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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

All It Takes Is Money to Fix Dodgers

September 06, 1998|MARK HEISLER

Now that the little Foxes have finished tearing down the Dodgers, baseball people wonder how easy it will be to build them back up again.

". . . The club is in a structural mess," writes Peter Gammons of the Boston Globe. "The commitments to Gary Sheffield

[$11 million], Raul Mondesi [$9 million], Bobby Bonilla [$5.9 million], Eric Karros

[$5 million], Eric Young [$4.5 million], Jose Vizcaino [$3 million], Dave Mlicki

[$2.25 million] and Chan Ho Park [$2.3 million] put them over $40 million for eight players, before even dealing with Jeff Shaw's demand to be traded with his $2.8-million contract.

"Plus, they face arbitration with seven other players, including Charles Johnson, Mark Grudzielanek and Carlos Perez, which might mean a combined $11 million. And they must decide whether to pick up Ramon Martinez's $5.6-million option."

One of the Dodger general manager candidates told Gammons, "The current situation is a mess. . . . But with their resources, even with all the good young players they've traded, it can be done."

But maybe not this century.

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Might not be a compliment: In Boston, the Red Sox are talking about signing Rafael Palmeiro if Mo Vaughn leaves. However, a former Texas Ranger told Gammons: "Raffy's a great hitter, but he cares about one thing--his stats--and one thing only. If we won and he was 0 for 5, he sulked. He'd make a great Dodger."

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Trivia time: In 1966, the Dodgers had the only rotation in which each of the four members would pitch at least 40 shutouts in his career. Who were they?

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Help! Ray Rhodes, who coached the Philadelphia Eagles to 10-6 records in his first two seasons, is beginning his fourth and, after an 0-4 exhibition season with four starters lost because of injury, sending up distress signals.

"I've been more than shellshocked," Rhodes said. "I've been bombed. I've been H-bombed. You name it, it's landed on me."

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Aging process: Tracy Austin, for USA Network, on Martina Hingis' problems:

"She didn't have a boyfriend last year at age 16 and was extremely focused. Now the intensity isn't there. Winning just isn't life and death like last year, when no one expected her to win three Grand Slams.

"We all go through this. I did at 17 too."

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Watching her wallet: Monica Seles has earned millions of dollars from her tennis and endorsement deals, but the popular former No. 1 player has less expensive taste in jewelry than some of her lesser-known opponents.

After Seles ousted Annie Miller in the third round at the U.S. Open on Friday, the pair engaged in an animated, friendly exchange by the umpire's chair.

"It was typical women's stuff," said Seles, asked about the unusual court-side gabbing. "I asked her about her necklace, I thought it was beautiful. She asked about mine.

"She guessed where I got mine and I didn't guess where she got hers. Mine was Barney's, hers was Tiffany's."

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Trivia answer: Sandy Koufax (40), Don Drysdale (49), Claude Osteen (40) and Don Sutton (58).

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And finally: Norman Chad, a syndicated columnist, analyzing today's Green Bay-Detroit game: "Scott Mitchell update. He's still Scott Mitchell."

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