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Monday, May 26, 2008

Pickoff Moves

Hey, Simers, Remember "Google Boy"?

T.J. Simers, who, along with chronic Times dimbulb columnist Bill Plaschke, amount to the biggest plague on Los Angeles sportswriting imaginable, is starting to realize that Ned Colletti's hiring was a scam designed to elicit happy remarks from the clueless media goon squad who can't discern from real talent. In Simers' Jan. 4, 2005 column "DePodesta's Computer Must Have a Bad Virus", he baldly criticized the trade that brought Dioner Navarro to the Dodgers. DePodesta brought in Navarro in the salary dump trade that sent a declining Shawn Green to the Diamondbacks; in exchange, the Dodgers nabbed the former number one prospect in an admittedly thin Yankees farm system. After a year and a half of unimpressive offensive numbers and at times poor defensive play, Colletti shipped him to the Devil Rays with starter Jae Wong Seo (no longer pitching at the major league level), for reserve catcher Toby Hall and mediocre-at-best starter Mark Hendrickson. Hall is a reserve catcher for the White Sox now, and Hendrickson toils in the Florida rotation, and oddly leads their staff with a 7-2 record. That's not the problem; it's that Navarro was only 22 at the time Ned gave him the heave-ho.

After a year and a half of scuffling, Navarro is now posting a small-sample-sized .355/.395/.449 line, but even that's not really the tragedy: along the way, the Dodgers have had to sign a series of aging veteran backups to Russell Martin, whether it's Mike Lieberthal or Gary Bennett. Maybe there's an argument in there that Navarro wouldn't be as good as he is today without all those at-bats, but one thing is certain, and that's he's a heck of a lot cheaper than the sum of both of their contracts, at least through this year. Who knows, maybe he could even throw the ball to first base without airmailing it into right field, too.

Oh, yeah, and as for Green? He retired from baseball this year after posting good-for-a-reserve numbers with Arizona and New York.

There were other gripes in there, of course:

Paul Lo Duca cried when he heard he could no longer play for his beloved Dodgers. Throw in team cheerleader Jose Lima, hero and all- time good guy Steve Finley, a home-reared Adrian Beltre, team players Alex Cora and Dave Roberts, and you've got one Hee-Seop Choi on your hands.
Wow, talk about a list: Jon summarized the DePo era back in 2005, and while it's obviously still early to be talking about the work-in-progress Colletti era, it's clear that, with a couple of exceptions (the Dave Roberts trade in particular was one DePodesta regretted, from what I can remember, but I don't have a cite for that), Colletti is much more haphazard in his dealings. I here quote Eric Enders (228) from a recent DT thread:
... it frustrates me to see the Dodgers being run as if it the team were a a donkey pinned to the wall and Colletti was a blindfolded four-year-old.
We got that four-year-old thanks to Simers and Plaschke. They'll get their column-inches out of it; what Dodger fans will get out of their team is another matter altogether.

CG Loss, Lackey: White Sox 3, Angels 2

Lackey pitched brilliantly, but Jose Contreras was even better, striking out ten with a forkball he commanded for strikes all night long against a weak Angels lineup that only got three hits all night. One of those was a Gary Matthews, Jr. two-run homer, the only scoring the Angels did all night; the Angels only got one baserunner as far as third the rest of the game, Garret Anderson in the seventh on a wild pitch. Lackey, to his immense credit, had thrown a very efficient 82 pitches by the end of the game, but somebody had to lose; it was, in fact, the first time Lackey has given up a game-losing walkoff homer in his career. Sorry 'bout the run support, pal.

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