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The Quiet Month
2004-11-29 05:41
by Jon Weisman

Back to work. Hi everyone.

My favorite month of the year - the month where the air turns crisp and the worst of the smog goes into hibernation - is about to end. It's literally a month where I breathe happier and easier.

I couldn't help but notice, however, that several of last week's reader comments indicated impatience, if not outright fear, that the Dodgers choked on November and have waited too long to make improvements for 2005.

Call this my November palliative. Here are the significant baseball transactions from November 2003:

  • November 3: Philadelphia gets Billy Wagner from Houston in Brandon Duckworth trade
  • November 14: San Francisco gets A.J. Pierzynski from Minnesota in Joe Nathan trade
  • November 18: Toronto gets Ted Lilly from Oakland in Bobby Kielty trade
  • November 19: Seattle signs free agent Raul Ibanez
  • November 20: Los Angeles claims Duaner Sanchez on waivers
  • November 25: Chicago Cubs get Derek Lee from Florida in Hee Seop Choi trade
  • November 26: Oakland gets Mark Kotsay from San Diego in Ramon Hernandez/Terrence Long trade
  • November 28: Boston gets Curt Schilling from Arizona in Casey Fossum (!) trade

    One year ago yesterday, the Red Sox made a trade that may have won them this season's World Series. Of course, Boston would make several more moves in the ensuing year, but certainly trading one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball for one of the best helped.

    Beyond that, there were very few moves that mattered. Some teams improved, even fleecing other teams, but none made a real difference. Note the playoff teams on the list:

  • Houston, which from a talent perspective lost the Wagner trade
  • Minnesota, which got a closer in exchange for a starting catcher
  • Los Angeles, which made a waiver pickup that in terms of net gain might have been as valuable as any November 2003 transaction outside of The Hub

    This November has been no different, with only one potentially noteworthy transaction - unless names like Omar Vizquel, Christian Guzman or the Washington Exponationals cause you arrhythmia - taking place in the past four weeks: Jason Kendall to the A's.

    Like former Dodger general manager Dan Evans in 2003, Paul DePodesta spent the quiet month poking and prodding the meat market but otherwise shopping in the minor league and fringe produce section, plucking a number of candidates for the back end of the Dodger roster. And as anyone can see, the post-Thanksgiving leftovers on this year's free agent menu, let alone on the trade menu, are bigger than the meal itself.

    So don't worry. The Hot Stove hasn't cooled yet. There's a crisp snap to the air for most of the winter.

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