"What this does is gives us a very capable player to replace Jason Repko," said Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti. "He's a right-handed outfielder who plays all three spots. He's a baseball player. Repko's injury left us very left-handed in the outfield and less versatile."
The right-handed-hitting Clark played 138 games last year and batted .263 with four homers and 29 RBIs. His best season was 2005 when he batted .306 for Milwaukee, the 10th-best mark in the National League, while scoring 94 runs with 183 hits. Dessens was to earn $1.7 million this year, while Clark earns $3.8 million. The cash considerations are $2.1 million, equalizing the disparity in the two salaries.
"I know the Dodgers have a lot of pitchers, so this is good for me," said the 36-year-old Dessens. "I'm excited, a new team and fresh start. I want to say thank you to the Dodgers for the opportunity."
Clark helps balance an outfield corps -- including starters Luis Gonzalez, Juan Pierre and Andre Ethier -- decidedly left-handed. Marlon Anderson is listed as an outfielder, although he hasn't played an inning of outfield this spring as he rests a surgically repaired elbow.
Dodgers third-base coach Rich Donnelly, who coached Clark in Milwaukee, said the outfielder is such a hard worker he will challenge Pierre for first-to-the-park honors. Clark will join the Dodgers on Thursday for the Freeway Series with the Angels.
"I'm excited about it," said Clark. "In terms of playing time, I'm going to be better off. I want to play."
As for the impact on Loney and Bigbie, Colletti said this trade doesn't change their status, the implication being only one of them is likely to make the team. The acquisition, however, does dimish the chances of right-handed-hitting outfielder Matt Kemp to make the Opening Day roster
Bigbie, a non-roster invitee who was hitting .396 with a team-high 14 RBIs through Sunday, has a window from Thursday through Sunday to demand his release. The Dodgers do not need to set their roster until Monday.
"As of now, I'm going to L.A. [for the Freeway Series]," Bigbie said. "The situation now is nothing different than when Repko was on the team. They figured to keep a right-hander for the bench or go get one. That's baseball. It doesn't change the spring I've had. If I'm here in L.A., great; if not, I played good enough to be with somebody."