Dodgers deal for Podsednik, beef up outfield
Two Minor Leaguers headed to Royals for former All-Star
SAN DIEGO -- The Dodgers addressed their thin outfield Wednesday, acquiring former All-Star Scott Podsednik from Kansas City for Triple-A catcher Lucas May and Class A pitcher Elisaul Pimentel.
General manager Ned Colletti said the uncertain health of disabled outfielders Manny Ramirez and Reed Johnson led him to shift his trade attention to an offensive player this week, but "between now and the [Saturday Trade Deadline] 31st, I'm concentrating solely on pitching."
Colletti has said he'd like a starter and reliever. Among those he's rumored to be pursuing are Ted Lilly, Jake Westbrook, David Aardsma and Scott Downs.
The 34-year-old Podsednik is in his eighth Major League season and earns $1.65 million this year. There is a $2 million option for 2011 with a $100,000 buyout, but Podsednik can void the option. The Dodgers will pay the remainder of his contract, and Colletti said payroll flexibility to acquire pitching remains "for the right deal."
An All-Star in 2005 with the White Sox, Podsednik has played all three outfield positions but most recently has been primarily a left fielder. Colletti said he was hopeful Podsednik would join the Dodgers in time for Thursday's game.
The Dodgers are paying Ramirez $20 million this year to play left field, but he currently is in a third stint on the disabled list this year and second time for a strained right calf muscle. He is not expected back for several more weeks and has been replaced by rookie Xavier Paul. Johnson has chronic back spasms resulting from 2007 back surgery.
"With Reed and Manny out, it's tough to tell when they'll be back or if there will be more issues the rest of the season," said Colletti. "This is a safeguard. Podsednik knows how to win and he can help us in a number of ways."
Podsednik's primary skill is running speed. He has 30 stolen bases for the Royals while batting .310 in 94 games. He has a .280 career average. He also has played with the Rockies, Brewers and Mariners.
Colletti said the desire for a veteran outfielder was more a statement about experience than a vote of no-confidence in Paul.
"He's still a Dodger, so obviously we have a lot of faith in him, in whatever role that is," Colletti said.
The 25-year-old May was an eighth-round pick in 2003. A conversion from shortstop, May is viewed primarily as an offensive catcher. A.J. Ellis remains the club's top catching prospect. May was hitting .296 with 11 homers and 45 RBIs for Triple-A Albuquerque.
"He's a great kid who loves to play and we think he has a chance to be a real good hitter," Colletti said. "Catching is tough. At this point, we decided to go for the now and wish him the best."
Pimentel, 22, was 9-3 with a 3.79 ERA at Class A Great Lakes.
"He's still in A-ball," said Colletti. "He's progressed pretty well for as long as he's pitched."
"This deal gives us catching depth with somebody that we trust as a leader and a winner and a young pitcher that is really advanced for his age," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.