Trading Places: Scott Podsednik to Los Angeles

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Trading Places: Scott Podsednik to Los Angeles
G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images

Just a few games out of first place despite injuries, some lackluster play, and the ongoing turmoil of owner Frank McCourt's messy divorce proceedings, the Dodgers made a significant move on Wednesday by acquiring outfielder Scott Podsednik from the Kansas City Royals for a pair of minor league players.  Catcher Luke May and pitcher Elisaul Pimentel will join the Royals organization, while the Podfather heads west to join a depleted Dodger outfield.

With Manny Ramirez and Reed Johnson on the disabled list, the Dodgers are struggling to get consistent contribution from their left field spot, so Podsednik will likely slot in there, at least until Ramirez's return.  Podsednik has played all three outfield spots in his career, but lacks the arm to play right field and is essentially an average center fielder, so he'll probably only occasionally spot for Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier.  He will provide a big upgrade for the Dodgers over currently active reserve outfielders Xavier Paul and Garret Anderson , who have underachieved in their roles.

This season, Podsednik is hitting .310 with a .353 OBP, 5 home runs, 44 RBI, 46 runs scored, and 30 stolen bases (12 caught).  The 34 year-old Texas native is a slap hitter who relies on his speed to advance on the base paths and is a reliable base stealer and contact hitter at the top or bottom of a lineup.  He has shown occasional signs of power, as he did just a few days ago with a two home run game against the Yankees, and he hit a career high 12 dingers in 2004.  Last year for the White Sox, Podsednik hit .304 with 30 steals and 75 runs scored and he is a .280 career hitter, though his average from 2006 to 2008 was just .256.  His career has had several highlights, including a game-winning home run for the White Sox in game 2 of the 2005 World Series, an All-Star Game appearance earlier in that season, a 70 steal year for the Brewers in 2004, and a .314 batting line in his first full major league season in 2003 when he finished second in National League Rookie of the Year voting behind Dontrelle Willis.

Podsednik should provide solid offense and some veteran leadership for the Dodgers, who looked to be falling out of contention but have shown signs of getting back into a very wide-open NL West race.  Overall, this is a good move for the boys in blue, as the scrappy Podsednik may provide a spark to a team on the playoff bubble, whether he's in the lineup or serving as a pinch hitter or runner off the bench.

In return for their left fielder, the Royals acquired catcher Luke May from AAA Albuquerque and righthander Elisaul Pimentel from class A Great Lakes.  May is a 25 year-old converted shortstop and outfielder who was ranked as the Dodgers number 17 prospect in 2010, according to Baseball America.  The Missouri native has shown signs of great power potential, smacking 25 home runs with 89 RBI and a .256 average for high class A Inland Empire back in 2007, his first year behind the dish.  His progress has been somewhat slowed by injury, as he played just 68 games last year, posting a .306 average and 6 home runs in 235 at bats.  He's spent all but 7 games at AAA Albuquerque this season and in 284 at-bats he's slammed 11 home runs and 46 RBI to go with a .285 average and .344 OBP.  He's not a particularly highly-touted prospect, and his defense is still a work-in-progress, but he could be a solid major league backstop with above-average power if given the opportunity, and he isn't far away from the majors.

Pimentel, on the other hand, is just 22 years old and 2010 was his first season out of rookie ball.  For class A Great Lakes, the Dominican Republic native was 9-3 with a 3.49 ERA, 71 hits allowed, and 97 strikeouts in 90.1 innings.  His 2010 strikeout rate is the best of his short professional career, and he could provide a good return in a few years if he matures and continues that kind of success.

Dan Port has been a writer and article editor for Baseball Press since the fall of 2009. He's a Wisconsin native and Los Angeles resident, as well as an aspiring novelist, moderately successful gambler, and avid craft beer aficionado. You can reach him at dan@baseballpress.com or on Twitter @danport.

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