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Magic number for James Loney to depart Dodgers is 42

T.J. SIMERS

Underachieving first baseman is as good as gone from the team, and wouldn't it be nice to replace him with Prince Fielder?

August 15, 2011|T.J. Simers
  • Dodgers first baseman James Loney has been remarkably unproductive this season, not a way to go when it's your contract year.
Dodgers first baseman James Loney has been remarkably unproductive this… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

Arizona's magic number to eliminate the Dodgers from National League West contention is 30.

It's 42 games before James Loney is officially a goner.

Loney's best chance of returning to the Dodgers next season is agreeing to pay the monthly rent on the seven houses Jamie McCourt owns so Frank doesn't have to pay as much to support her.

Loney's suggestion the other day the Dodgers could still win a division title is funny now. He's the very last guy to be talking about making a strong run, hitting a combined .210 with five home runs and 30 RBIs after the All-Star break the last two seasons.

Thanks for the memories.

By way of contrast, Milwaukee first baseman Prince Fielder, two days younger than Loney and a free agent at season's end, has hit .277 with 17 home runs and 61 RBIs down the stretch the last two years.

Did I mention Fielder will be a free agent?

Does it matter to the Dodgers as long as McCourt is still in control of the team?

The Dodgers don't have anyone with the ability to protect Matt Kemp as the team's No. 5 hitter. It makes Kemp's numbers more impressive. It also makes Juan Uribe a colossal flop.

But how do the Dodgers pursue Fielder if McCourt is still in control, the team's future pegged to long-range court dates and uncertainty?

Scott Boras represents Fielder, so you know Fielder is going to get rich. The only way that happens with the Dodgers is if Major League Baseball is in control and allows the team to function like a major market.

The longer McCourt hangs around, the less likely the Dodgers improve any time soon.

As for Loney, he'll go the way of Russell Martin, the Dodgers choosing not to make him an offer. As out of sight, out of mind as the Dodgers have become, I wonder whether anyone will notice he's gone.

I THOUGHT of McCourt when I was reading a Donald Sterling ad in The Times for the Beverly Hills Plaza Hotel.

It looks like a great place, the "world's best shopping & restaurants steps away," according to the ad with a "French bistro cafe, pool, gardens and spa."

McCourt has been living in the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, and according to Vanity Fair paying $30,000 per month for a suite.

In the newspaper ad, Sterling is offering one- and two-bedroom apartment/suites for $10,500 a month. Sterling might even drop that price for McCourt, if it means keeping an owner in town who makes Sterling look good by way of comparison.

How could McCourt possibly turn down the chance to save $20,000 a month in rent while still living in opulence?

And as for Sterling, you know how he likes to advertise the fact fans can see players like LeBron James and Kevin Durant if they buy tickets and attend Clippers games.

Now he could run McCourt's picture in his Beverly Hills Plaza Hotel ads telling folks they might see McCourt when checking in. A win-win for everyone.

WHAT A relief. There was no need for the Angels to go to their closer Monday night.

THE ANGELS were two games behind the Rangers at the trading deadline when they opted to surrender.

Is Bill Stoneman still the general manager? Just who is the GM? It's apparently no one who makes a difference.

Instead of getting creative and making a run for a title, the Angels watched Texas get better at a position where the Angels were desperate for help.

The Angels lead the league in blown saves, something you would ordinarily expect from a team employing Jonathan Broxton.

They are 22-23 in one-run games and 7-11 in extra inning contests. Yet, it was the Rangers who added two solid relievers.

Before Monday, Texas relievers had a 1.35 earned-run average over the last 16 games, and the Angels were coming off another blown save.

"We hit a bump in the road on the trip and had some games with an opportunity to win, but couldn't finish them off," Manager Mike Scioscia said. And so goes the Angels story this season.

They shouldn't be surprised.

CONGRATS TO Times reporter Lance Pugmire on tracking down Andrew Bynum.

I couldn't help but notice the difference in interviewing styles. Pugmire asked Bynum, "What happened in that parking incident at the grocery store?"

I might have phrased it differently: "Talk about being stupid, arrogant and possessing an unbelievable sense of entitlement, how could you park your fancy car not once, but twice — and for all we know 100 times that you haven't been caught — in a parking spot for the disabled?"

Bynum chose not to answer Pugmire's question.

I suspect Bynum might have had trouble with mine as well.

Pugmire began the interview nicely by asking Bynum, "You've had time to reflect on last season; what are your thoughts?''

I might've begun: "What did your mother, your friends, anyone with any kind of maturity have to say after you tore off your jersey in the final game while stalking off the court like a big baby?"

Obviously, I need some work on my technique because Pugmire not only got him, but an answer to every question Bynum was willing to answer.

T J's PASSION, the longest shot in the fifth race the other day at Del Mar, shocked everyone with a second-place finish. The winner was a horse trained by Jeff Mullins. Mullins has been accused of milk-shaking horses, which allows horses to run longer without getting tired.

I'm not saying T J's Passion would have won if not matched against a Mullins horse, but the editors here should take note that T J seemed to run his best after the jockey dropped his whip.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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