Memo to the Dodgers: Step away from the Cole Hamels rumors

The Los Angeles Dodgers need a power bat more than the left-handed arm of Cole Hamels.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are in first place in the National League West. The Dodgers have the best record in the National League and the second-best record in all of baseball.

So, there’s no reason to worry, right? Everything in L.A. is as kosher as a Hebrew Dodger Dog, right?


The Dodgers need help. The longer slugger Matt Kemp sits on the disabled list, the more the Dodgers struggle and the closer the San Francisco Midgets creep in the NL West.

Most of the rumors surrounding the Dodgers center around pitching as the July 31 trade deadline approaches. The Dodgers have been linked to Cole Hamels, Ryan Dempster, Matt Garza and, according to Dodger Nation, Wandy Rodriguez.

Do you know what I say to all of those rumors? “Fuh-get about it!”

The Dodgers don’t need pitching; they need a power bat! Would Hamels help bolster the Dodgers’ starting pitching? Unquestionably. However, that isn’t the biggest need on the team as it waits for Kemp’s fragile hamstring to heal.

As the Dodgers have struggled through a very mediocre month of June with a 10-8 record, pitching hasn’t been the problem. In the eight June losses, the Dodgers have averaged 1.6 runs a game. There have been two shutouts and two losses where the Dodgers only scored one run.

The Dodgers rank 14th out of the 16 National League teams in home runs this season. Los Angeles is also 13th in slugging percentage and ninth in RBIs. But surprisingly, the Dodgers are second in the league in on-base percentage.

What does that mean in the twisted world of sabermetrics? It means that the Dodgers are getting on base; they’re just not punching the ball over the fence and aren’t driving in timely runs.

Conversely, the Dodgers are second in the National League overall team pitching. Our boys in blue are second in team ERA, second in batting average against and fourth in quality starts.

So, as I slip on my Los Angeles GM toupee to play Ned Colletti, here is what I recommend: Put a premium on acquiring an impact bat and then work on improving the pitching.

Despite Kemp missing more than a month, he still leads the Dodgers in home runs with 12. Andre Ethier has done a stellar job of trying to fill Kemp’s void, but he can’t do it alone.

The Dodgers continue to parade a bunch of average players out in left field this season. Bobby Abreu, Tony Gwynn, Jr. and Juan Rivera haven’t sucked, but they haven’t done anything significant.

Abreu does have a .285 batting average, but he can’t hit for power any longer at this stage of his career. Abreu has only one homer this season. Gwynn has never been a power guy, and his 17 RBIs with no homers are a testament to that.

Rivera does have three homers and 21 RBIs, but his .240 average and .339 slugging percentage aren’t exactly numbers that send chills down manager Don Mattingly’s spine.

Who should the Dodgers pursue in a midsummer trade? The names that seem to be the most available are the following: Alfonso Soriano, Josh Willingham, Denard Span, Carlos Lee and Carlos Quentin.

Soriano and Lee are old (both 36), and their power numbers have declined in recent years. Both players are also liabilities in the outfield, so defense would definitely suffer if the Dodgers pulled the trigger on one of those trades.

Span is only 28, but he is more like Gwynn and less like Kemp or Ethier. Span has never hit more than eight home runs in a season, so he’s not a player that would have a significant offensive impact on the Dodgers.

That leaves us with Willingham and Quentin. Willingham is 33 years old and has hit 14 homers this season and has driven in 46 runs. Willingham has proven power – seasons with 29, 26, 24 and 21 homers.

Quentin is also a proven power guy, with 31, 26 and 25 homers to his credit. This season, after missing the first two months on the disabled list, Quentin has hit six homers and has driven in 13 runs in just 19 games for the San Diego Padres.

Given the fact that Quentin plays for West-division rival San Diego, a trade for him would be more challenging for the Dodgers. However, it is a trade that is worth exploring.


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  1. Steve, since Abreu was dumped by the Angels anyway, he has definitely been a bargain for us. I love him off the bench and in a pinch-hitting role, but he’s not cut out to be our starting left fielder any longer at this stage in his career. You’re right about Wells. With Trout, Hunter, Bourjos and Wells, Vernon seems to be he odd man out in Anaheim. I’ve also heard on several Dodger insider boards that there is a spark of a speculation somewhere about a Carl Crawford trade to the Dodgers. Don’t know whether it has any validity, but that interests me more than a Carlos Lee, Denard Span or Kevin Youkilis deal. Crawford has been a huge disappointment in Boston and I’m sure the Red Sox would like to start over there, especially with the emergence of Daniel Nava (.336 avg, 2 HRs, 24 RBIs). 

  2. You’re right, Jeff. Not that much out there to speculate prior to the deadline. I do think Abreu was a huge addition for the Dodgers. And, hey, the Angels don’t have a spot for Vernon Wells either. Correct?

  3. Steve, I also think it’s a longshot, but a guy can hope, right? This has to be the most boring trade market I can remember in a long time. I just can’t get excited about guys like Kevin Youkilis, Carlos Lee and some of the other names that are being bandied about. I hope the Dodgers don’t make a move just to make a move.

  4. Since Carlos Quentin has been the only patch of blue sky for the Padres this season, San Diego fans would scream bloody murder if he were traded to the hated Dodgers. If it’s true that the O’Malley family now hold the inside track to emerge as the new team owners, the Padre faithful are hopeful that CQ will be offered a new deal. While I don’t see that happening, there’s no way he’ll be shipped off to Los Angeles. 

  5. Norm, you are SO right about your observations. The problem is that I couldn’t get all Moby Dickish about all of the Dodgers’ hitting woes. Third base has been a black hole for us ever since we let Adrian Beltre go via free agency many years ago. Loney is what he’s always been – a solid defender who will never hit for power. I am just amazed that our farm system hasn’t been able to produce a quality third baseman and first baseman since Beltre and Paul Konerko. I just hope we don’t reach for a has-been like Carlos Lee.

  6. You started out heading in the right direction, but you didn’t go far enough.  True, the Dodgers need offensive help far more than pitching help, and yes, they need improvement in left field, but where they really need help is at 1b and 3b.  They are getting absolutely no offense out of those positions.  And don’t get me started on the ss/leadoff hitter who  rarely gets on base, can’t bunt, and has zero power.

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