Dodgers: Breath on the Mirror

Put away your shovels, for God's sake, the corpse just twitched!

They aren't exactly A-Rod-for-Soriano-type deals, but the Dodgers have made two small trades this week that signal the DePodesta era has begun. The DePodestification of the Dodgers, if you will.

Yesterday they traded cash (Dave Cash? Norm Cash? Pat Cash? No, just cash) to the A's for Jason Grabowski, a 27-year-old former Rule V'er who has had all of 14 major league at-bats and some success in the minors. But when I hear "27 years old" and "14 major league at bats" in the same sentence, I think "Damon Minor." Today they traded a minor league pitcher not named Jackson or Miller or Hanrahan to the Blue Jays for C/OF Jayson Werth, who's younger (24) and hasn't shown much at the upper levels (AAA and MLB) except for a decent .800 OPS season at AAA in 2002.

Notice any similarities? DePodesta is trading with his old comrades. Not surprising, given how much Billy Beane and JP Ricciardi have traded in the short time Ricciardi's been running the Jays. Interesting also that the three guys are far-flung enough from each other (NL West, AL East, AL West) that they don't have to worry too much about strengthening a direct opponent. Might be different if (when?) Grady Fuson becomes GM of the Rangers. Will Beane be as eager to trade with a division rival?

I think every Giants fan is waiting with trepidation for DePodesta to pull the trigger on a blockbuster that boosts the Dodgers' anemic offense without depleting its rich pitching staff.... Did I say "rich pitching staff"? One of the more underreported stories this spring is how that Dodgers staff isn't looking so hot: Quantrill gone, Brown gone, Nomo topping out in the mid-80s as if he's injured, Weaver looking Weaverish, not to mention Weaveresque, Edwin Jackson de-earning a demotion back to the minors. Wilson Alvarez probably still has that weird spitting tic -- a quick small spray every four or five seconds that completely negates any pitching worth he brings to the team -- and worst of all, they're talking about Jose Lima in the rotation. They still have Gagne and Mota, of course; Shuey and Martin both had great years as set-up men last year, but they're old and injury prone, and you never know what might happen.

So DePodesta really kicks things off with Grabowski and Werth. Maybe DePodesta won't make that blockbuster trade. Maybe he's going the Hatteberg route (or as we say on this side of the bay, "he's utilizing the Tucker strategem") and building depth with cheap mediocrity.


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