Despite a rash of injuries that has reduced the 25-man roster to the point of being laughable at times, the Dodgers aren't dead in the water. At least not yet.
They are 28-37 but only 8.5 games back in an NL West that lacks a team that is capable of running away with the division. They are getting healthier and have a one of the best top of the rotations in baseball with Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu. And don't forget about that Yasiel Puig guy, who may not be the greatest baseball to ever walk the face of the earth as you may have been heard, but it's evident he has unbelievable talent and he's already made a huge impact since his call-up.
A healthy Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez in the lineup together in the second half of the season would be necessary for this Dodgers team to make a run. Adding a right-handed power hitter like Aramis Ramirez to play the hot corner would also help. And since Kemp and Crawford are on the disabled list and a few more weeks of bad baseball could put them right out of contention for good, it could make sense to pursue that middle-of-the-order bat now.
The 34 year-old Ramirez is having a productive season (.825 OPS in 23 games) despite spending time on the disabled list with a sprained knee. With that knee still not 100%, it could be risky for the Dodgers to take on another injury risk —especially one that is due $16 million in 2014 with a four million dollar buyout if his $14 million mutual option for 2015 isn't exercised.
It's also risky to have a season that started with World Series aspirations go down the drain with more than two months left to play. The excitement that has come along with new ownership, a seemingly unlimited payroll and the acquisition of several big name players would all but disappear during the second half of the season if things get any worse. They currently lead baseball in home attendance (43,074 per game).
Taking on the majority, if not all of Ramirez' remaining salary and sending over a mid-level prospect could get the Dodgers their upgrade at the hot corner. Their best prospects —third baseman Corey Seager, outfielder Joc Pederson and starting pitcher Zach Lee— won't need to be included. The challenge is finding good enough alternatives in a Dodgers' farm system that's relatively thin after that trio.
The Brewers' biggest need is starting pitching and the best best pitching prospect the Dodgers have besides Lee is lefty Chris Reed, the 16th overall pick in the 2011 draft. His overall numbers aren't eye-popping but his ceiling is high and this is the kind of a move that could really come back to bite the Dodgers. But this is "do or die" time in Los Angeles.
General manager Ned Colletti won't be around to be scrutinized in a couple of years anyways if Reed turns out to be a good big league starter and the Dodgers don't make the playoffs with Ramirez in the lineup in either of the next two seasons. The Brewers won't be motivated enough to move a proven middle-of-the-order bat without getting a prospect of Reed's caliber in return.
The Dodgers lineup at full health with Aramis Ramirez ...
1 Carl Crawford, LF
2 Hanley Ramirez, SS
3 Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
4 Matt Kemp, CF
5 Aramis Ramirez, 3B
6 Yasiel Puig, RF
7 AJ Ellis, C
8 Mark Ellis, 2B