Talk about free falling. The Dodgers began the week as a team in control and ended it as a team in total disarray. The math is simple – they have been shutout five times in their last six games and have scored a whopping two runs in their last 57 innings. The last home run hit by a Dodger was eight games ago on June 22nd. The team batting average for the month of June was .212. To quote Scotty, “Captain, we’ve got no power.”
No question the Dodgers need to make a move now. Naturally, the first question is what positions need the most drastic improvement? The corners are a good place to start.
First baseman James Loney, who seems to be the subject of trade rumors more often than the Kardashians date basketball players, continues to irk fans and management with his inconsistency. After batting .288 last season, including a torrid .348 in September, Loney has fallen off to .236 with two home runs in 2012.
The Dodgers have a deal in place to obtain Astros first baseman/outfielder Carlos Lee (.285, 5 HR). Lee , 36, is in the final year of a $100 million contract which includes the right for him to veto this trade. ESPN is reporting the Dodgers will only have to part with one minor league pitcher but would be responsible for a large portion of the $8 million Lee is still owed this year. As of Sunday morning, July 1st, Lee is still mulling over his decision to become a Dodger.
Third baseman Juan Uribe (.205, 1 HR, 3 RBI) has been hampered by a sore wrist all season and is 2 for his last 26 . The wrist may make a good excuse this season but this guy is working on becoming one of the worst Dodgers free agent signings since outfielder Andruw Jones took a $38 million deal in 2008 and paid back the team with 3 HR, 14 RBI, and a .158 batting average. One third baseman who might be on the move is the Orioles Mark “The Strikeout King” Reynolds. The Orioles recently obtained Jim Thome to DH and Wilson Betemit has done a serviceable job (.275, 10 HR) at third. The knock on Reynolds, of course, has been his propensity to strike out. In 2012, he has struck out 67 times in 177 at bats. In spite of that ratio, his six home runs and 22 RBI represent a noticeable upgrade at third for the Dodgers.
Although offense is obviously the number one priority right now, the Dodgers desperately need another starting pitcher and could use a left-handed relief pitcher. Ted Lilly remains out and his replacement, Nathan Eovaldi, has been terrible as of late. In his last two starts, Eovaldi has given up 13 runs and 17 hits in 10.1 innings. Chad Billingsley , who started the season as the number #2 starter is laying a number 2. In his last three starts, Billingsley is 0-3 and has given up 13 runs and 27 hits in 17 innings. The name Ryan Dempster of the Cubs has been bantered about for months now. There are also rumors the Brewers may be shopping Zack Greinke and the Phillies are listening to offers for Cole Hamels. Both pitchers become free agents after this season.
The Dodgers have one lefty, Scott Elbert, in the bullpen. Elbert (0-1, 2.88 ERA) has been erratic this season but may be settling down a little bit. He has given up just two runs in his last 10 appearances.
On the bright side is that Matt Kemp says he will return on July 13th and Andre Ethier, who is battling a strained oblique, does not have to go on the DL and remains day to day. And another bright note can be found in going back to 1988. In September of that year, the Dodgers batted a woeful .202 as a team. They finished the year hoisting the World Series Championship trophy.