Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ted Lilly and Further Oswalt and Outfielder discussion

I would be alright with the Dodgers getting Ted Lilly if the price isn't right for Roy Oswalt. Lilly would come much cheaper and the team would not be committed to Lilly after the season. I will stand by my hope that the Dodgers only acquire a pitcher that can start in Game 1 or 2 of a playoff series. I think Ted Lilly still has that ability and, if the price is right, he should be acquired.

I am usually wary of guys of Roy Oswalt's age but I think he significantly strengthens the Dodgers ability to win playoff games and the ability to get to those playoff games. The Dodgers starting pitching staff, although not as good as last year's pitching staff, has been carrying the Dodgers of late. While the staff is a strength, the Dodgers have, after Kershaw, three righties that are around the same caliber of pitcher. The Dodgers can get by with what they have but can they win without two solid pitchers in the playoffs? Any one of the righties could prove it to Joe Torre that he can take the ball in Game 2 but I would rather have an ace-like starter in place so the rest of the staff is vying to start Game 3, not Game 2. 

The Dodgers' greater need is for another bat. As I said previously, Manny may be healthy but the Dodgers aren't at a point where they can rely on him and it's in their best interest to have insurance for him and maybe even address the Andre Ethier fielding issue. Luke Scott or Cody Ross gives the Dodgers another option besides Reed Johnson or Xavier Paul. Having Reed Johnson on a playoff roster isn't a bad thing but he isn't the answer if Manny has to take days off down the stretch. The Dodgers should want more than that. While I like Xavier Paul, he remains in less favor than Garret Anderson because veterans are able to deflect minor league demotions, etc. 

Despite the Dodgers seemingly needing an outfielder more than they need a starting pitcher, getting Roy Oswalt does the team the most good. Pitching of Oswalt's and Lilly's caliber goes pretty far but a team can only do so much. Trading deadlines are convoluted webs of rumors and hypotheticals but what you can take away from this is that the Dodgers need an OF bat but I think that Roy Oswalt or Ted Lilly makes the Dodgers a better team as well. I am especially in Roy Oswalt's camp. That kind of deal would not be like getting Casey Blake or George Sherrill. It's like getting Manny Ramirez but in a more expensive fashion with a longer commitment. It does give the Dodgers near what Cliff Lee gave the Phillies last year. 

No offense to Cliff Lee by that but the Dodgers are better off starting Oswalt and Kershaw than they were starting Wolf and Kershaw or Kershaw and Padilla in Games 1 & 2 or would be in starting Kershaw and whoever. Fangraphs shows that Oswalt's fastball is still at an average velocity of 93mph which is virtually where it was in 2005. It's not as effective as it is at 7 RAA at the 2/3rds mark but his curveball is better than it's been since 2004 and his slider is better (aside from 2008) than it's been since 2006. He is missing more bats than he has since 2004 with a contact % of 79.3%. He isn't the pitcher he was in 2004 but he is a reasonable, aged version of the pitcher he was in 2004 and, if the price is right, I wouldn't shudder at the prospect of getting him. 

I would be happy if BJ Upton, Luke Scott or Cody Ross became a Dodger but Roy Oswalt, even if he would only add 2 wins would make this team a better playoff team...if they get there, At some level, I would be alright if the Dodgers did nothing but I would hate to see the Phillies arm themselves and make a good run with another ace-level pitcher and storm past the Dodgers to get to the World Series if the Dodgers were able to do the same. Trading deadline activity is best watched from afar, Even writing about it makes idiots of us all. August 1st can't come soon enough.

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