I Guess I’ve Got No Choice

Sweet merciful crap! The rumors! My god, the rumors. You know, usually I look forward to this time of year so much, because what’s more fun than the Hot Stove League? Wondering what big name will don the Dodger blue for the first time, trying to figure out how all the puzzle pieces will fit together for the next year. It’s wonderful.

Until the 400th time you hear some two-bit reporter come up with a non-sourced rumor that only benefits his hometown team and somehow gains legs, that is. I’ve heard some people complain that the Dodgers have somehow been dragging their feet in not making any moves yet, but I just don’t see it. We all know that the big-time free agents always wait as long as possible before signing, and other than that the only moves have really been the Giants signing Jeremy Affeldt and the Marlins making a few salary dumps.

Anyway, things have really been coming to a head the last few days, despite the fact that we all know nothing is going to happen until at least the December 1 arbitration deadline and likely not until the December 8 winter meetings, so I figure it’s time to check into some of these.

* Good god, Jack Wilson again? Via MLBtraderumors, FOXsports.com’s Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Dodgers are interested in trading for Pirates SS Jack Wilson, but that the price (Chin-Lung Hu, Delwyn Young, and a third player) was deemed too high. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard Wilson rumors floating around, and at least this is a little more palatable than when we’d heard Matt Kemp was involved over the summer. But come on, three players for Jack Wilson? He’s known to be a good defender and a below-average bat. Which sounds like, oh, I don’t know… Chin-Lung Hu? I don’t think that Hu’s going to get a shot to be the Opening Day shortstop, but if we’re going to have a good field/no hit guy there, I think I’d rather the guy who’s not getting paid $7.25 million in 2009, is especially atrocious in Dodger Stadium (.558 OPS), and is costing several young players to acquire. At least Hu’s got some upside. PASS.

* Wait, Andy Pettitte? Also from Ken Rosenthal, Andy Pettitte has apparently spoken with Joe Torre about a reunion in Los Angeles. If true, this is a tough call. On one hand, he’ll be 37 next year, is coming off the worst year of his career (plus a 5.35 ERA in the second half) and after having made $16 million in each of the last three years, is unlikely to want to take much of a pay cut. On the other hand… actually, I don’t think there is another hand. I wouldn’t mind giving him a shot at a more reasonable price, but if he wants $16 million or anything close to it? I’d rather have Eric Stults. Somehow I feel Torre would disagree with me. PASS.

* Okay, Ken, I see you, you can stop making a scene. Clearly just trying to get my attention, Rosenthal seems to have the Dodgers in on just about everyone, so let’s finish with him right here. He’s also suggesting that the Dodgers A) should sign Trevor Hoffman and B) could be interested in acquiring Mike Lowell. Though I disagree that Jonathan Broxton needs to be “protected” or somehow can’t be trusted, I’m not against signing Hoffman at the right price. He might be 41, but he still bested his career WHIP last year. If the price is right? Why not. As for Lowell, he’s 35, injured, and owed $25 million. Just because he’s old, busted, expensive and a Red Sox doesn’t mean that he has to end up with the Dodgers. Oh… right. Of course it does. OKAY and PASS.

* I agree with T.J. Simers?! I hate it when this happens, but at least this time it’s just joining together to acknowledge that Bill Plaschke is awful.

I GO away and Plaschke immediately makes the case again not to bring back Manny Ramirez, while suggesting the Dodgers trade for Jake Peavy, Adrian Beltre and “count on the kids.”

Sounds like I’m not the only one in need of some time off.

* Come on Giants! I know the “Edgar Renteria signs with Giants” rumors were proven false (so far), but a man can still have a rooting interest. What could be better than your hated rival, supposedly in a rebuilding stage, committing $18 million and a draft pick to sign an over-the-hill shortstop? Renteria to the Giants! Feel the holiday spirit – if you believe in it hard enough, it can happen!

* And those other guys? Right, CC, Manny, and Furcal. Look, I think we all know the deal with these three. CC’s got an enormous offer on the table from the Yankees, but hasn’t accepted it yet. Manny got an expensive but short-term offer from the Dodgers, which was quickly rejected while Scott Boras tries to get someone to literally sign their souls over to him. Furcal… well, don’t keep your hopes up. By the time you read this, he might have signed with the Giants or A’s, but more likely he’s not going anywhere for a few weeks. Unfortunately, it does seem that where he does end up, it won’t be in Los Angeles – not when he’s (apparently) receiving four year offers. After all the injuries we watched him suffer through in his three year deal, don’t expect the Dodgers to beat that this time.

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

Enjoy the Off Day

Because on Friday, if my calculations are correct – you’re going to see some serious shit.

We’ll look ahead at the big series against Arizona on Friday, but for now, let’s bask in the warm glowing warmth of a three-game sweep against Adrian Gonzalez, Jake Peavy, and 23 other guys who snuck into the clubhouse to steal San Diego uniforms. Just 1.5 games out of the lead, folks.

* Do we really have to stop making fun of Angel Berroa? Just as Nomar went into a 3-28 death spiral, Berroa took advantage and stepped up. In 10 games (8 starts) over the last two weeks, Berroa’s put up a .345/.424/.517 line. That’s… and I can’t believe I’m even saying this… good. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way on the bandwagon. He’s still got a 61 OPS+ on the season. But hey, credit where credit is due. Even better, he’s been entertaining. First you’ve got the grounder getting lost in his shirt on Tuesday night, and then last night you’ve got a fantastic post-game interview where he has Manny be his translator and, well, watch for yourself. (Hat-tip to LarryBrownSports for the video).

 [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--0Pt4qt80A]

That’s right, Manny’s serving as Berroa’s translator… until Berroa blows the whole charade by speaking English.

* Speaking of Manny, he won the National League Most Valuable Player award for the month of August, thanks to his completely insane line of .415/.508/.736. That’s a 1.244 OPS, folks. It’s too bad he’s been slacking so far in the first few games of September by only posting a 1.131 OPS. Shape up, Manny!

* Another trade rumor regarding the depleted middle infield: Via MLBtraderumors, we see that Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times has a mention of the Dodgers’ interest in Tadahito Iguchi. No, really, that’s basically all the information he has:

The Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies have expressed interest in second baseman Tadahito Iguchi, according to his agent, Rocky Hall. Iguchi was released by the San Diego Padres this week.

Since September 1st has passed, Iguchi wouldn’t even be elgible for the playoffs should that become a consideration, but I still say: pass. He was pretty terrible in San Diego this year (64 OPS+) before being cut, and Blake DeWitt’s starting to show signs of life with two homers in the last few days. Plus, you’ve still got Chin-Lung Hu sitting on the bench and all indications are that Jeff Kent will be back in another two weeks or so. I don’t see the need here.

* If you’re a regular reader, you know how much we love the guys at FireJoeMorgan around here, especially when we’re completely ripping them off to bag on guys like Ken Rosenthal and Tracy Ringolsby. But you’ll also have noticed that we very rarely do that to T.J. Simers, because it’s well-known that he’s a total clown – and a clown who’s not even all that funny, at that. So when Simers came up with this “Ned Colletti is baseball’s best GM” piece, I barely even gave it a second look, because it seemed so obvious that it was just a (completely unfunny) way to take backhanded swipes at Colletti. But it seems that FJM took it seriously (although they admittedly mention more than once that they’re unsure, but they did go through with it in the end). T.J. Simers should never be taken seriously. If I were in a room with him and he yelled “fire!” I’d ask him what his real ulterior motive was before I took a step.

* Finally, this is neither here nor there, but I couldn’t help but chuckle when I read it on Baseball Prospectus:

Left-hander Mark Hendrickson won’t be back with the Marlins next season, but he has significantly increased his free-agent stock by showing he can pitch effectively out of the bullpen since being dropped from the rotation.

Hmm… this sounds familiar somehow. Yet, I can’t place it. Oh! That’s right. It’s because I said the exact same thing on December 15th of last year:

Yet I still want to pay Mark Hendrickson millions to be an employee of the Los Angeles Dodgers. You know why? Because even though he’s a terrible, terrible starting pitcher… he’s a surprisingly effective relief pitcher.

As long as we never, ever, even in case of emergency, allow him to start again, that’s a lot of value there. He seems like a fantastic long reliever, who can give you 2-3 effective innings when your starter can’t make it past 5, and behind a pen that’s so fantastic in the late innings with Saito/Broxton/Beimel, that’s a pretty nice chip to have.

But that’s not even the most entertaining thing from the BP article, and to be fair, this is from an unnamed major league scout, not from the BP staff:

Dodgers outfielder Juan Pierre: “I know he doesn’t draw walks and he’s a low on-base percentage guy, but he is an energy guy. I just think the Dodgers miss him not being on the field. They lack that spark he provides.”

Priority number one of the offseason: find out what club this guy scouts for! Sounds like a good trading partner to me.

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

Stop. Collaborate, and Listen.

The flurry of stories in today’s newspapers bring two major things I have to touch upon:

* Torre’s use of the bullpen yesterday. You may have noticed that I had, oh, a few issues with Torre’s moves yesterday. Mainly, I excoriated him for bringing in Falkenborg in the 6th and Johnson in the 11th. I stand by everything I said about Falkenborg; clearly, Wade, Beimel, and Park were all still available, and they all should have been used before Falkenborg.

As for Johnson, I strongly felt that it was ridiculous that he was used while Kuo and Broxton sat. Dylan Hernandez at the LA Times points out that:

Hong-Chih Kuo had pitched in three of the last four games and was ruled unavailable by Manager Joe Torre, and Jonathan Broxton was being saved for a save situation.

Now, that might very well be true. But don’t forget, “three of the last four games” came before an off-day. Considering that Johnson had thrown 87 pitches in Sunday’s game while Kuo had only thrown 17, you would think that Kuo would still be a better choice than Johnson. But okay, if Torre really wanted to avoid him, why not Broxton? I don’t understand the whole “saving him for a save” idea; because how likely is it you ever get to that situation if you bring in a mediocre pitcher who threw 87 pitches two days prior? Johnson admitted as much, saying:

Asked how much he had left in the tank, Johnson said, “You saw it. Obviously, it wasn’t great.”

Torre, when asked about using Johnson, said:

“We were looking for volunteers at that juncture,” Torre said of the end of the game. “It’s a tough loss, but I’m proud the way this ballclub played nine innings.”

I think I’ve made my feelings pretty clear that Kuo should have been available, and that if he really wasn’t, you absolutely use Broxton to give your offense another shot or two to score. But even then, if you insist on bringing back a starter, why not Hiroki Kuroda for an inning or two? I’ve always been a big proponent of letting starters get an inning out of the pen on their throw day, and Kuroda’s getting a solid week off between his Saturday starts. He’d already had an extra day off than Johnson had, and he’d still have three more days off until he goes this Saturday. Remember, this isn’t just about me not liking Jason Johnson – it’s that as much as I don’t think he’s all that great at full strength, I really don’t see how you expect to have any chance to win going with Jason Johnson two days after 87 pitches.

Moving on from that debacle to something even more frightening…

* I completely agree with TJ Simers. Or he agrees with us, since both Vin and myself wrote about it first. Either way, I generally despise Simers’ usually unfunny tactics, but this time, he’s dead on: even he can’t stand Juan Pierre’s sobbing anymore. Seriously, read some of these quotes and tell me that these aren’t something that could have been lifted precisely off this blog?

Boo-hoo, says Pierre, it’s great the Dodgers were able to land Ramirez, but what about me?

Andre Ethier is the only player in uniform with a legitimate gripe of not enough playing time, and he’s not saying anything to disrupt the 25-man effort to win it all. OK, so make that 24-man effort, not counting Pierre

I would argue the best position for Pierre is on the bench, waiting to pinch-run and swipe a base. Then grab a shower.

If Andruw Jones is earning his keep these days, Jones is playing center, flanked by Ramirez and Matt Kemp, while Pierre returns to getting mistaken for a bat boy.

“Write whatever you want to write,” Pierre says, and so OK, what a self-centered brat, Manny mania the best thing that’s happened to the Dodgers in years, and Pierre pouting.

Wow. I don’t even know how to respond to these, except that I’m just thrilled and floored that someone in the mainstream local media finally sees what we’ve been saying for over a year. I just never expected it would be TJ Simers, of all people. I hate to say it, but you’ve earned it: kudos, TJ.

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

Prizefight: Simers vs. Colletti

You know, sometimes I sit here and I say, “what should I write about today?” Usually, if I don’t already have a topic in mind, I hit upon something pretty quickly. And sometimes, I’m given a gift from the gods: Captain of all Clownshoes, TJ Simers, discussing the trading history of Ned Colletti.

Here’s the hard part, though. Simers is well-known for antagonizing, provoking, and mostly just being a pain-in-the-ass, and is probably my least favorite “reporter” in the world. On the other hand, he’s going to say that Ned Colletti hasn’t done a great job of trading, and that Dodger fans ought to be scared of what might happen leading up to the deadline – which is completely true. Ugh. How do I support either side here? This is going to be interesting. For the sake of brevity, I won’t dissect every word here, but just the fun pertinent parts.

You might want to hold your nose.

Angel Berroa. Mark Sweeney. Scott Proctor. Thomas Perez. Brady Clark. Marlon Anderson. Julio Lugo. Greg Maddux. Wilson Betemit. Elmer Dessens. B.J. LaMura. Mark Hendrickson. Toby Hall. Ben Kozlowski. Danys Baez. Jae Sao. Tim Hamulack. Lance Carter. And Andre Ethier for Milton Bradley – Bradley tied with Alex Rodriguez early Tuesday for the best batting average in the American League.

Right off the bat, a lot to get through, here. It’s amazing how one “paragraph” of proper names can bring up so many different emotions in a person. Emotions such as:

You’re right, TJ: Angel Berroa, Mark Sweeney, Julio Lugo, Mark Hendrickson, Danys Baez, Jae “Sao” (for the moment, we’ll ignore that a “professional reporter” couldn’t be bothered to spell “Seo” right. Wait, no we won’t. Do some research!), and Lance Carter. Colletti acquisitions that were either surprisingly bad (Seo), as mediocre as expected (Hendrickson), and pretty much hated from Day 1 (Berroa, Sweeney).

You’re wrong, TJ: Really? We’re going to kill Colletti over Greg Maddux? I’d give up a good-glove, no-hit, injury-prone backup shortstop (Cesar Izturis) for a guy who was excellent down the stretch for us in 2006 11 times out of 10. And Marlon Anderson – I assume you’ve forgotten that in exchange for a pitcher who currently has a 5.75 ERA in A-ball (Jhonny Nunez), the Dodgers got a guy who absolutely raked in September 2006 to the tune of .375/.431/.813 with 7 homers, including being part of the great 4+1 comeback. I’m no Colletti supporter, but credit where credit is due. Plus, while Proctor’s been terrible this year, he was excellent after being acquired last year.

bradleyNo, really, shut up, TJ: I feel like I shouldn’t even have to discuss this, but saying “oh, Colletti shouldn’t have traded Milton Bradley” is the worst kind of second-guessing. Has anyone really forgotten why Bradley had to go? Did you not notice how acquiring Andre Ethier from a position of zero leverage was considered a steal? This is ridiculous. Hell, if not for the fact that Rangers GM Jon Daniels was in the right place at the right time just a week ago, the stories would be less “tied with A-Rod for AL batting lead” and more “Bradley incarcerated for murdering Royals broadcaster.”

No one cares about these guys, TJ: The fact that I know who B.J. LaMura and Ben Kozlowski are without looking them up just goes to point out that I really need to get out more, but I’m at a bit of a loss to explain why we care all that much about guys who were acquired for 40-year-old Sandy Alomar, Jr., and Cody Ross. And Brady Clark and Tim Hamulack? A fifth outfielder and a fringe bullpen arm. Big deal.

What the hell are you talking about, TJ: I see “Thomas Perez,” and I have no idea who Simers means. Typing “Thomas Perez” into baseball-reference gets me George Thomas Perez, who pitched in four games for the 1958 Pirates. So keeping in mind that Simers doesn’t care enough to make sure he spells names right, I can only assume he means Tomas Perez – but his only association with the Dodgers was 36 games in AAA last year, and and I can’t even find anything that says the Dodgers gave up anything to get him. Talk about a stretch.

Look at the list of what Colletti has acquired since being hired in late 2005, and that doesn’t include Esteban Loaiza plucked off waivers for $7 million, or the free-agent disasters.

“Hey, I was right there with Brian Cashman when we brought in Carl Pavano,” said Dodgers Manager Joe Torre in trying to defend Colletti, and isn’t that encouraging news, two guys now with no eye for talent putting their heads together to plot the Dodgers’ future.

Point: Simers. Colletti and Torre haven’t exactly been endearing themselves to us lately, what with decisions like batting Pierre leadoff every day and letting Mark Sweeney have a job. If Colletti feels he’s on the hot seat, who knows what sort of crazy moves might ensue.

You’re looking in hindsight, so your vision is perfect,” says Colletti, who apparently works with blinders on, the only logical explanation for some of these deals. “Who has come back to haunt us?”

A better question, I said, “is who did you acquire who really improved the team?”

“Ethier helped us,” he says. “Maddux helped us, Lugo gave us some support, Anderson certainly helped us in September of ’06, and Hendrickson pitched. You do have to have players who pitch and play in the games.”

No question Hendrickson made it possible for the Dodgers to put nine men on the field on the days he got batted around.

And Colletti ties it up with a left hook! Lucky for him, this is a conversation about trades only and not free agents, or we could bring in Pierre, Schmidt, Jones, and Nomar to discuss who’s haunting us. But he is right on here: while the players who’ve come back from his trades may not have always worked out, he has at least shown a knack for trading away the right players. Sure, Edwin Jackson has shown glimpses of figuring things out in Tampa, but he still wouldn’t be one of the best 6-7 starters on this team right now. And like I said above, TJ: Maddux and Anderson were superb.

Most fans probably have you pegged as a GM who hasn’t done a very good job of bringing in talent,” I suggest, and he disagrees.

“I don’t know if that’s fact or fiction,” he says. “That’s your opinion.”

I offer to put it to the readers, but obviously so much hinges on the likes of Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Schmidt and Andruw Jones, and so a blindfold, please for Colletti.

Crack! Simers lands one to the jaw. Sorry, Ned. I can’t stand TJ, but you can’t possibly defend most of the free agent signings, and Juan Pierre and Brett Tomko haven’t even come up yet. While he’s done a good job of not trading away the good young talent that’s on the team right now… he didn’t acquire any of them either.

In other words, “as long as I don’t foul it up by making a trade,” Colletti says, and had Dan Evans and Kevin Malone been so quick, they might still be here.

And… the ref isn’t sure who to award this point to, because no one has any idea what Simers is talking about. Kevin Malone got fired because he fought other team’s fans in the stands and gave out expensive contracts to hurt pitchers (Kevin Brown, Darren Dreifort). Dan Evans got fired because he happened to be in charge when Frank McCourt bought the team and decided he wanted his own people. Where’s the comparison?

“The team needs to get healthy so we can figure out if we need any more help,” he says. “We definitely need to play better. We need a better feel and plan at bat. We’ve pitched pretty well and our bullpen has held up pretty well.

“But constituted as we are today and the approach we’re taking at the plate, it’d be a tough go the rest of the way.”

Unfortunately, yes. Last night’s game was a microcosm of the whole season, right? A very good starting pitching performance wasted due to the complete lack of offense.

Torre says he likes the approach Juan Pierre and Jeff Kent take, and Russell Martin does well at times, but the rest of the Dodgers’ lineup is too impatient and swings at too many bad pitches.

That’s a penalty on Torre, for a low blow into the groins of Dodger fans. Kent’s a Hall of Famer, so I suppose I can look past his lousy season and be okay with Torre praising his approach. But Pierre, really? We’re going to hold him up as one of the top two examples of plate approach? So what you’re saying is that you want everyone else to be 28% worse at the plate than the average NLer? You want other guys to be on a stretch where it’s been nearly three weeks since Pierre drew a walk? Forget Colletti, forget Simers. We might be hopeless. Oh, and I particularly like how Martin does well at times. His OPS is only a full 200 points better than Pierre’s, and he’s clearly one of the three best catchers in baseball. Yeah, shape up, kid!

Put it all together, and you have a GM who has yet to identify talent, a high-priced manager who has yet to make a connection with the talent brought in by previous GMs and the Diamondbacks just lost again.

So far, the Dodgers’ idea of a winning formula.

Pay attention, friends, because these are words I never thought I’d write: TJ Simers is dead-on right here. He may be a jerk and his schtick hasn’t been funny, well, ever, but if the Dodgers want to turn things around, it’s not going to be from looking for outside help – it’s going to require fixing the internal problems. And that starts right with the GM and manager.

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

Why T.J. Simers Should Be Computer Hackers' Real Target

Folks, meet T.J. Simers. He is the second half of the Flaming Dipshits at the L.A. Times, along with WPS. Unlike Plaschke, Simers typically has a shtick and tries to be witty and humorous in his articles: he fails miserably at both. Add his smartass tone to his dumbass statements and, well, you get this from a few days ago, in how… well, kids = mean and bad. There’s several of these articles lately and while I’d love to rip every one of them, I’ll try to restrain myself… somewhat. Anyways…

After spending about a fourth of the article rambling on about McCourt, Simers finally decides to start talking about his actual article. Let the surgery begin…

Next year it will be the young leading the younger, unless Colletti really does have what it takes, a shrewd baseball man making the case that youth must be dealt here and there for just the right performer to bring it all together on the big stage in L.A.Easy to say, “just go with the kids,” but check with your friends in Kansas City.

Am I the only one that catches the irony in this statement? That he wants us to check with our friends in Kansas City, while the day he wrote the article, the Dodgers were getting their asses handed them by another youth movement, the first place Diamondbacks?

I really shouldn’t have to explain the difference with all of this, but what the hell…

Kansas City sucks because they have a very worthless and cheap owner who does not put money back in his team, hence their $47 million payroll, which ranked them 26 out of 30 in 2006. They also have had complete idiots running their organization. Combine this with their low payroll and not only is KC forced to play kids, but very likely also some bad ones too. Contrast this to the great scouting department formerly headed by savior Logan White which have enabled the Dodgers to have successful drafts, and you might notice a few differences.

They have been brought along as a pampered group in the minors, which is going to make it quite the challenge for the next veteran acquired to crack the clique.

And just wait until you really get to know your heroes: Matt Kemp, offering as much promise as any prospect in baseball, but also a jerk in the making and one of those gifted athletes who doesn’t necessarily have to work hard to get by.

James Loney, hardworking and solid in performance, is also packing an attitude that suggests he needs no more help to prosper.

You’re just going to love cheering for a group of arrogant pro athletes.

But right before we do that, let’s get to know some of TJ’s heroes…

Wait until you get to know Luis Gonzalez. Sure, ol’ Gonzo might be a saint to the media and the community, but how about we go back to last year where, despite being the biggest face in Arizona’s history, they let him go because even THEY knew he was done? Yes, that leadership of Gonzo’s was really apparent last year when he bitched over playing time, despite hovering around .260 at the time. Yes, his leadership was astounding when he wasn’t interested in playing mentor to those kids who are currently in first place right now… cocky young bastards.

And wait until you get to know the leadership of Nomar Garciaparra, who made himself a complete malcontent to get out of Boston. Yeah, he was one of the best shortstops in history from about 1997-2000, but let’s go back to the leadership he showed during his last two years there. Go talk to Red Sox fans and see how they felt about his constant sulking in the dugout during the 2003 ALCS, as well as how he managed to completely alienate himself with Red Sox fans. Or better yet… is he still nursing that achilles tendon?

As for Jeff Kent… I actually like the guy, but let’s not start.

Hard to argue right now with either Kemp or Loney, both finding this game pretty easy to play, and shoving their batting averages into the faces of anyone who might disagree.

And I hope they continue to shove their batting averages, on base percentages, slugging percentages, and every other damn statistic in yours and the other idiots in the local media, as… oh, I don’t know, their performance is actually what counts. But, no, instead of focusing on them playing a large part of winning ballgames and even making it this far, let’s smear them because… they’re not nice?

As long as they keep hitting the crap out of the ball, give me James Loney’s swagger or Matt Kemp’s cockiness any day over the candy ass “my ballplayers are role models and bring signed bats to the kids at the YMCA” propaganda. I hate to be the one to break this but: most ballplayers have egos. Big ones. If Loney and Kemp do, whatever. Just don’t make an ass out of yourself and imply that some of the veterans, like some on the Dodgers who have proven to be bitchy and malcontents at some point, don’t because they once went and played canasta with Sophia Pertrillo at Shady Pines.

We’ll learn more, of course, when baseball slaps them around a little bit, like it does to just about everyone.

Let’s recall their pampered way to making it to where they are…

James Loney – Pampered into the big leagues after hitting .380 at Triple-A last year, which led EVERY ONE in the minor leagues. Eventually comes up in late September after Nomar gets hurt again and goes bat shit crazy and also sets the L.A. single game RBI record, comes up with a key RBI hit in game three of the NLDS which put us back in the game… at least briefly (incredibly small sample size, but he went 3-4 in that series). Then after rewarding him by re-signing Nomar to a two-year deal, he goes and outhits every one in Spring Training by hitting near .450, only to get sent to Las Vegas until June 10th, with Nomar well into his 1 HR season. And despite this and despite Loney going 22 for his first 50 once being called up, he still couldn’t find consistent playing time and, when he did play, he would hit like 7th. Also, because Mr. Carne Asada Man still needed to be getting at-bats at first base, the organization then thought: “Hey, you know what we should do with his Gold Glove caliber defense at 1B? Let’s put it in the outfield!,” which led to Loney almost blowing out his knee. Quite the charmed life you’ve had, James! Cinderella would be envious.

Say you’re Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier – You had to sit on the bench throughout the first half because somehow Juan Pierre justified starting, even though he couldn’t get on base and do… well, anything productive. But due to his high salary and consecutive games streak, he got to start, while Kemp and Ethier had to needlessly platoon, despite having, unlike Pierre, the power the Dodgers sorely needed. Then once Gonzo started tanking in the second half, which just happens to be when Ethier went on a tear, Andre STILL has to fight for playing time and when he sometimes got it, our moronic manager thinks it’s a great idea to put him in the 8 spot. Then there are the times Matt Kemp would get benched a few games at a time, the list goes on. However could there be division in the clubhouse?!

That’s some of the growing pains that Dodgers fans will still have to endure too, Jonathan Broxton going through it right now, and folks, how does that feel?

Well, let’s see:

Jonathan Broxton 2007:

2.96 ERA, 137 ERA+ and a 1.17 WHIP.

That feels pretty fucking good, TJ! In fact, it feels a lot better than enduring the geriatric pains of some of the elderly we’ve had to watch this season.

By the way: no doubt Broxton blew some big games for us this September, but it’s pretty convenient to forget his recent admission of arm problems, isn’t it? Or the fact that he’s worked a career high in innings? Not to mention how convenient it is to forget that, even despite his blowup in September, he still has those numbers. Oh, the horror of having to endure that!

There are questions about Andy LaRoche’s makeup and ability to make it, and who knows if a moody Andre Ethier can take it to another level.

Not if they have a manager who has preferred to play a washed up Nomar and a bitchy Gonzo.

It’s Colletti’s job to figure that out before anyone else, make his own moves and mark as a GM, and stop a disgraceful Dodgers slide now two decades in the making.

But right now there’s no reason to believe that’ll happen.

No, because Ned Colletti’s philosophy thus far has been to sign old, washed up veterans who are in rapid decline, only because they’re “veterans”. Somehow this “veteraness” becomes, in Colletti’s eyes, more important than actual production. Sure, there are things that can be learned from veterans, Greg Maddux last year case in point. There’s just one tiny problem to that: if you’re now in a big decline and these same kids are now threatening your job security, securing a contract and getting playing time will likely take precedence over playing mentor. Again, Gonzo has made numerous comments to the press this year about playing time. Easy to blame that on the kids, but, uh, again, go back last year when he did the same thing in Arizona, despite not really bringing it. That’s not selfish? Having people now go to the press saying that they’re against a youth movement because of either their advanced age or other reasons pertinent to them isn’t being selfish? Sure it is. The attitude itself is contradicting: “Uh… say, kids, I don’t really want a youth movement and I want to play more over you guys and I let Grady know that and now the press… but… uh, dammit, why aren’t you letting me teach you and letting me show you guys leadership and professionalism?!”

You see, I don’t really care one way or the other, as long as the players actually perform, but just don’t come and sell it as them being “character guys”; that’s just stupid.

Which brings me to the irony of this entire article. Simers – and, for that matter, most of the damn local media – constantly bitches about how pathetic the organization has been run for the past 20 years and he’s actually right on that. So what’s he suggesting to fix this? To finally stop handing lots of money to old veterans near the end of their careers and go back to bringing kids up from the system, like how most successful Dodger teams did it?

No! Let’s change the way the organization has been run the past 20 years and do… more of the same.

Let’s trade the best crop of kids the Dodgers have had in over 30 years and trade them for some gritty veteraness. Guys who will walk out there and say: “My name is Ron Coomer and I am going to stuff myself with 44 Krispy Kreme donuts to turn on my experience and flash my winning smile and steal home because I am a motherfucking gritty veteran who also helps old ladies cross the street and that means something!” Who needs James Loney, when we could ship him off and go back to the veterany days of Todd Hundley and Marquis Grissom? Sure, they weren’t really that good, but, man, were they funny in the clubhouse! Let’s replace Matt Kemp with the winning attitude of Devon White. I miss seeing “DE-VO!” flashing on the scoreboard. Let’s lure Jeremy Burnitz out of retirement… he might be old and not that good, but look at how much he would care when he screwed up… you just can’t learn that yourself! It just really means something. We can even dig up the corpse of Otis Nixon (yes, I know he’s still alive). In fact, I have a better idea: as a gift for his 80th birthday, let’s install Lasorda as GM again. It’s about damn time we make another Paul Konerko for Jeff Shaw trade.

Until then… I’ll just endure watching James Loney go 3-5 with yet another HR and 3 RBI’s as he now has a league leading 28 RBI’s this month, or check out Chin-Lung Hu the fuck are you (what, you thought I’d let the Hu jokes go?!) and Delwyn Young hit HR’s, or Andy LaRoche’s two hits, Matt Kemp with another hit, etc., etc.

Bastards.

Hey, it wasn’t all bad. At least we got to see the experience of Roberto Hernandez.

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