Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles Dodgers’

In what has likely been the most dismal season in the 128-year history of the Dodgers’ franchise (some older Brooklyn residents might dispute that assertion), there have been a few stars shining out in Hollywood. Amid the dark clouds of financial distress, fan violence, and dwindling attendance, the Dodgers’ have managed to maintain respectability on the field thanks in large part to three men who could be in line for off-season recognition.

Although it seems as if the Cy Young is already being engraved with Roy Halladay’s name on it, Clayton Kershaw remains within striking distance of claiming the award. In fact, Kershaw actually enjoys a slight advantage over the Phillies’ ace in traditional statistics like wins, innings pitched and ERA in addition to striking out an extra batter per game. Although Halladay rates better in ERA+ and both calculations of WAR, the difference isn’t insurmountable, nor likely meaningful enough to resonate with what is still more of an “old school” voting bloc.

Clayton Kershaw vs. Other Cy Young Contenders

Clayton Kershaw LAD 213.2 18 5 231 2.36 156 59 6.0 6.6
Roy Halladay PHI 210.2 17 5 204 2.44 159 62 6.5 7.7
Cliff Lee PHI 210.2 16 7 211 2.44 159 66 6.3 6.2
Cole Hamels PHI 194 14 7 171 2.60 149 57 5.4 5.0
Ian Kennedy ARI 202 19 4 178 2.90 135 82 4.9 4.2

Source: Baseball-reference.com and fangraphs.com

Matt Kemp has an outside chance at finishing the year as a 40/40 man and incredibly remains in the running for a triple crown. Normally, a player pursuing either accomplishment, not to mention both, would garner daily national attention, but because of all the distractions surrounding the Dodgers, the center fielder’s potentially historic season has gone largely unnoticed. In addition to ranking among the leaders in most traditional statistical categories, Kemp is also a darling of the sabermetric crowd. His average WAR (bWAR+fWAR/2) easily ranks as the best in the National League, while his OPS+ and wOBA are not far off the pace. All things considered, Kemp has been the best player in the National League, but too many will discount his MVP credentials because the Dodgers have never been in the pennant race. Unfortunately, that sentiment is likely to cost him any chance at winning the award even though there isn’t a player in the league who has provided more value to his team.

Matt Kemp vs. Other MVP Contenders

Matt Kemp LAD CF 618 32 107 .317 .396 .561 165 .409 8.6 7.1
Ryan Braun MIL LF 573 27 96 .331 .398 .579 163 .427 6.8 6.5
Joey Votto CIN 1B 644 28 94 .320 .427 .553 165 .419 6.6 7.0
T. Tulowitzki COL SS 596 30 105 .306 .376 .552 135 .394 5.8 6.6
Justin Upton ARI RF 622 30 86 .299 .379 .551 150 .400 4.7 7.0

Source: Baseball-reference.com and fangraphs.com


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After being backed into a corner by Commissioner Bud Selig, Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt lashed out at Major League Baseball by filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. That’s what rats do.

McCourt and Selig have seldom seen eye-to-eye of late.

According to a press release released by the Dodgers, McCourt justified his decision by claiming that Selig’s refusal to approve a tentative media rights deal with FOX Sports was detrimental to the team. “I simply cannot allow the Commissioner to knowingly and intentionally be in a position to expose the Dodgers to financial risk any longer,” McCourt stated. If anything, the reckless owner has proven more than capable of doing that all on his own.

Needless to say, no one around baseball is laughing at the irony expressed by McCourt, but, the bankruptcy filing could turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Although the filing’s motivation was likely to stave off an attempt by Selig to officially seize the team, it could eventually leave McCourt without an ally in the process. According to the Los Angeles Times, FOX has hinted that it would not be willing to have its proposed contract with the Dodgers consummated by a court ruling. If true, McCourt could find himself trying to scurry off his own sinking ship. That’s also what rats do.

Although the MLB bylaws seem to give the commissioner power over rouge owners like McCourt, it’s almost a given that enforcement would only come after a long and expensive legal battle. For that reason, baseball would be better off if the bankruptcy court is the entity that requires a sale. Even though that would give Selig and company less control over the next Dodgers’ owner, it would save them from costly litigation, further embarrassment, and the continued destruction of a flagship franchise. In the meantime, the bankruptcy filing does provide the Dodgers with enough liquidity to meet its short-term obligations, including payment of all salaries and benefits as well as funding of day-to-day operations.

As mentioned, the wild card in this latest soap opera is FOX, another irony considering many in Los Angeles believe the Dodgers began losing a grip on the city when it owned the team. To many, FOX and Frank McCourt are almost interchangeable, which is one reason the rumored media rights deal has been met with so much suspicion.


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The McCourts in happier times.

Move aside Barry Bonds. Fred McCourt is one of the most vile, reprehensible men in the history of baseball. At least that seems to be the popular sentiment expressed in the wake of Bud Selig’s decision to wrestle away control of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It’s impossible to deny, not to mention excuse, the abuses that have pervaded McCourt’s tenure as owner of the one baseball’s flagship franchises. It seems likely that the organization and the city of Los Angeles will be much better off under someone else’s guidance, but that reality shouldn’t be exaggerated by fiction. Although McCourt may not be the best option to lead the Dodgers in the future, his past actions weren’t all bad for the franchise.

Before Frank McCourt purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers early in 2004, the team had passed from the longtime stewardship of the O’Malley family to the cold claws of News Corp. Even though there were some early reservations about having an out-of-towner take over the team in a highly levered acquisition, McCourt’s purchase was also seen as rescuing the Dodgers from corporate ownership.

The sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers to Frank and Jamie McCourt heralds the beginning of a new era of family ownership for one of the game’s most storied franchises. This transaction meets all of Baseball’s debt service rules and financial requirements in every way. We at Major League Baseball are confident that Mr. McCourt, as a rabid and knowledgeable fan and successful businessman, will devote the time and energy necessary to make the franchise a great success.” – Commissioner Bud Selig, quoted by MLB.com, January 29, 2004


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