There’s no getting around it anymore. Our Dodgers need a little help. Even with Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier back healthy, there are still plenty of holes in the lineup. And now that Chad Billingsley has elbow soreness, we might be looking for a couple starters to bolster the rotation.
Our rivals, the Giants, are staying healthy and playing well. Even the Diamondbacks are very slowly gaining ground on the Dodgers. The new ownership has already established that they are willing to spend to build a winner, and the rumor mill has started turning. We can’t count on Yasel Puig to jump right in and become a star, so here are some more realistic scenarios.
These are the ten most-mentioned players I’ve seen linked to the Dodgers in rumors and my take on the Dodgers potentially acquiring them:
1. Cole Hamels, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies
This deal has been linked seemingly since the beginning of time. The Dodgers have wanted another stud starting pitcher to pair with Clayton Kershaw all season, and Hamels never left the radar. As the Phillies continue to slip farther into last place in the N.L. East and the contract talks between the team and Hamels continue to stall, the likelihood of him being dealt increases. This would be a huge win for the Dodgers if they can put together enough prospects to get Hamels. I truly would be fine if we sell the entirety of the (not very good, granted) farm system for the former World Series MVP. The only problem with doing so is we deplete an already-thin minor league system and can’t afford any pieces to support the offense.
2. Shane Victorino, OF, Philadelphia Phillies
One guy who could be had much cheaper and might make an impact in the lineup is Hamels’ teammate, Victorino. The Flyin’ Hawaiian has been an above-average all around player for the last four or five years in Philadelphia. Letting him lead off or hit 2nd in front of Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier could boost his production this year. Victorino still has speed, plays good defense and can pop the ball a little bit. I’d love to see the Dodgers swing a deal to add him to the lineup.
3. Michael Cuddyer, OF/1B, Colorado Rockies
Unless of course, the Rockies are willing to deal to a division rival. Because scoring Cuddyer would be ridiculous for our lineup. He has been a consistently good power and average hitter at both Minnesota and Colorado. Even better is Cuddyer can play a little first base and allows flexibility for acquiring another outfielder who could play strictly left field. The Dodgers would probably have to trade any prospect with upside to get Cuddyer though, as the inter-division price goes up significantly.
4. Josh Willingham, OF, Minnesota Twins
A 3-4-5 of Kemp-Ethier-Willingham would be absolutely ridiculous, and in turn would make Mark Ellis in the two-hole and A.J. Ellis in the six-hole much more dangerous hitters. Willingham will hit around .265, but could knock out close to 35 homers this year. He’s doing big things in a crappy lineup in Minnesota, and he did the same in Oakland last season. You can use your imagination for how big his numbers would get with Kemp and Ethier in front of him. Willingham would probably cost a couple good, nearly-ready pitching prospects.
5. Chase Headley, 3B, San Diego Padres
It’s no secret that the Dodgers are looking for a third baseman. Juan Uribe might be the worst player to ever put on spikes, and Jerry Hairston, Jr. is no more than a very good role player at this point in his career. Though the Padres likely will be hesitant to trade within the division, getting Headley would be a huge move for the Dodgers. It would cost an arm and a leg, but Headley is still young, cheap and an exceptionally talented hitter. Besides, Dodgers fans are very familiar with Headley’s power stroke, considering he’s hit five of his ten home runs this season against us. If you can’t beat him, make him join your team. That’s how it works, right?
6. Carlos Quentin, OF, San Diego Padres
Headley’s teammate Quentin was brought over to San Diego to be the savior and power source of that lineup. Unfortunately, he’s been injured a lot and somewhat ineffective. Quentin has put together some pretty big power numbers at different stops over his career though, and still has plenty of pop in that right-handed bat. His defense leaves a little to be desired, but Quentin is a legitimate power source that could pair with Kemp, Ethier and another *hopeful* transaction. Quentin would probably come the cheapest out of everyone listed so far.
7. Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers
The Dodgers have made it known that they plan to pursue Ramirez as soon as the Brewers start selling veterans. I was a huge proponent of grabbing Ramirez in free agency before the season, but we didn’t have the financial flexibility to do so. If Ramirez took over at the hot corner, I can’t even find words to describe what a gigantic upgrade that would be in our lineup. In one series, Ramirez could potentially out-produce Juan Uribe’s numbers to this point in the season.
8. Ryan Dempster, RHP, Chicago Cubs
Just like Hamels, the Dodgers have been linked to Dempster since day one. The Cubs have been looking to sell high on the veteran and move him in the midst of his long scoreless streak, because they know they can get a great deal. While it would certainly be a quality arm to add to the rotation, I’m wary of someone this old with a DL stint already this season. If we can fleece the Cubs for a pretty fair deal, I’m all in. Otherwise, we should focus on Hamels for the rotation.
9. Matt Garza, RHP, Chicago Cubs
Garza is similar to Dempster in my opinion, though younger and not as good. He’d be a nice rental for the second half of the season, but I don’t want him in Dodger Blue long term. If we’re going to grab someone similar to Garza, let’s look at dealing with the Rays for James Shields. Garza (and Dempster) are going to require a pretty hefty load of prospects, especially with Theo Epstein driving the deals.
10. Mystery LH reliever…
All I know about this is that the Dodgers “want another lefty.” No sh**, Sherlock! Scott Elbert has been good enough, but still just an average reliever. He’s not doing a really great job against lefties, despite that being the main reason for him even being on the big league roster. So if the Dodgers could go out and fill a hole in the ‘pen by nabbing a new left-handed arm to complement Elbert, that would be a huge help. Is Darren Oliver in Toronto available? If not, we should strongly consider free agent and former Dodger lefty, Will Ohman.
Ideally, the Dodgers could come out of the trade dealine with one solid starter, a lefty reliever and either a corner infielder or an outfielder to add to the lineup. Naturally, I’d love to see a trade that nets us Hamels and Victorino with the Phillies. But I’d also enjoy seeing Ramirez manning third base and Cuddyer platooning his time between left field and first base. If worse comes to worse on the pitching front, the Dodgers can lean on late-season call-ups and the return of Rubby De La Rosa.
What do you think? Comment below!
Follow Jeremy on Twitter @Jamblinman.