Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Off-season preview, part IV

So far, we've looked at Dodger free agents, arbitration-eligible young players and free agent possibilities. Now it's time for the fun stuff: A look at trade targets.

Before the trading deadline, the hot name was Roy Halladay. Former Blue Jay general manager J.P. Riccardi was outrageous with his trade demands -- at least from the Dodgers' point of view. Now that Halladay is only slated to pitch for a team, Toronto or otherwise, for one season significantly decreases his trade value.

Roy Halladay

Some players Toronto would be looking at:

Chad Billingsley, RHP - Who wouldn't want a 25-year-old all-star pitcher?
James McDonald, RHP - He might profile better as a reliever, but could still make it as a starter; was the No. 2 prospect heading into the season
Dee Gordon, SS - A Jimmy Rollins/Jose Reyes-type shortstop who had an outstanding season in the minors
Ethan Martin, RHP - First-round pick in 2008, Martin is one of the Dodgers' best pitching prospects and is in the mold of the afore mentioned Billingsley
Chris Withrow, RHP - Like Martin, a former first-rounder who had a breakout season and might be the Dodgers' best pitching prospect
Andrew Lambo, OF - He was the Dodgers' top-ranked prospect coming into the season and had a less-than-stellar campaign, but still has great talent
Josh Lindblom, RHP - The Dodgers' most MLB-ready pitcher, Lindblom had a solid season working as a starter and reliever
Ivan De Jesus, Jr., SS/2B - De Jesus lost his season after breaking his leg early in spring training, but has the best plate discipline of any Dodger minor leaguer
Nathan Eovaldi, RHP - Another of the Dodger right-handed prospects who had a solid season
Scott Elbert, LHP - Elbert still has talent, but his control is his only problem
Xavier Paul, OF - ML-ready outfielder who profiles best as a fourth outfielder
Chin-Lung Hu, SS - Like De Jesus, Hu could step in and play shortstop right now, but his bat will always be a question

The Dodgers would be awfully foolish to trade Billingsley in a deal for Halladay. If anything, they should be looking for Roy to mentor Chad, if acquired. Halladay's $15.75 million contract for 2010 could be a sticking point with the McCourt legal problems.

My proposal

To Toronto: Ethan Martin, James McDonald, Ivan De Jesus, Nathan Eovaldi
To Los Angeles: Roy Halladay

Why it works for Toronto: Martin is quickly becoming an elite pitching prospect while De Jesus could step in right now and play shortstop for the Jays. McDonald could slide into the bullpen or rotation, while Eovaldi could develop into another solid starter.

Why it works for LA: Roy Halladay is a horse and one of the best starting pitchers in baseball and could be a great mentor for Billingsley.

Another hot rumor that started up quickly before the deadline was Adrian Gonzalez. He would be an upgrade at first base and as much as I love James Loney, Gonzalez is about the only guy I'd replace Loney with (save Albert Pujols). The rumor was Loney, Russell Martin, Ivan De Jesus, James McDonald and Blake DeWitt for Gonzalez and Heath Bell. However, with the change of Padre ownership, trading the cost-effective Gonzalez without getting top-tier talent in return would be foolish.

Adrian Gonzalez

Here are some other guys to consider, as well as those already mentioned:

James Loney, 1B - With the acquisition of a first baseman, moving Loney is a must, unfortunately
Blake DeWitt, 3B/2B - A stellar third baseman, he was a key component in 2008 for the Dodgers, yet was lost in the shuffle last season
Russell Martin, C - Martin's bat has gone so far down that it's concerning, but he still draws a lot of walks and plays pretty solid defense behind the plate... not to mention how well he handles the pitching staff
Kyle Russell, OF - The Dodgers' best power prospect, Russell is in the mold of Adam Dunn, but with superior defense
Scott Van Slyke, OF - Had a breakout season and could shoot up the Dodger minor league rankings

My Proposal

To San Diego: James Loney, Blake DeWitt, Dee Gordon, Ethan Martin, Scott Elbert, Kyle Russell
To Los Angeles: Adrian Gonzalez, Heath Bell

Why it works for SD: Loney replaces Gonzalez while the Padres get two of the Dodgers' best prospects. DeWitt could step in and play 3B for SD, allowing them to move Kevin Kouzmanoff and his increasing price tag for other help. Elbert could slide into the pen or rotation for the Padres. Russell immediately becomes the Padres' best power prospect and it allows SD to trim the payroll a bit.

Why it works for LA: A 2-3-4-5 of Kemp-Ethier-Ramirez-Gonzalez is devastating. Plus, Gonzlaez is a great defensive first baseman. Also, Bell at the end of the Dodger pen makes it that much more deadly. The Dodgers cannot move Russell Martin without a viable replacement, which is why he isn't in this proposal.

Edwin Jackson

A speculative rumor out there is involving a former Dodger, Edwin Jackson. It's Jackson for George Sherrill.

My Proposal

To Detroit: George Sherill, Tim Sexton
To Los Angeles: Edwin Jackson

Why it works for Detroit: The Tigers are going to need a closer with Fernando Rodney likely to leave via free agency and Sherrill has experience closing in the American League. They also get a young, developmental arm in Sexton. In the long run, Jackson will end up costing more, money wise, than Sherrill will.

Why it works for LA: The Dodgers get a guy back that they should have not sold low on when they traded him for Danys Baez and Lance Carter. He could immediately step in and be the Dodgers' No. 3 starter.

Expanded Trade Proposal

To Detroit: George Sherill, Tim Sexton, Juan Pierre
To Los Angeles: Edwin Jackson, Carlos Guillen

Why it works for Detroit: Guillen is owed $26M over the next two seasons, while Pierre is owed $18.5M. This deal saves the Tigers money and gives them a lead-off hitter.

Why it works for LA: It works because Jackson is the main piece of the deal. Guillen would fit better at a corner infield spot, but would have to play 2B in LA.

Second base is going to be an issue for LA, as Orlando Hudson isn't likely to return. DeWitt could have a shot at the position, while Ronnie Belliard could be brought back. However, an upgrade at 2B is likely -- guys like Dan Uggla, Brandon Phillips and Carlos Guillen will be available.

Dan Uggla

I'm not an Uggla guy, but I could see the Dodgers getting him.

My Proposal

To Florida: Josh Lindblom, Chin-Lung Hu, Cole St. Clair
To Los Angeles: Dan Uggla

Why it works for Florida: The Marlins shed payroll and get two guys who can step in and play right away. Lindblom can serve as a starter or reliever. Hu could play SS if the Marlins decide to move Hanley Ramirez to 3B.

Why it works for LA: The Dodgers' second base hole is plugged, despite Uggla being a sub-par defensive 2B.

Brandon Phillips

Phillips is one of the best defensive 2Bs in baseball, has pop and speed. So, why do the Reds want to trade him? Because of his contract, of course. He is owed $23M over the next two years ($1M buyout in 2011, if necessary). I like him better than Uggla, basically because his glove is light years ahead.

My Proposal

To Cincinnati: Juan Pierre, Ivan De Jesus, Nathan Eovaldi
To Los Angeles: Brandon Phillips

Why it works for Cincinnati: The Reds save $4.5M, get a guy who could take Phillips' spot and a solid pitching prospect.

Why it works for LA: Fills the need at second base with a guy who can also hit.

Another rumor out there is A.J. Ellis for Alberto Callaspo. If there's any hint of truth to this, the Dodgers will get it done ASAP. Ellis is nothing more than a decent backup catcher and Callaspo had a great season last year for the Royals. He could be a valuable piece off the bench.

Now, there's no way all these trades happen, but it's just a look some of the guys the Dodgers should be targeting in the trade market, if they become available.

That concludes the off-season preview. I'll update the blog when there's any significant Dodger news. With the Hot Stove season quickly approaching, there should be lots of things to talk about.

Go Blue!

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