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Monday, September 24, 2012

SFBT: Dodgers’ Big Trade bust is good news for all of baseball

The Big Trade that the Dodgers pulled off Aug. 26 loaded that team with hot shot players Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford and $260 million in additional salary.

It was designed to propel the Dodgers to win the National League West and, ultimately, the World Series. “We want to win now,” said Dodger co-owner Magic Johnson.

But since that Saturday in August the Dodgers have played worse, winning 10 of 26 games for a .384 winning percentage. That compares to the club’s pre-trade .543 winning percentage.

...What does this all mean?

That sometimes, just sometimes, money doesn’t buy wins. And that is music to the ears of anyone who likes to think that their club is not out of the playoff race just because the player payroll is not in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

In fact this season a number of baseball’s big spending teams were disappointments, including the Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins and New York Mets.

Still more examples show that the Baseball Gods sometimes smile on low-budget teams. The Oakland A’s, the game’s notorious penny-pinchers, are close to getting a postseason spot. They might just beat out the free-spending Angels.

Thanks to Butch.

Repoz Posted: September 24, 2012 at 04:56 PM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, dodgers

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   1. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 24, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4244558)
But since that Saturday in August the Dodgers have played worse, winning 10 of 26 games for a .384 winning percentage.


Hah, hah.
   2. andrewberg Posted: September 24, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4244559)
In fact this season a number of baseball’s big spending teams were disappointments, including the Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins and New York Mets.


The Twins were certainly a disappointment, but are the 13th and 14th highest payrolls really "big spending teams?"
   3. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: September 24, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4244578)
They've won more than a third of their games since then? It's felt like they've played worse than that.
   4. phredbird Posted: September 24, 2012 at 06:03 PM (#4244594)
They've won more than a third of their games since then? It's felt like they've played worse than that.


they've looked worse than that, that's for sure. matt kemp is the poster boy for this. he has really looked out of it. i'm sure it's mostly because he's been so banged up, but gosh he looks like he can't do much of anything, esp. at the plate.
   5. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: September 24, 2012 at 06:17 PM (#4244607)
Kemp's poor performance has been strongly correlated to a) the May hamstring injury (he played for ~2 weeks after injuring himself and was nowhere near his April pace) and b) running into the outfield wall in late August/early September. Although I can't quite say why running into a wall would make you lose all semblance of plate discipline. In April he was hitting any and all fastballs in the zone very hard. Now he just watches them drift in for strikes while waiting for a bad slider in the dirt at which to swing.
   6. dr. scott Posted: September 24, 2012 at 06:31 PM (#4244612)
Clearly the knock against the wall jared him to the point that all balls look a foot higher than they are. This seems perfectly reasonable.... if this were a flinstones cartoon.
   7. smileyy Posted: September 24, 2012 at 06:37 PM (#4244615)
I'm still not really getting why this is good for baseball.
   8. Steve Treder Posted: September 24, 2012 at 06:38 PM (#4244618)
I'm still not really getting why this is good for baseball.

Bad for the Dodgers = Good for baseball (and all the rest of the universe, for that matter)

Duh.
   9. dr. scott Posted: September 24, 2012 at 06:41 PM (#4244619)
Yea this is great for baseball, it proves that McCourt was right... uh... hmmm...

Yea.. im not sure i dislike the Dodgers enough to give McCourt any kind of credit. The dissonance is hurting my head.
   10. Bob T Posted: September 24, 2012 at 07:10 PM (#4244634)
Far be it from me to question the objectivity of the writer, but I will question the objectivity of the writer.

Kemp badly banged up his shoulder in the collision with the wall in Denver and it really messed up the mechanics of his swing. He has been hitting a little better, but not all that great.

Assuming that the injured Dodgers pitchers come back next year (Billingsley is the biggest question mark), the team should have a strong rotation. And presumably Adrian Gonzalez won't be infected with James Loney Disease, which apparently is vector-borne. The vector being first base at Dodger Stadium.
   11. tshipman Posted: September 24, 2012 at 07:18 PM (#4244637)
Yeah, as much as I'd love to say that this trade has been a definitive bust for the Dodgers, don't you have to see how they do next season?

If Gonzalez hits .250 with no power next year, then I think you can say it's a bust, but not based off of a few weeks.
   12. NTNgod Posted: September 24, 2012 at 07:24 PM (#4244640)
Far be it from me to question the objectivity of the writer, but I will question the objectivity of the writer.

Are you saying, good sir, that a reporter for a San Francisco publication might be biased against the Dodgers?
   13. Bob T Posted: September 24, 2012 at 07:28 PM (#4244641)
I would be more likely to think that the reporter was pandering more than writing.
   14. Bruce Markusen Posted: September 24, 2012 at 07:52 PM (#4244643)
Even with an injured Kemp, and that is a big factor, the Dodgers should be playing better than they have. A record of 10-and-16 is not acceptable with their talent level, especially having added Gonzalez, Ramirez, Victorino, and League.
   15. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: September 24, 2012 at 07:59 PM (#4244647)
I think there was a point during May/June where the collection of misfit toys (without Ethier and Kemp) were hitting better than the All-Star collection they have now. I think A.J. Ellis was batting cleanup.
   16. Bob T Posted: September 24, 2012 at 07:59 PM (#4244648)
Victorino has sported a 601 OPS since coming to LA or 67 OPS+ if you prefer. Right now his wrist is banged up so he's been out of the lineup. He has not been missed. The slump certainly hasn't been Brandon League's fault. He's been excellent out of the pen. He had some bad outings to start, but he's been very steady the past four weeks.

Ramirez had an 848 OPS from the time he was acquired through the end of August. He's been in the 600 neighborhood since. And he's been a very poor shortstop.

Regardless, the offense's failure has pretty much been a team effort. Ethier has been pretty good. Luis Cruz has had some timely hits so people will remember him fondly.

But, aside from that, Dodgers games have been very painful to watch. Even Sunday night's win was a slog.
   17. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: September 24, 2012 at 08:03 PM (#4244651)
Dodgers games have been very painful to watch


But great to listen to.
   18. Bob T Posted: September 24, 2012 at 08:05 PM (#4244652)
AJ Ellis hasn't cleanup all year. He's hit 8th most of the year, with rare forays into the 2 and 7 slots. He did bat 5th a few times.

Some of the other cleanup hitters for the Dodgers this year have been:
Jerry Hairston
Bobby Abreu
Scott Van Slyke
Juan Rivera
James Loney

June was the killer month for the Dodgers. They batted .212 and scored 83 runs in 28 games.
   19. Swoboda is freedom Posted: September 24, 2012 at 08:24 PM (#4244663)
SFBT: Dodgers’ Big Trade bust is good news for all of baseball



I thought it was another article on Jose Lima's wife.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: September 24, 2012 at 09:02 PM (#4244680)
It is a bit of an odd premise. First, the fact that the Red Sox collapsed and were pretty desperate to get rid of at least two of these guys already told us that money doesn't always buy performance. Of course we'd have to be pretty ignorant of recent baseball history to have not noticed that before. Secondly:

The Big Trade that the Dodgers pulled off Aug. 26 loaded that team with hot shot players Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford

ummm... everybody (even Ned Colletti!) knew that Crawford was out for the year so they knew they weren't loading the 2012 team with him. I'm also not sure anybody was really expecting Beckett to be load-bearing (?) but maybe they were. AGon has been an obvious disappointment. Still, hard to blame him for Kemp's collapse.

It's ceratinly fair to say that the Dodgers took some big gambles and so far they have lost big. And they're already committed to $181 M next year which is staggering unless they are just going to ignore the salary cap.

   21. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: September 24, 2012 at 09:24 PM (#4244699)
Victorino has sported a 601 OPS since coming to LA or 67 OPS+ if you prefer.

or a 200 QEQA.
   22. Darren Posted: September 24, 2012 at 10:46 PM (#4244747)
Boston was only really desperate to get rid of Crawford. Beckett, it appears, they were willing to trade but had not yet agreed to until the whole "we'll even take Crawford" plan came along. I wouldn't be shocked if Beckett is closer to the value of his contract than the other two. He's had decent peripherals this year.
   23. Greg Franklin Posted: September 24, 2012 at 11:26 PM (#4244770)
I would be more likely to think that the reporter was pandering more than writing.

As much as I enjoy watching the Dodgers crash and burn, I agree. This was not much of an analysis.

It's ceratinly fair to say that the Dodgers took some big gambles and so far they have lost big. And they're already committed to $181 M next year which is staggering unless they are just going to ignore the salary cap.

Do you buy the Jonah Keri argument that LA is going to do just that, given their huge investment in the club and the huge local TV contract to come?

To me, the "win now" was obvious hyperbole as applied to 2012, given that one of the big assets (Crawford) was out of action. No one but a total fanboy would say a comeback in the NL West was likely even with the trade, considering that there was only a little over a month for everyone to get hot.

The team could go one of two ways
- be the modern Yankees, who do compete every year on a high payroll with very clear-eyed roster moves and trades, giving everyone on the team a contributory role.
- be the early 1990s Yankees, who clogged their roster with random veteran dross a la Mel Hall, Andy Hawkins, Danny Tartabull, Steve Balboni, et al.

The "what to do with Juan Uribe" dilemma is in effect for this last part. Also, if Beckett shows no signs of a rebound in 2013, will they continue running him out there?
   24. Perro(s) Posted: September 24, 2012 at 11:34 PM (#4244776)
Small Sample Size
   25. Bhaakon Posted: September 25, 2012 at 01:06 AM (#4244839)
Do you buy the Jonah Keri argument that LA is going to do just that, given their huge investment in the club and the huge local TV contract to come?


It does make a lot of sense for them to make a show of investing in the team since they're on the cusp of a new TV contract, but there's a real chance that it's more by a tactic to drive that TV deal up than a long-term strategy to win ballgames by outspending everyone. I'm sure they'll continue to be among the league leaders in payroll, of course, but there's definitely a lot more financial justification in spending like the Yankees right now than there will be once that deal is set in stone.
   26. KT's Pot Arb Posted: September 25, 2012 at 01:19 AM (#4244845)
The traders a bust because Beckett's excellence has been unable to carry AGon's suckitude. And Crawford hasn't stepped up to take up the slack either.
   27. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 25, 2012 at 03:08 AM (#4244868)
No one but a total fanboy would say a comeback in the NL West was likely even with the trade, considering that there was only a little over a month for everyone to get hot.

Huh? The Dodgers were 3 games out when the trade was made, with 36 games left. I think they were still in control of a wild card spot. They were 12-9 in August to that point -- not on fire, but not cold either (that's a 93-win pace). Hanley was there, Kemp was back, Kershaw was healthy. The Giants were dealing with the loss of Melky. Surely a "comeback" was at least plausible in a non-fanboy sense.

I mean, unless you're defining "likely" as >50%, in which case... yeah, I guess.
   28. boteman digs the circuit clout Posted: September 25, 2012 at 08:16 AM (#4244917)
Ah, Hanley Ramirez has tired of his new environs? Well, get used to it. Just wait until he kicks a ball into left field and lollygags after it, that's when it gets surreal.
   29. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4245440)
QEQA

A Moby Dick reference!
   30. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: September 25, 2012 at 07:15 PM (#4245669)
Call me Ismael Valdez.
   31. Ray (RDP) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 08:40 PM (#4245720)
Why would this be good for baseball? The Dodgers made a bold move -- one I think was idiotic, but a bold move nonetheless. It hasn't worked out, but people often overestimate the impact of these deadline deals. Granted the Dodgers were getting two players instead of one. But why is it good for baseball that it failed?

Beckett has pitched fine, but the concern going forward is that Adrian Gonzalez didn't rebound, and is now confirmed to be having a mediocre year. They have potentially taken on a lot of dead weight here.
   32. Squash Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:49 PM (#4245772)
Do you buy the Jonah Keri argument that LA is going to do just that, given their huge investment in the club and the huge local TV contract to come?

I don't buy it. I imagine they'll spend big the next year or two, then when they calculate what the luxury tax bill is three or four years down the line they'll go "Holy ####!" and pull back. Like every other team in baseball.
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 10:07 PM (#4245787)
Why would this be good for baseball?

Because if the newly rich Dodgers are hamstrung by deadweight contracts, it helps competitive balance.

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