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.
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.”
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.