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.