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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

'A Lot'
2007-06-14 17:01
by Jon Weisman

"We feel like there's a lot of the season left and the offense can be a lot better than it is."

- Dodger general manager Ned Colletti (via The Associated Press)

* * *

Tell me if you disagree with this assessment of the Dodger offense:

C - above expectations (We knew Russell Martin was good, but I don't know that we knew he'd be this good, this fast.)

1B - below expectations (Nomar Garciaparra underperforming his career norms, even with age factored in)

2B - at expectations (Jeff Kent showing age-expected decline)

SS - below expectations (Rafael Furcal slightly underperforming his career norms, unless you factor in injury)

3B - below expectations (though not as far below as people might think)

LF - above expectations (Aging Luis Gonzalez has shown improvement compared to 2006)

CF - below expectations (Juan Pierre underperforming his career norms, even with age factored in)

RF - below expectations (Andre Ethier in something of a sophomore slump, though not entirely unexpected. Kemp is above expectations in limited play.)

P/PH - above expectations (pitchers have .217 on-base percentage, two homers; pinch-hitters have .843 OPS, five homers)

The idea that the offense is underperforming by "a lot" makes me wonder if Colletti really knows what he had a right to expect.

I see five slots where the Dodgers are underperforming - three slots held by veterans, two by relative youngsters (Ethier and Betemit). Those are countered by three slots where the Dodgers are over expectations (one vet, one youngster and one conglomerate).

If the score is Expectations 5, Dodgers 3, that's a defeat, but by a pretty narrow margin.

As I wrote this morning, I don't have a problem with the idea that the Dodgers might be able to do better than Eddie Murray as hitting coach. At the same time, it's very doubtful that the Dodger offense can be "a lot" better, as Colletti put it. Not without different players in the lineup, either via the recent callups or via trade. In other words, not without changes that have nothing to do with Murray. Taking the quotes at face value (which perhaps is a mistake), the expectations for Murray seem unfair.

After all, who's to blame for the problems in center field and first base this season? Colletti or Murray? If Colletti gets credit for Luis Gonzalez (credit that I'm willing to give him right now), then Colletti has to take the blame for Pierre and Garciaparra. (Is Murray supposed to solve Garciaparra, at this point in the first baseman's career?) Colletti can't have it both ways.

Now, deep down, I don't really think Colletti would abdicate responsibility. I'm not ready to put him in that disreputable class. "No one person is responsible for the results we've had this season," Dodger manager Grady Little said in the original press release this morning, and it's not a stretch to suggest Colletti believes the same thing. And I understand that it's not practical for Colletti to come out today and say, "I may have made some mistakes with my offseason contracts." That's not likely to do much for morale.

So Colletti fires Murray, because change has to start somewhere, and hitting coaches don't have longterm, eight-figure contracts. Because, not that the day is coming anytime soon, but if things went sour enough, Frank McCourt could fire Colletti.

It should be clear that I don't come here today to condemn Colletti. It should also be clear that when it comes to the Dodger offense, even given the real difficulties that come with acquiring a power hitter, Colletti's positive or negative impact is dimensionally greater than Murray's could ever be. Whatever did or did not work about Murray's coaching style, and whatever Colletti has gotten right, Murray is taking the fall for what in part is Colletti's stumble.

Update: I'm not happy with this post. I may have overreached.

All I really wanted to say is that it's unreasonable to expect the hitting coach, whoever he is, to improve the offense "a lot."

Comments (119)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-06-14 17:04:42
1.   trainwreck
Ethier is doing what I expected.

Sad that Pierre is doing even worse than we expected.

2007-06-14 17:05:36
2.   Humma Kavula
Well, if the scored is in fact Expectations 5, Dodgers 3, then we should be praising Colletti. The Dodgers are in first place despite serious underperformances. If those players return to the mean over the rest of the year, that bodes very well for the home team.
2007-06-14 17:12:02
3.   Jim Hitchcock
Fire Scott Boras!
2007-06-14 17:12:32
4.   Humma Kavula
2 More to the point: the five underperforming players are, in my opinion, underperforming to a greater degree than two of the three Dodgers meeting/exceeding expecations are exceeding them. To put it more clearly, if all Dodgers put up their "expected" production for the rest of the year, the team's offense will be much better than it is now. I think.
2007-06-14 17:12:41
5.   scareduck
This firing is so bizarre and out of left field that I wonder which of two possibilities are the case (possibly both):

1) Colletti is firing Murray for his own failings, in particular Pierre and Garciaparra.

2) As with the firing of the clubhouse property manager (last year? two years ago? Too lazy to look it up right now), maybe there is something else here going on that we don't know about.

2007-06-14 17:13:46
6.   fanerman
4 - Much better, or "a lot" better?
2007-06-14 17:14:07
7.   Marty
Back to nicknames from the last thread, Martin will always be Backstop Bacon to me.
2007-06-14 17:14:27
8.   scareduck
4 - that's very fair. Having assembled a lot of old teams in SF that did work, when Colletti put one together in LA and it didn't, it must have been an earth-shattering shock to him. I imagine the words passing between ownership and the Nedster would be mighty unpleasant.
2007-06-14 17:15:15
9.   Marty
Hey, the famous fanerman with the quote on the side bar is in the house. I don't think you've posted for awhile. Or have I just been oblivious?
2007-06-14 17:17:28
10.   Humma Kavula
8 Agreed. 4 is about as far as I go in trying to be fair. This is certainly not the team I would have constructed if I were the GM, because the offense we're getting was, if not expected, at least a real possibility.
2007-06-14 17:19:39
11.   ImChuck
While I agree Murray's firing itself won't turn the Dodgers into batting kings, I do believe some of the basic fundamentals can be improved. For instance, how about taking more pitches for one? I remember Tim Wallach had a systematic plan for his players to take more pitches. I never heard about such plans under Eddie Murray, and it makes me mad to see 3 batters go through 4 pithes in one inning. I'm sure its these little things that can and should be changed under a different batting coach.
2007-06-14 17:19:56
12.   regfairfield
8 Amazing what not having Barry will do for you. I was reading an article recently (I forgot where) that said that Barry alone during his period of domination pushed an average team to something absurd like a 93-95 win team. The teams that Sabean, and to a lesser extent Ned, had built were basically average to above average teams that had the most dominant player of all time on them. The Dodgers seem to resemble what the Giants would be if they didn't have Barry all those years.
2007-06-14 17:21:26
13.   MC Safety
wow the rockies are getting to beckett early. 5-0 after garret atkins grand salami.
2007-06-14 17:21:52
14.   fanerman
9 Ah yes, my one claim to fame. I've been busy with school, but I finally graduated. Hazzah! I should be posting with more regularity these days. How I've missed the Dodgers.
2007-06-14 17:22:40
15.   bhsportsguy
First, GMs are rarely let go unless there is total ownership change. (I use rarely because the DePodesta change was not something that usually happens). And this is not limited to baseball, I think it happens in all professional sports.

Probably because, the GM, unlike the manager or the players is the one direct hire that the ownership of the club makes and therefore, is usually the first face of the organization.

So if Murray took the fall for how the players were doing, that basically comes with the job.

That said, everyone else is going to pay or get rewarded by the results of the personnel that the GM is in charge of acquiring for the team.

5 I think it is more point 2 and not for anything nefarious, underhanded or unfair, just that we will never know why they let Murray go outside of what they said today.

2007-06-14 17:23:13
16.   willhite
I've never gotten the feeling that Colletti was the type to let others take the blame for his failings.

The Dodgers have the best record in the NL. This was not a results-related firing, it was a personality-related firing, possibly even suggested by McCourt.

Frank, Ned, Grady - all very gregarious types. Murray simply didn't fit in and he was probably becoming a bit of a downer. With the kids coming up, they want an upbeat dugout, full of optimism. Mueller will certainly provide that if they (and he) decide he should stay around.

2007-06-14 17:25:49
17.   Nagman
I think Grady was misquoted... I'm sure he said "alot" and not "a lot".

I'm in agreement with the theory that this is an indication that the Dodgers are now fully committed to the youth movement and felt Murray was not the best fit for young hitters. Or, there's more to it than we'll know until somebody writes a book someday about this particular team (let's hope there are a few books written).

It's strange to see the team batting statistics being in the upper half in most (that's a big "most" there) categories for the NL, but yet after watching this team on a daily basis, it just doesn't seem like it.

Sorta like seeing this on my TV last night when JP came to bat "Leads the team in hits"? Huh? It just doesn't seem like it.

2007-06-14 17:28:26
18.   D4P
From the last thread, I think it was I who suggested "Bison" for Kemp. Buffalo was initially used by an announcer, but IIRC, Bob didn't like that name, so I suggested Bison instead.

I could be wrong.

2007-06-14 17:30:16
19.   Humma Kavula
17 Except for runs. (At least as of a few days ago.)
2007-06-14 17:31:42
20.   trainwreck
I came up with Flanders (even though I stopped using it). I came up with it the day of his press conference. His name was Ned, he had a mustache, I did not like him, and he kept talking about character.

Made me think of Ned Flanders.

2007-06-14 17:32:17
21.   Bob Timmermann
I suggest a lot of things. I'm surprised anybody listens.
2007-06-14 17:32:25
22.   Dodgers49
5. maybe there is something else here going on that we don't know about.

That's my gut feeling also. The timing makes no sense otherwise.

2007-06-14 17:32:36
23.   jasonungar07
Colletti to me is the guy at the rental car counter who says yup we got your convertible in that you reservered, were just getting it all washed up now for you. Shouldn't be too long, go have a seat over there at the waiting area and I'll call your name in a few minuets..

Meanwhile as you sit down, he is working the phones like a madman..Hi this is Ned from Ontario, we need a convertible, any convertible you guys got one available?

His talk is just talk. he can't say I rented out all the other convertibles your stuck with a buick lasaber. It's a slow let down. Hey this Buick is great; "it gets an awful lot of radio stations"

2007-06-14 17:32:53
24.   trainwreck
Plus, outside of DT everyone liked him.
2007-06-14 17:32:56
25.   D4P
I came up with "Midusa" and "Nedusa", which didn't stick.
2007-06-14 17:33:24
26.   Jon Weisman
So is the premise of my post wrong?
2007-06-14 17:33:41
27.   Bluebleeder87
Another player of note who my buddy idolized was Mike Piazza, until he met him. from last thread.

i've heard stories about him being moody at times, but a close friend of mine met him during a rock concert & said he was really cool with him & his girlfriend just chatting like regular people.

2007-06-14 17:34:36
28.   Humma Kavula
23 "Leads all cars in zero-to-sixty on the freeway. I won't mention that it also leads in traffic tickets."
2007-06-14 17:35:58
29.   bhsportsguy
Murray is the same guy who was here last year when they all came up. Cal Ripken vouches for him.

Maybe they wanted a different approach with these guys, he certainly helped Gonzo with his approach. Again, I think we love to delve deep into these things when there probably isn't as much there as we think there might be.

I really have never understood the concept of a hitting coach. Also, it would just seem to be so difficult, left and righthanded batters, different body types, trigger mechanisms.

But whatever happens, I think will have less to do with who the hitting coach is in the dugout and more to do with who's in the batter's box for the Dodgers.

2007-06-14 17:36:12
30.   D4P
Martin is a tricky one, in that his current .816 OPS really isn't above expectations.
2007-06-14 17:36:20
31.   Doctor
I think to distill all those positions down to "5-3" and call that a narrow margin is really a simplistic way to look at this. Flanders seems to be in a no win situation with many of his critics and its odd that he is making changes in areas that are not working in it doesn't seem that he gets credit for it. I don't think his off-season moves were great either, but they must be looked at relative to what was available to him at the time, and what he gave away. With Murray- we may never know for sure why he got fired- but it may well have been his ability to relate to the "new team" as well as his skills as a hitting coach. Seems to me there are many players on the team who create upside from what we have seen so far. So yea, I'd say theres room for "a lot" of improvements.
2007-06-14 17:38:20
32.   Telemachos
I think Colletti just uses "alot" casually, and perhaps not in its strict meaning. That would explain him saying that Juan Pierre gets on base "alot".

Put another way: he's prone to occasional hyperbole to help his case. Perhaps he needs to be called out for a Rule 6 Violation? :)

2007-06-14 17:42:06
33.   Jon Weisman
31 - You think there's room for a lot of improvements without lineup changes - i.e., if we keep Ethier and Garciaparra and Pierre out their full time, knowing that Martin and Gonzalez could slump? Again, keep in mind, I was talking about improvements that reflect on what Murray has control over. Murray doesn't sign the players or fill out the lineup card.

I actually ended this post thinking I was more than fair to Colletti - I have given him credit for Gonzalez, among others and for calling the kids up - but maybe I wasn't as fair as I needed to be. I don't know.

The point of my post was to say that there isn't much more that a hitting coach can do to improve this team, given that some players are already overperforming. And therefore, if it is considered that the offense should be doing a lot better, then the finger-pointing should start up top.

But if the idea is that Murray just isn't the guy to lead the kids forward, I don't have any evidence to argue one way or another.

2007-06-14 17:43:10
34.   trainwreck
A's traded for Julio Lugo's brother Ruddy.
2007-06-14 17:44:07
35.   bhsportsguy
26 No, I thought I was supporting the idea that Murray's influence or lack thereof probably has little impact on the results.

I do think that this move was not made without Grady's input. Maybe he does not have final approval on his coaches but on the conference call, he was certainly right there saying that he felt certain players (we can guess who they are) were underperforming and they needed a change.

The only thing I was saying is that everyone else always gets the blame, or to be fair, the credit, for what happens to the team that the GM put together. The GM is the last guy to be put out the door.

2007-06-14 17:47:13
36.   jasonungar07
The NL RBI leader was available. A guy coming of a 50-40 season was available. It's ok not to sign them (heck I agree with it) but to say they are hard to aquire when the cubs and stros aquired them by giving them more money/years is why colletti bugs me. He spins it like aw shucks I tried instead of saying something like we evaluated the situation and decided aginst if for these reasons.

To be fair I am just a fan and he dosent need to explain a thing to me. Depodesata did that with Beltre and got killed for it so maybe Bernie is right. He just seems to be a PR spinner. He is right there's a lot of the season left and the offense can (instead of needs) be a lot better than it is.

I like Bernie by the way for Ned. He looks like the weekend at Bernies guy...

2007-06-14 17:47:14
37.   scareduck
15 - GMs are rarely let go unless there is total ownership change.

Steve Phillips (Mets, 2003).
Jim Duquette (Mets, 2004).
Dan Duquette (Red Sox, 2001).
Mike Port (Angels, 1991, and Red Sox, 2001).
Bill Bavasi (Angels, 1999).
Al Campanis (Dodgers, 1987).
Paul DePodesta (Dodgers, 2005).
Allard Baird (Royals, 2005?)

Those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head who got canned as a result of actions unrelated to ownership changes.

2007-06-14 17:47:25
38.   Doctor
Not sure if this was Murrays fault or not but one thing that has been driving me nuts all year has been the in-ability to move a runner from second to third with no outs. It seems like the Gonzo double, Ethier pop-up or K has happened way way too many times. Maybe im crazy, I don't know....
Lead off doubles (or single, SB) need to be plated by good teams.
2007-06-14 17:50:01
39.   Humma Kavula
33 It depends on what your definition of "a lot" is, I guess, as well as what the expectations were.

If every Dodger performed to expectations, how many more runs would the Dodgers have earned so far this year? 20 (Two wins' worth)? Is that too many? Is it "a lot?"

Honestly, I don't know the answers to those questions.

2007-06-14 17:52:02
40.   Humma Kavula
Continuing... your larger point -- that there's only so much better that this offense can be -- is dead on.
2007-06-14 17:53:19
41.   bhsportsguy
I have always felt that Ned like to have backup. He signed Nomar but he had Loney as backup. Pierre and Gonzo, Kemp is ready and willing. When Abreu performed well in Spring Training, he probably thought, hmmm, maybe Ramon Martinez can be let go and after Abreu's start and then his early performance with the Dodgers, he probably now feels comfortable leaving him on the team.

Last year, Nomar and Kent were injured, Drew and Lofton had to sit out to keep them fresh and the team suffered and was much more inconsistent than this team.

But then this year has seen a lack of injuries to the main cast so Loney and Kemp bided away in AAA and Chad works a few innings a week.

I think Ned and Grady decided that since they have dodged the injury bug up to now, lets bring up the kids, slip in them the lineup and now we can keep the vets fresh but let the kids ease their way to more and more playing time.

If that turns out to be the plan, I will be very happy.

2007-06-14 17:55:50
42.   Greg Brock
I started with Ned completely tabula rasa. As last season progressed, I figured out I don't like him. Now I'm unjustifiably harsh, which speaks more of me than of him. I don't think he's very smart or has a handle on stuff like Beane or Friedman or Alderson.

If he thought PVL (Proven Veteran Leadership) was so important, and has altered his perception, and is willing to give the kids a shot and evolve, good for him. Unless this is Grady pushing for the young kids and a new hitting approach, in which case, Ned is what I think he is. But I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here, because I so rarely do.

Maybe the Murray thing is a step in the right direction, and part of an overall change in philosophy.

2007-06-14 17:56:06
43.   Bluebleeder87
C - above expectations (We knew Russell Martin was good, but I don't know that we knew he'd be this good, this fast.)

i don't know if it was here or on ItD that i predicted a good year from Russell Martin & a "sophomore slump" by Ethier but there you go.

[patting self on back]

2007-06-14 17:56:31
44.   regfairfield
Some things, I'm going to use PECOTA EQAs to define what expectations are:

Given Martin's recent slump, it's starting to get to the point where he's not that far above expectations. He still is over performing by a decent amount, but it's no longer out of this world production.

Third base I'd argue would be above expectations had we not wasted time with Ramon Martinez and Wilson Valdez. The player on the Dodgers that's actually furthest above his expected performance? Wilson Betemit.

Furcal is pretty much right where PECOTA had him, with slightly less power.

Ethier is way below expectations, even if you don't take all that much stock in last year.

Overall, I think this team is performing below expectations, if only because Ethier and Nomar have been so terrible. Whether or not they can bounce back depends on if you think they can find themselves again.

2007-06-14 17:59:21
45.   D4P
Ned lost all credibility with me when he made the "Pierre gets on base an awful lot" comment. I mean, it's one thing to not be up to speed on WARP and VORP. But to get paid a lot of money to make roster decisions for the Los Angeles Dodgers and not even pay attention to OBP is just ridiculous.
2007-06-14 17:59:32
46.   bhsportsguy
37 Will you agree with the premise that GMs are usually the last to go in whatever changes get made to sports organization.

And certainly one of those guys was let go for non-baseball reasons.

2007-06-14 18:00:15
47.   DougS
Perhaps there is one thing that the discussion has overlooked so far: The possibility that Murray is not taking the fall for the past so much as he was dismissed because he was not the best hitting coach for the team going forward.

If you read Tony Jackson and Tim Brown's take on the situation (and they've closer access to the team than any of us, even Jon), it seems that Murray is still just as dour and taciturn as ever. Which is a personality that may work all right with veterans who are supposed to know what to do anyway, but perhaps not so well with with younger players who need to be nurtured sometimes, kicked in the rear sometimes, but always taught.

Last year, Ethier and Martin made a real impact as young position players. This year, Ethier and Martin are still young and on the come, and they've added Kemp, Loney, Abreu and almost LaRoche besides. And Betemit, at his age, no doubt still has room to develop.

The youth movement is happening before our eyes, and I suspect that Murray's style was judged not conducive to getting the most out of the kids. In which case, he should not be the Dodgers' hitting coach going forward.

2007-06-14 18:03:17
48.   Doctor

You have to get over that- its was just a dumb thing that came out of his mouth. He who is among us... cast the first stone etc....
It shouldn't define his tenure.

2007-06-14 18:07:54
49.   D4P
You have to get over that


He who is among us... cast the first stone etc....

GMs getting paid big bucks should be held to a higher standard than the rest of us.

It shouldn't define his tenure

It will.

2007-06-14 18:08:56
50.   Doctor

ok then

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-06-14 18:10:51
51.   Greg Brock
I just can't get over the mustache/hairpiece combo.

It's hypnotic.

2007-06-14 18:11:08
52.   TheDictator
Just read this on ESPN:
You want consistent? The Sox rank last in the American League in batting average (.232), on-base percentage (.304), slugging percentage (.362), runs, hits, total bases, doubles and triples. They've struggled against lefties and righties, on grass and turf, day and night, home and away, against hard throwers and soft tossers, with the bases empty and ducks on the pond, on bobblehead days and refrigerator magnet schedule nights.

Maybe the WhiteSox should fire Eddie Murray.

(Please note the angry sarcasm)

2007-06-14 18:12:44
53.   StolenMonkey86
49 - I've got to agree with D4P here. I'm reminded of Judge Constance Harm yelling at Homer Simpson, "Don't spit on my cupcake and tell me it's frosting!"
2007-06-14 18:15:40
54.   D4P
You can't measure the success of OzzieBall using "statistics"
2007-06-14 18:16:25
55.   Marty
It's that raccoon on his head. You can't trust him.
2007-06-14 18:16:51
56.   Marty
or what Greg said.
2007-06-14 18:22:05
57.   TheDictator

I'm not sure if that was a joke or not. I lived in Chicago Ozzie's first season. What a time I had with Cubs fans!

Oh how sweet it was.

My post was simply suggesting that the WhiteSox should do something drastic like fire the towel boy or the clubhouse assitant.

Or management could make the Sox take busses to all their games or ride is old rickety airplanes. They could even pray to JoBu if it would help!

The Sox aren't hitting they have to make a change in a new (yet completely undefined) direction.

(There actually is a point to my humor)

2007-06-14 18:23:08
58.   Hallux Valgus
overall, it seems to me that the Dodgers offense is performing to expectations (at least to mine). It was notedhere and in other places during the offseason that our offense was flawed. I personally didn't like the offense going into the offseason, and I didn't think adding Gonzo and Pierre while subtracting Lofton and Drew was going to fix it. So the problem, to me at least, seem to be the expectatons, which is the same thing I would've said in spring training.

Also, I would argue that the 5-3 is little flawed (although not inaccurate) in that pinch hitters/ pitchers have inherently lower expectations, so I wouldn't rank them "exceeding expectations" on the same plane as 1B "below expectations." Nomar's performance adversely affects the offense more than Brad Penny's performance positively affects the offense.

While the assesment works position by position, I don't think it works when examining the offense as a whole.

When it's all said and done, I do believe the Dodgers need to focus on taking some pitches, and that approach should be coming from the hitting coach. Too many players make it too easy to not get into the bullpen, which will affect the team a lot more in the playoffs, when Broxton and Beimel are pitching their 5th innings, and Aaron Heilman is pitching his second.

2007-06-14 18:23:59
59.   scareduck
55 - Ned? Or the raccoon?
2007-06-14 18:26:30
60.   scareduck
45 - Ned said Pierre gets on base an awful lot? When?
2007-06-14 18:26:45
61.   trainwreck
I was listening to Loveline one night and apparently raccoons know to attack the genitals. So do not mess with raccoons.
2007-06-14 18:28:24
62.   Greg Brock
If only there were some way to objectively measure performance. You know, maybe a mathematical system...
2007-06-14 18:30:30
63.   StolenMonkey86
63 - The ESPN Player ratings!

::runs and hides::

2007-06-14 18:30:54
64.   trainwreck
ESPN has you covered Brock.

They even count winning!!

2007-06-14 18:31:28
65.   trainwreck
Consarn it.
2007-06-14 18:31:57
66.   Hallux Valgus
62 Your position confuses and ENRAGES me. How can you measure hustle in mathematical terms? Is it geometry? It must be geometry.
2007-06-14 18:36:47
67.   underdog
I always liked calling Colletti "Ron Jeremy" but that one hasn't stuck for some reason. Maybe because I wisely kept it to myself until now.

I agree with this post Jon for the most part, but think maybe you're being a little nitpicky (don't mean that harshly, just that I agree with Colletti that the team's offense has underperformed and whether the term "a lot" means literally a great deal or somewhat isn't really that important, imho.) But I think you've got the positional breakdown pretty accurate.

And speaking of breakdowns, I'm off to play soccer.

2007-06-14 18:37:52
68.   underdog
The ESPN Player ratings = the Apple Newton of baseball statistics.
2007-06-14 18:39:57
69.   Johnny Nucleo
Sorry Jon, but I'm not sure I agree with the premise of the post. At this stage in the season, I don't think the GM is necessarily to blame (or to credit) for whether players perform above or below expectations. Player performance is notoriously difficult to predict. It takes about 2 months to evaluate the performance of the talent. I think it's the job of the manager and his coaches to get the best out of their players on a day to day basis.
Coletti's responsibilities are to A) put a team together that, if all perform "to expectations" will have a reasonable chance to win, B) to have backups available in the case of injuries and unforseen events, and C) to solve outstanding problems through trades and/or callups. He's done an excellent job with part B) in my opinion. Some elements of part A), including Juan Pierre, are very questionable.
Coletti will be judged on how well he does with part C over the next six weeks.
2007-06-14 18:40:06
70.   trainwreck
For some reason, I find that insulting to Ron Jeremy.
2007-06-14 18:41:21
71.   Jon Weisman
What's really bugging me about this post is that I liked the one I did this morning, and now it's history. Like Murray. Except without the Hall-of-Fame part.
2007-06-14 18:42:05
72.   Shotupthemiddle
67 We can string that nickname along one step further and deem Colletti "The Hedgehog" from now on.
2007-06-14 18:44:30
73.   Joshua Worley
I guess I don't attach as much importance as most others as to who the hitting coach is or what the GM says, especially a GM such a Colletti who seems inclined to say some rather outlandish things from time to time.

To me evaluating management is only about who's on the roster and how much they play. That may be a bit extreme, though. But I don't know how to wrap my head around what the effects of a hitting couch is anyway, nor can I predict what moves will come from something Ned says, so I guess I'm just being realistic about what I can think about.

The thing is, while I don't see much value in worrying too much about the things Ned says, I do think it is a worthwhile excercise to talk about who's meeting expectations in the Dodger offense.

I certainly agree with the last sentence of the above post about how much impact a hitting coach can have.

2007-06-14 18:44:41
74.   Hallux Valgus
71 That's why whenever I say anything even remotely profound, interesting, or funny, I immediately leave. Unfortunately for me, it isn't an issue much.
2007-06-14 18:45:05
75.   D4P
Great video of an unlikely bloke singing amazing opera on the British counterpart to American Idol. Surprisingly moving footage here.

2007-06-14 18:45:08
76.   Johnny Nucleo
71 Well, I thought the analysis of where the team stands at each position was largely accurate, and that's the important part.
2007-06-14 18:45:45
77.   alexx
I worked at the Hollywood Bowl one summer and Ron Jeremy sat in my section (the cheap seats) one night with his wife/girlfriend. I gleefully showed them to their seats but pretended to not recognize him.
2007-06-14 18:47:42
78.   Bob Timmermann
Branch Rickey was fired from three GM jobs without an ownership change in St. Louis, Brooklyn, and Pittsburgh. Although in Brooklyn, Rickey and O'Malley coexisted for a while until O'Malley managed to get a majority of the shares in the Dodgers.

In 1964, Gussie Busch fired GM Bing Devine in the middle of the season and brought in Bob Howsam. That was in part because Branch Rickey advised Busch to do so.

Executives are just as disposable as managers, coaches, and playes.

2007-06-14 18:49:12
79.   Hallux Valgus
aw crap. Watching the Dodgers replay, I now realize that I have Billy Wagner on my fantasy team. I need to remember to sit pitchers when they're playing the Dodgers.
2007-06-14 18:52:49
80.   Hallux Valgus
78 apropos of nothing, have you (or anyone) ever read Peter Golenbock's "Dem Bums." It's my favorite baseball book ever. I'm currently reading it for the fourth time. I give this book full credit for me loving Pete Reiser.
2007-06-14 18:56:25
81.   Curtis Lowe
79 - Ha Ha
2007-06-14 18:57:58
82.   TheDictator

That was incredible!

2007-06-14 18:59:18
83.   Dodgers49
47. The youth movement is happening before our eyes, and I suspect that Murray's style was judged not conducive to getting the most out of the kids. In which case, he should not be the Dodgers' hitting coach going forward.

Makes sense to me. Frankly, I began to wonder about Murray's future when Kemp said that Easler was the best hitting coach he's ever had BY FAR. Of course, that may have had nothing to do with anything. But to have my favorite young player make that statement after spending several months on the team where Murray was hitting coach just made me wonder what kind of impression Murray was having on the kids.

2007-06-14 19:03:38
84.   MJW101
Ned is reaping the crop he has sown. Nobody forced him to resign a fading Nomar when he had a legitimate replacement in Loney.

He resigned Kent far too early, just when his age started catching up to him.

Ethier, who most rated as a #4 OF at best, was counted on to be a regular. In 07 He has performed as a #4 OF and should not be expected to get better.

Pierre exhibits all the failing of Ned. He pays attention to durface stats such as avg. and games played as if they actually meant something, while ignoring valuable stats like OBP and outs generated per PA.

His infatuation with marginal players, like Martinez, Valdez, Anderson, Bomko and Hendrickson, while young players (Loney, Kemp, LaRoche) that could actually contribute are consigned to waste away in the minors. While it is true that both last year and this year Ned called up young players to become integral parts of the team it was only done as a last resort usually due to injury or outright crapitude by a vet.

Ned should get the rightful credit for Saito, Gonzo, Tsao, Seanez and Furcal, but must also take the blame for Schmidt, Pierre, Martinez, Nomar, Bomko, Hendrickson, Baez and Seo. The jury is still out on Wolf and Betemit.

Ned is an expert PR man, while Depo lacked in the communications department.

This team reminds me of the team Evans put together (and received much grief and aggravation over) no offense with great pitching. Evans labored under indifferent ownership and had severe budget constraints, both problems Ned does not currently have to deal with.

2007-06-14 19:04:19
85.   Greg Brock
75 I saw that earlier today and almost posted it here.

Surprisingly moving is well put. It was great.

2007-06-14 19:05:20
86.   Hallux Valgus
83 I've always wondered why teams don't keep their best coaches in the minors. that's where they have the most, and most widespread, affect on players. I would pay a king's ransom to keep a coach as a roving instructor if I thought he was worth it. I would make it worth his while not to be a big league hitting coach (or I would do my best. I assume coaches' ambitions is why they're not kept in the minors).
2007-06-14 19:13:51
87.   MJW101
Eddie Murray was never a gregarious guy (understatement) and as such is probably not the guy I would want as a batting coach.

Cal Ripken is not the best source to vouch for Eddie's personality. Cal was taciturn at best.

2007-06-14 19:14:11
88.   trainwreck
D4P, did you hear Royce Gracie tested positive for steroids?
2007-06-14 19:16:23
89.   D4P
Yeah, I saw that about a half hour ago. Pretty shocking, huh?
2007-06-14 19:18:47
90.   Johnny Nucleo
75 Thanks! My wife and I both loved it.
2007-06-14 19:19:12
91.   trainwreck
Yeah, especially since he is all jiu-jitsu.
2007-06-14 19:22:46
92.   bojangles
12. I offered that take, and the worries that go with it, the day he was hired.
29. Nice.
In general, "going forward" is the new empty phrase - almost never needed. Can't go back...
Luis is a little better than I expected, but not much. I worry about his capacity to bring the same stuff down the stretch.
This is a kind of curious team - very young, kinda old, with only a few key middle-agers, especially among the everyday guys. Very vulnerable, I think, coming down the stretch, as the old guys tire (especially in the damn-the-greenies era), and the young guys have to adjust to the evolving scouts' books on them (as well as their own brand of fatigue - from major-league pennant pressure, and length of bigs' season).
86. Some astute orgs have done just as you suggest from time to time. Nice take.
2007-06-14 19:22:56
93.   D4P
Makes you think everyone probably roids up. It's kinda like in baseball when the Jason Grimsleys get caught. If those guys are using, then it seems like everyone must be.
2007-06-14 19:28:34
94.   PlayTwo
With all the other resources that are now available, is a hitting coach necessary?
2007-06-14 19:29:14
95.   PlayTwo
With all the other resources that are now available, is a hitting coach necessary?
2007-06-14 19:29:43
96.   PlayTwo
With all the other resources that are now available, is a hitting coach necessary?
2007-06-14 19:30:57
97.   PlayTwo
With all the other resources that are now available, is a hitting coach necessary?
2007-06-14 19:33:01
98.   trainwreck
I don't know

I figured I might as well get that joke out of the way.

2007-06-14 19:43:46
99.   Marty
If Ned starts wearing a hedgehog on his head, I'll call him Ron Jeremy.
2007-06-14 19:46:14
100.   scareduck
84 - His infatuation with marginal players, like Martinez, Valdez, Anderson, Bomko and Hendrickson, while young players (Loney, Kemp, LaRoche) that could actually contribute are consigned to waste away in the minors. While it is true that both last year and this year Ned called up young players to become integral parts of the team it was only done as a last resort usually due to injury or outright crapitude by a vet.

And yet, it's hard to see the trade that sent Hendrickson to the Dodgers (and Edwin Jackson to the Rays) as being anything but a win for the Dodgers thus far. Every day that Jackson blows chunks in the Show is another day I begin to believe he won't amount to anything useful. In particular, it's hard to know what Tampa Bay will do with him after his godawful start yesterday, providing only one out while giving up five runs, all earned:

On the other hand, it could just be that the Rays don't know a damned thing about player development.

Be that as it may, the larger point that Ned has been quick to give up on young players and slow to let them contribute (except when cornered, as at catcher) stands. Nobody forced him to re-sign Nomar, or sign Pierre.

86 - it certainly worked for Lasorda! The Dodgers might have missed a lot when Scioscia left the system, though I guess by that time there weren't any kids ready to contribute.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-06-14 19:55:55
101.   Bob Timmermann
You would have to pay a guy my age (41) or older a lot to want spend six months out of the year travelling from Las Vegas to Jacksonville to Midland to San Bernardino to Vero Beach to the Dominican Republic (repeat) to try to impart my wisdom on a bunch of kids recently out of high school.

Then you still have to get a hitting coach for the major league level and pay that guy just as much.

2007-06-14 19:57:46
102.   JoeyP
88--Roid Rage must help in the octagon.
2007-06-14 19:58:14
103.   twerp
Murray--or any hitting coach--can do just so much. The coach is either blessed or limited by talent at his disposal. So, no, I don't think he should be the fall guy and take sole responsibility for the Dodger offensive funk.

However, from an AP dispatch, June 5, 2005, on Murray's firing as hitting coach by the Indians in his fourth year there--

"The move did not come as a huge surprise. Murray is not known to seek out players to offer advice unless they come to him and ask."

If that was also his style with the Dodgers, it wouldn't be hard for at least some players to have problems with it. Some young players--veterans, too, maybe--may have felt they were being asked to beg him for help when he should have been volunteering it. And maybe some were intimidated by having to approach the HOFer, maybe feeling they shouldn't bother him, that he wanted them to work it out on their own, or whatever else.

Someone commented that as a player Murray could do things just falling out of bed that current Dodgers can't. Maybe he can't relate well to the hitting struggles of mere mortals. This reminds me of a Larry Bird quote from the time when he coached the Pacers and became increasingly frustrated when his players didn't make plays he thought should have been obvious ones. "Why can't they see what I see?" he asked. Maybe it's that way for Murray.

In any organization, if results aren't good, the person with responsibility in a given area is expected to change things for the better. If that person doesn't, or won't, or and appears not to see the need after being told change is needed, that
person usually gets shown the door--often pretty quickly.

Is some or all this the case with Murray? We're probably not going to know a whole lot more about it. But it's possible, given the apparent similarity with Cleveland, '05. It's a murky area, but sometimes when someone says "it's not just about Eddie Murray," as Cleveland's manager did then, the real meaning is, "yeah, it is just about Eddie Murray (or whoever's being let go).

2007-06-14 20:03:59
104.   Sam DC
I haven't followed the story, or the commentary, too closely, but one thing that surprises me is just that they made the change while they have one of the best records in the league. For some reason, I would have -- apparently unfairly -- assumed that Colletti would have just instinctively felt like first place (or very close) teams don't go off firing their coaches.
2007-06-14 20:10:14
105.   Hallux Valgus
101 I understand where you're coming from. But let's say this. I'll pay you the equivalent of a major league hitting coach salary to stay in Vero Beach, plus a bump to make up for the absence of major league amenities. You teach the kids. I believe that good hitting coaches come out of a desire to teach. there's a different skill set for a major league hitting coach vs. a minor league hitting coach, simply put.

Regardless of whether or not they're traveling, I don't see the benefit of sending a good hitting coach to deal with Nomar, Gonzalez, Kent, et cetera. I want my best teachers dealing with my most impressionable players. Period.

2007-06-14 20:11:08
106.   twerp
36. "The NL RBI leader was available. A guy coming of a 50-40 season was available. It's ok not to sign them (heck I agree with it) but to say they are hard to aquire when the cubs and stros aquired them by giving them more money/years is why colletti bugs me."

Ned has said he went after the leading free agents with power last offseason and made them serious offers.

It's not what Dodger fans want to hear, but for various reasons they didn't want to play for the Dodgers. For one, IIRC, Soriano said he didn't want to play on the West Coast. There may have been more than one FA to say that.

2007-06-14 20:16:26
107.   Bob Timmermann
I don't know of any organization or business anywhere though that places its best teachers at the lower levels.

Why do college professors make more money than high school teachers in nearly every case?

2007-06-14 20:17:35
108.   regfairfield
106 I, for one, am extremly happy that we won't be paying Alfonso Soriano or Carlos Lee 20 million dollars in a few years.
2007-06-14 20:19:31
109.   natepurcell
tough crowd, we just swept the mets and have one of the best records in the NL and it seems like the majority of the comments have been heavily negative.
2007-06-14 20:21:37
110.   dsfan
Is Eddie Murray a good teacher of hitting?

I doubt any of us has the slightest clue.

In recent weeks, though, I've become skeptical about Murray. Here's why:

The Kemp quote about Easler jumped out. I commented on it here. Maybe it was nothing. But Kemp's a potential franchise player. For him to gush that profusely about a minor league coach seemed significant.

Here was another one: As wretched as Pierre was before he got to the Dodgers, his hitting approach here has been even worse. Set aside the numbers. The lad hasn't even gotten himself ready to swing. The pitcher is throwing the ball and Pierre isn't ready to swing. He's been so defensive at the plate. Say what you want about how awful he was before he got here, but his hitting approach had become a total joke. No chance for success. When Little talked about Pierre needing to adjust his bat angle, that was a yellow flag.

Something to think about: The best year that Pierre had was under Bill Robinson. Isn't Robinson a coach in this farm system? Was he disgusted with Pierre's terrible approach? Did Robinson share his thoughts with Ned?

Can Billy Mueller teach young hitters? I haven't a clue. I don't even know if he's ever coached hitting. I'd like to know a lot more about him.

But if the Dodgers concluded that Murray isn't the teacher that they thought he was, I doubt that it was figment of their imagination. And to do it coming off a sweep of the Mets indicates there were some profound doubts about Murray.

2007-06-14 20:23:35
111.   Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
Jon, I like the addendum to the post, but I still feel it should be pointed out that it still assumes Ned is very careful to say what he actually thinks when he speaks. For a position like his, where dealing with the media is a given, I find that a very, very dubious proposition.

Murray's out of a job, but with his resume, I hardly think the man will starve. And it's not like this will take away from his reputation as a player, which is what really counts in the end for baseball posterity. With young players, I think who the hitting coach is might actually be important to some extent, but we don't even know if that's the rationale for the firing. I find this all much ado about nothing, in all due honesty.


2007-06-14 20:23:45
112.   ToyCannon
1. Were in 1st place
2. Best rotation in the NL and we haven't even used Chad yet.
3. Best bullpen in the NL and were still missing Tsao/Yhancy with Meloan as our silver bullet.
4. All the kids we wanted up are up
5. Top of the order is totally underperforming and were still in 1st place.
6. None of the vaunted prospects has been traded even though many would have you believe that Ned doesn't give youngsters a chance. I guess Martin/Ethier/Betemit/Broxton/Kuo/Kemp are veterans.
5b. Juan Pierre has played as bad as he could have played and were in 1st place. It can only get better for him and Nomar. Really it can only get better.
7. Furcal is looking healthier and if he replicates last year's 2nd half the rbi opportunities should be flowing for the middle of the order.
8. Kemp is about to make a statement.
9. Gonzo is outdoing JD Drew on every offensive level by a alot, not a little. This shouldn't last but just by doing this when the top of the order was struggling he's made an impact on the team.
10. Resisted the demands by Dodger fans to release Betemit and go get a big bat for 3rd.

Ned doesn't need a scapegoat, his team is in 1st place. He fired Murray for whatever reason and it had nothing to do with shifting blame but for the desire to make the team better as it goes forward. Right or wrong he had a reason. Who cares what it was, that is between him and Murray. I don't believe that JP or Nomar will continue to play everyday if their play does not improve. Grady has already made a point to pinch hit, double switch and that is when it starts. Even with the awful contract they must produce at something close to their historical level or they will see bench time.

2007-06-14 20:25:05
113.   StolenMonkey86
100 - Edwin Jackson to the Rays and Hendrickson to the Dodgers were two different trades.

The Jackson trade was Jackson and Tiffany for Baez and Carter. If you're gonna talk about Jackson's bad games, talk about them in light of this:
And don't even start on Lance Carter. This trade was probably a tie, but I'll give the advantage to TB because they still have Tiffany and they shed Baez's salary.

The Hendrickson Trade was Dioner Navarro and Jae Seo for Toby Hall and Mark Hendrickson. Navarro didn't go but so far, and he's been a nightmarish hitter since leaving LA (.227 EqA in 2006 in TB, .172 EqA on the year). It's just annoying to think he probably could have showed more upside and Ned could have gotten more for him. But still, it seems like the predictions worked out so that it was a nearly even trade.

2007-06-14 20:25:49
114.   Eric Stephen
100 Edwin Jackson wasn't traded for Hendrickson.

Hendrickson came with Toby Hall for Jae Seo and Dioner Navarro.

Jackson and Chuck Tiffany went to TB for Danys Baez & Lance Carter.

2007-06-14 20:26:24
115.   Eric Stephen
Stolen Monkey or Stolen Thunder? You Decide
2007-06-14 20:27:56
116.   Hallux Valgus
107 I don't think that answers the question. We're talking about athletes with a limited window of performance. If you were a hitting coach, and I could pay you "X" amount of money while living in "Y" city that was not equivalent, fine. If not, so be it.

We're not talking about most organizations or industries here. We're talking about a situation where the older you are, the more likely you are to rely on bad habits. I don't think it's a stretch to see Nomar's tendencies as a trend more than Hu's tendencies as a trend.

Which player can be taught more? So which player deserves the cash?

Frankly, I also don't agree with patently paying college professors more than high school teachers. Education does not equal ability.

2007-06-14 20:28:13
117.   Eric Enders
I think the Dodgers definitely come out ahead on the Baez/Jackson trade, given that Baez was flipped for Betemit.
2007-06-14 20:28:19
118.   Jon Weisman
Back to the future. Newold post up top. I needed to get back to something I liked.
2007-06-14 20:28:46
119.   Jon Weisman
Sorry, Eric. You're in the zone.

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