Sunday, November 4, 2007

We're Back Like a Fucking Vertebrae

It's been a few days. Sorry about that. The Google Analytics shows that people definitely stop coming here when we don't post, so I'm here to fix that. Hopefully. And who better to make our first post in 96 hours about than our old friend Dayn Perry? He's here to talk about how awesome Joe Torre is. I'm here to make fun of his attempts to do so. Am I anti-Torre? Not really. Am I pro-Torre? Again, no. I'm just tired of bad sports journalism.

Torre signing a good first step for Dodgers

Obviously, landing a first-rate manager like Torre gives the Dodgers instant credibility and a steady hand in the dugout. There's no questioning Torre's credentials, and when it comes to leading a contender to greater glory, his track record is unassailable.

Like I said, I'm not anti-Torre, but I wouldn't call his track record "unassailable." Taking three straight 90+ win teams to the playoffs and subsequently winning a grand total of four games with them is a bit of a blemish. No, those losses weren't necessarily Torre's fault (because he is a a baseball manager, not a baseball player). But the Yankees' playoff successes in the late 1990s also weren't really of his doing either. If writers like Perry want to trump up Torre's credentials and claim that he's a proven winner or some such bullshit, that's fine. But they can't do so without acknowledging that his teams have stunk in the playoffs since th 2004 ALCS, too. You can't have it both ways. Torre's track record has some incredible successes. It also has some miserable failures. Really, I would say the most impressive thing he's done in his career was put up with Steinbrenner for as long as he did.

Torre's also a highly adaptable sort. During his tenure in New York, the Yankees had a reputation for larding the roster with high-salary veterans. That's certainly true to an extent, but Torre showed a willingness to work younger talents into the mix. For instance, on Torre's watch youngsters like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Ramiro Mendoza, Alfonso Soriano, Nick Johnson, Robinson Cano, Chien-Ming Wang, Melky Cabrera, Philip Hughes and Joba Chamberlain all played vital roles. It's a skill that will serve him well in Los Angeles.

How lucky are the Dodgers right now? Wow... a manager that uses talented young players? Where else are you going to find one of those? Yes, I realize that overutilization of crappy veterans was one of Grady Little's downfalls. But among MLB quality managers, Little is the exception rather than the rule in that department. Managers of teams at every talent level across baseball utilize their up-and-comers. It's really not that unheard of. I don't see the fact that Torre managed like 10 good young players in 12 years in New York as reason to tout his abilities.

Overall, signing Torre means the Dodgers make a splash and position themselves as serious contenders in the down-cycled NL.

It means they have a different guy handing the lineup card to the umpires than they did last year. It does not mean they have any new players to add to that lineup card.

Specifically, the rotation figures to be a strength

Offensively, the Dodgers badly need better production from third base and center field

If LaRoche adapts as expected, he'll fill the third-base void

To that end, Andruw Jones, Torii Hunter or even the suspended Mike Cameron

Of course, with Torre comes the Alex Rodriguez speculation

Needless to say, he'd be a great fit in L.A

It's speculation at this point, but the Dodgers certainly have the coffers

If they do land Rodriguez, they'll immediately become

I'm no English major, but hey Dayn: you might want to think about varying your sentence structure a little but. Just a thought.

On the whole, nabbing Torre is a great thing for the Dodgers. However, they're not going to climb the standings in baseball's toughest division unless they're among the most active teams over the winter. Otherwise, Torre and his new employers are going to wind up disappointing one another.

What an awkward conclusion. Dayn is simultaneously implying that A) Torre will be mad at the Dodgers if they don't make some moves to improve their team and B) that the Dodgers will be mad at Torre if he doesn't help them win with the same players the team had last year. What?

He also admits that hiring a new manager doesn't do much to ensure that a team will become better, basically defeating the purpose of writing the article in the first place. I wonder if that was an accident.


eriz said...

i hate dayn perry for three reasons:

1) His godawful, 15 year emo kid myspace profile picture next to all his columns.
2) his colossal ego and poor writing skills.
3) He pretends to be "that stat guy" over at fox sports, but clearly has no idea what he's writing about.
"Using batting average to judge a player is bad; so is using RBIs. I like using OPS because it is a better stat for determining a hitter's value. Here is a list of some players' OPSes."

He makes no effort to explain the reasoning behind "unconventional" stats in his stats 101 column.

eriz said...

also, the fact that someone so enamored with baseball stats would write this column about torre and one about how terry francona is a "winner, 2 time world champion and deserves a raise" in the same week.

Nick said...

He does look like he's a total myspace emo kid. And a crap writer to boot. With a lame name.

A total Mariotti wannabe.


ps: Fire Jay Mariotti.

pnoles said...

First of all, thanks a lot Larry, for adding the "managers don't do that much" label. Do you have any idea how much work you just gave me? I have to go back and add that damned thing to literally every baseball-related post from Jay Mariotti.

Second...cue debate of Dayn's claim in the conclusion of NL West being baseball's toughest division!

eriz said...

well, it certainly is the most competitive division...

pnoles said...

That's definitely true. It easily is the most competitive division.

Though the Diamondbacks lucked out a lot this year, they really have the best general management in the division. It's going to be interesting to see what they do in the offseason / next year

The Dodgers are going to improve a lot next year (Joe Torre is worth at least 27 wins...loooool!), and I imagine they'll land a quality free agent with their payroll and need to provide the sock that Nomar couldn't.

The Rockies made the WS, so that pretty much did the talking for them.

I think the Padres are headed for a major falling out though. They don't seem to care that Michael Barrett is awful at baseball, Kevin Kouzmanoff is just as bad at the hot corner as Ryan Braun (and when I say bad, I mean REALLY, REALLY -27 FRAA bad). Greene is mediocre, Brian Giles's status as an above-average hitting corner outfielder, and Marcus Giles forgot how to do anything at the plate. In my opinion, Hensley and Germano are major keys to the team's success in '08....I feel like Clay getting his shit together this year and Germano keeping that miracle BABIP where it is now will be the difference between this team competing and floundering.

The Giants have the worst lineup in the history of everything now that Bonds is gone. I don't care how good their pitching might turn out to be this year. They can't win unless they sign a huge lot of free agent hitters.

pnoles said...

*Brian Giles's status as an above-average hitting corner outfielder is fading fast