I can’t believe how happy I was a few months ago when Andrew Friedman jumped ship in Tampa and signed on as the Dodgers’ new head baseball honcho, in charge of putting a championship-caliber team on the field. Very little that he has done since taking over that role has seemed logical, and certainly little has occurred that figures to actually improve the team. His moves can largely be classified into three groups:
- Trades that did little if anything to improve the team;
- Signings of a slew of pitchers with questionable talent and/or worrisome health histories;
- Throwing good money after bad for more and more Cuban imports with no major league experience, hoping to find a second Yasiel Puig.
|Of course, all this is in addition to the biggest act of lunacy of all, retaining the empty uniform non-manager don mattingly to continue to keep the Dodgers from ever becoming a championship team, regardless of the players on the field.|
The trades pretty much amounted to re-arranging the deck chairs, except for giving away for a pile of garbage the Dodgers' best hitter and run producer, Matt Kemp. The net effect of all those
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As I’ve said before, loading up the pitching staff with one hospital case after another, from Brandan McCarthy to Brett Anderson to Erik Bedard to Dave Aardsma to Chad Gaudin to Brandon Beachy to Dustin McGowan, ad infinitum adds up to a disaster lurking just a few innings away. Now, with injuries to Hyun-Jin Ryu, Kenley Jansen and Brandon League, this group of the walking dead has so far stepped up just as I kew they would, and with the need for yet another starter in the rotation, plus living, breathing arms in the bullpen, both Bedard and Gaudin are again injured, and others that have made it to the mound have struggled.
So with Ryu out, where is mattingly now looking for the fifth starter in his rotation? Why to yet another acquisition recovering from major surgery, Joe Wieland, who rather than being a free agent signee, was part of the Matt Kemp deal with San Diego. Wieland made all of three major league appearances (plus six in the minors) last season following his second elbow surgery in two years. He missed almost all of both 2012 and 2013 (less than ten innings pitched, total, for the two seasons) and underwent Tommy John surgery in July of 2012.
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|Right now, as the start of the season nears, after Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke, the rotation is McCarthy, Anderson and Wieland. The bullpen is in shambles, with not a single legitimate candidate to replace the injured Jansen. So, what has the Dodgers' brain trust, headed by Friedman and his pair of twin incompetent lackies, Senior VP for Baseball Operations Josh Byrnes and General Manager Farhan Zaidi, done to help remedy the situation?|
Well, they’ve been sending piles of money to Cuba, in an ill-advised attempt to find a second Yasiel Puig. Remember, Puig may have been a successful signing, but what about the other two guys they paid super-big bucks to, to leave Havana and come to Hollywood? Remember Erisbel Arruebarrena? Remember Alexander Guerrero?
Well, this spring, the Dodgers first tried stuffing the pockets of Yoan Moncada, but the Red Sox were better pocket-stuffers, so the team turned to two other Cuban imports, pitcher Pablo Millan Fernandez and infielder Hector Olivera. Now if Fernandez were a major-league ready starter (major-league experienced would be waaaaaay too much to hope for), then maybe that signing could have been rationalized. But, he is not close to being ready for the major leagues (if ever), is not a starter, at least not yet, and is not even a hard thrower (generally 88-90 MPH, 5.3 K/9 ip). There was little interest or bidding on him, but the Dodgers, who are yet to see a questionable pitcher they did not covet, threw $9 Million his way.
And then there is Olivera. With his history, how could he not be a pitcher? Ole Hector missed all of the 2012 season, and all of the 2014 season, but did manage to play around 70 or so games in 2013, but primarily as a designated hitter. Yet, the Dodgers apparently think that he can be a major league regular, at third base, second base, or in the outfield. Oh, year, he’s also about to hit his 30th birthday, and could miss the 2015 season, as a ulnar collateral ligament injury in his throwing arm could require his own Tommy John surgery. But the Dodgers think he was a steal at only $62.5 Million, guaranteed, and which included a $28 Million signing bonus. Did I mention that he also has a serious blood
|disorder that at least in part kept him out of baseball for much of those 2012 and 2014 seasons?|
This signing absolutely defies logic, especially as the team drastically needs pitching help. Management is telling Dodgers' fans that they are a better team than last season and that they'll go all the way this season. What gullible idiot could possibly believe that of a team with no closer and a starting staff that
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And how can I not say anything about yesterday’s resumption of the Dodgers’ playing targets for the headhunters who masquerade as baseball players in Arizona Diamondback uniforms. There may be new front office leadership, a new manager, and several new players, but they are still miserable scum who have no regard for the livelihood of fellow ballplayers, throwing fastballs at the heads and limps of batters at will. The Arizona manager, his replacement, and two pitchers were all thrown out of the game for their actions, and they need to be handed substantial fines and suspensions during the regular season. The commissioner and the rest of baseball can not let this go on – it is now into its third year of dangerous, childish behavior on the part of Diamondback mangers and players, and minor injures are bound to become major, serious career-threatening and perhaps life-threatening ones unless something significant is done, and done now.