Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Since, among other things, the 2004 Dodgers are always sort of on my mind

Using Rally's WAR numbers, in 2004 Alex Cora and Cesar Izturis, the Dodgers' double play combo, propelled them to the division title by contributing 4.7 wins above replacement. Exclude 2004 from their career totals, and between the two of them you get 0.4 wins above replacement.

Of course, Adrian Beltre had 10.1 WAR that season; his next highest seasonal total, accomplished in 2006, was 4.4 WAR. And LHP-destroying Jose Hernandez contributed 2.0 WAR despite only getting 238 PA; in the rest of his career, he logged 11.7 WAR in 4788 PA. (Counterposed to these outstanding seasons in the infield were the play at 1B where Shawn Green's last season in blue demonstrated that he was not going to return to his pre-shoulder-injury peak and where Hee Seop Choi dug a whole so deep that Jim Tracy wouldn't give him much of a shot to dig his way out, leading to his surprise US career flameout). While then-GM Paul DePodesta deserves credit for solid moves to acquire oft-injured stars Milton Bradley and Jayson Werth, and his predecessor Dan Evans deserves credit for, uh, not trading Beltre or Gagne (or trading high-salaried stars for middle of the pack starters Odalis Perez and Jeff Weaver, who of course benefited greatly from the stellar infield defense), it was the outstanding and anomalous performance of its infielders that should go down in history as the essence of the 2004 Dodgers' playoff run.


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