Think Blue

Obsessing over the Dodgers' minor league system so you don't have to.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Joe McDonnell interviews Colletti

It started off fine, with Colletti discussing the Jones signing and the team's overall defense. He also reiterated his stance of not wanting to deal multiple players for one and praised his young players. But McDonnell forgets about subtlety and asks Colletti how he responds to criticism of the Pierre deal.

Ned Colletti: "Well, I have more information than anybody else has."

Wow, nice way to start off the explanation. Apparently he didn't have the 411 on Pierre's throwing arm. And it's not how much information you have, it's how you use it. Placing hits and steals over OBP and SLG isn't the best way to evaluate players.

NC: "We went after players for the right reasons."

What's more important than signing a guy for the right reasons is signing a guy because you believe he can contribute to the team. Saying "we needed a centerfielder" isn't an excuse for acquiring Pierre, since the expectations of his production were pretty low.

McDonnell also mentioned Jason Schmidt and Colletti defended the deal by saying no one could have predicted Schmidt's injury. I find it hard to believe the team did its due diligence and missed an ailment that serious, as it couldn't have all happened between the time he signed and the start of the season. Regardless, I was one who liked the signing and though it brought a good starter to the team. I was wrong. Now, back to Pierre.

NC: "The Juan Pierre piece is different for me. I don't think you can lay the...lack of achievement by the '07 Dodgers at the feet of Juan Pierre."

Ah, but we've heard this one before. In my last entry, I quoted Ned as saying:

NC: "The way the 2007 Dodgers performed is not Juan Pierre's fault."

Colletti seems to be under the impression (delusion) that people are blaming Pierre for the team's performance. That's simply not the case. I haven't seen one person attribute the club's performance to any Dodger player, including Pierre. The late season collapse was facilitated through terrible pitching.

But the point here isn't that Pierre hurt the team. The point is Pierre didn't help the team as much as many people would have liked.

NC: "I think Juan Pierre is a player who is a complimentary player. He's not a franchise player."

Wow, we finally agree on something about Pierre. But why, oh why, would you sign a complimentary player to a 5 year deal?

NC: "What he does, and we all know who he is, we all know the strengths and the weaknesses of the player. One thing that you can't deny about him is that he did what we thought he would do. That he would play every day, that he would get close to 200 hits and he'd steal sixty-something bases. That's exactly what he did."

Yes Ned, we know who he is. He was the leadoff man who doesn't get on base enough, the center fielder that allows extra bases because of his arm and now, he'll be the left fielder with no power. Again, placing these arbitrary values on hit and stolen base totals is pointless.

NC: "When you look at last year's team and you got Furcal who was hurt all year, and we really lacked production in the middle three in our lineup. And Juan Pierre sits second in the lineup, and Raffy's hurt and you got three to follow him that didn't have great years by and large, suddenly it's Juan Pierre's fault. Juan Pierre's this, Juan Pierre's that."

Again, can anyone point me in the direction of someone who has made this argument? No one's blaming Pierre for Furcal's injury (that would be Repko). No one's blaming Pierre for the middle of the lineup, though a lot of the blame lies on Ned's and Grady Little's shoulders for that. The Dodgers ranked 11th in the NL after getting a .796 OPS from their #3 hitters last season, mainly due to Nomar's 260 at bats there (and his .650 OPS); the Dodgers ranked 7th in the NL with an .871 OPS from their cleanup guys, with Kent getting 491 of the 631 at bats there (and posting an .878 OPS); and the Dodgers ranked 11th in the NL with a .748 OPS from their #5 hitters, with Gonzo getting about half the AB's and posting a .777 OPS. Hopefully Loney will bat #3 and I'm guessing Andruw will bat #5, so that ought to produce more runs.

NC: "Well you know what? On a different team, on a team like we hope to have this year, Juan Pierre's value I think is accentuated. Especially moving to left field. And I think his ability to get on base, steal bases, is a plus."

So not only is Colletti now making the argument that Pierre's move to LF is a good thing, he's also lauding his ability to get on base. I think my head's going to explode.

Now Colletti talks about how there's a realistic shot of having five Dodgers with 20 or more HR, and that's valid. Considering the fact that the Dodgers ranked 15th in the NL in HR last year, only besting the Washington Nationals, and only one Dodger hit 20 HR last year (Kent), the Dodgers should expect more power. Jones, Kemp, Loney, Kent and Martin are all capable and, if all are given appropriate playing time, should improve the offense. But back to Pierre.

NC: "When Juan Pierre is expected to be a key player on that team and one of the focal points on the team, because of Furcal being hurt and because of the middle three in the lineup not having great years, I think it stands out and it exposes him for somebody who he's not. I think in a different situation, which we hope to have here, I think he's got a totally different relationship to how the team plays and what he can bring to it."

I really don't understand this argument. Because Furcal and the middle three will be better, Pierre's role is somehow different? See, it's not that Colletti predicts Pierre will put up better numbers. It's Ned predicts other players on the team will put up better numbers and thus draw the focus off Pierre. That should tell you something about Pierre's value.

Anyways, I'll be back with any more signings. Still haven't seen anything concrete about Hiroki Kuroda, though I'm guessing he'll make his final decision sometime this weekend.


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