SAN FRANCISCO -- While the Dodgers continue trade talks for, among others, starting pitchers Ted Lilly of the Cubs and Paul Maholm of the Pirates, there's also the chance Saturday's Trade Deadline could come and go without a deal.
"You know what? A lot of times it's not easy to do," said manager Joe Torre, backpedalling a bit from comments earlier in the week that he believed pitching help was on the way. "Clubs have players and try to get more than they should get and I'm not talking about payroll, but player-wise. They have a player at a certain position and try to hold you up a little bit."
General manager Ned Colletti and his aides were in Los Angeles for the final hours leading to Saturday's 1 p.m. PT Deadline. The Dodgers were likely wrestling with the dilemma of giving up money and players while the team is slumping and seven games out of first place.
"I know we're still talking," said Torre. "Ned's not here for a reason. I think there's a chance we'll get something done. Sometimes you can help yourself after [the Deadline). The most important thing -- with [Roy] Oswalt and [Dan] Haren gone -- is to try to make the team better. Do we need to have a big-name guy? Not to say you wouldn't want one, but you might make yourself better with another piece."
If that's lowering expectations, maybe the Dodgers will settle for a durable middle reliever. With the Dodgers in a dreadful offensive slump, Torre even left the door open for the addition of another hitter two days after the Dodgers acquired Scott Podsednik from Kansas City.
"We've talked to a number of teams and pitching still is first, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be more than that," Torre said. "Which position? I'm not going there. A hitter."
Among the many rumors floated Friday was that the Cubs would include infielder Ryan Theriot in a Lilly trade, according to Fox Sports.
Torre said he thinks the club has the capability of adding salary to make a trade.
Lilly, 3-8 with a 3.69 ERA, is due $4 million more in salary this year, then will be a free agent. Maholm, who is 6-9 with a 4.52 ERA, is owned $2 million more from a $4.5 million salary this season, will make $5.75 million next year and has a $9.75 million club option with a $750,000 buyout for 2012.