Dodgers Flavor in Post-Season

Even though the LA Dodgers go their separate ways after Sunday's season finale against the Giants, there will still be a decided Dodgers flavor among the teams that did make post season play.

The Red Sox sport SS Julio Lugo, backup infielder Joey Cora, outfielder J.D. Drew, reliever Eric Gagné and could call up pitcher Brian Corey if they had to. The Yankees have a single ex-Dodger in infielder Wilson Betemit.

All of the Dodgers influence on the California Angels are in their manager and coaches: Mike Scioscia, Ron Roenicke, Alfredo Griffin, Dino Ebel and Mickey Hatcher. The final American League contender, the Cleveland Indians, have a pair of outfielders, Kenny Lofton and Franklin Gutierrez.

Switching to the senior league, the Arizona Diamondbacks have only one ex-Dodgers in bench coach Kirk Gibson. The Cubs sport Ted Lilly, Henry Blanco, Darryl Ward and special assistant Ivan de Jesus. The Phillies offer outfielders Shane Victorino and Jason Werth as well as coach Davey Lopes.

The Mets, if they can come back, have the most in Manager Willie Randolph, bullpen coach Guy Conti, Pedro Martinez, Guillermo Mota, Aaron Sele, Paul Lo Duca, Marlin Anderson, Shawn Green and injured Jose Valentin.

And finally the Padres sport coach Glen Hoffman and players Greg Maddux, Brett Tomko, Oscar Robles and the injured M. Bradley.

When the 2007 Dodgers go home after Sunday's game, it will be the final time in Dodgers Blue for quite a number of this year's squad. Every team turns over between half a dozen and a dozen players each year, and this year will be no different for the Dodgers.

It's hard to see the Dodgers paying backup catcher Mike Lieberthal $1.5 million to catch 20 games next year when there are cheaper alternatives. It's hard to see either aging backup infielder Ramon Martinez or pinch hitter Olmedo Saenz back when neither hit .200. OF Luis Gonzalez has said he won't be back and will search of a job with guaranteed playing time instead of the youth committed (finally) Dodgers.

Color reliever Roberto Hernandez gone. It looks like lefty Mark Hendrickson will not be back after two years with long trials in a variety of roles. Pinch hitter  Mark Sweeney is very, very expendable considering his age, his veteran salary. Shea Hillenbrand could be a backup third and first baseman and the number one right handed pinch hitter, but his future with the Dodgers depends on (a) off season moves and (b) his willingness to take a pay cut.

Aging pitcher Rudy Saenz will have the same task as a year ago if he is invited to spring training, i.e., pitch yourself onto the big club. The Dodgers are shuddering after their investment in Esteban Loaiza and he'll be back only if any other team passes on the guy even with the Dodgers eating most of his next year guaranteed salary.

Randy Wolf would love to come back, the Dodgers would like him to IF he signs a conditional contract. The Dodgers would welcome Jeff Kent back, but it's his choice. He might pass to come back to the same decision makers and the same kids, but $9 million makes you shut up and bear it even to folks who don't need the money.

We wouldn't be surprised to see the youth committed Dodgers take one more shot at 44-year-old David Wells. There are general rules and then there are exceptions - like in Greg Maddux (where hindsight says the Dodgers should have re-signed him) and in Wells.

The oft injured Jason Repko could be back as the fifth outfielder, but much depends upon off season moves.

Then there is the toughest player move to figure out in Nomar Garciaparra. Can he ever be healthy again? Can he re-find enough pop to justify the positions he can play? Is there a market for the guy as a DH in the American League? Does he still have $10 million in value for the Dodgers or anybody else? Are his days as an everyday player over? Would he want out of his contract with the Dodgers or would he ask for a trade if his future and the Dodgers plans differ?

Then there is Jason Schmidt. He ain't moving, not at his above market multi year contract, but then again, he also may not move from  the DL, or move from it very long.

With so many disappointments on the field in 2007, the off season moves will be eagerly watched and offer at least the chances for optimism. Let us get on with it.    

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