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Friday, July 04, 2008

Robothal's Improbability Drive Kicks Into High Gear With Dodger Trade Noise

Via BTF comes this gem of Robothal genuflecty silliness, a possible trade for C.C. Sabathia:
The Brewers aren't the only team pushing hard for Indians left-hander C.C. Sabathia. The Dodgers also are heavily in the mix, according to major-league sources.

However, the Dodgers' bid for Sabathia is complicated by their pursuit of Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson as a replacement for the injured Rafael Furcal, sources say.

To get Wilson, the Dodgers would need to trade the Pirates some of the same players that the Indians want for Sabathia, leaving Los Angeles with a choice of one deal or the other.

Sabathia, 6-5 with a 2.16 ERA in his past 14 starts, is scheduled to pitch twice more before the All-Star break. His next start is Tuesday, but several baseball people expect he will be traded before then.

While the Dodgers might not offer a prospect better than Brewers Class AA left fielder Matt LaPorta, their proposal for Sabathia would include three players, sources say.

Class AA right-hander James McDonald, Class AAA shortstop Chin-Lung Hu and third baseman Andy LaRoche are among the Dodgers' prospects likely drawing consideration form the Indians.

Oh, that's rich. The Dodgers have re-committed to weaning themselves off free agents, right? Eh, not so fast. Via Sons, the most damning thing written yet about Colletti's intentions:
"We're more open-minded to who we may have to move," Colletti said.

Asked if he were referring to the young players, Colletti said, "They're not really young kids anymore."

Colletti's comments echoed what owner Frank McCourt told me earlier in the week when asked about the possibility of trading some of the kids. He said the ones they will hold onto are "the ones who are prepared to put in the work, listen to coaches and get better every day." The kids who they would be willing to part with are "the ones that can't do those things."

Got that, you stubborn cuss Matt Kemp? You've got between now and the trade deadline — which, by my count, is a little under a month — to show you're improving every day, listening to coaches, not moving trash cans, and whatever other nebulous witch-doctory the Dodgers have set up so they can justify trading you. Maybe this isn't on the order of the idiotic Carlos Quentin trade/Eric Byrnes re-signing, but it has every possibility of becoming Ned's Waterloo. Ignore, for the moment, the possibility of Ned pursuing Sabathia; Dodgers pitching is the best in the league, something that even Ned ought to understand. Consider the following:
  1. As we already know, Colletti cannot tell a good player from a bad one.
  2. The Dodgers "position of need" is offense at short. (As Buttercup showed us, a weak GM makes his dumbest mistakes when being overly concerned about what he's losing at one position instead of what he can do to improve elsewhere.)
  3. Colletti has already shown he's willing to deal for junk in the middle infield (e.g. Julio Lugo), even on a short-term rental.
Ipso facto, it makes perfect sense that a trade bringing the aging, OBP- and SLG-challenged Jack Wilson makes a certain amount of sense from the standpoint of being able to see how Ned could justify to himself such a deal. Of course, one of the things Robo likes to do is to stir up the likes of you and me, so his track record on these non-deal deals is rather poor. But viewed from a certain perspective, it's plausible, and Ned's recent published statements make them sound more rather than less so.

Finally: a word from the BTF thread linked above:

McCourt: Are you a Windows or a Mac guy?

Colletti: Huh?

McCourt: Welcome aboard.

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To say that I'm shocked that the Dodgers have the best pitching in the NL doesn't truly convey just how utterly flabbergasted I am. That's just got to be a mistake. Among their starters, for example, I think Billingsley is the only one who'd even crack the Angels' rotation, and not ahead of anyone in the top-3. Nevertheless, they're clearly getting the job done. But that doesn't mean that Sabathia wouldn't be a huge upgrade over what they're putting out there.

Their real problem, as you correctly observe, is that they have trouble scoring runs. Perhaps they're tantalized by Sabathia's career .300/.317/.475 line; that SLG would be second highest on the team, after the disabled Furcal.
I agree about Bills. What they're really getting if you look at their 2008 roster page is that their bullpen is nails, with seven of their nine relievers with 30 or more innings of work carrying no worse than a 118 ERA+ (and that's Broxton, who is very likely to improve that number). The big surprise is Chan Ho Park, who's having a resurgence back at Chavez Ravine; that signing is looking as good for Ned as the second signing of Hideo Nomo in 2003 was for Dan Evans.

The starting staff isn't nearly as good, with Clayton Kershaw league average, and Brad Penny a total mess. Derek Lowe is a positive contributor, but just, Hiroki Kuroda has turned into a solid signing (perhaps the best Japanese pitcher signed in the last two years, and that's saying something considering what Boston got out of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima last year and this). Chad Billingsley is a stud, of course.

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