With only one full day remaining before the non-waiver trade deadline, and 60 games left to be played on their schedule, the Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves trailing the division-leading San Diego Padres by a full seven games and are seeing their chances of returning to the playoffs gradually disappear.
Even the line for the lone wild card spot is becoming quite crowded, and yet the Dodgers continue to push on and hope that solid play down the stretch will elevate them in the standings.
All of Dodgertown is hoping that the offense finds a spark, and General Manager Ned Colletti has already stated that he will do his best to find help for the Los Angeles pitching staff.
Although the Dodgers starting pitchers have fared quite well over the last several weeks, the fifth spot in the rotation still seems to be an area of concern for Los Angeles.
The following slides break down six possible pitchers, in order, of who could most benefit the Dodgers down the home stretch of the season and provide a statistical commentary of why they are a good fit for Los Angeles.
Conversations between the Dodgers and the Pittsburgh Pirates surrounding Paul Maholm have been on the upswing over the past several days, and Maholm's left arm would be welcome among a staff primarily filled with right-handers.
However, Maholm's stats are among the worst within this group of six pitchers
His record is 6-9 and he has an ERA of 4.35, which is certainly on the high side. His WHIP (walks + hits per inning pitched) is also high at 1.48, and he seems to struggle at times with control, as shown by his 3.27 walks per nine innings pitched.
On the upside, he's about average in terms of home runs allowed (10 surrendered all season), and more times than not, goes deep into games, which is demonstrated by his 92.2 average pitches per start.
His annual salary of $5 million is workable, however the Pirates have been inquiring about several of the Dodgers' top prospects in a trade.
Jake Westbrook who, after having Tommy John surgery in 2008, is having a subpar season at best, could benefit from a change of scenery that could spark some effectiveness in his game. In 21 starts and 127 innings pitched, Westbrook is 6-7 with a 4.65 ERA so far this year.
Westbrook is now in his 10th Major League season. After debuting for the New York Yankees in 2000, he was dealt to the Indians in 2001 and has been there since.
His WHIP (1.39), BB/9 (3.11), and batting average against (.273) are all on the high side, but he still has an excellent sinker ball and a very wicked cut fastball. As far as ground ball outs, he still ranks among the games best.
Westbrook is a bit on the pricey side, and besides dealing several prospects, the Dodgers would need to buyout the remainder of his $11 million salary.
Look no further Dodger fans, but that inevitable fifth starter could be just down the road in Albuquerque—and there wouldn't be a need to shell out several million dollars and lose valuable prospects in a gamble.
Ely has seemed to have found the flaws in his mechanics and has been pitching extremely well, even in the confines of The Lab in Albuquerque.
With the numbers that he did register during his time with the Dodgers this season, his stats aren't the best, but they still are an improvement over Maholm's or Westbrook's.
Despite a 4-7 record an a 4.63 ERA, his WHIP is decent at 1.32, his BB/9 is less than three, and he keeps the ball inside the park more so than anyone on this list.
His downfall is that he's young and he lacks experience at the big league level; two qualities which can be detrimental to a squad trying to make a playoff run.
But looking at the few available starters remaining on the market, he could be the best bet both economically and in terms of effectiveness.
There hasn't been that much chatter over the past week about Jeremy Guthrie and the Dodgers, but the Los Angeles scouts certainly know what they're getting, as they have scouted him thoroughly from mid-June until about the middle of July.
Guthrie's numbers are average, but his seven seasons of service in the Majors indicate that he has experience and savvy. So far this year, Guthrie is 4-11 with a 4.23 ERA. His win-loss record is indicative primarily of the Baltimore Orioles' slumbering offense.
His control is great, which is reflected in his WHIP (1.27) and BB/9 (2.46). His only problem is that he sometimes struggles keeping the ball in the park, as he has allowed 17 home runs already this season.
Guthrie would also be a bargain, as the Dodgers would only need to pay the balance of his $3 million contract and send a few lower-level prospects to Baltimore.
In the past weeks, the Cleveland Indians have said that they be willing to deal either Fausto Carmona or Jake Westbrook, but not both.
Carmona's numbers are just slightly above average despite being a member of a squad with a relatively slow offense. This season marked Carmona's first-ever appearance as an American League All-Star.
His record is 10-8, and he registers an ERA of 3.92. His BB/9 of 3.50 is a little high, but the walks aren't really reflected in his WHIP of 1.34.
At only 26, he's young, but still provides enough experience and dependability.
Carmona has endurance, as he averages just under 100 pitches per start and he keeps the ball in the yard, having only surrendered seven home runs in over 131 innings of work.
The biggest problem in acquiring Carmona besides dealing several valuable prospects is that he's signed through 2011, and the Dodgers would need to pay for the balance of this year and the $5.1 million that's owed to him next season.
The consensus amidst fan chatter is Ted Lilly is the last pitcher that the Dodger faithful desires at the Ravine.
During his exhibition at Dodger Stadium on July 9 while throwing for the Chicago Cubs, Lilly got shelled, giving up seven runs in less than four innings of work.
However, Lilly dominates every other player on this list in every category except for two—wins and home runs allowed.
Despite his 3-8 record, his ERA is the lowest at 3.69, his WHIP is the lowest at 1.14, his BB/9 is the lowest at 2.23, and he has the most strikeouts (89) of any pitcher shown here.
His average of 99.6 pitches per start proves his durability.
He doesn't have overpowering velocity, but he has the ability to pick opposing hitters apart with his very precise location. The fact that he's a lefty could add a bit of diversity to the Dodgers' predominately right-handed rotation.
The Cubs are certain that Lilly will be traded, and although his $11 million per year salary seems like a stumbling block, Chicago is willing to absorb most of it if presented with desirable prospects.