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Adrian Gonzalez

20 Days of Thinking Blue: Who is the pre-season offensive MVP?

The countdown has begun, kids. Opening Night (well, American Opening Night) is fast approaching as the Dodgers take on the Padres down in San Diego on March 30th. Leading up until then, MAMBINO will tackle 20 of the most important–and some not so important–questions that will get you set up for a season of almost unparalleled expectations. Let’s get it going:
Who will be the team’s offensive MVP this year?
An interesting question, considering my stance on the team’s offense overall. If for no other reason besides lack of variables, it’s most likely going to be Adrian Gonzalez.
The contenders of course will be the returning Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Yasiel Puig and of course, Hanley Ramirez. But with each of them, there are massive questions, each of which we’ve more or less covered in depth in our 20 Days of Thinking Blue preview:… Read more...

Dodger Digs: Are these long-term contracts actually hindering rather than helping?

(Hello MAMBINites. Welcome to our newest feature, which we’ve lovingly anointed Dodger Digs. Each and every week, in the vein of Vin’s Bronx Tales, we’ll answer some of the most pertinent questions circling Chavez Ravine and YOUR….Los Angeles Dodgers.)
EL Miz: How worried is John Q. Dodgers Fan about some of the commitments the team has made?  Specifically, with guaranteed money for the next (5?) seasons to Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier, will that preclude the Dodgers from either (A) playing good players in their system (PUIG) or (B) upgrading sunk cost (if Crawford is replacement level)?
KOBEsh: As one of two resident John Q. Dodgers fans on MAMBINO, I’m oddly calm when I should be downright concerned. … Read more...

2013 Los Angeles Dodgers Season Preview

Offseason moves
12 months ago, I wrote on this very blog that I hoped for a .500 season from a undermanned Dodgers team. Frank McCourt was either going to own the team for the forseeable future, or there would be a long, protracted ownership transition. Without an expedited sale, his awful stewardship of the Boys in Blue would continue into 2014. I looked at what manager Don Mattingly was working with and decided that with a tight budget, All-Stars that needed extending and a limited prospect pool, LA wouldn’t be shooting for October games. Rather, I thought that contending for a Wild Card spot late into August would be as eventful as the team got.
Instead, the Dodgers were sold for $2 billion dollars in April, and in late August completed the most expensive trade in US professional sports history. This wasn’t just a 180 degree turn—Dodgers fans everywhere got inverted into the 4th dimension, flipped backwards and deposited into China. That’s the type of turn we’re talking about.
Even though the offseason began in November, the LA offseason actually started with that very trade. With half the 2012 Boston Red Sox now in Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers couldn’t gel quick enough to secure a postseason spot, unable to shed that new trade smell and get everyone comfortable enough. Thus, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, OF Carl Crawford and SP Josh Beckett are essentially new additions, playing just their second month in a Dodgers uniforms.
For the Yankees West, this wasn’t quite big enough. After all, the Guggenheim Partners purchased the team for $2 billion. What’s another $200 million? They could spend that in a weekend.
Which they did.…

To see how “a potential juggernaut” can go wrong, the 2013 Dodgers must look to the 2013 Lakers

This offseason was one of the most anticipated in Los Angeles franchise history. The entire industry looked to So Cal as the front office made massive moves that changed the complexion of the league. Though there were minor transactions in the form of tasty appetizers, the main course was yet another superstar player joining the team. Though it seemed for the past year that any person who had paid attention to the sport knew that he was eventually going to end up in the City of Angels, the fanfare was just as pronounced.
The payroll skyrocketed to another dimensions, forgoing any potential consequence of a soon dramatically changing luxury tax, the harshest penalties of which are reserved for those who repeatedly go over the set salary line. Of course, none of this mattered with brand new television contracts guaranteeing the team literally billions of dollars over the next twenty years. The organization spent and spent, with each new acquisition leading to an e-mail or text from my dad saying “And we got that guy too?”. These new offseason personnel additions–not one, not two, but several–aren’t without their questions. Concerns regarding how close or far these players are from the ends of their careers, their game-time potency and most importantly, how well each guy will catalyze with a team full of highly compensated stars are key to a successful season. As much as throwing money on the situation can help, there’s no telling how well these men will play together and how they’ll deal with the massive expectations set in front of them.
As if those weren’t high-profile problems enough, the squad is led by young coach will be tested with the hardest task of his career: having to soothe the egos of players making $10, $15 and $20+ millions of dollars annually, while figuring out a rotation that is certain not to make everyone happy.  Expectations are higher than they’ve ever been in Los Angeles, where an appearance in the championship round is merely a prerequisite, not a goal. The only measure of this team–in how much it cost to assemble the prospects and future considerations it took to do so–is hoisting high that gold trophy at season’s end. In Southern California, it’s not just championship or bust–it’s championship or “who are you?”. There is no alternative.
I was just talking about the Los Angeles Lakers.
I was just talking about the Los Angeles Dodgers.
For a fan base stretching from Lancaster to Long Beach, imaging a season gone horribly wrong shouldn’t be much further away than a drive on the 5 freeway.… Read more...

How the Dodgers’ Massive Trade WASN’T a Bust

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ August acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford was the most phenomenal bust in the history of Major League Baseball trades. LA is unlikely to make the playoffs at this point, being two games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the final Wild Card spot with only three games left to play. Even if by some miraculous meltdown in Missouri the Dodgers are able to simply tie the Cards, they’ll still have to play a one-game playoff at home in order to play yet another Wild Card one game playoff just for the “honor” of being shot straight into a five-game series with the best team in the National League. Needless to say the Dodgers have a pretty unlikely road to success. For a team that many people, including those on this blog, felt were now the class of the NL, the Dodgers struggled mightily post-trade and now sit on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. Even in the rosiest of scenarios, this Dodgers team is such a far cry from who they were supposed to be. It’s pretty pathetic; even roughly $260 million dollars couldn’t buy them a playoff spot.

Too bad that this viewpoint is an uneducated display of how incredibly short-sighted trade analysis has become, where short-term benefits and overarching statements rule the day. I’d like to lay back and say that this trade’s success can’t be examined yet, but that’s an impartially true statement. As it stands right now, even if the Dodgers don’t win the NL pennant this year, let alone make the playoffs, this trade is still an unqualified success. Here’s why:

There are a bevy of other reasons why the Dodgers aren’t making the posteason…not just the new guys.

Mike Petriello of the superb blog Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness detailed it better than I could, citing nine different reasons, ranging from injuries to the starting rotation, Matt Kemp and the unbelievable play of the San Francisco Giants even when their best hitter feel on top of some leftover needles in left field. LA’s problems go far past the incredibly slow start of Gonzalez and Beckett’s very good, but not ace-quality starts. This collapse of sorts has been a team-wide phenomenon, rather than just limited to a few players that were supposed to be season-saving saviors. Blaming the new imports from Boston is an over-simplification worthy of the city they came from.

How many power-hitting, Gold Glove-caliber first basemen were ready to join the Dodgers?

The answer is: zero.  In the next two seasons, the best available free agents would be, in no particular order: Paul Konerko (38), Carlos Pena (35), Justin Morneau (33) Mike Morse (32) and Nick Swisher (32). All certainly fit the bill of big time power hitters, but every single one of them is on the rough side of 30. Morneau, Morse and Swisher all could be impact acquisitions, but none of them fit into the Dodgers plans quite as well as Gonzalez does. Swisher and Morse are the youngest guys here, but both will command deals of at least four years, $60 million for two players past their primes and won’t ever be able to contribute the same type of MVP ceiling as Adrian. Morneau is a proven player, but like Morse has an extremely sketchy injury history that shouldn’t warrant anything past a one or two year contract. Pena and Konerko are both fine players, but neither has age on their sides like Gonzalez does.

The new Dodgers 1B comes without most of these question marks. He’s had an impeccable health history and is in the midd… Read more...

Instant Trade Analysis: Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles Dodgers get: 1B Adrian Gonzalez, SP Josh Beckett, OF Carl Crawford, IF Nick Punto

Boston Red Sox get: SP Rubby de la Rosa, OF Jerry Sands, IF Ivan de Jesus, 1B James Loney , SP Allen Webster

After the Los Angeles Dodgers were sold to a new ownership group including former Los Angeles Lakers point guard Earvin “Magic” Johnson, former Atlanta Braves President Stan Kasten and investor Mark Walter, Kasten repeated over and over that business in Chavez Ravine was going to change. For the past seven years, the team had been beset by management that didn’t have the capital to back up the massive responsibility that came with running a league institution like the Dodgers. Fans became disillusioned and bitter, and after several seasons of seeing the best players being eschewed from their dreams of playing in Dodger Blue because of bigger paychecks in not just places like New York and Boston, but Detroit and Milwaukee, simply stopped showing up to the Stadium.

From day one, Kasten repeated that the Dodgers would take their rightful place on the iron throne that they molded out of the ingenuity of Branch Rickey and the sweat of Peter O’Malley. Over and over, he said that the Dodgers would no longer operate like a small-market team whilst sitting in the middle of the nation’s second-biggest media market. Stan Kasten, with Magic’s infectious smile beaming a little bit brighter than usual, proclaimed that the Los Angeles Dodgers would be the New York Yankees.

On Friday, August 24th, the Los Angeles Dodgers have become the New York Yankees.… Read more...