Chico Harlan of The Washington Post reports that the Nationals traded infielder Ronnie Belliard to the Dodgers following today’s game. Washington will receive A-ball pitcher Luis Garcia and a player to be named in the deal.
Well… I guess? I suppose this is related to Ken Gurnick’s report that the Dodgers were looking for a run-producing bat off the bench, but I’m not exactly sure that this qualifies. Though Belliard’s had a few roughly league-average seasons, he’s hitting a brutal .247/.297/.376 this season, almost exclusively as a second baseman and pinch-hitter. To be fair, since his OPS cratered at .459 (!!) on July 1, Belliard’s hit a nice .323/.380/.475 in 35 games (20 starts).
Bellliard is by all accounts a lousy fielder, so he’s not going to be getting much time at second base in place of Orlando Hudson or Juan Castro. Really, the success of this deal depends on what his role is going to be. Is Joe Torre really going to use him in place of Mark Loretta off the bench? Loretta’s been absolutely abysmal in what has to be his final major-league season, so if Belliard can keep up his hot streak and Torre’s willing to give him a shot, then this could be slightly useful. As for what was given up, this is no horrifying Carlos Santana-for-Casey Blake deal - Garcia didn’t even make Baseball America‘s top 30 Dodger prospects this year.
On the other hand, Nationals bloggers are thrilled to get something, anything, for Belliard. So I’m giving this a solid “meh” – it’s probably not going to make much of a difference either way.