According to MLB.com, the Dodgers have traded for Baltimore Orioles closer George Sherrill. The team reportedly gave up minor leaguers Josh Bell and Steve Johnson, and they will use Sherrill in a setup role.
I have lukewarm feelings about this deal, and I like the analysis from Jon Weisman's LA Times blog, which is linked above. George Sherrill undoubtedly makes the Dodger bullpen better. He gives the team a needed left-handed arm, and he's a considerable upgrade over someone like Brent Leach. I'll go as far to say that I feel slightly more comfortable with him in the 8th inning than Ramon Troncoso. So I do feel like the Dodgers are a better today than yesterday.
That being said, Sherrill is a pitcher with a mixed track record.
He has had weight problems throughout his career and has historically worn down in the second half. His career ERA is 2 runs higher after the All-Star Break than before it.
He really collapsed in the second half of last season for Baltimore and got off to a terrible start this year. Sherrill lost his closer job early in the year, only to get it back and pitch extremely well. His ERA went from 5.87 all the way down to 1.99, before creeping up to 2.45 recently, and he has an impressive 39 strikeouts in 41.1 innings with a 1.14 WHIP. He has a rather unique delivery that makes it difficult for batters to hit his slider.
I really cannot say too much about the prospects the Dodgers gave up in Bell and Johnson. I've never seen either play, but both are having good seasons. Bell has sometimes been at the bottom of top-10 Dodger prospect listings I've never seen Johnson on the list. Usually teams know their own system best, but you never know if an Orioles scout saw something he really liked in either player.
I do wonder though if the Dodgers could have given up slightly less to acquire John Grabow from Pittsburgh, who I think could have been just as effective down the stretch. Grabow may not have the "closer" designation, and his name might not be as sexy as Sherrill's, but he's a lefty setup man who can get guys out. I'd also like to see Scott Elbert get more of an opportunity (maybe even get to start). Ronald Belisario, who has been very good this year, will return from the DL soon too.
I know a lot of Dodger fans want Roy Halladay (and heck, I do too), but it appears that the Blue Jays asking price is too high to get a deal done with any team, let alone the Dodgers.
Overall, I think the Sherrill deal marginally helps the Dodgers, and the price seems appropriate. I do question though if acquiring him was the best option they had available.