We all knew the Dodgers were going to pull the trigger on a trade sometime this week before Saturday’s deadline. It just seemed like that it would be a pitcher heading to L.A. given the team’s struggles in the rotation and the bullpen.
Instead, the Dodgers traded two prospects to Kansas City for speedy outfielder Scott Podsednik. The 34-year old was hitting .309 with 5 home runs, 44 RBI and 31 stolen bases in 96 games with the Royals this season. In ’09, Podsednik hit .304 with 7 homers, 48 RBIs and 30 stolen bases as a member of the Chicago White Sox. Podsednik will obviously tons of playing time with outfielders Manny Ramirez and Reed Johnson on the DL. He brings a speed element that had been missing in the Dodger lineup, aside from oft-injured shortstop Rafael Furcal. The Dodgers will pick up the $650,000 left on the contract for Podsednik, who got the start in center tonight in place of Matt Kemp.
Heading to Kansas City is top catching prospect Lucas May as well as Class A pitcher Elisaul Pimental. The 25-year old May was hitting .296 with 11 home runs and 45 RBIs for Triple-A Albequerque so far this season. The fact that the Dodgers parted with May for a journeyman rent-a-player like Podsednik is somewhat surprising, given the fact that current catcher Russell Martin is a shell of the player that was last seen in the All-Star Game in 2008. Martin is due $5.05 million next season, but seems to be a long shot to stick with the team given the erosion of his numbers over the last couple of seasons.
As for Pimentel, he was 9-3 with a 3.49 ERA in 17 appearances(16 of them starts) this season with low Class A Great Lakes. Pimentel is only 22 and, on a team that isn’t exactly set on starting pitching, could have been a decent middle-of-the-rotation starter down the road. However, Colletti has made it clear this is a win-now season for the Dodgers and L.A. could ill-afford to wait for Pimentel to be ready for the big leagues. “We were somewhat high on him, but he was still in A-ball.” Colletti said.
To make room for Podsednik, the team will either option outfielder Xavier Paul or finally cut ties with ancient backup outfielder Garrett Anderson. The Dodgers aren’t finished making moves though. With the rotation still in disarray and having missed out on top aces Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee, the Dodgers reportedly have set their sights on a couple of other mid-tier starters, most notably the Cubs’ Ted Lilly. Lilly is 3-8 with a 3.69 ERA and 89 strikeouts so far with Chicago, but could be a decent on a team not quite as downtrodden as the Cubs. Another name that has come up as a potential Dodger target is Pittsburgh’s Paul Maholm(6-9, 4.52 ERA, 62 K’s).
The Podsednik trade the others that may follow aren’t the big splash that the Manny Ramirez deal was a couple years ago, but with the Dodgers not really willing to both add payroll or deal any big names from their plentiful farm system(as well as the dearth in legit midseason talent beyond Oswalt and Lee), it might turn out to be one of the savviest moves of the season. Podsednik may not rake like L.A.’s Big Three in the outfield, but he’s a career .280 hitter who knows how to steal a bag or two.
The Dodgers are still six games back in the West after last night’s loss to San Diego, but sit just three games back in the Wild Card. While the West can still be won with a hot streak over the next couple of weeks, all is not lost for L.A. if they can’t topple the Pods for the division. If Andre Ethier ever gets back to his early-May form prior to the hand injury and Ramirez can stay off the disabled list, the Dodgers become a very dangerous Wild Card team if they can steal that spot away from Philadelphia and San Francisco.
About the Author
Written by Dave Leonardis
Born and raised in New Jersey, I've been writing since I was 10 and blogging since I was 18. I'm a huge sports nerd, following football, baseball and basketball in particular in close detail. My style is very upfront. I don't pull punches and I'm not shy about criticizing anything I feel deserves a proper tongue-lashing. If you're looking for someone who says what he wants, when he wants, then look no further than this guy right here.