Big Issue Confronts Dodgers All Star Offense

Hanley+RamirezAnd that issue is team unity. You can’t have a bunch of stud hitters all trying to out-duel each other and knock the hide off the ball.  We’ve seen many high powered line-ups fail, and many say this Dodgers team and lineup is setup to do just that. All the fanfare and dollars spent will be all for naught, people exclaim! And I can’t say that I’m not worried as hell about this either. Last year’s results were a decent enough sample size and look at what happened. It was miserable. Everyone was saying, “we would have never imagined this.” Even rival GMs and coaches were stating that they never thought the Dodgers offense would have done so terribly over the course of the rest of the season. Guess what, it happened.

So What To Do?

Well today I received a warm reassuring glow, like a nice hot cup of coffee in the early morning, like the first spring dew glistening on a rose petal. etc etc. Turns out Don Mattingly and Mark McGwire feel the same way according to this story from ESPN. And their approach will be to get the guys to buy into the idea of TEAM HITTING. Wow, what a novel idea! You mean to tell me that I shouldn’t just worry about my own personal stats and should be more concerned with winning!?! I can just imagine Hanely Ramirez thinking that right now. Well yes Hanley, do you like to win?

Its great to see the manager and hitting coach, both legendary hitters in their time, on the same page and developing a solid strategy for the upcoming season. Part of me worries that Mattingly will not be able to rally all of the star studded veterans on this team. He’s just not a RA-RA sort of guy, never was. He was a blue collar, lead by example type guy. That worries me on a team like this, but hey, it worked OK for Torre, maybe it will work well for Mattingly.

Either way, I am in love with McGwire already, especially after hearing about how he changed the St. Louis hitters. Hearing about his conversation with AJ Ellis this off season gave me the warm and fuzzies. AJ Ellis noticed a significant improvement from many of the young Cardinal players whom he had played against for years in the minors. And that’s a real testament to McGwire because…… well…. AJ Ellis is a man-child, a baseball god of OBP. It will be interesting to see if the coaching staff can get the Dodgers lineup to all pull in the same direction this season. If they do, the Dodgers will have one of the most dangerous lineups potentially of all time.

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A Few Good Moves

The Dodgers have not had many good moves in a quite a while. Between ownership fiascos, fan violence and boycotts, and Ned Colletti’s unusual free agent signings (or lack thereof) we as Dodgers fans have not had much to look forward to. In fact the Dodgers MLB Odds of winning the World Series in 2012 are said to be 40-1. The team does not look much improved and has a very low payroll for the market that they are in.

However, its not all bad. There have actually been some good moves by the Dodgers, or in the Dodgers favor. First and foremost is the fact that MLB finally stepped in and shut McCourt down. It was a gritty battle but ultimately MLB won out, they always do! The MLB Baseball Odds of Bud Selig losing a battle versus an owner are a million to one. So we get to look forward to who our new owner will be and the consensus seems to be that no one cares as long as the owner has deep pockets and is willing to spend to compete for the World Series. Unfortunately the bidding on the team seems to be more driven by the real estate and future media rights involved in the sale, and less about the actual franchise. The Dodgers franchise has often times been referred to the Crown Jewel of MLB franchises, yet other motivations dominate the landscape. This is a terrible move becuase what all of these wealthy investors don’t understand is that if they make the team good again, it makes EVERYTHING worth more money. They can control how much they can get from a television deal and how much the land is worth by putting together a winning organization.

Another good thing that has been done is that we locked up Matt Kemp to what I feel is a great deal for us. We basically got him at $20M per year over the next 8 years. Not bad considering we will own all of his best years. I think that it is a deal that he is also happy with. And who said that the mark of a good deal is when both parties aren’t sure it the deal was good for them? I think that players of his caliber are going to command more and more money and that as the years go by this deal will look better and better.

I have one more good move for you. Signing Clayton Kershaw to a 2-year $19M contract. I’ll take that all day long! It is also a good deal when you look at what Tim Lincecum received for his two year deal. Lincecum got more but at that time he had 2 Cy Young Awards. Clayton has one and was awarded a great salary!

So there you have it, proof that we have actually done some things right.

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Why Buying the Dodgers is Like a Game of Texas Hold’em

Everyone knows that the Dodgers are up for sale and are drawing some big financial guns into the bidding for one of the most storied and cherished baseball franchises in history. This by itself would be a huge story, but oh no, this is LA and the plot gets MUCH thicker. In fact, the process is playing out like an online poker game and no one is showing their cards. Well at least no one that is still in the running! Recently it was revealed that Mark Cuban had not made it to the next round of the process to bid on the Dodgers. More on this later.

You see, the Dodgers come with a great deal of assets outside of the team and the brand. Dodger Stadium is a crown jewel and third oldest baseball stadium in existence today. But more importantly, in terms of finances, is the land and lots of it that surrounds the stadium and overlooks downtown LA. There is a ton of land there and in LA land is at a huge premium. In fact, there is so much land there that people have proposed building an adjacent NFL stadium! OK, so now this is turning into a real game of poker jatekok. I’ve thought for years that the land is probably worth more than the team.

But wait, it gets even better. Also being auctioned off are the future television rights to Dodgers games, and LA is a sports hot bed. The future rights to broadcast Dodgers games will lead to either a monsterous deal with a TV network that will probably be close to a billion dollars or more, or an enterprising owner could build their own regional sports network as the Yankees have with their YES network. This is what will really help to drive bids for the Dodgers into the 1.5 to 2 billion dollar range. This was enough to make even Mark Cuban fold, noting that bidding was getting out of control and that people were bidding for the TV rights first and the franchise second! Now texas holdem can be a long and tedious game, with lots of bluffing and certainly lots of rasing the pot. I expect nothing less as this entire process plays out before us over the next few months. But what worries me the most is that potential owners seem to not be giving the team the attention that it deserves here. Potential owners should be more concerned with putting together a winning team than they should the media rights. After all, if the franchise continues its downward spiral the media rights will not be worth anything at the end of the day.

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