The Decade: A Brief Look at What The 00’s Gave the Dodgers


With the unofficial decade coming to an end, a close look should be given to the Dodgers’ work. After all, it’s not every day that ownership changes, a team that hadn’t won a playoff series in 20 years sweeps the NLDS in consecutive years, and the team achieves a staggering amount of attention, from injuries to trades to steroids to divorce.

2000: Kevin Brown received his $105 million contract in 1998, becoming the first player in big-league history to receive a guaranteed nine-figure deal. Brown starts the decade well, posting an ERA of 2.58 while earning an All-Star nod along with Gary Sheffield. Matt Herges opens the season with eight straight wins, matching a record set by Fernando Valenzuela.  Shawn Green is acquired from Toronto along with Jorge Nunez for Raul Mondesi and Pedro Borbon, Jr. The Dodgers finish at 86-76, but fail to reach the postseason. Davey Johnson is fired from the manager position, and Jim Tracy takes over.

2001: The Dodgers again win 86 games, but finish in third place in the NL West, six games behind the eventual champion Arizona Diamondbacks. Under Tracy, Shawn Green has his best offensive season with 49 home runs and 84 extra base hits. Jeff Shaw becomes the Dodgers’ all-time leader in saves with 129. Edwin Jackson is drafted in the sixth round. Paul Lo Duca becomes the starting catcher, and Brown pitches only 115 innings.

2002: Dan Evans becomes the general manager, replacing Kevin Malone. Dodgers trade Gary Sheffield to Atlanta, and acquire Cesar Izturis from Toronto. Shawn Green belts 42 homers to become the first Dodger with back-to-back 40 homer seasons. Eric Gagne is moved from a starter role to the closer, and collects 52 saves. The team reaches 92 wins, but finishes in third again. James Loney, Jonathan Broxton, James McDonald, Eric Stults, and Russell Martin are all selected in the draft and later signed. Kevin Brown pitches only 64 innings.

2003: News Corp. begins its quest to find a new owner. Dodgers win 85 games and finish in second. Eric Gagne records a save in all 55 of his opportunities, securing the NL Cy Young award. Shawn Green sets a Los Angeles franchise record with 49 doubles. The team drafts Chad Billingsley, Matt Kemp, Xavier Paul, Lucas May, A.J. Ellis, and Andy LaRoche. Kevin Brown pitches 211 innings with an ERA of 2.39.

2004: News Corp. sells Dodgers to the McCourts. The new owners install Paul DePodesta as the general manager. Kevin Brown is traded to the Yankees for Jeff Weaver and others. Jayson Werth is acquired from Toronto. Milton Bradley is acquired from Cleveland. Scott Elbert, Corey Wade, and Blake DeWitt are all drafted. The Dodgers win 93 games and finish in first, securing a division title and an postseason bid. Dodgers lose NLDS to St. Louis, though they win their first postseason game since 1988 behind a complete game shutout from Jose Lima. Adrian Beltre leads the league with 48 home runs and finishes second in MVP voting. Guillermo Mota, Juan Encarnacion, and Paul Lo Duca are traded to Florida for Brad Penny and others midseason. Cesar Izturis wins a Gold Glove.

2005: Dodgers lose 91 games, the second most in the team’s history in Los Angeles. Team signs Derek Lowe, J.D. Drew, and Jeff Kent. Shawn Green is traded to Arizona for Dioner Navarro and others. Eric Gagne and Cesar Izturis battle injuries.

2006: Ned Colletti is named the new general manager. Grady Little is hired as the new manager. Edwin Jackson is traded to Tampa Bay with Chuck Tiffany in exchange for Lance Carter and Danys Baez. Milton Bradley is traded to Oakland along with Antonio Perez for Andre Ethier. Nomar Garciaparra and Rafael Furcal are signed. Clayton Kershaw is drafted. Cesar Izturis is traded to the Cubs midseason for Greg Maddux. The team wins 88 games and secures a postseason bid through the wild card. The team is swept in the NLDS by the New York Mets.

2007: The Dodgers finish at 82-80. J.D. Drew opts out of five-year contract. Juan Pierre, Luis Gonzalez, Randy Wolf, and Jason Schmidt are signed. Schmidt pitches only 25.7 innings. Russell Martin starts at catcher and makes the All-Star team along with Brad Penny and Takashi Saito. Andrew Lambo is drafted. Andre Ethier is the opening-day right fielder. Martin wins both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger for the catcher position.

2008: Grady Little opts out of contract. Joe Torre is hired as manager. Andruw Jones is signed, and bats only .158 for the season. Hiroki Kuroda is signed. Rafael Furcal misses nearly five months after back surgery. Four Dodgers drafted by the team in the decade are opening-day starters. Clayton Kershaw is called up. Jason Schmidt makes no appearances all season. In a three-team trade, the Dodgers acquire Manny Ramirez from the Boston Red Sox while sending Andy LaRoche and Bryan Morris to Pittsburgh. The team finishes with 84 wins but takes the division. They sweep the Chicago Cubs in the NLDS, but lose to Philadelphia in the NLCS.

2009: Manny Ramirez is resigned. Randy Wolf returns. Orlando Hudson is signed. Andruw Jones is released from his contract. The team moves all Spring Training operations to Glendale, Arizona. Jason Schmidt pitches 18 innings. Ramirez is suspended for 50 games after violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy. Jim Thome is acquired from the Chicago White Sox midseason. The Dodgers finish with the best record in the National League. They sweep St. Louis in the NLDS, but lose again to Philadelphia in the NLCS. The McCourts announce their impending divorce.

All in all, it was one hell of a decade, and the start certainly was not the harbinger of the end.  Here’s hoping that next season brings a little more hardware and a little less heartache.