Fire Jim Tracy

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

More Plaschke

Jerry hunted this one down for us.

August 20, 1999 - DODGERS NEED NEW BLOOD TO AID RECOVERY; Infusion of young talent is prescription for winning to become a habit again. - Bll Plaschke

"Today, I am making a change.

Today, I am going to start beating this addiction to winning.

Today--(deep breath here)--I pledge not to complain if the Dodgers want to tear the whole thing down and start all over again.

I will not gripe if they dump some veterans and bring in a group of youngsters that cannot finish higher than third--as long as those kids play hard and improve."

"I will not miss seeing big names--as long as I see hunger."

"Ten guys, in no particular order, who should definitely not be traded:

* Kevin Brown: Maybe not the leader they wanted, but certainly the ace they need.

* Chan Ho Park: You don't quit this soon on an arm that good.

* Darren Dreifort: The six-inning pitcher is ready to extend himself.

* Pedro Borbon: You can never have enough decent left-handed relievers.

* Onan Masaoka: Especially if that lefty could go to Albuquerque and learn to be a starter.

* Todd Hundley: He's getting stronger every day, and his left-handed bat is too valuable to give away.

* Angel Pena: Allows Hundley to change positions if necessary.

. . .

* Todd Hollandsworth: Important piece in a lefty-righty platoon that Davey Johnson has worked so successfully in the past."

So let me get this straight. The Dodgers should have kept: Brown (see below), Park (How did that one work out, Texas fan?), Dreifort (How did that one work out Dodger fan?), Borbon (?????????????? What's he talking about? Who would have traded for Pedro Borbon?), Masaoka (there's a pattern forming here), Hundley (How did that one work out, Dodger fan?), Angel Pena (there's nothing to this armchair quarterbacking, is there Bill?), Hollandsworth (notice the endorsement of over-platooning and Davey Johnson -- a three-fer in one sentence!)

How many of you would have liked to have this team in 2005? If I were Paul LoDuca or Guillermo Mota or Alex Cora or home-grown Steve Finley, and I found out the destiny of the last group of guys Plaschke went ga-ga over, I would call my insurance agent and start practicing how to scream at the camera on ESPN.

UPDATE: Lloyd points out that there are two names missing. I looked them up. Beltre and Sheffield. Sheffield does not save Plaschke. Beltre would have been on anybody's list in 1999. No extra credit there. Of course, a team made up of Brown, Park, Dreifort, etc. and Beltre would be just as lousy. But to make up for it, here's another bon mot for July 2006:

Jeff Shaw is not on this list. What good is a great reliever if it may be a couple of years before you use him in October? And think of the riches he'll bring.

Put aside that he just called Jeff Shaw a "great reliever." We'll accept the point. Just remember this when Plaschke makes his clumsy anti-Moneyball arguments about why we shouldn't trade Gagne.


  • Keep working that hammer, Steve. The Times will give you *plenty* of ammunition whenever Plaschke or Simers opine about the Dodgers.

    In my thirty years of reading the Times sports section on an almost daily basis, there have never been two worse columnists with regard to analysis than Simers/Plaschke. Jim Murray used to latch onto a position regardless of logic, every one in a while, but the writing was so damn good, who'd notice?

    I'm new to the blog--it seems well written, well reasoned... you sure your a Bush supporter?

    Keep it up. And as far as the line-by-line eviscerations of the two "writers" above: more, please.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/19/2005 06:51:00 PM  

  • A quibble. Either Plaschke can't count, or you're jobbing him out of 2 brilliantly insightful keepers. Between you guys and Patterico, this is like watching a woefully outmatched tag team match. Mercy! Mercy!

    By Blogger lloyd, at 1/19/2005 07:32:00 PM  

  • The fact that Plaschke is wrong virtually all the time, doesn't mean he's wrong about Beltre. The odds that he is wrong 100 percent of the time are much lower than the odds that he is wrong most of the time. Using Plaschke as a determination that the Dodgers were right to let Beltre isn't really based on any statistical basis other than Plaschke is usually wrong. Plaschke's wrongness about keeping players, and their actual stinking are mutually exclusive, unless it can be proven that Plaschke does reverse stastical analysis and writes columns that purposefully advocate keeping bad players.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/19/2005 10:19:00 PM  

  • No, no, no. Not what I said at all. The point of my addendum post was that Plaschke doesn't get any points in 1999 for saying that the Dodgers shouldn't trade Beltre. Duh. He was 20. He was talented. He might as well have written that the Dodgers' popularity would be in direct proportion with their winning percentage.

    As far as the rest of it, I haven't used Plaschke as evidence that the Dodgers shouldn't have signed Beltre. One could not use Plaschke as evidence of anything, because Plaschke offers no factual evidence on which to base one's argument. That is the entire point. He is useless to all of us. He could not run reverse analysis to purposely promote bad baseball players, because he does no analysis at all. Given that, he is doing no better than throwing darts at a board. When he is not openly botching facts, such as having Shawn Green play two positions at once, or calling Alex Cora the "longest tenured" Dodger.

    Again, it is not disagreement with Plaschke, or even that Bill Plaschke has been wrong in the past. We've all been wrong. Every single Dodger fan hated Eric Gagne in 2001, and Jim Rome was calling him a piece of crap. The issue is non-existent analysis and logic that serves not any consistent, logical position, but changes to meet what he identifies as the emotional needs of his readers. In 1999, Kevin Brown was "the ace they need." Less than a year later, he was trade bait.

    I have shared in the disappointment of many of my fellow fans over Beltre, but I have simply gotten over it. Why?

    1) Because I recognize that a bidding war would have made Beltre significantly more expensive than what the Mariners signed him for.
    2) Because I recognize that long, big-money contracts fail more often than not, and that this lesson should come easily to Dodger fans who have suffered through bad contracts going back to Darryl Strawberry.
    3) Because I recognize that this team has a chance to win the division, which I did not believe going into Spring Training 2004.
    4) Because I am not God, and cannot subvert Beltre's free will to accept the contract of his choice.
    5) Because I do not need to stoke irrational emotionalism by saying asinine things like DePodesta did not "recognize" Adrian Beltre's "homegrown talent."

    Putting aside the irrelevancy of where Beltre's talent was grown, this is my final issue with Plaschke and the rest of the cocoon. None of these "analysts" have even come close to dealing with anything even remotely resembling these issues.

    I think the Dodgers, given all the parameters, did the right thing. I have read, in other places, very interesting analysis on Beltre (I remember a twenty page effort by somebody on this issue back in the fall, but can't remember where I read it or I would link to it) on both sides. But I don't read it in the Los Angeles Times. And that's wrong, no matter which side you are on.

    By Blogger Steve, at 1/19/2005 11:16:00 PM  

  • The evidence that the Mariners would have got into a bidding war with us is sketchy at best. After all I am not God, and the Bavasi's free will makes it such that I cannot determine what can or cannot do. One could argue that before the signing of Drew, the Braves' GM might have got into a bidding war with us. He didn't largely because he's more talented than DePodesta and realized that Drew is damaged goods.

    By Blogger Rick, at 1/20/2005 12:43:00 AM  

  • Regarding Beltre & Drew, I suspect the reason we did not go higher for Beltre & Atlanta did not go higher for Drew comes down to this: We've got not one but two 21 year old 3b studs waiting on the horizon, Guzman & LaRoche while Atlanta has two 21 yo OF studs on the horizon. So its one thing to pay $11-13 mln/yr for a very good ballplayer. Its another to pay that much to block the next Beltre/Drew from rising to the top a year or two or three from now. Truthfully, I haven't seen too many bloggers notice this fact, let alone the geniuses over at the LAT. Of course, the thought of Plaschke actually noticing who the Dodgers have playing in their system (where the phony ID carrying Adrian probably belonged in '99)is truly mind-boggling.

    By Blogger lloyd, at 1/20/2005 09:15:00 AM  

  • Good points from both of you, and you simply make my argument for me, although any GM willing to offer $50 million to Richie Sexson would not likely be scared away from J.D. Drew were the stars to align. These decisions are complicated by many, many factors which cut one way or the other. That the Times is unable to deal with these factors in any kind of important or interesting way (DePodesta doesn't "recognize" Beltre's "home-grown" talent -- Good God!) means that the Los Angeles sports fan gets a skewed, unrepresentative view of how the world actually works. He begins to believe in "Dodger math."

    By Blogger Steve, at 1/20/2005 01:50:00 PM  

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