Entering another critical intra-division series against the San Francisco Giants over the weekend, the Los Angeles Dodgers find themselves continuing to fade in the standings while their offense remains dormant.
The entire squad is struggling at the dish, especially in terms of power, which is reflected in the team ranking 25th among the 30 teams in Major League Baseball in the homerun department.
From the National League perspective, the Dodgers stand in 14th position out of all 16 teams in long balls. Even the San Diego Padres, not known for their power capability, have gone yard 79 times compared to the Dodgers 77 round-trippers.
And the Padres, hoping to bolster their slugging capabilities, added to their potential pop by acquiring sluggers Ryan Ludwick and Miguel Tejada.
Yet, it seems that the Dodgers prefer speed over power as they made deals to bring second baseman Ryan Theriot and utility outfielder Scott Podsednik to Los Angeles.
Theriot was acquired with starting pitcher Ted Lilly from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Dodgers' second baseman Blake DeWitt and pitching prospects Kyle Smit and Brett Wallach.
In another move made in the waning minutes of the deadline, the Dodgers acquired 36-year-old reliever Octavio Dotel from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for James McDonald and minor league outfielder Andrew Lambo.
Swapping DeWitt and Theriot is a virtual wash, as their statistics, both offensively and defensively, are nearly identical. Dewitt is batting .270 with one homerun, 15 doubles, four triples, 30 RBI and a .352 on-base percentage; while Theriot comes in with a .284 average, one homerun, 10 doubles, two triples, 21 RBI and a .320 OBP. The only difference between the two is that Theriot is a much higher threat on the base paths.
The Dodgers didn't show interest in Ludwick or Tejada, both whom unquestionably bring power potential to the finesse style offense of the San Diego Padres.
Ludwick's signature year came in 2008 with the St. Louis Cardinals, when he hit .299 with 37 HR, 40 doubles, 104 runs scored and 113 RBI.
Although Tejada is in his twilight years, it was only in 2004 when he hit .311 with 203 hits, 107 runs scored, 40 doubles, 34 HR and 150 RBI for the Baltimore Orioles.
In their last 10 games, Los Angeles has only scored a total of 12 runs, five of which came in the 6-5 loss to the Giants on Friday night.
The Dodgers hope that the return of left fielder Manny Ramirez will provide a spark to their sluggish offense, but according to the team's website, Ramirez is still more than a week away from running full speed, and will likely require a rehab assignment before returning to the Los Angeles batting order.
Even with Manny in the regular lineup, the Dodger bench still lacks any type of power boost off the pine.
Podsednik (5 HR), Reed Johnson (0 HR), Jamey Carroll (0 HR), Brad Ausmus (0 HR), Garret Anderson (2 HR), and even Ronnie Belliard (2 HR) pose the least bit of threat to knock the ball out of the yard if used in pinch hitting roles.
Matt Kemp (17 HR, .262 avg.), Andre Ethier (16 HR, .294 avg.), Casey Blake (11 HR, .246 avg.) and Russell Martin (5 HR, .245 avg.), who are normally huge power threats, continue to struggle and produce beneath their potential.
With the additions of Podsednik and Theriot however, perhaps the Dodgers can begin to manufacture much needed run production by utilizing finesse and speed.
Regardless, Los Angeles hopes to find some type of offensive spark as they close out the series with the Giants on Sunday, and begin a crucial four game set against the Padres at home on Monday.
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