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Carlos Lee, savior? Dodgers really have given up on James Loney

July 01, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Carlos Lee, 36, is without a home run outside of Houston all season, and has only one home run in the last 25 games.
Carlos Lee, 36, is without a home run outside of Houston all season, and has… (Scott Halleran / Getty Images )

If you don't think the Dodgers have given up on James Loney, witness their efforts to acquire Houston’s Carlos Lee.

That would be Carlos Lee, 36, without a home run outside Houston all season, with one home run in his last 25 games, apparently without any particular hankering to be a Dodger.

Lee confirmed to reporters in Chicago the Dodgers had made an offer and he was mulling whether to waive his no-trade clause and come to Los Angeles. Reportedly, he is not eager to leave his ranch outside Houston. You know, to come to L.A. for three months of his life to try to win a World Series.

And you thought more than anything these guys cherished winning.

I didn’t get it when Hiroki Kuroda wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause last year and I don’t get Lee agonizing over it now. I do get Rafael Furcal agreeing to be traded, and I understand that worked out pretty well for him last season.

The Dodgers should just rescind their offer right now. If Lee’s not jumping at the chance to be on a contending team, with new ownership and a supposedly bright future, let him go. It’s not as if he’s in his prime.

“We have a good thing going on and we’re going to be a good club,” said Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly, talking generally and not specifically about Lee.

“I think what Mark [Walter] and Guggenheim and Stan [Kasten] and we’re talking about is just getting better and better. You know what? If a guy doesn’t want to be over here, then he don’t need to be here.”

Lee said he expected to make a decision by Sunday, so that’s the good news. Either way, it’s not good for Loney, who is currently in a 0-for-25 skid and batting .236 for the season with .303 on-base and .323 slugging percentages.

Mattingly said the Dodgers haven’t run out of patience with the underperforming Loney; they’re just being pragmatic.

“It’s really been kind of going into the last two years now, we’re kinda looking at more of a backwards progression with a little bit of a good second half [in 2010],” he said. “So now it’s starting to look like it’s getting in the opposite direction, where you’re not getting as much production.

“Before we always complained about James when he wasn’t hitting home runs but was driving in 90 runs and hitting .290. I’ll take that all day long. And that’s really what we talked about. I’m not worried about him getting home runs, I need somebody to be that third wheel with Matt [Kemp] and Dre [Andre Ethier].”

And Lee is supposed to make some big difference in that regard? He would be an upgrade, certainly, but so would a lot of guys right now. Guys who might buy their own ticket to leave one of the worst teams in baseball to join a contender.

Mattingly said he can understand how some players might be reluctant to leave a team. Anyway, that’s what he said.

“A guy is comfortable where he’s at and doesn’t want to leave home and has kids and has family,” he said. “If he doesn’t want to take a chance at winning and getting to the playoffs and the World Series, if he doesn’t want that …”

Then you shouldn’t even want him.

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