The Dodgers Are Good At Spending Money

May 20, 2008 – 11:21 am by Ryan Phillips

Jason Schmidt, Nomar Garciaparra, Juan Pierre, Esteban Loaiza and Andruw Jones. That is a list of players the Los Angeles Dodgers currently owe more than $7.5 million each this season. OK, you five, if you’ve made a significant contribution to the team this year, step forward…not so fast Andruw.

That’s right, Mr. Jones and his 47-inch waist have been nothing short of atrocious this year and it might be getting worse. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that “Tubby” Jones has a slight cartilage tear in his right knee and may require surgery. Awesome. Especially considering the Dodgers shelled out $36.2 million over two years for a guy whose declining production made him expendable in Atlanta.

Despite already having Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and big-money-bust Juan Pierre, the Azul, decided to spend tons of cash on a total risk. Not only is “Saddlebags” Jones injured but he’s been playing like a member of the Padres. So far this year, he’s hitting a robust .167 in 42 games. He also has just two home runs, seven RBIs and a .275 on base percentage to go along with 44 strikeouts.

Jones, thus becomes another in a long line of big-money moves by the Dodgers that hasn’t paid off. When will the Dodgers learn that they actually have good young talent and don’t need to imitate the Yankees to win games? Here’s a list of the guys they’re paying way too much for and the production they’ve gotten from them:

- Jason Schmidt signed a three-year, $47 million contract last offseason. He’s owed $15.2 million this season. He has yet to pitch this year as he recovers from surgery. In his six starts last season he went 1-4 with a 6.31 ERA in 25 2/3 innings.

- Nomar Garciaparra is owed $9.5 million this year. Coming into this season he had two injury plagued years wearing Dodger-blue in which he never played more than 122 games. This season he’s managed to get into just nine games and is hitting .226 with one home run and five RBIs.

- Juan Pierre signed a five-year, $44 million contract with the team before last season. He’s owed $8 million this season. Despite his average defense and total lack of power or throwing arm, LA gave him big money. His .331 OBP last season was one of the worst for a leadoff hitter in the majors. This year he’s hitting .286, with a slightly better .361 OBP. But when hitting for average is your only tool other than speed, you should be doing far better than that. As Jayson Stark pointed out in an excellent column last summer, Pierre is one of the 10 most overrated players in baseball. Interestingly enough, Andruw Jones made the list, and that was well before he became a Dodger.

- Esteban Loaiza was claimed off waivers by the Dodgers last summer as the Oakland A’s sought to dump his ridiculous contract. The Dodgers proved to be perfect patsies as they were forced to eat more than $8 million of his contract. I blasted this move when it happened and, once again, I’ve been proved right. After he arrived in LA, Loaiza posted a stellar 8.35 ERA and a 1-4 record in five starts. This year he’s owed $7.5 million, and in seven appearances (three starts) he’s posted a 1-2 record with a 5.63 ERA.

So to recap, those five players are owed roughly $55 million this season and have given the Dodgers virtually nothing. Los Angeles’ payroll currently sits at $118 million. So, 46.7 percent of their payroll is tied up in five players who have given them nothing. Despite all that, the team is 23-21 and sits in second place in the NL West. Why you ask? Their success is based largely on the contributions of a young nucleus, centered around Russell Martin, James Loney, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and a shockingly good debut by rookie Blake DeWitt.

If I was smart enough to know those young guys would be great for the Dodgers and they didn’t need to waste money on guys like Pierre and Jones, shouldn’t GM Ned Colletti (who looks disturbingly like Bernie from “Weekend at Bernie’s”) have understood that? Maybe he just likes wasting money. Either way, his ass should be fired in favor of anyone with a freaking pulse.

Keep in mind, I’m outraged by this guy’s incompetence and I’m a Padres fan…God, I remember a time when I wasn’t embarrassed to say that.

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