Today's first link comes from the Sporting News, which suggests that the Dodgers are having a rougher season than the Anaheim Angels (no, I'm not over it). Stan McNeal writes:
Since season's end, the Dodgers have watched their most consistent starter, lefthander Randy Wolf, sign with the Brewers without even offering him arbitration. They gave away reserve outfielder Juan Pierre to the White Sox and have grown resigned to losing free agent
It's why the team could shed more than $40 million in salary from 2009, and celebrated the holidays with two major holes in its rotation, a major question at second base and deficiencies in its bullpen.
The offseason so far had consisted of shipping Juan Pierre to the White Sox--which came only when the Dodgers agreed to pick up $8 million of the remaining $18.5 million that Pierre will earn in the next two seasons--and the signing of versatile Jamey Carroll to a two-year deal worth less than $4 million.
It's not like the rest of the division has been shaking up the baseball world.
If that sounds familiar, it's because I quoted the nearly-exact same text from this Ringolsby article which ran on Fox Sports a few days ago. The details on Pierre's trade to the
Cubs White Sox have been cleaned up, and
the more recent piece has some additional content (and a different
dateline--now DENVER rather than CHEYENNE). I know Ringsolsby writes for both Baseball America and Fox Sports, but I'm not aware
of any other relationship between the two outlets. I'm sure it's an arrangement
between them with respect to Ringolsby's work. You know what...I'm confused.
Let's leave this one behind.
Our last link today is to the Times' sports blog, "The Fabulous Forum." In the featured poll, 94% of voters don't believe the Dodgers' party line: the divorce isn't affecting baseball and business decisions. That's pretty amazing to me. While it's easy to play off that kind of disparity as the result of an intelligent and discerning public (which is true), I think there's something more fundamental at work.
I believe the McCourt regime has lost the fans. I think Frank McCourt could publicly say that charitable giving is a productive use of extra cash during the holiday season and most Dodger fans would react skeptically. The relationship between the organization and its fans is broken, and Frank and Dennis must be mindful that the folks who buy tickets and merchandise aren't supporting the club's leadership, but rather the team on the field and the Los Angeles community in general.
This brings me to my holiday wish for the Dodgers: that whatever is done be done for the team on the field--next season and into the foreseeable future. If that's cutting costs and streamlining processes, fine. We can accept that. What won't be tolerated are decisions motivated by concerns unrelated to the on-field product, all aspects considered. I mean this sincerely: Dodger fans can be proud of a struggling team. We cannot abide by a struggling infrastructure which causes its own problems.
Beginning early next week, I will be contributing a weekly article to The Hardball Times. The articles will rarely be Dodgers-centric, and you will miss nothing relevant to the divorce should you choose not to follow me over once a week. Nothing will change about our conversations on the divorce, and how it affects the Dodgers on and off the field. Actually, that's not quite true--I'm hopeful that some folks with new perspectives will join our discussion and add some interesting views. The DodgerDivorce Twitter account and e-mail address (@gmail.com) will remain the best external ways to interact with me about the divorce (and the team in general). I know I'm beating a dead horse here, but your comments, tweets, and e-mails have been the most gratifying part of my experience in this little corner of the internet.
To those of you celebrating the holidays this weekend, everyone who recently came out of a holiday, and especially those who attack every day like a holiday: the season's greetings to you and yours. I imagine things will be fairly quiet around here for the next few days, barring a bout of cabin fever which can only be cured by blogging.