Friday, November 5, 2010

2010 Los Angeles Dodger off-season preview, part V

This concludes my five-part off-season preview for the Los Angeles Dodgers. I have chosen four players who are on the trade block and what I think it would take/what I would give up to get them.

These trades aren't intended to deplete the underrated Dodger farm system; just a look at what it might take. The Dodgers could come away with none of these guys, and I think getting more than one is idealistic.


RHP Zack Greinke, KC

2010: 10-14, 4.17 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 7.4 K/9
- Greinke was the 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner after going 16-8 with a minuscule 2.16 ERA and 1.07 WHIP -- both of which lead the AL.

He took a step back in 2010, but still had a somewhat decent season: 10-14, 4.17 ERA, 1.24 WHIP. This is either a trend or just a bad season. I'm inclined to go with the latter.

It's been said Greinke doesn't want to pitch in a big media market due to his previous bout with social anxiety disorder and depression. Whether or not that is true remains to be seen. Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman tweeted, saying people close to Greinke don't think he'd accept a trade to New York. While Los Angeles is a big market, the media isn't anywhere near as harsh as it is in New York, Boston or Chicago. That's a plus in the Dodgers' column.

One stumbling block is Greinke can block trades to 15 teams due to a clause in his contract. It is unknown which teams are on the list. If the Dodgers are on the list, it doesn't mean a trade is impossible -- Greinke would just have to approve it first.

What would it take to get him?

To Kansas City: SS Dee Gordon, OF/1B Jerry Sands, RHP Ethan Martin, OF Kyle Russell
To Los Angeles: RHP Zack Greinke

Why it works for Kansas City: The Royals nab their shortstop of the future in Gordon, a power-hitting 1B/OF/DH in Sands, a right-hander who still has a lot of potential in Martin and a powerful outfielder in Russell. The Royals have one of the best farm systems in baseball and this trade would only make it better. Plus, the Royals save $27 million, as Greinke is due $13.5 million in 2011 and 2012.

Why it works for L.A.: The Dodgers land a potential ace to team up with Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley. Greinke would flourish in the friend confines of Dodger Stadium and aside from a few columnist (jokes), he wouldn't feel much heat from the media. Giving up Gordon and Sands is a high price to pay, but if the Dodgers really want Greinke, they'd have to do it.

RHP Matt Garza, TB
15-10, 3.91 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 6.6 K/9
- The Rays are looking to trim payroll. Garza is eligible for arbitration and Tampa has a glut of young pitching. Garza is a big-game pitcher and would slot in nicely as the Dodgers' No. 4 starter.

I proposed a trade in my pessimistic Matt Kemp trade post a few weeks ago.

To Tampa Bay: Matt Kemp, Kyle Russell
To Los Angeles: B.J. Upton, Matt Garza

I'm feeling a little better about Kemp remaining a Dodger, but anything can happen.

When Garza was acquired by Tampa for Delmon Young, some people scratched their heads. Three years later, despite Young's solid 2010, the Rays won this deal. Now they could be looking to turn Garza into another win on the trade market.

What would it take to get him?

To Tampa Bay: OF Brian Cavazos-Galvez, 2B Ivan De Jesus, RHP Ethan Martin
To L.A.: RHP Matt Garza

Why it works for TB: The Rays grab three prospects while shedding themselves of Garza's potential $5 million salary for guys who will make league-minimum money. They get a potential impact prospect in Martin, a powerful outfielder in Cavazos-Galvez and a Major League-ready infielder in De Jesus.

Why it works for L.A.: The Dodgers give up solid prospects, including one who was ranked in everyone's top 10 coming into 2010 for a solid No. 3 or 4 starter who is under team control for another two seasons.

1B Adrian Gonzalez, SD
.298/.393/.511, 31 HR, 101 RBI
- Gonzalez is one of the best first basemen in baseball and perennially underrated. The Dodgers had discussion with San Diego before the 2009 trade deadline, but nothing came to fruition.

Gonzalez is a free agent after the 2010 season and there is already talk Padres' General Manager Jed Hoyer will listen to offers for the first baseman (and closer Heath Bell). Plus, he's bound to get a huge deal on the open market, making it likely the Padres cannot afford him. They could be looking to trade him sooner, rather than later.

Gonzalez makes $5.5 million this season and could make three- to four times that on the open market next winter. The Red Sox have been hot for Gonzalez for quite some time. The Dodgers have to compete with them and their overrated farm system. Also, the Padres aren't as likely to deal him within the NL West if there are other options.

What would it take to get him?

To San Diego: 1B James Loney, SS Dee Gordon, RHP Chris Withrow, RHP Josh Lindblom or LHP Scott Elbert
To L.A.: 1B Adrian Gonzalez

Why it works for SD: The Padres get a replacement for Gonzlaez (Loney), their shortstop of the future in Gordon, a right-hander who came into the 2010 season as a top-three Dodger prospect and a close-to-the-majors bullpen arm in either Lindblom or Elbert.

Why it works for L.A.: While it would suck to lose Gordon, getting an impact, middle-of-the-order bat is something that should entice the Dodgers. With Gonzalez not being signed long-term, the Dodgers might not have to give up as much for the slugger.

2B Dan Uggla, FLA
.287/.369/.508, 33 HR, 105 RBI
- Did you know "Uggla" means "owl" in Swedish? Uggla is coming off his best season as a big leaguer in 2010. He's entering his final year of arbitration and the Marlins are always looking to trim salary. While he isn't much with the glove, his bat speaks for itself.

Since debuting in 2006, Uggla has done nothing but OPS .805 or higher every season. He showed some encouraging signs this season, too. His batting average increased 44 points to .287 (career-high) and his on-base percentage increased 15 points to .369 (also a career-high). His walk rate decreased a little in 2010, but he still had a career high in OPS (.877) and OPS+ (130).

What would it take to get him?

To Florida: OF Trayvon Robinson, 2B Ivan De Jesus, RHP Josh Lindblom
To L.A.: 2B Dan Uggla

Why it works for Florida: The Marlins trim salary, as Uggla could make as much as $11- or $12 million in arbitration. They also get a Major League-ready replacement in De Jesus, a potential impact and top-of-the-order center fielder in Robinson and an arm ready for the 'pen in Lindblom.

Why it works for L.A.: The Dodgers get a powerful bat at an unexpected position. With the Dodgers lacking power at certain positions (LF, 3B, 1B), a 2B with pop is quite intriguing. He may have stone hands, but he can't be much worse than Jeff Kent at 2B, right? I would really hate to lose Robinson, but if it means landing Uggla, it might be worth it.


Of all the players analyzed above, I'd say the Dodgers have the best chance of landing Uggla, despite his high price tag. The next three in order of likeliness: Garza, Greinke and Gonzalez (lots of "G's").

The Dodgers are going to have to get creative in the trade market, as free agency probably isn't going to land much in terms of impact players. If the Dodgers can somehow, some way come out with, say, Garza and Uggla (without giving up too much), it could be a successful off-season.

I'm sure there will be some "lesser" trade targets, which is where the creative element comes in. I think back to 2004 when Paul DePodesta acquired Jayson Werth before the season for Jason Frasor. I'm hoping the Dodgers can do something like that. Then again, this is Ned Colletti, not DePodesta, so I wouldn't hold my breath.

I'll post my complete off-season plan in the next few days.


  1. Uggla had a career year and is not going to get better defensively. He is more suited as a DH in a couple years. Marlins are loaded in the OF with Maybin, Coghlan, Stanton, and Morrison. They do not need another OF so the offer is a RP who is not valued at this time and a 2B with no pop.

    I don't really want Uggla, but De La Rosa, Gordan, and De Jesus would be a closer offer IMO.

    Keep the ideas coming though, enjoy reading speculation!

  2. Just to add, if we were to contact the Marlins about a trade, here is the deal I would propose:

    To Florida: OF T Robinson, LHP Scott Elbert, RHP Ethan Martin, RP Josh Linblom
    To L.A.: 1B Logan Morrison, SP Ricky Nolasco

    Why it works for Florida: The Marlins Have not been able to come to terms with Nolasco and he has reached "Super Two" status in arbitration. Martin gives them another power righty in the system and helps cut cost. Elbert gives them a Loogy/setup guy they desperately need. Robinson replaces Logan as 4th OF, Linblom has high ceiling though a gamble.
    Why it works for L.A.: The Dodgers get a#4 SP who should slot nicely and we can offer an arbitration buyout of 4 yr 28MM. Morrison can play 1B or LF (much like Sands) and gives us the ability to move Loney for #5. Morrison's low low K rate and projected power fits well at 1B, also we replace Loney's LHB.

    Overall I think this trade works better than Garza, because we can pick up a 1B guy at the same time.

  3. Thanks for the comments. Yeah, I forgot about Morrison playing LF because of Sanchez's success. It just seems like the Marlins have been looking for a CF for quite some time. Maybin hasn't been able to establish himself as their CF of the future. We'll see.

    I'd love to nab Nolasco, but it'd probably more than that to land him and Morrison. I'm not sure Florida would be interested in dealing the young lefty, in case Sanchez regresses.

  4. Well if Nolasco contract talks go badly enough... we definately need some creativity out of the front office!

    Besides Morrison, Yonder Alonso and Allen Craig are two guys who can play 1B and are blocked by Votto and Pujols respectively. Either one would work for me.

  5. I'd pass on Allen Craig. Alonso could be trade bait, but Cincinnati would surely be looking for pitching in return.

    I really don't see the Fish dealing Morrison.

    You are right, though. The front office is going to have to be quite creative this off-season. With Colletti running the show, I'm not sure it's possible.