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Tag Archives: Ned Colletti is a moron

Right of the top, let me say that I’m indifferent to the Dodgers’ acquisitionhudson of Orlando Hudson — his contract however, is a piece of work. On the one hand, it’s a classic example of the Dodgers’ misguided personnel philosophy.

That philosophy goes a little something like this: if a position player vacates his position (e.g. Jeff Kent) via retirement, free agency, etc., or is unable to otherwise occupy his position (e.g. Nomar Garciaparra) the succeeding player at the position must always be a “proven” veteran who “knows how to win” and “plays the game the right way.” Other issues, such as the actual ability to hit or field a baseball, or the availability of cheaper, younger, healthier replacements not needing multi-year/million dollar deals are not remotely as important as the aforementioned.

Case in point: James Loney 2007, and of course, Blake DeWitt/Ivan DeJesus 2009, and to a lesser extent, Chin-Lung Hu and Tony Abreu 2009. By all indicators, DeWitt appeared to be at the very least, a serviceable, league-average 2B, with the potential to get better. Orlando Hudson on the other hand, lost a step defensively, and spent  a considerable amount of time on the DL. Then again, it’s not as though THAT ever stopped the Dodgers from signing anyone!

On the other hand, the ONE good thing that’s come of this is that it again forces the hand of Manny/Boras. If they’re stupid enough to buy it, the plan is to move DeWitt back to 3B, Casey Blake to LF, and Juan Pierre to even further down the bench. And according the can’t-possibly-be-wrong L.A. radio personality Vic the Brick Jacobs, a deal has already been signed and was waiting to be announced. Colletti and Boras of course, denied such a thing had happened.

Either way, I really would’ve love for this charade to end. All I know is I’m glad I’m no longer living in L.A., since the discussion about this topic would be completely insufferable and intolerable at this point.

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So it turns out Manny/Boras, Inc. turned down the latest Dodger contract offer of one year/$25 million. An increased offer, which considering there have been no public counteroffers from any other team, is very generous.manny

Scott Boras is clearly grasping at straws trying to create a non-existent market for Manny. There’s the constant talk of the Giants being interested, but considering their payroll has inflated considerably with their free-agent additions, and their (like the Dodgers) insistence on nothing more than a short-term deal, it’s clear that the Giants aren’t really kicking the tires, so to speak. If anything, this is a lot like the 2006 postseason when Juan Pierre’s agent successfully used the Giants as leverage to increase the Dodgers’ offer to Pierre.

Fortunately, it appears Ned’s learned his lesson about that nonsense and isn’t budging from his stance. At least, not to the extent that he did with Pierre.

Spring training begins in less than two weeks. Manny, clearly one of the best hitters of this generation, remains unsigned. All of the big money players have either folded (Mets, Orioles), or flat-out didn’t even ante up (Yankees, Angels).

And now Boras says he won’t grant the Dodgers the “opportunity” to match any competitive offers? There haven’t been ANY competitive offers, Scott. Clearly this is a game of chicken with the intent of getting the Dodgers to ill-advisedly increase their own offer. And they shouldn’t — why bid against yourself?

There’s no doubt the fallout if Manny fails to return to LA will be spectacular. If it indeed Plans B, C, or D come to fruition, I’d hate to be Adam Dunn/Bobby Abreu/Juan Pierre (heaven forbid) trotting out to left field this year. I’d hate to be Ned, or Frank McCourt.

But in the end, the Dodgers are playing this correctly. Boras is feverishly trying to create a market that simply doesn’t exist. Worse yet, he, just like everybody else, knows LA is the best place for Manny. But unfortunately, we know that Boras operates under only one motive — his checkbook. If he were truly after his client’s best interest, Manny would’ve re-upped with the Dodgers ages ago.

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.

I empathize with Braves GM Frank Wren, but ultimately, I feel he’s being childish. I don’t for a second believe that the Braves are going to follow through and ignore every single Wasserman client (which includes current Brave Peter Moylan, among others) from here on out. It’s just bravado; saving face in the wake of being publicly humiliated by Rafael Furcal and his agents. It’s the same sort of bravado Dodger GM Ned Colletti displayed when J.D. Drew and Scott Boras caught Colletti with his pants down. He too claimed he would “never deal with” Boras again. Yet, there’s a contract offer floating around from the Dodgers to Boras client Manny Ramirez.

Again, I won’t deny their anger, but really, business is business. Until Furcal’s signature appeared on the bottom of a contract, nothing was, well, nothing. It may be in bad faith, it may even be unethical, but it certainly wasn’t illegal for (Furcal agent) Paul Kinzer to ask for a term sheet (apparently recognized as the step immediately prior to finalization of a deal) and then use it as leverage to get a better deal from the Dodgers.

In fact, for once, it shows due diligence on the part of Dodger GM Ned Colletti. The agent claims theres “another offer?” Well, let’s SEE that other offer!

I remember the fiasco that was Kevin Brown’s signing — with Scott Boras ultimately getting the Dodgers to bid against themselves, since the “other offers” Boras spoke about were non-existent. In fact, what’s going on the Mark Teixiera fun-for-all is probably the exact same thing — Boras is probably trying to get the Angels, Nationals, et. al., to all bid against themselves — prompting a flat-out denial on the part of Red Sox owner John Henry.

We often forget that sports, for as much as our hearts are in invested in it, is and always will be a business first. The athletes, the clubs, everyone is in it to get theirs. So when Rafael Furcal is doing his best to get his, really, we can’t be surprised.

When Elton Brand did his best to get his, I wasn’t surprised — although I do take a little  bit of snide satisfaction that his defection to a “title contender” hasn’t exactly panned out.

Blame the agents if you must, blame the players, but don’t blame the game. Mainly because the game is always and always will be business, never personal.

Dioner Navarro

Edwin Jackson

Willy Aybar

Not to mention Justin Ruggiano, Joel Guzman, and Sergio Pedroza. Okay, maybe I don’t miss those three THAT much. But Jackson, Aybar, and Navarro … so, who did Ned Colletti get in return for these guys again?

Did these guys get LaRoched? Or did they get Hee-Seop Choid? Or did Andy LaRoche get Navarrod?

And then there was the one who got away …

Not too many remember this, but David Price, he of striking out J.D. Drew with the bases loaded and the go-ahead run on first fame, was nearly a Dodger.

He was picked in the 19th round of the 2004 amateur draft, the same draft that produced Blake DeWitt, Scott Elbert, and Cory Wade. However, Price never signed, along with other future standouts such as Joe Savery (15th round) and Jeff Larish (13th round).

But hey, that’s like, four years ago. Still, imagine a 2009 rotation of Billingsley – Kershaw – Price – McDonald – Kuroda. DROOL.

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?

I mean really, look at them! Who doesn’t want to see this sort of thing? Who says the Dodger rookies are a bunch of me-first jerkfaces? What did YOU do today, Mr. Grumpy Second Baseman?

On a serious note, today’s game was historic — it was the first game in which a Dodger hit a HR on both the first and last pitch of the game.

It was frustrating losing the two games in San Francisco last weekend, as well as last night’s against the Brewers. Had the Dodgers not blown late leads in those three games, today’s win would’ve capped an 11-game win streak. They would’ve been 67-57, three games ahead of Arizona. Oh, to what could’ve been.

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 them  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.

Even in his best year, his AL ROY-winning 2003, Angel Berroa still only managed a pedestrian .789 OPS. In 332 plate appearances for Triple-A Omaha, Berroa had a .797 OPS. While that certainly is an improvement over Chin-Lung Hu (.430) and Luis Maza (.585), was it really worth spending the $500,000 the Dodgers will pay to buy out Berroa’s option for 2009?

Silver lining? Acquiring Berroa probably signals the end of Chin-Lung Hu’s time with the big club. Hu just looks flat-out awful at the plate, and should benefit from some time in Las Vegas. In a perfect world, Mark Sweeney and Luis Maza would join him as well. But the Dodger world under Ned Colletti has been far from perfect.

I expect Hu to be sent down, and with no backups to incumbent 3B Blake DeWitt, Andy LaRoche should finally be recalled to L.A. If Rafael Furcal can return on June 17th as the club seems to think, that should also signal the end for Luis Maza, leaving Furcal and Berroa as the primary middle infielders, with LaRoche backing them up.

Still, you can’t help but be amused when you hear four-time World Champion manager™ Joe Torre say that he needs time to evaluate what Berroa can do. Um, Joe, I can do that for you, and save the club valuable time and money. Berroa sucks.

In spite of Berroa’s suckitude and Hu’s apparent need for a change of scenery, assuming Rafael Furcal is back in a week as anticipated, why even bother with Berroa? Hu’s defensive ability clearly outshines Berroa’s. And while Berroa is marginally better with the bat, any gain made there is erased by his defensive inability. Hu certainly could benefit from time in Las Vegas, but the Dodgers don’t benefit at all by having Berroa. They could’ve easily gone with a combination of LaRoche, Maza, Tiffee, and Hu to fill in for Furcal until he returns.