During his daily pregame press briefing, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was asked for his best James Loney story.
“Oh God,” he sighed. Sounded like there were a few to choose from.
Mattingly picked one from a couple years back, when Larry Bowa was the Dodgers’ third-base coach, and James did “something on the field” that prompted Bowa to pull Loney aside in a tunnel leading into the Dodgers’ clubhouse.
“I know I’ve told you a hundred times…” Bowa said, in Mattingly’s words.
Loney’s response: “Well, I guess one-hundred and one.”
It was an appropriate anecdote for a player whose sense of humor was at times his best asset this season. Like on Friday, when Loney was asked why he was scratched from the lineup, as trade rumors swirled and Adrian Gonzalez was being scratched from the lineup in Boston.
“I don’t have good numbers against (Nate) Eovaldi,” Loney said. “I’m 0-for-0.”
When Adrian Gonzalez hit the second pitch he saw in a Dodger uniform for a three-run home run Saturday, it culminated general manager Ned Colletti’s season-long pursuit of the Boston Red Sox first baseman.
“I talked to [Red Sox general manager] Ben Cherington back in April about Adrian,” Colletti said. “As the talks went on, they were sporadic. We talked about other players. At the [July 31 non-waiver trade] deadline, they weren’t prepared to do anything. The more scouts talk, you get a feel for where the match may be – you get a feel for what players in your system they would like. … You don’t get the crystal clear picture of it, but you get an idea where their interest lies. We just kept turning, kept turning. I stayed in touch with Ben through the month of August. He all of a sudden knew that we were in the market to pick up star players. We were also looking to add as much pitching as we could add.”
Colletti said that Gonzalez was a topic of daily discussion, internally and externally, every day for the last week.
The home run was nice, but the Dodgers will need to get a lot more out of Gonzalez if today’s trade is to pay off. He’s under contract through 2018 for a total of $128 million after this season. Gonzalez turns 36 during the final year of his contract.
It’s been true for some time that the Dodgers are in the market for a starting pitcher, a left-handed reliever, and a corner infielder. Scratch Carlos Lee’s name off the list of available players, though general manager Ned Colletti doesn’t necessarily believe that Lee’s trade to the Miami Marlins last week is a sure sign the market is heating up.
“For the sellers, there’s never a sense of urgency until you get to the 31st,” Colletti said, referring to the August 31 trade deadline. “The seller’s risk is injury. They can wait it out right until the bell.”
Injuries? The Dodgers have plenty of those.