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Frank McCourt on the Dodgers, money and remaining competitive

Feb 9, 2010, 1:25 PM EDT

Frank McCourt sunglasses.jpgJon Weisman of the newly-relocated Dodger Thoughts sat down with Dodgers’ owner Frank McCourt for an extended interview recently. Most of it was spent talking about how, despite doing things like not offering Orlando Hudson and Randy Wolf arbitration, the Dodgers are all about winning and not cost-cutting these days. But with responses like these, McCourt doesn’t do a lot to put the questions to rest:

“I, by the way, can see both sides of this debate, very, very clearly.
To me this is one really good baseball debate, in terms of ‘Do you or
don’t you.’ I think, like I was saying before, what would have happened
(if we had offered arbitration), maybe Randy Wolf knows, but I don’t.
And I don’t think the downside would have been bad for the
organization, because he’s a good pitcher and a good guy, but I think
that the judgment was made that we (could) do even better for the
club.”

That’s the baseball equivalent of starting a book report with “This book raised many important questions that are very important to consider . . .” without really ever getting to what those questions really are.  What’s the upside, Frank?  How does not getting picks for Randy Wolf make the team better? How does going into the season with question marks in the rotation make the team better?  I’m willing to believe that there was a real competitive reason, as opposed to a purely financial reason for not offering arbitration to these guys, but I’ve still not heard what it is.

Weisman makes an excellent observation later in the interview: that McCourt seems really good at talking about the smallest of baseball-side details when he wants to, but then he gets vague and defers to the Colletti and others when the questions get hard.  Maybe this is simply a means of not throwing specific people under the bus on controversial decisions. Maybe the real answers would cut against the whole “this divorce is not harming the Dodgers in the field” campaign the Dodgers have been running for a few weeks.  It’s really hard to say.

If I were a Dodgers fan, however, nothing McCourt has to say here does anything to alleviate my concerns about the team going forward.

  1. JoeT - Feb 9, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    Blah, blah, blah. Yes, the Dodgers have made some questionable moves, all the teams have. Even though we think of first round draft picks as being something special, how many of them really make the cut. And of course the really good picks can hold you up for a king’s ransom. Wolf and Hudson were both able to get better contracts because the teams that signed them didn’t have to give up picks. The Dodgers, like many other teams; have a payroll limit that can’t be exceeded without losing money. I don’t agree with all the moves the team makes, but their still fielding a competive team.

  2. YouthofToday - Feb 9, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    The fact that the Twins — who were nearly contracted less than 20 years ago — have a higher payroll than the established Club in the 2nd largest media market in the country shows the incompetence of the current Dodgers regime.

  3. JoeT - Feb 9, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    The Twin’s payroll in 2009 was 35 million dollars less than the Dodger’s, and it shows. Who is more incompetent; the Twins who can’t afford to spend more than 65 million a year on team payroll; or someone that can’t look up the facts.

  4. Woody - Feb 9, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    Since when does a high payroll mean a team is going to be great? Since when does payroll mean anything? It is how you spend your money? Hudson would have taken arbiration is 2 seconds and he would have gotten a big raise…then everyone would be pissed because we wouldn’t have signed Padilla and Dewitt would be back in AAA. You can’t can’t please everyone…when their payroll was high, they weren’t smart or winning…now their payroll is lower and they are being smart and winning…guess what, people still aren’t happy. It is media driven BS, driven by the stupid facination of making McCourt’s life front and center after every Dodger move or non-move.

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