January 2006 - Los Angeles Dodgers Wiretap
Gagne Believes He Will Be Ready For Opening Day
Recovering from June elbow surgery, Eric Gagne has spent the winter in relative seclusion, finally emerging this week on the island sands to offer an answer to every Dodger fan's question. Game Over says it's Game On. "I will be ready for the start of the season, no doubt," he said in a phone interview late Thursday. "I feel great. I'm throwing strong. I'm doing more now than during winters when I was healthy." Good thing, because he will take the mound this summer in save situations not only for his Dodger team, but his Dodger career. The club's most popular player is also in one of the most precarious positions. If you didn't think his health and impending free agency didn't land him on the Chavez ledge, then you must agree that Danys Baez has pushed him there. I have several guesses why Ned Colletti traded for Tampa Bay's 41-save relief ace a couple of weeks ago, and none of them are potentially good for Gagne. The first guess: The Dodgers just aren't sure Gagne can return to full-time closing form, even if he is judged to be sound. The second guess: If Gagne is throwing well again, the Dodgers want the flexibility to deal him in July to avoid losing him to free agency. Gagne says the first scenario will never happen. "The job is mine until I lose it, I don't think they want to pay a setup man $10 million," he said. As for the second scenario, Gagne said he can only trust. "I want to play here, but if they don't want me here ? well, I doubt that," Gagne said. "I trust them that the trade was made to make the middle of the bullpen stronger, and that was it."
Dodgers Coming Into Molina Picture With The Price Tag In Freefall
Bengie Molina's price tag has dropped so far that the Dodgers are interested in signing him for one year, multiple sources said Wednesday. General Manager Ned Colletti has spoken twice to Alan Nero, the agent for the former Angel Gold Glove catcher, and could make an offer this weekend. The Toronto Blue Jays have expressed the most interest in Molina, who turned down a three-year, $18-million offer from the New York Mets in November but now might get only a one-year contract. The Blue Jays have reportedly offered Molina $4 million for one year, and the New York Yankees also might be interested.
Dodgers Grab Baez From Devil Rays
The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired All-Star relievers Danys Baez and Lance Carter from Tampa Bay for two pitching prospects Saturday, strengthening their bullpen while closer Eric Gagne works his way back from elbow surgery. The Dodgers sent right-hander Edwin Jackson and minor league lefty Chuck Tiffany to the Devil Rays in the deal. Los Angeles also gets a minor league player to be named. Baez went 5-4 with a 2.86 ERA and a career-best 41 saves last season, earning a spot on the AL All-Star team. He has 96 saves the past three years but will almost surely be used as a setup man in Los Angeles if Gagne is completely healthy. One of baseball's best closers, Gagne underwent season-ending surgery on his pitching elbow in June. Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said the right-hander is expected back in time for spring training, but the team now has another proven closer to call on just in case. "The bullpen is a key piece and I feel we've added to it," Colletti said. "I'll take two great closers any day of the week."
Nomar To Play For Team Mexico
Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Nomar Garciaparra will play for Mexico at the World Baseball Classic in March. The native of Whittier, Calif., qualifies because of his Mexican parents, Mexican baseball league president Alejandro Hute said in a newspaper interview published Saturday. The 32-year-old Garciaparra played for the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs before signing with Los Angeles. Mexico is in Group B of the world tournament, playing against the United States, Canada and South Africa. The Aztec team includes pitchers Oliver Perez of Pittsburgh, Rodrigo Lopez of Baltimore and Luis Ayala of Washington.
Furcal Will Undergo Arthroscopic Surgery On Right Knee
Shortstop Rafael Furcal, who signed a $39 million, three-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers last month, will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Monday the procedure on Furcal's meniscus cartilage will be minor. Furcal is expected to recover fully in two to three weeks and should be ready when spring training opens, Colletti said. The surgery is scheduled for Wednesday in Los Angeles. Colletti said the Dodgers were aware of the problem when they signed Furcal on Dec. 7 at baseball's winter meetings. "It hindered him last season a bit and he had it drained a few times. But it gave us no concern," Colletti said during a conference call. "We knew there was a possibility he would need a little cleanup on it at some point in time." Colletti said Furcal probably could have made it through the upcoming season without having surgery, but the Dodgers decided it was better to have it done now.
Weaver And Dodgers Don't Get Deal Done
Free-agent pitcher Jeff Weaver is almost certainly leaving the Los Angeles Dodgers. Weaver led the Dodgers with a career-high 14 wins last year, but he and the team failed to reach an agreement on a new contract by Sunday night's 9 p.m. PST deadline. Now, the Dodgers are prohibited from signing him until May 1, and it's just about certain the 29-year-old right-hander will hook on with somebody else long before then. "I wish Jeff Weaver would be pitching for the Dodgers in 2006," general manager Ned Colletti said shortly after the deadline passed. "It's not going to happen. I wish there would have been a way we could have figured something out, but it turned out there was a difference in philosophy and a difference of opinion." Colletti has said for several weeks that it was a long shot that Weaver would return to the Dodgers. He earned $9.35 million with Los Angeles last season.
Kent Undergoes Minor Surgery On Right Wrist
All-Star second baseman Jeff Kent of the Los Angeles Dodgers will undergo surgery on his right wrist Tuesday to remove scar tissue and should be recovered by early in spring training. Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said Friday that hand specialist Dr. Norman Zemel will perform the operation in Los Angeles, with a projected recovery period of four to six weeks. "It's more precautionary than anything else," Colletti said. "Throwing a baseball, he's got no problems. Swinging a bat, he's got no problems. He does have some discomfort when it's not baseball-related. The choice is to get it rectified as soon as possible.
Dodgers Acquire Seo From Mets
The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired right-hander Jae Seo and left-handed reliever Tim Hamulack from the New York Mets on Wednesday for right-handed relievers Duaner Sanchez and Steve Schmoll. A 28-year-old South Korean, Seo made 14 starts for the Mets last season, going 8-2 with a 2.59 ERA and 16 walks and 59 strikeouts in 90 1-3 innings. He also was 7-4 with a 4.29 ERA in 19 starts for Triple-A Norfolk. "Seo's going to get a chance to start," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "He had a real good year with the Mets and in Triple-A, pitched close to 200 innings. Seo is a no-frills guy who knows how to pitch."