24 September 2007

The Kent Vent

I guess the only way I really care about Jeff Kent's youth vent is if it somehow changes the Dodger strategy for the future. And it won't. In a LA Times column Bill Plaschke came out and said that the youth movement failed this year, and one theory of Dodger management is this is the sort of press opinion that might influence future decisions by McCourt or Colletti. The best example of this type of possible press influence is the firing of Paul DePodesta, but even there we don't really know how much influence all the press criticism of DePodesta really had on Frank McCourt. And in this case, Plaschke didn't even say that the Dodgers should abandon the youth movement: he said it failed this year, and he even laid part of the blame on the veterans. Finally, even if what Plaschke wrote and what Kent said do have some influence on how Colletti and McCourt think about the Dodger future, I believe money and obvious talent will end up as far more important influences on Dodger management decisions. The young players are as a group visibly better, and certainly cheaper. If Colletti was the sort to not value the talent of the youngsters properly, he would have traded more of them so far.

Will Jeff Kent be back with the Dodgers? I certainly hope so. I think he has a good season left in him, and of all the young players we've seen at the big league level for the Dodgers so far the heir apparent at second base Tony Abreu has impressed me the least. This is not to say I want Abreu traded for a bag of beans, or that I don't want to see him get a chance when the time comes. But I think Kent will be better than Abreu next year, at least offensively.

People say that Kent won't walk away from 9 million dollars. Well, maybe he's tired of playing. Surely he's financially well off already? Or maybe he's tired of the Dodgers, after the way this season turned out. I think Kent could get a one year deal from some other team for close to 9 million dollars. This strikes me as exactly the kind of deal Colletti would give to Jeff Kent if he was out there on the free market. And I think Colletti is more typical of baseball GMs than atypical.

I think Kent will end up staying with the Dodgers. I don't see a situation developing somewhere else that's better for him. He may be frustrated now, but overall he's seemed to like being a Dodger, he likes the location, the Dodgers will content next year, and he's being paid well. I just hope he's not complaining at the end of next season too.

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