September 01, 2009
The Dodgers aren't resting on their big lead in the NL West. They traded for two big names before Monday night's playoff roster deadline, acquiring slugger Jim Thome(notes) from the White Sox, along with right-hander Jon Garland(notes) from the D-backs.
Elsewhere in the NL West, the Rockies also raided the White Sox's 40-man roster by adding right-hander Jose Contreras(notes). Earlier on Thursday, the Giants signed a deal with right-hander Brad Penny(notes), whom the Red Sox recently cut.
Clubs still can make trades if the players involved clear waivers, and any player added to the 40-man roster before midnight ET on Tuesday is eligible for the playoffs on their new team.
"They give us a big boost," Kemp said. "We'll take anything they can help us to win games. It lets us know they want to win and they’re doing whatever it takes. I'm excited to have them."
Thome, who just turned 39, heads to L.A. as a pinch hitter still trying for his first World Series ring. Thome has 564 career homers, including 23 this season with an .874 OPS entering play Monday. The Dodgers already have a first baseman, James Loney(notes), who is batting about .260 with almost no power in the second half. Thome's fragile health won't allow him to play defense except in an emergecy. Suffering from a chronic bad back and frequently sore left heel, Thome has played 28 innings at first base since returning to the American League in 2006 — and none since '07.
Thome also struck out three times against the Twins on Monday, tying him with Sammy Sosa(notes) for second all time in career Ks. He waived a no-trade clause, and the White Sox are sending L.A. money, to make the deal happen. Manny Ramirez(notes), who came up with Thome with the Indians in the 1990s, can't wait to be reunited.
"He's one of the best guys I ever played with in my entire career," Ramirez said. "He's a great guy in the clubhouse. I’m happy to see him. He’s one of the best hitters, too. I'm just glad he’s on my team."
"In fact, the night before the deadline he called me. … He just said: 'I just want to be honest with you. I’d love to come. I want to help you guys any way I can. But playing first base is not something I’m going to be able to do — maybe in an emergency situation, perhaps.' "
Garland (8-11, 4.29 ERA) presumably would slide into L.A.'s rotation after Chad Billingsley(notes), Clayton Kershaw(notes) and Randy Wolf(notes). He might start Thursday's game. The Dodgers also recently added Vicente Padilla(notes) and knuckleballer Charlie Haeger(notes) has been pitching OK as the No. 5 starter.
The White Sox receive minor leaguers Justin Fuller from the Dodgers for Thome and Brandon Hynick from the Rockies for Contreras. As with Garland, Contreras was a key component for the White Sox in their run to a World Series championship in 2005. An All-Star in '06, Contreras has mostly struggled since. He is 5-13 with a 5.42 ERA in 21 starts this season.
Chicago lost for the eighth time in nine games Monday night as it continues to fade in the AL Central behind first-place Detroit and Minnesota.