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VIEWPOINT / LETTERS

Evans' Explanation Not a Hit With Fans

August 09, 2003

Fire Jack Clark. Now there's the answer.

Ron Yukelson

Santa Monica

In Monday's article, "Evans Defends His Position," the Dodger general manager says his hands have been tied with News Corp's imposed salary cap at the luxury tax level. Dan, were your hands tied when you traded Eric Karros and Mark Grudzielanek for that All-Star catcher Hundley? What happened is that they both openly criticized Mr. Micro Manager Tracy, and they were gone. What I want to know, Dan, is if you knew your hands were going to be tied, then why would you get rid of those players, knowing that you couldn't replace them with quality players?

You state the importance of rebuilding the minor league system. I can accept that. But I understand that you could have gotten Richie Sexson but declined because you didn't want to give up certain minor league prospects. After the list of over-the-hill rejects you have obtained, why would you pass on a truly quality young player, farm system or not?

Hal Murray

Agoura Hills

The firing of Jack Clark was inevitable and probably necessary, though we should face the reality and realize that no one is ever going to make hitters out of Cora, Izturis, Roberts and Beltre, whereas Lo Duca will never again hit 25 home runs, and pitchers have the luxury of pitching around Green. Rickey Henderson belongs in the Hall of Fame, not on a major league team, and Robin Ventura should be on a retirement tour.

Suzanne Gayley

Los Angeles

I read with interest the article on Dan Evans this week. What I noticed is that he still doesn't get it.

The Dodger problem isn't about payroll inflexibility or a minor league system without prospects. Rather, it lies with a fatal misunderstanding about baseball fundamentals.

Why are there no minor league prospects? Because drafts are handled incorrectly. Why is there payroll inflexibility? Because players with incorrect fundamental numbers have been overpaid.

The Dodgers will never compete until they realize that the single most important stat is on-base percentage. Once they've grasped that fundamental, they can (finally) begin drafting college players who actually get on base (forget the gaudy home run and RBI numbers), and can begin teaching every prospect the importance of actually waiting for a good pitch to hit.

Kevin Webb

San Bernardino

Dan Evans complains about not having players he can call up from the farm system, as opposed to trading for costly veterans. This story is published in the same edition announcing the firing of hitting coach Jack Clark, and fresh on the heels of trading for Yankee third baseman Robin Ventura (36, batting .240 in a monthlong slump) and surrendering Bubba Crosby (26, batting about .360 with 12 homers and eight stolen bases for triple-A Las Vegas).

Whatever moves like this add up to, don't blame it on Jack.

Wann Rawles

Santa Barbara

I read with amusement the daily stoning of Dan Evans. Indeed, given the circumstances, he really needs to be hit with pebbles, not boulders, as this rockslide had its first rumblings long before he set foot at Chavez Ravine.

The seeds of this Dodger team can be found in 1998 and 1999, not only when Kevin Malone made one inept move after another, but also when the club misguidedly appointed Tommy Lasorda as interim GM. Despite his being a Dodger icon, Lasorda had as much business running the front office as Roger the peanut vendor. Carlos Perez? Mark Grudzielanek? Jeff Shaw? Hello?

I liken Dan Evans to some guy with a shovel coming in to work at a circus where they've been feeding the elephants too much fiber for too long.

Len Klatt

Westwood

Because Dan Evans was unable to make any meaningful deals (Robin Ventura? Please!), it's time he did the next-best thing, now that we're swirling down the drain: Declare rebuilding and trade the players with value. Move Odalis Perez, Paul Shuey, Adrian Beltre, Alex Cora, et al, and reap talented youngsters in return.

This season-long slump is in the boys' heads now, and they're not coming out of it in 2003. Dan, Jim, admit the team stinks and restock for the future. We fans will wait. Watching a bunch of talented rookies play their guts out would be better than watching Beltre flail and Shawn Green mope.

Tim Vandehey

Ventura

Firing Jack Clark as the Dodgers' hitting coach recalls the admonition that you can't make chicken salad out of chicken feathers. Since the outrageous dumping of Gary Sheffield, who besides being a consistent power hitter also spurred on Shawn Green, the team has paraded a line of has-beens and never-will-bes to home plate.

Were we in a world that is fair, Bob Daly, the mute Brooklyn-born and bred Dodger worshipper who brought in this inept management team and roster, would be dispatched back to Warner Bros., where he achieved a modicum of success in movie production, including Bugs Bunny cartoons.

Sid Skolnik

West Hollywood

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