The Dodgers added a pitcher bound for the Hall of Fame, swapped a middle infielder, acquired a better-hitting middle infielder and traded away a quality prospect in the final minutes before Monday's 1 p.m. trading deadline.
In the latest deals intended to help the team climb from last place in the National League West toward a playoff run, the Dodgers acquired pitcher Greg Maddux from the Chicago Cubs for infielder Cesar Izturis, then picked up infielder Julio Lugo from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for top prospect Joel Guzman and minor league outfielder Sergio Pedroza.
The Dodgers stand five games out of first place and five games under .500, coming off a weekend sweep of the Washington Nationals.
"The club has played well this weekend," Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said. "We don't feel we're that far away."
Said Maddux: "There's plenty of time to make up five games."
Maddux, 40, figures to bump Aaron Sele from the Dodgers' starting rotation. Maddux has four Cy Young awards and 327 career victories, 12th on the all-time list and second only to Roger Clemens among active pitchers.
Maddux is 9-11 with a 4.69 earned-run average this season. He has pitched six innings or more in nine consecutive starts, but he has a 5.46 ERA in that span.
"He's not what he once was when he was winning Cy Young awards," Colletti said. "We still think he's got the ability to win and pitch and keep his team in games."
Maddux went 5-0 in April but is 4-11 since then. According to STATS LLC, the only pitchers to start at least 12 games since May 1 and post a lower winning percentage are Mark Hendrickson (3-11) and Jae Seo (2-7). Colletti traded Seo for Hendrickson last month.
Lugo, 30, the Devil Rays' starting shortstop, will play second base for now, in place of the injured Jeff Kent. Lugo is hitting .308, with 12 home runs and 18 stolen bases. Nomar Garciaparra, the Dodgers' injured first baseman, leads the team with 12 home runs.
The impetus for replacing Izturis with Lugo, and for acquiring infielder Wilson Betemit last week, was to compensate for the losses of Kent and Garciaparra to the disabled list. "You're talking about losing a lot of your offense," Colletti said.
The Dodgers expect that Garciaparra (sprained knee) and Kent (strained side muscle) will sit out another 10 days to two weeks. Colletti said the Lugo trade was "absolutely no indication" that the rehabilitation period for either Garciaparra or Kent might be significantly longer than expected.
When Kent returns, Colletti said, the Dodgers will figure out what to do with Lugo. "I'm not worried about what's going to transpire two or three weeks down the line," Colletti said.
He might have a more immediate worry, depending on how Lugo reacts to playing second base. The Boston Red Sox discussed trading second baseman Mark Loretta to the St. Louis Cardinals and replacing him with Lugo, but the Red Sox backed away when they became aware Lugo had little interest in playing second base.
Colletti said he had not spoken with Lugo, but was under the impression he would play second base "as long as he's viewed as a shortstop when he hits the market" as a free agent this fall.
In the Hendrickson trade, Colletti also acquired catcher Toby Hall, without asking Hall whether he would be content to be a backup in Los Angeles after starting in Tampa Bay. Hall has since expressed his unhappiness.
Dan Lozano, the agent for Lugo, said the Dodgers had not spoken with him before the trade.
"Julio is a pro," Lozano said. "He'll make the transition for the next two months and give the team 100% of his efforts. After the season, Julio will consider himself a shortstop."
With Rafael Furcal in the first season of a three-year, $39-million contract, that apparently would preclude the Dodgers' retaining Lugo beyond this season. For a two-month rental, then, that makes the price of Guzman and Pedroza seemingly high.
"There's clearly a lot of upside in Guzman and Pedroza," Colletti said. "When you're trying to win, sometimes you have to take a chance."
Guzman, 21, ranked as the Dodgers' top prospect last year, hit .297 with 11 home runs at triple-A Las Vegas.
The Dodgers soured on Guzman in part because he sulked when other prospects were called up to the major leagues before him and in part because they could not determine the appropriate position for him. He has played shortstop, third base, left field and first base over the last year, and the Dodgers have established players or other prospects at those positions.
Pedroza, 22, a former Cal State Fullerton standout, hit .281 with 21 home runs at Class-A Columbus (Ga.).
Colletti has traded five minor leaguers within the last week, in trades for Lugo, Betemit and reliever Elmer Dessens. In his eight months on the job, Colletti also has traded youngsters in catcher Dioner Navarro and pitchers Edwin Jackson and Chuck Tiffany.