Dodgers Acquire Lilly, Theriot For DeWitt

The Dodgers acquired veteran lefty Ted Lilly, infielder Ryan Theriot, and $2.5MM from the Cubs for second baseman Blake DeWitt and minor league pitchers Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit today.  Lilly has $4.24MM remaining on his contract, while Theriot has $918K.  The Cubs are picking up about half of the tab on the players they're sending. 

Lilly set himself apart from the many brutal pitching signings made in the 2006-07 offseason by making 113 starts for the Cubs with a 3.70 ERA, 7.6 K/9, and 2.3 BB/9 over the four-year deal.  Though he began this season on the disabled list due to November shoulder surgery, Lilly sports similar numbers in 2010.  He serves as proof that velocity isn't everything, with the sixth-slowest average fastball velocity in baseball at 86.1 mph.  Lilly currently projects as a Type A free agent, though the Dodgers' recent history suggests they will not offer him arbitration and therefore will not receive draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere.

Theriot, 30, has a .284/.320/.327 line on the season.  He'd been the Cubs' starting shortstop for a few years, but moved to second base when they promoted Starlin Castro in May.  Theriot's walk rate reached 11.0% in 2008, but is down to 4.6% this year.  He's under team control through 2012, if the Dodgers want to tender a contract two more times.

DeWitt, 25 next month, is having a better season than Theriot at .270/.352/.371.  He's under team control through 2014, so the Cubs acquired a long-term asset for second base.  Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein calls his the "prettiest swing you'll see never turned into results," calling DeWitt a "constant source of disappointment" for the Dodgers.

Wallach, son of former big leaguer Tim, was a third-round pick of the Dodgers last year.  Baseball America ranked him 20th among Dodgers prospects heading into the season, saying he could blossom into a No. 3 in time.  He's currently in Low A.  Smit, a reliever, spent most of this year in High A ball where he posted a 2.49 ERA, 8.2 K/9, and 1.8 BB/9 in 50.6 innings.  He's now in Double A.

Jayson Stark, Ken Rosenthal, Joel Sherman, and Tim Brown reported on the trade as it developed.


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