Deadline recap: Rangers win Dempster derby

The trade deadline has come and gone, and the Dodgers will have to be satisfied with a haul that includes third baseman/shortstop Hanley Ramirez, outfielder Shane Victorino and relief pitchers Randy Choate and Brandon League.

Just as notable was one player they didn’t get: Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, who went to the Texas Rangers for third base prospect Christian Villanueva and pitching prospect Kyle Hendricks.

Dempster, whose 2.25 ERA is second in the majors, would have instantly upgraded a rotation whose best right-hander is either Chad Billingsley or Aaron Harang, depending on the night. (Last night, it wasn’t Harang.) He also would have cost the Dodgers a pitching prospect they did not want to part with –Allen Webster and Zach Lee remain at Double-A Chattanooga.

Since he’s a free agent at the end of the season, the Dodgers could still go after Dempster in the winter.

The trade is another strike in the burgeoning arms race in the American League West, where the Angels stole headlines last week by obtaining Zach Greinke from Milwaukee. The Rangers also obtained Cubs catcher Geovany Soto in a separate deal last night.

It also points to August as an interesting month if the Dodgers want to obtain a starting pitcher through the waiver process.

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Shane Victorino is a Dodger.

Former Dodgers draft pick and longtime nemesis Shane Victorino is the Dodgers’ new left fielder and leadoff hitter.

The Dodgers traded right-handed reliever Josh Lindblom, minor league right-hander Ethan Martin and a player to be named later or cash considerations to the Phillies for Victorino on Monday, hours in advance on baseball’s 1 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.

“We’re excited to add an All-Star caliber player with postseason experience,” general manager Ned Colletti said in a statement. “He plays the game with passion, gives us a top of the order bat from both sides of the plate, can steal bases and is solid defensively in the outfield.”

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What to expect from Brandon League with the Dodgers.

Brandon League has had an interesting 2012 season. He began as the Seattle Mariners’ incumbent closer, coming off an All-Star season in which he recorded a career-high 37 saves.

The right-hander converted his first five save opportunities out of the Seattle ‘pen this year, then blew four of his next eight chances and lost the job in May to a rotating committee that finally settled on Tom Wilhelmsen. From then on League pitched the seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th innings for the Mariners, including a couple save situations (he went 0-for-2).

That’s why League’s numbers weren’t eye-popping when the Dodgers announced they acquired him Monday night for Single-A outfielder Leon Landry and Double-A pitcher Logan Bawcom. League has an 0-5 record, a 3.63 earned-run average, nine saves in 46 games and 27 strikeouts in 44.2 innings –a 5.4 strikeouts/9 innings ratio.

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Dodgers acquire Hanley Ramirez from Marlins.

The Dodgers have acquired infielder Hanley Ramirez and left-handed reliever Randy Choate from the Miami Marlins for pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and minor-league pitcher Scott McGough.

Ramirez, 28, was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2006, when he hit .292/.353/.480 (BA/OBP/SLG) with 17 homers and 59 RBIs. He hit a career-high 33 home runs in 2008 and won a batting title the next season, hitting a career-high .342.

Between injuries and poor play, however, Ramirez wore out his welcome in Miami. In 2011 Ramirez missed the final two months of the season with a shoulder injury; he also missed two weeks in June with a lower back strain. His stats suffered too: a .243 average, .333 on-base percentage, .379 slugging percentage, 10 home runs and 45 RBIs were all career lows. Ramirez’s stolen bases have also plummeted from 51 in 2006, to 20 in 2011, and 14 this year.

But he gives an immediate boost of power to a Dodgers team that ranks last in the majors in home runs (60). Ramirez’s 14 home runs and 47 RBIs both ranked second on the Marlins; only Matt Kemp has hit as many home runs and only Andre Ethier has more RBIs among the Dodgers. Ramirez is batting .246 this season, mostly out of the second or third spot in the order.

A shortstop in his first six major-league seasons, Ramirez switched to third base this season after the Marlins signed veteran shortstop Jose Reyes last winter. Ramirez’s eight errors are the ninth-fewest among everyday major-league third basemen.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, quoting Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, wrote on his Twitter account: “It’s no secret I love the kid. He needs to have a fresh beginning, a new beginning. This is a very painful moment for me. But we had to do something.”

Earlier Tuesday, USA Today reported that both the owner and Miami manager Ozzie Guillen wanted Ramirez traded.

Choate, 36, joins his fifth team in a 12-year major league career. He is tied for 19th in the National League in appearances (44) and has held left-handed hitters to a .150 batting average this season while not allowing a home run.
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Looking forward with Ned Colletti.

It’s been true for some time that the Dodgers are in the market for a starting pitcher, a left-handed reliever, and a corner infielder. Scratch Carlos Lee’s name off the list of available players, though general manager Ned Colletti doesn’t necessarily believe that Lee’s trade to the Miami Marlins last week is a sure sign the market is heating up.

“For the sellers, there’s never a sense of urgency until you get to the 31st,” Colletti said, referring to the August 31 trade deadline. “The seller’s risk is injury. They can wait it out right until the bell.”

Injuries? The Dodgers have plenty of those.
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Todd Coffey is done for the season, but his humor is sharp.

The Dodgers may end up missing Todd Coffey quite a bit this season, but the local reporters may miss him more. His season-ending interview Tuesday –an MRI on Coffey’s right elbow revealed a partial tear, an injury that will require Tommy John surgery –contained unexpected dashes of the wit and wisdom that make the right-handed pitcher unique.

It was a strange injury because Coffey did not feel the tear take place during his last outing Monday against Cincinnati. Asked if he had any idea how he sustained the injury, he deadpanned: “I would say pitching.”
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