Yes, some GM’s have made “dope fiend” moves in the past… the recent past, but they eventually figure it out (or get fired), which is why I think the Free Agent Signing Market has been non-existent so far. The signings of Cueto, Samardzija, Price, Greinke and may others to idiotic, dope-fiend contracts has not been the pathway to success for major league teams. Houston won the World Series this year by growing their own and filling in with a few free agents without any long term committments. The Dodgers finished second and had over $65 million in dead payroll wrapped up in three players (A-Gon, Ethier and Crawfish).
FAZ had nothing to do with those three dead fish, which is part of the reason why the Dodgers were named the Organization of the Year by Baseball America. Maybe, just maybe, General Managers are starting to figure out that money can’t buy a championship. That may be part of the reason why we have seen little activity in the free agent market. Scott Borass is starving to death because he can’t sign any big deals for his clients. That makes me so sad (not).
J.D. “I can’t play defense” Martinez needs $210 million? Forgetttttabouttttittttt! That is just stupid! He’s a $100 million dollar player. Yu Darvish folded in the clutch but wants a $160 million dollar deal? Moronic! Well, maybe some GM’s are stupid… but they aren’t THAT stupid! Are they? Is this this year they ice the players who are asking for “crazy money” out? Oh, the agents and players will yell “COLLUSION” but I think it’s more like “BRAINS!”
Signing free agents to expensive, foolish long-term deals is no way to win. Just ask the Astros. This could be the year it all changes. So far, it looks that way. Hey, these guys have crazy-good skills, but stupid, unrealistic, long-term deals are just insane. Yeah, some GM”s are slow, but I think they will figure it out! Yes, they will!
So far, the largest contracts the Dodgers have given out to Free Agent Pitchers (not named Kenley Jansen) has been $48 million. For the record, I questioned that deal for Jansen, but so far so good!
Baseball America had this to say about the Dodgers:
“Obviously the 2014 season was successful on a number of fronts, but as we assessed the roster and looked ahead, we felt strongly that for us to be in a position to maintain it, to sustain the recent success and enhance it, that we would need to infuse talented young players into our core group and do it steadily over time,” Friedman said. “One observation that we had was looking at the 2014 Red Sox, who had a number of really talented young players that all kind of came up the major league roster at the same time, was how volatile that situation can be. So we wanted to try to integrate one to two at a time over the years, to not put as much pressure on our talented young players, but also not be so reliant on so many young players all at once.”
One-by-one, they did exactly that. They integrated Corey Seager and Austin Barnes onto the big league roster in 2015, while also trading for veterans Yasmani Grandal, Chase Utley and Alex Wood. They brought Ross Stripling, Julio Urias and Brock Stewart onto the pitching staff in 2016, while also signing Kenta Maeda and trading for Rich Hill. In 2017 they completed the trickle, bringing up Cody Bellinger while also making trades for Logan Forsythe and, eventually, Yu Darvish, Tony Cingrani and Tony Watson.
In all, 16 of the 25 players on the Dodgers’ World Series roster were acquired under the Friedman regime.
The final product was a historic season that brought the Dodgers closer to a championship than at any time in the last three decades.
“I think as we look back on the 2017 season there is a lot to be proud of,” Friedman said. “Obviously we fell short of our ultimate goal by one game. But, overall, I think the positives of what were further instilled this year will continue to pay dividends for us in 2018 and beyond.”
Now, I am not saying you never take on a long, bad contract. If you are the Marlins, you can’t do it, but the Dodgers can afford one bad deal. I mean, they had four bad deals last year if you include Kazmir who produced nothing (but it was not a crazy, lon-term deal). Sooner or later, GM’s are going to start saying “NO” to agents who ask for these deals. If the Giants traded for Giancarlo Stanton, it would likely cripple them, but it won’t cripple the Dodgers.
Why Would Stanton Even Consider ther Giants?
The Marlins have not been able to put a winning team around Stanton. If the Giants trade for Stanton, they will further deplete a barren farm system. I can’t see how they would be much better than .500 even if they had Stanton and their farm system would likely rank at the bottom of all MLB. Then, there’s the tax issue: Florida has no State Tax. If you average out his contract at $30 million a year, if he moved back to California, he would owe an additional (approx) $4 Million dollars a year in California tax. That’s $40 million over the life of his contract!
Why in the hell would he waiver his no trade clause to go to SF and pay another $4 million in taxes, when he is also not going to win? To live by the ocean? He already does. It makes no sense! He won’t go there. Even Boston and St. Louis will cost him more money. The Dodgers were his childhood team. He’s from LA. He’s an LA kind-of-guy! He wants to come home and he can control where he goes. The Dodgers are set to win now. The farm is deep and if they take on his contract, they won’t have to gut the farm… maybe Alvarez, Verdugo and a couple of lower prospects.
One bad contract won’t hurt, especially if FAZ can include Kazmir and Gonzalez in the deal. Remember, the Dodgers don’t have to do anything, so they can propound a deal they are comfortable with. Like AC has mentioned, there will be huge advantages to the Dodgers with Stanton in the lineup – both on and off the field, and (write this down) the DH will be in NL soon enough!
A Parting Shot
After the Dodgers won the BA Organization of the Year yesterday, I thought back over the past years of all the FAZ-bashing. Most of these people have gone, evaporated, dried-up or changed their monikers. The levels many went to in oder to discredit FAZ was inane and insane. Not the least of who was the author of Dodger Therapy, whom many fans worshiped. Mercifully, he stopped spewing his VD (verbal diarrhea) on April 18, 2017. Here are a few tidbits from his last post:
I know the beat writers and local radio guys won’t question the genius of the front office as they don’t dare lose access to the clubhouse – and the free meals. I on the other hand have nothing to lose. I write what is very apparent – hardly genius at all. It just so happens in today’s world, if you exhibit a decent amount of common sense, you look intelligent. Who woulda thunk?
As I have tweeted many times, all you have to do is go to this blog and comb through the old articles and see my take on everything Dodgers. All the injuries discussed in advance, all the bad deals commented on as they were made, the mediocre or worse players the Moneyball minded acquire, debunked early on. Again, it’s not being super smart, it’s using basic intelligence. And yes, just having seen a lot of baseball in my life. It’s the same thing Saber guys (I don’t think women are stupid enough to be Saber) dislike traditional minded scouting and managing for. It’s too simple. You watch, you gauge it on lots and lots of similar circumstances (100+ years of MLB, pretty much) and you can therefore make semi logical assumptions. One might call it “data”, but I hear that term has been trademarked.
Here we are 13 games into the 2017 season and the Dodgers are in third place, 1 game over .500. The fans, as always, are up and down like the temperature. If they beat the Padres, whose entire payroll is less than what Kershaw makes alone, they talk shit and boast, gearing up for the World Series appearance. If they lose to a better Western foe, they panic.
The season is long and I will go on a limb and say the type of front office work the Friedman/Zaidi and assorted Dream Team collection of overpaid executives are doing could work as well in 2017 as it did in 2016. I think I figured it out, though, like a bad detective show, my answer was right in front of me the whole time.
While I think the West should certainly be better than it was last year (Giants will wake up, Rox seem improved and only getting better, Arizona perhaps better under their new Moneyball-type front office), I can see the Dodgers making the playoffs. Before you get too excited, I can also see them missing the playoffs. Somewhere between winning the West, getting the wild card and losing out in the playoff round robin, is where they will be. I am not one to predict outcomes of divisions so much as a lot of things happen.
I will say that unless changes are made (and why would they be?), it’s unlikely the Dodgers, as constructed now, will advance to the World Series, should they get anywhere near. My reason is I look at tonight’s tragic lineup and I just don’t see where $230M was spent. Any given night the lineup, starter and/or bullpen participants might be aged journeymen or AAAA castoffs. Friedman calls it “depth” – Paul DePodesta didn’t even call it that, but maybe he should have. His roster was the same littering of nobodies and never weres.
I think the appeal here is painting themselves into a corner and trying to get out. Houdini did it to show his superiority and fantasy baseball managers do it when they are bored out of their minds. Make dumb moves, drop better players, constantly swap our anyone with a pulse and hope it works. If it does, you can puff out your chest and claim superiority. Again, it’s “wasted movement” and unnecessary.
It’s an outdated way of thinking, sure, but would it be so terrible to have a rotation with at least 3-4 very solid guys you had a pretty safe expectation for making it through the season unscathed? Would it be ludicrous to assume your bullpen could be 3-4 men deep? Even 2 deep? Would it be insane to think if you had a payroll larger than anyone else’s your roster would likely have more great players than other teams?
All out of touch, old school ways of thinking, I realize. What do I know? I’m just a guy who has watched a lot of baseball for a lot of years. I sometimes write baseball articles, all archived here, with dates, and I seem to somehow do a remarkable job calling a lot of the “unforeseen events” that befall Friedman and his think tank, before they happen. I don’t call it “data” – just common sense and reasonable intelligence. Enjoy the ride and remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Have the Pepto-Bismol and Prilosec at your side; nothing is easy in a Friedman universe.
I only have one thing to say:
DODGERS HIRE ASSISTANT HITTING COACHES BRANT BROWN AND LUIS ORTIZ TO ROUND OUT MAJOR LEAGUE FIELD STAFF
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced two additions to their big league field staff as ex-Major Leaguers Brant Brown and Luis Ortiz will each serve dual roles of assistant hitting coach and minor league hitting coordinator.
Brown, 46, spent the last five seasons as a coach in the Seattle Mariners’ organization, including the last two as the team’s offensive coordinator. From 2013-15, he served as Seattle’s minor league outfield coordinator. Prior to joining the Mariners, Brown spent six seasons as a hitting coach in the Texas Rangers organization (2007-12). The former big league outfielder was originally selected by the Chicago Cubs in the third round of the 1992 First-Year Player draft and hit .247 with 45 home runs in 424 Major League games with the Cubs (1996-98, 2000), Pirates (1999) and Marlins (2000). Brown was a three-year starter at Fresno State University, where he helped lead the Bulldogs to a fifth-place finish in the 1991 College World Series. In 1992, he was first-team All-Big West and second-team All-American selection after winning the conference Triple Crown. The native of Porterville, CA resides in Peoria, AZ.
Ortiz, 47, spent the last three seasons with the San Diego Padres as their field and hitting coordinator. Prior to joining the Padres’ organization in 2015, Ortiz spent two seasons as the assistant field coordinator and cultural development coordinator in the Cleveland Indians’ player development system. He began his coaching career with the Texas Rangers organization, spending five seasons with the club from 2008-12. The former infielder played professionally for 14 seasons, including four years at the Major League level with the Boston Red Sox (1993-94) and the Texas Rangers (1995-96). The native of the Dominican Republic was selected by the Red Sox in the eighth round of the 1991 First-Year Player Draft out of Union University and was inducted into the University’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
The Dodgers also promoted Brandon Gomes to Director of Player Development, replaceing Gabe Kapler.
The Dodgers on Friday also officially announced the hiring of Ron Porterfield as director of player health, a move first reported four weeks ago. Porterfield, the longtime Rays trainer, will work out of the team facilities in Glendale, Ariz, and “provide the medical department with assistance and oversight at both the major and minor league levels.”