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Mr. LaRoche finally has his freedom. I don’t know if he’ll be anything more than he is now. Regardless, this is yet another example of the mindlessness of the Dodger front office.

Dodger problems:

– J.D. Drew leaves for greener pastures (and honestly, do you blame him?)

– In response, Ned signs an aging, over-the-hill Luis Gonzalez, and outbids his old boss for Juan Pierre, at the bargain basement price of 5/45.

– Gonzo whines about the kids being better than him and taking his PT, and Juan Pierre is, well, Juan Pierre.

– Looking to address the fact that Juan Pierre is Juan Pierre, Ned signs Andruw Jones to 2/36 and moves Slappy McPopup to LF.

– Andre Ethier blisters the crap out of the ball in spring training, forcing them to play him.

– Joe Torre plays Slappy anyway.

– Fat Andruw sucks on a historic level, and Slappy is still Slappy. Meanwhile, Ethier and Matt Kemp are quietly the team’s best two OF.

– Hoping to address Fat Andruw’s historic suckiness, the Dodgers trade away Andy LaRoche and Bryan Morris for Manny Ramirez, forgetting that Manny’s gone after this year, and so are Casey Blake, Nomar, and Jeff Kent — meaning there’ll be vacancies at 2B, SS, 3B, and LF. And there’s no one left to fill the vacancy at 3B, since you know, Andy LaRoche is gone. I suppose Blake DeWitt and Ivan DeJesus/Chin-Lung Hu can take over at 2B and SS, respectively, but do you really think Joe “I had Tony Womack DH and Miguel Cairo at 1B, not to mention am convinced that Slappy’s .299 OBP is evidence he ‘knows how to lead off'” Torre is really going to hand over the reins to the kids?

For all the hand-wringing about the “Dodger Way,” it doesn’t appear that Ned is interested in following it. That is, unless, the “Dodger Way” is loading up on marginally useful veterans with ridiculous contracts and tossing aside useful resources (i.e. pre-arbitration youngsters) like yesterday’s garbage.

Time will tell whether or not Manny for LaRoche is another Delino for Pedro or another Shaw for Konerko. But do you really expect this one to turn out well for the Dodgers? Two months, max, of Manny’s HOF bat — yes, that’s a great thing. But will it make that big of a difference for them down the stretch? How many more wins is he worth? Two, three, maybe five? Will that even be enough to catch the Diamondbacks? And if they do, what happens in the playoffs?

The Dodgers traded six cost-controlled years of LaRoche & Morris for two months of Manny. Adding Manny makes them  better for sure, but I’d say anything short of an NL pennant would make this trade a disaster for the Dodgers, considering how many more holes they’ve now created.

More than that, it displays a commitment not to the continued long-term success of the team, but a dependency on win-now thinking. It demonstrates that the Dodgers are more than willing to impede the progress of their own players, so long as they dominate the headlines. And it can’t be more than headlines, especially considering the really, marginal difference Manny will make. Is there anyone who thinks the Dodgers make this deal if the Angels hadn’t acquire Mark Teixeira the day before?

It shows a commitment not to the vague notion of the “Dodger Way,” which I presume to be developing your own stars, but rather, a commitment to whatever the flavor of the moment is. The Dodgers suffered through this same thinking under Fred Claire and Kevin Malone, and it’s apparent things still haven’t changed under Ned’s control.

Well, now that Andy’s free, it’s time to set the sights on getting Andre Ethier off the bench.

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