Dodgers Nab Lilly, Surrender Three Players To Cubs

The Deal
The third-place Dodgers entered play July 31 trailing the Padres by seven games in the National League West. Despite their payroll limitations brought on by the divorce proceedings involving owner Frank McCourt, the Dodgers were able to improve their thin rotation by acquiring lefthander Ted Lilly from the Cubs, bringing him back to his original organization. The Dodgers drafted and signed Lilly way back in 1996 out of Fresno CC. They also acquired second baseman Ryan Theriot from the Cubs while giving up minor league righthanders Kyle Smit and Brett Wallach and their own second baseman Blake DeWitt. The Cubs will send approximately $2.6 million to the Dodgers to help cover salary expenses.

While Lilly is just 3-8 for the sub-.500 Cubs, his 3.69 ERA should help him slot nicely into the Dodgers’ rotation. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Lilly’s ERA is 19 percent better than league average, after ballpark context has been factored in. Among Los Angeles pitchers, only ace Clayton Kershaw, at 31 percent, has been better this season. If the Dodgers make the playoffs, Lilly will be in the postseason rotation, and the 10th-year veteran will be a free agent at the end of the season—his four-year, $40 million deal expires at season’s end, so he’s purely a rental.

 
Cubs Acquire
Blake DeWitt, 2b

Age: 24. Position: 2B (78 G).

Born: Aug. 20, 1985 in Sarasota, Fla.

Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 190. Bats: L. Throws: R.

School: Sikeston (Mo.) HS.

Career Transactions: Selected by Dodgers in first round (28th overall) of 2004 draft; signed June 16, 2004.

Club (League) Class AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Los Angeles (NL) MLB .270 82 256 29 69 15 4 1 30 30 49 2 .352 .371

DeWitt has spent the better part of the last three seasons in the major leagues and was the Dodgers’ primary second baseman so far in 2010, but this is the first year the 24-year-old has spent exclusively in the big leagues. He entered the season as a career .257/.333/.384 hitter in 417 at-bats and was hitting close to that at the time of the trade with a .270/.352/.371 line. His best attributes from a scouting point of view are his sure hands, line-drive stroke and solid infield actions. He was primarily a third baseman through the minors and in 2008 but has shifted more to second since the Dodgers acquired Casey Blake. The move fits offensively because DeWitt’s swing is geared more to contact than to power. He provides the Cubs with a solid defender at second, but unless he adds power it’s hard to see him as a starter on a championship club.

 
Brett Wallach, rhp

Age: 21.

Born: Dec. 2, 1988 in Orange, Calif.

Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 185. Bats: R. Throws: R.

School: Orange Coast (Calif.) CC.

Career Transactions: Selected by Dodgers in third round of 2009 draft; signed June 25, 2009.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Great Lakes (MWL) LoA 6 0 3.72 17 17 0 85 73 39 35 7 43 92 1.37

The trade separates Wallach from his father Tim, a former all-star third baseman who manages the Dodgers’ Triple-A Albuquerque affiliate, and his brother Matt, a catcher at high Class A Inland Empire in the Los Angeles system. A third-round pick in 2009, Brett has shaken off a rough pro debut to turn in a solid first full season in low Class A. He’s still seeking consistency with his stuff and his control, but he has an array of promising pitches, led by an 88-91 mph sinker and a changeup. He throws both a curveball and slider, and his breaking pitches need the most work. A good athlete who played primarily shortstop in high school and first base and shortstop in junior college, Wallach didn’t become a full-time pitcher until he turned pro.

 
Kyle Smit, rhp

Age: 22.

Born: Oct. 14, 1987 in Reno, Nev.

Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 165. Bats: R. Throws: R.

School: Spanish Springs HS, Sparks, Nev.

Career Transactions: Selected by Dodgers in fifth round of 2006 draft; signed June 7, 2006.

Club (League) Class W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Inland Empire (CAL) HiA 5 3 2.49 34 1 6 51 51 17 14 4 10 46 1.20
Chattanooga (SL) AA 0 0 0.00 3 0 0 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 0.33
Total 5 3 2.35 37 1 6 54 52 17 14 4 10 47 1.16

Smit became a full-time reliever this year, and he has responded with the best performance of his five-year pro career. He works primarily with a 91-93 mph fastball and a hard curveball, and he’s also showing some aptitude for throwing a splitter. He’s throwing more strikes than ever now that he’s coming out of the bullpen, and he projects as a middle reliever.

 
Dodgers Acquire
Ted Lilly, lhp

Age: 34. Remaining Commitment: Prorated portion of $12 million salary for ’10 (approximately $4.2 million; Cubs send $2.6 million).

Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Club (League) YEAR W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Chicago (NL) 2008 17 9 4.09 34 34 0 205 187 96 93 32 64 184 1.23
Chicago (NL) 2009 12 9 3.10 27 27 0 177 151 66 61 22 36 151 1.06
Chicago (NL) 2010 3 8 3.69 18 18 0 117 104 53 48 19 29 89 1.14
3-Year Totals 32 26 3.65 79 79 0 499 442 215 202 73 129 424 1.15

Ryan Theriot, 2b/ss

Age: 30. Bats: R. Remaining Commitment: 2 arbitration years remain (’11 and ’12) prior to free agency ($2.6 million salary in ’10).

Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

Club (League) YEAR AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB OBP SLG
Chicago (NL) 2008 .307 149 580 85 178 19 4 1 38 73 58 22 .387 .359
Chicago (NL) 2009 .284 154 602 81 171 20 5 7 54 51 93 21 .343 .369
Chicago (NL) 2010 .284 96 388 45 110 10 2 1 21 19 46 16 .320 .327
3-Year Totals .292 399 1570 211 459 49 11 9 113 143 197 59 .354 .355

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