Quake Strikes Los Angeles: Report From the Epicenter
I'm torn about Beltre. He had a career year that far surpassed anything he'd ever done before. He also seemed to me to have bulked up a lot over the last couple of years. I don't think he's quite worth what Seattle paid. OTOH, as Jon at D.T. says,
"Looking back, you are now 48 home runs, an OPS over 1.000, and Gold Glove-caliber defense shy of winning a division, even before you factor in the Dodgers’ other post-October personnel losses. Whether or not you thought Beltre would repeat this season’s production, you have to find some approximation of it somewhere."
Now the question is who's to blame. Is Doogie DePodesta really the worst GM ever, or is he hamstrung by the fact that Frank McCourt's fortune seems to be mostly Monopoly money?
The only good move DePodesta has made since becoming GM was getting Steve Finley. (Most of the deals that created last year's club, like the trade for Jeff Weaver, were done by DePodesta's predecessor, Dan Evans.) On the negative side, he:
• Dispatched an all-star catcher (Lo Duca), his second-best reliever (Mota), and a spare outfielder (Encarnacion) to Florida for an injured pitcher (Penny) and a first baseman (Choi) who hit .161 after coming over. Add Choi's numbers to those of the catchers who replaced Lo Duca in the line up (Ross, .170, 15 RBI, and Mayne, .188, 5 RBI, no extra base hits after coming over), and it's a damned good thing Finley was as good as he was.
• Allegedly got outmaneuvered by Arizona and Colorado on the deal that was to bring both Randy Johnson and Charles Johnson to the Dodgers. He did acquire Finley, but it turned out he didn't need to get rid of Lo Duca, et al., to do it. Finley was sort of the "Thank you for playing" parting gift.
• Even though Finley had pretty much replaced LoDuca as the team leader, DePodesta didn't even bother to make him an offer, so Finley now plays for the Angels.
• Also kicked another team leader, Jose Lima out the door, along with Jose Hernandez, despite the huge contributions they made. Lima especially galls, because the starting rotation is in shambles. Well, the plan was to acquire Tim Hudson, so that might've offset Lima leaving.
• Apparently offered Beltre, his best player, $30M less than the Mariners. Adios, Adrian. Vaya con dios.
• Failed to complete the rumored deal for Tim Hudson, who is now pitching for the Braves.
• He did sign Jeff Kent, who is a pretty good player. Now we just have to hope that Kent's first name really turns out to be Clark, because that's probably the only way the Dodgers will be making the playoffs next season...
The current rumor is that Shawn Green (another team leader) is going to be sent packing to Arizona as part of a three way deal that will send Randy Johnson to the Yankees. The Dodgers would end up with Javier Vasquez. Javier Vasquez??!? The Javier Vasquez??? Yes he's a starter, but he fell apart badly as the season progressed last year (2-4, 6.75 ERA in August and September). Penny and Brazoban have also been rumored to be part of the deal, so DePodesta wouldn't actually be adding a starting pitcher, but replacing one suspect for another. And losing his setup man and the only guy left on the team who can hit in the bargain. Okay, Milton Bradley is still with the team, but the way things are going, I suspect anger management classes are going to turn him into a fluffy bunny at the plate.
The thing is, virtually all of these moves end up with the Dodgers having a much smaller payroll, so one has to wonder about McCourt's ability to finance this team. Remember, we're not talking about the Kansas City Royals here. We're talking about the number one team in the second largest market in the US. The Dodgers were second in attendance in MLB last year. I suspect that's gonna drop some this year.
Maybe they can get Robin Ventura to reconsider his retirement. He can play third...