“Twas a short time before Christmas, and all through L.A.,
Magic Johnson and Mark Cuban were planning to pay.
Matt Kemp was awash in his money like the falls of Niagara,
And Ned was giving free agents an AARP card and Viagra.”
I wanted to do it. I already had my mind made up to rail on our toupee-loving GM Ned Colletti and his offseason moves with the Dodgers. When the Dodgers signed Mark Ellis instead of going after Kelly Johnson, I had my keyboard ready to pile on Ned and his coonskin cap hair.
Ned made my arsenal even more potent when he inked Misty May-Treanor…I mean Matt Treanor to replace Rod Barajas at catcher for the Dodgers in 2012. I had all of my best toupee jokes ready to fly in honor of Knucklehead Ned.
But then a funny thing happened – I started to get Ned!
I’m not proud of it, believe me! It’s kind of like my infatuation with Rick Springfield back in the 1980s. I didn’t want to like “Jessie’s Girl” and “I’ve Done Everything For You,” but I’m just a big softie. I also once stopped my car to help a turtle cross the road without getting squashed, for Pete’s sake!
But, back to the Dodgers. An ESPN scribe just wrote a column bashing Colletti and the Dodgers for overpaying for a bunch of washed up free agents. The Dodgers haven’t signed one player younger than 33 this offseason, but I get it and it makes sense to me.
Hiroki Kuroda wants about $12 million for one more season with the Dodgers. He’s not worth that at 37 years of age. So, for the same money that the Dodgers would have had to pay Kuroda, Ned got two 33-year-olds, Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano.
Harang went 14-7 with a 3.64 ERA for a bad San Diego Padres team in 2011. Capuano went 11-12 for the horrible New York Mets last season. Capuano pitched almost 190 innings, while Harang tossed 170. I’d say that Ned (did I just call him Ned without any derogatory reference in front of his name?) made a good deal with those signings.
Colletti also just inked utility player Jerry Hairston Jr. to a two-year contract (for around $6 million). Anyone who suffered through 2011 as a Dodger fan knows one thing – the team had a bunch of injuries. Heaven forbid that Dee Gordon or Kemp suffers an injury in 2012; but if they do, Hairston can jump in at virtually any position except catcher.
With the Brewers last season, Hairston batted .270 and hit five homers and knocked in 31 runs. Hairston is like a Jamey Carroll, except with an actual chance to hit a homer every now and again.
Like I said before, I wasn’t crazy about Colletti signing Ellis to play second base in 2012. The more I look at Ellis and his stats, though, the more I’m warming to the situation. In his nine-year career, Ellis has averaged committing only about five errors each season. In 2011, Ellis hit seven homers and drove in 48 runs. If he can stay healthy, Ellis should solidify second base for the Dodgers. He can also be available to platoon at third base in case Juan Uribe has a fat attack.
I wanted Prince Fielder and his Zac Brown Band beard at first base for the Dodgers this offseason. I knew it wasn’t going to happen, just like all of you. With an unsettled ownership situation in L.A., Colletti can’t commit to spending hundreds of millions of dollars on free agents.
However, what Colletti is doing is filling needs with the best talent that the Dodgers can afford. At least I give Colletti and the Dodgers credit for trying to do something. I would rather see the team making some moves instead of just hoping that the previous roster had a sudden change of fortune in 2012.