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Backed Out

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Phew! That was close.What for a second looked like the worst trade in Dodger history became absolutely nothing, as the Dodgers backed out of widely reported trade that would have brought Randy Johnson to the New York Yankees.

While LAist has always been supportive of Moneyball GM Paul DePodesta, we're not sure what he was thinking here. Javy Vazquez is probably better than he showed in the second half this past season, but he's not an enormous step up from Brad Penny. With Adrian Beltre gone, the Dodgers can't really afford to sacrifice too much more offense in Shawn Green. Plus, his big contract expires after this season, so it shouldn't be a big deal to just hold onto him.

LAist has no idea why the Dodgers would ever just give up a rising young setup man in Yhencey Brazoban to a division rival so the Yankees could acquire Randy Johnson. It made no sense. Even if the mediocre Mike Koplove was coming back in return. While the two Yankee prospects in the deal are supposedly pretty good, we've seen enough to know not always believe New York-hyped minor leaguers. Were the Dodgers seriously planning to start Dioner Navarro?

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Even if the rumored follow-up moves had gone through, LAist is still mystified. We can't figure out why the White Sox would ever go along with a Paul Konerko, John Garland, and Damaso Marte for Javy Vazquez deal. We also aren't sure why the Dodgers would consider signing JD Drew--a religious fanatic who has only had one borderline exceptional year--at the same amount of money they offered a unique third baseman in Adrian Beltre.

What's more is in that scenario, the Dodgers pitching rotation would have been Jeff Weaver, Wilson Alvarez, Edwin Jackson, Elmer Dessens, and Garland. That sounds like one of the worst Dodger rotations ever. While DePodesta may feel like the Dodgers park effect makes all pitchers good in Blue, he might want to wait on testing that theory until after stadium renovations are complete.

Frank McCourt desperately needs money, and he's willing to tinker with Dodger Stadium's pitcher's park advantage to acquire it. McCourt plans to build exclusive seats down the lines, reducing the stadium's foul ground. The ball still should carry poorly in Chavez Ravine, but the reduced foul ground is not welcome news to Dodger pitchers.

So now that DePodesta is rumored to have GMs less inclined to deal with him after he backed the Dodgers out of this deal, the Dodgers must fill multiple holes in a time where there are fewer options to fill them.

There is no way LA can get by with David Ross catching next year. And Hee Seop Choi at first is a dicey situation. New third baseman Jose Valentin might see his power numbers decline dramatically at Dodger Stadium, which is unfortunate considering all the .216 hitter can do is hit for power. Milton Bradley is a great player who remains a head case. Jayson Werth's health is still an issue. Odalis Perez appears to be on the way out, increasing the urgency for the Dodgers to find a top-flight starting pitcher.

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We do know one thing... that Jeff Kent will play second base now that Alex Cora is a free agent. The Dodgers really need to get cracking, because this is shaping up to be a horrible offseason. It's so bad that ESPN's Tim Kurkjian is calling the Dodgers "desperate."

In the meantime, the Angels improved their team by signing Orlando Cabrera. While the Angels probably overpaid to get him, Arte Moreno is committed to spending that kind of money. Angel fans may miss David Eckstein, but Cabrera really is much better.