So the LA Dodgers have suddenly no questions on their lineup. They retained Manny, and Casey Blake. In doing so, they also ignored one key fact that helped them all of last season, their pitching. Last season the Dodgers lead the NL in team era with 3.68. They were fourth in shutouts with four, and for CG's they were tied for fourth with fifth.
Last year's pitching ace was Derek Lowe, the 35 year old lead the team with a 14-11 record but a 3.24 ERA and a team high 211 Innings Pitch. Derek wanted approximately four years worth close to $70M total. They Dodgers front office let him walk and he signed with the Braves for about four years $60M.
To make matters worse 2007 NL All Star Brad Penny's club option for about eight million was declined. He signed with the Boston Red Sox at a relatively low bargaining price for three million with incentives.
Penny, was never more than a five or six inning starter for the Dodgers. In fact, when he won a career 16 games for LA in 2007 his average innings per start 6.3. The problem with this is that for the longest time I can remember (I am only 24 years old) the Dodgers were ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS about pitching.
From Sandy and Don to Fernando and Orel and Kevin Brown to Chan Ho Park. Suddenly I don't see myself being too thrilled with the fact that we have Eric Stults, and James McDonald to eat those innings by Lowe and Penny.
I am ecstatic at the fact that we have Chad "Bills" Billingsley and Clayton "CK" Kershaw. Both have the same powerful arms as their once former predecessors in Koufax and Drysdale.
I know it's too early to put pressure on these potential pitching pair that we have but it seems to me that they are the only ones on the club that has any future value.
Let's face it Hiroki Kuroda is 34 and is a free agent next year, James McDonald who has a good arm needs more seasoning whether it be here or at AAA, and the once most famous pitching prospect before CK came along in the name of Scott Elbert has fizzled and struggled with his control here in the Majors.
What the Dodgers need are some veteran arms who still have the potential to be great in this year and the next couple of years. I am going to show who we need and what do we need to offer that particular team for the person of interest.
Bare with me while I am doing this I am not aware if any of these pitchers are available by the trading deadline.
5) Jeremy Accardo from the Blue Jays.
Analysis: With Joe Beimel gone and Saito now a Red Sox, the Dodgers lost one of their bridge gappers to the ninth with Broxton inheriting the closers role. They still have Kuo and Wade but Wade seems to be more of a seventh inning guy.
Accardo has closer's experience in case Broxton is injured or falters (I highly doubt it) and he also is a reliable setup man to get the ball into Broxton's hands.
Package: Blue Jays need a 3b along with some young arms. The Dodgers should package up Josh Bell, and right hander Nathan Eovaldi. Bell is 22 years old and he can play 1b or 3b. Meanwhile Eovaldi has a good fastball which tops at 92 and a curveball has good sink and movement on it. He can be a closer in waiting once B.J. Ryan's contract is up.
4) Jeremy Guthrie, from Baltimore Orioles.
Analysis: Guthrie is 30 years old and is the "ace" of a deprived pitching team known as the Baltimore Orioles. The O's need tons of impact in their farm system. They need middle infield help as well as bullpen needs. This might be the most logical solution for the Dodgers.
Package: Dodgers should offer RHP James McDonald and Devaris Gordon. Gordon is 20 years old and has tons of upside in the his young career but Raffy being locked for another three or four years and Ivan DeJesus moving on up the pecking order so to speak. The Dodgers can let him slip away.
Guthrie's a true horse and even though his stuff doesn't impress most baseball junkies like myself, he has the ability to escape out of jams and minimize the damage. A place like Dodger Stadium would work wonders for him.
3) Kevin Milwood, from the Texas Rangers.
Analysis: Milwood is a veteran guy who can set the tone for the young kids in the rotation. He has pitched a no hitter for the Braves in 2003. He has playoff experience while being a Brave and most important of all he has a club option of $12M after this year.
I don't think that Nolan Ryan wants him to walk for nothing so he will try to get a good price on Milwood. Milwood is 35 but he has gone 150IP in all but twice in his 13 year big-league career.
Package: Rangers need potential pitching studs in their rotation. After they traded John Danks to the White Sox foolishly and let Danks become one of the fast and rising stars of the AL they need to get immediate impact in this trade.
Dodgers need to offer 2007 First-Round Pick Chris Withrow, he is only 20 years old and yes I know he is a first round pick but according to www.baseball-intellect.com Withrow is nothing more than a No. 4 guy on a five-man rotation.
Another player who should be dangled in trade talks is James Adkins, he is 23 years old and is looking at the term "bust" all over him. Adkins continues to regress in his minor league career and a potential change of scenery would work wonders for this kid.
2) Cliff Lee, from Cleveland Indians.
Analysis: Lee had a Koufax/Johan 2008 type season. He lead the league in wins and ERA and the Indians haven't offered him an extension yet. He is about to turn 30 and needs to have a fantastic 2009 season to establish himself as one of the most prized pitching FA's out this off season.
Package: Indians need INF help also. DeRosa is 34, and they have the weak hitting Cabrera at 2b. Dodgers can afford to let Ivan DeJesus go as well and Ethan Martin for Cliff lee.
1) Roy "Doc" Halladay, from the Blue Jays.
Analysis: Doc is the best AL pitcher PERIOD. He has great control, great poise, and he is a complete game machine. He rarely loses a game for his team, and he is voiced his displeasure about not pitching in October.
I can go on and on about how Doc is great and what he would bring to the table, but for the sake of argument, you, me, and the entire baseball world knows what this guy is about.
Package: This would have to be the mother load of all packages. Doc is 31 and is entering free agency after the 2010 season. Blue Jays are reluctant in signing him to an extension and he is going to command at least $15M per season type of money.
Here is the package you would offer for him.
1) Scott Elbert, they need a proven left handed setup/starter and Elbert is the best on the board.
2) Josh Lindbolm, he has a great fastball reaching the mid 90s and a well established curve and a new splitter he has just used in rookie ball.
3) Andrew Lambo, he is a switch hitting OF who has pop and speed. He can play himself into the second or sixth hole in the lineup. Also he is a great athlete and has a phenomenal arm.
4) Austin Gallagher, he has the pop to play 3b regularly and can contribute to the team early as 2010. He has RAW power and a good contact hitter he hit .293 last year with an OPS of near .809. In this trade the Blue Jays would acquire a starting pitching (Lindbolm), a bullpen reliever (Elbert), everyday 3b (Gallagher) and an everyday OF (Lambo).
The Dodgers wouldn't have to send Kemp, Ethier, Loney, Russ, or touch any of their young arms in the pen or rotation to complete this deal. With Doc being only 31 he can still pitch well into his low 30s and possibly early 40s.
Hopefully you enjoyed this series and watch out for my "Top Five Hitters that LA needs to trade for" in the next week or so.