Dodgers examining pitching options

Dodgers examining pitching options

LOS ANGELES -- With just about two weeks remaining before the July 31 Trade Deadline, numerous teams around the league are gauging their current lineups and assessing their farm systems to see what holes need addressing and how far they're willing to go to add a piece for a postseason run.

For the Dodgers, that means taking a good, long look at their pitching staff.

As presently constructed, the group has helped lead the Dodgers to the best record in baseball and a seven-game lead on the Giants in the National League West. But the Dodgers have hinted that they'd like to add either a starter or a setup reliever to make sure they have the arms required for a deep postseason run once the calendar turns to October.

"To me, pitching is such a huge part of the game," manager Joe Torre said before Thursday's game against the Houston Astros. "Our goal is to get to postseason. ... And just from my experience from my Yankee years, the only way you can go out there and expect to get deep into it is to have those pitchers you can send to the mound."

The key for the Dodgers, as Torre said, is not to just add a pitcher for posterity's sake. In order for a deal to be worthwhile, the club needs to add quality.

"A pitcher that could make us a little scarier for other teams, that certainly would help," Torre said.

Judging by that description, it seems that a move for a starter could be a likely choice for the Dodgers. The two biggest names being floated around are both starters, Blue Jays right-hander Roy Halladay and Indians lefty Cliff Lee.

Halladay would be the most scintillating option, and the excitement around a trade for him would create a buzz rivaling the one that accompanied Manny Ramirez when he arrived in Los Angeles last year.

Of course, Halladay would command a hefty price. In addition to multiple prospects, the Dodgers probably would have to throw in one of their top young players (possibly Clayton Kershaw) to headline the package.

Then there's the enormous cost in keeping him long term. Halladay will make $14.25 million in 2009, and his contract expires after 2010.

Torre didn't mention any names when discussing potential moves, but he did say that a team has to consider the cost in acquiring a player.

"If we're looking at a pitcher, you certainly have to make sure that you're not creating more holes than you plug," Torre said. "That's certainly something you have to look at seriously. See if the plusses outweigh the minuses."

David Ely is an associate reporter with MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.