A.J. Ellis: Life at the trade deadline

Updated: August 20, 2012, 12:34 PM ET
By A.J. Ellis

Buster Olney is on vacation this week, so he enlisted a group of players to write the lead of his column. Leading off the week is catcher A.J. Ellis from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ballplayers like to pretend we are unaffected by the media and their reporting, and few of us would admit to religiously checking websites like MLBTradeRumors and Twitter feeds looking for rumors, but we do. Thanks to the ability to obtain up-to-the-minute speculation via our smartphones, gossip flows throughout the clubhouse in July leading to the trade deadline. We are control freaks. We like to know what's going on, what possible moves will be made and how it will affect our team.

For us in Los Angeles, it wasn't a matter of if, but when and who. While the team was forced to be creative and financially flexible in the past, it was no secret that the Dodgers, near the top of the standings and under new ownership, were looking to make moves and go after the best players available. The team already had superstar talent Matt Kemp and the consistent gap-to-gap swing of Andre Ethier, but we needed another bat in our lineup to complement our All-Star outfielders.

On the morning of July 25, I woke up at our hotel in St. Louis and had a pair of new teammates; Hanley Ramirez, a three-time All-Star and former batting champ, and Randy Choate, a left-handed specialist who has dominated left-handed hitters for years, were now Dodgers. Here was our first move, and we get a middle-of-the-order bat and added bullpen depth to strengthen our roster. More important, this let the rest of baseball know that the Dodgers' ownership meant business. Anything was possible.