After a slow start, the Dodgers are now 3½ games behind the Diamondbacks in the NL West, and a distant 7½ games out of a wild card spot. They're likely going to have to win the NL West if they want a playoff spot, but this ownership has shown that it'll spend anything to get players, so they'll be interesting at the deadline.
Needs (likelihood to deal for position in italics)
Starting Pitching-High: The Dodgers' rotation has been devastated by injuries, with both Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett out for the year. That being said, Stephen Fife has filled in well, leaving Chris Capuano as the weak link in the rotation. They really don't have to make a move here, but there's quite a bit of speculation that they'll certainly upgrade, thus the "high" likelihood.
Bullpen-High: The Dodgers are towards the bottom of the majors in bullpen ERA and Carlos Marmol is not the answer. They need to bring in at least one other guy to right the ship in their pen.
Closer-High: Brandon League has been a disaster and newly appointed Kenley (yes, Kenley) Jansen hasn't performed well either in the closer's role. They could really use a proven closer.
Second Base-High: What do Mark Ellis, Skip Schumaker and Nick Punto have in common? That's correct, none of them is very good. They need a quality second baseman here to rise above this trinity of bad.
Third Base-Medium: Juan Uribe has been getting most of the time for the Dodgers at third base. So, obviously, they have a problem at third base. Once Uribe remembers that he stinks, they'll need someone to come in and replace him.
Fits on the Cub Roster
The Dodgers seem to want to go fairly big with their starting pitching acquisition, expressing interest in both Ricky Nolasco and our guy Matt Garza. If they find that price too high, they could go for a cheaper option in Carlos Villanueva to plug in their fifth-starter spot and/or swingman role. Kevin Gregg sounds like a good fit here... until you realize that the Dodgers actually cut Kevin Gregg earlier this year. Would they really want to go through the embarrassment of now trading something to get him? James Russell and Pedro Strop are two other options if they're looking for pen help. Luis Valbuena and Cody Ransom seem like interesting fits here because each can play both second and third base. The Dodgers already have a good-glove, no-offense second baseman in Mark Ellis, so Darwin Barney doesn't make too much sense here.
What's in it for the Cubs?
Ranked the 21st- and 19th-best organization for talent by Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America, respectively, this farm system has taken a hit with the graduation of Yasiel Puig and Hyun-Jin Ryu, but has had a couple of guys emerge. One of those is last year's first round pick Corey Seager, who is a big bat shortstop that projects more as a third baseman. Seager did well in rookie ball last year and is doing well in low-A this year (.854 OPS) and should be able to make good contact and hit for power. The other riser in this system is 16-year-old (!) left handed pitcher Julio Urias, who is putting up a great ERA in Low-A (2.78 ERA) while striking out over a batter an inning. Ross Stripling is a guy that has seen an uptick in his velocity since turning pro and it's done wonders for his performance. He's dominated Double-A this year, putting up a 2.29 ERA while striking out 8.7/9 and walking almost no one.
Zach Lee is probably the most familiar name in this system, as he was mentioned last year during the Ryan Dempster trade talks. At 21, Lee is starting to put up the numbers in Double-A that match his stuff, showing a 2.95 ERA. The issue with Lee is underwhelming stuff that projects him more as a mid-rotation guy than an ace. One guy in the Dodgers system that seems to have mixed reviews is Joc Pederson, although I'm not really sure why. "Grinder" is a label that gets thrown on Pederson a lot, but his stats show a guy that walks, hits for power and for average (.910 OPS at Double-A this year as a 21-year-old). It's unclear if he can stay at center field or not.
Chris Reed is a former college closer turned starter who has a good fastball and slider, but a questionable changeup that could relegate him to the bullpen. He's performed well at Double-A with a 3.51 ERA, although his strike out rate is a bit low (6.34 K/9). Matt Magill is a guy with mid-rotation potential that can't seem to find the plate this year, racking up extremely high walk rates between Triple-A and the majors. The Dodgers have a cadre of prospects that project to be solid relievers in Onelki Garcia, Chris Withrow and Yimi Garcia.
Who says no?
Matt Garza for Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling
Matt Garza for Zach Lee and Chris Reed
Carlos Villanueva for Jesmuel Valentin and Yimi Garcia
From Sickels on Valentin: "Hit just .211 in rookie ball, but with excellent plate discipline, shows power potential, and has major league bloodlines being the son of Jose Valentin."
Kevin Gregg for Angel Sanchez
From MLB.com on Sanchez: "He has a live arm with a free and easy delivery that fires fastballs that can touch 95 mph with some good running movement. His secondary stuff is more inconsistent, though he's shown glimpse of a strong, tilting slider and an effective changeup. The ball jumps out of his hand and if he can learn to command the ball within the strike zone more effectively, he should be able to get back on track."
Luis Valbuena for Rob Rasmussen: "Acquired from Astros for John Ely. I like him better than the stats say I should, feeling that his stuff moves well and that even a minor command enhancement could make him a workable fourth starter. Could also slot in bullpen."
Overall Fit- High
This team seems like a fit for all the pieces the Cubs have, with the exception of outfielders. This ownership has shown a willingness to act desperately, so hopefully the Cubs can take advantage of that.
Next Up: San Francisco Giants