Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What could the Dodgers get for Hiroki Kuroda?

This is much like my "Trade Ethier" post from last month.

Hiroki Kuroda is becoming a hot commodity on the trade market. The teams reported to have interest in him include the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Diamondbacks, Tigers and Indians.

Kuroda has a full no-trade clause and can veto a deal to any team. Peter Gammons reported Kuroda is unlikely to accept a trade to an East Coast team.

I examined Kuroda's value in a post earlier this month. He's a solid pitcher and would give any rotation a boost. Let's go through some potential trade scenarios.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Not many thought the D-Backs would be in contention this year, but they're 3.5 games behind the Giants in the NL West. They need a starter and stand the best chance to land Kuroda. And the Dodgers and Diamondbacks are no strangers when it comes to trades. The two clubs came together on three trades in the last eight years.

2004: Reggie Abercrombie, Koyie Hill and Bill Murphy for Steve Finley and Brent Mayne
2005: Shawn Green for Dioner Navarro, Danny Muegge, William Juarez and Beltran Perez
2009: Tony Abreu for Jon Garland

In 2004, the Dodgers nearly landed Randy Johnson from the D-Backs before settling on just Finley.

Who would the Dodgers be interested in?
3B Bobby Borchering, 3B Matt Davidson, 1B Paul Goldschmidt, RHP Jarrod Parker, LHP Tyler Skaggs

Proposal
To Arizona: Kuroda
To Los Angeles: Goldschmidt, 3B Ryan Wheeler

- There's no way the Dodgers are getting Parker, Skaggs or Davidson for three months of Kuroda. However, acquiring Kuroda is going to cost the Diamondbacks a little more than it would other teams, seeing as the teams play in the same division. Goldschmidt leads the Southern League in home runs and Wheeler is a decent third base prospect -- a position at which the Dodgers have no legitimate prospect. He went to Loyola Marymount.

Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox are the most loaded team in baseball, but their rotation is a mess right now. Kuroda would be a welcome addition, especially if Clay Buchholz doesn't come back and John Lackey continues to suck.

Who would the Dodgers be interested in?
OF Ryan Kalish, C Ryan Lavarnway, SS/2B Jed Lowrie, 3B Will Middlebrooks

Proposal
To Boston: Kuroda
To Los Angeles: Lavarnway, Middlebrooks

- Middlebrooks is having a nice season at Double-A (.317/.359/.517) but is blocked by Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz. Lavarnway, a local kid (Burbank), is OPS'ing .981 between two levels in the minors. There are concerns about his defense behind the plate, though. Kuroda would slide in as the Sox No. 3 starter behind a healthy Jon Lester and Josh Beckett. Boston might have to give up more than it wants to keep Kuroda out of pinstripes.

Cleveland Indians
Like Arizona, no one thought Cleveland would contend. Reports are they're interested in pitching, but a bat might suit them better. They were another one of the teams I included in the "Trade Ethier" post. But they could also use a pitcher, as Fausto Carmona has been massively disappointing this season.

Who would the Dodgers be interested in?
LHP Nick Hagadone, 2B Jason Kipnis, RHP Jason Knapp, C Lou Marson, C Chun-Hsui Chen

Proposal
To Cleveland: Kuroda
To Los Angeles: Kipnis, Hagadone, Chen

- Kipnis is a solid 2B prospect and would likely start at 2B in 2012. Hagadone could join the Dodgers' bullpen next season and Chen is a long-term prospect. The Indians solidify their rotation with a solid veteran presence for the stretch run, as the AL Central is quite winnable.

Detroit Tigers
The Tigers seem to be the team most interested in Kuroda, but their farm system is the least intriguing of the six reportedly interested teams. That makes sense, seeing as they're running Brad Penny out there every fifth day and Rick Porcello has yet to recapture his 2009 success.

Who would the Dodgers be interested in?
3B Nick Castellanos, LHP Casey Crosby, 3B Francisco Martinez, RHP Ryan Perry

Proposal
To Detroit: Kuroda
To Los Angeles: Martinez, Perry

- Castellanos is one of the best 3B prospects in baseball, so it's unlikely the Tigers would part with him. Perry, a 2008 first-round pick, was good in his first two seasons but has struggled a lot this season. He still has a good arm. Martinez is holding his own as a 20-year-old in the Eastern League (Double-A). Kuroda immediate slots in behind Justin Verlander and would, in theory, help the Tigers take the division.

New York Yankees
The Yanks are seemingly in on everyone. They have a few prospects the Dodgers would be interested in and they wouldn't have to give up nearly as much for Kuroda as opposed to someone like Ubaldo Jimenez.

Who would the Dodgers be interested in?
3B Brandon Laird, C/1B Jesus Montero, C Austin Romine, C Gary Sanchez, LHP Adam Warren

Proposal
To New York: Kuroda
To Los Angeles: Laird, Romine

- Let's be real; the Yanks are not dealing Montero for Kuroda (unfortunately). Romine is the most well-rounded catcher of the Yankee trio. Laird is a lot better than anything the Dodgers have at 3B in the minors (and the majors, for that matter). Kuroda would run reclamation projects Bartolo Colon or Freddy Garcia from the rotation.

Texas Rangers
The Rangers are the hottest team in baseball right now and are somehow doing it all even after losing Cliff Lee this offseason. They could still use a rotation upgrade, which is something Kuroda would provide.

Who would the Dodgers be interested in?
LHP Robert Erlin, C Kellin Deglan, 3B Michael Olt, RHP Neil Ramirez, LHP Robert Ross, RHP Tanner Scheppers

Proposal
To Texas: Kuroda
To Los Angeles: Olt, Ramirez

- If I sound like a broken record, I apologize, but the Dodgers minor-league 3Bs are bad. Olt is immediate the best of the bunch. Ramirez is enjoying a lot of success in the Pacific Coast League. Kuroda steps in to bring a veteran presence to the Rangers' rotation that includes youngsters Matt Harrison, Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando.

Conclusion
Lots of interesting options here. The deal that works best is the Diamondback deal, not just for the Dodgers' needs, but for Kuroda's reported preference. The deals with Boston, New York, Cleveland and Detroit are less likely to happen if Kuroda truly doesn't want to go to the East Coast. If GM Ned Colletti was smart (which we all know he is not), he would cash in on the big time interest in Kuroda. It won't help him save his job, but neither will standing pat or, *gulp* buying.

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