Brad Penny might’ve looked awesome in the first inning last night against the AL’s best, but if you ask Bill “Computers-R-Gay” Plaschke of the LA Times, the Dodgers would’ve been better off had the pitcher never been acquired.
Two seasons after joining the Dodgers in one of the most controversial trades in club history, Brad Penny was the starting pitcher for the National League All-Star team.
And the truth is, the trade still stinks.
Stunk then. Stinks now. Smells forever.
On this muggy night in Pittsburgh, you see, the truth was not only on the mound.
The truth was also behind the plate, in the presence of catcher Paul Lo Duca, whose leadership the trade eliminated.
The truth was also in the bullpen, in the absence of Eric Gagne, whose career the trade may have ruined.
And the truth is in the standings, the Dodgers requiring a giant effort simply to reach mediocrity in a division where, two years ago, the stage was set for dominance.
The trade cleared that stage. It cost the Dodgers a manager, a general manager, and perhaps three years of legitimate championship contention.
No amount of thick-bearded, high-socked, All-Star revisionist history can change that.
“Our thinking about the trade today is the same as our thinking back then,” said Kim Ng, Dodgers assistant general manager.
What on Earth were they thinking?
They had smart hitting, decent starting pitching, clubhouse energy, and an unbeatable bullpen.
But Paul DePodesta had a better idea.
Guillermo Mota, Juan Encarnacion and Lo Duca were suddenly, stunningly shipped to Florida for Penny, Hee-Seop Choi and Bill Murphy.
The news infuriated the coaching staff, stunned the clubhouse, staggered the unshakeable.
Mota was the set-up reliever who had become Gagne’s most important support system. Lo Duca was the brains of the pitching staff.
Both men, gone, and for what?
For a pitcher with a history of nagging arm problems, that’s what.
The New York Daily News’ Bill Madden claims that Pat Burrell and Bobby Abreu are most definetly on the trading block, and the Yankees have already turned down a request for Philip Hughes for Abreu. Madden also quotes Scott Kazmir as promising he holds no grudge against the Mets, reasoning, “they did me a favor. If I wasn’t a Devil Ray I might still be in the minor leagues.” Yeah, the Mets would’ve sooner given Jeremi Gonzalez and Jose Lima multiple starts rather than opt for a young-star-in-the-making.
On second thought, he’s right.
Carlos Zambrano didn’t feature in last night’s Midsummer Bummer after being struck by Joey Cora’s fungo bat. MLB.com reports that Bronson Arroyo was used in what would’ve been Zambrano’s spot last night, despite “having celebrated too hard upon his arrival in Pittsburgh.” Having witnessed Death Wish’s cover of Oasis’ “Wonderwall” last night, here’s hoping he celebrates even harder in the future and renders himself comatose.