Trading deadline talk can be complicated because almost everyone is theoretically on the table but only a fraction of the players rumored to be in trade discussions actually get moved. Speculation abounds before the deadline but few deals actually make a difference for a team. The Dodgers have plenty of needs but they don't have a large farm system but have some talent on the big-league roster yet moving any of these young big league players would be unpopular and even if one of these players were to be moved, there really isn't any replacements in line for the Dodgers. The closest the Dodgers come to having big league trade bait with replacements are Jamey Carroll and John Ely. They could be traded but it won't be for a difference-maker.
So if the Dodgers do get a player, they will be giving up a player in the starting lineup or what little is left of their farm system. Instead of speculating about everyone that is rumored to be out there, I will give my opinion of what the Dodgers need and how they should get it. Before I do that, however, I will say that the Dodgers do not need to trade anyone other than Jamey Carroll for a relief pitcher. Do not play the relief game as relief pitching is damn near unpredictable. It's just a crapshoot and from what I have seen from deals in the past and what I hear the going rate is for a lot of the bums being pedaled now, don't go after it. The Dodgers have Broxton, Kuo and Kenley Jansen might be added to the list of reliable relievers. As I have said before, solve the problem in-house.
The Dodgers could use a top starting pitcher. What team couldn't? Not just any starting pitcher but one with the potential to start Game 1 of a playoff series. They don't need one but there is no reason to trade for a SP if he is going to be #4 in the rotation. Roy Oswalt is available but it may come at a price. The Dodgers should only do the deal if the Astros pick up some of the money for next year and the possible option. The Dodgers may not have enough prospects to make it happen but if they cobble together the best deal and only have to pay half of the $40 million remaining on the deal, that could be a good investment. He's remained healthy, he still strikes guys out and he would stand to do even better than what he has done this year in Dodger Stadium. I don't think they have enough to get him but he would make the Dodgers a contender.
I've heard Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, Fausto Carmona, Paul Maholm, Kevin Millwood, Jake Westbrook in discussions and you can keep them all. Forget them because they won't do the Dodgers any good. Maybe one of these guys gets hot and has a good couple of months but, if you will remember last year, the Dodgers got Vicente Padilla and he did well in one game against St. Louis. What happened after that? That doesn't negate the possibility that one of these guys can win more than one playoff game but the pitchers who are traded and do make a difference are guys like Cliff Lee, Dan Haren and Roy Oswalt can be added to that list. If a guy can warrant a start over Clayton Kershaw, we have a discussion but just "an arm" is not the answer.
The Dodgers have Manny Ramirez coming back but he seems to have been in shaky condition all year. He doesn't have the legs to play the baseball the Dodgers need him to down the stretch. The Dodgers could use a player that can play right field and hit at an average Major League level. The player doesn't have to be able to play right field but it would be ideal. I like the idea of B.J. Upton, Luke Scott or Cody Ross - a player of that caliber. I like Xavier Paul but I like having him on the bench. I like Reed Johnson on the bench too and Garret Anderson has no place on a playoff bench. If Manny stays healthy, the outfielder traded for can PH and be a defensive replacement but I believe we are at the point where we need Manny insurance and we need to have another bat of that quality in order to win 11 games in the playoffs.
With the Dodgers having the day off, what else is there to talk about but the deadline? I have only three demands: don't go for a reliever, get a starting pitcher that is a true playoff starter and get a starting outfielder for Manny insurance. If the Dodgers don't get anyone and they don't give anyone up, that wouldn't be a bad move. If they do go and get someone, it had better count. The most glaring area of the Dodgers right now is the depleted farm system. A healthy farm system allows for talent injection and the ability to acquire tools that a team hasn't been able to develop themselves. The Dodgers had that for a little while but everyone has arrived and there is no one else left to entice another team to give up a player that the Dodgers can win with.