Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Best of the aughts (as in "aughta been better")

I'm stealing another blogger's idea again. And it's another one of those all-time best team posts.

Paul over at Phungo just listed his Phillies team of the decade. The team of the Aughts (because no one knows what to call this decade). If you ask me, a Phillies fan has an easy time of it. The Phillies did just win a World Series. That team had a few players that stood out.

It's not so easy with the Dodgers. This was a decade of transition for L.A. It seems like half the decade the Dodgers had no idea what they were doing. All you have to do is look at who they put out on the field in 2005. Hee Seop Choi. Mike Edwards. Jason Phillips. Ricky Ledee. I mean these were the starters.

So, coming up with the best at each position was tricky. But I tried to stick to the format that Phungo created. The only thing I didn't do was name an MVP for the decade. I think a team needs to win a World Series for me to be naming MVPs. I guess if the Dodgers win the Series next month, I'll name an MVP.

So in the meantime, here's the All-Aught Team:

Catcher: Paul Lo Duca. Yeah, it's Mr. HGH. I wanted to go with Russell Martin, but Lo Duca's numbers are better and he started more of the decade than Martin did.

First Base: James Loney. Man, this was a hard position to hash out. The Dodgers fielded only two players at first base for consecutive seasons: Loney and Eric Karros. Karros was a little shaky around 2001, so I went with Loney. I'm hoping he really breaks out next year and justifies this pick.

Second base: Jeff Kent. This was a no-brainer. Not crazy about the guy, but I'm not putting Alex Cora here. Kent did put up some big numbers. And he did hate Barry Bonds, so that's a bonus.

Shortstop: Rafael Furcal. Toss-up between Furcal and Cesar Izturis. But Furcal is obviously more talented. It's just that injuries have gotten in the way.

Third base: Adrian Beltre. Dodgers fans spent the first half of the decade waiting for that monster season from him, finally got it in 2004, and then he was gone. But what a stellar season. I'm waiting for Beltre to pull a Mike Greenwell and bitch that he should have gotten the MVP that year because Bonds, well, you know. But I guess he's got to confess, huh?

Left field: Andre Ethier. I was surprised to see that Ethier actually spent more time in the outfield than all but one other Dodger player during the decade. And another walk-off home run tonight in the 13th inning! He's having an awesome season.

Center field: Matt Kemp. The contest for the last outfield spot was between Kemp and Gary Sheffield. Sheffield had a crazy season in 2000, but he was out of L.A. not long after that. Kemp has played a bit longer this decade and I think he's tremendous. So he gets the spot.

Right field: Shawn Green. The greatest hitter of Jewish descent since Hank Greenberg. And an unfreakingbelievable 2001 season. The steadiest outfielder the Dodgers had all decade.

Ace: Brad Penny. His career with the Dodgers was pretty rocky, and I'm not loving him all that much now that he chose to be a Giant. But in 2007 he was an indisputable ace. I had more faith in him than any Dodgers starter the entire decade.

Right-handed pitcher: Derek Lowe. He didn't please me a lot, but when you look back at the stats, he had four steady seasons for the Dodgers. He received atrocious run support for most of his time in L.A.

Left-handed pitcher: Odalis Perez. Not a lot to choose from here. Perez edges out the wildly inconsistent Kaz Ishii. Perez did have a very nice 2002.

Closer: Eric Gagne. An embarassment of riches at this position. Takashi Saito would have been the best closer of the decade on any other team besides the Yankees. Broxton and Shaw were both pretty good, too. But I can't ignore the three years that Gagne had. I've never seen a pitcher do what he did, chemical aids or not.

Set-up man: Jonathan Broxton. The Dodgers' current closer was a pretty fine set-up guy through 2007 and 2008. Guillermo Mota is the runner-up.

Bench guy: Olmedo Saenz. The Killer Tomato was a regular pinch-hitter for the Dodgers for four seasons, and came up with some big hits, including a pinch-hit grand slam (one day after Robin Ventura hit a pinch-hit grand slam).

Manager: Joe Torre. He was the manager when the Dodgers won their first playoff series of the decade, so that's good enough for me.

So, there you are. Thanks for the idea, Phungo. I hope some other folks will post their All-Aught Team. I'd love to know who people would place on all the other teams. Except the Yankees. Don't want to see those ugly guys.


  1. Phungo had a great idea. That card of Green is hilariously peculiar. The angle of the shot, his body position and the catchers all adds up to a phunny photo.

    My verification word is tureadin as in "Here's tureadin many more blog posts about teams of the oughts."

  2. wow if these are the best Dodgers of the decade, it's no wonder how little success they've had.

  3. Hmm... that Jeff Kent card looks familiar. I take it my cards arrived?

    Also, I don't know what went went wrong with Hee Seop Choi. He should have been really really good. :(