Off Base
Dodgers Offseason Begins with Pierre of Deals

Decemer 16, 2009, 5:10 p.m. The Dodgers deserve their fair share of criticism for all that's taken place in the last 60 days. Like, duh.

The embarrassment of the marriage melodrama is beyond obvious, and I feel like an idiot even mentioning it. But missing out on Cliff Lee yet again is unfortunate, and failing to spring for Randy Wolf, for even as little as one season via arbitration, is a mistake bordering on malpractice. More on that in a minute.

Yes, it's true, the Dodgers have looked as silly as can be the past two months, but not every single thing they do is as retarded as you might read elsewhere. And the Juan-Pierre-to-the-White-Sox-for-minor-leaguers deal makes for as a good start to the club's winter plans as any. Better late than never.

I can tell you right now what Pierre will accomplish in Chicago in 2010. In fact, write this down. He'll hit right around .300, with 80 to 90 runs scored, an on-base percentage of .325, maybe 45 RBIs, and about as many home runs as outfield assists.

As it has for years, Pierre's base stealing success rate will continue to fall, and it wasn't that good to begin with. And Ozzie Guillen will be pleased as punch, bless his little heart.

The Chisox are used to having singles-hitting, weak-armed outfielders among their ranks, and Pierre may actually represent a slight upgrade from Scott Podsednik. But that doesn't make it any less of a rousing success of a trade for Los Angeles.

Contrary to what some in the Dodgers blogosphere are saying, Juan Pierre is not a good fourth outfielder. We can argue the importance of production in any such discussion, but a fourth outfielder really ought to excel at all three positions defensively.

Pierre is a left fielder only at this point in time, and L.A. needs more from the roster spot, especially with Manny Ramirez either a bet to implode ala Andruw Jones or "rest" more in 2010 than ever before.

And look, $8 million is $8 million. Ned Colletti can either line his entire bench with savvy veterans, or land a second baseman and starting pitcher with that kind of dough.

Who knows if the rumored White Sox minor leaguers are accurate or not, but if they're even close to the best arms who played at AA Birmingham or AAA Charlotte in 2009, the Dodgers have done well with the transaction. And you can't complain about the Dodgers under-stocked shelf of prospects and then jump all over them when they reload.

Jon Morosi of seems to think pitchers John Ely and Jon Link are heading west. Like I said, may or might not be true, but these are fine young players. Link saved 35 games as a AA closer in 2008, with a 3.02 ERA and considerably better than a strikeout per inning pitched. Similar but not as impressive numbers at AAA in 2009, with another year of closing under his belt.

Ely went 14-2 as a starter last season, with an ERA of 2.82. At 23, he's already started 66 games, posting a 30-15 mark in two and a half years. He'd make a good Dodger.

Carlos Torres had a fine season at Charlotte, earning a promotion to the big club in September, making five starts. Aaron Poreda has an ERA of 3.12 in three minor league seasons, and contributed a bit with both the Padres and White Sox in 2009. Fernando Hernandez, at 25, has already logged over 400 relief innings in the minors, and saved 20 games at Birmingham in 2009. His combined ERA at AA and AAA last year? 1.68.

They're prospects, not sure things, but all sporting good credentials. And come on; this is Juan Pierre we're talking about here, not Cliff Lee. You don't get the family jewels for Juan Pierre.

If you ask me, the only down side to the deal is, with Pierre's departure, along with Mark Loretta's and Eric Milton's earlier, that's three fewer two-first-names guys on next year's roster than in 2009, with only Russell Martin, Casey Blake, Xavier Paul, and perhaps Cory Wade to carry on.

Chicago does have a reliever named Adam Russell in Charlotte, so that's a possibility, and Donald Lucy at Birmingham, but he's a catcher, and we already know L.A.'s players to be named later are pitchers.

Supposedly, utility-man Jamey Carroll is about to sign a Dodger contract, pending a physical, so if that happens, props to Ned for filling the double-void left by Loretta so quickly…

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Last Add, Pierre: For the record, I would've been happy with Pierre staying and Manny Ramirez being traded, but I imagine that if such a deal was floated behind closed doors, the Dodgers figured Manny would bring even less in salary relief than they expected for JP…

Wolf Pact: Probably following orders from above – or below, depending on how you look at it – Colletti blew this one. Pure and simple.

Sure, Wolf wouldn't have gotten within miles of the $30 million the Brewers coughed up had draft picks been involved, but the Dodgers really should have offered arbitration.

This business about Wolf possibly getting $15 million in arbitration is disingenuous. Eleven game winners with a history of arm trouble following a bad postseason don't get $15 mil in arbitration. Please…

Hall of Fame: For all the criticism the old writers group takes for its Hall of Fame voting, and an Internet association has been created as an alternative (results announced January 5, 2010), they're considerably better at it than the Veterans Committee, which really doesn't have a clue.

This time out, the Joe Morgan-led vets elected umpire Doug Harvey and manager Whitey Herzog. Umps get in based on personality primarily, so as far as Harvey is concerned, all I can say is "whatever."

Putting aside the wisdom of electing a manager with but one World Series win on his resume, and the discussion of whether or not that opens the door to dozens of other men, Herzog is as over-rated a manager as they come. But like Harvey, and for that matter, Tommy Lasorda, Whitey had a way about him.

And I apologize for the obligatory "if so-and-so is in, then so-and-so also has to get in" line, but if Herzog is a Hall of Famer, than what about Danny Murtaugh? And how about some consistency, veterans? Bill Mazeroski's a Hall of Famer, while his manager, with two – count em – two rings to his name, is on the outside looking in?

Herzog managed four teams while being fired twice, won 1281 games, with a winning percentage of .532. Murtaugh managed one club, the Pittsburgh Pirates, for 15 seasons over 19 years, left on his own accord, with a lifetime mark of 1115-950, a winning percentage of .540, and of course, World Series wins in 1960 and 1971.

The former gets a shrine at Cooperstown because, well, he's alive and can politic on his own behalf. The latter doesn't because he's no longer with us and is forgotten by men who should know better – and as a matter of course just don't…

Statue for Sandy: The Koufax in bronze campaign continues. Please Vote “Yes on 32.” And tell a friend…

From the Sometimes-the-Best-Deals-are-the-Deals-That-Don't-Get-Done File: Former super-agent Dennis Gilbert might not be as disappointed as you'd think after losing in his bid to buy the Texas Rangers. Gilbert, a native Los Angelino and lifelong Dodger fan, is now free to go after the home team, which I truly believe will be sold.

Cross your fingers, people. Maybe not for this Christmas, but perhaps next…

Remember, glove conquers all….








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