“If there’s somebody out there in the next week or so, we’ll take a shot at it, as always,” general manager Ned Colletti told reporters at a press conference announcing today’s trade for Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto.
Perhaps the biggest x-factor is injuries.
Colletti said that he was motivated to acquire Punto after Jerry Hairston Jr. was sidelined for the rest of the season due to a hip labrum injury that will require surgery. Chad Billingsley‘s second bout with elbow inflammation underscored the need to acquire another starting pitcher in Beckett. Dee Gordon, Matt Guerrier and Ted Lilly are all currently out on rehab assignments, but there’s no guarantee that any of them will be back healthy before the end of the season.
For now, though, the Dodgers’ primary holes appear to be filled. Their active roster includes eight bona fide starts. The least established of these is third baseman/shortstop Luis Cruz, and he is leading the Dodgers with a .362 August batting average, 10th in the National League.
The bullpen currently consists of two lefties (Randy Choate and Scott Elbert) and five righties (including closer Kenley Jansen). It will gain another arm unless the Dodgers end up turning to a suddenly fashionable six-man rotation –with Josh Beckett joining Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang and Joe Blanton. Billingsley is expected to go on the 15-day disabled list today to make room for Beckett on the active roster.
Just as likely, any moves between now and the end of the season would keep the long-term picture in mind.
“When you look at free agent classes that may be coming out as time goes on … there’s a scarcity in certain positions,” Colletti said. “When you have an opportunity to fill that need, you’re going to have to do it. If you let that go by, you’re going to have a tougher time trying to fill that down the road.”