Dodgers Owner Peter Guber Right To Preach Patience, But They Traded To “Send Signals”?

Dodgers owner Peter Guber encouraged fans to keep the optimism because the trade with the Red Sox was for more than just this season, which is indeed the rational thing to recognize. However, what the hell did he mean by saying they did it to “send signals”?

“It’s not fair to judge anything for almost a season,” said Guber. “The objectives of both groups were completely different. [Dodgers president] Stan Kasten, [general manager] Ned Colletti and [manager] Don Mattingly had an objective and the Red Sox had an objective to rebuild.

Right, that’s fine. While it’s ridiculous that the Dodgers are as close to finishing third in the NL West as they are to winning it, the trade was made with a long-term idea in mind, as every single player involved in the trade will be with the team beyond 2012. Besides, they’re only a game back of the Cardinals, and as the Cardinals showed last year, anything can happen once you get into the postseason.

It did, however, irk me a bit how he basically reinforced the notion that the trade was done as a public relations stunt.

“You can’t tell nine days later. Look at it for a season. Not over three weeks. We did it to send signals, to the fans, to the media. You have to recognize that it’s a business proposition. The biggest risk in business is taking no risk.”

Hopefully I’m reading too much into his words here, but he took on a quarter billion dollars to “send signals” to the fans and media? He did it as a “business proposition”?

Ugh.

It’d be a whole lot more comforting to think they did it because they thought Josh Beckett had correctable flaws, A-Gon would thrive once back in the NL West, and Carl Crawford showed enough improvement that they thought he could be an All-Star again. Not because they wanted to make a P.R. statement to the media and fans. I mean, honestly, who gives a shit what the media and fans think if the product on the field can’t win? At the end of the day, nothing will change attitudes quicker than winning, and nothing speaks to that fact more than the current state of the Dodger fandom.

The unbridled joyous optimism of the trade is no more, and if anything it has turned negative due to increased expectations. No longer am I getting angry Twitter messages for basically writing “we’ll see how it turns out”, rather, all the buzz has worn off and I’m fielding more inquiries about how screwed the team is down the road. Why? Because they’re losing and people hate it, especially when they’ve just been given the baseball version of blue balls after such a mega-trade.

Look, I’m sure they did the deal because they believed it would help the team win as well, but if it really was a secondary concern to doing the equivalent of renting a Ferrari for your high school reunion, then it’s more than a bit worrying to me. As I’ve said before, their willingness to invest in the product is a great sign, but not if they’re going to be making baseball decisions from the perspective of winning back popular opinion.

About Chad Moriyama

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