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      In the aftermath....
    One thing still amazes me in the aftermath of the whirlwind of deadline deals last weekend. I still don’t quite understand why every mainstream media source universally declares the Marlins as the big winners, and the Dodgers as the big losers. Lets look again:
    Dodgers get:    Marlins get:
    Brad Penny Paul LoDuca
    Hee Seop Choi Guillermo Mota
    Bill Murphy Juan Encarnacion
    At the very least, this trade is a pure wash. The Marlins biggest strengths was starting pitching and they had holes at catcher and in the bullpen. Likewise, the Dodgers strength was in the bullpen, and they had holes in the rotation and offensively at 1B/LF/RF. So at the very least, both teams addressed their needs.

    What I hear out of all the popular columnists and analysts is nowhere near that. There is almost unilateral support for the Marlins side of the deal. I'm starting to understand at least why, though. The mainstream media completely under-values Penny and Choi. I've seen Penny referred to as only a 8-8 pitcher, a fifth starter, or most complimentary of all, a decent starting pitcher.

    All this for the guy with the 8th best ERA (2.97) in MLB? His ERA will improve moving to the most extreme pitcher's park in baseball. This guy is a legitimate ace. Playoff teams don’t just give up number one starters in the middle of a pennant race, yet nobody notices. The Marlins are replacing Penny with Ismael Valdez, which ought to at least cancel out any improvement from [insert random bum here] to Mota in the pen.

    Not to mention the grievous omission of Choi from any analysis. I am still fascinated with the lack of respect Choi gets from everyone. This is a guy who has absolutely crushed every level of pitching he has faced, and nobody gives him any credit. I'm hoping that in LA he'll finally get the respect he deserves, but it appears unlikely that the fans will welcome him.

    Unfortunately, the fans won't welcome Choi because he is replacing LoDuca, the adopted son of Captain Intangibles. If I have to hear one more time how LoDuca was the "heart and soul" of the Dodgers I might puke. What does that even mean? The Dodgers haven't won anything with him, so maybe its about time for the Dodgers to get a new heart and soul.

    Choi has to come in and replace the Dodgers' "heart and soul", so he will probablly continue getting ill-deserved flak from media and fans. That’s a shame because Choi is better than LoDuca right now and he will be better in the future as well.

    The reason I see this trade benefitting the Dodgers is clear:

  • Choi is more valuable offensively than LoDuca, even after adjusting for position scarcity.
  • Penny is more valuable than Mota, even after adjusting for high leverage appearances.
  • Encarnacion is worthless, there are better right fielders in AAA.

  • I'll be willing to concede that since LoDuca provides blood and spiritual guidance to the Dodgers, he may be more valuable than his numbers suggest. I just don’t think its that much, and I don’t think anyone outside of the Dodgers clubhouse knows what he means to that club. With that in mind, using the only evidence I have, it sure seems like they have moved on without him.

    I'd also be willing to concede that I don’t know if Mota's high leverage appearances are valuable enough to make up the difference in innings between him and Penny. What I do know is that even if Penny and Mota were equal in value, once they get to the playoffs, having Penny at the top of the rotation is going to help the Dodgers more than having Mota riding the pine out in right field. The Dodgers are a better team because of this trade, and the Marlins are worse. I just can't see it any other way, but feel free to try and convince me.

    Unfortunately, the only way to seal this trade is after all the playoff tickets have been printed. Even then, however, I don’t think it will end in fairness. I get the feeling that if the Marlins win the division, everyone will be praising the genious of Larry Beinfest. On the other hand, if the Dodgers win the division, everyone will say they got lucky and/or beat up on bad teams in the West.

    Thank god I've learned not to listen to what the establishment tells me to think, or I might be parrotting the cartel right now.

    Marlins in '04, yay!
    Fair weather Marlin fans and ESPN parrots can email Curt to tell him he's wrong.