Dickey: A meeting of bad baseball minds

When Brian Sabean and Ned Colletti renew their friendship before the start of the Giants-Dodgers series tonight, perhaps they can reflect on the fact that they’re two of the worst general managers in major league baseball.

Colletti got a huge gift last week when the Boston Red Sox shipped Manny Ramirez west. The Sox were tired of Ramirez’s antics, but the latest players poll in Sports Illustrated had David Ortiz and Ramirez as the two most feared clutch hitters — and the pitchers surveyed voted Manny No. 1.

For Dodgers fans, this deal was a welcome change from Colletti’s disastrous moves in free agency. In chronological order:

  • After the 2006 season, he signed outfielder Juan Pierre to a five-year contract for $45 million. Pierre, whose only real asset is his base-stealing ability, has taken playing time from Matt Kemp, who is younger and better.
  • Before the 2007 season, he signed Nomar Garciaparra to a two-year contract for $18.5 million. Garciaparra has hit 12 homers and missed more than 100 games because of injuries.
  • Also before the 2007 season, he signed Jason Schmidt to three years at $47 million. Even Sabean realized that Schmidt hadn’t been the same pitcher since he threw more than 140 pitches in a 16-strikeout game which tied the San Francisco record. He’s spent most of his time as a Dodger on the disabled list, winning one game.
  • Before this year, he signed Andruw Jones to a two-year, $36.2 million contract. Jones had a terrible 2007 season, hitting a career-low .222 and 26 homers, just two seasons after he’d hit 51 homers. When a veteran player has a season like that in his free-agency year, it should raise a red flag. Not for Colletti. This year, Jones has had surgery and, when he’s healthy, has hit .164 with three homers, 14 RBIs and 73 strikeouts in 201 at-bats. Ouch!

Red flags don’t mean much to Sabean, either. When Ray Durham hit a career-high 26 homers at age 34, Sabean signed him to a new two-year contract. Durham hit 12 the next season.

When Randy Winn came to the Giants in midseason 2005, he had the best two months of his career. Already 31, Winn had first come up in 1998 and had never hit .300 in the majors, but he hit .359 for the Giants. His career high was 14 homers in a season and he had hit just six in 102 games for Seattle, but he hit 14 in 58 games for the Giants.

A talent evaluator might have thought … hmmm, could it be because this was the first time National League pitchers had seen Winn? Apparently that never occurred to Sabean, who signed Winn to a four-year, $28 million contract starting in 2006. Winn has never approached that kind of production since. A four-hit day on Wednesday brought his average up to .284, but he has hit only five homers this year, hardly what you hope for from a corner outfielder.

That’s typical of Sabean’s dealings. He not only gives players too much money, but the contracts are too long, which makes them difficult to trade.

I’d love to be a bug on the wall today when Sabean and Colletti discuss their brilliant deals. Ah, well, they’ll probably discuss their postgame dinner plans instead. No sense reminding themselves of their stupidity.

Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. E-mail him at glenndickey@hotmail.com.

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