Will the trades that the Los Angeles Dodgers made in the last week help them catch the San Diego Padres, or for that matter, the San Francisco Giants?
The Dodgers, who were eight games in back of the front-running Padres at the start of this week, didn’t help themselves by losing two of three to San Diego last week before getting swept by the Giants over the weekend.
But with some fresh faces and new blood on the club, the Dodgers still have some time to cut into Padres lead.
Los Angeles acquired starting pitcher Ted Lilly and second baseman Ryan Theriot from the Chicago Cubs in one deal; reliever/closer Octavio Dotel from Pittsburgh in another transaction, and outfielder Scott Podsednik from Kansas City in another move.
Lilly strengthens the starting rotation and allows the Dodgers to compete better with the pitching-rich Padres. He was 3-8 with a 3.69 ERA with the Cubs, coming off a shoulder injury suffered last season. Lilly had some hard luck with a lack of runs from his Cubs teammates. He had a no-hitter broken up in the ninth inning of game against the Chicago White Sox earlier this season.
Theriot was hitting .281, but struggled at times at the plate and in the field along with everyone else on the Cubs. Normally, Theriot is the type of player who can find holes in the defense with his bat and get on base.
Dotel is a capable closer, saving 21 games for the Pirates, and Podsednik brings a .300-plus average and is a base-stealing threat.
But the Dodgers also have to compete with an improved Padres lineup, which injected some power into a weak order by acquiring outfielder Ryan Ludwick from St. Louis and shortstop Miguel Tejada from Baltimore.
Other big deals: The trading deadline brought several more big deals to the table last week.
The New York Yankees picked up Lance Berkman from Houston and Austin Kearns and reliever Kerry Wood from Cleveland. Berkman adds yet more power to an already powerful lineup. He’ll be the designated hitter.
Minnesota strengthened its bid to win the AL Central by getting closer Matt Capps from Washington. The White Sox acquired pitcher Edwin Jackson from Arizona to help replace the void left by the injured Jake Peavy.
Roy Oswalt is another Houston Astros player castoff by the team, shipped to Philadelphia, which is still smarting from letting go of Cliff Lee. Oswalt will team with Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels to form a tough trio of starters.
Atlanta got reliever Kyle Farnsworth and outfielder Rick Ankiel from the Royals and the Cardinals acquired pitcher Jake Westbrook from the Indians.
Now the waiver wire: For those teams that did not make a deal, they can turn to the waiver wire. Those might include Washington’s Adam Dunn, Milwaukee’s Prince Fielder and the Cubs’ Derrek Lee and Carlos Zambrano among others.
Teams can place players on the waiver wire, and if a player is claimed by another team, they will have 48 hours to work out a trade or remove the player from the wire. Any player selected from waivers by Aug. 31 is eligible for postseason play.
StatsWatch: Here are the stats for the newest Dodgers (through Aug. 1) –
SP Ted Lilly – 3-8, 3.69 ERA, 117 IP, 104 H, 89 K, 29 BB
2B Ryan Theriot – .281 AVG, 1 HR, 21 RBI, .316 OBP
RP Octavio Dotel – 2-2, 4.17 ERA, 21 saves in 26 opportunities
OF Scott Podsednik – .308 AVG, 5 HR, 45 RBI, 32 SB, .352 OBP
Copyright © 2010 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.