Monday, July 04, 2005

 

Buy, Sell, Or Hold?


Just as the starting rotation was looking complete with the return of Odalis Perez...

The outfield, once the strength of the team, is now a weakness as Drew has joined Bradley on the DL. Those two standouts had a combined VORP run rate of .804 per game. The actual run differential is probably almost a full run per game as the replacement quartet of Grabowski, Ross, Chen and Edwards are nowhere near as good defensively. What a huge loss.

(My post over a month ago on the Giants' looking for an OF with a power lefty bat can now be applied to the Dodgers. Lawton, Huff, Dunn...)

In the minors, Hong-Chih Kuo, the lefty with the 95+ MPH fastball when healthy, hurt his arm again. Given his extensive injury history in the form of 2 TJ surgeries, his career could be over.

And finally, first time All-Star Izturis has limped on to the DL with the hamstring problem that won't go away.

In exchange for the return of the #3 SP, the baseball gods have taken away the #3 hitter and the Gold Glove shortstop. It's like digging out of an avalance only to fall into a crevasse. There are now glaring holes in the outfield along with the season-long hole at 3B. After 2 strong years, the bullpen is shaky with the loss of Gagne. Last year's unexpected playoff berth looks more and more like a convergence of luck and health.

As the team is 5 games under .500, the season could be over with another disaster like the last road trip. Still, LA is only 5.5 games out of 1st place. Every contending team has flaws, injuries, or both. The NL West is turning into a race of cripples crawling to the finish.

So what's going to happen from here on out?

1) Dump payroll now and rebuild for next year.

This is out of the question. The 51s are not who I want to see when I fork over $10 for the privilege of being stuck an hour in the parking lot after a game. Rebuilding is for the penny pinchers in Cincinnati, not a large market team like the Dodgers.

2) Make immediate trades to fill holes.

This is possible, but would probably be minor transactions, and not whoppers like Oswalt or Dunn. The trades that might be worthwhile in this sense are with teams similarly in playoff limbo AND have roster strengths that match up with the Dodgers' weaknesses. For example, a trade involving Aaron Boone and a reliever for Saenz could be a fit for both CLE and LA.

3) Stand pat until the non-waiver trading deadline and decide accordingly.

The non-waiver trading deadline is still almost 4 weeks away, so at this point the trade market is still in its infancy, as many teams, including LA, are unsure whether they will be buyers or sellers. Until then, A major trade is unlikely as one side would have to overwhelm another, as in "lift the offer". The rumors of Dunn and, more recently, Lawton are premature at this point, unless DePodesta goes in full panic mode, which is unlikely.

LA has the rumored payroll space and the prospects to trade. If the team manages to cling on to playoff contention, I expect DePodesta to fire off at least one trade at the end of July. I don't expect a whopper like Dunn, who is great but would cost half the farm system. A couple of short-term acquisitions like Randa and Lawton might do as there should be plenty of firepower returning from the DL.

Until the Dodgers acquire some help, here's hoping that Werth and Choi go on a tear, Izturis heals quickly, Odalis is 100%, and Kent doesn't get hurt. (Knock on wood...) If LA can somehow stay in the playoff hunt, the return of Bradley and others would mean a huge boost late in the season. Until then, I am at least resigned to the Ja(y)sons at the bottom of the lineup as being better than Green, Werth, Cora, and Ross last year.

If the team can't break even the next 20 or so games against teams with a combined 44% winning percentage, this year is beyond help. Let the vultures roam above the carrion for now. Nothing is over in the worst division in baseball. Right now would be a very good time not to suck.

Comments:
I like how as soon as you posted that, Kent got hurt. Seriously this is absurd. We are missing the 1,3,4,5,6 in our lineup and our closer. Plus, we didn't have Werth for half the year and Perez until last night. I hate to write off the year, because the year is so long without baseball, but this one is in the books as the unluckiest season of all time.
 
Your point about a salary dump/rebuild plan being out of the question is well taken. McCourt still needs to fill the seats.

On the other hand, this injury-riddled team doesn't warrent half-season rental players. Any Depo pickups will have to help in the future as well as now. That's why someone like Dunn would be so nice. McCourt can claim to the fans that he is stepping up for this year, but Dunn would be around in 2006 and beyond when his help would really help.
 
i wrote about kent not getting hurt before i realized he left the game last night after 5 innings. CRAP!!!
 
Do you thihk dunn is worth trading Billingsley?

As long as we can win the division, I really think we have a chance to make a big splash and go deep in the postseason with our starters back healthy and everyone underrates us. The last couple WS winners are pretty unexpected.

I say lets gamble and make some big trades for Dunn along with some relievers. We can win the division easily with some help.

With the outfield Bradley, Drew, and Dunn, and some bullpen help i feel that we are capable of playing for the World Seires. And i am not joking.
 
This year is a good year to make the moves 'cause none of the contenders really dominate.
 
the thing about making trades to boost up the offense is this: it's not like the 03 season when the offense completely stunk even though the players were mostly healthy and definitely needed an upgrade. this year, many of the disabled players are coming back within a month. (bradley, izzy, ledee, maybe valentin.) the offensive drought should end soon. (i hope)

i'm no expert on the minors, but am aware that billingsley is probably the #1 pitching prospect right now. having said that, i'd trade billingsley for dunn without blinking, but cincy will probably want and get 3 blue chippers from someone. dunn's that good. that's too steep for me, because dunn may help in winning the division, but i don't think the team has a chance of getting to the WS. LA still doesn't have the elite SPs, IMO.

if LA were an elite team such as STL and needed that last ingredient to win it all, fine. go get dunn. i don't want to trade the blue chips just for a chance to make the playoffs.
 
Good news, it turns out Kuo is alright after all.
 
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