One can speculate from now to doomsday about the lack of due diligence in accurately assessing what they were getting a year ago,but the release of Jones was a big,big step in the right direction even if the Dodgers aren't able to resign Manny Ramirez or Adam Dunn or anybody else.
Heck, the Dodgers would be just as well off moving Casey Blake to the outfield, Blake Dewitt from 2B to 3B and signing another infielder of which there are plenty options.
How could anyone have missed the fact Jones was vastly overweight, was not the same defensive outfielder he once was, and that his once great instincts both offensively or defensively were totally different than the graceful player in his heyday?
The same could be said for assessment of Jeff Schmidt, particularly since Dodgers GM Ned Colletti and the new Dodgers medical and training director had been WITH Schmidt right up to time of his iffy and ill advised signing.
The Dodgers should have gotten a clue about Juan Pierre too. Many teams wanted him over the years, many signed him. Then after a glimpse of his positives and negatives in their own uniforms, EVERY team couldn't wait to get rid of him.
To be frank, the Dodgers post season additions do not have the same prescience or panache as the dumping of Jones.
Mark Loretta is old. Juan Castro is old. Shawn Estes is at best a retread and also old.
Guillermo Mota is another old retread. Claudio Vargas isn't exactly old but he is a retread.
Today, all of these guys are a better than even shot to make the opening day roster. That doesn't say a heckuva lot.
The best hope for re-signed Casey Blake is that he can be almost as good as he has been. The idea he'll bet better isn't worth too much of a bet.
The re-signed Rafy Furcal still has a bad back, a condition ripe for a return to the disabled list for good players as well as bad.
As baseball junkies everywhere try to forget the winter chills (whatever happened to global warming?), the word is that Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw is going way, way early in practice fantasy camps.
Our suggestion to one baseball fanatic was that we saw only two downsides to Kershaw's 2009 season, namely Joe Torre and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt.
Torre has never been renowned for real sophistication in handling pitchers, odd when you think he's an ex-catcher (it looks more and more Torre was the early Mike Piazza, a batter who had a catcher's glove rather than vice versa).
We are frankly surprised the Dodgers missed the chance- with Dave Wallace, Rich Peterson and Leo Mazzone out there and available- to upgrade their coaching staff.
But with all these caveats and concerns, there is tremendous jubilation that the Andruw Jones experiment was mercifully ended, a joy that will be repeated when Jeff Schmidt is jettisoned, and re-repeated when Juan Pierre gets the same ticket out of town.
Are any other Dodgers fans surprised that Jason Johnson got picked up by the Yankees? Or Angel Berroa? It sure looks like the Dodgers are not alone is wise talent appraisal, or perhaps the pool of available talent has sunken that low.
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