Buy or Sell?
Every week, it seems like a new problem costs the Dodgers wins. First it was starting pitching, then the hitting, then the fielding, then the hitting again, injuries all the way through, and now it's relief pitcher Yhencey Brazoban who blew yet another game last night. As the trade deadline rapidly approaches, the Dodgers find themselves 8.5 games behind the Padres in the NL West with a pathetic 41-52 record. Paul DePodesta now has to decide if the Dodgers will become buyers or sellers over the course of the next 10 days. LAist recommends the latter.
It's not like teams haven't come back from greater deficits than 8.5 games. But we also find it hard to believe that the Padres will continue playing such shoddy baseball, and eventually will look like the division leaders they are. Everything that could possibly go wrong for the Dodgers has this season, with long-term injuries to Eric Gagne, JD Drew, Milton Bradley, Odalis Perez, Jose Valentin, etc. We may sound pessimistic, but we don't see how this team is suddenly going to hit the on-switch this year. Better wait until next year.
The Dodgers would be wise to find a taker for Jeff Weaver. There are enough teams in need of pitching who could find Weaver, in the last year of his contract, useful. Weaver may be a decent innings eater, but he can be a headcase at times, and the Dodgers don't need to get involved in an ugly and expensive contract negotiation with Scott Boras next season. It's better to free up that $9 million for someone who is more consistent.
The Dodgers might also want to consider giving up Jeff Kent. At 37, Kent is a below-average defensive second baseman. Unless they plan on moving him to first base in the near-future, his offensive value to the team will be partially negated by his diminishing range.
It's a sellers market right now because few teams are out of contention. The Dodgers could probably force teams to overpay for players like Weaver and Kent. And with the money they save on their contracts, the Dodgers could be major players in the free agent market next year. But for now, this season seems lost.