Most Dodger fans have been hoping and praying that the Dodgers would just stand pat and do nothing this offseason. Why? Because the Dodgers are so stocked with young talent, and the free agent market this year is so bad, that the Boys in Blue would probably have a better chance of winning the division next season if they just turned things over to kids than if they blocked them with pricey, overrated, veterans of declining ability. In fact, this author feels the Dodgers probably could have won the division last year if they had let guys like Matt Kemp, James Loney, and Andy LaRoche play from the start, instead of blocking them for most of the season with “big name” veterans like Luis Gonzalez, Nomar Garciaparra, and Juan Pierre.
So when day after day of the Winter Meetings went by without the Dodgers doing anything at all, hope began,slowly but surely, to well up in the hearts of Dodger fans. Hope that maybe Colletti had finally learned his lesson and was finally going to give all that young talent, talent every team in baseball had been chasing after all fall, a chance to prove itself on the field.
We should have known better.
We should have known that there was simply no way in hell that one Ned Louis Colletti Jr. was going to leave Nashville without signing at least one “experienced veteran” to an overpriced contract which would block at least one of his hot young prospects for at least a few more years.
And so, Andruw Jones is now a Dodger.
What bothers me most about this deal is that the Dodgers could have one of the best young outfields in baseball virtually for free if they went with a lineup of Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Delwyn Young. But instead at least two of those guys are now going to be blocked by Pierre and Jones at an annual cost of nearly $30 million (it had been my secret hope that the Dodgers would take advantage of the incredible demand for centerfielders this offseason by trading Pierre).
And what bothers me almost as much about this deal are the specifics of the contract that is reportedly being given to Andruw Jones. $19 million per year??? For a player who just came off a season in which he batted .222 and had an OBP of .311??
I mean, Jones is still a pretty talented player, who may well have simply had an off year, so it would have been one thing if Colletti had shrewdly leveraged Jones’s weak performance last season to sign a decent player at a below-market price. But to make said player the fifth-highest paid player in all of baseball, behind only Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Derek Jeter, and Carlos Zambrano, especially when you don’t really have any pressing need for a centerfielder, and are now going to have to find someplace for the $45 million centerfielder you signed last year to play, is just stupidity.
The only people to whom this deal can make any sense are those who live on Planet Scott Boras, or those who let Boras take them for a ride there. My question is, why is it always the Dodgers who have to have the gullible GM who will believe whatever Boras says and hand out the most ridiculous contracts in Boras’s storied career?
When Rob Neyer chronicled the stupidest contracts given to Boras clients last month, he cited the contracts the Dodgers gave to Darren Dreifort and Kevin Brown as the two worst. This one may not be quite as bad as those two since it is only two years, but given the ridiculousness of the annual value and the fact that the Dodgers had no real need to do this, it needs to be added to Neyer’s list.