Found November 09, 2012 on
When the Dodgers acquired Adrian Gonzalez from the Boston Red Sox, I saw a plethora of Dodger fans begin to assert wild and crazy things. Not only were the Dodgers guaranteed of making the playoffs, but they were a lock to make the World Series on the back of a hero who was absolutely the right acquisition because of the dubious logic of him fitting in with the community and what not.
With all of the variables in baseball, I found these claims to be ridiculous. Putting aside the unforeseen injuries to Matt Kemp, Chad Billingsley, and Kenley Jansen, Gonzalez’s acquisition did not portend to an immediate success because of the small sample size of the remaining season and because it wasn’t really the same A-Gon of pre-2012.
No, this A-Gon was potentially still dealing with ramifications from shoulder and back injuries, had seen his power sapped, and had seemingly forgotten how to draw a walk (10.6% career, 10.3% in 2011, 6.1% in 2012). While an obvious upgrade over James Loney‘s corpse, success was no sure thing, as he was in the midst of his worst professional season since becoming a full-time starter. What would end up disappointing people in 2012 was two-fold: far too high expectations and a stretch in which Gonzalez was atrocious at the plate, to the tune of a .235/.292/.346/.638 line over a 20-game span.
Following an MVP-caliber 2011 in which he hit .338/.410/.548/.958 with a .407 wOBA, .210 ISO, 154 wRC+, and 75 extra-base hits, A-Gon’s slash line fell to .299/.344/.463/.807 with a .346 wOBA, .164 ISO, 115 wRC+, and 66 extra-base hits. Again, those numbers still trump anything his predecessor in Blue could dream of, and his numbers after the trade still stand above Loney’s, but will they be enough in the long-run for such a high-priced player? It’s yet to be seen.
On the positive side, Gonzalez was still a very productive player, no doubt, saving ~15.5 runs with his excellent glove and posting a WAR of ~3.4. Also, Adrian did finish strong, mashing to the tune of a .330/.365/.495/.860 line. As he won’t even turn 31 until May, I expect Gonzalez to rebound and be better with the lumber, ending up closer to a ~4 WAR player, at least for a season or two.
Prior to his trade to Red Sox Nation, Loney was having yet another putrid season, hitting .254/.302/.344/.646 with a .278 wOBA and .090 ISO. Even his most ardent fans were less boisterous about how the #RBIMachine would bust out at any moment, and though the financial ramifications of the Boston deal worry me, and the deal as a whole doesn’t thrill me, I was very pleased to see the Sox take him away.
Loney leaves Los Angeles as a failed prospect who could never hit enough to warrant his job at a premium offensive position. The only real role in baseball that he has left is as a late-inning defensive replacement, as he saved ~3.3 runs in 2012 prior to his move east.
Rivera was the right-handed half of the #Fail platoon Don Mattingly trotted out at first prior to Gonzalez’s arrival. He started 39 games and appeared in 54 at first, hitting just .226/.268/.404/.672 while being a liability on the basepaths (-1.4 BsR) and with a first baseman’s glove (-17.6 UZR/150 in over 300 innings). He managed to land in that rarefied air of posting a negative fWAR, clocking in at -0.8 for the year.
How he could possibly receive anything other than a minor-league invitation to Spring Training in 2013 from any team is beyond me, but if anyone can make that theoretical minor-league deal into a guaranteed major-league one, it would be Uncle Ned.
Greg Zakwin is the founder of the site Plaschke Thy Sweater Is Argyle. Follow him on Twitter @ArgyledPlaschke.
BEST OF MAXIM
After toiling in the minors for parts of nine seasons with just a couple cups of coffee to show for it, all the while watching the Dodgers treat the catcher position like it was wholly unimportant (trading Carlos Santana, allowing Joe Torre to run Russell Martin into the ground, and Rod Barajas not only being on the team but starting games as the primary backstop), A.J...
The Dodgers officially announced the hiring of Mark McGwire as hitting coach, replacing Dave Hansen. McGwire spent the past three years with the Cardinals as their hitting coach.
Under his tutelage, the Cards offense was top-five in OBP in each of his seasons at the offensive helm, leading all of baseball last year.
McGwire has stated that his philosophy includes not forcing change...
The Dodgers have won the rights to Korean lefty pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu with a bid of $25.7 million, according to Mike Petriello
Earlier today, I linked to a summary of thoughts on Hyun Jin Ryu, which ranged from perfering him as a reliever to comparisons to David Wells, though the latter was primarily on the basis of his body type.
A 25-year-old lefty and Tommy John survivor, the...
LOS ANGELES The Dodgers on Saturday won the rights to negotiate with South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin.
We are thrilled to have this exciting opportunity, said Dodger General Manager Ned Colletti. We have watched Ryu pitch for a long time and he is another option to consider as we look to improve our team in 2013 and beyond. Wed like to thank the Hanwha Eagles and we look forward...
The Los Angeles Dodgers were the winning bidders for left handed pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers submitted a bid of $25.7 million which was accepted by the Hanwha Eagles. The Dodgers will have thirty days to work out a contract with Ryn.
Ryu is considered by many to be ready for the major leagues. Where he fits in on a staff that includes Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Josh...
The Dodgers were rumored to be interested in Hyun-Jin Ryu, and that rumor turned out to be true. The team posted $25.7 million for the exclusive negotiating rights for the Korean lefty. The sides now have 30 days to agree to a major or minor-league deal.
Ryu, 25, will turn 26 in March and the Dodgers didn't post more money than any of us will ever know just to sign him to...
The Los Angeles Dodgers are the big winners in the bidding for South Korean pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, as was rumored last night. Los Angeles' winning bid was $25,737,737.33, the highest bid ever for a South Korean player. The 25-year old Ryu won a gold medal in the 2008 Olympics with South Korea, and was a member of their 2009 World Baseball Classic runner-up team.
The Los Angeles Dodgers submitted the winning bid to negotiate with Korean pitching star Hyun-Jin Ryu, and now have 30 days to work out a deal for the left handed pitcher. The winning bid by the Dodgers was believed to have been for $25.7 million.
The bid was accepted by the Hanwha Eagles, who are Ryu’s current team. The Dodgers can either sign him within the next 30 days, or...
SEOUL, South Korea — The Los Angeles Dodgers have bid nearly $26 million for a chance to sign pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin.
The Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization said Saturday they have accepted a posting fee of $25.7 million for the 25-year-old left-hander. Major League Baseball later announced that the team was the Dodgers. The big league team that submitted the winning...
It looks like money does grow on trees somewhere near Chavez Ravine. As if the Dodgers hadn't spent enough money over the last six months through trades, personnel additions and signing Cuban defectors to send Fort Knox into financial ruin, they felt it was necessary to pony up $25.7MM......just to talk. I guess the front office didn't get the memo that Verizon has plans...
The Dodgers widely reported interest in Torii Hunter appears to have been overstated.
The team met with Hunters agent at the general managers meetings at Indian Wells this week. But it was Hunters agent who initially reached out to the Dodgers, not the other way around, according to a person familiar with the talks who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The Dodgers arent shopping...
The LA Dodgers have hired their fourth hitting coach since 2008 but this one has ties to the LA area and a Hall of Fame pedigree if you can ignore a past scandal. The Dodgers have announced the hiring of Mark McGwire who served as the St. Louis Cardinals hitting coach last season. McGwire, a [...]
OK, Dodgers. You’re not allowed to sign everybody.
Los Angeles has reportedly approached free agent outfielder Torii Hunter with a two-year deal, according to Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
Although the Dodgers are quite set in their outfield — they have among the best in Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp — acquiring Hunter would give the team a veteran presence...
True Blue LA: Eric Stephen looks at the available free agent starting pitchers and concludes that it’s Zack Greinke or bust.
When it comes down to it, if the Dodgers are hellbent on adding a starting pitcher they should only add a difference-maker. Dempster is a fall back, while Sanchez (money) and Kuroda (draft pick, age) seem overly expensive and not without significant risk...
In August the Red Sox traded their incumbent first baseman in Adrian Gonzalez, and have since been left with a gaping hole at the position.
That hole has yet to be filled as free agency begins in earnest, and suffice to say the Red Sox are looking at existing major-league options from outside the organization to fill that role. One of those options may be Adam LaRoche, who spent...