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Down The Line

June 29, 2008|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

As the Dodgers try to add a power hitter without subtracting from their young core, they need not look beyond the visiting dugout today.

They'll find Juan Rivera there, at the end of the Angels' bench, buried under the weight of Gary Matthews Jr.'s contract.

Rivera got 400 at-bats once in his career, in 2006. He hit 23 home runs. The Dodgers haven't had a player hit more than 20 in three years, and no one is on pace to hit even 17 this year.

For power in left, he's the Juan

Rivera's career slugging percentage is .464; no player on the Dodgers' active roster has a higher percentage this season.

The Dodgers could play Rivera, Matt Kemp and (fingers crossed) a healthy and productive Andruw Jones in the outfield. Russell Martin, with a .407 on-base percentage through Friday's games, could lead off until Rafael Furcal gets back.

The Angels love collecting arms, preferably power arms, so give them their choice of middle reliever Cory Wade or Javy Guerra, a fireballing Class A reliever with erratic control.

This trade, or any trade between the Dodgers and Angels, would be a long time coming. You're a trivia whiz (or a Google whiz) if you can name the last trade between the two teams. Check your answer at the bottom of this column.

Damaged goods on the market

Let's say you're Lee Pelekoudas, the interim general manager in Seattle, and your chance of getting the full-time gig depends on how much young talent you can bring back to the Mariners in a fire sale.

So you must be thrilled that one of your coaches, speaking anonymously so as to keep his job, trashed several players likely to be traded. We wish you good luck getting good value in return.

In the wake of the firings of manager John McLaren and general manager Bill Bavasi, here's what that Seattle coach told the Tacoma News-Tribune:

"You've got players in that clubhouse who should be team leaders -- guys like Richie Sexson, Adrian Beltre, Erik Bedard, even Ichiro -- who care only about themselves," he said. "When your best players are hitting 50-60 points below their career averages and won't take extra batting practice, what message does that send?

"You had kids at the park six hours before a game to work with [fired hitting coach] Jeff Pentland one on one in the cage, and you had Beltre, who'd never do it. Pretty soon, the younger guys weren't doing it either."

Best month ever for Bud Selig

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman suspended Henry Samueli last week, after the Ducks' owner pleaded guilty to a felony count of lying to federal investigators.

NBA Commissioner David Stern faces long odds in convincing fans that games are not fixed, after former referee Tim Donaghy suggested this month that they were. Donaghy pleaded guilty last year to two felony counts after federal agents discovered he tipped bettors to certain games and received kickbacks from them.

And NFL owners opted out of their collective bargaining agreement last month, so Commissioner Roger Goodell could be presiding over a labor stoppage in the near future.

This is not a bad time to be commissioner of baseball.

Talk about your low-impact trades

The last trade between the Dodgers and Angels, in 1976: The Dodgers sent outfielder Orlando Alvarez to the then-California Angels for catcher Ellie Rodriguez.

Neither played in the majors beyond 1976. Rodriguez backed up Steve Yeager, batting .212 with no home runs. Alvarez completed a brief career in which he had 51 at-bats -- and no walks.

-- Bill Shaikin

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