Pierre Trade Was First Big Move by L.A.
John Ely
John Ely

Posted Dec 20, 2009


For a team that has been as quiet as any this offseason, moves to trade Juan Pierre and add Jamey Carroll on back-to-back days qualified as huge news. The Pierre deal with the Chicago White Sox on Dec. 15 knocked a few things off the Dodgers' winter checklist.

Pierre Trade Was First Big Move by L.A. No. 1, the Dodgers were able to grant Pierre the trade he requested a year ago. And by shedding some of the $18.5 million still owed to Pierre over the next two seasons, they created a little financial wiggle room.

On top of that, the Dodgers added two prospects to the fold, one of whom is reported to be right-hander John Ely, 23, who cruised through Class AA Birmingham in 2009 with a 14-2 record and a 2.82 ERA.

Ely will get a shot at what are now two vacant spots in the rotation, but his realistic major league arrival date would be 2011.

The White Sox will pick up $8 million of what is owed to Pierre, but with that spread out over two years, it still doesn't give all that much operating room to a Dodgers club that wants to keep its salary at the same $100 million mark it was at last season.

Some of that freed-up cash was used Dec. 16 to acquire Carroll on a two-year, $3.85 million deal. The right-handed-hitting Carroll is expected to split time with the left-handed-hitting Blake DeWitt at second base.

NOTES, QUOTES
--RHP Luis Ayala was signed by the Dodgers to a minor league deal and was given an invitation to big-league camp at spring training. Ayala was a combined 1-5 with a 5.62 ERA for the Twins and Marlins in 2009 but was cut loose by both teams during the season.

--RHP Josh Towers was added to the list of candidates vying for a spot in the 2010 rotation. Towers, 32, agreed to a minor league deal with the Dodgers, and he will be invited to big-league camp at spring training. He is 45-55 with a 4.95 ERA over eight big-league seasons with the Orioles, Blue Jays and Yankees.

--INF Doug Mientkiewicz has a chance to make the Dodgers' opening-day roster for a second consecutive season after he agreed to a minor league deal Dec. 17. The 34-year-old veteran was a surprise roster addition out of spring training in 2009, but a bench role would appear to be his to lose this year. He is currently the Dodgers' best option as a backup first baseman. Mientkiewicz missed most of last season with a separated shoulder.

--SS Angel Berroa is returning to the last team that gave him significant playing time, as he signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers. Berroa last played with the Dodgers in 2008, seeing 84 games of action when Rafael Furcal missed most of the season with a back injury. Berroa will compete with Chin-Lung Hu for the backup shortstop role. Berroa played 21 games with the Yankees and 14 games with the Mets in 2009.

--LHP Juan Perez, RHP Francisco Felix and 1B John Lindsey signed minor league deals with the Dodgers. All three were invited to the team's big-league spring camp.

--CF Matt Kemp led a list of nine Dodgers who were offered salary arbitration by the club. Kemp had 34 steals, 101 RBIs and won a Gold Glove in 2009. Others offered arbitration: Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton, Andre Ethier, Hong-Chih Kuo, James Loney, Russell Martin, Jason Repko and George Sherrill.

--The Dodgers exploring a possible trade with the Cincinnati Reds for pitcher Aaron Harang. A 31-year-old right-hander, Harang finished fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting in 2007 and tied for the league lead in wins in 2006 with 16. But Harang has won only six games over the last two seasons, losing a total of 31 games over that span. Harang was 6-14 with a 4.21 earned-run average this year in a season that was cut short by an emergency appendectomy he underwent in August. The Dodgers would want the Reds to pay for a portion of the $15 million Harang would be guaranteed if he is traded. Harang is owed $12.5 million in 2010 and has a $12.75-million club option for 2011 with a $2-million buyout. If Harang is traded, the option would become a mutual option worth $14 million and the price of the buyout would increase to $2.5 million. And that is where the deal fell apart. Los Angeles wanted the Reds to eat a goodly share of his salary and Cincinnati said "no."

--Blake DeWitt, who will battle for the second base job with Jamey Carroll, this week, threw a veteran obstacle in his path for the second consecutive season when it looked like he had inherited a starting job at second base said he welcomes Carroll. "My approach is not going to change," said DeWitt. "I'm going to work hard, improve as much as possible and get to Spring Training ready to win a job and help this team win. A couple of years ago I might have felt different. But I've learned a lot, I've grown up a lot since 2008. I realize some things you can control and some things you can't. Nothing is given to you in this game. You've got to go out and earn it."

BY THE NUMBERS: .318
-- The batting average of the recently traded Juan Pierre while filling in as the left fielder during Manny Ramirez's 50-game suspension May 7-July 1. By comparison, Ramirez batted .267 (44-for-165) over his final 50 games of the season.


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