Fire Jim Tracy

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Still Not Over Yet

I'm still withholding any firm comment on the Dodgers' off-season until the end of the process, which may not be until just before Opening Day. At 5 and 65 (especially after the numbers that had been kicked around), I can't really understand why this didn't get done, but I also know that I might rather be a Mariner fan in 2005 (though that leaves room for debate -- let's see their pitching staff), but also that I'd rather be a Dodger fan in 2008. If you're going to sign Troy Glaus for 10 a year, after his last two years, you might as well sign Beltre for 13 a year. But it looks like Tony Batista at third for us. A Moneyball nightmare, no doubt.

Pierzynski. Yikes. Bad news. Guys like that get released for a reason.

And what Jerry left out is that he has a Secured Transactions final tomorrow. So he's really not happy at all.

UPDATE THE FIRST: That Johnson/Green/Vasquez trade is a must. Tomorrow. Today. Pull that trigger now. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200 -- collect $9 million from the Yankees to subsidize Vazquez's salary. And throw in Cora if you need to grease the wheels (or not...just throw in Cora). The D-Backs are stuck with the same bunch of pitching stiffs that they had last year, with the "improvement" of Russ Ortiz instead of Randy Johnson and a prayer that Troy Glaus will play 140 games this year. Oh yeah, they'll contend...with a Chapter 11 Creditors Committee. The Yankees may get Randy (but they're going to the playoffs; we already know this, so who cares what they get?), but they're subdizing a guy that everyone drooled over just a year ago, so that he can play for us for 6-7 per, which is what Odalis Perez is asking for?!?! And that Weaver thing didn't turn out so bad for the money. Then you probably have to go after either Beltran or Delgado, because the PR hit of losing Beltre is going to be severe (Oath: I will not read the Times tomorrow. I will not read the Times tomorrow. I will not read the Times tomorrow.). And then plug in whatever random average third baseman you can find.

UPDATE THE SECOND:

1) Didn't realize Shawn Green had a no-trade. This is why we don't sign these dumb contracts anymore. Did Beltre get one from the M's? Well, good luck then.

2) There is no reason to believe that Beltre could have replaced his own 48 home runs, much less anyone else.

3) Hacksaw Hamilton is still an idiot. You forget these things after a few years away from SoCal. Why isn't he writing a column for the Times?

4) If the Mets are offering Delgado 4 for 45 million, then never mind. We're not paying that for him.

5) Hacksaw claims 6 years 81 million from the Astros for Beltran, but the Yankees are talking 7 for 95.

6) The issue in DC is not whether Baseball should be paying its own way, because it should. That DC deal, like most sports stadium deals, is lousy. But they had already agreed to it. They let baseball move down there, hold all the press conferences, then tried to extort out a better deal, thinking baseball was trapped. This is behavior reserved for people more like Scott Boras. There is a Northern Virginia option that makes Las Vegas rather unlikely, and that's likely what baseball will do in the long-term. As for the short-term?

7) Nice to see that Jim Tracy's re-signing (You mean, you're going to write something about the topic of this site? Yeah, focus is a strength.) meant as much to Beltre as everybody claimed it was going to.

8) Remember, there are four types of teams:

a) Expensive successes (Yankees, 2004 Red Sox)
b) Cheap successes (A's, Twins)
c) Cheap failures (2005 Dodgers?)
d) Expensive failures (Mets, Mariners, D-Backs, etc.)

There's only one of these categories I really, really don't want to be in. And we're not going to be in it, like certain other teams listed above.

9) (and finally) The Mariners? Whoever loses the WA gubernatorial race is going to be their Opening Day Pitcher, so good luck with that too.

UPDATE THE THIRD:

1) Jerry e-mails to question my assertion that Beltre may not have been able to replace himself. I fail to see where the controversy in the statement could possibly be. I'm merely pointing out that when Hamilton rails on-and-on about replacing 48 homeruns, it's not clear that Beltre would have again hit 48 homeruns. It's still just one good year. If he does it again, he was worth $13 million. If he hits 29 home runs and .275, he's Shawn Green. Plus, it seems fairly clear that this wasn't just a matter of bidding $66 million and getting Beltre. Boras wants an open bidding war, and one reason Beltre picked the M's is that the Dodgers didn't want to play that particular game. It probably cost Beltre $15-20 million, no matter who he signed with. If the Dodgers had cost me that much money, I would not pick their offer either, seeking to launch the brickbats that Plaschke no doubt is banging out as we speak. (Oath repeated).

2) There is no doubt that the Dodgers "could" have offered Beltre "better" than $13 million. In fact, they "could" have offered him $20 million. This is not conjecture or hyperbole. This is simply fact. The question is, of course, whether the Dodgers "should" have entered into a contract on top of contract bidding war for Adrian Beltre, which is no doubt what Boras wanted to do. Infantile games of contract "chicken" have never won anyone a World Series (a fact that Dodger fans always conveniently forget soon after the Dodgers raise ticket prices to afford their latest 77-85 catastrophe). I also recommend the book (or Jim Garner movie) "Barbarians at the Gate" as to the effect of a two-party open auction on prices. RJR Nabisco went from $75 a share to $119 a share (or something like that). Beltre and Sexson can't pitch. They can't catch. They do what they do relatively well (if in fact Sexson can still do it at all), but baseball remains a team game. Remember that last year's World Series winner lost the Alex Rodriguez sweepstakes. None of which should make you believe that the team as constituted right now is a contender. It is not. And I have no comment on whether McCourt is a cheap-ass loser or not. It's only been one part of one off-season, and a particularly strange off-season, where a number of desperate, panicky teams (Mets, D-Backs, Expos/Nationals/Homeless Wayfarers, probably the Mariners) have made ill-considered moves for a number of different reasons (Mets: Their new TV network. D-Backs: Last-ditch effort at avoiding receivership. Mariners: Because they remember what losing really is, and they don't like it. Expos/Nationals/etc.: Self-explanatory, really.), but have skewed the market to the wacky side.

3) Keep in mind that part of this is to make the Dodger farm system as good as those of the Braves and A's, who have prospects coming out of their ^#(*$^ and can therefore overspend to get what they need. Therefore, they stay solid over a long period of time. If the next two or three years are up-and-down, it is the price of rebuilding a program (to borrow a term from the college scene) bereft of talent in the Fox years. It takes longer to build than to destroy. On this, I can only direct you to Dodger Blues' hilarious run-down of the Dodgers's past 20 first-round draft picks, which only makes you wonder how we're still in the league.

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