Friday, April 17, 2009

The Mustached GM

Rare is it that you will introduce me to a man with a mustache, and I will leave unimpressed. Unless he happens to be Los Angeles Dodgers GM Ned Colletti.

After checking out Rob Neyer's Friday Filberts, I noticed this wonderful gem about all of the young players the Dodgers have given up on during his time. And let's not forget trading super minor league catcher Carlos Santana for Casey Blake and his career .334 on base percentage.

This prompted me to ask Rob Neyer during his chat this question:

Radical Ryan, Arizona: You linked to a blog that posted Ned Coletti's (sp) history of trading young talent. Couple that with the signings of Andruw Jones, Jason Schmidt, Juan Pierre and to some extent Nomar Garciaparra, how does he have a job? Not only does he trade away good, young talent but he gives gobs of money to has-beens who can't even stay healthy!

And fortunately for me, Neyer selected this question first in his chat and posted a response:

Rob Neyer: Well, yes ... there's also that. At least he didn't have a bad winter, right? Though I suppose Randy Wolf could change that.

I'll get to his response in a second, but I originally meant to write about this topic during the offseason when the Dodgers were negotiating a contract and being "cheap" during the Manny B. Manny negotiations. Yes, the Dodgers were really negotiating against themselves and only themselves and from that perspective, they probably didn't have to offer him more than $15 million for a year. But considering that he makes them slight favorites in the NL West, a shot at the playoffs makes him worth the extra money. And as said, it's not like the Dodgers are going to drop ticket and parking prices, so Dodger shouldn't care about how much Manny makes so long as it is a short-term contract. And it was.

While Dodgers owner Frank McCourt was penny pinching (relatively speaking), perhaps he wouldn't have had to worry about saving dollars if Ned Colletti didn't give tons of money to Andruw Jones, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Schmidt, Juan Pierre and Randy Wolf.

I'll address Jones, Pierre, Garciaparra and Schmidt based on last year's productioon. Randy Wolf hasn't had a full season with the Dodgers for me to bash.

Andruw Jones made just under $15 million to play 75 games. Of course, during those 75 games, he had this nice line: .158/.256/.249. An OPS+ of 34. Jones got this contract on the heels of his previous season with the Braves where he got on base 31.1% of the time and carried an 88 OPS+ warranted a big money contract.

Juan Pierre made $8 million last year to OPS+ 73 last year. Yes, he's speedy, but when he gets on base 32.7% of the time, his speediness is mostly used running back to the dug out. Pierre got on base 33% and 32.6% during the previous two seasons before signing the big money contract. And now Pierre is really just a pinch runner on a team that has a nice outfield of Manny B. Manny, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp. Yes, I am surprised that Colletti hasn't traded Ethier for Jim Edmonds and Matt Kemp for Luis Gonzalez.

Wait, Colletti gave Luis Gonzalez more than $7 million in 2007 to play league average baseball. But hey, he was under 40 years old when Colletti signed him!

Nomar Garciaparra made $9.5 million last year to play 55 games. In 121 games in 2007, Garciaparra posted a 78 OPS+ and got on base a stellar 32.8% of the time. He did get a solid 2006 season out of him, but signing an injury-riddled Garciaparra to a three year deal paying him $9.5 million in the third deal is not good business. In his previous two years, he played 62 and 81 games. But hey, he was awesome from 1997-2000!

Jason Schmidt has made more than $30 million for 25.2 innings over two years. Enough said.

All of those bad contracts, and they took so long to lock up Manny B. Manny. Just sayin. Keep in mind, I didn't even mention the $7.5 million paid to Esteban Loaiza last year.

As for Neyer's question, the Dodgers did have an okay offseason. Signing Casey Blake, who turns 36 this year, to a three year $17.5 million contract is eerily similar to past signings of Kent and Nomah. Orlando Hudson is a nice pick-up. Rafael Furcal is nice, but at three years and $30 million, it seems like they overpaid for a guy that played 36 games for them last year. And of course, Randy Wolf. Sure, he had a nice half season with the Houston Astros last year, but in what year since 2004 has he shown he's even a league average pitcher who can stay healthy? Perhaps, Colletti liked him so much from the one year he spent with the Dodgers in 2007 where he pitched 102.2 innings and posted a 97 ERA+. By the way, Wolf's contract that year? $7,477,969

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