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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
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12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Release the Hounds
2005-09-28 06:59
by Jon Weisman

Deal, says the Times.

Jim Tracy asks for a contract extension.

The Dodgers think on it, maybe.

Tracy weighs second-hand rumors of outside interest and his long-term job insecurity against his desire to keep his place in Dodger Stadium, his family in Los Angeles and his belief in his ability to survive or outlast Paul DePodesta.

Day 7 of the escape window comes. If Tracy quits, he gives up a year's guaranteed salary to look for work.

If he doesn't quit, he sets up a very good bluff - he can stay, knowing he's more popular right now than DePodesta. Then, if they fire him, baseball is his oyster. Four winning seasons on his resume and a note from his mom on the fifth. Ninety-nine percent of the sports' population has granted Tracy absolution on 2005 (not that he doesn't deserve some - the injuries, of course, played a role).

What's the only bad thing that could happen to Tracy if he stays? Somehow, the Dodgers lose games despite being healthy and talented, perception shifts against him, the Dodgers don't resign him after 2006 and there are no job opportunities anywhere.

This is a remote scenario to begin with, but the implication from Steve Henson's article today is that the Dodgers should or will take the high road and fire Tracy if they don't plan on offering him a contract extension beyond 2006:

Should the Dodgers decide not to meet Tracy's request, they could fire him shortly after the season and would be responsible for his 2006 salary only if he couldn't find another managerial job.

Speaking hypothetically, DePodesta said the Dodgers would not wait until after the opt-out period to fire Tracy "out of respect for what he's done here."

Now we really have a peek at Tracy's hand. Having requested his contract extension and gotten this response, he can make DePodesta and the Dodgers look bad simply by making them honor their end of the original contract. If they vote to keep him for only one year but don't offer him an extension, even though that's all they've ever promised Tracy, they're cads (would the world dare consider DePodesta prudent?). If they try to influence Tracy's managing after retaining him and he refuses to be handled, and then they fire him, they're two-bit execs who have gone back on their word.

Tracy wants more guaranteed years. Jeff Weaver, according to unsourced reports by Tony Jackson in the Daily News, wants five guaranteed years, with the leverage that even guys like Jeff Weaver are prizes and not just Kevin Brown crumbs. Everyone's making big demands while saying "they just want to be here."

It remains ideal for all parties if Tracy left Los Angeles for a place where he would have more power and appreciation (though DePodesta has never voiced anything but appreciation for Tracy in public). But it isn't logical for Tracy to opt out and leave a guaranteed year on the table when there are so many reasons for him to stay.

The answer, straight out of divorce court, is this. The Dodgers can't offer an extended commitment to a troubled marriage. And they can't wait for Tracy to make the first move out the door. And it's not even apparent that he's worth keeping for just the single year - not because they'd be the cads, but because Tracy might be completely out of their control.

When the season ends, the Dodgers should offer to buy out Tracy's 2006 contract year, at $750,000, as a thank you for his years of service, and wish him the best.

Comments (106)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2005-09-28 07:44:34
2.   Sam DC
I haven't followed this saga too closely, but DePodesta's comments about there being a limit to the value of creative conflict and the need for some basic Manager/GM conflict seem much more pointed than in the past. I might be reading too much into them, but I recall his prior statements being more directly supportive of Tracy.

LA Observed says that DePodesta will be on the radio today: "New Daily News managing editor Melissa Lalum guests on KPCC's Talk of the City with Kitty Felde in the 2 pm hour. Dodgers GM Paul DePodesta is also on."

2005-09-28 07:44:57
3.   D4P
Why is it that Depo/McCourt have shown virtually no concern whatsoever for public opinion and PR when making roster moves, but seem to be walking on egg shells when it comes to dumping Tracy?
2005-09-28 07:46:05
4.   Sam DC
Dude, where's my one?
2005-09-28 07:50:56
5.   Sam DC
2 er, Manager/GM consistency.
2005-09-28 07:54:55
6.   FirstMohican
3 - You mean other than baseball media's infatuation with Tracy and the backlash that would come after letting him go?

The McCourts have headed a losing org. this season, suffered incredible bashing from the media, and they still have had 500,000 more fans this year and last than they did in 2003.

I would doubt that they would make a decision that would please some fans and most media that may hurt the performance of the team. I'm sure if the fire Tracy and win the World Series next year, nobody will say another word about their future former manager.

2005-09-28 08:05:53
7.   Monterey Chris
On the other hand, if they fire Tracy and Tracy wins a World Series next year...
2005-09-28 08:15:02
8.   blue22
7 - Seeing how he would most likely be in Pittsburg or Cincinnatti, if he were to win a WS next year (or at any time in the next 5 years) I will gladly bow down to the genius of Jim Tracy.
2005-09-28 08:20:57
9.   blue22
8 - Or even Pittsburgh or Cincinnati
2005-09-28 08:25:05
10.   KenP
Anyone have any thoughts on who the leading candidates might be if Tracy does leave?
2005-09-28 08:33:37
11.   Sam DC
Stupid OT question: If Jimmy Rollins' hit streak is live at the end of the season, and his team is in the playoffs -- both not terribly likely -- do the playoff games "count" for purposes of chasing Rose and Dimaggio?
2005-09-28 08:40:09
12.   popup
McCourt could pull an O'Malley and just say there will be no multi--year contract for Tracy like Walter did with Chuck Dressen. That would put the ball in Tracy's court regarding the opt out. Quite frankly, I don't know why DePo would say anything publically about Tracy's situation other than the obvious fact that the opt out is in place and that Tracy is signed as manager next year.

Perhaps I am showing a lack of sophistication about such matters, but I don't see why the Dodgers should put opt outs into their contracts. A mutual contract opt out like the Mariners have with Eddie Guardado I can understand, but not a unilateral one. The opt out for Tracy and Drew just creates uncertainty for no good reason. A long term contract creates cost certainty over the length of the contract and keeps a valuable employee from a competitor. Putting in a unilateral opt out undercuts the whole reason to sign someone to a long term contract in the first place.

Stan from Tacoma

2005-09-28 08:42:51
13.   popup
#11, Sam the answer is no. The Herschiser scoreless string ended in 1989 even though he gave up runs in the post season of 1988.

Stan from Tacoma

2005-09-28 08:43:27
14.   blue22
11 - No, regular season only. And if he finishes the season with a live hitting streak, and then starts next season with a 20 game streak (which would put him at around 56), the dreaded asterisk will most likely make an appearance.

10 - Impossible to tell, but here are my guesses:

Orel Hershiser (seemed to be a stat guy when he played. obvious dodger legacy)
Kevin Kennedy (the "media's" choice. probably no better than tracy re: strategy though)
Jerry Royster (AAA manager, knows the kids)
Ken Macha (Oakland ties. probably is favorite for Pitt job though)

2005-09-28 08:45:04
15.   blue22
13 - IIRC, didn't Hershiser gave up a run in his first inning of work in '89?
2005-09-28 08:50:12
16.   popup
$15, yes.

Stan from Tacoma

2005-09-28 09:00:04
17.   Monterey Chris
I think the opt-out was a simple negotiating tool. I think they were stuck on money and DePo offered this as a way to pay Tracy less. Tracy gains negotiating power if the Dodgers had a great year in year 1 of his contract.
2005-09-28 09:12:29
18.   Jon Weisman
17 - Yes. The opt-outs aren't there for management's benefit. They're an inducement to get the deal done, and if you're offering the multiple years anyway, a relatively harmless inducement.

Stan - I want you to know that like you, I do value stability. I just don't think the situation here is inherently stable, even if Tracy stays. I think Tracy's demand for an extension in the middle of a contract (as opposed to asking for a multiyear contract after his previous one has expired) is indicative of that.

If Tommy Lasorda, for all his strengths (putting aside his weaknesses) never got a multiyear contract, should Tracy get one?

2005-09-28 09:18:32
19.   Sam DC
And a brief detour to :'s Nationals' page has a feature up about 35-year old journeyman reliever Hector Carrasco who is having his best ever major league season this year for the Nationals. Now, Bowden, rightly in my opinion, has gotten a good deal of credit for picking this guy up. But what's funny is that the article reports that it was Carrasco who called Bowden, and he was only brought up when injuries forced it. (or just got to

Now, I'm not saying Bowden doesn't deserve credit for saying "yes" when Carassco called or that it wasn't good judgment to call him -- rather than someone else -- up from New Orleans when injuries left a whole. Still, these things sure are complicated when you really look at them.

2005-09-28 09:21:47
20.   Humma Kavula
Do I understand this right... the Dodgers are on the hook for $750,000 -- pay or play -- unless Tracy finds another job this offseason, right? So Jon suggests that Tracy might accept the buyout deal because then he gets to keep the $750K plus whatever the new job pays him, if he in fact gets a new job? Is that right?

I've seen friends in a similar situation (though for about 1/100 the amount of money involved) and in every case, my friends wanted more money than was technically due to them before they agreed to move on peacefully. Tracy might figure that new job or not, he's getting the Dodgers' 750K no matter what. In order to grease that wheel, DePo might have to buy him out for $1M or more.

2005-09-28 09:26:07
21.   Steve
Thank God Jason Repko works so hard. Otherwise, he would end up getting called out in the newspaper, like the Marlins "veterans" just called out (wait for it) Miguel Cabrera.

Physician, heal thyself.

2005-09-28 09:28:41
22.   Jon Weisman
20 - Just to correct one thing, if the Dodgers fire Tracy, they owe him $750,000 unless he gets another managerial job in 2006 - at least that's what I take from the Times.

You might be right that in order to make it seem like Tracy is leaving voluntarily, the Dodgers would have to pay more than $750,000. But even assuming they're considering this plan, they may be content to just pay the $750,000 and go on record as initiating the separation.

2005-09-28 09:29:37
23.   Jon Weisman
21 - Someone needs to write about the irony of the Marlins' chemistry meltdown, but so far I haven't had the energy.
2005-09-28 09:30:17
24.   Sushirabbit
I was happy to read all this this morning, after being in a stupor last night, I think I made into the 7th, and just as I was falling asleep I was thinking, "Gee, Weaver's pitching well after the 6th, wonder how long Tracy will leave him in for, and then I hear through the fog Vin calling the Tracy Homer, sure enough it was Weaver. I had to laugh.

Tracy imitation:
Can I a guy get into the 9th without learning to pitch in the 8th? I don't think you can say that. No.

2005-09-28 09:35:37
25.   JMK
12 - Personally, I think it smart for a team to offer an opt out clause in almost every big long-term contract. The last years of big long-term deals are often not cost efficient for teams. Think of the last years of production of big contracts from Kevin Brown, Mo Vaughn, Ken Griffey, Jeff Bagwell, Shawn Green...etc. it would have been better for teams to get the 2 or 3 good years out of them and then to have let them walk. The Bonds and Clemens who are productive throughout their contracts are the exceptions. Usually, if you can get two or three years out of a guy and let him walk for an even bigger contract elsewhere the odds are you getting rid of someone who won't be worth the last years of his contract. I actually wouldn't mind if Drew had a huge year next year and walked. We could simply use the 11 million that's committed to him in 2007 to pay for production elsewhere.
2005-09-28 09:39:07
26.   blue22
25 - The "out" you seem to be talking about would be held by the team, which defeats the purpose of a long term contract for the player. This sounds like the NFL, where x player signs a 7 year deal, and then gets cut 2 years later.

Which of the players you mentioned would've considered opting-out midway through their contracts?

2005-09-28 09:40:34
27.   Steve
The best outcome of the Drew contract would have been two great years followed by an exercise of the opt out. That speaks more to the wisdom of guaranteeing large contracts in the first place, and not about the wisdom of including an opt-out.
2005-09-28 09:47:28
28.   Landonkk
The Dodgers should offer Tracy the 750k and 'force' him to opt out. Basically fire him, but pay him anyway and for the sake of both parties tell everyone it was Tracy's decision.

Tracy either accepts the money and 'uses his out clause', or gets fired and gets nothing (once he is hired elsewhere).

The Dodgers either pay $750k and save face by making it look like Tracy's decision, or save the money and have to deal with the backlash.

The only other scenario would be if Tracy denied the offer, was fired and sat out a year to collect the $750k. But why would he do that when he has no idea what the market will look like after 2006, and also lose a year work?

2005-09-28 09:57:47
29.   Terry A
The one thing that jumped out at me in today's LA Times story was that DePo was willing to address a "hypothetical." IIRC, in the past he's been unwilling to do so on any issue. I'm not sure it's significant, but I took it as a sign that he's definitely thought through his offseason plans regarding a manager, and he might even be itching to get started on them.

Also: Has anyone else encountered a problem logging in to B'Toaster when using the Firefox browser?

2005-09-28 09:59:19
30.   Sam DC
Hmmm . . . looks like Tom Delay may exercise his opt out as well.
2005-09-28 10:02:39
31.   Terry A
And now it's working.
2005-09-28 10:03:17
32.   dzzrtRatt
Things have changed much since Lasorda and Alston could go year to year. There is a prevailing philosophy in sports now that 'lame duck' managers/coaches can't control their teams. I wonder if DePodesta buys into that theory. If he does, then you have to figure Tracy's gone.

DePodesta is sure making the media rounds. Looks to me like a 'charm offensive.' My guess is, he's reaching out to both media and fans in advance of a Tracy decision that he knows will result in a lot of criticism. It's another sign that Tracy's going to get bought out.

"Did I want more years? Yes. Did I get them? No. Am I leaving? Yes. Is that a wad of cash in my pocket? Follow me to Tiffany's and you'll see."

2005-09-28 10:14:36
33.   Marty
Seeing the word "indicted" next to Delay's name makes my day.
2005-09-28 10:29:12
34.   FirstMohican
"We've got an active district attorney, a prosecutor that really wants
to indict somebody," Lott told FOX News. "He can indict a ham sandwhich
before most grand juries. When you look at the record of this
prosecutor, I can't say I'm particularly surprised."

Classic. Good to see that the smear campaign against justice has begun.. what... three minutes after the announcement?

2005-09-28 10:31:00
35.   Jon Weisman
To steer this away from politics ...

"Her father is the district attorney!"

2005-09-28 10:31:22
36.   Adam M
"When the season ends, the Dodgers should offer to buy out Tracy's 2006 contract year, at $750,000, as a thank you for his years of service, and wish him the best."

How ironic that this is commonly referred to as the "gold Rolex."

2005-09-28 10:32:48
37.   JJoeScott
13 And ... Hershiser went 8 more against the Mets, 67 total (though only 59 counted). With Steve "He's No Alex Cora" at second base. Amazing.
2005-09-28 10:36:06
38.   JJoeScott
32 DePodesta was on with Mason & Ireland yesterday. He talked for awhile, but said nothing.
2005-09-28 10:37:37
39.   FirstMohican
I don't know if this was previously mentioned, but I thought it was funny... "Ironically, the last pitcher to make it to the Dodgers with less experience [than Kuo] was Darren Dreifort, who...later underwent two Tommy John operations."

2005-09-28 10:39:16
40.   Jon Weisman
39 - Ironically, that is not really ironic. Ominous, perhaps.
2005-09-28 10:42:57
41.   Robert Fiore
It may well be time for a change, and if Tracy thinks he's in a position to make ultimatums you have to wonder about his judgment even more than you have been, but I don't think you can expect a huge improvement by replacing him. You will probably see fewer eccentric game management decisions, but game management is overrated. Tracy came to a team that for years had played like nine guys who were introduced on the bus and had them playing like a team. (Of course, this year the team has been playing as if they were the APBA cards left in the box after you've had your draft.)

If DePodesta wasn't on a "charm offensive" you'd accuse him of ducking the press.

2005-09-28 10:43:12
42.   FirstMohican
40 - It might be more of a lesson than either. Have your two Tommy Johns before you get to the bigs? With Bako tutoring Navarro, maybe we can enlist Driefort to advise Kuo.
2005-09-28 10:50:18
43.   dzzrtRatt
41 That's why you go on a charm offensive. So no one can accuse you of ducking the press.
2005-09-28 10:50:31
44.   blue22
41 - What's Tracy got to lose by making the ultimatum? I think it's the appropriate action to take, given the situation.
2005-09-28 10:53:31
45.   Steve
Who's Tom DeLay? ;)
2005-09-28 10:54:29
46.   FirstMohican
44 - He could have made an ultimatum, but kept it in-house. Tracy seems like the kinda guy who isn't in the business of using the media to his advantage - though it has definitely worked out that way.
2005-09-28 10:55:10
47.   FirstMohican
45 - A September call up. Wicked change.
2005-09-28 10:59:18
48.   Steve
Deadspin on Dodger Thoughts:

One of the great Baseball Toaster sites, its level of detail and sabermetric devotion is both awesome and terrifying. We don't really like the Dodgers much, and we still can't stop reading.

2005-09-28 11:12:50
49.   JMK
26 -If the out clause is a team or mutual clause then it would obviously benefit the team but I want to argue that offering a player only clause is likely to benefit the team. I can't recall the specifics of all the players I mentioned but if Kevin Brown had exercised an out clause after his first 2 or 3 years with the Dodger (assuming someone out there could give him a better deal) then the Dodgers would have been better off. If Griffey and been given an out and exercised it after two years, and it's not inconcievable he would have gotten a better contract because salaries were really crazy then, the Reds would have gotten two decent years out of him and saved themselves years of frustration of carrying him on their roster. Losing big-time players who make make money doesn't destroy your team if you spend the money they would have made wisely. Carrying guys on your roster with bloated contracts that don't produce can cripple your team. Most long term contracts turn out that way. So why not let guys walk after 2 or 3 years of production. Worst case scenario is a guy walks and continues to have great years but you still have all that money you saved to spend elsewhere.
2005-09-28 11:17:22
50.   Steve
47 -- LOOGY?
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2005-09-28 11:23:54
51.   blue22
49 - I get your point, I just argue that the player signing a high-dollar, long-term contract typically has no motivation to opt out.

The player would've had to sign a long term contract, but then seen a significant increase in value for it to be justified.

So, for example, Izturis signed a 3yr/$9M contract this offseason. What if he had hit .340 and won a gold glove this year? He may have opted-out had he the option. This would've hurt the team.

JD Drew, however, needed to have 2 years of such success that opting out would earn him better than the remaining 3yrs/$33M. That's a pretty tall order for a 31-year old OF with gimpy knees, elbows, and shoulders.

2005-09-28 11:25:11
52.   blue22
51 - er...gimpy knees, wrists, and shoulders. Nothing wrong with his elbows - jinx!
2005-09-28 11:27:02
53.   Sam DC
50 better make it ROOGY.
2005-09-28 11:27:56
54.   Louis in SF
Can you blame Tracy for not trying to get a contract extension? I think one thing that will be tricky about this assuming he leaves is next year in my mind will still be a transition year. In some ways having Tracy finish out his tenure might not be all that bad and then start new in 2007 would be interesting, but doubt that will happen. By having this information come out it also allows potential job offers for Tracy to become more public, even if there is a no tampering clause. I think the end for Tracy is here, I just wonder how much better the Dodgers will be in 2006
2005-09-28 11:35:52
55.   JMK
51 - I'm not referring to Izturis type deals. The contracts are still small enough that including player opt out clauses can hurt you significantly. I'm thinking of BIG long-term deals. Any deal worth over 10 million for at least 4 years.

If Drew hits .320/.410/.550 over a full season I can easily see someone offering him 4 years at 11 million or 3 years for 12 mil. He had the one great year for Atlanta and got 5 years 55 million from us. Giles will probably get 3 years at around 10 and he's 34. I wouldn't be suprised to see Hideki Matsui get a 5 year deal at around 11 mil and he's 31. And if I were the team buying them I offer them player opt out clauses for every year of their contract. And they would take them cuz there's no downside in having them as a player.

2005-09-28 11:41:30
56.   Steve
53 -- Was always more of a Steve Largent guy myself.
2005-09-28 11:48:51
57.   bigcpa
Well thought out statement Jon. I think DT has risen to the level where an official endorsement like this should make news. Especially since you take months to carefully formulate a position. I'll be watching for a Henson blurb tomorrow.
2005-09-28 11:49:52
58.   Joon
42 - Maybe you're saying that jokingly, but...

Excerpt from a article:

When you are going on your fifth year of injury rehabilitation, you really have nothing, if not hope. Kuo said he has been counseled frequently by Dreifort, which is by design.


This article also has a picture of Kuo standing beside Nomo and Thurston's quote about Kuo's first professional game when he struck out 7 of the 10 he faced and than blew out his arm.

2005-09-28 11:53:06
59.   Penarol1916
56. Steve Largent the anti-Catholic wide-receiver?
2005-09-28 12:36:30
60.   Adam M
FWIW, I will tune in to the KPCC DePo interview this afternoon, and try to do a transcript/summary to post when it's over.
2005-09-28 12:37:52
61.   D4P
Thanks Adam. In the meantime, I won't get my hopes up that Depo will actually say anything interesting or enlightening.
2005-09-28 13:00:38
62.   Steve
59 -- Won't that collar you are wearing be divisive?
2005-09-28 13:06:08
63.   Adam M
61 - Top 10 interesting things DePo might say:

10) Greatest player ever: Lenny "Nails" Dykstra
9) On the Drew signing: "Man, I was so 'faced!"
8) Twice made love to a werewolf
7) Continually calling NPR host Kitty Felde, "Honey Can"
6) Spreadwhat? Spread...sheet? Huh?
5) Still can't help cracking up at the mention of former Seattle pitcher Dick Pole
4) For ten years, wrestled in Mexico under the name "El Tornado"
3) Always loved the roller derby
2) Came to NPR studio wearing T-shirt whose back says, "If you can read this, the bitch fell off"
1) Announces that starting next spring, he and Tracy are switching jobs...and wives!!!

2005-09-28 13:13:35
64.   D4P
Wow. No need to post the actual transcript: it will be inevitably anti-climactic.
2005-09-28 13:14:08
65.   Sam DC
Strange things happen when Bob takes a day off. And on that note, in a critical contest that fans are watching from East to West, 3-2 Pittsburgh over Chicago in the 7th.
2005-09-28 13:17:07
66.   blue22
55 - Why would Drew opt-out of a guaranteed 3/$33M for the hope of a 4/$44M or 3/$36M? And anyone besides the Yankees offering Matsui 5/$55M deserves what's coming to them.

But back to the point - there are two circumstances that I can see a player opting out of a mega deal:

1. The market has turned around and multiple teams are offering long-term, 9 figure deals again.

2. The player makes "the leap" and goes from being great, to being legendary.

In both of these scenarios, I see this clause as a negative for the team. Either the team has to replace the good player in an inflated market (#1) or has to replace a HOFer making a now-bargain of a contract (#2).

It's when a player grossly miscalculates his worth by opting out that it becomes favorable for the team (like what would happen if Drew were to opt out).

I assume (careful!) that most players would not forego guaranteed money on a mega-deal to earn slightly more incremental dollars.

I think that the negatives in scenario's 1 and 2 outweigh the possible benefit of a stupid player, and that these opt-outs should be used very cautiously. Basically, don't offer one if you think the player might justifiably use it.

2005-09-28 13:22:39
67.   Steve
It's when a player grossly miscalculates his worth

This is an article of faith when dealing with a Boras client.

2005-09-28 13:25:14
68.   sanchez101
I think one of the factors that led to drew (and boras) requesting an out clause was because they felt he could play Center Field. A 900 OPS corner outfielder is one thing, a 900 OPS centerfielder is another. If JD Drew plays centerfield next year and his healthy the whole season, my guess is that he opts out figuering that some one will pay more than $11/per a centerfielder with his hitting ability. This is one of the reasons i think he should be playing center field next year, hopefully it will encourage him to leave.
2005-09-28 13:38:55
69.   dzzrtRatt
I do not understand the frenzy to get rid of J.D. Drew. If the Dodgers were as deep in great outfield prospects as they are in pitching, infield and catching prospects, I might get this. But they aren't. So are the bushes full of great OF talent among Free Agents? Not really. The name I keep seeing here is Brian Giles. I have no clue as to why. He's ancient compared to Drew, will make close to the same money, and always starts slow. Has he ever played for a winning team? He's another Karros. His team sinks to the bottom while he "finds his stroke," then he piles up impressive numbers but only when his agent and the arbitrator are paying attention.

The Dodgers have a lot of problems, but replacing Drew doesn't need to be one of them.

2005-09-28 13:41:03
70.   blue22
68 - A 900 OPS season would also have to coincide with a market shift in favor of the player's salaries too.

Beltran aside (who's contract could cause the market to move even further in the owner's direction) the last 3 superstar hitters on the market have been Guerrero, Tejada, and Sheffield. Guerrero and Tejada both trump Drew in terms of productivity and youth, and they got similar 6/$72M and 5/$60M contracts respectively. And these guys are MVPs.

Sheffield, who is older and plays RF not CF, but nonetheless is more productive and proven than Drew, only got 3/$39M(?) (and that was from the Yankees!).

Drew needs to kick it up a notch, and become a bonafide superstar next year to justify opting out.

2005-09-28 13:44:05
71.   Bob Timmermann
I wasn't taking the day off, but rather spending my day at the Anderson School Economic Forecast at UCLA.

The forecast for next quarter.

It's "eeehhhhhhhhh, could be worse, but it won't be that bad."

I stay away from Jim Tracy discussions for the most part, but I think a parting of the ways would serve everyone better.

I should be going out to the Stadium tonight for one last time. If I'm not asleep. The conference started at 7 am.

2005-09-28 13:44:09
72.   blue22
69 - The Dodgers have a lot of problems, but replacing Drew doesn't need to be one of them.


He's [Giles] another Karros.

Oh no, no, no, no.

2005-09-28 13:45:38
73.   Penarol1916
62. I don't see how it would be any more divisive than any other choice.
2005-09-28 13:47:00
74.   Jon Weisman
71 - Was that forecast for the Dodgers' next quarter?
2005-09-28 13:48:15
75.   JMK
66 - How many player sign a big long-term deal and make the leap up to another level almost making their long-term contracts bargains? Bonds? Clemens? There are definitely. There would definitely be a risk involved. But how many guys have signed long-term deals that the teams have ended up regretting? I can think of Kevin Brown, Jeff Bagwell, Jim Thome, Mo Vaughn, Jason Giambi, ...just off the top of my head. You only have to go back to last year and you could make quite a list: Pavano, Beltre, Wright, Beltran, Perez...etc. It seems to me that when you give out long term deals the chances are pretty good you're not going to like paying on that contract on the back end. Therefore, you only increase your chances of keeping your team healthier financially if you includer player out opts in the hopes that they'll exercise it and leave after a few good years. I guess I just reiterated what I said before but perhaps I made more sense this time.
2005-09-28 13:48:36
76.   King of the Hobos
Something I hadn't noticed for whatever reason...4th highest AL RF VORP: Emil Brown. His 35.5 VORP would be good for 2nd highest among Dodgers hitters
2005-09-28 13:55:43
77.   dzzrtRatt
I've never heard of Emil Brown. Did he direct silent movies in the 1920s?

JMK, your logic is very interesting. The one-way opt-out appears to give all the leverage to the player, but if he in fact exercises it, the risk of back-end disappointment shifts to another team. It's a baseball variant of the Greater Fool theory.

2005-09-28 13:56:01
78.   Bob Timmermann
One guy said that trade may help pull something out of a slump.

It was early so the guy may have been talking about the Dodgers.

2005-09-28 14:00:34
79.   Sam DC
Down 3-2 in the bottom of the Ninth, the cubbies load the bases with no outs! The world is watching . . .
2005-09-28 14:01:27
80.   Sam DC
Corey Patterson can't get it done. Disappointing year for him. Bucs need two more outs to clinch . . . nothing. This is what makes September great.
2005-09-28 14:02:09
81.   Sam DC
Grieve runs the count full . . .
2005-09-28 14:03:00
82.   Adam M
Kitty Felde just referred to DePo as "the most hated man in baseball," GM of the "going-nowhere Dodgers" who got shutout yesterday while the LAAofA "clinched the pennant."

Summary to come - should be fun.

2005-09-28 14:03:42
83.   Sam DC
. . . And goes down swinging.

One more out -- looks like the only way we see Neifi! is if Macias can get one base and tie the game. Kids across America are huddled under the covers with their transistor radios under the covers a-hoping . . .

2005-09-28 14:04:16
84.   Adam M
81 - Whoa, Grieve is still playing. Didn't Gammons once call him the next Ted Williams? Did he mean the next Ted Williams Jr.? Ted Washington? Ted Lange?
2005-09-28 14:04:38
85.   Sam DC
Macias pops out to second. Pittsburgh takes . . . the game.
2005-09-28 14:08:06
86.   Sam DC
Meanwhile, in Nats-ville, Preston Wilson's Robinson-supported quest to get to 90 RBIs has stalled where it started, at 84. Can he get 6 RBIs in the next 4 games, 3 of which will be at RFK? America wants to know.
2005-09-28 14:20:43
87.   das411
35 - but Jon,

"You're risking a patient's life!!"

Any guesses what this year's Annoying Fox Commercial will be?

2005-09-28 14:28:24
88.   Howard Fox
If anyone saw the Commander in Chief debut with Geena Davis last night, just my 2 cents...worst piece of trash in many was the writers' opportunity to spend an hour belittling women in the workplace...
2005-09-28 14:35:19
89.   Penarol1916
88. While it wasn't any good, I wouldn't call it the worst piece of trash in many years, you are discounting a lot of terrible television.
2005-09-28 14:35:59
90.   dzzrtRatt
I was watching the second part of the Bob Dylan documentary. Best parts were the press conferences. At one, a photographer notices that Dylan had his sunglasses in his mouth. He wanted him to do it again, so he shouts out, "Bob, suck on your glasses." Dylan's bewildered, but the photog keeps trying to get him to do it. "Right there, at the end, just put that in your mouth." Finally Dylan hands the sunglasses to the photographer and says, "You suck on my glasses."

Did "Commander in Chief" have any scenes like that?

2005-09-28 14:38:40
91.   Paul B
Regarding opt-outs in general (and Drew's in particular): I agree with what I think is Jon's position, namely that a player opt-out clause is generally a fairly inexpensive inducement to seal the deal: like any other "perk" it's essentially non-cash compensation that allows the team to sign a player at a lower salary than it might otherwise be able to. It's perhaps hard to put a number on this, but just imagine that Drew wouldn't sign a 5yr/55million contract without the clause, but instead wouldn't take less than 12 or 13 million per year. But really, the specific numbers aren't that important: it's just the idea that the team is saving some money up front by adding the clause. So, conisder the possibilities (in light of what others have already said):

1) Drew has two "legendary" years. This may well prompt him to opt out. The upside is the Dodgers benefit from his incredible production, at a lower price than they otherwise would have had to pay, and can then spend the 11 million/year someplace else. The only risk is that there has been a sizeable shift in the market. But, as we know, there are ALWAYS cheaper options out there, if you know where to look. Plus, not very many players begin sustained legendary performance levels
at age 29.

2) Drew has two very good years (i.e. earning or somewhat out-earning his pay). Again, the Dodgers benefit from his production, at a lower price than they otherwise would have paid. There is something of a risk of an opt out (or perhaps, more likely, the threat of an opt-out to try to get an extension). But, as others have said, this is less likely, since the marginal gain of opting out is likely fairly small, given his age and good-but-not-otherworldy production level, and Drew wouldn't be able to actually receive offers until he opted out of the contract.

3) Drew underperforms his contract. Dodgers suffer, and Drew is unlikely to opt-out. Here, the Dodgers are stuck with the contract. The team is in the same position as if there were no opt-out, but they will be paying Drew less money than they otherwise would.

I may be missing something, but it seems like it's not a bad decision. As with any guaranteed contract, there is risk involved, but it's not Darren Dreifort-level risk.

2005-09-28 14:41:32
92.   jasonungar05
only TV shows I make a point to watch:

Arested Development
Amazing Race
Curb your Enthusisam
Sopranos/Deadwood-when on
Real Time with Bil Mahr

and my personal, dodger related TV show is:

Without A Trace

2005-09-28 14:45:51
93.   gregsmokler
kitty felde...BLEH couldn't you have done just a little bit of research before asking these horrible questions like "WHAT ABOUT JOSE LIMA AND THE CHEMISTRY HE BROUGHT!"
2005-09-28 14:51:42
94.   dzzrtRatt
93 Based on Kitty Felde's question, it has finally hit me what this "chemistry" thing is all about. It's Hollywood. Fans here want a baseball team to be a like a TV show with a lovable cast. Jose Lima, Paul LoDuca--what a pair! Like Bernie Mac and Tony Danza!
2005-09-28 15:02:05
95.   jasonungar05
Mr. 2999 and a maid. Nice.
2005-09-28 15:05:49
96.   Borchard504
90> Extremely recommended viewing! Scorsese and the Bob. Does not get any better than that.
2005-09-28 15:06:13
97.   King of the Hobos
SI has a feature on FAs today. In their "Stock Down" section, Jose Lima appears as #3 (I'm guessing SI figured out his ability is far worse than anything his character might add). Despite not being a FA, Mota appears at #5 (he's a likely non-tender candidate though). The rest is pretty basic. They seems to think Ramon Hernandez will be a bargain (only legitimate catcher will not come at a bargain), and Durazo and Alex Gonzalez will be overpaid...

2005-09-28 15:09:18
98.   oldbear
When did Tracy become so well respected in baseball?

He was essentially a free agent last year, coming of a career season. He got exactly how many offers from other teams?

Did he not get low-balled and finally accept a contract from the Dodgers?

I think this whole "Tracy is well respected. He's as safe as a kitten" is bunk.

If Tracy couldnt capitalize off last year's success, he's not going to do any better this season.

DePo will have to fire him.

2005-09-28 15:12:41
99.   dzzrtRatt
Plaschke loves the Angels not just because they're good--can't deny that they are--but because they're so gosh darn lovable. Who wouldn't want to take Chone Figgins home--he's cuddly! Darin Erstad--Mr. Intensity. Vladdy, perfect name for a guy who's a baseball savant, a happy go lucky guy who somehow manages to hit the ball a mile. Crazy-eyed John Lackey, cunning Jerrod Washburn, tubby Bartolo Colon, "excitable boy" Francisco Rodriguez, tragic Steve Finley, mysterious Garret Anderson, all working for Mike Scioscia, the lovable old bear.

No wonder DePo is the most hated man in baseball. He forgot he was casting the next CSI.

2005-09-28 15:24:42
100.   Adam M
OK, here's the Unofficial Transcript of DePo on KPCC this afternoon - sorry it's so long:

KF: Good news LA baseball fans - the LAAofA clinched a division title. Whose to blame for Dodger suckitude? Sportswriters say, "DePo." I can use phrases like "Billy Beane," and sound like I know what I'm talking about, right?

Welcome, Paul DePodesta! Why do people hate you so much?

PD: Change is hard, most Dodger change was not willful: I inherited 16-20 FAs when I took over. We decided to change the foundation for long-term succes. Sadly that foundation had more holes than "M. Night Shyamalan's The Village." Success takes more than 2 years (hi Jon!)

KF: Is "look toward 2007-2008" the master plan, or do you plan on eternal suckage?

PD: Option A. We reject the idea of "rebuilding" and accepting short-term failure. Our fans deserve nothing less than well-funded short-termed mediocrity. In 2004, the balancing act worked, this year it...didn't. Once the kids come up, the balancing act should go away, because few things are more rock-solid than the performance of ballplayers in their early 20s.

KF: These kids are great. Duaner Snachez - amazing. Jose Cruz Jr. - also an amazing kid! Will you keep them?

PD: Cruz is older than me! Navarro: awesome! Houlton, Robles, Kuo, Broxton, Osoria, Schmoll - awesome awesome awesome. All your base are belong to our farm system. Logan White and Terry Collins deserve the credit. Dodger farm system as loaded as it's ever been. AA guys starting to trickle in. This September was very exciting for us. Jose who?

KF: Are you a Moneyball computer nerd? Have you no soul? Why not just give Jose Lima some bucks, deserved or not? He gave the fans a lot of intangibles.

PD: This is a misconception: herpes is very tangible. We use computers, but it's really just another tool, like a PDA, or a file server. Our scouting staff is like two overclocked Opterons of awesome! Statisticry is the hot beef patty, scouting the lettuce & tomato: McDePo keeps the hot side hot, and the cool side cool. Character and chemistry? Winning creates chemistry. Chemistry sustains winning. Lose 100 games and praise the chemistry taking place in my pants, Cubs fan.

KF: Do we have callers?

Caller Chris: Moneyball ya ya, you paid Derek Lowe $64 M, JD Drew never completed a full season, minor leagues [garbled]

PD: Lowe got $36M (< $64) - he had the "Lowe"-est Era on our staff. I'm punny!

KF: Your payroll is 100M, so Lowe gets 36% of that? I eat crayons!

PD: JD Drew stat stat stat, Bradley, Gagne Izturis are all in their 20s, had career lows in appearances due to injuries. To me, this is good news.

KF: I heart Milton Bradley [ed. - WTF?!!!!] - will he be back?

PD: [Qualified maybe] - surgery went well. Get healthy, then get back to being nuttier than a shithouse rat.

KF: Callers?

CALLER VISHAL [ringer alert!]: Paul, do you have any idea how cute you are? Noone understands Moneyball like I do Paul! So many injuries! Reduce the restraining order to 25 yards please!!!! Jim Tracy = Yoko! I have no question!!!!!!

KF: Care to talk about Jim tracy's contract situation?

PD: I love Jim Tracy's managing more than oxygen. What out clause? Oh, that one. We're dealing with it. Pun 2.0! ROFL!!!

KF: Why did you screw Ross Porter?

PD: Ross who? Did I mention that we now interview every player in spring training, and even do exit interviews? Say, Kitty, were your eyes always that blue? Whut up Vishal!!! Moneyball is about efficiency. Everyone will be on the same page.

KF: Did Gagne hurt his arm because he was used too much? I guess what I'm saying is, did your accursed GMing result in too many 9th-inning leads?

PD: Dan Evans had a lot of 9th inning leads, too. Which means nothing.

CALLER HOWARD [ringer alert!]: The Trade ate my soul. A real man have gotten a decent catcher. You just stood an ironing board behind home plate and called it a catcher!!

PD: Phillips has his problems, but isn't 15 months a long time to wait for a phone call? Navarro kicks ass...

KF: Preach it!

PD: ...Russell Martin also kicks much ass. It's OK, boys, you're both daddy's favorite! As for The Trade, we needed a starting pitcher more than a catcher who goes into cryo-freeze every September 1st. Burn! IM 133t H4X0R.

KF: How much do players or their agents get involved in trades?

PD: Very little. It's mostly club-to-club unless a no-trade clause or pending contract extension is in play.

KF: Scott Boros [sic]

PD: [whines like abused puppy]

KF: Luke Hochevar

PD: Hochevar (pronounced like "Ho Chi Min") is not in class, not eligible for spring baseball at UT, our window is now as long as an Anaheim ticket line. Scott Boras: Pwned!!!

CALLER ROBERT: I'm not a DePo hater. Still not sure I have a question. Oh yes: Mr. DePodesta, why are you such a liar? How can you torture us by not playing studly Jason Repko and to a lesser extent studly Willy Aybar? Why does Valentin get so many ABs year after year? Smallball rules, Phillips sucks, what was my question?!!

PD: Repko was weaned three weeks before spring training. Valentin was a win-now signing, a real character guy, and a hell of a mustache. Jason who?

KF: Angels going to the playoffs get your goat?

PD: Ozzie Guillen going to the playoffs gets my goat.

KF: Good night and good luck.

PD: Nanoo, nanoo.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2005-09-28 15:39:03
101.   dzzrtRatt
alrighty then
2005-09-28 15:41:50
102.   King of the Hobos
Anyone notice that Maddux lost yesterday, likely ending his streak? I was rooting for him to reach 15 again, it really is too bad. Unless the Cubs use him out of the bullpen, it's over
2005-09-28 16:40:54
103.   Steelyeri
LoL. Great Post. Thanks for the update...
and the laughs. That depo, He so crazy.
2005-09-29 10:59:11
104.   ElysianPark62

Not to nitpick, but I think Guerrero's contract was 5 years for $70 million, with an option for a sixth year (and possibly a seventh).

2005-09-29 11:01:50
105.   ElysianPark62

Sounds exactly like something Joe McDonnell would spew.

2005-09-29 11:10:04
106.   ElysianPark62

Ahhhh, a bandwagoner she is, no doubt. I wonder if she knows who Chili Davis, Andy Etchebarren, and Gary DiSarcina are? I would bet the house that she doesn't, like many "avid" Angel fans. Ask them to name even five players from the 1999 team and see how many can do it.

2005-09-29 12:44:53
107.   zappala
Adam M -- funniest thing I've read in a long time. Thanks!

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