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Friday, 30 July 2004

Noooooooooo

Dodgers nearing deal to trade Paul Lo Duca

Say it ain’t so….

If this happens, I will be seriously, seriously annoyed. Paul Lo Duca is one of the team’s best players and allies, and he’s handled the wonderful pitching staff and Gagne’s record-breaking streak. What the heck are they thinking? Are they that desperate? Egad. I’m sure I’m not the only one shaking my head over this one.

Don’t they remember what happened the last time they traded away an all-star catcher to Florida?

Not only that, but looking at the full trade:
C Paul Lo Duca, RP Guillermo Mota and RF Juan Encarnacion
for
SP Brad Penny, 1B Hee Seop Choi, P prospect Bill Murphy

it’s seriously a lopsided trade. Lo Duca is an integral part of the Dodgers, and Guillermo Mota has been the most successful setup man for Gagne this season. Even if the Dodgers land Randy Johnson and/or Steve Finley (let’s face it, Charles Johnson is no Lo Duca, and he’s hitting in the .250s for Colorado), they’ll miss two key elements that were working all season long, and severely undercut what had been the league’s best bullpen.

What the heck?

This is one of the things I hate about baseball. In the end, it’s still a business, and loyalty is not high up on the values/priority list.

Update, 31 July 2004: Oh, dear. More cast changes.

OF Dave Roberts, the best scrappy player and base-stealer the Dodgers have had in a long time: traded to Boston for a minor league OF. I doubt he’ll get much playing time now.

RP Tom Martin, the lefty phoenix who rose from the ashes to make a startling comeback last year: traded to Atlanta of a minor league P.

Minor leaguers P Bill Murphy, acquired only yesterday from Florida, C Koyie Hill and OF Reggie Abercrombie: traded to Arizona for veterans OF Steve Finley and C Brent Mayne.

And, nope, no Randy Johnson deal. As of now, the members of the rotation appear to be Odalis Perez, Kazuhisa Ishii, Jeff Weaver, Brad Penny and Jose Lima.

It seems that the team is looking away from speed and scrappiness now, and gambling on the power offense game. Still, the outlook on consistent offense from the primary catcher has plummeted. How does playing new 1B Hee Seop Choi, who’s been touted for his on-base percentage, strengthen the defense? Even 1B-rookie Shawn Green has fewer errors in more games. And by dealing Martin, the team has lost its primary LHP in the bullpen. That leaves LHP Wilson Alvarez. Who will take over for Guillermo Mota? Darren Dreifort? Who will take over for Darren Dreifort? That’s the bigger question.

It’s just still odd that the Dodgers traded away some of its most integral and fan-revered players. I keep reading the same sentiment on various trade reviews: the first-place team has the best record in July: why fix it when it ain’t broke?

The L.A. vs. S.D. game was on the telly last night, and I have to admit, it was probably the hardest Dodgers game I’ve ever watched. Even though they clobbered the hot-on-their-heels Padres 12-3, it was a bittersweet experience, more bitter than sweet. It’s not a good sign when Vin Scully opens up the broadcast by saying he saw "Paul Lo Duca sobbing" and "Guillermo Moto crying." Even if L.A. gets to the playoffs, I’m not sure if I’d be as energized and motivated.

Florida has a three-game series in L.A. in just a couple of weeks. I hope Lo Duca reminds his former management what they lost. And sure, it’s only business, right? So it’s still very possible that he’ll be back in L.A. next year or in the future. Depending on how he feels about the ownership at the time.

But it’s still baseball, and as much as this stings, I’m excited about Steve Finley in the outfield and look forward to watching his defense and hope he’ll continue his consistent hitting at Dodger Stadium. I also hope Choi will be a good addition, and anticipate Brad Penny settling in as well. And I’ll look for "Roberts, D" and "Lo Duca, P" and "Martin, T" in the other box scores.

That’s enough of that for now.

On a different note: I find it amusing yet wrong when, after a trade, graphics artists doctor player photos and digitally replace their former hats/uniforms with the uniforms of their new teams — before the players have even gotten their new uniforms, e.g. Nomar Garciaparra on espn.com in a digitally altered image, wearing a Cubs cap and jersey…it’s wrong. There should be a clear disclaimer saying that the image is not a true photo but a graphic illustration.

Posted at 5:59 pm | Filed under Baseball, sports

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