Bill Plaschke, Adrian Beltre and Paul DePodesta

Jeff · February 28, 2005 at 7:55 am · Filed Under General baseball, Mariners 

In Bill Plaschke’s LA Times column this morning, he offers one portrayal of what caused Adrian Beltre to leave the Dodgers and sign with the Mariners.

The portrait Plaschke paints is of an incompetent and dysfunctional organization, one that told Beltre he was their top priority, then disappeared from negotiations almost entirely. According to the veteran columnist, Beltre never wanted to leave L.A., would have taken less money to stay, and even nearly cried when talking about leaving.

Here’s the thing about this portrait: Plaschke has demonstrated multiple times that he has an axe to grind regarding Paul DePodesta. An old school guy, he previously described DePodesta in terms usually reserved for Lewis and Gilbert from Revenge of the Nerds. Even in this piece, he sneaks in this shot: “In the new Dodger lingo, Beltre apparently did not compute.” Get it?

Reading with this in mind, it’s easy to see that Plaschke’s distate for DePo shaped his viewpoint here. But there seem to be too many other details — many of them direct quotations from Beltre — to dismiss the larger point about organizational communication entirely. Sadly for Dodger fans, DePo has also had an offseason that gives his critics ammunition.

If I had to slap a percentage on it, I’d say this reads like 70 percent anti-DePo propaganda, 30 percent legitimate criticism. What’s your take?


69 Responses to “Bill Plaschke, Adrian Beltre and Paul DePodesta”

  1. DoesntCompute on February 28th, 2005 1:44 pm

    Mr. Mocker,

    I have been trying to understand what your point is. It has been difficult. It seems that you want to complain or pick a fight because you are moving from point to point without really defending any point. Here is the list of items you have brought up in this thread:
    You don’t like stats guys
    Loosing Beltre was bad for the Dodgers and that make DePo a bad GM
    Beltre is a pampered superstar
    M’s should pamper Beltre
    Beltre is immature for taking more money from a worse(?) team
    You don’t like Beltre as a person
    This site suffers from group think
    Luck negates statistics

    I’m not sure how you can form such a sweeping opinion of a man from one article. Any one of us would leave our current jobs if we felt unappreciated by our bosses and we had an offer for more money from another company. I don’t consider that a sign a immaturity. Also, this is the first time I have seen the situation from Beltre’s POV in the papers so I don’t see how you can consider him someone who would whine to the papers if things weren’t going his way.

    As far as your dislike of the statistical community, I think you have a misunderstanding of what statistics are for. Statistics NEVER predict exactly what will happen. Statistics only give indications of what will happen in the future based on what happened in the past.

    I agree that some folks who study statistics lack interpersonal skills but for you to assume that because someone is good at studying statistics they are terrible communicators is ignorant and arrogant.

    It is not my wish to start a flame war with this post. I wrote this because your posts have had an angry tone, contain heavy doses of sarcasm, insults and personal attacks, and seem to move from point to point. It seems that you are angry at this blog, the authors, the commentors, stats guys, and/or the world and I was curious as to why.

  2. bilbo on February 28th, 2005 1:52 pm

    shouldn’t we be talking about RF today? My suggestion is we put Ichiro! there and let him bat lead-off…

  3. Dan on February 28th, 2005 1:59 pm

    Bilbo-I like how you think, Ichiro playing right field and batting leadoff is an excellent idea.

  4. Jeremy on February 28th, 2005 2:00 pm

    Obviously, I’m in the minority here, but I like Bill Plaschke.

    This Beltre column was just one of the many solid columns Plaschke has written over the years. I’ve read some of the criticism towards Plaschke throughout the blogosphere and I can understand why some folks have criticized him. Plaschke is one of those writers that you either love or you don’t care for.

    April 4 can’t come soon enough.

  5. semaJlliBfonaf on February 28th, 2005 2:26 pm

    I’ll tell you in late August about DePodestra’s decisions over the winter, but since his antagonist is a sportswriter who hasn’t proven himself not to be a useless, poison-infusing lamprey on the game…

  6. MZak on February 28th, 2005 2:36 pm

    I live in LA, read the Times every day (for better or for worse) and generally like Plaschke’s writing. One thing to note in all of this is the bi-polar sort of conciousness that seems to pervade LA sports. I thought the article was rather melodramatic–one of the common responses to issues down here. The other is an knee-jerk defensiveness and/or delusionial mania regarding their teams prowess. There’s not too often a level headed, thoughtful voice in commentary. This mindset seems to affect all fans here and at times, some sportswriters.

  7. Evan on February 28th, 2005 2:38 pm

    We can’t judge decisions retroactively, DJC. If DePo had a good reason for what he did, that won’t change based on Beltre’s subsequent performance.

    Just as signing Sexson doesn’t become a good idea if he’s the MVP for 4 straight years, letting Beltre go doesn’t become a good idea just because Milton Bradley ran him down in the crosswalk.

    It could be that DePo genuinely doesn’t think Beltre is worth what we’re paying him. If so, then letting him go was what he wanted. If not, then he really bungled the whole thing.

  8. David J Corcoran on February 28th, 2005 3:03 pm

    Re 57:

    If you read the article, it says DePo thought he was a fluke. If he did and he’s right, this is propaganda.

    My point is that Plaschke can’t say Beltre wasn’t a fluke without proving it. It’s too soon to tell, and him saying that Beltre wasn’t a fluke is like me trying to tell you exactly where I’ll be a month from now. He can’t do that.

  9. Shoeless Jose on February 28th, 2005 3:28 pm

    Don’t lump me with those old schoolers who have already formed conclusions about Depo.
    Funny thing, Mr Mocker: you sound more and more like one with every stupidly gratuitous reference to spreadsheets.

  10. RealRhino on February 28th, 2005 3:31 pm

    I don’t know what to make of these kinds of articles. On the one hand, you wonder why it’s necessary or important. The fact is that the Dodgers did not re-sign Beltre. Is it really important to find out whether it’s because the team didn’t think he could repeat his performance or whether it’s because the team didn’t communicate effectively? To the extent that it doesn’t change the outcome, you can see these kinds of articles as clear propoganda. The purpose it to show that a team’s management is doing a bad job, to show that they are incompetent.

    On the other hand, I suppose this is what people have an interest in these days. No longer content to learn what happened, readers want to know *why* something happened so they know who to blame if things go wrong. To that extent, the purpose of the article is to inform, I guess.

    I guess I just don’t see the smoking gun here. The Dodgers made an offer for less than the M’s did, Beltre took the best offer. Isn’t that the whole story? That’s a yawner. Or is the implication that if DePo had just picked up the phone and called Beltre, he would accepted $3MM/year less? How do we know this? Maybe the Dodgers just didn’t feel like he was worth what he was likely to get, so they didn’t spend a lot of time on him. The proof will be in the pudding, I suppose. If Beltre repeats 2004 year after year, you can say the Dodgers messed up and should have offered more money. If he doesn’t, you can say that DePo was right not to spend too much organizational capital on him.

  11. A's fan on February 28th, 2005 5:06 pm

    Plaschke has been writing anti-Dodgers human interest stories for years. It’s what he’s always done, and it’s what he’ll always do. The Dodgers could win the next 9 World Series, and he’d still complain. He seems to have found his niche at the times; I guess that’s it.

    Regardless, it’s difficult to discern whether this is even true. Let’s not forget who his agent is. Boras wouldn’t even let the Astros talk to Beltran, even though they desperately wanted to. It may have been the same thing in this instance. Of course, we can argue any side you want, but we’re merely speculating. I do have a hard time seeing DePo being willing to part with 55 million for Drew, but not 64 million for Beltre. If he had started his negotations with a $200 million dollar offer, that probably wouldn’t have been great business. Beltre ended up signing ridiculously early compared to the the other marquee free agents. I really don’t know what happened. I don’t think anybody does.

    But one thing is for certain: Most Dodger fans hate Plaschke because of his negative Dodger attitude. It was around long before DePodesta went to the Ravine, and it will be around until he retires. Plaschke is about as credible as Jose Canseco.

    And, of course, Plaschke is a moron. Ever watch him on Around the Horn? I think my IQ dropped about 40 points after I watched him debate something with Woody Paige.

  12. NBarnes on February 28th, 2005 6:13 pm

    Keep letting your spreadsheets do your thinking for you and we wouldn’t have signed Sexson.

    Are we supposed to understand from this that this would have been a bad thing? If the Mariners had let Baltimore have Sexson, I would have been thrilled. I can almost read the comment threads to the post on USSM, ‘Sexson signs with Baltimore, 4 years, $44 mill, Mariners dodge a bullet’ in my head.

  13. The Ancient Mariner on February 28th, 2005 9:22 pm

    Plaschke has been writing anti-Dodgers human interest stories for years. It’s what he’s always done, and it’s what he’ll always do.

    So in other words, he’s LA’s answer to Steve Kelley?

    And, of course, Plaschke is a moron. Ever watch him on Around the Horn? I think my IQ dropped about 40 points after I watched him debate something with Woody Paige.

    Speaking as a resident of Colorado and regular reader of the Denver papers, that has as much to do with Woody as it does with Plaschke.

  14. Bela Txadux on February 28th, 2005 10:26 pm

    A tad off topic, here, but it warms the cockles of my heart that so many regular communicants here on the good ship USS Mariner don’t even _live_ in the area. Denver, Bay Area, La-La Land, New England: the ol’ net does shorten up the horizon on things indeed.

  15. molokai on March 1st, 2005 12:36 am

    As a Dodger fan I regret losing Beltre and enjoyed all his years in LA not just his MVP season(in a world without Bonds). You’ll enjoy him, just don’t get down on him when he starts slow. He’ll add some pizzaz to your team and will blend in nicely. I hope he ends up being a HOF for you but I wouldn’t count on it.
    That said I’m not unhappy were not paying him 17 million this year.

    I don’t understand the posters who claim that Depo had a terrible offseason. Let us see how the new team plays before making that judgement. Sure he overpaid for Lowe but for Mariner fans to say he had a terrible offseason based on overpaying for pitching when they signed a 1st baseman who just missed a complete season to an injury that could occur again at any time is a bit strange. Last season Depo built a complete OF without trading one regular. Werth for Frasor, Bradley for 2 prospects, Finley for 2 more prospects. Brad Penny decided to get a new pitching injury or that trade might have brought the Dodgers the NL Pennant. Sure Choi sucked but so did Mota and LaDuca in September. So when Depo is given some latitude it might be because he already has a nice track record. I’m sure Ryan Ketchner will have a better career then Jolbert Cabrerra. Or Antonio Perez will have a better career then Jason Romano. I totally expect the Dodgers to win the division this year and many more in the future because this team now has flexibility and a GM who will not be afraid to make a move when he see’s a weakness during the season and he has plenty of ammunition to trade. And as far as the Yankee debacle, at least he had the nuts to pull out of the deal when he knew it no longer was in the best interest of the team. He’s young and he’s going to make mistakes but I still like him. I do wish he’d improve his communication skills as they do seem to be lacking. I hope he’s not a Duquette who was very bright but not exactly seasoned with people skills.

    Plaschke is the worse sports writer at the LA Times. Simers is just an Ass but Plaschke is just clueless about all sports.

  16. jeff on March 1st, 2005 7:39 pm

    I am reading there are alot of mariner fans in Los angeles area, i am in the l.a. area and looking fro fello M’s fans. I don’t know nay other M’s fan here and it would be nice to know some to share the M’s experience with here in so cal.
    Let’s go watch them play the angels together and represent!

    e-mail me if ur in L.A. or Orange county and a m’s fan

    p.s. i will be in seattle for the opening day game! oh yeah!

    Beltre was a good signing, and i def. think he’d rather be a dodger, but what he doesn’t realize is he will fall in love with seattle and it’s fans really quickly.

  17. David on April 5th, 2005 6:25 pm

    Too late to post? I stumbled on this site searching on “Plaschke” and “Moneyball” trying to find out what Plaschke’s problem is.

    I’m a Dodgers fan that doesn’t live in L.A. and read the times everyday. But I have a thought on the offseason.

    It was disheartening, and I don’t think the offense is better. But Beltre, specifically, was a sad loss. Still, who knows what Boras said the minimum expectations were? And if Dodgers’ brass thought the Mariners were offering far more than they did, it might not be a surprise they didn’t get back to Boras ASAP.

    But who knows? As sad as this situation seems, it’s tough to sign a guy to a six-year contract after an outlier season, even if it comes at age 25 and there are a lot of good years to come. But Plaschke is wrong when he said last year was the year the Dodgers were expecting from Beltre. No one ever expected 48 home runs from Beltre.

    Even though J.D. Drew is often injured, I think there’s less risk he’ll deliver five $11 million years than Beltre will deliver five $13 million years.

    I’d rather have the Dodgers’ offseason than the Tigers’, signing Ordonez for $75 million.

  18. Kelly on May 13th, 2005 11:02 am

    Hey, Beltre is doing pretty awesome. The Dodgers are in shambles! What a great blog.

  19. DMZ on May 13th, 2005 11:07 am

    Way to be there.