Organizational Rankings: #14 – Dodgers

On talent, the Dodgers may be top ten. They’re the favorites in the NL West this year (or at least co-favorites with Colorado) with a club built around mostly young talent, including several of the best under-27 players in the game. The core trio of Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, and Chad Billingsley are tough to beat, and they’re surrounded by quality or upside at most spots.

So, why are they 14th? The Divorce. The uncertainty surrounding the ownership of the Dodgers is a big problem. Frank McCourt can talk about how it will be business as usual once everything gets settled and the court gives him control of the team, but that’s not the only possible outcome, and he knows it. There’s a reason they didn’t really spend any money this winter.

The whole thing is a mess. The revelations that have surfaced in the divorce proceedings paint the McCourts in an even less flattering light than before, which is saying something. Any owner that would essentially use his team as an ATM to finance his personal lifestyle is a problem, and that description undersells how the McCourts behaved with Dodger money.

As a Dodger fan, I can only imagine the frustration when you see the team declining to offer arbitration to players who clearly won’t accept it, because of the perceived risk, yet later finding out that the team has both of the McCourts sons on their payroll at a total of $600,000 per year, when neither actually work for the Dodgers. I bet Logan White would love to have another $600,000 to spend on the draft. I can only imagine how much they could upgrade their information systems with a $600,000 per year investment.

Regardless of how it turns out, the McCourts have been exposed as people you don’t want owning your team. Through their own personal issues, they have created a cloud that hangs over the team, and is now affecting the way they put together their ball club.

If I’m a Dodger fan, I’m hoping that the Judge orders a sale of the team. But, no matter what, this doesn’t look like its going to end any time soon, so while 2010 should be an exciting year for LA fans as they push for a playoff berth, it’s all secondary to the drama of the owners.

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

18 Responses to “Organizational Rankings: #14 – Dodgers”

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  1. scott says:

    I really hate to be a jackass about this, but can you guys please employ an editor? Back to back posts with annoying errors:

    Marc’s “James Loney is a valuable first base.”

    and now…

    “So, why are their 14th?”

    You guys are all math-whiz intelligent baseball writers. Proof read.

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    • Smeck says:

      If you really hate being a jackass about this stuff then let it go. They are offering free content that is great. I can’t stress this enough, the content is great, best on the web with respect to baseball and it is free. There are no free lunches, except for fangraphs. If the options are bring in an editor and goto a subscription model, or leave the status quo, i vote for the leaving things alone. I’m sure they proof read, I’m sure they peer review, but sometimes stuff slips by when you’re doing multi-tasking. It happens to the best of em. I think you should feel free to piont stuff out, but just point it out an move on.

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    • B says:

      If you can understand what they’re saying, then really….who cares?

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      • Mike K. says:

        I concur with this. A lot of complaining recently about format, whether things were 100% fact-checked, etc. This isn’t a job for these guys, it’s a hobby. They need to do other things to get paid. If you see an error, politely point it out; these guys seem to have no problem making changes (as time permits), but stop grading!

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    • In fact, we do employ a copy editor here: me. And, to be honest, I do feel a slight pang of embarrassment any time an error leaks through.

      That said, because (a) this is a blog and (b) the content is produced/published so very quickly and (c) I’m sometimes away from the computer, stuff like this will happen.

      It’s most difficult with Cameron: dude can write something like the above — that is, smart and pointed analysis — in like 10 minutes. No joking. He’s a machine.

      Seriously, Dave Cameron is part robot.

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    • Chris A. says:

      Have you ever tried producing writing for a mass-audience? I’ve worked as a copy-editor and have re-read the same document 15 times and errors still slip through. In college 7 of the newspaper staff would read each page before publication and errors still got though. My point is that I doubt you really understand how hard it is to find every error of your writing, especially if you publish with any frequency.

      If you don’t want to be a jackass you could:
      1. stop rudely demanding things
      2. be much more understanding
      3. instead of posting a comment proving how much of a good grammar checker you are to everyone reading you could send an e-mail to one of the writers to get it fixed. That way the comments are actually filled with actually interesting responses (maybe, that’s the ideal anyway).

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  2. Damon says:

    I would not be opposed to having Mark Cuban buy the team.

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  3. B says:

    No mention of Agent Ned?! He deserves at least some mention as a factor bringing their organization down, c’mon!

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  4. Ivdown says:

    This is a bullshit ranking. Honestly, bullshit.

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    • Ivdown says:

      Sorry for that, I just cannot believe the lack of respect for the Dodgers.

      What is this actually ranking? Ability to win now? To win in the next few years? A combo of both? Then how in the holy hell is Cleveland ahead of the Dodgers? Yes it’s one spot, but who the hell decided Cleveland had a better chance at winning any time in the next few years than the Dodgers? The Dodgers should be ahead of Cleveland for sure, the Brewers by at least a spot, and the Mariners (who what a surprise, are overrated) who have no power and a lack of a great farm system, and should be at least on the same standing as the Angels.

      I understand the Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Rays, Braves, Rangers, and perhaps Rockies being a head of the Dodgers, but when will the lack or respect for them stop? Honestly.

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      • Ivdown says:

        After reading this again, I’m still nowhere near happy with the ranking, but your points are valid about the ownership (though it hasn’t cost them anything yet. Not acquiring Halladay or Lee is something 28 other MLB teams faced last season) screwing the franchise over to an extent. I would love to see the team sold within the next year and get the McCourts the hell out of LA and back to Boston so they can deal with them. The thing is, though still, that the Dodgers were the best team in the National League through the regular season last year (make no mistake about that), and then swept the Cardinals who everyone thought would destroy the Dodgers because of Carp and Wainwright. The Phillies overcame them in 5 games in the NLCS for the second straight year, and they deserved to for sure, though I believe Billingsley should have most definitely started one of those games, he’s our top or 2nd best pitcher for god’s sake.

        The McCourt’s haven’t cost the Dodgers anything, and haven’t traded away top talent for being too expensive. Their frugal ways have cost the Dodgers Carlos Santana, and a few draft picks. I don’t think those not yet picked draft picks plus Carlos Santana would have (in your minds) propelled the Dodgers to 8 or 9 on this list, or at least SHOULDN’T have.

        How about we actually wait to see if the McCourts really do any damage to the team, not the threat of damage to the team.

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  5. Joey says:

    I think the Frank McCourt needs to be defended, this article makes it seems like it’s terrible to be a Dodger fan because of the McCourts. In reality the Dodgers have gone to the playoffs four times under them, which four more times than with NewsCorp. If you would have told me when McCourt came that Joe Torre would be a Dodger manager and the Dodger were going to two straight NCLS’s I would have told you that McCourt would be the greatest thing to happen to the Dodgers since Lasorda.

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  6. Rob says:

    I gotta agree – the dodgers are getting docked way too much for the divorce. I also think there’s a general sabre penalty for having a gm like Colletti, even if it’s subconcious. But their scouting and player development has been consistently excellent, payrolls are robust, and they have a substantial built in revenue advantage over their division rivals. Besides Cleveland, milwaukee and Seattle, they should also be ranked ahead of St. Louis.

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    • ChadMOKM says:

      Because they have Kim Ng and Logan White, not because Frank McCourt was great.

      Who hired Ng and White? Evans. Who hired him? Not McCourt.

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      • Rob Moore says:

        But what difference does that make? They HAVE White and Ng, right? They’re still making decisions for the organization. That’s a plus, no matter who hired them.

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  7. Chris R says:

    I thought the Dodgers young talent would have earned them a higher ranking. I do see the well-laid out points in the 3 articles. Ownership is a major issue. I did want to get back to the young MLB talent. 2009 the 27 and under’s made up half the line-up playing in all but 29 games between the 4 of them. 2 Silver Sluggers and a Gold Glove among them. Made 69 starts with an All-Star appearance. Amassed 352 relief appearances. Only 2 of the contributors turn 28 in 2010, Ethier and Bellasario. If I remember correctly, the bullpen was one of the best with little contribution from 28+ (Two of those 28+ are still arbitration eligible).

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  8. Levi says:

    As a Dodgers fan, I’m not too happy about the $600,000 off the Dodgers payroll going to the McCourts’ sons. It’s hard to say what I would do in their situation because I understand wanting to take care of your family, but basically taking $600,000 that isn’t theirs seems a at least a little bit wrong. Besides, didn’t the McCourts make enough money on their own as owners of the Dodgers to maybe help their sons out if they were in need of that much money?

    I do think the Dodgers will still contend for the NL West title again this year, but I’m not as confident in them winning it as I was last year. Hopefully the veterans we picked up to replenish our bench will perform well when we need them.

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