Not so artful Dodger

Originally Published: December 23, 2004
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
The results are in, and they show a wide range of opinion on the performance of Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta. Of 80,000 respondents to an poll, 50 percent said DePodesta is "doing just fine" or "needs more time" to get the job done in Los Angeles. The other 50 percent said he "should be fired" or is "in over his head."

The debate apparently won't be settled until the final Cuyahoga County precincts have reported or Yankees president Randy Levine clicks in with enough negative responses to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.

The Randy Johnson-to-New York trade is dead through New Year's Day. But if you believe in the concept of inexorable momentum – as evidenced by Alex Rodriguez's roundabout route to the Bronx last winter – Johnson will be wearing a Yankees uniform soon enough. He still wants out of Arizona, and George Steinbrenner longs to acquire him, and those two factors cosmically ensure it'll be a done deal.

As the hysteria abates and Javier Vazquez continues to enjoy his vacation in St. John, the Dodgers already have put the entire messy episode behind them. All it took was some internal fortitude and a five-year, $55 million investment in free-agent outfielder J.D. Drew.

For the record, the Yankees still believe the Dodgers broke their word and reneged on the big deal and will regard any future transactions with Los Angeles warily. That doesn't necessarily lose the Dodgers points with teams who resent the Yankees for being, well, the Yankees. "Getting ripped by Randy Levine is like a badge of honor," said an AL executive.

Paul Depodesta
DePodesta (far right) has some work to do to get his house in order.

Did DePodesta simply come to his senses and back out of a bad deal before it was too late? Or did the Dodgers muck things up and make too many promises they couldn't keep? While the former was clearly the case, the Yankees are convinced there was way too much of the latter.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer