JC's LA View: Desperate Dodger Deals Dare Disaster
Striker: Surely you can't be serious.
Rumack: I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.
One couldn’t be surprised if Dodgers manager Joe Torre slipped into the role of Ted Striker from the movie “Airplane!” when talking to L.A.’s GM Ned Colletti's version of Dr. Rumack after hearing of the deals Colletti orchestrated at the trade deadline.
Meanwhile, the reaction from Dodger fans trend towards language with a much higher concentration of salt and vinegar.
Colletti landed Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot from the Cubs, along with Octavio Dotel from the Pirates on the final day of non-waiver trades. A few days earlier, Scott Podsednik was acquired from the Royals.
The price tag for this collection of spare parts is even more staggering than the stench from a sack of month-old fish left to putrefy in the summer sun.
Blake DeWitt is a young left handed hitting infielder who plays with intelligence, grit, and desire. Thus, he obviously doesn’t fit in with the rest of the squad, necessitating his dispatch to Chicago.
Starting rotation anchor Clayton “Chinstrap” Kershaw—don’t call him an ace, as this year’s collection of Dodger starters clearly lacks one—summed up the deal best, “Honestly, it sucks.”
Now, Los Angeles can boast three right-handed hitting second basemen, killing off the logic of a platoon. They also got older, given Theriot is DeWitt’s senior by six years.
Two minor league pitchers were also sacrificed: Kyle Smit, a No. 5 pick in 2006, and 2009’s No. 3 pick Brett Wallach.
Given the Dodgers are not expected to keep Lilly after this season, and the specter of short-sighted frugality most likely will have them not offering arbitration, thus losing the chance to receive compensatory picks, this deal has to be seen as an act of desperation by Colletti.
Once can only guess if he was acting on orders from above to give the appearance of activity to sandbag fans into believing all that could be done to make the postseason is actually taking place.
The fear is all this sound and fury will end up signifying nothing, given the team’s lackluster attitude in conjunction with the confidence and upgrades coming from San Diego make achieving a playoff spot more and more unlikely.
Then, just before the deadline hit, Colletti shipped the talented but under-performing James McDonald along with drug tarnished former top minor league outfielder Andrew Lambo to Pittsburgh for Dotel, a reliever who drags his 4.50 ERA into the Dodger bullpen.
Granted, it is enough to make serial arsonist George Sherrill green with envy, but this deal should have cost one or the other, not both prospects.
Still, the transaction that really has me spitting bullets took place on July 28, when top minor league catching prospect Lucas May was sent packing, along with Class-A pitcher Elisaul Pimentel, for Scott Podsednik.
May was a Triple-A All-Star catcher this season, and just represented the organization in the Futures Game. Converted from shortstop, May is a line drive-type hitter whose defensive abilities continue to improve, and was the best catcher in the Dodger minor league system.
Colletti dealt Carlos Santana, considered the top catching prospect in the organization in 2008, for Casey Blake. Now A.J. Ellis, who has shown himself to be backup quality at best, has the mantle thrust upon him by default, leaving the organization with a gaping hole to fill.
Considering the nosedive Russell Martin’s career path has taken, this deficiency becomes even more pronounced.
Podsednik, who can be considered the poor man’s Juan Pierre, gives the team just about the same skill set in a fourth outfielder as last season. However, Torre has pushed Rafael Furcal out of his preferred lead off spot to make room for Podesdnik.
One can’t believe this will please Furcal, who has been the most consistent position player the Blue Crew has fielded this season, in spite of the family tragedy he experienced a little more than a month ago.
If Xavier Paul had taken advantage of the opportunity that came his way when Manny Ramirez suffered his leg injuries, this deal would not have been necessary. The same could be said if Garrett Anderson hadn’t needed binoculars to look up at the Mendoza line.
Hopefully Los Angeles will allow Anderson to ride off into the sunset when either Manny or Reed Johnson finally return from the disabled list.
Coming off a sweep at the hands of the cursed Giants, there is scant positive news Dodger fans can look forward to. The offseason, currently scheduled to begin while October is still in single digits, does not hold much hope either, considering the legal wrangling for control of the franchise will most likely not be concluded.
Whichever side emerges victorious, loyal Dodger fans have to seriously question the ability of either of the McCourt's to provide the cash infusion needed to upgrade the roster back to one that is a serious World Series contender.
Woe to the republic.
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