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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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4) arguing for the sake of arguing
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Turnaround of All Turnarounds: Willy Aybar
2008-10-20 10:37
by Jon Weisman

Of all the remarkable stories that make up the remarkable Tampa Bay Rays, is there any more remarkable than that of Willy Aybar?

The ex-Dodger third baseman, who on-based .448 in 26 games in 2005 and .364 in 79 games in 2006 (with Los Angeles and, after the Dodgers traded him, Atlanta), was beset by personal and physical problems in 2007 and missed the entire season. After spending three months rehabbing from substance abuse, Aybar broke the hamate bone in his right hand.

At one point, even his closest supporters could not reach him. I think many considered his career to be over. But not everyone. This past January, Tampa Bay took a chance on Aybar. It wasn't as if the Rays picked him up out of the scrap pile – they traded for him.

Tampa Bay wasn't immediately rewarded. In February – only eight months ago - Aybar was arrested in the Dominican Republic on domestic violence charges and faced three months in jail. The charges were dropped days later, not that that was entirely reassuring.

At the ballpark, at least, Aybar recovered. As a part-time player, he wasn't sensational, but he was solid, OPSing .737. But when Rays starting third baseman Evan Longoria went down with an injury in August, Aybar started 30 consecutive games and OPSed .898. And in the 2008 postseason, Aybar has been downright spectacular, posting a .988 OPS (11 for 30, two doubles, two homers). He went 4 for 5 in the Rays' Game 4 victory in the American League Championship Series, and in Sunday's pennant-deciding Game 7, he doubled, homered and scored two runs in a 3-1 win.

The Willy Aybar story, on and off the field, is far from over. Perhaps, with the Rays in the World Series, it will get the up-close-and-personal treatment. Whatever happens, I hope that his recovery on all fronts continues.

* * *

Here is an excerpt of my reaction to the Dodgers' trade of Aybar (from July 29, 2006). Though Aybar was traded for Wilson Betemit, my column focused on the differences between Aybar and the infielder the Dodgers hung onto, Cesar Izturis:

... I think about how Aybar was benched so that Cesar Izturis could play. Izturis is without a doubt the more spectacular fielder. But in many games, Aybar would make all the plays at third base that Izturis would make. And yes, in a few games, Aybar would make more plays than Izturis, because Izturis isn't perfect.

In the end, Izturis comes out ahead. But when you have the reptuation of being a better fielder, people tend to focus on the plays you make and forgive the plays you don't. For Aybar, it was the opposite. The differences get blown out of proportion. ...

Meanwhile, at his worst, Aybar hit home runs more often than Izturis, who celebrates them like birthdays. In fact, there isn't a single aspect of using the bat in which Aybar, at age 23, isn't already superior to the 26-year-old Izturis - and that factors in Aybar's summer slump. You don't know offensive slumps until you've seen Izturis.

Again, I get what Friday's trade was about. It was an attempt to balance prayers for 2006 with hopes for the future. I'm not complaining about that.

But another underlying truth about the trade - unless other moves are made - is that it was a final exchange of Aybar for Izturis. Given that Izturis was contributing almost nothing toward the team's current hopes, and that he realistically has no future with the Dodgers - as soon as Jeff Kent returns, Izturis is supposed to go to the bench if he hasn't already been traded - this is the trade that's bugging me.

And I don't even have the raging dislike for Izturis that some others have. I love his glove, and I'm dispassionately bored by his bat. He is who he is. A great-fielding No. 8 hitter. Just like the great-fielding 22-year-old the Dodgers have at AA Jacksonville, Chin-Lung Hu.

I don't know if Atlanta would have taken Izturis instead of Aybar, though it does appear that their primary goal was Baez and so the second player in the trade could have been either infielder. I also don't know if Izturis will yield a bigger prize in a few days or months. All I can say is that as I write this, I'd rather Aybar were still in the Dodger organization, for all his flaws, even if he were at AAA, than Izturis.

Of course, Izturis himself would soon be traded in the first Greg Maddux deal ... the same day as the arrival of Julio Lugo ... from Tampa Bay.

Comments (242)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-10-20 10:46:43
1.   LogikReader
Just one great story among many great stories of the Tampa Bay Rays. These guys could be the subject of a great movie. So many good plot lines.

None of which, unfortunately, will be fully appreciated by the general public.

2008-10-20 10:49:24
2.   kinbote
An anagram for Willy Aybar is Bay Ray Will.
2008-10-20 10:50:21
3.   Louis in SF
When I was watching the game last night I kept on thinking about the same thing...what a recovery. Always liked him when he was with the Dodgers, I only hope that we see a similar turnaround from Tony Abreu in 2009.
2008-10-20 10:51:51
4.   PalmdaleSteve1
1 True and a ice story and worthy of highlights, but please don't let the folks from NBC who did the Olympics know about the story.

Besides, baseball don't do human interest stories unless the player is StrayRod and some recent divorced grandma looking singer who speaks with a fake English accent.

2008-10-20 10:56:14
5.   Eric Stephen
The Rays had their movie moment with "The Rookie." :)
2008-10-20 11:05:42
6.   kinbote
I can never remember whom Willy Aybar's batting stance reminds me of. Crouched over, front leg back, wide open stance?
2008-10-20 11:09:09
7.   Eric Stephen
Kind of a cross between Rod Carew and Tony Batista?
2008-10-20 11:12:49
8.   kinbote
7 That works. I never thought I'd see those two names used in combination!
2008-10-20 11:14:35
9.   rbs10025
6 Larry Craig?

0 When did OPS and on-base become verbs? Oy.

2008-10-20 11:15:58
10.   Bob Timmermann
When Jon wants to create a new verb, don't get in his way.
2008-10-20 11:26:36
11.   Marty
Aybar looks a bit heavier now too, which makes sense if he's kicked a substance abuse jag.
2008-10-20 11:30:05
12.   Jon Weisman
9 - I actually did a post on this several years ago, though I can't find it in the archives. Basically, I wrote that one of the reasons I think OPS and OBP have had trouble catching on in the mainstream is because they lacked a convenient verb form like "batting." I think it's a needed evolution.
2008-10-20 11:30:05
13.   Disabled List
It's gonna be quite the riot watching Willy Aybar play in the World Series, while at the same time wondering who's going to play third base for us next year.

It'll be almost as fun as watching Jayson Werth and Shane Victorino play in the World Series, while wondering what we're gonna do with the $26 million pair of useless centerfielders on our roster.

2008-10-20 11:35:11
14.   blue22
6 - Whenever I see anyone with an open stance, I think Jerome Walton.

Wow, it was really 2005 when Aybar had that awesome 2nd half? Time is flying...

2008-10-20 11:38:08
15.   superbas
3 yea i can't wait to root for tony abreu on another pitts, cleveland, tampa. from past experience the current front office would rather hold onto a berroa more than an abreu.
2008-10-20 11:44:49
16.   Bob Timmermann
Willy Aybar doesn't play in the field too much now for Tampa Bay aside from first. He did fill in at second and third when Iwamura was suspended and Longoria was injured.
2008-10-20 11:46:38
17.   regfairfield
Abreu still has an option (unless we never actually optioned him to AAA this year), so there's zero reason to get rid of him, especially when he's rehabbing. If he gets hurt again this year though, he's gone.
2008-10-20 11:53:19
18.   LoneStar7
is tony still rehabbing, or is he gonna playing winter ball
2008-10-20 11:56:58
19.   Bluebleeder87
Nice story Jon.

6 7 talking about that, I think Longoria's swing is very EYE CATCHING, in many ways (not all but in many ways) it reminds me of Piazza's swing, except Longoria pulls the ball a lot better than Piazza did when he first came up...

2008-10-20 11:59:15
20.   bhsportsguy
17 Abreu still has 2 options left.
2008-10-20 12:03:30
21.   kinbote
19 I like Upton's swing: quick, compact, powerful. {drool}
2008-10-20 12:07:36
22.   Brent is a Dodger Fan
Good for Aybar, but I don't think he'd be as lucky if he were were still a Dodger. LaRoche would have been ahead of him, and perhaps he would have forestalled DeWitt.

The key lesson here is that a change of team sometimes really makes a difference. Tampa Bay is less likely to be as organizationally burdened by Aybar's past mistakes than Atlanta, and Aybar is less likely to transfer any ill will that may have existed in Atlanta to Tampa Bay.

2008-10-20 12:11:39
23.   ToyCannon
Only because they have those positions filled quite capably. He can still play 3rd okay. With the added weight I have no idea if he can still play 2nd. Interesting how he and Boom Boom were basically 1st baseman by the time the season ended based on playing time. I don't think to many of us pictured them as 1st baseman in 2008 when they were traded for each other two years ago.

Home run rates for both of them are quite different from their AAA days.

2008-10-20 12:14:11
24.   Kevin Lewis
From last thread re: Softball game:

159. Kevin Lewis

Shooting for the Rose Bowl and moving to the Eagle Rock Rec center if the fields are taken.

The Rose Bowl fields are almost always free on Sunday afternoons, except for when the CalTech Frisbee game shows up, and they try to take up the entire outfield for both fields.

2008-10-20 12:14:56
25.   ToyCannon
Last November I wanted to replace Kent with Abreu. A year later I see no reason to change my mind since we now have a possible in-house replacement in DeJesus if Abreu can't stay healthy.

To bad about Ellis staying with the A's. I guess being comfortable was more important then winning. That contract was doable for us.

2008-10-20 12:16:54
26.   ToyCannon
Send me an evite.

I haven't played in a few years, good time to break out the gloves and bats.

2008-10-20 12:38:52
27.   bhsportsguy
This year's World Series will produce the 8th different champion this decade, only the 1980's, where 9 different teams won a World Series trophy, is higher.

The 1970's had 3 teams that won consectutive World Series in a span of seven seasons.

In the last 30 seasons, only two teams, the 92-93 Blue Jays and the 98-00 Yankees have won consectutive titles.

All of this may not mean anything but I thought it was interesting.

2008-10-20 12:42:01
28.   LogikReader

I tend to consider decades like that a "golden age" for baseball.

In the 90s, back when I was in school, I used to lament the dominance of the Yanks and Braves. I would be like "Why can't it be like ten years ago, when a different team won the World Series every year?"

I love what we have now much more! Note how the Dodgers were the only team to win more than one championship in the 80s.

2008-10-20 12:44:13
29.   LogikReader
I'll never forget how the NBA was for a good 12 years. From 1987 to 2000, every championship came in 2s or 3s.


2008-10-20 12:46:26
30.   Jon Weisman
29 - Preceded by hundreds of articles that declared repeating in the NBA impossible.
2008-10-20 12:52:12
31.   JJ42
24 Sunday softball? Count me in: jjlacs at hotmail dot com
2008-10-20 12:54:12
32.   Ken Noe
I'll repeat what I said mid-summer: Aybar could be our answer at third...I wonder what Tampa would want.
2008-10-20 12:58:37
33.   cargill06
32 Jeez, if Aybar is the answer I guess I don't want to know the question.
2008-10-20 13:19:31
34.   kinbote
27 That reminds me of the Bloom County line (it was mocking the media and how they create stories out of thin air): "Next--All this Nothing. Is it Something?"
2008-10-20 13:20:15
35.   bhsportsguy
29 Only 8 different teams have won NBA titles since the 1979-1980 season.

Lakers - 8
Bulls - 6
Celtics - 4
Spurs - 4
Pistons - 3
Rockets - 2
76ers - 1
Heat - 1

2008-10-20 13:22:18
36.   ucladodger
If only 3 years ago someone would have told us that Edwin Jackson, Dioner Navarro, and Willy Aybar would be playing for the same team in the World Series, we'd all have been pretty darn ecstatic. Funny how things work.
2008-10-20 13:37:57
37.   KG16
13 - there are no promises that each of those guys (along with Navarro and Jackson) would have become the players that they are, had they stayed with the Dodgers. A to B to C to D, if you remove C from the time line, there's no promise of getting from B to D. They are the players they are today because they moved on, not in spite of moving on.
2008-10-20 13:45:45
38.   Ken Noe
33 Who's playing 3B for the Dodgers other than Joe Crede or some other overpaid veteran stiff?
2008-10-20 13:47:17
39.   Icaros

So if the Dodgers had kept Roberto Clemente in the system you don't think he'd have been the same player?

2008-10-20 13:47:34
40.   Eric Stephen
For me, the angst isn't from wishing those players were still Dodgers; I'm happy for their success now, and agree somewhat that their opportunity was better found in TB.

My animosity toward their departure was the awfulness received in return. Aybar was the only one of the castoffs (to Atlanta at the time) for which the Dodgers received anything remotely useful Betemit, and now Proctor).

2008-10-20 13:48:02
41.   bhsportsguy
38 Per the last LA Times story on the Dodgers, Blake DeWitt is not going to work on his second base comfort level this winter, the implication is that both he and the Dodgers see's him as the 2009 3B.
2008-10-20 13:48:16
42.   El Lay Dave
13 $27.1 million. Interestingly, 2009 is the highest-paid year in each man's contract, according to the "Cot's Baseball Contracts" link on the sidebar.
2008-10-20 13:50:27
43.   cargill06
38 Willy Aybar + what we trade < Blake DeWitt


Willy Aybar < Blake DeWitt

2008-10-20 13:50:31
44.   ToyCannon
Has any Dodger pitched a no - hitter since Jon instituted Rule 9? I wanted to ask this question when no one is pitching so as not to break the rule.

Who will hit the most home runs in the World Series? A plethora of candidates.
Upton, Longoria, Floyd, Pena, Howard, Utely, Burrel?

2008-10-20 13:51:30
45.   Ken Noe
41 I expected as much but I still think long-term his future should be at second.
2008-10-20 13:53:56
46.   bhsportsguy
45 I think it reflects their (the Dodgers) thinking all along. DeWitt was only plugged in at second because Kent got hurt.
2008-10-20 13:54:05
47.   cargill06
45 DeWitt's value will probably never be on offense. It's a very real possibility he can be an above average to elite defensive 3B, why take him away from his strength?
2008-10-20 13:54:06
48.   KG16
39 - maybe, maybe not. My point is more that you can't really speculate as to what would have happened, you can only analyze what did happen.

Example: what happens if Ruth is never sold to the Yankees? Does he remain a pitcher? Do the Red Sox win a slew of titles while the Yankees never break through? We simply can't say because we don't know.

2008-10-20 13:54:13
49.   ToyCannon
I had the same line written but then I thought he might have a point. Think about it. If Navarro stays, he's a backup for the last two years. Werth or Victorino may never have been given the opportunity to be more then spare outfielders. E Jackson would have languished in the bullpen or lost when he ran out of options. Aybar is likely the only one who would have been given the opportunity to play 3rd base full time but that regime had soured on his defense.
2008-10-20 13:54:39
50.   Tripon
43 We traded a Willie Aybar with problems to the Braves.

I'd like to think that a DeWitt > Willie Aybar with an alcoholic addiction. But Aybar might one of those players who can still perform despite being on some substance. Like say... David Wells. But the world may never know of Aybar's performance under alcohol.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-10-20 13:56:21
51.   Tripon
45 I rather leave 2nd base open for DeJesus, or Hu. Especially if we resign Furcal.
2008-10-20 13:57:09
52.   cargill06
51 I'm with you on that.
2008-10-20 13:57:09
53.   ToyCannon
Manny to the Giants with that pitching would be an interesting proposition.
2008-10-20 13:58:44
54.   Eric Stephen
Did Aybar have problems as a Dodger? I thought the stuff came about when he was in Atlanta, but I could be wrong.
2008-10-20 13:59:39
55.   Tripon
Where would that leave Freedy Lewis, or Nate Schierholtz? Not to mention Wynn, Rowand, or Roberts. Manny to the Giants might make sense until you realize that they have an even bigger outfield jam than the Dodgers had in '08.
2008-10-20 13:59:53
56.   ToyCannon
Would a team of
with a rotation of

invoke dispair or hope around here?

2008-10-20 14:01:04
57.   Eric Stephen
The only "no-hitter"* for or against the Dodgers since the advent of Rule 9 was a game the Dodgers won!

*I'm fully aware this is not classified as a real no-hitter.

2008-10-20 14:01:41
58.   Tripon
54 I don't remember anything public, but I have to think the Dodgers knew things about Aybar that the rest of the world didn't. Otherwise, why trade Aybar for Benimit straight up?
2008-10-20 14:01:51
59.   D4P
I find it weird that DeWitt has essentially earned himself a spot in the starting lineup.
2008-10-20 14:01:51
60.   ToyCannon
It surfaced with the Braves but aren't most addictions something that was going on long term?
2008-10-20 14:03:41
61.   Ken Noe
47 51 If DeJesus is ready to go at 2B this spring, marvelous. I'll be quite content with him at second and Solution at third. But isn't it more likely that Ned is going to sign some PVL at one of those positions? I'd rather go cheap and spend the money on Manny or CC; hence my Aybar love. If DeJesus ends up a regular after all, then great.
2008-10-20 14:04:00
62.   ToyCannon
Yeah, why should the Dodgers reward a guy who might have saved their season by playing 2nd base when they had no other options when Kent went down other then black hole one and black hole two.
2008-10-20 14:04:37
63.   Eric Stephen
Absolutely crushing.

I am prepared to be mentally crushed if the Dodgers don't sign at least one of CC or Manny. If the Dodgers don't sign a single starting player as a FA this offseason (as your lineup implies), that would be crushing and would fuel further speculation of McCourt's cash problems. That said, I don't want to spend for spending's sake, but it would hurt a lot.

2008-10-20 14:04:48
64.   ToyCannon
It was Baez/Aybar for Betemit.
2008-10-20 14:05:08
65.   Harold M Johnson
56 I would be happy with going to the stadium and watching that team, but I wouldn't expect them to go deep into the playoffs. So much of that team depends on Furcal being healthy and productive and, quite simply, great.
2008-10-20 14:05:34
66.   Eric Stephen
why trade Aybar for Benimit straight up?

To get rid of Baez?

2008-10-20 14:05:39
67.   ToyCannon
Doesn't signing Furcal count?
2008-10-20 14:06:27
68.   Tripon
Cards bought out Mulder's option for $1.5 million. Non-roster invitee?
2008-10-20 14:06:27
69.   Eric Stephen
56 ,63
I somehow glossed over Furcal being re-signed in your proposal. I change my opinion from crushed to hopeful despair. :)
2008-10-20 14:07:03
70.   Eric Stephen
Why not? We already have Scully.
2008-10-20 14:07:28
71.   Jon Weisman
44 - Well, Rule 9 existed long before Dodger Thoughts. So in that sense, yes.
2008-10-20 14:09:17
72.   ToyCannon
Have the Dodgers had a no hitter since you started Dodger Thoughts?
2008-10-20 14:09:24
73.   D4P
DeWitt OPSed .728. Maybe that was "better than expected", but "better than expected" does not necessarily equal "good".

By objective standards, his offense was poor. He is now being given the starting job at third base. I find that weird.

And what does "rewarding" him have to do with it? Why shouldn't "building the best team" be the top priority?

2008-10-20 14:10:22
74.   ToyCannon
Hopeful Despair, welcome to my Clipper World:)
2008-10-20 14:11:30
75.   D4P
Will DeWitt's offense improve? Maybe.

But I don't understand that rationale that leads someone to assume that his offense will inevitably improve enough to be a starting third baseman.

2008-10-20 14:11:56
76.   ToyCannon
Given the free agents available at 3rd base, I would take Blake DeWitt over all of them. You can focus on his season OPS, I will focus on how he ended the season.
2008-10-20 14:12:13
77.   wronghanded
73 What would you like to see the Dodgers do? Sign Blake and keep Dewitt/DeJesus at 2nd?
2008-10-20 14:12:17
78.   Harold M Johnson
Haha, 56 just realized that somehow my addled brain thought that Manny was in your proposed team of next year! A Dodger team without a legit slugger is a team that will frustrate fans, just like this team did pre-Manny. You never know if someone like Kemp might finally have a breakout season, or if Loney and Martin will take major steps forward, but without a legit hitting star... I think the team would be very frustrating.
2008-10-20 14:13:28
79.   Harold M Johnson
76 I agree, the free agent crop is not good and I think everyone needs to see the writing on the wall that big bucks are not going to be spent in the off-season, especially when something like half of the payroll already committed for next year is on Schmidt, Jones, and Pierre.
2008-10-20 14:14:12
80.   Brian Y
76. And by that I'm guessing you mean the regular season. His dreadful NLCS is something I'm sure he even wants to forget.
2008-10-20 14:14:32
81.   ToyCannon
You love OBP, I'm surprised you aren't more impressed with how he managed to increase his OBP to over 400 the 2nd time around the league. This is not BABIP inspired OPS, but plate discipline inspired.
2008-10-20 14:15:07
82.   Tripon
73 Because it's building the best team with salary implications? If you're going to resign Manny, or C.C., that takes a huge chunk of your budget, you're going to have to plug holes somewhere. And the free agent market for 3rd baseman are thin enough, where Casey Blake and Joe Crede are likely number and two for 3rd baseman. We seen what Blake can do on a personal level, and Crede is a fragile player. Not exactly the kind of player you want to give big money for.

And as for giving a job to DeWitt, I don't think it'll kill the Dodgers to have some stability at 3rd. Yeah, he's not the greatest option, but he might be the best best option. I would like to see an open competition between DeWitt, and Aberu at 3rd next year if those are the in house options.

2008-10-20 14:15:50
83.   ToyCannon
As does everyone not named Manny or Loney.
2008-10-20 14:17:10
84.   Tripon
83 James McDonald had a good NLCS.
2008-10-20 14:17:16
85.   Brian Y
79. I look at is and see that we are losing about $35M after next season when Andruw and Schmidt are gone. We can afford both CC and Manny if we wanted since all we would have to do is rearrange their contracts so the 1st year would be less and compliment that with a signing bonus distributed over the contract.

I don't think that both of them are feasible as we have other needs as well that need to be explored such as SS,2B,3B, bullpen, bench, etc.

2008-10-20 14:17:24
86.   CodyS
Of Kemp, Martin, Ethier, Loney only Ethier did better this year than last year. Young players can be expected to get better on average but there is a big enough variation that for any particular player for any particular year, there is a very high chance he will not be better at all next year.
2008-10-20 14:19:21
87.   D4P
Would anyone really argue that what Blake DeWitt has done thus far is obviously and unambiguously enough to deserve a starting third baseman job in the major leagues?

I just don't see it. I think he's being given the job because of a lack of alternatives and because he makes Management feel good in a touchy-feely kinda way.

2008-10-20 14:20:16
88.   Jon Weisman
72 - No, the last was Nomo's in Colorado.
2008-10-20 14:20:26
89.   Brian Y
83. Exactly, but you specifically mentioned that you wanted to focus " how he ended the season" so I was just checking to make sure you did not mean the NLCS since that is technically how he finished this season.

I have a lot of hope for DeWitt but I really prefer him at 2B since I think we need power at 3B and LF. Loney and Ethier are not power hitters and they man the other corners.

2008-10-20 14:22:49
90.   Marty
Yossarian: That's some rule, that Rule 9
Doc Daneeka: It's the best there is.
2008-10-20 14:26:34
91.   superbas
56 can we get a hr guy in there somewhere? it's conceivable either/kemp/jones could hit 25hrs next year but that's no sure thing. it was cool seeing manny up at the plate and knowing good things will happen...i don't wanna go back to the base-to-base style and depending on luck and babip.
2008-10-20 14:29:13
92.   Disabled List
48 Maybe Aybar, Werth and Victorino wouldn't have turned into solid major-leaguers if they had stayed with the Dodgers, but they clearly had the talent to be solid players. My lament was about the inability of the Dodgers' front office to identify, value and make use of that talent.

I'm definitely in Rule 8 territory here, but the primary reason the Dodgers will not be able to sign both Sabathia and Manny this offseason is because of the massive amount of payroll being wasted on not one, but TWO unproductive centerfielders--while all the while we had Victorino, Werth and Matt Kemp pass though our system at various points.

2008-10-20 14:30:27
93.   Eric Stephen
I have a simple offseason plan of signing Manny, CC, and Furcal. If that were to happen, I'd be happy to take my lumps at 2B and 3B with some combo of DeWitt, Abreu, DeJesus and Hu.
2008-10-20 14:30:52
94.   Kevin Lewis

I would be fine with the field if Penny was replaced with CC

2008-10-20 14:31:53
95.   Kevin Lewis

I'm listening

2008-10-20 14:35:29
96.   El Lay Dave
87 What is the difference between "lack of alternatives" and "best available"?

The FA at 3B:

Casey Blake
Hank Blalock (team has option)
Joe Crede
Morgan Ensberg
Chipper Jones (team has option)
Corey Koskie
Greg Norton
Nick Punto


2008-10-20 14:36:04
97.   Jon Weisman
I don't really like seeing the Jones and Pierre signings lumped together. Jones had a good chance of being a big help*. Pierre did not.

* Scareduck and D4P are exempt from this. They may lump at will.

2008-10-20 14:37:59
98.   El Lay Dave
96 Norton hasn't actually played a moment at 3rd since 2004, but his middle name is "Blakemoor" - cool.
2008-10-20 14:40:07
99.   D4P
I mean that DeWitt is getting the starting job by DeFault. If he's the starter, it has much less to do with his performance (which, IMO, has not warranted a MLB starting 3B position) than it does with the fact that there are no other options right now.

Any kind of Mueller/Blake/Randa/Boone/Brosius/Generic No Power White Guy would probably be enough for Management to send DeWitt to the bench.

2008-10-20 14:40:38
100.   Eric Stephen
We tried (Casey) Blake more in 2008, and will try Blake (DeWitt) more in 2009 as well.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-10-20 14:40:46
101.   Tripon
96 If the Braves for whatever reason decline Jones' option.(Unlikely) I'd like to take a stab at him. The man can still hit the ball when healthy.
2008-10-20 14:41:19
102.   Harold M Johnson
97 you can't lump them together in terms of potential but you can when it comes to $$$ being wasted on unproductive players, limiting the ability to sign players for next season.
2008-10-20 14:41:57
103.   adrian beltre
93, 95

i couldn't be more on board with that as well. do we think that can happen? if not, why? literaly mccourt doesn't have the money? we don't feel that manny or cc will be worth their huge contracts? it seems like such a simple strategy.

2008-10-20 14:42:29
104.   Harold M Johnson
101 it won't happen but even if it did, wouldn't that signing almost surely be too long and too expensive?
2008-10-20 14:43:14
105.   Marty
99 How did race get into the conversation?
2008-10-20 14:44:33
106.   ToyCannon
What exactly did this guy do to warrant being given the 2nd base job after his 24/25 year old seasons?
The pedigree is the same as they were both number one draft picks. The big different is that Chase was two years older then Blake every step up the ladder.
2008-10-20 14:46:30
107.   silverwidow
Let Ivan Jr. rake in ABQ for two months, then turn over the reigns at 2B/SS.

Sounds like a good plan to me.

2008-10-20 14:54:31
108.   LogikReader

My goodness, you're right! How did he get all that power all of a sudden?

Just goes to show, sometimes you gotta be 29 to be good. That statement is just asking for rebuttals.

2008-10-20 14:54:34
109.   Jon Weisman
102 - Yes, but the latter is of limited usefulness, short of crying over spilt milk.

Andruw Jones was a shame, but he was a good idea. There was plenty of reason to believe he would become a valuable cleanup hitter for this team. Jones' failure in my mind is just the cost of doing business. You'll never escape that - you'll never be perfect with your choices. Jones was a good idea gone bad. (Again, I acknowledge that a few others didn't think so - I'm only offering my opinion here, not trying to start an old fight.)

Pierre was a bad idea from the get-go. The $10 million being spent on Pierre in 2009 is a lot worse than the $17.1 million being spent on Jones. I think it's important not to lose sight of that difference.

2008-10-20 14:54:58
110.   Tripon
104 Don't see how long or expensive it'll be. I imagine at 'worst' that it'll be around 3 years/$39 million. Jones is going to be 37 next year, and is entering the last years of his baseball career. He's not going to demand a 5 or 6 year deal.
2008-10-20 14:55:53
111.   Bob Timmermann
It's much safer to have no opinions.

People don't get mad at you.

At least that's the way I view it.

2008-10-20 14:55:56
112.   DodgerBakers
I would love to get CC and Manny both for next year. CC is terrific and hasn't hit the decline years yet and Manny is good now, and puts butts in the seats.

I just don't see a scenario where both end up on the Dodgers though, or really even one. I think its going to be the same story: We make a run at the big fish, but in the end go for someone else who fills the hole, may be a name, but that's it.

I hope I'm wrong, but with the Yankees with tons of money to burn, I don't see how we can get both Manny and CC.

2008-10-20 14:56:07
113.   Kevin Lewis

Maybe I am a glutton for punishment, but I still think Jones could be productive next year. I just have a hard time believing someone could fall off the cliff so fast. It had to be the weight/knee issues, and if he really works on that in the off-season, he could be useful.

2008-10-20 14:56:44
114.   regfairfield
106 Utley had put up better minor league numbers (albeit at an older age) and really only got the job because of that horrible Urbina trade.

I have no real problem with DeWitt starting at this point simply because we're not going to fill every hole we need to this offseason. Some position is going to be terrible, so we might as well hand it to someone with potential and a good glove.

2008-10-20 14:57:45
115.   JoeyP
What exactly did this guy do to warrant being given the 2nd base job after his 24/25 year old seasons?

Good minor league numbers.
Something Dewitt doesnt have.

2008-10-20 14:59:33
116.   Harold M Johnson
110 it seems to me that "name" players with the kinds of careers Jones has had (not that there are even that many) are able to get long, expensive contracts even near the end. Would love to be proven wrong if it would work out for the Dodgers.
2008-10-20 14:59:49
117.   silverwidow
Next year's Cory Wade will be Josh Lindblom. He has a higher ceiling though, and could even start for us down the line.
2008-10-20 15:04:28
118.   Harold M Johnson
117 Didn't I just read somewhere that Lindblom is going to be a starter next year in the minors?
2008-10-20 15:05:07
119.   cargill06
Blake DeWitt had a 88 OPS+ this season and was a +11 in only 720 innings at 3B. The average NL 3B will give you a 108 OPS+ at 3B and a 0 +/- number. If DeWitt can get his OPS+ to at least 95 and play the same defense, than guess what? We have a league average 3B at the league minimum, that's good value.
2008-10-20 15:06:07
120.   regfairfield
119 I'd say much better than average actually. Even when he got sent down this year he was only like three runs below average.
2008-10-20 15:06:49
121.   ToyCannon
Given his age when he was drafted his minor league numbers were okay but number one picks out of college are supposed to rake. Blake's major league season at age 22, Chase was hitting High A pitching and his OPS was only 794.
2008-10-20 15:09:06
122.   regfairfield
121 Utley's actually looking like a strangely good comp.
2008-10-20 15:09:23
123.   scareduck
37 comes very perilously close to sour grapes. In fact, I'll say it is. The Colletti-era Dodgers' flippant way of dealing kids for rentals was a known problem at least as far as the Jackson deal. Each of these players represents not only his own effort to achieve elite status, but the organization's expenditures to get him to the top; if you think of what it costs to keep these players with adequate minor league teammates, the cost becomes simply staggering.

96 - Dallas McPherson keeps getting left off these lists, yet AFAIK he only has a one-year minor-league deal with the Fish. There's reason to think he could survive in the majors as a platoon player, at least.

2008-10-20 15:09:50
124.   El Lay Dave
104 Chipper is brittle. Games played the last five seasons:

Jones: 137, 109, 110, 134, 128
Kent: 145, 149, 115, 136, 121

Kent is four years older. Kent also DHed twice in that time frame (surprisingly), Jones 18 times.

I'd stay away on those grounds alone. Moot point anyway, as pointed out by Harold M Johnson "it won't happen". I believe that option for the Braves is $10-11 million.

2008-10-20 15:10:36
125.   Sean P

21: A- .824 OPS
22: A+ .734 OPS
23: AAA .790 OPS
24: AAA .894 OPS
MLB .695 OPS

18: Rk .834 OPS
19: A/A+ .778 OPS
20: A+/AA .719 OPS
21: A+/AA .793 OPS
22: AAA .852 OPS
MLB .728 OPS

2008-10-20 15:10:47
126.   scareduck
119 - except that 100 OPS+ isn't league average at third base. This is my principle criticism of OPS+ as a metric for relative positional offensive strength. Also, it tends to drastically undervalue OBP.
2008-10-20 15:12:11
127.   cargill06
126 Huh? I said 108 is league average for 3B.
2008-10-20 15:13:07
128.   Frip
Jon: Jones' failure in my mind is just the cost of doing business. You'll never escape that...

That's a good way to put it.

Risk and the potential losses from it are prefigured into any business plan.

2008-10-20 15:13:11
129.   scareduck
97 - I'm lump, I'm lump, I'm lump,
it's in my head.
2008-10-20 15:13:33
130.   cargill06
126 If you complain about it undervaluing OBP, fair enough. However, the league average 3B has an OBP of .335, DeWitt was at .344 last year.
2008-10-20 15:13:45
131.   ToyCannon
Him and Cantu would be nice for the Fish. Cantu will start to suck more then usual and if he's limited to just LHP with McPherson to pick up the slack I think they would have a decent play at 3rd. At the worse McPherson should be able to emulate Branyan if he can stay healthy.
2008-10-20 15:16:34
132.   regfairfield
126 I know, I figured that. If DeWitt can be +20 at third, then he really doesn't have to hit at all to be league average.
2008-10-20 15:19:19
133.   scareduck
127 - you said 95, which is 13 points off 108.
2008-10-20 15:22:25
134.   El Lay Dave
.257 / .312 / .422 / .734, 504 PA, 37 BB, 88 K, age 22, A+
.263 / .329 / .461 / .790, 510 PA, 46 BB, 89 K, age 23, AAA

.292 / .327 / .466 / .793, 590 PA, 27 BB, 68 K, age 21, A+ / AA
.306 / .366 / .486 / .852, 124 PA, 10 BB, 14 K, age 22, AAA
.264 / .344 / .383 / .727, 421 PA, 45 BB, 68 K, age 22, Nat'l League

2008-10-20 15:22:57
135.   cargill06
133 I understand now, I didn't word it correctely. I meant to say if he can OPS+ 95 and play the same defense he'll be a league average player despite being below average on offense.
2008-10-20 15:23:10
136.   ToyCannon
DeWitt will probably suck at defense next year but hit more then anyone expects.
2008-10-20 15:23:20
137.   bhsportsguy
Would you have complained about this fan last week at Dodger Stadium?

2008-10-20 15:25:23
138.   Jon Weisman
129 - LOL, that takes me back.
2008-10-20 15:25:55
139.   LogikReader

...and Fox didn't show a camera shot of her? Where's the justice??

2008-10-20 15:30:58
140.   El Lay Dave
123 The list was from Cot's Baseball Contracts and is the major-league FAs, which McPherson would not be one of because of insufficient service time, I believe.

McPherson turned 28 last season, played at Albuquerque except for a brief Sept. callup, hit .275 / .379 / .618 / .997, but still struck out in 31.7% of his PAs (168/530). Sounds like an AAAA player to me.

2008-10-20 15:31:32
141.   Eric Stephen
I wouldn't have complained because:

1) My seats would have pretty good to be near her, and
2) I would have been seated near her

If the cursing got annoying I probably would have just said, "Shut up, Meg."

2008-10-20 15:34:34
142.   bhsportsguy
139 No show or movie to promote on Fox.
2008-10-20 15:34:36
143.   El Lay Dave
137 Only for this part:

"It's not necessarily that I'm for the Yankees... but the fans are so amazing... I feel at home, they're my people."
"Everybody at Dodgers Stadium... was on their BlackBerries."

2008-10-20 15:36:26
144.   Tripon
134 Kinda odd that DeWitt just raked Triple-A pitching this year.
2008-10-20 15:36:54
145.   Eric Stephen
Family Guy
2008-10-20 15:38:01
146.   ToyCannon
Russel Branyan had a higher K rate then that and he's been a useful major leaguer. Career OPS+ of 109. He's not the norm but McPherson might have the same kind of power.
2008-10-20 15:38:12
147.   El Lay Dave
144 After spending the first part of the season in the Bigs, AAA pitching might have looked pretty fat to him.
2008-10-20 15:39:05
148.   El Lay Dave
145 Maybe if she wore that dress to the game.
2008-10-20 15:41:24
149.   ToyCannon
True though, even real fans around me were always getting texted to by their friends on what was going on. Every close call they all got updates from their friends who were watching the game on whether we should be upset at the call or not.
2008-10-20 15:42:41
150.   Bob Timmermann
UCLA is asking me to pay $10 to watch streaming video of a exhibition basketball game against Biola or Cal Baptist.

I shall decline.

Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2008-10-20 15:46:35
151.   El Lay Dave
146 Branyan also had nearly 400 PAs in AAA in his age 28 year which makes an interesting comparision to Dallas also - very similar. .279 / .379 / .566 / .945 in the IL, 28.5% K rate.

You make a good point about the Marlins, but McPherson is probably the wrong side of the platoon for the Dodgers needs, if DeWitt stays up, platoons at 3B and maybe fills in some at 2nd?

2008-10-20 15:46:57
152.   Eric Stephen
Biola and CBU? That's a whole nuther matter!
2008-10-20 15:47:11
153.   ToyCannon
How do you expect Rick to buy a football team if you don't pony up the money?
2008-10-20 15:48:19
154.   ToyCannon
I have no interest in Dallas for us. Was just saying I think he will have value for the Marlins this year. I'm okay with our 3rd baseman.
2008-10-20 15:49:19
155.   Eric Stephen
NCAA basketball pool proceeds
2008-10-20 15:50:14
156.   Jon Weisman
Dodgers and Furcal mutally attracted:

2008-10-20 15:50:50
157.   ToyCannon
In fact I'm quite giddy the Dodgers are going to let a 23 year prospect have the job without the drama of having to knock the door down. It is amusing that many have complained that Ned's "knock the door down" is so irritating only to also find fault when he doesn't use that criteria. It is possible some people are never happy.
2008-10-20 15:52:03
158.   El Lay Dave
149 I didn't see much of that in the hinterlands of the Reserved Level, but there were some plays or pitches where I wished I could see a replay instead of relying on what I observed from 450 feet away.

In the future, we'll all be streaming video to our iPods via Dodger Stadium wi-fi (or whatever comes next) and replaying parts ourselves to see what really happened! Then we'll boo the umpires again.

2008-10-20 15:54:38
159.   ToyCannon
Yup, soon we will be triangulating our own strike zones to the dismay of the men in blue.
2008-10-20 15:54:39
160.   Bob Timmermann
It is possible some people are never happy.

Not if they don't post their thoughts here.

2008-10-20 16:00:33
161.   El Lay Dave
156 Kinzer said that Furcal's surgically-repaired back shouldn't affect his value, noting that Furcal has been completely cleared by Dr. Robert Watkins, who performed the midseason operation and monitored his rehabilitation. ... no reason that Furcal should have to sign an incentive-laden deal with a lower base salary.

Maybe it's just bad luck, but injuries have certainly affected his game or caused him to miss games for a high percentage of the last couple seasons, and he's not getting younger. In any case, this will all be driven by the demand for his services on the open market anyway.

2008-10-20 16:01:28
162.   El Lay Dave
153 Frank McCourt advises charging more for parking.
2008-10-20 16:11:32
163.   Kevin Lewis

That seems pretty ridiculous to me. I am not willing to just take the doctor's word on that one. Can we insure the contract?

2008-10-20 16:13:04
164.   Harold M Johnson
163 it's his agent talking...
2008-10-20 16:26:49
165.   Eric Stephen
I love reading Joe Posnanski for many reasons. Every once in a while, I'll read something that blows my mind. For instance:

The theme songs from Diff'rent Strokes and Facts of LIfe were composed by Alan Thicke

I had no idea that Canuck was so multi-talented!

2008-10-20 16:29:03
166.   ToyCannon
The only thing I remember about Alan is that he was married to Chrissy.
2008-10-20 16:32:48
167.   adrian beltre
165, that is so funny. i like joe posnanski's writing but i rarely tune into his blog, but i happened to today and love that piece.
2008-10-20 16:34:11
168.   Marty
Didn't they try to pass Alan Thicke off as a talk-show host once?
2008-10-20 16:35:15
169.   Bob Timmermann
Thicke of the Night!
2008-10-20 16:36:24
170.   Eric Stephen
I thought she was married to the Alpha Beta guy (Alan Hamel)?

Also, in 165 I meant "this Canuck". I know our Canuck is talented already!

2008-10-20 16:38:23
171.   dsfan
Not to be an alarmist, what are the chances the Dodgers sell low on Abreu? Seems fairly likely to me. He's not one of Logan's picks and if I recall correctly, Ned and Boras jousted a few times over Abreu's medical treatment vis a vis work-service times. The impression it left me was that Ned was fed up with Abreu. DeWitt has his backers in the organization. DeJesus is coming off a solid year and was drafted by Logan. Seems to me, Abreu will be disposable. Hope I'm wrong. Would love to see him have a strong winter season.
2008-10-20 16:41:03
172.   scareduck
157 - I could think of a lot of outcomes worse than starting DeWitt at third in 2009.
2008-10-20 16:42:19
173.   ToyCannon
They don't need to sell low. Someone said he still has two options so no need to trade him.
2008-10-20 16:43:37
174.   Jon Weisman
"The Los Angeles Dodgers announced today that current first base coach and former infielder Mariano Duncan, was inducted into the Dominican Sports Hall of Fame in a ceremony that took place yesterday at San Pablo House Auditorium in Santo Domingo. Duncan becomes the 93rd player inducted into the Dominican Sports Hall of Fame."
2008-10-20 16:44:26
175.   ToyCannon
You of course are right.
2008-10-20 16:45:22
176.   ToyCannon
Who knew the bar was so low? Is our Pedro in the HOF?
2008-10-20 16:48:12
177.   Bob Timmermann
Tommy Lasorda is in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

The requirement to be inducted into that is the willingness to show up for the ceremony I believe.

2008-10-20 17:00:22
178.   El Lay Dave
177 A free meal may have been involved.
2008-10-20 17:03:40
179.   Frip
I wonder who would be the top three pure, all around atheletes on the Dodgers? Maybe

1. Matt Kemp
2. Rafael Furcal
3. Russel Martin

I can see all three guys playing a few other sports. As great a hitter Manny is, and as great a runner Pierre is, I just don't see them in other sports. Or I mean, they're just not as versatile athletically in my mind. The three mentioned above are all good hitters, have great arms, are agile, fast. And most importantly in order to transition to other rougher sports, are powerful.

2008-10-20 17:06:28
180.   Bob Timmermann
The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame gives out the annual Tip O'Neill Award to the best Canadian player.

Russell Martin won last year, but I would assume Justin Morneau will win this year.

Sparky Anderson is also in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. Arthur Irwin is an inductee also and if showed up for the ceremony, it would have been a neat trick. Especially if you know how he died.

2008-10-20 17:09:33
181.   Tripon
The Clippers said Monday afternoon that point guard Baron Davis has a partial tear of a ligament in his left ring finger, but that the injury won't require surgery and that he will wear a splint and can resume playing in a week. Whew. Go ahead and restore him to a borderline first-round pick. With the news on Deron Williams also positive today, things are looking much better than they were 12 hours ago. It's possible Baron could even be ready for the Clippers' season opener on Wed. Oct. 29.

Clippers dodge a bullet. Still, Baron Davis is probably going to dance with the injury bug for his entire Clippers stay.

2008-10-20 17:30:31
182.   silverwidow
Breaking News: Dodgers decline Berroa's 2009 option.


2008-10-20 17:31:07
183.   Humma Kavula
Just catching up on the day's posts.

The Utley comp is really intriguing. I believe that DeWitt will receive a starting position next year, though I don't know if that's 3B or 2B, and I do believe that he will have to make a significant improvement.

But I add this anecdote:

At a party yesterday, two Dodger fans convinced me that of all the Dodger kids -- not including the pitchers -- the one with the brightest future, the one with the greatest chance to be a true star, was DeWitt.

2008-10-20 17:34:07
184.   Humma Kavula
183 Did I write "convinced me?" I meant "were convinced and tried to convince me."

They were not successful.

2008-10-20 17:39:15
185.   Tripon
184 What were their argument? DeWitt's the 2nd or 3rd best fielder behind Loney and maybe Russell. He's probably one of the weaker hitters of the young players... doesn't star power suggests that he's electrifying in some way? Like Kemp with his steals?
2008-10-20 17:39:55
186.   bhsportsguy
184 Its probably either Bills or Kershaw. Right now, DeWitt is behind but he has at least 2 years on the other position players.
2008-10-20 17:41:55
187.   underdog
You know, I don't dislike Tony Kornheiser or anything, and he's better than having Dennis Miller on MNF or something, but the man has so little TV presence in the booth. They might as well have Bob Balaban on there.
2008-10-20 17:44:42
188.   Jon Weisman
182 - From the same article, for those keeping track: "Penny's option must be exercised within seven days after the end of the World Series."
2008-10-20 17:49:44
189.   bhsportsguy
No, really, I can reach that with my 7-iron.,0,4754275,full.story

2008-10-20 17:51:57
190.   Frip
187 If you're talking Kornheiser's physical presence in the booth, then yeah you're right. Though I think that it's more endearing than annoying, how he looks so athletically out of place, with his slumped shoulders and all.

But if you're talking the other kind of presence, verbal-personality, then he's got a lot of it.

Just wish he'd lose the comb-over. He's with-it enough to know how cheesy comb-overs are. I don't know, it's weird, a guy like Tony should know better. Like I should know better than to wear pajamas to the dog park, but somehow I don't.

2008-10-20 18:00:14
191.   LogikReader

Alan Thicke also composed the first theme to "Wheel of Fortune" back around 1975. It sounds very different from the theme we all know and love from the mid-80s.

In fact, I have a link!

First WoF Theme (by Alan Thicke):

2008-10-20 18:04:47
192.   bhsportsguy
Key Off-Season Dates to Remember

Free agent filing period, first 15 days after World Series ends. Earliest date this begins is Monday Octobre 27, latest is Friday October 31. During this period, players may only negotiate with the last team they played for.

Nov. 3-6, 2008
General Managers Meetings, Dana Point, Calif.

Nov. 11 - Nov. 15 Open Free Agency begins, players can now negotiate with any team. (earliest, last date)

Nov. 20, 2008
Day to file reserve lists for all Minor League levels and Major Leagues

Dec. 1, 2008
Last date for former club to offer salary arbitration to ranked free agents in order to be eligible for compensation. (Note that if a Type A or B free agent signs with another team prior to or on this day, the compensation is automatically awarded.)

Dec. 7, 2008
Last date for player who declared free agency to accept an arbitration offer from former club.

Dec. 8-11, 2008
Winter Meetings, Las Vegas

Dec. 11, 2008
Rule 5 Draft

Dec. 12, 2008
Last date to tender contracts for 2009

2008-10-20 18:05:43
193.   bhsportsguy
191 Everyone is going to hate me for this, Alan Thicke also was a writer of "The Facts of Life" theme song.
2008-10-20 18:08:33
194.   still bevens

December 13-late February
Lean times my friends. Lean times...

2008-10-20 18:18:41
195.   bhsportsguy
BTW - Berroa was not exactly free, the Dodgers do have to pay $500K to buy out his option and they will probably non-tender him since he still has less than 6 years service time.
2008-10-20 18:19:18
196.   D4P
He also wrote the "Diff'rent Strokes" theme song. I remember reading about that recently...
2008-10-20 18:20:44
197.   Humma Kavula
195 I thought KC was on the hook for the half-mil.
2008-10-20 18:22:55
198.   bhsportsguy
2008-10-20 18:25:36
199.   bhsportsguy
At least we would get two very high (or low as you may see it) draft picks.

2008-10-20 18:29:54
200.   D4P
Lowe, 35, who still lives in Fort Myers, Fla., and is expected to be one of the most sought-after pitchers in the free agent market, doesn't seem to think he'll be back with the Dodgers. He was still upset about being lifted after five innings in Game 4 of the NLCS, when he had a 3-2 lead, only to see the bullpen squander it.
Show/Hide Comments 201-250
2008-10-20 18:31:24
201.   bhsportsguy
200 But he is having lunch with Joe Torre this week. I doubt it will be wheat grass.
2008-10-20 18:44:30
202.   LAbits
Grrr. Then go to New York, laydee!

Next time I go to Dodger stadium and someone swears up a storm, start's making racial remarks or dumps popcorn and drinks on non-demonstrative SF fans, I'm going to light them up in some quiet, but pointed way. I'm here to watch baseball, the Dodgers, mind you, not to endure the consequences of that person ignoring their mother all those years.

And arf arf to the blackberry, come late, leave early critics. YOU drive in this freaking city and not arrive late somewhere during rush hour. YOU have a 2 hour line at your stadium to leave the parking lot and not leave early with Junior, who is already tired.

2008-10-20 18:56:18
203.   bhsportsguy
202 As long as you are not attacking people who use their blackberries at games.

I know that there are some prominent DTers who don't leave home without their connection to the world.

2008-10-20 18:57:09
204.   JoeyP
I'd be really surprised if the Red Sox went after Lowe. He's on the downside of his career, and he really didnt have that great of 2004 season.

Dice K

Perhaps Lowe takes over the Wakefield spot as 5th starter? Unless the Sox give up on Bucholz, I dont see them wanting Lowe though.

2008-10-20 19:03:38
205.   CajunDodger
One of those guys might be gone to get them some help behind the plate should they not resign Varitek.

I see Lowe signing with the Yankees. They need a 200 inning guy that can pitch in that division. The Sox and the Cubs are both teams with so many players either under contract (Cubs) or so young (Sox) that I can see them remaining pretty much the same for 2009.

2008-10-20 19:03:49
206.   Jon Weisman
203 - Charged as guilty!
2008-10-20 19:09:29
207.   herchyzer
I'm fine with DeWitt at third and Hu(?)/DeJesus competing for 2nd, re-upping Furcal. Now give me Manny. I want my Manny!
2008-10-20 19:13:22
208.   bhsportsguy
205 I saw someone say that the Yankees infield defense or lack thereof would prevent them from signing Lowe.
2008-10-20 19:15:10
209.   Eric Stephen
197 ,198
The Royals are responsible for the $500k Berroa buyout.

From Bob Dutton last week in the KC Star:

The Dodgers got enough money in the swap to pay Berroa's contract. The Royals are even on the hook for the $500,000 buyout this winter if the Dodgers, as expected, decline to pick up a $5.5 million option for 2009.

2008-10-20 19:15:53
210.   Eric Stephen
I forgot that Chuck Woolery once hosted WoF!
2008-10-20 19:17:36
211.   CajunDodger
If that's the case, he is probably off to the Blue Jays if Burnett opts out. Lowe could put up some pretty good numbers there.

Texas or Philly would also be good destinations for a guy like Lowe. Both would have young decent defenses there.

2008-10-20 19:17:47
212.   LogikReader

I also hear the first Wheel of Fortune theme song was composed by Alan Thicke... I read that somewhere a few minutes ago.

2008-10-20 19:19:08
213.   Eric Stephen
Also, the Gurnick article has the paycut percentage wrong. The maximum paycut for non-free agents is 20%, not 40%. So if the Dodgers go to arbitration with Berroa (highly unlikely), the least he can earn next year is $3.8m (80% of $4.75m).

Dylan Hernandez notes this in a brief blog entry tonight:

2008-10-20 19:23:24
214.   LogikReader
re: Lowe

You know, Lowe has a real mouth, you know that? Now that he's about to leave I just wanted to say, what a jerk. Even if he has a point with Torre lifting him early, number one, Lowe has the mental capacity of a donut. One liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitle thing goes wrong, like a Furcal error and the whole inning collapses. Is it any wonder Joe was inclined to lift you early?

I think we all know this isn't an isolated incident. Derek Lowe imploded on numerous occasions after one little error or a dropped ball.

Secondly, I hope Lowe has fun chucking home run balls over in Detroit with the Tigers, where I am about 70% sure he'll end up. Lowe may be a good pitcher and a great 3/4 starter, but he is no leader when times are tough, I'll say that much.

2008-10-20 19:24:31
215.   bhsportsguy
213 Juan Rivera, the player traded for Angel Berroa (who came with I guess a 3 million bucks or so), finished the season (his 5th) on KC's Midwest League (A) team.

Now Rivera will probably be able to play for years in KC's system so time is on their side (he is only 21).

2008-10-20 19:24:56
216.   LogikReader
212 was just goofing around. I grew up on Chuck as the host of "Scrabble" if you could believe that. I was only about 4 when Love Connection started.
2008-10-20 19:26:58
217.   Eric Stephen
I agree with you. I still think Lowe should have pitched the 6th, but it was a defensible decision by Torre to pull him, especially on short rest.

I mean, look at Game 1! Lowe was cruising, then after the Furcal error Lowe made two bad pitches and it was all over.

2008-10-20 19:30:18
218.   Eric Stephen
I used to watch Scrabble too, on USA in the afternoons after school (junior high), along with reruns of Face the Music, Name That Tune, and Press Your Luck. I was way into game shows. Throw in some Card Sharks, Concentration, Deal of the Century, Tic Tac Doe, Jokers Wild, and I was in heaven!
2008-10-20 19:32:31
219.   underdog
I take it back. I don't like Tony Kornheiser, and Bob Balaban sounds good to me now. Make it happen, ESPN.


And what's with a mediocre football team like the Pats doing a lot of taunting and strutting? Like they're doing anything tonight. My QB jammed his finger on your dumb helmet on the first play. My defense can't tackle. Your line can't block. It's just a lot of stinkiness all around. Stop strutting like it's the Super Bowl again.

Grrrr. I need to take a break from sports for awhile. Maybe take up raising ferrets or crochet or join the circus.

2008-10-20 19:40:48
220.   fanerman
219 I agree with you. What the heck does Kornheiser add? He doesn't provide play-by-play action, color commentary, OR comic relief. All he does is provide us with such gems like "Moreso than the Yankees, the Cowboys have been America's team for the past decade."
2008-10-20 19:41:33
221.   Tripon
220 Hosting PTI on the road on Mondays.
2008-10-20 19:47:13
222.   Marty
Is there a football game on or something?
2008-10-20 19:48:10
223.   scareduck
140 - why would McPherson not be a free agent? He was non-tendered by the Angels. That should make him a free agent.
2008-10-20 19:50:33
224.   JRSarno
I heard Alan Thicke is very smooth with the ladies. Must be all those PHAT songs he's written over the years. Maybe he can write one for Carolyn Hughes.
2008-10-20 19:50:40
225.   Tripon
223 And signed by the Marlins. The Marlins still control his rights until they release him, I believe.
2008-10-20 19:57:46
226.   Duranimal
Curious what everyone thinks?

During this decade, the Rays have had 3 number 1 picks, and their average draft position has been third.

Per Baseball Prospectus, at the beginning of this year, the Rays had 6 prospects in the top 50. By way of background, the Reds, Yanks, and A's all had 4 prospects in the top 50. The Dodgers had 3 (Kershaw, LaRoche, and Hu).

Based on the Rays average draft position, should their farm be even more loaded than it is?

2008-10-20 20:02:18
227.   underdog
222 No. Not for my Broncos, at least. :-( Makes me even grumpier about Kornheiser.

And isn't everyone associated with PTI pretty much a blowhard beyond their actual knowledge about anything?

2008-10-20 20:03:34
228.   ToyCannon
File this in the go figure folder. I've run a football pickem pool for 20 years now and we have about 35 members. I used to be big into football but I couldn't name 20 players right now in the whole league. However I could name every 25 team roster in baseball.

After the Patroits finish thrashing the Bronco's I will have won my 2nd week in a row and will be tied for 1st in my pickem pool. I spend about 5 minutes a week making my picks. Yet this year in baseball I finished 18th out of 20 teams and for the first time ever will finish out of the money two years in a row and I've spent countless hours on my pathetic team.

2008-10-20 20:04:32
229.   underdog
226 If every high pick panned out, yes. But, hey, San Diego has had some high slotted picks and got some busts out of them. The Rays have still done better than many teams; certainly it helps to draft that high, but doesn't mean scouting departments won't still blow it.

Speaking of, wow, the Dodgers might have quite a lot of high picks this year, even if they sign a top free agent of their own.

2008-10-20 20:07:12
230.   trainwreck
Tony and Mike are not very knowledgeable like many popular sportswriters, but they are funny and have good chemistry with each other.

Tony does stink on MNF though.

2008-10-20 20:09:39
231.   underdog
228 My favorite "go figure" moment in sports betting happened in college when we had a pool in our dorms and some girl picked teams based on "a feeling about their nicknames" and ended up winning, much to the chagrin of my roommate at the time who was a huge sports nut + gambler. I thought it was kinda funny.
2008-10-20 20:10:58
232.   underdog
230 You're right for the most part (btw, I like Jaworski), Korn is better on paper than he is in the MNF booth, where he just adds very little and is sometimes just plain wrong about stuff. Though admittedly I'm grouchier tonight than I might be. (But I've noticed this in other games.)

Er, Korn as in -heiser, not the crappy band.

2008-10-20 20:12:21
233.   Jon Weisman
231 - Looks like real life ripped off a Cheers episode.
2008-10-20 20:16:04
234.   ToyCannon
Yup, they have done a better job of trading or signing other teams number one picks (Pena, Kazmir, Garza) then developing their own. Based upon their draft position they should have more then Upton, Longoria, and Price to show for what they have done but ever since the regime change they have been great not only in drafting but in trading and signing free agents (Pena, Floyd, Iwamura).
2000 - Baldelli - 6th pick overall - good pick, bizarre injury
2001 - Brazelton - 3rd pick overall - awful
2002 - BJ Upton - 2nd pick overall - jackpot
2003 - Delmon Young - 1st pick overall - Twins hoping he develops, wasn't that good of a draft, Billinsley with the 24th pick might be the best in that 1st round with Markakis (7th pick) giving him a run at it.
They did turn that into Garza so that counts for something.
2004 - Niemann - 4th pick overall - projects to be a back end starter. James McDonald will probably have a better career.
2005 - Townsend - 8th pick overall - total waste.
Then it gets better
2006 - Longoria - 3rd pick overall - jackpot
2007 - Price - 1st pick overall - jackpot
2008 - Beckham - 1st pick overall - ???

So when the regime change happened things started changing.

2008-10-20 20:19:23
235.   underdog
233 Hah hah, and I swear I think her name really was Diane, too! No, wait, it was Lianne or something like that. But close.

I just thought she was cute so I congratulated her, while my roomie was too sports-addicted to remember "Oh yeah, girls..."

2008-10-20 20:20:26
236.   ToyCannon
The True Blue postseason contest has been a disaster. Not one team has either the Rays or Phillies winning the World Series.
2008-10-20 20:20:41
237.   underdog
Plus, Cheers was still on while I was an undergrad so maybe they ripped us off! So there!
2008-10-20 20:29:21
238.   Jon Weisman
Mike Penner is Mike Penner again?

2008-10-20 20:41:18
239.   Bob Timmermann
There is not a Hallmark card for such an event.
2008-10-20 20:44:28
240.   Jon Weisman
Supposedly, the L.A. Times redesign appears tomorrow as well.


2008-10-20 20:46:24
241.   CanuckDodger
238 -- So he never had the surgery, thus allowing him to change his mind? The story of why he returned to his old self might be more interesting than the story that he was changing sex in the first place, but it sounds like it will never be told.
2008-10-20 20:54:15
242.   Jon Weisman
241 - It might be just a name thing.

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