When the group headed by the Guggenheims and Magic Johnson purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers from the much-maligned Frank McCourt this past winter for a record $2.15-billion, there was much speculation that the Dodgers would immediately become the Yankees of the west coast. Expectations were tempered slightly because of their seemingly mediocre roster and terrible farm system. A slight rebuild could have been said to be in order before pushing all in with big, expensive acquisitions.

This was before the Dodgers reeled off the best record in baseball for the first two months of the 2012 season, staking themselves to a four game lead over the San Francisco Giants heading into today.

Now, according to CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler, the Dodgers are already looking to make a splash on the trade market, eyeing a pitcher and a hitter before the trade deadline. It’s expected that they will be heavily involved in the offseason for Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels, should he become a free agent, but Knobler suggests that they will be big players in the coming weeks for Red Sox corner infielder Kevin Youkilis and Cubs righthander Ryan Dempster.

The inevitable problem for the Dodgers when discussing their ability to acquire a big name player or two before the deadline is their lack of prospect depth. The Dodgers simply do not have the chips to acquire a pitcher like Matt Garza or Zack Greinke, but Youkilis and Dempster could be more realistic targets.

Neither player will require a fool’s bounty to acquire considering that their current teams will be looking for salary relief as much as potential return. Still, it’s unlikely that either team is willing to give away their players for close to nothing.

Watching what the Dodgers will do in the next two months will be very interesting. Their 33-20 start is very likely unsustainable, but the competition in the NL West isn’t exactly robust. If they can play close to .500 baseball from here on out, they’ll finish with 87 or 88 wins, which should be enough to outlast the Giants and heavily regressed Diamondbacks. Grabbing a player like Youkilis or a pitcher like Dempster would go a long way to ensuring that will happen.

And the rest:

The Dodgers aren’t the only team rumoured to be in on Youkilis. Both the Phillies and Diamondbacks have pro scouts in Toronto this weekend to monitor the portly walk machine [Nick Cafardo, Twitter].

There was a terrible shooting at Toronto’s Eaton Centre yesterday. One person is dead and seven are injured. Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie was at the mall at the time and was one of the first to break the news to many Torontonians via Twitter [Dustin Parkes, Getting Blanked].

Here’s a video of Lawrie speaking about the incident from the Toronto Star:

Yorvit Torrealba lost his fool mind last night after home plate umpire Tim McClelland called Mike Trout safe at home on a sac fly attempt. McClelland appeared to get the call wrong, partly due to the fact that he was standing about 15 feet away from the play, but Torrealba’s reaction is priceless [MLB.com].

The Astros were the first team to exploit a loop hole created by Major League Baseball in the latest CBA. When the Astros are the first team to do anything smart, the times they are a-changin’ [Matthew Pouliot, NBC Hardball Talk].

Should the Twins consider trading Josh Willingham? [Nate Gilmore, Puckett’s Pond].

Brett Lawrie needs to play smarter [Matthew Pouliot, NBC Hardball Talk].

Giants lovable third baseman Pablo Sandoval may have done something entirely unlovable [Andrew Baggerly, CSN Bay Area].

Since 2004, the Blue Jays are 67-80 in Interleague Play [Dave Perkins, Toronto Star]. Yet another reason to abolish it.

According to an actual, for real Major League Baseball General Manager, Mike Trout is better than Albert Pujols right now. According to the same GM, Mark Trumbo is nearly as good as Trout. This would lead us to believe that Albert Pujols is the second-best first baseman on the Angels right now. And we thought all the dumb GMs were out of the game [Sam Miller, Baseball Prospectus].

In his Sunday column, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo says that the Twins will entertain trade offers for first baseman Justin Morneau.

In that same column, Cafardo suggests that the Royals have increased Jonathan Broxton’s trade value by allowing him to pitch on consecutive days—something they’ve been reluctant to do with him so far this year. Broxton has been a pleasant surprise for KC, posting a 1.74 ERA in 20.2 innings.

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