The Futility Infielder

A Baseball Journal by Jay Jaffe I'm a baseball fan living in New York City. In between long tirades about the New York Yankees and the national pastime in general, I'm a graphic designer.

Wednesday, July 04, 2001

 

Dodger Green Gives Me The Blues

With the exception of the Mike Piazza trade, no move the Dodgers have made in the Fox era was dumber than signing Darren Dreifort to a five-year $55 million contract. Dreifort, a 29-year old righthander, has always been long on potential but short on accomplishment. He's got good stuff, and he's a great athlete--he DH'ed in college when he wasn't pitching, and now has 6 major league HRs. But his career high in wins is 13, and his record of 43-52 with a 4.38 ERA (in a pitchers' park, no less) is astounding in its mediocrity.

But with the market for pitching being what it is these days, Dreifort, with the aid of superagent Scott Boras, was able to rob the Dodgers blind. And now it's officially robbery: yesterday it was revealed that he will require reconstructive surgery on his elbow--that's Tommy John surgery, the Big One--for the second time. No pitcher has ever come back successfully from a second Tommy John surgery.

Long-term contracts for pitchers are a sucker's bet. But the Dodgers aren't exactly frugal with their short-term contracts for pitchers either. This is what they're paying for:


Darren Dreifort: 94.2 IP, 4-7, 5.13 ERA $9.4 mil (5 yr/$55 mil), Tommy John surgery
Andy Ashby: 11.2 IP, 2-0, 3.86 ERA $6.0 mil (3 yr/$22.5 mil), elbow surgery
Carlos Perez: 0 IP, --- -------- $7.5 mil (2 yr/$15.6 mil), one pending assault charge

That's $22 million for six wins this season! Looking at it another way, they've committed $93 million for 10 pitcher-seasons and are looking at a return along these lines:
• one horrible year from Perez, and one washout (an improvement unless you like footage of water-coolers being attacked with baseball bats)
• six wins in a half-season worth of Dreifort & Ashby
• at least 2 seasons of missed time due to injury
• another season worth of rehab/kid-gloves treatment between the injured duo.

This leaves a BEST CASE SCENARIO of four-and-a-half pitcher-seasons to get a return on that $93 mil--Kevin Brown money for pitchers who, even on their best day, will never be close to Kevin Brown or any other top-flight pitcher.

And people wonder why I gave up rooting for the Dodgers...

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