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 is a complete fabrication based on interviews within my troubled mind.
Duck: Welcome Ned, you must be pleased as punch. The team is mired in operation "offensive hair ball" after you pulled off the biggest haul of talent in the history of the sport during the season, and yet, you were just given an extension.
Ned: Yes, I'm very pleased with the extension, it validates everything I've done here.
Duck: Such as not making the playoffs for three consecutive years?
Ned: We have an excellent chance to be the second wild card team and play the Atlanta Braves. No one expected us to do that on March 1st.
Duck: I think you are underplaying expectations. You did after all have the "real" MVP and the actual Cy Young on the team. Anyway, the team you had on March 1st consisted of James Loney, Dee Gordon, Juan Uribe, and Juan Rivera as starting members. You built that team did you not?
Ned: Yes, but I was working under massive budget constraints.
Duck: Yet, even while working under those "massive budget constraints" you managed to find $6.3 Million for James Loney, $8 Million for Juan Uribe, and $4 Million for Juan Rivera.
Ned: You are cherry picking. I also added Mark Ellis, gave AJ Ellis the starting gig, and most important extended Matt Kemp on the offensive side. On the pitching side I added Capuano and Harang. Plus Lilly from the year before. Given my "budget constraints" I did a great job in assembling a team that could compete in 2012.
Duck: When new ownership reviewed how the 2012 team was built, I'm just wondering how they broke it down, and said, this is the guy we want piloting our ship for the future.
Duck: Was it the wasted contract given to the perennial under performing James Loney?
Duck: Was it the wasted three year contract given to Juan Uribe? A 21 Million Dollar boondoggle if there ever was one.
Duck: Was it the silly money thrown at Juan Rivera who had been released by the Blue Jays just a few months earlier?
Duck: Was it the three year 30 Million Dollar contract given to 35 year old Ted Lilly?
Duck: Was it the three year 12 Million Dollar contract given to set up man Matt Guerrier?
Duck: Was it the fact you gave three, three year deals in the winter of 2010 and NONE OF THEM provided any value in 2012 at a cost of $26 Million or about 11 Million more then Adrian Beltre would make in 2012? Plus the odds seem high the Dodgers will see little value in 2013.
Ned: I don't think you are being fair. Ted Lilly was outstanding in 2011 and until his injury was doing just fine in 2012.
Duck: That is correct Ned. For eight starts, Ted Lilly was solid.
Duck: Correct me if I'm wrong but every deal made this summer was made because the players you signed or promoted didn't cut it this summer. Hanley Ramirez for either Juan Uribe or the woefully unprepared Dee Gordon. Shane Victorino for Juan Rivera. Adrian Gonzalez for James Loney. Brandon League for Matt Guerrier. Josh Becket for Ted Lilly.
Ned: That seems like revisionist history to me. Every team will have injuries and under performing players they need to replace. The Dodgers simply had enough money to replace every hole.
Ned: You don't get it Duck. You nerds go over contracts with fine tooth combs which is great when you have a budget but none of that is relevant anymore. It doesn't matter, analysis doesn't matter. Money matters, the Dodgers have more then anyone, and not only more then anyone I have owners who want me to spend it more then anyone. I just took on a contract of a player who was paid 40 Million the last two years, and was terrible, and is still owed over $80 Million, just so I could have a first baseman for the next six years. Who does that? No one but us. It is a new reality. Get with it
Duck: Doesn't winning still matter?
Ned: You think I can't win by outspending my competition by 75 Million?
Duck Maybe, should I ignore 2012?
Duck: Do you give any credence to the fact that maybe Karma is putting her stamp on the Dodgers?
Ned: What you mean?
Duck: Ever since you made that gross trade after the deadline nothing but bad things have been happening to the team. They lost Chad Billingsley, they lost Scott Elbert, they lost Jerry Hairston, they lost Adam Kennedy, they lost Kenley Jansen, Matt Kemp stopped hitting after slamming into a wall, none of the replacement players have played upto snuff, and most of all it looks like the Dodger Jewel will have to undergo hip surgery. Also the winning thing seems to have been stopped cold in her tracks.
Ned: Fuck Karma - if I don't make those trades and these injuries still happen, our team would resemble the Houston Astros. People make fun of my love for depth. How would you like to see a lineup of Andre, Kemp, Sands, Loney, Ellis, Gordon, and Cruz with Rubby, Eovaldi, and Webster in the rotation instead of what we have? Only some Loons.
Ned: Besides that is a swiss cheese argument. Hanley Ramirez is doing great, Adrian has had some key hits, fuckface, oops I mean Victorino has provided great defense and leadership, Josh Beckett has been invaluable, and Brandon League has solidified the bullpen. We are in a playoff battle because of these guys.
Duck: You are in the hunt for the right to play a play in game in Atlanta. That is not really the same as being in a playoff battle. You are playing for the right to represent major league baseball in a gimmick.
Ned: GIMMICK!!!!!!!!! - are you insane, it is the post-season, you crazy duck.
Duck: Maybe. Between that, the DH, and September baseball [expanded rosters], baseball is becoming the silly sport. I thought Stan had a plan. It is almost like Stan spent more time trying to figure out how to bring back the Cool A Coo then in bringing in someone who can figure out the difference between Juan Uribe and Adrian Beltre.
Duck: Aren't you concerned with the fact Hanley Ramirez spends more time on figuring out how to do ICU then working on his horrible defense at SS?
Ned: We are paying Hanley to be an offensive shortstop. His defense is not nearly as bad as you make it out to be. ICU is fun, you must hate fun.
Duck: Aren't you concerned that Adrian Gonzalez is basically JD Drew? An extremely talented ballplayer who gives the impression he'd rather be fighting zombies then playing baseball. You spent a lot of money to bring in a Mexican star but how does that work when the star has the personality of a turnip?
Ned: We brought in Adrian to hit, not be be the face of the franchise. Matt Kemp can handle that role, Adrian simply needs to do what he's done for most of his career.
Duck:Just seems fans kind of like their players to have some fire in their belly and be a little emotional about the game.
Ned: I don't get it. You complain about Hanley because he does the ICU and has fun with the game, and you complain about Adrian because he's serious about the game. You can't have it both ways.
Ned: You know what you are Duck. You are just a rear view mirror kind of guy who likes to complain. Sure it is easy to make jokes out of my mistakes but that is baseball. You make moves, some pan out, some don't. For every Juan Uribe I have a Luis Cruz. For every Navarro I have an AJ Ellis. In the end, Stan and company went with me, and not one of your sabremetric twitter boys. Everyone is going to make mistakes, but mark my words, my eventual successes will be why the Dodgers will be having a parade in Downtown Los Angeles. I may have to spend my way to get there, but winning is all that matters. Right?