Getting McDonald for Dotel alone would have been a steal.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have traded Octavio Dotel to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for a player to be named later.  While that news doesn’t really have any impact on the Pittsburgh Pirates, it provides a perfect opportunity to take a look at what might have been one of Neal Huntington’s best trades so far.

The Dodgers acquired Dotel from the Pirates at the trade deadline in exchange for James McDonald and Andrew Lambo.  Lambo and McDonald were the number one and two prospects in the Dodgers’ system, respectively, prior to the 2009 season, but both saw their stock drop in the last year and a half.  However, both have revived their careers so far in the Pirates’ system.

McDonald has easily been the best starting pitcher for the Pirates since the trade, with a 3.49 ERA in 49 innings over eight starts, along with an 8.1 K/9 and a 3.3 BB/9 ratio.  Meanwhile, Lambo hit for a .275/.353/.352 line with two homers in 91 at-bats with Altoona after the trade, not including the post-season which has seen him hit for a .296/.367/.593 line with two homers in 27 at-bats.

Meanwhile, Dotel made 19 appearances for Los Angeles, with a 3.38 ERA in 18.2 innings, plus a 10.1 K/9 and a 5.3 BB/9.  Those numbers aren’t bad, but at the time of the trade the Dodgers were 54-50, and seven games back from the division lead.  Each individual piece of the return is probably an overpayment for Dotel and the 18.2 innings he pitched for the Dodgers.  Getting both McDonald and Lambo together in the deal was huge, especially if McDonald keeps pitching the way he’s been pitching.

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1 COMMENT

  1. This trade reminds me of what Smizik said on trade deadline day:

    “If the Pirates kept Dotel next season, he’d be due $4.5 million. The Pirates, not surprisingly, wanted no part of that. So instead of declining the option at some point in the off-season, when it would clearly be a financial move, the Pirates attempted to cloud the issue by trading him.

    Once he was dealt for pitcher James McDonald and outfielder Andrew Lambo, the Pirates were a lesser team — today and for next season.”

    So can we now say that the Dodgers didn’t want any part of his salary next year and decided that instead of declining his option in the off season when it would be clearly be a financial move, they clouded the issue by trading him?

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