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Dodgers finalize Rafael Furcal's trade to St. Louis and pick up other pieces

L.A. acquires highly touted catcher Tim Federowicz and two pitchers, all prospects, in a three-team trade with Boston and Seattle in which they part ways with minor league outfielder Trayvon Robinson. Dodgers receive minor league outfielder Alex Castellanos in Furcal deal.

July 31, 2011|By Ben Bolch
  • Dodgers fans applaud the efforts of shortstop Rafael Furcal during a game earlier this month.
Dodgers fans applaud the efforts of shortstop Rafael Furcal during a game… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

Ned Colletti compared the timing of the acquisition to that of Manny Ramirez.

Only this time, the Dodgers general manager wasn't getting a 12-time All-Star to fortify the team's offense for a playoff push.

In a three-team deal consummated only minutes before Sunday's non-waiver trading deadline, the Dodgers received catcher Tim Federowicz and pitchers Juan Rodriguez and Stephen Fife, all minor league players who probably won't have a section of Dodger Stadium named in their honor anytime soon.

It was the second move on a busy day in which the Dodgers also finalized a previously anticipated trade, sending shortstop Rafael Furcal to the St. Louis Cardinals for minor league outfielder Alex Castellanos in a deal that created a spot in their infield for rookie Dee Gordon.

The Dodgers parted with outfield prospect Trayvon Robinson in the three-team trade that also involved the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners, a move Colletti said they were willing to make because triple-A outfielder Jerry Sands was considered "a step ahead" of Robinson on their depth chart. Robinson was hitting .293 with a team-leading 26 home runs and 71 runs batted in for triple-A Albuquerque.

From the Dodgers' perspective, the centerpiece of the trade with Boston was Federowicz, whom Baseball America ranked the 21st best prospect in the Red Sox organization before the season. Colletti said Federowicz, who hit .275 with seven homers and 50 RBIs for double-A Portland, would add depth at a position in which the organization was severely short-handed.

"We needed catching," Colletti said, "and we feel we have a real good one coming."

Colletti said Federowicz, who turns 24 on Friday, would report to Albuquerque and could make his Dodgers debut by next season. The pitchers the Dodgers acquired Sunday might have a longer wait to reach the major leagues.

Fife, a right-handed starter who was 11-4 with a 3.66 earned-run average for Portland, is scheduled to report to double-A Chattanooga. Rodriguez, a right-hander who projects as seventh- or eighth-inning reliever with the Dodgers, will report to Class-A Great Lakes.

Colletti described Castellanos, a Texas League All-Star who hit .319 for Springfield, as an outfielder with power and speed. He ranked among the league leaders in homers, runs, batting average, RBIs and slugging percentage.

Gordon was in the Dodgers clubhouse Sunday, four weeks after his first stint in the major leagues ended. He hugged Juan Uribe and received a friendly tap on the shoulder from reliever Mike MacDougal while speaking with reporters.

"I'm going to come in and do the same thing I did the first time I was here," said Gordon, who was one for four during the Dodgers' 6-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. "I'm the same person, the same player. I just want to help the Dodgers win games."

Gordon will get his chance over the next two months after Furcal agreed to waive his no-trade rights to move to the contending Cardinals, who will pick up $1.4 million of the $3.9 million remaining on his contract for this season.

"Now he gets an opportunity to play, we get financial savings on it and most importantly we get to watch Dee Gordon and not have a situation where you have a veteran watching a kid play every day," Colletti said of Furcal, who ended his six-year Dodgers tenure having played the third-most games (608) at shortstop in franchise history.

Furcal never formally said goodbye to his teammates, slipping out of the Dodgers clubhouse during their game against the Diamondbacks on Saturday night.

"After I got done pitching," Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley said, "his locker was empty."

The Dodgers showed highlights of Furcal's walk-off hit against the Washington Nationals this season on their video board Sunday, eliciting polite applause as the trade was announced over the public-address system. First base coach Davey Lopes wore Furcal's No. 15, the number Lopes wore during his Dodgers career.

Furcal will get a chance to catch up with his former teammates Aug. 22 when the Dodgers open a three-game series in St. Louis.

"Maybe I'll get to pitch against him," Billingsley said, "so I look forward to that."

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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