A Call to Arms (or Bats)

How should I say this?… Dodgers’ GM, Ned Colletti, is inept and is unfit for the position he currently holds. I honestly cannot think of a single move he’s made that has actually benefitted the team. This guy brought us the likes of Andruw Jones (over Aaron Rowand), Juan Pierre (over Carlos Lee) and resigned Nomar to play 1B, even though James Loney was already firmly entrenched at the position he was signing him to play. What really bothers me about Ned is his philosophy towards trades. Even if you do hear the Dodgers linked to some big-time, premiere, power hitters, you can be pretty sure that it will never happen. He only seems to target, average, middle of the road players who end up becoming more of a burden than an asset. Esteban Loaiza is a perfect example. Instead of targeting Rich Harden from the A’s, Colletti wanted Loaiza. He often complains about prices for these players but when you see what the Cubs gave up for Harden or what the Brewers gave up for Sabathia, it makes you wonder. Either Ned doesn’t know how to negotiate, doesn’t know how to evaluate talent or other teams are constantly trying to rip him off. 

It really irked me this morning when I was reading thru the baseball blogs and I came upon an article that linked Texas Rangers’ shortstop, Michael Young, to the Dodgers. He’s the sort of player we need. A perrinial all-star that can set the table for the team…sort of like how Rafael Furcal did before he got hurt. However, I read about two sentences before seeing the disclaimer “A Michael Young deal is unlikely, the Dodgers are much more likely to target Adam Everett from the Twins or Jack Wilson from the Pirates”… because they’re exactly what we need, right? Give me a break, Adam Everett is a .220 hitter if that and Jack Wilson is a washed up has-been (and mark him down for a .250 average). Obviously, the Dodgers’ biggest need is offense, yet GM Ned Colletti refuses to bring in solid bats year after year, opting for mere chump change instead. For example, as I stated earlier, Casey Blake is a nice player but Adrian Beltre would’ve fit in the lineup a whole lot better. I could be completely wrong but from what I’ve been hearing, Beltre wouldn’t have cost all that much more than Blake in terms of prospects. The worst part about it is if we had just added a guy like Chris Withrow or James McDonald, we probably could’ve had CC Sabathia and definitely could’ve had Rich Harden. 
Many people have pointed out to me that none of this is Ned’s fault, Frank McCourt is to blame for not giving Colletti enough money to work with. Are you kidding me? The dude that just gave Andruw Jones $18 million per is forking over enough money for his players? Give me a break. The problem is not a lack of resources. The Dodgers have one of the highest payrolls in baseball and one of the most well-stocked farm systems as well. We have plenty to do with and to deal from. The problem lies in the personnel decisions that have been made. Colletti has literally squandered the team’s future every chance he’s gotten. My biggest problem with him is the fact that he thinks very small. You’re just not thinking World Series when you prefer Adam Everett to Michael Young to replace Rafael Furcal. 
In another article I read (from the LA Times I believe), the journailst firnly stated, with confidence, that the Dodgers are not involved in talks for Mark Teixeira or Manny Ramirez whatsoever…the two bats that could really make a difference in the middle of our lineup. Many Ned apologists will say that the price for those two players is too prohibitive and there is no guarantee that they would resign with the team in the offseason. I suppose that’s true but in order to win, you’ve got to take chances. CC Sabathia likely won’t resign with the Brewers but they shipped off their best prospect (and one of the best prospects in baseball), Matt LaPorta, to get him. Unless the Dodgers start taking some chances, they will finish the season with a sub-.500 record. Unless Colletti reverses his current philosophy and starts adding quality players instead of fill-ins, the Dodgers won’t even sniff a World Series for another 10-20 years. 
There are countless numbers of Dodger fans who believe that we should only be building from within, period. They literally think that within five years or so, homegrown Dodger prospects will occupy every single position in the field. Even if we did have such mind-boggling good fortune, the fact of the matter is we do not even have the personel in the minors to accomplish such a feat…namely, a middle of the lineup power hitter. Unless someone like Andy LaRoche, Blake DeWitt, Andrew Lambo, Lucas May, Pedro Baez or Austin Gallagher suddenly turns into the next Ryan Howard, we are going to have to find those middle-of-the-order guys elsewhere, either thru free agency or via trade. Now, I’m not trying to knock guys like Matt Kemp, James Loney, Russell Martin and Andre Ethier. Every single one of those players would be a perfect hit if the team didn’t have to solely rely on them for our run production. For example, if a guy like Matt Kemp had some protection in the lineup, it would make him that much better. Imagine if Andre Ethier was our #6 or #7 hitter… just imagine how strong of a lineup that would be…
1. Juan Pierre, LF
2. Russell Martin, C
3. Matt Kemp, CF
4. Jeff Kent, 2B
5. Andre Ethier, RF
6. Casey Blake, 3B
7. James Loney, 1B
8. Angel Berroa, SS
Is not a World Series-Caliber Lineup
1. Matt Kemp, CF
2. Michael Young, SS
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Matt Holliday, RF
5. Andre Ethier, LF
6. Russell Martin, C
7. Jeff Kent, 2B
8. Casey Blake, 3B
Is a World Series-Caliber Lineup… just to give you an idea of how much further we have to go. 
And don’t even tell me that pitching wins because that’s only half the picture. The Red Sox had plenty of good pitching but without a power, run producing lineup, they would struggle to put runs up on the board (just like the Dodgers do). Good pitching means absolutely nothing if you’re not scoring more runs than the other team. In my opinion, it’s a complete waste to have a pitching staff as good as ours is (a World Series-Caliber Pitching Staff) and an anemic offense backing them up. 
This year there seems to be an awful lot of activity going on at the deadline. The Dodgers have a chance to acquire cornerstones to the offense for years to come… and I’m not talking about Tex and Manny (who could leave in free agency after the season). I’m talking about guys like Michael Young (signed for 5 years), Adrian Beltre (signed for multiple years) and even guys like Jason Bay (signed for 2 years) or Nate McLouth (signed for multiple years). Maybe even Matt Holliday (signed for 2 years) would make some sense…that is, if the Rockies were crazy enough to deal him to us. 
But you get my point, right? It’s either time for Ned to get proactive on the big bat front or to lose his job outright. The NL West is ours for the taking this year and if we could significantly improve our offense, with the pitching staff we’ve already got, we’d have a legitimate chance to make, and win, the World Series. If things stay the way they currently are, the best we can hope for is a sub-.500, 1 and out, playoff appearance.