Archive for November, 2014

Clayton, Kemp, Martin, Hanley, Kapler and more

November 14, 2014 2 comments


Hit and run items…

Bully for Clayton Kershaw for winning another Cy Young and even an MVP. I can’t help but feel slightly embarrassed as a Dodgers fan as I listen to MLB Network Radio pick it apart. I think we all recall how he collapses when it matters. Anyway, enjoy the hardware… Bumgarner is enjoying his rings.

Reports that the multi-executive brain trust in the Dodgers front office is moving fast and furious to deal one or more outfielders is encouraging. As these things go, fans crying to keep Kemp, especially since he had a big second half. Fans make terrible investors – they only want to sell low and buy high. While logic is they peddle Andre Ethier to Baltimore for another bad contract looking to move such as Ubaldo Jimenez, it makes more sense to move Matt Kemp. Why? You get more for him. I would also suggest the Dodgers party boy attitude emanates most strongly from Hanley and Kemp and if both are gone in 2015, perhaps a makeover in personality would actually take. Not to mention, dear devotees of all things sexy – the Dodgers have proven they can’t win with the guys they have, so…

Now it’s said Miami may spend $300M to retain their super stud outfielder, Giancarlo Stanton, for 10 years. I’m a firm believer in not caring about owners’ wallets, but these big contacts are not wise investments. They handicap teams immediately and down the road and there’s no way the Fish would not regret the signing – likely within a few years of Stanton scrawling his name on the paperwork. In today’s era of you never know what you’re getting, long-term deals for hitters, as well as pitchers, almost exclusively benefits the players – not the team or the fans. It’s simply too much money and simply too many years. I’d ask for a drug test a day before I signed anyone to anything like that, and then have an MRI to see what the player’s heart looks like. Too frequently players phone it in after getting a mountain of money, and while amazing, Stanton does like to take modeling photos like another outfielder we all know. I’d say no, but knowing the Fish, they’ll say yes. And regret it.

Kudos to Mike Trout for winning hardware today as well. I hope he celebrates by buying some new clothes – his old ones apparently have stretched out necks. LA(ish) owns regular season baseball with the Dodgers and Halos both representing. And both So Cal teams got to watch the No Cal team hoist the trophy. Winning the division isn’t enough, folks. As in other sports, the post-season is when things get real. Right now the two teams located in the general LA area are posers.

The blue are looking at old friend, and old enemy Russell Martin to solve their catching woes. I guess it’s a good thing seeing as AJ is getting older and more beat up – though he was one of the few guys who showed up to play in Oct and you could argue two leg injuries pretty much fucked up his 2014 season. That said, I was always a Martin fan – until he got hurt and acted like a little shit. His physical limitations caused Jonathan Broxton to stay with the fastball, as it was too hard for Martin and his bad hips to catch the slider. The result was Broxton getting hammered and losing his confidence. Martin also balked when the Dodgers insulted him by offering $5-6M for him to play himself back in shape – at third base. Talk about a team guy! Players love to collect their fat checks, but if their game suffers due to injury or any other reason, they still want to be treated like kings. Martin’s stats dropped substantially his last two seasons in blue – he became a .250 hitter with little power. He followed that up with three years in NY and Pittsburgh with poor batting average but a return of his power stroke. Last year he played for his contract and had a nice year, reminiscent of his Dodgers prime. Now what Martin would the Dodgers be getting? I’ve heard he wants 5 years and $75-80M. I’ve already stated my objections with long-term deals above. The Dodgers have to get away from paying each player on the roster a king’s ransom. It’s time to mix in cheaper options – hungry kids and experienced journeymen. It’s not my money, and it won’t affect me in the least at the gate as I don’t go to games, but I’d be wary before I compounded the Dodgers payroll bloat by adding Russell Martin. Not a bad upgrade, but I still remember his pissy attitude as his Dodgers career ended and how he went from a blue collar catcher to a guy more interested in his outfits (and underwear posing – see photo above) and sculpted facial hair. I guess if Kemp is moved, the girls can have someone to swoon over. So there’s that.

Forget Cuba. I know every player who defects from Cuba is compared to some MLB great or the current Cuban star du jour, but I hope the Dodgers cool it on the Cuban recruiting. I love international signings, but until we see more complete, smart baseball players coming out of Cuba, I’d focus elsewhere. I think the problem is that most of these players are so young, so raw, and so inexperienced; they’re really more like talented high school or young college players than polished gems. I’m of the opinion the more complete players who have experience under their belts and smarts are in Japan and Venezuela. Talent is everywhere around the globe, but it just seems too often when Cuba is mentioned, dopey MLB pundits swoon. Let some other team pay for a toolsy guy who’s working on his game at the major league level – the Dodgers should be focusing on evolved skills and something between the ears.

It appears the Dodgers will let Hanley Ramirez walk, presumably to Seattle. Good riddance. Having made a qualifying offer, they’ll get a draft pick, which beats re-signing the prima donna shortstop to a fat contract. It would have been better to deal Hanley for blue chips last season in between his various stints on the DL, but as the Dodgers front office saw Hanley as the 2013 Hanley who was the catalyst for the Dodgers offense, that didn’t happen. It will be interesting to see what Hanley does at the next stop. I love how he’s saying how he’ll do whatever it takes, and play anywhere on the diamond as he just wants to win. MLB pundits lauding him for this selflessness. Please. Hanley is a petulant baby who had to play shortstop and I sense as soon as he gets settled in the next town, he’ll grouse again. I blame Donnie for this – he was the one who took his newly acquired Miami Marlins third baseman and moved him to short. I chuckled heartily though the other day when I heard the Tigers were considering Hanley – for left field. Good luck with that.

It’s said the new Dodgers brain trust is thinking of acquiring a veteran shortstop to fill the Hanley spot (the White Sox Alexei Ramirez was one name mentioned), as opposed to the bodies on hand. I guess that’s ok but it makes me wonder why the team signed Erisbel Arruebarrena and Alex Guerrero last off-season. Arruebarrena was known for great glove work and suspect hitting, and Guerrero for hitting but perhaps weak defense. Of course there’s journeyman Miguel Rojas, but he’s no long-term answer as an everyday shortstop. Why were Arruebarrena and Guerrero must-have items, yet not a real consideration when Hanley may finally be out of the picture? I guess you can say old leadership vs. new leadership, though Stan Kasten was around last year when the signings were made.

I’ll end this little nightmare with a comment about Gabe Kapler (not the Welcome Back, Kotter star) coming on as another front office piece – a big muckety muck in the scouting/farm arena. Anyone else think this is an odd signing? I guess anything is possible and at one time unorthodox Mickey Hatcher as a batting coach seemed strange, but Kapler went from being a muscle head jock to a commentator for some reason and now a talent evaluator. I’m open for anything since the current is so shitty, but I’m curious how Logan White leaves and Kapler is the answer. I guess he’s young and the new youth-obsessed management base of the Dodgers like that. Kapler might have hidden talents but seems as strange a signing as Kasten/Friedman hired one of the kids in One Direction.

I urge baseball fans to enjoy the action as the hot stove league has been heating up earlier and earlier in recent years. Let’s hope for a pleasant Thanksgiving and some reason to get excited about the coming season. As I’ve reiterated over and over, while I don’t “like” all the executives and weird direction the Dodgers are going, I welcome anything remotely different than the status quo. The bubble dancing and selfies makes me ill and I’m frankly nauseated by seeing the Giants win every other year. Change is needed and I’d prefer a more professional, less glamorous Dodgers to the star STUDded bunch the women and repressed men are in love with. Call me an old curmudgeon; I’m that, and more. I’ll look at the trending photos of Kim K’s airbrushed monster ass and oiled up front like anyone else in the know, but I’ll be damned if I want my Dodgers subjecting us to more nonsense.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

P.S. I apologize for the photo, which is more than your next team “leader”, Russell Martin, would.


Will the Dodgers Front Office Log Jam Help Them Field a Better Team?

November 6, 2014 2 comments


Stan Kasten
Andrew Friedman
Farhan Zaidi
Josh Byrnes
Gabe Kapler
Ned Colletti

Is it just me or is the new collection of executives the Dodgers are collecting puzzling? In many ways, this front office bloat is indicative of the bloat on the field. Have they ever heard the expression “too many cooks?”

It’s too early to say whether this gangbang of suits will lead to a tougher, more fundamentally sound Dodgers team, but it is comedic. It reminds me of the clusterfuck going on in Congress, or the needless levels of management in most top corporations nowadays. More millionaires, this time in boardrooms.

Its possible Kasten is assembling his brain trust and they will dismantle the soft, bubble dancing party boys parading around in blue, but as we’re not even near the winter meetings yet, who can say? I will stick a pin in this situation with merely a “WTF?!” for the time being.

The bottom line is if I don’t see this gaggle of “geniuses” completely revamp the roster, tossing out popular but suspect current Dodgers and replacing them with smarter, harder working and sound ballplayers, 2015 will be another debacle.

I want to see the roster broken up with the big names I’m frequent to call out sent packing. You know who they are. Pretty much half or more of the outfield, the shortstop and anyone else not focused on winning baseball games.

This week the Dodgers trumpeted Clayton Kershaw winning three player voted awards. Meantime, Madison Bumgarner was posing with the World Series trophy on Jimmy Fallon. Something has to be done.

Then the Dodgers announced Zack Greinke and Adrian Gonzalez won Gold Gloves. I’m all for it, but those are secondary tokens while the Giants make the rounds talking about their third title in five years.

I’m hoping that all these geniuses in the front office will look at each current player under a prism and ask “Can this guy help us win a World Series?” And “Is this guy mentally tough?” Or “Is this guy a hardnosed player both sides of the game?”

I’m of the belief (I have to be, there’s no other hope) that this committee of highly paid one percenters will evaluate, take notes and go into the winter meetings without sentimentality, dealing those that need to be dealt in order to make room for and acquire players better suited to the task.

Softness and enabling by the front office and on field manager and coaches made 2014’s ouster more humiliating that 2013’s. The guy with three player chosen awards was bitch slapped off the mound in his own park, and again in the enemy’s.

Having a “happy clubhouse” sounds nice, but the Dodgers need to remake themselves with more rules and less tolerance. If players want to wear their hats cocked and dance to pre-game musical acts and celebrate a la Lawrence Welk every time they score a run, they should do so in another town.

The Dodgers used to be one of baseball’s crown jewels. They were essentially the National League equivalent of the Yankees. But so many painful years have transpired since the Dodgers have won a title, and more years between that one and the one previous, the Dodgers are now just another team.

Sure they have a chance each year, and ok, they lead everyone in attendance. So what? The bottom line is the Dodgers rarely play smart baseball and it’s been some time since the farm really produced the Dodgers Way. It may be why Logan White was sent packing. Perhaps he left, or maybe the new guard of geniuses knew the players White got to LA weren’t the best and brightest.

This off-season will tell everything. If the roster is pretty much what it has been, save for a tweak here and there, the Dodgers will be in trouble. The fans, those who don’t want to blow the players, will be reaching for the Advil again.

The sickness is organization wide – from the top rungs through the apathetic coaching staff and to the players. The farm is questionable, though there’s reason to believe a few gems are ready or very close and perhaps they have more sack than those who came before them.

My gut is to be ill over Kasten needing Friedman and Friedman needing Zaidi and Byrnes and maybe Kapler (Kapler? For the front office?!), but things are do dire, I will see what happens. Perhaps it just takes all these executives to do what Dan Evans was capable of pretty much by himself, with an assist to Kim Ng.

Bring on the winter meetings – I will be watching very closely what the Dodgers do and decide if the 2015 season is worth following at all. Kasten, Friedman & Associates… you’re on the clock.