Coffey’s gamble on himself

Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com relates a great story about new Dodger reliever Todd Coffey:

… He didn’t look much like a major league ballplayer 14 years ago, either. That was when Coffey, then a 17-year-old who had just graduated from Forest City High School in North Carolina, was taken by the Cincinnati Reds in the 41st round of baseball’s amateur draft.

In those days, when a team maintained exclusive signing rights to all of its draft picks for 11 months, a common practice in the lower rounds was to take players as “draft-and-follows.” That meant drafting a player with no intention of signing him immediately and continuing to scout him as he played junior-college ball the following spring, then making a decision whether to sign him. If the team did sign him, it usually meant he was an “organizational” guy, there to fill out the roster of one minor league affiliate or another, with little to no chance of ever playing in the majors.

That was the way DeJon Watson, the Reds scouting director at the time, viewed Coffey.

“We liked his arm and his size,” said Watson, now the Dodgers’ assistant general manager in charge of player development. “He had some projection to play. But in our mind’s eye, he was a draft-and-follow. We wanted him to go to a juco.”

But there also was another draft rule in place then: you had to make at least a nominal, if half-hearted, offer to every player you drafted. So Watson authorized Steve Kring, the Reds’ area scout who had recommended Coffey, to offer Coffey something he was certain the big right-hander would turn down, a $1,000 bonus and an $850 monthly salary in the low minors.

But Coffey accepted it. …

* * *

  • Clip and save: Top 2014 MLB Free Agents, compiled by Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors. (If you can’t wait that long, here are some earlier posts related to 2013.)
  • Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus looks at what contracts top youngsters Mike Trout, Matt Moore and Bryce Harper would get if they were free agents.
  • Rafael Furcal was a top-five defensive shortstop last year, according to David Pinto of Baseball Musings and his probabilistic model of range (PMR) stats.
  • Charles P. Pierce of Grantland on steroids and baseball:

    … From its very beginnings, the “war” on performance-enhancing drugs in sports, and especially in baseball, has been legally questionable, morally incoherent, and recklessly dependent on collateral damage to make its point. Long ago, I went over to the purely libertarian position on this question simply because any other solution seemed to me to be incompatible with civil liberties and an equitable sharing of power in the workplace — and because every other “war” on drugs that I’d seen had been an enormous waste of time, money, and manpower.

    There always have seemed to me to be two main arguments against this position. The first is the question of the player’s health. This is not one to be dismissed lightly, even though, in almost every other context in professional sports, it is always secondary to profits in the mind of management. And the second, more hazy argument is that it is somehow unethical to ingest a substance that will make you play better. Too often, it seems, the former consideration is used to camouflage arguments based primarily on the latter.

    The health consideration is doomed to failure in the long run because, well, Science Marches On. Sooner or later, someone’s going to invent a substance that enhances performance without any risk to the athlete involved. The reason this will happen is because whoever invents the stuff is going to get wealthy beyond Warren Buffett’s wildest dreams. Eliminate the health-of-the-athlete fig leaf and all you’re left with is the moral and ethical argument and, on its own, that falls apart with the slightest nudge.

    Can someone seriously argue that it is ethical to take a drug to make a performance possible, but unethical to take a drug that makes that performance better? Isn’t making a performance possible at all the ultimate performance enhancement? If there had been a drug that would have given us five more seasons of Sandy Koufax at the top of his game, how would that have been a bad thing, everything else being equal? Sports are rife with drugs. Without drugs of one sort or another, the NFL season would never begin, and the baseball season would end sometime in June owing to a lack of participating teams. …

  • Learn how a 1955 San Bernardino gang fight sparked the creation of “West Side Story,” from the Press-Enterprise and the Times.
  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    Yah, as I said below, it’ll be hard not to root for the man-boobed one as a Dodger this year! :)   Could be a good under-the-radar signing. 

    Regarding the ownership finalists, do you think there’s any chance the self-promoting Macciello is one of those two unnamed bidders, or is he definitely out?

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       I don’t sense there’s any chance he’s on an official bidders list.

      • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

        Yep, it appears you’re right. Wondering when he’ll finally officially admit defeat (via Twitter and blog comments). Can’t blame the guy for trying hard! 

        —> RT @BillShaikin: 7 #Dodgers bidders still in running: Magic/Kasten, Cohen, Hindery/Barrack, Kushner, Kroenke, Disney/Gold, Casden.

        • Anonymous

           At the risk of a Rule 5 violation, I’ll say I had no idea Obama belonged to one of the bidder groups.

          • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

            Heh, it’s hard not to think of the prez when seeing that name. I’d actually not heard of that bidding group before.

  • Anonymous

    Very exciting last couple of overs in Pakistan-England T20 cricket. Another wicket! 120-5, 5 balls to bowl 10 runs needed. Whoosh! And that was Boom Boom Afridi, gone for just 3! England might yet win this deciding match.

    • Anonymous

       122-5, 3 balls to go.

    • Anonymous

       123-5, 2 balls to go.

  • Anonymous

    Jon – any sense of the likelihood that any or all of these groups would partner with Fox or TW for purchase?

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       Things seem quiet on that front, but honestly I don’t know.

  • Anonymous

    124-5, Misbah needs a six (maximum, like home run) off the last ball to win it.

    • Anonymous

      And he doesn’t get it. Bowled! Out! England win the match by 5 runs, and the Twenty-20 series 2-1! Good way to go home.

      Sorry for getting a bit carried away here.

    • Jack Dawkins

      I was watchign the BBC blog…..at the 10 over mark it looked doomed, but then the bowlers really took charge.  Nice win.

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    Today in Jon SooHoo: Dee Gordon in the fast lane! bit.ly/xYzyVM

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    James Spader won’t return to “The Office” ext season – http://bit.ly/yu7Tt5

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       Reaction on Twitter seems to be celebratory, but I liked him on the show.

      • http://www.twitter.com/ElJefedor Jeffrey Thomas III

        He had his moments, but can’t say I’m sad to see him go.

      • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

        I liked him too (what I saw, haven’t watched all the eps), but he has big shoes to fill. Show still misses Carrell. Maybe they can bring back Ricky Gervais. ;)

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the snippet on Berdoo (I did not know that).  Spent my LL years there playing in the Catholic League on the West Side, at a time when the gangs started using knives.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, thanks Jon.  Westside Story is one of my favorite musicals and it was interesting to read that an event in southern California helped inspire its creation.

  • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

    See if you can catch the mistake in this Hollywood Reporter story on the Dodgers pending sale:
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/los-angeles-dodgers-bids-frank-mccort-magic-johnson-295578

    • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

      (Hint: Find the final paragraph, read it more carefully than their editors did…)

      • Anonymous

        The Dodgers do have their home spring training opener against the Giants on March 6.

        • http://underdog.typepad.com/ underdog

          But not at “Dodgers Stadium” in LA, I’m assuming, right?

    • Anonymous

      Jon spelled San Bernardino incorrectly in the post.  I lived in San Bernardino in the late 50′s and early 60′s and knew nothing of the stuff in that story.  But I was in Elementry and Jr High at the time.

  • Anonymous

    Re underdog-Fans heading to Dodger Stadium for a game Tuesday may be disappointed. It gives May 1 as date McSue has to pay off the wife, isn’t that wrong as well? Thought that was April 1.

    • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

       It’s April 30.

  • Anonymous

    GO NASCAR!!!!!!

  • http://www.dodgerthoughts.com/ Jon Weisman

    NPUT