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What could be next now that the Dodgers have added an outfielder and Roy Oswalt has moved on?

July 29, 2010 |  2:26 pm
Now what, ye lovers of Boys in Blue?

The Dodgers acquired a needed outfielder in Scott Podsednik, and if the masses have done less than cartwheels (more on that later), at this moment he is a useable piece on a team in need of several pieces.

The most needed piece all season has been an ace.

Those, of course, tend to be in short supply. The Big Three approaching Saturday’s non-waiver trading deadline -- Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, and now apparently, Roy Oswalt -- have all moved on.

There is no other known pitching stud now available. Which leaves the Dodgers trying to determine whether they will go for the next tier: Ted Lilly, Paul Maholm, Jake Westbrook.

Any of these would be an upgrade from Carlos Monasterios or John Ely. But how much of an upgrade and at what cost?

General manager Ned Colletti has a limited number of prospects and money to deal with. Lilly has nearly half his $13-million salary still coming this season and Westbrook almost half his $11-million. Both are in the last year of their deals. Maholm is at $5 million this season, with $5.75 million due next season.

Since Colletti said after the Podsednik deal that he was turning his focus to pitching, it’s safe to assume he’s seriously looking at the second tier of available pitchers.

But unless they come unexpectedly cheap -- and apparently the Indians want to be wowed with prospects -- it might be best at this point to look for bullpen help.

In Wednesday’s loss to the Padres, the only reliever who did his job was beleaguered George Sherrill. Otherwise, the Dodgers are carrying a whopping eight relievers and can count on only two of them:   Jonathan Broxton and Hong-Chih Kuo. Kenley Jansen is exciting, but far from proven.

One reliever may be sent down when Podsednik joins the team, returning the Dodgers to a more practical 12 pitchers.

But they are expected to bring Ely up Saturday, and at that point may have a more interesting decision to make. Podsednik is left-handed, as is Garrett Anderson. Xavier Paul could be sent down, but at this point the Dodgers would be better served waiving Anderson, a good guy who’s been bad at the plate. And it is almost August.

Meanwhile, picking up Podsednik has underwhelmed the blogosphere. None seem up in arms, they’re just less than excited.

-- Pauloberjuergue.com fears it was done simply so the Dodgers could claim they did something.

-- Mikesciosciastragicillness.com -- which is also opposed to adding a starting pitcher -- is wavering on the deal, though would like it more if Anderson is released.

-- ESPN/LA.com’s Jon Weisman said "this guy helps your team, but not a ton."

-- Memoriesofkevinmalone.com’s Chad Moriyama calls Podsednik a short-term upgrade, but thinks the Dodgers gave up too much.

-- Then from the other side, KingofKauffman.com’s Michael Engel is giddy with excitement over the deal.

My quick take: Look, it doesn’t figure to be the deal of the postseason, but at least for this year Podsednik figures to be very helpful. Particularly with the uncertainty surrounding the return of Manny Ramirez and Reed Johnson.

And don’t forget, Manny is gone after this season, so it’s not impossible that the Dodgers will even keep Podsednik around for the final year of his contract.

It’s not like Lucas May, 25, and Elisaul Pimentel, lower Class A, were real prospects.

-- Steve Dilbeck
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