Sports Medley 16 Dec 14: Dodgers Front Office Most Inept in Los Angeles
by Tony Medley
Not the Worst:
Contrary to what might be thought (and hard as it is to believe), the
current “whatever Kobe wants, Kobe gets” Lakers’ front office is not the
most inept in Los Angeles sports history. That distinction goes, hands
down, to the Los Angeles Dodgers, circa 1987 –2010. In 1987 the Dodgers
fired Al Campanis in a cowardly move dictated by fear of political
correctness that need not be detailed here. Since then they have been
subject to the “Campanis Curse.” While they won the pennant and World
Series in 1988 using the team put together by Campanis, since then they
have been in the wasteland achieving a record of incompetence that
boggles the mind. Here is a list of players that they discarded for
basically nothing in return:
Traded in 1991 for Eric Davis and Kip Gross. Davis hit around .230 in
two Dodgers years and Gross pitched 38.2 innings for the Dodgers in two
years. After the trade Wetteland was a 3-time All Star becoming the best
closer in baseball during the ‘90s with 329 saves through 2000.
Used primarily in relief by the Dodgers, traded in his second season in
1993 for weak-hitting second baseman Delino DeShields. Smarter people
made Pedro a starter who became a 3-time Cy Young Award Winner and an
eight time All Star.
Traded in 1998 after only 151 at bats in two years for pitcher Jeff Shaw
who won 9 games for the Dodgers in four years, Konerko became a six time
All Star with a .279 lifetime batting average and 439 home runs.
Granted free agency in 2005 after hitting .334 with 48 home runs, for
nothing. After leaving the Dodgers he has had a lifetime batting average
of .322 with 248 home runs, is a 4-time All Star, and is a 4-time
Platinum Glove winner at third base.
a 3-time All Star granted free agency in 2010 for nothing, was just
signed by Toronto to a 5-year, $82 million contract.
Traded in 1998 to the Florida Marlins for a bunch of has-beens, Piazza
is a 12-time All Star with a .308 lifetime batting average and 427 home
runs (his record after the trade was a.293 batting average and 250 home
runs). His trade was “engineered” by a guy named Chase Carey, a Fox
executive who ran the Dodgers and who thought he knew more than the
General Manager, Fred Claire, who opposed the deal
(Carey is presently President and CEO of 21st Century Fox).
That even Claire, the guy who unceremoniously dumped Martinez and
Wetteland, thought this was a bad idea, tells a lot about Carey’s
Released as a free agent for nothing in 2006, he became an All Star who
hit for a .282 lifetime batting average and 161 home runs after the
How many pennants and World Series would the Dodgers have won with all
these guys playing on the same team at the same time? What a lineup!
So how about the new guy, a young turk in from Florida, Andrew Friedman?
He hasn’t started out auspiciously, either, retaining inept Don
Mattingly as manager. Mattingly has great starting pitchers and a
bullpen full of minor leaguers, but he refuses to allow Clayton Kershaw
and Zack Greinke to pitch complete games, preferring to allow inept
pitchers to “close.” What kind of genius would rather have some dolt
from the bullpen pitch the ninth inning of a close game instead of
Kershaw or Greinke? Worse, they retained hitting coach Mark McGuire
(whose only fame is breaking Babe Ruth’s and Roger Maris’s home run
records on steroids and then refusing to admit it before Congress)
despite the facts that (1) the Dodgers swing at more pitches in the dirt
than players on all other major league teams combined, and (2) he’s
turned Yasiel Puig from a free-swinging .400 hitter into a strikeout
king who, after two years of McGuire’s tutelage, now can’t even hit a
fastball thrown down the middle.
Friedman dumped Hanley Ramirez (31) and Matt Kemp (30), both in the
prime of their careers, along with young Dee Gordon (.289 in 2014), last
year's stolen base champion, in return for a bunch of has-beens, never-was’s,
and nobodys (one of the guys is a catcher with “potential,” and two
others are quality pitchers who have a history of crippling injuries).
The “Big Name” shortstop is Jimmy Rollins, an over the hill 36 year old
who is described as “making up for a lost step by his experience.” Oh
boy. Rollins is no longer a hitter (.246 in 2014). The other “Big Name”
is second baseman Howie Kendrick, a .290 hitter.
Friedman has already penciled rookie Joc Pederson in as centerfielder.
In his short stint last year Pederson had 28 at bats and struck out 11
times for a strikeout average of .392. He clearly fits in as McGuire’s
kind of hitter. And all the while nobody in the Dodgers’ hierarchy
mentions Justin Turner, who only led all of baseball in batting average
last year, but wasn’t good enough for Mattingly to put in the lineup in
and Ramirez are .300 hitters for the next five years (not to mention
what stolen base king Gordon might do), Friedman can take his place with
the people who made the decisions listed at the top of this article, and
long-suffering Dodgers fans can continue to suffer. Friedman would do
well to remember the old baseball adage, "Sometimes the best trades are
the ones you don't make."