Sometimes I Don’t Know What We’d Do Without

On Friday on, columnist Mark Kriegel posted an article titled, “Dodgers a big letdown this winter“. It is, of course, garbage, but I couldn’t shake the fact that I’d heard the name “Mark Kriegel” before, even though I don’t ever recall reading his articles over there. After a quick search, I realized why – I’d actually discussed a Kriegel article here in July, but it was so awful that I think my brain actually had blocked it out to protect me from the trauma. I won’t repost the picture from that post over here because it’s so horrible, but this is what I said at the time in response to Kriegel’s assertion that the 2008 season was boring with the pleasant turnarounds of Josh Hamilton and Milton Bradley as compared to the pure Boras/Rumsfeld-level evil of Barry Bonds:

Mark Kriegel is bored that Josh Hamilton has turned his life around to be an inspiration for thousands. Mark Kriegel can barely keep his eyes awake now that Milton Bradley is only hitting fastballs and not teammates. Tampa Bay leading the AL East after 10 years of crapitude? Snooooze. No, Mark Kriegel wants a villain. So basically, he’d be better off watching Batman movies rather than paying attention to what’s shaping up to be a very interesting MLB season.

And not only does Kriegel want Bonds back… he wants him on the Dodgers.

KriegelMark.jpgJesus. No wonder I blocked that out of my memory. Thanks, brain! You’ve earned a one-day respite from me trying to stab you with a Q-tip.

Anyway, back to his current debacle. Here’s the funny part – clearly, we agree with his general assertion that Frank McCourt is either cheap, poor, or both; it’s just that the examples Kriegel uses to back up his argument are laughable. Yet, this guy gets to be a nationally syndicated columnist. Isn’t life fair?

After talking about how the Yankees, Mets, and Red Sox are all big players (although the Red Sox example is bogus, as they’ve signed exactly no one, while the Dodgers have signed both Casey Blake and Rafael Furcal to multi-year deals), Kriegel complains that the Dodgers haven’t done anything with the money that’s come off their books, ending with…

Still, to this point, the Dodgers’ big offseason move has been re-signing Rafael Furcal. The shortstop’s salary will be about $3 million less than he had been making. You wonder what the Dodgers are saving for.

Is he saying that signing Furcal for less money per year is somehow a bad thing? There’s plenty of people who still think he got too much based on his injury history, but still – signing him for less per year than he’d been making is great news. Should the Dodgers have thrown more money at him just because they could? That… makes complete business sense.

Oh, and what they’re saving for: Manny or another OF bat, a starting pitcher (maybe two), and a reliever. There you go.

Forget about bidding on Teixeira. The Dodgers were never in the game. More curiously, they were never in the game for CC Sabathia, either. Not only was Sabathia the best starter on the market, he made it very clear he wanted to play in California.

Mark Teixeria’s a great player, but first base was also the only set position for the Dodgers infield coming into the offseason. With so many other questions, it’s pointless to spend $180 million on a position you have a talented young (and cheap) option at.

As for Sabathia, Mark, you may have noticed that he signed with the Yankees for $161 million and his own key to the Empire State Building. That is, lousy economy be damned – the Yankees live on another plane of reality in which they were not going to be outspent. I would have liked Sabathia too, but there was no way LA was going to be able to outbid the Yankees – and as talented as he is, I can’t really say I’m crushed to not be giving such a large contract to a pitcher.

They offered Manny Ramirez — who carried a previously boring and underachieving team into the NLCS — two years at $45 million. If that’s an obscene amount for someone to hit a baseball, it’s a lot less offensive than what some of these Wall Street bums and hedge fund types were getting in bonuses. More than that, though, it was an offer Ramirez and Boras were sure to reject.

“Underachieving”, well, yeah probably. “Boring”? Only if you’re bored by baseball in general. Which is almost exactly what we deduced from the last Kriegel article, so I’d say that says more about him than the Dodgers.

Here’s the thing about that 2/45m offer, however. I agree that there was no way that Manny was going to take it at the time, but it represented a pretty good starting point. No one accepts the first offer, so you put an offer on the table with a little wiggle room so that you can have a base from which to haggle from. Now, because trusting Scott Boras is a little bit like playing poker with Benedict Arnold and Adolf Hitler and not worrying if they’re cheating, he blew off the offer entirely and didn’t respond. But Mark, you may have noticed – so far, this is the only documented offer Manny’s recieved. In fact, while you’re so busy making fun of the Dodgers for offering 2/45m, Buster Olney – a writer that baseball people actually respect - was saying this:

If and when the Dodgers re-engage with Ramirez’s representative in serious talks about a two-year deal, L.A. would consider a downward adjustment from their original offer of $45 million, because that shift would represent a truer reflection of the current market.

Do you see that? He’s saying Manny might not even get that much now. I don’t know that I agree, but I do know that it’s insane for the Dodgers to start bidding against themselves – which it appears is your goal.

Kriegel then turns towards attacking Jamie McCourt’s ridiculous comments (which, did you get her comments delivered by Pony Express? This was weeks ago.) before saying that the Dodgers shouldn’t be cheap.

The point is this, Mark. Of course we don’t want the Dodgers to act like a small-market team. Of course. But we also don’t want to spend money for the sake of spending money. So why should the Dodgers increase offers that just don’t need increasing?

(No, I don’t know if that’s the actual Mark Kriegel’s yearbook picture. I sure hope so. But it’s funny all the same.)