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It’s Business As Usual, Really!

It’s Business As Usual, Really!

Manny Ramirez-34Bill Shaikin of The LA Times has an interview with Dennis Mannion, the Dodgers President & Big Kahuna.  While I am not one to believe everything I read, I believe most (maybe all) of what he said.  Here’s one quote I found interesting:

“Our baseball and business decisions have not been impacted by the proceedings. Neither [General Manager] Ned [Colletti] nor I have been asked by anyone to limit long-term liabilities.”

Here’s what wasn’t said:  “We have a budget, and like most other businesses, we cannot go over that budget.  PERIOD!  Within that budget, we are free to do whatever we think makes sense, but we cannot exceed it.”

I may have a different point of view on this than some people, because in business I am used to operating within the confines of a budget.  So while I wish the Dodgers would spend $150 mil on payroll, I believe that $100 mil is the cap this year and the Dodgers really cannot spend until they deal with the arbitration cases or re-sign them long-term.  That, I believe, is the long and short of it!

Then, there was this exchange at the end:

Is there anything other than action in your mind that is going to be able to convince fans that this organization is not limited by severe cost controls, given all the things we’ve talked about?

I think actions are the only way to speak to it.

Are you convinced you’ll be able to show enough action soon?

I would hope so.

Here’s the deal – according to the article, the Dodgers didn’t make money last year.  They just about “broke even.”  I think the economy played more of a role than “the divorce.”  As the economy rebounds and the Dodgers generate more revenue, you will see a higher payroll.  Just my opinion…

I still foresee a VERY BRIGHT year in 2010 for the Dodgers.  A lot of good things have to happen, be we probably have the best outfield in baseball.  It’s possible that we could see 100 HR from the trio of Manny, Matt and Andre.  We have lots of young arms and they will be given every opportunity to “seize the day.”  We have players like Xavier Paul, Chin-lung Hu, Scott Elbert, AJ Ellis, Ronald Belisario, Ramnon Troncoso, Corey Wade, Jason Repko, Josh Lindblom and many others who will be given opportunities to step up.

You can see the glass as half-empty - I see it as “half-full”… and filling…

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

31 Responses to “It’s Business As Usual, Really!”

  1. Ty says:

    Since Wolf probably would have signed a long-term contract somewhere else even if the Dodgers had offered him arbitration, how worried were you about the millions it might cost to sign the draft picks you would have gotten in return?

    Mannion’s response

    You’re dealing with a very fluid situation. Those millions that are potentially in play, they can manifest themselves where the opportunity is. If the opportunity is in buying more portable concession stands, then that’s what you do. If the opportunity is buying some international talent that you have a very good handle on, that’s what you do. In this particular world, you’re making those assessments on a daily basis.

    Shaikin calls him on it, and while Mannion admits it was an absurd example, he still exhibits a lack of trust with his “answer” He is though, in love with the word “fluid” which seeing as he’s pissing on us and telling us it’s raining, seems apropos.

    Mannion does seem to have a flair for stand up:

    “Ned has demonstrated a fantastic ability to read the talent market.”

    ———————-

    Mannion sounds crazy

  2. Roger Dodger says:

    There can be a stack of articles by the front office, by beat writers, letters to the baseball editor — and so forth.

    But other teams are making interesting re-load situations. If there is any team that needs to re-tool their pitching staff, it is the Dodgers. With key pitchers leaving by FA, so far the Dodgers are not competitive for 2010.

    Even with career years — by what is there on paper now — it will not be enough.

    Then there is the 2nd base slot, and an aging, question mark with Blake at third.

    Let us hope that some nice dealings will happen from this point on.

  3. Jamie's Lovechild says:

    I think the Hope and Change economy is going to be with us, impacting fans’ disposable income in a negative way, not only in the box office but even more importantly in the merchandising and the concessions being paid out to the organizations. Until the fans (citizens) really feel the money changeling around in their pockets and they notice people are actually being hired (if they don’t see others being hired back, they won’t feel confident in their own security of employment). I’m not talking about politics, I am talking about the mood of the country, right now most people feel very unstable and uncomfortable, thus they ain’t going to be blowing cash on baseball, IMHO.

    So Mark, you are right, the Dodgers have a budget, they ain’t going yankee-gangsta spending this year. I believe the term is STANDING PAT.

  4. Badger says:

    Lovechild! I recognize you now!

    How come so many name changes? Why not just stick with the old OD moniker?

    FYI, most people have felt very uncomfortable for much longer than a year. Most people could see this collapse coming a long, long time ago. It was predictable, and was predicted. You just read and listened to the wrong propoganda. And, remember talking about how the Dodger fans would stay away? It cost mover 100 push-ups.

    But, this coming year is a different story. If there are no changes made between now and Opening Day, and this team stumbles out of the gate, attendance will drop. When that happens, the McOverdrawn’s are in trouble.

    Mannion is an as actor and is regurgitating what he is told to by the lawyers and handlers. I wouldn’t give much credence to what he has to say, but I would watch closely what the Dodgers DO. So far, the DO ain’t much.

  5. Bill Russell says:

    If you put a good team on the field in LA, People will come. If you put a so so team on the field in LA, We will see what the dropoff is. The Lakers prove this every year in the same marketplace. Good product equals value in return.

    Why haven’t the Dodgers got a jump on resigning some of the youth already? Everyone with a calendar knew when the winter meetings were and when spring training starts in 2010. Are all the agents for these kids holding out for the most money they can get? Are the Dodgers just not sure what the current market is for these players? Are the Dodgers just not sure what holes they have to fill with the 2010 team? This just doesn’t make sense to me, why two minors moves is all the Dodgers can accomplish so far this year (if business is as usual). The plan the way I see it is lets just field a team that will finish towards the top of their division and act like we have a chance to win it all with our youth. Fans will buy into this with season tickets sells and then we can straighten out our mess with the divorce and ownership later. Lets just lower the budget and see how much youth we can secure for now. In the mean time lets trade Juan Pierre and sign a utility infielder and bring up everyone on the farm for a chance to show what they have. You know, Just like the Royals and Pirates do. Lets just pretend that we still have a great farm system.

    The True issue is, Who owns the team and can Frank afford this team by himself? Why can’t people within the Dodger organization just be honest and say it. Will they get fired? YES. If you fill people with enough bullshit they get tied of hearing it and turn against the team and the ownership. My glass is half empty because I am a realist and I don’t have special interests to protect by saying what I think.

  6. Ken says:

    Mark – There is a big differrence between breaking even from an Earnings perspective and a Cash flow perspective. I doubt that the LA Dodgers barely broke even from an Earnings perspective (unless they are being completely mismanged) last year but have no doubt that they barely broke even from a Cash Flow perspective due to their extreme leveraging resulting in a very inappropriate Debt to Equity Ratio and costly Capital structure. This can easily be remedied by selling the team and finding an investor who will mainatin a debt to equity ratio below 25%. We all would love to see a person pay cash for the Dodgers but that most likely will not happen. This lack of cash flow has limited the cash avaialbe for free agents and ANY variable, like arbitration awards, which I talked about over a week ago, is a Monster Cog in the Wheel. The truely said catch 22 is that the Dodgers can not afford to lock up the kids today and when the arbitration years are over their potential free agent salaries will be too high for the Dodgers to afford then, unless they somehow find the cash to start the cable network and the immediate profits are high enough to pay off that new highly leveraged businss and the new player salaries.

    Ty – Are you joining the club that is calling Mannion out as Frank’s new New Spin Dr.?

    There will be a significantly different team and result when comparing the Dodgers with a $90mil and $100 mil payroll. Sign a pitcher now.

    BAdger – What took you so long to recognize that same negative and/or purient writing style that usually just sounds like Charlie Brown’s parents talking?

  7. Jamie's Lovechild says:

    Badger, didn’t mean to prick a sore spot, seriously. Just making a point, as I have seen you and Roger make, here and there. Don’t get upset, it is a discussion that is going on, not an argument. PEACE and MERRY CHRISTMAS. People read what they read and make decisions, some good, some accurate, some bad, some inaccurate. You are not the arbiter of truth, you are arbiter of what you choose to believe, so you can relax, I have no attack or ax to grind with you, as my postings have proved. So chill and have some fun, you may like it actually.

    i still maintain, with economy in the shape it’s in, the leadership in place (both sides of the aisles), the employment picture sour and not looking to improve anytime soon. People may come to a winner’s games (I agree with you BRUSS), but they are going to cut back on shirts, hats, food, etc. at the park, it is going to significantly impact income to clubs. It is just how it is, my finance and economic degrees tell me this, not opinion but fact. MLB owners are facing a real obstacle to impress fans with their signings (unless you are the stankees, of course).

  8. New guy says:

    I never thought I’d see the day when Mark believes EVERYTHING the Dodgers say…I guess he has to keep the peace with them or no more press box seats….

  9. Mark Timmons says:

    New Guy,

    It’s easy to believe what they say. They aren’t lying, but you also have to consider what they don’t say.

    Billy,

    To answer your question, it is very simple – the Dodgers don’t know how much they will have to pay in arbitration and so until they do, no big deals will be signed. PERIOD! Now, I think that could change if they get some financing (it sounds to me like they are waiting for something like this).

  10. Bill Russell says:

    Mark I agree with you but that doesn’t sound like business is as usual. I guess I could have made my case with fewer words with my rant from above but my concerns are how long is our current prison term going to last? I personally don’t see any positive changes going on with the team until a new owner is found. My biggest concern is will we lose our current youth which is the foundation of the team before this gets fixed? Most of us felt that the McCourts together could barely afford the team and were really more suited for a medium to small market team and not the LA Dodgers. Now with the McCourts breaken apart, Our team is in bigger trouble then most people even want to believe. I promise to buy your book but can you move this mountain along quickly? I/We can’t take a very promising team going no where. Signed HELP

  11. Mark Timmons says:

    To me the worry is not THIS year. It’s 2011, and beyond.

  12. Bill Russell says:

    By the way, what time is this system operating on? My last post was at 10:30 am Pacific Coast Time and your system is saying 2:30 pm. Are you now off the coast of NYC on an Island in the Atlantic somewhere?

  13. Mark Timmons says:

    DST must not be on…

  14. lawdog says:

    Since when do finance and economic degrees deal in fact and not theory? Maybe they will–WHEN PIGS FLY. Nonetheless, I’m buying into the theory Lovechild. I believe you are right about future cash flow for even the most valuable sports franchises because, face it, when people are broke they don’t have money to spend even if they wanted to. And sports, for all we love the games, actually means nothing when it comes to the world situation. If we’d won the world series last year would our lives be any different? Accept for the fact we might have some really keen memorabilia to remember it by?

    As long as this divorce continues in litigation mode money will be flying out to the lawyers in amounts that would make you piss yourself if you actually knew the amounts. Add that to the millions our prima donna owners will scrap off the top to continue to scrap off the top and we will see the Dodgers in bankruptcy faster than you can say Jack Robinson.

    If that’s not the sky falling, the earth sure is rising fast to meet the sky.

    In the Good News department: We’re going to see a whole generation of knuckle ball pitchers rise through the ranks of the organization with Charlie Hough now the pitching coach of a minor league A affiliate.

    And it’s about time, I say! How can we lose with a staff throws the dancer and actually changes up by throwing sliders, curves, or actual change up which come in at least 10 mph faster than the butterfly?

    It’s great news, I say! We’ll have a pitching staff of the softest tossers to ever play the game! It’s just the change the game has needed for years and the novelty jut might draw an extra 100,000 fans and save the MCourts’ nasty asses!!! :shock: :shock: :shock:

  15. Mark Timmons says:

    Billy,

    The time is fixed and I just fixed the Dodgers. I hacked your off-shore account and wired them $30 mil. The World Series is ours.

  16. Mark Timmons says:

    Lawdog,

    This is Charlie Hough’s 2nd stint with the Dodgers. He was pitching coach from 1996 to 1999 (3 years in A Ball), and he came back in 2006. This will be his 4th year at Inland Empire.

  17. Bill Russell says:

    Mark
    THanks, but that was Romo’s money I was holding for him while he was straightening out his business affairs. I’m sure it’s OK with him as long as it helps the Dodgers. But now there’s no FA’s left on the market to buy unless you need an outfielder. Romo’s not a Hudson guy either. So secure the Kids. Fight on

  18. Jamie's Lovechild says:

    degrees deal with facts not theory when you actually use them in the real world for a living, Lawdog, you are a lawyer, you know better than that. Fuuny, if that question were only asked of certain leaders that we are suffering with.

  19. Roger Dodger says:

    Mark, you are right IMO, on 2011 and beyond. Our crop of maturing top grade players is a key issue.

    I bet by the second week into the 2010 season, the Dodger brass will select which players they will want to offer the buck to and which they will let file for FA or trade. Also looking at what is coming up from the farm and which other players are on the FA list to be after the 2010 season.

  20. lawdog says:

    It’s easier to get a priest, a rabbi and a lama to agree on anything that three economics majors…

  21. Jamie's Lovechild says:

    you omitted lawyers, ldog :)

  22. Mark Timmons says:

    Again,

    Arte Moreno is basically standing pat and Frank McCourt is toasted. It’s a double standard!

  23. Roger Dodger says:

    Start send communications to the Commissioners Office that he (MLB) need to un-track the LAD (fix the situation) for the sake of baseball.

  24. Bill Russell says:

    Mark, haven’t you heard the news????? The Angels signed Fernando Rodney. They are not just sittin around doing nuttin…..

  25. Roger Dodger says:

    Billy, Mark is getting his stats up to show that Scott Elbert will start 28 games and win 16 of them, and have 7 more where he went out tied with no decision.

    Then Haeger will win 11 games.

    McDonald will win 14

    Stults will be 9 – 5

  26. lawdog says:

    Lawyers will agree on almost anything once there is more money in agreeing than disagreeing… :shock:

    And I only made the crack about economics because I took a crash course in it this last year from my old retired math professor from UCSC. I told him I wanted to know why Dubya and Obama were agreeing we had to hand trillions of dollars to the big banks and wall street businesses with no strings attached. We’ve exchanged thousands of emails since and he has proclaimed me as educated in Economics as most of his graduate students–and he confesses he can’t find two Economists who wouldn’t fight each other over any minor point than can find over which to fight==and they all have their own theories on everything with none of them being right.

    It’s like our ship of state is being navigated by a bunch of quarreling 8 year olds, none of whom has actually sailed anything but a rubber ducky in their respective bath tubs.

  27. lawdog says:

    thats “fight each other over any minor point they can find over which to fight–and they all disagree about almost everything, each having his own theories on everything uder the sun and about which they are all wrong.”

    Sorry Edit button needed to avid looking silly… :eek:

  28. lawdog says:

    Pencil my man Haeger in to go 16-6 with an era of 2.75, 300 strikeouts and 100 walks. Expect 20 complete games from the flippen soft tosser.

  29. Roger Dodger says:

    What I meant to say at 4:43 today (above) was:

    No big signing of FAs will happen, because the Dodger brass want to see which present key players they will want to offer longer term deals. And let the other walk if they want — and build around that during the season.

    Looking also to the minor leagues and see which folks on our farm will have the chance to move up — which ones to trade — and to the lower lever farm — which ones to keep grooming.

  30. Badger says:

    Economists got us into this mess OD. Well, economists and incompetent politicians. The only economist I trust anymore is Paul Krugman. He nailed it two years ago, and if we would have listened – well, the people who should have didn’t.

    Yes, until the economy recovers completely, and I think it is on it’s way, teams will suffer. The Dodgers did not though, just as I predicted. However next year is different. Last year we had a real shot, next year, with the owner looking weak and vulnerable, this organization looks to be in trouble. I have said before and I will say it again, if we don’t come out of the gate on fire, fans will protest by staying away.

  31. lawdog says:

    Until measured unemployment dips below 10% and real unemployment falls below 20%, all talk about a recovering economy is lies and spin–no matter who is doing the talking. Where all al these homeless people going to live and who’s going to feed them when their unemployment runs out? During the great depression we had poor houses where people could go, but we have them no more. People could be starving to death just a few 100 yards away from you and you might not even know it.

    The shelters are already filled to overflowing and “Mr. Jones” won’t give a beggar a buck so he might buy a double cheeseburger to it. (Because he believes all beggars own caddys and squander the millions they receive in handouts on booze, drugs and fast homeless women.)

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