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The Dodgers Are Buying, But Who Is Selling?

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Post by Zack Jerome/Special to LAist

With the Friday trade deadline rapidly approaching for Major League Baseball, teams are looking at themselves in the mirror asking the perennial question: “Are we buyers or are we sellers?”

With a one-game lead on the New York Yankees for the best record in baseball to coincide with their eight-game lead over the Colorado Rockies in the NL West, the Dodgers are clearly buyers.

The Dodgers and general manager Ned Colletti have built a team well-suited for the rigors of the regular season, but if last year’s NLCS against the Cole Hamels-led Phillies taught club management something, it was that a top tier starter can wreak havoc in the postseason.

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With skepticism regarding All-Star Chad Billingsley’s playoff makeup and a weary bullpen amongst the leaders in innings pitched over the first half of the season, it’s clear the Dodgers are out to buy pitching. The question is, what teams are selling and what they are asking for?

Here’s a look at what teams the Dodgers have been talking to and what the possible deals may be:

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi has been dangling all-universe pitcher Roy Halladay for weeks. Halladay, a six-time All-Star, would improve the World Series chances of any team he gets dealt to. The Dodgers have been in talks with Toronto’s front office, but all signs point to either Halladay staying in Toronto or being dealt elsewhere. As of this morning, the Phillies were in the lead but later balked at the thought of including both Doug Drabek and J.A. Happ.

DODGER’S OUTLOOK: Essentially for the Dodgers to pull off a trade for Halladay, they would have to do on which is unlikely as both are currently in the rotation, have bright futures and are currently performing. The goal of a Halladay trade is to beef up the rotation not mix-and-match it. The other option would be to trade five or six top prospects. While the Dodgers would be open to trading future talents like SS Dee Gordon and OF Andrew Lambo, it is unlikely they could offer the most competitive package for Halladay.

BOTTOM LINE: As much as a Halladay-anchored staff would be a windfall for the Dodgers, it doesn’t seem likely unless Ricciardi gets desperate and the Phillies set their sights elsewhere.

CLEVELAND INDIANS

There have been several rumors linking the Dodgers and Indians in a trade involving All-Star pitcher Cliff Lee. The Dodgers and Indians made a successful trade last season that brought the Dodgers 3B Casey Blake (who was later resigned for three additional years) in exchange for super catching prospect Carlos Santana (not the guitarist) and reliever Jon Meloan. Cliff Lee may not be Roy Halladay, but hardly anyone else is. Lee would certainly top the Dodgers rotation, but at what price?

DODGER’S OUTLOOK: Although it is a good bellwether that the Dodgers and Indians made a deal last year (we know it is possible), the Cliff Lee asking price is probably near the Halladay asking price. Even worse, if Halladay is not dealt, the Lee asking price will go through the roof. Rumors of a Billingsley/Loney for Lee/Victor Martinez trade seem to be unfounded. Rumors of a three way trade including the Red Sox and Rays seem more likely.

BOTTOM LINE: While it is possible the Dodgers could acquire Lee, they’d still need to give up a lot from a team that is leading the major leagues in wins.

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CINCINNATI REDS

The Reds have fallen just out of contention and have plenty of arms to go around. Despite some rumors that the Reds are currently trying to land Scott Rolen from the Blue Jays to bolster their poor-hitting lineup, the odds are the Reds will jump at a chance to grab a few prospects. Bronson Arroyo, Aaron Harang and Francisco Cordero are all solid pitchers and well within the Dodgers price range.

DODGER’S OUTLOOK: While the starting pitching the Reds are looking to sell is garage sale value, their bullpen is another story. Francisco Cordero or even Arthur Rhodes would go a long way to arming the Dodger battery for the playoff assault.

BOTTOM LINE: If the Dodgers can throw one or two prospects to bolster the pen, they will.