CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Premium and Super Premium Subscribers Get a 20% Discount at MLB.tv!

<< Previous Article
AL-Kings July Update (07/26)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Prospectus Today: Whoo... (07/25)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Prospectus Today: Deci... (07/28)
Next Article >>
Prospectus Notebook: R... (07/27)

July 26, 2006

Prospectus Today

Not So Artful Dodgers

by Joe Sheehan

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Are Dodgers fans just a little worried yet?

Yesterday, Ned Colletti made his latest attempt to keep the Dodgers in contention, acquiring Elmer Dessens from the Royals for Odalis Perez two right-handed pitching prospects and $8 million. The deal was as much a dump of Perez-who has been a disaster since the start of 2005 and who recently criticized the organization-as an acquisition, although Dessens was certainly remembered well after his 3.56 ERA as a reliever and spot starter last year.

There's a definite pattern developing here, and it's one that was predictable. Colletti is very willing to trade products of the farm system for minor upgrades to the major-league roster, just as Brian Sabean was during all the years Colletti worked under him in San Francisco. I'd argue that Colletti is even more likely to do so over the next two seasons, as he has no investment at all in the current Dodger prospects.

Now, this isn't necessarily the worst idea in the world. Flags fly forever, and you should be able to pull the trigger on deals that increase your chance of acquiring one. The attrition rate of prospects is high, and opportunities to win championships are rare. Even if the impact of any one player on a race is small, division titles and playoff spots are often won by small margins. That we dramatically overhype the importance of the trade deadline doesn't mean deals made in late July don't have meaning.

The problem for Dodger fans is that Colletti has been sending prospects around the country willy-nilly while not actually acquiring impact players, real upgrades. Elmer Dessens isn't a top-tier relief pitcher; he's a 34-year-old journeyman with middling stuff who has never held a high-leverage role. It's possible that his 36-to-7 K/UIBB ratio this year represents some kind of improvement, but his body of work is more likely to be meaningful, and that body of work screams, "staff filler."

Neither Blake Johnson nor Julio Pimentel is a top prospect. Both are 21-year-olds with live arms who weren't pitching well at Vero Beach this year, and it's possible, even likely, that neither ever ends up pitching in the majors. That doesn't justify giving them away for no real return.

Colletti has now made five trades since the start of the year, and in three of them, he's traded prospects for major-league talent. (The exceptions were this week's swap of Sandy Alomar Jr. for right-handed reliever B.J. La Mura, and January's four-pitcher deal with the Mets, which defies classification.) He's dealt away Edwin Jackson, Chuck Tiffany, Dioner Navarro, Johnson and Pimentel and received Danys Baez, Mark Hendrickson, Toby Hall and Dessens in return. Baez's gaudy save totals aside, Colletti hasn't added a single player who is likely to have a high-profile role with a good team. There's an argument to be made that the Dodgers would be better off had Colletti been tied to a chair in the basement after pulling off the Andre Ethier--panned by me, but so far a big win-and Jae Seo deals.

Other than Navarro, the Dodgers haven't lost any prospects who are likely to have long, successful careers, and I don't say that to minimize the loss of a catcher who could post a .370 OBP over 1200 games. But there are still a few days to go here, and the Dodgers have as deep a farm system as any team in baseball. They should be on a path to playing a largely homegrown, largely inexpensive division favorite from 2007-09, and the only person who can prevent that is Colletti. Acquiring veterans for the sake of their service time isn't going to make the Dodgers more likely to win in 2006, and it could take a real bite out of some good teams that could be on the field in future seasons.

If anyone should know what impact young players can have, it's Colletti. Virtually every good story associated with the Dodgers this season is the product of a young player-or in Takashi Saito's case, an unknown one-coming in and playing very well. Ethier, Saito, Matt Kemp, Russell Martin, Jonathan Broxton…the lesson should be that faith in homegrown talent is often rewarded, especially when that homegrown talent has been assembled by a keen evaluator like Logan White. The current Dodgers aren't the Sabean/Bonds-era Giants, and if Colletti continues to act as if they are, he could be making a mistake that costs the organization for years to come.

But I guess as long as he doesn't use a spreadsheet…

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

Related Content:  The Who

0 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
AL-Kings July Update (07/26)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Prospectus Today: Whoo... (07/25)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Prospectus Today: Deci... (07/28)
Next Article >>
Prospectus Notebook: R... (07/27)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article What You Need to Know: August 29, 2014
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: This Article Mentions Fehlan...
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Friday, August 29
Premium Article The Call-Up: Dilson Herrera
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Thursday, Augu...
Prospectus Feature: Roast A Parks
Premium Article Raising Aces: Mis-Priced

MORE FROM JULY 26, 2006
AL-Kings July Update

MORE BY JOE SHEEHAN
2006-07-30 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: D-Train...Out of Town?
2006-07-29 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Right Idea, Lousy Executio...
2006-07-28 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Decision Time in Beer Town
2006-07-26 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Not So Artful Dodgers
2006-07-25 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Whoops
2006-07-22 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: On Not Being Indicted
2006-07-19 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: The Case of the Underperfo...
More...

MORE PROSPECTUS TODAY
2006-07-30 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: D-Train...Out of Town?
2006-07-29 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Right Idea, Lousy Executio...
2006-07-28 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Decision Time in Beer Town
2006-07-26 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Not So Artful Dodgers
2006-07-25 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: Whoops
2006-07-22 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: On Not Being Indicted
2006-07-19 - Premium Article Prospectus Today: The Case of the Underperfo...
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2006-09-01 - Premium Article Transaction Analysis: August 28-31, 2006