SAN DIEGO -- The Los Angeles Dodgers traded catcher Paul Lo Duca, reliever Guillermo Mota and outfielder Juan Encarnacion to
the Florida Marlins on Friday night for pitcher Brad Penny, first
baseman Hee Seop Choi and minor league left-hander Bill Murphy.
Penny should help strengthen the Dodgers' starting rotation,
which entered play Friday ranked sixth in the NL with a 3.92 ERA.
"We're thrilled to be able to add a front-line starter,
especially given what was available in the marketplace," Dodgers
general manager Paul DePodesta said. "I'm also pleased that we
were also able to add a young, powerful, left-handed bat to the
lineup as we head down the pennant stretch. This trade will not
only help us this season, but we also expect to reap the rewards
for years to come.
"In order to do something special, sometimes you have to take some risks," he added.
"We did this deal as a stand-alone deal but it's also a deal that put us in position to do something else," DePodesta said. "Whether that happens remains to be seen. (But) I can't comment on specific players. I will say we continue to have conversations with the Diamondbacks as well as a handful of other clubs."
The addition of Choi will allow the NL West-leading Dodgers to
move Shawn Green back to right field to replace Encarnacion. Green,
who primarily played right field throughout his career, was moved
to first base in spring training.
Florida also gets cash as part of the deal.
By the time the Marlins had wrapped up an uninspiring 9-0 home
loss to Montreal on Friday night, Choi and Penny were gone, and
their lockers were empty.
"It's tough for us to deal with because of what they've done to
get us to this point," Florida pitcher Dontrelle Willis said.
"It's like a classmate moving."
Although the trade was not yet official before the Dodgers
played San Diego on Friday night, players came to Lo Duca's locker
to say their goodbyes.
An emotional Lo Duca, who was putting on street clothes, said he
would drive back to Los Angeles with Encarnacion and Mota, then fly
to Florida on Saturday to join the defending World Series
"It's hard because this is the only organization I've ever
known," said Lo Duca, the Dodgers' emotional leader who was a
25th-round draft pick by Los Angeles in 1993. "It's difficult
because I've made a lot of friends."
At one point, Lo Duca had to momentarily stop talking to
reporters because he began to cry.
"Right now it's hard to really fathom it, especially with Lo
Duca being here for so many years," Green said. "The three that
have been traded have been a big part of the chemistry and it's
obviously going to change the dynamic. Other guys are going to have
to step into different roles on the field and in the clubhouse."
The Marlins have been seeking to upgrade at catcher ever since
the offseason loss of Ivan Rodriguez to free agency. Florida has
also looked for help in its bullpen, which has struggled at times
to hold leads.
The deal would seem to fill those two big holes with the
additions of Lo Duca, one of baseball's top-hitting catchers, and
Mota, who has pitched consistently for the Dodgers as a setup man.
Penny is 8-8 with a 3.15 ERA in 21 starts. The right-hander is
the Marlins' career leader with 48 wins, and he won two games in
last season's World Series victory over the New York Yankees.
"I came up with Brad. I've known him for quite a while,"
Marlins pitcher Josh Beckett said. "We go pretty far back. We're
going to miss him, but we'll get some good guys in return."
Lo Duca is batting .301 with 10 home runs and 49 RBI.
Encarnacion, who came to Los Angeles in a trade from Florida last
winter, will rejoin the team that he helped win a World Series last
fall when he drove in 94 runs and did not commit an error.
Encarnacion is hitting .234 with 13 homers and 43 RBI. Mota
appeared in 52 games with an 8-4 record and an ERA of 2.14.
Murphy was 6-4 with a 4.08 ERA in 20 games at Double-A Carolina
this season, with 113 strikeouts in 103 2-3 innings. He also
appeared in the Futures Game during All-Star festivities in
Information gathered from the Associated Press and ESPN.com senior writer Jayson Stark was used in this story.