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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Pickoff Moves

Different Spins On Recent Dodger Trade Rumors

The Daily News passes on the following interesting tidbit regarding the C.C. Sabathia non-trade that recently went down:
Shortly after the Milwaukee Brewers finalized a trade for reigning American League Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia on Monday, the Daily News learned that sometime in the days leading up to that deal, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt nixed a trade that would have brought Sabathia to Los Angeles, along with Indians third baseman Casey Blake and utility man Jamey Carroll.

McCourt's reason was financial, according to multiple industry sources. But that is a charge McCourt flatly denied.

"It's just totally false," he said. "The players didn't match up, and that's just the way it was."

Whether we believe him or not is another matter, but so far, spending (and spending, and spending) money on player salary hasn't been a problem with the Dodgers.

In the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a piece about recent rumors linking shortstop Jack Wilson to the Dodgers:

Los Angeles initiated the inquiry about Wilson last week and was the first team to do so this year. Those talks, which never involved any player on the Dodgers' major league roster, never got very far and seemed dormant, if not dead, late yesterday afternoon.

One prospect who was discussed, according to a Los Angeles source, was 23-year-old Class AA starter James McDonald, who has good control but no better than decent stuff. Another was 24-year-old Class AAA shortstop Chin-lung Hu, who has batted .176 in the majors and currently is out because of recurring vision problems. There are other, better prospects in the Los Angeles system, but it was not clear if they were available.

Tom Meagher: Back From The Dead, Still Swingin' At Colletti

Heh. Clearly, Tom was so incensed that there are occasional grammatical lapses, but he's right, he's right, he's right. Excerpt:
What I - and many of his other detractors - have been criticizing all along is that he seems to use absolutely the wrong tools to predict human behavior, health, and reaction. If his expectations have not been met, then it is utterly confounding that he could think it is because his players have let him down. And if it's the scouts or the staff that has let him down, then obviously he's still accountable to some extent beyond their failings, but beyond that it's his fault for not being capable at measuring and projecting player value. The people on the sidelines have been able to do that, and he has not. Maybe it is the fault of the scouts, but that's something you need to understand going in: your scouts will miss on players sometimes, as will the stats alone. That's why you want to use the stats to get a good projection and then use the scouts to verify your projections and break ties. When you overwhelmingly go after players with unremarkable projections, you don't get to blame the scouts for being high on all of them. You will always have scouts who are high on players with poor projections, because a scout is just a sample. Even if you expand the sample to a lot of scouts, you still need to account for the actual value of the player instead of using [Ned Colletti's] apparent thought process of "Player is good, I want to put him on the team, hence, work hard to sign him to a contract." My criticism of Colletti has always hinged on his not seeming to know how valuable players are and what that means in terms of what talent to exchange . He's relied on subjective assessments with a hermeneutic that is ever optimistic about veterans. Simply put, he does not seem qualified to be entrusted with executive authority over how to construct a roster, acquire talent, and determine how much to pay players. It may be generous to call him a Peter Principle hiring since I haven't seen the evidence that he ever should have been a front office executive to start with. Which is not to say that he does not have many of the skills of a successful GM. It's just that he does not have the combination of skills that will lend itself to success.

Tim Brown On Kuroda's Gem

At Yahoo.com instead of the Times, where he could have done a lot more good but got crowded out by the likes of Plaschke and Simers. Gack.
Another hot five or six weeks – from any of them, really – could be enough to carry the division, advance on the playoffs, rally a town and, who knows, maybe save a job or two.

So take the Dodgers, dollar-for-dollar one of the crummy teams this side of Detroit. They’ve turned $120 million into a fight for survival, into the odd observation from Torre that the younger Dodgers now realize what’s expected of them, into an effort to stay in the race while the likes of veterans Brad Penny, Rafael Furcal, Juan Pierre and Jason Schmidt crowd the disabled list.

Milton Bradley: "What Have I Done Now?"

Designated blogger Milton Bradley on his first All-Star appearance:
At about 10:45 a.m. on Sunday, I was in the clubhouse in Baltimore in the middle of a domino game with Eddie Guardado, Gary Pettis, and Eric Hurley. Ron Washington was standing over my shoulder talking trash like he always does and had everybody laughing hysterically when he asked me to come see him in his office for a minute.

I dropped everything and headed to his office wondering: “What have I done now?”

He gave me the news and a congratulatory hug, with a smile, but told me to keep the news quiet until it was officially announced. I went back to the domino game like nothing happened but Eddie being the wise vet already knew what’s up. He just smiled and gave me dap on making my first All-Star team.

A Useful And Perhaps Obvious Comment On The Dodgers' 3B Situation

From Christina Kahrl:
What I wish we'd see less of is Russell Martin at third base. It's complicated enough that the team has its warm fuzzy for Blake DeWitt, but if you asked them in November or January or in the abstract who should play third base in a choice between DeWitt and Andy LaRoche, the answer should have never changed: LaRoche. While injury and a hot streak by DeWitt might have briefly muddled that particular picture, that answer still has to be the same. Nothing has changed in terms of the relevant skills of the players involved, but sentiment's getting in the way of what should be a relatively cold-blooded and sensible management decision. Adding Martin into that mix just gives you a wee bit more churn, some general celebration over the demonstrated position flexibility (or in fantasy leagues, position eligibility), and an awful lot of Torre inflicting on his catcher what was done to him when he was mid-career, a Cardinal, and converted into a catcher-and-play-third player by Red Schoendienst. At least Schoendienst was making space for a young Ted Simmons, and he couldn't put Torre at his more usual alternative position at first base because the Cards also had Dick Allen. ... Just picking a third baseman and giving Martin a few days off might not be all that gee-whiz neato in terms of box score mayhem, but it's the sort of conservatism that pays off in terms of solving one positional problem while doing something that would ideally guarantee themselves their All-Star catcher at full strength come the stretch drive.

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