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Tag Archives: Andruw Jones

We need a major-league second baseman now!

delino

We need a proven major-league closer now!

baez

We need a major-league top-of-the-rotation ace pitcher now!

schmidt

We need a major-league centerfielder now!

pierre

No really, we need a major-league centerfielder now!

jones

From the top:

– RHP Pedro Martinez traded for 2B Delino DeShields. Pedro went on to win three Cy Young awards.

– RHP Edwin Jackson and LHP Chuck Tiffany traded for RHP Danys Baez and RHP Lance Carter. Edwin Jackson won 14 games for Tampa, and was a 2008 All-Star for Detroit.

– RHP Jason Schmidt, signed 3 years/$47 million in 2006. Has pitched a total of eight games and 33.2 innings since arriving in L.A.

– OF Juan Pierre, signed 5 years/$44 million in 2006. Mediocre in 2007, and relegated to the bench since 2008.

– OF Andruw Jones, signed 2 years/$36 million in 2008. Had a historically bad year in 2008, was replaced by Manny Ramirez, and bought out of his contract in 2009.

There’s something to be said about staying with the one you brought to the dance. Chad Billingsley may not be the sexiest top-of-the-rotation starter out there, but that’s more an indictment of the ridiculous east-coast bias of the media. Cole Hamels can start the year off miserably, but not have his ability questioned. Billingsley can start with guns blazing, go through a slump, and he’s basically garbage after that.

jones

And he bought himself his own airplane.

Keeping Andruw Jones and Juan Pierre on the bench forever is good enough reason for me to sign Manny Ramirez like, yesterday.

Hobby Pack (4.99) x5

Pack 1:
6 Vladimir Guererro
41 Lance Berkman
17 Carlos Beltran
AA40 Justin Morneau
Sign of the Times dual AU: Joe Nathan/Billy Wagner #11/75

Pack 2:
28 Jimmy Rollins
40 Carlos Lee
3 Albert Pujols
1 Ken Griffey Jr
AA3 Randy Johnson

Pack 3:
22 Justin Upton
97 Hideki Matsui
8 Eric Chavez
80 Rick Ankiel
AA22 Hanley Ramirez

Pack 4:
69 Justin Morneau
98 Jeff Francoeur
99 Alfonso Soriano
42 Hunter Pence
AA49 Miguel Cabrera

Pack 5:
58 Ben Sheets
66 Erik Bedard
94 Jason Bay
48 Justin Verlander
5 Daisuke Matsuzaka
14 Frank Thomas
AA39 Lance Berkman
138 Rookie Jersey Autograph Johnny Cueto 914/999

Impressions: What a boring-looking card! The players are chopped out of their natural backgrounds and plastered onto an all-white background. I was pretty happy with landing two “hits” in just five packs, although whoever else pulls from this box is going to be pretty disappointed paying approximately $1 per card and getting not much else.

At least it’s a mercifully smaller base set of just 100 cards. An additional 50 rookie jersey autographs make up the rest of the checklist.

And I must quibble with UD once AGAIN choosing Andruw Jones as a Dodger representative (Russell Martin was the other in the base set, with Clayton Kershaw part of the rookie set). Really Upper Deck, there was no one else worth depicting? I don’t know, maybe Derek Lowe or Hiroki Kuroda? Andre Ethier?

I can’t say that I’ve ever thought highly of Derek Lowe, his brilliant signing notwithstanding. As dependable as he’s been the four years he’s been here, there’s just something about the guy that I just don’t like. Nonetheless, he’s been arguably the Dodgers’ best free-agent signing of recent note. He signed a four-year, $32 million deal after being unceremoniously jettisoned by the 2004 WS Champion Red Sox — this after pitching well in the clinching games of the ALDS, ALCS, and World Series.

Former GM Paul DePodesta was 100% right about Lowe — this groundball specialist would thrive at Dodger Stadium, and even signed him to a very modest contract to boot.

Lots to love about Lowe, statistically speaking. Outside the lines, he’s been a grade-A scumbag. He divorced the mother of his children, whom he left behind on the east coast, so that he could continue his affair with former FSN West reporter Carolyn Hughes, and bemoaned (along with Jeff Kent and Luis Gonzalez) management’s choice to hold on to the “kids” in 2007 in lieu of trading them away for a trade-deadline rental.

Haven’t heard much of Lowe this year, which incidentally, is a contract year for him. Either he’s happy that so many of his 2004 Red Sox teammates are now Dodgers (Nomar, Manny, advisor to the GM Bill Mueller), or he knows he needs to keep his trap shut and avoid controversy considering he’s old (2009 will be his 36-year-old season) and probably still wants another multi-year deal.

That said, given the Dodgers’ offensive malaise — whole lot of change Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake did for the team — it’s surprising that he was so forgiving of the their inability to score recently. After yesterday’s loss to the 39 games under .500 Nationals, Lowe had this to say:

“I think, in this game, trying harder normally doesn’t get you anywhere, and I think that’s such a hard thing to fight,” he said. “You can’t give 110 percent. I think that’s where we are. There’s no lack of preparation, there’s no such thing as guys not trying. I think, as a collective group, sometimes you’ve got to try less to get more.

Knowing how quick everyone involved with the Dodgers has been willing to betray and blame Ethier/Kemp/Loney/Martin … I mean, their teammates for everything under the sun, it’s a little refreshing to hear Lowe not blame anyone.

In the end though, blame falls squarely on the shoulders of Ned Colletti. There’s a reason why the Dodgers are a singles-hitting team that relies heavily on a high BABIP, and will be in for epic failure when their BABIP falls as it has recently. That reason is Ned Colletti. Ned spent $57 million on Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, Nomar, Jason Schmidt, and Rafael Furcal. The only one of that bunch that’s doing anything remotely productive is Andruw, and that’s solely because he’s been banished to Triple-A and not wasting a roster spot. (Okay, neither are Furcal and Schmidt).

Pierre and Nomar (not to mention Mark Sweeney, Pablo Ozuna, and Angel Berroa) continue to soak up valuable playing time, thus further delaying the advancement of players such as Delwyn Young, Chin-Lung Hu, and Ivan DeJesus — players who may actual be useful for the Dodgers.

Rather than use the money (or their minor leaguers) to acquire useful players such as Manny, or Adam Dunn, whom the Reds essentially gave away, the Dodgers waste their “stock” on retreads such as Casey Blake and Greg Maddux.

And then they cobble together a roster that has no punch aside from Kemp, Ethier, and Manny. So is it any surprise that a singles-hitting team can’t do anything other than hit singles?

Mr. LaRoche finally has his freedom. I don’t know if he’ll be anything more than he is now. Regardless, this is yet another example of the mindlessness of the Dodger front office.

Dodger problems:

– J.D. Drew leaves for greener pastures (and honestly, do you blame him?)

– In response, Ned signs an aging, over-the-hill Luis Gonzalez, and outbids his old boss for Juan Pierre, at the bargain basement price of 5/45.

– Gonzo whines about the kids being better than him and taking his PT, and Juan Pierre is, well, Juan Pierre.

– Looking to address the fact that Juan Pierre is Juan Pierre, Ned signs Andruw Jones to 2/36 and moves Slappy McPopup to LF.

– Andre Ethier blisters the crap out of the ball in spring training, forcing them to play him.

– Joe Torre plays Slappy anyway.

– Fat Andruw sucks on a historic level, and Slappy is still Slappy. Meanwhile, Ethier and Matt Kemp are quietly the team’s best two OF.

– Hoping to address Fat Andruw’s historic suckiness, the Dodgers trade away Andy LaRoche and Bryan Morris for Manny Ramirez, forgetting that Manny’s gone after this year, and so are Casey Blake, Nomar, and Jeff Kent — meaning there’ll be vacancies at 2B, SS, 3B, and LF. And there’s no one left to fill the vacancy at 3B, since you know, Andy LaRoche is gone. I suppose Blake DeWitt and Ivan DeJesus/Chin-Lung Hu can take over at 2B and SS, respectively, but do you really think Joe “I had Tony Womack DH and Miguel Cairo at 1B, not to mention am convinced that Slappy’s .299 OBP is evidence he ‘knows how to lead off'” Torre is really going to hand over the reins to the kids?

For all the hand-wringing about the “Dodger Way,” it doesn’t appear that Ned is interested in following it. That is, unless, the “Dodger Way” is loading up on marginally useful veterans with ridiculous contracts and tossing aside useful resources (i.e. pre-arbitration youngsters) like yesterday’s garbage.

Time will tell whether or not Manny for LaRoche is another Delino for Pedro or another Shaw for Konerko. But do you really expect this one to turn out well for the Dodgers? Two months, max, of Manny’s HOF bat — yes, that’s a great thing. But will it make that big of a difference for them down the stretch? How many more wins is he worth? Two, three, maybe five? Will that even be enough to catch the Diamondbacks? And if they do, what happens in the playoffs?

The Dodgers traded six cost-controlled years of LaRoche & Morris for two months of Manny. Adding Manny makes themĀ  better for sure, but I’d say anything short of an NL pennant would make this trade a disaster for the Dodgers, considering how many more holes they’ve now created.

More than that, it displays a commitment not to the continued long-term success of the team, but a dependency on win-now thinking. It demonstrates that the Dodgers are more than willing to impede the progress of their own players, so long as they dominate the headlines. And it can’t be more than headlines, especially considering the really, marginal difference Manny will make. Is there anyone who thinks the Dodgers make this deal if the Angels hadn’t acquire Mark Teixeira the day before?

It shows a commitment not to the vague notion of the “Dodger Way,” which I presume to be developing your own stars, but rather, a commitment to whatever the flavor of the moment is. The Dodgers suffered through this same thinking under Fred Claire and Kevin Malone, and it’s apparent things still haven’t changed under Ned’s control.

Well, now that Andy’s free, it’s time to set the sights on getting Andre Ethier off the bench.

I love the Dodgers. I love baseball. But what I hate is the archaic, stuck-in-the-mud thinking that permeates baseball management. My baseball philosophy is much more in line with forward-thinking, statistically-inclined people such as Billy Beane, Paul DePodesta, Bill James, and is featured on websites such as Baseball Prospectus, The Hardball Times, and Dodger Thoughts, among many others. Essentially, I enjoy looking for a reasonable explanation for the innumerable vagaries of baseball. I enjoy reading about those who attempt to theorize why baseball is as exciting as it is for us.

As to the title, one of my favorite ballplayers, Andy LaRoche, is currently stuck in exile in Las Vegas (the Dodgers’ Triple-A team). He was sent there on a rehab assignment after he was injured in spring training. Halfway through that rehab, the Dodgers activated him, and then optioned him to the minors, wasting 10 days of rehab and an option year for LaRoche. Meanwhile, LaRoche, one of their best power-hitting minor league prospects languishes in Triple-A while the likes of Mark Sweeney, Andruw Jones, and Jeff Kent continue to feebly hit ground balls to NL infielders. All the while, Dodger management bemoans the lack of production on the major league club.

It would seem a very simple fix. No power hitters? Call up a power hitter. Of course, Blake DeWitt’s emergence has made this less simple (DeWitt and LaRoche are both third basemen). But if you can find time to play Kent/Sweeney/Jones, then you can cut bait on any of the three and find time to play LaRoche.