A Los Angeles Dodgers Lineup Constructed From Debt

Can an entire lineup be constructed out of the Dodgers poor financial decisions?

The Dodgers' ownership soap opera continues this week with Frank McCourt filing for bankruptcy. Most of the document is in legalese, so here is what you need to know: the Dodgers owe lots of people lots of money, and many of them aren't even involved with the Dodgers anymore. In fact, they owe so many different people money, that we can construct a starting lineup out of their debt.

Leading off...

  1. Juan Pierre, RF ($6.6M): Who else would lead off for a team that was representative of an organization's costly mistakes? Pierre is owed $3.1 million from the Dodgers directly, but is also the source of a $3.5 million payment still owed to the Chicago White Sox. All told, Pierre will have been paid $36 million by the Dodgers over the course of five years, with the White Sox picking up the other $8 million on the contract he signed for 2007 through 2011. Baseball-Reference has Pierre listed for 2.5 wins above replacement during that stretch - you don't need to know the exact dollar value of a win on free agency to know that this was an enormous misuse of money the Dodgers apparently didn't have.

  2. Rafael Furcal, SS ($3.7M): Not all of the players in this hypothetical lineup have skipped town. One of them is on the disabled list for the fourth time in four years and has missed almost an entire calendar year's worth of time over the life of their contracts. Furcal couldn't be reached for comment, as he strained his oblique answering our phone call.

  3. Manny Ramirez, LF ($21.0M): Manny sunk Frank McCourt's battleship this week, as he is owed an $8 million deferred payment by June 30 that there just is no money for. Instead of filing for bankruptcy, I'm pretty sure that McCourt could have told Manny that he had already paid him. This tactic would have bought him about the same amount of stall time.

  4. Andruw Jones, CF ($11.1M): Jones can't play center anymore, but he is the only one of the trio that was ever able to. If you really want, we could try to get Marquis Grissom for this spot. I'm sure the 44-year-old who retired after the 2005 season would return if he knew he could get the $2.7 million still owed him by the Dodgers by doing so.

  5. Bobby Bonilla, 3B ($30M): No, Bobby Bonilla is not owed 25 years of deferred payments from the Dodgers in real life. But this "team" lacks a third baseman, and the Dodgers have $30M in debt they could trade to the Mets in order to complete the lineup. To make this happen, General Manager Ned Colletti would just have to trade all of the minor leaguers who still have signing bonuses owed them . The cost would be less, but once Brian Sabean hears there is a player approaching 50 on the trade block, all bets are off. And hey, it's not like Colletti hasn't done something like this before.

  6. Rotating Bank of America Employee, 2B ($0.320M): The Dodgers don't just owe players money - there are restaurants, media centers, and banks that also want to get paid for their time. Because of the credit-card debt owed to Bank of America and the Los Angeles Debt Dodgers' need for a second baseman, Bank of America will host an internal contest to send three lucky employees to Los Angeles to man the keystone. Once Frank McCourt gets back on firm financial footing, he will sign one of them for $50 million.

  7. Rod Barajas, C ($0.200M): Barajas isn't owed a significant amount of money, but it was either put him here or try to work Mike Piazza in. Piazza deserves better than this, and really, the Dodgers deserve Barajas.

  8. Vin Scully, 1B ($0.153M): The Dodgers even owe longtime announcer and legend Vin Scully some cash, though, unlike many other entries on the list, this particular signing wasn't a mistake we can make fun of. However, it does give us an opportunity to imagine the Dodgers with a first baseman who can hit more than James Loney.

  9. Kazuhishi Ishii, SP ($3.3M): Ishii hasn't pitched since 2005, when he was 31 years old. The Dodgers have owed him money for more years than he was actually a Dodger, as he played from 2002 through 2004 with the team before heading to the Mets for the 2005 season, where he finished his career after just 91 innings as a starter and reliever. Besides Grissom, Ishii's name on the list of people destroying the Dodgers' balance sheet was the most surprising, as he never did much of anything during his time in the majors - at least Grissom was owed money for being a former famous person.

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