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The Dodgers Got Better Overnight

Yes, despite some pretty horrendous defending by Manny Ramirez and a loss to the cellar-dwelling Diamondbacks, the Dodgers suddenly look a lot deeper and more formidable for the postseason, thanks to two last second moves that added significant pieces to their puzzle just before the deadline for players to be made eligible for postseason rosters.

Sure, L.A. was not alone, but picking up Jon Garland as a back of the rotation starter and Jim Thome as a power hitting left-handed bat off the bench could both prove to be significant moves in getting Los Angeles closer to the promised land. As a few different analysts have noted today, Thome is exactly the kind of bench piece that Dodgers Manager Joe Torre loves to keep up his sleeve, a player with the power to completely change what the other manager is thinking and planning.

Meanwhile, Garland finally provides the depth and some of the leadership that the Dodgers have been trying to add to the starting rotation for months. He was a strong supporting piece on the White Sox's run to the 2005 World Series and, though he's scuffled since, Garland has put together some solid outings and delivered his best month of the season ... by far ... in August. After a rocky first four months in the NL, Garland looked eerily like the guy he was last year in Anaheim, if not the pitcher he was in his hey day in Chicago.

Did other teams make moves? Of course. Colorado added another White Sox passenger, Jose Contreras, who was kicked out of Chicago's rotation last week with a woeful 5-13 record. And the Giants added a fellow AL rotational offload, signing recently released Red Sox starter Brad Penny to a minor league deal.

Of the three NL West teams, which made the best moves? It seems hard to argue that Contreras or Penny could be as significant as the combination of Garland and Thome, but perhaps we're underestimating them. After all, both men have World Series wins on their resume (Contreras was 3-1 in the 2005 World Series, Penny famously was 2-0 for the Marlins with a 2.19 ERA in the 2003 World Series win over the Yankees).

So, while you're pondering how the non-waiver trading deadline has become the softest of all soft deadlines, think a little bit about which NL West and Wild Card contender did the most to help themselves out, and then let us know below.

By Cameron Smith  |  September 1, 2009; 12:24 PM ET
Categories:  Diamondbacks , Dodgers , Giants  | Tags: Brad Penny, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Jim Thome, Jon Garland, Jose Contreras, Red Sox, White Sox, trade  
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