Apparently, the Dodgers still believe they're in this thing. I don't necessarily agree, although I applaud their optimism and Ned Colletti's enthusiasm, which was demonstrated in his shocking willingness to cough up once-and-possibly-still key prospects in order to land a relief pitcher.
The biggest deal was getting Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot from the Cubs for Blake DeWitt and a couple of minor leaguers. I don't like the swap at second base of DeWitt for Theriot -- the Dodgers are weaker at that position now. But Lilly I've always liked and wished the Dodgers never gave him up in the Mark Grudzielanek trade way back in 1998.
But while every other fan's brain focuses on a mid-season deal in terms of "how will this affect my team now?" I think of it another way.
I am always intrigued by the relationships that teams have with each other when it comes time to trading. Most teams go to the same trade partners over and over. The thing that interests me the most is that these relationships last for years and remain intact regardless of who the general manager or manager is and sometimes regardless of who the owner is.
The Dodgers have always had a trade relationship with the Cubs. This trade is just the most recent example. I don't have time to crunch numbers, but I believe L.A. trades more with the Cubs than possibly another team, except for maybe the Indians and Oakland. Those seem to be the top three.
L.A. also trades a lot with the White Sox, Orioles and Mets. The Pirates and Blue Jays are in there, too.
But the Cubs seem to stand out, just in terms of the quality of players L.A. has been able to get in those deals. I don't know how I feel about my team developing a long relationship with a team that hasn't been able to win a championship since 1906, but the results seem to have panned out in the last 60 years or so.
I went back to look at some of the past Dodgers-Cubs deals in that period to determine exactly how things worked out for L.A.:
1. June 15, 1951: Dodgers acquire Andy Pafko, Johnny Schmitz, Wayne Terwilliger and Rube Walker from the Cubs for Bruce Edwards, Joe Hatten, Gene Hermanski and Eddie Miskis.
Summary: Pafko didn't slug as much as he did for the Cubs, but he still enjoyed a fine year-and-a-half for Brooklyn. He also landed on an iconic card as the first card in the 1952 Topps set. Among the other new Dodgers, Walker was the best as a perennial backup catcher for Campanella. The guys the Cubs got didn't last long in Chicago. Hermanski had a couple so-so years. Miskis started a couple years but didn't hit a lot in his 4 years with the Cubs. Advantage: Even.
2. Dec. 9, 1955: Dodgers acquire Randy Jackson and Don Elston from the Cubs for Don Hoak, Russ Meyer and Walt Moryn.
Summary: After starting for five seasons at third base for the Cubs, Jackson was reduced to a part-time role with the Dodgers over three years. Elston returned to the Cubs the next year. Hoak won a World Series ring with the Dodgers in 1955, but hit .215 in his one year with the Cubs. Meyer, who won in double figures twice for Brooklyn, was 1-6 with the Cubs in one season. Walt "Moose" Moryn, meanwhile, turned into a power hitter for the Cubs over four years. Advantage: Cubs.
3. April 28, 1960: Dodgers acquire Johnny Goryl, Lee Handley and Ron Perranoski from the Cubs for Don Zimmer.
Summary: Goryl and Handley never played in the majors for the Dodgers, but Perranoski, not in the majors yet when he was traded, became one of the greatest relief pitchers of the 1960s. Zimmer had his only All-Star season for the Cubs in 1961, but Zim was kind of a Ryan Theriot-type player and returned to L.A. by 1963. Advantage: Dodgers.
4. Nov. 30, 1967: Dodgers acquire Paul Popovich and Jim Williams from the Cubs for Lou Johnson.
Summary: The Dodgers inserted Popovich at second base in 1968 and he hit a rousing .232 with a .280 OBP. He was back in Chicago in a year after L.A. sent Popovich to Montreal, which sent him to Chicago. Williams never played for L.A. Lou Johnson played half a season for the Cubs, hit .244, and was traded to Cleveland. Advantage: Even.
5. May 2, 1975: Dodgers acquire Burt Hooton from the Cubs for Eddie Solomon and Geoff Zahn.
Summary: Dodgers fleeced Cubs here. "Happy" Hooton was a regular member of L.A.'s starting rotation for 10 years, pitching in 11 postseason games. The Cubs' acquisitions had some decent success, especially Zahn, but not while they were with the Cubs. Advantage: Dodgers.
6. Jan. 11, 1977: Dodgers acquire Mike Garman and Rick Monday from the Cubs for Jeff Albert, Bill Buckner and Ivan DeJesus.
Summary: Monday was hobbled by injuries, but will always be known to Dodgers fans for hitting that home run in Montreal that sent L.A. to the World Series in 1981. Garman was a serviceable reliever for a season. Buckner won a batting title for the Cubs in 1980 and enjoyed the prime of his career in Chicago. DeJesus was a hit machine. Advantage: I really don't want to do this, but: Cubs.
7. Jan. 19, 1983: Dodgers acquire Dan Cataline and Vance Lovelace from the Cubs for Ron Cey.
Summary: I should call in sick to work every January 19th. The lowest point in my career as Ron Cey's No. 1 fan. Cey had four respectable seasons for the Cubs, although he wasn't as good as he was with the Dodgers. Meanwhile, the Dodgers didn't get a single major league performance from Cataline or Lovelace in exchange for arguably the best power-hitter L.A. ever had. Advantage: Cubs.
8. Sept. 6, 1991: Dodgers acquire Steve Wilson from the Cubs for Jeff Hartsock.
Summary: Wilson started well for the Dodgers as a relief pitcher, but slowly faded and was finished with the Dodgers and the majors by the end of 1993. Hartsock pitched four games for the Cubs with a 6.75 ERA. Advantage: Dodgers.
9. Dec. 12, 1999: Dodgers acquire: Terry Adams, Brian Stephenson and Chad Ricketts from the Cubs for Ismael Valdez and Eric Young.
Summary: I remember being so excited about this trade only because it meant the end of Valdez's career as a Dodger. Adams had a rocky 2000 and a respectable 2001 for L.A. The other two guys didn't make the majors. Valdez stunk for the Cubs and -- to my horror -- was traded back to L.A. that same year for a couple of guys who didn't amount to anything. Young, meanwhile, enjoyed two workhorse years for the Cubs. Advantage: Even.
10. July 31, 2006: Dodgers acquire Greg Maddux from the Cubs for Cesar Izturis.
Summary: Another deadline deal and another desperation bid for a pitcher. Maddux went 6-3 for the Dodgers with a 3.30 ERA. He started Game 3 of the Dodgers' NLDS against the Mets. L.A. lost that game. Izturis hit below .250 in two shaky, part-time seasons for the Cubs. Advantage: Dodgers.
I'm sure I've missed a couple deals here and there, but out of those 10, I've given the Dodgers a 4-3-3 mark in terms of who came out the better in the deal. And you could make an argument the other way on a couple of those.
It's a lot more even than I thought. I would've figured the Dodgers had come out further ahead.
I guess that means it's up to you Mr. Lilly:
Your first job is to convince Joe Torre that you (and all of your other fellow starters) can pitch more than six innings at a time!
Oh, and I forgot to add: are there certain teams that your favorite teams trade with all the time? I'd be interested to know, because I kind of have tunnel vision and only pay attention to the Dodgers.