Saturday, October 01, 2005

Falling like dominoes?

Los Angeles – Could the end of the Dusty Baker era in Chicago be starting in Los Angeles? As the Dodger season crashes and burns at Chavez Ravine. Dodger skipper Jim Tracy has went to GM Paul DePodesta and asked him for a contract extension. Tracy, who has one year left on his current contract, has an opt-out of his contract. He can invoke the opt-out in a seven day window once the 2005 season is over. According to the LA Times:

…Tracy would consider leaving if the Dodgers refuse to provide an extension and he can get a multi-year deal somewhere else.

The Dodgers have not determined whether to give him an extension, and one high-level official said it is a close call.Should the Dodgers decide not to meet Tracy's request, they could fire him shortly after the season and would be responsible for his 2006 salary only if he couldn't find another managerial job.

Speaking hypothetically, DePodesta said the Dodgers would not wait until after the opt-out period to fire Tracy "out of respect for what he's done here."

Unlike earlier this season, when DePodesta appeared to be headed for the door, the Dodger GM seems to be safe. The LA Times again:

DePodesta's status also has been a topic of conjecture. He has three more years on his five-year deal, and a high-level Dodger source said Tuesday that McCourt remains supportive of him and that he is in no danger of being fired this off-season.
Lastnight following the Dodgers final home game, a 3-2 loss to the D-Backs, Tracy took a swipe at DePodesta’s roster moves:

"If there was any disappointment from my end, it's that several of those components from a year ago were not in the clubhouse at spring training in Vero Beach," Tracy said, obviously referring to the likes of Adrian Beltre, Shawn
Green, Alex Cora and Steve Finley, not to mention catcher Paul LoDuca, outfielder Juan Encarnacion and setup man Guillermo Mota, all jettisoned in trade-deadline deals last summer.

"Familiarity goes hand in hand with success, in my mind. … Some of the elements we had last year that made us successful were [not here]."

What the hell does this have to do with the Cubs. Nothing really. Unless you believe, like I do, that the Dodger gig is Dusty's dream job.

I see the spat between Tracy and DePodesta leading to the departure of Jim Tracy (the last Cub player to wear #23 before Ryno). The vacancy in the Dodger Dugout Is a great opportunity for the embattled Baker. It puts Dusty back on the west coast. It gets him out of Chicago a place he is not comfortable. He will join an organization he knows very well. Dusty was a star player for the Dodgers and the fans remember him fondly. He managed against them with the rival Giants. He can go out there, play Tommy Lasorda, and try to stick it to the Giants.

Baker enters 2006 a lame-duck manager on a team that has regressed since he took over. Although Jim Hendry and Andy MacFAIL preach consistency, they would have to love the chance to let their p.r. nightmare Manager go. This also protects Hendry and Mac-sweatervest-FAIL. They can blame the last couple of seasons on Baker and bring in another big name (see Uncle Lou). So when this job comes available sometime next week it would not surprise me at all to find out Dusty has asked for permission to talk with the Dodgers.

UPDATE October 3rd: Jim Tracy is out as Dodger manager. DePodesta termed it "a mutual parting of ways." Click here to see the LA Times article on Tracy's departure.

No comments: