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Finding a positive Dodgers spin: At least they've inquired about Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt

May 27, 2010 |  7:35 am
Oh, ye Dodgers followers of little faith, take your encouragement wherever it can be found.

Even if a bit vague, if intentionally veiled, if mere words.

The Dodgers have inquired about the availability of Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt.
If this sounds like simple due diligence by management, at least it’s making the effort.

General Manager Ned Colletti told The Times' Bill Shaikin he believes owner Frank McCourt would be willing to add salary depending on the deal.

As unlikely as acquiring either one of those tier-one pitchers may be, if the Dodgers could somehow pull it off, it would be intelligent on a pair of significant fronts.

Those convinced the reason the Dodgers’ payroll has decreased and McCourt has nixed any major off-season acquisition is because of his pending divorce would suddenly have to re-evaluate their position. As a simple PR move, it would be brilliant.

More important, it could easily be the missing ingredient for another division title, and very possibly, the difference between another postseason appearance and advancing to the World Series.

Really, don’t the Dodgers have to consider it?

Both Lee’s Mariners and Oswalt’s Astros told the Dodgers they’re not interested in dealing their aces now, but would get back to them if things change. And things could easily change.

Lee, 31, is younger and less expensive, having only approximately $4.5 million still coming for the final half of the season. But that would likely mean the Mariners would want a better package, presumably of prospects.

Oswalt, 33, is signed through 2011 with a club option that runs his cost to $39.5 million. That’s a riskier and much costlier move.

The Dodgers, of course, are hardly the only team that would earmark Lee should he become available. Both New York clubs, the Yankees and Mets, are expected to be interested.

And if the Mariners or Astros desired prospects deemed major league-ready, the Dodgers would be at a disadvantage. Most of their top prospects are at the lower levels.

But for now, at least the Dodgers are opening the proper channels. At least they’re making inquiries into the possibility.

And compared to giving up all hope the Dodgers will ever add an ace this season, that’s modest encouragement.

-- Steve Dilbeck
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