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In God we trust. Everybody else needs data. - Rick Peterson

Friday, November 05, 2004

 

Is this a great country, or what??

The fired manager of a 99-loss team gets hired to turn things around for a 111-loss team. Only in the good old U.S. of A.!

Could a D'Backs trade for Willie Bloomquist now be in the works?

 

Dodgers also interested in Radke

Dodgers Have an Interest in Radke

Thanks to Rob at 6-4-2 blog for the link to this LA Times article.

Added note: I forgot that that LA Times requires soul-sucking registration. Thanks to Grant's note for mentioning that. The gist of the article is simply that DePodesta has apparently contacted Radke's agent. Also, although the Angels are also looking for starting pitching, they have not yet contacted Radke's agent.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

 

The Dodgers: 120 Years of Dodger Baseball, an Excerpt for Years 1967-1976

Over at Dodger Thoughts, Jon Weisman posted an excerpt from The Dodgers: 120 Years of Dodger Baseball by Glenn Stout and Richard A. Johnson. Jon's excerpt is the entire Chapter 14, covering the years 1967-1976.

It's an interesting read, with intriguing parallels between the Dodgers of the late 1960's and the current Mariners situation. And for both teams, the manager was named Bavasi. If you believe that one of Bill Bavasi's assets is growing up in the Bavasi household, then you should be interested to see how Bavasi pere did (or didn't) deal with the aging, punchless. PR-conscious Dodgers teams post-Koufax.

Here's an excerpt of Jon's excerpt:
And that was it. The Dodgers – the LA Dodgers - the team that had used pitching, speed and defense to win three world championships - were finished, just like that. The farm system, apart from pitching prospects, was barren. The Dodgers had been blind to their weaknesses, convinced they could always win with pitching, that hitting didn’t matter. They stocked up on arms and let the offense take care of itself. But when they traded Wills they lost any chance they had to remain respectable.

Bavasi was finished making deals. The Dodgers didn’t even try to add a veteran starter to replace Koufax. Bob Miller started on Opening Day and lost to the Reds, 6-1. It wasn’t long before the press began referring to the pitcher as “Bomb” Miller. Rookie Bill Singer soon took over for him in the rotation.

The Dodgers still had pitching, but even according to their low standards they couldn’t hit, scoring nearly 100 runs less than in 1966, averaging barely three runs a game. In Don Drysdale’s sixteen losses, the Dodgers scored a total of fifteen runs. Gene Michael hit .202 and couldn’t field either. Bailey hit .227. Lou Johnson broke his leg.

Wills hit .302 for Pittsburgh. Only the Astros and Mets kept the Dodgers out of last place. They finished 73-89. More significantly attendance at Dodger Stadium dropped by a million fans, down to only1.6 million, less than the pennant-winning Cardinals and Red Sox, the first time since moving from Brooklyn that the Dodgers hadn’t led the majors in that category.

Some experiment. And it didn’t not appear as if 1968 would bring any improvement. It was obvious the Dodgers missed Wills and needed offense, so in the offseason Bavasi made a trade he thought would make up for it, sending Roseboro, Ron Perranoski and Bob Miller to the Twins for Zoilo Versalles and Mudcat Grant.

It would have been an interesting trade two years earlier. Now it was simply a swap of fading veterans.

It soon became clear why Bavasi had never made many trades – he didn’t know how. He dealt for names, not talent. Lou Johnson was sent to the Cubs for Paul Popovich, an infielder with no pop whatsoever. He bought former slugger Rocky Colavito from the White Sox and sent Hunt to the Giants for catcher Tom Haller.

All it did was a shuffle the deck – badly. Versalles was terrible and hit .196, Colavito was almost as bad. Haller helped, but Popovich was dismal.

 

Links Update

I updated links in the right sidebar. I removed cobweblogs, and added a few active blogs that I should have added before.

 

Dodgers Likely to Whiff on Resigning Beltre

Adrain Beltre is one of the free agents the Mariners are likely to pursue. At various fans sites I've seen comments questioning whether the Mariners will be able to compete with the Dodgers for Beltre, the premise being that the Dodger's are a big market team that can easily resign him. While the Dodgers are a team that operates in a big market, the Dodgers' capitalization is a financial house of cards that looks more like a penny mining stock listed on the Vancouver Stock Exchange than the finances of a Major League Baseball team.

McCourt borrowed $225 million of of the $430 million purchase price for the team. At least $145 million of that is due in two years. These loans are backed by personal assets that are the basis of McCourt's non-baseball business interests. Until these loans are taken care of, the Dodgers are a team with small market finances. The Dodgers are more likely to pursue Glaus than Beltre.

The late and greatly lamented Doug Pappas posted a summary of McCourt's purchase at his Business of Baseball weblog (which I used as the source for this post). Doug also provided this link to a pdf file that is a memo from Selig's office describing details of the McCourt's purchase.

 

Bucky Jacobsen note

From today's Kitsap Sun:
It got so bad this year that he could barely push off his back leg when he swung the bat. An exam revealed the cartilage damage and he had surgery on Sept. 16.

After six weeks on crutches, doctors cleared Jacobsen on Monday to put all his weight on his right leg and continue building strength in it.

"I'm not at full speed, but I'm at ahead of schedule," he said. "The best part is that it feels good."

And when Jacobsen feels good, he figures he will play good.

"If I impressed them with a bum knee," he said, "then I can't wait until next year."
If Bucky's knee was limiting him during his callup last season, it will be interesting to see what he can do this season.

 

Finnigan's Wake

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Mariners have expressed strong interest in Brad Radke. The PP also indicates that a deal for Radke is likely to be at least two years and $15 million, or $8.5 million per year if the second year is not backloaded.

A contract such as that would use up most of the $13 million that Seattle Times writer Bob Finnigan claims the Mariners have available for free agents. With Finnigan's assumptions, Radke would be the key Mariners move this seaon if the Mariners signed him. How does that grab you??

Personally, I can't see the Mariners being that limited this offseason. Mariners ownership has publicly said they are going to fund player acquitions this year with reserves accumulated from previous years. Finnigan's story most likely is simply ownership setting a low threshold for them to use when they tell us how they dug into their own pockets to try to rebuild the team.

Monday, November 01, 2004

 

Mariners decline option on Guardado

As expected, the Mariners declined their $6 million option on Eddie Guardado for next year. Guardado is now free to sign with another team if he wishes, or he can exercise his option to the return the Mariners for $4 million, his salary last year.

If there is another team out there willing to pay more than $4 million for Guardado, they can probably pick him up. Given the Yankees bullpen weakness this year, might Steinbrenner make a preemptive offer?

 

Keep Your Thinking Caps On, Please

Grazing through all of the sites speculating about Mariner moves this off-season, I have two principal reactions:
  1. Many fans are focusing too heavily on the free agent market. The Mariners have money to spend, and money is at least as valuable in trades as in the free agent market.

    I expect that the Mariners will make a strong and early push for the free agents they most want. If the Mariners are not successful with their primary free agent targets, I expect they will next move to the trade market instead of going after the free agents in which they have less interest.

    I encourage readers to also think about players on other teams that might fill the Mariners needs, especially where the Mariners can parlay their ability to assume salary. And if you want to think rationally about trades, be sure to include in the trade players that it will hurt to lose. For another team to trade a front-line player, they must also get back decent value, as well as shedding salary. Remember that the other team still needs to sell tickets, and to do so it still needs to sell hope to its fans.

  2. Where there are fans discussing trades, we are seeing the usual abundance of postings where fans seem to think that other teams will trade their jewels for our junk. If a Mariners player is marginally productive or is overpaid, every other team in baseball will likely view him the same way. That means the only players other teams are willing to offer in return would be similar marginal and overpaid players.

    And when a team packages those marginally productive or overpaid players with other players of value (such as prospects) tbe team gets less in return.

    This means that:
    • Bret Boone has negative trade value unless the Mariners are willing to assume salary

    • As long as Gil Meche qualifies for arbitration, he has no trade value.

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