Los Angeles Dodgers: 8 Players to Pursue before Waivers End
Coming off a brutal, three-game sweep at home against the rival Giants, it's an understatement to say that Dodger fans are starting to grumble.
Needless to say, fans expected a bit more production out of a club that made a huge trade deadline splash. The Dodgers traded for Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Brandon League and Randy Choate to help depleted sections of the roster.
Adding Joe Blanton seemed to be the cherry on top, as he has postseason experience and could bolster the back end of the rotation.
Now, despite the Giants losing their most consistent hitter to a 50-game suspension, the Dodgers sit two-and-a-half games back in the NL West with about 40 to go.
The wheeling and dealing isn't, and shouldn't be done quite yet. The waiver period extends through August and there are some quality pieces the Dodgers should try to add to finalize a roster that can make a World Series run.
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Cruz pitched very well for the Pirates this season, but they had to clear room to stack the roster with some fresh arms after the 19-inning marathon they played in St. Louis over the weekend.
Unfortunately, that meant Cruz was the man getting the shaft. The veteran reliever has movement on his pitches much like Ronald Belisario.
He would be an upgrade over Brandon League for sure, maybe even Jamey Wright. The Dodgers definitely want to at least take a look at that option because you can never have enough arms, especially veteran ones, in your bullpen.
Cruz held a stellar 2.78 ERA in Pittsburgh out of the bullpen, and is on a cheap one-year deal.
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It's no secret that the Dodgers could use some rotation depth. Joe Blanton was supposed to be the answer, but has been absolutely horrid in his first few starts as a Dodger.
Behind Clayton Kershaw, you have the most inconsistent pitcher in baseball, Chad Billingsley, and a few No. 4 starters. Granted, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang have exceeded expectations by a mile this season, but they are having their problems in the second half.
Enter Joe Saunders, who was just placed on waivers this week. The Diamondbacks are gauging trade interest on their promising lefty starter, but might be unlikely to swing a deal with a rival team they are chasing.
Saunders is 6-10 this year with a 4.22 ERA, but might benefit from a chance of scenery, considering how well he has pitched at certain points in his career. Saunders became expendable with the call-up of big-time prospect Tyler Skaggs.
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Oh, come on Dodger fans. Don't cringe like that. You know you loved Randy when he was in L.A. Seriously though, he was a very solid starter for a majority of his time in Dodger Blue.
And despite struggling in 2012, the Wolfman is available again. Just as I mentioned with Saunders, the rotation could use a boost at the back end, and Wolf might be the arm to get it done.
After being released by the Brewers on his birthday this week, Wolf is looking for a team to take him on at a pro-rated portion of the major league minimum.
Why not? It's worth a shot. Give him a couple starts and see what happens. Let's be honest, it can't be worse than what Blanton has provided so far.
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Back on August 10th, Aviles was placed on waivers by the Red Sox along with Kelly Shoppach. In my research, I found no evidence that Aviles was moved in any fashion, leading me to believe he cleared waivers.
If the Dodgers worked out a minor trade with Boston to snag a utility infielder of Aviles' talent level, it would be fantastic, especially given the news of Jerry Hairston Jr.'s season-ending hip surgery.
As it stands now, the Dodgers have Adam Kennedy, Elian Herrera and Juan Uribe around to back up the hot corner and middle infield. Uribe may as well be a bench coach by now, and Kennedy is inconsistent to say the least.
If Aviles is still available, the Dodgers should definitely make an offer. He's one of those spark-plug players that could help ignite the team to a playoff run in any capacity he plays in.
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Let's just start the run of Red Sox right now, considering their entire organization is seemingly on waivers. I almost had this slide entitled "Felix Doubront." Then I checked myself in the mirror before I laughed in my own face. Doubront isn't going anywhere.
Cook, on the other hand, has put up some good starts for Boston lately. He's always been a very hit-or-miss type of pitcher, and could make a serious impact down the stretch.
For me, it's a push—would I feel more comfortable with Aaron Harang/Joe Blanton or Aaron Cook every fifth day? But the Blanton thing isn't working, and Harang has choked before.
Just like Wolf and Saunders, Cook seems worth a shot if all else fails. He was put on waivers a while ago and seems to have cleared them.
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Yikes. Are the Dodgers this desperate? I know his time in Boston has been an absolute mess lately, but Beckett has been one of the best starters on two separate World Series-winning ball clubs. He was just placed on waivers by the team he won his most recent ring with.
Sure, that was back when he was younger, healthier and better at baseball-related activities, but can't he gain some of that skill back? All I'm saying is the Dodgers could do a lot worse for a half-season rental (i.e., Joe Blanton).
Though Beckett has had a rough season with an ERA well above 5.00 in Beantown this season, he's also basically playing baseball for the Ringling Brothers. It's a mess in Boston right now, and a change of scenery could have Hanley Ramirez-esque effects on Beckett.
If this went down, it would have to be a one or two-week thing. If Beckett seems to have a good attitude and work ethic and throws strikes, he can hang around. If not, give him the boot.
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Hey, we already poached the Phillies, why not turn our attention to the Sox? Let's take a shot at their only productive player who isn't on the DL. Sounds fun! Did I mention the Dodgers could use a new first baseman?
Not surprisingly, Gonzalez was placed on waivers this week because he's been scorching hot in the second half and it serves Boston's interest to gauge trade value in their expensive slugger. Speaking of dollar bills, that's usually the main hurdle with a deal like this.
The Dodgers inquired about Gonzalez earlier this summer and had some good minor league pieces in place to trade to Boston, but the farm system isn't really deep enough. That being said, the Dodgers definitely CAN afford a massive contract like the one owed to the former Padre.
Money would not be an issue—putting together a package that knocks Boston GM Ben Cherington's red socks off would be. My guess is the Dodgers would have to include Dee Gordon and top prospect Zach Lee in a four-player package to have a shot at Gonzalez.
The idea is tempting though. A one through five in the lineup of Shane Victorino, Hanley Ramirez, Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Etheir would be filthy dirty. And if the Dodgers do win the claim on him, you can thank that awful three-game sweep for putting them in position ahead of the Giants to do so.
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This is another case of a team putting its superstar out there just to see who's biting. Despite a commanding, 10-strikeout performance in San Diego (for which yours truly was in attendance) on Monday, Volquez found himself on waivers this week.
San Diego might as well turn on the burners and see if anything boils, because a contender might just get desperate enough to overpay royally for an arm like Volquez. If someone could get him at a good price, it would be a coup.
For the Dodgers, Volquez would add instant credibility to the rotation behind Clayton Kershaw and possibly seal the deal in the NL West.
What remains to be seen is, can the Dodgers even win the waiver claim? If so, will the Padres trade within their own division with a player of this magnitude? And if the answer is yes, can the Dodgers actually afford a package that would net Volquez? Hopefully we'll find out.