For some of his past interviews you can check out the Duck Talk Section where we ask the questions we want to ask and try to see through the clichéd responses we normally get. For those of you new to Duck Talk,
this most of this is a complete fabrication based on interviews within my troubled mind.
Aflac Duck: It is Nov 17th, and the biggest question seems to be what are you going to do with Russell Martin and James Loney?
There are options. But that said, we're partial to those guys we know; to those who play for us...
Aflac Duck: You seem to be very partial to players you have seen. So far this winter you have re-signed Hiroki Kuroda and Ted Lilly giving you basically the same rotation that ended the year. You have exercised the option on Podboy, and it sounds like you are leaning towards keeping Martin and Loney.Would it be safe to say the Dodger Marketing Mantra in 2011 will be "Staying with the lowside we know"
NC: Kuroda and Lilly were the 2nd and 3rd best free agent starters on the market. We did damn well to keep them in our rotation. I would not agree they are "lowside".
Aflac Duck: Point taken, but what makes you believe that Martin and Loney can deliver more tomorrow then what they have to this point today? With the lack of power on this team, there seems to be an abundance of 1st baseman on the market who could help this team more then Loney? Or Martin for that matter.
NC: Loney helps on both sides of the ball, he's our guy, you stat guys have no idea what Loney brings to this team. Martin on other hand is a total different story. Martin is our glue but with his injury the glue is starting to lose it's ability to hold the team together. Can he come back 100%?
Russell's the one that we're going to spend the most time debating, He's coming off a different kind of injury — and a serious injury. So he's somebody we've spent a lot of different conversations [on] trying to figure out what would be best."
Aflac Duck: This duck had two major pet peeves with how you handled the 2010 season. Neither would have changed the outcome of the 2010 season but both are integral to what might have been a better start to the 2011 season. First off, your handling of the last two Dodger Minor League Pitchers of the Year. Your group decided that you'd rather hang your hat on the arm of a Rule Five guy who had fringe stuff, who had never pitched beyond A ball instead of two above average arms ready to contribute at the major league level. Why was Monk given so much latitude but your farm grown boys James McDonald and Scott Elbert got no such rope? Why was some guy with little upside given so many chances but the guys that DeJon Watson has groomed for that spot were ignored to the point that one quit, and eventually one was sent packing in easily the worst trade of your reign as Dodger GM? Why Monk and not McDonald? Why Monk and not Elbert? Why Why Why
NC: Scott Elbert was a wild ass lefty and not ready for prime time. Monk has a chance to help this team in the future, and our group think just felt we couldn't afford to let him go back to the Phillies. We did not know at the time that Scott Elbert would simply go home.
Aflac Duck: What was George Sherrill? What was Charlie Haeger? What was Russ Ortiz? What was Ramon Ortiz? Not like you were keeping Elbert on the farm because of quality in the bullpen, those guys were all firestarters.
Aflac Duck: You were quoted recently as saying
I really believe you have to have as much pitching as possible. And if there's another starter or two out there that we could go after, I'd be open-minded to doing it, Plus the bullpen is always in flux.
Just an FYI from some stupid ass duck, but you would not have to be searching for any more pitching if you'd simply trust your own pitchers and give them more then a token appearance before quitting on them and shipping them out.
NC: You talk as though James turned into Cy Young when he left us.
Aflac Duck: Well, 3.52 ERA in 11 starts is exactly what Ted Lilly did, and you gave him a three year deal. Face it Ned you really screwed the pooch on this one. James McDonald is exactly what you are searching for right now and you had it, but gave it away because you have this unhealthy fetish for relief pitchers.
NC: Relief pitching is important
Aflac Duck: Yes but when do you realize that you do a sucky job of identifying relief pitcher trade targets Your success rate in these trades is as accurate as a Vance Lovelace fastball. Let us count them down from the beginning shall we: Lance Carter, Danys Baez, Tim Hamulack, Mark Hendrickson, Scott Proctor, Roberto Hernandez, Sherrill, and finally Octavio Dotel.
NC: Some of those guys did great for us when we acquired them like Proctor and Sherrill. You are not painting a fair picture.
Aflac Duck: That is true, they did the job after you acquired them, they didn't start to suck until the regular season ended in the year they were acquired. You can hang your hat on that if you want.
Aflac Duck: That kind of brings us to the 2nd thing that worries this duck about 2011. From 2005 - 2010 the Dodgers have acquired many players at the trading deadline who have gone on to have a great two months. These players then pretty much have all sucked the following year. Players like Jose Cruz, Marlon Anderson, Scott Proctor, Belliard, and George Sherrill. Manny and Blake seem to be the exceptions and that figures because they were always everyday players. Actually never mind, I seem to have lost my point unless you sign Rod Barajas to be our everyday catcher.
Aflac Duck: You have done a great job of getting the rotation ready for 2011 by bringing back the big four who did such a fabulous job in the 2nd half last year. However the same reason the team was not successful in 2011 is still staring at the team in the face. Where will the offense come from if you bring back both Loney and Martin?
NC: That is why we are meeting every day. Can it come from internal improvement from Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, or James Loney? Can we count on a healthy Rafael Furcal? Can Casey Blake provide more offense if he is rested more? Can we find someone in left field that we can afford who will have a major impact on the offense? Can we afford to have the black hole of offense from Ryan Theriot with the team we currently have?
Aflac Duck: Right now the only plus offensive producer on the team that is a given is Andre Ethier. With Dan Uggla off the market there are no 2nd baseman who fall into that category. If you don't trade Loney and sign a 1st baseman the only place you can upgrade is left field. Were you even interested in Uggla, his power would have looked good for this lineup.
NC: Marlins, hard to deal with, remember the Miggy deal when they wanted Kemp/Kershaw and ended up with Maybin/Miller. I can't confirm but I heard they asked for Colby Rasmus and then they end up with Infante. We didn't have a career utility player who finally got to play full time and made the most of it. Oh wait we did have Jamey Carroll but they were not interested. By the way, remember last fall when you mocked my signing of Carroll? In your face DuckBoy.
Aflac Duck: I deserved that. You seem to be between a rock and a hard place. The top prospects faltered a bit last year making it harder to trade them for something useful. You couldn't give away Lambo fast enough. Every year you have traded prospects from Navarro to Santana to Josh Bell to Lambo. As of now only Carlos Santana looks like a real burn for you with question marks still out on Josh Bell and James McDonald. True Blue LA recently did their top 20 Dodger prospect list. Who should they not get attached to from this list?
NC: You geeks are something. A top 20 list? Who does that? Whatever, they should never get attached to any of our prospects because at any time a relief pitcher will catch my eye and I must have what catches my eye.
Aflac Duck: Can you believe what Boom Boom Betemit did last year? Who would have thunk that Boom Boom would have been better then any Dodger in 2010. Or Cody Ross, how about that postseason performance? And Jayson Werth, can you believe the contract he's about to sign? Isn't it awesome that all of these great stories used to be Dodgers?
NC: You can focus on that or you can focus on the great stories the Dodgers have right now. Clayton Kershaw is about to explode on the world only because they have not been paying attention, Chad Billingsley has hopefully put to rest the amateur shrinks who questioned his emotional makeup, Kuo from what I've read on TBLA had the greatest year ever for a Dodger pitcher, Kenley Jansen has to be the greatest story going moving from a catcher to a dominant setup man in less then a year. Damn, all pitchers, I've got some serious work to do. Got to go.
Aflac Duck: Ned, Ned can you comment on the fact that Justin Upton is on market? Could he be the offensive juggernaut you have been searching for?
NC: We will pass, he's not a grinder, he does not get the game. We already have enough of those.