Tag:Los Angeles Dodgers
Posted on: September 1, 2009 12:43 am
Edited on: September 1, 2009 1:30 am

Dodgers acquire Thome and Garland

The Los Angeles Dodgers are going for the jugular in the NL West: Still maintaining a six-game divisional lead over Colorado and San Francisco when the evening started, the Dodgers struck late and dramatically Monday night to acquire slugger Jim Thome from the White Sox and starting pitcher Jon Garland from the Diamondbacks.

The moves not only answered, but upstaged, their closest rivals on a day that saw a flurry of moves as contenders scrambled to acquire stretch-run help before the midnight EDT post-season roster deadline:  Colorado acquired starter Jose Contreras from the White Sox and, earlier in the day, the Giants signed two-time All-Star Brad Penny, who had been waived by the Red Sox, and subsequently went unclaimed.

But on a day that got crazy in the last few minutes before the deadline, nobody was more bold than the Dodgers. In acquiring Thome, they strengthened their bench with a slugger, albeit past his prime, who has cracked 23 homers and collected 74 RBI this season.

Scouts say that Thome, 39, can no longer move well enough to be a viable option at first base, so expect manager Joe Torre to spot Thome into key, situational at-bats as a pinch hitter (and, should the Dodgers reach the World Series, they'll certainly have a veteran designated hitter ready and warmed up for games in the American League park). A full-time DH now, Thome has played only four games at first base, total, in the past four seasons.

The trade not only kept Thome away from the offense-starved Giants, who well might have blundered in passing on him on the waiver wire, but also reunites a couple of former Clevelanders from the Indians' 1990s glory days, Thome and Manny Ramirez.

Known universally throughout the game as a good teammate and good player to have in the clubhouse, maybe Thome's calm, positive and familiar nature can help Manny get back to being Manny. Ramirez, since the All-Star break, is batting just .268 and averaging a mere home run per 29.8 at-bats -- as opposed to one homer per 13.4 at-bats before the break.

The Dodgers acquired Thome for minor-league infielder Justin Fuller, and the White Sox are including cash to cover a pro-rated portion of the remainder of Thome's $13 million salary for 2009.

The Dodgers acquired Garland for a player to be named later, and the Diamondbacks, according to sources, also are including cash to cover the remainder of the pitcher's $6.25 million salary for '09, plus the $2.5 million buyout of his 2010 option. Consequently, that will improve the caliber of player to be named later Arizona receives.

While Thome is the biggest name, Garland (8-11, 4.29 ERA) fills the Dodgers' most dire need. Caught looking as Philadelphia acquired Cliff Lee at the July trade deadline (and as Toronto hung onto ace Roy Halladay), the Dodgers have lacked a veteran workhorse in a young rotation that had been ultra-dependent on Chad Billingsley. Increasingly, that has been a scary proposition: Over his past 13 starts, Billingsley (12-8) has just three wins and a 5.61 ERA.

In Garland, the Dodgers are getting a veteran with playoff experience (he was a key member of the 2005 White Sox's World Series champion rotation) and a right-hander who has worked 190 or more innings in each of the past seven seasons (he's at 167 2/32 now). He is expected to take the place of knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, his former Chicago teammate, in the rotation.

As for the Rockies, Contreras gives them another stretch-run arm -- and they can use all comers with ace Aaron Cook sidelined -- though he has been  awful in Chicago (5.42 ERA, six earned runs allowed to the Yankees on Saturday in just 3 1/3 innings).

Clearly, White Sox general manager Kenny Williams is disgusted and has lost patience with his slumping club. When he acquired ace pitcher Jake Peavy from San Diego and outfielder Alex Rios from Toronto several weeks ago, they were deals both to help the Sox now and in the future. Both Peavy and Rios are signed long term -- Peavy through 2012, with a club option for 2013; Rios through 2014, with a club option for 2015.

Now, the emphasis clearly is on the future. In addition to dumping Thome and Contreras, the White Sox also shopped outfielder Jermaine Dye and set-up man Scott Linebrink earlier Monday, according to sources. Clearly, Williams' re-shaping of the Sox has begun.

Posted on: August 19, 2009 3:16 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2009 3:24 pm

Dodgers close to signing Vicente Padilla

The Dodgers, watching their once sizable NL West lead slowly melt, are on the verge of signing free agent right-hander Vicente Padilla, according to CBSSports.com sources.

Padilla, who was released by Texas earlier this season, would help fill a rotation that was weakened when Hiroki Kuroda took a line drive off of his head Saturday. Kuroda is expected to miss his next start and probably land on the disabled list.

The move not only would add depth to the Dodgers' rotation, it also would do so in a relatively inexpensive way. The Dodgers would owe Padilla only a pro-rated portion of the major-league minimum -- roughly $100,000 -- with the Rangers paying the rest of Padilla's $12 million 2009 salary.

Padilla was 8-6 with a 4.92 ERA over 18 starts for the Rangers this season. But the Rangers released him anyway, partly because he was not well liked in the Texas clubhouse given his penchant for throwing at batters, which in turn caused Rangers hitters to become targets for retaliation at times.

Posted on: July 31, 2009 3:40 pm

Twins with Angels, Dodgers in Heath Bell talks

Add the Minnesota Twins to the list of teams frantically phoning San Diego and trying to complete a deal for Padres closer Heath Bell in these final 30 minutes before the trade deadline, sources tell CBSSports.com.

The Twins, who already have acquired shortstop Orlando Cabrera, are working hard to add bullpen help to a beleaguered bullpen as they fight to stay in the AL Central race with Detroit and the Chicago White Sox.

The Padres' asking price for Bell, however, might be prohibitively high for the Twins' taste. And there is plenty of competition, too, as both the Dodgers and the Angels are making strong bids for Bell.

Posted on: July 31, 2009 3:03 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2009 3:13 pm

Dodgers talking Gonzalez, Bell with San Diego

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who appear to have moved on from their talks with Toronto for ace Roy Halladay, are talking with the San Diego Padres about a potential blockbuster deal in which they would acquire both first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and closer Heath Bell, sources with knowledge of the Dodgers' plans have told CBSSports.com.

Gonzalez, a two-time All-Star, was hitting .252 with 28 home runs and 59 RBI in 103 games for the Padres this season. The Padres long have said they have not wanted to trade him but began listening to offers within the last several days.

San Diego conducted extensive talks with Boston regarding Gonzalez over the past 48 hours but those finally ended less than two hours before the trade deadline when the Red Sox acquired Victor Martinez.

If the Dodgers are able to pull this off, it would be the second closer they've acquired in two days -- they nabbed Baltimore's George Sherrill on Thursday. Also, presumably Gonzalez would replace James Loney at first base. There is no word yet on whom the Dodgers would send back in the deal.

Meantime, the Dodgers aren't the only Southern California team attempting to land Bell: The Los Angeles Angels also are engaged in serious discussions with the Padres while attempting to bolster their bullpen.

Posted on: July 30, 2009 5:08 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2009 7:13 pm

Dodgers: Now full steam toward Halladay?

Even after putting a deal in place to acquire Baltimore closer George Sherrill, a source familiar with the Dodgers' plans says it remains "very possible" that Los Angeles could still trade for Toronto ace Roy Halladay.

However, "very possible" isn't the same as likely, to hear Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti tell it. Colletti said Thursday afternoon that he believes the club stands a better chance of acquiring more relief help by Friday's non-waivers trade deadline than a starter.

"As of right here, right now, very slim," Colletti said when asked to characterize the Dodgers' chances of acquiring a starter. "Very slim between now and [Friday]. After that, there will be some other starters come available [via the waiver wire in August]. But right now, the teams I've had conversations with, it doesn't appear as if we'll find a match."

The Dodgers have engaged the Blue Jays in talks for Halladay for several days, and in these final hours before the deadline, we're about to find out how serious they are.

One of the pieces believed to be discussed between the Dodgers and Blue Jays, third baseman Josh Bell, will be on his way to Baltimore once the Sherrill deal is finalized, according to sources.

But beyond Bell, the Dodgers have several prospects they could dangle without offering Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw from their rotation. Young right-hander James McDonald, who pitched in relief the National League Championship Series last October against the Phillies, is one.

Others include right-hander Josh Lindblom and infielder Blake DeWitt. In discussions between the clubs, the Jays have told the Dodgers that Halladay could be theirs for a package of five or six prospects without costing them anyone on the major-league roster.

With Philadelphia having acquired Cliff Lee on Wednesday, the field for Halladay has diminished dramatically. The Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox appear to be the three clubs with the most realistic chance of making a deal for the ace.

But sources with knowledge of the talks say the Angels have made their best offer, and it does not include shortstop Erick Aybar or Jered Weaver and that they do not plan to sweeten it.

The Red Sox remain the club that is dangerously silent -- publicly, at least. They are known to be in on talks regarding Halladay, Cleveland slugger Victor Martinez and San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

Posted on: July 30, 2009 4:31 pm

O's Sherrill headed to Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers are close to scooping up the bullpen help they were looking for with a deal in place to acquire acquiring closer George Sherrill from Baltimore, CBSSports.com has confirmed. The Orioles are expected to receive two prospects, third baseman Josh Bell and right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson.

The deal is pending medicals and some other details and, assuming everything checks out, it is expected to be announced later Thursday afternoon or evening.

With Jonathan Broxton closing, Sherrill likely with slide in as a set-up man for the Dodgers. At the very least, it gives the Dodgers both depth and options. Sherrill and Broxton could share the closer's role, and the duo gives the Dodgers insurance against injury as well.

The move not only beefs up Joe Torre's relief corps this year, but gives the Dodgers a nice bullpen piece next year as well. Sherrill is not eligible for free agency until after the 2010 season.

In 42 appearances this year for the Orioles, Sherrill has 20 saves and a 2.40 ERA.

Posted on: July 30, 2009 2:26 pm

Sherrill, Bell talks continue

The demand for relief pitchers continues to produce a seller's market, with San Diego closer Heath Bell and Baltimore closer George Sherrill among those receiving plenty of interest as Friday's 4 p.m. EDT non-waivers trade deadline approaches.

The Orioles continue to field offers on Sherrill, with "seven or eight" clubs involved, according to CBSSports.com sources. Both Los Angeles teams, the Dodgers and Angels, are among those involved. The Chicago Cubs, looking to add a lefty reliever and already having spoken with Pittsburgh about John Grabow and with Washington about Joe Beimel, also are believed to be involved.

The Orioles control the 32-year-old Sherrill for two more seasons (he's making $2.75 million this year) and, as such, feel no urgency to move him.

As of early Thursday afternoon, Baltimore was still talking with clubs and had nothing imminent in place. The Orioles, quite simply, are looking for young talent in return. They've already broken in rookie catcher Matt Wieters this year and highly touted right-hander Chris Tillman made his big-league debut Wednesday night against Kansas City.

If they do deal with the Dodgers, they likely would demand one of two young infielders -- Josh Bell or Blake DeWitt -- and, in dealings with the Angels, young infielders Brandon Wood and Sean Rodriguez surely will be discussed.

As for Bell, the Padres so far have not been able to swing a deal with the Florida Marlins, with whom they were engaged in discussions deep into Wednesday night. Reportedly, the Marlins have rebuffed San Diego's request for one of two young starters, either Andrew Miller or Sean West. Both are power arms who fit into Florida's future plans.

While the Padres still could become re-engaged with the Marlins, close to a dozen other clubs have been speaking with Padres about Bell.

Posted on: July 3, 2009 6:54 pm

Ramirez not talking about "criminal record"

SAN DIEGO -- When he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers a few weeks into spring training, his first words were, "I'm baaaack."

At 3 p.m. PDT Friday, Manny Ramirez walked into a news conference here and announced, "Showtime!"

Freed to enter a major-league ballpark following his 50-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, Ramirez, penciled in to bat third for tonight's game against the Padres, apologized to fans and teammates for "not being there."

But it clearly is an uncomfortable Ramirez who is back, and it's clear that he's not providing any details on anything related to steroids.

"I'm not talking about my criminal record," he joked at one point during the 12-minute news conference.

Asked right out of the gate when he started using steroids and what his regimen was, Ramirez deflected the question.

"First I want to say God is good and good is God," Ramirez replied, with agent Scott Boras sitting to his right. "I'm happy to be here. I missed the game. I'm happy to play."

Asked what he would say to the fans, he was vague.

"I want to say I'm sorry to the fans and to my teammates," Ramirez said. "They are always there for me. I'd like to thank (Dodgers owner) Frank McCourt for his support."

He said the general reaction to him has "been great everywhere I go. People are there for me. They gave me support. It hasn't been that bad."

Asked what he was sorry for, Ramirez demurred.

"I'm not getting into that," he said. "If you want to talk about the game. ... Not being there for (teammates). Not being able to play the game. I'm a huge part of the Dodgers. ... When I say I'm sorry, I'm sorry."

Asked specifically whether he was sorry for taking steroids, Ramirez said: "I already answered that question, sir."

Manager Joe Torre has Ramirez batting third and Andre Ethier fourth tonight.

Perhaps part of Ramirez's apology should be directly to Ethier.

"I think his batting average suffered because of (Manny's) absence," said Torre, who also attended Ramirez's "news" conference. "I think he put a lot of pressure on himself."

Ramirez made it clear he is happy to be back.

Did he learn anything? Sure, he said.

"What I learned is if you do the right thing, you never have to look back," he said. "That's what I learned."


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