Saenz, Hernandez and Hillenbrand are history

All three cleared waivers and refused outright assignments, but the Dodgers were never going to re-sign any of them anyway. Saenz’s departure leaves Brad Penny as the Dodgers’ longest-tenured player. The Killer Tomato hit just .191 this year and was just 14 for 63 as a pinch hitter, but he’ll be missed in the clubhouse. The other two guys were kind of non-factors after they were picked up at midseason. These were basically procedural moves made to clear 40-man roster spots. There are six guys on the 60-day DL, so some of them will probably be activated in the next few days to fill those spots.

From NL Worst to the NL’s best

It was just two years ago that the NL West became a national joke, the Padres taking the crown by going 82-80. Now, this is baseball’s deepest division, as evidenced by the fact the NLCS will be ALL NL West, and neither one of those teams is the Dodgers or the Padres. The Rockies and Diamondbacks combined over the past four days to win twice as many postseason games (six) as the NL West had won over the past four years (three). The Giants won once in their division series loss to Florida in 2003, the Dodgers won once in their division series loss to St. Louis in 2004, and the Padres won once in their division series loss to the Cardinals last year. The Padres were swept by the Cardinals in 2005, and the Dodgers were swept by the Mets last year. Oh, and this guarantees that an NL West team will play in the World Series for the first time since the Giants lost to the Angels in 2002. This division isn’t going to get any weaker — or, sadly for Dodgers fans, any easier to win — anytime soon. Next season should be very interesting for those of us who follow the NL West on a daily basis. …
By the way, Eamus Catulii AC986103 will now become Eamus Catulii AC996200. Extra credit goes to anyone who knows what that means, so if you know, please post.

Dodgers cut ties with Stan Johnston

The Dodgers have declined to renew the contract of assistant trainer Stan Johnston, who has been with the organization since 1985. Johnston was the club’s head trainer from 2000-06 until Stan Conte was brought in last winter, shortly after Conte resigned as San Francisco’s head trainer. At that point, Johnston was moved into an assistant’s role to make room for Conte, and assitant trainer Matt Wilson was let go.
Johnston spent 10 seasons as a trainer in the Dodgers’ minor-league system before joining the big-league training staff in 1996.
“I enjoyed my 22 years with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and everything I did to advance and further their commitment to being an outstanding organization,” Johnston said. “I am saddened that I am not going to a part the future of the organization.”
A Dodgers spokesman said team officials would have no comment on the matter.

Abreu will have surgery, Furcal won’t

Tony Abreu will undergo surgery tomorrow to repair a sports hernia. He is expected to be fully healed in six to eight weeks and then resume his normal offseason conditioning, which should leave him fully ready to go by the start of spring training. … The MRI on Furcal’s left ankle showed nothing serious, he won’t need surgery, and he is expected to be at full strength by the start of spring training after resting and rehabbing during the winter. … The day off was great, but the hot stove has now been lit