Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Funny Stuff:


Mid-Term Grade for Neddy

I think the Lofton signing was excessive and would have liked to see that money poured into a better starting pitcher than Tomko. But Tomko is what he is (a 4th or 5th starter), so I'm not going to get my panties in a bunch about him signing. He replaces Weaver as the stretch of efficiency followed by a barrage of HRs guy in the rotation.

I like Mueller and I like Nomaaaaah if he's playing left or a super utility role and not being counted on to play any more than 120 games. But he's a short-term gamble that won't hurt if he can't play. I'm OK w/ Furcal too. A lot of money, but nothing long-term. Bringing back Wunsch was a great move that further solidifes the bullpen.

If forced to give a grade, I'd say B. There haven't been any real wow moves, but it's not as if one was needed by any means. Expensive, albeit short-term, contracts were what were needed and he's fulfilled that for the most part. I'm OK with Houlton as the 5th starter, but if there's someone better out there who fits sensibly into the budget, all the better. If the season started today, this team would win 87 games I think, which would be enough to take the division.

Arizona sends Glaus to Toronto, Vasquez to the ChiSox, get Estrada from the ATL

Why do I get the uneasy feeling that Josh Byrnes is going to make the rest of this division look stupid here in a couple years...

I think the Glaus move is a great trade for Arizona. They unload the bad, long-term contract of the injury prone Glaus and pick up an inexpensive 5th starter/bullpen piece in Batista and a good overall player in Hudson. He doesn't do any one thing in particular that stands out, but he's solid overall.

Those aren't even the best reasons why the deal was a good one. It frees up 3rd base for Chad Tracy and allows them to play Conor Jackson at 1st w/ Tony Clark as insurance just in case. It also saves them a boatload of money for down the road, which will be important with horrible deals like Russ Ortiz's and Shawn Green's still on the books.

Trading Vasquez is another great long-term move, even though I don't believe he is as "bad" as he has shown the last couple seasons. El Duque will be serviceable for a year in the rotation, Luis Vizcaino will be a better bullpen arm than most of their options last year and Chris Young looks to be a stud to go alongside Carlos Quentin in the D-back OF.

They picked up a quality everyday catcher (which don't grow on trees nowdays) in Estrada for a couple of defective parts in Oscar Villareal and Lance Cormier. Schuerholz must have forgotten that Mazzone doesn't work for the Braves anymore. Granted, they have McCann to play full-time now, but couldn't they have done better for an everyday MLB backstop?

Weaver please leave...r

The problem with re-upping Weaver is that there is no rotation flexibility, barring trades of course. It'd be sink or swim with the pitchers that are currently in the rotation, as everyone is tied up for 2 more (Perez, Tomko), 3 more (Penny, Lowe) or 4 more (Weaver) seasons. If everyone pitches as they have the ability to, that'd be fine. However, how often is it that 3-5 members of a rotation perform as or better than expected? Plus, it'd also be about 40 mil going to a starting rotation, which seems a little excessive to me.

With the thought that Neddy has $100 payroll to work with, that's why I felt the Garciaparra and Lofton signings were unnecessary as at least one of those positions were basically filled. But when you're shopping for pitching in January, beggars can't be choosers.Of course, if there were easy answers we'd all be ML GMs.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

No More Games with Milton Bradley

If you're of the school of thought that Colletti HAD to trade Bradley, getting Ethier was probably the best he could do. I don't like including Perez, but the situation was probably such that in order to get a better prospect, they had to throw in Perez, who'll hopefully get a fair shake in Oakland and a chance to show what he can do with 300+ PAs. It's a hell of a lot better than Kirk Saarloos, but when you set the bar that low, then you can't help but be disappointed at how the Bradley saga played out.

Certainly Bradley deserves the lion's share of the blame for things that happened during his tenure in Los Angeles, though I don't think it wasn't anything that couldn't be taken care of via strong managerial leadership. Look for the fact that Ethier won the Arizona Fall League Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award last month to be played up.

On a side note, Bradley's move also, unfortunately, brings the number of African-Americans projected to be on the Dodger opening day roster to zero. Given the history of Jackie Robinson with the team, this point cannot be lost in the afterglow of getting rid of a "bad character" guy.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The $13 million Shortstopgap


The signing of Rafael Furcal is perplexing, in that there seem to be more glaring holes on the Dodger squad, namely a 4th starting pitcher and a 3B. Some might construe this move as Colletti banking on the fact that Izturis can't come back whereas I see it the other way around. He is banking on Izturis to rebound from TJ surgery so he can be moved. At 3 mil a year for the next couple seasons, Izturis's percieved value is much higher than his actual value and can fetch the Dodgers a useful part or two at the trade deadline.

This deal pushes the estimated payroll at somewhere near $85 mil and what that actually means is anyone's guess. But for now, the McCheap and McBroke squackers (which never included me, btw) have been silenced.

It also presents the interesting scenario that Jon over at Dodger Thoughts nails on the head here: http://dodgerthoughts.baseballtoaster.com/archives/295153.html#comments. In terms of what the Dodgers are getting in Furcal the player, a quick glance shows he has a career .757 OPS, with a .777 mark that ranked him 7th behind the likes of Bill Hall and Felipe Lopez last year (but ahead of Jimmy Rollins, who got a ridiculous deal at more years than Furcal).

Of course, he's marketable as a Dodger because...well...he plays SS and steals bases, which supposedly should instantly invoke memories of Maury Wills and make everyone feel good. I'm sure we'll even be fed stories about how Furcal worked with Wills in spring training working on bunting that should somehow give us all assurance that he has embraced the Dodger way (whatever that means nowadays).

What won't make him marketable are his DUI issues, which will be brushed aside because fans and management care primarily about one thing: Talent. This is what will keep Bradley in the fold (along with his relatively inexpensive contract), Choi at 1B and the Dodgers in contention until Izzy returns and ready to help the Dodgers...by being dealt.