Categorized | Mark Timmons

The State of the Dodgers

The State of the Dodgers

It’s no secret that the McCourts are in the midst of a messy divorce, but would things be any different if Frank and Jamie were still together?

Would that have caused the Dodgers to offer arbitration to Randy Wolf and/or Orlando Hudson?  Would that have caused the Dodgers to signCamelBackRanch-2009-Troncoso Wolf?  Well, no one can be sure, but do you really want 3 years of Randy Wolf?  I mean, two years ago and even last year, many of you didn’t want him back. 

Yeah, the Randy Wolf of 2009 was pretty nice, so nice that he earned the Type A Free Agent Rating, but what are the odds that he stays healthy or continues his level of success in 2010, 2011 and 2012?  I would say the odds are not good.  That’s just my opinion, but I don’t see him as a workhorse.  I do see a guy who could say that he was a Type A Free Agent who had better stats that D-Lowe, and D-Lowe makes $15 mil a year.  That was the most that Wolf stood to make – $15 mil a year, but if he would have asked for, say $13 million a year, he would have had a decent shot at it, especially if the Dodgers offered less than $10 million. 

You might say that the Brewers offered him about $30 mil over 3 years, but what makes you so sure they would have offered the contract if they had to give up compensation?  You don’t know, and there is no way to ever know, but it’s circular thinking to think it would have happened the same way.   I think the Dodgers decided (change that – I know that the Dodgers decided that they did not want to give Randy Wolf a multi-year deal in the $10 mil per year range and they felt he would accept arbitration because (1) he knew he could get $11-15 mil in arbitration ($15 mil is probably too high, but maybe not); and (2) they did not want to commit to a multi-year deal with him.  This is all conjecture, but offering arbitration would have changed the whole dynamic. 

For similar reasons, Orlando Hudson, who did not want to come back to LA, would have jumped at a chance for a $10 million payday.  He was an All-Star and Gold Glove 2B on multiple occasions, and again – a case could be made that he could command up to $10 million a year.  Likely?  MAYBE NOT, BUT POSSIBLE!   It is an extreme example, but it’s possible that the Dodgers could have had 25% of their $100 million payroll tied up with two players.  Again, it may not have been likely, but it was a scenario that the Dodgers had to consider as possible.  If that had happened it would have crippled the Dodgers ability give raises to their youngsters.

Randy Wolf and Orlando Hudson made us better in 2009, but I have reason to believe that one of our youngsters can step in and fill their shoes.   McDonald, Troncoso, Elbert, Lindblom and Haeger are in the mix for the first 2 spots behind Billingsley, Kershaw and Kuroda.  Again, come July, more arms will be on the market at a cheaper price.  I see nothing wrong with trying the youngsters and then shopping in July, if necessary.  Should Ned tell you that?  Why play your cards?  This team is going to be very good next year, if only because our players are another year older and more mature.  Blake DeWitt is a “Ballplayer” at 2B, and I would not even sniff at Belliard or Carroll, unless it’s as a utility-man.

Manny Ramirez will also be playing for a new contract and I think he will return with a vengeance.  I also don’t see the Dodgers buying-down Pierre’s contract.  They will keep him or trade him for a pitcher with a “bad contract.”  I still hope for Harang (because I think he has a higher upside than Arroyo), but who knows?  The Dodgers still need bench help, but we already have Xavier Paul, Jason Repko, Juan Pierre and Chin-lung Hu.  Brad Ausmus is a strong possibility again,  and so all we need is another RH infield bat – not Craig Counsell who is LH.

So, back to the question first propounded – would things be any different if the McCourts were a couple?  I can’t answer that, but I will ask, should things be any different if the McCourts were a couple?  This is a business and is it prudent to sign players like Jason Schmidt, Andruw Jones or, for that matter, Manny Ramirez?  I say no.  I am on record this time last year as saying the Dodgers should not sign Manny (something for which I was castigated), but Manny was mostly a “non-factor.”  Go after “Blue Chip” Players, not “cow chip” players.  If we had went after C.C. Sabathia instead of Manny, we would be talking right now about Hudson or Wolf, and we might have won the Series last year. 

I say that when it comes to Free Agents – Go BIG or Stay Home!  Think about it!  There are no “BIG” ones this year, so we should stay home.  Quit trying to “make a silk purse out of a sows ear.”  So, if you are one of the naysayers who say “The Dodgers Won’t Win With The Pitchers They Have,”  You are probably the same ones who told me the Dodgers wouldn’t win without Manny. They didn’t win WITH him.

About Mark Timmons

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

21 Responses to “The State of the Dodgers”

  1. Badger says:

    I was with you until this – “Randy Wolf and Orlando Hudson made us better in 2009, but I have reason to believe that one of our youngsters can step in and fill their shoes.”

    No way do any of our young players pitch 200 innings of 3.23 and 1.1 WHIP and no way do any of our young players step in, hit for the cycle, bat .283 and win a Gold Glove. You are dreaming my friend.

    Look, I do understand that there is no compromise in arbitration. But, if the team comes forth with a reasonable offer, they have an excellent shot at winning. “Since 1974, and including 2009, arbitrators have ruled on behalf of the players 207 times and clubs 280 times. Although the number of players filing for salary arbitration varies per year, the majority of cases are settled before the arbitration hearing date. Typically, approximiately 90 percent of the players filing for arbitration reach new agreements before a hearing.”

    I think if the Dodgers were to offer Wolf an increase of say 40%, in these times? – I think that is very reasonable. So if Wolf knows he can get a multi-year someplace he turns it down, and we get a pick. As for Hudson, same thing. Give the guy an offer that will look good in front of an arbiter, Hudson will turn it down because he is miffed (who can blame him) and we get another pick.

    I just don’t see not making a good faith offer as a smart move. I still say this is being done because the Dodger ownership is in crisis.

    Someone, please, tell my where I am going wrong with this line of thinking.

  2. Mark Timmons says:

    OK, here’s what’s wrong – Randy Wolf has never put up those kinds of numbers before, and you may (or may not be right) about the money, but if I were Randy Wolf’s client, I could make a heck of an agrument that he was worth as much as Lowe and more than Kuroda, and I think I would have an excellent chance of getting $13-14 million. I think Wolf would have taken arbitration.

    Hudson would not turn down chance at $10 mil – It’s about the money!

    Now, I believe that the Dodgers are being very cautious, but they have their whole contingent at the Winter Meetings – they could have saved a whole bunch of money by sending a few and not the many!

    That have taken on additional payroll in promoting Lovelace and you know that Mannion also got a raise.

    By the way – the deal with the 87-year old scout is not what the papers made it out to be. He still works for the Dodgers and Logan White still thinks highly of him. Departments have budgets and hard choices have to be made.

  3. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    “…and Bills is on his last leg with ths orginization I bet.”

    The above is from the previous thread, from which, for whatever reason, the text box for posting wasn’t available. And what would move anyone to come to that conclusion? Bills had a great first half, and for whatever reason, tailed off in the second half. I suspect it had something to do with his conditioning following his broken leg last winter, but that’s just a guess on my part. But being on his “last leg” (he didn’t lose the one he broke, did he?) seems a bit of a stretch.

    I’m not comparing Billingsley to Halladay, but the latter tanked in 2000 after a promising rookie year in 1999. In fact, statistically at least, 2004 also appears to have been a less than stellar year for him. Some of us forget that it’s not unusual for even the biggest stars hit bumps in the road on their way to stardom.

    Ever since his struggles with the Phillies in the 2008 NLCS, Billingsley gets little or no slack from a lot of fans. Yet, in that same year he shut down the Cubs for 6.2 innings (one run) in the NLDS, but that’s never mentioned. Same story with Broxton as well.

    With few exceptions, it takes several years for young talented players to develop into championship caliber performers. We’ve watched some our young players grow and mature over the last several years. Now is not the time to give up on players just because we’re impatient, and unwilling to stay the course.

  4. Mark Timmons says:

    If we go into the season with the following rotation, I won’t be mad:

    Kershaw
    Billingsley
    Kuroda
    Haeger
    McDonald

  5. lawdog says:

    No way either Wolf or O-Rod were coming back to us. They were going to test the market. O-Rod wouldn’t come back and have to put up with the crap he got from Torre last year if you paid him Manny money.

    So we were fools for not offering them arbitration. We just threw two first round picks away for nothing.

  6. lawdog says:

    In fact, I think the idea that those two would have accepted arbitration is just spin and Frankless is being less than perfectly frank with us when he spun it. He really is just one cheap bastard that didn’t want to pay the signing bonuses of 3 first round picks and two sandwich picks. With good scouting imagine what those picks could have done for the team. :shock:

  7. Mark Timmons says:

    So Lawdog, if you think it’s not about the money, you are kidding yourself.

  8. Mark Timmons says:

    What would you rather have – $29 mil over 3 years or $14 mil over one year and try the same thing again?

  9. Mark Timmons says:

    By the way, the sportswriters who were with Wolf and Hudson, day-in-and-day out (Gurnick, Hernandez, et al) don’t share your belief. Me? I would defer to the guys who spoke with them every day. I haven’t said 50 words to Hudson and Wolf, so I am certain that both writers (who are not paid by the Dodgers) know better than anyone.

  10. Ken says:

    Offering arbitration to Hudson would have been really dumb.

    I am not happy with Mark’s starting pitching contentment. I would have offerred arbitration to Wolf. At his age he would have turned it down for a multi-year deal some where else.

    The Dodgers should not be content adding more than one kid per year into the starting pitching rotation. McDonald will never even be a below average starter. Elbert is still years away because he still throws like a high school pitcher. Hopefully some day he will learn how to pitch. Lindblum is a candidate for 2011. Troncoso could be a starter if the Dodgers had the right pitching coach. Stults should not be sold to a Japan team until a veteran pitcher is signed. Free Haeager for the number 5 spot and sign a veteran innings eater for the number 4 spot. Then work on all of the hitter’s mental abilities to hit with RUNNERS IN SCORING POSITION!!!!!!!

    Mark – I like how you have your rapid fire news articles minaturized so that we can see all of them on the screen at the same time!

  11. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Regarding Wolf, I go along with Mark’s line of thinking. Also, since Kim Ng is given high marks for handling arbitration cases, I am guessing that the Dodgers determined that the risk/reward wasn’t worth it, and therefore passed on offering arbitration.

    I don’t see DeWitt as being able to offer us gold glove caliber play at 2B, but I do not think it’s entirely unreasonable to expect that he could match or come close to Hudson’s numbers. Fact is, he appears to have more power, which should only grow as he continues to mature. We’re not even sure if Hudson would have matched Hudson’s numbers.

    And the same goes for Wolf, who also will very conceivably not match his 2009 numbers in 2010. I’m not looking for one of our young pitchers to match Wolf’s numbers, but I’m not sure it can’t happen either (at least a reasonable facsimile). And right now we have no clue as to what veteran pitcher will be acquired. If it’s Harang or Arroyo, certainly either one of them is capable of matching Wolf (or no less likely than Wolf is). I’ve also heard that the Dodgers may be waiting for Saturday to see which players will be non-tendered (e.g., Chien-Ming Wang). And Mark makes a good argument for waiting until July to do some of our shopping.

  12. lawdog says:

    You’ve almost convinced me Mark. Money speaks so loud nothing else can be heard over the clatter. But I still think Frank was less than perfectly frank about his motives and the economy is such (and both player’s fragile health is such) that both would have rejected arbitration for one year deals when they stand to get 3 year 30 million dollar deals by testing the market. Both these guys are fragile and the guaranteed long term money is worth a lot more than one year deals worth a couple of million more than they’d make in the first year of multiple deals. E.g., Wolf is better off with 3 year $31 million than $12 million this year and everything after that is a big pig in a poke. O-rod is even more fragile and probably has just one year to play. Do you think he’d want to sit on Torre’s bench again when another team will undoubtedly offer him at least a 2 year $25 million dollar deal with an option and buy out for a third.

    With their fragile condition and relative geezerish ages they’d be dumb to accept arbitration.

  13. lawdog says:

    We should resign Padilla–then promote Haeger and Elbert.

  14. A Shot of Haeger says:

    I think my namesake should be the 5th starter and play second base. Then we can move DeWitt in a package for Halladay.

    Free Charlie Haeger

  15. Mark Timmons says:

    I am not sold on McDonald for one reason: His mental makeup. If he can “COWBOY UP,” he can be a solid #3, but that’s the issue = between his ears.

  16. Mark Timmons says:

    It’s going to be an interesting Spring…

  17. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Call it spin, or whatever you want, but I agree with this:

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/dodgerthoughts/2009/12/colletti-confident-in-chad-billingsley.html

    Mark,

    Like the new format.

  18. DRomo says:

    Great takes Mark. I may not agree but you scerarios for 2010 are reasonable.

    “and so all we need is another RH infield bat – Craig Counsell?”

    FYI- Counsell is a left handed bat. I think he would just be an old version of DeWitt.

  19. Badger says:

    Who are these alleged writers that say these things Mark? Everything I have read about this since October has said the same thing – offering Hudson arbitration was a no brainer because he wouldn’t accept it anyway. And Wolf? To believe he would get $15 million is just ridiculous! You cannot compare him to Derek Lowe! Derek Lowe had 6 straight years of 200 innings and has 6 years of play-of experience to go along with a sub 4 career ERA. Wolf has 1 year of 200 IP since 2003 a 4+ career ERA and last year was his first in post-season. He wasn’t going to get Lowe money! As you would say, Stevie Wonder could see that. And not only that, he probably wouldn’t have accepted arbitration anyway. You think these guys can’t see the Dodger ship sinking?

    This was a money deal all right. The Dodgers did not want to give these two a raise, and they did not want to pay the bonuses that extra picks would cause.

    And to DeWitt replacing Hudson. Do you have any idea how ridiculous that sounds to someone who understands baseball? Last year at AAA he hit .256 with 7 HR’s and 47 RBI’s at mile high Albuquerque. Not exactly ripping it up. With the Dodgers? Same thing – 400 at bats .257. To believe he will step in and do what Hudson can do is ludicrous.

    Kershaw
    Billingsley
    Kuroda
    Haeger
    McDonald

    Yep. That’s the starting rotation all right. And with DeWitt at 2b, Blake at 3rd, and who knows on the bench, the Dodgers are a .500 team waiting to happen. And, because allowing Type A FA’s to just walk, the farm will not be re-stocked.

    I remain right where I was. Sell the team Frankie.

  20. Harold says:

    I don’t think anyone expects Blake Dewitt to do what O Dog did last year or might do this year. However, we have to find out. Last season was not a good test for Dewitt as he bounced around from LA to AAA. It might be helpful for him to know in ST he does have a shot at the job. Young players have to start some time. Seems to me Matt Kemp’s neck was in a noose in his first year or two. And, Andre was soft. In any event, there will be a veteran 2B on board, not O Dog, but a vet. And the bench will be built.

    I do believe that had all of our arbitration cases been solved before the meetings, Ned could have been more aggressive, but that’s not the way it works. I do expect to have a veteran pitcher added, not a stud, but a veteran. I also expect Scott Elbert to become a part of the rotation. One of the youngsters has to be added this year to start to build some future stability in our staff. Surely Elbert, Lindlom, Haegar or McDonald can progress to the next level.Our flexibility is limited with arbitration and with about $47M tied up with Manny, JP, Casey, Raffy and Kuroda, if I read the Cot’s contracts correctly. Some creativity is defintely in order.

    I also think that trade deadlines deals might be important again this year. By that time we will have MLB ready guys to trade if need be. Go for Josh Johnson. And I think the Dodger staff believes it can continue to find a nugget or two in the left overs. Not encouraging but not totally discouraging. We have known for twenty years that we have to get back to bulding from within.

    GO DODGERS!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks


Mandatory Daily Dodger Reading