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Long Time Passing
2005-08-23 09:35
by Jon Weisman

I had been meaning to ask Mike Carminati at Mike's Baseball Rants to revisit this April post about the high degree of success of 12-2 teams - but he went ahead and did so on his own.

Sure enough, the Dodgers have a chance to become the worst team ever to start its season with a 12-2 record. The Dodger winning percentage is at .452; only the 1914 Pittsburgh Pirates, at .448, have ever finished a season worse after a 12-2 launch. If the Dodgers go 16-22 in their final 38, they will underpass Pittsburgh.

* * *

Chad Billingsley followed Edwin Jackson in winning Southern League Pitcher of the Week recognition.

Comments (71)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-08-23 10:00:33
1.   Peanuts in My Shoes
Hate to start with a negative, but it seems more like a "when" than "if" they go 16-22.

Sorry. I'm depressed. Here's to '06.

2005-08-23 10:08:07
2.   Bob Timmermann
It took some effort, but the Dodgers were bound to make history this year.

It's been interesting to watch in a weird sort of way.

2005-08-23 10:19:41
3.   dzzrtRatt
To finish this season with 90 wins, they'd have to go 34-4 the rest of the way.

I only say that because, after that great start, I sure thought 90 wins was where they'd end up. Didn't some of you?

If I were Frank McCourt, I'd get the marketing department to print up one of those huge pictures like what they hang outside the stadium--of Kevin Malone. This isn't his team, but his crippling decisions put us here. What a textbook for stupid baseball management. Over the long haul, Malone's ideas could have only worked if you had a team that could increase its budget by $25 million every year like the Yankees. And even then, all that leaves you with is a team good enough to contend IF all your veteran superstar players stay healthy and don't suddenly get exposed as 10 years past their prime.

2005-08-23 10:23:15
4.   Colorado Blue
More depressing thoughts... I have a sickening feeling the Gnats are going to win the division (with or without Bonds). Sorry, it just feels like one of those years. Somehow though, unlike the press the Dodgers would get if they win the West, the headline will be:
"SF overcomes age, adversity, and lack of Bonds to win the NL West"
Something stupid like that.
2005-08-23 10:27:02
5.   Bob Timmermann
The Giants playoff odds are just 2.9% right now. The Giants have even less margin for error than the Dodgers do.

They would need a 34-4 streak or something like that.
Unfortunately for them, they still have to start pitchers not named Lowry and Schmidt.

In unrelated news, I was watching the Little League World Series and the first baseman for Saudi Arabia is 6'5" !!!!!

He's 12. He's as tall as me. I hope his parents can afford all the food he needs.

2005-08-23 10:27:46
6.   dzzrtRatt
4 Me too. But I would mind that outcome far less than this stupid Padre team winning. Those Mighty 1090 announcers try hard to make it sound like this is an exciting season in San Diego since they're in first place, but what a feeble effort.
2005-08-23 10:30:33
7.   Bob Timmermann
There are no appealing teams to win the NL West. Even the Dodgers wouldn't be that appealling.

Just sort of have to suck it up this year.

Would you like to see the DBacks go to the playoffs with something like a -150 difference in runs?

2005-08-23 10:31:29
8.   Bob Timmermann
The Braves probably don't want to see the Padres in the playoffs. They may be the only team hoping to avoid them.
2005-08-23 10:35:29
9.   Colorado Blue
6 - I'm not in CA. so I do not have to suffer all the superfulous hot air being spewed over the airwaves.
My preferred NL West champs if not the Dodgers in order of preference:
1) The Rockies (not gonna happen this year).
2) The Padres (because they are not SF).
3) The D'Backs (will move up to #2 after Green is gone... not because I have animosity about Green but rather as he'll be cast as the savior after being "discarded" by the Dodgers.)
4) Anybody but the Giants...
2005-08-23 10:36:53
10.   Colorado Blue
"animosity about Green" should "animosity towards Green"
2005-08-23 10:38:47
11.   bigcpa
Anyone holding out hope that DePo will capitalize on our suckitude to pull a waiver deal this week? Brings to mind the Giles deal in 2003 when the Padres were in last with no one to block them.
2005-08-23 10:39:38
12.   Suffering Bruin
2 sums it up nicely. This whole year has been weird. The wife and I found out yesterday that my son's blood condition is really no condition at all but just some kind of inhibitor; in other words, he bleeds a lot but it's not life-threatening and will probably just go away. Yeah it's confusing but oddly comforting. And it made me think of our boys in blue.

Yes, I know it's weird to think of the Dodgers while contemplating my son's blood condition but I couldn't help myself. The Dodgers are going to set some kind of futility record this season but the future of the franchise is bright: attendance is strong, we're going to enjoy an off-season of payroll flexibility, we've got a terrific farm system and a GM comparable to Billy Beane.

Summer is supposed to be fun. Our boy had a rough summer. As a family we all did. And yet we've got a lot to look forward to.

The Dodgers started 12-2. I didn't think at the time they were that good but I also didn't think they'd be 12 games under .500 by August. Still, as a fan, I can't remember a time when I've looked forward to the future with such excitement. I think this franchise will be very strong in the coming years. And yes, you can feel free to dismiss such positive thinking as it comes from the mind of a man who spent a good part of his summer obsessing over a 6-4 Korean who dammit all should be playing every day!

2005-08-23 10:41:40
13.   Colorado Blue
5 - Given that the D'Backs, Dodgers, and Giants are 4, 5, and 6 games back respectively with the majority of matchups left against each other I would say the odds are pretty much same for all three.
2005-08-23 10:45:41
14.   Sam DC
12 Hey SB, congrats on what seems like maybe pretty good news. Good luck and a fun rest of summer to your family.
2005-08-23 10:52:48
15.   Steve Saxs Sweaty Jockstrap
Manny Ramirez anyone? I would be willing to part with several high AA prospects to get this proven STUD.

Manny would look like a superstar in Dodger Blue.

Feel free to comment.

2005-08-23 10:53:20
16.   Steve Saxs Sweaty Jockstrap
Oh yes, it is in our realm of possibility.
2005-08-23 10:59:08
17.   Monterey Chris
Somebody commented at the end of yesterday's thread that our 1st base combination of four players has the 2nd best offensive production in the NL. Is that true? If so, this would seem to mitigate criticisms against Tracy for his first base selections.

Just thought I would make today's discussion interesting. Attack away.

2005-08-23 11:03:13
18.   jasonungar05
Hee-Seop Choi knows he has a significantly higher batting average when he bats second in the lineup. But even he was surprised to hear that he was hitting .342 in that spot.

"Wow, .342? Thats good," said Choi, who is batting .261 overall.

So why the increased production there?

"In the third, fourth or fifth spots, you don't get good ball to hit," he said. "You see lots of strikes at two-hole."

2005-08-23 11:08:34
19.   bigcpa
In case it didn't get posted here... from Rotoworld last Saturday:

"Batting second... Hee Seop Choi tonight went 3-for-3 with a triple, a double, a sac fly, and a HBP... Despite having an 1103 OPS in 31 games as a No. 2 hitter, Choi hadn't hit there in more than two months. When Jim Tracy is let go in the offseason, the Dodgers should inform him that his stubborn refusal to bat Choi where the first baseman was obviously most comfortable and from where he could most help the team is reason No. 1."

2005-08-23 11:09:57
20.   Ryan Jerz
18 Could it be his unclutchness of being a good hitter with nobody on in front of him? we all know how wonderfully our leadoff hitter has performed.
2005-08-23 11:11:33
21.   Monterey Chris
I've seen a number of times on this site that there is statistical support to the assertion that batting order does not make a difference. My observation is that most people commenting on this site do not agree with that.
2005-08-23 11:23:58
22.   bigcpa
Batting order makes a difference at the extremes i.e. Izturis leading off vs. batting 8th. This definitely decreases run expectancy in the 1st inning and increases the odds of Izzy getting a 5th PA in a game vs. some actual hitter.
2005-08-23 11:28:03
23.   SiGeg
17 It does and it doesn't. At the beginning of the season, I wanted Choi to play every day. I still think he should be given a chance to do that, and I think he'll hit fine, even against lefties. But with Saenz having a very good year, a Saenz-Choi platoon has been hard to argue against. However, when Tracy plays Phillips (or Grabowski) at first, or plays Saenz against righties, it just doesn't make sense. Production at 1st has been decent -- but why settle for decent? Saying it has been good doesn't mean it couldn't have been even better.
2005-08-23 11:30:46
24.   the OZ
21 - Well, there IS statistical evidence that batting order does indeed matter. It just doesn't matter very much: only a few percent either way.

What has a much greater impact than batting order is what players are in the lineup. Having Choi NOT in the lineup, in favor of Phillips vs. RHP, is what is indefensible from a managerial standpoint. I really don't care where Choi bats, but having him hitting 7th when a Repko-type is in the 2-hole is sort of weird. If nothing else, the manager is saying he prefers a .220/.240/.350 hitter to get an AB with the game on the line than Choi.

2005-08-23 11:33:08
25.   SiGeg
17 again -- But this also brings up another issue about how we assign credit/blame. If, for example, Choi plays very well the rest of the year (as someone here recently predicted) and even goes on in the future to become widely accepted as a good, everyday player, many people will say this shows how wrong Tracy has been in the way he has treated him. But others will say that Tracy should get credit for knowing how to bring along a young player and (you guessed it) "put him in a position to succeed."
2005-08-23 11:42:31
26.   Monterey Chris

Thanks for your good responses. Is 2nd in the NL in offensive production "settling for good"? Do you really think Choi by himself would be the #1 1B in the NL this year?

2005-08-23 11:42:39
27.   franklin
17 -
NL OPS from 1B for 2005 season (primary contributors)

1. Cubs 1.107 (D Lee)
2. Cards 1.038 (A Pujols)
3. Arizona 0.943 (C Tracy, T Clark)
4. Colorado 0.924 (T Helton)
5. Florida 0.912 (C Delgado)
6. Dodgers 0.902 (HS Choi, O Saenz)

data courtesy of
to see the entire NL list...

2005-08-23 11:43:56
28.   jasonungar05

look, there is no excuse not to play him in the two hole. None. His defense is not Perez's defense. It's decent.

I realize sample size is what it is and I realize Tracy has "put him in a position to succeed."

but 1 MLB player (ironically the guy Choi was traded for) Derek Lee has a higher OPS.

2005-08-23 11:44:52
29.   LAT
Not wanting to do any real work today, I started thinking about my assessment of Depo's performance, and although many factors are beyond his control (i.e. injuries), I just can't give him very high marks. I posted this at the end of yesterday's thread, but unless I have forgotten some moves, which I likely have, here is what I came up with:

1. Lowe--an indisputably terrible move. He was not that good and Depo gave him a bad contract.

2. Resign Perez--we are getting less than we expected. Is this Depos fault? Not sure. The pitching market was getting away from the Dodgers but someone was going to give OP big money. As in the past, this season he has shown a few signs of being great and more signs of being mentally weak and physically not durable. The market was crazy at he time and I am not sure there was any better option.

3. Kent--Perhaps one of the top three signings in all of baseball this year. Depo deserves full credit for this one.

4. Drew--Tough start. But for those watching carefully we started to see what a great signing this was shortly before he got hurt. Given his history, should depo have foreseen this injury? IMO, no. We are not talking about a pulled muscle or a twisted ankle. If you think Depo should have seen this coming then you have to say Depo should have seen Werths or Wunch's injuries coming. If so, please tell me who will win the feature today at Del Mar.

5. Valentine--Was a terrible signing at the time and turns out to be even worse. For me this is the most inexcusable mistake Depo has made. Perhaps not the worst but the most foreseeable.

6. Erickson--This one is all Depo. I wouldn't expect much debate here.

7. Ledee--Too bad for the injury because he was a nice signing for which Depo deserves credit.

8. Phillips--As much as it hurts to admit. This still remains a good trade. I am not a Phillips fan and resent that Choi doesn't play, in part, because Phillips can't do his real job, but Ishi is still in the minors and has had a terrible season. Given the Dodgers problems we could not have survived another Ishi tightrope act every fifth day.

9. Injuries--Brutal. Can't remember any other team in recent history having an injury season like this. The capper for me was Wunch. When that happens you know the Gods are against you. In any event, injuries have deprived this team of any real opportunity to compete and show who if they really are any good.

People Depo let go:

1. Beltre--People can say "oh if he were here he'd be doing better" but the fact is neither the 2004 Beltre nor the 2005 Beltre is the real Beltre. The truth lies somewhere between. Would he better than Valentine? I think so. Would he have been worth the money? No way.

2. Ishi--See above.

3. Cora--Cora v. Kent. That thunderous thud was the scales tipping over in favor of Kent.

4. Green--(I will do my best to be objective). IMO, if we had kept Green and paid him his $16M we would have been better off, for this year at least. Although it is clear his power days are long behind him, he is hitting for average and has somehow turned into one of AZ's most consistent hitters. (Jon, probably wouldn't remember this but a year ago I took issue with his statements that Green's shoulder would rob him of his power--I have conceded that issue). In addition, he is not as "light hitting" as he was when he was here, i.e. meaningless HR in late inning of blowout game. We paid AZ $10M to take him and for the $6M we saved we would have been better off keeping him. Should we have given him an extension? No. Too much money and his days are behind him. The third year of that AZ deal will look bad, but for now we could have used him.

5. Lima--Nothing more needs to be said. But he was fun while he was here.

In the end, the conclusion for me is that there have been a few good moves, one or two very good moves and a fair amount of bad moves. For me he is not the savior or boy wonder some see him as. Is he better than Dan Evans, probably, but not by a lot. Is he better than Malone? Yes but that is not saying much. Is he the next mad scientist, as in Beane. I'm not convinced yet, but injuries have deprived him of any real opportunity to show his true ability.

2005-08-23 11:47:58
30.   Xeifrank
All that matters at this point is winning the division, worst 12-2 team or not. We are only 5 games out and have 6 games left with the Padres. We need to beat up on teams like the Rockies. D-E-N-I-A-L
vr, Xei
2005-08-23 11:51:00
31.   Bob Timmermann
If DePodesta were let go this season according to the NY Post guy, I would think it would be over personality and philosophy differences rather than any actual personnel moves made.
2005-08-23 11:53:32
32.   Monterey Chris
I think that to be fair to an owner/GM, you really need to evaluate their work over a decade. You must give them time to get the pieces in place and then time for that philosophy to play itself out. Win or lose this year, Depo and McCourt should not be evaluated based on year 2 results.
2005-08-23 11:55:13
33.   Monterey Chris
By the way, for those of you stuck on the denial/acceptance discussion (despite Jon's best efforts to the contrary), there are three steps between denial and acceptance.
2005-08-23 11:55:56
34.   LAT
31 I agree Bob. Also it could be Depo who wants to leave rather then the McCourt clan letting him go. But for the most part I give that NY Post staement no credence.
2005-08-23 11:57:31
35.   LAT
32 Chris, I don't know about a decade. I shudder at the thought of Malone having a decade, but I do agree they need more than 2 years.
2005-08-23 12:01:09
36.   Monterey Chris

I agree that sometimes you can see the writing on the wall and need to cut your losses. On the other side, after a decade, a good GM has no more excuses. He should be fielding an excellent, competitive team every year.

2005-08-23 12:02:40
37.   bigcpa
On the subject of dead horses... AB's since the All Star break and associated OPS:

Izzy 139    (.545)
Robles 128     (.662)
Kent 119     (.935)
Bradley 95     (.793)
Phillips 85     (.655)
Werth 74     (.719)
Saenz 70     (.900)
Repko 70     (.589)
Navarro 66     (.682)
Ledee 63     (.969)
Choi 52     (1.001)
Valentin 48     (.435)
Perez 45     (.799)

Now pause for a moment and ponder the DT fantasy lineup of:

A. Perez

2005-08-23 12:04:32
38.   Xeifrank
29. Hindsight is 20/20. Yes, Lowe and OPerez got alot of money but who else would you have signed? Most of the FA pitchers that got their kind of money or more are doing worse or are injured. I wouldn't say either signing was bad, nor would I say it was good, just somewhere in the middle. As far as the Green trade. I believe the money saved by moving Green was used to sign either Drew or Kent (I think Drew, but Bob probably knows). So if you kept Green, you wouldn't have had Drew. Yeah, I know he got hurt, but you can't really predict a broken bone by a HBP. The platoon of Choi/Saenz is much cheaper than Green and even has done as well as Green this year. Valentin was a huge disappointment, but he doesn't have a big contract and I can't imagine him back next year. Erickson was held onto too long. I had no problem with giving him a shot in the rotation, just a problem with letting him keep pitching when it became obvious he couldn't do the job. I blame both Depo and Tracy for that one. Depo's biggest flaw was not firing Jim Tracy. Perhaps the owner tied his hands on that one?? Thanks for the thoughtful post.
vr, Xei
2005-08-23 12:06:16
39.   Monterey Chris

Or DePo likes Tracy and thinks he is a good manager.

2005-08-23 12:07:53
40.   Xeifrank
37. Amazing!!! fjt, Xei
2005-08-23 12:07:58
41.   franklin
Don't forget to add Mr. Hustle--Bradley for Guiterrez and Brown--to the DePo transaction list.
2005-08-23 12:11:03
42.   Monterey Chris

Or Tracy is doing exactely what he said he would do and placing Choi in a position to succeed.

2005-08-23 12:16:56
43.   GoBears
Nice summary by LAT on this year's moves. One more caveat about Green, however, is that he moved from a severe pitcher's park (especially given his new penchant for doubles over HRs) to a terrific hitter's park. Are his park-adjusted numbers really better this year? I'm glad to see him do well, but I still think that was a good and necessary move.

As for poor finishes by 12-2 teams, I wonder if there are data on injuries - numbers of players on the DL during the year or something like that. Sure, the Dodgers at their healthiest were not going to keep up a 12-2 pace (duh), but has any team in that list suffered the same number and serverity (i.e., season-ending to best players) injuries? Probably not. This has been Old Testament stuff.

2005-08-23 12:19:35
44.   Colorado Blue
42 - The "position to succeed" for Choi is 1B. A platoon of Choi/Saenz is the correct move... Phillips at 1B is not understandable.
2005-08-23 12:22:23
45.   db1022
38 - Valentin was a gamble (a calculated one, but a gamble nonetheless). Who knows if his season would've played out this way had he not injured his knee? His power has apparently fallen off a cliff, tough to believe that it is all due to age. His injury wouldn't have been that big of a deal had it opened up playing time for APerez, rather than Robles.

And I believe Drew was signed with Beltre's "money". Lowe was signed with Green's "money".

I think with Lowe and OPerez, it is a case of what would've been there had those two not been signed. As bad as Lowe has been (and really, he hasn't been that bad), how about Edwin Jackson in there, fulltime without a net? I doubt you would have an era under 4 at this point...

2005-08-23 12:23:07
46.   LAT
38 Frank, can't agree that the Lowe signing wasn't bad. He is not that good and its for way too much money. We could have had Hudson, Vasquez or maybe Clement (I know people say Clement would not come west, but Vasequz said the same thing and here he is). What are we going to do with Lowe for two (I think) more years.

Not sure why we couldn't have had Drew and Green. Moreover, it has been suggested here that Drew was picked up as Beltre's replacement, not Green's. In any event we are still under the $100M promised payroll so I'm not sure why we could not have kept them both. I never suggested Depo should have predicted Drew's broken wrist. Indeed, i specifically said he shouldn't be held to that. While you can excuse Valentin's contract as not huge and he will not be back next year, that does not excuse this year. The lack of a real third baseman has been one of the biggest problems all season. It was easy to foresee. I agree that coming out of spring training, Ericison deserved a shot and Depo and/or JT hung on too long. As for Depo not firing JT, given his recent statements it is possible Depo likes JT.

2005-08-23 12:23:51
47.   dzzrtRatt
DePo's moves, good and bad, were the result of a simple fact: The Dodgers had no one qualified in the farm system to take the jobs that Lowe, O. Perez, Kent, Drew, Valentin, Ledee, or Phillips filled in 2005 (and probably 2006). The big payroll of the Dodgers is what allowed us to make these Yankee-type moves, but they were made without the Yankee-type devil-make-care stupidity, i.e. we didn't give up anything but available money or players we didn't want to get them. Only Dioner Navarro arguably cost us a player who could've helped us, and that deal is defensible in other ways. Beltre's asking price was unreasonable; the track record didn't justify it. And you left off another great move by DePo--not resigning Steve Finley when sentiment clearly argued for it.

The injuries make it impossible to really evaluate DePo's offseason fully, but it's hard to say that there were other moves we coulda shoulda made, and impossible to argue that we should've stood pat.

Erickson is almost a completely separate case. He cost us nothing. He was a non-roster invitee to Spring Training who did well and earned a job, just like Lima before him. It didn't work out, but it wasn't anything we counted on.

2005-08-23 12:24:23
48.   db1022
45 - I doubt you would have an era under 4 at this point...

Oops, apparently his start against the Fish pushed his ERA up to 4.20.

2005-08-23 12:24:57
49.   SiGeg
26 No, I don't think Choi would be the best 1st baseman in the league by himself. But even if the Dodgers DID have the 2nd (or even 1st) best production from 1B in the NL, that doesn't mean that it couldn't be better. (Think about this -- what if Perez had started most games at 2nd while Kent has been on the bench, and Perez was at or near the top in the NL in production -- would that mean that Tracy had made the right choice?)

29 For me he is not the savior or boy wonder some see him as.
Does anyone here see DePo this way? I'm really asking. I have only heard people say they have a lot of confidence in his vision for the team. If anyone does think he's proven himself a savior or a genious, I think they're crazy. Let's wait a few years before we decide that he's a boy wonder or a failure. And let's not expect him to pull several allstar-caliber players out of his hat and immediately make the Dodgers great by sheer willpower. There are limits as to what moves any GM can make.

2005-08-23 12:30:01
50.   Monterey Chris

For the first part of the season, the conventional wisdom of DT posters was that Choi should get the start in every game. Now the conventional wisdom is that Saenz/
Choi as a platoon is the right move. The only reason that Saenz is now given that position by DT posters is because Tracy played him regularly, against the early advice of the wisdom on this site. Tracy deserves the credit for his faith in Saenz.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-08-23 12:32:38
51.   LAT
47 Ratt, yes some of the best deals are the one's you don't make. I always assumed we were just renting Finley for half a season, but the LA Times crew was yelling for his return. Depo deserves credit for not bringing him back.

45 Not of A. Perez's dropped ball is scored an E.

2005-08-23 13:06:06
52.   GoBears
I'm sure someone with enough time could do the math, but I bet that even if Beltre were still here, putting up 2004 numbers, the team would still be below .500. On the other hand, if DePo's team had stayed healthy, then even without Beltre, I think the Dodgers would be in first place, and yes, above .500.

Which is just to say that 15 guys matter more than 1.

I don't think I'm arguing with anyone here. Just saying that when you've run into the iceberg and are doomed to drown, retrospective arguments about the optimal arrangement of deck chairs (lineup order), and whether we really could have hired a perkier cruise director (slight upgrade at one position) are pretty pointless.

Moreover, dzzrtRatt makes a good point about DePo's relative blamelessness in terms of contingency plans. When everyone went down, the only recourse was to a depleted AAA team. The AA guys are, for the most part, not ready yet. Credit Evans and DePo for taking steps to fix Malone's gutting of the farm system, but it couldn't be fixed in 2-3 yrs. Evans and now DePo are rebuilding. The only hope for contending this year was unusually good health among the major leaguers. Instead, we got unusually bad health. So 2005 is a loss. But I like the future.

Next big step is a new manager, to do better with what he's given.

2005-08-23 13:14:34
53.   Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
Re: 12

SB, it's nice to hear that your kid's blood condition isn't too serious.


2005-08-23 13:45:17
54.   Xeifrank
Frank, can't agree that the Lowe signing wasn't bad. He is not that good and its for way too much money. We could have had Hudson, Vasquez or maybe Clement
Once again, let me say that hindsight is 20/20. We also could've had Pavano, Wright or one of the many other busts. I believe Jon had a post a month or so ago showing a list of all the FA pitchers and Lowe ranked somewhere in the middle to upper half. That's why I said Lowe wasn't a bad signing.

it has been suggested here that Drew was picked up as Beltre's replacement, not Green's.
Money is money.

In any event we are still under the $100M promised payroll so I'm not sure why we could not have kept them both.
I'd rather be slightly under $100m than to pick up a bad contract and or block the path of any of our top minor league prospects.

While you can excuse Valentin's contract as not huge and he will not be back next year, that does not excuse this year. The lack of a real third baseman has been one of the biggest problems all season. It was easy to foresee.
I think APerez would be just fine at 3B. A good stop gap measure until the prospect(s) are ready.

given his recent statements it is possible Depo likes JT.
Yeah, anything is possible. The Dodgers could win the NL West too. :)
vr, Xei

2005-08-23 13:47:53
55.   King of the Hobos
52 "Moreover, dzzrtRatt makes a good point about DePo's relative blamelessness in terms of contingency plans."

I've seen this argument numerous times, but I disagree somewhat. Yes, he didn't have much of a contingency plan, but he didn't last year, nor did Evans, nor did Malone. You realize, pre-The Trade, Jason Grabowski was our 4th OF? And if DePo didn't acquire the 3 OFs, Trammel and Romano are our extra OFs, with Ventura full time at first. Ross was our backup C, Hill behind him, we all saw their success (Hill this year). We started the year with Brian Falkenborg on our team, he was legitimately our last pitcher, there were no injuries (that I remember). If Gagne is down, Mota is the closer, with Dreifort and Martin as our set up men. We actually considered Carrara and Sanchez as starting pitchers. Rick White and Tanyon Sturtze were our emergency pitchers. Sorry for the rant, but his contingency plans this year are no worse than they've been in a long time

Now that I think about it, no one's really arguing this. But it does amaze me what would have happened had we had these injuries last year

2005-08-23 13:56:26
56.   the OZ
46 - Regarding 'could have had':

This offseason, the concept of how small the MLB player market truly is hit me like a ton of bricks. It's nice to say "we could have had Hudson, Vazquez, or Clement", but is it really true? I don't know if we could have had Hudson. Just because the Braves got him doesn't mean he was available to us. Yeah, we could have had Vazquez, in theory, but is it worth taking a risk for a player who publicly expressed that he would have become a FA after '05? (this was a clause in his contract, I believe). We reportedly offered more money than the Sox did for Clement, and he didn't take it. To quote the Stones, you can't always get what you want.

I'll admit that I was really happy we re-signed Perez for Eric Milton money. I expected him to be a league-average LH starter.

I'm also not sure how you can blame DePodesta for acquiring Erickson. The guy was a NRI this spring who was never expected to make the team. He only made the club because of multiple Spring Training injuries.

On balance, DePodesta's personnel moves come out far ahead, in terms of performance. The players he acquired from the available talent pool far exceed that of the players he let go.

2005-08-23 13:57:48
57.   Colorado Blue
What are the odds of Saenz returning next year?
I'm wondering if JT/DePo have a long-term plan in place for Choi where next year he sees a lot more playing time... i.e. Saenz reverts to his 2004 role.
2005-08-23 14:04:15
58.   jasonungar05
my only complaints in terms of moves made/not made in the winter:

1. i really wanted Polanco to play 3b and bat 2nd, even if it would have cost a little more

2. our top 4 OFers(werth, bradley, drew, ledee) have never really played full seasons.

The rest is bad luck and lack of depth in the minors.

2005-08-23 14:44:49
59.   Steve Saxs Sweaty Jockstrap
2005-08-23 14:47:44
60.   db1022
58 - 2. Without the slightest tone of snideness, I ask if you would've felt better had we re-signed Finley than gone after Drew? He's more durable than Drew, whom I assume you are pointing out in your comment.

Going into the season, I though the outfield was far and away our strength.

2005-08-23 14:49:07
61.   db1022
59 - What's left on his contract?
2005-08-23 14:56:03
62.   GoBears
Cool new website for graphical depictions of player stats:

Very cool.

2005-08-23 14:57:52
63.   Kayaker7
Pretty scathing article about Antonio Perez's defense in today's Baseball Prospectus. Joe Sheehan sees the Dodgers pulling out a 2-1 win at the Marlins, if it weren't for the combined effects of Perez's defensive lapses, and Repko's poor throw. I did not watch the game, so I cannot comment. He went on to blame the Dodger's poor season on injuries, poor starting and relief pitching and some regulars not performing (Izturis and Phillips). He did not mention Tracy's lineup choices at all, as some of us might wont to do.
2005-08-23 14:59:04
64.   Steve Saxs Sweaty Jockstrap
61- 64 million. Not sure on the number of years. We'd definitely have to give up some high end prospects, but I could see Theo and DePo pulling something off this offseason.
2005-08-23 15:02:26
65.   GoBears
Manny's a helluva hitter, but if the well-run BoSox don't think he's worth the money, then I'd be loathe to take him off their hands. Unless the argument is that we'll be good for cheap at lots of other positions for a while (with all the kids) and can more easily afford the bloated contract than can a Boston team full of veterans.
2005-08-23 15:05:40
66.   jasonungar05
60 No, I was stoked on the drew signing (high OBP, great hitter-I was in the small minority of liking him over Beltre believe it or not)

And I am stoked we didnt go after Finley. (I thought he was clutch for us, but you can see he lost a step in the OF no matter what gold glove he got and is not worth the money)

So, no you read that wrong.

Maybe, If anything, someone over ledee or better yet just another veteran 5th OF type who is durable.

I think ledee has been great but even ledee admits he can't play everyday.

We didn't know Drew and Werth would break their wrists and Bradley would break a tendon in his finger and I too thought our starting OF would be solid so I see what your saying, but facts are facts, none of those guys have ever gone 162.

2005-08-23 15:22:16
67.   GoBears
Well, not that many guys go 162, but I get your point.

I thought at the time and still think that the Drew signing was a good idea. I thought and still think that Lowe was fine. He's probably a little better than he's been this year, but durable 4.00-ERA pitchers are just plain expensive. I don't know what DePo could have done differently here. Vasquez was hurt, but turned out OK. Hudson really wanted to go to Atlanta. It's where he's from AND he got to work with Leo Mazzone. Can you blame him? I would have liked Clement, and DePo tried, but I don't see that he was slam-dunk better than Lowe.

Ledee as a 4th OFer seemed like a good idea, and in retrospect he has outperformed expectations. The Valentin/Perez platoon was torpedoed by JV's injury and AP's benching. Same goes for Choi and the 1b platoon. Kent has been even better than expected. Phillips, when at catcher, has been about as expected, and Izturis has been a little worse overall (tho with a weird combination of 2 months of very good and 3 months of awful). And, with Gagne gone unexpectedly, the rest of the bullpen has underperformed expectations.

Other than the starting pitchers, who were apparently bent on going elsewhere, I cannot think of a single FA who DePo "let get away" or a single signing that has hurt the team, relative to the alternative. Except maybe the contract extension to Izturis, but even that is cheap and should be easy to move.

I might not be thinking hard enough, but can anyone else name a player who should have been retained, or a player who was gettable and not got (as it were), or a player who was signed who has turned out obviously worse than some feasible alternative?

I don't think DePo is perfect. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt (and the season) on Tracy's tenure, and I can't quite figure out how Erickson stuck around for so long, but I like the moves he's made, and I like that the kids are getting the full season in the minors. No panic moves.

2005-08-23 15:36:46
68.   Steelyeri
I think depo's ideal plan was to spend the 13 mil or so on coskie and clement (although it probably would have cost around 16 mils). He offered them both more money than toronto and boston yet they chose not to come. Koskie is canadian and clement is an east coast guy, nothing Depo could do about that.
Also, if we wanted vasquez I think the Dbacks would have wanted penny. I would rather have penny. The penny signing was a bargain, and he's now locked up for a few more years.
I thought the perez signing was also a bargain. He was our best pitcher last season and was top 5 in NL ERA for most of the season. He's also our only lefty starter,so I don't consider it a bad signing. Lowe on the other hand...
2005-08-23 16:00:26
69.   bokonon42
66-Yeah, but we didn't need any of them to go 162. We needed all of them to go 120, and stagger their outages. That's three DL minimum stays, or one big month+ DL stay each, plus here-and-there days off. They refused to stagger their injuries (selfish), and they insisted on getting hurt more often, and for longer durations, than they had any right to. And every one of them did it.

I'm not sure there's a way to guard against the sort of luck this team has had. Really, even with a $100M payroll. Think about what the rule 5 draft would look like if the Dodgers had to carry two more Ricky Ledees, two more fourth SPs, and a spare 3B platoon. If everybody had stayed healthy, Placshke would have had at least one article about how the Dodgers' bench was leading them to a Division title.

2005-08-23 16:54:05
70.   Xeifrank
Not too many teams have good contingency plans. Take a look at the Yankees and their $200m+ payroll. They have Nomo in their rotation. vr, Xei
2005-08-23 18:51:00
71.   Fearing Blue
#70: I would go so far as to say there are no teams with a lousy farm system and a good contingency plan. Unfortunately, there just isn't enough money available.

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