They send away All Star catcher and leading clubhouse quotemonger Paul Lo Duca, intimidating reliever Guillermo Mota and starting rightfielder Juan Encarnacion to get starter Brad Penny and first baseman Hee Seop Choi from the Marlins. The Times says it's prelude to the acquisition of Randy Johnson, the 40-year-old, $16 million a year Arizona ace, and almost-40 outfielder Steve Finley, for whom the Dodgers would give up Penny, young pitcher Edwin Jackson and outfielder Jay Werth. In other words, the first-place Dodgers have blown up the lineup and bullpen to add some pretty good but old guys, and they still have to pony up something to get a catcher, apparently Charles Johnson from Colorado. ESPN's Buster Olney calls it a great trade for the Marlins, but he's skeptical about the Dodgers end:
L.A. effectively broke up what was the heart of the team...Lo Duca was the heart and soul of the club, a guy who always played hard. Penny upgrades the rotation, if he stays in L.A., and his postseason experience will help, but he is not a dominant pitcher...part of the reason the Marlins needed to make this trade was because rallies tended to die with Choi...
Conclusion: Strange. They've messed with success.
The Dodgers were turning into a lovable, plucky team that found ways to win. Now, we'll see. And I assume Beltre is still free to walk at the end of the season. Blog reactions: Dodger Thoughts, John's Dodger Blog, and a series of thoughtful posts from Robert Tagorda arguing that the deals are very good for the Dodgers. That seems to be the consensus of the Dodger fan bloggers: major improvement.
* Saturday update: Dodgers don't get either Johnson but still get way older, acquiring Finley and Mayne and dishing off Dave Roberts for a minor leaguer.