A few years back when the MLB network debuted, I was giddy with excitement. What can be better than baseball 24/7/365?
Now three years into the channel I am beginning to feel otherwise. With Plesac, Reynolds, MaGrane, DeRosa, Byrnes and others constantly feeding us information, it's enough to make your head explode. A good portion of those mentioned have said Matt Kemp is on his way to one of these destinations: Texas, Seattle, Baltimore, Boston, and San Diego. It's enough to drive you mad. Those guys are simply speculating and spreading rumors coming usually from no-where.
For those concerned about many Dodger rumors, especially that Matt Kemp is about to head to another location, it is highly suggested that these quotes from Dodger G.M. Farhan Zaidi made on air at AM 570 from last Friday be read and reread.
|(photo by Jon Soo-Hoo, L.A. Dodgers)|
Zaidi could be an excellent poker player, and maybe he's playing us all, but his level headed comments seemed convincing. The Dodgers are being run by a competent group that isn't going to gut the franchise into a non-contender. In a previous piece I said that I thought they might be in payroll reduction mode, but after listening to Zaidi, I'm starting to believe that the front office is simply smarter than ever before and will do all they can to put a winner on the field now. Zaidi's quotes follow.
On Andre Ether and his trade wishes:
"We have a surplus of outfielders and there's some demand out there from other teams. Offense is pretty scarce in Major League baseball, certainly in the last couple of years. So a guy like Andre (Ether) could be a fit for a number of teams. including our own. So we're just continuing to look at those opportunities as they come across the table for us. If there's something that makes sense for the Dodgers, we'll pursue it."
On Matt Kemp and the endless rumors of him being traded:
"Matt Kemp was the best player in the National League in the second half. If anyone wants to challenge me on that, I have all of the numbers to back it up. It's the hot stove. People need something to write about everyday. We're aware that there's a desperate desire for content out there, and frankly it's not just the desire for content, but some of the stuff you read about free agents, I'm telling you, going from Oakland to L.A., I've never been more popular with agents in my life..."
Read between the lines here. It seems that Kemp isn't going anywhere, unless the Dodgers are overwhelmed with an amazing offer:
"Matt (Kemp) is a terrific player. We are well aware of how important he is to the team, but we were brought in with some specific goals in mind and with very high expectations. And part of our responsibility is to just look at everything..."
Zaidi explains that the G.M. position with a large market team with resources is much more difficult than being with a club without resources, here's why:
"We have financial resources at our disposal. I was asked earlier, 'who are you going to pursue?' and my answer was 'everybody.' To me that's part of the difference between being in Oakland and being in L.A. I could sleep well at night in Oakland knowing that I wouldn't have to wonder if a certain player was worth $100-150 million dollars. Now there's some sleepless nights because those are all decisions that we have to look at. It's kind of like the answer that I gave when I was asked about Matt (Kemp). It's that you have to look at everything, and particularly when you are looking at a guy that is at an elite level, that every team could use. "
About the starting rotation:
"We have a little problem with our starting pitching depth and we've started to adjust with some smaller moves. It's always a good idea if you're a baseball team to add pitchers at the front of your rotation than at the back..."
More on the differences between running a small market club vs. one with resources:
"At Oakland...there was just a whole group of players you didn't have to think about. The more resources you have at your disposal, the more complicated the cost benefits analysis gets on every move. We're in a position where we have to think about the luxury tax in baseball, the competitive balance tax implications that that has for us. So I actually think it's more complicated. The more money you have at your disposal, the bigger chance mistakes will be made. We understand the challenge ahead and we are in a position where the expectations are great, the challenges are great and we hope that the reward is also great. So that's our perspective."
On the topic of shortstop, (it's best to get used to Arruebarrena at short until Seager is ready):
"Right handed power is a scarcity at this time, and that's what Hanley brought to this team last year. That's what Matt Kemp continues to bring to this team, and that's probably the most difficult thing to replace. I do think that as we look to fill the shortstop position, we're maybe able to reorient that position to being a more defensive position. Looking to some guys that really contribute defensively at short... This gives us a chance to get a really plus defender at short, that will really help our pitching staff. We're viewing it as an opportunity to upgrade defensively and we believe that will compensate for the loss of offense."
---------------end of Zaidi quotes-------------------
We all know it's difficult to slow down and gawk at the car accident ahead of you as you drive by, but that is what the MLB network is at the moment, (and twitter rumors as well). Look if you must, but you probably won't like what you see. Zaidi has spelled out the Dodger front offices direction in a short 15 minute segment. It's best to listen to his words, because the wonks at MLB network are running with stories that often don't have any legs.