Ed Note: This is an analysis of the Dodgers recent trades, from a fantasy baseball perspective, by Rob Shaw of Bloomberg Sports.
By Rob Shaw
Special to True Blue LA
The Los Angeles Dodgers surprised several baseball fans this weekend with moves that made them appear as the the west coast version of the New York Yankees. The team was very active at the Trade Deadline, acquiring Scott Podsednik, Octavio Dotel, Ted Lilly, and Ryan Theriot. While Podsednik’s fantasy value is likely to decline the second that Manny Ramirez returns, forcing Podsednik to the bench as the fourth outfielder, a role that Juan Pierre made famous in recent years, the other new Dodgers should improve their statistical performances.
Octavio Dotel may have left Pittsburgh with a 4.28 ERA, but his recent performance has been superior. In fact, Dotels ranks as one of the elite closers over the past three months with 18 saves, a 2.35 ERA, and 35 strikeouts in 30.2 innings. In fact, Dotel has yet to surrender a run since the All-Star break. While Dotel will certainly pitch in middle relief for the Dodgers, he should repeat the impressive performance of George Sherrill last season. Sherrill, who closed for the first half of the season for the Orioles, dominated in middle relief for the Dodgers, allowing just two earned runs to cross the dish against him in 27.2 innings of work.
Ted Lilly has been one of the most consistent hurlers in the National League over the last few years, racking up 44 wins from 2007-2009. This season, his record was an awful 3-8 for the Cubs, but he is actually enjoying a fine season. His ERA prior to joining the Dodgers of 3.69 and WHIP of 1.14 tells the tale of a hurler who did not get much run support. In fact, in May, Lilly went 0-3 despite a respectable 3.21 ERA. Now that he joins a squad with a bit more run support, plus the added adrenaline of pitching in meaningful games, Lilly should once again return to his winning ways. He’s a solid number two starter in Major League Baseball.
Finally, Ryan Theriot is a player who has made a living on fantasy teams thanks to his ability to hit for a decent average while racking up stolen bases. His bugaboo this season has been an inability to score runs. You can blame the struggles of Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez for that. Since joining the Dodgers, Theriot has just one hit in 12 at bats. While those numbers will clearly improve, the more promising sign is the fact that Theriot has crossed the dish twice in just three games.
The Dodgers may currently rank fourth in the NL West, but there is reason for optimism. Without giving up much from their Major League roster, the team has upgraded its rotation and bullpen significantly, while adding a couple of speedsters who can score some runs. Add that to the return of Manny Ramirez, and a return to the playoffs looks like a realistic possibility.