Dodgers and the trade deadline: Opportunity versus expectations?

Nervous, are you?

Ah, relax. Have some fun. The Dodgers are willing to deal and even take on some reasonable salary for the first time in years, and you’re thinking I really do have to find a friend before the end of the world.

The quandary, as The Times’ Dylan Hernandez illustrates, is that new ownership theoretically has the team in position to make a move prior to the trading deadline, but there is precious little out there to get the heart all aflutter.

Many of the names are less than inspiring, and because of the additional wild-card team this season, fewer teams are interested in unloading salary.


Perhaps the biggest fear should be that the new ownership will feel so obligated to make a deal to prove to everyone they really aren’t Frank McCourt, that they bring on some semi-washed-up veteran at the expense of a valued prospect.

The Dodgers farm system, of course, is fairly devoid of any exciting position players, though it has its share of promising pitchers. And they’d best hang on to them, unless that player coming in is viewed as a true difference-maker this season.

The new owners never expected to be placed in this position. President Stan Kasten admitted as much to The Times’ Bill Shaikin when he looked at the team’s roster this spring and pegged them as a .500 team.

“We could not have predicted we would have the best record in baseball, much less with the loss of the best player in baseball,” Kasten said, “and the left fielder, and the third baseman, and the second baseman, and one of our starters.

“It’s just a wonderful phenomenon. I can’t give you a more scientific explanation. But we are not taking it for granted. We have now been presented with a wonderful opportunity. We will go for it.”

“Going for it” is where it gets tricky. You don’t want them going for it just for the sake of going for it.

General Manager Ned Colletti told Hernandez he would be interested in adding another starter, a bat to the lineup and a left-handed reliever. That’s a lot of ways to go.

Some of the potential hitters considered available include Carlos Lee (just off the DL), Kevin Youkilis (struggling), Carlos Quentin (playing well since coming off the DL this month following knee surgery) and Justin Morneau.

Pitchers include Ryan Dempster (placed on the DL Monday), Zack Greinke, Shawn Marcum, Bartolo Colon and interestingly enough, Brandon McCarthy of the A’s who just happens to start against the Dodgers tonight in Oakland.

The Dodgers have an unexpected opportunity this season, and they should go for it. Right now, they are understandably going the patience routine, waiting for more teams to fall out of the race prior to the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline.

Even then, though, it needs to be the right deal, not just a deal for appearances.


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