Zack Greinke elbow woes stir Jason Schmidt flashbacks in L.A.

Dodgers fans hope Zack Greinke doesn't pull a Jason Schimdt (pitching here).
The cool goatee was the only cool thing about Jason Schmidt’s time with the Dodgers. (Michael Owen Baker)

Yesterday was a somber day for me. I was hit with the realization that I suffer from a rare disease that causes me to freak out and rock back and forth in the fetal position on the floor and say repeatedly, “This is not another Jason Schmidt! This is not another Jason Schmidt!”

Yes, my name is Jeff Dickinson, and I’m a Dodgers fan who suffers from Post Traumatic Jason Schmidt Syndrome (PTJSS).

You remember Schmidt, right? (Or have you hopelessly been trying to forget him since 2007?) The Dodgers stole Schmidt away from the hated San Francisco Giants with a three-year, $47 million free agent contract prior to the 2007 season.

How did Schmidt repay the Dodgers? By winning a grand total of three games over the rest of his Los Angeles career! So, this mathematician figures that Schmidt rooked the Dodgers for about $15 million per victory.

Well, when I heard that $147 million free agent pitcher Zack Greinke was visiting the doctor because of a tender elbow this spring, my PTJSS immediately kicked in. I thought, “Please, not another bad Dodgers signing!”

Now, I’m not trying to say that Zack Greinke will be anything like Schmidt, but you can’t blame a fan for making that correlation.

Fortunately for me, the Schmidt fiasco isn’t the only bad signing/trade the Dodgers have made in the not-too-distant past. For every Jason Schmidt heart palpitation, there are plenty of other scary transactions made by the Dodgers to spread the pain.

How about some of these horror stories:

(Cue the “Psycho” music!The Pedro Martinez trade – In 1993, the Dodgers traded the rookie Martinez to the Montreal Expos for second baseman Delino DeShields. Brilliant! Martinez won a Cy Young in Montreal and two more after he was traded to the Boston Red Sox. DeShields only played three seasons for the Dodgers and had a high batting average of .256.

(Cue the “Halloween” theme song!) The Mike Piazza trade – What a debacle of a year 1998 was for the Los Angeles franchise! On May 15 of that year, the Dodgers traded the player who was the face of the franchise, city and Southern California to the Florida Marlins. Ever since that day, the Dodgers have had a black hole behind the plate. Dodgers fans also had to watch Piazza go on to hit 250 home runs and cement his Hall of Fame career.

(Cue the theme from “Nightmare On Elm Street!) The Paul Konerko trade – Another boneheaded 1998 fiasco, the Dodgers decided that the 22-year-old Konerko was worth unloading for reliever Jeff Shaw. Shaw did save some games for Los Angeles, but not enough to erase the pain of watching Konerko smack 411 homers over the past 15 years. How cool would it have been to have Konerko anchoring first base for the Dodgers for all of those years?

(Cue the music from “Saw!) Signing Darren Dreifort in 2000 – The Dodgers got a “bargain” by signing Dreifort to a five-year, $55 million free-agent contract in 2000 … at least compared to Schmidt’s deal! No one knew why the Dodgers thought a pitcher with a career 33-34 record was worth that kind of money. They did, though, and the fragile Dreifort went on to miss more games than he played and only won nine games the rest of his career, for an average of $6 million per victory.

(Cue “Friday the 13th” music!) Signing Andruw Jones in 2007 – The Atlanta Braves knew Jones’ skills had mysteriously diminished, but the Dodgers evidently weren’t paying attention in December of 2007. When Jones showed up to start earning his two-year, $36 million contract with the Dodgers, he was fatter than Juan Uribe … seriously! Jones went on to get hurt, look hopeless and to ultimately only play one season in Los Angeles. Jones hit a total of three homers for the Dodgers, which is a real bargain for all that money the team shelled out on him.

So, this fan is hoping that Zack Greinke’s tender elbow becomes less tender real soon. I’m not sure that my health insurance will cover the therapy that will be necessary if Zack Greinke becomes another Jason Schmidt.

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