Jul 25

Kershaw, Jansen shut down Mets, 1-0


Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesKenley Jansen has struck out four of the first six hitters he has faced in the majors.

Old man Kenley Jansen, six months older than Clayton Kershaw but about a dozen or more pitching years younger, struck out two batters in the ninth to preserve a 1-0 victory for Kershaw and the Dodgers over the Mets today.

“It’s just crazy,” said Jansen, who made his pitching debut in the minors last July, on the Prime Ticket postgame interview. “It’s just a dream come true.”

After Kershaw threw eight shutout innings (eight baserunners, three strikeouts), the Dodgers pushed across the only run when a Russell Martin double scored a hustling Casey Blake all the way from first base in the bottom of the eighth. Blake, who had singled, also had a diving catch in the sixth inning to save a hit and likely a run with two out and a runner on second in the top of the sixth.

Allowing Jonathan Broxton to rest after the Dodger closer went two innings Saturday, Jansen needed 15 pitches for his second scoreless inning in as many days. Kershaw said after the game to Prime Ticket that Jansen was the first catcher he threw to in the minor leagues.

“It’s amazing how life changes,” Jansen said. “I’m just having fun and at the same time, focused.”

Jul 25

Kershaw LXXII: Kershawmpty Dumpty

Brad Ausmus will retire at the end of this season, the Dodger catcher told Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

… In Ausmus’ typically understated way, his so-called “announcement” was nothing more than an answer to a reporter’s question. It came immediately after he played in his first game in more than three months, catching the first 12 innings of the 13-inning marathon four days after being activated from the 60-day disabled list.

“This year is it,” Ausmus said.

Ausmus had played in just one previous game this season, on April 8 at Pittsburgh. He went onto the 15-day DL with back soreness two days later and learned shortly thereafter that he would need a surgical procedure that would sideline him for at least three months, leading to questions of why the seldom-used, 41-year-old backup to Russell Martin didn’t just retire immediately instead of going through a grueling rehabilitation process in what everyone assumed would be his final season as a player anyway.

Ausmus’ answer then was the same as it is now.

“I signed a contract,” he reiterated on Saturday. “It was my job to get back on the field and do it as quickly as possible, hopefully without having any setbacks.”

* * *

If Jonathan Broxton had blown the game against the Mets, people would have called it another huge loss on the national stage. But since he overcame early control problems to pitch two shutout innings – striking out the Mets’ best hitter, David Wright, to end the ninth before throwing a perfect 10th – the game became inconsequential (c.f. Saturday, June 26, 2010).

* * *

From the Dodger press notes: “Six Dodger starters have combined to post a 1.38 ERA (8 ER/52.0 IP) and limit opposing hitters to a .211 average (40-for-190). In that span, Dodger starters have 36 strikeouts and only 14 walks. Overall, Dodger starters lead the big leagues with an average of 7.79 strikeouts per 9.0 innings (487 SO/563.0 IP) and rank third in the National League with a .256 opponents’ batting average.”

Jul 24

Loney walks it off in 13th, 3-2


Jeff Gross/Getty ImagesMatt Kemp looks to win the Kendry Who? Award with his takedown of James Loney after Loney’s walkoff homer gave the Dodgers a 3-2 victory over the Mets today in 13 innings. The 21st Dodger used in the game, George Sherrill, pitched a 1-2-3 inning for the victory. Carlos Monasterios pitched five shutout innings. and then after James McDonald disappointed in a two-run sixth, Kenley Jansen’s two-strikeout major-league debut kicked off seven consecutive game-saving scoreless (and hitless) innings of relief for Los Angeles.
Jul 24

Torre concedes error in 6-1 loss

Joe Torre told Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com that he made a mistake Friday having Ronnie Beliiard pinch-hit with two out in the bottom of the seventh for Vicente Padilla, who had allowed one run on 77 pitches through seven innings.

If the Dodgers had been scoring more, Torre wouldn’t have been faced with that choice. But with rare exceptions like Bizarro Tim Lincecum night, the Dodger offense hasn’t been doing much lately, and facing the Mets’ Johan Santana didn’t help.

Jeff Weaver compounded Torre’s ill-fated decision. Weaver, who had walked seven batters in his first 28 games this season (through the end of June) and never more than one in a game, walked the first two batters he faced in the eighth – giving him eight walks in 7 2/3 innings in July.

It all went downhill from there.

* * *

Andre Ethier is in a 1-for-24 slump, though he has walked seven times and homered. His batting average (.302), on-base percentage (.367) are at their lowest marks since the second game of the season.

* * *

John Ely had his Friday start for Albuquerque was postponed. Christopher Jackson of Albuquerque Baseball Examiner said Ely was struck by a batting practice ball.

* * *

Here’s a preview of my brother’s latest producing effort, “Young Justice,” which will premiere on Cartoon Network next year with 26 episodes. I have written two and will be writing two more.

Jul 23

Broxton was illin’

Jonathan Broxton was sent home before Thursday’s game after he ate something that apparently really didn’t agree with him. His availability tonight will be a game-time decision. Kenley Jansen might get the call to close if he makes his major-league debut tonight.

* * *

Josh Fisher provided his services to ESPNLosAngeles.com with some answers to frequently asked questions about the McCourt conflict.

Jul 23

Dodgers recall Kenley Jansen

The Dodgers announced they have designated Justin Miller for assignment and recalled the tantalizing Kenley Jansen.

Jansen has struck out 50 in 27 innings since his promotion to AA Chattanooga this season. He was converted from catcher to pitcher in 2009, when he caught 34 games and pitched in 12.

Miller had a 4.44 ERA with 33 baserunners allowed in 24 1/3 innings and 30 strikeouts. He allowed 12 runs and seven inherited runs in his last 18 innings.

Jul 22

Back-to-back: 2-0, 2-0

Wednesday it was Chad Billingsley and Casey Blake; tonight it was Hiroki Kuroda and Matt Kemp – with a Hong-Chih Kuo cherry on top, and perhaps that’s the biggest news of the evening.

After pitching two innings Tuesday and warming up Wednesday, Kuo pitched the ninth inning tonight for the save – further suggesting that the protective gloves have come off the precious reliever. It might not be quite accurate to say the Dodgers are going for broke, but it’s definitely a different mentality than we’ve seen for the past year and a half. Actually, maybe it is accurate to say they’re going for broke, figuratively if not literally.

Earlier today, Joe Torre talked about the bullpen situation with Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Before signing off this short post, a quick tip of the cap not only to Kuroda for his eight standout shutout innings and Kemp for his RBI double and solo homer, but to Russell Martin, who threw out two runners stealing tonight in a tight game.

* * *

Bill Shaikin of the Times has some new and interesting Dodger attendance analysis. Check it out.

Jul 22

Carlos Monasterios to start Saturday


Courtesy Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2010 Clayton Kershaw and Blake DeWitt hang on before Wednesday’s game.

Carlos Monasterios will start Saturday, Joe Torre told reporters today. I’m not sure what makes Monasterios, who staggered through his last few starts, a better option than James McDonald, but I’ve decided not to fret over it for now.

Torre also said that Hong-Chih Kuo has been “lobbying” to pitch on back-to-back days, which helps explain why, for better or worse, he warmed up Wednesday. That being said, Kuo might be rested tonight, but Jonathan Broxton is available.

Reed Johnson’s back has not improved enough for the Dodgers to say when he’ll be activated from the disabled list.

* * *

Dodger Stadium organist Nancy Bea Hefley will have increased playing time Friday as part of the team’s “55 since ’55” promotion, and Dodgerfan.net will provide on-the-scene coverage. Looking forward to it!

* * *

Tonight, the Dodgers will play their 857th consecutive home game since their last rainout, on April 17, 2000, breaking their previous record of 856 set from April 26, 1988–April 10, 1999.

Also, tonight’s matchup of Hiroki Kuroda and Hisanori Takahashi is the sixth between Japanese-born starting pitchers in MLB history.

* * *

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Chris Dickerson

Thought this was an interesting piece by Dave Campbell of The Associated Press (posted on Farther Off the Wall): Reds outfielder Chris Dickerson is trying to make baseball more green through an organization he co-founded with Jack Cassel, Players for the Planet.

… There is a certain insular, indulgent culture in the sports world that can create hurdles for social causes like this to take hold. Sometimes, they’re masked as mere symbolic gestures and goodwill-generating promotions for teams. The sheer enormity of stadiums makes it difficult to keep carbon footprints small. Players can get caught up in the big-league lifestyle.

“It’s hard to get just any athlete and even then, they’re like, ‘I love what you’re doing, but I can’t really endorse it because I’m driving a big truck and I have a huge house,'” Dickerson said. “So some of the things these athletes do aren’t necessarily a green lifestyle. They like the idea, but they’re not necessarily that green. I think that’s why a lot of them are hesitant to be part of it.”

Dickerson praised the use of solar power at Fenway Park in Boston and Progressive Field in Cleveland as progressive ideas he’d like to see replicated more throughout the majors. He pointed to supportive e-mails and letters he has received as examples of momentum. He also insisted real change can be accomplished in easy steps.

“That’s the message we’re trying to get across: It doesn’t have to be a huge shift in your daily lifestyle,” Dickerson said. “It’s little things like getting a recycle bin, turning off all the lights when you leave your house, trying to cut down on your air conditioning, using compact fluorescent light bulbs.”

Dickerson even has a sign above his locker that says, “Trees are for hugging.” …

Jul 22

Jonathan Broxton’s loss of command


Jayne Oncea/Icon SMIJonathan Broxton has allowed 14 earned runs this season — 11 in his past 7 1/3 innings.

I don’t know if it’s possible to put aside debates over mental and guttal makeup when discussing Jonathan Broxton, but if we can try for a moment …

A big problem for Broxton right now is that the pinpoint control that he typically possesses has disappeared. He has walked more batters in his past two games than he walked in the first two months of the season.

Broxton averaged 3.4 walks per nine innings from 2006-2009, then opened 2010 with three walks (one intentional) in 29 1/3 innings, to go with 42 strikeouts, no home runs and a 0.92 ERA.

That period ends with the June 19 evening in Boston when he faced one batter and allowed a game-winning hit. In 10 2/3 innings since then, Broxton has walked eight while allowing 11 runs for a 9.28 ERA. This week alone, Broxton has walked four while allowing five runs for a 27.00 ERA.

Now whatever your thoughts about Broxton are, this is the story of two different pitchers. It’s not as if every game before June 19 was meaningless and every game after was of huge importance.

Another angle is this: Broxton’s batting average allowed on balls in play before June 19 was .358, which is on the high side for a major-league pitcher and certainly higher than Broxton’s career figure of .315. But since June 19, his BABIP has skyrocketed to .448. So Broxton’s loss of command has been coupled with an untimely bout of bad luck. (Look no further than Tuesday’s calamity, when a 60-foot single by Juan Uribe was followed by a walk to Edgar Renteria, who entered the game with one home run and 13 walks for the entire season.)

I obviously don’t need to tell anyone that Broxton has sprinkled bad outings throughout his career. There was of course the 2009 game in San Diego when he allowed three runs (plus an inherited runner) to score in the ninth inning, followed two days later by two runs allowed in an extra-inning victory at Milwaukee. On August 15, Broxton blew a save in Arizona that led to a huge outcry for him to be replaced as Dodger closer by … George Sherrill.

From that point on, Broxton pitched 21 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run, walking five, striking out 33. That streak ended with the ninth-inning disaster in Pittsburgh that cost the Dodgers an early chance to clinch the National League West. And so on …

I’m not sure if the struggles Broxton has been having lately are something more than his typical once-in-a-while problems, or if they are a sign of something more worrisome. What I do know is that the Jonathan Broxton we have seen lately is not the Jonathan Broxton we usually see.

Update: Here’s another piece on Broxton, from ESPN.com’s Tristan H. Cockcroft.

Jul 22

Mattingly miscue didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know

The reason to be concerned about Don Mattingly becoming Dodger manager next year is not that he doesn’t know some arcane baseball rule. It’s that he isn’t experienced or authoritative enough to effectively handle much more common aspects of helming the team.

Is he good with strategy? Can he manage a bullpen? (What of him having Hong-Chih Kuo warming up Wednesday, a night after the fragile lefty threw two innings?) Is he an effective motivator of players? Does he sound too much like Toby Flenderson in an interview? These are all questions that existed long before Tuesday’s chaos.

Mattingly might turn out to be a good manager, but the point is – and has always been – that there might be better candidates.

In any case, our friend Bob Timmermann has everything you could want to know about Rule 8.06 in a post at L.A. Observed’s Native Intelligence.

* * *

  • The national media seems way more concerned than people locally about whether Joe Torre will manage another season in Los Angeles. I think many people here will react to Torre’s decision with a shrug.
  • Kenley Jansen is too good to ignore for the Dodger bullpen, contends Chad Moriyama of Memories of Kevin Malone.
  • One of the best features I’ve seen all year is this piece on former Cardinals and Padres shortstop Garry Templeton, by Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  • At StoryCorps, Harvey Sherman tells his tale of attending the final Dodgers game at Ebbets Field.
  • For those who are still talking about Chad Billingsley and the 2008 National League Championship Series, I have this advice for you:
Jul 21

What the doctor, therapist and grief counselor ordered: Billingsley shuts out Giants


Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesChad Billingsley

Whew – there it is.

With the Dodgers reeling, Chad Billingsley unfurled his second career shutout and third career complete game, scattering seven baserunners, and the Dodgers defeated the Giants, 2-0.

Billingsley struck out only three batters, but got 16 groundouts as the Giants went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position. He threw 125 pitches, the most by a Dodger pitcher since Jeff Weaver threw 126 on September 27, 2005.

The Dodgers hadn’t had a complete game since Eric Stults shut out San Francisco on May 9, 2009. Before that, the last Dodger complete game was a Billingsley shutout of the Giants on July 30, 2008.

It’s a bit odd that Billingsley has only three strikeouts in his past two starts (after 17 in the two before that), but we’ll ponder that another day.

Casey Blake homered in the second inning and singled home a run in the eighth to give Billingsley and the Dodgers the runs they needed.

* * *

Jay Gibbons, who some of us expected to be in a Dodger uniform tonight, hit two of six Albuquerque home runs in a 14-5 victory at Nashville.

Jul 21

Dodgers option A.J. Ellis, bring up … huh?

A.J. Ellis went back to Albuquerque, as expected.

Jack Taschner came from Albuquerque. That was not expected.

The 32-year-old lefty had a 6.05 ERA for Pittsburgh this year, then was cast off.  He landed with the Isotopes, for whom he has allowed four homers and seven hits in 10 innings, striking out four.

To be fair, he has allowed one run in his past seven innings. Still, it appears the Dodgers are just messing with us now.

Update: Joe Torre told reporters that James McDonald is in the bullpen and that Saturday’s starter is to be determined – most likely John Ely or Carlos Monasterios. One and done for Jimmy.

Torre also said the following about Tuesday’s denouement: “It’s on us to protest, and the people who were supposed to protest weren’t in the dugout. It was a screw-up all the way around.”

Jul 21

Suspensions come for Kershaw, Torre, Schaefer

Clayton Kershaw has been suspended for five games, and Dodger manager Joe Torre and coach Bob Schaefer for one game. Here are the details.

Kershaw is appealing his suspension, but Torre will serve his tonight and Schaefer on Thursday.

* * *

A Major League official told Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle that had the Dodgers protested the mistaken removal of Jonathan Broxton in Tuesday’s ninth inning, the protest might have been upheld. But the Dodgers didn’t protest.

Had Schaefer not been ejected from the game, I’m guessing he would have picked up on it.

Jul 21

Trade Deadline Inception


Warner Bros. PicturesUpside down, boy you turn me, inside out …

Each of the following passages is rooted in something real. And yet each reality offers a mystery.

I just had so many different thoughts, and this is me trying (and, as you’ll see, mostly failing) to make sense of them. But whether I make sense of them or not, 10 days from now, on July 31, baseball’s no-waivers-required trade deadline, we get the kick.

* * *

After a night like Tuesday – not to mention confirmation that Manny Ramirez will be out for a while – this Dodger team might seem to have a cloud of doom over it.

It’s a Dodger team that hasn’t been very healthy, hasn’t been (except for a short stretch in May) very lucky, hasn’t been very deep and lately hasn’t been very good.

Rafael Furcal has exceeded expectations, as has Hong-Chih Kuo for all of 30 of the team’s 840 innings pitched this season. Andre Ethier is a little better than expected, though not as much since early May. Same with Jamey Carroll. And after that, who?

The issue is not whether the Dodgers are out of contention. They’re not. They could be leading the wild card race inside of a week. And unless you’ve completely ruled out the possibility of the upstart Padres having their own problems, the NL West is wide open.

We’ve all seen this show before – twice in recent years, in fact. In 2006 and 2008, the Dodgers had tremendous swoons, only to recover from them.

Each time, they got help at the trade deadline – without blowing up the team.

So, what now?

* * *

Well, it’s not just about now.

At the end of this season, starting pitchers Hiroki Kuroda and Vicente Padilla become free agents. So does outfielder Manny Ramirez – who admittedly might not have much to contribute for the remainder of the year. Casey Blake looks increasingly like he’s not going to hit enough to hold down third base. Russell Martin has devolved into a No. 8 hitter.

Those are the major concerns, before you even get into injury risk for Furcal and Kuo, or paying for James Loney’s power uncertainty, or whether Blake DeWitt is a legitimate second baseman, and so on. People complained about the Dodgers needing to reload after the 2009 offseason, but the 2010 team will require even more new ammo.

And so, dual considerations. If you go for broke this year, you could be digging a hole so deep for the 2011 Dodgers that they can’t recover. But is the hole for 2011 so deep already that you might as well go for broke?

* * *

Scott Halleran/Allsport/Getty Images
Mike Trombley

Random trade deadline thoughts and memories …

  • Looking for relief help in 2001, the Dodgers traded minor leaguers Kris Foster and Geronimo Gil for Mike Trombley. Trombley allowed 17 runs and 37 baserunners in 23 1/3 innings.
  • Looking for starting pitching help in 2001, the Dodgers traded minor leaguers Jeff Barry, Gary Majewski and Onan Masaoka for James Baldwin. Baldwin made five quality starts in 11 tries, finishing with a 4.20 ERA as a Dodger.
  • July 31 is not the stopping point for Dodger general manager Ned Colletti, who in the past has acquired Greg Maddux, Marlon Anderson, David Wells, Jim Thome, Padilla, Esteban Loaiza and Jon Garland after that date. All those players, and more, cleared waivers, allowing them to be moved after the so-called deadline.
  • I really do believe that Carlos Santana was traded for Casey Blake, not for $2 million. Not saying it was the right thing to do. But I don’t believe that Santana was a throw-in. I think Meloan was. Blake for Meloan and $2 million doesn’t make sense to me from the Indians’ perspective.
  • Yhency Brazoban made his major-league debut on August 5, 2004 and for the remainder of the year, struck out 27 in 32 2/3 innings with a 2.48 ERA, stranding 12 of 14 runners.
  • Is Kenley Jansen this year’s Brazoban? Or this year’s Meloan?

* * *

“Interested.”

That word ignited off the 2010 Dodger trade deadline frenzy. Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that an anonymous industry source said the Dodgers were “interested” in Pirate pitcher Paul Maholm.

A thinner piece of news, you probably could not find Tuesday. Even if this source is correct – and he might not be – it tells us nothing of how serious the interest is. But suddenly, the Dodger online world was aflame with discussion of this pitcher with 4.5 strikeouts per nine innings, a pitcher who might be as poor a fit with a poor Dodger defense as you could find.

In his past two starts, Maholm has allowed two runs in 16 innings. In two of three starts before that, he allowed 12 earned runs in four innings.

Nothing to see here.

* * *

Gus Ruelas/AP
Andre Ethier reacts after Tuesday’s game-ending strikeout.

And then there’s Peter Gammons, whom Vin Scully Is My Homeboy noted last week was thinking out loud about the Red Sox pursuing Ethier.

The one team I keep wondering about if they drop a few games back, if the Dodgers start dropping back, would they talk about Andre Ethier. He’s going to make $10-$12 million next year, the coaching staff feels with their bizarre ownership situation, they don’t want to pay Ethier and might trade him now. That would be a fascinating guy to go after.”

And when Steve Dilbeck of the Times helped spread word of this Tuesday (not to mention Alyssa Milano), more panic.

I’d say there’s no chance of Ethier being traded. If the Dodgers aren’t trading Matt Kemp, they’re not trading Ethier. But let’s say I’m wrong. Let’s say there are bluffs all around and everything and everyone is on Colletti’s table. The Dodgers would be trading Ethier at his highest value. The haul for a 28-year-old All-Star whose work ethic is unquestioned and who won’t be a free agent until November 2012 could be astonishing.

* * *

For that matter, how many teams in baseball would like to have Furcal right now?

No, you’d never trade Furcal now. But six weeks ago, you would have. A slumping, injury-prone shortstop with millions upon millions remaining on his contract? You’d have traded him for less than you’d get for him now.

* * *

I’m talking way too much about trading key players away, but allow me just a little more before I move on.

Four days before the trade deadline four years ago, I wrote a lengthy column for SI.com, advocating that being a seller lose its stigma.

… It should not be so shameful for a .500 team, a team that can only win a World Series if karma and luck fall head over heels in love, to say, “Look, we can be a long shot this year, or we can make a small sacrifice and become a serious contender for years to come.”

Teams can get hot instantly — there’s no denying that. Florida surprised everyone in 2003, went on a run and won the World Series. Houston recovered from a faceplant of a start in 2005 and took the NL pennant. If you’re three games out of the playoffs with a .500 record, the postseason possibilities may be so tantalizing that the slim odds of winning it all may not matter to you.

Good enough. That doesn’t mean it should be a sin to step back and decide that whatever you have now, you can build upon with a little more patience. It should be a choice. And it can be a choice that remains open until the moment the deadline passes, a choice that depends on whether you can get a quality deal or not, as opposed to a deal that just makes you look busy.

As for the fans, some will complain. Some will always complain. But if you show you have a plan and you make an intelligent trade for the future, sacrificing a mere two months in the process could render those complaints moot rather quickly …

I’m not saying the Dodgers should become sellers, and I don’t believe they will become sellers, but there is a case for it. And the funny thing is, the McCourt divorce provides cover for it. Ownership would get crucified by the mainstream for turning 2010 into a rebuilding year. But ownership is already being crucified. So why should we care about the bad PR, if that’s status quo and ultimately the team would be better off for it?

* * *

This website celebrates its eighth anniversary today. After proclaiming my intention to exult or vent as appropriate, my first main post wondered aloud about whether the Dodgers should be sellers.

I guess that temptation has often been with me. Buoyed by the drafts of Logan White, the Dodgers were able to make long-term commitments to developing players from within. But the Dodgers have never taken a similarly long view with regards to midseason trades.

What if they did? I know it will never happen, but what if it did?

Francis Specker/AP
Marlon Anderson follows through in the ninth inning, September 18, 2006.

* * *

Then again, does it need to happen? Manny Ramirez in 2008 was a man-made gift from the heavens. And so was Marlon Anderson in 2006.

And 2004, the most tumultuous trade deadline of them all, worked out rather well.

So why not believe? Why not go for it?

Just a week ago, the Dodgers were in fine shape, a good team that was maybe a player or two away from becoming great.

* * *

Roy Oswalt? Jayson Werth? Dan Haren? Ben Sheets? David DeJesus? Scott Downs?

There are some names that could help the Dodgers. But not many.

Dee Gordon? Chris Withrow? Ethan Martin? Jerry Sands? Aaron Miller? Allen Webster? Joe Etc.? Who’s irreplaceable? Who’s gonna make you go, “I don’t miss him that much – so it was worth a shot.”

* * *

You need to be smart, and you need to be fortunate. And you can do that as a buyer or a seller. It truly doesn’t matter which. If you are smart and fortunate, you will win.

The Dodgers won’t be sellers. We can be sure of this. They will either stand pat or acquire someone to help immediately. They might try to acquire someone but end up standing pat because the price was too high. But those are the options.

But the thing is, if you acknowledge that standing pat is a possibility – and that standing pat probably means you won’t win in 2010 (because the teams that rallied from the depths avoided standing pat) – then how can you not entertain the option of trading for the future instead of the present?

If standing pat is a worse choice than selling high, why wouldn’t you be in talks to sell high, as a backup plan?

The answer is one of public relations, of public perception. But this morning, not too many people like the 2010 Dodgers right now anyway. And those that do aren’t the ones who are likely to complain about sacrificing the 2010 Dodgers to make them more competitive in 2011 or 2012.

That’s the paradox.

* * *

Anyway, enough about Plan B. Plan A is to improve the 2010 Dodgers now.

It can be done. Ownership or not. Roy Oswalt’s contract or not. You can make smart trades. The Dodgers have done it before. They can do it again.

Ten days until July 31. Let the freakout begin.