Brad Penny. There, I said it.
1. We're not going to land a big fish. The Blue Jays are either going to keep Roy Halladay or trade him to a prospect-rich team (i.e., not the Dodgers). Cliff Lee is so affordable for the next two years, the Indians would have to be bowled over to trade him. (Ned Colletti? Not the bowling type.) Javier Vazquez hates the West Coast so much he has a no-trade clause to teams there. (Fine. We didn't want you anyway.)
2. The Phillies just got deeper. Who knows how much Pedro Martinez has left in the tank? We're about to find out, because he just signed with the Phillies*, who are also the front-runners for Halladay. And if the Phillies end up signing Halladay, the road to the World Series goes through Philadelphia.
3. The Dodgers' internal options are dwindling. Eric Milton is probably out for the season. Eric Stults is progressing nicely from a thumb injury, but how many major-league starts can the Dodgers get him before the July 31 trading deadline? With Hiroki Kuroda yet to regain his rhythm and Jeff Weaver looking more comfortable out of the bullpen, the Dodgers' trade priority should be for a starter, not a reliever.
4. He's affordable. Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw have been mentioned in Halladay trade rumors, which is just robbing Peter, Paul & Mary. On the other hand, Penny probably wouldn't cost major-league talent. The Red Sox already have a surplus of starters and no major holes in their lineup (possibly excepting shortstop), so trading minor-leaguers should get a deal done.
5. It'll be just like old times. First order of business: Brad and Larry need to hug it out. Larry Bowa, that is. Larry sniped at Brad, then Brad sniped at Larry. It's time to restore order to the curmudgeonly universe. Then Eliza Dushku can dump Rick Fox and it'll be like Penny never left.
*UPDATE: and promptly went on the DL (ESPN.com).
UPDATE: Time To Bring Up Jason Schmidt (Eric Stephen, True Blue LA)