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90's Dodgers, Wasted Talent: Why? How? Who?

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  • 9RoyHobbsRF
    replied
    Actually what I remember is they likened Dreifort to Don Drysdale - a big pitcher who could hit

    I saw Mondesi in a game in 1999

    I was VERY unimpressed

    every inning he walked from the dugout to his position in RF the entire way

    and when the inning was over he walked the entire distance from right field to the third base dugout,, heck the next inning was always about to start

    his body language was horrible, his facial expressions were bad, his colored overgrown wild hair was hideous, his hustle was non existant

    I thought he was a cancer

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  • Second Base Coach
    replied
    I have been a huge Dodger fan since the mid-1970s. That team during the Lasorda-Russell-Johnson years suffered from a lack of a lead off batter. The team tried and tried to develop one, and rented Brett Butler twice, and sacrificed Pedro Martinez once in order to find the right guy. It just never happened. Eric Young was there, but... Heck, even Rickey Henderson even made an appearance. Some other fun facts that ruined that team:

    1. Roger Cedeno never panned out in the field or as the lead off man they needed. They also had Eric Young, but they kept the wrong guy.

    2. They never could get a good hitting left fielder and a good hitting catcher on the team at the same time.

    3. The third baseman often had a better OBP than the middle infielders. This is bad if you need your corner infielders to hit three run homers and they never seemed to have two guys on base at the same time.

    4. Bill Russell was a better player than manager

    5. Paul Konerko came up at the same time as Karim Garcia and the coaches could not spot the better of the two players so they sent both away.

    6. None of the pitchers were heavy enough to last. Pedro Martinez was among these thin as rails throwers and was traded because he would bring back the most in return. It turns out he was worth more than Ismael Valdez and Pedro Astacio and Darren Dreifort combined.

    7. Darren Dreifort did not turn into Nolan Ryan. That sounds silly, but the team was counting on that, or nearly that.

    8. The Dodgers picked second in the draft that brought them Darren Dreifort. Alex Rodriguez went first. The team did get lucky by drafting Paul Konerko the following year, but see number five above.

    9. Billy Ashley did not turn into Frank Howard and Todd Hollandsworth did not get better as he got older.

    10. The collapse of the 1991 team and the subsequent headaches that went with Darryl Strawberry and Eric Davis really set this team up for failure for a long time. This squad was not built like the other Dodgers teams and the management in place was left wondering why their usual magic was not working.

    If you look at the only team that won 90 games in a season (the 1996 team) it was quite remarkable as there was a managerial change in the middle of the year and the BA/OBP/SLG/OPS rankings were down around 14th in the league. The players were good, but the offense was awful. The team would only outscore their opponents by maybe fifty runs a year over the course of the season.

    In 1997, four guys hit thirty home runs but no one else hit more than nine (Gagne). The next highest total was six!


    What should have happened was this:

    More three run homers and fewer solo shots would have been the result if they let Eric Young play second base for ten years.

    As Nomo and Martinez approached 30, Park and Valdez should have been backing them up a little better than they did. It's ok for everyone to be good at the same time you know!

    It's also critical that Ramon Martinez does not break down at the age of 30. Ismael Valdez needs to last past the age of 24

    Pedro Martinez leads the way over all those guys, allowing money to be freed up that did not go to the likes of Kevin Tapani and Tom Candiotti. Do you think we can afford a good left fielder now????

    Darren Dreifort should have been named the closer, and then taught how to do the job. He takes over for Todd Worrell when he gets to be too old for the job. This keeps the team from trading Konerko for Jeff Shaw.

    Paul Konerko learns to play third base and then later first base once Beltre comes along. I am sorry, but Karros does not become a Dodger legend under this scenario.

    The team knows the difference between Wilton Guerrero and Vlad Guerrero. They keep Vlad to play left field after talking him out of walking out of Dodgers' training camp.

    Mike Piazza stays and is allowed to catch, while Paul LoDuca grows into the best back-up catcher in baseball.

    They put Raul Mondesi on medication, early. This allows him to play center field when Shawn Green arrives.

    In the year 2000, the team would look like this, and have had more post season success than they did leading up to this season:

    C-Mike Piazza
    1B-Paul Konerko
    2B-Eric Young
    3B-Adrian Beltre
    SS-Alex Cora or someone else
    LF-Vlad Guerrero
    CF-Raul Mondesi
    RF-Shawn Green

    SP-Pedro Martinez, Ramon Martinez (not broken), Ismael Valdez (not broken), Chan Ho Park, and a free agent not named Kevin Brown because that money went to Piazza.

    RP-Darren Dreifort and a kid named Eric Gagne, Matt Herges, and Antonio Osuna (not broken)

    Sure, that's a lot of ifs and buts. I think the number one reason was the lack of table setters. Eric Young should have been a start on those Dodgers teams, but he was not. And every single pitcher was frail except for the older free agent pitchers who were signed to fill in the holes.
    Last edited by Second Base Coach; 01-29-2013, 08:52 PM.

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  • TomBodet
    replied
    So in other words: the Dodgers decided to not come to Jesus, Mondesi was as bright as Pedro Guerrero, Karros got the Sam Malone treatment, and no one really knows why Konerko and Piazza didn't wind up making the Hall after spending 20 yrs each in Chavez Ravine.

    Oh and Delino didn't turn out to be Morgan.

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  • Dude Paskert
    replied
    Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
    Was Dodgers management that in love with Karros? I seem to remember Konerko didn't really get much of a chance in LA. I checked and he only got 166 career PA's with the Dodgers. Konerko tore up AAA, hitting .334/.415/.615 in 868 PA's. Granted, this was the PCL but you would think the Dodger scouts would have a solid handle on Konerko's overall skillset.
    This is a bit of a tangent, but Karros also ended up on the Board of Directors of a major semiconductor company because the founder/CEO had played at the same university and was an enthusiastic baseball player and fan for his whole life. This sweetheart deal for a man with no experience in business or the technology involved was not very well received by shareholders and the industry in general.

    Leave a comment:


  • filihok
    replied
    Unfortunately, we can make a similar comparison to the 2000-2012 Dodgers.


    Lots of players coming up through the system: Kemp, Kershaw, Billingsley, Ethier, Loney, Broxton, Cody Ross, Jayson Werth, Edwin Jackson and an incompetent GM and FO squandering their cost controlled years.
    Last edited by filihok; 01-24-2013, 02:04 AM.

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  • filihok
    replied
    Originally posted by toomanyhatz View Post
    Oh, it's been mentioned. But I think the main reason no one's dwelled on it is that hindsight's always 20/20. As I remember it, no one at the time was particularly unhappy about it. The Dodgers knew Pedro would be good, they just didn't know how good. And DeShields, coming off a couple of great seasons, seemed like one of the best players in the game. The Dodgers desperately needed a leadoff hitter and a 2nd baseman, they thought DeShield fulfilled both. It was the old 'you've got to give something up to get something.' I think at the time people thought it would help both teams. They were half right.
    I remember my exact reaction upon hearing of the trade.

    "Dodgers trade for DeShields"
    Me: "Awesome...exactly the player we need...please don't let it be Pedro"
    "Going to the Expos, Pedro Martinez"
    Me: "Noooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!"

    I was in HS at the time, not a pro scout by any stretch, wasn't yet in to stat analysis but I lived in Albuquerque and watched Pedro and thought he was amazing. Of course it was cool that he was Ramon's brother.

    And I'm just reminiscing now

    Originally posted by toomanyhatz View Post
    Speaking of which, anyone remember Jesus Martinez? Supposedly the hardest thrower of the three, but didn't last long because he lacked the command his brothers had.
    Yes. I do remember Jesus. Haven't thought of him in a while. Wow. Yeah...of course I was pulling for a 3 Martinez rotation. Of course, it wasn't meant to be

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  • toomanyhatz
    replied
    Speaking of which, anyone remember Jesus Martinez? Supposedly the hardest thrower of the three, but didn't last long because he lacked the command his brothers had.

    Leave a comment:


  • toomanyhatz
    replied
    Oh, it's been mentioned. But I think the main reason no one's dwelled on it is that hindsight's always 20/20. As I remember it, no one at the time was particularly unhappy about it. The Dodgers knew Pedro would be good, they just didn't know how good. And DeShields, coming off a couple of great seasons, seemed like one of the best players in the game. The Dodgers desperately needed a leadoff hitter and a 2nd baseman, they thought DeShield fulfilled both. It was the old 'you've got to give something up to get something.' I think at the time people thought it would help both teams. They were half right.

    Leave a comment:


  • filihok
    replied
    Nobody mentioned trading Pedro for DeShields?

    Leave a comment:


  • toomanyhatz
    replied
    Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
    Was Dodgers management that in love with Karros? I seem to remember Konerko didn't really get much of a chance in LA. I checked and he only got 166 career PA's with the Dodgers. Konerko tore up AAA, hitting .334/.415/.615 in 868 PA's. Granted, this was the PCL but you would think the Dodger scouts would have a solid handle on Konerko's overall skillset.
    And did something truly amazing for a power hitter- had a better than 1-to-1 BB/K ratio. He only hit .220 or so for the Dodgers, but that was very few plate appearances, as you said, and under extreme pressure to prove himself.

    To be fair Karros had some good years for the Dodgers, and I do get why all the potential in the world may not look as good as what they saw as a guaranteed 35/100/.290 from Karros. But Karros didn't keep up that pace for much longer while Konerko pretty much became a star.

    What's confusing to me is why, when the middle of your lineup has Piazza and Karros in it, you'd want to jettison the former and hold on to the latter way too long. But part of Fox's set up required trading Piazza to set up the 'new regime'. Rumor has it when Sheffield was told he was being traded to the Dodgers his first thought was "me and Mike Piazza in the same lineup? That'll be fun" before being told, no he was being traded for Piazza. They could've- should've- had both. Then maybe Konerko going on to excel for the White Sox wouldn't have been such a big deal.
    Last edited by toomanyhatz; 01-24-2013, 01:43 AM.

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  • bluesky5
    replied
    In a nutshell Al Campanis made some racist comments on TV that led to Fred Claire being appointed GM. He got the pieces for '88, acquired Strawberry and traded John Wetteland and Pedro. Then Fox bought the team and traded Piazza behind his back.

    After the Campanis fiasco it seems talent development went downhill. Don't know if Claire made changes within the organization or not.

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  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    Originally posted by toomanyhatz View Post
    The two main contributors:

    Sticking with Karros instead of trading him and giving Konerko a serious chance at the job.

    I realize it was late in the decade, but the Piazza trade was a disaster. The Marlins were clearly unloading, and didn't need Piazza to let the Dodgers have Sheffield and Bonilla. Just imagine a '99 team with Piazza AND Sheffield AND Konerko AND Mondesi AND Bonilla. Possibly they couldn't have afforded to spend so much on pitching, but with that lineup they might not have needed it as badly.

    The Pedro trade was obviously a disaster, but at the time it made a bit of sense. The Dodgers had no way of knowing DeShields would be such a poor fit.
    Was Dodgers management that in love with Karros? I seem to remember Konerko didn't really get much of a chance in LA. I checked and he only got 166 career PA's with the Dodgers. Konerko tore up AAA, hitting .334/.415/.615 in 868 PA's. Granted, this was the PCL but you would think the Dodger scouts would have a solid handle on Konerko's overall skillset.

    Leave a comment:


  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    The 1994-96 Dodgers were solid. Though they were only 58-56 when the strike hit in 1994, the Dodgers were in first place. Perhaps sans the strike they get hot and finish with 86-87 wins. They won the NL West in 1995 (78-66 W-L) and were the Wildcard in 1996 (90-72 W-L). Both years the Dodgers were swept 3-0 in the NLDS. They finished second in 1997, two game behind a Giants team that was outscored during the regular season.

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  • Herr28
    replied
    Yeah, those Giants teams were pretty good at stacking runs up on the board! They had the greatest hitter of his (any?) generation who blew up into the greatest power hitter of all time (not to mention all those half dozen or so cap sizes he blew through then as well), alongside a middle INF that would combine for 40-50 HR a year (Aurillia and Kent), and other veteran players that contributed to that solid offense either as starters or off the bench: Burks, Santiago, Dunston, Galarraga, Bell, Davis, Lofton, etc. Snow was an on base machine after his power outage at 1B too.

    They had decent to outstanding starting pitching (Schmidt, Hernandez, Reuter, Ortiz, among others) and a solid BP with closers Nen and Worrell working with set up guys Rodriguez and Nathan. Good teams during that time for sure. That couldn't be the only reason for the Dodgers futility though, but they were sure a huge obstacle in that NL West.

    Was it the management of the Dodgers that kept them from excelling? LaSorda retired at some point in the mid (?) 90s, and Russell didn't last long as his replacement. To be honest, I never really followed the Dodgers closely during that decade and spent the last half of it stationed in Europe and on a couple deployments, so I typically only saw box scores in the Stars and Stripes newspaper. Therefore I can't speak to the management of the team on the field and am wondering if that held back some talented teams?

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  • Honus Wagner Rules
    replied
    Originally posted by bluesky5 View Post
    Those teams had a lot of power.
    They had power and pitching. The 2002 Giants scored 925 runs. Only the 1930 Giants scored more runs since 1900. If you take out the 19th century teams this how those late 1990s-early 2000 Giants teams rank all time in runs scored (in franchise history).

    2002- #2 all time
    1999- #5 all time
    2004- #9 all time
    1998- #10 all-time

    Ironically, the 2002 World Series team (#20) and the 2003 team (#31) that won 100 games didn't score as much but they allowed far fewer runs. I have been a Brian Sabean critic for years but I have to give him credit for building a consistent playoff contender from 1997-2004. The Giants contended every year during this eight season run. Their worst season was 86-76 W-L and they had seasons with 100, 97, 95, 91, and 90 wins twice.

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