L.A. is now officially Philadelphia West, as the mismanaged Lakers fight the 76ers for the first pick in the NBA draft and the small-minded, small-market Dodgers brass seems to be rivaling the Phillies and aiming for the first pick in baseball's amateur draft. Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi seem more interested in having the Dodgers' farm system rated No. 1 than in having the major league club win a World Series.
OK, next year is out. That means the Dodgers are closing in on 30 years without winning the World Series. Most fans still can't see the Dodgers on TV and can't afford to take their families to games. How many seasons will it be before these guys can field a championship team? I'm betting Clayton Kershaw will retire before Andrew Friedman realizes that pitching is not the name of the game, good pitching is the name of the game!
Before we panic and call the 2016 season a disaster before it starts, let's take a reality check on the Dodgers not signing one of the big-name free-agent pitchers.
Dodgers fans may well remember the signing of 33-year-old Kevin Brown to a seven-year deal at a then-record of $105 million. Brown was one of the most dominating pitchers, coming off an 18-7 record with the Padres that saw him pitch 257 innings and strike out 257 batters. He had never been on the DL.
His first two years in L.A. saw him throw 230-plus innings with 215-plus strikeouts. Years 3 (115 innings) and 4 (63 innings) were injury-plagued. He bounced back with 211 innings pitched and 185 strikeouts in 2003 (Year 5). He was then dealt to the Yankees. His two years in New York were his last two in baseball. Injuries limited him to 132 and then 73 innings. Effectively, his seven-year deal resulted in three top-of-the-rotation seasons.
For every Clayton Kershaw, you have Barry Zito, Johan Santana, CC Sabathia, Matt Cain and Mike Hampton.
The Red Sox came after David Price, but that was OK because we thought we had Zack Greinke.
Then Arizona came after Greinke, and that was sort of OK because there was still Johnny Cueto.
Then we lost Cueto (and to the Giants too).
Now if only Kershaw could start all 162 games....
I'm a little confused. I thought Frank McCourt was the one who didn't like to spend money, and Ned Colletti was the one who loved bringing in old guys past their prime?
Well, it's good to know that the Dodger Stadium protective netting was actually for Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi. That was their Plan B all along. About the only thing left is for the Giants to trade for Mike Trout and the Diamondbacks to trade for Bryce Harper. Clearly, the idea to is to fall so far behind that Dodger fans stop complaining about the TV contract.
The next time someone tells me that the Dodgers outspend every other team on free agents, I'm going to laugh in his/her face. Scherzer, Verlander, Tanaka, Cano, Fielder, Lester, Price, Zimmermann, Greinke. And now Cueto. Outbid by others, every time. The Dodgers are like the kid who gets up enough nerve to ask the prom queen out, but turns away from her front door without actually ringing the doorbell.
I wonder what sabermetric is motivating the Diamondbacks and Giants to want to get better and win so badly? Oh wait, that's not sabermetrics, that's called an intelligent baseball front office, good old-fashioned scouting and some common sense. Hello, Andrew Friedman and Stan Kasten, anybody home?
Just a thought, but is there any chance Yasiel Puig could just move back to Cuba for the life of his Dodgers contract? It would solve the problem of too many outfielders and I have to think make both Puig and his Dodgers teammates very happy.
Jim B. Parsons
Down in Anaheim
I realize Angels owner Arte Moreno has spent big money in the past — the contracts of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton combined are more than many teams' entire payrolls. But he screwed up on Hamilton, and now is forcing Angels fans to pay the price by refusing to eclipse the luxury tax threshold and sign a decent option to play left field.
A platoon of Daniel Nava and Craig Gentry? I'd rather have David Murphy back, and anyone else to platoon with him. GM Billy Eppler needs to bang the phones, trade C.J. Wilson and/or Hector Santiago to help replenish the minor league system, and free up room for signing Jay Bruce — at the least. Otherwise, the days of 3-million annual attendance for this franchise — and contending for a division title — will be part of their history, not their future.
I read with interest Bill Shaikin's column this week about the Angels, but I think he might have missed Arte Moreno's meaning about the Angels' left fielders when he says, "We're probably going to be out." With the group they currently have to play left field, I'd say that on most of their at bats, this is true.
Desert Hot Springs
Hitting the wall
OK, Kobe, enjoy the farewell tour. You certainly deserve it. But consider these (paraphrased) Pink Floyd lyrics:
They just need some education.
They don't need no thought control.
No dark sarcasm in the locker room.
Kobe, leave these kids alone.
Hey, Kobe! Leave these kids alone!
Otherwise, it's just another brick on the glass.
The constant for the Lakers' situation has been Mitch Kupchak, who gained favor when Kobe was young and had pretty good players around him. The mess made of the LaMarcus Aldridge meeting points right to Kupchak, who certainly should know how to hit the key points for a recruit, and who should be aware that players no longer will come just because it's the Lakers. He also had plenty of time to assess the Lakers' situation as Kobe got older. He might not have sufficient influence, and if that is the case he should leave.
Bill Plaschke, I do not believe that you will ever understand college sports ["Next step is down," Dec. 13].
You seem to think that the football program comes first and everything else is secondary. Nothing should be further from the truth. Education comes first and everything else is secondary, and that includes the football program, even at USC. Pat Haden has done more than anyone could have asked in terms of non-revenue national championships and graduation rates. Congratulations, Pat. Fight on.
The ESPN Heisman Trophy presentation show, all 1 1/2 hours of it, was just super. I think, though, that perhaps next year they should expand it to three hours, in order to approximate the duration of an actual college football game, and institute a halftime, complete with rousing musical extravaganza.
I just finished watching the Army-Navy game. What a pleasure it was to watch clean, classy football. The coaches were not yelling and cussing at the players and officials, there were no personal fouls, no showboating, etc. Maybe the other college teams and the NFL teams could learn from them. And the teams graduate 90% of their players.
Rose and thorns
I understand the rationale of Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred in his ruling to deny reinstatement to baseball for Pete Rose for gambling. What I don't understand is his rationale in having the gambling site Draft Kings as a sponsor of Major League Baseball while denying Charlie Hustle his day in the sun.
It's not Rob Manfred's game and certainly not Bill Plaschke's. It's America's game. Pete Rose is still gambling? So are millions of respectful citizens. Gambling is not a crime. Is it worse than taking drugs? Plaschke says not to cave to public pressure. If it's America's game, that's exactly what they should do. Let all baseball fans decide.
I once told Peter O'Malley that I would not attend another game until Pete Rose was in the Hall of Fame. I have kept that promise. I'm 79 years old and I hope to live long enough to see Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame and attend another baseball game.
The Baseball Writers Assn. of America and the Baseball Hall of Fame need to cease and desist in their role as the moral compass for major league baseball. Pete Rose, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens should be judged for what they did on the field, not their character. The last time I checked the Hall of Fame was still a museum and not a mausoleum.
San Luis Obispo
Wait for it ...
I'm 53. It's been 20 years since I've seen NFL football in Los Angeles. If Sam Farmer is correct, I'll get to see another game in Los Angeles when I'm 73. The new stadium will have plenty of wheelchair-accessible seating, I hope?
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