The Way it Looks to Me

Remember when Dan Evans was getting heat for "not pulling the trigger". Remember all those big name first basemen, outfielders and second basemen who were coveted by the Dodgers, but all ended up elsewhere? So … what's so different today? Frank McCourt and Paul DePodesta were going to improve things. Only one player has been brought in who has a regular job, Milton Bradley. There were others picked up or traded for who may one day make their marks in Dodger Blue.

But the fans have been promised a big hitter over and over. Bradley isn't the answer, although we are happy to have him.

More recently it became apparent the Dodgers not only need a run producer for the middle of the lineup, but they also need a quality starter what with Nomo on the ropes, Lima's inconsistency and the failures of Edwin Jackson and Joel Hanrahan down in AAA. And so, like last fall and winter, the Dodgers again are looking for help.

The big names have been Carlos Beltran, a premier hitter and outfielder, but like those before him, he wound up somewhere else. Freddy Garcia probably the best available starter this past week drew the Dodgers interest, but he too, fell by the wayside. So what's so different? Not much in my view.

Is Frank McCourt willing to spend some money? I believe he is, and will, within the next month. But what about GM Paul DePodesta? He's no faster on pulling a trigger than was Dan Evans. And now, with Beltran and Garcia gone, I really don't see much help that would make a huge difference.

Probably the best starter we might be able to get is Atlanta's Russ Ortiz, but he is not yet available ... maybe near the July 31st trade deadline. Another Ortiz seems to be available, as Anaheim has put him back in the bullpen and he wants to start. He's asked for a trade. Although up and down, Ramon Ortiz has won 15 games on two occasions.

Kris Benson probably could be had from Pittsburgh who need a catcher. The Dodgers have David Ross and Koyie Hill who might be of interest to the Pirates, but LA would probably have to include a good prospect also. But, let's face it Benson is not a panacea.

It's said the Philadelphia Phillies would like to find a good reliever for their bullpen and a center fielder. The Dodgers could provide them. They have Dave Roberts, Milton Bradley and Juan Encarnacion all of whom are good center fielders. They have Paul Shuey, Tom Martin, Jose Lima and Guillermo Mota who could be traded. But what could the Phillies have for the Dodgers to make them a better team? Sure Jim Thome or Bobby Abreu would be terrific, but forget them. But how about Pat Burrell?

Baltimore really needs bullpen help and might trade Jay Gibbons who is having a poor year. He could play first base or the outfield in L.A. And the Orioles are not happy with Sidney Ponson, so how about a multi-player deal Mota and one of the Dodger outfielders for Gibbons and Ponson.

Let me expand on this latter scenario. Both Ponson and Gibbons are 27 years old. In six seasons Ponson has a 58-65 won-loss record (not that great) with a career ERA of 4.54 but he is also a 200 innings eater. Gibbons in three seasons has a batting average of .259 and averages 29 home runs and 90 RBI over a 162 game season. But he does miss some games due to injuries. But I like his power and his left handed bat.

Would we miss a guy like Mota? Certainly. Would we miss one of our outfielders? No, because we would still have Green or Gibbons to play out there.

Maybe the killer question is this ... would Ponson and Gibbons assure us of a place in the playoffs? Maybe ... but it likely gives us a better starter than Nomo has been. Gibbons has more power than any of our current outfielders.

Like you, I'm waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop.

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