Johnson, Pimentel Were Expendable

As all you fans of "American Idol" know to rate anybody's performance in any line of endeavor is immediately subject to second-guessing. And it's a good time to remember that any ratings list is constantly moving.

So, when you read about how the minor league pitchers who were part of Wednesday's trade were listed among the Dodger prospects, you have to have a couple of thoughts in mind, i.e (1) those were somebody else's list, not the Dodgers and (2) they were compiled before the season, not recently.

In the case of Blake Johnson and Julio Pimentel, the two pitchers off the Vero Beach roster that the Dodgers included in the deal for Elmer Dessens with Kansas City, both factors are important.

The first is particularly relevant in considering Pimentel, for he never was as well thought-of in the organization as some lists would have him. He flamed out in the middle of last season, came back a bit at the start of this year only to falter in a starting role. Placed in the bullpen, he was even more unreliable. He simply couldn't hold a lead.

As for Johnson, while he was well regarded at the start of the year, the last six weeks have seen him slip badly in performance - and in the minds of the Dodger brass. He became another who couldn't seem to come back when the going was getting rough.

Both have physical assets- fine arms in each case. But they weren't making quality pitches - or anything close to it. There's a lot more to being a successful pitcher that arm strength. And both, frankly, seemed on a downward path, thus became expendable.

Kansas City is looking at what once was with the thought that since both are 21, they're still young enough that both could be valuable again. That's particularly true in the case of Johnson, the player they truly coveted in the deal. After all, he was a second-round draft pick only a couple of seasons ago.

At the beginning of the season, the Dodgers probably wouldn't have traded Johnson for Dessens, even up. But situations change. And so do players. So, at the moment, the Dodgers felt that neither was likely to be in future plans so they could be included.

You may argue that Dessens is hardly a choice acquisition. That remains to be seen. But in the cases of Johnson and Pimentel, the feeling was they were losses that could be absorbed, for neither was regarded as highly as some of those lists may have led you to believe.

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