Categorized | Mark Timmons

Is Spending More the Answer?

Since July 6th the Dodgers have lowered their team ERA to 8th in all of MLB (the pitching staff is 4th in strikeouts and 5th in lowest opponents’ batting average).

The offense has raised their team batting average to 15th in all of MLB, but still remain 23rd in runs scored and 23rd in OPS.  That’s the problem.  That’s the really big problem.   I know the popular thing is to bash the Dodgers, and especially, Frank McCourt, but the fact of the matter is that the pitching staff finally stepped up after injuries decimated many pitchers (Broxton, Kuo, Garland, Padilla) while the hitters didn’t… for most of the season.

That’s a pretty sweeping statement, but until Dave Hansen took over for Jeff Pentland, the hitting was abysmal.  It has gotten better, but injuries decimated half the regulars, namely Blake, Uribe, Ethier and Furcal.  Add in the fifth – James Loney who disappeared for half the season and you have a pretty good idea why the Dodgers are where they are.

Let’s look at the 2011 Diamondbacks who went from worst to first in 2011.  In fact, the D-Backs finished last twice in a row.  How did they do it?  It doesn’t hurt that by finishing poorly, you automatically get better draft picks, but the owners’ opened up their pocketbooks and signed a bunch of expensive free agents right?  That’s what most of you say the Dodgers have to do, but that’s not what the Backs did.  You complain that the Dodgers can’t win with McCourt because he won’t spend the money, but how much did AZ spend?  They won by cutting payroll by 21 million!  THEY SPENT $60 MILLION LESS ON PAYROLL THAN THE DODGERS, so when you say the Dodgers can’t win because McCourt won’t spend the money, you have it all wrong.  McCourt spent more than twice what the D-Backs did and still didn’t win.  It has nothing to do with money.   When you say the Dodgers won’t win because McCourt won’t spend the money is 180 degrees opposed to the truth.  The D-Backs didn’t sign a significant Free Agent and still won with a payroll half of the Dodgers payroll.

The 2011, Dodgers have a better team ERA, higher team batting average and better fielding percentage  than the D-Backs.  There is a difference in runs scored as the Backs hit better with RISP and they have averaged about .4 runs more a game on a lower BA.  The highest paid player Kelly Johnson, is hitting .209 and they have players like Willie Bloomquist,  Gerardo Parra, Sean Burroughs, Geoff Blum, Stephen Drew, Xavier Nady, Henry Blanco and Melvin Mora playing out of their arses, but who are journeymen… at best!

If you looked at that ragtag bunch before the season and said they would be running away with the NL West, you’d have been committed.  Justin Upton is a good player, but not yet a superstar.  Chris Young is erratic and Matt Montero is a solid, if not spectacular catcher.  On paper, Arizona didn’t look impressive in the least, but the game is not played on paper.  Evidently having no distractions (like an ugly divorce) and having a manager who instills a “can do” attitude has paid off for the D-backs.

That said, the game is different in LA now.  The fans are abandoning Dodger games faster than Rats were jumping off the Titantic.  If McCourt keeps the team (BIG IF), he has to sign at least one high profile free agent, maybe two.  To put things in perspective, the Dodgers could sign Prince Fielder and Aramis Ramirez for less than they would pay Broxton, Loney, Garland, Kuroda, Furcal and Blake.

Think about it!

Parting Shot:  “Jon Broxton is a second-tier closer and a great set-up man.”  Someday I’ll tell you who said that.

About Mark Timmons

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

14 Responses to “Is Spending More the Answer?”

  1. Badger says:

    First of all, nobody said McCourt “won’t” spend the money. What we said was he spent a lot of money on himself and his nefarious thaumaturge sidekick and now “can’t” spend any money.

    But, I think your point is well made here. When McCourt first got to the West Coast, not having a freakin’ clue what he was doing, he hired a moneyball guy, figuring I guess he was going to just keep the huge piles of money the Dodgers always make, get $1500 hair cuts, buy real estate and jets and stuff, and go the sabremetric route on the field. Well that didn’t pan out, so he decided to go the way of the S.F. Giants, and get older, experienced veterans and pay them 10 times what they are really worth. How has that worked so far? The only magic that happened for the Dodgers under McCourt leadership was when a guy named Manny Ramirez fell out of the sky and landed in Mannywood.

    The Dodgers should have enough money to do things the way they SHOULD be done – the Dodger way. If we had new leadership, the whole magilla could be rescripted from top to bottom. Get a GM that understands the new dynamics. Re-write the Fox contract, or dump it, and get the DTN going. Keep the Dodger minor league system stocked with talent on the field and the best coaching, scouting and development staff money can buy. Fix Dodger Stadium and make it what it used to be, a safe and fun place to take your family and watch Dodger baseball.

    Of course money helps. It just has to be in the right hands, with people who know how best to use it. The Dodgers don’t have that now. They haven’t had it in some time. It is going to take someone with money to buy, and repair the Dodgers. It is clearly not going to happen under McCourt leadership.

  2. Gonzo says:

    Is that 60 mil more counting all the deferred contracts? What has also helped the DBacks is the fact that the Dodgers, Rockies and Padres all tanked. Upton has gotten better and the bullpen was rearranged but other than than that, AZ has played the same type of ball it has in previous years.

  3. Badger says:

    Arizona’s improved bullpen is a huge difference. Seems to me they led the Majors in “lost leads” last year. I am quite certain they had the worst bullpen numbers in all of baseball.

  4. Bobby says:

    I don’t want to be like the AZ diamondbacks. They have clinched the nl west. exciting.

    I want to be like the Philadelphia Phillies or the Boston Red Sox, or god forbid, the Yankees. Hell, even the Rangers look like they have a foundation for greatness now. All consistent great organizations who plug in talented rookies and bring in big time players to consistently compete.

    partying shot “blake dewitt will hit 15-20 hr this year at 2b”. someday i’ll tell you who said that.

    • RogerCraig says:

      Bobby,

      Here is what Mark said:

      “I think Blake DeWitt will be a fine 2B and I still believe he will hit 15-20 HR, especially at Wrigley. ”

      http://www.ladodgertalk.com/2010/08/more-rants-than-raves/

      I see nothing where he said DeWitt would hit 15-20 this year.

      • Bobby says:

        it was during one of his predictions for the 2009 or 2010 season, i believe.

        either way, i’m giving him a hard time:) i also thought dewitt would be a really good 2b for us (remember that huge bases clearing triple vs. the phillies in the 08 or 09 playoffs?) we’re all wrong on some of our predictions, but i’m sure we’ve all been right before as well.

  5. jerry says:

    when we get new player…i would ratter get a player who is on his way up…not the ones who are on the down slide. there has to be away to say after a certain age..they are on the way down..

  6. Dodger66 says:

    Mark,I think the complaint from the fans the last couple of years is that when quality free agents are available like Cliff Lee, Adrian Beltre, and others the Dodgers are not even players. Spending money just to spend money is not what most of us fans want. The Dodger fans untill this year have done what they are supposed to do attend games, and buy Dodger merchandise I don’t believe they received the same support from this owner.

  7. Badger says:

    I would be very surprised to see both Kemp and Kershaw locked up by this administration. It’s just a hunch, but I would think the agents are advising these players to look elsewhere. Maybe by the time Kershaw gets to free agency this will all be over. But Kemp is a FA after next year. We also have Ethier and Loney to consider as well. Kemp is a star who can demand near $100 million. Do we really believe McCourt can offer that?

    Now, I suppose it might be possible for McCourt to “do it again” and back load a $100 million contract, but that would be very risky considering where the organization finds itself right now. They have been pushing money into the future for several years now and look where it got them.

    • Dodger66 says:

      Badger, I don’t think we will be keeping Kemp maybe Kershaw. There should be no doubt that we lock them up that is the frustration with McCourt. The Dodgers have the support for these guys, and deserve better from there owner. The money that has been spent by Ned has not been anything to hang your hat on.

  8. Dodger56 says:

    Once again, Mark is an apologist for McCourt, who prefers to spend his money on mansions in the Holmby Hills, come-to-your-house hair stylists, and mystics than on players and the farm system.

    1 – As of now, the guys who are currently with the Dodgers who will be back next year are Kershaw, Billingsly & Lilly, most of the bullpen (excluding Broxton, Kuo, Hawksworth & McDougal), Gordon, Uribe & Sellers, Kemp, Ethier & Sands, and Ellis. They will need 2 starting pitchers, a starting 2B or 3B, another utility IF, at least 1 catcher, and a couple of OF. They will have to pay big $ to keep Kemp & Ethier and Kershaw will certainly get a raise. Yeah, Blake, Loney, Garland et al will be gone, but the money that it will take to rebuild the roster with retreds and retain Kemp, Ethier & Kershaw will not be much less. There is only about $26 Mil coming off of the books. If interested, see today’s column in Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness.

    2 – The “Dodger Way” has always involved building from within. It takes money to sign players in the minors. The Dodgers are one of the lowest-spending teams on their minor league system in MLB. Plus, they have stopped spending on foreign free agents. If you aren’t going to spend on free agents how are you going to build a roster without spending on the farm system?

    3 – Does anyone really think that signing fat Prince Fielder for 10 years is a great idea? He is a Scott Boros client and even though he is only 27, does anyone really think that he will be any good in 5 years.

    They have to build a TEAM. It will take a commitment to signing several good players and to rebuild the farm to do this. Does anyone think that McCourt/Colletti will do what it takes?

    • Dodger66 says:

      56 well said. I would like to see Fielder in Dodger blue, but than there is no way we are able to keep Kemp, so scratch that idea. I’m sure Ned will solve all the questions over the winter, and that is what scares me.

  9. Badger says:

    Solid posts.

    “Does anyone think that McCourt/Colletti will do what it takes?”

    Nope.

    I think Fielder will hit his weight for a long time. And for him, that’s damn good. Hitting won’t be a problem for him. But he may have the AL written in his future. He has been big for a long time, but after 30 it often becomes a problem.

    It is going to be very interesting to see what happens with Kemp. With the McCourt drama likely dragging out until late next year, the Dodgers will probably have to trade him at the deadline to the highest bidder. Otherwise they just lose him. Ethier will be gone, Loney? who knows but he isn’t that big a loss. Kershaw will be in arbitration every year for a while, and that can’t develop good will. He is already worth $10 mil a year, and the Dodgers will be offering small raises for the next three years. It would appear that we have some good pitching lined up for a while. I have no idea where we will find hitters. Dodger Stadium isn’t exactly where free agent sluggers come to improve their numbers, and with little chance of being competitive as long as McCourt owns the team, signing big hitters looks like an long shot to me.

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