Talking Trade Deadline: Who Could Wear Blue Down The Stretch

It’s July, meaning that the non-waiver trade deadline looms at the end of this month.

In the past, the Dodgers have made some pretty significant trades, including a recent history that includes the acquiring of Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake to bolster the lineup down the stretch in 2008 that contributed to Back-to-Back N.L. West Championships and NLCS runs, and last year’s blockbuster that brought Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to Los Angeles.

It would appear that the Dodgers’ primary concerns right now would be to add a rotation arm, a possible bullpen arm (though they are trying to do this internally, and the call-ups of Jose Dominguez and Chris Withrow may help bolster the ‘pen tremendously,) and a regular third baseman.

Here’s a look at some names that the Dodgers might be looking at as this year’s trade deadline approaches and where they are right now.  Some are familiar and some are new.  Some might be great additions and others may be ill-advised.  Still, there is a chance that some of these names may find themselves on the Dodgers’ 25 man roster by the time the dust settles on July 31st.

Out of respect to the men who currently represent our Blue, we will not discuss who might find themselves with a new home by the trade deadline.

Ricky Nolasco – Right Handed Starting Pitcher, Miami Marlins  (4-8, 3.93 ERA)

Ricky Nolasco has a 4-8 record to go with a 3.93 ERA. Much speculation abounds regarding the 30 year old right-hander, who is currently the biggest trade chip the Miami Marlins have not named Giancarlo Stanton (Image source: http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Ricky+Nolasco+Florida+Marlins+Photo+Day+Yr_NE_ONAwMl.jpg)

Nolasco’s name has popped up several times in trade rumors involving the Dodgers.  Nolasco is in the final year of his contract and the Marlins do not expect to be able to retain his services beyond this season.  Nolasco is 80-72 in his career with a 4.45 ERA.  However, Nolasco has developed his sinker and has become more reliant on it as the velocity on his fastball has begun to tail off with age, allowing the veteran to become a groundball pitcher and begin to draw some comparisons to Derek Lowe.  Nolasco, a native of Corona, CA, reportedly wants to play for a west coast team and prefers Southern California.  The Angels, Dodgers and Padres would all seem to be logical destinations, and the ground ball pitcher could benefit greatly playing in Dodger Stadium.

Matt Garza – Right Handed Starting Pitcher, Chicago Cubs (3-1, 3.83 ERA)

Matt Garza (3-1, 3.83 ERA) has been speculated to be on the move out of Chicago, with the West Coast listed to be a likely destination. The Blue Jays and Yankees have also been discussed as possible landing spots. (Image source: http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Matt+Garza+Chicago+Cubs+Photo+Day+TyLNLrln7Hll.jpg)

Some sources are saying that the often-injured Garza may, in fact, be the prize pickup of this year’s trade deadline class.  Garza has been good (3-1, 3.83 ERA) when healthy this year, and his career ERA under 4 would indicate that Garza is pitching at about his career normal level this year when healthy.  Speculation has Garza possibly heading for the Dodgers or the Padres, while other sources indicate that the Blue Jays and Yankees have interest in the righty.  If healthy, Garza could be a great pickup for the Dodger rotation down the stretch.

Bud Norris – Right Handed Starting Pitcher, Houston Astros (5-7, 3.35 ERA)

Bud Norris (5-7, 3.35 ERA) has been a bright spot in yet another abysmal Houston Astros season. The right-hander would also have some time under team control and be a mainstay in Blue if the Dodgers elect to acquire him and put together a trade package worthy of Houston’s consideration. (Image source: http://www4.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Bud+Norris+Houston+Astros+Photo+Day+h54jP8i2eqTl.jpg)

The serviceable Bud Norris may, in fact, be the best starting pitcher available in the current trade market, though he likely will come at a steep price.  The 28 year old right-hander sports a 2.54 ERA over his last eight starts, absolutely shut down the Texas Rangers on Opening Night in Houston, and could be a longer-term solution in the Dodger rotation as he is in only his fourth major league season and would be under team control until the end of the 2015 season.  A California native who played his college ball at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Bud Norris would be another ideal candidate to bring back home to the west coast.

The Astros righty would also fit in with the Dodgers’ annual Bark-In-the-Park promotion, and for the Dodgers’ many female fans, who wouldn’t love a man with a small fluffy dog who masquerades as a hard-throwing right-hander coming into his own as a Major League pitcher?

Big Man. Small Dog. If the Dodgers acquire Norris, they’d have an immediate poster boy for the “Bark In The Park” promotion, not to mention a number four starter with top-of-the-rotation experience. (Image source: http://www.joesportsfanstl.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/bud-norris-dog.jpg)

The Blog admits a bias toward Norris, and if the team is forced to make a high-stakes deal that involves the movement of higher-end prospects, believes that Norris would be the best option for the rotation as he appears to have the most upside and remains under team control for two seasons beyond this year.

Cliff Lee – Left Handed Starting Pitcher, Philadelphia Phillies (9-2, 2.51 ERA)

Cliff Lee is having a year worthy of Cy Young Award consideration and has significant post season experience. (Image source: http://www.blairbunting.com/blog/wp-content/gallery/cliff-lee/cliff-lee-blog-2new2.jpg)

Lee is the ultimate “win now” trade candidate.  His contract is outrageous.  The Phillies will probably want too much for him because they recognize he has value to a team like the Dodgers looking for a win now.  But Lee is putting together a season that is worthy of Cy Young Award consideration (with all due respect to the Dodgers’ own Clayton Kershaw, who sports a better ERA but a worse record due to lack of run support.)  And he comes with the added bonus of having some serious playoff experience.  While some have argued against Lee because it would result in the Dodgers having three left-handers in the starting rotation, Lee’s resume cannot be denied and he could be a valuable addition to the pitching staff if the price is right.

Hiroki Kuroda – Right Handed Starting Pitcher, New York Yankees (7-5, 2.77 ERA)

A fan favorite during his time in Los Angeles, Hiroki Kuroda could find himself on the move if the Yankees decide to be deadline sellers this year. A return to Los Angeles is not out of the question for the 38 year old right-hander who has shown he still can compete at a high level this season. (Image source: http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/slides/photos/001/997/856/140687141_crop_650x440.jpg?1331033902)

Even at age 38, Hiro continues to pitch well for the Yankees in the Bronx.  A fan favorite during his time in Los Angeles, the veteran Kuroda could be an ideal arm for the rotation down the stretch.  Kuroda has proven to be injury-free throughout his Major League tenure and has pitched well in playoff games in the past.  If the price is right and the Yankees turn out to be deadline sellers, Kuroda could find himself back in Los Angeles with the Dodgers to make one final run at a World Series ring.

Steve Cishek – Right Handed Relief Pitcher, Miami Marlins (2-4, 3.15 ERA, 14 saves in 16 opportunities, 1.05 WHIP)

Steve Cishek could provide some much-needed relief in the Dodger bullpen and close out games in a pinch. (Image source: http://www1.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Steve+Cishek+Washington+Nationals+v+Miami+v55jGpeDkCyx.jpg)

The Dodgers appear to be seeking bullpen help internally, but the hard-throwing Cishek who comes complete with his own unique arm angle might be a nice add-on piece in a deal for Nolasco.  Cishek, primarily a closer in Miami, could certainly help bolster a setup-type role in the Dodgers’ bullpen rotation.  Cishek also could find himself in the closer role in a pinch in the event that current closer Kenley Jansen became injured or ineffective.

Ian Stewart – Third Baseman, Free Agent (2013 Minor League Stats: .168, 5 HR, 20 RBI)

Ian Stewart has had a disappointing 2013 season where he’s collected far more hits on Twitter than at AAA Iowa, but a fresh start with a new organization may give Stewart an opportunity to shine. (Image source: http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/slides/photos/002/011/030/140084973_display_image.jpg?1331345695)

The enigmatic Stewart, once a highly-touted prospect in the Colorado Rockies organization, has seen his career stall out with the Chicago Cubs.  Stewart is reportedly healthy this season after suffering some injury problems the last couple seasons, but has put up mediocre stats at AAA Iowa.  Making matters worse, Stewart found himself a free agent after a Twitter rant about not getting playing time that caused the Cubs to release him.  The best part about an Ian Stewart acquisition: it would only cost the Dodgers money as he is currently a free agent.

The Dodgers could opt to take a flyer on Stewart, stick him down at AAA Albuquerque with an option to opt out if he does not receive a late-season call-up, and if Stewart proves to have an ability to play third base and hit decently with some power, bring him up to the Big Club for the stretch run to start or to platoon with Juan Uribe.  Stewart also reportedly has drawn some interest from the New York Yankees who have third base problems of their own.

Chase Headley – Third Baseman, San Diego Padres (.221, 6 HR, 25 RBIs.)

After a great 2012 season, Chase Headley’s 2013 season has been a “failure to launch.” Could the Padres star be on the move at a trade deadline discount? (Image source: http://www3.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/San+Diego+Padres+Photo+Day+VMP16PA12Mnl.jpg)

At age 29 and trying to earn his first big contract, Headley instead finds his stock is dropping steeply.  After missing much of the first month of the season with a broken thumb, Headley’s season has been more a story of a failure to launch than of a star third baseman helping his surprising team make a run at what would be an even more surprising division title while working toward a big pay day.

Still, there is no denying that Headley would be a steadying presence at third base, something that the Dodgers have mostly lacked since Adrian Beltre left the team after the 2004 season.  Whether or not having Headley as a rental would be worth the cost is subject to debate.

Aramis Ramirez – Third Baseman, Milwaukee Brewers (.273, 5 HR, 24 RBIs.)

Aramis Ramirez hit .300 with 27 HR and 105 RBIs last year. A hot second half in which Ramirez shows that sort of ability may be just the thing the doctor ordered at third base for the Dodgers, and with a contract that runs through 2014, it could solve the Dodgers’ third base problems while Corey Seager develops. (Image source: http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/1303/mlb-25-best-hitters/images/aramis-ramirez-milwauakee-brewers-sm.jpg)

Aramis Ramirez is a potential hidden gem for the stretch run.  Don’t let this year’s numbers fool you, Ramirez hit .300 last year while hitting 27 homers and driving in 105 runs, and a hot second half is not out of the question.  The veteran third baseman could be on the move as the Milwaukee Brewers struggle through the season, and would be no worse than an equal to Juan Uribe offensively, while providing a defensive and power upgrade over the likes of Nick Punto and Jerry Hairston, Jr.  Ramirez also is signed through the 2014 season, giving the Dodgers a potential third base option for next year while prospect Corey Seager develops.

Robinson Cano – Second Baseman, New York Yankees (.284, 16 HR, 47 RBIs)

Robinson Cano’s having a down year in the Bronx, but still is expected to garner a lot of interest and a big money contract this off-season. Could the Dodgers attempt to acquire Cano early in an effort to win now and have an inside track on the Yankees slugger come this off-season? (Image source: http://www.ultimatesportstalk.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/robinson+cano.jpg)

Mark Ellis has been serviceable in his time in Los Angeles, but injuries have reduced Ellis into a platoon with Skip Schumaker, Nick Punto and Jerry Hairston, Jr. at second base when he’s unable to start for any reason.  Meanwhile, Robinson Cano has been widely speculated to be interested in the Dodgers if he hits the free agent market in the fall as expected, with many people speculating that the Yankees will let Cano go rather than meeting his asking price.  Gross media speculation is that Cano also has been distracted in New York by swirling contract talks.  A trade to the Dodgers, combined with the framework for a long-term contract that would turn the Bronx superstar into a Los Angeles staple, could create a stable right side of the infield with Adrian Gonzalez for years to come.  It doesn’t hurt that Cano’s 16 homers would lead the Dodgers had he played his home games in Los Angeles instead of the Bronx this year.

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