Zack Greinke Isn’t Sold Either
The overhyped football game goes on today with needless analysis of cheats, deflated balls and over inflated balls on Katy Perry’s chest. It makes me realize as soon as this dumb game is over, baseball fans can completely focus on the start of spring training, which begins in just a few short weeks.
It’s interesting the Dodgers TV deal is not resolved – not surprising, just interesting. So it’s hard for me, and many Dodgers fans I know, to get overly excited about Andrew Friedman and company’s non-descript team. If we can’t see it, who cares? Guggenheim, Stan Kasten and the many levels of executives (and perhaps soon a Korean interest?) don’t seem to get that in their de-scumming of the organization post-Frank McCourt, they’ve made the team very user unfriendly and perhaps more bleh than the Grey Poupon poster boy did. Hell, at least we could watch the empty seats at the stadium from the comfort of our living rooms. Now – nothing. Vin Scully’s precious last days speaking into a microphone have been squandered. Stars, for better or worse, pushed out while AAAA guys and injury projects fill the roster. Zack Greinke had the audacity to echo (in Bill Shaikin’s LA Times article) – “Is the team better now than it was last year?” Want to bet he may be the next veteran sent bye-bye? If one thing is certain, Friedman and team don’t like veteran players questioning them. It’s an ego-fest, friends, pure and simple. You question the geniuses, you’re gone. It would be wonderful if Greinke’s last year in the Dodgers rotation was instead pitching for another team, with the Dodgers boldly eating much – or all – of the contract. As far as I can determine, that is the Dodgers way nowadays. Pay for players to play elsewhere while the executives rub their hands together from a job well done.
I am more looking forward to the start of the college baseball season than MLB spring training, truth be told. A lifetime Dodgers fan, I am so confused over what is happening, what may happen, that I don’t even know what team to follow this year. I’m leaning to the Miami Marlins, which I dislike on principle, but am fascinated by the exciting roster they’re putting together down there. Giancarlo Stanton will have a lot of guys to knock in, especially Dee Gordon, former Dodgers second baseman and All-Star. I imagine Dee will run wild in Florida and I will take glee in it as a fan of the player, but also as a fuck you to the Sabermetrics brain trust who stupidly lumped Dee in with the guys they viewed as problem children. Oh, the Fish won’t pay a penny for all of Dee’s bunts, steals and thrills either – the Dodgers will. Yes, this was a crazy winter all right.
I can’t imagine what the Dodgers rotation will ultimately look like, or more, the pen. If they ship Greinke out, would they sign James Shields or deal for Cole Hamels? If not, that’s a lot of potentially injured pitchers in one rotation. MLB Network said the Dodgers rotation is second overall, but I have reservations about that. From where I sit, its two guys and about four injury suspects, and now one of the two healthy ones dared to pop off about management’s wheeling and dealing frenzy. Imagine a rotation that included Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson and Erik Bedard? Eek!
I also find it humorous how the Dodgers have mostly addressed last year’s bullpen issues by compiling other teams’ garbage. A large collection of AAAA players have been brought in to address the deficiency. I would hope last year’s whipping boy Paco Rodriguez would immediately be inserted into his old role as valuable MLB bullpen arm, but you never know. Paul DePodesta loved to show that his assembly of trash was better than what was laying around before, mostly because it was his idea. What transpired under DePodesta was one of the most embarrassing Dodger teams ever assembled. The new brains might be smarter – or not – but they’re really showing the same trend – if we thought of it, it’s brilliant. If it was here before, it was shit.
The optimist in me says that by copying the Giants’ blueprint of fewer stars and a couple smart veterans, the team should be better. That said, Don Mattingly is no Bruce Bochy. It’s hard to fathom that dim bulb Donnie could manage even the best collection of players very far. While the plan was to remove some problems and spread the offense around, while adding defense, it’s hard to say definitively the team is better now than it was. Zack Greinke said as much, and he’s right. No one knows. I can’t point to one spot and say, “There, that’s definitely a big upgrade!” Time will tell how good the Dodgers of 2015 are. They will either need to win more than 94 regular season games (I doubt that’s possible, guessing more about 88 or so) or better, advance deeper into the post-season. Ironically, the Moneyball magic is made for the regular season – Billy Beane has repeatedly stated that. He says he can guarantee his odd mix of players will win X amount of games and therefore have a chance to compete in Oct, after that, it’s a crap shoot with the hottest teams usually going to the Fall Classic. Friedman and team’s data plan is to hopefully achieve the post-season part of the equation – even Billy Beane isn’t that big a brain.
I would say I’ll see how it goes, but since most of LA won’t be seeing anything when it comes to Dodgers baseball, I won’t. I’ll follow the best I can, especially if Joc Pederson gets a real chance in center field, and if Corey Seager pushes the issue and shows up in LA sometime this summer, but mostly I will check in to see if a train wreck ensues. All I know is none of this is very fun to loyal fans, and it would appear not so fun for players who chose to come here. Ask Dan Haran and Brian Wilson.