Seo May Be Dodgers Biggest Addition

Jae Seo, the righty acquired from the Mets for Duaner Sanchez, just may be the biggest new addition the Dodgers have picked up in the off season. Seo, who had problems with the Mets pitching coaches in 2004, went down to the minors last year and worked on both a splitter and a cutter.

When he returned in mid-season, he was lights out and many consider him to have been the Mets pitcher the second half of the season -- better even than Pedro Martinez. East coasters suggest he is light years ahead of Brett Tomko, better than the erratic Odalis Perez.

In addition to Seo, the Dodgers got 6'6' hard throwing lefty Tim Hamulack.

Forget about Hamulack's big league ERA last year, it was rung up mostly in one inning against the Phillies. At Triple A, he had a season long ERA of less than 1.20 out of the bullpen. The Dodgers haven't had a lefty out of the bullpen like that in some time.

For Seo and Hamulack, the Dodgers gave up dependable Sanchez and Steve Schmoll.

Sanchez was worked -- possibly overworked -- in over 150 games in just two years under Jim Colburn. That's one heckuva lot of work and the Dodgers probably swapped him at the height of his marketability.

Schmoll, who throws underhanded, would have had a tough time beating out Jonathan Broxton who throws 98.

More than a few Mets fans were discouraged by the trade. Seo grew on them fast last year.

With Seo on board, the Dodgers surely will be reluctant to give up one or more of their pitching phenoms in order for a one year lease on the 42-year-old arm of lefty David Wells.

Even without Jeff Weaver or Wells, the Dodgers can take a chance on another available hurler, like lefty Kirk Reuter, to flesh out the staff.

If Kelly Wunsch can perform like he did before he got hurt a year ago and Hamulack makes the staff, the Dodgers would have two lefties in the bullpen to go with healthy Eric Gagne and fireballers Yhency Brazoban and Broxton.

The Seo trade makes sense and at affordable prices.

While he does not have the marquee name power of newcomers Nomar Garciaparra, Rafael Furcal, Bill Mueller or even Kenny Lofton, Seo may in the end be just as important -- particularly since pitching is the name of the game.

Dave Jauss, about to join Grady Little on the coaching staff, is another baseball lifer. He was with Felipe Alou in Class A in the Expos organization. He was the Red Sox advance scout who put a game plan together against the St. Louis Cards when the Sox won their championship.

He's been a player development director, first base coach, third base coach, is a great talent evaluator and would be an upgrade over the Dodgers ho-hum bunch of coaches of a year ago.

If Rick Honeycutt becomes, as suspected, the new pitching coach, he couldn't help but be an improvement. Surely he wouldn't send an ailing hurler out to the mound in meaningless spring training games -- like what was done with Eric Gagne in Vero Beach a year ago.

Surely he or anybody else with a brain would not overwork Gio Carrera and Sanchez a year ago.

With Sanchez and Schmoll gone, that brings of over 16 players who toiled in Dodgers Blue a year ago in the 92 loss season who are GONE.

The list includes Jason Phillips who didn't break .240, Paul Bako who hit worse, Antonio Perez who could hit but not field, Milton Bradley (of great talent and promise but little results), Jason Grabowski, Mike Edwards, Carrara, Elmer Dessens, Scott Ericksen, Buddy Carlyle, Mike Rose, Wilson Alvarez, Jose Valentin, Nori Nakamura.

The hitters in this bunch reminds of the old Gene Mauch Phillies who had a .300 hitting catcher -- Gus Triandos who hit .150 and Clay Dalyrmple, who also hit .150.

Very few of the departed will be missed. GM Ned Colletti, busier than a one armed paper hanger, may not yet be done.

To date, all pluses and few if any minuses.