We actually have some Dodgers news to talk about this week on the podcast, with A.J. Pollock now signed to a four-, or maybe five-year deal.
Not only that, but since it has been three weeks since our last recording, we also delve a bit into the Russell Martin trade as well. Since this is a modern reality, the competitive balance tax looms large for both deals.
Also this week we briefly talk about some nuggets from Fan Fest, and discuss Stan Kasten’s comments about the Dodgers’ spending to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. It has been a plentiful offseason for front office types trying to justify not spending money, and in many ways this sounds an awful lot like we heard three decades ago, which brings us to our Dodgers rewind.
This week’s flashback was 39 years ago, when a pair of transactions inexorably linked was enough to scare the Dodgers away from the free agent market for seven full years. The duo known as Stangoltz:
This was still in the relative infancy of free agency, and the Dodgers made a splash by signing a pair of pitchers. The starter, Dave Goltz, got six years and $3 million in total; the reliever, Don Stanhouse, got five years and $2.1 million.
Goltz per the Dodgers 1980 media guide “became the first player to be selected by the maximum 13 teams in the first round of the free agent draft in the history of the draft.”
He had a pretty good April in that first season, but the rest was so underwhelming for Goltz that an April 1980 highlight was the pick for a blurb on his 1982 Topps card.
After that in 1980, he had a 4.76 ERA in 140 innings, including a terrible Game 163. Goltz allowed four runs in three innings, giving the Astros a 4-0 lead in an eventual 7-1 win at Dodger Stadium.
Stanhouse when he signed with Los Angeles said, “I’ve wanted to wear Dodger blue for a long time, and now it’s a dream come true.”
He had a nickname that was mentioned both in the 1980 Dodgers media guide as well as on the back of his 1981 Topps card:
Stanhouse pitched just 25 innings for the Dodgers, all in 1980, with a 5.04 ERA, 16 walks and only five strikeouts. He was injured and didn’t pitch in 1981, and was released with three years remaining on his contract. Goltz didn’t fair too well either, with a 4.25 ERA (82 ERA+) in 252 innings. He was released in April 1982, with nearly four years remaining on his deal.
The Dodgers were so shook by the failures of Goltz and Stanhouse that they didn’t sign another significant free agent for seven years, not until Mike Davis got a three-year contract in December 1987. Davis was terrible with the Dodgers, too, but etched his name in franchise lore with an important walk ahead of Kirk Gibson’s heroics in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
In December 1986, then-executive vice president Fred Claire said about Tim Raines, “We haven’t stated a policy (on bidding for free agents), but we are just not planning in terms of getting into the free-agent market.”
Keep in mind that this was prime collusion time in baseball, with Raines one of the aggrieved. Gibson was too, which was how he became a free agent prior to the 1988 season, falling into the Dodgers’ lap. So ownership collusion across baseball was a factor, but the failures of Goltz and Stanhouse were also a large part of what kept the Dodgers away from free agency for the better part of a decade.
Episode link (time: 56:42)