Maybe No Move is a Good Move

Sometimes your best trade is the one you don't make. Now that sounds like something out of one of Casey Stengel's book of confusing after dinner speeches. But Ol' Case, who was much smarter than he wanted you to think, would agree with the comment wholeheartedly. There are at least three different factions marginally involved at the trading deadline.

[1] There are the talking heads on television that have no idea what quality minor league talent you have in your system and just how close they are to being ready to help the big club. They feel, at least that's what they tell you over and over, is that you are betraying the players and the fans if you don't make some sort of move to 'prove' you are really interested in winning a playoff slot.

[2] Then here are the fans who think along the same lines as the talking TV heads, and they are the ones that keep emailing us to urge trading Mike Edwards and Scott Erickson for Albert Pujols. That's a move that would certainly make everyone happy, except the front office of the St. Louis Cardinals who would quickly be standing in the unemployment line.

The fan base is about equally divided with some thinking you should move your entire Jacksonville roster for a once-great 39-year-old who is well past his prime. These are the fans keep voting those oldtimers into the All-Star game because of the warm memories they have of them.

The others are minor league aficionadas who feel that everyone on the Jacksonville roster will move up to the big club in a year or two and take care of the personnel problems for the next 10 years, and we'd certainly like that, too but its sort of unrealistic.

[3] The third group, and the one that's not marginally involved and ultimately has the power to go either way, is General Manager Paul DePodesta, whose neck is on the line if he ether does or doesn't trade someone for something.

You rarely catch lightening in a bottle and pick up a Steve Finley but you can find dozens available who you wish you would have never heard of.

DePodesta called up a couple of 21-year-olds, catcher Dioner Navarro and 21-year-old Jonathan Broxton recently and said that the pair are better than anyone that was available. And while he didn't say it, there are a few more gems down on the farm that are not that far from being ready.

"We had serious talks with more than a dozen teams in the last few days," he said. "We made a last-ditch effort with our top three to four targets. But Nobody moved."

DePodesta would not get into specifics but sources said outfielder-first baseman Adam Dunn of the Cincinnati Reds and first baseman Mike Sweeney of the Kansas City Royals were among players pursued by the Dodgers.

But the Reds were reluctant to part with Dunn and would have done so only in exchange for top prospects and a proven pitcher. (So, you give them Weaver or Penny or Lowe and LaRoche and/or Guzman?)

The Royals wanted a top prospect and a proven hitter and also refused to pay any of the $25 million Sweeney is owed the next two seasons. (So you pick up $12.5 million a year in salary and give up Kent plus Billingsley or Tiffany or Elbert?)

It says here we don't think so.

Obviously that would be akin to some sort of Branch Rickey's formula -- subtraction by addition.

DePodesta also noted Dodger owner Frank McCourt placed no financial limits on him. McCourt urged DePodesta to go after who he needed despite the size of the player's salary.

Just before the trading deadline, DePodesta said, they were even adding money to try to close deals.

His final comment seemed to sum it up: "For the right deal we would have traded anybody," DePodesta said.

Some have said the Dodgers must trade some of the talent pool because they will not all fit on the major league roster and thus be available in the Rule V draft this fall.

But remember, even though this is the end of the trading deadline, teams can still make waiver deals and a little later into the season many clubs will find they are, indeed, out of the race and start shedding salary. If you have talented kids you have to move a that time, you can pick up some real bargains.

Whether you agreed or disagreed with DePodesta's trade moves at the deadline last year, he certainly seemed to act with discretion this time around, declining to be stampeded into a trade just for a trade's sake. Maybe we will thank him in a couple years.