I thought I’d throw out a short post about next week’s winter meetings. Ned, with little money to work with even though payroll dropped $40 million since season’s end (we’re now at $70 million before winter shopping and arbitration cases – haha, or less than 1/3 of the New York Yankees, or 1/2 of the New York Mets), says he plans to wait. And wait. And wait.
That’s Ned’s style, he waits it out. He keeps us squirming, guessing, blogging, kvetching and somehow before the team goes to camp, he assembles a representative team. It ain’t fun, but it’s hard to argue with the results the past two seasons.
So while we hear about the Phillies moves, the race for Halladay and so on, we can pontificate about what sleeper deals Ned will make to give us a shot in 2010. We’ll hear some “rumors” placed by the Dodger p.r. machine to make it appear as if we’re interested in some of the big names out there, but ultimately will always fall short in such “pursuits”.
To me, we don’t need much. The big elephant in the middle of the room was, and is, starting pitching. Randy Wolf says he always wanted to be a Dodger and loved playing here, and would enjoy coming back. I heard Brad Ausmus tonight and he said he’s an NL guy and would love to play in SoCal for us, preferably. I say the best case scenario would be acquiring Josh Johnson, or if not, Edwin Jackson. I’d take a flyer on Erik Bedard for the bottom of the rotation, should we get one of Johnson or Jackson, and then all that would be left is reconfiguring the bench. I think we have enough in the pen, with more guys on standby at AAA. I’d like to see Cory Wade and James McDonald bounce back, and Josh Lindblom emerge as a late innings guy (eventually freeing up Broxton as a trading chip).
If we can’t get Johnson or Jackson, then I’d like us to retain Wolf. Wolf was a guy we drafted out of high school, who wisely opted to go to college at Pepperdine. He was with us, let go, and came back last year, emerging as our best starter. While conventional wisdom says don’t buy high, Wolf is a great pitcher and while not an ace perse, a very solid guy who saved our butts last season. If we can’t truly upgrade with one of the guys I mentioned, I’d like to see a guy who’s from the area, excels here, and loves being a Dodger come back yet again.
To me the success or failure of our winter depends on how we configure the rotation. If we add a filler or two and are really no better than last year, we lose. Let’s face it, with any effort at all by our owner we could have won World Series championships the past two seasons. The difference between us and the Phillies was in starting pitching. We knew it last year, yet we didn’t truly address the need. A lot of lip service by our owner, and big hopes, but in the end, nothing to show for it.
Payroll at $70 million right now – Fox raised our payroll from $60 million to $120 million a decade ago. Tickets have never been more expensive, parking has never been more expensive, food, souvenirs have never been more expensive. Ads cover the stadium, baseball is healthy, stadiums packed, TV revenues pouring in. Why is a Dodger team that’s capable of going to the Championship Series two years in a row, with a roster full of wonderfully drafted and cultivated homegrown talent, unable to purchase the last couple of pieces we need to win it all?
To be a Dodger fan is like having a tapeworm just eating at your insides. Bring on the winter meetings!
P.S. I love the picture in this post – three huge phonies all laughing it up at the expense of integrity and ethics. Weeee!