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Dodgers put up a smoke screen with trades

From San Francisco

Given what the Dodgers accomplished at the deadline, it might’ve been more interesting had Major League Baseball allowed owners to be traded away, you know, maybe for a person with money to be named.

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NEWS FLASH: It doesn’t appear to matter who the Choking Dogs acquired, the season looking as if it ended at 3:40 p.m. Saturday, July 31, Jonathan Broxton gagging and giving up a two-run home run, former Dodgers pitcher Guillermo Mota then adding to the embarrassment and retiring the Dogs for a 2-1 win.

That’s four losses in five games in the most important 10-game stretch to date for the Dogs, who have responded to such a challenge by rolling over and playing dead.

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Now back to the nonsensical task of reacting to the day’s trading details as if any of it matters anymore.

It’s hard, of course, to top the excitement that came two years ago with Manny Ramirez’s acquisition from Boston, Dodgers fans now expected to believe the addition of two Cubs, a Pirate and Royal will turn this team into playoff contenders.

The former Royal is the only one to play to date for the Dogs, and he has fit right in, going one for 11. Bow wow.

As blockbuster moves go, the Dodgers didn’t make any, adding a fifth starter, a second baseman probably no better than the one they had to give up and a pitcher who has more blown saves this season than Broxton.

In truth, Ramirez might have been the only one to advance his cause at this year’s deadline with the unbelievable, shocking report/rumor that “multiple teams” expressed an interest in him.

Hard to believe there would be any market for someone on the disabled list, no guarantee when he might return, a shell of the power hitter he was before coming off the female fertility drugs and no longer interested in making nice with anyone other than Ronnie Belliard.

Let’s see how many teams go after Manny when they discover they also have to sign Belliard.

GM Ned Colletti said one team, which turned out to be the White Sox, called and made a ridiculous offer for Ramirez, offering no players in return and asking the Dodgers to pay most of Ramirez’s remaining salary.

It sounds fishy, someone in baseball thinking the guy who owns the Dogs and needs to borrow money from his brother to make good on spousal support would be willing to pay Ramirez to leave.

When other teams heard the Dogs took the call from Chicago, Colletti said, they started calling. Only a matter of time I would guess before we find out Ramirez’s agent, Scott Boras, was behind the whole thing in a brilliant but artificial scheme to make it appear as if teams will be clamoring for Ramirez next season.

The morning started with Colletti, the former Chicago Cubs PR guy, completing a deal for Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly, who has had the second-lowest run support in baseball this season, supposedly accounting for his 3-8 record.

Wait until the Dogs pitchers tell him what kind of run support he can expect here.

The “price tag” for Lilly, as Manager Joe Torre called it, was Blake DeWitt, as nice a young man as maybe the Dodgers have ever known, willing to fly back and forth countless times from Albuquerque to L.A. last season, each time telling Torre, “sounds good.”

“Just a special kid,” Torre said after most of DeWitt’s teammates lined up to wish him well.

In DeWitt’s place the Dodgers added Ryan Theriot, who wore No. 2 in Chicago and will have to settle for meeting Tom Lasorda in L.A., while pulling on jersey No. 13. It might explain why the Dodgers ran out of luck against the Giants soon after picking up Theriot.

Hard to believe the Pirates had any major leaguers on their roster, but Colletti seemed to think he found one in Octavio Dotel, who had a 4.38 earned-run average as a closer. In the Dodgers’ bullpen, that makes him Cy Young.

The Cubs agreed to send $2.5 million to the Dogs’ divorce fund, and the Pirates contributed $500,000 since no one expects the Dogs to pay all by themselves the players they acquire.

The Dogs already know the trading deadline can make a difference, Ramirez making the team relevant again, Steve Finley joining the team July 31, 2004, and powering them into the playoffs for the first time since 1996.

But who makes that kind of difference in the deals just completed? Not the guy who pitches every five days, or his teammate, who hit one home run in the friendly Chicago confines.

And probably not the reliever, unless he suddenly pitches like Eric Gagne, and as we know now, that takes something a little extra special delivered in a syringe.

As for the former Royal, Scott Podsednik, he’s already isolated himself from everyone in the clubhouse, which eliminates his teammates from feeding off his energy — if he has any.

It looks as if the Dogs are going to have to dig deep on their own now, guys like Matt Kemp, Russell Martin, Casey Blake and Rafael Furcal getting it done, and then hoping Torre doesn’t have to call on Broxton.

“All we are doing is digging ourselves a deeper hole,” Torre said after the latest collapse. “Sorry, wish I had something for you.”

In so many ways, that’s these Dodgers for you this season.

TODAY’S LAST word comes in e-mail from Rob MacKnight:

“T.J., men in our age bracket actually need steroids and HGH, so thanks for coming out of the closet in San Francisco. If you insist on being juiced, I recommend pomegranate.”

I’ll check with Manny to see what he says.

t.j.simers@latimes.com


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