I hear and read stuff like this all the time these days: the Dodgers desperately need an ace. Their failure to do so was their white flag before the season even started, indicating that, as Petros Papadakis has recently been fond of saying, the Dodgers as an organization are rotting from the top down.
Well, yes, really. The Dodgers would love to have a true, bona fide ace. They need someone who they can count on to shut opposing hitters down one out of every five games now, and one every three in the playoffs. Yes, yes, they need an ace.
So why haven't the gone out and signed, uh, well...signed...Jarrod Washburn? Or maybe they could go pick up...um...Pedro Martinez? Well, I guess Washburn and Pedro don't really qualify as aces, so why don't they go trade someone for an ace? You know, make a deal like the Phillies did and get an ace that someone is willing to give up...like...uhh...
Gosh, know what I just remembered? It's May. And no one seems to willing to give up an ace in May.
This is the thing about the "the Dodgers need an ace" mentality: for all of the calls for Ned Coletti to go get an ace, nobody seems to have a great idea of one they should get. Which means the discussion turns into, "Well they should've gotten Lackey or Halladay or Cliff Lee". Go back and click the link I first gave- it is exactly that way.
But fine, let's play that game. How about Lackey? Were the Dodgers really going to pay him more money for as many or more years as the Red Sox? I sure hope not. I hope they never even thought about doing that. John Lackey is good, but he isn't worth that much.
Halladay? Wouldn't leave the east coast and had a full no trade. Coletti said the other day he talked to the Blue Jays around 25 times to try to work something out. If Halladay doesn't want to come to California and if the Dodgers are prospects are mostly in A and AA, then what can you do?
Lee? Again, Coletti insists that he made a strong play for Cliff Lee, but that the Phillies first, then the Mariners had better prospects. And you know what? I believe him. You know why? Because look at the prospects that got moved in those deals: they are better, or at least closer to the Major Leagues, than the Dodgers' prospects.
Where does that leave us? Right back where we started: with the wish that the Dodgers had an ace. Coletti also says that he has made a lot of early calls this year on pitching but that, of course, no one wants to deal yet. And once again, there is not reason to think he is lying.
So what the Dodgers need to do now is stop playing bad defense, shore up a bullpen that has been inexplicably shaky, and get Kershaw and Billingsley pitching more consistently. The offense could be a little more consistent, but which MLB offense couldn't? The last couple weeks have seen some of this start to happen: the defense and bullpen have been noticeably better, and even Kershaw, after getting shelled by the Brewers on Tuesday, dominated the Rockies yesterday and handed Ubaldo Jimenez his first loss of the year.
Getting an ace would be great, yes. So if the Dodgers can play a solid month and a half and start lining up as buyers at the trade deadline, maybe they can find themselves one. That is what Dodger fans should be hoping for now.