September 30, 2014

Can the Dodgers Make a “Major Transaction?”

Jim Bowden, the co-host of “Inside Pitch” on MLB Network Radio and a baseball analyst for Fox Sports, tweeted today that Ned Colletti told him that the Dodgers have “the flexibility to make a major transaction.”

Not sure I buy that, but the Dodgers definitely are looking for starting pitching and relievers. Relievers are always a crapshoot (case in point, George Sherrill), so don’t expect Ned to give up much for a bullpen arm, but there are some interesting #1-caliber starters out there.  For example, we know that Roy Oswalt is available, and I suspect Ben Sheets and Dan Haren can be had for the right price, but I just don’t see how the Dodgers can make take on that kind of salary right now.

Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/UPI

Dodgers Ask About Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee

All I have to say is, thank god!  I believe it’s an encouraging sign that, according to the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers placed a couple calls to the Houston Astros and the Seattle Mariners about the availability of Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee, respectively.

Frankly, there’s no better way for Frank McCourt and the Dodgers organization to overcome the perception that the divorce is having a negative impact on the team’s cash flow then by trading for one of the two biggest names rumored to be on the trading block.  Both guys do have significant salary issues, with Oswalt due $39.5 million over 2 1/2 years (assuming the Dodgers pick up his 2012 option) and Lee is due $4.5 million for the remainder of this season.  Then, of course, there is the price in terms of players both clubs would want in return.

And let’s be realistic, for the Dodgers to make a serious run at a World Series title, they absolutely, positively need a veteran starting pitcher.  I love the up-and-coming tandem of Billingsley and Kershaw along with the surprising duo of Carlos Monasterios and John Ely, but as Bill Shaikin notes, none of these guys are older than 25 and the elder statesman of that quartet is Bills, who was struggled with his confidence in the playoffs and was left off of the NLCS roster by the Dodgers.  And yes, the Dodgers do have Vicente Padilla coming back soon, but while he and Hiroki Kuroda are solid starters, they’re not #1 starters that can make the Dodgers a truly elite team.

In other positive news, Ramon Ortiz has finally left the Dodgers, after being designated for assignment today.  Reliever Justin Miller thankfully takes Ortiz’s spot on the roster.  Miller has a 2.22 ERA in 22 games for the Albuquerque Dukes.

Elymania continues as well, with the rookie starter going 7.1 innings, giving up just four hits, two walks and one earned run on the road in Chicago (his hometown).  Are you kidding me?  The kid threw 98 pitches with 68 of them being strikes.  Ely continues to show excellent discipline and control of his pitches.  Pretty remarkable stuff, and undoubtedly, a lot of the credit for Ely’s development goes to Russell Martin and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt.  Unfortunately the Dodgers lost the game due to a complete lack of offense, but Ely’s continued development should not be overlooked.

Roy Oswalt Photo Credit: UPI

John Ely Photo Credit: Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2010