Dodgers have no moves as Angels shake it up
My first thought, of course, after hearing the Angels had traded for Mark Teixeira, was how are the Dodgers going to beat them now in the World Series?
As the day went on, though, it looked like our editors were going to face a much stiffer challenge.
Do you play up the L.A. Angels’ acquisition of Teixeira as the top sports story of the day, John Lackey’s no-hitter in Fenway or the Dodgers’ gutty bid to reach .500?
But then the Red Sox got a hit, the editors’ decision still a very tough one -- knowing it doesn’t get much bigger in the entertainment capital than Jason Johnson pitching for the Dodgers.
While L.A.'s best team, the Angels, was making its trade announcement, I wondered what the Dodgers brass was doing to improve Echo Park’s best team.
That’s when I spotted Kim Ng, the Dodgers VP and assistant general manager, walking through the clubhouse with an authentic Golf Ball Water Globe, you know, where you try to get a golf ball floating in water to land on a tee.
I figured she was looking for Ned Colletti -- his turn to try to get the ball to settle on the tee -- but when I asked him later how he did, he played dumb. He does that very well, you know.
Colletti said the Dodgers really don’t need to do anything to improve because they have so many good young players, which explains why the team has almost won as many games as it has lost.
Manager Joe Torre said, “We never had any interest in Teixeira.”
Matt Kemp said, “We’re still going to win the World Series,” Jason Schmidt pitching Game 7, Andruw Jones getting the game-winning hit and the Parking Lot Attendant charging fans $20 each for the victory parade.
The joke, of course, is on Dodgers fans who continue to believe management’s promise of better times ahead.
“All of baseball should take notice, not just the Red Sox and Yankees,” said Derek Lowe. “The Angels have taken the biggest step forward, and should get credit for taking that step. You have to give up good people to get good people, and it’s very impressive what they have done.”
And what about the Dodgers?
“I’ve got to go hit,” Lowe said.
Shouldn’t the Dodgers be making the kind of move the Angels made -- the Angels already in the playoffs, but the Dodgers still fighting to get there?
“I’ve got to go hit,” Lowe said.
The Dodgers are a joke, all right, lapped by the L.A. Angels and left behind as baseball’s version of the Clippers -- the Clippers understandably upset with such a comparison after piling up 10 more playoff wins than the Dodgers the last 20 years.
The Angels are 26 games over .500, the best team in baseball and yet making a move to get better. They traded a quality first baseman in Casey Kotchman and a minor league prospect to maybe win a World Series.
You the man, Arte Moreno, most fans in Southern California already figuring, based on experience, that Moreno will make a serious run now to sign Teixeira to a long-term deal.
Vladimir Guerrero suddenly becomes available a few years back, and who goes beyond his budget?
The Dodgers have a chance to make the playoffs too, competing against opponents a combined 47 games below .500, making a good acquisition possibly a difference-maker.
But word here is they were on the brink of picking up shortstop Orlando Cabrera, only to think twice when someone mentioned Mike Scioscia would never let a good player get away. The Angels now the Dodgers’ role models, and isn’t that a good one.
The Dodgers had the same chance, though, as the Angels a few weeks back, but passed on Atlanta’s asking price for Teixeira of James Loney and a prospect.
“We believe in Loney,” Colletti said.
The Dodgers have been telling fans for years they believe in their young players, Blake DeWitt and Andy LaRoche working hard now to make Las Vegas one of the best minor league teams in the business.
The Dodgers maintain it’s only a matter of time before their kids mature, but in the meantime, they will have to find a replacement for free-agent shortstop Rafael Furcal, retiring second baseman Jeff Kent, the two-month rental at third base in Casey Blake and Lowe, a free agent at season’s end.
Takashi Saito’s arm is about to fall off, Juan Pierre never had an arm and Jones is sitting on the bench.
The Angels might be going to the World Series, but the Dodgers appear headed back to the drawing board.
“The Angels are in a different place in time,” Colletti said. “As for what we’re doing, I’d do it all over again.”
Holy Esteban Loaiza.
T.J. Simers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read previous columns by Simers, go to latimes.com/simers.