Originally posted on Dodgers Rumors  |  Last updated 4/9/12


Everything appears to be on track for Magic and Kasten to get involved with the day-to-day operations as the sale of the Dodgers reaches completion in a few short weeks. While it still feels a bit surreal, it's happening, whether you like it or not. The general consensus seems to be that most are in favorite of the ownership change whether or not you are Magic Johnson's number one fan. Some are just happy that McCourt is out and don't really care who the owner is, and some are just glad a change is here, and then some like me, and most others are thrilled with the new group.

The team as a whole is off to a solid start, as the Dodgers wasted no time taking the first three out of four games from the Padres. I am saying it right now, as the team is today, I think they are 2012's biggest sleeper. The arrival of a new ownership group taking can only help increase the Dodgers odds of winning the NL West. Remember 2008? One big trade went down and the Dodgers came together and propelled themselves to a NL West division win, and found themselves in the NLCS for the first time since 1988.

Those I thought would start off hot right out of the gate are doing so; Kemp, Ethier, Guerra, Billingsley, Lindblom, A. J. Ellis, and even Kershaw despite having the flu. The ones we thought would trip over their own feet are doing so Harang, Capuano, Wright, and Uribe. A couple guys are surprising me just a bit, especially Juan Rivera, who is an all-out RBI machine. I like that Gordon has stolen three bases and I think he will mature as a hitter and put it all-together this season. Call me crazy but I think he is going to have an awesome year. Overall though I'm happy with what I have seen so far, but some of the concerns I had all preseason long are still so glaringly obvious. So the question remains, what will the new ownership group do to make an immediate contender out of the Dodgers this year? The Dodgers will have their hands tied until this winter just with current obligations, but that doesn't mean moves can't be made to get this team to the next level right away.

There is no doubt this offense is going to need a boost eventually and our starting rotation is just not World Series caliber yet. So let's start with the rotation, we know pitching is what wins championships, and either way you slice it I think it's the Dodgers most glaring problem. I think Ted Lilly is nearing the end and I truly think his best days are behind him. Hopefully Capuano has a solid season or things and his first start of the season isn't a sign of things to come, because if it is things could get really rough.

First of all I have never liked the idea of three out of five starters being left-handers, especially with the young phenom, Nate Eovaldi waiting on the fringe. I like Capuano and I think he is going to kill it this year as long as he can stay healthy. Harang, well I have always liked this guy and I believe he can be valuable for any rotation, especially as a back of the rotation sorta guy. Of course he got shelled yesterday by his former team in Petco Park, so a few more outings like that and he might find himself on the outside looking in. Overall just a lot of question marks once you get passed Kershaw the pitcher in baseball right now, even when he has the flu, and Billingsley who might be getting ready to put up career best numbers in 2012.

So here are some creative solutions; first and foremost I think the Dodgers need to take a look at Roy Oswalt. His talent is and always has been on the upper tier. He has struggled to stay healthy in recent years, but he could be a very valuable asset to have during the second half. Oswalt, 34, has a solid clubhouse presence, winning attitude, playoff and World Series experience, and he is a three time All-Star. Get him on a pro-rated one-year deal with an option and call it a day.

Ted Lilly, is probably going to make my head explode this season. This guy is killing me and  I never wanted him here in the first place, so can we just make him go away already? I think the Dodgers need to explore the trade market, believe it or not the guy still has some value. If we can get some fair value for him I say pull the trigger. I would much rather see Eovaldi or any other of the Dodgers young arms waiting for a chance to emerge into the starting rotation.

There are some free agent options in Javier Vazquez and Armando Galarraga are looking for a home. I like Galarraga on a flier, after all the guy is only 29 years old. There are also trade candidates that may or may not be an upgrade depending on how you look at it, Wade Davis, John Lannan, and Cole Hamels. Obviously I really only think Hamels is a legitimate upgrade at this point, but it's worth noting the options nonetheless. I don't think the Phillies will ever let Hamels walk, but should things continue to spiral out to the point of no return, you had better bet the Dodgers will be all over it. The reality of this thing is, trade price may be too ridiculous to consider, and it may be best to sit and wait for free agency arrive.

Offensively I am surprisingly pretty happy with how things are looking right now, especially if Juan Rivera and A.J. Ellis can continue to perform how they did last season and how they have done thus far. These guys are tearing it up right now, but I have my doubts that both will be able to keep it up all season. Kemp and Ethier are obviously ready to rip 2012 apart at the seams. I like what Gordon has done so far, dude has three stolen bases already, are you kidding me? So Gordon is the least of my concerns right now, and I am going to go on record projecting a .297/.324/.356, while stealing 51 bases, and scoring 86 runs.

Here's where my concern comes in and sadly outweighs all my optimism. Uribe, Loney, and Mark Ellis. Okay Ellis should get a pass because he's never really been a hitter but the fact is he's not going to hit what Colletti thought he would when he signed him, just like Uribe never will hit like Colletti thought he would, and just like Loney doesn't ever seem like he is going to breakout like Colletti keeps praying he will.

The time to trade Loney is here, oh wait it's been here, he just has Colletti hypnotized into thinking he can hit and to keep paying millions of dollars anyway. Yeah, yeah, I know he had a really strong finish last season, blah-blah, you are all still dreaming if you think Loney will ever be more than .280 hitter that hits a dozen or so homers.

Mark Ellis is a valuable guy to the Dodgers, he is just the answer to our gaping hole at second base. Long-term the outlook isn't very bright with what we have in the minor league system either. So Ellis fills the void well enough for now until the new ownership group correctly addresses this problem, which I will get to momentarily.

Then there is my most favorite Dodger ever Juan Uribe. I love him so much but I just can never find a reason to talk about him, oh yeah that's 'cause he is a complete waste of space and has no business being in our starting lineup. I remember the news of Colletti signing this guy to a multi-year deal breaking like it was yesterday. He is one of the many, very many, that I will never be able to get over and forgive Colletti's stupidity for. Move the chubby bunny to the bench and just wait for his contract to expire because this guy has no business being here. He has zero trade value and his contract is not moveable unless the Dodgers essentially eat the whole thing, in which case I would just rather have him a bench player with some occasional pop. Our bench is pretty, um, dismal I suppose is an appropriate enough word. Moving Uribe to the bench would one, keep Uribe fresh and a better chance of him playing a full season. Two, the bench has no power in which to speak of, not the Uribe is a serious power threat, but he's got some power in his bat, significantly more than the current bench options.

Not getting back to second base, I see one option and one option only at the current moment. Brandon Phillips. If the Reds do not lock this kid up in the next couple months, I expect the Dodgers to go full court press on Phillips. He's a Gold Glove winning infielder, and one of the best offensive infielders in the game right now. His career average numbers .272/.322/.433 with 88 runs, 169 hits, 20 homers, 81 RBI's, and 22 stolen bases. Impressive right? Some are speculating that after the monster deal the Reds handed over to Joey Votto the Reds no longer have the ability to hand out another monster six-year deal to Phillips. I certainly hope so because I would love to see this guy tear it up in a Dodger uniform. It's going to take some very good young pitching to land Phillips via trade, but if he hits the trade block he has got to be the top priority in my opinion.

Mark Reynolds has also been rumored to be on the trade block, so that's another notable power option. His batting average has always been a huge red flag for me, but his steady 30 plus home run seasons are something that would certainly be nice to have around. I like the idea of moving Loney for Reynolds, obviously it's going to take more than that, but nonetheless I think this trade would be a good first step in the right direction. Carlos Lee and Alfonso Soriano are also floating around on the trade block. So there are definitely some big bats that would certainly change things quickly. I don't think this is end all solution for the team offensively, but it would certainly be a huge step in that direction.

It will be interesting to see what Magic and Kasten decide to do. Will they make some moves prior to the deadline? Will they take a wait and see approach and give the current team a chance? Will they stand-pat and wait for the trade deadline to arrive before making any changes? Or will they just focus on the current team, and do nothing until the off-season where they look to make a huge splash? Thoughts anyone?
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