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So, the trade becomes P
2003-01-28 12:45
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

So, the trade becomes P Ruddy Lugo and LF Luke Allen for LF Daryle Ward and IF/OF Jason Romano.

Bottom line, IÕd still rather keep the pitcher. But I guess for now, IÕll just wait and see.

Romano, acquired from the Rockies for Allen just after Ward was acquired from the Astros for Lugo, joins Terry Shumpert and Jolbert Cabera in the group of multi-position bench candidates. Romano had a .802 OPS in hitter haven Coors Field, .562 everywhere else. IÕm not impressed, though IÕll grant that Romano is only 23.

Here is great newspaper analysis, courtesy of the TimesÕ Mike DiGiovanna:

The speedy Romano can play center field, second base and shortstop and could be a right-handed complement to center fielder Dave Roberts if Romano improves against left-handed pitching -- he was four for 29 against left-handers last season.

What DiGiovanna doesnÕt provide us is any reason for anyone to think he can make that leap.

Dan Evans told Ken Gurnick at MLB.com that the Dodgers were wowed by Romano in a September series, with "highlight-film defensive plays at two positions."

"That one game confirmed what the scouts said. That he's a terrific prospect," said general manager Dan Evans. "It heightened our awareness of his abilities."

Even if that "one game" is a legitimate reason to acquire a player, one thing the Dodgers already have is sound defense up the middle with Alex Cora, Cesar Izturis and Dave Roberts. What they need is hitting and starting pitching.

Meanwhile, press sources have touted WardÕs acquisition as having down-the-road value Š positioning him as a replacement for Fred McGriff in 2004. Again, IÕd like to see the evidence that he can be that player.

IÕve criticized the DodgersÕ January moves, and in doing so I worry about a rush to judgment. Each day Evans makes a move, IÕm analyzing a roster that is unfinished in his mind. And Dan probably would be better than me at predicting how players will perform in the future. Would I have known a year ago that Dave Roberts would be effective? No, but Dan Evans did. So I do want to cut him some slack.

What scares me, though, is that I do think IÕm hearing some rationalizations for these moves that donÕt hold water. Jason Romano platooning with Dave Roberts? Wilson Alvarez as health insurance?

I feel that there is a fear of not making moves, of going into Spring Training with too little offseason action and too few names that baseball fans have heard of. Outside of the Karros/Grudzielanek/Hundley trade, I donÕt really see any offseason moves that improve the organization. (And even that trade only improved the Dodgers by exchanging two albatrosses for one.)

IÕm not saying there were other moves to be made.

The Dodgers look like an 81-win team, overbudget with limited talent in the minors. Perhaps to the rest of the world, the Dodgers look like a 90-win team, overbudget with limited talent in the minors. In either case, I donÕt think anyone sees them as a potential World Champion Š either of the Yankee or Angel ilk.

So I wonder whether Dan Evans fears going into Spring Training and having the press write, ŅThis team canÕt win it all, and Dan Evans is not doing anything about it.Ó Is he trying to get the angle to be, ŅThis team canÕt win it all, but at least Dan Evans is trying to do something about it?Ó

Luke Allen gets traded only because acquiring Daryle Ward makes him expendable. Daryle Ward is acquired because heÕs started some games, had one stretch where he hit some homers, sat on a major league roster for a couple of years, and because he might be a not-awful first baseman in 2004.

Neither trade does anything to get the Dodgers closer to the World Series. In fact, by adding payroll and subtracting minor league pitching depth, I think it takes the team farther away.

Why Š and I truly mean this Š bother?

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