MLB Trade Rumors: Why Are the L.A. Dodgers Shopping for an Outfielder?

Dennis SchlossmanCorrespondent IJuly 23, 2010

NEW YORK - JULY 18:  B.J. Upton #2 of the Tampa Bay Rays bats against the New York Yankees on July 18, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Even before the 2010 MLB season began, almost every team in baseball was in awe of the offensive potential of the Los Angeles Dodgers powerhouse outfield.

With 2009 Silver Slugger Award winners Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, along with a rejuvenated Manny Ramirez, the Los Angeles outfield was sure to wreak havoc on the best pitching staffs around the league in 2010.

Now, with nine days remaining before the non-waiver trade deadline, reports around the Majors indicate that the Dodgers have shown interest in Cody Ross of the Florida Marlins and Jeff Francoeur of the New York Mets. They have also been involved in talks to possibly bring B.J. Upton of the Tampa Bay Rays to Los Angeles.

What a difference four months make.

After a torrid start, then returning from a broken finger, Ethier never regained his power stroke. Ramirez has already made his third trip to the disabled list just after the All-Star break. Kemp, who has recently shown sparks of productivity, hasn't been the same high-impact player he was in 2009.

Still, with Xavier Paul settling into the Major League roster, one would think the Dodgers should be fine until both Reed Johnson and Ramirez regain a full bill of health.

Perhaps it's like when somebody heads out to the store and says they're going to walk in, buy one item, check out, and leave. Then they are walking down an aisle and see all kinds of things they fancy, and ultimately check out with a cart full of goodies. In an effort to fill their shopping basket with several pitchers, the Dodgers may just walk away with an outfielder as well.

The insanity of the trade deadline and the pressure on a general manager to improve his roster could have that effect.

However, with a seemingly empty pocketbook, Los Angeles would be foolish to make such a move.

One could argue that the Dodgers need more pinch-hitting pop off the bench, but they have several players on the farm who could fill that role, most specifically Jay Gibbons, John Lindsey or Kyle Russell.

Maybe the Dodgers are looking past the 2010 season when they will no longer have the services of Manny. Perhaps they see an opportunity now to assemble a formidable outfield now moving forward into 2011.

Finally, maybe general manager Ned Colletti is moving in a completely different direction, and is forming a multi-player deal involving several players on the Dodgers' current big league roster and is merely replenishing the stock.

The possibilities are endless.

Regardless, citizens of Dodgertown are itching and praying Colletti doesn't lose focus of acquiring a high-caliber starting pitcher and at least one dependable reliever.

It was reported yesterday by ESPN that Dodgers' owner Frank McCourt has approved added payroll in the $3 million range; and although it was an unexpected move, it isn't nearly enough cash to make a legitimate run at Roy Oswalt or Dan Haren.

Nevertheless, Colletti is very capable of putting together a series of moves that could push the Dodgers to the top of the contenders list.

Many Dodger fans just hope he doesn't give away the farm for a three-month rental or someone who can't contribute. Although the Dodger faithful would like nothing more than a deep run into the 2010 playoffs, they still want security moving into the future.

Only nine days remain—let the speculation flow, the tension mount, and the craziness begin.

(Michelle Mitchell also contributed to this article)


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