Dodgers get Lilly, Theriot for DeWitt
Pair of right-handed pitching prospects headed to Cubs
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Dodgers acquired veteran left-handed starting pitcher Ted Lilly, infielder Ryan Theriot and $2.5 million from the Cubs on Saturday for second baseman Blake DeWitt and Minor Leaguers Kyle Smit and Brett Wallach.
Lilly becomes the fifth starter, replacing Rule 5 rookie Carlos Monasterios, who moves back to the bullpen as a long reliever. Lilly -- 3-8 with a 3.69 ERA -- has $4.3 million remaining on his contract this year and will be a free agent after the season."I think I'm going to a really good place and to a team that has aspirations of winning the World Series," Lilly said, "and that's a fortunate thing for me to be a part of." Manager Joe Torre said he hadn't talked to Lilly yet, but would probably start him on Tuesday against the Padres. He said he expects Theriot to replace DeWitt as the primary second baseman batting in the lower part of the order. He said Theriot also is a natural shortstop who can spell Rafael Furcal. "Hopefully, they make us better," said Torre. "I talked to Theriot and he is excited about coming over. He's a scrappy little player, a basestealer with more speed [than DeWitt] in that regard. I haven't talked to Ted Lilly, but he played for me in New York and he gives us a little more stability in the rotation. I know he's competitive. I hope he stays healthy and helps us get to the postseason." Torre emphasized that the Dodgers weren't looking to move DeWitt. "He was the price tag," said Torre. General manager Ned Colletti, however, indicated that improved defense and running speed that comes with Theriot was part of the equation, saying he could have acquired Lilly without dealing DeWitt. "We have interest in Theriot," Colletti said. "He's a middle infielder. Blake DeWitt is more of a natural third baseman than second base. They are the same type of player in their passion for the game, Theriot is a little older, but he's more situated for the middle of the infield. We could have had Lilly without trading DeWitt, but there were more dynamics than meets the eye." DeWitt said his goodbyes in the clubhouse before Saturday's game. "It's sad, in a way," he said. "It's definitely a tough situation for me. I've worked hard with these guys going far back. It definitely came as a complete shock but it's part of the game. I look forward to the opportunity there. Chicago is probably my favorite place to go on the road and it's definitely close to my family [in Missouri]." Lilly was drafted by the Dodgers in 1996, was traded to the Expos before he reached the Major Leagues in the Carlos Perez deal and pitched parts of three seasons for Torre with the Yankees. He talked to Dodgers equipment manager Mitch Poole on Saturday, and the lefty said it's the same person who handed him his first uniform during Spring Training games. "It's pretty amazing how this has come full circle," he said. A Torrance, Calif., native, the 34-year-old Lilly has a 106-92 career record and 4.21 ERA in 12 seasons with the Expos, Yankees, A's, Blue Jays and Cubs. He has reached double figures in victories in each of the past seven seasons, including 12 or more wins in six of the last seven. He was on the team's short list of targeted starters and became a more obvious choice after big names like Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt were dealt elsewhere. The 30-year-old Theriot, who has played second base primarily this year, is hitting .284 with one homer and 21 RBIs. He was a third-round Draft pick in 2001 out of LSU and earns $2.6 million this year and is under control for two more seasons. Theriot received a call from Torre after the trade.
"I thought it was very cool, especially coming from a man of his stature," he said. "We talked for a few minutes. He said, 'I want you to get here as soon as you can.' It makes you feel good when you get a call from a guy like that."
DeWitt, 24, was batting .270 with one homer and 30 RBIs in 82 games for Los Angeles. In three big league seasons, he has a .262 average with 12 homers and 86 RBIs. He was originally selected in the first round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft.Smit, 22, is 5-3 with a 2.35 ERA and six saves in 37 games for Class A Inland Empire and Double-A Chattanooga. He was originally selected in the fifth round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft. Wallach, 21, was 6-0 with a 3.72 ERA in 17 games for Class A Great Lakes. He was originally selected in the third round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. His father, Tim, is a former Dodger and the current manager of the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes and his brother, Matt, also plays in the Dodgers' farm system. The Dodgers were busy prior to the Deadline, acquiring outfielder Scott Podsednik from the Royals Wednesday for catcher Lucas May and young pitcher Elisaul Pimentel and reliever Octavio Dotel from the Pirates in exchange for right-hander James McDonald and Minor League outfielder Andrew Lambo. They wanted Podsednik because of the uncertain health of injured outfielders Manny Ramirez and Reed Johnson, who are on the disabled list. At least three clubs have inquired about the availability of Ramirez, who has been on the DL three times this year and will be a free agent after the season. But the Dodgers have told clubs they won't give Ramirez away or eat the remaining $8 million on his 2010 salary.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.