Sunday, November 27, 2005

Not since Clinton has a B.J. caused this much flux...

If the B.J. Ryan 5/47 deal is even close to being true, then it appears we're headed toward a drastic upward spike on relievers paralleling last offseason's markup on starters.

Of course, this effects the Dodgers because Gagne hits free agency next year and with Scott Boras representing him, his deal will easily eclipse whatever contract Ryan or Billy Wagner end up with this year. A 5/60-65 deal for Gagne doesn't look out of the question and there are a number of teams out there who will fork it out. I'm not sure whether that team will or should be the Dodgers.

Which brings the question people in L.A. don't really want to discuss: Should the Dodgers trade Gagne? It doesn't make economic sense to pay 13 mil to a guy to pitch 100 innings a year, but when it comes to the team's most marketable figure and the potential PR hit that McC doesn't want to take, it won't be easy to pull off.

This should make July 31 a million times more interesting than last season's trade deadline.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Fire Steve Mariucci

Let's see...the offensive line couldn't even hold back the French Army, so Mooch decides to take out Joey Harrington and Kevin Jones for Jeff Garcia and Shawn Bryson/Artose Pinner? None of these 3 have any future with the Lions organization while the previous 2 do. Just play them and let them learn. Harrington isn't the guy dropping all the passes and he isn't the reason he only has half a second to throw. Meanwhile, Jones only averaged 8 yards a carry today, so he needs to sit.

Alright, I've already thought and said more about Detroit Lion football than anyone outside of Michigan really needs to. Happy T-day.

Update: Jones left with a thigh injury in the 3rd, but it's still inexplicable as to why he only got 4 carries in the first half.

Update #2: Well that was quick:

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Go Fish

While it's disheartening to see the Florida Marlins tear their team apart, they are setting themselves up to be perennial contenders possibly as soon as 2 seasons from now. Wherever they end up, they will certainly be an entertaining team to watch. As it stands right now, here could be their 2007 starting lineup and rotation:

C-Josh Willingham/Mike Jacobs
1B-Jason Stokes/Jacobs
2B-Josh Wilson
SS-Hanley Ramirez
3B-Miguel Cabrera
LF-Jeremy Hermida
CF-Eric Reed
RF-Kris Harvey

SP-Dontrelle Willis
SP-Scott Olsen
SP-Jason Vargas
SP-Anibal Sanchez
SP-Yusmeiro Petit

Bullpen arms: Jesus Delgado, Logan Kensing, Taylor Tankersley, Trevor Hutchinson, Randy Messenger, Chris Resop
On the horizon: RHP Chris Volstad, LHP Aaron Thompson, RHP Jacob Marceaux, RHP Josh Johnson, RHP Ryan Tucker

Any moves the Marlins make from this point on should address the lack of OF and middle IF depth, but at a glance, this is a team that could make some noise in '07 and really be a treat in '08. Fortunately, they're running out of players to trade before Colletti can gut the farm system, even though quick fixes like Pierre and Castillo are still dangling out there.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

In Hindsight Paul...

I'm guessing right about now, Paul Depodesta is sitting at home, taking stock of things and wondering where things went wrong. Well FTM is here to give PDP some post-mortem pointers.

-Next time you go to Italy, take Lasorda with you

Weddings are enough of a pain in the ass without having to worry if it's going to cost you your job. And they're an even bigger pain in the ass when you have to go to another country to attend one. Was your sister too good for Sherman Oaks? When you popped open that invite, the first thing you should have thought when you saw it was being held in Italy was, "I'll take Tommy with me." This would have served a dual purpose. First, you know the old adage of keep your friends close but your enemies closer? Secondly, the old man would have thought you gave a crap about him and he wouldn't have been so quick to plunge that knife in your back. Plus, I'm sure your drinks would have been comped wherever you went. The toughest part would have been explaining to the wife why you had to spend 12 hours on a plane with Tommy. That's grounds for divorce in 47 of 50 states.

-When Frank asks you to go golfing, go for chrissakes

Let's face it: Frank didn't have many buddies. Ever since he came into town, he was treated like the weird new kid in class. It was great to borrow CDs and video games from him, but you drew the line at giving him your phone number or letting him hang out with you and your buddies at the football game. Frank wanted friends and you were expected to be one of them. He called Plaschke, he called Simers, he held conference calls with fans...none of them would go play with Frank. So he figured he'd call on the guy who was on his payroll and would HAVE to go play with him. Some nerve you had passing, choosing instead to run simulations continuously to see if there was even a remote possibility that playing Edwards and Phillips over Choi and Perez would have somehow worked out. If only you had visited the Fourth Outfielder instead, you might still have your job.

-Tell Jamie she smells nice

Even if she smells like the ass end of a dolphin, always compliment the wife of the boss. Especially when that wife is one of your bosses as well. She wasn't going to go Mrs. Robinson on you (that's what Yhency Brazoban was for), she was just fishing for compliments.

-Keep one useless veteran around

Marquis Grissom and Jason Grabowski. What was the difference? One didn't get a hit after July and the other was Grissom, who at least had the excuse that he was released. But Grissom was "grissled" and would have fit the mandatory veteranleadershipchemistry spot on your roster and it would have got some people off your ass, albeit temporarily. But it might have given you the breathing room you needed to sign Roberto Petagine.

-Leave your office

Workaholics are so yesterday. What's in is everyone feeling good about themselves. Screw preparing for the Rule V draft, Colby is lighting his farts down in the clubhouse! Why pour over the stats from Columbus when you could be pouring margaritas with Chip and Scott over in the PR department?

-Make sure your boss knows that you're spending his money on

When you asked Frank if it was OK to give Drew 55 million, he thought you were talking about his son, not JD. Money isn't supposed to leave the McCourt family. Big mistake.

-Ditch the computer and go with binders and carbon paper

Then what will Plaschke say about you???

Just a few hopeful hints to help PDP land on his feet, which is most likely going to be with a NL West team to ensure LA gets screwed for the next decade to come.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Ned Flounders

With the hiring of Ned Colletti as the new GM of the Dodgers, we finally have confirmation that McCourt had no real plan when he canned PDP. You just don't get rid of a Paul Depodesta to replace them with a Ned Colletti.

I have no prejudgements about Ned, but the early returns aren't good. Why does Colletti's hand in the Giants sub-par 2005 season get a pass (when they were hurt by injuries) while PDP's even more injury marred season gets him fired? What was Colletti's role in moves like trading Jerome Williams and Dave Aardsma for set-up man Latroy Hawkins or signing Moises Alou, Edgardo Alfonso, Armando Benitez and Omar Vizquel to contracts they will not justify in their final years? I'm trying to think what great moves the Giants have made since resigning Bonds (not really a tough decision, right) and trading for Jason Schmidt? What have the Giants done where someone from the outside would say "Hey, that organization is headed in the right direction. We should go get someone who embodies that philosophy and get him to run our organization."?

It will take some serious bungling to screw the Dodgers up these next few seasons, given the resources and plentiful young talent already in the organization. Should it be expected that if Ned's team has a 85-90 loss season (regradless of reason), Ned can expect a pink slip? Or is he going to be such a great guy to hang out with, he'll be able to sufficiently politic to keep his job?

So in light of how everything has turned out, here were PDP's downfalls:

-He wasn't the personality that Billy Beane was, which is what F-McC really wanted and thought he was getting after he read "Moneyball"
-He's not the life of the party
-He doesn't feel compelled to get approval from anyone, from old bitgods, to owners who have no baseball knowledge to a media that is swayed at a whim
-He used a computer instead of carbon paper and binders
-He didn't make people feel good by not running to every camera to shout that he bleeds Dodger Blue
-He didn't believe in chemistry, believing instead that talent was more important than feelings and personality. What tomfoolery.

I'm hopeful the Dodgers will do well, but I don't have the same optimism and excitement I had 20 months ago. We'll see how it plays out.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


I heard Eric Karros on the radio the other day saying, "The Dodgers are a big market team. They need a big personality in the GM position. Now whether that translates to wins or not, I'm not sure..." I fear it's people like him that have McCourt's ear and lead me to be concerned about the direction of this franchise. But like I've said, with the farm system and the resources, it's going to take an awful lot to screw this up in the weak NL West.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Playing GM

I hate playing GM, but if everyone else on God's green Earth were to turn down the Dodger GM position (and let's face it, we're 3/4 of the way there), here's a non-intricate look at the moves I'd make. First off the current team and who I'd keep:

1B-Choi, Saenz
2B-Kent, Perez
SS-Robles, then Izturis
SP-O. Perez

3B- Sign Joe Randa

Privately, I've always been a Randa mark. He's a decent enough stopgap until Laroche is ready and should be relatively inexpensive. Giving him the same deal as Valentin got (1 yr-3.5) should get it done and even if he completely tanks, Willy Aybar can be plugged in.

SP-Sign Esteban Loaiza

A Southern California product, Loaiza is miscast as a front of the rotation type guy. Unfortunately, it seems in this year's barren market, he'll be priced as such. But at 2 yrs/11 mil, I'll take my chances on him putting forth a Weaver-esque inning eating, league average performance.


Given there isn't much more economically feasible on the free agent market than gambles like Joe Mays, Tony Armas, and Jason Johnson, the 5th spot will most likely have to be manned by Houlton, from within (Jackson, Billingsley) or acquired in a trade from outside the organization.

Back up C- Sign Todd Pratt

Pratt has put up a good OBP (.350) throughout his career and has a reputation for working well with a staff. He or Bako would be more than fine here as a one year back-up until the sure to be entertaining Navarro/Martin battle in '07.

Sign Brian Giles

Will he be worth the 9-10 mil per year he is going to sign for at the end of the 3 year deal he will get? With extra money to play with this year, borrowing from 2006 to offset whatever value is lost productionwise in '08 should be worthwhile. An on-base machine, Giles should find the right-field seats just inside the foul-pole at Dodger Stadium very inviting.

If Saenz goes elsewhere, Jeff Conine would be a nice fit to play 1st vs. lefties, (provided Choi isn't given that chance) and play some OF if need be.

This offseason is tough to speculate, given the less than stellar free agent market (which increases the likeliehood of trades), and the uncertaintly surrounding the GM job. In that respect, the best that can currently be hoped for is Ng and Smith working in tandem. As teams begin to sign free agents and no hiring of a GM in sight, it'll be interesting to see how these 2 navigate their way through this tumultuous offseason.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Peter Gammons reports...

That he feels John Hart, Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine are the frontrunners for the GM, apprentice and managerial job (Insert Gammons accuracy joke here). He speculates that Epstein wants nothing to do with the job, even if it comes w/ a piece of ownership. How much of this is purely Gammons hoping Epstein comes back to Boston is tough to gauge.

After my phone call from McCourt, which came following sending an email expressing my support, he (and his secretary) sent my newborn daughter a package of gifts that included a blanket , an outfit, a bib, and a stuffed animal. Some have asked me if I returned the items in the wake of the Depodesta decision.

First off, the blanket has a huge mustard stain on it, courtesy of an errant Dodger Dog. However, everything else is still in tact. Secondly, this isn't a "personal" issue with McCourt. I think he genuinely wants to do well, but by not bringing in a baseball-centered support group in buying this franchise, he fell prey to the mystique of the Bitgod. Now, Tommy's advice has left him high and dry and prone to take a bigger PR hit than whatever cheap PR pop he got out of canning Depo.

Like I said when I started this blog, I was with McCourt up until the Depo firing. I was never one of those who cared if he built condos on the Chavez Ravine lot or (God forbid) actually turned a profit off of the franchise. I didn't care about the irrelevant benchmark of a $100 million payroll. I liked the idea of a family run Dodger team.

And McCourt could turn it around, but to take the huge step backward in firing Depodesta for the sake of a quick rub dampens whatever enthusiasm I had and whatever good will he generated from me during his first 2 years. Hopefully he learns that when you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. As I said before, he's the high school girl who sleeps with every guy hoping one will love her and then wonders why they never call her back.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Any idea?

Can anyone venture a guess as to why Roy Smith or Logan White aren't considered candidates for the GM job other than they don't meet McCourt's "requirement" of being experienced?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

A Week Later

And the situation hasn't improved and can only be viewed as having degenerated. The only possibilites floating around are an overrated blowhard (Bowden), an inexperienced prodigal son (Hershiser), the same thing with a little bling (Epstein) who seemingly wants nothing to do with the job and the right hand woman of the guy you just canned (Ng) who will be tough to sell to a predominantly white male local media (particularly when you sold the notion that you were looking for "experience").

John Hart seemingly pulled himself from the running, perhaps sparing L.A. of the GM equivelent of Davey Johnson (talented, but uninspired once he arrives). Like I've said before, McCourt has painted himself into a Epstein-or-bust corner, which allows for Lasorda to perhaps position himself in the role of "Taking one for the team because I bleed Dodger Blue and love these fans so much" by taking the GM job on an interm basis.

Which brings me back to Ng and the ability to market her (because that TRULY is McCourt's biggest concern right now). In a market where Eric Karros was beloved by media and fans alike and given every chance in the world his first few seasons while Korean Hee Seop Choi recieves the support tantamount to whoever was facing Saddam Hussein during the "free elction" days of Iraq, can a female of Chinese descent get a fair shake? McCourt can sell the idea of hiring her as "revolutionary" in line with the tradition of Dodger baseball. But he tried to sell Depodesta as the same thing, only to can him twenty months later. And when you get right down to it, is this going to be what Lasorda wants? And seemingly these days, what Lasorda wants, Lasorda is going to get.

My guess as of 10:53 AM on Saturday is that they bite the bullet on saying they were looking for experience and hire Hershiser, hoping the PR of hiring a former Dodger great overshadows the inconsistencies in their rationale for firing Depo. After that, I start going into full prayer mode and hope Valentine doesn't show his arrogant ass around Chavez Ravine.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

What I Miss About Jimbo...

"Gonzalez has really great stuff," Tracy said. "I think Torres is a very good pitcher. I could be wrong, but he seems to be to more of the guy who gets the ball, does the job and then hands it off for the ninth inning."

Dust off those Tracy-to-English dictionaries and give this one a whirl.

Castilla to Padres for Lawrence

It's moves like this that will ensure the Dodgers are competitive in the NL West for years to come. The D'backs must be doing cartwheels that they didn't throw themselves on the grenade known as Kevin Towers.

Forgive me if I'm not bowled over...

Which begs the question: What's the fine line between recycled and experienced? Gillick has had a few stops. Hart has had a couple stops. Bowden's next team will be his 3rd. Does anyone wonder why a guy doesn't stay or moves from place to place? Isn't McCourt looking for the "stability this organization deserves"? Then why is every potential candidate someone who's bounced around?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

And the List Shrinks

There goes my dark horse choice/hope for GM or manager:

And a Top 5 baseball name (even if it is an agent): Bean Stringfellow

In Other News, Pain Hurts...

Bob Nightengale (Sports Weekly's resident Giant lover) says this week that the decision to fire Depo wasn't made until he insisted on hiring Terry Collins. If this is true (and coming from Nightengale, that's a 50/50 proposition), then McCourt has been caught in another lie.

With McCourt's search for a GM turning into a bad family sitcom episode (the one where the oldest son drops his girlfriend hoping to upgrade, only to find option B,C, and D are unavailable and has burned the bridge with the girlfriend), it gives reason for concern that a cornered McCourt can make a potentially even worse decision than he has up to this point. The secrecy surrounding this process leads one to believe that whatever contingency plan was in place has been blown to hell. To assume there is no real plan right now wouldn't be hyperbole at this point, but a very plausible scenario. What McCourt has done is create a Theo-or-Bust situation that will net him even more poor PR when they can't land him.

A real exchange I had with a co-worker today:

Co-worker: "So who do you want as GM?"

Me: "They already kicked my choice to the curb. Let me guess, you want Theo Epstein?"

Co-worker: "Yeah."

Me: "So you want to replace the old GM with pretty much the same type of guy plus a World Series ring?"

Co-worker: "Well, that World Series ring is a big thing."

As I walked away, I couldn't help but wonder how much help that World Series ring is to Bob Brenly nowadays...

(And no, I am in no way comparing Epstein and Brenly)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Tampa Bay is a beautiful place to live Bobby...

After Saturday's news conference:

Frank: "Whew. I'm glad that's over. Thanks again, Tommy, for providing your wisdom and guidance through this process."

Tommy: "You're welcome Mr. McCourt. I could not have done this without the wonderful fans that support the Dodgers. I tell ya, they're the greatest fans in the wor..."

Frank: "Tommy, both cameras are gone. It's just you and I now."

Tommy: "Oh OK good, now down to business. I have a couple names to throw at you. First off, Bobby Valentine would make a wonderful manager. He's like a son to me Frank."

Frank: "Tommy, is there anyone in your actual family that you like? You say Bobby's like a son to you, Mike Piazza is like a grandson and Vince Piazza is like a brother. You know me Tommy, I'm more inclined to hire people that really are family, not just like family."

Tommy: "Frank, what'd I say about speaking unless spoken to. Now, let me tell you about Bobby Valentine. He's a proven winner and a true Dodger."

Frank: "Great, just what Plaschke will love to hear. What's his resume? How many division championships has he won?"

Tommy: "Well, none. Plenty of second place finishes though. I guess he does represent going back to 'the Dodger way' if you long for the 1996-2003 Dodgers."

Frank: "Actually, I do. During that time, the value of the franchise tripled! What about GM?"

Tommy: "I'm telling you Frank, I love Jimmy Bowden. He verbally pimp-slapped Dan Evans once and defended my honor...I mean the honor of this great Dodger organization, which has the world's greatest fans. I can't say enough about the fans of this..."

Frank: "Tommy, again they're gone. It's just you and me"

Tommy: "Right. Anyway, Jim Bowden produced exactly one division championship in his 11 seasons as Cincy's GM. But they always showed a great competitive fire and heart. But it shows your wisdom Mr. McCourt because Depodesta already won a division title. And Jim Bowden is much better than he was and so we would have had to sit through another 10 years of not giving these fans a winner."

Frank (looking confused): "I'm not sure I follow you Tommy."

Tommy: "Well Frank, I don't doubt for a second that you do..."

Welcome to the Bitgod Era...