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This deal is another of those 21st-century classics whereby teams swap high-priced headaches. Not because they think changes of scenery will help, but rather because new headaches don't hurt as much as old ones.
There are some presumed benefits, of course.
The Dodgers have a solid prospect at second base named Joe Thurston, and trading Grudzielanek clears a path for Thurston, who will get a real good shot at earning the everyday job next spring. Also, trading Grudzielanek and Karros saves the Dodgers a few million dollars in 2003, and they can use that payroll flexibility to fill one or more holes.
The Cubs also have a solid prospect at second base (Bobby Hill) and they have a solid prospect at first base (Hee Seop Choi), which makes one wonder why they're bringing aboard an over-the-hill second baseman (Grudzielanek) and an over-the-hill first baseman (Karros). The answer, presumably, is that 1) they're not completely sold on Hill and Choi, and 2) new manager Dusty Baker prefers players in their 30s to players in their 20s. On a happier note, though, Grudzielanek's and Karros' contracts both expire at the conclusion of the 2003 season, which will give the Cubs some payroll flexibility of their own.