The Dodgers have already been looking to add a starter before the July 31 Trade Deadline. Eovaldi is a great young starter who needs patience to mature as a Major League pitcher. I hadn't seen a better young Dodgers' pitcher since Clayton Kershaw came to the Major Leagues. Eovaldi never seemed overwhelmed by his surroundings. He could mature into a great Major League starter, possibly a Cy Young Award winner. I thought Eovaldi would complement Kershaw for many years, but Dodger general manager Ned Colletti had other plans.
On Friday, the Dodgers must scramble to find a starter to pitch against the San Francisco Giants, the team that the Dodgers are chasing for the NL West lead. Rumors say the Dodgers have an enormous interest in Chicago Cubs' right-hander Ryan Dempster, and he reportedly would prefer to land with the Dodgers. However, no deal has been reached.
Ted Lilly has been on the disabled list since late May. His shoulder had inflammation, but it didn't need surgery. He began a throwing program in June and he just threw a simulated game. The Dodgers hope Lilly, if he doesn't experience any setbacks, can return to the active roster in the middle of August.
Rubby De Rosa was a rookie phenomenon last year before he injured his elbow and required Tommy John surgery. Since he has been doing well in his rehabilitation program, the Dodgers hope he can return in September. However, many pitchers who have had Tommy John surgeries need a year to regain their pitching forms. Besides, recovering from the first major arm injury of his career, De Rosa is still trying to figure out how to pitch on the Major-League level. He probably shouldn't be counted on to help the Dodgers reach the playoffs.
The Dodgers shouldn't have given up young pitchers to obtain Ramirez, but they desperately needed more offensive production if they want to continue to be competitive. The Dodgers have the fewest home runs in the league. While Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier were on the disabled list, the Dodgers couldn't score enough to maintain their NL West lead, despite having the third best pitching in baseball.
The Dodgers don't have a third baseman who can hit. Ramirez, 28, is a natural shortstop who will play there until Dee Gordon returns from a dislocated thumb, but he can play third base. The former National League Rookie of the Year has offensive skills that are a major upgrade from Juan Uribe. His 14 home runs are tied with Kemp for the most on the Dodgers. Ramirez could improve his batting average, as he has both Kemp and Ethier to protect him in the lineup forcing the opposing pitchers to give him something decent to hit. Ramirez will do the same for Kemp and Ethier.
Ramirez can run and steal a base. Since Gordon injured his thumb the Dodgers have lacked speed. Kemp, returning from missing two months with a hamstring pull, hasn't attempted a stolen base. Before the acquisition of Ramirez, the Dodgers relied on linking hits together to have a scoring rally and a one-dimensional offense doesn't win a division championship. Having Ramirez in the lineup will give the Dodgers more offensive weapons.
Choate, 36, gives the Dodgers another left-handed reliever. Throughout the season the Dodgers desired another left-handed reliever to go along with Scott Elbert, a young pitcher who struggles at times. Choate has experience pitching in a pennant race, so he can provide leadership to a reasonably young bullpen.
The trade can help the Dodgers in the short term as well because Ramirez gives them the offensive player that they needed to remain competitive. However, Ramirez isn't that comfortable playing third base, so he won't help the defense, a Dodger weakness. Losing a promising young starter hurts, unless the Dodgers can find good pitching prospects soon.
Although most Dodger fans delight in getting a superstar with power, the Dodgers must keep an eye on their organizational depth in pitching. They also may have just decreased their payroll flexibility, which might cause them to pass on a player who could help them more than Ramirez. The baseball world should watch how Ramirez does with the Dodgers before it evaluates this trade.