April 7, 2006
With news of Eric Gagne's impending third elbow surgery now being made public, it appears that the Dodgers are picking up right where they left off at the end of last year. Already starting the season with Nomar Garciaparra and Kenny Lofton on the disabled list, the Dodgers have had additional injury concerns so far with Jeff Kent, Olmedo Saenz, and Rafael Furcal as well. Will Carroll has some news on the injury itself today, and Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts shares some insight, as well.
According to BP's Mike Groopman, who tracks DL information, the Dodgers had the following injury-related stats for 2005:
Days Lost to DL: 1357
Days Lost to DL: 1173
The Dodgers ultimately finished the season third in total days lost to the DL (behind Washington and Seattle) and first in salary lost to the DL. And despite the incessant claims that the undoing of the Dodgers was due to Paul DePodesta's laptop or the team's failure to lead the National League in Gentlemanly Conduct, these bazillion injuries quite literally crippled this team's chances of competing in a rather lackluster division.
As mere laypeople, though, it's difficult for us to grasp just how much money $36 million is. Sure, we can look at the eight-digit dollar value and be impressed by the sheer heft of it, but it's just not being put into terms that we can comprehend, other than "big." But now that the books have been closed on 2005, and since the first week of the season looks all-too-familiar to Dodger fans, it's worth putting this information into proper perspective.
Given that the Dodgers lost $36,695,101.85 to the DL last season, and given that there are four quarters in each dollar, it's safe to say that the Dodgers lost the equivalent of 146,780,407 quarters to the disabled list. Assuming that a load of wash costs $1.25 for the washing machine and $1.00 for the dryer, the Dodgers could have done 16,175,600 full loads of laundry with the money they lost.
Let's assume the following for the purposes of this exercise: that there are as many available machines as there are loads, that it takes 20 minutes for a load of wash to complete, and that it takes 40 minutes for a load to dry--it's likely that the Dodgers could afford super dryers that will help us avoid "fancy math.") The Dodgers could have done 72 loads of wash and 72 loads in the dryer--minus two loads in the dryer on the first day that will get started at 11:40 pm and midnight, which get credited to the second 24-hour period, since they end after midnight. Thereafter, the Dodgers could manage 72 loads in the dryer per 24-hour period. This means that they would spend $90 on washing and $72 on drying every 24 hours (total: $160), and would run out of money after doing 229,344 straight days of laundry. This is roughly equal to 627 years.
So the Dodgers lost so much money in 2005 to injury that they could have done laundry all day, every day, for more than half a millennium.
We can also think spatially about the amount of money the Dodgers lost, again relying on the quarter as our primary unit of measurement. A quarter is about an inch in diameter (it's actually 24.26 mm, and an inch is technically 25.4 mm, but we can afford to be general here). This means we can estimate that 12 quarters in a row, all touching each other, will create a row of quarters one foot long. So if we again take the 146,780,407 quarters that make up $36,695,101.85, we can lay them all down one-by-one, creating a trail that would stretch for 12,231,701 feet. Expressed in miles, the trail would be 2316 miles long. This is roughly the distance from Los Angeles to Cleveland.
This season, the Dodgers are well on their way to ensuring that trail will be extended all the way to Boston, another 640 miles East of Cleveland. This would require an additional $10,137,600 to be placed on the DL. With the high-priced Gagne set to earn $10 million by himself this season, the Dodgers are well on their way to creating a coast-to-coast trail of quarters made entirely from money lost to the DL.
Spring Training featured two primary positional battles at backup catcher and fifth outfielder for the San Francisco Giants. In each case management chose the oldest candidate possible, but the decisions made were reasonably in line with both the short-term and long-term interests of the team.