Saturday, July 31, 2010

Dodgers acquire Lilly and Dotel

In a baffiling, yet unsurprising move, the Dodgers have acquired LHP Ted Lilly and INF Ryan Theriot from the Chicago Cubs for INF Blake DeWitt, RHPs Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit. The Cubs are picking up $2.5 million of the remaining $4 million of Lilly's contract.

We all knew it was coming and there's ample reason to be upset.

First of all, Lilly, while a solid starter, is not a difference-maker. I've been saying for a while the Dodgers should just stand pat. Apparently Ned Collettii & Co. think Lilly is going to be the guy who helps the Dodgers make up a 4.5-game deficit in the wild card and 7-game deficit in the NL West.

Lilly's velocity is down (86.1 MPH average on his fastball -- sixth-lowest in the majors), but is still posting a 3.69 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, despite a slightly increased BB/9 ratio (1.8 in 2009, 2.2 in 2010) and a decrease in K/9 (7.7 in '09 to 6.8 in '10) and BB/K (4.19 in '09 to 3.07 in '10) ratios.

Theriot is a utility infielder with a decent .284 batting average. And that's about it. He has a 69 OPS+ (league-average is 100) and a negative Wins Above Replacement rate of -0.8. He adds absolutely nothing and does nothing better than the guy he was traded for -- Blake DeWitt.

As if trading DeWitt for Theriot wasn't bad enough, the Dodgers also traded a solid RHP pitching prospect in Wallach. He is the son of former Dodger and current Dodger Triple-A manager Tim Wallach. I had Brett rated in my mideseason top 20 after having him rated No. 26 after last season. A 2009 third-round pick, Wallach was 6-0 with a 3.72 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in Low-A as a 21-year-old (22 in December). He had a ceiling of a No. 3 starter, or basically what Lilly is right now. He was making a strong push for my top 15, but the Dodgers felt the need to trade him for another middle-of-the-rotation starter.

Smit is enjoying his first bit of success in the minors this season, with a 2.35 ERA between High-A and Double-A (three innings in Double-A). He's 22 and is likely slated for middle relief, if he makes it to the show.

Grading the trade: D
- This is precisely the type of move I did not want the Dodgers to make -- nor did they need to make it. Lilly is a minimal upgrade to the rotation and will not help this team reach the playoffs. And despite being a Type-A free agent after the season, the Dodgers, based on their recent history, are not likely to offer him arbitration, which means no draft pick compensation. The DeWitt-for-Theriot swap makes zero sense and losing Wallach in this trade is not good.

The Dodgers also traded RHP James McDonald and OF/1B Andew Lambo to the Pittsburgh Pirates for RHP Octavio Dotel and $500,000.

WHAT?! Are you freaking kidding me?

I'm sorry, but this trade makes no sense. The Lilly/Theriot acquisitions made more sense than this.

Kenley Jansen was the bullpen arm the Dodgers needed -- and they didn't have to give up any prospects to get him.

Colletti has done it again. McDonald has had his ups-and-downs with the Dodgers, but he has been really solid out of the bullpen. Lambo was the Dodgers' No. 1 prospect at the beginning of 2009. While he dropped in the rankings (was No. 6 at the end of last season and No. 11 earlier this month in my rankings), he still has potential and was one of the best pure hitters in the Dodgers' system.

Dotel strikes out a lot of hitters (10.8 per 9 innings), but he has a 4.28 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and 3.8 BB/9 (which is actually down from 5.2 in '09). He's a decent reliever, but definitely not worth McDonald and Lambo.

Grading the trade: F
- This trade is atrocious. Dotel is a mediocre reliever who got a premium return in trade. Hell, the Dodgers gave up more for Dotel than they did for Lilly! This is just frustrating. But hey, they got another proven veteran to come out of the bullpen, right? He's going to help the Dodgers make the playoffs. ARGH!

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