Organizational Rankings: #13

Today, we keep looking at some teams that have legitimate hope, so it gets harder from here on out. And, for those of you who haven’t seen the previous parts (which are linked below), keep in mind that this is a forward looking exercise – we are evaluating clubs on their overall ability to contend for a World Series title in the future. We are not evaluating how they have performed historically. This is about the health of each organization going forward.

Rankings So Far

#30: Washington Nationals
#29: Florida Marlins
#28: Houston Astros
#27: Kansas City Royals
#26: Pittsburgh Pirates
#25: San Diego Padres
#24: Cincinnati Reds
#23: Colorado Rockies
#22: Detroit Tigers
#21: St. Louis Cardinals
#20: Toronto Blue Jays
#19: San Francisco Giants
#18: Minnesota Twins
#17: Chicago White Sox
#16: Baltimore Orioles
#15: Seattle Mariners
#14: Philadelphia Phillies

#13: Los Angeles Dodgers

Ownership: B

This one’s tough, honestly. When McCourt was buying the team from News Corp, there were all kinds of questions about his financial viability. During his first few years of owning the team, they had the messy DePodesta situation, which was handled quite poorly. McCourt has also taken to putting his family members into high level jobs within the organization, which is hardly ever a good idea. And during the Manny Ramirez negotiations, it became pretty clear that McCourt was an active participant in the decision making process of the front office. So he’s got some baggage. But, he’s consistently provided the team with significant budget room, and they have strong revenue streams thanks to their market and established fan base. They have a financial advantage over the rest of their division, and that doesn’t look likely to end any time soon.

Front Office: D+

Ned Colletti learned from Brian Sabean. Perhaps that’s all that needs to be said? Since taking over as the Dodgers GM, he’s made a few disastrous moves. The signings of Jason Schmidt, Juan Pierre, and Andruw Jones couldn’t have worked out any worse than they have. He drastically overpaid to get Casey Blake, losing top catching prospect Carlos Santana in the process. And he’s managed to put together a decent but not great roster for 2009 despite the most resources of any team in the division. Like Sabean, he ignores most of the new analytical processes in baseball and manages with his gut, which has led him astray too many times. He does have some strengths (especially as it relates to scouting), but he’s got a lot of work to do before he’s a quality GM.

Major League Talent: A-

The young core of Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Russell Martin, James Loney, Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, and Jonathan Broxton is an enviable one to build around. Toss in quality veterans such as Furcal, Hudson, Kuroda, and some guy named Manny, and the Dodgers have a team capable of winning the NL West both in 2009 and going forward. The roster isn’t without holes, of course – the back end of the pitching staff could use some work, the setup men trying to get the ball to Broxton are question marks, Furcal’s health isn’t a given, and the team has to figure out how to get Martin days off more often, but overall, it’s a good team that’s built around players who shouldn’t be expected to take big steps backwards. They’ll need to continue to plug in solid veteran role players to compliment the core, but the pieces are in place.

Minor League Talent: C+

The team lacks a true standout prospect, instead going with a cornucopia of interesting guys with question marks. Ethan Martin is a good arm, but as a HS pitching prospect with no pro experience, he couldn’t be further from the majors. James McDonald lacks the classic big fastball of a top pitching prospect, but has almost everything else. Andrew Lambo might turn into Adam Dunn, but that’s not as good a player as most people think. Ivan DeJesus is out for the year, and while Scott Elbert is healthy right now, whether he will be tomorrow or not isn’t certain.

Overall: B-

Given their talent base and their market, there’s no reason the Dodgers shouldn’t dominate the NL West. That they don’t is mostly poor management, and while the team has been able to overcome a series of bad moves, they won’t be able to forever. Colletti is either going to have to improve as a GM or get replaced. Thankfully, the young talent on the roster should keep the team afloat while they figure out how to get the front office in order, and with a better management team in place, the potential for a top tier franchise is in place. Until they tap into that potential, though, they rate as just a bit above average.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


63 Responses to “Organizational Rankings: #13”

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  1. What about Andrew Lambo turning into the ’04-’07 version of Travis Hafner?

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    • Gina says:

      I imagine if he has to play the field it will cancel out a lot of his offensive value, which is basically what happens to Dunn.

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  2. tom s. says:

    what a waste of time.

    an article today on your own site called the dodgers one of the worst minor league systems in the majors and you ranked them a C+. The cardinals are almost universally ranked in the top ten for minor league systems and you gave them a B-.

    truly, you have a dizzying intellect.

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    • JH says:

      Apparently Dave is obligated to hold the exact same opinions as all of the other writers on Fangraphs now. Awesome.

      The articles in this series have been pretty great, but the case study it’s provided in the persistence of anklebiters has been truly fascinating.

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      • Chris Miller says:

        LOL, these guys are hillarious. Typical web “forum” behavior. Attack something, without making a real argument (two different blog authors disagreeing is weak at best), and Ad Hominen attacks to support their “stance”.

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      • Wally says:

        Well Chris, siting other people’s rankings is the best someone can do out side of doing a full compare and contrast of each organization. So while it might fall under the “appeal to ____” fallacy to just site someone else’s rankings (sense rankings are not completely objective), its really all that someone can do given the forum.

        I won’t defend the attack, but I will point out Dave is not shy of making attacks himself….

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    • Wally says:

      I see the cardinals ranked as a B for minor league talent. Though I would still agree they should probably be a bit higher. For the dodgers the farm system is less important than it is to other teams at the moment because they have seen so many recent promotions. So, they have young players that should be around for a while for cheap. Giving them time to restock the farm.

      I’d put the dodgers a bit higher because they have such a high chance of competing for/winning the WS this year, and we can predict this year much better than following seasons.

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  3. Aaron/YYZ says:

    Dave, I think you may be overrating McCourt given that some of his stadium changes sound like they’ve pissed off a good chunk of the really hardcore Dodgers fanbase. Doing that as an owner is a longterm negative I would think.

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    • The Typical Idiot Fan says:

      This. I don’t usually find something to disagree with Dave on, but all the reasons not to like McCourt were given and should have earned him a much lower grade. Revenue or no revenue, McCourt is Peter Angelos circa 5 years ago.

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  4. Walter Jones says:

    Mariners are better.

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  5. Omar says:

    D+? I mean, you gave the Mariners a glowing review due in part to their scouting department in the FO…I mean I hate Coletti more than the next guy, but Logan White is a beast, he’s the reason for the A- talent core by and large.

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    • JH says:

      Dave gave the GM himself credit for having a very good scouting background and for assembling a staff below him that will allow him to act on the most comprehensive set of information available.

      Colletti has White, but who the hell does he listen to at the major league level? Bill Plaschke?

      It’s one thing to inherit a talented underling and let him do his thing with his section of the franchise. It’s another thing entirely to build a good organization that merges the best areas scouting and statistical analysis. I’ll let you decide which model I think bodes better for a franchise.

      Ned Colletti sucks.

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      • Omar says:

        No, Colletti sucks, don’t get me wrong…but that’s not the entire FO. They draft very well, and have an excellent collection of major league talent to build on, probably the best in the NL, and close to the best in all of baseball. A productive farm system, that granted Colletti abuses, but Logan White (who is part of the FO) is part of the reason that they have an A- major league talent core to build on.

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      • kensai says:

        Ned Colletti blows.

        Logan White and Kim Ng do not.

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      • B says:

        Little do you know Agent Ned is still on the Giants payroll…

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  6. Gary says:

    Teams I can’t believe are in better position to win a World Series soon than the Dodgers and the Phillies
    Cleveland, Oakland, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Arizona.

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    • Gina says:

      Why not? Especially with Atlanta and Arizona.

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    • rwildernessr says:

      Cleveland and Oakland are both in weak divisions as well, Milwaukee has a high quality young core and a good front office which both carry a lot of weight in these rankings, as they should because those two things together usually mean a substantially larger “window” for a championship.

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    • Chris Miller says:

      I’m suspecting Dave values the quality of the FO more than you.

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    • ThundaPC says:

      Oh, but I do believe those teams you mentioned ARE teams that are more capable of building and maintaining a World Series caliber product on the field than the Dodgers and Phillies, which is what this series is about.

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  7. Ted says:

    Good talent, good manager, awful division, I think this ranking is fair

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  8. Brandon says:

    Dave, what is the purpose of your letter grades if you aren’t going to pay attention to them when it comes time to write your list? I know your overall grade isn’t meant to reflect an average of all of the other categories, but when the Phillies category grades average out higher than the Dodgers, it’s dubious to then rank the Dodgers as the better organization. And even if they were tied (hey they even split their season series against each other), why not give the advantage to the team coming off a World Series title that included a 4-1 series victory over the other en route?

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    • Gina says:

      I would imagine their young talent would be a huge reason why. Philly has Hamels, and a meh farm system and then their big 3 are in or entering their 30s and already having some struggles with injury. They had one of the oldest teams in the majors and not much help on the way from their farm system. Where as, even though their front office and manager seem to hate young players for whatever reason, the Dodgers have Either, Kemp, Loney, Martin, Billingsley, Kershaw, Dewitt & Chin-Lung Hu, even if they seem to not want to play the last two, all either early in their careers or just entering their primes.

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      • Brandon says:

        That’s fine, but then shouldn’t that be reflected in the letter grades?

        Also:
        -You might want to check out the average age of the Dodgers compared to the Phillies (29 for the Phils, 28.7 for the Dodgers in 2008). And remember, Jamie Moyer not only broke PECOTA, but he also helped skew that number.

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      • Gina says:

        Derek Lowe, Jeff Kent, Gregg Maddux and Taiko Saito probably skewed the Dodgers average as much as Moyer skewed the Phillies.

        Not to mention even if they’re average ages are the close I think it’s pretty clear the Dodgers core & most important players are much much younger than the Phillie’s core players.

        Also I don’t see why it should be reflected in the letter grades when they come with context.

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    • ThundaPC says:

      “Dave, what is the purpose of your letter grades if you aren’t going to pay attention to them when it comes time to write your list? I know your overall grade isn’t meant to reflect an average of all of the other categories, but when the Phillies category grades average out higher than the Dodgers, it’s dubious to then rank the Dodgers as the better organization. And even if they were tied (hey they even split their season series against each other), why not give the advantage to the team coming off a World Series title that included a 4-1 series victory over the other en route?”

      If I have this right, while you do understand that the overall grade is not an average and that this is not an evaluation of historical performance you think the Phillies should be ahead of the Dodgers because of past performance and the grades average out better?

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      • Brandon says:

        What I’m trying to convey is this, I understand the overall grade isn’t the result of the average of the sub-categories, but that it seems awkward to have a team with the higher rating in 3 out of 4 categories be rated lower overall.

        Unless he’s weighing a particular category heavier than the rest, and this is something that should have been clearly indicated, his letter grades are meaningless. I’m not criticizing the ranking per se, although I’m not seeing eye to eye with much of the list, but really taking issue with the arbitrariness of the rankings (at least it appears this way in lieu of his not being clear about his method).

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    • Brian says:

      Isn’t there inevitable hair splitting that comes when you rank two teams next to each other? It’s not like the Phillies were 25th and the Dodgers 10th. Ranking them, for whatever that’s worth, right next to each other essentially means they’re the same.

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  9. Bill says:

    It’s kind of amazing to say that a team like Oakland is more likely to win a World Series than the Dodgers or Phillies in the next 3 years…

    Maybe they grade out as a better organization, but it’s fairly obvious certain teams are better contenders in the near future than in the further out future, and that certainly has to be considered. Don’t you agree the ability to win the Series in 2009 should be more important than having talented minor leaguers in 2012?

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    • Gina says:

      If the rankings were about who has the best chance to win in 2009 it might then the ability to win the series in 2009 might be more important, but as far as I can tell that’s not what he’s attempting to measure with these rankings.

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      • vivaelpujols says:

        Well. It is relatively easy to gauge how well teams will do in 2009. Projecting a team 3 or 4 years in future is not nearly as accurate. Would you not agree?

        So say you have the Dodgers who have a 40% chance of making the playoffs next year. They have a good young core, however, they have a bad front office and and average minor league talent. They also play in the NL West and in the inferior league. So just going on those factors, the Dodgers may have a 40% chance of making the playoffs this year, but the only might have a 30% chance in 2010, a 25% chance in 2011 and so on.

        Oakland is the exact opposite. They have a pretty average core of major league players, especially when Holliday and Giambi leave, however they have a great front office and an excellent minor league system. So they may only have a 20% chance of making the playoffs this year, however in 2010, when there prospects start to make an impact, they might have a 40% chance of making the playoffs. I’m not sure that is exactly how Dave did it, but I assume a similar thought process went into it.

        However, we know that the standard error of projections is anywhere from 6-10 wins. And those are only measuring how well a team will do next year. I would imagine that the standard error of multi-year projections is more than double that. So, it is much more likely that a team who projects to contend next year, will actually do it, than a team that projects to contend in a couple of years will.

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  10. Brandon says:

    What is he attempting? He never really gives a definitive time frame other than the very general criterion of “forward looking”. I don’t know if it’s an attempt to intentionally obfuscate his list so that in an undetermined amount of time he can look back and tout his predictions or if it’s just something that he didn’t think was important to specify.

    Something else to consider is the lack of weight given to the immediate future. Over whatever time frame that this list is taking into consideration, it would only be logical to weigh the short term state of each organization more heavily than the long term evaluation.

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    • Wally says:

      My thoughts exactly. Getting another 3-4 sentances about Dave’s criteria would go a long way to allievate some the objections voiced in the comments. Also, given the huge flux rates of not only minor league and major league players, but GMs/execs (not to mention the huge luck factor that goes into prospects panning out or major signings getting hurt), to pretend “foward looking” extends past about 6 years is a total joke. So, given a 6 year time frame at most, how should we weight each year?

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  11. Joe says:

    How was the DePodesta situation handled poorly? Interested to here your take…

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    • The Typical Idiot Fan says:

      How does “caving to Bill Plaschke and his cronies media assassination and running DePodesta out of town” sound?

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    • Omar says:

      A guy who knew what he was doing was fired and they hired a jackass? don’t see how they could have screwed up that situation any more.

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  12. Walter Jones says:

    It also appears as though Ivan DeJesus Sr. appears in the Related Batters box, rather than the gimpy Ivan DeJesus Jr.

    Still stinging about the slight to the Mariners with this ranking, as well.

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  13. kensai says:

    In agreement.

    I think the 2008 draft class will surprise people though.

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  14. kensai says:

    Also D+ for the front office. Hahaha.

    Good to know my site’s name still has use. :o

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  15. Benne says:

    The real question is this: how many runs above average are Ned Colleti’s snakeskin boots worth?

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  16. YC says:

    I believe that this is the first grade A- or higher given to the current Major League roster. Despite the Chernobyl level disasters that Andruw Jones and Jason Schmidt turned to be, they just have too many contributing young players. Martin, Billingsley, and Kershaw were all top 50 trade value chips as Dave ranked them last summer, and if they were ranked again now, I believe they would still be up there. Add in Kemp, Ethier and Loney, and that’s just too many cheap young players to prevent the Dodgers to even remotely suck, no matter how many games Juan Pierre will play this year.

    In all, A- is appropriate.

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  17. Dean says:

    Great overview. I agreed with every word. The young core and a deep farm system has bailed out a truly bad front office for years. Now, the farm systems is no longer deep and is trending downwards. ’09 might be a good year, but Ned really should go…

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  18. tom s. says:

    i generally really enjoy the player-by-player analysis, but i can’t really understand many of these rankings. and my faith in dave’s unique insights into the workings of the front offices of these individual clubs is definitely diminished by seeing how he ranked clubs 16 months ago.

    http://ussmariner.com/index.php?s=organizational+rankings

    dave ranked washington in the middle of the pack. interesting. he gave them a C. now he wants to rank them 31st of 30. and he cites as the best hope for the club the dismissal of the GM he thought was middle of the road last year.

    philadelphia was ranked near the bottom with a D. Detroit was near the top with a B at 7, with San Diego next at 8.

    i think dave is a smart guy when it comes to stats. and i love this site. but i’m having trouble seeing good or principled analysis here, or even understanding what the criteria are or how long “going forward” is. I don’t find Dave’s broad assertion that “The grade might be incomplete for people who don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, but that description doesn’t include me.” His prior lack of insight into the operation of those front offices makes me wonder about the validity of his subjective analysis.

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    • Tom says:

      I have notcied the exact same thing. Certain teams have ranked hihg both times. They are the teams that have the very analytically based front offices or really good farm systems.

      But for supposedly ranking teams going forward, i think that is a joke. He ranked the Tigers high 16 months ago because they deserved it and everyone was touting the Cabrera trade at the time. BUT they have one bad season, and all of a sudden they fall 15 spots in the rankings going FORWARD???? If they had a analytical GM instead od Dave Dombrowksi they would not have fallen that far. And this time around he cites the economy of Detroit as a reason for the slip. Isnt the rest of the country in a recession also???

      Is S.D. or Detroit would have one thier divisions I dont think he would have let them fall so far. I cant understand what thier finish had to do with falling 15-20 spots, since Seatlle all of a sudden had the bet front office in the game but yet finished in last place….

      I think these rankings are VERY biased towards the type of GM each team has and also to how they finished last season instead of the actual health of the team. A team like Detroit demonstrates that they are going to spend in order to win, and all of a sudden they are trading a Cabrera who they just signed???? I live in Detroit and I got news for you people… The economy has stunk here for the last 3 years… It actually was just as bad when they signed Cabrera as it is now. So why in the world would they be trading him???

      If 16 months ago a team was in the top 10, and nothing really changes besides a losing season, they should not fall that far.

      All this is the reason i think this whole ranking series is the WORST material this site has EVER produced!

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      • Walter Jones says:

        Yeah, but this ranking series is one of the most-popular things this site has ever produced. Hopefully in 2010, Dave will find some sort of statistical formula to better analyze each of these organizations. But until then, his opinions are far more informed than Marc Hulet’s crap/highly inaccurate prospect rundowns here.

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      • Dave Cameron says:

        I’m never doing this series again. It could have been fun. It was, instead, a ridiculous opportunity to confirm the greater internet f-wad theory.

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      • vivaelpujols says:

        There not all f-wads. To be honest, the whole rankings are too subjective. You obviously know a lot more about most of these clubs than any of us do, but if you don’t have a general formula for ranking them, people are going to question the rankings. Some of them are f-wads, but others have had legitimate criticisms.

        I personally have agreed with most of your rankings except for the Cardinals (partly because I am biased), the Marlins and the “forgotten” AL East teams (Jays and Orioles). I really hope that you do these next year in spite of some of this shit that you have taken.

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    • Tom says:

      Looking more at the last rankings, the O’s are in dead last??? So having Weiters imerge shoots them uup 15 spots? They have the same Owner, GM and major league roster as they did then, besides Pie. But with Wieters coming up and Tillman and others making a name for them selves, he has choosen to shoot them up 15 spots.

      Like I said, these rankings are based on 3 factors, is the GM analytical?, do they have a few really good prospects, and how did they look last year.

      Instead they should take into account far more how much money is the ownership going to spend, what track record does the front office show in drafts, and how good is thier actual roster. A farm system can get prospects as long as the front office can draft. My team is the Tigers so i will use them as an example.

      Right now he ranked them low beacuse the farm is barren from trades. But other teams who have barren farms are because they cant draft. The Tigers can draft. Andrew Miller, Zumya, Verlander, Granderson, Porcello, Maybin and Jurrjens are all drafties. AND they will spend the money to sign anyone they draft. I think that is FAR FAR more important going FORWARD than who are the couple top prospects they currnetly have. But the Tigers didnt do good last year, their GM isnt analytical, and they farm doesnt have more than 1 or 2 top prospects, SO ALL OF A SUDDEN THEY GO FROM 7TH TO 22ND IN A YEAR AND A HALF???

      THATS A JOKE.

      And its not just the Tigers. But im not going to brreak down every team right now.

      I just dont like these rankings one single bit…

      I think they should be stated as an opinion in contrast to the usually solid material on this site.

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      • gb says:

        Last years article was dated October 12th, 2007.
        Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis were still Marlins.
        Miller, Jurrjens and Maybin have all been traded.

        The only mistake was that Dave did the rankings far too early.

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      • tom s. says:

        first, that 2007 detroit ranking was not based on major league talent, it was based on the perceived wisdom/skill of the front office. so, unless somebody in detroit hit their head in the interim and then traded for willis/cabrera, the ranking still needs justification.

        and detroit’s ranking is hardly the only one out of place. what, even 15 months ago, was better about washington than half the teams in the league?

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      • Tito Landrum says:

        Just to chime in on the O’s front…

        McPhail had just recently been hired when Dave wrote that piece and McPhail had yet to make any mark on the franchise. In fact he was pretty much just letting the season play out, and observing Flanagan and Duquette. The offseason prior to the 08 season was his first with the O’s and the 08 season itself was his first full season in charge of the franchise. You are mistaken when you say the O’s roster is same. This was before the Tejada and Bedard trades. So yeah, actually, you are way off on that one. The owner is definately the same person, but as Dave mentioned, McPhail almost definately took the O’s job on the basis of having as much independence as a GM can have – and McPhail has stated that Angelos has been the least “hands on” owner he has ever worked for.

        I can only really address the O’s here, but in this case there has been many changes in how the O’s are being run since Oct. 07 and now and I think Dave did a good job discussing some of them. Did you actually read his write up of the O’s?

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      • Gina says:

        As far as Detroit he also mentioned in the write up this time that they would still be middle of the pack if not for the nose dive the economy took.

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      • q says:

        Several things have changed for Detroit since October ’07, and for the worse:

        1) They were mediocre last year, which is relevant to their major league talent grade, something not taken into account in the old rankings.

        2) They stripped their minor league system to “win now,” a plan that doesn’t seem likely to succeed. Moves over a 16 month period would easily produce enough additional information to sour one’s opinion of a front office (or greatly raise one’s opinion, which was probably the case with Dombrowski prior to 2007). This would also explain the Nationals significant drop. Maybe Detroit can redraft itself to success, but that’s highly speculative given its current paucity at the minor league level. It took a decade of very bad teams to stock their minor leagues; will it take another decade? That the current Detroit team is mediocre to good rather than abysmal hurts them in this respect.

        3) Yes, Detroit’s economy was bad in 2007. But it’s silly to suggest that it was so bad it had little room to get worse. Michigan’s GDP per capita would rank it in the top 25 in the world. And the recession has hit Detroit and other manufacturing cities especially hard. Long-term, when the economy recovers, it will be because of non-manufacturing industries, at least within the US, putting Detroit in an even more precarious situation.

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      • Wally says:

        “SO ALL OF A SUDDEN THEY GO FROM 7TH TO 22ND IN A YEAR AND A HALF???”

        The very fact that this kind of thing is possible makes doing these rankings extremely difficult. If we’re supposed to be “forward looking,” but in basically 2 off seasons several franchises can move up or down 15 places, we have to realize that “forward looking” past just a few years is basically pointless. Which is what makings Dave’s ranking of the dodgers a little strange to me. In the next 2-3 years, the dodgers will probably compete for at least 2 division titles, being pretty decent favorites to win this year. Then, the lack of a farm system might start to catch up with them in 3-5 years from now. But that’s 3-5 years from now, too much can change between then and now to give that much weight. I’m fine making it worth something, but if you give the next 4 years a weighting factor of about 4-3-2-1, as you move forward, the dodgers are right in the thick of it for 7/10 of that weighting. Then they are not too far behind for the last 3 either, given all the talented young players on their roster.

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      • Gina says:

        The Dodgers don’t really lack a farm system in the same way a team like, say the Astros, lack a farm system. They’ve just recently had a crapload of really talented young players graduate, and even though Colleti seems to be lacking their scouting/player development doesn’t seem to be. Plus when you have as many sub 26 year old players as they do who are as good as there’s are, and the resources to resign a lot of those players, it’s hard to see them flaming out in a short time span.

        Of course that’s in assuming Colleti manages to not royally f*** them up. Which considering a lot of his moves, reports about him trying to move their young players for reasons unknown to anyone, to date is a BIG assumption.

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  19. Brandon says:

    Tom just nailed it on the head.

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  20. Brock says:

    Tom is on FIYA!!!!

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  21. Bill says:

    I think Tom’s question mark and Shift keys are sticking. He should get that checked out.

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  22. Snapper says:

    My big question when comparing Dave’s old and new lists was HTF did Florida fall from 15 to 30?

    Loria was just as cheap then as he is now, and the talent in the organization looks better. Plus, they now have a reasonable shot at a new stadium.

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  23. Brandon says:

    Just thinking this over, and this goes hand in hand with my comment that the short term should be weighted more heavily, but there is such an over reliance on projection in Dave’s list. I guess it’s the sexy thing to do, because any educated fan can pretty much tell who’s going to be good in the short term, so he opts to look at the long term (although without defining the time frame).

    Case in point: he says the Rangers “could be a force” in the AL West. How is a team that “could be” a force better off than teams that are already contenders for the immediate future? I guess my problem with this nonsense is that I get the feeling he’s trying to make contrarian predictions in case they come true so that he makes a bigger splash. And if he’s wrong, no harm, no foul.

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  24. Hawerchuk says:

    Dave – while I think you got Colletti’s grade right, I think you got to it in the wrong way.

    There was actually some relatively good strategy in the free agent signings – both to give a higher AAV and fewer years to reduce your risk of paying a guy who can’t play and to seek out some undervalued veterans coming off injury.

    Furcal was clearly a good move; Nomar season #1 was good; Jones I think was justifiable at the time, and good for Ned for not playing him in 2009 just because he was paying him (a la Sabean); Schmidt was a risk but he had made 151 starts in the previous five seasons. But I think those were reasonable risk-reward scenarios. But then Ned channels Sabean sometimes: Bill Mueller (32 GP for $9M – maybe insurance covered it); picking up Nomar’s $8M option; Juan Pierre; Casey Blake.

    Ned wrecks himself by not understanding what players are worth. I’d give him an F- if he’d done nothing stupid other than signing Pierre. But he has this little window of ability in negotiating contracts and it pulls him up from the recesses of failure.

    And serious, how can you harsh on a guy who wrote a book entitled “You Gotta Have Heart: Dallas Green’s Rebuilding of the Cubs”?

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  25. Alireza says:

    I think you underrate Lambo’s potential by making the Dunn comparison. Lambo projects as a much better contact guy than Dunn, and is a much better fielder. I think Lambo’s ceiling is more Josh Hamilton than Adam Dunn, especially taking into account that Hamilton has no business playing CF.

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