The MLB trading deadline has officially passed and the Los Angeles Dodgers, much to the surprise of no one, were aggressive in adding a few more pieces to a team that is poised to make another late run(as soon as they stop going on losing streaks to division rivals).
After acquiring speedy outfielder Scott Podsednik earlier in the week, the Dodgers made two more moves today. First, they received inconsistent strikeout machine Ted Lilly as well as second baseman Ryan Theriot from the Cubs in exchange for infielder Blake DeWitt and pitching prospects Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit. Lilly is 3-8 so far this season but people in the “Glass Half Full” department attribute that to Lilly getting the second-worst run support of any starting pitcher in the majors(3.77 runs per nine innings, second only to former Astro/current Phillie Roy Oswalt). As for Theriot, he’s hitting .281, which is better than DeWitt’s .270 but trails DeWitt in on-base percentage(.352 to .320) and slugging percentage(.371 to .327). Theroit isn’t much of a power hitter nor much of a speedster, so his role on the team will be to avoid being the quintessential “easy out” in this Dodgers lineup. Lilly more than likely will take over the fifth spot, that was manned last night by reliever Carlos Monasterios. Monasterios gave up four runs on seven hits in five innings in L.A.’s 6-5 loss to Tim Lincecum and the Giants last night. The loss was the Dodgers’ third straight.
The other move of note saw the Dodgers make a move to improve their troubled bullpen by acquiring Pirates closer Octavio Dotel from Pittsburgh for pitcher James McDonald and minor league outfielder Andrew Lambo. Dotel was 2-2 with 21 saves, 48 K’s and a 4.28 ERA as the ninth inning man for the lowly Pirates. When healthy, he’s one of the better set-up men in the game and he is sure to be the next in line to be overused by manager Joe Torre. Lambo was once considered Los Angeles’ top hitting prospect but was suspended for 50 games this year for his second drug of abuse violation in his short career. Lambo is still only 22 and, on a team going nowhere anytime soon like the Pirates, he may turn out to be intriguing players for the Bucs down the road. The same can be said for McDonald, who was never good enough to make the rotation but was impressive in the minors. He has a solid mid-90′s fastball that he mixes in with a decent curve and changeup. Again, on a team like the Pirates, a 25-year old prospect like McDonald has a better chance of emerging than he would on a contender like L.A.
The biggest trade news involving the Dodgers may be the one they didn’t make. Reports circulated all through the last couple of days that the Dodgers were receiving calls about struggling, high-priced outfielder Manny Ramirez. The most “serious” of offers(and I use that term loosely) came from the Chicago White Sox, who reportedly offered to take Ramirez off of the Dodgers’ hands if L.A. was willing to take nobody in return and pay all but $1 million of the $6.7 million left on Man-Ram’s contract. The Dodgers wisely said no but countered with a proposal to send Manny to Chi-town in exchange for promising Cuban third baseman Dayan Viciedo, which the White Sox turned down. The Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Angels and even the New York Yankees(who perhaps made the biggest splashes by acquiring slugging first baseman Lance Berkman from Houston and outfielder Austin Kearns from Cleveland in the last 24 hours) also reportedly inquired about Ramirez but balked at the Dodgers’ asking price.
With the deadline over, the question remains: Did the Dodgers do enough. The addition of Dotel to the bottom of a bullpen that already has All-Stars Hong-Chih Kuo and Jonathan Broxton strengthens a problem area and Lilly gives the team a more proven hurler at the back end of the rotation, but look at the moves made by some of the other teams in the National League. The Padres swung a deal for former MVP Miguel Tejada from Baltimore as well as slugging outfielder Ryan Ludwick. The Giants came thisclose to acquiring MLB home run leader Jose Bautista(word is, that deal may still get done through a waiver trade, which would be HUGE for San Francisco). The Cardinals, a team that could stand in L.A.’s way of the Wild Card if they can’t topple the Reds in the Central, got a solid fourth starter to add to their already great rotation in the Indians’ Jake Westbrook. The Braves, arguably the best team in the NL and a team the Dodgers would no doubt have to go through if they make it to the postseason, brought back fire-balling reliever Kyle Farnsworth as well as oft-injured by hard-hitting outfielder Rick Ankiel. The Dodgers’ moves were subtle and they filled needs for a team that didn’t have too many, but with so many of the teams ahead of the Dodgers making much bigger splashes in the last few days and the Dodgers already in a pretty deep hole as it is, you have to wonder if all this moving and shaking by L.A. was for naught.
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.