Listen up, people. It’s time for a baseball intervention.
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For those who don’t know, Ned Colletti is the general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball squadron. For those who aren’t aware of his problem, he’s a crapaholic – he can’t stop signing crappy players to his team.
I’m not really a Dodgers fan, but I grew up in Los Angeles and I currently live here. So I root for all the teams from here. It’s like how we all root for our country in the Olympics. Nobody cares about most of those athletic events, but everyone from America wants America to kick butt and everyone from France wants France to kick butt – even though they will probably just surrender. And so I’m a fan of LA’s basketball Lakers and hockey Kings. I’m even a fan of the soccer Galaxy. Ha! Ha! I could barely finish that sentence without laughing. Come on, I don’t follow women’s sports.
I actually care what’s going on with the Dodgers. The people of Los Angeles have been plagued by the existence of the team’s owner Frank McCourt. But he has finally agreed to sell the team and stop urinating in the metaphoric punch bowl of Dodgers’ fans. However, the team has another situation – Ned Colletti is still in a decision-making capacity.
Do you remember in “Lord of the Rings” when Sarumon the White Wizard was being naughty and he put the King of Rohan under a spell so that he wouldn’t do anything about the bad things Sarumon was up to? Well, Sarumon had more than a little help from Grima Wormtongue – who you might remember as that creepy guy in the movie who lustfully ogled the lovely Eowyn and was the only person who looked like he bathed less than Aragorn (King of Men, but not of personal hygiene). Sarumon could not have wreaked as much havoc without Grima’s help and they almost succeeded in the destruction of the World of Men (and Hobbits). Ned Colletti is Grima Wormtongue.
[Note to readers from writer: While that previous paragraph does somewhat accurately present a workable analogy, I fear that it may have actually told you more about me than the Dodgers situation.]
Now that the Dodgers are amputating Frank McCourt, I can assure you that Ned will be gone soon. But, for now, somebody has to take away his checkbook – though, since he still works for Frank McCourt, it’s most likely a credit card.
Like a frenzied Wal-Mart shopper buying useless crap on Black Friday, Ned has gone on a shopping spree of crappiness this off-season. However, unlike said frenzied Wal-Mart shopper, Ned is buying junk at inflated prices. He’s all alone in the store after hours and the employees don’t mind because he’s paying triple the price.
So far – and I assure this list of crap will grow – he has signed crappy Adam Kennedy, crappy Chris Capuano, crappy Mark Ellis, crappy Jerry Hairston, Jr. and re-signed crappy Juan Rivera all for the not-low price of about $18 million per year. These players just aren’t that good. Yes, they are better than me and you, but the Dodgers have guys in the minor leagues who are just as good and who would have cost a total of $1 million a year and saved the team about $16 million. They could actually go out and get a really good player for $16 million.
“But, Jed, how do you know that these players can be replaced?” I’m glad you asked, because I was going to just skip over this. Sometimes I can be very forgetful. Actually that’s not true, I just “reprioritize my actions.” There is a statistic called Wins Above Replacement (WAR) that measures a player’s value in all aspects of the game and compares those numbers to what could be expected from a “replacement” player from the minor leagues. None of these guys that Ned signed are much above 0.0 and they’re all getting old and likely to get worse.
Maybe you don’t believe in this “magic” and you think that a team with crafty veterans is what will bring your city a championship. Fine. Then wait for the prices to come down. Everyone does Christmas shopping differently. There are people who right now are done with their shopping because they don’t want to miss out on availability or a particular sale. Others will wait until the last couple days to get everything done because they think there are better sales and availability doesn’t really matter as much and, of course, they are lazy. And there are some people who don’t buy Christmas presents at all because they are Jewish. So, that kind of messes up my analogy.
Anyway, these five crappy players would all have been available for a lot less in January or February – maybe not these five exact players, but five players just as good because there are dozens of these kinds of players floating around. So is Ned in a hurry or something? Well, yes. He’s going to be fired soon. When a new owner comes in, he (or she – but probably he, right, Bud Selig? High five for misogyny!) will most likely dump the general manager. They almost always do. And they would be smart to follow that trend with Ned.
This is the guy who outbid himself in 2009 to pay Andruw Jones and Manny Ramirez a total of $43 million in one year. Neither of those two players had any other offers and Ned just had to snatch them up before no one else would want them.
Look, I don’t hate Ned. I just hate his work. I actually feel sorry for Ned. If there was ever a person who was a product of his environment, it’s this guy. If a kid has crappy parents, the kid is going to be crappy. So, let’s take a look at his parents: Brian Sabean and Frank McCourt.
Brian Sabean – Ned used to work for Brian in San Francisco and they have a very similar philosophy in team building. Brian is one of those general managers who subscribes to the “throw enough crap against a wall and something will stick” ideology. He did this brilliantly in 2010 and won the World Series. He did this not-brilliantly every other year.
Frank McCourt – It’s easy to see how having someone like Frank influence your financial planning could lead you down a dark road towards massive debt and valueless assets. When your boss owns multiple houses in Los Angeles, one of which is just so his wife can go swimming, it becomes a lot easier to sign Jason Schmidt and Juan Pierre to massively excessive contracts.
So what happens when you combine Frank McCourt and Brian Sabean? Ned Colletti.
Ned needs our help. He can’t fight this addiction by himself. No one can. Haven’t you ever seen “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew”? It’s a constant, brutal struggle to get through each day without scraping around in the depths of despair for just one last fix – I’m referring to Dr. Drew’s addiction to fame.
In the “Lord of the Rings” book [note from the readers to the writer: here we go again, nerd] Sarumon the White and Grima Wormtongue wind up roaming the countryside together like a couple of hobos with the appropriate desperation of two people who were so close to having everything, but just missed and now have nothing but shame and regret and the clothes on their backs. (Am I pushing this analogy home hard enough? You get it, right? Sarumon and Grima are Frank and Ned. Okay, moving on.)
With a lot of love and support, Ned can beat this thing. He still has a chance to turn this all around and be a decent general manager and help build the Dodgers back up to where they once were. But rumors are they’re about to sign Aaron Harang for some stupid amount of money.
Oh, who am I kidding? It’s time to boot Ned out onto the street with Frank McCourt, Sarumon and Grima..