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'High School Is Far Away for Top Player Lieberthal'
2006-12-06 20:25
by Jon Weisman

In July 1990, I wrote a feature for the Daily News on Mike Lieberthal, who had just been named the best baseball player from Ventura to Glendale and moved on to become a top Philadelphia Phillies draft choice. He was 18, I was a ripe old 22.

It's not my best work - watch out for "Soon, he will likely be as level-swinging as he is level-headed" - but I thought you might enjoy it:

High School Is Far Away for Top Player Lieberthal

What kind of rewards does the average Daily News Baseball Player of the Year get?

We asked the 1990 winner and we were quite frankly bowled over.

Comfortable travel to and from exotic locales. Can we tempt you with Huntington, W.Va.? How about Martinsville, Va.?

"It's about a six-hour bus ride," our player said. "After the game, which ends probably around 10 p.m., we get something to eat first, and then we're back on the road. We get back around 5 a.m."

Free time. More than you know what to do with.

"We don't have many off days. I think we have one in the middle of July."

Innumerable adoring fans. The best around.

"At our games we have about 3,000. They're really enthusiastic. They totally get into it."

Yes, you too can live the life of extravagance. These luxuries can be yours. Send no money.

All you have to do is bat .438, hit 13 home runs (four in one game), accumulate 43 RBI, be probably the best defensive high school catcher in the nation and get drafted third overall by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Then, you too can be Mike Lieberthal.

Lieberthal, a 6-foot, 180-pound catcher from Westlake High School, led the Warriors to the top ranking in the area by the Daily News and, at one point, the top ranking in the nation by USA Today. Westlake went 28-2 in 1990 and had winning streaks of 15 and 13 games before being upset in the Southern Section 5-A semifinals.

But hours after becoming the eighth area player in the 26-year history of the major-league baseball amateur draft to be drafted in the top five, Lieberthal signed a contract with the Phillies worth approximately $300,000 including salary, scholarship money and a signing bonus.

The Martinsville Phillies of the Appalachian League are Lieberthal's team now - the pros - and high school feels several worlds away.

"Yeah, it does a lot," Lieberthal said. "It's all different. Lots of guys here are mostly out of college, 20 or 21 years old. ... I do (feel different). More mature."

Lieberthal is undergoing a bit of a maturation process on the field, as well. Using a wood bat regularly for the first time, Lieberthal singled in his first game. But that turned out to be the saving grace of a career-opening 1- for-15 slump.

"We've just been working with his hitting, which'll come," Martinsville manager Rolando DeArmas said. "He's got the aluminum bat swing, where you drop back the shoulder and uppercut. We're trying to level out that swing."

It didn't figure that Lieberthal would have problems hitting for long, however. He has come back from that slow start in the middle of June to hit his first home run and raise his average above .200. Soon, he will likely be as level-swinging as he is level-headed.

"He's got a good attitude," DeArmas said. "He's very mature for his age. He's a good kid. He gets along with everybody.

"Everyone gets frustrated when they're not hitting, no doubt about that. But he doesn't take it on the field. He always gives you 120 percent."

In fact, nothing's changed defensively. Lieberthal took his spot behind the plate and came out firing.

"Catching's going good," Lieberthal said. "Three runners went and I threw them all out."

Said DeArmas: "Catching, he's been doing a great job. ... This is my 13th year with the Phillies, seventh in rookie ball, and he's one of the best catchers coming out of high school defensively behind the plate."

For Lieberthal, the praise from the Phillies is very rewarding. For the Phillies, Lieberthal is quite a reward.

"He's what the scouts wrote about," DeArmas said. "We see a lot of potential in him - ain't no doubt about that."

Copyright (c) 1990 Daily News of Los Angeles

Lieberthal made his major-league debut for the Phillies against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium at age 22, on June 30, 1994.

Comments (148)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-12-06 20:33:23
1.   trainwreck
300,000 for the third overall pick oh the 90's.
2006-12-06 20:56:27
2.   Xeifrank
Living in the area where Lieberthal had league play, I remember he had one game where he hit 5 home runs in one game. I am not exactly sure but he may have hit for the home run cycle (solo, 2 run dinger, 3 run dinger, grand dinger), perhaps Bob could look it up in the high school version of retrosheet. :)
vr, Xei
2006-12-06 21:03:28
3.   Bob Timmermann
My Daily News database only goes back to 1995.
2006-12-06 21:11:57
4.   bearlurker
I also was 22 in 1990.
2006-12-06 21:17:01
5.   Jon Weisman
2 - As it says above, he hit four homers in one game.
2006-12-06 21:30:30
6.   Eric Stephen
With the impending Schmidt signing, the Dodgers will give their #22 pick to the Giants. The have the #20 pick (from Boston, Julio Lugo), plus a supplemental.

The Dodgers supplemental will be no worse that the 14th supplemental pick, #44 overall.

The supplemental round is ordered the same as the rest of the draft, by the team that lost the FA. From the latest Baseball America Ask BA, "After all of the clubs with a sandwich pick make a selection, teams with additional supplemental picks will make their second selections, again in the same order, and the process will be repeated until all clubs have exhausted their sandwich choices".

As it stands right now, the Dodgers have the #11 supplemental pick. The only arb-offered free agents that will yield a supplemental pick higher than the Dodgers are:

Graffanino (Mil)
Meche (Sea)
Mulder or Suppan (StL)

If the remaining Padre free agents leave, and SD doesn't sign Type A Graffanino, the Padres could end up with 7 of the first 68-71 picks of the draft. Not bad for them.

2006-12-06 21:56:34
7.   Xeifrank
5. sorry, my eyes got heavy after the second sentence. :) vr, Xei
2006-12-06 21:58:24
8.   saltcreek
from rotoworld....."Eric Gagne rejected an offer from the Dodgers that would have guaranteed him about $4 million with a chance to make about $6 million more in incentives.".....what the hell?
2006-12-06 22:00:25
9.   Robert Daeley
So for my own edification, I looked up outfielders and sorted by 2006 OPS, to see who might be available. I eliminated the names that were definitely not available to the Dodgers at the moment; the ones who are left may or may not be. Here's the remainder of the top 20:

1 Manny Ramirez, Bos -- may or may not be available
2 Jermaine Dye, CWS -- 2007 option picked up by Sox
9 Vernon Wells, Tor -- probably N/A
12 Andruw Jones, Atl -- Boras client, probably N/A
14 Pat Burrell, Phi
16 Raul Ibanez, Sea
17 Reed Johnson, Tor -- from Riverside, CA
18 Michael Cuddyer, Min
20 Nick Swisher, Oak -- probably N/A

Any of these names seem likely and desirable?

Complete list here:

2006-12-06 22:16:47
10.   saltcreek
9. I think after the Garcia trade Burrell might no longer be available. I think our best bet might be trading Penny for Dunn.
2006-12-06 22:19:51
11.   Eric Stephen
Gonzo is a Dodger.

2006-12-06 22:21:42
12.   adraymond
well, I guess we're set then.
2006-12-06 22:22:01
13.   Uncle Miltie
11- ugh....
2006-12-06 22:24:05
14.   saltcreek
ahh crud
2006-12-06 22:24:35
15.   Robert Daeley
9 11 For the record, Luis Gonzalez was #34 on OPS that list. :)
2006-12-06 22:26:03
16.   saltcreek
at least its a one year...
2006-12-06 22:27:56
17.   Uncle Miltie
I thought Ned cared about character
2006-12-06 22:32:29
18.   saltcreek
thats not going to strike much fear into opposing pitchers..Our best lineup would be
1) Furcal
2) Martin
3) Nomar
4) Gonzo
5) Kent
6) Ethier
7) Betemit
8) Pierre
but thats not going to happen
2006-12-06 22:33:08
19.   adraymond
If nothing else, this protects the young 'uns. And when Gonzo goes down mid-season Kemp can come up and take over.
2006-12-06 22:34:47
20.   Icaros
I'm resigned to handling one year of the triplet-maker if it means no prospects are traded. If Gonzo gets hurt or is lousy, Loney and/or Kemp can step in.

I really want to see Kuo in the rotation, but I can handle him getting bumped (for now) by Schmidt.

2006-12-06 22:35:58
21.   gibsonhobbs88
First elation at signing Schmidt and getting our backup catcher, now depression over getting the over the hill Gonzo.
Why! This is not the 2001-02 Luis Gonzalez which I would have love to have. This is the blown out left arm, seen his best days behind him Gonzalez. Now we got two weak arms in the outfield. NL runners are going to have a heyday running against our outfield.
2006-12-06 22:36:12
22.   Eric Stephen
With an 11-man pitching staff, the other 14 spots on the 25-man roster appear to be:

CF - Pierre
SS - Furcal
1B - Nomar
2B - Kent
LF - Gonzo
C - Martin
RF - Ethier
3B - Betemit

1B/3B/PH - Saenz
2B/OF/PH - Marlon
C - Lieberthal
IF/OF - R.Martinez

The final 2 spots look to be between:
1B/OF - Loney
OF - Repko
OF - Werth (arb-eligible)

Toby Hall is arb-eligible, but will most likely be non-tendered if not traded.

In this scenario, methinks the backup CF is Ethier.

2006-12-06 22:37:55
23.   Daniel Zappala
I really hope Little gives serious consideration to playing Loney at 1B with Nomar at 3rd, at least some of the time.
2006-12-06 22:38:14
24.   Eric Stephen
A bit more info here:

"The Dodgers, according to a major league source, turned to Gonzalez after having internal discussions about whether to sign him or trade a younger pitcher for a corner outfielder."

2006-12-06 22:40:46
25.   Icaros

Me too.

2006-12-06 22:40:51
26.   ryu
What are we going to do with our pitching surplus now our outfield is set?
2006-12-06 22:41:15
27.   Eric Stephen
23 I forgot to include Nomar as a 1B/3B. I agree, I'd rather Nomar take at bats from Betemit than Loney.

Actually, that has the potential to be a pretty flexible bench, lots of people playing multiple positions, which could add to Grady's in-game options.

2006-12-06 22:44:58
28.   Icaros

1) Let Kuo start in AAA until Wolf, Penny, or Schmidt gets hurt.

2) Take Hendrickson and Tomko on a scenic country drive. Stop and throw a tennis ball out the window for them to chase. Drive away.

2006-12-06 22:45:05
29.   gibsonhobbs88
Pierre can maybe like Smalls in "Sandlot" before Bennie taught him to throw, where Smalls ran the ball back to the infield. :)

If we were patient, we could have made a trade with our surplus SP for a good bat later in the offseason or near the trade deadline. Gonzo is not going to be a plus at this stage in his career. I would have rather made another trade with the dreaded Rays for Rocco to play LF. Oh well, our rotation looks pretty good.
Schmidt, Lowe, Penny, Wolf and Bills/Kuo.
8 - The Boras effect continues, this news after 8 p.m. blows!!

2006-12-06 22:48:48
30.   Bob Timmermann
Luis Gonzalez's triplets and the Nomia Garciahamm twins on the way and former neighbor Mike Lieberthal on the team, Vin will have a lot of stories to repeat in 2007.

A lot of stories. A whole lot.

2006-12-06 22:49:29
31.   StolenMonkey86
Oh, #1.
2006-12-06 22:53:17
32.   ryu
28 What about sticking Tomko and Kuo into the bullpen? That's one of the areas where we seem to need help.
2006-12-06 22:54:12
33.   natepurcell
Pitching is more valued during the middle of the season. If you cant find a good deal now, go to battle with what you have and wait until some team gets desperate.

boy, our payroll is north of 115M at the moment. crazy.

2006-12-06 22:54:29
34.   Icaros
At least Gonzalez knows how to take walks, though I don't know why anyone would pitch around him at this stage.
2006-12-06 22:55:03
35.   natepurcell
Gonzales has a really nice K/BB ratio though.
2006-12-06 22:57:30
36.   Icaros

I don't like Kuo in the bullpen, and I don't want to tempt management into wasting him as a LOOGY again.

Tomko can be there I guess, but I don't want him to have his own designated inning anymore.

2006-12-06 22:58:40
37.   Icaros

I bet he hits into a lot of DPs.

2006-12-06 22:58:52
38.   natepurcell
if gagne really turned down that offer from us then you cant bust Ned's chops for not trying and making a perfectly reasonable offer.

bye eric.

2006-12-06 23:02:03
39.   Robert Daeley
37 14 in 2006 and 2005, 9 in 2004, 19 in 2003.
2006-12-06 23:07:29
40.   Eric Stephen
33 The payroll is getting up there!

Actual 2007 salaries (not avg value)

Pierre - $7.5m
Furcal - $13m
Nomar - $7.5m
Kent - $9m
Gonzo - $7m
Martin - $400k (est)
Ethier - $400k (est)
Betemit - $400k (est)
Total - $45.2m

Saenz - $1m
Marlon - $525k ($925k less $400k from Was)
Lieberthal - $1.15m
R.Martinez - $800k
Loney - $400k (est)
Repko or whomever - $400k (est)
Total - $4.275m

Starting Pitchers
Schmidt - $15m (est)
Lowe - $9.5m
Penny - $8.5m
Billingsley - $400k (est)
Wolf - $7.5m
Total - $40.9m

Saito - $1m
Broxton - $400k (est)
Brazoban - $400k (est)
Dessens - $0 (KC paying all of $1.7m)
Tomko - $4.1m
Hendrickson - $3m (arb eligible; estimate)
Total - $8.9m

Odalis - $10.25m ($8m to KC & $2.25m of signing bonus)
Mueller - $4.5m (superscout)
Gagne - $1m (buyout of 2007 option)
Cruz - $300k (buyout of 2007 option; released 8/06)
Total - $16.05m

Total Payroll - $115.325m

Note: MLB minimum increases from $327k to $390k in 2007.

2006-12-06 23:07:37
41.   Icaros

Could be worse. I'd rather have signed Bonds, though. I think people underestimate how fun it would be to beat the Giants with Schmidt and Bonds.

I've never been against selling my soul to the man in the woods, I guess.

2006-12-06 23:07:51
42.   natepurcell
So basically by midseason, gonzos going to shred his labrum again and nomars going to rip his groin again and loney and kemp will save the day.

thats the plan right?

2006-12-06 23:07:57
43.   Uncle Miltie
"Go ask Baez and (Dodgers manager) Grady Little," Arizona left fielder Luis Gonzalez said. "They're the ones that (expletive) waited until late in the game to throw at him. It was (expletive) gutless.
Great leadership right there.
2006-12-06 23:09:56
44.   Icaros

Just like last year and the year before.

2006-12-06 23:10:28
45.   natepurcell
I actually would rather have Billingsley coming out of the pen next season as a smoke jumper with Kuo taking the 5th spot in the rotation.

Bills will only be 23, so maybe the earl weaver approach might not be a bad idea.

He was dynamite coming out of the pen against the mets in the playoffs.

2006-12-06 23:12:20
46.   trainwreck
He clearly wanted to be a Dodger for all the right reasons.
2006-12-06 23:12:24
47.   Icaros

I thought you wanted to use Hendrickson as smoke jumper.

2006-12-06 23:12:57
48.   robohobo
33. I think that may be Ned's strategy. He has lots of money to spend so buy players that may be helpful, take some chances, and at then trade for help by the deadline. If Ned still has a pitching surplus, players like Wells or Jones will likely be available for the playoff push. Every year it's the same.

Besides, how bad can Gonzo be? We play the Snakes how many times a year? He is bound to be up for those games. I don't think player contracts can be evaluated with $$$ any more especially for big market teams. Its who has the a competitive team in September relative to their division that is important. Who here really cares how much money the McCourts spend as long as we have a competitive team, which we clearly do. Playoffs are all about luck and destiny. The Dodgers just have to beat 4 other teams to get there.

I feel good about 2007 so far. Ned could have done much, much worse.

2006-12-06 23:13:40
49.   natepurcell

no, I wanted to put hendrickson in a smokehouse and lock the doors.

2006-12-06 23:14:31
50.   Eric Stephen
45 I wouldn't mind that at all.

I think Hendrickson is a non-tender candidate but maybe in this market he's a tradeable commodity! That would open up a spot in the bullpen.

Hopefully Colletti can trim salary by trading expensive (or potentially expensive) chaff like Hendrickson, Toby Hall, and Tomko.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-12-06 23:16:16
51.   Louis in SF
As a few have mentioned the Gonzales signings protects the young kids and I would also argue allows us some interesting opportunities at the trade deadline or even before. There is also protection if injuries occur. I only wish if the Roto world story is true, sounds like a great Dodger leak, that Gagne would reconsider and sign with the Dodgers. It won't happen I know...I wonder if anyone will ever get the full story on Boras and Ned, I think there feud is serious and I really wonder what will happen next year when we have to deal with him.
2006-12-06 23:16:48
52.   Uncle Miltie
BJ looked pretty good in the relief role last year. He definitely shouldn't be non tendered.

On the other hand, Tomko...

2006-12-06 23:16:58
53.   natepurcell

if we use bills in the pen, tomko is expendable. trade him to a team like the royals, he would immediately be their #2.

2006-12-06 23:17:08
54.   CanuckDodger
I am glad we signed Gonzalez -- in the "lesser of two evils" kind of way. If the ONLY alternative being considered by Colletti was trading "a younger pitcher" (i.e., more likely Billingsley or Kuo than Penny) for a hitter, then fine, we swallow hard and accept Gonzo as the price of not trading away Billingsley, Kuo, or somebody else like Broxton or Elbert, or maybe more than one of them.
2006-12-06 23:18:10
55.   Icaros

LOL. I agree.

I actually like your bullpen idea for Billingsley. That's how the Dodgers used to break in future starters like Welch, Stewart, Hershiser, etc.

I want Kuo to start, either in AAA or the majors, because I think his arm may be less likely to fall off with a set routine.

2006-12-06 23:19:21
56.   EJM
Ive been sitting with an uncontrollably stupid grin on my face...Gonzo is only here for a year, all of the prospects are still around and the starting pitching is top notch...Ned my boy, it's time to hibernate.
2006-12-06 23:19:29
57.   regfairfield
The part that scares me about Gonzalez is that both his patience and power have been steadily declining. Combine this with a shift from the BOB to Dodger Stadium, and I could see Gonzo doing something like .260/.330/.415, which must be close to replacement level for an outfielder.

Still, if he actually does something resemblining 2006, and understands that he's just keeping Kemp's spot warm, this could work out okay.

2006-12-06 23:19:53
58.   Greg Brock
I wonder if Luis Gonzalez has any children.
2006-12-06 23:21:11
59.   trainwreck
So Ethier is our right fielder?
2006-12-06 23:21:24
60.   regfairfield
Though that does bring up the question, can Loney do better? I think so, especially if Gonzo's power drops like I think it will.
2006-12-06 23:21:33
61.   trainwreck
So much for that good outfield defense for Schmidt.
2006-12-06 23:21:58
62.   27indigo
54 58 I don't know what an aging, declining Luis Gonzalez can possibly bring to the table that any of our minor leaguers can't provide.
2006-12-06 23:22:12
63.   natepurcell
I wonder if Luis Gonzalez has any children.

I heard his sperm were gold medalist swimmers.

2006-12-06 23:22:46
64.   Icaros

See, I think if he struggles like that, he'll lose significant playing time by season's end, hopefully to an emerging Kemp and/or Loney.

I will say in Colletti's defense that he isn't too proud to demote or scrap his mistakes.

2006-12-06 23:23:55
65.   natepurcell
I don't know what an aging, declining Luis Gonzalez can possibly bring to the table that any of our minor leaguers can't provide.

absolutely nothing. but thats not the point. the point is, the lesser of two evils was chosen today and dodger fans can rejoice. Ned is a paranoid 'stache man. He probably wakes up at night in hot sweats screaming out "MUST HAVE DEPTH..NOT, ENOUGH...PLAYERS!"

2006-12-06 23:23:56
66.   regfairfield
If he does stink, how long till we start calling him "Lugo"?
2006-12-06 23:27:06
67.   Eric Stephen
58 Another thing about Luis Gonzalez...As much as I love Vin Scully, he tends to fawn too much over Luis Gonzalez as if he was a child with a ticket to the game.

On at least one telecast in 2006, Vin Scully said of Gonzo something like "It's so rare that a franchise's best player is also its best human being." It seemed a ridiculous statement to make, but I have chosen to give Vin the benefit of the doubt (57 years in the booth; I think he's earned it).

I just hope that sentiment isn't repeated too much in 2007. Unless, of course, Vin is praising a rehabbing Luis Gonzalez for being such a team player, encouraging his replacement Matt Kemp. :)

2006-12-06 23:29:54
68.   Icaros
Isn't it funny how Choi and Lugo had similar cliff dives as late-season acquisitons in LA, yet everybody basically hates Lugo while half of everybody loved Choi, myself included?
2006-12-06 23:30:28
69.   Eric Stephen
66 Maybe we can shorten Gonzo's nickname, "Necessary Evil", to "Ne", pronounced "Nee" as in the Knights Who Say "Nee".

Or we could just call him "Brave Sir Robin," bravely entering a lame duck season as the young guns are soon to vanquish him from his job.

2006-12-06 23:33:23
70.   Eric Enders
68 Choi smiled and laughed a lot and was inexplicably benched by the manager. Lugo was inexplicably given playing time, and also allegedly smashed his wife's head into a car hood. Therein lies the difference...
2006-12-06 23:35:18
71.   trainwreck
Choi was not the centerpiece of his deal. Lugo was the whole deal.
2006-12-06 23:40:28
72.   s choir
If this or something like it is the opening day lineup I don't think it'll be that bad...

Pierre cf
Martin c
Furcal ss
Kent 2b
Nomar 3b
Loney 1b
Ethier rf
Gonzo lf

...but I hope that by June we'll be seeing Kemp on a regular basis and that Gonzo is relegated to a moderately pricey pinch hitter/fourth outfielder.

2006-12-06 23:40:48
73.   natepurcell
I second the Nee motion as a subsitute for Gonzo.

Basically because no one besides the DT contingency would know what it means. Just like Lucille II.

2006-12-06 23:40:54
74.   StolenMonkey86
52 - I agree. I don't care who we get for Tomko either. Billingsley would be good as a 7th inning guy for fireman type character out of the pen, and can move back to the rotation when we trade a starter at the deadline.

Honestly I'd say send Tomko to DC; their starting staff would actually benefit from him, and it's hard enough to hit a homer there that he might have a good year. Paying $4 million for a starting pitcher who's usually good for 180-200 innings would be reasonable enough.

Maybe he'd do a sketch of Sam or me.

2006-12-06 23:43:30
75.   StolenMonkey86
69 - And if he does something useful, he's Ekky-ekky-ekky-ekky-z'Bang, zoom-Boing, z'nourrrwringmm
2006-12-06 23:44:31
76.   StolenMonkey86
So, any gamblers here? I want to know the odds of Gonzo OPSing over .800.
2006-12-06 23:44:36
77.   Eric Stephen
I always wondered how that was spelled!
2006-12-06 23:46:26
78.   Icaros
I feel so relaxed now. I get so edgy when Ned has an itchy trading finger.
2006-12-06 23:47:02
79.   StolenMonkey86
77 - Well you have to know these thing when you're king.

They even have a pronunciation here, where I copy-pasted it from:

2006-12-06 23:49:44
80.   xaphor
73. I nominate Phoebe
2006-12-06 23:49:46
81.   dzzrtRatt
54 Yep, and that's probably why they let that story leak.

There is something in between an offense that crushes the ball, and an offense that has to "manufacture runs." The 2007 Dodgers embody that something. They'll hit lots of singles and doubles, and score a decent amount of runs that way. But they will also lead the league in runners LOB. We'll see a lot of games where they get 10 hits, but no runs. Their pitchers are going to have to be emotionally strong, because there are going to be a lot of night when Schmidt or Lowe will be pitching a great game, but will be losing, 2-0.

I'm not saying the Dodgers won't be good. They might be. But it will be a frustrating sort of team, more maddening than '06. I agree, the best-case scenario has Gonzo, Nomar or Kent getting hurt for a stretch to create more playing time for Loney, Kemp or even LaRoche. Weird thing to root for.

2006-12-06 23:50:28
82.   StolenMonkey86
79 - things. D'oh!
2006-12-06 23:54:01
83.   StolenMonkey86
Dodger Blues has yet to update, which is probably about what I'd need now. My favorite line on Gonzo:

If that's not a Ned Colletti move, we don't know what is.

2006-12-06 23:56:09
84.   Uncle Miltie
However, executives from other teams said Penny's stock has dropped to the point that it could be difficult for the Dodgers to deal him for a proven hitter unless they also include at least one top prospect. A possible trade partner could be the Toronto Blue Jays, whose general manager, J.P. Ricciardi, likes Penny. Blue Jays center fielder Vernon Wells has one year left on his contract and isn't likely to re-sign with Toronto, so Ricciardi could be open to trading him.
Ned loves to sell low and buy high.

Adding Gonzalez also could increase the Dodgers options in a trade. They could feel more comfortable trading a prospect such as Matt Kemp, Andy LaRoche, James Loney or Andre Ethier.
Don't care much for Ethier, but the other two shouldn't be made available.

Why did we sign Pierre??

2006-12-06 23:58:11
85.   saltcreek
I got this from

Left field NL average: .277/.359/.478
Luis Gonzalez: .273/.357/.447

Center field NL average: .264/.335/.418
Juan Pierre: .292/.330/.388

Right field NL average: .268/.345/.453
Andre Ethier: .308/.365/.477

2006-12-07 00:02:18
86.   natepurcell
Adding Gonzalez also could increase the Dodgers options in a trade. They could feel more comfortable trading a prospect such as Matt Kemp, Andy LaRoche, James Loney or Andre Ethier.

thats a ridiculous assertion.

2006-12-07 00:03:14
87.   trainwreck
And everyone thought this made us safe.
2006-12-07 00:03:59
88.   natepurcell
I still cant believe Gagne turned down our offer.

Gagne said during the season he would give the Dodgers a hometown discount to re-sign, but like Drew's assertion that he wouldn't opt out of his contract, those words ring somewhat hollow. Gagne's agent, Scott Boras, turned down a guaranteed one-year, $4-million Dodgers offer with incentives that could have increased the value to $10 million, a source close to the negotiations said.

Although the Dodgers don't appear willing to increase the offer, Boras plans to speak to Colletti again before Gagne signs with another team. The market for Gagne has increased to more than $5 million guaranteed, with the same kind of incentives the Dodgers are offering.

"Obviously we are meeting and talking to a lot of teams," Boras said. "But Ned and I are communicating and we will continue to talk about Eric Gagne."

2006-12-07 00:04:42
89.   Eric Stephen
84 Can I ask what article those statements are from? I haven't seen that anywhere.
2006-12-07 00:04:43
90.   Sagehen
69 Ne is the Middle English word for "not" or "nothing," something the Monty Python guys would have known. Hmm. "Nee" is French for "born." Again with the triplets. This works on so many levels.

My first post after enjoys you guys for six months.

2006-12-07 00:04:53
91.   trainwreck
I would not be surprised if Boras advices against Gagne out of spite.
2006-12-07 00:05:51
92.   trainwreck
I mean Boras probably wants to screw Ned over.
2006-12-07 00:06:21
93.   Eric Stephen
2006-12-07 00:07:19
94.   saltcreek
88. Gagne let me down....thats more than a fair offer
2006-12-07 00:09:19
95.   regfairfield
Have to say that Ned might have priced himself out of the market here. If Randy Wolf, a man who has done nothing for three years, and who hasn't been any good for four is worth a non incentive based eight million dollar deal. What is a stud like Gagne worth, who only hasn't done a thing for two years?
2006-12-07 00:09:48
96.   Sagehen
90 Ack! after enjoying you guys for six months (I know that typo won't slide by)
2006-12-07 00:11:23
97.   saltcreek
95. At least Wolf pitched more than 2 innings last year.
2006-12-07 00:11:51
98.   natepurcell

its different. wolf is a starting pitcher and he came back last year and showed he was healthy and he had his stuff back; just not his command.

gagne hasnt even thrown a bullpen session yet is coming off elbow and back surgeries.

2006-12-07 00:12:33
99.   StolenMonkey86
95 - but Randy Wolf is left-handed!
2006-12-07 00:13:55
100.   regfairfield
98 True, but I wouldn't say Wolf had his stuff back, he was allowing over two home runs per nine. I think the chance of him doing that is scarier than the chance of Gagne doing nothing.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-12-07 00:16:27
101.   natepurcell
but I wouldn't say Wolf had his stuff back, he was allowing over two home runs per nine.

due to command issues. If you rewatched some of his starts last year, his fastball was consistently 90-92 and reaching 94 on occasion. He had the snap on his curveball when he would get on top of it but again the command just wasnt there yet. Which is understood since he just came back from TJ.

2006-12-07 00:20:47
102.   saltcreek
100. You make a good point though
2006-12-07 00:26:03
103.   Eric Stephen
With today's signings the Dodgers' 40-man roster has 43 players right now, meaning 3 have to be removed from the 40-man to correspond with these moves.

Isn't the Rule 5 draft tomorrow?

I'd guess candidates for removal from the 40-man (waivers or outright release) are:

Eric Hull (although he was added to the 40-man last month)
Wilson Valdez (see Hull)
Toby Hall (traded by tomorrow?)

It seems there is another shoe to drop here...a trade perhaps (2 for 1, 3 for 2, something to decrease the 40-man)?

Before signing Gonzo, I was hoping Penny (and Hall) were traded for Pat Burrell. Now, I'm not sure what to think!

2006-12-07 00:29:00
104.   natepurcell
theres a logan white podcast up on to d/l

you dont have to be a subscriber.

2006-12-07 00:32:28
105.   CanuckDodger
104 -- Nate, I don't have audio. Could you tell us (well, me) what White says in that podcast?
2006-12-07 00:33:08
106.   natepurcell

im listening to it now. give me a couple of minutes.

2006-12-07 00:35:03
107.   Eric Stephen
104,105 BA (John Manuel?) called Grady Little "the perfect manager" to fuse young players and veterans.
2006-12-07 00:37:32
108.   CanuckDodger
Henson and Adande at the Times must not realize that Gonzalez IS the "big bat," or what we settled for at least. They don't seem to understand that we did not bring in the 39-year-old Gonzalez to make either Ethier or Betemit redundant.
2006-12-07 00:41:58
109.   Eric Stephen
Logan White mentioned these as prospects he expects to contribute as early as 2007:

Scott Elbert
Jon Meloan
Eric Hull

2006-12-07 00:43:53
110.   natepurcell
-hiring of grady by ned was outstanding. really great with the young players.

-credits ned for keeping the staff together and giving room for logan and his scouts to do their own thing.

-they have a mandate to look for players that they think they can convert to catchers (ie, russ martin success story). Look for players that have an athletic, durable body- usually a SS or 3b that have a chance to hit. Needs great footwork and flexibility.

-Elbert might be a darkhorse to come and suprise in 2007 if he stays healthy. Hes got an outstanding mentality

-Meloan might surprise next year as well.

-Likes eric hull as an overachiever, great heart.

basically, the last 3 points were when Manuel asked who are some players down on the farm that Logan can talk about. Manuel mentioned Laroche and Kemp and then Logan took the cue and mentioned those guys.

2006-12-07 00:47:39
111.   Eric Stephen
Schmidt wore #29 with the Giants. I wonder if James Loney will have to switch numbers for the 2nd time in a year (he started 2006 with #27, taken over by Kemp later in the year).

Let's hope Loney gets the chance to wear some sort of number with LA for many, many years.

2006-12-07 00:50:38
112.   Dr Gonzo
God forbid, he didn't call Hull 'scrappy,' did he?
2006-12-07 00:51:13
113.   Louis in SF

I saw the article in this morning's LA Times-online now. Earlier a similiar story was quoted in Roto world. What I find most interesting is the Boras quote, "Ned and I are communicating".. Is this a Boras olive branch or is this Boras using the Dodgers and the early comments by Gagne to get more money for his client?

2006-12-07 00:55:18
114.   Sagehen
103 If I'm not mistaken, the Rule 5 draft is based upon rosters as of November 20. From Baseball America's draft preview: "Teams must file their 40-man rosters by Nov. 20, and only those not at the full allotment of 40 may select players." I interpret this to mean that the signings this week will have no effect upon who will be available in the draft.
2006-12-07 00:57:32
115.   Eric Stephen
114 Thanks.

Also, I was thinking of the 40-man in general, since the team can't have more than 40 on the roster unless someone is on the 60-day DL, which in the off-season doesn't exist.

2006-12-07 01:08:23
116.   Dr Gonzo
I would imagine Boras' client base might suffer if he didn't at least claim to still have a working relationship with one of the highest-payroll franchises in baseball.

But with Saito re-signed, it doesn't sound like there's much to communicate.

2006-12-07 01:12:04
117.   StolenMonkey86
111 - speaking of numbers, who takes over 38?
2006-12-07 01:21:01
118.   overkill94
Acquiring a big hitter still seems entirely within the realm of possibility. Ideally it would be some sort of package including Penny and Ethier, thus making the new big bat our new RF and allowing Kemp to be in the picture if not this year then next year when Gonzo is gone-zo. Still not sure where that leaves Loney, although I'm sure they'd love to keep him around as Nomar insurance. If Penny and Ethier isn't enough, I wouldn't be heartbroken if Broxton or Elbert were included, but it better be a dang good hitter.
2006-12-07 01:23:37
119.   StolenMonkey86
or for that matter 7
2006-12-07 01:28:50
120.   Sagehen
117 - Saito. He'll also be entering to Welcome to the Jungle. Err -- that was the Marketing Department's plan, anyway, until the return of name's on uniforms foiled their plot to make ignorant fans believe Gagne never left.
2006-12-07 01:36:58
121.   xaphor
120. Now the plan is to go with "Turning Japanese"
2006-12-07 01:37:52
122.   Dr Gonzo
Hmmm... Penny's health/head is a question mark, Wolf's health is no given, neither is Kuo's, and even Billz might well have a sophomore setback.

If I'm Ned, I'm not trading any pitching now. I don't want Grady to ever hand in a lineup card that's got Tomko or Hendrickson's name on it.

2006-12-07 01:46:57
123.   Dr Gonzo
You know, I've liked that song for 20 years, and it was only six months ago that I found out what it meant. What a sharp guy...
2006-12-07 01:53:25
124.   natepurcell
if the braves can get rafael soriano for horacio ramirez, Hendrickson has to be of some value.
2006-12-07 02:08:10
125.   Dr Gonzo
Oh, you're talking about trading Hendrickson! I was worried we were going to trade some pitching... (ba-doom-boom)

Yeah, on paper:
Over 100 career starts [check]
Career ERA under 5 [check]
Left-handed [check]
Has pulse [check]

Based on this offseason, I think we're looking at a $7m guy here. We should get something for him, darn it!

(PS: thanks for transcripting the Logan White thing, Nate)

2006-12-07 04:45:58
126.   xaphor
According to the fine people that brought us Lugo and Hendrickson Greg Brock's company is just as dangerous as Andrew's.

2006-12-07 06:06:45
127.   goblue1
"Gonzalez, who didn't come to an agreement until 1 a.m. EST, has a one-year, $7.35-million deal and assurances from Manager Grady Little that he will be the starting left fielder. "

Dear Mr Coletti, If your dream is to run a convelesant home- then go do so. Most Dodger fans do not want to see you turn this into the oldest team in baseball the way you did the Giants. I hate this deal in that ancient/declining Gonzo is Guaranteed to be the starter. What the heck is that about? Pretty much locks in Coletti unloading a young outfielder.

2006-12-07 06:17:23
128.   Andrew Shimmin
It isn't so much the money as the length of the Gonzo contract that bothers me. Couldn't we give him ten million bucks just for veteran leadership through Spring Training? There could be, like, a mutual option on April, maybe.
2006-12-07 06:17:27
129.   Claire Malone-Evans
It looks like the opening day lineup is set.
1. SS Furcal
2. C Martin
3. 1B Garciaparra
4. 2B Kent
5. LF Gonzalez
6. RF Ethier
7. 3B Betemit
8. P Schmidt
9. CF Pierre
2006-12-07 06:28:48
130.   Andrew Shimmin
We live in the future.

P.S. In 1200 years, this is the first guy to concoct a make believe number? Or am I missing some subtle genius here?

2006-12-07 07:11:44
131.   Disabled List
109, 110 Logan White mentioned these as prospects he expects to contribute as early as 2007:

Scott Elbert
Jon Meloan
Eric Hull

This smells like a disinformation campaign to me. He's pumping up some stocks he owns so he can sell high.

Seriously, Eric Hull?

2006-12-07 07:12:44
132.   JoeyP
For 120 mils of payroll, you'd think the Dodgers would have a better team.

Gonzo, Nomar, Wolf, and Pierre: 33 mils they are making this year.

Wouldnt 2 (15 mils dollar players) and 2 rookies be better?

It feels like 98-2001 all over again.

2006-12-07 07:14:00
133.   Andrew Shimmin
No richer, no poorer for the rule 5 draft. It's over, right?

2006-12-07 07:18:36
134.   Bumsrap
129 You are close but with only a few mistakes.

1. SS Furcal
2. C Martin
3. 3B Garciaparra
4. LF Gonzalez
5. 2B Kent
6. 1B Loney
7. RF Ethier
8. P Schmidt
9. CF Pierre

Ethier and Martin are friends.

Kent, Schmidt, and Gonzo go to AARP meetings together.

Slowly but surely Ned is building team chemistry.

2006-12-07 07:28:46
135.   Gen3Blue
An East Coaster arises!
104 Nate-thanks for the steer.
I know some people want a major power hitter, but it looks to me like we have taken care of most needs without selling the farm or long, blocking contracts.(CF may be an exception) If we end up with surplus pitching and get a good bat, it will all seem almost too good to be true.
Of course this is going to cost, but with the money people are throwing around this year, we won't really stand out. I haven't noticed--are the small market teams also increasing payroll?
2006-12-07 07:29:11
136.   Bumsrap
SS Abreu
2B DeWitt
1B Loney
RF Kemp
LF Ethier
3B LaRoche
CF Repko
C ?

Elbert, Maloan, Kuo, Miller, Houlton

Could this AAA Las Vegas team already be better than the opening day Dodgers?

2006-12-07 07:30:07
137.   D4P
1. Look for Penny to be traded for "bullpen help"

2. In an outfield with Luis Gonzalez and Juan Pierre, "3.5" is a compliment

2006-12-07 07:34:22
138.   Bumsrap
On balls hit into the left-center field gap should Pierre let Gonzo cut them off while he positions himself to be part of the relay to second base?
2006-12-07 07:34:34
139.   Disabled List
132 Wouldnt 2 (15 mils dollar players) and 2 rookies be better?

Depends on who the players are. Just because they're getting paid $15 million doesn't meant they're worth it.

This year's FA class is very short on guys who are truly worth the salaries they're getting. (Although I suppose that's true every year.)

2006-12-07 07:39:13
140.   D4P
Or should Pierre just run the balls into second base himself, and skip the whole "throwing" thing altogether...?
2006-12-07 07:43:33
141.   StolenMonkey86
that's fascinating, so now I can describe the ratio of

p(Pierre OPS's over .800)
p(Gonzo matches JD Drew's productivity)

it's nullity!

2006-12-07 07:49:48
142.   blutomania
I like the Gonzo move. The FO has implied they think Kemp needs another year, and this move gives him that development. Further Gonzo's a good figure in the clubhouse.

Loney will get some time to spell Gonzo, as will Werth or Repko. That should keep Gonzo's appearances somewhat moderate and keep him healthy.

As someone implied a while back, this isn't a lineup to be constructed around a big bopper. It's a lineup made of solid hitters.


2006-12-07 08:08:24
143.   Gen3Blue
141 if p is probability with a value between 0 and 1, then a ratio is problematical, but could well be near infinity or undefined as the denominater is very likely zip. Perhaps this will bait a mathematician into wasting some time posting.
2006-12-07 08:10:36
144.   Disabled List
Gonzo is decrepit. I think he is going to be the worst hitter in the lineup. I don't know why Ned paid $7 million for that.

I can't figure out Colletti's philosophy at all. He hasn't traded any of the blue-chip prospects, but his moves indicate he has no confidence in the young players, either.

First he blocks Loney by re-signing Nomar. Then he signs two starting pitchers, shoving Billingsley and Kuo out of the rotation. Now Gonzo ensures that Kemp won't be around at least for another year. And even though we have Ethier, I still think another trade for an outfielder might be in the works, what with our surplus of pitchers. And yet, it's Penny who's being shopped, not Billz or Kuo. Strange.

2006-12-07 08:20:00
145.   StolenMonkey86
143 - Juan Pierre's career high OPS is .793, and that was in Coors Original (tm).

I've got P(Pierre OPSing over .800) at 0.

I also forgot to mention that 141 refers to 130. My apologies.

2006-12-07 08:22:37
146.   Sam DC
Brett Tomko would probably be the second best pitcher on the Nationals, and that assumes John Patterson is resuscitated.

90 Welcome. Hard to argue with the first comment sharing some knowledge of Middle English. My first comment was something like "Uh, hi, so you guys like the Dodgers?"

And a solemn Pearl Harbor Day to you all.

2006-12-07 08:23:19
147.   Jon Weisman
New post up top.
2006-12-07 08:26:33
148.   Benaiah
The idea of liking a terrible move because it probably prevents your GM from really messing up is terrible. When did it get this bad?
Ned's strong points: he always has a back up plan, seemingly to prevent a situation like 2004 and to provide roster flexibility for Grady Little, who likes to play the hot hand.

Ned's weak point: Values experience over talent, will trade young players for immediate help, even if that help does not have a long term plan. Obviously overvalues traditional statistics and counting stats over more advanced statistics and metrics. Does not like to commit and thus overpays rather than gives extra years (some view this as a positive, but money is worth more now than in the future, so the risk of an extra 7 million or so over an extra year is mitigated. In other words, the riskiest part of the contract is the first year, and the contract because less burdensome every passing year).

Obviously the real problem is the lack of faith in the kids and the disregard for rate statistics.

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