There has been nary a peep about Brad Penny all off season. And with just about every team in need of starting pitchers, many would wonder why Penny's name was not being thrown around the rumor mill. I mean after all he has post season experience, has had some great years, and throws electric stuff when he is healthy. Of course he was injured this past year, but so was Ben Sheets. In fact, Sheets has a more injury prone resume than Penny does. Yet we have heard Sheets mentioned a lot more than Penny in this off season.
Plus, the Dodgers are more in need of starting pitching than most other clubs. Why did they turn down his $9.25 million club option (a relative bargain considering today's market) for this year and instead opt to pay him $2 million to get out? Sure there are issues with his health, but the Dodgers should know better than anyone what the health situation with Penny is, right?
With all the reports coming out of Boston that they have inked him to a $5 million one-year contract with incentives for innings pitched I feel that it is time to explain why the Dodgers, and not many other clubs have been willing to consider Penny. Here are a few reasons:
- Penny has had back, blister, rib cage, forearm, elbow, biceps nerve, and shoulder problems over the years. But hey, what pitcher has not had some or all of these injuries?
- He was never worked particularly hard according to his managers past and present.
- He is noted to have a low tolerance for pain, meaning he is a heartless cry baby. Remember Curt Schilling and his bloody ankle pitching? That was heart.
- He became severely disgruntled when the Dodgers would not offer him a contract extension last spring, coming off of a couple of good seasons. He was also miffed that the Dodgers would not guarantee his option for 2009 (good thing they did not after his dismal 2008).
- There have been many speculations that Penny is not a "team player" having thwarted a speculated trade, and that he was more interested in the Hollywood party/dating scene than anything else.
- Penny has been doing his best to get his option declined this year. Including getting in bar fights at Hollywood clubs.
- He was so miffed about being left off the playoff roster this year that he did not even want to be in the dugout with the teammates, he claims to love so much, to support them. In fact he just disappeared.
So there you have it. It appears that the Dodgers DID in fact know some things that others did not or were simply ignoring. I believe that there are probably even more examples of why Brad Penny is simply not a good teammate that the Dodgers have respectfully or legally kept internal. I guess the main reasons for the Dodgers not picking up his option or renegotiating were because of his poor work ethic and disgruntled attitude.
I cannot imagine why any team would want a potentially broken down pitcher that is over weight, has a poor work ethic, and is not a real team player. On the flip side, I can see how teams could also assume that since he was going to sign a one-year deal that he would be highly motivated to work harder this year to showcase his stuff in order to set himself up for a big contract next year. It is amazing how contracts can motivate, before they are signed that is!
UPDATE: Penny is nominated for the Second Annual Douchie Awards and is leading by a good margin. Vote here.