Los Angeles Dodgers: Why Trade Deadline Moves Will Win Them the NL West

Brandon Wheeland@BrandonWheelandCorrespondent IIJuly 26, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 25: Hanley Ramirez #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a triple against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on July 25, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The MLB trade deadline: where the bad get worse and the good get better.

Count me in the camp of the Los Angeles Dodgers getting much, much better. And they aren't done.

GM Ned Colletti of the Dodgers executed a trade that brought in infielder and 2009 batting champion Hanley Ramirez as well as LHP Randy Choate from the Marlins, for Nate Eovaldi and minor league right-hander Scott McGough.

Obviously, the man to discuss is 3B/SS Hanley Ramirez, who led the big leagues at shortstop with 124 home runs and a .521 slugging percentage from 2006-2010.

Moving to third base last year to make room for free-agent Jose Reyes, Ramirez has since struggled. He was batting .246 for the Marlins this year in their brand new ballpark, and because of that became a victim of their fire sale this month.

The Dodgers acquired a huge talent, however—a talent which will certainly not disappoint.

Like the Kevin Youkilis deal to the AL Central White Sox, Hanley Ramirez is a perfect candidate for a player who will benefit greatly from a change of scenery.

When looking back to the 2009 season when Ramirez hit .342, there is an obvious change in his batting stance.

Ramirez had a wide-open stance which only closed moments before he crushed a pitch the other way. He was able to get around on the baseball which was key to his high productivity, leading many to believe Miami would never get rid of him.

This year, Hanley has closed his stance off completely, yet still loads up and steps in with his front leg. Because of this, his power is diminishing as well as his ability to get around on an inside pitch. The Dodgers will correct this, and Hanley will see an improvement at the plate as his season goes on with a team in contention.

While it has been suggested that when comfortable Hanley Ramirez will move back to shortstop, I could see where staying at third base the entire year could benefit the club.

Ramirez, even in a down year, is still a significant upgrade over former starting third baseman Juan Uribe. With the speedy Dee Gordon coming back soon from injury to play at shortstop, I like the looks of that side of the infield.

Speaking of injuries, Ramirez is going to fit in quite nicely for L.A., along with offensive threats Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, who are now healthy as well.

San Francisco Giants fans, look out. The Dodgers aren't done.

I frequently post MLB rumors on my Twitter account (link below), and just the other day I informed my followers of this. "From now on, when I talk about any player, just assume the Dodgers are interested. These guys want everybody."

With Ramirez in the white and blue, I believe they will also land a front-line pitcher (my guess is Ryan Dempster) as well as either Shane Victorino or Hunter Pence of the Phillies.

Dempster has expressed his desire to be a Dodger, and even turned down the Braves when they made an offer to the Cubs for the starting pitcher. Dempster is playing well above his numbers in recent years, but I believe it would be reasonable to assume he could sustain those moving to L.A.

As far as the Phillies go, they are now paying three of their starting pitchers over $20 million when you count the Cole Hamels contract. The Phillies is a team that has been discussed as getting older, and that large of a budget along with Ryan Howard and other expensive players will require the team to make a few moves to stay competitive financially.

Because of this, I could see the Phillies trading away either Victorino or Pence, with my gut saying it would be Pence.

If the Giants don't counter, the Dodgers will catch San Francisco and then absolutely run away with the division.

The trade deadline now sits just six days away. For the Dodgers, I expect Christmas in July.


Follow Brandon Wheeland on Twitter @BrandonWheeland for MLB news/analysis.

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