Sunday, August 26, 2012

The ghost of George Steinbrenner has possessed the Dodgers


If you're a Dodger fan and you're still trying to absorb this weekend's trade and what it all means, then, welcome to my little club.

I call it "The Ghost of George Steinbrenner Has Possessed My Team."

I have never witnessed such a gambling acquisition of star players since Steinbrenner was in power with the Yankees. It's a fantasy league trade. It's a trade dreamed up in comic books. It's crazy. It's bizarre. I'd almost say it's ridiculous, but I'm hoping that somebody in upper Dodger management knows what he's doing.

I don't know how to feel because I've spent virtually my entire baseball-rooting career bagging on a certain team for buying players. It feels kind of good, but it feels kind of bad. And it all feels kind of unsettled. Throw in the fact that when Fox owned the Dodgers, it tried to do something like this on a slightly less grand scale and it exploded in every Dodger fan's face.

I'm not one of those people who likes to pretend he's a GM. I'm not an admirer of Ned Colletti, but I'll be the first to admit that I couldn't do his job.

So I'm not going to try to pick apart this trade under the pretense that I'm an expert. The fact is, I have no idea whether the Dodgers did something smart or stupid. And neither do any of the zillions of people -- no matter how many followers or fans or experience they have -- who have lodged an opinion on this deal.

Here are my not-so brief thoughts:

1. Getting the best player on the Red Sox -- Adrian Gonzalez -- is worth it. It's worth giving up whatever they gave up. It's worth being saddled with whatever contract they'll be saddled with -- it just is. Gonzalez was hitting 30 home runs regularly in a horrible hitting park in San Diego. He will do the same in another pitcher's park in L.A. Dodger fans have been whining about James Loney for years. So in this area, critics should shut it.

2. I still like Josh Beckett. I know I'm one of the last people on the internet to enjoy this player. I don't care. I know he's surly and dismissive and plain unfriendly. But I'm not taking him home to meet my mom. If he pitches relatively well, he can eat fried chicken on the mound for all I care. I could be wrong, but I'm thinking he's got some pitching left in him and I'm liking that he'll be in the rotation.

3. Carl Crawford? Uh, um. ... Well, I appreciate that the Dodgers have so much money available that they can take on damaged goods in order to get the deal done. Other than that, I'll wait and see. I might not even be blogging by the time he wears a Dodger uniform.

4. Nick Punto. (*hums tune quietly to himself in hopes nobody notices that he has no thoughts on Nick Punto*)

OK, for the guys the Dodgers gave up, I'm going to change it up a little and focus on collecting.

For team collectors, whenever your team makes a deal, you're left with cards of players that you once avidly pursued. You look at them like they're a discarded lobster shell. All the good stuff is gone, now what?

Fortunately, I'm not someone who collects prospects or actively pursues hits of younger players. I prefer to wait until players are established on my team before I chase their cards. I may pay a little more sometimes, but at least I've made a connection with the player.

For instance, Jerry Sands, one of the "players to be named" in the deal. It's obvious the Dodgers' new management isn't going to place an emphasis on developing prospects in the minors, or they would've held on to a few more of them in this trade (thank goodness Zach Lee is still around).

I'm one of the fans who thought Sands would become a star. Now I hear that he's projected to be "a role player."

All the more reason not to get burned by chasing young players. The best cards of Sands that I have are pretty parallels like these. Most traded to me for free. No money down, or very little anyway.

This is the best card I have of Rubby De La Rosa, the other "player to be named" in the trade. It might be my only fancy Rubby card.

Did you know De La Rosa was the best prospect in the Dodgers' organization? That's what I heard on ESPN last night. I had no idea. The guy just came off of Tommy John surgery and I've heard more good things about him now then I ever did before he had the surgery. Huh?

If you're pursuing hit cards of Ivan DeJesus Jr., then you must be a member of the DeJesus family. This is the best I've got of Junior.

And now Jr. has something in common with his dad. He couldn't stick with the Dodgers.

OK, this one hurts a little. Look at that card!! LOOK AT IT!!!!

It's fantastic. But it's one of maybe four cards I have of Webster.

He seems like he might be pretty good. Then again, he might blow out his arm in a game tomorrow. And that's why I can't take any report on pitching prospects too seriously.

Loney is the only established player that the Dodgers surrendered. And if you're dealing established players, I can't think of a finer one to discard than Loney.

I tried to stay positive about him, long after many other Dodger fans threw him under the bus, hopped into the driver's seat and backed over him a few times. But it just wasn't working out.

Because Loney was established, I own a number of relic cards of him. In fact, I'm due to pay Kyle4KC for another Loney hit. Hmmmm, what should I do?

Anyway, I decided to show this bat card, just to be cute. Enjoy your late-inning defensive replacement, Red Sox fans.

So, Loney's the only guy in which I invested any time into his cards. And when I look at them, I can remember his grand slam in the postseason against the Cubs, and a handful of other decent moments -- because he actually had a career with the Dodgers.

As for the others, what is there to recall? "Remember that 6-RBI game you had against Tulsa in Double A?" Who cares?

In cards and in team-rooting, I need to see major league results.

It's fun to project prospects and there are some "experts" out there who make decent money off of that stuff, both in cards or in Prospect Projecting, or whatever they call the business in which they're employed.

But nobody -- and I mean nobody -- truly knows what they're going to do. Unless you have a guy on your hands like Mike Trout.

I keep hearing that the Dodgers are going to be hurting in 2017.

This is just babble. Nobody knows what anybody will be doing anywhere in any facet of life in 2017. It's ridiculous to talk or write about it with any air of seriousness.

What is a known fact is Adrian Gonzalez averages 30 home runs a year (and he hit one last night). It's concrete. And that's all I have to go on.

And, therefore, I will be taking your Adrian Gonzalez cards.

Starting with his 2013 items.

I think George would approve.


  1. While watching the Braves- Giants game yesterday, I heard the following quote: "Magic Johnson might be more popular right now in Boston than Larry Bird."

    Well, I thought it was funny!

  2. I think all the deals that the Doyers made this summer will help the team. It will also be even more fun to collect them too. Think of all the new Hanley and Gonzalez cards we will have to pursue.

  3. Two things concern me.

    1. The Dodgers are going to be that much tougher now. I don't want to meet them in the World Series.

    2. The last sentence in item #3.

  4. I'm going to miss Sandman, but I think the Dodgers did good because he'll probably be a AAAA'er (too good for AAA, won't play well in the bigs). His Dodger stints have been disappointing, IMHO, while he's been awesome here in Albuquerque, especially since he fixed his swing in July and has gone on a tear.

    My biggest concern with the trade is the money. I know they are flush with cash from a new TV contract, but throwing money left and right probably won't leave them much for participating in the free agent market two to three years down the line.

  5. The Dodgers are trying to buy a World Series!!! The Dodgers are bad for baseball!!! We need a salary cap to control teams like the Dodgers!!!

    Sorry, don't get a chance to say this kind of thing very often.

    Good luck with the deal.

  6. Punto is a "good character" guy, at least in the since that he has the bizarre habit of tearing the uniforms off of other players in celebration. And he's got a decent glove when he's not injured. (His glove is pretty terrible when he is hurt.)