Requests for Billingsley, Loney nix Lee deal
Prospects not enough to entice Mariners to trade with Dodgers
LOS ANGELES -- The Mariners wanted Major League-ready prospects that the Dodgers don't have in return for Cliff Lee, and Los Angeles was not going to part with Chad Billingsley or James Loney in the deal, a baseball source said.
Lee was traded to the Rangers on Saturday in a six-player deal centered on first baseman Justin Smoak, a 2008 first-round Draft pick. Most of the Dodgers' top prospects are at the Class A and Double-A levels, and L.A. countered with a package of prospects including all but one -- presumably Dee Gordon, who has 33 stolen bases and a .279 average for Double-A Chattanooga.
Without Lee, who was in the final year of his contract and owed $4.4 million, Roy Oswalt remains the biggest pitching name on the market. But Oswalt is owed a total of nearly $25 million for the rest of this season and next, and that's including a $2 million buyout for 2012. That could be too steep for the Dodgers.
Ted Lilly of the Cubs gave up five runs in 3 2/3 innings at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, although it wasn't clear what affect that had on the Dodgers' interest. Arizona's Dan Haren is reportedly available, but intra-division trades like the one the Mariners made with the Rangers for Lee are rare.
Logic might say the Dodgers are more inclined to go after a reliever with its rotation seemingly finally stable and some large question marks beyond the end-of-game relievers, like George Sherrill and Ronald Belisario, but general manager Ned Colletti reaffirmed Saturday there was no preference in acquiring a reliever or a starter.
Colletti and manager Joe Torre still had no comment on Belisario, who is on the restricted list. The Los Angeles Times reported Friday night that Belisario has enrolled in a substance abuse program.
Martin among three starters to rest
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers catcher Russell Martin did not start Saturday in a day game after a night game, taking the day off along with Casey Blake and Blake DeWitt.
Martin, batting. 247, hit his fifth home run of the season on Saturday in a 9-7 win over the Cubs, his only hit in four trips and his first homer in nearly two months. Though he's on a nine-game hit streak, the catcher has had a down season at the plate, and had an off-night behind it as well on Friday, struggling to block balls in the dirt, including one in the Cubs' two-run ninth.
"Russell's struggling," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "I guess he spoiled me because he's so athletic and he can block. Sometimes mechanically he gets one where he blocks and he can't get over that way and he sort of can't move."
Though Martin is already in his prime years at 27, Torre said he thinks his catcher can still be elite.
"To me, he's so much more consistent than he's been, his only downside, I guess, is he just doesn't channel it the way hopefully he eventually will," Torre said. "He has so much energy. Last night, he had a count in his favor, he swung from his rear end. It's not how hard you hit, it's the timing."
Blake, less than two months from his 37th birthday, is hitting .256 with nine home runs and 36 RBIs. He said in the clubhouse on Saturday morning that his body must know a break is coming.
A.J. Ellis started at catcher, Jamey Carroll at third base and Ronnie Belliard at second base.
Torre trying to get Sherrill going
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers manager Joe Torre believed that Friday night's eighth inning was a good opportunity for George Sherrill.
With the Dodgers leading, 9-3, Marlon Byrd singled to start the inning off starter Chad Billingsley, and in came Sherrill to face two straight lefties, Tyler Colvin and Mike Fontenot. But Colvin doubled to center, leading to the first of two runs the Cubs would score in the inning and the four they would score before the game's end. The Dodgers hung on, 9-7.
"That second hit was probably the key one in the inning," Torre said. "I just thought it was a bad choice [of pitches by Sherrill]. He threw a fastball to try to get ahead and he mislocated and threw it down the middle. He's got a good breaking ball. I don't care about how long you've been around, it's a matter of not being as confident as you need to be."
Torre said he had considered starting the inning with Travis Schlichting, whom Torre trusts against righties and lefties.
"We were going to do that. He was our other option to go into the eighth inning," Torre said. "With the six-run lead, I thought it was a good opportunity to bring George in there."
Sherrill is scuffling with an 0-1 record and a 7.32 ERA, but the Dodgers aren't in a position to send him to Triple-A Albuquerque right now with Ronald Belisario on the restricted list.
"We need to see consistency, we need to have our bullpen be more than just a couple people," Torre said. "Sometimes it's easier to be a manager with a two- or three-run lead than a six-run lead trying to stay away from the people you use with a two-run or three-run lead."
Sherrill didn't face another batter as the Cubs pinch-hit for Fontenot. On came Justin Miller, who allowed the second run of the inning.
Manny Ramirez wasn't at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, the day his three-game rehab stint with Class A Inland Empire was to begin, but his name was all over the dugout before the game. Literally. Ramirez signed a portion of the Dodgers' dugout, with his signature looming over manager Joe Torre's left shoulder. A note on the Dodgers' whiteboard in the clubhouse reminded all players to wear their white jerseys and report to the field at 11:30 a.m. PT for photo day. Someone added, "That means you Manny" -- even though Ramirez is in San Bernadino. Ramirez is to play Saturday, Sunday and Monday, likely playing one game in the field and the other two at DH, Torre said. ... Captain Morgan threw out the ceremonial first pitch on Saturday, and national soccer star Landon Donovan will be at Dodger Stadium on Sunday. ... Torre said he plans to have dinner with Bob Costas and Bob Gibson in St. Louis on Wednesday night before the second half starts Thursday at Busch Stadium against the Cardinals. The team will not work out on Wednesday. Torre said he was considering travel for the break, but will likely stay home.
Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.