Trading Season Heats Up, But Maybe Not For the Dodgers


A few days ago, I wondered if there was any chance of prying outfielder Colby Rasmus away from St. Louis, saying that I would gladly trade Hiroki Kuroda, a bullpen arm or two, and a mid-level prospect for him. Today, Toronto did just that, acquiring the outfielder and three other pitchers in a complicated three-team deal that ultimately ended up with St. Louis receiving Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski, Octavio DotelCorey Patterson, and some players to be named. To get Jackson from the White Sox, Toronto first had to give up reliever Jason Frasor and decent prospect Zach Stewart, in addition to eating the $7.2m left owed to the disappointing Mark Teahen.

All of which got me thinking, could the Dodgers have done that? Forget the deal with the White Sox, because they wouldn’t have needed to first acquire Jackson, as Kuroda is the obvious fit there and is possibly a superior pitcher to Jackson anyway. (They’re both free agents at the end of the year, as well.) What’s the equivalent to Rzepczynski, Dotel, and Patterson? Javy Guerra, Mike MacDougal, and Tony Gwynn? Matt Guerrier or Scott Elbert instead, or in addition? I think we’d all have done that, right? But it’s not that simple. Perhaps the Cards did prefer Jackson to Kuroda. Perhaps Kuroda would have refused to waive his no-trade clause, as is sounding more and more likely. And that’s not even taking into account that Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is a secret ninja who is awesome at his job, while Ned Colletti is Ned Colletti.

So no, we probably shouldn’t be that disappointed that Rasmus is headed north of the border, because he almost certainly was never in play for the Dodgers anyway. In fact, the closer we get to the deadline, the less likely I think it is that the Dodgers will make any kind of move, selling or buying. The team has won four in a row and 10 of 15, and while no one in their right mind can think that puts them in any sort of situation to contend (hooray, just 0.5 games back of Colorado for third place!), we’ve mostly known Colletti as the type to refuse to sell unless it is literally his only option. (Maybe that’s good, since Colletti’s mentor Brian Sabean is reportedly on the verge of selling his top pitching prospect, Zach Wheeler, to get two months of Carlos Beltran.)

It is something of an ill-timed winning streak, at least for those of us hoping to see some veterans moved, but as we’ve known for a while, this is also a club that doesn’t have a ton of valuable trading chips. With Kuroda sounding unlikely to agree to a trade anywhere, perhaps what we’ll see is the team standing pat, other than maybe some smaller deals for guys like Jamey Carroll or Rod Barajas that probably won’t bring back much. It may not be exciting, but as I suggested a few weeks ago, that might always have been the best option.

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Speaking of players who aren’t going anywhere (even if they should be), I have to admit I enjoyed the brief – extremely brief – Twitter freakout when Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports teased a link to an article about the chances of Andre Ethier being moved. Turns out, it was much ado about nothing:

A trade of Andre Ethier by the Dodgers – while unlikely – isn’t completely out of the question.

Sources close to the Dodgers’ thinking said the odds of an Ethier trade are “very slim” and that general manager Ned Colletti “would need to be blown away” by an offer to move his right fielder.

The Red Sox have been looking for an outfield bat, and Ethier is a close friend of Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia, but sources say the teams haven’t had any serious discussions about an Ethier deal.

In general, though, Ethier fits the description of players who are typically discussed in July trades: His team is out of contention, and he will become a free agent after next season.

Ethier, a fan favorite in L.A., has an .815 OPS this year and made his second career All-Star appearance.

Wow! Thanks for the breaking news, guys.

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Two more additions to the McCourt sin list: we’re now at 55.

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