Andrew Friedman Hates Novelty Beards
The winter boredom thought process…
To me it’s fascinating to watch what Andrew Friedman and his team of numbers geeks are doing with our beloved Dodgers. As I mentioned before, it has the same air (stink) to what Paul DePodesta did when he came on as the Dodgers GM. The basic rule of thumb appears to be – making over the team in MY image. Throw out anything from the previous regime, whether equal value is obtained or not and especially cut things that have no business being on MY team (i.e. base stealing, on-base percentage concerns, etc.).
It’s too early to tell, of course, but it seems from a layman’s point of view that this slash and burn approach is curious, to say the least. Many players are being pushed out with the Guggenheim gang set to pay their salaries to compete for other teams. Most of the deals have suspect return. It’s hard, as an example, to see many deals the Dodgers have “won”.
It’s quite possible all of this shakes out into a more “Giants like” worker bee type team that spreads around the offense and wins with better chemistry and less bloat, but some of the moves have been at least confusing.
Yesterday the black bearded Brian Wilson was sent packing to make room on the 40-man roster for oft-injured pricey 4th starter Brandon McCarthy. Given the state of the Dodgers bullpen, I’m not sure this was the best way to clear a spot. I’m not a Wilson lover – his injuries early on in 2014 set the tone for a catch-up type season. That said, the pen IS thin and Wilson did turn it around in the 2nd half with an ERA of 3.
I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, thinking the newly acquired relievers offer better options. It will be interesting though to see if the Dodgers pay Wilson’s salary and he has a rebound year. He is a proven clutch performer with World Series hardware to back up the point. Not exactly a shlub you kick to the sidelines normally.
Then after the Wilson news, Friedman and group made Brandon League available. League, reviled by most Dodgers fans, actually had a nice season (2.57 ERA), especially since not being asked to close anymore. The plan here is paying half his salary in order to deal him – or $13M or so between Wilson and League, to add to all the other salaries they’re on the hook for with players who won’t be in blue in 2015.
It seems some of this has to do with Moneyball vanity. Again, DePodesta did the same when he tore apart Dan Evans team, and now the same is happening with Friedman. Previously the names added were household favorites such as Jason Grabowski, Hee Seop Choi, Oscar Robles, Antonio Perez, etc. Now we have McCarthy, Brett Anderson, Yasmani Grandal and Adam Libertore.
I am willing to suspend belief and see how this falls into place. My vested interest is seeing Joc Pederson patrolling centerfield and getting a real shot to contribute. For the record, many “fans” bashed Joc and called him Billy Ashley, as low an insult as you can heap on a Dodgers outfield prospect. I would respond with – you’re idiots.
Joc has performed at a high level every step along his minor league career, and plays good defense. The similarities with one dimensional Ashley end with both having male genitalia. Joc, for those who quickly dismiss the kid before he’s had a real audition, had a higher minor league OPS than Paul Konerko. Think about that. Joc, playing a skill position in centerfield, had a higher OPS in the minors than Konerko, arguably the Dodgers best hitting prospect the past several decades not named Mike Piazza.
Joc will be just fine. Its one thing Friedman and his nerd squad and I all agree on. Joc and Corey Seager are anchors for the Dodgers plan moving forward. If either is dealt, or fails, it will make this new makeover more curious. With three quarters of the infield having expiring contracts Oct of next year, and a lot of turnover on the field, Dodgers fans better hope that the kids are allowed to flourish.
All I know from what we’ve seen so far this hot stove season – don’t get Friedman mad. Don’t dare have had an option vest or have skills Saber folks don’t value. If so, you will be plying your trade in another town. But don’t worry; the Dodgers will still be paying your salary.