9/29/2005 09:25:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Dodger Notes:

-----
After an extended discussion, Tracy singled out missing "components" in the clubhouse -- assumedly the departures of Adrian Beltre, Steve Finley, Alex Cora, Shawn Green et al. -- and injuries as the prime reasons for the Dodgers' falloff from last year's 93-win campaign.
-----

If I went up to my boss, and told him that the reason we had underperfomed this year was because he was a complete moron, my butt would be fired in less time than it would take me to type the period at the end of this sentence.

I have no clue what Tracy is trying to accomplish here. First he asks for a big contract extension, then immediately makes these comments. He has to be trying to get fired, it's the only logical explanation.

I am absolutely fine with him going this route.
|||112806029122699329|||Tracy To DePodesta: "Please Fire Me"11/04/2005 8:07 PM|||Blogger Kim|||Hey, I came by actually looking for a specific blog but got yours instead. However, you seem to have a great blog here!

I have a article against abortion
site. It pretty much is about article against abortion
.

Come and take a look if you get time :-)11/22/2005 9:53 PM|||Anonymous Anonymous|||I have a design keynes landscape milton blog also! Mine is for adults only so you must be over the age of 18. Since I am posting my url to your blog, please post a comment at mine...I like linking to great blogs like yours.

Milton Twins
Free Milton Sister XXX Pictures. Indentical Twins Gone Wild!9/29/2005 09:58:00 AM|||Andrew|||
This man is clearly a genius:

He spends 50 million dollars in the offseason, and comes out with a team that is almost as good as last years.

He signed a 40 year old to a two year, 15 million dollar contract. To replace a man who almost single handedly (well, double handedly) carried the team to the playoffs last year, simply because he couldn't handle chemistry issues.

He signed a shortstop with a sub .700 OPS to a 32 million dollar contract.

He handed a corner outfielder a 48 million dollars, despite the fact he has not performed well since his injury.

He let two of the best young relievers in the game walk for nothing.

He saw a team full of holes in the middle of August, and added a bad reliever, simply because he was left handed.

Despite all of this, he was able to defeat a team with half the payroll that was in its rebuilding year.

Bravo.

Do you want to know how he did it? It certainly wasn't through his shrewd offseason moves. It was Bartolo Colon becoming the Cy Young, John Lackey improving his K/9 by three, and Jarrod Washburn pitching far better than his mediocre self. There we go. Without this massive increase in pitching, the Angels go nowhere.

As for the "media criticism" that Mike DiGiovanna mentioned, I certainly haven't seen it. While the L.A. Times was calling J.D. Drew and Derek Lowe "disasters", there was never once a mention of how horrid Orlando Cabrera is, or how he traded Jose Guillen for the bad Izturis and a guy that Scioscia doesn't use, presumably because he has brain damage.

Pop the cork, Bill. If there is any justice in the world, it'll be the last time you do that in a long time.

In other news

You punch like Jim Abbott.

Monkeys like Darin Erstad.
|||112801419905055361|||Stoneman For President10/02/2005 6:18 PM|||Blogger Rob|||You certainly have to give him credit for the Byrd signing. Finley and Cabrera are busts to be sure, and Scioscia continues to allow singles-hitting Erstad to block the far more effective Kotchman from starting at first base. (That may get rectified next year. We shall see). But the important thing is that Stoneman has assembled a team with impressive depth that survived the exit of Jose Guillen. And next year they'll get Dallas McPherson minus bone spurs, possibly giving them the big bat they've needed to protect Vlad. No denying Stoneman's 2004/5 free agent signings were a bust, but the team certainly wasn't. Maybe the regress a bit more in the face of a better 2006 A's club -- I expect their pitching will improve markedly -- but they really don't have a big bat anywhere near ready for the Show just yet (Daric Barton is closest, and all estimates I've read say end of 2006 at the earliest.)10/03/2005 12:39 PM|||Anonymous Slikk|||This is the best thing I've read all day. :)9/28/2005 11:21:00 AM|||Andrew|||
Despite my recent sporadic updates and questionable grammar, Deadspin has named DFP the third best Dodger blog on the web.

I am eternally grateful for the support.
|||112793190837492595|||Personal Horn Tooting9/28/2005 09:35:00 AM|||Andrew|||
The Marlins clearly have clubhouse issues. First, A.J. Burnett was ejected from the team, and, in the most extreme example of cutting off your nose to spite your face, they chose to sit Miguel Cabrera with the season on the line, and now have issues with his work ethic.

Clearly, the onus here falls on Marlin's G.M. Larry Beinfest. In his stone cold drive to win a championship, allowing fan favorite Carl Pavano to slip away to free agency, while also trading the beloved Brad Penny and Hee Seop Choi to Los Angeles, he forgot about the little things you need to make a team run.

By trading away the team's heart and soul for a mediocre relief pitcher, a disgruntled outfielder, and a catcher who falls apart in September, Beinfest destroyed the great chemistry that this team had in 2003. While Jack McKeon was able to keep the ship upright from the chaos Benifest created, leading the Marlins to a 31-27 record after the trade, he was simply not able to make the post season with the holes in the roster left by Penny and Choi.

Beinfest could have fixed the holes in the chemistry in the offseason, but he simply made them worse. He resigned Paul LoDuca (who has only driven in 57 runs this year), and, in his worse move yet, signed a known clubhouse cancer, Carlos Delgado, to play first base. Who did he displace in order to make this signing, only a man named Jeff Conine. That's right, Mr. Marlin lost his starting job to a man who would only make the volitile clubhouse even worse.

When I look at teams like the Red Sox, the Yankees, and the Braves, what do I see? Good chemistry. That is the trait that all good teams share. Now, like the Royals, Rockies, and Pirates, the Marlins simply have bad chemistry.

Beinfest needs to realize that you can not trade away the heart and soul of a team, and still expect them to win. I saw this coming the second Penny and Choi left the team (who, by the way, maintain a great relationship in Los Angeles), and this meltdown was simply the culmination of that trade. I know you can't play fantasy baseball with a real team, Larry, why don't you?
|||112792734343501443|||Fire Larry Beinfest9/28/2005 4:00 PM|||Anonymous Anonymous|||http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2174699

Cabrera is a clubhouse cancer too now. I guess the Marlins have just lost that 2003 chemistry.9/28/2005 9:59 PM|||Anonymous Marc|||I hate to be the one to point it out, But Depodesta hasn't exactly embraced chemistry, unless you count his Jeff Kent & Milton Bradley experiment as "explosive chemistry"...just a thought.9/28/2005 10:11 PM|||Blogger Steve|||Marc's sarcasm meter was turned off today.10/02/2005 11:10 PM|||Blogger alan|||thatta boy, marc. wayta not know aything about LA baseball and therefore not know anything about satire of LA baseball.

also, delgado is a bad citizen. he doesn't stand during the national anthem...watch out!!! there's a delgado running loose in the building!!!9/27/2005 04:06:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Everyone is well aware the reproduction or retransmission of this broadcast, without the express written consent of Major League Baseball, is strictly prohibited.

For what is likely the first time ever, one man tries to gain that consent.
|||112786252436710516|||Express Written Consent10/02/2005 11:06 PM|||Blogger alan|||thats awesome.9/27/2005 11:42:00 AM|||Andrew|||
After the Associated Press decided that they didn't want the college football standings decided by "some damn computer" (sound familiar), they were replaced by the Harris Poll, a poll consisting of 114 former players, coaches, administrators, and media members.

In the newest Harris Poll, a 2-2 team that lost 61-14 was given 13 votes. This is why I can't see any sports decided by a poll as a legitament competition. What if John Kruk and Joe Morgan, instead of just harmlessly spewing off nonsense, actually got to decide what the standings were? Why should we hope that Terry Bradshaw would be any better?
|||112784693208643583|||This Is Why I Hate College Football9/27/2005 09:58:00 AM|||Andrew|||

Well, this was a depressing week, leaving me with absolutely no desire to write. The A's collapse was made final, the White Sox won enough games to pretty much secure their playoff spot, and the Dodgers decided that Brian Myrow was more important to Choi. Now that everything has gone wrong, I can look ahead to 2006.

Coming into the season, Jayson Werth was a huge part of the Dodgers offensive plan. In retrospect, these predictions might seem silly, but these were my home run predictions for the team this year.

Izturis – 2
Choi (if he played) - 25
Drew – 30
Kent – 30
Bradley – 20
Werth – 25
Valentin/Perez platoon – 25
Phillips – 15

In retrospect, these look fairly silly. (The 41 home runs we lost from Werth and Valentin certainly didn't help this year, did they?) Much to the chagrin of my wallet, I had so much faith in Werth coming into the season that I put money on him hitting 30 home runs this year, simply to prove a point. The future looked good in left in March, where Werth could cheaply hold down the fort for the next four years.

What a difference a season makes.

Looking ahead to 2006, the Dodger's outfield looks barren. There's probably a 95 percent chance that Milton Bradley will not return, leaving the Dodgers searching for two outfielders to surround J.D. Drew. For the most part, people have discounted Werth as a viable option in left, saying he's a nice fourth outfielder, but little more. Sadly, our options coming into the season are limited.

In the organization
Jason Repko
Ricky Ledee

Via Free Agency
Johnny Damon (not going to happen)
Hideki Matsui (really good chance it's not going to happen)
Brian Giles (Will be 35 and get a very large contract)

That leaves acquiring an outfielder via trade. While this could mean getting anyone, the two popular opinions seem to be Brad Wilkerson and Adam Dunn.

A couple days ago, I was fully on the Wilkerson bandwagon. He's put up good numbers his entire career, his bad year this year, attributable to moving to RFK and having a bad elbow, should lower his trade value, and Jim Bowden isn't very good at his job. Put all these things together, and the Dodgers could get a player with 30 home run power, a high OBP, and the ability to play all three outfield positions for well below market value.

Suddenly, a thought came to me, what does Wilkerson give you that Werth doesn't? Despite his extreme lack of power, Werth has had one positive aspect to his season: a massive increase in patience. In 2004, Werth had an isolated patience of .076, this year, it has shot up to .108. Oscar Robles has been lauded for his ability to take a good at bat, yet he has an isolated patience of only .062. With the exception of J.D. Drew, Werth has been, by far, the Dodgers most patient hitter this year. This is especially impressive when you consider that he simply is not a power threat this year.

With this surge in on base percentage, Werth's season has been pretty much comparable to Wilkerson's.

Werth: .241/.349/.383
Wilkerson: .250/.353/.408

As far as less important things go, Werth is a far better base runner than Wilkerson, stealing 11 out of 13 this year as compared to Wilkerson's seven out of 17. Werth has also been a far better fielder than Wilkerson this year, putting up rate2s of 103/110/110 in left, center, and right respectively. Wilkerson had a rate2 of 100/98/101.

This year, Werth has been just as valuable as Wilkerson has been, if not more so. Of course, this year, that's nothing to write home about. A better question is, can Werth put up the numbers that we would expect Wilkerson to? I believe he can.

Not only did Werth break his wrist in the first game of Spring Training, but he also had a partially torn elbow ligament at the end of last season. I would like to find a history on people coming back after broken wrists, but they usually seem to end seasons, so there's not much data. Anecdotal evidence suggests there is clearly something wrong with Werth. For example, on Saturday night, Werth simply smoked a ball. Last year that probably would have been an easy home run, this year, he flied out a few feet before the track. Anecdotally, the ball just isn't carrying off the bat as far. I know that this isn't the best case, but, with all the arm troubles Werth has had, it is far too soon to simply give up on him.

Werth can potentially provide so much to this team, that it is far too soon to give up on him. With 2006 not looking like a championship year, I see no real harm in letting Werth see what he can do if he doesn't have a catasrophic offseason.

*I'm sorry. I couldn't resist.

|||112784313234057396|||Is Jayson Werth It?*9/27/2005 10:03 PM|||Anonymous Anonymous|||what about jacque jones as an outfield replacement for bradley? he's a socal product too9/28/2005 9:25 AM|||Blogger Andrew|||I once was on the "pay Jacque Jones a small amount of money for one year bandwagon" he played good defense, and his numbers weren't that atrocious.

Then I realized he had a lower VORP than So Taguchi.

After the contract Garret Anderson signed, it won't be hard for Jones to simply point to that, and say "pay Jacque". The market for mediocre corner outfielders got a lot worse.9/28/2005 12:27 PM|||Blogger Unserious Talker|||Don't give up on Werth just yet. I expected much the same as you, but remember, he broke his wrist during spring training when he was hit by a pitch. He lost half the season and most of spring training, that has to count for something.9/28/2005 12:32 PM|||Blogger Unserious Talker|||Huh, I guess I should have read the second half of the post.9/20/2005 07:20:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Thanks to the Magic of MLB.TV, I can watch the Indians-White Sox game live over the Internet. Sadly this means that I get subjected to Hawk Harrelson. Now, I know that he's a blatant homer, but this is extreme even for him.

In response to Carl Everret stepping out of the box:

"Attaboy Carl"

Attaboy, you stepped out of the box? Really, I don't see how anyone can honestly be proud of the fact that his hitter backed out of the batters box. What else is coming?

"Way to go to that Rosin Bag Cliff"

"Quality loogie there Paulie."
|||112726998687032418|||Attaboy Carl9/21/2005 5:20 PM|||Anonymous blue22|||Totally self-serving comment by Hawk. I was watching, and he did note what a great play that is, stepping out on a pitcher. He then followed it up (with no prompting from DJ of course) with his list of the best all time at this particular "skill" (like anyone cares about this):

1. Mike Hargrove - his nickname is Human Rain Delay, an obvious choice.
2. Ken "Hawk" Harrelson - what a coincidence!
3. Some other guy.9/20/2005 01:54:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Riding high after the Indians win last night, South Side Sox points out that the White Sox real magic number is not 11, but eight, thanks to the wild card, along with other factors.

I hate to say this, but, let's go Yankees.
|||112724981534583498|||Back To Reality9/19/2005 03:31:00 PM|||Andrew|||
One of the most important series of the entire year begins in an hour and a half as the Indians take on the White Sox. Sitting a mere three games back, the surging Indians are a mere 3 1/2 games back of the White Sox. A sweep here, combined with solid play by the Yankees the rest of the way could make the impossible dream come true: Ozzie Guillen watching the playoffs on T.V.

If this occurs, I will send Mark Shapiro a six pack of whatever he wants.
|||112716919422153883|||Six Pack9/20/2005 8:58 AM|||Anonymous blue22|||"the wild card makes for strange bedfellows"

In my haste to have the Angels and ChiSox miss the playoffs, I have inadvertantly started rooting for the Yankees.

What a world!9/20/2005 1:16 PM|||Anonymous Slikk|||Hey -- I just wanted to say that I just found your site and I'll be here every day. Great writing, you make me laugh and cry LOL. Keep up the good work bro.9/19/2005 09:04:00 AM|||Andrew|||
More in the Jim Tracy might be leaving saga. If pretty much every team looking for a manager wants to have Tracy, it makes me very confident about the future of this franchise.

Do the other G.M.s simply not watch the games?
|||112714596686590906|||Addition By Subtraction9/19/2005 5:39 PM|||Anonymous Anonymous|||Hopefully he will take DePodesta with him.9/19/2005 5:42 PM|||Blogger Andrew|||Yes, Jim Bowden will make a lovely G.M.9/14/2005 08:58:00 PM|||Andrew|||

I really didn't want to read this column. However, the shear amount of vitriol it was generating finally broke my resolve, I simply had to know what was so bad.

Honestly, it's not even close to the worst piece Plaschke has done this year (I think his column on J.D. Drew takes the cake), however, not only does he manage to contradict everything he has wrote in the last year, he manages to contradict himself in the first two paragraphs (well, first six, thanks to his writing style).

------
Another day, another Myrow.

Jim Tracy was filling out his lineup card Tuesday afternoon with the same shrug we've seen for five years.

A kid named Willy Aybar batting leadoff. A limping Ricky Ledee batting cleanup. Somebody named Brian Myrow — don't ask, we don't know — batting sixth.

And the Dodgers still on the outskirts of a pennant race?

-----

This would seem to indicate that Jim Tracy lacks the mental acumen to put the correct players in the lineup. Wow, Plaschke is actually damning Tracy. After all, Myrow and Aybar don't necessarily have to play. There's a man named Hee Seop, and another named Antonio that are fully deserving of playtime, yet aren't getting it due to the "same shrug we've sen for five years."

-----
In five years as Dodger manager, a tumultuous time during which he has evolved from knock-kneed novice to clubhouse cornerstone, Jim Tracy has never been in control of anything.
-----

This contradicts the very definition of what the manager does. Isn't it the job of the manager to control the game time decisions of the the team?

-----
Tracy's two-year contract, signed last winter after Paul DePodesta embarrassingly kept him twisting for several weeks, contains a clause that allows him to leave the team after one season.
-----

Thank you for doing this DePo, it was a very good way to get rid of Tracy without having to outright fire a guy who took us to the playoffs. Sadly, he called our bluff. "Fine, I'll show you, I will accept your massively low offer! Ha ha!"

-----
Between now and then, Tracy should ask for a contract extension for himself, new deals for his coaches and more influence in personnel decisions.

If the Dodgers say no, he should ask for the door.

He wouldn't be outside long.
-----

Yes, because navigating your team to a (if we're lucky) 74 win season is the perfect time to play hardball with a general manager who clearly doesn't agree with your philosophy. The fact that he "wouldn't be outside long" is a rather damning statement to the other 29 teams in baseball who sign Christian Guzman and Vinny Castilla, then wonder why their team can't hit.

-----
If things don't change, anywhere would be better than here.

Tracy wants to be a lame duck for a rebuilding club run by a general manager who never listens to him?

He wants to go from managing the Dodgers to managing double-A Jacksonville to managing to get himself fired?

Even his harshest critics must admit, he's not that dumb.
-----

Well, at this point, it is clear that Plaschke is not pointing out Tracy's foolishness, as it seemed like he was in the first set of paragraphs. I guess that he really doesn't know that (at the very least) Myrow is the Dodger's fifth string first baseman, and it isn't the bumbling general manager's fault that these schlubs are playing, the onus rests entirely on Tracy.

While I doubt Plashcke realizes this, the only double-A players that Tracy has managed this year are Derek Thompson and Jon Broxton. The Repkos, Edwards, Phillipses of the world that have been dumped into the lineup have come from AAA and above. I know that this is nitpicking, but it would be nice to see at least one correct fact in this column.

-----
"I'd like to think there's an opportunity here for stability, for knowing that you can grow into something year after year," he said. "If not, maybe that opportunity is somewhere else."
-----

This will come into play later.

-----
Frank and Jamie McCourt like him.

Maybe they're not thrilled with everything he does on a baseball field — what manager is not second-guessed? — but they like everything he has done for the organization.

The owners like how he calmly handled the stink bomb that DePodesta rolled into the first-place Dodger clubhouse in August of last season, Tracy calmly leading the shattered Dodgers to a title without ever once being seen holding his nose.

They like how he has remained a portrait of class and consistency this season when injuries and awful personnel moves have depleted his team again.
-----

Obligatory suckling on the LoDuca teat. Interesting to note how long it took LoDuca to swoon this year when he doesn't have to play six days a week. (If he keeps this up, he can go onto the list of people that have gotten markedly better when they left the Dodgers).

Is it really that classy when the owner an general manager graciously take their lumps for the season, while you completely absolve yourself of all wrongdoing?

-----
If DePodesta loses Tracy, he will indeed have to answer to higher authorities.

"I'm always open to listen," DePodesta said of negotiations. "But I think the next three weeks is all we're focused on right now."
-----

If this is true, it hopefully explains why Tracy still has a job. I want to believe it's only the McCourts that have kept DePo from putting Tracy in a Royce Gracie-esque triangle choke.

-----
Tracy refused to criticize his boss, but it's obvious that, beginning with contract negotiations last winter, the manager and his coaches have been mostly ignored.

"Our coaching staff has a lot to offer, look at their resumes, they have a huge role in what goes on around here," Tracy said. "Anyone would like to think their opinion is heard and valued."

Even himself, Tracy admitted.

"Yes, I would like to have my opinion heard," Tracy said. "But I'm also respectful of who makes the final decision."
-----

See, in most places, the boss tells you what to do, and you do it. Yeah, he occasionally gets feedback from his peons, but what the boss says should go. Tracy has been massively insubordinate since he took LoDuca's number, refusing to acknowledge that the team has changed, and shoving heart and soul guys into the lineup at every opportunity. He has been given a directive from his boss, and refuses to acknowledge it, yet DePo is the one that needs to change? Tracy is clearly not "respectful of who makes the final decision".

-----
But with the McCourt budget and DePodesta's computer, the fix could take several years.

By rebuilding with cheap minor leaguers instead of expensive free agents, the Dodgers could get worse before they get better.

The club is trumpeting the Jacksonville Five such that press notes from the Suns' Southern League championship series were given to writers on Tuesday. But the truth is, the Dodgers will be fortunate if two of those five players make a big-league impact.
-----

Okay, this last part really gets me. While DePo was "tearing up the team" this offseason, Plaschke was preaching how much homegrown players meant. Now he wants to go out and sign big scary free agents. I just don't get it. We're going to have a core of players that will stay together for at least five years, providing the stability that Plaschke so desires, yet he doesn't want that to happen by bringing up the rookies. It simply doesn't make sense.

Of course, since at most two of those players will make an impact, that doesn't matter. "Sorry Chad, you can't come up now, Broxton and Guzman have already made an impact, and the Plaschke edict says you can't possibly be good."

The unfortunate fact is that this is far from the worst thing Plaschke has written, and that's rather sad.

|||112676205950448637|||Plaschke Contradicts Himself...Again9/15/2005 6:37 AM|||Blogger walbers|||well said....anyone know how to send a letter to the sports editor of the Times? (via e-mail) i feel compelled to have my voice heard as well. thanks9/15/2005 7:21 AM|||Blogger Andrew|||You choose:

sports@latimes.com bill.plaschke@latimes.com9/16/2005 2:30 AM|||Anonymous Anonymous|||sheer9/16/2005 4:46 PM|||Blogger walbers|||thanks...if you're interested this is the letter I wrote to the Times. trying to replicate Plaschke's style. we'll see if it gets published:

Dear Sirs,

In a season of consistently bad columns, Bill Plaschke has appeared to outdo himself with his recent column about Jim Tracy.

There may be plenty of blame to throw around for the Dodger's woes this season but apparently Plaschke holds Tracy blameless. And this is a manager who refuses to play two of his best players, mismanages his pitching staff, makes ridiculous in-game decisions and undercuts his boss in the press.

Last I heard, Jim Tracy worked for Paul Depodesta, not the other way around.

Plaschke's disdain for the Dodger GM and owners is readily displayed in each of his columns on this team. Equally on display is his ignorance of baseball, statistics and facts.

I understand it's a column and this is his opinion but there's an old saying about opinions and Plaschke may well be the worst sports columnist I have ever read in 30+ years of reading major market newspapers.

Oh, wait, TJ Simers writes for the LA Times as well.

Indeed.

Sincerely,

Will Albers9/16/2005 5:41 PM|||Blogger Kayaker7|||While we are all disclosing our letters to the LA Times, here is what I wrote to Bill Plaschke:

I've been reading about your opinion of Tracy for a while, and I simply cannot understand the reasoning behind your conclusions. Tracy's errors are plain to see. You make it sound like starting Myrow at first was forced by some act of God that is indicative of the trying season we are having. Puhlease. Yes, injuries have made it very difficult this year, but a significant part of it self-inflicted--by Tracy. What is the reason for keeping a guy who has been hitting .295, with an onbase percentage of .387 and .449 slugging since the All Star break, on the bench, in order to start a career minor leaguer? Yes, I'm talking about Choi, a guy that Karros could not wrest the starting position from, when they were teammates at Chicago.

I do not understand why you are so enamored with a guy who has refused to adapt to the realities. Paul Depodesta, an engineer of the so-called "Moneyball" strategy, has provided Tracy with Moneyball players--guys who, besides the low cost, get on base, and hit for power. So, why does Tracy insist on putting on hit-and-run plays with batters who don't make contact? Why did Tracy greenlight Izturis to steal bases to a break even rate of 8 stolen bases while getting caught 8 times? When is Tracy going to realize that he has a station-to-station team? When is he going to stop playing Smallball with a Moneyball team?

You can argue that Depodesta has done a horrible job and gotten terrible players. Many people would agree, and many will not. But what is clear as day is that Tracy has made the situation worse.9/16/2005 6:48 PM|||Blogger walbers|||did he write you back?9/17/2005 9:18 AM|||Blogger Kayaker7|||Nope. Did not get a reply.9/17/2005 10:00 AM|||Blogger Andrew|||Both of those were very entertaining, well done.9/17/2005 1:16 PM|||Blogger walbers|||unfortunately i didn't realize i needed to include my mailing address (i only gave my phone number) which might be why they didn't publish my letter. bummer....9/18/2005 6:34 PM|||Blogger Andrew|||I think the Times like their letters short and sweet. I rarely see them print one longer than two-three hundred characters.9/30/2005 11:07 PM|||Blogger bkd|||I actually got my letter printed in the Times for that exact column. I was just amazed that Bill didn't provide any specifics to back up his defense of Tracy. Journalism 101 says to back up everything you write with details, so I felt the need to respond.

The key to getting your letters printed is to keep it real short and written at a 9th grade level.

BD from Montebello9/13/2005 09:58:00 PM|||Andrew|||
At this point, every day is the game of the year.

In the game of the year, we start Brian Myrow at first while wasting Antonio Perez as a pinch runner when Phillips was coming to the plate.

Edit>> The six runs and three errors in the second certainly didn't help matters. Or pinch hitting with Jose Valentin.

This is unfortunate.
|||112667397711694927|||Game of the Year9/13/2005 07:41:00 PM|||Andrew|||
There are sometimes when I wish my subscription to ESPN hadn't run out. This is one of them.

Here I am, desperate for a quote saying that Bonds will make the Giants the favorite in the NL West (which I know I've seen before) and I simply can't find one. Oh well.

Anyway, after seeing Bond's amazing first at bat last night, I wanted to seek out exactly what kind of impact he would have on the Giants pennant chances. Common sense dictates that there is no way that one player can be worth seven wins in twenty games. Common sense also happens to be right.

The return of Bonds is tempered by the loss of Moises Alou. Now, instead of replacing the plethora of fourth and fifth outfielders the Giants have trotted out there all season, he is replacing the greatest offensive threat on the Giants.

For the sake of argument, let's assume that 2004 Barry comes back for the Giants. While the diffeence between Bonds and Alou is massive offensively, there simply isn't enough time left in the season for it to have a huge impact. If we enthusiastically assume that Bonds comes to the plate 90 times in the rest of the season we have the following numbers:

2004 Bonds
VORP: 142.0
PA: 617
Runs/Plate Appearance: .230

2005 Alou
VORP: 39.4
PA: 439
Runs/Plate Appearance: .0897

Runs Gained/Plate Appearance: .1403

Runs Gained over 90 PA: 12.627

Using the common assumption that 10 runs equals one win, Bonds will be good for about 1.2 wins over the last 19 games. Amazing as that is, it is not nearly enough to make up the lead the Padres have over the Giants. Somehow Bonds managed to be a better left fielder last year than Alou was this year, but the difference is negligable.

Since it is clear that has bat alone is not enough to put the Giants over the top, maybe Bond's mere presence in the lineup makes the other players better. Since you don't want to face Bonds with runners on base, you might be willing to throw more hittable pitches so that you don't walk anyone on. After Barry gets his intentional pass, you don't want to work yourself into a worse situation by walking more hitters, so they get good pitches as well. This increase in hittable pitches should lead to higher slugging percentages across the board.

Name 2004 SLG 2005 SLG
Starters

Ray Durham .484 .453
J.T. Snow .529 .375
Pedro Feliz .485 .434
Edgardo Alfonzo .407 .375
Other

Marquis Grissom .450 .285
Michael Tucker .412 .372


There has been a marked decrease in slugging percentage across the board for the Giants. While I can't prove that it is due to the presence of Bonds, it does appear to be more than a coincidence. Not counting Grissom (whose decline is likely age related) the average player on the Giants has an increase in 60 points of slugging percentage. If you naively assume this massive gain will apply to all players this comes out to an additional .06 bases per plate appearance. At the rather high rate 40 plate appearances a game, this works out to an additional 2.4 bases per game, or another 12 runs for the rest of the season. So, give the Giants another win and a fifth.

So, even by high balling every effect that Barry can have on the Giants, while simultaenously assuming that he will come back as the exact same player, he will contribute nowhere near the seven games that are necassary for the Giants to catch the Padres. However I must say that the potential of suppling 2.4 wins in 20 games is rather impressive.
|||112667282096209025|||What's A Matter Barry? Part Four9/11/2005 11:04:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Warning: Plaschke-esque column about heart and soul. Ranting about Choi to return in the next column.

When Bill Stoneman signed Garret Anderson to his ridiculous contract I rightly made fun of him. Signing an outfielder whose time as a productive player has likely run out to a 48 million dollar contract is just truly the height of bad G.Ming, but of course, the good old L.A. media will miss out on how bad this contract is, then complain about signing J.D. Drew some more.

Once I saw this contract was signed, the first thought that entered my mind was "sentimentality kills". The second you start rewarding players simply because they have history with the team coincides with the moment that the team starts going down hill.

Tonight, however, I watched HBO's show on Mickey Mantle that had been idling on the DVR for a while. When I saw Mantle's farewell speech, it hit me. The Dodgers will likely not have a moment like that any time in the near future. From an economic standpoint, it makes sense. You pay a player until he reaches the point where the rest of the league overvalues him, and then you let him roam free out into the wild. It makes sense, and it works.

It's not, however, the best tool for building good stories. Are we going to remember J.D. Drew's tearful farewell from Dodger Stadium? Nope, his contract will expire, and then we'll let him go. Same goes with Gagne, Kent, or any other major player on this team.

Obviously, the most preferable memory to have of the Dodgers is them winning a World Series, sadly, I've never expirenced anything near that. While I was alive for the '88 series, I was four, and was not cognisent of anything baseball related (except that Franklin Stubbs stunk, oddly enough). As it stands, the best memories of the Dodgers I have are:

1. Lima throwing that shutout against the Cardnails last year.
2. Chan Ho karate kicking Tim Belcher.

That pretty much sucks. The closest thing that the Dodgers saw to a franchise player in the last few years was Eric Karros. Did he get to make any kind of farewell speech? No. He got uncermoniusly dumped for worse than nothing. This move probably made me angrier than anything that Jim Tracy has ever done to the Dodgers, and is the reason why I have such contempt for Dan Evans. Karros joined the Dodgers when I was eight, and he was the first player that I grew up with. To see him get kicked off the team with nary a goodbye was crushing. Seeing him hit .286/.340/.446 for the Cubs didn't help matters (and it started me off on the wrong foot with Choi.)

Is Garret Anderson's contract an abomination? Yes, of course it is. However, maybe some young Angel fan will get to see his hero finish up his carrer on Anaheim and will have some good stories to tell. While that certainly isn't worth 48 million dollars it should count for something.
|||112651066867398138|||Sentiment Kills9/12/2005 10:21 AM|||Blogger Aaeamdar|||You are not alone. THough we part ways on Karros (I would have traded him for real value a year before we signed him to his monster contract that Evans had to dump) I do share your feelings - as all fans do - about players. It's why, though I disagreed, I understand the feelings many fans had about Teh Trade and watching the beloved Paulie depart. Unlike them, I had no attachment to LoDuca so I was glad to see him moved in a great for value trade for the Dodgers.

For me, I'd be very happy to sign Choi to a big deal (6-10 years from now when his career is winding down) just to see him retire with the Dodgers. Choi, probably due to the emotional investment I have made in him since his acquisition because of Tracy's complete abuse of him, is the one player on the Dodgers I am really excited to see play. I don't think that will change (assuming he becomes the star I expect with the Dodgers) even after he starts his inevitable decline in his mid-thirties.

The problem, of course, is not all fans have the same "fan favourite." If they did, such signings would be an easy call. Baseball is about entertainment ultimately. Winning happens to be very entertaining but so does cheering on a player to whom, for whatever reason, you have grown attached.

I think the mistake of Loyalty many GMs make is simply in repeating that mistake too often. One bad signing every other decade to give the fans a 12+ year team veteran to chear for is not a bad thing at all.9/12/2005 11:50 AM|||Anonymous Anonymous|||I think Karros is a special case, much more so then Lo Duca or any other recent player I can think of. Karros played 11 years with the Dodgers and was the all time LA home run leader. He deserved much better then to be dumped for a chain smoking catcher without any proper way to say goodbye to the fans.

I realized the days of the goodbye speach were gone when the Dodgers let Garvey go.9/13/2005 9:17 AM|||Blogger Mr. Landon|||I agree with much of what you wrote and I agree with aaeamdar, too. I just wanted to write that I hate you for being 21-years old. :)

Seriously, good points all the way around. I'd have a lot more respect for Bill Plaschke if he made the same argument you're making here.

I'd add that very, very few great players say farewell wearing the same uniform. I can think of Ripken and Gwynn in recent times. Schmidt with the Phillies... I'm sure I'm missing someone. Jeter will probably play out the string with the Yanks.
But for every one of those, there are a dozen who were let go: Jackie was traded to the damn Giants, Rizzuto was released, Ruth didn't end up a Yankee, Aaron was traded, so was Mays and I'm sure you know that I could go on.

When I cheer for one of my favorites, I feel like my emotional involvement with him swinging a bat or making a throw is actually making a difference in whether he succeeds or fails. I challenge anyone to say they've never felt this way.

But I like the team more. There are very few players in baseball who I would have a hard time cheering for if they wore the Dodger uniform. I want the team to win. If that means saying farewell to some of my favorite players, so be it.9/14/2005 11:34 PM|||Blogger alan|||Good article, Andrew. You see, there is more to life than your TI-83+ and that scroll-wheel on your ipod. I agree with the others that at the end of the day, winning is more important than sentimentality, and ultimately, the Angels will feel that when GA isnt even excelling in the "traditional" categories like the precious RBIs. Just look at the Yankees and Bernie Williams. I love the guy, but he has not been worth 8 million any of the last three seasons, but he was a big part of their dynasty and for that he was rewarded.

In the end, what Red Sox fan will remember Kevin Millar, Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon more than they will remember that last out and Keith Foulke jumping into Jason Varitek's arms?9/08/2005 10:25:00 PM|||Andrew|||

Discalimer: DFP does not endorse bunting in almost any situation. The following case is a very specific situation, and should not be applied outside of this case.

In the A's come from behind victory yesterday, there was a play that made Steve from Fire Jim Tracy freak out. (See comment 196.) With the score tied 7-7 and runners on first and second, Kem Macha had Scott Hatteberg lay down a bunt.

Now, I'm no fan of the bunt, but I could at least see the logic here. Bunting in this situation does increase your likely hood of scoring the winning run, and you stay out of the double play. However, other factors can contribute to this, including the fact that getting a hit will win you the game, the odds of the bunt failing, and the chances of working a walk. The question that I wish to answer is is Scott Hatteberg such a double play risk that taking the bat out of his hands is the correct play.

Staying out of the double play comes down to three factors: likely hood to get a hit, likely hood to not make an out, and the odds of hitting into the double play (found here).

Using Nichol's Expected Runs Table to find the percentage chance of scoring in certain situations, it is not a good idea to bunt if the following equation holds true:

([Batting Average] * 1) + ([Isolated Patience] * .882) + ([Double Play Rate] * .275) + ([1-Batting Average+IsoP+Double Play Rate] * .425) > .686 * .593 + .257* .425 + .882 * 15.0

Or, simplified

([Batting Average] * 1) + ([Isolated Patience] * .882) + ([Double Play Rate] * .275) + ([1-Batting Average+IsoP+Double Play Rate] * .425) > .648323


The equation is finding the expected percentage of winning based on various game situations. In this case, assumptions are made, some of which do hurt the accuracy of the equation. It is assumed that getting a hit will score the runner, and hitting into a double play will erase the runners on first and second while advancing the runner to third.

Since a stat like "sacrifice attempts" does not seem to be readily available (despite my best efforts, the only definitive source seems to be the Bill James Handbook, and I do not own it), we'll go with some numbers derived from this article on Baseball Prospectus. I have no idea where they came from, but they look good.

--------------------

Situation                     Success   Failure  Overachievement
Runners on first and second 59.3 25.7 15.0
-----------------

In this case, a success is defined as moving the runners to second and third. A failure is getting the lead runner thrown out, and an overachievement is loading the bases.

So how does this apply to Hatteberg? Hattebergs 2005 stats in the relevant categories are as follows:

Average: .275
Isolated Patience: .071
Double Play Rate: .199

Inserting it into the equation we get:

.273 + .071 *.882 + .199 *.275 + .455 * .425
.273+ .062622 + .054725 + .193375
.583722

In this case not having Hatteberg bunt costs about a six percent chance in winning the game. Really it does make sense. The sabermetric community routinely calls out managers for taking ridiculous chances by stealing bases. In this case, Hatteberg's double play percentage is so massive that simply having him swing the bat in this situation is taking an unnecessary risk.

Even the strategy of not having him take the bat off his shoulder and hoping he draws a walk is worse than this one, since league averages state the other team is twice as likely to screw something up and not get Hatteberg out as they are to walking him. (Hatteberg is probably somewhere under this 15% mark, due to his lack of speed, but it's close enough.) The moral of the story: bunting, in this situation is a good thing. It plays to all of the things we preach, it avoids the unnecessary risk, and keeps you from wasting an out. While for the most part bunting is completely pointless and detrimental to your team's success, it does have it's time and place.


Edit>> It was just pointed out to me in the comments that all the bunt does is let you walk Dan Johnson to get to the mighty Keith Ginter. Why Johnson was behind Hatteberg, I don't know. So yeah, bunting is stupid in this situation as well. I try to find the best place possible to bunt, and it's still a bad idea. Just great.
|||112616133812837169|||Staying Out Of The Double Play9/09/2005 1:24 PM|||Anonymous Anonymous|||Bunting doesn't take you out of the double play because all the opposing team has to do is intentionally walk the next batter to load the bases with 1 out for big bad Keith Ginter, where you now can be out of the inning with one ground ball. And you've taken the bat out of Hatteberg and Johnson's hands, who I'd rely on more than Ginter.9/09/2005 2:33 PM|||Blogger Andrew|||You're right. Bunting sucks.9/06/2005 10:15:00 PM|||Andrew|||
The title actually has nothing to do with what I wanted to write about, but, that just needed to be stated.

Since I like charts, here's the Dodgers current roster ranked by OPS (amongst those with 50+ AB). Does anyone else see anything wrong with this picture?

Player Position OPS
Jeff Kent 2B .893
Olmedo Saenz Bench .880
Ricky Ledee Bench .805
Antonio Perez Bench .803
Hee Seop Choi Bench .801
Jose Cruz Jr. RF .792
Jayson Werth CF .737
Oscar Robles SS .708
Dionner Navarro C .688
Jason Phillips 1B .670
Mike Edwards 3B .661
Jason Repko Bench .639
Jose Valentin LF .622
Jeff Weaver P .598
Jason Grabowski Bench .503

While this is truly horrific, is it really that much of a shock? While Choi's benching got a lot of publicity last year, very little seemed to be said about Jose Hernandez's lack of play time. The man had a .930 OPS. Despite this, he was unable to wrest a starting job away from quite possibly one of the worst position players in baseball (.360 OBP last year not withstanding, that was fairly studly). Either way, a precedent was set for starting a player with largely overrated defense over the superior offensive option.

Is there any suprise then, since the Cora logic worked so well last year, that the same theory is applied to Choi and Perez? Not particulary. (At least Repko isn't stealing Cruz's playtime, I suppose that's a plus.) I've wanted Tracy canned for a few seasons now, but this season his truly shown his inability to handle a team.

Despite his buffonery, it's DePo's head on the chopping block, while elsewhere in baseball, Garret Anderson was just signed to a four year, 48 million dollar deal. Yes, this is the same Garret Anderson who has posted a sub .800 OPS the last two years. Coincidentaly, this perceptous decline in production occured right after his shoulder was injured. Might that have something to do with it? Not according to Mickey Hatcher. And if Mickey Hatcher says the guy's okay, he must be worth paying 12 million dollars to when he's 37.

Dear Bill Stoneman,

Building a ridiculous farm system means nothing if you keep signing worthless veterans to massive contracts.

Sincerly,
Chuck LaMar

Stoneman, praised for his genius. DePodesta, about to get his ass fired to appease Bill Plaschke. I love L.A.

So, 6 1/2 back, does it matter? No. Does it mean I'll have a great chance to see the Phillips, Grabowski, and Edwards trifecta when I go the game on Friday? Hell yes.
|||112607347461411295|||God Damn, Is Jeff Kent Clutch9/08/2005 11:30 AM|||Blogger Aaeamdar|||DePodesta should be fired, though. He is Tracy's boss. If DePo cannot control him and will not fire him, then he should be fired (along with Tracy). If he can control him and simply agrees with the choices made this year, then - again - he should be fired (and Billy's motives for calling DePo the smartest man in baseball should be questioned).

If Tracy is gone this offseason, then fine (maybe). If he's back then any hope I had for the Dodgers when they hired DePodesta will be gone.9/08/2005 9:36 PM|||Blogger Andrew|||A lot depends on why Tracy is still around.

Is it because DePo has no backbone? There's a good chance. Would you screw with Billy Beane? Hell no. He could pound Tracy into the ground. DePo lacks the intimadition factor (that may have been over looked).

It could also be due to a McCourt blocking. I don't know. So much bizzare stuff has gone on this year that it's hard to find a reason why.9/09/2005 2:25 AM|||Blogger fanerman91|||Regarding Jose Hernandez, Cora was having a good walk year, and we were all figured Hernandez was a platoon player, since he was a veteran and likely to not get better. That's not the case with Choi.9/09/2005 10:45 AM|||Blogger Andrew|||Yes, but I don't really care if he gets better if he has a .930 OPS. Especially behind Cora.9/03/2005 08:46:00 PM|||Andrew|||

Shocking, I know.

Despite the fact that I got back from my little excursion a week ago, I was suddenly struck by a massive amount of writers block. Nothing felt like it was worth while to write about. Yeah, Mike Edwards is now our starting third baseman. I would be angry about this, but, really, what's the point? Yeah, yeah, Jim Tracy is a moron, fire him, whatever. Is anyone shocked that a guy who is at best the teams fourth option at third (Saenz, Perez, Robles (assuming he isn't playing), and a case could be made for Valentin) is getting the starts? I'm not.

Then there was the whole Bradley-Kent thing. I didn't really care. Chemistry meant nothing before this to me, why would it suddenly mean something now that Bradley is playing the race card? The only good to come of this was having the Dodgers get discussed on Cold Pizza (I needed something to wake me up without access to a clock radio) in which I got to hear Woody Paige state, and this is an exact quote, "Milton Bradley is paid a third of what Jeff Kent is and is three times more valuable to the Dodgers", and despite this, he's still the smartest person on First and Ten, thanks to the second most hated man on ESPN. My tune has changed since it was discovered that Bradley is a wife beater (go local newspaper), but, other than that, this should have been a non story.

Even the sad inevitably that DePodesta is going to get fired wasn't enough to inspire me to get off my ass and write. Why? Simply because I've stated my case as much as I could that DePo is not the person to blame for all of this, the only bad move he's made so far is the Wilson Alvarez contract, and how was he supposed to know that he was most likely on the 'roids? (Almost everyone else Jose Canseco mentioned has either shrunk or been caught, why would Alvarez be any different?) You can also make the case that trading Dave Roberts was a bad idea, but how was he supposed to know he'd magically develop power and do something useful besides blowing out his hamstrings? There are some non-moves that DePo didn't make that could go against him (Erickson, Tracy), but for the most part, he has been incredible.

In turn, we have the busiest GM in baseball, who has had about a 90% success rate in his moves, has won one division title, and had a season get decimated by injuries, and it's his neck on the chopping block? Makes a whole lot of sense to me. I've done my best to support the McCourt regime, despite the fact he's screwed up Dodger Stadium and has no money. I can't hate on a man who brought in DePo and is one for one in division titles. However, firing DePo to suck up to Bill Plaschke would lead to a Dodger related boycott. I'd support the team, but I sure as hell wouldn't spend a dime on them.

Could this just be a ploy by McCourt to garner some favor from the same people that still wish Steve Finley was on the team? Maybe. I fear the worst though. The Dodgers are going to hire someone like Jim Bowden who will bring in Bernie Williams and Mike Piazza (as much as I love Piazza, it's a horrible baseball move), and then send Hee Seop to the Blue Jays for cash and a keg of Molson. After all, Phillips needs to get his swings. It's a good thing that through all of this, Tracy has avoided all responsibility.

Gee, I suppose a felt enough passion about this to write a full article, despite the redundancy. Oh well.

There is no joy in Mudville lately, and it's just been too depressing to write about. We win big series against the Astros and the Braves, then proceed to get dominated by the Rockies. Feh. We can take down Pedro and Smoltz, but then get held to two runs by the dynamic duo of Kim and Kim? It's just sad.

At least Jose Cruz Jr. is kicking some ass.

In other news

A work of genius from Telemachos on the Dodger Thoughts comments (see 120)

-------------------------
Ode to Depo (with apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan)

He is the very model of a modern general manager,
He has information of VORP and things statistical,
He knows the lore of James, and quotes matters sabremetrical,
From VORP to BABIB, in order most Logistical.

He's well acquainted too with matters mathematical,
He understands equations, both the simple and quadratical
About OPG 'gainst OBP, he's teeming with a lot o' fun,
With many cheerful facts about the best way to score a run.

With many cheerful facts about the best way to score a run.
With many cheerful facts about the best way to score a run.
With many cheerful facts about the best way to score a run.

He's very good at integral and differential calculus,
He knows the sabermetric names of players most miraculous
In short, in matters of VORP and all things statistical,
He is the very model of a modern general manager.

In short, in matters of VORP and all things statistical,
He is the very model of a modern general manager.

He knows the number'd history from the Babe to Sir Hatteberg,
Though he's a free thinker who doesn't follow the herd.
He doesn't care for hackers or the vagaries of bunting,
Indeed he thinks the concept of sacrifice most affronting,

He can tell undoubted Giambis from the Guzmans and the Reyes,
Though his moves leave Plaschke and Simers in a Daze.
He's a devout worshiper at the worthy church of Hee,
And always seeks players who fit "Depo-ball" to a T.

And always seeks players who fit "Depo-ball" to a T.
And always seeks players who fit "Depo-ball" to a T.
And always seeks players who fit "Depo-ball" to a T.

In short, in matters of VORP and all things statistical,
He is the very model of a modern general manager.
--------------------------------

Athletics Nation has gone completely insane.

Angel Nation doesn't like Rob Neyer.

Joe Morgan might actually have brain damage.

|||112581044652882956|||In Which I Return Angry About Various Things