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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Motivated, Mota Vetted
2009-01-13 07:30
by Jon Weisman

Guillermo Mota's days as a major leaguer seemed to be winding down a year ago. From the day in 2004 that the Dodgers sent him with Paul Lo Duca and Juan Encarnacion to Florida, through the end of the 2007 season, the only good stretch of baseball Mota had offered was followed by a 50-game suspension for using performance-enhancing substances.

Last season, with Milwaukee, Mota managed to be decent, striking out 50 batters in 57 innings with a 105 ERA+. Here is his OPS allowed by month in 2008:

.713 April
.492 May
1.028 June
1.139 July
.349 August
.517 September

Fluctuation City. Anyway, the Dodgers are giving him a physical, reports Dylan Hernandez of the Times, a physical that will cost them seven figures of 2009 salary if he passes. (Yeah, I know, that's sort of a perverse way of looking at it.)

Mota might have a decent 2009 season, but is he any more likely than the numerous cheaper candidates the Dodgers will have their disposal? Not really. This is quibbling over an amount of money that won't make or break the Dodgers, but still sometimes, I'm puzzled by the players the Dodgers feel are worth a risk versus the ones who scare them off.

Elsewhere ...

  • Also gearing up for a (much more pricey) physical is Derek Lowe, whom David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says could be getting $60 million over four years from the Braves. Some thought the bidding on Lowe had cooled to the point where the Dodgers should make a renewed effort toward retaining him, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

  • Manny Ramirez update: Gas prices are rising again.

  • Tony Jackson of the Daily News takes us on a tour of Camelback Ranch. Single-game tickets for Spring Training games there go on sale Saturday, for as low as $8.

  • Fire Ned Colletti Now looks at some individual Dodger Winter League numbers.

  • Ex-Dodger Chan Ho Park will skip the World Baseball Classic to concentrate on trying to make the Phillies starting rotation, The Associated Press reports.

    Update: Chin-Lung Hu and Hong-Chih Kuo have pulled out of the WBC too, notes Diamond Leung of the Press-Enterprise.

  • Comments (63)
    Show/Hide Comments 1-50
    2009-01-13 08:08:58
    1.   blue22
    Lowe for pick 37 and pick 49 seems to be a pretty decent haul, considering Lowe's status as a borderline Type A.
    2009-01-13 08:09:20
    2.   Daniel Zappala
    I've been LAT'd, but if you really cared about me, you'd go back and read it yourself without having me post it again.
    2009-01-13 08:12:40
    3.   Tripon
    mlbtraderumors says that the Braves signed Lowe.

    2009-01-13 08:17:38
    4.   Dodger Tony
    At the moment there are no veterans in the bullpen at all. I think they were looking for some veteran presence and Mota fits that bill.
    2009-01-13 08:20:59
    5.   Jacob Burch
    3 As long as it's not Lowe's agent just asking for a term sheet ;)
    2009-01-13 08:23:59
    6.   Jon Weisman
    3 - This has been part of the Dodger Thoughts discussion for the past half-hour and is mentioned in my blog post above. I would really appreciate you at least making a cursory effort to read what other people write. It's not that important to be first.
    2009-01-13 08:27:13
    7.   D4P
    Last season, with Milwaukee, Mota managed to be decent, striking out 50 batters in 57 innings with a 105 ERA

    And yet, according to Fangraphs, he was worth negative $900k.

    2009-01-13 08:27:50
    8.   Tripon
    6 I did read your post, and I thought it just said that the Braves were still in discussions to sign Lowe. I should have read more carefully.
    2009-01-13 08:29:53
    9.   delias man
    How exactly is the Braves first rounder protected?
    2009-01-13 08:30:06
    10.   Daniel Zappala
    How does one have a 105 ERA+ and yet be worth -$900K? I would have thought that an ERA+ above 100 meant he was a better-than-average pitcher, and surely fielding couldn't make that much difference for a reliever. Maybe I'm missing something here.
    2009-01-13 08:32:21
    11.   D4P
    This is quibbling over an amount of money that won't make or break the Dodgers

    I would think the Carlos Santana fiasco would have discontinued this line of thinking. Sure, maybe $1-2 million won't make or break the Dodgers, but we have seen that $1-2 million can matter. A lot.

    2009-01-13 08:32:43
    12.   Jacob Burch
    10 That was his 2006. Pretty sure his 2007 was +$200k, unless D4P wants to prove me wrong.
    2009-01-13 08:34:56
    13.   Jacob Burch
    12 And I am wrong and read Eric's post wrong last night. Bizarre.
    2009-01-13 08:35:51
    14.   blue22
    9 - Picks in the top-15 are not eligible to be lost as free agent compensation. Teams owning picks in that range lose their 2nd rounders instead.
    2009-01-13 08:36:38
    15.   blue22
    12 - What about 2008? Are those available yet?
    2009-01-13 08:37:09
    16.   bhsportsguy
    9 As part of the Collective Bargaining agreement, for teams that finish in the bottom half of the overall standings, their first round pick is protected.
    2009-01-13 08:38:57
    17.   D4P
    Mota's Fangraphs Value:

    2002: $0
    2003: $2
    2004: $2.4
    2005: $1
    2006: -$0.7
    2007: $0.2
    2008: -$0.9

    2009-01-13 08:40:05
    18.   Tripon
    MLB probably needs to revamp that rule. Its supposed to keep non-competitive teams from giving up first round picks, but a team like Arizona was only two games out of the division, and their pick is protected.
    2009-01-13 08:41:34
    19.   Bleacher Seats
    Fox is reporting that the Dodgers could be a fit at second base for Michael Young who has hit .300 with Texas over his carrer.

    He also carries a $6MM plus salary - is it a possibility?

    2009-01-13 08:44:51
    20.   Jacob Burch
    16 It's also the top 15 not including previous draft comps, which are always protected, and why the free-dealing Yankees get a first rounder this year.

    10 And to answer this, it seems as though he was luckier last year than 2007 and had much better peripheral stats (Strikeout rate based stats, mostly) in 2006, despite posting a (much) better ERA.

    On a semi-related note, is B-R still incredibly slow for most people?

    2009-01-13 08:45:02
    21.   jujibee
    19. Wasn't that an issue with his current team. I was under the impression that the Rangers wanted to move him to third for their prized SS prospect to come up , and that's what started him being disgruntled with the situation in Texas. Why then, would he accept a move to 2nd?
    2009-01-13 08:47:37
    22.   blue22
    19 - I should hope not. I'd rather not have big time dollars committed to an infield of Blake/Furcal/Young, which would be making over $30M per year for the next 3 years (plus a 35-year old Young hanging around for another 2 years after that).

    Young has a 5 year/$80M ($16M per year) contract starting up this year.

    2009-01-13 08:48:05
    23.   bhsportsguy
    18 Draft pick compensation should be removed as part of the collective bargaining agreement.

    19 I believe he only carries that salary if the Rangers pay half.

    2009-01-13 08:48:48
    24.   Daniel Zappala
    20 His WHIP is about the same, but it looks like he's not striking out batters as much as he used to in 2003/2004 (and he had a blip up in 2007).
    2009-01-13 08:55:05
    25.   Jacob Burch
    24 The biggest change just seems to be his work haul and walks. I had misread his K9 value.

    Lots of misreading for me these last two mornings. Yeesh.

    2009-01-13 08:55:16
    26.   Eric Stephen
    I put up an overview of how the Lowe signing affects the Dodgers' 2009 draft on TBLA:

    2009-01-13 08:57:12
    27.   Eric Stephen
    I think about $18m of the $80m has been paid or deferred as part of a signing bonus, so Young is "only" owed $62m over the next 5.

    Of course, I still wouldn't touch him with a 10-foot pole. Actually, that's not true. If I had a 10-foot pole I probably would touch him with it just to say I touched someone with a 10-foot pole.

    2009-01-13 09:00:11
    28.   Jacob Burch
    I finally ate at Mozza this past weekend.

    Squash Blossoms + Buratta was pretty tasty.

    2009-01-13 09:01:48
    29.   Jacob Burch
    A New File in the "Everybody Gotta Ned Sometime" Department, from MLBTR:

    Monroe, 32 in February, hit .202/.274/.405 for the Twins in 179 plate appearances before he was designated for assignment. He earned $3.82MM for his efforts.

    2009-01-13 09:02:02
    30.   Eric Stephen
    Draft pick compensation should be removed as part of the collective bargaining agreement

    I can see why the players would want this, as it would loosen some of the restriction on free agents (teams shying away from Varitek, Orlando Cabrera, et al due to the draft pick they'd have to give up), but why would the owners want this? Just curious.

    Would allowing the trading of draft picks be better?

    2009-01-13 09:03:39
    31.   Eric Stephen
    He was the other guy I was thinking of last week when I was trying to argue that the Twins should have kept Santana for 2008!

    They paid Livan $5m and Monroe $3.82m when they could have paid Johan his $13.25m (later ripped up for his new Mets contract) and won the division.

    2009-01-13 09:07:10
    32.   Tripon
    If you're removing draft pick compensation, you'll would also have to remove arbitration for departing Free Agents.
    2009-01-13 09:08:21
    33.   bhsportsguy
    30 I think because of the same reasons. Also, it would remove the association from having any say over the Draft, thus MLB could set hard slots (think NBA) and thus remove the risks for teams who don't want a showdown with Scott Boras.
    2009-01-13 09:09:41
    34.   bhsportsguy
    32 True but again I don't think players or owners would care that much since it is used by so few teams anyway. (3 or 4 times in the last 2 years combined)
    2009-01-13 09:13:44
    35.   Eric Stephen
    I guess that would increase trades of upcoming free agents, either in the offseason or at the July deadline, as teams would want to get something for the departing player since they wouldn't have draft picks to fall back on.

    Do you think draft pick compensation is likely to be removed in the next round of collective bargaining?

    2009-01-13 09:21:48
    36.   Eric Stephen
    On a semi-related note, is B-R still incredibly slow for most people?

    At times yesterday, it was incredibly slow, but it was off and on. I just tried it now and it seems back up to speed. Maybe they get spikes in traffic due to the HOF news? Just an uneducated guess.

    2009-01-13 09:24:44
    37.   Eric Stephen
    Jacob, I'll take the Stairsian blame for that one since I mixed up the years of Mota's value last night as well. :)
    2009-01-13 09:26:23
    38.   Tripon
    Also, if they remove draft compensation, they should allow trading of picks. A team like the Royals or Pirates should be given every chance to acquire multiple first rounders.
    2009-01-13 09:31:57
    39.   Tripon

    Russell Martin got an endorsement!

    2009-01-13 09:35:09
    40.   ToyCannon
    Young came up as a 2nd baseman and probably has no problem moving back to a position he is familiar with. Moving to 3rd base gives the yipes to many middle infielders. Not everyone has the gonads to be staring at Vlady while playing on the grass with Figgins dancing down 3rd base.
    Grundy is just as good as Young but Young got the big contract because he was a 2nd baseman playing SS while Grundy has just been a 2nd baseman for a while now.
    2009-01-13 09:53:53
    41.   silverwidow
    Troncoso (starter in minors?)
    Elbert (starter in minors?)

    I think J-Mac is a lock for the rotation.


    2009-01-13 09:55:41
    42.   Harold M Johnson
    Michael Young to the Dodgers doesn't make much sense given his salary and the fact that the Dodgers would have to give up some quality to get him.
    2009-01-13 09:58:42
    43.   JoeyP
    I'm puzzled by the players the Dodgers feel are worth a risk versus the ones who scare them off.

    They chose to sign Mota instead of Saito. Then the Red Sox signed Saito.

    This is troubling.

    2009-01-13 10:02:09
    44.   Eric Stephen
    To be fair, the Red Sox signed Saito first. Although I'm not sure if the Dodgers would have matched the Red Sox offer or come close, especially considering they were pursuing Hoffman before Saito flew the coop.
    2009-01-13 10:06:32
    45.   Icaros
    Just as long as we keep adding good character guys to the team, I'm happy.
    2009-01-13 10:06:41
    46.   regfairfield
    It's what happens when you focus on bargains instead of good players.
    2009-01-13 10:10:11
    47.   D4P
    Yep. Bennett, Jones, Mota...makes you wonder why Barry Bonds is so off-limits.
    2009-01-13 10:10:20
    48.   68elcamino427
    Saito's pitching elbow needs TJ surgery. it's hang'in by a thread in there. Total blowout just waiting to happen.
    Jon's post re: Mota is excellent.
    No more peds - no more sub 3.00 era.
    Stick a fork in Mota - he's overdone - the meat's falling off the bones.

    Wonder if the Dodgers would just give me $1,600,000.00 if I asked them nicely?
    About the same utility of their resources imho.

    There will be an army of relief pitchers competeing in Camelback beginning 2/14/09.

    This mota - jokah signing baffles me.

    2009-01-13 10:10:59
    49.   Alex41592
    47 - We do need a left handed bat off the bench.
    2009-01-13 10:12:52
    50.   68elcamino427
    Is Young's contract too long and too expensive given his current age?
    Show/Hide Comments 51-100
    2009-01-13 10:14:23
    51.   regfairfield
    50 Yep. I wouldn't take him for free at this point.
    2009-01-13 10:15:08
    52.   D4P
    I wonder what the minimum salary is that Bonds would sign for.
    2009-01-13 10:15:27
    53.   Humma Kavula
    There will be an army of relief pitchers competeing in Camelback beginning 2/14/09.

    Without wanting to be flip, I think this is the point. The key to a success in the bullpen is to gather as many live bodies as possible and to hope that a half-dozen or so pan out.

    Also: it seems to me that the bullpen is the one area that Colletti has handled very well during his tenure, all things considered.

    2009-01-13 10:17:26
    54.   silverwidow
    Oh, if Greg Miller doesn't make the team, he's gone.
    2009-01-13 10:18:19
    55.   Humma Kavula
    51 Really? Not even for free? Isn't that overstatement?

    I mean, the player Young would replace is DeWitt. I root for DeWitt, but I am not so certain that he will be a better player than Young in 2009. Or even 2010. Or, possibly, ever. Lotsa questions about DeWitt.

    2009-01-13 10:19:12
    56.   Eric Stephen
    That would be a nice story is he's able to somehow, some way find the control that has long eluded him.
    2009-01-13 10:19:25
    57.   D4P
    Fangraphs values Michael Young much more highly than the rest of us do.
    2009-01-13 10:19:40
    58.   68elcamino427
    That is the point precisely.

    Why not give a younger player who posseses equal or greater talent the opportunity to perform?

    What's the upside of giving money to an old used up gut like Mota?

    Watching him throw last year it was easy to see that his tank has run dry - he's done.

    2009-01-13 10:19:44
    59.   Jon Weisman
    2009-01-13 10:20:05
    60.   JoeyP
    Thats only if another team wants him. Its possible he could be DFA'ed and not picked up.
    2009-01-13 10:20:33
    61.   Eric Stephen
    According to Fangraphs, DeWitt was better last year than Young.
    2009-01-13 16:51:42
    62.   kensai
    Thanks for linking me, Jon. :o
    2009-01-13 17:06:28
    63.   kensai

    If you look at it that way, Colletti has done a lot "decently" in his tenure.

    In reality though, was it any of his doing? Not really.

    It's not his doing that the Dodgers (White/Ng/Scouting) provided him with tons of good cheap players after all. Even if I thought Ned was the main cog in draft process, most of them were drafted under DePo or Evans anyway.


    Hard not to do a good job with your pen when 4-5 of them are provided to you at minimum cost every year. Not to mention lucking out on Saito, whoever was responsible for that.

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