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Monday, January 10, 2005

Adieu, Shawn

Jon's already got his farewell piece up. Honestly, I don't have too much to add to it in that I share his ambivalence about Green. On the one hand, the Dodgers lose a power threat, a guy honestly and deeply committed to the community, "stoic", as Jon put it, on the camera. On the other hand, he was sometimes petulant before the reporter's notepad, an injury risk, a guy who hit into a staggering number of double plays. After the departure of Gary Sheffield, Green carried the label of a guy who couldn't quite carry the offense, much like Rafael Palmiero. It's incredible how quickly his handing out batting gloves after a home run became (a) infrequent and (b) oddly nostalgic in his 2003 and first-half 2004 seasons, like you were watching Kirk Gibson hit at an old-timer's game. Paid in Barry Bonds dollars -- $16M for 2005 under his old contract, vs $15M for Bonds -- but failing to come up with similar numbers (but how could he? how could anyone?), his burden was accordingly larger.

The Snakes, for their part, have gotten older, and oddly for a team with as much leftover salary baggage from their 2001 title run, have gotten more expensive -- though not as much as you might think at first. Stefan reads the tea leaves and calls a Green trade with an extension a "pretty bad" scenario, and I'm not sure I disagree. A 35-year-old Green will have to overcome a lot of odds before he can hand out a lot of batting gloves. He was simply lucky enough to be pushed into a market at a time when he would be overvalued. But It's A Dry Heat concurs, noting that ranked by OPS, Green's nearest neighbors are paid around half his annual salary. If Tom's supposition about Green's future value is correct, this amounts to a major coup for DePodesta. If, however, Green's second half represents more of his future than his first half of 2004 -- as I believe -- it's not such a bad deal, especially with the Dodgers picking up the first year for free. ZiPS projects Green to have a .271/.357/.469 line this year -- around 20 VORP or so, about two wins. Allowing for the $10M the Dodgers paid the Snakes, this evens out Green's annual salary to $7.33M/year, still a bit on the high end of that range, but not a terrible overpayment for the Snakes considering current market conditions.

Echoing Jon: good luck, Shawn. And may the Dodgers, too, find their own good luck.


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