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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
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
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11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Forget About Trading Gagne
2006-01-18 11:09
by Jon Weisman

There's been some talk that the Danys Baez acquisition would lead the Dodgers to trade Eric Gagne.

Given that the entire offseason has been about restoring Dodger public relations, it is simply impossible for me to envision Gagne being traded unless it's July and the team is in last place. (Presumably, a physical by the other team would prevent the Dodgers from unloading damaged goods, were that to be their inclination.)

Rightly or wrongly, trading Gagne now might put general manager Ned Colletti in hotter water than trading Paul Lo Duca put former GM Paul DePodesta. Of course, there are those who were determined to hate DePodesta from Day 1. But for those fans who are just beginning to recover from the LoDuca trade, with little else to root for, loosing another earthquake can't be something the McCourt ownership would allow.

The Baez acquisition was about relief depth, not about replacing Gagne now. Whether Gagne or Baez will be with the Dodgers a year from now, that's another story.

Comments (217)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-01-18 11:17:35
1.   dzzrtRatt
The people logging onto Baseball Toaster to read other blogs who see Jon's headline must think we're all deranged. "Forget about trading Gagne." Yeah. And forget about poking your eye out and grilling it over a campfire while you're at it.
2006-01-18 11:17:46
2.   oldbear
After McCourt allowed DePo to fire Tracy, and then 3weeks later fire Depo, nothing would surprise me at this point.

I wouldnt be against trading Gagne either. It might be a pretty savvy move to do it before the season starts. One, less of a fan blacklash (if the team wins from day 1, people wont think twice about Gagne not being there..whereas trading a player mid-season, even though the team won, there was still questions about 'what could have been'). Two, there's no way of knowing if Gagne will be his old self. Finding a sucker that for sure believes he will be, might be easier than previously thought.

2006-01-18 11:19:08
3.   GoBears
I think you're right that it won't happen, Jon. But I actually think that Colletti could get away with it. First, the press is predisposed to like/trust him, which was not true for DePo.

Second, he has already traded for a replacement closer. The Dodgers had no backup plan at catcher when Lo Duca went. And even if the team got better overall with that trade, the MSM saw it as creating one hole to fill another.

Third, Gagne was hurt, so he could spin it as a risk-averse move. Lo Duca was lousy in the 2nd half of seasons, but rarely if ever injured, and the former doesn't get people's attention in the same way as 4 months on the DL.

BUT, the only way Colletti could get away with it would be if the player he got in return were a big name. I don't think any of the young Braves OFers qualify. And as much as sabermetrics loves Abreu, I don't think he's got the MSM rep either.

2006-01-18 11:24:08
4.   Jon Weisman
1 - I thought about that.

2 - Even if the Dodgers start 12-2, that will be greeted with skepticism this year.

3 - Yes, if Gagne was traded for Albert Pujols, that would fly.

2006-01-18 11:24:08
5.   oldbear
If the salaries cancel out, Abreu for Gagne would be pretty sweet.
2006-01-18 11:28:11
6.   Rainman
Surely we haven't all drunk enough sabermetric Kool-Aid to now WANT to trade Gagne, have we? Injured last year or not, he's simply the most dominant closer (granted, in the short run) in the history of the game.
2006-01-18 11:33:53
7.   oldbear
6. Well, consider this. During Gagne's best season ever, the Dodgers finished 15 games out of 1st place.

Eric Gagne is not essential in building a championship team.

2006-01-18 11:35:50
8.   GoBears
6 Rainman, did you read the end of the last thread? I agree on your assessment of Gagne's quality. What I dispute is that having the "most dominant" closer is better than having a "good" closer plus a good starter in the OF.

"Most dominant" was no-lose back when Gagne was cheap. But now that he's expensive, and likely to get more expensive (he might leave in free agency anyway), I'd explore better uses of that money.

Really, what's the difference between Gagne and a league-average closer? Gagne is a much better pitcher than a league average closer, but much of that extra value is wasted on the closer role. If Gagne were a starter, we wouldn't be having this exchange. Even if Gagne means 10 fewer blown saves than the average closer (which I doubt), not all of those blown saves become losses, and the remaining gap is easily made up by a front-line hitter.

So, other things equal, is Gagne persona non grata? Of course not. But the whole exercise here (other than killing the January blues) is based on the recognition that other things are not equal, and that Gagne might be worth more in trade than in person.

2006-01-18 11:38:46
9.   Curtis Lowe
7- What is essential to building a championship team? Gagne is a badass and unless you trade for someone of greater badassedness then trading badass Gagne is really unbadass.
2006-01-18 11:44:46
10.   Xeifrank
If I had to pick a conspiracy theory, I'd say it's more likely that Baez was signed because Gagne had some serious health issue that wasn't worked out yet, than Baez was signed making Gagne trade bait. Personally, I don't think either one is likely, but what do I know... or the McCourts or Colleti for that matter. :) vr, Xei
2006-01-18 11:45:09
11.   Steve
What is essential to building a championship team?

Well, middle relievers, of course. Lots and lots of middle relievers. Preferably from 65 win teams.

2006-01-18 11:45:41
12.   GoBears
8 To reference myself and follow up (and forestall the retort that "it ain't my money, so who cares?", it's also worth remembering that money isn't always enough. Look at the Yankees at the trading deadline recently. Money is all you need for free agents, but to get players who are signed, you need to make trades. And you usually have to give quality to get quality. Trading from strengths (bullpen) for areas of need (power hitter) is smart. So what if the other team also benefits?
2006-01-18 11:46:14
13.   molokai
I think Ned has enough capital that he can do what he thinks is best for the team. It helps that Gagne was critical of management while his 10 million salary (15% of the budget) sat out most of the year. As oldbear said, he has already found a replacement which unlike the LaDuca trade changes everything. Since Gagne has Boras as his agent it should be easy to spin the fact that almost all of Boras's clients attempt free agency. If Ned signs Gagne to a long term deal it will be the death knell of the organization unless McCourt spends 100 million every year of the Gagne deal to make up for it. The Yankee's can get away with giving Rivera his salary because they spend 200 million.
2006-01-18 11:49:53
14.   GoBears
9 Well, can't argue with that logic. Reminds of Spicoli's exegesis on the Declaration of Independence in his private tutoring session with Mr. Hand. I don't have it memorized, but something to the effect of:

"Jefferson said, 'Hey dudes, England's rules were BOGUS! And if we don't get some cool rules here, pronto, we'll be bogus too."

Hmm, poor facsimile of a brilliant cinematic moment. Perhaps Xeifrank will do it justice.

2006-01-18 11:49:57
15.   Rainman
I completely agree that Gagne is not ALL that's necessary to a championship team, but ask yourself this: how many championships have the Braves cost themselves over the years by not resolving their bullpen issues and employing a dominant, league-best closer? It's at least a couple, folks.

Plus, I am a sabermetric-leaning guy and I understand the numbers and the new way of thinking, and embrace them. But as fans, isn't there some inherent value to a team retaining a shining star such as Gagne, to give younger fans and non-sabermetric fans something to cling to? Isn't there an excitement created when Gagne enters the game that a J.D. Drew walk just can't generate? Aren't there still some intrinsics that the numbers don't account for? If so, Eric Gagne is as close to BEING the L.A. Dodgers these days as we have.

2006-01-18 11:52:22
16.   Curtis Lowe
Who has a greater effect on games won? The Dominant no missed saves closer or the RBI machine OF bat?
2006-01-18 11:53:51
17.   Rainman
Why can't we have both? We have a $55 million rightfielder who SHOULD be that, except we let walks and OBP outweigh the "RBI machine" factor when it came time to pony up.
2006-01-18 11:55:56
18.   molokai
Sorry for the hyperbole but I really resent the fact that Gagne has been made into the Dodger icon since he's represents for me the most overrated position in baseball since I started following baseball. A 3 out closer is a pathetic use of a pitcher with the skills of Gagne and I blame Tony LaRussa for all of this. My respect for what Mike Marshall accomplished goes up every year after watching these wussy relievers get millions of dollars for doing the least amount of work on the team. It doesn't matter to me that Gagne is the most dominant closer in baseball, his skill is wasted if Ryan Dempster can do the same job while pitching with just a fraction of Gagn'e skill set.
2006-01-18 11:56:21
19.   bigcpa
2004 VORP - closers:

Lidge 39.0
Rivera 37.9
F-Rod 37.6
Ryan 36.7
Nathan 36.5
Foulke 35.9
Benitez 33.1
F Cordero 31.0
Gagne 28.2
Smoltz 26.7
Looper 24.8
C Cordero 24.4

Gagne had a 7.0 WARP vs. 5.0 for Chad Cordero in the middle of the pack.

2006-01-18 11:57:16
20.   Rainman
But, the simple fact is, Ryan Dempster absolutely, unequivically, can NOT do the same job.

I see your point, though - I too think closers are overrated for the most part, with only one or two truly difference-makers in the game. Gagne is one of those.

2006-01-18 11:59:36
21.   Jon Weisman
18 - Just because his skill is being wasted (I agree with you) doesn't mean he isn't great, or fantastic to watch.

Not his fault that he is misused. If he were refusing to come into games at different moments, that'd be another story.

2006-01-18 12:02:22
22.   Rainman
I see your point that perhaps more innings of Gagne would be more valuable, but who's to say he'd be as effective in a different role? Plus, in his current role, he shortens the game. Combined with a good setup man, an important game becomes a six-inning game, which is a huge weapon.
2006-01-18 12:03:36
23.   molokai
John Smoltz was just about as good as Gagne in 2002-2004 and I don't see them winning any championships in those years.
The Yankee's are an acception because of the payroll.
2005 Champion WS - Jenks(rookie closer)
2004 Champion RS - Foulke(great closer who actually pitches more then 1 inning)
2003 Champion Marlins - Urbina
2002 Champion Angels - Percy but it was rookie Frankie who got the job done
2001 Champion Arizona - can you even remember who the closer was- Mr. Kim

Looks to me like you can win a Championship without a 10 million $ closer.

2006-01-18 12:06:19
24.   Curtis Lowe
What makes me appreciate Gagne's/the Closers role soo much are all the comeback wins the 04 team had. Every game I knew that if the Dodgers were down by 1 or 2 going into the ninth that there was a chance that we would win because they did'nt have Gagne. That's 54 come from behind wins, had the other teams had a closer of Gagne's caliber there would be no way the 04 Dodgers make it into the Playoffs. There would have been no Finley grand slam finish, no Lima shutout and probably no blockbuster LoDuca trade.
2006-01-18 12:07:27
25.   oldbear
17. I think you win more games by having great everyday position players (like Abreu), rather than 60IP closers.
2006-01-18 12:08:09
26.   Rainman
Certainly, you're right. But the other side of that is that none of those teams are "Moneyball" teams either (Boston doesn't count - no way they were built on Moneyball principles). So perhaps there's a middle ground between sabermetric die-hard philosophy and old school team building. A truly dominant closer is rare, and worth having, assuming you build the rest of your team correctly. So far, Gagne has been a playoff non-factor because the teams around him have been built pitifully. Hopefully he'll get that chance soon.
2006-01-18 12:08:32
27.   Doug N
Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't a closer become more important the weaker a team is in hitting? How many runs does a solid bullpen relieve the offense from having to generate? Seems like the Dodgers being weak at the plate, and short a decent fifth starter really need a bullpen that denies opponents three innings of runs. All opinion...
2006-01-18 12:08:58
28.   molokai
Yes, I love watching Gagne pitch but certainly not has much as the DS faithfull who treat him like a rock star. I guess I was spoiled with Fingers/Gossage/Sutter/Quisneberry to get very excited about someone getting 3 outs with a 2 runs lead and the bottom of the lineup coming up. Does that sound jaded or what.
2006-01-18 12:09:00
29.   Steve
Closers are in the same valueless hell as everyone else.
2006-01-18 12:09:11
30.   Rainman
25 - I agree. My point is, if we sign the RIGHT position players, it possible to have both.
2006-01-18 12:09:15
31.   oldbear
22. Those games you speak of are only shortened if the team gets the lead. To get a lead, you need good starting pitching AND good everyday players in order to muster that lead.

I'll take the superstar position player over a closer every single day of the week.

2006-01-18 12:11:45
32.   oldbear
30. Its not possible to have both (unless you have unlimited payroll), if the closer is making 12-14mils a year, which Gagne is going to make.
2006-01-18 12:12:43
33.   Rainman
31. I'm sure the superstar position player is more valuable over the course of 162 games than the game's best closer. But, the fact is, they probably couldn't get a superstar position player for him right now anyway. If the team is built for the playoffs, a closer becomes infinitely more valuable once in the postseason, and can make the difference there. I'm not arguing at all that I don't want superstar players - that's a given. But at the same time, I don't buy that the game's best closer isn't more valuable than the average closer.
2006-01-18 12:12:59
34.   Doug N
Sidebar, literally, I'm looking at the payroll worksheet on the side here,and I have two observations. 1. Dodgers are close to the magic $100 mil payroll, and 2. For all the whining about heart & soul and home grown Dodgers, this team is 85% rental. Only the bullpen comes close to being home grown.
2006-01-18 12:13:38
35.   Rainman
32 - Sure it is, if you don't blow huge money on a notorious DL-machine like Drew, and spend your money wisely.
2006-01-18 12:13:42
36.   Xeifrank
Closers would be so much more valuable if the label "Closer" did not exist. Unfortunately, all the managers pigeon hole their closers into a 9th inning 3 out role most of the time, instead of using them at the most critical time of a game. I guess it just makes too much sense. vr, Xei
2006-01-18 12:14:52
37.   Steve
34 -- 4 1/2 million of Baez and Carter (shudder) puts them over the top, I believe.
2006-01-18 12:15:57
38.   Rainman
I'm not saying I'd want to spend $14 million a year on Gagne - don't get me wrong. No one is actually going to pay that.
2006-01-18 12:16:15
39.   regfairfield
23 Of course, that's highly dependant on having someone who can dominante like K-Rod or even Byung (back when he was good) in your organization.

These were the best closers in baseball the last five years in terms of ARP, and their teams post season success.

Street (No playoffs)
Rivera (ALCS)
Wagner (No playoffs)
Jones (No playoffs)
Turnbow (No playoffs)

Lidge (NLCS)
K-Rod (ALDS)
Foulke (Champion)
Rivera (ALCS)
Nathan (ALDS)

Gagne (No playoffs)
Foulke (ALDS)
Wagner (No playoffs)
Rivera (World Series)
Smoltz (NLDS)

Gagne (No playoffs)
Kim (NLDS)
Hawkins (ALCS)
Nen (World Series)
Smoltz (NLDS)

Rivera (World Series)
Guardado (No playoffs)
Kim (Champion)
Foulke (No playoffs)
Wickman (ALDS)

In these cases, while a greater than average amount of teams do make the playoffs, having a top closer certainly isn't a guarantee for success.

2006-01-18 12:19:50
40.   molokai
Francisco was not the Angel closer in 2004 and Ryan and Cordero didn't inherite the position until Sept. Just getting a save once a in a while does not make you a closer. Did you notice that not one closer was in the top 30 VORP for pitchers and the 1st relief pitcher who made the list was setup man Tom Gordon. VORP also has no respect for closers.
2006-01-18 12:22:18
41.   Midwest Blue
Molokai. I respect your opinion immensely. But the trade-Gagne folks here are mising the key point (and here I reprint what I wrote on another thread):

On paper, you guys are right and the Dodgers could possibly get a lot for him (maybe an Abreu) *IF* people feel he is the same as before his injury. 1) I think that most GM's will not leap at that gamble because he could be appreciably worse; and 2) You conveniently forget that Gagne represents more than just 3 dominating outs. He represents EXCITEMENT for the fans. Many of the casual Dodger fans live for that moment when Gagne comes into the game. It's one of the things that makes baseball magical. So you would not just be trading away an expensive dominant closer. You'ld also be trading away a great hook for the casual fan that is key for the McCourts who are looking at trying for 4 Million fans in 2006.

With all respect for the people on this blog that have a fantastic, statistcal grasp of the team and its needs, it makes no sense for the casual fan. It would probably be seen as another betrayal for the fan, in the mode of the LoDuca trade and even Tracy firing. McCourt can't risk alienating any more fans, no matter how the baseball cogniciente feel about the merits of the trade. So (mercifully) it won't happen.

2006-01-18 12:23:22
42.   Steve
You forgot someone.

Danny Baez = 16.5

Tied with Chris Hammond.

2006-01-18 12:24:06
43.   Jon Weisman
I haven't updated the sidebar in three weeks because I haven't taken the five minutes needed to gather or estimate Seo's 2006 salary.
2006-01-18 12:25:53
44.   Steve
Look who had a 16.7 VORP in 2004. Rhymes with Goner.
2006-01-18 12:28:11
45.   Steve
Travis Harper was at 16.8. Looks like we done got ourselves the wrong Devil Ray. Oh well. That's what Broxton and Orenduff are for.
2006-01-18 12:34:03
46.   Jon Weisman
44 - WKRP's Frank Bonner?
2006-01-18 12:39:26
47.   Steve
Meanwhile, fast forwarding to 2005, Baez's incredibly lucky year moved him to an impressive 19.4. This matches the number posted by heralded Washington National middle reliever, and perennial Cy Young candidate, Luis Ayala.
2006-01-18 12:41:47
48.   regfairfield
And he almost matches noted starter Brett Tomko's 19.6.
2006-01-18 12:43:39
49.   Curtis Lowe
According to Dodgers homepage Colletti will pass on Molina giving Navarro the starting Catcher role with Martin perculating in Vegas, Also Steve Yaeger has been promoted to Vegas hitting coach <------- Awesome.
2006-01-18 12:44:06
50.   Steve
Yes, but everyone knows that trading Tiffany and Jackson for Tomko would have been an obvious move. Anyone would have done that.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-01-18 12:47:52
51.   Curtis Lowe
Did'nt the Giants try Tomko in the Closer role last year?
2006-01-18 12:48:53
52.   molokai
That's a higher vorp then EJ or Tiffany.

BP likes the Seo deal about as much as they dislike the Baez deal. You win some, you lose some. Since to me the deal is basically EJ/Tiffany for Seo I like the deal. Baez is better then Duaner but not much and maybe not at all if Duaner's dominance stays at his 2nd half level while Baez's continues to regress. I think Seo will be a solid pitcher who we will be very happy to have acquired.

2006-01-18 12:52:04
53.   bluecrew22
From a numbers standpoint, or sabermetric angle, if you will, it would probably make sense to trade Gagne (if a team was willing to give up someone like Abreu). Rainman and Midwest Blue referenced the fact that fans want to see some continuity on a team and he is the longest tenured Dodger by several years now. Also, there is no replacing the sheer excitement he generates when he comes in to "Welcome to the Jungle." I guess those points are somewhat counter to the gist of this blog though.
2006-01-18 12:54:50
54.   Steve
or Orenduff. or Guzman. or LaRoche. or Billingsley. or Kemp. or Martin. But I hear Esteban Yan is available. So is Jose Mesa. Braden Looper looks promising. James Baldwin was at 1.1 -- he's worth at least a Hu.
2006-01-18 12:58:47
55.   Curtis Lowe
53- I did'nt realize talking about fan excitement towards a player or fan resentment if said player is traded does'nt deal psychologiclly with the Dodgers.
2006-01-18 12:59:01
56.   Sam DC
53 I realize some have argued that trading Gagne would help the team win more and for a longer period of time, but I haven't read many people saying that the "Welcome To The Jungle" moment is unfun or without value to the organization. And I really don't see why you'd say that point is "counter to the gist of this blog" on a post that is entirely about how trading Gagne at this point would be a PR "earthquake" that the team owner would not allow.
2006-01-18 13:09:11
57.   Brendan

I might be wrong but I think Yeager is going to be a star in Vegas. I can see the sunglasses, medallions and chest hair already. Was that guy the 1970's or what? He has to have a hell of a book in him.

2006-01-18 13:17:05
58.   Colorado Blue
You conveniently forget that Gagne represents more than just 3 dominating outs. He represents EXCITEMENT for the fans.

Really? Is just me, or is making the playoffs WAY more exciting... I have more fondness for Finley's slam than any of Gagne's saves.

2006-01-18 13:20:23
59.   molokai
He's in the last year of his walk year. To me that changes all the parameters about how McCourt would not allow a deal. Griffey, Piazza, R Johnson, all HOF have all been dealt in their walk years. Gagne is not a HOF and he PICKED Scott Boras as his agent. Kind of hard to play "Welcome to the Jungle" if he's pitching somewhere else in 2007 which is what most Boras clients end up doing.
2006-01-18 13:23:25
60.   molokai
That Yankee save was pretty exciting. All we needed from Finley was a SF.
2006-01-18 13:30:52
61.   Colorado Blue
60 - Sure, but the GS was even better... granted either would have put us in the playoffs. But that is my only requirement: put-us-in-the-playoffs!

All we need from a "closer" is 3 outs... they don't have to be exciting and/or dominating.

2006-01-18 13:33:25
62.   Curtis Lowe
61- I'm sorry but I enjoy watching dominance and enjoy the comfort of a safe 9th inning as opposed to the teeth grinding nail biting of last season.
2006-01-18 13:41:17
63.   Bill Crain
33 What on this great green planet would lead you to suggest that a closer (or any other player) would be more valuble in a postseason game than in a regular game? It's still nine innings. It's still nine guys. Unless I've been sadly misinformed, the rules don't change. It's a baseball game I think. The idea that the postseason is somehow different is, I think, usually called the "Joe Morgan Doctrine." Or, as
Bill James wrote, "If you can pitch in the first inning you can pitch in the ninth."
2006-01-18 13:41:17
64.   Colorado Blue
61 - More than making the playoffs? What was nail biting about last season? Wondering if Choi might get a chance to pinch hit?
2006-01-18 13:43:17
65.   Curtis Lowe
64- about 162 games.
2006-01-18 13:43:32
66.   GoBears
Look, I enjoy Gagne's entrances and "off-the-table" changeups as much as the next guy, but I think part of the reason for that is that he has been a bright spot in an otherwise mostly-dismal landscape. Fans will come and forget about Gagne if the team starts winning more often.

Also, if we're trying to pander to the casual fans here, I'd bet more offense would do the trick more readily than pitching duels.

2006-01-18 13:45:02
67.   molokai
Gagne went 45/47 in save opportunities. Since we won the pennant by one game, a normal closer % would have found us in 2nd place so I'd have to disagree with your comment.
I have been advocating trading Gagne because of what we can expect going forward in relation to his talent and price. I'm not trying to diminish how incredible he was during his pre-2005 run.
2006-01-18 13:46:33
68.   GoBears
I'll not go quite as far as Steve's claim about valuelessness (I'm a coward), but I'd be willing to go as far as to say that teh marginal difference between a great closer and an average one is about as important as the marginal difference between a great defensive first baseman and an average one. An out or two every other week, if that.
2006-01-18 13:48:48
69.   Curtis Lowe
63-Because a blown save in the regular season doesnt affect you as much as a blown save in the post season. Consider Lidges 3 run blast that he gave up to Pujols, that gave the cardinals 1 more chance to make it to the WS. If lidge blows a save in the regular season its not as detrimental to participating in the WS as game 6 of the NLCS.
2006-01-18 13:48:58
70.   GoBears
67 Maybe. We might have won some of those blown-save games. And the question isn't just a matter of Gagne vs. no Gagne. It's Gagne's marginal value compared to the marginal value of whoever we'd get in return. Imagine an average closer who saved not 45 of 47, but 35 of 40, because in the other 7 games, the extra bat eliminated the save situation. Or 50/55, because the extra bat turned losses into wins.
2006-01-18 13:51:30
71.   GoBears
69. False. This is a basic fallacy. One more blown save in the regular season (instead) could mean no playoffs at all.

Gagne would have been awesome in the playoffs, if only the team could have hit well enough to get there. Or, in the one year they did get there, to get leads for him to protect.

2006-01-18 13:53:53
72.   natepurcell
i hope we are terrible by the all star break so we can trade:
and.... okay throw in tomko.

prospect nation lives in infamy!!!!

2006-01-18 13:55:23
73.   Curtis Lowe
71- How is that a basic fallacy? 1 blown save where you have 161 more games to bury it or a blown save where you have 1 game to make it or go home.
2006-01-18 13:56:28
74.   molokai
An out or two every other week! Come on, how about an out every game when were talking about a pitcher with a WHIP of 1.00 compared to a WHIP of 1.45. Now if your talking runs that is a different story and I expect a run every other week will make enough of a difference to decide a close pennant race if those runs turn into blown saves.
2006-01-18 13:57:13
75.   Jon Weisman
73 - Okay, but by the same token, a home run is more valuable in the postseason than in the regular season.

This is the week of intractable debates on Dodger Thoughts.

2006-01-18 13:59:22
76.   molokai
Winning is more important then watching your prospects succeed or fail. With Ned in charge this team will never be a young team, he will always have a combination of veterans. The questions is will he only have veterans or will he have a mix.
2006-01-18 13:59:59
77.   Curtis Lowe
Everything in the Post Season is magnified, a home run is more valuable, a blown call is more disruptive, a blown save is more humiliating.

It's common sense really.

2006-01-18 14:01:32
78.   Curtis Lowe
Is there a list of next years free agents? I'd like to start guessing what our 07 line up might look like considering what we've heard and seen from Ned.
2006-01-18 14:04:22
79.   Colorado Blue
67 - I'll concede the possibility; however, the everyday player equivalent of a Gagne in terms of pure dominance would have made the '04 NL West race a lot less exciting for fans of teams not the Dodgers.
2006-01-18 14:05:24
80.   blue22
78 - This site is pretty good, and seems accurate.

2006-01-18 14:05:41
81.   Colorado Blue
77 - Agreed. Just ask Carlos Beltran.
2006-01-18 14:06:45
82.   natepurcell
any news on jeff weaver? i wonder if weaver is nervous that boras totally blew it for him...
2006-01-18 14:13:02
83.   molokai
Just read the Gurnick article on about Navarro. Didn't realize that Navarro pounded LHP so much. Small sample size which makes me curious what his minor league splits were but I have idea how to find minor league splits.

He should be, he's not going to get close to what Washburn got and he's a much better pitcher. At this point he should find a pitchers park and sign a one year deal and try to pull a Millwood. Petco would do nicely for him.

2006-01-18 14:14:56
84.   natepurcell
Petco would do nicely for him.

petco would be great for the dodgers too. we get the 17th pick in the draft then!

if padres sign him, we have #7, #17, #31.

we can totally reload with those picks.

2006-01-18 14:15:09
85.   overkill94
Forget the simple "excitement" factor of Gagne pitching, how about all the merchandise? If he's traded, who's the go-to marketable player?

Drew - hasn't done enough yet, no personality.
Kent - gone after this year, not enough years as a Dodger
Furcal - too new, possible future though
Lowe/Penny - not good enough

I think you guys are forgetting the Camille Johnston effect ;)

2006-01-18 14:24:04
86.   D4P
Anyone know of a convenient location for finding stats on save percentage? At the very least, does anyone happen to know the average save percentage for relievers (just a rough estimate would suffice).
2006-01-18 14:29:07
87.   molokai
I keep using my Bill James handbook for individuals but I don't know the average.
2006-01-18 14:34:27
88.   D4P
To the extent saves are meaningful at all, seems to me that save percentage is much more useful than number of saves. Yet I rarely hear save percentage discussed or see it reported.
2006-01-18 14:37:25
89.   Jacob L
I haven't been following the discussion that much this week, so my question may have already been covered. Is there some reason that rather than Gagne trade speculation, we aren't engaged in Baez trade speculation?
2006-01-18 14:37:32
90.   Midwest Blue
Some of us value Gagne over offense because we're not used to seeing any (:-{

Overkill is right. Whether Gagne's too expensive or we can get a good bat is immaterial (unless we're talking A-Rod or Pujols material). If you don't have that "X-Factor" - the excitement, the merchandizer, the icon - then you become a team devoid of personality and it would be very difficult to keep interest in such a team even if they were winning. I'm sure anybody who posts on this site would be very interested, but we're not the largest sample size here, nor unbiased.

Baseball is a numbers game and the biggest number is how many go through the turnstiles. Just look at the Cubs. Tribune is most concerned with keeping the stands full of swill-sucking drunks and less interested in winning. That's what pays the bills.

2006-01-18 14:38:06
91.   Andrew Shimmin
77- The trouble with what you're saying is that everything can't be more important. It's like pushing all the levers on your equalizer up. The net affect is no change except an increase in volume (and line noise). So, it's fine to argue that playoff games are more important to the goal of winning a WC, but it's not true to say that relief pitching is relatively more important. If it were, something else would have to be relatively less important. Yes?
2006-01-18 14:41:05
92.   Andrew Shimmin
88- Depends on what you're looking for, but SV% would seem to be imprecise since a save means any of too many different things (1/3 IP bases loaded K with a four run lead, 2 IP 5K 1BB with a one run lead, etc.).
2006-01-18 14:42:29
93.   molokai
Cordero 47/54
Wickman 45/50
Frod 45/50
Hoffman 43/46
Rivera 43/47
Nathan 43/48
Lidge 42/46
Baez 41/49
Jones 40/45
Izzy 39/43
Turnbow 39/43
Wagner 38/41
Cordero 37/45
Guadardo 36/41
Ryan 36/41
Hermanson 34/39
Dempster 33/35
Batista 31/39
Fuentes 31/34
Looper 28/36

Average in 2006 of the top 20 closers as measured by total saves is 88%

2006-01-18 14:45:11
94.   molokai
Dead right. Without knowing how many of these saves were one run or two run or 3 runs saves the % means nothing.
2006-01-18 14:45:44
95.   jasonungar05
the dodgers out drew every team in baseball besides the Yankees and they did it without Eric Gagne for the majority of last year. So I don't think that most people go to the games for the same reasons as die hards do.

I think most of us die hards would take 3 straight playoff apperances without Gagne then 0 with him. So I am not sure what fans wouldnt show up cause we didnt have Gagne.

2006-01-18 14:46:33
96.   D4P
Doesn't that imprecision equally afflict the Save stat itself?

Looks like Baez was among the worst of the bunch.

2006-01-18 14:46:57
97.   molokai
Part of the Gagne mystique was the save record. I think you'll see that has we head into 2006 that when Gagne enters a game it won't have the same eletric charge it had in 2003/2004.
2006-01-18 14:47:15
98.   D4P
Without knowing how many of these saves were one run or two run or 3 runs saves the % means nothing.

Again: can't you say the same thing about Saves?

2006-01-18 14:52:04
99.   Andrew Shimmin
96- Yup. The about the same can be said of saves. Percentage is probably better than raw numbers, but neither means much.
2006-01-18 15:02:38
100.   Disabled List
84 Do you (or anyone else) know how we ended up with picks #7 and #31? For some reason I'm blanking out on who signed away who....
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-01-18 15:08:26
101.   Andrew Shimmin
100- I'm pretty sure that I'm right about this, but others will correct me if I'm not. #7 is what we get for sucking, last year. #17 and #31 we'd get thanks to the Padre's signing Weaver (a type A FA, which entitles us to their first round and a supplemental).
2006-01-18 15:15:50
102.   molokai
Anyone besides me think that we won't be picking a Boras client with that number 7 pick?

He was 30/33 in 2004 if that makes you feel better. Scott Erickson could have posted a 75% success rate if all he had to do was get 3 outs .

2006-01-18 15:19:31
103.   tjshere
89 - See comment #14 in the previous thread: Leaving Jacksonville.
2006-01-18 15:47:16
104.   Granfallooner
People (OK, the LA Times) always assumed that the hiring of DePodesta signalled the Dodgers' plan to reduce payroll. I, however, always believed that the team would eventually find its way into the upper echelon of payrolls (unless that echelon is just the Yankees). I saw the adoption of the principals of the A's as an opportunity to build a strong team--like the A's--for a bargain price (say, $60 mm) and add a couple of stars (Manny? A-Rod?) for another big chunk of change (say $50 million). Or keep some overpriced guys around because it was good for marketing (Beltre, Gagne) and continuity. Losing DePo makes me sad because moves like 2 prospects for an average reliever at $4 mm means less cash to re-sign Gagne. Still, I agree with those who say McCourt can't let him walk because people (OK, the LA Times) will freak. So that means even less money to improve the team. This is why "saving money" (even if its not your money) is so important.
2006-01-18 15:57:56
105.   GoBears
73 Sorry - had to teach a class, so I was away for a couple hours. It's the difference between conditional probabilities and unconditional probabilities. A playoff game, and any act therein, is conditional upon the team having made the playoffs. A regular-season game/act contributes to the probability that the team even makes it there. So, conditional on making the playoffs, yes, things change (although the two most important things, time horizon and quality of opponent, do not necessarily privilege closers). But a priori, EVEN IF closers are more crucial in playoff games than in regular season games (which I don't grant, but which might be true) the overall value to the team of a better closer vs. a better LFer is not thereby enhanced.

It's sort of like saying that a 70% FT shooter is more likely to make the next one if he's just made 4 of his last 10. The "he's due" argument, while intuitively compelling, is fallacious. IF he really is a 70% shooter, then there's a 70% chance he'll make the next one.

To me, that's why advanced statistical analysis will never kill the excitement of baseball. Even Adam Kennedy can have a 3-HR game in the playoffs. Even Tracy can call a successful hit-and-run.

2006-01-18 16:06:41
106.   sanchez101
72.76. Im going to have to agree with Nate on this one. When that Dodgers finally put together a really good core capable of making a multi-year run a contention, what are the chances that Gagne, Kent, Nomar, Baez or Mueller will be on that team?

Put another way, part of me hopes 2006 Dodgers fail to content at all (i dont think they will). Imagine if the Dodgers are in the running for the playoffs, but are in a close divisional/wildcard race. Does Colletti trade a significant part of the future (ie Laroche, Guzman, Billinglsey) for some temporary help? Im not sure I trust him.

Why cant the Dodgers just sit back and say, "ok everyone, our roster is a mess, but we have some bright young talent coming up soon. So we're going to rebuild for a while and we will give the youngsters a chance to play, but we will probably loose 80-90 games next year. But, we will get better soon and by 2008 the Dodgers should be the best team in the division. Look at what the Yankees did in the early '90's, what the Indians did the last couple years, what the Brewers and even the Lakers are trying to do right now. Thats what we're going to do rather than the same old 'spend lots of money of veterans and win 85 games for a couple years"

2006-01-18 16:15:19
107.   driches
This argument has to center on whether '06 Gagne will be as good as he has once been. If he isn't, he's certainly tradable. If he is, only a huge bat in return would make sense.

This thread illustrates some of the shortcomings of pure sabremetrics. Gagne at 100% represents far more than 3 outs, which many closers can do very often. First, no other pitcher makes baseball an 8-inning game the way he does.

Second, much of baseball, and sports, and anything, is psychological; Michael Jordan was who he was not only because of physical ability, but also mental and psychological confidence far above the rest; Gagne provides that. You can't tell me, you, as an opposing batter in the 9th, don't feel a HUGE psychological boost facing Bob Wickman or Braden Looper instead of Gagne in his prime.

Also, the "look at past WS champions; you can win w/o a dominant closer" argument is specious logic; by the same reasoning, the '03 Marlins won the WS with Juan Encarnacion as their RF, not Vlad Guerrero. Obviously, you don't need a dominant right fielder to win a championship. However, this doesn't mean any team wouldn't kill to have Vlad (not to strictly analogize Vlad and Gagne, only showing the fallacy of the argument).

2006-01-18 16:20:28
108.   LAT
Just went to DS to pay for my season tickets. Just being there gets the baseball juices flowing. Bring on ST.

Saw the new seats, actually sat in some. Not sure about the color. The pale turquoise on the reserve level is a little drab. As advertised the seats do have cup holders. Each one with a little Farmer John emblem. Gotta defray those costs somehow. The seats were a little flimsy (actually they are hollow) compared to the old seats and seemed a little narrower (however, I may have gotten wider this off season). But the nice thing is they are shaped in such a way as to provide more back and leg support. Over-all, I would say they were a little more comfortable than the old seats and will probably be noticeably more comfortable over the span of a 9 inning game (assuming anyone stays for the 9th inning if we trade Gagne).

As for the old seats they have three parking lots full of them. One of the lots (where they have autograph day) has the seats you can buy all neatly stacked up. The other two are junk yards of piles of broken old seats. With no security in site I liberated a reserve level seat backing with the metal seat number on it. I have no idea what I'll do with it, but what the heck.

All this got me so juiced, I went to the Stadium Store where game used bats were 50% off. Not too many good ones, mostly all of the Jasons. Although the picking were slim, I did pick me up a pretty good condition HSC bat. Good pine tar and markings. I must have been caught up in the moment to buy the bat of a player who won't see much playing time this year.

And that my friends concludes my 45 min tour of DS today.

2006-01-18 16:21:42
109.   Jon Weisman
106 - Aside from the Tiffany/Jackson trade, and maybe the benching of Aybar, Colletti hasn't undermined the farm system. The Dodgers don't need a no-veterans policy to build from within. The Dodgers don't need to lose 90 games or have a $50 million payroll this year in order to contend in future years.

I'm not endorsing everything Colletti is doing at all, but the counterreaction seems extreme.

2006-01-18 16:34:15
110.   TheDictator
108 How much was the HSC bat? Can I get one online?


2006-01-18 16:38:46
111.   Andrew Shimmin
108- Good story. Do HSC bats go for more than Jason ones, or are they all the same price?
2006-01-18 16:40:32
112.   Marty
I have a feeling Ned's not done dealing some kids this season. I don't think he'll hesitate trading prospects for a veteran at the trade deadline. It's all a matter of who he gets.
2006-01-18 16:45:54
113.   Xeifrank
The postseason is all a crapshoot.
vr, Xei
2006-01-18 16:48:37
114.   Steve
If he can trade four or five of them for Luis Ayala and Bobby Howry, he can turn every game into a four inning game.
2006-01-18 16:51:06
115.   LAT
Andrew and Dictator, all the bats are the same price. Many are really busted up and taped back together. (Not sure how Werth had four bats in there, I didn't think he made contact that many times. Maybe he broke them on the dugout wall after striking out). BTW, at the risk of creating a stampede there was only one Jason Phillips bat left.

I am sure you can find them cheaper on line. The bats were all $98.

112. Marty, if you are correct I may have to take my new HSC bat to Ned's signing hand.

2006-01-18 16:51:45
116.   Bob Timmermann
I'm surprised that no one from the Dodgers has tried to get me to renew my season ticket package (12 games, this year would be 14) for 2006. I got two phone calls in November and then nothing.
2006-01-18 16:52:13
117.   GoBears
107 The problem with this argument is that it mistakes cause and effect. Gagne really is nothing more than the sum of his scoreless innings, and since he's used as a closer, that's what he's worth - 3 outs in games with leads of 3 runs or fewer. The other stuff, the psychological edge stuff may contribute to WHY he gets those 3 outs so frequently without surrendering leads, but it's not an additional attribute. Similarly, to say that he makes it an 8-inning game is to say nothing more than "he's nearly automatic for 3 outs." It's not an additional attribute, it's merely another way of describing his main attribute.

THe only additional stuff that has been brought up that makes any sense is the off-field stuff - the marketing, the extra concession sales for fans staying til the end, and so on. But I still bet that a division winner will trump a single popular player pretty easily. And as someone pointed out upthread, it's not like the Dodgers have much room for improvement on attendance. They lead the league (or close) last year, with a lousy team going nowhere, AND with no Gagne.

It might be a slightly different crowd (more bandwaggoners?) if the reason for attendance switches from Gagne to winning, but the bottom line will likely be enhanced if the overall quality of the team improves.

2006-01-18 16:52:46
118.   Andrew Shimmin
114- Can you imagine how that would affect hot dog sales? McCourt wouldn't stand for it.
2006-01-18 16:52:58
119.   LAT
116. They spoke to the LA Times.
2006-01-18 16:52:58
120.   Jon Weisman
114 - A 16-man pitching staff is all you really need.

112 - Certainly possible. I'm just speaking philosophically, that it'd be unnecessary to start 2006 with no outside acquisitions, as some seem to be advocating.

2006-01-18 16:53:23
121.   caseybarker

Agreed, Houston or Atlanta could just as easily have been world champs.

2006-01-18 16:54:31
122.   Jon Weisman
117 - Winning trumps all. Absolutely. I just don't think the Dodgers could trade Gagne now and get in return someone who would provide equal value on and off the field. They would only get injury-risk Gagne value.
2006-01-18 16:55:42
123.   caseybarker
...more like an educated crapshoot, though. Postseason probably would not be Tracy proof. Rob Neyer had an article last year about how Torre's decisions may have cost the Yankees in the divisional round.
2006-01-18 16:56:46
124.   Xeifrank
107. The position of "Closer" is what I would call a flawed position in that teams are using their best (non starter) pitcher to pitch in what is often a less important part of the game. ie - one out bottom of the eighth clinging to a one run lead, opposing team has the bases loaded... how often is the closer, who is supposedly your best available pitcher left, in the game? Fast forward... bottom of the 9th, your team is now up by 3 runs, who comes in to get the final three outs? So, arguing about the value of a closer (best relief pitcher on the team), when they are often used incorrectly seems a little flawed. Then to top that off, the saves cateogry itself is flawed, probably even more so than quality saves for a starting pitcher. Even Lance Carter could probably hold a three run lead in the bottom of the 9th. :) Let's face it, closers are a dime a dozen, there are only a few who are worth paying hefty sums of money for. vr, Xei
2006-01-18 16:57:06
125.   Andrew Shimmin
117- They would only get injury-risk Gagne value.

If that. Who knows what Colletti thinks would be even value?

2006-01-18 16:59:30
126.   Andrew Shimmin
Oops, 125 quoted 122.
2006-01-18 17:00:22
127.   Xeifrank
124. "quality saves" ?? => "quality starts". Now that i've invented a new pitching statistic, I'm going to have to define what it is. :) vr, Xei
2006-01-18 17:00:36
128.   fanerman
Well, I'm back from my vacation from Dodger Thoughts of sorts. After a winter break without easy access to the internet, I come back to see that Sir Edwin and Chuck Tiffany are no longer Dodgers. I'm not really happy about that, but I'm not terribly disappointed either. I'm open to the idea of trading Gagne, depending on what we get. But I'm not holding my breath to see what happens, either. I expect Gagne to be back as a Dodger and back to his dominant old self.

I'm still waiting to make an opinion on Colletti, but I'm starting to be a little suspicious. Each trade reveals more about Colletti's policies, and I'm not sure I like what I'm seeing. He hasn't traded the farm, but he did trade two perhaps-will-be-solid-but-may-never-be-spectacular starting pitching prospects for two perhaps-solid-but-certainly-unspectacular relievers. He's signed more than a few aged veterans, but he has demonstrated a preference for the tried and true (and expensive) over the young and questionable (and cheap). The sample size of the moves he's made is still small, but I don't much like the direction he seems to be taking.

I've missed a lot and I'll catch up on all your posts, but for now, congrats on the young writer, Jon.

2006-01-18 17:03:17
129.   Steve
A 16-man pitching staff is all you really need.

If there's anything the world needs, it's more mediocre.

2006-01-18 17:09:35
130.   capdodger
128 - As someone else who went on a winter break from DT (two weeks of final wedding prep followed by two weeks of tropical decompression), I'm also growing somewhat concerned about Mr. Ned's priorities. With the cost of starting pitching now days, is it really smart to trade even middling starting pitching prospects? I would disagree that his sample size is small, if you also take into consideration that he had a hand in the building of the AARP Giants.
2006-01-18 17:11:06
131.   YLT
One of the saddest parts of Depo's firing was that we'll never see if he was going to change the way Gagne was used. I had a feeling after he gave Gagne that last contract that we were going to see him used in the 7th or 8th innings of close games for multiple innings at a time.

I think a healthy Gagne, used more like the firemen of the 70s were used, might very well be worth $10 million or so to a large market club like the dodgers.

2006-01-18 17:13:22
132.   YLT
By the way, I bet we see BJ Ryan used differently this year.
2006-01-18 17:14:19
133.   GoBears
124 Your last sentence echoes DePo's justification for Gagne's contract, but it also contradicts the spirit (maybe the letter) of everything else you wrote in that post. If the bar is so low for a closer to be called successful that even average pitchers can pass it, the no one is worth paying a hefty sum of money.

Gagne may be twice or thrice the pitcher of the average closer, but so what? If using him for 3 outs with leads is the only way to recapture that extra talent, then most of it is wasted. So there would appear to be three options:

1. Have him start
2. Use him for multiple innings much more often, and in higher-leverage situations.
3. Trade him for someone of equal talent but whose talent you will be better able to actually use.

1. Is bloody unlikely, and certainly Gagne has no reason to agree to it (nor Boras) if he can make 8 figures for 60-70 innings of work.
2. Will never happen.
3. Is my favorite choice, given that the team has needs, and that since Gagne is overrated (not relative to talent, but relative to actual realizeable value) he can fetch a greater return.

I agree with Jon that that value goes up once Gagne shows that he's healthy. Other GMs might be suspicious if Colletti were to offer Gagne around now. So an April/May trade would be fine.

2006-01-18 17:15:56
134.   GoBears
131 Agreed. But it will never happen. Or at least it'd have to be a GM/manager combo (Atlanta?) who are bulletproof.
2006-01-18 17:20:24
135.   Jon Weisman
133 - DePo, had be been retained, could easily have hired a manager who would have used Gagne in more multiple-inning and in higher leverage situations.
2006-01-18 17:22:39
136.   Steve
Baez may be twice or thrice the pitcher of the average middle reliever, but so what? If using him for 3 outs with leads is the only way to recapture that extra talent, then most of it is wasted.
2006-01-18 17:23:13
137.   Andrew Shimmin
OT- Anytime t.v. news folk talk about Ray Nagin's chocolate city speach, they should have to play the George Clinton song in the background.
2006-01-18 17:29:22
138.   Jon Weisman
137 - I saw that on The Daily Show. It was straight out of Jackie Chiles' imagination.
2006-01-18 17:31:40
139.   molokai
What do you guys think you can get in June if Gagne is healthy as oppossed to now? The only team with a chance to contend that does not have a solid closer in place is Atlanta. The last time a big time closer was traded was Billy Wagner. The spoils were no big deal. You are not going to get a big time position player for a 10mill closer because the Yankee's have one and RedSox are to smart, the Orioles are stupid enough but they won't be contending. The Mets already bought their's as did the Phillies, leaving only the Braves and they have enough payroll issues that it seems improbable that they could take on Gagne.
While I would trade Gagne I see no feasible trading partner so maybe draft picks is better in the long run anyway. I do know that Gagne will not be pitching for us in 2007 unless he fires Boras.
2006-01-18 17:35:46
140.   Andrew Shimmin
138- I missed the Daily Show last night. Once again Jon Stewart proves himself superior to Bill O'Reilly and Chris Matthews. What were these guys listening to in the 70's? The first thing I thought when I read about it on Drudge was: 'To each his reach.'
2006-01-18 17:38:27
141.   natepurcell
i really dont think baez is a free agent after this year... which sucks because i want the draft picks.
2006-01-18 17:42:11
142.   natepurcell
this is baez' service time after the 2004 season: 3.102

so if you add the 2005 and 2006 season, you would get an ending service time of 5.102.

therefore, he has only year more before reaching free agency.

2006-01-18 17:43:21
143.   Jon Weisman
141 - Do you really think Baez is misinformed about his own free agent status?
2006-01-18 17:46:57
144.   natepurcell
Do you really think Baez is misinformed about his own free agent status?

honestly... maybe. Can you do a little researching on this jon?

i mean tons of people and articles i read thought bradley is an FA this offseason. some think he is next season, some think the season after.

2006-01-18 17:49:49
145.   Jon Weisman
144 - I have been, and I haven't found anything definitive. I do know that there was a lot of screwing around with his contract when he was with the Indians, and that the Hideki Matsui situation shows that anything is possible for an international signee.

As far as Bradley, I'm not doubting you, but I don't recall any articles saying that he would be a FA this offseason.

2006-01-18 17:50:56
146.   Andrew Shimmin
Don't extra-arbitrational contracts negate future arb. eligibility?
2006-01-18 17:53:26
147.   King of the Hobos
The Dodgers on the WBC preliminary rosters: David Sutherland (Aus), Eric Gagne (Can), Russell Martin (Can), Chin-Lung Hu (Tai), Hong-Chih Kuo (Tai), Yhency Brazoban (DR), Rafael Furcal (DR), Odalis Perez (DR), Giuseppe Norrito (Ita), Hee-Seop Choi (Kor), Jae-Weong Seo (Kor), Nomar Garciaparra (Mex), Oscar Robles (Mex), Kenley Jansen (Net), Albenis Castillo (Pan), Olmedo Saenz (Pan), Jose Cruz, Jr. (PR), Ricky Ledee (PR), and Cesar Izturis (Ven).

I have no idea how Izturis plans to play, or why he's on the roster. And I had no idea that the Dodgers had a prospect named Giuseppe. Too bad he's 24, and has never been higher than the GCL

2006-01-18 17:53:40
148.   natepurcell
from BA analysis of the trade:

aez, a 28-year-old righthander, will serve as Los Angeles' closer while Eric Gagne recovers from elbow surgery. Baez was an all-star in 2005, when he saved a career-high 41 games while going 5-4, 2.86 in 67 games. In 72 innings, he had a 51-30 K-BB ratio while opponents batted .244 with seven homers against him. Baez' best pitch is his 92-96 mph fastball, and he also can attack hitters with his splitter and curveball. He's not a dominant closer, but he's effective and could be a dynamite setup man once Gagne returns. Baez is making $4 million in 2006, the last season in a three-year, $9.5 million contract, and won't be eligible for free agency until after 2007. He has a career record of 26-31, 3.69 with 102 saves in 284 big league games

2006-01-18 17:55:13
149.   natepurcell
i would love to get a look at hu, jansen, and sutherland in the WBC.
2006-01-18 17:55:28
150.   King of the Hobos
145 Gammons said it I believe. And I seem to recall an SI article that said he was a FA. This is just from memory, I could be completely wrong
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2006-01-18 17:56:00
151.   Jon Weisman
148 - Well, we've got quite a scoop brewing here if you and the others who have asked this are right. But I still suspect there's a Hideki clause or the equivalent involved.
2006-01-18 18:00:22
152.   natepurcell
also, this site
has baez listed as an FA after the 2007 season as well. hmmm...
2006-01-18 18:03:33
153.   Mark
6.2-7th inning: Ghame Still Ohn
8th inning: Baez
9th inning: Gagne

Every single one of the Dodgers 83 wins this year is going to follow that pattern. The starters will go 5 and 2/3 innings, Yhency will come in to end the 6th and pitch the 7th, Baez will work the 8th, and Gagne will work the 9th. For the games we're losing after 5.2, we'll see Broxton, Osoria, Carter, and whoever else needs a workout that day.

2006-01-18 18:04:33
154.   LAT
If Lasorda had any real pull Giuseppe would have been up for a cup of espresso.
2006-01-18 18:09:24
155.   natepurcell
jon! you are famous!

. Dodgers trade for right-hander Jae Seo
You didn't have to be an irate Mets fan to know that the organization's decision to start Victor Zambrano (7-12, 4.17 ERA) and Kaz Ishii (3-9, 5.14) ahead of Seo (8-2, 2.59) for much of the season cost the team any chance of making the playoffs. In exchange for Seo and lefty Tim Hamulack, the Dodgers gave up a couple of decent relievers -- Duaner Sanchez and Steve Schmoll. Jon Weisman, author of Dodger Thoughts, agrees that L.A. got the better end of the deal. "Seo blew me away in August after he replaced Ishii in the Mets' rotation," he says. "I realize that some of that may have been luck, because he wasn't striking a lot of batters out, and he regressed a bit toward the end of the season." Though Weisman likes Sanchez's surging strikeout rate (7.79 per 9.0 innings) as well as his durability, he concludes, "Relievers are easier to come by, and I like the chances for Seo to add stability to the Dodger rotation and help the team more than Sanchez would have."

2006-01-18 18:14:53
156.   LAT
Jon did you say that here and they are quoting you or did they interview you and you forgot to tell us?
2006-01-18 18:33:06
157.   Jon Weisman
156 - Alex asked me for a quote Wednesday morning.
2006-01-18 18:37:03
158.   dzzrtRatt
136 Would the trade make more sense to you if Little made a practice of putting Baez into the sixth inning to pitch two innings, then Gagne to pitch the 8th and 9th? With the rest of the pen in reserve to spell these two, mop up, etc. I agree the one-inning setup man and the one-inning closer is a straitjacket that some brave manager needs to bust out of.
2006-01-18 18:42:57
159.   Sam DC
I'm really going to be amused if it turns that Baez is actually under team control for 2007 as well. Has Colletti made any statements on how long he thinks the team has Baez?

139 One thing to consider is that, just because teams have closers supposedly lined up, there's no guarantee all those closers will actually be performing effectively come June.

2006-01-18 18:50:51
160.   bhsportsguy
142; 151-152
Still nothing definitive but he came up on May 13, 2001 so based on MLB's calculation of his service time, he would just be under 6 years at the end of this season. But I have seen the same sites for the other information, BP for 142 and MLB4U for the other so unless his contract with Tampa Bay stipulated at the end of it, the team would not retain any more rights and he would be released.
2006-01-18 19:01:46
161.   Steve
The only thing worse than one year of Baez would be two years of Baez.
2006-01-18 19:07:19
162.   D4P
2006-01-18 19:47:56
163.   PadreJeremy
There is one thing stats cannot measure and that is a the confidence level of a team with a dominant closer.

After the Mets or some other team spend all this money on everyday talent, after the bullpen blows a couple of early season save opportunities, that everyday talent loses a little confidence whether they want to admit it or not and that can have an effect every day of the season.

If Gagne is healthy and dominating, trading him is not even a consideration.

2006-01-18 20:19:02
164.   regfairfield
163 Do you have any backup for this statement? Do teams without a good closer under perform their projections consistently?
2006-01-18 20:19:57
165.   OaklandAs
I think free agency for foreign players like Baez is different than other players. That is suggested by this article by (late) Doug Pappas on Baseball Prospectus' site from back in 2003.

2006-01-18 20:27:19
166.   natepurcell
that link still doesnt clear up if he is a free agent after 2006 or 2007 season.
2006-01-18 20:40:13
167.   D4P
Wow. That was bizarre. I just checked Rotoworld, and saw this:

Derek Jeter - SS - Yankees
he's gay Jan. 18 - 11:30 pm et

I refreshed the page and it was gone.

Looks like someone hacked in. Now there's a strange post on Barry Bonds.

2006-01-18 20:53:35
168.   fawnkyj
Yep, i just saw "jason Giambi Juiced"
2006-01-18 20:55:50
169.   D4P
Yeah, I saw that one too. Glad someone else saw it. I'm not crazy.
2006-01-18 20:55:51
170.   D4P
Yeah, I saw that one too. Glad someone else saw it. I'm not crazy.
2006-01-18 20:58:04
171.   Bob Timmermann

The article though does back up a point I was going to make. Baez's departure from Cleveland was quite contentious. This leads me to believe that Baez and his agent would have made sure what his status would be after his current contract expires, which it is after this season as Tampa Bay picked up Baez's 2006 option after the 2005 season ended.

The player agents have a vested interest in knowing the ins and outs of the rules.

Remember it was Jeff Shaw's agent who knew about Shaw's right to demand a trade after the Dodgers acquired him. Lasorda and the Dodgers front office forgot.

2006-01-18 21:00:34
172.   OaklandAs
171 Yeah, that's why I think Baez will be a free agent after 2006.
2006-01-18 21:09:51
173.   Fearing Blue
Conspiracy Theory:

Perhaps trading for Baez is the first step in the super-secret plan to move Gagne to the rotation to reduce / modify the stresses on his arm :P. A man can dream, can't he?

Back to Reality:

My evaluation of Ned is still approximately neutral, in that he's made a lot of moves and generated substantial fan / media support, but he hasn't really made that much of an impact. He got fleeced by the Devil Rays and I was quite irritated initially, but in the long run, I don't believe Edwin Jackson or Chuck Tiffany were part of the Dodgers plans. We may look really bad some day, but there's a good chance we won't, especially if Baez has an additional year of service time remaining and pitches reasonably well. While I agree that middle-relievers are fungible garbage, the going rate for said garbage is likely higher than the $4 million we'll be paying Baez.

2006-01-18 21:32:47
174.   natepurcell
if you guys are bored, here are a couple articles on some potential draftees this june.

the first one is on a U of Mizz ace Max Scherzer. Scherzer has one of the best fastballs in this draft to go along with a pretty devestating slider. he still needs to work on his change up though. But he is a boras client...

the second one is of Florida gator's 1b/3b/of Matt LaPorta. Laporta has the best raw power in this upcoming draft. Hes basically a right handed version of adam dunn but probably a higher average. a TTO player.

2006-01-18 21:41:00
175.   das411
Just a couple of points I don't think have been made yet:

158 - Do you really want Grady Little to be the "brave manager to bust out of" conventional bullpen usages?

153 - And the key to this plans is that 83 wins could well win the NL West in 2006, correct?

124 - I think we all missed XF's main point here: Gagne as smokejumper, Baez as setup man, and CARTER as closer! ;)

2006-01-18 21:43:14
176.   Steve
I need some closure on this Baez issue. The idea of two years and ten million dollars going to this Carrara clone is way too much for me to handle.
2006-01-18 21:51:22
177.   trainwreck
What about Ian Kennedy? Is he coming out for the draft?
2006-01-18 21:51:30
178.   Steve
Maybe this has something to do with it?

2006-01-18 21:57:18
179.   natepurcell
What about Ian Kennedy? Is he coming out for the draft?

i like kennedy too. he is 6'1, impeccable control, low 90s fb, and great cb and very smooth delivery. he has a higher K rate at USC then mark prior! he too is a boras client though. He is the safest choice in this years draft IMO.

that link has little bios on his opinion of the top 30 prospects for this draft.

2006-01-18 21:57:50
180.   Steve
Does the Jeff Shaw rule apply, but make him a free agent because his contract is up? Come on. I need something here.
2006-01-18 22:00:35
181.   Steve
The OC Register sayeth:

"Baez will make $4 million this season after the Devil Rays exercised an option in his contract. He also can become a free agent next winter."

2006-01-18 22:01:39
182.   natepurcell
steve, do you want him to be a free agent or do you want to keep him for another year?
2006-01-18 22:02:50
183.   OaklandAs
178 That's the same link as in 165. Foreign players operate under a different set of rules. That's why Hideki Matsui's contract allowed him to become a free agent after only three years of MLB service. I'm pretty sure that Baez will be a free agent after 2006.
2006-01-18 22:03:16
184.   Steve
I'm sort of hoping to find out that he's a free agent tomorrow.
2006-01-18 22:05:41
185.   caseybarker
Dallas Buck for Oregon State may be in the middle of the first round as well. Great groundball pitcher, and he throws in the low to mid - 90's.
2006-01-18 22:07:20
186.   trainwreck
I really want a pitcher taken with our pick. Nate are you bumbed that even though we get picks for Weaver, this year's draft is considered a down one?
2006-01-18 22:07:55
187.   natepurcell
if you look at it this way.

we traded jackson, tiffany and sanchez for jae seo, 1 yr of danys baez, and 2 top 40 draft picks that with logan whites history, could possibly turn out better then jackson and tiffany.

thats the way im trying to look at the trade so i dont get so upset. although, if colletti signs baez to a 4 yr 32 mil deal, then that totally ruins my vision.

2006-01-18 22:08:15
188.   King of the Hobos
Am I the only one who would want to draft someone named Joba? Give him a Matt Morris-esque beard, and he's an easy pick. Or there's Eva(n) Longoria (I couldn't resist)

But seriously, nate has just about convinced me that Stubbs is the best choice (whether or not he still believes that). I like Laporta's hitting ability, but as Canuck pointed out, the odds that White drafts a college 1B isn't particularly great

2006-01-18 22:12:27
189.   natepurcell
Dallas Buck for Oregon State may be in the middle of the first round as well. Great groundball pitcher, and he throws in the low to mid - 90's.

yea, dallas buck is another pitcher i like. Great fastball movement with an awesome slider. extreme gb pitcher as well. if hes available at 31, i would quickly snatch him up just like we did with orenduff in 2004.

I really want a pitcher taken with our pick. Nate are you bumbed that even though we get picks for Weaver, this year's draft is considered a down one?

i dont think this draft is really a big down draft. this draft is absolutely loaded with high cieling college pitchers. that is the strength of this draft. This draft doesnt have the upton or the delmon youngs, theres still a bunch of talent in there.

i dont really know if i want a pitcher. i go back and forth a lot. i would like weaver to sign soon though. i am impatient. we have #7 and #31 for sure.

2006-01-18 22:15:08
190.   natepurcell
But seriously, nate has just about convinced me that Stubbs is the best choice (whether or not he still believes that). I like Laporta's hitting ability, but as Canuck pointed out, the odds that White drafts a college 1B isn't particularly great

if stubbs progresses like he should, he wont be available at #7. the biggest question mark is his K rate. its extremely high and he needs to cut down on that. other then that, with a 6'4 200lb frame, he has power projectabilty, is a complete gazelle, and plays GG CF defense.

hobos, if you read that laporta article i linked, it talks about him working hard at 3b this offseason and he has played LF as well. If he can play a servicable LF, i would seriously take him at 7. he has a behemoth of a bat.

2006-01-18 22:15:31
191.   Steve
183 -- Sorry to repeat your post. I'm picking up that foreign players are free agents from the get-go and are free agents when their contracts are up. Is that what it is?

Nate, there is no way to explain, justify, save, or minimize the effects of this trade. It is, with all due respect, a trainwreck. :)

2006-01-18 22:15:54
192.   trainwreck
This guy says Stubbs is like Baldelli... that is a no thanks for me. He seems to not take a walk and strikes out way too much. The pitchers like Miller, Scherezer, Kennedy along with 1B LaPorta are players I would be happy to get, even though I am sure we have no chance of getting Miller and any Boras client may be a problem after the Hochevar fiasco.
2006-01-18 22:18:41
193.   natepurcell
Nate, there is no way to explain, justify, save, or minimize the effects of this trade. It is, with all due respect, a trainwreck.

bananas in my ears!!!

2006-01-18 22:20:19
194.   natepurcell
thats true about the boras thing. so far, i know boras is representing scherzer and kennedy. SO if we dont sign hochevar, then its unlikely we will draft them.

also guys, dont forget about the prep talent in this class. Kyle Drabek is a pitcher i absolutely love. hes got the bloodlines and the best cb in the prep class to go along with his mid 90s fb.

2006-01-18 22:22:03
195.   trainwreck
I was reading about Drabek and he seems to be a very good hitter as well. Brandon Morrow was a guy that I took notice of, though it seems like he may be more of a closer.
2006-01-18 22:22:32
196.   OaklandAs
191 That might be it. Foreign players operate under their own rules. The salaries of first year foreign players are on a completely different scale than drafted players, so they aren't used for comparisons for salary arbitration.

For what it's worth, the official MLB press release after the Baez says he will be a free agent after 2006.

2006-01-18 22:26:39
197.   natepurcell
the only knock on drabek is his frame. something like 6'0 175.

although the same knock was made on another pitcher from the houston area.... scott kazmir.

2006-01-18 22:27:52
198.   trainwreck
Cody Johnson also seems like he would be a very good pick. An 18 year old with huge power potential and he has a pretty good eye, so he will get his walks, though he will strikeout as well.
2006-01-18 22:29:54
199.   natepurcell
yea i like cody johnson too. truth be told, i like a ton of players in this draft. the best part about johnson is that when he is drafted, he will only be 17 yrs old. and when he starts his first full season in the SAL league in 2007 (if he is drafted by the dodgers), he would only be 18 yrs old. so he is quite young. his power potential is huge though.
2006-01-18 22:32:44
200.   trainwreck
I want the draft too happen now haha. Will be the first time I may actually know a little about the first round pick of the Dodgers.
Show/Hide Comments 201-250
2006-01-18 22:34:03
201.   natepurcell
last time logan white had 3 picks in the first 31, he produced elbert, dewitt and orenduff.
2006-01-18 22:55:11
202.   Bob Timmermann
The link in 196 takes you to an entry for a reference book on programming in C++
2006-01-18 23:03:12
203.   Steve
"If this is our ST roster, then I hate the trade, but if we trade Baez for a reference book on programming in C++, then it might not be so bad"
2006-01-18 23:29:20
204.   OaklandAs
202 All right, how about this one:

2006-01-19 00:05:00
205.   Bob Timmermann
The LA Times has a report about the Dodgers being interested in Bengie Molina.

As for Baez's contract, I don't think there is such a thing as a standard contract for a player not subject to the draft. I imagine that if Baez is a free agent at the end of the year, it's because his agent negotiated it, just like Hideki Matsui's agent did for his client.

2006-01-19 00:37:31
206.   natepurcell
why does colletti want to sign every decling veteran on the free agent market?
2006-01-19 00:57:11
207.   Mark
206 He doesn't. Jeff Weaver isn't a Dodger.
2006-01-19 05:46:09
208.   SMY
That LA Times article mentions Toronto offered Molina $4m for 1 year. Which means the Dodgers would likely have to beat that, or at least come close, no?

Ugh. Why?

2006-01-19 05:52:43
209.   D4P
Because Flanders prefers "proven" mediocrity to potential stardom.
2006-01-19 07:12:24
210.   Goiter
I don't understand why Ned wants to sign Molina exactly. Perhaps because he throws out base runners better than Navarro? Then he could get another draft pick when Molina becomes a free agent after a year. Other than that, it doesn't make much sense to sign him. Isn't that why he signed Alomar? So that he could help Navarro with his skills? If the Molina signing happens, then it will have seemed pointless to have signed Alomar.

Then again, that article in the LA Times states the Dodgers want to win NOW, so it would make sense to go with Molina if they're in a "must win now" phase since he has an advantage over the other catchers.

As for Gagne, I think the Dodgers will re-sign him if he remains an effective closer. As mentioned earlier, his presence creates a huge revenue in t-shirts, etc. He helps to keep fans from leaving early during games, which is good. I can't stand seeing fans leaving after the 7th inning. Plus, if the fans stay longer, they buy more food, etc. Who would want to stay just to watch Baez pitch? I don't know too many people who would do that. Then again, he could prove all of us wrong. We'll see.

2006-01-19 07:33:46
211.   Jon Weisman
New post up top.
2006-01-19 08:20:18
212.   Ben P
Forgive me if this point has already been made, but I think the best thing about getting Baez is that it gives us ammo for a mid-season trade of Baez, not Gagne. At some point this summer, assuming Gagne is healthy, some team desperate for a "proven closer" will be willing to overpay to get Baez, hopefully netting the Dodgers whatever offensive piece we might be lacking at that point.
2006-01-19 09:20:25
213.   DodgerBakers
I find it interesting that people propose that Gagne start or at least pitch more innings. Look at his stats when he pitches over about 10-15 pitches, his ERA balloons, his losses mount and he becomes ineffective. I thought I remember that he used to be a starter and tried to make his way to the ML club that way. Then they converted him to a closer and started doing well. I just don't think he has the durability to go longer than one possibly 1 1/3 innings.
2006-01-19 09:44:53
214.   regfairfield
213 This has been proven wrong on this site and here (horn tooting). Yes, he does get worse, but he still is better than Brazoban or Baez.
2006-01-19 09:55:19
215.   Andrew Shimmin
214- I wondered what you did with yourself after DePo's dumping. I'm bookmarking the new-ish site.
2006-01-19 10:26:37
216.   regfairfield
215 Interesting, the old site didn't just redirect?
2006-01-19 10:45:13
217.   Andrew Shimmin
216- I just assumed it was dead. Or, as Xei would say, I ass-u-med, that it was.

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