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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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The End in Saito
2006-09-26 07:25
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Family bonds may pull 2006 Dodger relief savior Takashi Saito back to Japan after this season, Bill Plunkett of the Register reports.

Saito is caught up in the pennant race and has not made a decision, according to Plunkett, but will listen carefully to his loved ones when that time comes:

Saito has two daughters, ages 11 and 8. Since leaving for Vero Beach, Fla., in February, he has seen his wife and daughters twice. They came to Florida for a week in spring training when the girls' school was on spring break and again in California in the summer.

Colletti understands the feelings that could lead Saito to make his time in the U.S. a one-year wander.

"We'll have to wait and see," Colletti said. "I can understand it, to some point. At the same time, he's had a pretty good experience here. Once may not be enough."

Saito agrees his time with the Dodgers has been a good experience, on and off the field. The diversity of Los Angeles and the large Asian population in the area has made it a "very easy transition to life in America," Saito said.

* * *

You'll probably find it on your own, but it's hard to let Steve Henson's intimate profile of Ned Colletti in the Times today pass without a mention. Henson did a thorough job talking to the influential people in Colletti's life and painting a full portrait of the man, with the only missing piece being perhaps finding out what Colletti has or hasn't learned from the 2006 deals that haven't worked out. (To be fair, that piece wasn't the point of the feature.)

Addressing a side note of the story: You hear stories about high school counselors telling students that they're not good enough to apply for college and you wonder, how is this possible? How can someone in that position tell a kid, any kid, to give up? I don't think it matters what era we're talking about: A bad high school transcript is not a dead end if the desire is there to turn it around.

* * *

This week, I'd like to see Olmedo Saenz get more at-bats than he has since Julio Lugo arrived.

Saenz is not a good on-base guy against right-handed pitching, but he has the power to threaten an opposing team - whereas Lugo doesn't have either of these qualities in his favor right now. Against lefties, of course, Saenz is even better.

The Dodgers are scheduled to face three right-handed starters in Colorado before taking on lefty Noah Lowry in San Francisco on Friday. With groundballers Greg Maddux and Derek Lowe opening the Colorado series, Wilson Betemit will probably get the call at third base, but for Brad Penny's start Thursday and then Hong-Chih Kuo's Friday, I'd give Saenz serious consideration.

* * *

The Phillies blinked. It's on.

Comments (118)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-09-26 07:51:23
1.   Bob Timmermann
As I have to attend a training session all day Monday, I ORDER that there be no tiebreaker playoff games.

Thank you.

2006-09-26 08:05:36
2.   FirstMohican
You hear so many stories about people being told that they can't succeed that it makes me wonder if sometimes it's intentional.
2006-09-26 08:26:04
3.   CharlieBrown
It's interesting as a sidebar in the article that Nomar and Lofton are considered signs of Colletti's deft FA signings. What do people think about that?

How much is Nomar going to end up with this year? $9 million? For a 300/365/500 line, good defense at first and 2 trips to the DL--I suppose that worked out okay. I'm not sure you could not have gotten similar production from Saenz and a platoon mate for cheaper.

Lofton? 4 million for a good on base/baserunner guy with no power and horrible defense. Again, I am unsure--was that worth it?

Maybe there is something to be said for having some kind of patch at a weak spot, even if you have to overpay for it. But then, how much GM skill does it take to overpay for somebody?

2006-09-26 08:40:57
4.   Sushirabbit
For awhile there wasn't Saenz the best pinch-hitter in the NL?

I do think Penny looks like he might be fighting the "dead arm". I've had friends say they sometimes pitch better with it, but they have "Zero" control on certain pitches. I don't exactly understand that, but that's what they've said. I don't see why that'd be true of the splitter, except that maybe when you have "dead arm" it's harder to keep your wrist locked at the end?
This makes sense if he doesn't throw a two-seamer, which I can't remember him ever throwing, but seems surprising.

I tell my kid all the time that he can do anything he has the will to do but he isn't even 5 yet, so I'm not sure how much that means. He really digs people that have lost legs and arms and still participate in sports, which seems really neat to me, like somehow he gets the wonder and coolness of that.

2006-09-26 08:58:27
5.   50 years a Dodger Fan
3 How much is Nomar going to end up with this year? $9 million? For a 300/365/500 line, good defense at first and 2 trips to the DL--I suppose that worked out okay. I'm not sure you could not have gotten similar production from Saenz and a platoon mate for cheaper.

And that was why we had acres and acres of 'Choi Talk' here and in other blogs. Nomar was a good signing, they just put him on the wrong base. How different would our year have been with Nomar's stats at third base, and Saenz/Choi (2004 stats) at first?

2006-09-26 09:13:43
6.   50 years a Dodger Fan
The Dodger Mailbag gets into the Muller Retirement question. I think I understand the rules, so is this a valid solution?
Dodgers put Muller on waivers; naturally no one claims him. Can they then assign his contract to one of their minor league teams, which he wouldn't want to go to? Purpose being to put him into a position where he might retire for a bonus of maybe half what he would get if he doesn't retire and waits out the year. Would putting him on the bench of a podunk minor league team encourage him in that direction?
2006-09-26 09:19:31
7.   underdog
Although of course Nomar and Lofton are both "overpaid" I think they were also both good signings - I'm not sure they'd be in the playoff hunt without either of them. As for 5 I don't think Nomar at 3rd or Short is still an option; he just doesn't move with the same amount of range anymore. Maybe he could handle 3rd but from what I read from scouts before the season started there were questions about how he'd hold up over there. I think 1st was the safest option to fit him in.

I do think Saenz could get some more ABs this week, too - at 1st or 3rd, like Jon says - maybe Thurs and Friday.

2006-09-26 09:24:50
8.   Greg Brock
A bad high school transcript is not a dead end if the desire is there to turn it around

Wells said. If bad high school transcripts were the end all be all, I would probably be digging ditches right now.

That is not a knock on ditch digging, which is a noble and difficult profession.

2006-09-26 09:28:32
9.   dzzrtRatt
For 2006, I think the acquisitions of Nomar and Lofton as part of an overall patchwork approach, have been helpful. We had a terrible team last year. Changes had to be made.

With Nomar at third and Choi/Saenz at first -- think about it. We would've been exposed at a skill position during Nomar's DL stints. This way, when Nomar was out, all we had to do was slide in Loney, Kent, Saenz, each of whom could do something to help.

And Choi/Saenz at first? Um. Okay. Look, I was on the pro-Choi side last season. As it happens, I was on the wrong side. The only argument left for Choi is, he was cheap. But the Dodgers don't need cheap, mediocre-to-poor players. They need good players -- costing less if possible, but more if necessary.

The team just broke its attendance record. We can overpay for a Nomar.

With Lofton, there was a better argument against his acquisition, but it looked better at the beginning of the season than it does now. The gamble basically worked. He didn't repeat his "career year," which many suspected was an outlier and a last gasp of an old player. But he didn't fall off from it too much.

Generally, I'm glad to see him come to bat. Generally, I'm not glad if a ball is hit in his direction, but this isn't a perfect world.

2006-09-26 09:43:15
10.   regfairfield
I think Lofton and Nomar count as solid signings. Not great, but they played like players who make their salaries should (maybe Nomar just misses it with his incentives.)

Despite Lofton's terrible defense, he's a centerfielder with a .365 on base percentage, and those aren't exactly plentiful. You can argue that the team didn't need another solid on base, low power hitter, but Kenny performed beyond expectatons offensively.

2006-09-26 09:52:08
11.   Griffon64
The Phillies blinked.

We still need the Cards to stop blinking and stare down the Padres over the next two. If they don't, I wish them a 12-game losing streak and watching October from the outside.

And most importantly, we need the Dodgers to not blink. If they can win five or six of six, they can write their own destiny. The team's been awfully streaky, and if they can get one more good streak, that may be good enough. It is about who gets their nose ahead last, not about how long and how far the nose has been ahead in the past.

With that said, my fork is still firmly in the Dodgers even as my postseason tickets are bought.

2006-09-26 09:52:47
12.   ToyCannon
Be a shame to lose Saito but if his family is not with him then he should go home. That time is to precious and he already proved that he could succeed here.

5
If we had put Nomar at 3b I expect we'd have gotten around 50 games from him and the platoon of Choi/Saenz could well have been a disaster since Choi has about much chance at this point of being a major league starter at 1st base as Josh Phelps. In the end Ned made the right call about Nomar and the position.

2006-09-26 09:57:53
13.   bigcpa
Solution- we grant Saito his return to Japan and we honor his legacy by signing Daisuke Matsusaka.
2006-09-26 10:12:06
14.   Bob Timmermann
13
Hmm....
http://www.geocities.com/s_borisov/jb2006/box798.html
2006-09-26 10:29:15
15.   Daniel Zappala
Wow. Saito could leave after one year. I would completely understand leaving to be with his family (they can't come and live here?), but that would be bad news for the Dodgers.
2006-09-26 10:30:46
16.   Bob Timmermann
15
If Saito's kids came here, they'd probably run into schooling issues.
2006-09-26 10:35:23
17.   Jacob L
More ABs from Saenz would be nice, but more importantly, I'd like to see Lugo put into mothballs. One could certainly make the argument that it'd be for his own good.

Too lazy to look it up - does Lugo still have a lower slugging pct. than OBP? He must since I don't think he's had any extra base hits in the last week. That's an amazing stat, and one that should redefine hapless in the way that the Mendoza line has for 2 generations. We could call it the Lugo line.

2006-09-26 10:38:30
18.   JoeyP
With Nomar at third and Choi/Saenz at first -- think about it. We would've been exposed at a skill position during Nomar's DL stints.

How was that any different than being exposed at 3rd base during Nomar's DL stints? Choi/Saenz put up much better numbers last season than the revolving door of 2006 3rd basemen.

but it looked better at the beginning of the season than it does now.

Anytime you replace Milton Bradley with Kenny Lofton, it looks bad at this stage of their careers.

The team just broke its attendance record. We can overpay for a Nomar.

The team can overpay for whatever it wants. Its when you overpay for 84 wins that suggests a very large cost/benefit problem in the front office.

One of the things that made the late 1990's-early 2000's teams non efficient was that payroll was filled with mediocre non-difference making veterans, and the team only won 83-85 games bc of it.

This 2006 team is quite similar in my estimation, and it doesnt surpise me. Colletti to me has the baseball acumen of Fred Claire (Another Ex-PR guy) and the spending abilities of Kevin Malone (we know how this turned out).

Thank goodness for the rookies.

2006-09-26 10:38:55
19.   Bob Timmermann
With the Dodgers, Lugo has an OBP of .281 and SLG of .260
2006-09-26 10:42:00
20.   Disabled List
I remember there was talk (at least here) of putting Nomar in left field when the Dodgers initially signed him, to go along with Mueller at third and a Saenz/Choi platoon at first. I don't if that would've been any better than what we got, considering the unexpected production we ended up getting from Ethier. And Mueller was more or less effectively replaced by Aybar, Martinez and Betemit.

Interesting how things work out.

2006-09-26 10:46:10
21.   50 years a Dodger Fan
10 Agreed on Lofton; I'd take his numbers any year. I wouldn't even mind if they signed him next year, not as a starter but to play sometimes and be a pinch hitter. I guess Anderson's signing makes that unlikely.
2006-09-26 10:49:20
22.   50 years a Dodger Fan
Lugo should be ground up and used to fertilize the cabbage.
2006-09-26 10:52:11
23.   underdog
13 I'm behind that plan 100%!
2006-09-26 10:56:01
24.   50 years a Dodger Fan
Any chance this gambit arose to enhance Saito's negotiating position? As it stands now, we could renew his contract for peanuts. On the other hand, if he says he wants to go home, might we offer him a million or two to change his mind? Ok, I'm a cynic.
2006-09-26 10:56:28
25.   Disabled List
22 I'm behind that plan 100%!
2006-09-26 11:02:47
26.   bhsportsguy
24 This is the same guy who wanted to quit after he gave up three runs to the Padres last Monday. And I apologize if this was discussed over the weekend.

From the 9/24/2006 OC Register:

The Dodgers might not realize how close they came to losing their second closer of the season.

While fans were roaring after the Dodgers' improbable come-from-behind victory over the San Diego Padres on Monday night, Takashi Saito sat dejectedly in front of his locker. His pride had taken a beating when he allowed three runs in the top of the ninth inning to put the Dodgers four runs behind.

Saito, who came to the United States to prove to himself that he could play at this level, wrote on his Web site he considered quitting baseball after his Monday night performance. The efforts of his teammates kept him from going through with it, he said.

The Dodgers responded with four consecutive home runs to erase Saito's poor outing and won the game in the 10th.

They also responded when they saw how Saito was affected by his performance. Brad Penny, Monday's starting pitcher, offered words of encouragement. So did Nomar Garciaparra and others.

2006-09-26 11:09:59
27.   Greg S
It was discussed here some weeks ago that Saito is a rookie, has no leverage and could therefore be signed very cheaply. Now he has leverage because he has realistic options. Most rookies who have fantastic years would be crazy to give up what's down the road and the teams know it. The Dodgers know Saito has very real reasons to consider not signing so they will have to pay him enough to not choose his option. Not saying that he's saying this for that reason but if I were him, I'd say it whether it was how I felt or not.
2006-09-26 11:12:07
28.   Greg S
24 Sorry, didn't see your post before posting mine.
2006-09-26 11:26:08
29.   natepurcell
offer saito a million+ for next year and he'll stay.
2006-09-26 11:30:06
30.   bhsportsguy
One expert said that Yankeees witll sign Matsusaka and Rob Neyer thought they would sign Zito, and since I don't see the Dodgers mentioned in the Matsusaka derby, I would have to think that they won't be one of the teams trying to get him.

But remember, the Dodgers have done a lot of things since Ned has been here that were never rumored to be a possibility so just because the Dodgers are not being mentioned, never count them out of any potential deal.

2006-09-26 11:32:48
31.   Nagman
The Saito story is probably the highlight of my season as far as a single player goes (Martin a close second). I would not mind seeing him as a significant member of the bullpen next season but at the same time, I cannot imagine being away from my family for that long (opposite coast is one thing, opposite side of the earth is another).

Perhaps the family can get adventurous and live in L.A for a year.

2006-09-26 11:33:06
32.   ToyCannon
I can just imagine Penny's words of encouragement. "Hey, I've been a complete cipher the 2nd half but you don't see me with my head in my hands. Take a look around you, all the clowns from Tampa Bay have blown chunks and you don't see their heads in their hands. "
2006-09-26 11:34:04
33.   bhsportsguy
29 MLB probably would have a fit if they did that since it would be above the scale but I think no one would be surprised if the Dodgers offered a 2 year deal so he could move his family here for that time and have some stability, but to live in LA, transport your family, etc., it will take some cash.

Saito does fall into a separate category than most rookies so maybe his deal should be negotiated differently than other rookies like Martin and Ethier.

2006-09-26 11:34:21
34.   50 years a Dodger Fan
30 Correcto. It'd be just like Colletti to pull off a big trade for an established starter rather than sign a free agent. One thing I have learned about him is that he works at a different angle to the other clubs and the unexpected is always to be expected.
2006-09-26 11:37:36
35.   bhsportsguy
32 Russ Martin is still living with Penny (though he says that he rarely sees him at the house), my guess is that he is probably the opposite of his image on the field. That said, I think it is great that the guys stick up for each other and again proves that winning ballclubs probably develop chemistry rather than trying to acquire chemistry to build a winner.
2006-09-26 11:37:55
36.   50 years a Dodger Fan
34 Something along those lines comes to mind: Trade Drew (if he is tradeable) for a starting pitcher and sign Soriano or some other big stick. Oh, I mean 'if he is tradeable' to refer to a possible No Trade Clause.
2006-09-26 11:39:26
37.   ToyCannon
Having worked for a Japanese company for 20 years only the upper management brought their families because they were going to have a long stay. The short timers all left their families in Japan. I'm surprised he didn't bring his family with him after it was apparent he was going to be a success and he could stay a while if he wants to. The golfing alone will make him cry if he goes home. Honestly I've seen some of the guys who have to go home just heartbroken that they may never see a 18 hole fairway again.
2006-09-26 11:42:20
38.   bhsportsguy
34 I hope that the Dodgers go after the Gyro Ball guy because he would guarantee attendance on days he pitched at home, he would probably have a competitive advantage during the first half of the season and it would lessen the pressure on the system since we have only Elbert who is nearly ready.

Plus, can you imagine Vinny saying Matsusaka, though for a Japanese name, its not so bad.

2006-09-26 11:43:54
39.   Bob Timmermann
Well, actually he would have to say Matsuzaka. ;-)

Matsuzaka lost yesterday for Seibu which greatly decreases my chances of seeing him pitch when I'm in Japan based on how the playoffs will get set up.

2006-09-26 11:44:42
40.   bhsportsguy
36 First, he has to not exercise his option to leave this year. Plus the fact that I believe that a player traded in the middle of a guaranteed contract can demand a trade (Javier Vasquez) after playing that year to the team he is traded to which is not a no-trade deal but the team acquiring Drew would have to run that risk.
2006-09-26 11:46:39
41.   bhsportsguy
39 Still not too hard to say, trust me I have relatives who if they were pitching, Vin would barely get the name out before the batter swung at the pitch.
2006-09-26 11:47:38
42.   StolenMonkey86
Since the deadline
Izturis .233/.282/.260, .975 FP, 1 DL stint
Lugo .214/.281/.260, .966 FP, wish he would hit the DL
2006-09-26 11:48:26
43.   StolenMonkey86
42 - make that "would have" instead of "would"
2006-09-26 11:50:45
44.   StolenMonkey86
I'll make one prediction: the Mets aren't going to try to sign Matsuzaka, even though there is no "I" in "zaka."
2006-09-26 12:01:40
45.   JoeyP
It wouldnt surprise me to see the Cubs sign Lugo this off-season. Theriot is making a strong push for consideration at 2nd base, and I dont think Izturis/Cedeno are what the Cubs have in mind at SS.

Izzy may be the highest paid utility infielder in the game next season.

2006-09-26 12:03:07
46.   ssjames
45 So Izturis would be this year's Julio Lugo?
2006-09-26 12:06:42
47.   50 years a Dodger Fan
43 "Would" works for me; we could replace him with a real player in case there are Post-season Games in our future....
2006-09-26 12:11:03
48.   50 years a Dodger Fan
45 Think he's bad enough that Colletti would trade some prospects to get him back? The Baez, Carter, Hendrickson, Lugo trades aren't going to stop. Ned feels if he makes 5 trades, one or two of them will work out well and he'll get his ears rubbed or something. He doesn't sweat the bad ones.
2006-09-26 12:20:39
49.   ToyCannon
I think Gary Sheffield could be a steal this offseason. His wrist injury hampered his power when he played this year but if that heals he still has a few good years left. DH might be the only thing he's suited for these days but it is possible he could make the switch to 1st base. The Angels should look at him if the Yankee's don't pick up his option.
2006-09-26 12:27:16
50.   Bob Timmermann
Could Gary Sheffield run into enough outs to justify a spot on the Angels roster?
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-09-26 12:29:58
51.   uke
Did anyone notice in the Colleti article in the "Times" that there is a picture of Ned when he's around 14. He has a mustach! I think he's had a perma-stoosh ever since he could grow one. P.s. He looks way too much like Adam Morrison in that picture.
2006-09-26 12:32:04
52.   rockmrete
I'm old school, but see the value in the numbers and their correlation in the game that many of you talk about.

Lofton is difficult to watch play D, but I belive he has played very well of late and would sign him for next year strictly as a backup player at a corresponding wage.

I belive Nomar's fragility for the most part is behind him (no proof to give you though) and would like to see him at third base next year keeping it warm for La Roche with Loney at first w/Saenz.

Keep our offensive leader Drew, in right and start the rooks in the other two spots.

Give a good incentive to Saito to stay, and get an other starter.

I know I have not added any power, and that troubles me, and hope it comes from Kemp. I just think we need a # 1 pitcher. JMO

2006-09-26 12:41:53
53.   blue22
I'm a little concerned that Ned may try to trade both Drew and Penny this offseason. Even with his hot September, I think Drew is still cast in a negative light by most Dodger fans (the media included). And Penny has certainly played himself onto many Dodger fan's "dead to me" lists with his meltdowns this year.

With both of these players, there is also the connection to Depodesta. Whatever the motivation, Ned has pushed most all of Depo's players off the roster. Drew, Penny, and Lowe are just about the only ones remaining.

Here's hoping that Drew and/or Penny aren't involved in any knee-jerk trades this winter, especially if LA misses the playoffs.

2006-09-26 12:48:03
54.   JoeyP
I think Drew would opt out before being traded. BhsSportsguy pointed out that Drew's good season, and age would work in his favor if he opts out to get something better than 3/33 guaranteed to him. He's only 30.

The nightmare scenario would be Drew opting out, and then in a panic signing Soriano to a 5yr/65 deal or something. Hopefully that doesnt happen.

2006-09-26 12:48:04
55.   philmc78
I think that anyone who questions what Ned Colleti has meant to the Dodgers this season needs to look back to the day after Paul Depodesta was fired. This was a team in disarray without an identity. There were gaping holes at first base, third base, center, and at the back end of the rotation. There were also concerns about Eric Gagne's health, which would impact the rest of the bullpen.

The bottom line is that Colleti came in and immediately got to work making the '06 Dodgers a contender in the West. Sure, some of his trades haven't worked out so well, but what has he given up? Lets review: Milton Bradley, Edwin Jackson, Chuck Tiffany, Duaner Sanchez, Steve Schmoll, Jae Seo, Dioner Navarro, Danys Baez, Willy Aybar, Joel Guzman, Cesar Izturis, a couple no-name minor leaguers, and Odalis Perez. The players he's gotten in return: Andre Ethier, Danys Baez, Lance Carter, Jae Seo, Mark Hendrickson, Toby Hall, Wilson Betemit, Julio Lugo, Elmer Dessens, Marlon Anderson, and Greg Maddux.

Colleti infused life into the clubhouse and lineup when they brought up some of the kids: Russel Martin, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Willy Aybar, James Loney, Joel Guzman, Jon Broxton, Chad Billingsley, Hong-Chih Kuo, and Erik Stults.

This team will succeed because of Ned Colleti, not in spite of him.

2006-09-26 12:49:37
56.   GoBears
12 If we had put Nomar at 3b I expect we'd have gotten around 50 games from him

Just wondering about your logic here. Why do we think Nomar wouldn't have held up as well at 3rd as at 1st? SS I can see is a much more difficult position, but really what's the difference between 1st and 3rd? IT seems to me that the differences are: 3rd basemen have to make more and longer throws, while 1st basemen have to stretch a lot more to field others' throws. As far as fielding balls hit right at them, they're basically equivalent. Not all SSs can play 3rd because the ball gets there so much faster. You don't need the same range, but you need great hands. Well, Nomar has shown great hands at 1st, sucking up everything hit near him. He's also made great throws to start DPs.

I believe that putting him at SS would be risky, but I see no reason why he couldn't play 3rd as well as he's played 1b. There's nothing wrong with his arm, and if anything, his lack of height would matter less at 3rd than at 1st.

I'm still willing to be convinved otherwise, however, if anyone wants to make the opposite case.

2006-09-26 12:50:10
57.   bhsportsguy
On another topic, which managers and GMs will have to polish up their resumes starting next Monday.

NL West
1. San Diego - Playoff run guarantees no changes.
2. Dodgers - 0% chance of change
3. Giants - Sabean stays, Alou stays if he wants.
4. Arizona - Finalize changes during the season, I think everyone is back.
5. Colorado - no changes.

NL Centrai:
1. St. L - Late hiccups won't force changes.
2. Houston - Competitive but seems to always get off to bad starts but one year from World Series, so no changes.
3. Cincy - I think everyone stays.
4. Milwaukee- no changes
5. Chicago - Bye, bye Dusty, GM better make a good hire.
6. Pittsburgh - Tracy got a good contract, 2nd half should hold off any changes.

NL East:
1. Mets, next.
2. Phillies, Manuel was not Gillick's guy so we shall have to see.
3. Marlins - Giradi booked flight to Chicago for Monday.
4. Braves - They lost, fire everyone, just kidding.
5. Nationals - Maybe Bowden and Frank can go to some Laker games together this fall since they will have nothing to do.

AL West:
1. Oakland - Billy/Kenny ball goes on.
2. Angels - Stoneman has one more year on his contract so we'll stop by next year.
3. Rangers - Another new GM with another guy's manager, hmmm.
4. Mariners - Dusty likes the coast and I think he can find some places to fish in Washington.

AL Central:
1. Detroit - They are going to erect a statue for Leyland.
2. Twins - Gardenhire more sucessful than Jesse the Body.
3. White Sox - At least one more year the Kenny Ozzie tour.
4. Cleveland - Currently 11 wins down from expected wins, I think at least another year for the set.
5. KC - Buddy may get to go see David play a lot next year.

AL East -
1. Yankees, hmmm next.
2. Red Sox - no drama like last year.
3. Blue Jays - Let's see manger has to physical altercations with players, team still wins, I say someone better get their passport and work visa ready.
4. Baltimore - Does anyone care.
5. Tampa Bay - First year for both guys, they will go on.

So in the end, for NL managers, I count the Cubs and Marlins as for sure, Robinson as a maybe with new ownership, Manuel, only because he was not Gillick's hire and Alou in he chooses to retire. For GMs, only Bowden due to new ownerhsip.

For the AL, maybe Mariners, and I mentioned the Rangers and KC because they got new GMs in the last year. No GM jobs opening in the AL.

So this could be a very light year for changes, it could be only two or maybe three, with no GM jobs changing. We'll hear more about that through this week.

2006-09-26 12:53:23
58.   bhsportsguy
54 If Drews doesn't opt out, he will be here for another 2 years at least, maybe looking at deal in his last year. There are just not a lot of good offensive talent available and even less in the outfield.

That is one reason why Loney is going to play outfield in the Dominican this winter, to shore up that defiency in the Dodger system.

2006-09-26 12:55:06
59.   das411
You seriously think the Mariners will let Dusty Baker anywhere near The Starter Formerly Known as King Felix??
2006-09-26 12:55:17
60.   GoBears
31 opposite coast is one thing, opposite side of the earth is another).

Well, NY is a 5-6 flight from LA. Tokyo is 9-10 hrs. Not really that big a difference, except, I suppose, that NY might mean an extra visit or two on Dodger road trips to the East Coast.

2006-09-26 12:58:06
61.   bhsportsguy
57 Conspiracy theorists could have foreseen a possible shakeout in San Diego had they folded in the last few weeks but they didn't and though I don't think there would be any public outcry if they made some changes, more likely Towers than Bochy, I kind of see Bochy in the same mode of Tracy, pretty by the book, likes to keep games close and work is pen in specific roles, in other words, would he work well with a guy like DePo.

BTW, the only deals of even possible significance they made after Depo's arrival was for Walker, Branyan and Wells, certainly Branyan has had his moments but I would not classify any of them as having the impact Abreu or Maddux has had for their team.

2006-09-26 12:59:42
62.   GoBears
37 Before the bubble burst in 1990 and the Japanese economy went into a 15 yr tailspin, Japanese businessmen would frequently fly to Hawaii or Pebble Beach or LA for golf weekends, because, even including the costs of flights and hotels, it was still cheaper than golfing in Japan.
2006-09-26 13:00:33
63.   bhsportsguy
59 Dusty had the Cubs as close to World Series as anyone, if the Mariners could have played halfway decent against the A's this year, who knows how close the division would be. That said, the Mariners have some holes but are they really that far away from competing with everyone else.
2006-09-26 13:03:09
64.   Monterey Chris
The papers up here in Northern California have this Sunday as the last Giants home game for Alou Senior and Alou Junior. So there might be an opening in SF.
2006-09-26 13:03:30
65.   jasonungar05
45 So Izturis would be this year's Julio Lugo?

no. Izturis and Joel Guzman would be this years Lugo.

2006-09-26 13:05:45
66.   Xeifrank
As far as Nomar playing another position like 3B, I always figured the reason he didn't play any 3B was that there was some sort of agreement prior to signing that he'd only be used as a firstbaseman. It would be a huge boost if he could move back up the position spectrum. vr, Xei
2006-09-26 13:07:29
67.   Jacob L
55 As has been discussed lots of times, that list of acquisitions and departures is a serious mixed bag.

I think you left off, perhaps the two most significant moves, good and bad, of Coletti's tenure.

Hired Grady Little.

Re-upped Jeff Kent.

2006-09-26 13:09:00
68.   blue22
54 - I think Drew would opt out before being traded.

Not sure about the timing of when Drew needs to opt-out by. I'd assume it's pretty early in the offseason.

Assuming he doesn't opt-out (with his season, a raise isn't a guarantee), I don't see that he has a no-trade clause. Can all players traded mid-contract demand a subsequent trade?

2006-09-26 13:10:03
69.   GoBears
38. All Japanese names are easy to pronounce. Unlike the Romanization system(s) for Chinese, the one for Japanese makes perfect sense. All consonants have the same sounds as English, and each vowel can take only 1 sound (much easier than English).

"a" always sounds like "ah"
"i" always sounds like "ee"
"u" always sounds like "oo"
"e" always sounds like "eh"
"o" always sounds like "o"

And there are no tones or accents. It's actually a very flat language, and simple to pronounce. Americans just sometimes panic when they see long words.

The only real difficulty is with long and short vowel sounds, but actually, every long vowel is really just the same vowel twice, but without a glottal stop in between - just run together.

So "Ishii" is just "ee-sheeee" Not "eeshee" or "ee-shee-ee."

The problem arises because the romanization of long vowels is often sloppy. Tokyo, for example, has two long "o"s. So you sometimes see it written Toukyou, or, software permitting, with dashses over each "o", but never as Tookyoo, because that would make English speakers choose "u" sounds.

OK, end of unsolicited Japanese lesson. Sorry 'bout that.

2006-09-26 13:14:13
70.   Xeifrank
69. How do the Japanese pronounce the last name of the left handed taiwanese pitcher on the Dodgers? vr, Xei
2006-09-26 13:16:08
71.   Jacob L
69 Hey, I enjoyed that and even learned something (the Ishii example - I didn't know that)!

Especially appreciated since I inadvertantly set off a string of broken Spanish comments yesterday.

2006-09-26 13:16:16
72.   scareduck
52 - I belive Nomar's fragility for the most part is behind him

Slightly incorrect usage. It should read,

"I belive Nomar's fragility for the most part is in his behind"

2006-09-26 13:19:46
73.   philmc78
67 - Good point on Kent. That one looks like it could really bite them in the ass this offseason if they want to make a serious run at Soriano. As far as hiring Grady Little, I still think that was a solid move even though he clearly has some weak points. I'm just anxious to see what Colleti is capable of with an entire offseason and a year as GM under his belt.

Think Barry Zito is in the forecast?

2006-09-26 13:24:25
74.   scareduck
73 - you could see it happening. Best of a bad class, though, and he's really a middle-of-the-rotation guy, not an ace. He still represents an upgrade over Penny and some stability relative to Billingsley and/or Kuo, both of whom haven't really been tested over a whole (major league) season. BRef says he was born in Vegas, though I don't know whether he would take less to work in his "hometown"; isn't Phoenix closer to Vegas than LA, assuming his family is still there?
2006-09-26 13:27:37
75.   blue22
74 - He's getting at least 5 years though. Even with someone with Zito's durable track record, I'd be afraid to go that long.
2006-09-26 13:28:21
76.   ToyCannon
56
The torque on your body making the throw from 3b to 1st is substantial and while you wouldn't expect anyone to get hurt making throws or diving, Nomar pulled his muscle at the beginning of the year swinging in a batting cage. He ripped his hamstring in 2005 when leaving the batters box. Just my belief that if he had played 3b we wouldn't have seen a whole lot of him. Plus his arm is a loose cannon and having him on the left side of the infield would not have been pretty as this stage of his career. We got lucky to get what we did from him. He's playing at 1/2 speed right now because any moment he could blow out if he goes all out. If we sign him for 2006 it will be a big mistake. His body is that of a part time player. He served his purpose in 2006 and I'm grateful but not enough to give him any money in 2007. That was my logic.
2006-09-26 13:31:26
77.   Greg Brock
The legendary Lord Byron Nelson has passed away today at the age of 94.
2006-09-26 13:34:46
78.   philmc78
75 - With Boras as his agent, I'm guessing that five years is gonna be a requirement along with a no-trade clause. He's been extremely durable, but, damn, you look at how his strikeout numbers have eroded over the years and you gotta wonder how much he's got left in the tank. That said, I think for the '07 team to be a World Series contender, Zito's a must-have.
2006-09-26 13:40:14
79.   GoBears
76. Well, if what you say about Nomar's arm being erratic is true, then I agree than he'd be a worse 3rd baseman than 1st baseman. But I'm still not convinced that 3rd is harder on the body (in terms of causing injury) than 1st, unless it's an arm/shoulder injury.

If you're just saying that Nomar is fragile, so any sort of extra injury risk is a bad thing, then OK. I was just remembering that all of his problems have been to his legs and trunk, never his arm, despite having been a SS for years. But it's also possible that I'm wrong about that.

2006-09-26 13:44:45
80.   StolenMonkey86
56 - I remember Hershiser talking on Baseball Tonight about how he felt the transition to first base was key to helping Nomar stay healthy. He was saying the same stuff ToyCannon was, that playing first doesn't put nearly as much wear on his body, and said Nomar just looked more lively.
2006-09-26 13:48:43
81.   ToyCannon
Which is why us old guys who start out at SS, then head to 2nd, then to 3rd, and finally retire at 1st base.
2006-09-26 13:48:55
82.   Bob Timmermann
69
From my experience in listening to Japanese, it is very hard to pick up if you're not a native because the intonation is so flat. It's hard to tell where sentences stop. And the style is always circular.

Dodger Thoughts in English:
Julio Lugo stinks.

Dodger Thoughts in Japanese translated into English:
If memory serves me right, I believe that Julio Lugo's performance is not up to the standards that we as Dodger fans would expecte out of a player like him. He needs more fighting spirit.

2006-09-26 13:50:30
83.   blue22
78 - Jason Schmidt would come with less years, and possibly the same annual salary. He's a guy that you could probably throw into that #1 spot for at least another year or so.

He'd most likely have a higher peak than Zito, but a quicker decline due to his age and back. But then, that's what 3-year deals are for.

2006-09-26 13:54:59
84.   Bluebleeder87
Steve Henson's pieace was a pretty good read, i kind of dozed off in the middle of the read, but Henson rewarded me at the end nice read all & all.
2006-09-26 14:00:45
85.   philmc78
83 - I think Schmidt is a much more serious injury risk, and that's why I'd give Zito a slight edge. I also like Zito a little more because he'd be a lefty in a righty-dominated rotation (unless Kuo is there all of next year, which is looking more and more likely). That said, I'd be happy with either guy. What about that Matsuzaka guy in Japan?
2006-09-26 14:01:25
86.   Bluebleeder87
and the platoon of Choi/Saenz could well have been a disaster since Choi has about much chance at this point of being a major league starter at 1st base as Josh Phelps.

well said Cannon, it amazes me how many people still think Choi can play in the MLB, i said it when we 1st got him HIS SWING HAS TO MANY HOLES IN IT.

2006-09-26 14:05:16
87.   Bluebleeder87
never his arm, despite having been a SS for years. But it's also possible that I'm wrong about that.

Believe me the dude still has a freaking cannon for an arm, but like ToyCannon said his too fragile @ 3rd.

2006-09-26 14:06:22
88.   Benaiah
I am of two minds about Zito:

On one hand he might benefit from a move to the NL and his career ERA+ is 129 (not including this year that is probably at around... 115-120) and he has never been 105 (100 is average). On the other hand, his strike out rates don't really make up for his walk rates and the only thing he really excells at is keeping the ball in the park. He is the opposite of a sure thing, but he doesn't seem to get hurt, and probably would be solid for the length of a 4 year contract, with perhaps one bad year. I hope we don't give him 5 years at 72 million, but I sure wouldn't be upset if we signed him.

2006-09-26 14:16:24
89.   Bluebleeder87
If this were a perfect world i'd give Schmidt a 2 year deal, Zito & Boras just don't jive in my book.
2006-09-26 14:20:38
90.   philmc78
SI.com's Jon Heyman quoted Boras as saying something about Zito's contract will be in the realm of $90 million. Not good. But here's the thing. I don't want to hear the Dodgers complaining about money being a limiting factor this offseason...not when they're drawing almost four million fans.
2006-09-26 14:22:03
91.   regfairfield
90 That could be just posturing. Wasn't Johnny Damon going to take no less than 100 million or something ridiculous this offseason?
2006-09-26 14:23:42
92.   Bluebleeder87
i don't know i rather give Schmidt the deal over Zito, just cause of Boras.
2006-09-26 14:31:03
94.   Benaiah
I think I would rather have Zito than Schmidt all things equal, but all things are not equal and thus Schmidt might make more sense. However, we shouldn't count on getting either player since most of baseball seems to be in need to starting pitching, and those two names are going to command quite a premium.
2006-09-26 14:31:30
95.   regfairfield
I don't see why Boras by itself is such a bad thing. As long as you don't say "I'll pay whatever you want", things are fine.

If he does something ludicrous like ask for 40 million dollars for Jeff Weaver, say no. If he doesn't back down, get someone else. If no one else is available, it sucks, but it's better than being stuck with a giant Jeff Weaver related contract.

Generally, if you don't say "I need [player]" things are fine. It's when you convince yourself that X is key to success is when the agents have the advantage.

2006-09-26 14:36:29
96.   philmc78
94 - Almost four million fans came out to the Ravine this season. Money shouldn't be a huge issue.
2006-09-26 14:37:00
97.   Benaiah
96 - More than that came to Yankee stadium...
2006-09-26 14:39:31
98.   Benaiah
97 - More correctly, even more came to Yankee Stadium, since I don't think either team broke 4 million.
2006-09-26 14:41:57
99.   Benaiah
98 - Though the Yankees still have 6 games left at home where they will no doubt eclipse 4KK.
2006-09-26 14:47:57
100.   JoeyP
96. Attendance is a revenue driver, but its not the primary source of income. The primary source of most MLB income is through local TV contracts, and the Dodgers deal IIRC is really bad. I think Fox up until like 2015 still receives that income.

The Dodgers ticket prices are also rather low. While the Dodgers are in the 2nd largest market, they dont have access to revenue streams (local TV contracts) or (high ticket prices) that other large market teams (Yankees, Mets) do.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-09-26 14:51:11
101.   Bob Timmermann
The Yankees combine high ticket prices and a sweet TV deal since they own their network. The Mets and Red Sox have the same model. It's a license to print money.
2006-09-26 14:56:15
102.   Xeifrank
81. About to hit 40 here, and still playing SS. I think if you are too fragile to play 3B, then you are basically too fragile to be relied upon at all at ANY position. Third base (correct me if I'm wrong) is pretty much the same as first base, plus the long throw. Both positions need quick reactions on line drives or hard ground balls. First baseman also have to hold runners on, then move off the bag with the pitch. They also need to catch errant throws, often putting them in harms way of a large runner barrelling down the line (see Choi vs STL). If his arm sucks, then fine... don't play him at 3B. If he is SO fragile that he can't play 3B, then imho he is TOO fragile to be relied upon at all. I guess the Dodgers saving grace was the incentive laden contract. A whole season with Kent at 1B would've been scary, due to the fact we might have seen a whole season of Robles and or Izturis at 2B (or someone of their likes).
vr, Xei
2006-09-26 15:08:26
103.   Greg Brock
I think the Dodgers just need to execute. It's all about execution.

Sorry, I've been watching ESPN's football coverage.

2006-09-26 15:08:26
104.   Daniel Zappala
Since money is no object, how about the Dodgers sign both Schmidt and Zito. ;-)
2006-09-26 15:13:14
105.   Bluebleeder87
104

while we're at it, let's sign Soriano as well.

2006-09-26 15:15:38
106.   Xeifrank
Just ran a 10 game sim of tonight's Phillies/Nationals game. The Phillies won 9 out of 10 of the contests. The Phillies averaged 7.0 runs per game and the Nats 3.3 runs per game. The Phillies actually have a nice little lineup, especially against right handed pitchers. So tonight's prediction is:
Phillies: 7
Nationals: 3
vr, Xei
2006-09-26 15:15:46
107.   robohobo
3rd base requires more movement as more hard hit balls and bunts are hit that way. Most hard hit balls are pulled and there are way more right handed hitters than left. Bunters rarely bunt up the 1st base line.
2006-09-26 15:18:31
108.   Bluebleeder87
106

the baseball gods always have something special during these times, i'm hoping for the apposite score.

2006-09-26 15:22:53
109.   Xeifrank
107. Sleeping on your side also requires more movement than sleeping on your back. :)
Yeah, I agree it's a little more taxing but it's my opinion (if this were a real opinion you'd be notified of where to go and what to do) that Nomar if hurt so badly that he can't hold up at 3B, should've just signed for an AL Club as a DH. But I understand that he wants to give a fielding position a chance. I'm cool with it. But not for next year. vr, Xei
2006-09-26 15:27:35
110.   Bob Timmermann
Tonight at RFK:
Phillies
Rollins 2B
Victorino CF
Utley 2B
Howard 1B
Conine RF
Burrell LF
Lieberthal C
Nunez 3B
Myers P

Nats
Castro 2B
Lopez SS
Soriano LF
Zimmerman 3B
Vidro 1B
Schneider C
Logan CF
Church RF
Ortiz P

2006-09-26 15:27:58
111.   robohobo
109. I agree. If he can barely stay healthy and productive at 1st base, where else is there to play that is easier? Maybe the outfield but that would require running. How is that guy so fragile? He should ask Dave Roberts how he managed to stay healthy most of this season with all his past leg problems. Think, "Yoga".
2006-09-26 15:28:36
112.   bhsportsguy
101 In March, Forbes published a report (that was discredited by MLB) about the revenues of the MLB teams.

The Dodgers ranked 4th with reported revenues of 189 million, 71 million coming from gate receipts (probably based on avg. ticket price of a little of $20).

And yes the three teams above them are the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets.

2006-09-26 15:29:20
113.   Jon Weisman
110 - Oh yeah, almost forgot. Game chat thread is open.
2006-09-26 15:31:58
114.   Bluebleeder87
Furcal, SS
Lofton, CF
Nomar, 1B
Kent, 2B
Drew, RF
Martin, C
Anderson, LF
Betemit, 3B
Maddux, P

today's line up from Dodgers.com, Martin batting 5th? WHAT!? I like it.

2006-09-26 15:36:00
115.   The Blue Legend
I think Zito could thrive in LA and he would fit in great in the clubhouse. You have to remember that zito is only 28. Schmidt would be great but he is older and more injury prone.
2006-09-26 16:01:52
116.   ToyCannon
Yeah, I was still playing SS at 40 but in much easier leagues then when I was 30. Reflexes stayed solid until around 45. Then the arm strength went, still think 3b is much more taxing then 3b but that is just an opinion not supported by any statistical models that I'm aware of.

I will be shocked if Nomar gets any offers better then what he got this year after all his incentives are figured in. Only a crazy GM would give him more then a one year deal. He didn't prove he could stay healthy he only proved he could still hit but at 1st base his numbers are average at best.

2006-09-26 16:04:48
117.   ToyCannon
A Dodger Thoughts softball team would be kind of fun. I could probably get us into a Santa Monica league on Wednesday or Thursday night if enough people were interested. Culver City has the better leagues but the waiting list for new teams is tough and you have to start out playing on Sundays.
2006-09-27 18:24:36
118.   dianagramr
117

I'd buy a DT softball t-shirt ....

2006-09-27 18:25:53
119.   dianagramr
The Mets have a good chance of losing their opening round series, regardless of the opponent, if they keep pitching like this.

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