Off Base

Dodgers need quick(er) fixes


July 11, 2012 3:12 p.m.

In the latter stages of the first half, while the Dodgers were losing 15 out of 20, the rallying cry emanating from every orifice of Chavez Ravine was, say it with me now, “if we can just get to the All-Star break.”

Now, while no one is saying so openly, the implication is “if we can just get to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.” But can they? That, unfortunately, may be the question of 2012, and I don’t have an answer for you.

And it is absolutely excruciating waiting for Ned Colletti and company to act. It's as if the front office was engaged in a game at, rather than actively trying to shore up the roster for the second half.

On Friday, and apparently in the greatest case of wishful thinking known to man, I tweeted that “with a little luck Fri in LA, Chase Headley will be the 1st player to homer from both sides of the plate for 2 teams in the same day.”

Headley homered during the series all right, but alas just a couple times, in two games instead of one, from the left side only, and not a once for Los Angeles. What a waste.

But this isn’t criticism directed toward Ned or the club. Not yet, but the Dodgers simply must define the order of their needs (I ‘ve been saying for weeks and continue to believe that third base is job one), determine if they have the chips to trade and are prepared to move them, and make their best offer to whichever club that may be. Not on July 29 or July 30 or July 31, but right now, today.

If third base is your greatest need, try for the guy you want, and if you can’t get him move on to plan B. I’m not a huge fan of Aramis Ramirez, and his contract is downright scary, but that’s what makes him acquirable. He’s a better third baseman than he’s getting credit for being elsewhere, and the man is a stick. He’d hit the crap out of the ball from the minute he gets here, and maybe for another year or two.

Maybe not for another year or two, however, and therein lies the problem, which is what makes Headley, and knowing what’s possible, all the more important. But let’s not hold our breath, and enough with third base.

In what I’ll admit to as another case of wishful thinking on my part, I predicted this morning that Shane Victorino would make his way from one clubhouse to the other during the Philly series, which starts tonight, and restart his Dodger career at long last. Wishful thinking, yes, but doable, and I’m standing by the prediction.

I’ve sung Victorino’s praises earlier, and I’ll add only that I think he’d rebound big-time with a trade back to his original club, especially if he gets here in time to do some good. He’s not going to hit .240, with an on base percentage of .300. He’s just not. I’m thinking at a minimum .275 the rest of the way, with something close to his career .341 OBP, 25-plus RBIs and 20 steals.

And great defense, good enough to move Matt Kemp to left for. Might be a tough sell, but if reminded that a player the likes of Milton Bradley could slide over for Steve Finley in late-season 2004, Kemp could be the team guy in 2012, while welcoming the easier position hamstring-wise, and go for it.

It’s an obvious statement, but Victorino is a warm body; a capable, experienced, winning ball player, and the Dodgers need guys with those qualifications all over the bleeping diamond.

Maybe in a blockbuster, the Dodgers find a way to reel in both Victorino and Cole Hamels. All I can say to that is “holy shit, Batman, yes!” Fine, if it’s Jimmy Rollins and Hamels in an even bigger blockbuster, you’ll have my near-orgasmic seal of endorsement there too.

As for the long-rumored deal for Ryan Dempster, you’ll get no argument here. I love the guy as a rental, and I’d make a deal for something other than the top two or three prospects in the organization in a heartbeat.

And I’ll just throw out this. As with Ramirez, I have my problems with Alfonso Soriano’s game and his salary, but he’d be a major upgrade over what L.A. is trotting out there. And the guy can still hit. His 17 homers and 53 RBIs put him on pace for 31 and 98 respectively, and he’s batting .275. Plenty good enough for the Dodgers.

If you think it’s a Wrigley Field split, think again. Soriano has 10 road homers, to go along with 25 RBIs. I could be wrong, but I’m guessing that in the various team’s pitches to Chicago for Dempster, an offer to take on the remaining two years and $36 million of Soriano’s contract, plus the pro-rated amount of this season’s $18 mil, hasn’t been forthcoming, much less suggested even once.

If Colletti wants Dempster, he could make that offer, and give the Cubs the aforementioned minor leaguer or two too. Cry over spilled-money later; two Cubs with one stone.

The Dodgers need bodies, people. They need them at third base, first base, shortstop, left and on the pitching staff. There’s not a minute to waste, and the clock is ticking. Mine has stopped completely.







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