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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

Who Are They Kidding?
2007-12-19 07:50
by Jon Weisman

Kevin Baxter of the Times checks in with Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal:

"It's tough when you've got a bad injury and you can't even stand up at home plate. I felt so disappointed with myself."

For the most part, however, he suffered in silence. Although the Dodgers' trainers and confidants such as infield coach Mariano Duncan knew he was in pain, few others, even teammates, knew how badly he was hurt.

Is this a joke? Furcal's ankle injury was one of the most obvious, most talked-about maladies of any Dodger season. He was clearly limited in his ability, clearly in need of an extended rest.

His wife, Glenny, knew because Furcal's silence spoke volumes.

"When he feels hurt, he never says anything. He just stays quiet. But at the same time, I know that he was expecting more and he was getting frustrated," she says, sitting in the living room of the couple's sprawling two-story, 11th-floor penthouse.

"He wanted to do more [but] he was scared to say something because he felt like maybe people wouldn't believe that he was hurt," Glenny remembers of the long, quiet nights in their La Canada home. "It was really bad. He would come home sad. When Raffy can't play well, he gets frustrated."

No offense to Furcal, none at all, but this is just delusional. Everyone saw him get hurt or read about it the next day. Everyone knew he was hurt. This was not a case for Sherlock Holmes. This was not the big "Rosebud" reveal.

The rest that Furcal has gotten since September 30 is the rest Furcal needed on March 30. It didn't help the Dodgers that he postponed it.

Instead, you can score another phyrric victory for baseball's macho, headgame culture. Is there anyone out there who can conquer the better-to-play-at-50-percent-than-heal, I'd-rather-play-poorly-than-make-excuses mentality?

Comments (177)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-12-19 08:09:54
1.   ToyCannon
Silence. Oh the poor hero, I will play in incredible pain even though the injury will cause me to play below replacement level, because just the sheer fact I'm on the field will inspire my legions to victory.
2007-12-19 08:10:30
2.   Raf
0 Carl Pavano?
2007-12-19 08:13:43
3.   D4P
Jon -

Do you know where TMYLM supposedly takes place? (I've read where it's filmed, but can't quite figure out where it's supposed to be. My guess in the midwest somewhere).

BTW: We've started watching "Big Love". It's very good.

2007-12-19 08:16:46
4.   bhsportsguy
I have learned that there are at least two things that bug our esteemed DT author, one is this belief that young players have to prove themselves while veteran players get multiple chances and two, all players and team's medical staffs not being forthcoming about their injuries and status thereof.
2007-12-19 08:18:34
5.   D4P
Should an injured player play if his injured performance is still better than the expected performance of backups? Does the answer to this question depend upon the situation (e.g. in pennant race, eliminated from playoffs already, etc.)?
2007-12-19 08:19:20
6.   Jon Weisman
257 - I thought it was set in Chicago, but I could be wrong.

4 - That's good, but it's a longer list than that. You guys should be able to fill in more :)

2007-12-19 08:19:26
7.   bhsportsguy
3 If that is a movie, go here:

It shows locations, production start dates, etc.

2007-12-19 08:19:51
8.   Andrew Shimmin
Tony Abreu. Well, it was a moral victory. . . Maybe.

4- Also, the word: meme.

2007-12-19 08:20:13
9.   bhsportsguy
6 You know Jon, DT isn't just about your angsts.

Or is it?


2007-12-19 08:22:45
10.   dianagramr
Furcal should have just used HGH .... he would have healed faster ...

(end snark alert)

2007-12-19 08:23:41
11.   D4P
Furcal should have just used HGH

Maybe he did...

2007-12-19 08:26:43
12.   D4P
I thought it was set in Chicago

But a suburb, right? We've never seen a big city environment. Carolyn's law firm and May's office seem to be in the "downtown" area, which is relatively small.

I can't find any news on when the second season is supposed to start.

2007-12-19 08:27:55
13.   ToyCannon
Managers have to take some responsibility here. Since 99% of the Dodger community knew that Furcal was hurt and it was effecting his performance, you would hope a manager might be clued into the same thing.
Just as you might hope a manager might be clued into the fact, the center fielder your playing every single bloody day is not very good and you have other options and helping a lousy player continue a games played in streak is an affront to baseball itself.
2007-12-19 08:28:40
14.   Vishal
I'd-rather-play-poorly-than-make-excuses mentality

this phrase would work just as well if it you had said "i'd-rather-play-poorly-THEN-make-excuses-mentality", because though they might not want to make excuses at the time for not playing, inevitably after playing through the injury, and thus playing poorly, that's what happens. articles like these blaming the injury and using it as an excuse. well, if it wasn't allowing you to play well, WHY DID YOU PLAY?

2007-12-19 08:30:46
15.   ToyCannon
If your going to cheat you might as well use the stuff that will help you. I'm disapointed in how many Dodgers used HGH instead of steroids. At least Beltre picked the right stuff.
2007-12-19 08:31:32
16.   Daniel Zappala
The sad thing is that the usual excuse is that the player "did it for the team". The team would have been better off without you playing. If you really want to do something for the team, rest, let a backup play, and then come back strong a few months later.
2007-12-19 08:32:07
17.   ibleedbloo
Tomorrows headline: Dodger brass confirms, Schmidt's off year attributed to arm trouble
2007-12-19 08:32:08
18.   ibleedbloo
Tomorrows headline: Dodger brass confirms, Schmidt's off year attributed to arm trouble
2007-12-19 08:33:39
19.   Vishal
9 Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers and baseball

it kind of IS about dealing with jon's angsts :)

2007-12-19 08:35:29
20.   old dodger fan
Could someone explain his ankle injury to me. I am not questioning it, I just don't understand it.

For those of you who saw him play regularly how obvious was the injury? Shouldn't the trainers have noticed it and said something to Grady? Was his defense impacted? He still attemted 31 SB's. Perhaps it was injured and began to heal and playing everyday he reinjured it a few times along the way.

Any insights?

2007-12-19 08:36:18
21.   Jon Weisman
12 - Thanks to the strike, nobody knows when almost any scripted TV filming will commence.
2007-12-19 08:37:50
22.   Vishal
20 the story there was that at some point it was allowing him to do some things such as run forwards and laterally, but he was having difficulty putting weight on it, especially while swinging the bat.

at least that's what i think i remember hearing.

2007-12-19 08:39:12
23.   Disabled List
I'm not really sure why HGH - when used in a medicinal manner, such as to heal an injury - is banned anyway. When it's used as a shortcut to build bulk and muscle, then yes, that's cheating. But if you can't avail yourself of HGH to get a torn tendon to heal, then you shouldn't be able to undergo Tommy John surgery, either.
2007-12-19 08:40:59
24.   D4P
I'm not really sure why HGH - when used in a medicinal manner, such as to heal an injury - is banned anyway

Is HGH use that has been prescribed by a doctor banned...?

2007-12-19 08:42:17
25.   Kevin Lewis

I think the context of Furcal's injury begins to answer your question. In this context I wish he had not played at all until he was healed. He was such a catalyst in 2006 that it would have been tremendous to have him come back to the top of the order in full form. Now, if we are talking a pennant race or the playoffs, than it's a different story.

I wonder if Repko and Furcal hung out at all this year?

2007-12-19 08:43:36
26.   MC Safety
20 It wasnt Adrian Beltre noticeable, but it was noticeable.

Grady Little had no business penciling his name into the lineup card, I am so glad that pinhead is gone.

2007-12-19 08:44:35
27.   Frip
Like I said last year (I hate starting off a sentence like that, sorry), how bad can his ankle have been if he's playing the most demanding field position in baseball? With herky-jerky split second lateral movement required.

Why should we discount that it's an 80% made up excuse for a mediocre-to-poor season?

I think this injury excuse happens alot. Especially in the form of, "oh I didn't want to say anything...". You're a grown MAN, SAY SOMETHING!

It just strikes me as a lot of bologne sometimes. And I'm not buying the wife bit either.

2007-12-19 08:44:46
28.   old dodger fan
Would it be permissible for Schmidt to use it if he quit using it 6 months (or some period of time) before his first regular season game and it was perscribed by a Dr.?
2007-12-19 08:46:39
29.   Disabled List
24 I've yet to hear a single athlete say they were put on an HGH regimen by a doctor. There could be multiple reasons why this is true: HGH is verboten in all circumstances, or maybe doctors have valid health-related reasons not to prescribe it.

I'm just wondering what the deal is.

2007-12-19 08:46:41
30.   Andrew Shimmin
" '[W]e have never granted a (therapeutic use exemption) for human growth hormone, ever,' said Rob Manfred, MLB's senior vice president for business and labor.

2007-12-19 08:52:19
31.   MC Safety
27 You could be right, Furcal certainly didnt look injured that one series agianst the Pads towards the very end. He was running like the second coming of Rickey Henderson. Didnt he have like 4 sb's that one game?
2007-12-19 08:53:21
32.   LAT
You guys are missing the point from this post. The real question is where is there an 11 story penthouse in La Canada? None that I know of.
2007-12-19 08:55:51
33.   MC Safety
32 I know the 5th grade camp I went to was in La Canada. Anyone else go to Camp Hi-Hill?

I for sure dont remember seeing any 11 story penthouses in the forest though.

2007-12-19 08:57:09
34.   LAT
Oops. Should have read the article first. The penthouse is in the DR.
I'll go back into my corner now and be quiet.
2007-12-19 08:57:42
35.   Disabled List
30 Good article. It seems to me that a licensed athletic trainer, in consult with a sports physician, ought to be able to prescribe HGH for therapeutic purposes in a dosage that allows injuries to heal, but does not illegitimately increase muscle mass. MLB could establish a clearinghouse to keep track of exactly what is being prescribed to whom, and could strictly limit the number of medical professionals able to dispense the medication.

I'm not really a licensed sports injury therapist. But I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

2007-12-19 08:58:45
36.   KG16
No one is going to get past the "the better-to-play-at-50-percent-than-heal, I'd-rather-play-poorly-than-make-excuses mentality".

It is ingrained into sports from a very early age. You hear things like, "Rub some dirt on it." You hear stories of Wally Pipp. You come to believe that you are helping the team by playing hurt because the team needs you.

There is also the fact that pro athletes love what they do (for the most part) and most will choose to play, even when hurt, because it is better than not playing. And then you get stories like Byron Leftwich at Marshall, being carried down the field by his o-linemen; Shilling and the magic bloody sock; Jordan dropping 40 with the flu, and guys figure if these guys can do it, then they should too.

Coaches can't be expected to sit players because, for the most part, they are former players and grew up with the same understanding.

There's also the slippery slope problem. Where do you draw the line on what injuries require the player to go to the DL when he can still play (even if at 50%)? It's one of the reasons that JD Drew got so much flack here in LA (that and his apparent desire to take a walk rather than get a hit).

2007-12-19 08:58:57
37.   Bob Timmermann
It's probably very close to the Glendale line.
2007-12-19 08:59:11
38.   ToyCannon
Don't you have an errand to run?

La Canada does have some impressive properties.

2007-12-19 08:59:34
39.   Bob Timmermann
And I didn't read Marty's comment then, so I compounded the error.
2007-12-19 09:01:27
40.   ToyCannon
I don't have a problem with players, playing through pain while hurt. I only have a problem if they suck when attempting to play through pain while hurt.
2007-12-19 09:03:26
41.   ibleedbloo
I don't see why doctors don't prescribe HGH. I may be mistaken, but I believe Bonds and Biggio, among others, had their elbow armor prescribed by a doctor.
2007-12-19 09:08:13
42.   jasonungar07
well at least we know why Ned wouldn't let Grady bat Pierre leadoff:

"I don't think any lineup would be productive without the leadoff hitter being able to get on," Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said.

2007-12-19 09:09:46
43.   ToyCannon
Gary Burghoff was a NRI! Did I miss an inside DT joke thread?

Non-Roster Invitees
Rick Asadoorian
Gary Burghoff
Fernando Desgue
Brian Falkenborg
Greg Jones
Mike Koplove
Chan Ho Park
Brian Shackelford
Tanyon Sturtze

2007-12-19 09:10:50
44.   Bob Timmermann
If baseball players suffered from mental or developmental retardation from a hormone disorder, then I'm all for doctors prescribing HGH. Or maybe acromegaly.
2007-12-19 09:12:17
45.   MC Safety
33 Wow, so I guess Camp Hi Hill is only for Long Beach and Catalina kids. That explains why we went with Avalon now.
2007-12-19 09:12:45
46.   Brian Y
41. Ok, I'm going to chime in the whole HGH discussion. My mother owns a wellness center that specializes in BHRT (BioIdentical Hormone Replacement Therapy). Basically HGH is prescribed to MANY people who are deficient in either testosterone or estrogen both men and women. It is not dangerous as some have stated. And let me just tell you, by testing your hormone levels, if you're deficient you should have every right to be on HGH. If you aren't then it is cheating. HGH testing is simple. Test your hormones and see if it is at an unusual level and if so, put them on the opposite hormone. I know lots of athletes that come to my mother's wellness center that are in the NFL, Olympics, MLS, and so forth so this isn't a big scandal. It is a true medical condition.


2007-12-19 09:16:00
47.   BlueCrew Bruin
I agree in principle but just about every pro athelete has dreams of being a hero. What's more heroic than gutting it out for your team while you're injured and have no business playing? Practically, these guys probably know they are ineffective playing with whatever injury they have but there seems to be so much to gain in the public eye and with your teammates on the off-chance that you will be remembered as the next Gibson or Schilling.

That is where you need trainers and medical staff to overrule the player (and a manager/coach that will listen).

2007-12-19 09:19:24
48.   ToyCannon
My oldest brother who survived polio in the 1950's is now undergoing HGH therapy. Evidently polio survivers are getting hit again after the age of 55. His muscle mass took a deep hit and since he's a carpenter he kind of needs his muscles to work.
2007-12-19 09:20:53
49.   Bob Timmermann
I apparently was given plenty of HGH by the DNA gods.
2007-12-19 09:22:04
50.   BlueCrew Bruin
Just in case it isn't clear, 47 was regarding the macho attitude, not a player's decision to use HGH.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-12-19 09:27:48
51.   JoeyP
An article like this seems about as simple as damage-control from the Furcal/Dodgers PR team.

These, "I had a bad year but its only because of injuries"---> after the season, seem nothing more than excuses, especially when the player never goes on the DL.

2007-12-19 09:29:18
52.   MikeB
Tribune CEO steps down.
I wonder if Sam Zell likes Plaschke?
2007-12-19 09:30:09
53.   Jon Weisman
If Kirk Gibson had struck out against Eckersley, it's not as if I would have held it against anyone for giving it a go.

But to consistently play a subpar player in the regular season, that's another story.

2007-12-19 09:31:35
54.   Bob Timmermann
This is all because Kerry Strug snubbed you isn't it?
2007-12-19 09:32:21
55.   dkminnick
The article mentions that Furcal is playing second base to protect his "shoulder strain" - so he is still playing hurt.

Instead of playing winter ball, why on Earth wouldn't he just give the ankle another three months rest AND rest his apparently hurt shoulder at the same time? Wanna bet we hear about Furcal's ankle and shoulder bothering him during the 2008 season?

2007-12-19 09:35:07
56.   Paul Scott
When JD Drew was here, the complaints were that he wouldn't play with a hangnail. (Jon was not among the complainers).

Anyway, in the case of Furcal, I still hold the position that he did the right thing and that while the "macho" problem is real, this is not a case of it.

As you said Jon, everyone knew about this. This is not some case of an athlete hiding his injury. Furcal was completely open about the situation and I can recall several times last year when Little said that Furcal was suffering at the plate, but not on the field. The Dodgers made a choice to have an Izturis equivalent play rather than letting Furcal heal.

Should the Dodgers have let Hu play and rested Furcal since they all knew Furcal was not likely to hit well? Probably. But that choice - right or wrong - was made rationally. Furcal's "machoism" had nothing to do with it.

2007-12-19 09:36:41
57.   regfairfield
From the last thread:

No defensive metric puts Loney at anything better than slightly above average.

Furcal lead the team in VORP in 2006 by a huge margin, and was behind only the elite shortstops in VORP for the season. Combine this with amazing defense and you have one heck of a player when he's healthy. Maybe Hu and Abreu's peak production will equal Furcal, but there's no way you can just pencil them in for the same numbers. Furcal is not, by any measure just PVL. Players over 25 actually can be useful, believe it or not.

2007-12-19 09:40:27
58.   Andrew Shimmin
Kerri Strug.
2007-12-19 09:42:04
59.   Andrew Shimmin
Huh. She's a bureaucrat now. Too bad.
2007-12-19 09:42:13
60.   wronghanded
I think several hurt players lie to themselves throughout the course of the season. Furcal probably continued to tell himself, "well I'm in pain, but my swing feels good, my arm feels good and the team needs me". The "good enough" to play mentality is common in athletes, its a manager's job to step in and tell them to take some time off. Furcal technically was good enough to play, he just wasn't good enough to play up to our expectations. It also didn't help that he had that stretch of what 15 hits in 4 games (guessing here), that certainly skewed his and obviously Grady's perception of the injury.
2007-12-19 09:43:18
61.   Jon Weisman
43 -

2007-12-19 09:43:40
62.   MC Safety
53 This was a managerial decision correct?

I dont understand how people were giving Grady the benefit of the doubt before Torre came over. A manager has to be able to spot that and take action if the player is not performing. Grady switched Juan to leadoff like twice and then the story about Furcal being the leadoff hitter came out and that was it.

i dont doubt Furcal wanted to earn his 13 million bucks with a good season, then say "Hey, that was nothing, I was injured the whole time." Instead he flopped, and now he has to resort to asking his wife to vouch for his competitiveness.

2007-12-19 09:44:40
63.   Jon Weisman
56 - That's fair, but I do personally think there's a macho element to it. I think there had to be fear about Furcal resting and not being a gamer, given the fact that he could play.
2007-12-19 09:45:07
64.   Andrew Shimmin
If McCourt is willing to pony up to have Kerri Strug be the keynote address at next year's DT day, I could maybe spot the team 20 LF appearances for Pierre, before I quit rooting for them.

2007-12-19 09:45:45
65.   Paul Scott
Furcal isn't PVL at all. We got him for what should (barring injury) be his peak.

His signing was Ned's only really outstanding move (in fact, one of only a few that I would not call bad). I don't think penciling in Hu is by any means the automatic thing to do. Ned should, in fact, be thinking about a 2-3 year extension on Furcal (though, again, that is not a no-brainer).

2007-12-19 09:47:00
66.   dzzrtRatt
55 But if Furcal sat out the first third of the season, who could take his place? Who is available? Who has the skills necessary? Do you know who?
2007-12-19 09:47:18
67.   ToyCannon
Thanks - I guess I could have searched myself but then everyone would not know how lazy I am.
2007-12-19 09:48:30
68.   ToyCannon
Of course he's a proven veteran leader. It doesn't always have to be a bad thing.
2007-12-19 09:50:35
69.   regfairfield
68 Proven veteran leader and PVL have different connotations, at least here.

66 A man named Wilson Betemit.

2007-12-19 09:50:37
70.   Andrew Shimmin
The team was lousy with shortstops, last year. Betemit, Abreu, Martinez, Valdez. Nomar could have slid over to let a real hitter play first.
2007-12-19 09:51:46
71.   dkminnick
66 - I was actually referring to the three winter months, but hey, if his recovery period lasts into the season, I know who... and it ain't Horton.
2007-12-19 09:55:57
72.   ToyCannon
Abreu was able and ready to play SS. If you recall he was brought up to play 3rd which he had never done before. He had extensive training at SS. He would not have done any better then Furcal during the time he played but he might have given Furcal the time to heal so when he did play again he would have played like the Furcal of 2006 not 2007. This is not hindsite, this discussion took place all season long. I agree with Paul that management did know the extent of his injury and decided a hurt Furcal was better then the other options. I think they were wrong. All these choices effected our season. Those who didn't follow closeley(Mark Donohue) and only look at the final standings evidently don't remember that until that fateful doubleheader in Sept we were in the thick of the race.
2007-12-19 09:57:19
73.   MikeB
Furcal's most valuable tools are his speed and his throwing arm strength. He needs speed to beat out infield groundballs and bunts, which will raise his OBP, and provide him more opportunities to steal bases and score runs. Take away his speed, and his value on offense is severely impacted.

Furcal's arm strength allows him to make up for any lack of range (perhaps caused by injury) or positioning mistakes. Take away Furcal's ability to make strong, accurate throws to first base - and Rafael is a liability on defense playing shortstop.

In his time with the Dodgers, Rafael has had knee surgery (prior to the start of the 2006 season), a severe ankle strain for all of the 2007 season, and perhaps now a potential problem with his lower back (disk?).

Shortstop is the 2nd most demanding defensive position (catching being #1 and excluding pitchers). In 2008, the Dodgers must be careful how they manage the inevitable aches & pains of their two key players - Rafael Furcal and Russell Martin. This is the type of managerial problem that Joe Torre needs to handle better in 2008 than Grady Little did in 2006 & 2007.

2007-12-19 09:58:11
74.   ToyCannon
The fact that Joe Torre played Betemit at 2nd and SS last year bought a smile to my face.
2007-12-19 09:59:21
75.   FiftyYearDodgerFan
I'd like to revisit the notion that Dan Haren is going to give Arizona the best starting pitching in the NL West.

Haren is going from the second most pitcher friendly park to the fifth worst. ESPN shows the following numbers for the two parks:

Chase Field 5
Oakland 29

Chase 1.111
Oakland 0.833

Chase 1.112
Oakland 0.786

Since being traded or going free agent, Mulder, Hudson, and Zito have yet to show the kind of dazzle they had when they played in Oakland. I know that there have been injuries, but still none of them have been the same domanent pitchers they were with the As.

Haren has a gopher ball problem and it is only going to get worse when he moves to one of the most hitter friendly parks in the game.

Dan Haren is a VERY good pitcher, just don't expect him to put up the same kind of numbers he had with the As and definitely do not expect him to post better numbers.

2007-12-19 10:06:46
76.   regfairfield
75 He's also leaving the league that has the DH and most of the good players in baseball. It should balance itself out.
2007-12-19 10:08:48
77.   wronghanded
75 Very compelling argument and I agree in principle that Haren will not be the same pitcher in '08. He is certainly an upgrade over Livan though right? So I think Arizona has improved their rotation, especially if Randy Johnson can come back healthy. I would still take our rotation and the Pads over Arizona's.
2007-12-19 10:12:38
78.   ToyCannon
Nate would have enjoyed this game. Who knew it was taking place right in our backyard.
2007-12-19 10:17:41
79.   Jon Weisman
75 - related to your comment

2007-12-19 10:19:55
80.   MikeB
75 The consensus in the baseball universe is that the American is the better or more dominant of the two major leagues.

But what about the other end of the spectrum. Which of the two leagues has the weakest teams? Are the top AL teams so great because the AL bottom dwellers are more pathetic than the weakest teams in the NL?

2007-12-19 10:27:46
81.   regfairfield
80 I'd say the bottom dwellers are about equal in each league. Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and Kansas City versus Washington, Pittsburgh and San Francisco seems like a fair fight.
2007-12-19 10:30:57
82.   MC Safety
81 Tampa wins that fight easily next year.
2007-12-19 10:31:40
83.   D4P
There's really no excuse for San Francisco to be a bottom dweller. With the possible exception of librarians, it's a nice play for people (with money) to live, and the team has plenty of money to spend, not to mention a new stadium.

I can't fathom that their ownership thinks their management has done a good job.

2007-12-19 10:31:45
84.   KG16
80 - the baseball universe is wrong.

NL (2007): .266/.334/.423
AL (2007): .271/.338/.423

NL WHIP/ERA: 1.40/4.43
AL WHIP/ERA: 1.41/4.50

The leagues are even, the elite teams in the AL may be better than the elite teams in the NL (are there any elite teams in the NL?), but as a whole, the leagues are within half a run and a hit per game.

2007-12-19 10:32:45
85.   MikeB
81 We can add Oakland to the AL list in 2008. If and when they trade Joe Blanton & Houston Street, they may have the worst pitching staff in MLB.
The Florida Marlins should be a lot of fun to watch this season, too.
2007-12-19 10:33:06
86.   bearlurker
Great column Jon.

As I read it, I thought about the Cal Bears football season and Nate Longshore's ankle that never healed.

2007-12-19 10:34:36
87.   Jon Weisman
84 - That doesn't really show anything, since they're not facing the same competition most of the time.
2007-12-19 10:35:41
88.   ToyCannon
2007 will be the last year Tampa will be in this conversation. Not an organization I would take in baseball over what they currently have and what they are going to get in the next 24 months.
A 2010 rotation of Kazmir, Shields, Price, W Davis, and either Garza or McGee will give David a shot at bringing down Goliath.
2007-12-19 10:36:06
89.   kinbote
80 I see Tampa Bay having the potential for a Milwaukee-esque rise to respectability in 2008; the problem is, they play in a division with NY & BOS. If that's not a death knell, I don't know what is.
2007-12-19 10:38:44
90.   ToyCannon
Even if they don't trade Blanton they should be one of the worse teams in baseball. They were going to be a lousy team even with Haren. When Harden, Crosby, and Chavez succumbed to injuries instead of greatness the run was over. The farm was barren until the Haren deal.
2007-12-19 10:39:41
91.   silverwidow



Which duo gets first dibs on emergency starts in 2008?

2007-12-19 10:41:18
92.   regfairfield
80 I meant last year when I said Tampa Bay, I wouldn't put them in the dregs this year.

Oakland has enough decent talent where they should still win 75 games, but they're in real danger of developing Blue Jay syndrome (putting together a bunch of slightly above average talent and winning 85 games a year with no real hope of getting better.)

2007-12-19 10:42:52
93.   ToyCannon
2007-12-19 10:45:47
94.   ToyCannon
With the current team they might, but by July I expect Blanton, Chavez, and Ellis to be gone. I don't expect Billy to do anything but a massive rebuilding this time.
2007-12-19 10:46:14
95.   regfairfield
How I see the depth chart right now:


McDonald and Orenduff should rise up the depth chart as the season goes on. I don't see Kershaw getting much of a shot in 2008 unless he makes huge improvements, or we desperately need him.

2007-12-19 10:47:04
96.   MikeB
90 Billy Beane's not hiding the fact his team wasn't good enough to compete in 2008 without a major rebuild. Interview with Tim Kawakami, San Jose Mercury News
2007-12-19 10:47:45
97.   bhsportsguy
88 That's 2 years of chances that one, those guys stay healthy and two, that the Yankees and Red Sox by paying above slot, don't get similar young talent in their systems to compliment their ability to outspend them in the free agent market.
2007-12-19 10:49:52
98.   Jacob L
86 You know not to ask for Jon's sympathy on that, right? It is a good example, though, and when where the complicity of the coaches is particularly disturbing. They sure as heck weren't doing Longshore any favors.
2007-12-19 10:50:12
99.   ToyCannon
I see Kershaw doing a Joba imitiation for us come August. Ned may not be an original but he will look at what the Yankee's did and follow suit.

I don't consider Loaiza an emergency starter but part of the rotation. I expect Schmidt to start the year on the DL.

2007-12-19 10:55:43
100.   bhsportsguy
94 Chavez is owed $34 million through 2010 plus $3M buy out (or 12.5 salary in 2011), Ellis will be a free agent at the end of season and Blanton (if he is not signed to a arbitration year eating contract) will have 3 seasons (including 2008) until he becomes a free agent.

So, I only see Blanton with any real value unless Chavez plays like an all-star in the first half of 2008.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-12-19 10:59:44
101.   kinbote
100 I predict we'll see Blanton in a Mets uniform by opening day.
2007-12-19 11:00:28
102.   ToyCannon
The last draft will probably be the last draft that the Sox, Yanks, and Detroit will get away with it. Sounds like many more teams are ready to go above slot which just means these guys will get drafted where they should instead of falling to the deep pocket guys. Time will tell if all that rumbling turns into action but at some point MLB can't afford for them to also be outspent during the draft.

As far as TB goes, I only mentioned the cream of the pitching staff. 2 of those guys are already top major league pitchers. Garza has some experience. It is possible that Price/Davis/McGee don't pan out but it is doubtfull that all 3 would not pan out. Even so, they also have a bellyfull of other talented pitchers bubbling right below those elite guys.

2007-12-19 11:01:52
103.   MikeB
83 There's really no excuse for San Francisco to be a bottom dweller. With the possible exception of librarians, it's a nice play for people (with money) to live, and the team has plenty of money to spend, not to mention a new stadium.

Isn't SF's excuse their stadium was privately funded - and they are so highly leveraged that most of their revenue stream must applied to their debt?

2007-12-19 11:02:00
104.   regfairfield
100 Ellis is a really underrated player and you should be able to get at least a B prospect for him. I really wouldn't mind if the Dodgers focused their efforts into acquiring him next year.
2007-12-19 11:02:55
105.   ToyCannon
I didn't say he would get anything for them only that they will be dealt. As you said only Blanton should bring back any real value.
2007-12-19 11:04:31
106.   ToyCannon
I would not be happy if the Rockies were proactive and acquired him for 2008. He would be a great addition to their team.
2007-12-19 11:05:07
107.   MikeB
97 ... that the Yankees and Red Sox by paying above slot, don't get similar young talent in their systems to compliment their ability to outspend them in the free agent market.

I think the Yankees and Red Sox already HAVE similar young talent in their systems.

2007-12-19 11:05:24
108.   D4P
Not much of an excuse. Of the 19 teams with lower payrolls than the Giants in 2007, 16 had better records.
2007-12-19 11:12:29
109.   wronghanded
I don't understand why SF is so bad. I figured with Zito/Cain/Lowry/Lincecum that they'd at least be hovering around .500, even with that atrocious offense.
2007-12-19 11:13:57
110.   ToyCannon
The best part of working in an office environment again are the holiday treats. I'm currently munching on some scrumptous fudge with walnuts. Yesterday it was chocolate chip and Holiday cookies, and the day before it was brownies.

That doesn't make up for the freedom I've lost but it helps.

2007-12-19 11:15:03
111.   MikeB
108 So what's the problem there - is it Brian Sabean or Peter Magowan?
2007-12-19 11:18:33
112.   regfairfield
109 Zito and Lowry really aren't that good, and the offense is 2003 Dodgers bad. That's a recipe for disaster.

111 I think it's the guy that thinks giving up draft picks in their current situation is a good idea.

2007-12-19 11:20:02
113.   D4P
The casual relationship looks roughly like this:

Magowan --> Sabean --> Crappy players, bad contracts, bad trades, etc.

2007-12-19 11:23:21
114.   D4P
In addition to being casual, the relationship is also causal.
2007-12-19 11:24:46
115.   MikeB
112 Sabean got a two year contract extension back in July. Any chance Magowan eats that contract if the Giants finish dead last in the West - and attendance plunges into the depths of McCovey Cove?
2007-12-19 11:27:22
116.   JoeyP
Furcal lead the team in VORP in 2006 by a huge margin, and was behind only the elite shortstops in VORP for the season. Combine this with amazing defense and you have one heck of a player when he's healthy. Maybe Hu and Abreu's peak production will equal Furcal, but there's no way you can just pencil them in for the same numbers.

You also cant pencil in Furcal, to produce Furcal-2006 type of numbers. 2006 was a career year for Furcal. Its doubtful he'll match it.

Given the team's overall poor offense, it really doesnt matter how many runs Furcal's glove knocks in if the team cant score with his anemic bat at the top of the lineup.

2007-12-19 11:27:36
117.   wronghanded
112 It is 2003 Dodgers bad. How demoralizing must it have been for Cain, who posted a 3.65 ERA with a 1.26 WHIP and still had a 7-16 record-- ouch!!!
2007-12-19 11:28:01
118.   regfairfield
115 No, the Giants haven't had a coherent plan since about 2002 and Sabes wasn't canned after two terrible seasons in a row. Besides, whoever they bring in there is guaranteed to fail since the Giants have taken over the crown of most pathetic organization. The team's going to need five years to rebuild if they start now.
2007-12-19 11:30:32
119.   D4P
Cain needs to Learn How To Win.
2007-12-19 11:31:10
120.   JoeyP
Also, if Furcal is an .680--.720 OPS'ing short stop for the remainder of his days going forward--then he most certainly is PVL.

PVL means getting paid premium, what a kid could do for pennies.

Hu/Abreu could OPS .680 next year. And it would suck. But it at least would be better than paying someone 13 mils to do it.

2007-12-19 11:32:57
121.   MikeB
118 Dombrowski would get it done in three.
2007-12-19 11:37:02
122.   wronghanded
120 Who in your opinion should lead-off then? LaRoche? Ethier? It seems like you don't think we have a true lead-off guy.
2007-12-19 11:38:11
123.   regfairfield
120 Yes, if Furcal matches 2007 he's terrible. If he has a normal year for him (.280/.340/.410 or so) he's a huge asset.
2007-12-19 11:41:33
124.   Ken Arneson
I would expect Haren to put up pretty much the same numbers he did in Oakland. Yes, he'll give up more homers in Arizona, but he's also facing a worse set of hitters, both in terms of talent and the fact that there's no DH. I kinda figure the two things will even themselves out.

One thing to remember when analyzing the A's--yes you have to discount the numbers the A's pitcher put up because of their park, but at the same time, you need to give the hitters more credit than their raw numbers indicate. The A's had the 4th-best offense in the AL on the road last year. Their lineup isn't as bad as most people think.

2007-12-19 12:00:30
125.   Paul Scott
116 There is a big difference between a "career year" at age 28 compared to one at age 35. Furcal's progress in 2006 was completely reasonable. If healhy, there is no reason to think the Furcal 2009 (and 2010 and 11) won't look a lot like 2006. There is also a good possibility that he will beat 2006 in the next three years. Of course, the expectation will be a slight decline over the next several years, but 2006 was not a fluke and with luck playing the role it does in baseball, there is no reason to doubt that 2006 has a reasonable chance to be beaten.
2007-12-19 12:05:11
126.   Paul Scott
116 120 in any event, regardless of any particular year's performance, Furcal's true talent level is in the .760 OPS range. When that is combined with his defense, it makes him one of the top short stops in baseball (probably third best). Neither Hu nor Abreau are likely to come within 2 wins of him over the next few years.
2007-12-19 12:07:45
127.   LogikReader
Hey TC,

If you're interested, I'm offering my tix to the Clippers game next week vs the Suns. You can check out my listing on Craigslist. My listing has the words "face value" in it.


I really think Furcal will do better this year than last. But, just to play devil's advocate: let's say we decided Furcal wasn't worth the investment, who would be a good suitable replacement?

Would Hu be Major League ready for 2008? The Cardinals, for instance, resigned David Eckstein. Tejada would have been too expensive via trade. Even as bad as he was, he could still be a factor once on the bases. Furcal and Jones seem to be on a parallel timeline.

2007-12-19 12:08:39
128.   LogikReader
2nd to last sentence is about Furcal, not Tejada.
2007-12-19 12:13:07
129.   Andrew Shimmin
Furcal beat his 2006 expected BABIP by .006. So, about as lucky as finding a penny on the sidewalk.
2007-12-19 12:20:56
130.   silverwidow
I want a .380+ OBP leadoff hitter. Martin would work if you ask me.
2007-12-19 12:22:12
131.   kinbote
I like Furcal, but I don't think he's going to be $13m more valuable than Hu. I think you let him walk, go with cheap youth [Abreu is an option too], and spend money elsewhere.
2007-12-19 12:24:44
132.   Paul Scott
129 Exactly. Additionally, his LD% and HR/FB% were all pretty consistent. Looking at any one of his components, nothing sticks out as a fluke.

2007, of course, saw a huge plummet in HR/FB% - for reason about which we are all aware. His walks and Ks were also down - which given his lack of power in 2007 is not surprising.

There is simply no reason - unless someone has evidence that Furcal's ankle cannot heal - to think we will have anything other than one of the best SSs in baseball for 2008.

2007-12-19 12:25:06
133.   underdog
61/43 - I think Radar O'Reilly striking out Steve Garvey is one of my favorite moments in Dodgers Fantasy History.
2007-12-19 12:42:16
134.   regfairfield
131 On what? Why would you make yourself worse when you have tons of money to spare (about 75 million committed to 2009 right now, with no one important going into anything later than year one arbitration). We have about a 123 million dollar payroll right now, that leaves 35-40 million available for free agents next year, at least.

You aren't trying to build the best team on a per dollar basis, you're trying to build the best team.

2007-12-19 12:47:18
135.   Andrew Shimmin
134- If Hu is for real, if he can duplicate, give or take, his 2007, would you be opposed to letting him take over the job, and taking the draft pick(s)? If Hu can hit, I'd be glad to have him. And I wouldn't mind seeing an upgrade in LF, and something good at 2B (I'm not as sold on Abreu as most people).
2007-12-19 12:50:13
136.   Andrew Shimmin
By upgrade in LF, I mean somebody better than Ethier, the only LFer on the team I recognize as such.
2007-12-19 12:50:31
137.   regfairfield
135 A lot depends on this year. If Kemp, Loney, Jones and LaRoche show that they can be a force in the heart of the order, I would. Otherwise, I don't want two potential .310 on base percentages in the middle infield when the rest of the lineup isn't that strong.

My current thought is to keep one of Abreu and Hu, then either resign Furcal or bring in Mark Ellis to play the other middle infield position.

2007-12-19 12:57:09
138.   Eric Enders
Mark Ellis has a career OPS+ of 100. Why are we assuming that Abreu would do worse?
2007-12-19 12:59:49
139.   Andrew Shimmin
You want an average bat/goldglove 2B who isn't Abreu? Huh.
2007-12-19 13:01:15
140.   regfairfield
138 Because he's shown he can take a walk. He got unlucky on balls in play in 2006 which made his year horrible. He's shown he's good for a .335 on base in a pitchers park, which is more than I can say about AbreHu. If either of them show some concept of the strike zone this year, my plans will change.
2007-12-19 13:04:08
141.   Andrew Shimmin
Ellis on the Road

2007: .293/.357/.450
Career: .272/.335/.400

2008 would be his year 31 season. I dunno.

2007-12-19 13:06:18
142.   JoeyP
134--Give Furcal's money to Johan Santana.

When that is combined with his defense, it makes him one of the top short stops in baseball (probably third best).

Tulo, Jeter, Hanley, Rollins, Tejada, A-Rod (still consider him a SS) all send their best regards.

2007-12-19 13:06:31
143.   Eric Enders
Not that Ellis is all that great, but I'd forgotten he was part of one of Beane's more underrecognized swindles.

"January 8, 2001: [Mark Ellis is] Traded as part of a 3-team trade by the Kansas City Royals with Johnny Damon to the Oakland Athletics. The Oakland Athletics sent Ben Grieve to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The Oakland Athletics sent Angel Berroa and A.J. Hinch to the Kansas City Royals. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays sent Cory Lidle to the Oakland Athletics. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays sent Roberto Hernandez to the Kansas City Royals."

2007-12-19 13:08:59
144.   regfairfield
141 Gah, you're right, I thought he was younger.
2007-12-19 13:10:17
145.   regfairfield
142 Why not give a separate pile of money to Johan? It's a big pile.
2007-12-19 13:13:12
146.   CanuckDodger
Abreu and Hu are really getting underappreciated here, though not by everybody. They will be the Dodgers' starting middle infielders in 2008, and we will be damn lucky to have them. I feel like their futures with us are more secure than LaRoche's. Furcal won't be resigned because if he has another bad to mediocre year, well, duh. And if he has a really good year his contract demands in both money and years for a guy on the wrong side of 30 are going to look like very bad bets for a team that already has Hu.
2007-12-19 13:14:37
147.   Andrew Shimmin
BBref has Ellis's top comparable at 30 being Don Slaught, whose year 33 and 31 seasons were the best of his career. Top comparable batter is Mark DeRosa whose best years were 31 and 32. So, math proves that getting Ellis is a great idea. But it can't wait till next year.
2007-12-19 13:17:37
148.   Eric Enders
I think Furcal getting re-signed depends a lot more on the type of season Hu has than the type of season Furcal has.
2007-12-19 13:18:43
149.   LAT
Although this article is a little over the top it has some valid and intersting points concerning the Feds pursuit of Bonds and Marion Jones after the Mitchel report.

(Disclaimer: Its from yesterday's Washington Post so it may have already been discussed.)

2007-12-19 13:20:12
150.   Eric Enders
And here I thought only Sam DC was allowed to point out articles from the Washington Post.
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2007-12-19 13:22:08
151.   JoeyP
Will Dan Uggla be getting too expensive for the Marlins after 2008?

I'm worried about Hu/Abreu also putting up .310 OBPs, but with Kent leaving next year a nice backup plan might involve trading for Uggla. Good power potential at 2nd base.

I could live with Hu/Uggla. Granted, much less expensive than Furcal/Kent, but their money could go into getting an OF'er or pitcher.

2007-12-19 13:41:58
152.   Howard Fox
reading what everyone has to say about Furcal makes me laugh...

its his walk year...he will put up huge numbers...

the question is whether Ned will be fooled into thinking that is worth a multi year extension...

2007-12-19 13:44:29
153.   Jon Weisman
"its his walk year...he will put up huge numbers..."

Just like Andruw Jones?

2007-12-19 13:45:45
154.   Howard Fox
153 the exception to the rule
2007-12-19 13:52:45
155.   Bob Timmermann
Freddy Garcia really had a great year last year in his walk year also.
2007-12-19 13:54:50
156.   Bob Timmermann
A link to Phil Birnbaum's study on "Do Players Outperform in their Free Agent Year?"

2007-12-19 13:55:18
157.   Marty
Every year is my walk year.
2007-12-19 13:55:39
158.   ThinkBlue116
Anything more than another 3 years for Furcal would be a mistake. Hu and Abreu are capable of posting a .700 OPS and it wouldn't be worth the extra $15+ million for another .050 points.
2007-12-19 13:55:39
159.   Howard Fox
155 ok, 2 exceptions...

but generally it holds true

2007-12-19 13:57:57
160.   Bob Timmermann
I guess it holds true when you notice it, but if you don't, then it doesn't happen.
2007-12-19 13:57:59
161.   Howard Fox
157 as long as it is years before I have walker years
2007-12-19 13:59:45
162.   ToyCannon
Either Abreu or Hu will get a chance this year to prove what they can do. Jeff Kent is not going to be playing a lot of games.
2007-12-19 14:02:03
163.   das411
155 - GRR!!

143 - Amazing to see what has happened to all of the pieces of that trade in seven years. While Ellis is still in Oakland, Damon has hit it big in both Boston and NY, Grieve fell off the face of the planet until his cameo in "Juiced", Berroa won that RoY and has not done much since, A. J. Hinch is now a big part of Arizona's front office, poor Cory Lidle played for 3 other teams after that trade, and somehow Roberto Hernandez is still pitching in NL East bullpens.

2007-12-19 14:02:54
164.   68elcamino427
162 Do you think Kent's sub will apperar in more than 50 games this year?
2007-12-19 14:03:14
165.   Ranma
...A's general manager Billy Beane didn't waste time asking for Justin Upton or Chris Young, who would have been likely — and impractical — starting points for many of his colleagues...Beane essentially settled for the best of the rest of the D-backs' highly regarded system.

Why doesn't this logic apply to the Dodgers, whose farm system is arguably quite better than Arizona's?

Prior, recovering from shoulder surgery, is not expected to pitch in the majors before mid-May. His goal is to sign a one-year deal, then re-enter the free-agent market in a stronger position next off-season.

Assuming he didn't/doesn't use PED's, I'd now rather focus on Mark Prior as a possible FA target next offseason depending on his performance for this upcoming season and given his current projected return date and focus on a short-term deal.

Even after adding Kuroda, Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says that his focus remains on pitching. A trade for a third baseman might be more likely in spring training, when the Dodgers could judge whether the Cardinals' Scott Rolen, Rangers' Hank Blalock and White Sox's Joe Crede are sufficiently recovered from injuries. Andy LaRoche and Nomar Garciaparra are the team's current options at third.

Rosenthal still not letting go of his notion of Colleti looking to bring in another PVL at third base.

2007-12-19 14:03:45
166.   Jon Weisman
157, 161 - LOL
2007-12-19 14:08:48
167.   Marty
156 Look who had the worst batter's contract year in that presentation.
2007-12-19 14:11:11
168.   ToyCannon
As a defensive late inning replacement yes. As a starter no.
2007-12-19 14:16:49
169.   ToyCannon
I don't see Ned making a deal during spring training. If our 3rd base situation isn't an asset by the deadline then I think he will make a move. At this point I think he is committed to seeing how the Nomar/LaRoche combo does.

If Meloan does indeed start in AAA in the rotation then I could see him upgrading the bullpen but I wouldn't agree with it.

Saito, Broxton, Proctor, Beimel, Brazoban, Kuo, Hull, Park, and Loaiza would seem to be enough options.

2007-12-19 14:24:08
170.   68elcamino427
169 Do you think Ned will be comfortable relying on Park, Loaiza, Kuo, and Brazoban?
All of these guys are coming back form some type of injury.
2007-12-19 14:25:44
171.   Bob Timmermann
If Chan Ho Park pitches for the Dodgers in 2008, then either half the pitching staff got suspended for PEDs or there was a plague that hit the Dodgers that only Koreans were immune to.
2007-12-19 14:28:59
172.   Jon Weisman
2007-12-19 14:29:07
173.   68elcamino427
171 Well, honestly, I was thinking that Park might fit in with a staff that included Hendrickson and another player like the one from the Giants (I dare not mention his name again).
2007-12-19 14:30:52
174.   Howard Fox
170 no he definitely won't...he will seek and find an overpriced starter or long reliever and sign him to a long term contract, then watch as he comes up lame and sits out 1-2 years...

seems to be a disease that infects Dodger GMs...Dreifort, Schmidt, Penny...

2007-12-19 14:31:39
175.   ToyCannon
I hope so, otherwise Kuo is a goner if he brings in one more guy. He might be a goner anyway. My hope is that Schmidt starts the year on the DL, Loaiza sucks, Kuo gets an emergency start and sticks it.

I have an unhealthy and probably unreasonable attachment to Kuo.

2007-12-19 14:56:57
176.   Daniel Zappala
I have an unhealthy and probably unreasonable attachment to Kuo.

Yes, you do. I'm not counting on him for anything. My hopes rest in Schmidt returning from this injury due to the new procedure performed on him. I'd hate for him to just be a waste of money, and he has had good seasons in the past.

I don't know which of us is being more unrealistic.

2007-12-19 15:49:52
177.   Howard Fox
176 it's a tie

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