Consider this: one of the two longest-tenured Dodgers, one of the only two who’ve been with the team continuously since 2005, enters the game in the 8th inning. He fires an absolutely dominant 8th inning, getting three outs on only seven pitches.
He comes back out in the 9th, trying to nail down a two-run lead for the save. But the first two batters hit seeing-eye singles to just the right places, putting two on. A wild pitch moves both runners into scoring position, and things get worrisome. James Loney makes a nice play to grab a foul out, but then he walks Brooks Conrad to load the bases.
At this point, Joe Torre can take no more, and he comes out to rescue the All-Star. Octavio Dotel offers no relief, however, by allowing all three runners to score on a walk and a walkoff single. Of course, it’s Octavio Dotel, so you sort of expect these things from him, and he didn’t create this situation in the first place: the longtime Dodger reliever did.
We’re talking about Hong-Chih Kuo, of course. But if all this had happened to Jonathan Broxton, you’d be hearing an unbelievably epic shitstorm all over the internet about how people have looked deep into his soul, and determined that he’s just “not a winner”, “doesn’t have what it takes to closer”, and “is a loser.” Anyone want to make the same claim about Kuo? Guess what. Shit happens, especially in the 9th inning, and none of us are psychatrists. I’m not defending Broxton’s recent slump, because he’s been awful, but let’s not pretend it’s anything more than a wild pitcher and the ups-and-downs of baseball. It can happen to Broxton, it can happen to Kuo, and it sure as hell can happen to Dotel.
I don’t want to say this every day, but now it’s time to shop veterans, right?
Hey, how’s that Dotel for James McDonald (20/4 K/BB in 17.2 Pirate innings) and Andrew Lambo (.904 OPS in 61 minor league Pirate plate appearances) deal looking now? Oh, that’s right. Just as bad as it did from the moment it was made.
Let’s not forget Chad Billingsley, who was outstanding. He went seven innings, allowing just one run and one walk while striking out eight. Most impressive, he struck out the side in the fifth inning after allowing a leadoff baserunner. But hey, he doesn’t have any heart either, right?
Reason number 1,213,127 that wins are stupid: Billingsley left the game after seven innings with the game tied 1-1. He no longer had any impact on the game from the second he was pinch-hit for by Reed Johnson to start the 8th. He could have left the stadium, and it wouldn’t have mattered. But because Brooks Conrad gifted the Dodgers with two errors, and Billingsley was still “the pitcher of record”, he gets the win. It works both ways, folks, but neither way matters. That’s a large part of why I didn’t bother to use wins in my chart about Clayton Kershaw from earlier today.
I wanted to wait on this post, because all indications are that the Dodgers have an increasingly good chance to sign Zach Lee before 9pm PST tonight. But at this point, I’m just deflated. I’ll update this here once the deadline passes.
UPDATE: LSU insiders are claiming Lee has signed, more to come.
UPDATE 2: Confirmed by LSU…
LSU coach Les Miles confirmed late Monday night that freshman quarterback Zach Lee signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Details of the contract were not immediately available.
“This was a very personal decision for Zach and his family,” Miles said. “This opportunity was just too difficult to pass up. We wish Zach and his family the very best. He’s an outstanding young man and we hope he develops into a great Major League pitcher.”
Lee was the 28th overall pick in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft over the summer.
WOW. Did not think there was any prayer of this happening. Kudos, once again, to Logan White. And even a little for the McCourts – they still suck, but this goes a long way towards helping credibility.
UPDATE 3: Ken Gurnick says it’s $5.25m. Holy hell. This is kind of a game-changer.