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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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Posturing Continues on Martin Contract Negotiations
2008-02-06 07:21
by Jon Weisman

Dodger All-Star catcher Russell Martin indicated Tuesday that he isn't opposed to signing a longterm contract with the Dodgers now, according to published reports, but only if the initial offer from the team is "legitimate."

Last month, we learned that Martin's agent, Bob Garber, declined to negotiate with the Dodgers this offseason. Martin essentially corroborated that, though his implication is that it was because Garber immediately sensed the Dodgers' offer would be unsatisfactory.

"It's kind of a touchy thing," Martin told Diamond Leung of the Press-Enterprise. "I told (Garber) if it wasn't going to be a good offer not to even bother, so that's the conversation that they had."

To Dylan Hernandez of the Times, Martin added: "It's not up to me and Bob. It's up to the team. If the team wants to offer something legitimate, it'd be idiotic not to look at it."

While the specifics of the conversations Garber and the Dodgers had are vague, each party has now tried to make the case that the burden to move things forward is on the other. There's no ticking clock - Martin can't become a free agent until after the 2012 season - but no one wants to see these talks drag out.

* * *

Look out: According to Hernandez, the freight train known as Matt Kemp is looking better ... stronger ... faster:

Kemp spent most of the winter working out in Arizona, sculpting a frame that he said now weighs around 220 pounds. He was up to 240 at the end of last season.

"I had to shed some pounds so I could move a little bit more," Kemp said. "I feel quicker, I feel way stronger. Last year, I was over in the Dominican playing winter ball and I didn't get to work out as much. I was doing baseball stuff."

Martin's feeling like six million bucks as well.

Martin also spent time working out in Arizona. Though Martin appeared broader-shouldered on Tuesday than he did in the fall, he said he lost weight, something he credited to reducing his body fat percentage from close to 10% to 9%.

"I feel more explosive," Martin said.

* * *

A retired lawyer has been researching the mostly untold story of Babe Ruth's mother for more than a decade. Here's the story, from Rick Maese of the Baltimore Sun. Since Scott Templeton didn't write it, it's probably reliable. (Link via Baseball Think Factory)

* * *

Travel editor Gary A. Warner of the Register describes his final journey to Dodgertown in Vero Beach - including the difficulties for West Coast fans to make the trip, but also the memories that will be left behind.

Comments (138)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-02-06 07:53:31
1.   Disabled List
FTA: With the 90,505 tickets that were available for the Dodgers' exhibition game at the Coliseum against the Boston Red Sox on March 29 already sold out, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said the club is studying the feasibility of adding seats and selling more tickets.

I hope some of those 90K tickets were sold to Dodger fans. I have a bad feeling that Red Sox Bandwagon is going to make its presence felt in a big way for that game. The Coliseum is gonna resemble a very large Fenway Park (complete with a ridiculous wall in left field).

2008-02-06 08:12:51
2.   cargill06
what do you guys think of the sanchez deal? it seems like he got about what he deserves
2008-02-06 08:32:44
3.   cargill06
torre on dan patrick;
dan asked which player is he looking forward to seeing the most? he first answered matt kemp and than continued to talk about james loney and russ martin
2008-02-06 08:35:42
4.   old dodger fan
Nice story about Mrs. Ruth. Great timing with the Babe's birthday today. What a shame that she never got to see her son succeed. Her life must have been very hard. The story helped me to appreciate all I have today. Thanks.
2008-02-06 08:36:34
5.   regfairfield
1 I thought the fire code kept the Dodgers from going over 56,000.

2 What Sanchez deal?

2008-02-06 08:39:08
6.   cargill06
5 freddy sanchez
2008-02-06 08:39:37
7.   JoeyP
I could see the fans turning against Martin if he comments in the press about his contract.
2008-02-06 08:41:15
8.   regfairfield
6 He's the type of guy the Pirates should be trading, not extending. He has some value, and he won't be on the team when the Pirates are good again.
2008-02-06 08:41:50
9.   cargill06
i could understand the front office being hesitant on giving martin what he deserves after last year. he is locked up until 2011 what's the rush? what happens if his production falls off this year they maybe able to give him a cheaper contract at the end of this year
2008-02-06 08:44:08
10.   regfairfield
9 What happens if it doesn't and he's got four years of arbitration (that will likely start at five million for the first year) you need to buy out.
2008-02-06 08:45:47
11.   cargill06
10 it's tough to speculate becuase we don't know what the dodgers are offering
2008-02-06 08:47:47
12.   cargill06
8 you never know with the nl central even the pirates could get a bit lucky and be contenders come july and be buyers. if they were in the east or the west i don't think they give him that deal
2008-02-06 08:49:16
13.   Disabled List
9 With the way salaries are escalating, the smart move for teams is to lock up their young talent early, buying out their arbitration years and maybe the first year or two of free agency. This is especially true of a franchise catcher like Martin (I believe Mauer and McCann are already locked up, yes?)
2008-02-06 08:50:18
14.   regfairfield
12 The Pirates are so much worse than any team in that division. They've got about five players in the organization that have trade value. The central isn't really that bad of a division. The Cubs, and to a lesser extent the Brewers are strong and just as good as any other team in the NL. Also, the Reds are a great dark horse pick this year.
2008-02-06 08:57:09
15.   cargill06
14 well, 11 million for 2 years is pretty good value for what he's done as a 2B
2008-02-06 09:00:31
16.   cargill06
call me crazy but i think they may be a few pitchers away from being competative, gorzellany and snell are a good start. laroche and sanchez are decent bats in the infield and bay and nady are decent building blocks. they could just be a few players away from hanging around in that divison. people kill owners and claim their not committed to winning you have to salute those guys when they at least try to take steps in the last couple years with laroche and sanchez
2008-02-06 09:04:31
17.   StolenMonkey86
Also, the Reds are a great dark horse pick this year.

Dusty. Baker.

Homer Bailey will probably throw 120 pitches at least twice this year.

2008-02-06 09:04:53
18.   regfairfield
16 Pitching is not their problem, their offense is terrible and they have nothing in the pipeline to help. Bay took a huge downturn last year, and no one else in that lineup is anything but slightly above average. Their defense is horrible and the only player on that team that can kind of hit are doing the most to drag it down. The team is hopeless for at least five years.

The Pirates problem is doing exactly what you mention, pretending to be commited to winning by acquiring mediocre talent or players people have heard of while completely neglecting their farm system.

2008-02-06 09:05:43
19.   old dodger fan
Pirates lost 94 games last year. What have they done to improve themselves? They were 12th in the NL in runs scored last year. They will need a lot of pitching to overcome that.
2008-02-06 09:05:47
20.   StolenMonkey86
18 Like the Dodgers under Kevin Malone, except with less money.
2008-02-06 09:05:47
21.   OhioBlues12
16 - They probably aren't the right steps though. Sanchez is 30 and probably should be traded this season for a couple of good prospects if they hope to move forward. I don't know a lot about the Pirate organization but the perception has been that they have inept management and the new regime has done little the offseason to dispell that notion.
2008-02-06 09:10:30
22.   regfairfield
17 I did think about that, but their lineup is really good. Their outfield defense will be historically bad if they go Dunn/Bruce/Griffey, but they have an above average hitter at every position except shortstop and catcher, and potentially strong rotation with Harang/Arroyo/Bailey/Beilisle/Volquez.

I think their horrible defense and uninspiring bullpen will be their undoing, but I'd throw money down on them if their still at something like 75-1 to win the World Series.

2008-02-06 09:11:08
23.   CajunDodger
Definitely not a Pirates fan, but looking at the moves under previous management (the Matt Morris move was baffling, frustrating, and stupid) I think their fans are killing them not for their efforts but for their lack of a coherent plan and execution of that plan. Hopefully things will change under the new GM and President.

Like you, though, I don't see too much wrong with the Sanchez signing. I may not have done it the same way, but they have to show some kind of commitment today in order to get guys like Gorzellany and Snell on board with want to stay with the Pirates long term and attracting decent FAs in the future.

2008-02-06 09:14:20
24.   Andrew Shimmin
21- Buying out Sanchez's arbitration years may not be a great idea, but it's not as bad as taking Matt Morris off the Giants' hands. It's hard to think of something the Pirates could plausibly do, now, that would be as stupid as that. So, baby steps.
2008-02-06 09:14:29
25.   CajunDodger
with want to stay
with wanting to stay...
2008-02-06 09:15:05
26.   regfairfield
23 While anyone (even myself) would be better than Dave Littlefield, I'm really not impressed by the new GM. He seems like a guy that thinks the strategies the A's were using in 2000 still actually work.
2008-02-06 09:17:09
27.   CajunDodger
He, Ed Wade, and Malone are my ultimate nightmare as a Dodger fan. I would take Ned thousands of times over rather than those guys.
2008-02-06 09:17:26
28.   Xeifrank
5. The game is at the Colliseum. I will be sitting down low right next to the right field foul pole.
vr, Xei
2008-02-06 09:18:38
29.   Xeifrank
The Pirates are terrible. My simulator has the NL Central as a four team pick'em (Reds, Cubs, Brewers and Astros). With the Astros the least likely of the group. Then a big drop off to the Cardinals and a cliff to the Pirates. vr, Xei
2008-02-06 09:18:52
30.   regfairfield
27 Littlefield or Huntington?
2008-02-06 09:19:27
31.   old dodger fan
The other 5 teams in the NL Central all spent between $100 million and $69 million on payroll last year. Pirates spent $38 million. They are going to have to be a lot smarter than most other teams to beat all 5 of them in any 1 year.
2008-02-06 09:19:31
32.   regfairfield
29 Really, the Astros have a chance? They've got no pitching to speak of outside of Oswalt.
2008-02-06 09:21:30
33.   OhioBlues12
The Pirates should be taking a page from the books of the A's, Marlins, and soon-to-be Orioles. The Pirates have some good young players in Snell, Gorzellany, and McCutchen, but they missed an opportunity this offseason to trade players like Sanchez and Bay for multiple young players. Now their good pitchers will be another year closer to FA and they haven't stocked up on young offensive players to compliment them.
2008-02-06 09:21:32
34.   CajunDodger
Littlefield. The jury is still out in my mind on Huntington.
2008-02-06 09:22:28
35.   Jon Weisman
Even if a team, any team, only needed "a few pitchers," think about that. That's a mountain of a need.
2008-02-06 09:24:32
36.   silverwidow
he is locked up until 2011 what's the rush?

Martin is locked up until 2012. Last year was his first full season in the bigs, so he's got five more with the Dodgers.

2008-02-06 09:28:24
37.   CajunDodger
I think they could have gotten quite a bit for LaRoche and maybe Sanchez, but they would have been selling low on Bay, though San Diego seemed to like him a lot, but they have very little in the way of high ceiling minor league talent to trade.

They are a mess and it seems that they will be a mess for at least 3 more years. When Matt Morris takes up 25% of your payroll and you consciously chose to make that move, you have issues.

I wonder if Littlefield thought this was the NBA where an expiring contract on a bad player is actually worth something...

2008-02-06 09:32:05
38.   cargill06
i know martin has a bit more power, but if you look at jason kendall and martin they played the game in a very similar manner in their early 20's. i'm not trying to see martin will be like kendall so don't make any misinturpratations, but 5 years for a catcher is a long time. by 2012 we could be seeing a much different russ than we see in 2008.
2008-02-06 09:34:54
39.   OhioBlues12
37 - I remember the Indians talked about trying to acquire Bay. I don't know what they were offering, Cliff Lee and others I think, so they probably could've gotten some useful pieces.
2008-02-06 09:34:56
40.   regfairfield
38 Kendall was a great player until he bent his leg at a 90 degree angle. Russ is going to be our catcher until 2012 almost no matter what, so we might as well make his arbitration years much less painful for us.

What if he gets hurt/Suddenly drops off a cliff can be used as an argument against any move. If the guy doesn't have any warning signs for either of those two things, it's a silly thing to worry about.

2008-02-06 09:35:45
41.   regfairfield
39 Franklin Guiterrez and Cliff Lee I think. Probably would have been better for the Pirates than a year of Jason Bay.
2008-02-06 09:38:01
42.   cargill06
40 it just doesn't make sense to me to rush to a deal now when you have him under contract until 2012. why not wait a few years? what am i missing when you see make his arbritration years less expensive? if we sign him say after the 2010 season will be forced to sign a bigger deal than say he would sign tomorrow at market value?
2008-02-06 09:38:21
43.   Jon Weisman
36 - You're right. I counted 2006 by mistake.
2008-02-06 09:40:27
44.   CajunDodger
True, but I would make the case that catchers who can really hit tend to be a rare lot, so Martin may be worth the risk through his age 28 season.

Kendall's OPS+ was 110 through his age 29 season (and that included two absolutely awful years he had at age 27 and 28). He would not have been a bad investment on a long term deal through age 29. It was only after he turned 30 and became a FA did he decide to no longer hit.

2008-02-06 09:41:47
45.   cargill06
oh and kendall went .320/.412/.470 the year after he broke his leg with 22 SB's.
2008-02-06 09:42:59
46.   regfairfield
42 Once Martin reaches arbitration, he's guaranteed to get a huge pay day and has zero incentive to sign anything resembling a cheap contract. Buying out those arbitration years now for a more reasonable cost while bumping up his salary for this year slightly is a great deal. Martin knows his entire family is set for life even if he pulls a Kendall, and the Dodgers get a great player for below market value with the only real risk being some horrible injury.
2008-02-06 09:43:07
47.   GoBears
Meanwhile, OT, but the Bedard deal still hasn't happened. Every time I get frustrated with how McCourt and Colletti are finding ways to waste a huge payroll (less often, recently) I remind myself of the Orioles. Can you imagine being an Oriole fan? Yuck.
2008-02-06 09:43:57
48.   CajunDodger
I don't think there is a rush necessarily, but deals like Martin's would look very good in the long run in a similar way that Penny's deal and Carl Crawford's deal look like absolute steals right now.

For a guy like Russ who you are looking at as the future de facto captain of your team, contract stability is worth the risk. At least in my mind.

2008-02-06 09:44:28
49.   cargill06
really off subject but i was wonder why vin always says how many wild pitches a pitcher has when a runner is on 3rd but never says how many past balls the catcher has
2008-02-06 09:47:22
50.   cargill06
46 48 like i said before it's tough to speculate on this because you don't know what the dodgers are offering. what if the dodgers are offering a long term deal now slightly below market value right now and the martin team doesn't deem the contract adequate
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-02-06 09:48:22
51.   silverwidow
The only interesting part of the Torre interview on Dan Patrick's show was him mentioning Kemp, Loney and Martin.

On Kemp: Raw talent, biggest potential resource

On Loney: Has heard great things about his play at 1st

On Martin: Jeter-like leadership ability

2008-02-06 09:50:04
52.   regfairfield
50 If Martin won't accept a contract that's less than what he'd make through arbitration, then he's not worth dealing with.
2008-02-06 09:51:45
53.   cargill06
52 explain to me how arbitration works, when is a player eligable?
2008-02-06 09:52:59
54.   GoBears
50. Isn't a PB much less likely? Seems that some pitchers are prone to WPs because they have pitches that break a lot or flutter (knucklers) or something. SO it's not a random event. A PB is basically an error - a failure by the catcher to even knock down a ball that he should catch. IOW, a random event.

Just a guess.

2008-02-06 09:54:48
55.   silverwidow
53 A player is eligible for arb after three full seasons in the majors. In Martin's case, he exceeded a threshold in his rookie year in terms of days on the active roster, so he'll be eligible for arb after this season ("Super Two").
2008-02-06 09:54:55
56.   regfairfield
53 After three years of service time or if you're in the top 17% of service time of players with less than three years of service time.
2008-02-06 09:56:46
57.   Brent Knapp
Was anyone able to get decent seats for the coliseum that had to wait until Saturday morning to buy them?

I got section 20 row 91, ouch, and section 17 row 80.

2008-02-06 09:57:01
58.   cargill06
55 ,56 so basically after this year martin has to get a raise?
2008-02-06 09:59:08
59.   regfairfield
58 Yes, he'll reach first year arbitration and if he repeats 2008, it's not that hard for him to make a case for a five million dollar pay day.
2008-02-06 09:59:41
60.   JoeyP
He seems like a guy that thinks the strategies the A's were using in 2000 still actually work.

What was the A's strategy back then and why does it not work today?

2008-02-06 10:00:59
61.   Xeifrank
57. I logged on right after 10AM to the Dodger site and my first search for two tickets was CF, half way back, which is pretty far away in the Colliseum. I searched again, but by that time all the tickets were gone! Went to StubHub, shelled out a nasty premium and am sitting next to the right field foul pole, 10 rows back. What do you consider good seats? The seats I bought are now selling for $300+ each, 7 rows behind me, which is even way more than I paid. Seats behind home plate, 15 rows back are $1000 per seat. I am not happy with the way the tickets were handled. 16 seats to each season ticket holder is a joke. Luckily, there were nice people like ToyCannon who sold those for face value to people here. For others, it's a get rich quick scam, and for others they are priced out of the game. The fun and joys of capitalism.
vr, Xei
2008-02-06 10:03:56
62.   regfairfield
60 Get big fat lumbering guys who can on base .380 for the league minimum, nuts to defense.

It doesn't work anymore since you can't guys that on base .380 for the league minimum.

2008-02-06 10:06:53
63.   eekrock
28 - My pops and I will be close to you, Frank. Hopefully I'll have my DT shirt by then.


2008-02-06 10:07:21
64.   D4P
So, which is the problem:

1. big fat lumbering guys who can on base .380 for the league minimum, nuts to defense


2. the cost of said big fat lumbering guys

2008-02-06 10:07:30
65.   regfairfield
Oh, and draft low ceiling, low risk college guys, nuts to scouting.
2008-02-06 10:09:10
66.   fanerman
45 Hm you're right. His big drop-off didn't happen until the next year. Anybody can explain why?
2008-02-06 10:09:20
67.   underdog
Nolan Ryan can now add team president - of the Texas Rangers - to his resume.
2008-02-06 10:09:37
68.   regfairfield
64 The cost of said fat lumbering guys. It didn't matter that they couldn't play defense when you could assemble a vicious offense for ten million dollars and outscore everyone.

There's no way you'd be able to get John Jaha for less than a million these days.

2008-02-06 10:10:08
69.   regfairfield
66 Did he always swing like a small girl?
2008-02-06 10:11:38
70.   cargill06
ok so beimel who keeps signing 1 yr deals will be going to arbitration every year until he signs a long term deal? and what happens if the arbitrator makes you pay more than you're willing to pay and choose not to sign him to that deal
2008-02-06 10:12:30
71.   Eric Stephen
To look at what the Dodgers could save by signing Martin now rather than later, let's look at Grady Sizmore v. Matt Holliday:

Sizemore's contract was signed two years ago, after one full season. His arbitration years are as follows:

1st yr (2008) - $3m
2nd yr (2009) - $4.6m
3rd yr (2010) - $5.6m

Through 2007, Sizemore has hit .283/.369/.488, 124 OPS+, as a CF

Matt Holliday, through his 3rd season (2006), hit .310/.368/.533, 121 OPS+, as a RF.

Holliday earned $4.4m in his first arb year (2007), and of course cashed in a monster 2007 with a 2/$23 contract to finish out his arb years.

Being conservative, let's give Sizemore the following if he went through the arbitration process:

2008 - $4.4m (same as Holliday)
2009 - $6.4m ($3.1m less than Holliday)
2010 - $8.4m ($5.1m less than Holliday)

This new projection would cost the Indians $19.2m, a cool $6m more than they are paying Sizemore in total over the next 3 years.

Martin's case is a bit different since he will have 4 years of arbitration eligibility, but the Dodgers will save money even if they don't buy out any free agency years? Obviously, the more of those they can buyout the better.

2008-02-06 10:14:01
72.   regfairfield
70 You have no choice. If you go to arbitration, the player supplies a number, the team supplies a number, and the arbitrator decides how much the player is paid from those two numbers.
2008-02-06 10:14:32
73.   fanerman
69 But he dislocated his ankle in 1999, then put up a .320/.412/.470 line in 2000 while playing 152 games. Then he OPS+ed 78 in 2001.
2008-02-06 10:15:14
74.   regfairfield
71 I think that since a lot of people think Grady is a top five player, he'd make a lot more than that in arbitration.
2008-02-06 10:15:49
75.   regfairfield
73 Right, maybe he didn't start swinging like a small child until 2001.
2008-02-06 10:16:20
76.   Eric Stephen
Beimel will be a free agent after 2008, his 3rd year of arbitration eligibility.

Arbitration works like this: each side submits a salary figure, then argues their case in front of a arbitration panel. The panel then chooses which salary to award the player -- they pick one or the other, no in between or anything.

2008-02-06 10:17:09
77.   Eric Stephen
I was being conservative to show that the Indians saved a ton of money anyway.
2008-02-06 10:17:12
78.   CajunDodger
I can't remember a case where a player has won in arbitration and the team did not sign the player. In fact, I think that if things get that far, the team has to sign the player because the ruling is binding.
2008-02-06 10:19:57
79.   Eric Stephen
Todd Walker signed with the Padres for something like $3.9 million through arbitration last season. Then he was cut in spring training and the Padres were only on the hook for a quarter of that salary.

However, Walker filed a grievance but I'm not sure how that turned out.

2008-02-06 10:22:38
80.   CajunDodger
Martin's case is especially interesting because it will provide a lens through which we can view future signings. Kemp, Loney, Bills, Brox, and Ethier all will be arb eligible by the end of '09. The Dodgers would do well to try and adopt the Rockies/Indians way of doing things since it would cost the well in excess of $70 million annually to get the kind of production they will get from these guys if they went the FA route.
2008-02-06 10:23:12
81.   Brent Knapp
61 Using google maps I figure that two of my seats are about 360' away off third base, and the other four are down the left field line about 460' away. Maybe I shouldn't be complaining because I did get into the building but the seats are pretty awful. Those season ticket holders did get hooked up. I agree, that was awfully nice of any of them that resold for a reasonable price. (do asterisks mean 'wink wink' or 'nudge nudge')
2008-02-06 10:24:38
82.   cargill06
is arbitration always just a 1 year basis? is there such thing as like a 3 year deal being settled by arbitration?

now when you say martin is locked up until 2012 that means if no long term deal is reached the dodgers and martin will be going through arbitration every year until 2012 or until a long term deal is reached?

2008-02-06 10:25:44
83.   eekrock
57 61 - i logged on at 10.02am, and tried getting 5 seats for family...the first time i had reserve behind the plate at the top...i re-searched for tickets and was in the boonies. realizing it was trouble time, i started re-searching again and again for just 2 tickets and ended up finding tickets about a third of the way back by the right field pole. jumped on 'em at $25 a piece (plus a variety of surcharges).

speaking of the Dodgers and disastrous ticket planning, anyone else here unhappy about the Opening Day situation? if i understand correctly, it's a lottery via email, and if you win you only get 2 tickets? so, that virtually guarantees that I won't be able to sit next to my 5 or 6 friends that religiously take the day off to enjoy the National Holiday known as Opening Day together? It also causes the fiasco that whoever gets the ticket has to choose only one person. Not impressed, los doyars.

2008-02-06 10:26:44
84.   fanerman
75 But then it sounds like his swinging like a small child isn't related to his knee injury.
2008-02-06 10:28:07
85.   CajunDodger
I actually thought of Walker, but I couldn't remember if he got that through FA or through an arbitrator.
2008-02-06 10:28:32
86.   regfairfield
82 Arbitration is only on a one year basis. If the Dodgers don't reach an agreement before next season, he'll be arbitration eligible every year.
2008-02-06 10:29:46
87.   Eric Stephen
Arbitration is one year at a time.

A player becomes a free agent after 6 full seasons of service time.

Players with 3 years of service time or arbitration eligible. Also, the top 17% (in service time) of players with more than 2 but less than 3 years are arb eligible as well.

Martin will be a "super two" (the top 17% with less than 3 years) starting next season...that's why he will have 4 years of arbitration eligibility.

2008-02-06 10:30:31
88.   eekrock
81 say no more, say no more!
2008-02-06 10:31:43
89.   CajunDodger
According to Baseball Reference, Walker made $450,000 last year, but that may or may not include anything from the Padres.
2008-02-06 10:32:12
90.   JoeyP
Get big fat lumbering guys who can on base .380 for the league minimum, nuts to defense.

The A's finished 3rd in the AL in runs scored per game. Last in stolen bases. 2nd in OPS+.

They finished 3rd in the AL in runs allowed per game.

How detrimental was the "bad defense" if they finish 3rd in the league in runs allowed? If its because the pitching was dominant--then doesnt that just reinforce the point that great pitching can make up for "bad defense"?

Seems the A's not only outscored people with the bats, but out pitched them. Nuts to defense.

I disagree with the notion that the 2000 A's model doesnt work anymore. Of course it does, since they were the one of the first teams to realize how important OPS is. Accumulate high OPS/great pitching, and you'll win. Since most of the other teams have caught on, there is no longer that advantage.

I dont really believe there is any inefficiency in the market that will allow small market teams to win, since most GMs know how to create/prevent runs, and the pricing of talent has been corrected to fit that (Juan Pierre not withstanding).

The Pirates have no shot. But if they trying to build around high OPS, and good pitching--nuts to defense--at least its a winning model.

2008-02-06 10:34:01
91.   Eric Stephen
Ethier will also be arbitration eligible for 4 years, starting in 2009 (he has 3 more days service time than Martin).
2008-02-06 10:34:21
92.   CajunDodger
Digging deeper, here is what MLB4U has on their site:

"signed deal for 2007 season worth $3.95M via arbitration on 2/21/07- + was RELEASED on 3/27/07, receiving $971,311 in termination pay- + signed minor-league deal for 2007 season on 3/30/07- + contract was PURCHASED on 4/1/07, giving him a $380K salary-"

2008-02-06 10:34:46
93.   regfairfield
90 I'm not saying it isn't, I'm just saying that only the big market teams can afford to build a team like that.
2008-02-06 10:35:41
94.   Eric Stephen
Here's more on the Walker release by the Padres:

2008-02-06 10:39:39
95.   ET90210
See this news of Saito. He threatens to walk away? haha

2008-02-06 10:40:28
96.   Jon Weisman
83 - Okay, I get the complaining about the Coliseum game, but this is getting to be a bit much. Why can't the Dodgers limit a high-demand event to two tickets a person, especially if they're getting pummelled for allowing individuals to purchase too many tickets for the exhibition game?

Denying someone the right to win six tickets in a lottery for Opening Day is hardly a "fiasco."

2008-02-06 10:42:57
97.   Jon Weisman
95 - Since he has nowhere else to go but Japan, Saito's leverage only extends to his willingness to turn down close to $2 million. To me, that's hardly leverage.
2008-02-06 10:43:04
98.   regfairfield
95 Why wouldn't he? Dude could retire and go home at any time, I'm sure he wouldn't mind. Heck, he'd probably get a good deal of money if he pitched in Japan.
2008-02-06 10:45:39
99.   gibsonhobbs88
83-We got on right at 10 a.m.- got seats down the right field line 2nd level -row 45 or 46 section 1. Just got two seats. I guess we are fortunate to get those two. My wife said should I accept or look around and I said take these if you put best available, then we better not take a chance. A man that has season tickets at church says he never got notified about the chance to purchase tickets for this game, he was kind of upset last Sunday. He said, "I've had season tickets for 20+ years, you think they would have sent me something?".
2008-02-06 10:49:50
100.   Eric Stephen
Back to Martin, here's a rundown of his "comps", the young "M" catchers and their long-term deals:

Victor Martinez (signed in 2005 with 1 yr, 114 days service time):
$1m signing bonus
2nd yr - $500k
3rd yr - $800k
arb yr 1 - $3m
arb yr 2 - $4.25m
arb yr 3 - $5.7m
FA yr 1 - $7m option ($250k buyout)
Total contract - 5 yrs, $15.5m

Brian McCann (signed in 2007 with 1 yr, 117 days service time):
$1m signing bonus
2nd yr - $500k
3rd yr - $800k
arb yr 1 - $3.5m
arb yr 2 - $5.5m
arb yr 3 - $6.5m
FA yr 1 - $8.5m
FA yr 2 - $12m option ($500k buyout)
Total contract - 6 yrs, $26.8m

Joe Mauer (signed in 2007 with 3 yrs service time - not an exact comp):
arb yr 1 - $3.75m
arb yr 2 - $6.25m
arb yr 3 - $10.5m
FA yr 1 - $12.5m
Total contract - 4 yrs, $33m

Yadier Molina (signed in 2008 with 3 yrs, 123 days service time):
$250k signing bonus
arb yr 1 - $1.75m
arb yr 2 - $3.25m
arb yr 3 - $4.25m
FA yr 1 - $5.25m
FA yr 2 - $7m option ($750k buyout; option increases to $7.5m if traded)
Total contract - 4 yrs, $15.25m

I can see Martin getting a Mauer type contract for his 4 years of arbitration. Add in about $1.5m for the signing bonus and 2008, plus $14m for 1 FA year, and the deal is at 6/$48.5.

Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-02-06 10:55:26
101.   CajunDodger
Add that to the fact that Saito set a record for money given to a second year player on a non-multi year deal (so this would exclude the Dice-Ks and Fukudomes of the world). The closest anyone ever came to that kind of money was Ryan Howard last year accepting a 1-year $900,000 contract.
2008-02-06 11:00:13
102.   Brent Knapp
Anyone up to date on UCLA football? How has signing day gone for us? Is signing day today?
2008-02-06 11:03:20
103.   MC Safety
MC Safety is now a resident of Renton, Washington. So long Long Beach, California. Off to Mariner land I guess. There goes my mini plan. : (
2008-02-06 11:05:25
104.   Eric Enders
98 "Why wouldn't he? Dude could retire and go home at any time, I'm sure he wouldn't mind. Heck, he'd probably get a good deal of money if he pitched in Japan."

Unless I'm mistaken, Saito couldn't pitch in Japan because he's not a free agent. In fact, the Dodgers have the right to renew his contract whether he likes it or not. So his two choices are either pitch for the Dodgers or don't play baseball.

2008-02-06 11:07:14
105.   CajunDodger
You guys don't look too bad so far (currently the 12th rated class on just three spots behind my beloved LSU Tigers).

You had a top-5 class until some defections occurred (Florida has lost 5 guys so far today, so don't feel too bad). The one guy that can make your class is Milton Knox (4-star RB). Notre Dame is trying hard to lure him as we speak, but his announcement will not come until 6PM tonight. Not sure if that is Eastern or Pacific time.

All in all, this is the best class you guys have had in at least 5 years.

2008-02-06 11:08:41
106.   delias man
99 Obiously season ticket holders got notice of the pre-sale, they bought almost all the tickets.
2008-02-06 11:09:12
107.   regfairfield
108 Couldn't he retire then pitch in Japan, basically do the reverse Soriano?
2008-02-06 11:16:46
108.   eekrock
96 - i'd be comfortable at 4 tickets. i also understand that others have been frustrated with opening day ticket situations in the past (i've been on both sides, having a lucky numbered wristband and not), but it just seems like 2 tickets per lucky person is a bit extreme.

as an example, if i wanted to take my father and son (should i have one, which i don't) to Opening Day, then I'd have to buy a ticket package to ensure that would happen, or go through a ticket broker, to have a chance of that happening. just seems a bit harsh to me. X-frank does hit the nail on the head that someone will always be unhappy in a capitalist situation.

2008-02-06 11:17:29
109.   Jon Weisman
106 - My dad didn't see a notification either. We ended up getting shut out as well.
2008-02-06 11:17:53
110.   Eric Stephen
So, with the Lakers striking gold with Gasol and Phoenix desperately seeking Shaq, does Dallas go out and get Jason Kidd now?

Is there really a clear cut favorite among these teams in the West?:


You could make a legit case for any of those six teams making the finals (maybe not the Hornets, but they've been playing so well they stay on the list).

2008-02-06 11:18:14
111.   Baseball Reflections
The Dodgers should definitely tie up Martin ASAP because if he hits free agency, the Yankees or Red Sox will pay him big bucks to play for them! Posada & Varitek won't be playing that much longer and Martin is the best offensive catcher in the game right now!
2008-02-06 11:21:03
112.   Eric Stephen
The sooner the Dodgers tie up Martin, they will save money regardless of whether or not they sign him through any possibly free agency years.

Also, I'm not worried about losing him to the Yankees, Red Sox, or any other team for financial reasons.

2008-02-06 11:24:34
113.   regfairfield
111 I'm sure the Yankees and Red Sox will find other optins before 2012.
2008-02-06 11:25:36
114.   ibleedbloo
Nice article about Dodgertown. I'm going for the first, and obviously last, time. Can anyone tell me if it is a problem just kicking back and watching some practice field work? Are they open to the public? If I am there for a 1pm game, can I show up at 9am and have something to do?
2008-02-06 11:25:59
115.   Eric Stephen
For instance, Joe Mauer will be a FA after 2010.
2008-02-06 11:28:24
116.   Eric Enders
113 It'll be interesting to see where they get them, though. Neither team has an outstanding catching prospect, right? And four of the five best catchers who are likely to still be in the majors in 2012 are locked up already. So it looks right now like the Yankees and Red Sox will each have several years of mediocrity at catcher as soon as their current guys break down.
2008-02-06 11:28:42
117.   silverwidow
If Martin signs somewhere else, it will probably be with Toronto.
2008-02-06 11:30:26
118.   Eric Enders
114 The practice fields are open to the public, but there is no set schedule for practices or minor league games, so you'll have to wing it.
2008-02-06 11:30:40
119.   regfairfield
116 They should have the resources to trade for someone decent.
2008-02-06 11:30:58
120.   Eric Stephen
Unfortunately I don't have any practice field info, but I was lucky enough to be there on my 30th birthday, two years ago. I had a conference in Miami, so I flew in a day early and got to the park at about 11:30 for a 1pm game. I walked around the main stadium for a while, and most of the team was warming up on the main field so I just stayed there. In retrospect, I wish I had more time to wander the grounds. But it was a great trip, one I'll never forget.

And I can't wait to go EVERY year to Arizona starting in 2009!

2008-02-06 11:31:41
121.   fanerman
110 I don't know but the arms race going on in the West is pretty exciting. I wonder what other blockbuster deals may happen. Jermaine O'neal to Dallas? Kidd to somewhere? A chain reaction of surprising stunts and non-stop action (I think that's how the saying goes).

Gasol looks like the absolute perfect fit for the Lakers. The perfect triangle post player. I think this Lakers team will be able to run the Triangle better than any previous incarnation. I'm excited to watch.

2008-02-06 11:34:58
122.   eekrock
117 i can see the links for Martin being back in the motherland, but I'd think he'd want to go to a really competitive team. Martin seems like the kind of kid who is very driven and wants to win a ring real bad.

it looks to me (and most of us, i think) that the Dodgers are headed in that direction over the next few years. hopefully our offer to him is enough to keep him here when the time comes!

2008-02-06 11:37:43
123.   MC Safety
I thought the Red Sox got Kottaras or whatever his name his from the Madres.
2008-02-06 11:40:37
124.   bhsportsguy
102 So far, everyone who said they were a commit has sent in his LOI except for the following:

Hamani Stevens who is deciding between Oregon and UCLA, he will announce at his school at noon.

Milton Knox, who will announce on Fox Sports West at 6:00 p.m. PST.

Kevin Craft, the JC QB needs to send his Grant-in-Aid application.

2008-02-06 11:40:55
125.   fanerman
MC Safety, how come you're moving to Washington?
2008-02-06 11:40:57
126.   Eric Stephen
Kottaras hit .241/.316/.408 as a 24 year old in AAA for Pawtucket last year. His future is dim.

I have no idea what the park/league factor for Pawtucket is though.

2008-02-06 11:42:35
127.   Eric Enders
I was a little disappointed in the article about Ruth's mother. First, it doesn't really offer any new information. It would be nice if someone actually did some historical investigation to see what they could find out.

And the other thing is that several times, it implicitly criticizes Ruth for never visiting his mother's grave or placing a headstone on it. This is a woman he barely knew-- he never lived with her after the age of 7 and she died when he was 17. By most accounts, she wanted nothing in particular to do with him even when he was a young kid. So why blast Babe?

2008-02-06 11:44:30
128.   ibleedbloo
118 120 Thanks Erics

Any suggestions on what to do or what not to miss are appreciated.

It will be a short trip for me. I'll be in Miami early Saturday morning, drive to Port St. Lucie to catch the Dodgers/Mets. Sunday and Monday are games in Vero, and then Melbourne on Tuesday to see Dodgers/Nats. Leaving from Orlando on Tuesday evening and should be touching down by 11pm in Ontario (not Canada).

I wish I had a few more days, but, I'll take what I can get.

2008-02-06 11:46:49
129.   ibleedbloo
117 If tradition holds true, Martin will be traded by the Dodgers to the Marlins and after a short stint, play for the Mets until he is washed up.
2008-02-06 11:48:04
130.   MC Safety
125 Im moving for a job. Its going to suck, but its probably only for a year or so. Its still kind of iffy but I have a feeling Im going.

126 I actually know nothing of him outside of him being traded for David Wells, just thought Id throw it out in the midst of all the salivation (and rightfully so) over the Yanks and Sox having bad catchers.

2008-02-06 11:48:56
131.   Andrew Shimmin
Kottaras only projects to be one and a half runs VORPier than Bennett, this year.
2008-02-06 11:51:06
132.   Xeifrank
One of the benefits of being an active member of the DT community is that you easily could've known that Colliseum tickets were on sale to season ticket holders in the days leading up to last saturday's general public sales. ToyCannon had mentioned that he bought 16 as a season ticket holder. Also, if you visit the Dodgers MLB website you could sign up for alerts/information as to the Colliseum tickets (when they would go on sale etc...). Yeah, I'm surprised they didn't sent anything out in the mail, but it wasn't like it was something that was hidden. If you really wanted to go, and were a season ticket holder, there were some steps you could've taken to insure you didn't miss out on the 16 ticket per person pre-sale. But I can see how the casual season ticket holder could've missed out, but not that I feel sorry for them, knowing others got $$16$$.
vr, $$Xei$$
2008-02-06 11:57:44
133.   Jon Weisman
132 - I'm not complaining. We had our chance.

I am going to try to get a credential for the game, though, and plan to attend assuming we're not having a baby during the first pitch.

New post up top.

2008-02-06 12:00:35
134.   Andrew Shimmin
I still can hardly believe there are 90k people willing to pay money to watch a spring training game. I've never been to the Coliseum, and don't expect to ever go. Is it really that charming?
2008-02-06 12:04:08
135.   cargill06
furcal is .412/.444/.471 with 4 runs and a SB in the caribbian series
2008-02-06 12:04:23
136.   Xeifrank
134. There's some history to the stadium. Kind of like watching a game at some other 1950s ballpark. I know, I know, it's the Colliseum, it's not Ebbets Field.
vr, Xei
2008-02-06 12:06:58
137.   CajunDodger
It's charming in the same way that a park bathroom is charming. I think the place is an absolute dump, but to watch a ballgame in the ballpark where the Dodgers spent their first games in LA has some nostalgic value for me.
2008-02-06 15:11:20
138.   jasonungar07
See for me, locking up a young guy who many consider the captain of the team, a guy who is being complimented not only for his talent and all around game but his leadership by veterans who in general don't care about any youth movements (Derek Lowe) as well as the younger players he played in the minors with is imperative. It's imperative to do it now. To set the tone. Show we truly want to build a long term team out of many of the players already here. Actions speak loudly (and it's awesome Ned and the Dodgers are beginning to get on it btw) and setting the belief system in place for the rest of the organization that this can be you type attitude, in fact we want it to be you is awesome. Like who will it be next year??.. step up were building something here! You need to spend money to make money.

If I were the Dodgers I would be sure to get both Martin and Billingsley done before the start of next year and Loney and Kemp the year following.

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