Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot to Los Angeles for Blake DeWitt and prospects

The LA Dodgers picked up Ted Lilly and infielder Ryan Theriot for Blake DeWitt and prospects.

My feelings are mixed on the trade.

Ted Lilly is an okay pitcher. He will be paid around $4mil the rest of the season, and should provide about $5mil in value during that time. However, he will be a type A free agent, which gives him an extra value of $10mil. So his net value is $11mil. Ryan Theriot is under team control for two more seasons. He too is just an okay player, with a lot of his value tied into defense. So if he is a 2 WAR per year player in 2011 and 2012, that value will be about $17.6mil. In arbitration he will most likely make a total of $11.6mil. So his net value is $6mil and the total value going to LA is $17mil.

The Cubs will receive Blake DeWitt, who will be under team control for four years. I don’t think DeWitt is that good, but he is just 25 and has shown he can play a solid defense and get on base at around or above league average. If he can do that, DeWitt should be about an average player going forward. Starting in 2011, I peg him for a WAR of 1.5, 1.7, 2.0, and 2.0. That would be a value of $31.68. In 2011 he will probably be paid about 450K. Considering DeWitt is similar to Theriot, I will give him a first year arbitration salary similar to Theriot’s. So if DeWitt makes $2.5mil in 2012, that will jump to $4mil in 2013 and $7.2mil in 2014 for a total of $13.2mil. Subtract that from his WAR value and his net value is $18.48mil.

So it looks like the Cubs come out ahead, right? Well I disagree with my numbers. The Cubs do not need a third baseman in DeWitt. I know he has struggled big time, but they still do have Josh Vitters in the minors. Moreover, a few of their top prospects can play third base if needed. Besides, we’re talking about Blake DeWitt. He is not a difference maker on a future Cubs team. For the next two years they could have easily moved Theroit to third and netted two draft picks for Ted Lilly. If given the choice between two high draft picks or Blake DeWitt, give me the picks every time.

So the Dodgers come out good here. I don’t really like Theriot or Lilly and I don’t think either player will help them overcome San Diego. But they will get two draft picks for Lilly and going forward, as I’ve already said, I will take the draft picks over DeWitt.

The prospects LA is giving up are Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit. Smit struggled big time as a starter before converting to relief where he has been pretty good this season. Wallache a high round pick of the Dodgers last season and looks like he could be a good pitcher in the future, but he is just in A ball right now. The Cubs must be confident that those two will be better than whoever they could have gotten in the draft. It makes the trade a little better Chicago and in the end I’d call it an even trade, but I like LA’s return just a little better.

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4 Comments on “Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot to Los Angeles for Blake DeWitt and prospects”

  1. Tom Says:

    If you think Ryan Theriot could play third, you’ve never seen him play. He barely has the arm to play second, he’s got nowhere near the arm to play third.

    Also, the Cubs have nobody on the roster on coming up soon that can play third aside from Jeff Baker.

    Everything else I agree with–it’s essentially a meh trade, with the Dodgers getting the only player who is potentially a difference maker (Lilly) but only getting him for 10 starts.

    • Disco Says:

      thanks for the knowledge.

      i dont follow the cubs so i didnt know his arm was so bad, i merely know he is a good defender and could probably handle third- minus the arm.

      it doesn’t change my opinion. dewitt and theriot arent THAT good and la will most likely get 2 picks while the cubs get two prospects.

    • Disco Says:

      I’d assume you’re a Cubs fan though…

      how is Lee coming along? I can look at his MiLB all I want, but what are the insiders in Chi-town saying

  2. thescoundrel Says:

    Lilly has pitched better than his record shows. His fastball is so-so but his curveball can be nasty to hit. But the Dodgers will only get two draft picks if they offer Lilly arbitration. Unless the buzz is wrong – so far it sounds as if Lilly is just a rent a player for the Dodgers. Rumor has been that they probably will not offer him arbitration.


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