Dodgers Looking Everywhere for Upgrades

June 16, 2010 - Cleveland, OHIO, UNITED STATES - epa02206033 Carlos Santana (R) of the Cleveland Indians slides past second base and is out trying to stretch a single into a double as Ruben Tejada (L) of the New York Mets prepares to tag in the fifth inning of their game at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, 16 June 2010.
(Carlos Santana made his major league debut in 2010 and is already an offensive monster at the catcher position with a .438 OBP and 32:20 walk to strikeout ratio in merely 120 AB)

The Dodgers are on the prowl.  At a point when people were starting to wonder what the direction of the team was, it is becoming clearer that they won’t settle for 4th place without a fight.  The Dodgers are dead serious about upgrading the talent on the 25 man roster and are willing to overpay in minor league talent in exchange for salary relief.  As a whole, there has been more trade chatter at the cusp of this year’s deadline than in the past, which can be attributed to increased parity throughout the league.  More teams are legitimately in the playoff hunt, including four teams in the NL West.  It should make for one exciting trade deadline.

Yet, as a Dodgers fan, I’m not exactly sure what to make of the team’s willingness to deplete the farm.  The last time GM Ned Colletti pulled off a trade along these lines, a superstar-in-the-making (C Carlos Santana) was shipped off for a journeyman third baseman (Casey Blake).  If I’m an opposing GM, I’m spending all my time on the phone with Ned trying to swindle him of exceptional minor league talent.  The Dodgers seem to think they have a very narrow championship window and are constantly looking for short-term, band-aid solutions to supplement the young talent and put the team over the top.  Unfortunately, that’s hardly the case.

Take a look at the Dodgers roster.  It actually has excellent foundational pieces.  Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp are young, under club control for several years, and super talented.  Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley form a nice power starting pitching combo at the top of the rotation.  The bullpen is set with the dynamic Jonathan Broxton and Hong Chih-Kuo.  A smart GM would surround these players with more long-term talent and create a group that learns to win together.  Instead, the Dodgers find it more prudent to give away their long-term talent for short-term marginal upgrades.  Carlos Santana was shipped off.  Josh Bell shipped off.  Now, prospects like SS Dee Gordon and SP Chris Withrow could be next.

Let’s just hope they bring more in return than average major league baseball players for once.

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