Fire Jim Tracy

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Come Home Los Angeles

The picture for the Dodgers, going into 2005, is a fairly bleak one. An in-depth review of the Dodger roster reveals only three players with a birthplace in the greater Los Angeles area; Milton Bradley, Jeff Kent, and Jeff Weaver. And Kent, despite coming from the greater Los Angeles area, displays none of the baseball skills usually indicative of Southern California natives like the man he replaced, Alex Cora.

The escape of local talent is embarrassing. The Royals have five Southern Californians on their infield alone. The Dodgers allowed fourteen year veteran Royce Clayton, a Burbank native, to escape their clutches (to a division rival, no less!), instead preferring their foreign-born shortstop. Long Beach-born J.T. Snow could be had in a trade, but DePodesta continues to stick with the foreign-born Hee-Seop Choi, whose name I can't even pronounce.

Even worse, Jason Grabowski is from Connecticut, which neighbors Frank McCourt's home state of...that's right...Massachusetts! And you wondered why Grabowski was on the roster all year!

To compete, the Dodgers need to recruit better home-grown talent. Recently promoted coach Jim Lett is making visits to local family members, but any Dodger resurgence must follow the pattern established by Fred Claire when he signed Darryl Strawberry and Eric Davis.

And how can Paul DePodesta explain trying to get rid of Chin Feng Chen and Joe Thurston, both loyal products of the Dodger farm system, while slating for the 25-man roster refugees from the Devil Rays farm system like Antonio Perez? If this is the loyalty that the Dodgers show them, is there any wonder they hit .220 in AAA last year?

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