Moving to fill another hole with a familiar face, Dodger General Manager Kevin Malone reacquired center fielder and leadoff batter Tom Goodwin from the Colorado Rockies for outfielder Todd Hollandsworth and two minor leaguers before Monday’s non-waiver trading deadline.
Malone brought back another former Dodger only five days after reacquiring pitcher Ismael Valdes from the Chicago Cubs, sending Hollandsworth, triple-A outfielder Kevin Gibbs and double-A left-hander Randy Dorame to the Rockies for Goodwin and $300,000.
The move reunites Goodwin, 32, the club’s 1989 first-round draft pick, with former teammates Eric Karros and Dave Hansen, whom he played with in the minor leagues and parts of three seasons with the Dodgers before being released after the 1993 season. Goodwin, who also has played with the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers, is under contract through 2003.
Goodwin, with the Rockies in Chicago, will join the Dodgers today before a doubleheader against the Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium. The left-handed batter is optimistic about an unexpected homecoming.
“I’m surprised, but this is the way it goes,” said Goodwin, who will wear No. 28 with the Dodgers because 24, the number he prefers, was worn by former manager Walter Alston and has been retired.
“I always kind of thought I would end my career with the Dodgers. When I signed [with Colorado], I thought that was over.”
Goodwin is second in the major leagues with 39 stolen bases, and has been caught only seven times. In 91 games with the Rockies, Goodwin batted .271 with a .368 on-base percentage, five home runs, 65 runs and 47 runs batted in.
However, Goodwin has been slowed because of hip injuries and slumped in July, batting .123. As a leadoff hitter, he batted .281 with a .373 on-base percentage.
He also is hitting only .208 away from Coors Field this season.
“He’s a good player and excellent defensive outfielder,” Karros said. “He gets the ball as good as anyone can and steals bases.
“He has slowed down a little because of injuries, but he had a really big first half of the year. Hopefully, he’s ready to turn it up again.”
Hollandsworth, who can become a free agent after the season, left the visitors’ clubhouse to travel to Chicago without speaking to reporters. The 1996 National League rookie of the year had been uncomfortable batting leadoff, and the Dodgers did not plan to re-sign him.
The Valdes and Goodwin deals increase the heat under Manager Davey Johnson.
Malone addressed Johnson’s biggest concerns despite prospect constraints and a payroll that has ballooned to more than $98 million, based on the formula the industry uses. Chairman Bob Daly believed the Dodgers were talented enough to win the NL West before Malone began working the phones, and Daly will be watching even more closely the next two months.
“We had enough to win the division before Kevin made these trades, and what he accomplished only makes us better,” Daly said. “I learned a long time ago that when you’re close to the finish line, you don’t sit back and do nothing.”
Malone made the three-for-one deal because the Dodgers had eagerly sought a leadoff batter since trading second baseman Eric Young to the Cubs with Valdes in December, and Hollandsworth disappointed in his audition. Team officials also believe 14-year veteran Devon White, who had platooned with Hollandsworth in center and atop the order, might be more productive as a fourth outfielder at this stage of his career.
The seven-time Gold Glove award winner still considers himself an everyday player, but said he won’t rock the boat.
“If it’s a good situation for the team that Goodwin comes over here and gets us over the hump, then I’m along for the ride,” said White, under contract next season at $5 million. “My ego is not that big to say I can’t be a fourth outfielder.
“It would be respectful for them [management] to tell me what my job is, and no one has done that yet. But when you get paid as much as we do, you just have to accept your role and do your job. You can’t complain.”
Gibbs, 26, has been injured much of the last three seasons and wasn’t in the Dodgers’ plans. However, scouts from other organizations consider Dorame the club’s top left-handed pitching prospect.
Dorame, 23, was 14-3 with a 2.51 earned-run average last season at Class-A San Bernardino and was the California League pitcher of the year. He was 3-4 with a 3.86 ERA for San Antonio this season after starting at Class-A Vero Beach and going 7-1 with a 2.21 ERA.
“I spent the weekend on the phone with our player-personnel people, and we’re comfortable with what we gave up,” Malone said. “We feel we needed to do this to strengthen ourselves.”
Baseball sources said Sunday that Malone and Colorado General Manager Dan O’Dowd had reached an impasse because O’Dowd insisted on receiving either 1999 first-round pick Jason Repko or right-hander Mike Judd in a multiplayer package, but O’Dowd’s price dropped as the deadline approached. Had talks collapsed, the Dodgers would have sent White to the Milwaukee Brewers for outfielder Marquis Grissom.
The Dodgers intended to pursue a free-agent center fielder after the season because of concerns about White and a prospect-thin farm system, but they said that plan has been shelved because Goodwin is signed through the 2002 season at $3.25 million a season. The club holds a $3.5=million option for 2003, or a $500,000 buyout.
In addition, Goodwin each season will receive four round-trip first-class airline tickets for family members to fly from his home in Dallas to Los Angeles. The cash the Rockies sent the Dodgers will help pay the rest of Goodwin’s salary this season.
“This helps us now and in the future,” Malone said. “We now have someone who can get on base and make things happen in front of the middle of our lineup, and also can help us manufacture some runs, which is something we really haven’t done.”
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)
A look at Tom Goodwin (above)--the Dodgers’ new leadoff batter acquired from Colorado:
NL STOLEN BASE LEADERS
Luis Castillo, Fla.: 45
Eric Young, Chicago: 34
NL STOLEN BASE % LEADERS
1. Brian Hunter, Colorado: 87.5% (14/16)
2. Cliff Floyd, Florida: 86.4% (19/22)
2. Pokey Reese, Cincinnati: 86.4% (19/22)
4. Craig Biggio, Houston: 85.7% (12/14)
5. Goodwin: 84.8% (39/46)
Batting Avg. OB% Steals Goodwin: .281 .373 39 Dodgers: .242 .317 13 *MLB: .273 .346 35
* Through Sunday
Players obtained Monday before the trade deadline by teams contending for division titles or wild-card berths:
OF Tim Goodwin
OF B.J. Surhoff
1B Will Clark
C Carlos Hernandez
OF Al Martin
P Steve Trachsel
P Mark Guthrie
OF Henry Rodriguez
Team-by-team acquisitions since June 29: Page 6
Monday’s complete trade list: Page 8