by Adam Goudchaux, Contributing Writer and Loyal Dodgers Fan
Yeah I said it. The Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group are resorting to Steinbrenner-like tactics to get what they want…yesterday. I’m not sure there is a precedent for this in the history of the game. A team, that one year prior had a shyster owner who nickel and dimed his way to two league championships in a row using spit, popsicle sticks and a juiced Manny to concoct something that resembled a winning baseball team. The next year: Monopoly Guy, Daddy Warbucks and Richie Rich apparently flew into town with their fancy pants East Coast money and decided to pillage three East Coast teams of their talent in the process.
In case you’re not keeping score the Dodgers have acquired Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, Randy Choate, Brandon League, Nick Punto, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford in the span of just over a month. A shopping spree that would put even the most ardent billionaire socialite to shame. They have pulled off the biggest blockbuster trade in MLB history for the month of August. Actually, in terms of dollars and sense it’s the biggest trade in MLB history period. The sense part of that scenario remains a question mark. A big fat stinkin’ question mark.
According to my calculations the Dodgers have added a total of $291 million in salary to their already growing payroll which included $19 million, $85 million, $160 million to Clayton Kershaw, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp respectively. And that’s not taking into account the amount of money it will cost them to lock up Kershaw long-term. Many experts are speculating the Kershaw deal will be the biggest contract shelled out to a pitcher in MLB history. We’re looking at disgusting amounts of dollars that will put the Dodgers at the top of the salary heap and open them up to all kinds of schadenfreude-ites who would love nothing more than to prove that high payroll doesn’t equate to high winning percentage.
So how have the Dodgers fared since the insertion of two Phils, two Marlins, one Mariner and three Red Sox into their already ever shifting cast of characters that has featured over 100 different lineup cards filled out by Don Mattingly in 128 games played?
Since the Hanley, Blanton and Victorino acquisitions the Dodgers are 16-14. Sound impressive? Two games above .500? Really? That’s it?
The first round of acquisitions:
HANLEY RAMIREZ – aka hot corner help: 30 games played: .286, 6 HR, (a whopping) 31 RBI, with 34 hits. Pretty studly.
SHANE VICTORINO – aka leadoff spot help: .255, 1 HR, 7 RBI, 5 SB, .307 on-base percentage?? Not so studly.
JOE BLANTON – aka starting pitcher help: 0-3, 21 IP, 7.71 ERA. Complete fucking disaster. We would’ve been better off with a pitching machine.
RANDY CHOATE and BRANDON LEAGUE – aka bullpen help: 3.86 and 6.75 ERA respectively. Not good.
All of the above, with the exception of Hanley, have been busts.
The second round of acquisitions:
Too early to tell but…
ADRIAN GONZALEZ – aka first base help: 2 games played, 9 AB, 1 HR, 4 RBI, .333 BA. Great start for the center piece of a deal.
Nevertheless, I believe the Boston Red Sox will be making out like bandits. The Dodgers came in and absolved them of all their sins. It’s as if their terrible contracts never existed.
CARL CRAWFORD and JOSH BECKETT are huge reckless gambles.
Crawford, recovering from Tommy John surgery may never be the same player he was from 2004-2010 and he is owed $124 million through 2017. WTF? Hey Dodgers? What are you going to do with this albatross if he doesn’t produce? Oh oh…I know…stick to the fans. Raise prices on everything. I mean you DO want to MAKE money right?
Josh Beckett. Fried chicken, beer in the clubhouse during games and “What I do on my off day is my business” Josh Beckett is having the worst year of his career. 5-11 with a 5.23 ERA. He’s rumored to be out of shape and just not that interested in throwing strikes anymore. I will give you the proverbial cliché: “Maybe he just needs a change of scenery.” That’s a big maybe. Oh and he’s owed upwards of 34 million over the next two years.
Anything less than the Dodgers making the playoffs and Beckett pitching like he did in the 2003 and 2006 post-seasons will make this deal a bust.
I’m all for an open checkbook and throwing money around to win, but I hope there is some kind of logic in place with these moves. I don’t want to be the Washington Redskins of MLB. I don’t want to throw money at bad contracts just to make it look like something is being done. And as a fan, just on a purely human level, I feel no allegiance to these guys marching into the clubhouse to supposedly save the day. I still will always love my homegrown guys, Kershaw, Kemp and Ethier, more than these guys.
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Though I can see Gonzalez fitting in with ease. A guy that was made to wear Dodger blue. So-Cal born with Mexican-American roots. A proven top five first baseman in this league going on 7 years.
I will never ever fall for Shane Victorino. I don’t care what he does. He’s a douche and a Dodger killer. 2008 and 2009 post-seasons, not to mention countless regular season games, he’s destroyed us. Up until a week ago he still had a profile pic on his twitter page featuring his wife and kids wearing Phillies gear. Meh.
The most important aspect of all of this moving and shaking is that the Giants; they’re still in first place. 2 game lead. They aren’t going anywhere. They’re resilient. Melky drug suspension or not. They have the pitching, they have the scrappiness, they have the heart. And their heart is organic, homegrown, not bought and sold in a market of mercenaries with questionable allegiances.
The new Dodger ownership is making a splash alright, but is it a belly flop?
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