Update from the past few days…
So there’s no excuse for it. I’ve been remarkably lazy in updating. The whole point of this blog is to keep me writing something at least once a day, even if it’s just a quick update. It’s like playing an instrument. Pick it up once a day if only to play scales. Although I haven’t played my bass in like a week either. I could claim to be busy with school but I don’t want to lie to you.
So let’s start with some good news! And his name is Anze Kopitar. As has been widely recognized, Anze got himself his first career hat trick (watch the video) against the Stars on Thursday. It wasn’t enough to fend off an overtime due to a quick collapse in the third period. Up 4-1, the Stars quickly got three goals to tie it up within the span of about 12 minutes. In the Kings (and Jon Quick’s) defense, a couple of those were some pretty nasty wrist shots.
But it all ended well when Handzus scored the winner one minute in to overtime. Two points is two points even if you give Dallas a point in the process and it really is tough to be mad at a victory. In the same vein, it could be said that Kopitar benefitted from facing a backup goalie. I prefer to see it as taking advantage of an opportunity. And a home run against Josh Fogg is technically worth the same as a home run against Ubaldo Jimenez.
On to less-than-good news: The Dodger’s parents divorce is going even worse than before. The latest move came a couple days back when Frank fired Jamie as CEO. TMZ got a copy of the dismissal letter and it’s ugly. The letter cites Jamie’s insubordination, non-responsiveness and “inappropriate behavior with regard to a direct subordinate.” In addition, she was locked out of her office.
MSTI has a nice recap of the events and is recommended reading. He ends up concluding that they should either settle up this issue or sell the team promptly. It’s hard to disagree. I will stop short of saying that Frank and Jamie owe it to us, and truly they’re business people who owe us nothing. But it would certainly be nice if they could step back and consider the consumers of their product, but I doubt that they will.
I don’t have too much to add in this one. My three years of law school and courses in family law have basically told me that divorces in California are highly dependent on the discretion of the judge. California is a community property state, which essentially means that anything acquired during the marriage (ie, the Dodgers) is a part of the community and is divisible equally between the parties. That doesn’t mean each side gets half of the team. And it’s difficult to imagine that would be an outcome.
Each side is clearly trying to establish some sort of evidence that they are the one who has a heavier hand in actual operations. It makes a difference that Frank has the ability to fire Jamie, and the harsher the firing the better as far as his case is concerned as it rebuts any presumption of malice (…this is legal fiction of course). He will continue to try and establish that he should get the team, and Jamie can keep a few houses and a parking garage in Boston.
As everyone can imagine, the big problem is that even if this were to end tomorrow with either Frank or Jamie owning the Dodgers outright, neither of them has the money independently to operate the team at its current capacity. They will need investors. They may realize that they have to sell the team anyway. They may slash payroll and cancel the stadium upgrades to preserve capital. All of these things are bad.
Yet there are two arguably good things to have happened to the team lately. First the maybe-good in that Ned Colletti has been re-upped for a number of years. No matter your thoughts on Colletti, I think it’s become clear that he is certainly getting better at least with free agents. His trades are still suspect and Andruw Jones still looms large. Yet overall this is a better GM than the one who signed Juan Pierre and grabbed Esteban Loaiza and his contract off waivers.
Listen, there’s no GM that the fans are going to like all the time (except Dean Lombardi who we all love unconditionally). I agree with most everyone that not trading away the good young talent isn’t something Ned should get credit for. Although I like Casey Blake, admittedly mostly for the beard, the price was too high, as was the George Sherill trade. Josh Bell and Carlos Santana were big time prospects for us and they’ve only gone on to even greater promise. But the moves did net something for the present. Blake has been good (not great) at that black hole we’ve had at third for years and I’ll take a 4.3 WAR any day. Sherill was freakin’ untouchable in the regular season and he’ll be around next year too. Postseason collapse aside, they were valuable additions and I believe Ned for the most part knew the costs and benefits and decided to pursue parts that could help in the very short term. That’s a legitimate decision, especially for a big market team. I don’t always agree with it but it is defensible.
In addition, I like continuity in a GM. Not so much that I wouldn’t have fired Bill Bavasi years and years ago were this the Mariners, but this team has direction and there’s something to be said for keeping the GM in place while it is successful. Two consecutive NL west titles and NLCS appearances are nothing to sneer at. Building a successful baseball team takes time and patience and new GMs are rarely brought in to stay the course.
Ned also has a great team around him which will remain largely in place including Kim Ng and the irreplaceable Logan White. That brings me to the second piece of good news which is indisputably good. Kim Ng is staying! She interviewed for the vacant SD job when Towers got canned but the gig went instead to some guy named Jed Hoyer who I know virtually nothing about.
Kim Ng is an asset for several reasons, the most tangible being her well-documented arbitration skills which will come in handy this off season with so many players eligible. Secondly, from an interview which I can’t find a link to anymore, she’s far more statistically inclined than your typical front office type. Both very very good qualities that I would want in my front office.
While I’m thrilled to keep her, I know, as Professor Weisman knows, that she will be the first female and asian-american GM in baseball history. Whether it’s for the Dodgers or not time will tell, and Colletti’s extension may mean that it will be for another team. I want her to stick around because she’s awesome, but simultaneously I’d be thrilled to see her GM her own team anywhere.
And as a finale for what is turning out to be a pretty long post, here’s a few links:
Memories of Kevin Malone: Stars and disappointments of the NLCS
MSTI: Debunking yet again the whole “we need an ace” notion, which I will be writing about in the next day or so.
Dodger Thoughts: An early season and payroll review.
Battle of California: Awesome piece on Stars/Kings.
Alright that’s all I got. Kings tonight!