Pinch me! This is the time of year that everyone is reading all the projections from ZiPS, Fangraphs, Baseball Prospectus, Bill James and Scout. Fans are ga-ga over the Dodgers, but not everyone is drinking the Kool-Aid. While many pre-season polls and publications have the Dodgers winning the N.L. West, USA Today has the Dodgers finishing 3rd in the N.L. West behind the Giants and D-Backs. That’s a dose of reality for you – the Dodgers payroll which is more than the the Giants and D-Backs combined could actually finish behind both of those teams? Yes, it could happen, but I am not predicting it.
I put very little stock in these projections. For instance, here’s what some predict about Carl Crawford:
- ZiPS: .269, 11 home runs, 49 RBIs, 21 stolen bases
- James: .274, 16 home runs, 68 RBIs, 36 stolen bases
- Scout: .275, 10 home runs, 60 RBIs, 30 stolen bases
A leadoff hitter hitting .269 to .275 isn’t considered very good, but he could do much worse. He did in Boston. However, he could also do a lot better. That would be awesome. As fans we hope for the best, and I have often been accused of looking at the Dodgers through “Blue-Colored Glasses”. My glasses are actually clear, but my blood is blue and that’s the segue to the point of this post: Many of the Dodgers are Blue Bloods because of their talent level and contract values. Look at these contracts:
- Adrian Gonzalez – $107,000,000.00 (6 years)
- Carl Crawford – $102,500,000.00 (5 years)
- Matt Kemp – $127,210,000.00 (7 years)
- Zach Greinke – $147,000,000.00 (6 years)
- Andre Ethier – $85,000,000.00 (5 years)
- Yasiel Puig – $42,000,000.00 (7 years)
- Hyun-Jin Ryu – $42,000,000.00 (6 years)
- Josh Beckett – $31,500,000.00 (2 years)
- Hanley Ramirez – $31,500,000.00 (2 years)
- Chad Billingsley – $23,000,000.00 (2 years)
- Brandon League – $22,500,000.00 (3 years)
- Clayton Kershaw – $200,000,000.00 (8 years coming soon)
Add in a few other lesser contracts and the Dodgers have $1 Billion in salary obligations and I guarantee that many of these guys think they are Blue Bloods. I mean, you would think the same thing if you had a huge contract. Yes, they are really Blue Bloods, but what I want to know is: Are they Blue Collar? The Dodgers are not going to win because of their talent alone. They will win if they are smart and willing to work. Give me Blue Collar over Blue Blood any day, but I’ll take Blue Blood, Blue Collar EVERY day!
Will Matt Kemp realize that running through a wall for just one out is not smart? Will he live to fight another day instead of trying to make it all happen himself on one play? Will Hanley, Carl, Andre and Adrian just play their games and not try and win it all themselves? Will these Blue Bloods play like Blue Collar, lunch-bucket, junkyard dogs or spoiled rich, prima donna brats?
Let’s hope these guys are the right color of Blue – Collar! After all, I’m a junkyard dog type of guy.