If you are sweating over Zack Greinke and his potential signing, you must have forgotten about the dreaded offseason eight years ago that helped to cement the Dodgers’ latest fall from atop the NL West.
Eight years later the Dodgers see the Mariners as a team that could very well swoop in and sign this year’s prize free agent, Josh Hamilton, which could effectively put an end to whatever advantage they might hold over the Texas Rangers in signing Zack Greinke.
If this was 2004, you have to believe that the Dodgers would have gone out and inked Kyle Lohse to a contract already, and even that might be giving the classic organization led by Paul DePodesta too much credit.
As most remember, the team added Kent (ranked No. 19) and outfielder J.D. Drew (ranked No. 11).
Again the top-ranked player is an outfielder (Carlos Beltran in ’04), and while the Dodgers could go that route, all signs point to being unlikely.
But you have to appreciate that toughness of the Dodgers to remain in this dogfight with the Rangers over Greinke, who is clearly the guy that the Dodgers are targeting; given that both Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang have been placed on the trading block; evidenced by the club’s willingness to offer him a contract that would make him the highest paid pitcher ever; and by its reluctance to entertain other pitchers as the top priority.
Remember that two days made a huge difference in Dodgers history.
To some the signing of Kent signaled that the Dodgers would be vastly improving the infield by bringing in a former MVP to add some pop to a lineup that featured a player (Beltre) that should have won the MVP award in 2004.
Instead the team went from NL West champions, winning 93 games in 2004, to a 4th place finish in the West, winning just 71 games in 2005.
But great news! This isn’t 2004.
Whether it’s Greinke or Lohse, or Anibal Sanchez and perhaps even Hyun-jin Ryu, these Dodgers aren’t settling, and that should be taken as a great sign of things to come.
2004 look-a-likes in 2012:
- Catcher: Jason Phillips – Jarrod Saltalamacchia
- 1st Base: Hee Seop Choi – Ike Davis
- 2nd Base: Jeff Kent – Chase Utley
- Shortstop: Cesar Izturis – Dee Gordon
- 3rd Base: Mike Edwards – Pedro Baez
- Left Field: Ricky Ledee – Jeff Francoeur
- Center Field: Milton Bradley – Shane Victorino
- Right Field: J.D. Drew – Andre Ethier
Yeah, the revamp was that bad. Painful? Let’s get to the pitching staff
- Jeff Weaver – Ryan Dempster
- Derek Lowe – Jeremy Guthrie
- Brad Penny – Johan Santana
- D.J. Houlton – John Ely
- Odalis Perez – Joe Blanton
Bullpen? Yeah, it continues to remain pitiful, and to think, they spent a decent amount of money then. What might a few extra dollars have done for this great team? Enough to convince DePodesta that he wasn’t still with the Oakland A’s, that’s for sure.
- Kelly Wunsch – Scott Elbert
- Steve Schmoll – Michael Antonini
- Giovanni Carrara – Javy Guerra
- Duaner Sanchez – Ronald Belisario
- Yhency Brazoban – Carlos Marmol
How might this team compete in a relatively weak NL West?
It wouldn’t, it would contribute to the weakness of the division.
Instead, look forward to the Dodgers remaining in play for Greinke, and if that fizzles out, don’t expect them to pursue anybody along the lines of McCarthy or Francisco Liriano, they will move on to other top-10 talent such as Sanchez, Lohse, or even Ryu if it gets that far.
Pardon my taking you back to the Ice Ages of Dodgers baseball, but really, we are spoiled to be where we are at, and I for one am grateful for it.