The Los Angeles Times’ Bill Plaschke goes on and on this morning about how the Dodgers’ “whiffed” in nixing a trade for Cliff Lee at the deadline:
Why did the Dodgers sacrifice the chance to acquire Lee, the starter stolen instead by the Phillies at the trading deadline, the guy who brilliantly held the Dodgers to three singles in eight innings of puzzled stares?
Why did the Dodgers sacrifice a sensible postseason rotation, forcing Joe Torre to hand the ball to a spooked Hiroki Kuroda, who threw it well for all of about one batter?
Except they didn’t sacrifice anything because they were never in the running to land Cliff Lee. There was a single Ken Rosenthal piece back in July that had Lee going to the Dodgers for James Loney and either Clayton Kershaw or Chad Billingsley. At the time the Dodgers said that there was “less than zero truth” to the rumor. Even better, the shooting down of that rumor came from Plaschke’s very own paper. There was zero speculation, informed or otherwise, of any other possible deal and no indication whatsoever that the teams talked.
Sure, it would be nice if the Dodgers had Cliff Lee, but it would be nice if they had Albert Pujols, Tim Lincecum and the reincarnation of Honus Wagner too. And all of them, it seems, had just as good a chance of becoming a Dodger last summer as Cliff Lee did.
There are plenty of reasons to slam the Dodgers this morning, Bill, but failing to trade for Cliff Lee is not one of them.
UPDATE: CBS’ Danny Knobler has multiple quotes from Dodgers’ GM Ned Colletti saying that, yes, the Dodgers were actively trying to get Lee and were almost there:
The way Colletti tells it, the Dodgers tried very hard. Colletti didn’t come right out and say he thought the Dodgers had offered more for Lee than the Phillies did, but he was willing to say they offered a lot.
“We offered four guys,” he said. “We were choking on the third guy, and we went to the fourth [too].”
That certainly changes my comments re: Plaschke’s piece. But, based on the quotes I used to form my opinion on Plaschke’s piece in the first place, it also shows that the Dodgers told a bald faced lie to the Los Angeles Times back in July.
The rumor business: it’s ugly stuff.