The Dodgers are in free fall mode right now, unable to stay above water without several missing starters. They were able to whether the storm the first time Matt Kemp was on the disabled list, but their June swoon without the superstar has pushed them to 20-22 without Kemp.
The team has been especially bad of late, without Mark Ellis and with a slumping Andre Ethier before he missed a few games with a strained left oblique. The Dodgers aren't out of the woods yet with Ethier, who is day-to-day but a disabled list trip is not out of the question.
But the Dodgers expect Ellis back next weekend, will get Kemp back just after the All-Star break, and should have Ethier back at full strength by the break if not sooner. But for the Dodgers, who have lost six straight and 10 of their last 11 games, there is still the matter of getting to the All-Star break.
"I'm talking about nine games," manager Don Mattingly said after Friday's loss. "I'm not planning on losing nine games."
But even when Kemp, Ethier, and Ellis back, the Dodgers are still facing a problem at the corner infield positions. Dodgers third basemen are hitting .229/.291/.330, last in the National League in OPS and next-to-last in adjusted OPS+ (71). Dodgers first basemen are hitting .241/.299/.336, next-to-last in OPS and OPS+ (69).
But at first base, the Dodgers have James Loney, who is hitting .236/.303/.323, and Juan Rivera, who is hitting .267/.301/.360. Rivera was hitting .243/.305/.360 last year for the Toronto Blue Jays when they designated him for assignment just before the All-Star break.
Much like last year when a pedestrian Rivera (.274/.333/.406) was a big improvement over the zero production they got out of left field and first base prior to the All-Star break, the Dodgers would take pedestrian at first base this season.
Enter Carlos Lee.
The Dodgers reportedly have a deal in place for El Caballo, who would fit the description of a marginal upgrade. Lee is hitting .290/.342/.412 and even though he has just five home runs in 61 games that is one more home run than the Dodgers have from the position all year.
"L.A. has made an offer. I just told Jeff (Luhnow, Astros GM) I want to see my options. I just want to wait and see what my options are," Lee told Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. Lee has a no-trade clause.
Lee is making $18.5 million this season, meaning there is just over $9.5 million left on his deal between now and the end of the season. Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports have more details on the neogtiations, but it is presumed that the Astros would pay a portion of the remaining salary depending on the prospect(s) they receive.
Garrett Gould, who was named the No. 5 prospect in the system by Brandon Lennox before this season, was scratched from his Friday start with Class A Rancho Cucamonga and is presumed to be a part of the deal.
The ball is in Lee's court now, but this is a move of desperation for the Dodgers. Desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess.