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Farewell to Shawn Green
2005-01-10
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

At different times, Shawn Green could be great, he could be good, he could be tolerable, he could be frustrating, and he could be a downright nuisance.

If you're completely at ease with Green's departure, you're probably not valuing what he could have contributed below the cleanup spot this season for the Dodgers. If you can find no consolation at saying farewell, you're ignoring Green's declining speed with the bat, on the basepaths and in the field, and the probability of recurring shoulder problems reducing his effectiveness, despite his improvement as 2004 went on.

Six million Dodger dollars that would have gone to Green in 2005 will now go elsewhere in the Dodger organization. Ten million Dodger dollars will continue to find Green's pocket - but in exchange, the Dodgers will acquire four minor leaguers:

  • Dioner Navarro, just shy of 21 years old, at worst a likely backup catcher in 2006, but potentially a front-line starter.

  • William Juarez, a possible late-blooming right-handed pitcher.

  • Dan Muegge, a right-handed pitcher of middling credentials - a 3.12 ERA in A ball last year, but at age 23.

  • Beltran Perez, who as a 19-year-old in 2001 had a better season in A ball than Muegge did last year, but who has remained at AA since, posting adequate but unimpressive numbers even accounting for the hitters' parks in the Texas League, and doing most of his 2004 work in the bullpen.

    This haul of minor leaguers could be great, could be good, could be tolerable, could be frustrating, and could be a downright nuisance.

    With all this in mind, how can you not be stoic about parting ways with the most stoic of ballplayers, a fellow who you hardly ever saw smile or complain (not that he didn't do both off camera), whose ecstatic, leaping rush to greet Steve Finley at home plate following the division-winning grand slam in 2004 was a revelation along the lines of seeing your head-in-a-beaker science teacher belt out a karaoke "Dancing Queen"?

    Green was the guy who hit four homers in a game and didn't stop hitting them out for days after, and who hit 42 homers the season after Gary Sheffield was traded. Green was the guy who pulled one weak grounder after another in a style reminiscent of Chuck Knox's flairless Los Angeles Ram offenses of the 1970s.

    Green never got enough credit and always got too much.

    So now we look at this trade of Green to Arizona, once again being given clearance for landing after circling the completion runway in this rainy winter enough times to make everyone's stomachs heave, and we're faced with the following. The trade will be great, it will be good, it will be tolerable, it will be frustrating, and it will be a downright nuisance.

    Beyond that, no matter what happens this season, Shawn Green will be more beloved by Dodger fans in a Diamondbacks uniform than he would have been in a Dodger uniform.

    I wish Shawn the best of luck, and I wish the Dodgers the best of luck.

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