Sunday, December 18, 2005

Dodgers Becoming Red Sox West

The Los Angeles Dodgers have reportedly come to terms with former Red Sox and Cubs shortstop Nomar Garciaparra on a one-year, incentive-laden contract that could pay him up to $8 million. But with the Blue Crew having already signed Rafael Furcal to play shortstop, Nomar will likely see time at first-base and left-field.

So the Dodgers transformation into the 2003 Boston Red Sox continues as they have now hired the manager, third baseman and shortstop from that team this year to go with starting pitcher Derek Lowe signed prior to the start of last season. Perhaps the Dodgers think they can skip the Red Sox 86 year-long dry spell by recreating the team they fielded just before winning the World Series in 2004. But the way the Dodgers luck has run since 1988 (the last year they won a World Series title) the curse will now run in reverse and LA will get their next championship around 2090.

Seriously, their really is nothing inherently wrong in taking a flyer on Nomar, a once-great hitter who has quickly become a creaky relic of his own bygone age. By signing him to a contract built on achieving certain objectives, the Dodgers do not have to risk much. For Garciaparra it is a chance to play for his hometown team as both he and the Dodgers try to reach back for another taste of their previous glory. The odds however, are that neither will achieve the heights they once occupied during the tenure of this contract.

Another metamorphosis now seems complete as the Angels and Dodgers have exchanged all aspects of their respective personalities. The Angels are the team with a recent record of winning, superstar players and a rich farm system. The Dodgers are signing players past-their-prime, competing (or trying to) in the weakest division in baseball and struggling to find an identity. My how the times have changed in Southern California baseball.

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