The Dodgers made two dramatic trades Monday night to bolster their postseason chances, acquiring slugger Jim Thome from the Chicago White Sox and starting pitcher Jon Garland from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The acquisitions came just before the 9 p.m. PDT trade deadline, so both players are eligible to be on the Dodgers’ postseason roster if the team makes the playoffs.
As Garland sat in the Diamondbacks’ dugout at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers announced the deals not long before Arizona beat the Dodgers, 5-3, with two runs in the 10th inning, denying Dodgers starter Randy Wolf his 100th victory.
Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said Thome and Garland, who both have playoff experience, were acquired for players to be named. The Dodgers had been eyeing Garland for some time, but the Thome deal came together at the last minute Monday morning, Colletti said.
“We’ve been trying to add a starting pitcher for a while,” Colletti said. The GM called Thome “a great leader, a guy with tremendous power to come off the bench.
“We’re not bringing him over here to play first base,” Colletti said. “We’re bringing him over here to come off the bench and be a great influence in the clubhouse.”
Thome, 39, has 564 home runs, 12th on the all-time list. He spent much of his career with the Cleveland Indians before moving to the Philadelphia Phillies and then the White Sox in 2006. He has 23 home runs and 74 runs batted in this season.
Dodgers Manager Joe Torre, who was told about the trades in the eighth inning, said of Thome, “Jimmy is a 500-home run guy who certainly knows how to play under pressure.”
As for when Garland might join the Dodgers’ rotation, Torre noted that the right-hander “was due to pitch against us Thursday, and chances are he may pitch Thursday for us, but this thing happened so late and so quickly we haven’t really made that determination.”
Colletti declined to elaborate on the trades’ terms but acknowledged that “we are taking on additional payroll” with the two new players.
The Associated Press reported that the White Sox would get infielder Justin Fuller and cash considerations. Thome is owed $2,415,301 from his $13-million salary, and is eligible to become a free agent after the World Series.
Garland is due $1,161,202 from his $6.25-million salary, and his contract includes a $10-million mutual option, according to the AP.
He gets a $2.5-million buyout if the team declines and $1 million if he declines.
Garland, who was signed as a free agent by the Diamondbacks in the off-season, was 8-11 with a 4.29 earned-run average in 27 starts for Arizona this year.
A Valencia native who turns 30 on Sept. 30, Garland graduated from Kennedy High in Granada Hills. The 6-foot-6 Garland spent most of his career with the White Sox after he reached the major leagues in 2000, then was 14-8 for the Angels last year before moving to Arizona.
After the game, Garland strolled into the Dodgers’ clubhouse. Asked how it felt to join the team, Garland said, “This time during the season it’s a little weird.
“So close to the deadline, didn’t think anything was going to happen,” he said. “But for me, born and raised in L.A., the chance to come back and play for the Dodgers and be right in the thick of the pennant race, it’s pretty exciting.”
Garland, who was with the White Sox when they won the World Series in 2005, said he was ready to help the Dodgers.
“I’ve been in the playoffs, I know what it feels like to win in the playoffs,” he said. But he added, “These guys have worked hard to get where they are this year . . . so hopefully they accept me well.”
Several of the Dodgers said they were thrilled with their new teammates.
Manny Ramirez, who played with Thome at Cleveland, said Thome was “one of the best hitters in both leagues, and also one of the best teammates I ever played with, so I can’t wait to see him.”
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)
GARLAND THIS SEASON
*--* IP W-L ERA K BB 167.2 8-11 4.29 83 52 *--*
THOME THIS SEASON
Chicago White Sox
*--* AB H RBI HR AVG 345 86 74 23 249 *--*