D.J. Houlton sold by to Japanese team

The Dodgers sold right-hander D.J. Houlton to the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League, ending his three-year stint with the organization that began when the Dodgers took him from the Houston Astros in the 2004 Rule 5 draft.

    Houlton was brought up from Las Vegas and spent all of 2005 in the majors at a point when he clearly wasn't ready, and he never seemed to recover from a rollercoaster season in which he went 6-9 with a 5.16 ERA. His Rule 5 requirements were lifted after that season, and he spent all of 2006 at Triple-A Las Vegas, never getting a callup.

His career record was 6-11 with a 4.99 ERA in 53 appearances, including 19 starts. All of those came in two seasons, but those two seasons were spread over three years because he never received a callup from Triple-A Las Vegas in 2006.

Tony Jackson of the Los Angeles Daily News pointed out "he was also a really good guy who got thrust into a situation he wasn't ready for, and that might have permanently affected his career. But this will be a good move for him."

Did L.A. miss the boat?
A subscriber pointed out an L.A. Times blogger who asked a good question the other day: The Twins price for Santana was the Mets 2, 3, 4 and 7 best prospects, according to the Baseball America ratings.

The point is that NY nabbed him without giving up any current Major League talent of significance. Should the Dodgers have made the same move?   

Could they have given their numbers 2,3,4, and 7 (Andy LaRoche, Chin-Lung Hu, Scott Elbert, and James McDonald) for the All-Star pitcher.

Perhaps the monster deal Santana and the Mets are negotiating- almost assuredly north of $100 mil, very likely well north- was the sticking point for more than the prospects? 

Santana won't be 29 until March, and has been very durable over his career.  Last year's 3.33 ERA, 219 IP, 15 win season was something of an off year, based on his history.

The Dodgers have a very good rotation. Santana would have guaranteed them, assuming good health, the best, for at least a couple years.

The blogger went on to say if the cost in Major League/near Major League talent would have been LaRoche, Hu, Elbert, and McDonald, or some similar combo, plus a small nation's GDP in cash should he have done it?

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