Christmas comes to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July

Hopefully, Shane Victorino will be doing some of this kind of flying for the Dodgers.

The only bad thing about July 31 for me was I forgot to hang my stockings on the mantle over the fireplace, and I didn’t leave any milk and cookies for Santa Claus.

Other than that, Christmas came in July for me and my Los Angeles Dodgers.

Why? Because the Dodgers filled their left-field black hole with former Philadelphia Phillies All-Star Shane Victorino. The Dodgers also bolstered their bullpen with former Seattle Mariners closer Brandon League.

And, almost as importantly as these additions, the Dodgers didn’t give up any blue-chip prospects to do it.

Josh Lindblom is a solid young reliever who will be missed, but the Dodgers have a number of other candidates who can easily step in and fill his spot. Over the past couple days preceding the MLB trade deadline, I read about the Dodgers’ interest in Victorino.

I also read that, according to some MLB general managers, the asking price for Victorino was “exorbitantly high.” To me, that meant that the Phillies would demand at least one of the Dodgers’ top prospects for Victorino – Zach Lee, Chris Reed, Allen Webster, Joc Pederson or Garrett Gould.

When I found out all the Dodgers had to surrender with Lindblom for Victorino was Ethan Martin, I wanted to run outside and see if it was snowing in Georgia because it sure seemed like Christmas!

Raise your hand if you don’t know much about Martin. I’ve got mine raised right now, which makes it pretty hard to type one-handed! Martin has been with the Dodgers since he was drafted out of high school in Georgia in 2008. In four minor league seasons with the Dodgers, Martin has won 32 games and lost 35.
Martin’s overall ERA is right around 5.00, and he has struck out 441 hitters in 427 career innings. That’s pretty impressive. However, guess how many hitters Martin has walked over those 427 innings? How about 269! That’s a lot of free passes, if you ask me.

That’s one of the main reasons that Martin wasn’t one of the most prized prospects in the Dodgers’ farm system. And now we have the Flyin’ Hawaiian to pencil in the lineup every day in left field … life is good in Los Angeles!

The only people associated with the Dodgers who have any right to dislike the Victorino trade are Juan Rivera, Bobby Abreu and Tony Gwynn, Jr. They are about to get some splinters in their butts. Kudos should go to Ned Colletti for pulling off this move.

In nine MLB seasons, Victorino has a career on-base percentage of .342. He hasn’t driven in fewer than 61 runs since 2008. In other words, Victorino will be the best thing the Dodgers have had in left field in more years than I would care to admit.

Besides Victorino under my Christmas tree, Santa also left League as a stocking stuffer. League is just two seasons removed from saving 37 games and posting a 2.79 ERA for the Seattle Mariners. In nine seasons, League has an overall ERA of 3.69.

The 29-year-old League is a durable addition to the Los Angeles bullpen who also can step in and close games if needed.

No matter what happens over the last two months of the 2012 season, I’m excited the new owners and team management have committed to making the Dodgers better. It wasn’t that long ago that the Dodgers brought about thoughts of bankruptcy, a shady owner and a player who was suspended for performance-enhancing drugs.

How nice is it to have Los Angeles now associated with Magic Johnson, first place in the National League West and a legitimate shot at making some postseason noise?

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