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Despite having what I thought were the best teams in the NL the last two years, the Chicago Cubs have decided to go back to being lovable losers. While they had several issues last year: a lineup where the first two hitters combined almost got out OPSed by the number three hitter, an outfield that was staggeringly bad, at least until Murton arrived, and a fantastically injury prone starting rotation that lacked depth, the Cubs have decided to spend their budget at the craps table and invest in middle relief while not addressing any of their weaknesses.

Here's the signings the Cubs have made this off season:
Neifi Perez: two years, five million to the worst hitter of the last decade. One of the two reasons why Derrek Lee didn't have four thousand RBI this year.

Glendon Rusch: Two years, six million. This actually isn't a bad signing. Over the last two years, he's put up a very similar ERA to Jeff Weaver, and has had a decent strikeout rate (6.8 K/9) and walk rate. (2.33 K/BB) (Compared to 6.28 K/9 and 2.81 K/BB for Weaver). Weaver will likely get ten million dollars a year this off season. Compared to this, Rusch, who doesn't have the massive home run rates that Weaver does, could be the pitching steal of the off season.

Ryan Dempster: Three years, fifteen million. The very reason why sabermetrics avoids guys who suddenly get a lot of saves like the plague. Coming into this season, Dempster's career best ERA was 3.66. He had a reputation as a guy who could throw hard, but sometimes struggled with his control. Dempster came into his own in the closer role, however, becoming a guy who could throw hard, but sometimes struggled with his control.

I didn't watch a lot of Cubs games this year, but from what I saw, I got a definite Jeff Shaw vibe off of him. Yeah, he got the save, but he usually gave up a double and a walk to do so. His 1.43 WHIP certainly didn't inspire confidence. Like Shaw, it seems like the Cubs could run anyone else out there, and he'd do just about as well. It certainly wouldn't surprise me if Dempster lumped a few more of those hits and walks together, compiled a five and a half ERA, and lost his job by the All Star Break.

Scott Eyre
: Three years, eleven million. The Cubs made a terrible mistake here. Don't get me wrong, Eyre was good this year, very good. He had the third best ARP in baseball, behind only Huston Street and Cliff Politte. Sounds good, right? The problem is that like all middle relievers, this is largely governed by small sample size. Eyre has a career ERA+ of 98, and will be 34 years old next year. He managed to avoid the home run this year, and had a good strikeout rate (8.3 K/9), but his walk rate is rather high (3.5 BB/9) and he had a low .268 BABIP. Eyre is a slightly above average reliever bolstered by small sample size.

You simply can not pay for middle relief, and the Cubs had an opportunity to have a solid bullpen for a low cost this year, but could destroy it, if they really are trading two good, young pitchers, most notably Rich Hill, for Juan Pierre. I don't really see what this accomplishes. Pierre would replace Corey Patterson, a player with good speed and power, but only has a career isolated patience of .041. Pierre has slightly more speed, but has no power, similar defense, and a career isolated patience of .050. The Cubs also already have a player very similar to Pierre in Jerry Hairston. This move, if it were true, doesn't help the Cubs in any way. Not really seeing why this is worth paying a combined 26 million dollars to fill a hole that likely could have been filled for 650 thousand.

The Cubs had their opportunity in the last two years, and they blew it. They have two options, either make one more go at it, by blowing a bunch of money on players like Burnett and Giles, crippling the team for the future but making a run while Prior, Zambrano, and, if you're optimistic, Wood are still together. They could also consolidate their young talents like Matt Murton and Rich Hill, and sacrifice the next couple of seasons to make a run in a few years. The way the teams contracts are currently structured, this is a less likely scenario. Instead, they're doing neither. By paying a lot of money to players who don't deserve it, while possibly losing young players and not solving any of their problems, the Cubs are dooming themselves to several more seasons without a World Series win, but they won't have the White Sox or Red Sox to keep them company.

|||113228955474041527|||This Is Why They're Still Loveable11/18/2005 4:33 PM|||Anonymous Prince V|||Andrew,

I had Dempster on my fantasy last year and as a closer he was on of the best. If he wasnt for his first 45 innings as a starter to begin the season, Dempster would have gotton paid this year. As a closer he had a 1.55 ERA, 45 Ks(About one per every inning) and a 1.17 Whip. Hes a closer with 5 pitches and one nasty slider. Dempster is nothing like Jeff Shaw11/18/2005 5:04 PM|||Blogger Andrew|||I looked at the splits, and while the man got it done ERA wise, he dodged some bullets. His WHIPs in August and September were 1.63 and 1.74. His K/BB in both those months were 1, and his K/9 were around 7 and 6.

Dempster was better than I thought, but he's certainly not good enough to deserve his fat paycheck.11/18/2005 6:03 PM|||Blogger secondhandsmog|||i can't believe that somebody gave eyre a 10th place vote for the MVP.11/20/2005 8:07 AM|||Blogger slackfarmer|||As questionable as these signings have been (I still can't even begin to understand the Nefi deal), the cubs will do OK next year if the rumor about them picking up Milton Bradley is true. He could excel for them, and maybe give D. Lee someone to drive in.11/16/2005 12:03:00 PM|||Andrew|||
The Dodgers tireless search for a general manager, highlighted by snubbs from Pat Gillick, Gerry Hunsicker, and Theo Epstein, has finally come to an end. Paul DePodesta's successor is Ned Coletti.

Oh, God.

Let's put aside Coletti's actual qualifications for a second and wonder what the heck Frank McCourt is thinking. Since DePo's firing, we've been told that we're going to emphasize the "Dodger way". I was rightfully scared by what this meant, but for the average Cora loving Dodger fan, this was a good thing. Since they are the clear majority, master of P.R. McCourt was on the right track. Then he ends up hiring a hated Giant, who has never been a general manager, as the G.M. Well, failed on that account. Consequently, any points that McCourt might have gotten for firing DePo have just gone out the window. Well done.

Maybe McCourt actually decided to take yet another hit and sign the best G.M. for the job. We don't know enough about Coletti to know if this is true or not. All we really have is an interview he did with Baseball Prospecuts, and a couple of quotes.

“This guy might be the most impressive first-impression guy I've ever met in my life. We talked for an hour in my office one day, and he never even talked about grabbing a bat. It was all about pitching."

Perhaps he should have been more concerned about Matheny's offense, considering his career high on base is .320. Matheny has a career OPS of .634, and a career OPS+ of 65. Coincidentally, this is the same OPS+ of Neifi Perez, the worst hitter of the last decade (who Colletti gave five million dollars to). A quote like this concerns me that Coletti might be a guy who values defense over anything else, no matter how fatal the players offensive shortcoming.

But when we're signing a player, especially an older one, many times it's not the dollar figure that holds you back, it's the number of years. We can't send $5 million to a mailbox because the player we have under contract isn't playing anymore.

This is a plus, but I don't know if Colletti practices what he preaches. The Giants entered this season as the oldest team in baseball, and the Giants will be handing a lot of paychecks to people over 35 in the next couple of years.

When we acquired J.T. Snow, Jose Vizcaino, Jeff Kent--all those guys were character players who had something to prove... People would tell us he's a selfish player, a loner, not a glowing report at all...He came to us as a good player, and he left as a great player, a potential Hall of Famer.

While it's good that he recognized that swallowing Kent's "bad chemistry" was a good thing, it's not like J.T. Snow and Jose Viscaino are anything to be proud of. Since 1998, Snow has been the Giants first baseman, producing largely average results (a career OPS+ of 106, mostly buoyed by his 1997 and his fluke .958 OPS 2004.). It's interesting the he mentions Vizcaino, since he was only with the Giants one year, and put up pretty bad numbers (.673 OPS, somewhat helped by a 107 rate2.) What's odd is that he promotes their character while dismissing chemistry. If this means he goes after hard workers only, I'm not too encouraged, as that starts firmly slipping into "scrappy" territory.

Having played Anaheim in the World Series, seeing them go first to third and other things like that, we wanted to bring some of that to our own team, run more, steal bases.

Gulp. Another example of learning the wrong lesson. (The Angels offense, while helped by their aggressiveness, were certainly helped by ranking sixth in baseball in OBP.)

Talking to Felipe (Alou) about him, he said Neifi could play second, short and third, that he'd be an above-average fielder, a guy who'd occasionally get a big hit and who knew how to play the game. We felt that was a player we could use.

Double gulp. Taking someone who can "ocassionally get a big hit" is not a good thing.

It's our view you can never have enough pitching. If you're short in another area, you can always trade pitching, because it's the toughest commodity to find.

Is anyone else baffled by this sentence?

(In refrence to closers)...but also to know who your people are--who has the mindset to do the job. Who can handle the toughest three outs of the game: the last three. You need the mindset, talent, and durability, both physical and emotional

"Closer mentatlity". Not a good thing. If he believes in this, why did the Giants get LaTroy Hawkins?

How a player approaches the game, how he approaches life, far outweighs what the stat line looks like.

Probably the most damning sentence of them all. While things like mental makeup do have an effect, they are not nearly as important as the stat line. What a player has actually accomplished is far more important than what they think they can accomplish. A postive mindset will show its effects throughout all levels of the baseball system, not just magically emerge once the player hits the bigs.

This interview does not inspire me. While Colletti shows some good qualities, he ignores chemistry, which gives me some confidence that Bradley will return, and he supposedly doesn't like giving 40 year olds money, there are far more negatives. He seems to cling to almost every thought that sabermetrics has long since abondoned: the importance of mental makeup, the need for aggressive baserunning, the closer mentality, the over emphasis on defense, all of these things make me unoptimistic about Colletti's reign. Maybe he'll suddenly change his ways when he gets his own team, but I won't hold my breath.

|||113217557559196377|||I Am Less Than Optimistic11/16/2005 2:30 PM|||Anonymous Anonymous|||"While things like mental makeup do have an effect, they are not nearly as important as the stat line."

Comments like this exemplify everything that is hated about the "Moneyball" philosophy, and demonstrate the reason that it is so reviled by most long-time Dodger fans.11/16/2005 2:48 PM|||Blogger Aaeamdar|||And why it is successful when "Dodger Baseball" is not.11/16/2005 2:50 PM|||Blogger Michael|||As a Padre fan living in San Francisco, I have had the opportunity to watch the enemy from within. I think you're massively underestimating Coletti, and I think he'll be a good fit for the Dodgers (and bad news for my Padres).

Coletti was a frequent guest on late night sports talk in San Francisco. While he isn't Depodesta or Beane, he understands and values "sabermetric" concepts. He reminds me a bit of a spin doctor like Ari Fleischer: his job has been to make his relatively incompetent supervisor seem smart, and defer credit. I firmly believe that he will offer a nice balance of stats and scouts, like a John Schuerholtz or Walt Jocketty, in tandem with great people skills and attention to detail.

Anyway, give the guy a chance before you crucify him.

mike, metalsupply.blogspot.com11/16/2005 3:27 PM|||Anonymous Anonymous|||Question for Aaeamdar:

Please refresh my memory...how many playoff series have the "moneyball" teams (A's, Dodgers and Blue Jays) won?

I am thrilled by the hiring of Colletti, and I look forward to the moneyball era being relegated to the ash heap of Dodger history, wher it belongs.11/16/2005 3:47 PM|||Anonymous Anonymous|||I'm pretty sure Boston won a world series.11/16/2005 4:01 PM|||Blogger fanerman91|||"Comments like this exemplify everything that is hated about the "Moneyball" philosophy, and demonstrate the reason that it is so reviled by most long-time Dodger fans."

Things like mental makeup are demonstrated in the stat line. A player that hits 3 home runs in a game doesn't try hard? Emphasizing the search for mental makeup is disrespecting the vast majority of major leaguers. Most players want to win and try their very best, and it takes some mental makeup to even make it to the big leagues. To praise the few players who dive for balls 20 feet out of reach is asinine.

We're not tying to field a team of "citizens of the year" and it's not reasonable to expect everybody to throw their bodies on the line for often no reason. We want to win. Character is important, but there's no need to target players who have character since most of them do. It's the few players who's character is in question that should be noted. Not the other way around.

There's really no reason to revile the "moneyball" philosophy, but the people that criticize it never really understand it.11/16/2005 4:13 PM|||Blogger Andrew|||If mental makeup had an effect, wouldn't it show up in the stat line? Anything that helps a player should show up in the stat line, right?

Why is David Eckstein worthwhile? Is it because he trys hard? No, it's because he had a .360 OBP this year.

I'm sure Eckstein's mindset contributed to that, and without it, he wouldn't be in the league. In the end, effort means nothing, all that counts are results. However, effort does lead to results.11/16/2005 4:18 PM|||Blogger Michael|||I would like to additionally point out that all GMs are Moneyball GMs. Every GM is trying to collect the best players in exchange for the least amount of money. All GMs are trying to find diamonds-in-the-rough. The difference is in the sophistication and mode of the search process.

Old timers are perfectly happy with statistics such as runs, runs batted in, home runs, stolen bases, defensive errors ... News flash: these are statistics; they're numerical indicators of performance. They do not immediately imply grit, scrappy-ness, character, or team chemistry.

Paul LoDuca earned his reputation for hard work and good team leadership by hitting the cover off the ball in 2001, and to a lesser extent in 2002 and 2003. If he hadn't accumulated those statistics, he wouldn't have received a hefty raise in 2003.

All general managers are trying to find baseball players who will contribute statistics. The main difference between the old guard and new is that the new guys are using different statistics.

No Dodger GM or sportswriter would have paid Beltre $11.4 million to contribute 23 home runs and a .240 batting average, as he did in 2003. But in 2004, when he emerged with massive improvements in Runs, RBI, HR, and AVG, suddenly he graduated from nice-kid-with-potential to True Dodger.11/16/2005 4:19 PM|||Blogger fanerman91|||"Please refresh my memory...how many playoff series have the "moneyball" teams (A's, Dodgers and Blue Jays) won?"

That argument is silly. The only team that has had a system in place long enough to be judged fairly is the A's. Then, that's just 1 team, out of 28 (not including the Dodgers and Blue Jays). With 27 other teams having a chance to win, is it really unreasonable for one team to not win a postseason series yet? They've been winning about 90 games a year since the 2000 season, all for $40 million. How often do the Braves win a postseason series? Are non-moneyball methods flawed because the Braves only do well in the regular season?

That argument is weak at best. Your statement doesn't mean anything. Really, you should know what you're cricitizing before you actually criticize it.11/16/2005 6:18 PM|||Blogger Roscoe|||http://zedwords.blogspot.com/

New blog inspired by Ned Coletti and Frank McCourt.11/16/2005 6:46 PM|||Blogger Unserious Talker|||Is anyone else scratching their head about the closer line? Is he suggesting that the Dodgers don't have a good closer?

Cuz I'm pretty sure that they do.11/17/2005 6:05 PM|||Anonymous Prince Vince|||At this point, I don't give a fuck what kind of baseball the Dodgers play as long as we play it consistently. Unfortunately, andrew's article made Coletti's statments look pretty damn inconsistent. I am much more of a supporter of sabermetrics than small ball but, I seen them both win. Remember that recently the Redsox, a sabermetrics team, won the World Series in 2004 but, the Diamondbacks, Angels, Marlins, and Whitesox have all been small ball teams. You cannot discredit the small ball teams achievements to luck, as statistics would dictate.

The major problem at hand is that Depo stacked our team with sabermetrically talented players and the Dodgers now have a GM who wants to play small ball, which is not best for the Dodger players current talents(OPB and OBPS). This most likely means McCourt will hire a small ball manager. We are almost at square one again as when Jim Tracy wanted to play small ball with Depo's moneyball players.

To turn the team back into a small ball or "Dodger way
team" will not happen without time.
It will take Coletti a couple years to turn the team into a small ball team as it took Depo a couple years to sabermetricise up the small ball mess of a team Kevin Malone and Dan Evans left him. During this time, the team may struggle contradicting it's self in the method of baseball they will be playing, as we saw Jim Tracy misuse many of Depo's monyball players, having them play small ball. The situation is no different than last season. So if Coletti fails in the next couple of years trying to reshape the team to his style of play and like Depo, never given long enough to see "his" team in action, what are you going to McCourt, hire a moneyball GM and manager next with Coltetti's small ball players??? Way to solve nothing McCourt, way to solve nothing.11/15/2005 10:05:00 AM|||Andrew|||

After gifting Cy Youngs to Chris Carpenter and (far more tragically) Bartolo Colon, the BBWA got one right and gave the AL MVP to A-Rod.

However, the people who cast votes for the following players should be immediately banished to Corsica.

Scott Podsednik (especially the guy who gave him a fifth place vote)
Bob Wickman
Chone Figgins
Eric Chavez (as much as I hate to say it, he only had a .795 OPS)

What's odd is that Derek Jeter had his second best season ever (based on WARP), yet he didn't get the usual amount of man love he receives around this time of year, getting only 23 votes. (Advancing from the worst shortstop in history to the league average certainly helped). I'll just assume those are makeup votes.

|||113207898477144050|||Well, They Got One Right11/14/2005 08:21:00 PM|||Andrew|||
In March, Google purchased Urchin, a company that specializes in web analysis. Being the generous souls that they are, they found a way to reduce Urchin's 199 dollar a month service fee down to zero. Consequently, I can abondon my ad filled tracker which has all of the interesting features disabled, and switch over to this one. Isn't life grand?

If you have a website of any form, I highly recommend picking this up, because, at the very least, stats are cool.

Oh, and apparently Blogger is going down in eight minutes. See you all at 11 tonight.

|||113203038475292110|||I Bow To My Master11/11/2005 03:54:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Once upon a time there was a man named Ken Gurnick. One morning, Ken wrote an article and submitted it to MLB.com. After a brave blogger named Rob linked it, Andrew read it, and found several previously unknown facts dropped matter-of-factly.

Jeff Kent will ask for a trade if Milton Bradley returns.
Milton Bradley may not return until the All-Star Break.
The Dodgers may be try to reclaim Adrian Beltre.

Andrew read this, and he felt sad.

Throughout his problems (except for a short period of times) I've supported retaining Milton Bradley. There are very few centerfielders who have power, plate discipline and strong defense (though he hasn't quite combined them into one massive season yet). When you have one that can do all three, while making 2.5 million dollars you hold on to him unless he murders The Pope.

This even means holding on to him if it means losing Kent. Now, Kent had an absolutely huge year last year, and I actually enjoyed the attitude he showed. The man is as professional as Wayne Jarvis. There are four factors that prevent me from wanting to keep Kent at the expense of Bradley.

  • The man is going to be 38 in 2006. 38 year olds tend to have swift declines in production. For every person approaching 40 that has a successful season, there are five others the suddenly become a shadow of their former selves (see Finley, Steve).
  • Kent will only be on the team for one more year, and without divine intervention, the Dodgers won't be winning anything in 2006. Barring a McCourt edict, putting the best possible team out there at the expense of the future is not a good idea.
  • Kent is more benefical to a team looking to win now, since at this moment in time, he is the better player. St. Louis, for example, could really use Kent. Minnesota could really use Kent. Considering that Bradley has an incredibly low trade value due to the status of his knee and his chemistry issues, getting the best possible player should be the goal.
  • The Dodgers have a glut of infield prospects, including two second basemen playing out of position at the major league level, yet have no depth to speak of in the outfield, with only Justin Ruggiano even resembling a propsect. Seeing as he is years away, the Dodgers need a strong core of outfielders for years to come.
Of course, if the buisness with Bradley's knee turns out to be true, I would be far less inclined to keep him. While 2006 brings little hope of a World Series title, simply getting into the playoffs gives the Dodgers a chance for some 2002 Angels-esque heroics. Not to mention that whatever poor sap gets the GM job will likely be handed their walking papers. The Dodgers without Bradley and Kent might not be able to make the playoffs even in a wretched division that will likely get worse this offseason. In McCourt's mind, the Dodgers can't have another losing season, and this might force the Dodgers to keep Kent.

Of course, this is all academic, since it's looking good that Bradley is going to go. When chemistry takes a back seat to performance, only the team suffers.

(Sorry this ended so abruptly. I lost this post three times before I got it up.)
|||113167036420077153|||Bradley Vs. Kent Round Two11/11/2005 4:53 PM|||Anonymous T Kodami|||Its a sad day when you have to choose between Kent and Bradley. Has Bradley really been acting like that much of an ass to Kent? Worse than Barry?

Oh, and I fixed a rather embarrassing spelling mistake.11/11/2005 8:16 PM|||Blogger D4P|||Once upon a time there was a man named Andrew. One evening, Andrew wrote an article and posted it on his Dodger Math blog. D4P read it, and found an Arrested Development reference dropped matter-of-factly.

"Now, Kent had an absolutely huge year last year, and I actually enjoyed the attitude he showed. The man is as professional as Wayne Jarvis."

D4P read this, and he felt sad.

Throughout its problems (with ratings) I've supported keeping Arrested Development on the air. There are no other televsion shows who have the writing, acting, and cast (combined into one massive show). When you have one show that possesses all three, you hold on to it. Period.11/12/2005 4:12 PM|||Blogger fanerman91|||D4P,
Well, there was West Wing for those 4 magnificent seasons.

I'd rather trade Kent, too. I hate thinking about the Dodgers so uncomfortably...11/13/2005 9:55 PM|||Anonymous vince|||To Andrew,

I not sure this debate has an answer. Even if Bradley plays a full season will even he as good as a decling Kent if Kent is even declining at all. Also you good throw all the chemistry factors out of it, Bradley is one injury prone man. Kent is expensive Bradely is not. How good can Bradley be? If I was the GM, I would trade Kent and Izturis to develope Aybar and Perez. There some serious major league ready talent between those two plus Guzman is not too far away. It just a matter of if you want to trade kent and have one worse season to help the next 4 seasons or have one better season which we probably wont make the playoffs anyways to hurt the future. But then again, what if we do make the playoffs keeping Kent??? Who knows?11/08/2005 12:39:00 PM|||Andrew|||

(Disclaimer: I know nothing about football, I'm simply using the same analytical techniques that apply to baseball and using them elsewhere. I could be completely off the mark here, but I doubt I am.)

Yesterday, in a move that only Bill Stoneman could truly appreciate, the Eagles cut Terrell Owens. This is another case of chemistry being valued over results, and getting mass approval. Who does this move hurt? Does it hurt Owens? Not really, he'll sign a contract with a team that understands having a talented wide receiver helps the team. Does it hurt the Eagles? Certainly, Owens is one of the best players in the league. Brilliant move there.

Listening to Mason and Ireland on Friday, there was a guest on that argued that the Eagles were actually a better team without Owens, citing the fact that they passed the ball 73 percent of the time, and this would make them run more. This is not a well thought out statement. If the Eagles were actually talented at running the ball, wouldn't they do it more? Most certainly. Running the ball doesn't score points, it is simply a means to an end, just because you run more doesn't mean you score more. Whenever talent takes a back seat to chemistry, the only thing that is hurt is the team.

What does this have to do with the Dodgers? They are about to do the same thing with Milton Bradley. The current rumor is that Bradley is being sent off to the Yankees. I have to ask, what could the Yankees possibly give us that is worth Bradley. Assuming money is no object, the following players would actually be worth a 28 year old outfielder who has good patience, power, and good speed.

Alex Rodriguez
Derek Jeter
Jason Giambi
Gary Sheffield
Hideki Matsui
Mariano Rivera
Randy Johnson

The following are not worth it
Chein-Ming Wang - Doesn't strike anyone out (3.69 K/9) doesn't have a good K/BB ratio (1.43) the only thing he does well is avoid the home run. If he didn't pitch for the Yankees, no one would be talking about him.

Carl Pavano - A 30 year old with a total of two above average seasons.

Eric Duncan - Do the Dodgers really need another third base prospect?

Now to introduce reality into the trade
Sheffield - He's not coming to the Dodgers.
Matsui - Going to be a free agent in a week.
Rivera - The Yankees wouldn't trade him.
Johnson - Will make 16 million dollars when he is 43.

This leaves Jeter, Rodriguez, and Giambi. These three players made a combined 59 million dollars this year. In other words, they aren't coming to the Dodgers either.

Unless the Dodgers get a very big wad of money, trading a player as good is Bradley is simply disastrous. Here's hoping that the Dodgers are able to look past something as unimportant as chemistry.

|||113148405366014328|||The Dodgers Are The New Eagles11/08/2005 5:58 PM|||Anonymous Telemachos|||I don't think the two are equivalent.

Football is a far more team-oriented game than baseball. Furthermore, Owens' behavior is the latest of a constant stream of "me first, team second" confrontations. He was dumped from the 49ers for slamming the talent of his quarterback and his coaches. He insisted on getting a new contract from the Eagles when he first signed, then one year later demanded a new contract, sitting out the pre-season to force them to give him one (it didn't work).

The Eagles are hurt by cutting him... but they're also hurt by keeping him. In Philly, it's essentially become a question of do you keep McNabb or T.O. -- which super-star do you want? (If Gary Sheffield and Derek Jeter got into an on-going tussle in New York, that would be a more equivalent situation).11/08/2005 6:07 PM|||Blogger Unserious Talker|||ok, I'll take the bait and disagree. Chemistry counts much less in baseball than it does in any other sport. But what Owens has done would impact even the best of teams in baseball - things are so bad that he apparently got in a fist fight with a teammate.

Baseball is chock full of stories of teammates who did not get along (ever hear of two guys named Babe and Lou?). But in other sports, when there is a complete breakdown in chemistry, the team generally falls apart (see LA Lakers circa 2004).

All that said, I don't think Bradley has been anywhere near as bad as Owens and the Dodgers would be fools to trade him - unless they include Izturis in the deal and get Jeter.

To address your point of the Eagles being better or worse - short term, they are worse off, but they also went to three straight NFC title games with out him (and won a fourth while he was injured). But long term, they will be better off, they will be able to trade him in the offseason who will be able to perform at a high level within the system.11/09/2005 10:53 AM|||Anonymous Anonymous|||It doesnt really matter that football is a more team oriented sport than baseball. When TO plays he plays hard and being a good teammate on the field means you catch the ball when thrown to you, block down field and produce.

If its a distraction off the field, who cares? The players dont have to answer question during practice or during the games so this shouldnt be an issue.11/09/2005 1:11 PM|||Blogger Unserious Talker|||To answer your question anon - apparently, his teammates. You are also overlooking the human factor - having played team sports for most of my life, it's incredibly difficult to perform as well as you should when you don't get along with teammates.

As Yogi once said, "the game is 90% mental, the other half is physical"11/09/2005 1:12 PM|||Anonymous Anonymous|||we are all missing the point.
debating about trades and signing free agents, and chemistry of the team stuff means very little at this juncture of our beloved dodgers.

the truth is, we are all suckers that feed McCourt's greed.
He is the New Donald Sterling of Los Angeles.(and true one at that since the real donald actually is sending money now) as long as fools like us ( including myself) continue to support the team no matter how bad things get, he will make money off of the dodger tradition and its loyal fans.
if we show up to the stadium and fill the seats no matter how bad we play, and continue to spend millions of dollars on jerseys and bobbleheads of insignificant players, Frank will NEVER have any reasons to spend money on good players.

we are like a teenager boy in love with a golddigging bitch, and gets abused and thrown off to the side when it's over.11/09/2005 3:25 PM|||Anonymous Anonymous|||To KG,

I have played sports for most of my "growing up" years and not that it means anything but i was quite good and if i played better or worse depending on my teammates I dont think i'd be satisfied with myself.

I've had plenty of teammates i didnt like and plenty i loved but none of them helped me hit a hole or hit a pitch.11/09/2005 7:24 PM|||Anonymous Prince V|||The truth of matter is team chemistry is some abstract concept that some writer made up. Honestly who other than a player on the team truely knows what whether a team that gets along well. You have to literally be there 100% of time to truely know who are shadey cats, the assholes, the headcases and the team players. Even the manger will only know so much. So I'm asking, how in the hell does a writer or anyone else know which teams have good chemistry if team chemistry even exists?!?! Are they playing the games, around the players when the players are being themselves, hearing the gossip and shit talking or seeing the assholes truely at work??? I dont think so. So I'm saying, even if this team chemistry exist, how the hell the would anyone really know which team has good chemistry? They don't.11/09/2005 8:20 PM|||Anonymous Anonymous|||The Dodgers are about to give him to the Yankees for NOTHING...If no one is willing to trade for him, the Dodgers are not going to offer him a contract- doesn't that seem weird??? Well, the truth of the matter is- Milton Bradley is talented, however he clearly is such a distracting and negatice force, nobody wants him. The Indians did the exact same thing with him, once two franchises dump a 30 year old outfielder with speed, power, good defense and the ability to hit for average...you know there is something seriously wrong with him11/10/2005 3:22 PM|||Anonymous Anonymous|||trade kent.
keep bradley.
bradley will bring nothing if traded.
kent can bring in a starting pitcher if traded.
only kent have beef with bradley in the team.
nobody gets along with kent.

what's the problem, then?

trade KENT !!!!!!11/07/2005 09:38:00 AM|||Andrew|||

Covering a few stories that I missed over the last few days.

Dodgers sign Jose Cruz Jr. for 2.91 million dollars
: On the surface, this is a very good thing. I advocated giving Cruz an additional one million dollars, so the fact that we were able to sign him on the cheap is a very good thing. The bad part about this is that he likely won't play in the role that I had envisioned him in: a fourth outfielder who can back up our injury prone players and provide insurance in case Werth stinks. What's my reasoning here? The dreaded "McCourt doesn't want him" at the bottom of the article. While I generally place little faith into anonymous sources, they've been right a good deal of the time lately, at least when it comes to the Dodgers front office. I suppose a Cruz/Drew/(Werth or free agent) outfield isn't so bad. It's just less than what could have been.

Padres trade Brian Lawrence for Vinny Castilla: Earlier this year, I thought that Kevin Towers had gone completely insane by trading Phil Nevin for Chan Ho Park. After Ducksnorts called me on it, I did the analysis and discovered that the back end of the Padres rotation was so bad that Park could be considered an improvement.

This is not another diamond in the rough for San Diego. Brian Lawrence is not a spectacular pitcher, putting up an ERA+ of 96 in his career (100 is average) . This was mainly hampered by the fact that he had a horrid year this year, putting up an ERA+ of 80. Vinny Castilla, since his 30th birthday, has had the following OPS+ numbers: 82, 42, 94, 61, 101, 104, and 94. While Castilla has been having a bit of a late career resurgence, it's only taken him from the dregs of the league to the league average. Picking up Castilla effectively is giving up on Sean Burroughs, who despite being the butt of several jokes (the last home run he hit was off some 12 year old kid from Taiwan, etc.) put up OPS pluses of 105 and 92 before plummeting to 71 this year. Granted, 71 is horrible, but Burroughs is only 24, while Castilla is 37 and hasn't put up above average numbers for seven years.

Never mind the fact that this concedes a 29 year old average starting pitcher who makes slightly more than Castilla does. Considering that Chan Ho Park was an honest improvement to the rotation, the loss of Lawrence does not help the team in any way.

Their loss, our gain.

Ryan Howard and Huston Street named Rookies of the Year: While the voters managed to get this correct. (Zach Duke was more dominant than Howard, but he only had 10 starts) the runners up are further proof that the writers care very little about actual results. Robinson Cano was not even the best rookie second baseman in the AL this year, yet he wins runner up? Willy Taveraz, the very definition of a one tool player (he hit .172/.206/.226 without his infield hits. I suppose having one tool is okay as long as that tool is speed) is the runner up in the NL? Joe Blanton, the best rookie starting pitcher in every category but wins gets six votes? Just miserable. At least they got the winners right, which is far preferable to when they hand the Cy Young to Bartolo or Rivera in the near future.

The Dodgers want Billy Wagner: This falls firmly into unsubstantiated rumor, but this would be incredibly suicidal if it were true. In a fantasy world where money is no object, this would be great. Who wouldn't want to see Billy Wagner as the setup man for the Dodgers? In the real world, however, this is just suicidal. Unless Gagne's elbow is currently in the former Soviet Union, the Dodgers have 10 million dollars committed to someone who has three of the 25 best seasons by a reliever ever. While Wagner is nice, he's 34, and fills a role that is not exactly a pressing need. Let's hope this isn't true.

|||113139203548826932|||Odds And Ends11/07/2005 6:01 PM|||Blogger Vishal|||in addition to being an unubstantiated rumor, it doesn't even say "the dodgers" are interested in wagner, it says "los angeles". these days that could just as easily mean the angels, who don't have a single left-handed reliever in their bullpen.11/09/2005 11:19 PM|||Blogger Pat|||Duke actually had 15 starts, only 10 decisions. He pitched about as much as Jeff Francouer batted, in terms of percentage of league average (IPs for Duke, PAs for Francouer).11/15/2005 3:03 PM|||Blogger Michael|||I will first say that I hate the Castilla trade. I mean, loathe it.

However, I do understand the rationale behind it. Lawrence had his worst season in a while last year, despite playing in a pitcher friendly park. Historically, he has been a much better pitcher. But he makes a lot of money for a 4th or 5th starter on a 60mil roster. It's better to invest your money in attempting to fix a bigger problem: a giant hole at 3B.

The free agent market is terrible this year, and the Padres needed to play someone at 3B. They could have played Loretta there and gone with Barfield at 2B, but I think that's a losing proposition. The Padres are gambling that either Castilla or Burroughs will play well next year. If Castilla plays well, Burroughs could potentially play two days a week, perhaps filling in at 2b or ss from time to time. If/when Castilla breaks down, Burroughs is a nice option at 3B. Burroughs is cheap depth.

In a sense, this is really not that different than the Dodgers signing Valentin last year. They're gambling that an extreme right-handed pull hitter might play well in a ballpark that favors such hitters very strongly, and if he gets injured, you always have Burroughs/Perez to fill the gap. The wild card is whether Tracy/Bochy actually plays the kid when Castilla inevitably gets hurt.

My problem with the Castilla/Lawrence trade isn't the rationale, it's the fact that Towers decided this is the best offer he could get. I'm sorry, but there's no way on earth that Castilla is the best he could get for a solid innings eater like Lawrence, especially considering the thin market. After Burnett and the two or three other good pitchers on the market sign, you're telling me Towers couldn't have found a solid AAA third baseman and maybe one or two other prospects for Brian Lawrence? Really?11/03/2005 10:09:00 AM|||Andrew|||
ESPN has already ranked the teams for 2006. Sadly, in this fantasy world where Bobby Valentine can improve the Dodgers, but J.D. Drew can't, the Dodgers are ranked 27th. That's right, they'll somehow get worse next year. This is a lovely exericse in futility, ranking teams based on moves they hypothetically could make. I particulary love the fact that they rank the Mets sixth, almost based solely on the fact that they could get Rafael Furcal. There has to be something that's more productive for ESPN than this.

|||113104173190436015|||Beyond Academic11/03/2005 12:58 PM|||Anonymous Anonymous|||Is it just me or does this link go to some sinister place that requires me to log on?11/03/2005 1:57 PM|||Blogger Andrew|||That would be me linking to the wrong thing.11/03/2005 3:14 PM|||Blogger D4P|||"the Dodgers are ranked 27th. That's right, they'll somehow get worse next year."

Shouldn't the fact that the team is no longer being directed by Depo be reason enough to predict that the team will be worse next year?11/03/2005 4:22 PM|||Anonymous bigcpa|||Joe Sheehan wrote today in BPro that the Dodgers should win the West next year. I guess nowadays you have to pay to get a fair opinion. Course that excludes Joe Morgan's chats.11/04/2005 7:39 AM|||Blogger Andrew|||D4P

If the core team from 2005 stays together, and considering that a gung ho G.M. would likely sacrifice the future for 2006, I'm fully confident in the Dodgers abilities next year.

The years beyond that, however...11/04/2005 10:54 AM|||Blogger fanerman91|||The Dodgers can't be worse in 2006 because it's not humanly possible to be less lucky than the 2005 team was. If they sign Giles and Billingsley is ready by midseason, they'll win the West for sure. They don't need to sacrifice the future. Ng or Epstein wouldn't. I bet Hart or Bowden would.11/04/2005 12:24 PM|||Blogger Roberto Iza Valdes|||What a season!11/02/2005 02:25:00 PM|||Andrew|||
Despite the fact that "Jamie McCourt is the President" is leading the renaming poll, I found myself rooting for "Dodger Math" to win. Thus, I hear by extend my thanks to Vishal and rename DFP to Dodger Math.

There will be no change to the URL, at least for a while, and dodgermath.blogspot.com redirects here. Thanks to everyone who voted, despite the fact it was an ultimately fruitless effort.

|||113097049189873415|||Executive Decision11/02/2005 7:18 PM|||Blogger Vishal|||hah, sweet!

congratulations on the new name :)11/02/2005 9:03 PM|||Blogger fanerman91|||I think I ended up voting like 5 times. I've been on at least 5 different comps since you posted. I voted for Jamie McCourt Is The President a couple times, but I like Dodger Math better, too. Here's to the McCourts not changing the name of the Dodgers, so your blog name doesn't get outdated again.11/02/2005 9:43 PM|||Anonymous Screwgie|||Fraud! I demand a recount! Wait-a-minute... a recount wouldn't matter!

Actually, I am honored and surprised that my phrase "Fire Jamie Mccourt" won the vote. It was intended merely as a joke. In fact, I voted for Dodger Math!

I thought Dodger Math was general enough to outlast whatever GMs or managers blow through the Ravine over the next few years. It is a phrase built to outlast the McCourts. May it do so.11/02/2005 9:48 PM|||Anonymous Screwgie|||ooops! I meant to say I was surprised my phrase "Jamie McCourt is the President!" won.

I wonder where on earth that "Fire Jamie McCourt" slip could have come from??????11/02/2005 11:35 PM|||Blogger alan|||I voted Dodger Math...OR am I a bandwagon fan like every angel fan???

Here's hoping we'll be able to change the name to Epstein for President soon and not (fire Jim Bowden).11/06/2005 4:19 PM|||Anonymous T Kodami|||I'm glad you got over "Dodgers, Indeed" quickly. :D11/02/2005 09:14:00 AM|||Andrew|||

With nothing non-depressing to write about, I figured that I would annihilate what little credibility I had by reviewing what I wrote in the preseason for my fantasy baseball forum. Hey, it's better than sending death threats to the McCourts.

Other than some particularly scary uses of grammar that I cleaned up (not many people were meant to see these) these are my unedited preseason predictions, along with some commentary.

AL West

(Sadly, I lost my write up, I just have the order here)
1) A's
2) Angels
3) Mariners
4) Texas

The gist of this was that if everything went right for the A's, namely their rotation, they were the best team in the division. While their young rotation did more than anyone could have possibly hoped, they didn't have the power I thought they would. I expected a huge season from Chavez, along with 15-20 home runs from every other member of the lineup. (Hey, Keith Ginter looked really good coming into the season, what can I say?)

I had the Angels pegged as a hugely overrated team, one that spent 50 million dollars but didn't improve, but had one massive advantage, their bench. The Angels would be relentless simply because they could lose anyone but Vlad and would either be fine or possibly better off. In the end, I over estimated the offense and underestimated the pitching. Oh, and I foresaw big things in Jeff DaVanon's future.

I saw the Mariners and Texas as teams that had a decent offense but no pitching, giving a slight edge to the Mariners because they at least had one credible starting pitcher in Joel Pinero. Beltre was pegged as a huge mistake (I predicted a .260/.300/.430 season for him with 25 home runs), and Sexson was a good signing. Texas was an improving team, with the best infield in baseball, but simply lacked any pitching to speak of.

AL Central

1 - Indians - To be honest, you could pick any of the four teams in this league and have an equal chance of being right, but here's my reasoning. They have the only known solid offense in the league. They bring back a great young core, added Aaron Boone to it and are better for it. They also shored up their biggest weakness, pitching, with Millwood giving the Indians a fourth credible starting pitcher. The bullpen has improved with the additions of Wickman and Rhodes, making what was a hideous weakness mediocre, with Betancourt and Riske contributing.

The Indians have something that no other team in the division has: no glaring weaknesses. In this division, that's enough to win.

Pretty much right on here. Nothing really to add.

2 - Twins - The Twins have by far the best rotation in this division, and ranks among the top five in baseball. They also have a lights out bullpen with Romero, Rincon, and Nathan. So, why second? Because this offense is potentially worse than the Royals. Okay, maybe that's taking it a bit far, but, look at it. Their most solid infielder has less than 300 big league at bats. They're counting on power from a guy who never showed any until he reached the majors. Rounding this out are three solid outfielders. If either Morenau or Mauer doesn't pan out, there is no way this offense can run.

I see this team as the 2003 Dodgers. Not going to allow many runs, but they'll score less.

Again pretty much right on, other than with calling Jacque Jones a solid outfielder. Morneau didn't show up this year, and the Twins finished last in the AL in runs. A Cy Young performance from Johan Santana went to waste simply because this team couldn't score runs. Fans of pitching and defense should take note of this team.

3 - White Sox - This is a purely irrational pick. On paper, this team could easily win the division, however, like a bizzaro version of the Braves, they'll screw it up somehow. It doesn't help that when they noticed they were losing their best player, they decided to trade their second best player for Scott Podsednik. If they were playing fantasy, this is a decent trade, in real life, however, this was just stupid.

Despite the fact they tried to make their lineup worse, it is still solid. A lot rides on Rowand having the same year, if he collapses, and the Big Hurt doesn't come back soon, this team can be in an offensive hole. Starting pitching for this team is decent, but has too many questions. Buerhle is incredibly streaky, and, if he isn't on, you get team shaky with Garcia, Contreas and El Duque following them. At least you know you're going to get 10 below average wins from Garland.

I, like most other people, underestimated the White Sox this year. I at least have the out in saying that they were probably the best team in the division, but after seeing how they managed to lose in a bad division with a very good team for the last few years, I figured they would just screwup some how. Rowand didn't come through like I said he needed to, and the Big Hurt never really contributed. So what could have happened?

Oh yeah, the miraculous improvements by several members of the White Sox. I don't think anyone could truthfully say they saw that one coming.

4 - Tigers - If Magglio stays healthy, this is potentially the best lineup in the division. The bottom third of the lineup: Pena, Inge, and Monroe, is incredibly solid, and the first six are even better. So, why fourth? Because the pitching on this team is trash. Their number one starter has half a good season to his credit. Their number two starter lost 21 games two years ago. It goes downhill from there. Percival has become clever over the last two years, and looks like Mr. Blown Save now. Urbina is a good guy to have as a setup man, and Farnsworth is a decent third option.

None of this matters, however, since the starters will never have a lead going into the eighth. While the lineup is good, it can't pull off the Texas 10-9 win often enough to make up for the horrible rotation.

I slightly overestimated this offense and under estimated the pitching. It ends up with the same net result.

5 - Royals - Nothing really to say here. This is by far the worst team in baseball. Their decision to make Lima Time their opening day starter over Greinke just shows how foolish they really are.

At least to the Royal's credit, Zack Greinke actually is pretty bad. Other than that, this is the only team in baseball that won't even have a chance at being competitive in the next five years, barring massive shakeups.

Other than the preseason choke prediction for the White Sox, I was pretty spot on in the central.

AL East

1 - Yankees - The only interesting question here is whether or not they are better than the Red Sox. As I explained earlier, the Yankees are better suited for the season, the Red Sox are better suited for the playoffs. Nothing else to really say. In spite of the fact that a team with a 220 million dollar payroll shouldn't have four question marks in their starting lineup, along with two bad offseason pitching acquisitions, the rest of the team is good enough that it doesn't matter.

I nailed that, if I do say so myself. The pitching woes of the Yankees were worse than I imagined, but Aaron Small and Shawn Chacon bailed them out. Good for them.

2 - Red Sox - See Yankees, except without the glaring weaknesses. They'll win the wild card.

There's limited stuff on the Red Sox and the Yankees since I did a large write up on them that I lost. I overestimated the team due to the loss of Shilling and the general crappiness of Wade Miller and various members of the bullpen, but they ended up finishing in the right spot in the end.

3 - Toronto - Going for the upset over Baltimore for third place. Why? Because whenever a team that was horrible has a good spring, they tend to show huge improvements next year. They have a decent one and two starter, but are shaky 3-5. But that's more than I can say about the other two teams in this division. They're going to be more aggressive on the base paths this year, with Vernon Wells calling a 30-30 this year. Other than that, they don't have much offense aside from Koskie and Mr. Anti-Moneyball Hillenbrand.

While Vernon Wells didn't make good on his 30-30 prediction (breaking the hearts of fantasy baseball G.Ms everywhere), Toronto did pretty good for a team that has looked rather bad coming into the season. While they still desperately need two bats and an arm, they at least are showing some improvement. Gustavo Chacin showed good promise, but the loss of Ted Lilly puts Toronto right back where they started. Toronto needs either a corner outfielder or a first baseman to stay truly competitive.

4 - Baltimore - Yes, they have an absolutely devastating offense. It really doesn't matter, however, since their number one starter is Rodrigo Lopez. There's really nothing to say about this team, they'll lose most of their games 11-8. I guess the bullpen is all right.

Well, this one wasn't very hard. Two months of Brian Roberts being the best player in baseball didn't really help them, as Sammy Sosa turned out to be complete bust, getting out OPSed by Jerry Hairston Jr. Their pitching wasn't quite as bad as predicted, finishing 11th in the AL in ERA. These two factors balanced to make my prediction work out.

5 - Tampa Bay - I really want to like this team. They defy sabermetrics by constantly drafting high schoolers, yet a decent amount of them have panned out (no doubt helped by their perennial top 10 draft status). However, they balance this out by being so utterly stupid. Instead of actually giving these promising players playtime, they get washed up ex-superstars. When they retire on them, they forget the ex-superstar part. Really, what advantage to you gain when you play Alex Sanchez instead of Joey Gathright? We can't play B.J. Upton, it's more important for Alex Gonzalez to get his at bats.
If this team actually got its act together, played its young guys, and actually acquired a pitcher, they could be an above .500 team (a 1-5 of Crawford, Gathright, Huff, Upton, Baldelli sounds pretty deadly), but, they'll likely go out and acquire Jeff Conine and Benito next year, and start the cycle all over again.

At least with the firing of Chuck LaMar, the Conine and Benito part might come true.

Coming up next, the NL, (which makes me look far worse than the AL).

|||113088092130509107|||A Diversion!