract (linked on the sidebar) now lists Juan Pierre's limited no-trade clause. I e-mailed the guy that runs the site about that and in his reply he said, "I've seen two MLB documents summarizing contracts signings from the 2006-07 off-season that both indicate Pierre's deal included some form of no-trade protection. Unfortunately, that's as specific as it got." He goes on to speculate that it must be pretty limited. I don't know how to reconcile that with what the Dodgers told Jon when he asked them about it on New Year's Day.

Crud, that's a question LAT could have asked Ned.

2008-01-23 20:40:23
127.   CanuckDodger
I don't have a problem with Mauer being called the best catcher in the game and Martin being called second best, but it's not like Martin doesn't have a few things going for him over Mauer. More power, more speed, and he has proven to be much more durable.
2008-01-23 20:43:37
128.   El Lay Dave
125 Joe's Crab Shack is also a chain. I always see the Ventura one on my drives up the coast.
2008-01-23 20:47:17
129.   Bob Timmermann
123
I believe I have purchased three tickets to the March 29 game, but the people at StubHub keep telling me to call them and then they never have any information for me when I call back.
2008-01-23 20:48:57
130.   Eric Enders
"More power, more speed, and he has proven to be much more durable."

Yeah, what he said.

I think Mauer's better, but I think you could make a legitimate argument for Martin based on his durability, superior defense, and better speed and power. Mauer's no slouch behind the plate; he can throw, but he's nowhere near as mobile as Martin in blocking pitches and fielding squibbers.

If you were picking one of them and they told you this guy HAS to be your catcher for the next ten years, any sane person would pick Martin due to Mauer's injury problems and the concerns about whether he will have to move to another position.

2008-01-23 20:53:24
131.   El Lay Dave
130 Plus he has the cooler middle names.
2008-01-23 21:06:56
132.   eekrock
125 - you a nihilist?
2008-01-23 21:53:59
133.   LAT
I didn't notice if he had the boots on but he was considerate enough to leave the white tie at home.

BTW, for anyone with some spare cash lying around one season seat in the Dugout Club is a mere $30K. In the alternative, Tom Hanks has four dugout seats maybe he'll share. (Per Dodger Ticket Rep.) (Hanks has a suite as well. That's a lot of baseball for someone I have never seen there.)

2008-01-23 21:56:38
134.   Marty
It should be karl.hungus@logjammer.com
2008-01-23 22:03:09
135.   68elcamino427
While watching Russell Martin (5'10" 210lbs.) play in a game last season, it felt like I was watching Yogi Berra (5'8" 198lbs.). It was a game in June, I don't remember which one. Martin was going after a pop up around the plate. I didn't think that he would be able to get to the ball, but he did. He finished the play with a little bit of very enthusiatic body language. Nothing that was demonstrable like a showboat, but it was easy to see how pleased he was to be able to get that out for his pitcher. Right there I turned and said to my son and said, "This may be the next Yogi Berra! He's playing so well right now, I don't know if he can maintain this pace for an entire season though." Well, we now know that he more than sustained his excellent play. Neither Berra nor Roy Campanella (5'8"200lbs.) ever appeared in 155 games in a single season. A few days ago I remembered a biography about Campanella that I read in grade school. There are some similarities there too. Growing up in a household of modest means, one parent black, one parent white. Russell Martin is obviously a very special player. Years from now, I hope that he wil be a Hall of Famer. If he continues on his current pace throughout his career, he will certainly have the credentials for it.
2008-01-23 22:20:08
136.   Dodgers49
135 Neither Berra nor Roy Campanella (5'8"200lbs.) ever appeared in 155 games in a single season.

This is true but it would have been impossible for them to do so since there were only 152 games in a season when they played. And since Yogi appeared in 151 games twice I suspect he would have exceeded 155 games with today's schedule.

2008-01-23 22:28:07
137.   Bob Timmermann
Actually, it was a 154 game season.

The most games Berra caught in one season was 149 in 1954.

2008-01-23 22:30:01
138.   Eric Stephen
For what its worth, Russ Martin hasn't appeared in 155 games in a season either (151 in 2007).
2008-01-23 22:55:51
139.   Dodgers49
137. Actually, it was a 154 game season.

Thanks, Bob. The old gray cells get confused sometimes. :-)

The most games Berra caught in one season was 149 in 1954.

I'll take your word for it. :-) I saw 151 here

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/B/Yogi-Berra.shtml

for 1950 and 1954.

2008-01-23 23:04:30
140.   68elcamino427
[136 137 138]Thanks for your help guys.
Berra appeared in 151 games in 1950 and 1954.
1950 28 HR 124 RBI .322 BA
1954 22 HR 125 RBI .307 BA
Berra was 21 years old in his first season in the majors and played until he was 40. He appeared in 2,120 games in his playing career.
Campanella appeared in 144 games in 1953.
41 HR 142 RBI .312 BA
Campy was 26 years old in his first season in the majors. He played until he was 35, cut short by the car, the ice, and the curve in the road.
Don't ask me how I transformed 151 into 155 for my hero Mr. Martin.
2008-01-23 23:11:44
141.   Bob Timmermann
139
Berra played in 151 games in those, but didn't play catcher in all of them.
2008-01-23 23:20:03
142.   Dodgers49
141 Yeah, after looking at that again I was going to say he probably pinch hit a couple of times as I didn't see any indication that he played any other position that year.
2008-01-24 00:25:29
143.   ibleedbloo
133 While i have never noticed Hanks in the dugout club, i have seen him several times in his suite; often with his son, Colin.
2008-01-24 00:49:36
144.   overkill94
132 What do you think? ;)
2008-01-24 03:46:02
145.   Eric Enders
Opposing team broadcasts show Hanks in his suite quite frequently. Have never seen him in the stands though.

Only six players have ever caught as many as 155 games in a season. Remarkably, two of them did it in 1944 when the season was still 154 games long.

Frankie Hayes 1944 29 PHA 155
Ray Mueller 1944 32 CIN 155
Randy Hundley 1968 26 CHC 160
Jim Sundberg 1975 24 TEX 155
Ted Simmons 1975 25 STL 157
Carlton Fisk 1978 30 BOS 157

2008-01-24 04:47:00
146.   Sam DC
Nice article on Nick Johnson, I recall TC had a in interest in him.

Manny Acta: "Nick, even when Soriano was here, was the most productive player we had because of his on-base percentage," Acta said. "That prolongs innings, prolongs games. It wins games. It's huge. He has so much value for us."

http://tinyurl.com/2pjzns

2008-01-24 06:43:37
147.   Gen3Blue
I'm only about half way through these comments, but the comments about rare snow and Dodger garments made me laugh. This year I got out my Dodger Parka I found about 10 years ago, but only wore part of one year. It has Dodgers in script on the back and LA on the front on a white/grey/blue color scheme. And yes, we have plenty of snow in NE.
2008-01-24 06:57:58
148.   Ken Noe
143 There's no crying in baseball suites.
2008-01-24 07:09:50
149.   ToyCannon
146
Thanks Sam

I sure hope Acta gets to stay for the good times as he going have some bad times for a while. Sounds like your new stadium is still going to play as a pitchers park but just not as extreme.

2008-01-24 07:15:31
150.   Sushirabbit
140, Sounds like you have a very nice ride. :-)
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2008-01-24 07:18:38
151.   Gen3Blue
I didn't realize our payroll was quite that high last year. Embarrassing to finish behind the 23,24 and 25 payrolls in our division.

Also--great stuff Lat.

And while it is a counting stat, Martin drove in more runs in his first full year than Mauer did in his career year.(think it was 2006).

2008-01-24 07:19:04
152.   Disabled List
125 Thanks for the info. We're going cheap-o on the lodging accomodations, so it looks like we're gonna be staying in a motel. How's Fort Pierce? It seems to have a lot of inexpensive motels, and it's right in between Vero Beach and Port St. Lucie.

I am really pumped for this trip! I should've done this a long time ago.

2008-01-24 08:26:02
153.   regfairfield
151 Interesting. I was just going to credit that to hitting behind Nick Punto all year, but Punto was actually semi useful that year. Mauer actually converted men on base into runs more often than Martin did, so the difference is entirely in the home runs and the 15 extra plate appearances Martin had.
2008-01-24 09:09:02
154.   kinbote
Based on LAT's excellent recap, it sounds like Ned might still be sniffing around Sweeney or another LH bat for the bench. I realize everything is in flux right now, but a six-man bench is looking more and more likely:

BC: Bennett
BIF: Abreu
BIF/RHPH: Nomar
BIF/LHPH: Sweeney
BOF: Ethier/Pierre
BU: D. Young

My hope is that Ned is trying to trade Pierre, thereby opening up a spot for Sweeney on the roster. My fear is that he views Ethier as a candidate to replace Sweeney as the LHPH.

I am usually in favor of a seven-man bullpen, but if we have five healthy innings-eaters in our rotation, we could probably afford to drop one arm. Ned apparently is also looking to add a second LHRP, and considering the in-house candidates are Kuo/Stults/Miller/NRIs, I wouldn't be surprised to see this happen.

We haven't heard much from Torre, but I imagine he's given Ned a list of his roster preferences and Ned is trying to accomodate him. "I live but to serve you, my liege."

2008-01-24 13:46:03
155.   Joe Pierre
I was reading some of the early part of this thread back to numbers 26, 27, about the Dodgers road jersey. It seems like through the years they go back and forth between, "Los Angeles" & "Dodgers". They did the same thing in Brooklyn too. In Brooklyn I liked the "Brooklyn" jersey. The road "Dodgers" jersey was not scripted the same as the home jersey, which they still used today. If you see some old pictures you'd know what I mean. Presently I prefer the "Dodgers" road jersey, which had the same script as the home jersey, most likely because I'm in Brooklyn and I see them more as the "Dodgers" not as "Los Angeles"

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