Ned Colletti looked to be done after acquiring Scott Podsednik, Ryan Theriot, and Ted Lilly, but with minutes to go before the deadline bell rang, the Dodgers GM pulled off a deal that will send Pittsburgh closer Octavio Dotel to Los Angeles for RHP James McDonald and OF Andrew Lambo. The Dodgers will reportedly receive cash from the Pirates as well, as Dotel has $3.5 million left on his contract.
Dotel will certainly help the Dodgers bullpen, but as was discussed in the Lilly deal, the question is how much. He has a 3.84 FIP/4.06 xFIP/3.50 tERA on the season, pretty much right around where he was in 2009. ZiPS thinks he’ll have a 3.50 FIP for the rest of the season (as well as a 3.86 ERA). He’s a solid upgrade to the bullpen, but I’m still not sold that this is what puts the Dodgers over the top. There’s a lot of baseball left to play and they’re pretty far back (seven back of San Diego, four and a half back of San Francisco), having to climb over two good teams.
What did they give up? Well, too much. McDonald is still a young, live arm who has had MLB success and is doing very well in Triple-A this season. Meanwhile Andrew Lambo was rated as the Dodgers #3 prospect this off-season by our own Marc Hulet. He currently is hitting .271/.325/.420 as a twenty-one year old in Double-A, and is highly regarded among prospect enthusiasts.
The Dodgers bullpen has had some serious struggles, and it doesn’t look like Jeff Weaver or any of the other guys recently used by manager Joe Torre were going to become saviors any time soon. However, the question isn’t whether or not Dotel upgrades the pen (he definitely does). It is still whether or not these deals will be the tipping point in LA’s hopes of making the playoffs. If they are not, then Ned Colletti just paid a whole lot in cash and prospects for marginal help than won’t have any real impact.
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