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I think we can now officially call this trade a bust. Luke Prokopec has signed as a free agent back with the Dodgers, an unusual two-year minor-league deal. The first year, of course, will be rehab and recuperation as Prokopec recovers from his arm surgery. After that, who knows? Once the arm goes under the knife, it's anyone's guess. I'm a little surprised the Dodgers didn't wait to see whether Prokopec can even throw the ball next spring. At the same time, the decision not to keep Prokopec on the 40-man roster has to be questioned. I trust that his place on the 40-man wasn't taken by a thoroughly replaceable commodity like, say, Doug Creek. For an organization that needs young pitching, the Blue Jays certainly seem to be a little cavalier with it. (Brandon Lyon, Luke Prokopec, will Chris Carpenter be next?)

In the result, Toronto effectively dealt Paul Quantrill and Cesar Izturis for Chad Ricketts, who himself hurt his arm this season and underwent surgery; no word as to his status. So is there any upside to the deal? Well, Quantrill was making way too much money for a setup man (thanks again, Gord), so it was nice to unload that contract on Rupert Murdoch. And Izturis, though undeniably brilliant with the glove, still doesn't project as a much better hitter than his current platoon mate, Alex Cora. So it's not like the Dodgers acquired any real talent from the Jays in this trade. But both Q and Cesar were attractive trade commodities last winter, so the sting lies in the fact that two valuable chits were given up for not a hell of a lot.

Is there reason to get one's nose out of joint over this? Not really. I won't second-guess the 40-man roster decision -- not yet, anyway. Re the injury: the reality is that trading for young arms is always something of a risk, and injuries like Prokopec's simply can't be anticipated. I chalk this one up to lousy luck, which means you swallow your disappointment and move on. The raft of serious arm injuries among Jay hurlers lately -- Carpenter, Prokopec and Francisco Rosario (not to mention a fellow named Sirotka) -- would make anyone gun-shy, but I trust the front office will keep on trying to find and develop good young arms. This kind of thing, unfortunately, is an occupational hazard.
A Dodger didgeridoo | 3 comments | Create New Account
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Coach - Tuesday, November 05 2002 @ 09:27 AM EST (#102428) #
While not as damaging to my AL fantasy team as "closer" Keith Foulke, Prokopec (who I drafted in about the 18th round) was a big disappointment. I couldn't forget, and apparently, neither could the Dodgers, how Luke began the 2001 season with a 6-1 record.

In retrospect, the Aussie's second-half fade that season wasn't just fatigue, or being shuffled between the rotation and the 'pen. In part, hitters figured out his two pitches, and his elbow and shoulder troubles probably began about the same time.

Ricciardi's "mistake" was assuming the kid was in good health. I said at the time it was a good trade ("Q" was overpaid and nearing the end of his effectiveness) and I'm always in favour of dealing spare parts for promising young NL starters. But this time, it didn't work out. We shouldn't expect a GM to "win" every trade if we don't expect a 1B to have an OPS of 5.000; J.P. still has a terrific transaction average. While this wasn't his finest move, it had a decent chance, like all his others, to improve the club.
_Richard - Tuesday, November 05 2002 @ 11:15 AM EST (#102429) #
Great sight,I've really enjoyed the tenor of the comments posted so far.I'll try to add my two cents worth.

I must admit this J.P. has a lot of chutzpa.Most G.M.'s would never admit to a mistake,with a guy like Prokopec they would exhaust every possible avenue before granting his release.Instead he accepts this mistake and moves on.I guess we'll see if this managerial style is rash.(As an aside their was an interesting article here in Calgary yesterday about the Flames G.M. Craig Button resigning Rob Niedermayer to a 2.5 million a year contract instead of admitting the obvious....that this was a bad trade so let the guy walk and take your lumps)

As for Prokopec I always wondered about this guy ,(even though I love most things Australian)Ouch... 19 homers in only 71.2 innings!A quick unofficial check shows this the highest ratio allowed in the A.L.(Russ Ortiz was #2)And in 2001 27 hrs in 138 innings(in Chavez Ravine!)As coach put it, no deception.He'd better spend his recuperative time learning some better breaking pitches ,rather than working out with the local Aussie rules football team.
_Jordan - Tuesday, November 05 2002 @ 11:31 AM EST (#102430) #
Welcome aboard, Richard! Great to have you with us. You're right, Prokopec was homerrific both of these past seasons; giving up 27 dingers in L.A. is not an easy feat. That may be part of his game, but if so, then Skydome is not the place for him to be. I find it interesting that Ricciardi seems to be assembling a groundball staff; it's not something you normally do in a turf stadium, but the Dome seems to be a homer haven, especially with the roof closed. I'll see if I can dig up the Park Effects report and find out if Skydome really is Enron North. Again, glad you could make it!
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