The Los Angeles Dodgers have started the second half of the season losing 6 of 7 games, and find themselves 5.5 games behind the division leading San Diego Padres, who lost to the Braves on Thursday afternoon. The Dodgers have been searching for a 5th starter all season using the likes of Charlie Haeger, Carlos Monasterios, and James McDonald. They have made the playoffs the last two seasons, losing to the Phillies in the NLCS in both seasons. Improving the pitching staff has been Ned Colletti's priority since spring training, but no major moves have been made, mainly due to the highly publicized divorce of their owner, Frank McCourt.
Well, if you beleive ESPN Los Angeles' Tony Jackson, it appears McCourt is opening up the vault and is ready to ADD payroll to improve the team by the trade deadline. Here is what he wrote on Thursday evening:
With 10 days remaining before baseball's annual trading deadline, the Dodgers' efforts to upgrade their starting rotation appear to be zeroing in on Roy Oswalt of the Houston Astros.
Jackson goes on to write that it will be difficult for the Dodgers to trade for Oswalt due to his contract, and the fact that so many teams are looking to trade for him. With that said, Jackson goes on to say:
At any rate, there are strong indications Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, who is embroiled in an expensive, high-profile divorce that is widely suspected of sapping the team's operating budget, is willing to add to the club's current $83 million payroll to bring in a significant piece at the July 31 deadline.
That doesn't necessarily mean a starting pitcher, though. With the Dodgers' bullpen having imploded in recent days and outfielders Manny Ramirez and Reed Johnson on the disabled list -- both are expected back fairly soon, but there are no guarantees, of course -- the Dodgers ultimately might decide to upgrade other areas instead.
"Pitching continues to be our priority," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "With Manny going down and Reed Johnson still out, we might look at trying to shore up our outfield as well."
This is pure speculation on my part, but reading into Colletti comments above, I could see the Dodgers dealing for either Cody Ross, who the Dodgers have been linked to recently, or Michael Bourn. Rob Dibble from XM Radio's MLB station mentioned on Monday morning that he is hearing that the Astros could be dangling Bourn to other teams.
If I were the Dodgers GM, I would focus on trading for Oswalt to bring in the ace they so desperately need to get to the World Series. What will that cost the Dodgers? According to Jackson, they Dodgers are not willing to give up top pitching prospects Chris Withrow or Ethan Martin, or top hitting prospect SS Dee Gordon. (Music to my ears). But the LA farm system has plenty of prospects in the lower level of the minors including Aaron Miller, Allen Webster, Nate Eovaldi, Kyle Russell, Jerry Sands and Blake Smith.