I think this might be really bad
It’s official: the Dodgers will not offer arbitration to Orlando Hudson. In an even more stunning move, they announced that no players will be offered arbitration. From the LA Times:
The Dodgers are not offering any of their 15 free agents arbitration, a team spokesman said today.
Those players include pitcher Randy Wolf, second baseman Orlando Hudson and infielder Ronnie Belliard.
I would refer you to MSTI who is rightly shocked and dismayed. True Blue LA feels the same. I cannot argue with any of it. It just seems bewildering. Baseball front offices and ownership make questionable decisions all the time. The redeeming factor, however, is that they’re at least questionable. Reasonable (and sometimes not so reasonable) people can disagree.
Reasonable people cannot disagree on this.
In a move I can only imagine was prompted by cash-strapped ownership the Dodgers have effectively decided that the short term and speculative savings of at most 14 million dollars in payroll was worth further malnourishment of their already suffering farm system. While I would like to say that there was another side to this, that there were real savings, the fact is that this is a poor economic plan. This is inefficient and blatantly so. At worst, the Dodgers would get valuable players for a year who, while probably not performing at last year’s level, will still be at least productive major league players at high demand positions. The two first round draft picks plus the two sandwich picks could yield a Kemp or a Billingsley. Surely draft picks can and often do bust but it is by far the most effective model for running a competitive and cost controlled franchise.
No word in the above paragraph is simple opinion. Not offering arbitration to any player whatsoever is just incredible. I do not expect an explanation but I hope that someone can tell us exactly why this happened.
Normally, it isn’t my habit to get too worked up about these things. Beyond the fact that it’s “just a game,” patience is often the best attitude because things sometimes take time to work out. A strange decision one day may work out in the end or fade into irrelevance with the passing of even a short amount of time. Yet I find it difficult to be patient with this decision.
And strangely enough, Jon Weisman seems rattled too.
It’s definitely not the kind of announcement you like to see your team make. It’s neither bold nor prudent. It’s just kind of depressing, and it renews questions about the leadership at the very top of this organization, regardless of the success of the past two years.
I quote Mr. Weisman only because he is typically our rock in the Dodgers fan universe. When he’s not worried, I’m not worried. He regularly preaches calm, whether it be in regards to trade rumors or managerial decisions. Because of that, I had expected his reaction to be somewhat more tempered but he seems to feel just as the rest of us do.
If judgment of the team’s greatest fans and admirers is any kind of barometer, Mr. Weisman may be quite precient when he wrote today that “I think hard-core Dodger fans will be talking about this day for a long time to come.”
UPDATE: True Blue LA just published a post detailing just how valuable draft picks are. Highly recommended.