As dreams of Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza, Chase Headley, Aramis Ramirez…even Hanley Ramirez are dancing in our heads, the realistic scenario is this: the farm system is depleted, and trading for any of those names, let alone two, will be very difficult.
Our main trading chip is former first round pick Zach Lee, a young right-handed fireballer. After Lee, the crop of minor league talent that can be traded is shockingly small. The only major league talent Los Angeles will part with are washed-up veterans nobody wants.
So, the question remains. Will the Dodgers end up acquiring Dempster? All reports indicate that Dempster wants to be a Dodger (he essentially slapped the Braves in the face earlier today), and we know the rotation could use that boost.
And most recent reports say that Zach Lee might not have to be involved after all to swing a deal for Dempster.
If that’s true, the Dodgers absolutely need to pull the trigger. Giving up whatever the Cubs want for Dempster and retaining Lee would be a huge coup. Dempster is old, and might only be a two-month rental, but he’s the type of pitcher who could push us over the top in the playoff race, not to mention when we actually reach the postseason.
But, if the Dodgers do have to include Lee, it becomes a much more complicated situation. The bigger need on the 2012 Dodger club is offense. One above average power bat in the middle of the lineup could change the entire face of the NL West race.
A team with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Juan Rivera providing some pop at the 3-4-5, would be improved dramatically by production at third base in the form of Aramis Ramirez. Or a left fielder like Josh Willingham. Even a smaller name like Ryan Roberts (just DFA’d by the Diamondbacks earlier today) would be an improvement.
To acquire someone of that stature, Lee likely would have to be dealt.
In my opinion, the Dodgers should hang on to Lee unless a player of Ramirez or Willingham’s caliber is all but a done deal aside from the inclusion of our top prospect. The strategy changes if that’s what it takes to get another big hitter.
Luckily, Dempster is leveraging his new GM Theo Epstein by all but saying he’ll only take a trade to the Dodgers. This is forcing Epstein’s hand into considering a trade in which Lee is not a return piece.
I think Dempster will be a Dodger by Thursday. If so, Lee will hopefully not be included. And if Lee is not included, we should try to swap him for a power hitter to fully improve the talent on this team.
The next seven days will keep Dodger Nation on the edge of their seats. Hopefully we come out of it with some good news!
What do you think? Will the Dodgers land Dempster or anyone else? Comment below! Don’t forget to follow Lasorda’s Lair on Twitter @LasordasLair! You can follow Jeremy on Twitter @Jamblinman.