The future is now for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Fueled by the deep pockets and exuberance of a new ownership group that includes NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, the Dodgers are not waiting for next year. They want to win it all in 2012 as their actions leading up to Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline prove.
In three separate deals, they acquired infielder Hanley Ramirez and left-handed reliever Randy Choate from the Marlins last week and then landed outfielder Shane Victorino from Philadelphia and right-handed reliever Brandon League from Seattle on Tuesday.
Dodgers Keep Top Pitching Prospects
The Dodgers upgraded their major league roster without sacrificing top pitching prospects Zach Lee, Allen Webster and Chris Reed, though they did part ways with 25-year-old right-handed reliever Josh Lindblom (who was a useful part of the Dodgers bullpen) and promising pitching prospect Ethan Martin.
After an 8-2 loss to Arizona on Tuesday, the Dodgers are 56-49 and one game behind the Giants in the National League West. They were unable to acquire Ryan Dempster from the Cubs – he agreed to a trade to the Texas Rangers – so chances are they will seek a starting pitcher in August, though players must pass through waivers during any deal made this month.
The rotation currently features left-handed ace Clayton Kershaw, injury-prone lefty Chris Capuano, the inconsistent Chad Billingsley and veteran right-hander Aaron Harang. Stephen Fife, a 25-year-old rookie acquired in a trade from the Red Sox last year, is filling the No. 5 spot and has a 1.46 ERA (two runs in 12.1 innings) in two starts.
Veteran left-handed Ted Lilly, who has occupied the 60-day DL since experiencing shoulder soreness in late May, was 5-1 with a 3.14 ERA before the injury. He tossed two scoreless innings in his first rehab appearance at Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on Tuesday but needs more time before he rejoins the Dodgers rotation.
Ramirez, who has 15 home runs and 55 RBI to accompany a .249 average, is in an 0-for-8 skid but he hit safely in his first six games, including a pair of two-hit performances.
The Dodgers hope that Ramirez and Victorino add life to a lineup that also includes Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier in the outfield along with A.J. Ellis at catcher. Veterans like Bobby Abreu, Juan Uribe, Juan Rivera and Mark Ellis have given Los Angeles limited production at the plate. First baseman James Loney has just two home runs, a .256 average and a .645 OPS in 285 at-bats while third base has been manned by Luis Cruz and Uribe, who offer little punch.
In August, the Dodgers look to be active in the trade market since they could use additional rotation and bullpen help and upgrades at third base and even second base and first base.