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Odalis on the Block
2003-07-11 08:42
by Jon Weisman

The Dodgers continue to test-offer Odalis Perez in trade for a slugger. Perez has been apparently been offered to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for star outfielder Brian Giles, the Times reports today.

The Pirates, who are only 6 1/2 games out of first place in the strangely weak National League Central Division, are holding out for the Dodgers to add two top pitching prospects, Edwin Jackson and Greg Miller.

The pros and cons of a trade like this are well-trod in this space - is the present so promising that the future should be plundered? Are you into deficit spending?

I will say this - Giles would be under contract at a reasonable value through 2005 - this is no rent-a-player boondoggle. And with Perez's injury history and somewhat inconsistent performance in 2003, there is reason to wonder whether he will perform as well as Giles over the next 2 1/2 years.

In the Long Beach Press Telegram, Bob Keisser takes an unusual position for a newspaper columnist covering the Dodgers in midseason. He actually says that it's time for the Dodgers to rebuild.

Keisser expands on a longtime belief of mine: not only that the Dodgers need to rebuild at some point, but that Dodger fans will accept a rebuilding plan if it's laid out for them. They will accept any direction as long as there's some direction - it's the annual misdirection that is so frustrating. Writes Keisser:

Dodgers fans get blasted for a variety of things, but they're not stupid. They're booing because they know a team with postseason ability when they see one, and they don't see one. In a way, management is almost mocking Dodger fans with this charade. A fan will tolerate a lineup featuring names like Kinkade, Coomer, Ward and Cabrera if they know it's a step on the road back, but not when someone is selling it as a contender for October.
The Dodgers need to get their timing together. Can they envision replacing the youth and reasonable salary of Perez in the starting rotation, or will they be simply be exchanging one problem for another, creating a big hole in an aging rotation that they don't have the prospects to fill?

My sense is that the Dodgers will not become a World Series team unless, at least one time, they make decisions that prioritize "next season" over "this season." Brian Giles is a great player, but with the current talent level on this team, I don't know that he can put the Dodgers over the top. And though he may continue to be productive in coming years, he's going to need a supporting cast.

If you subtract Perez from the Dodger starting rotation, it has no current member whom you can project contributing in 2005. Ashby and Alvarez - no way. Brown - dubious with his age and recent injuries. Nomo - great now, but as great as he's ever going to be; all downhill from here. That means you might need to come up with as many as five new starting pitchers in the next 20 months. And you're talking about trading away three candidates in Perez, Jackson and Miller.

I'm not sure it's worth it. I'd like to get Giles, but I think I'd need to hold out for a lower price.

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