Sunday, November 6, 2011

2011 Los Angeles Dodgers off-season preview: Trade targets

In the last of my off-season previews, I look at potential trade targets. The Dodgers' minor-league system is rich with low-level pitching and MLB-average (at best) outfielders. Teams will be interested in pitching, but the Dodgers could (and should) go a different direction -- trading veterans.

Will they? Probably not. But there are some pieces on the market the team could certainly use.

Not surprisingly, there are no pitchers on this list. And yes, you will see some of these scenarios in my 2012 plan, which will drop this week.


C Chris Iannetta, COL
.238/.370/.414, 14 HR, 55 RBI, 102 OPS+
- Iannetta has good power potential and on-base abilities, but he doesn't hit enough on the whole. Still just 28, perhaps a change of scenery is in order for him.

What would it take to get him?
To Colorado: Ivan DeJesus, Javier Solano
To L.A.: Ianetta

Why it works for Colorado: The Rockies get a Major League-ready middle infielder and a relief prospect who's faced Double-A competition. Plus, it clears the way for Wilin Rosario.

Why it works for L.A.: The Dodgers take a chance on a catcher who, if he could put it all together, could be a force. He's a solid defender and would prevent the Dodgers from relying on solely A.J. Ellis and Tim Federowicz.

C Devin Mesoraco, CIN
.289/.371/.484, 15 HR, 71 RBI (Minors)
.180/.226/.360, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 57 OPS+ (Majors)
- Mesoraco is one of the best catching prospects in the game. So, why is he available? Well, he might not technically be available, but the Dodgers have a couple pieces that could intrigue the Reds.

What would it take to get him?
To Cincinnati: Ethier, Steve Ames
To Los Angeles: Mesoraco

Why it works for Cincinnati: Ramon Hernandez is a Type-A free agent and if the Reds don't offer him arbitration, he won't be back. If they do, however, there aren't going to be a lot of teams lining up to give up a first- or second-round draft pick to get him. But the Reds would be getting a middle-of-the-order bat in Ethier and a nearly Major League-ready reliever who had good success in at High-A and Double-A in 2011.

Why it works for L.A.: The catching void is filled with one of the best prospects in the game. The Reds also have Yasmain Grandal waiting in the wings. The Dodgers shouldn't be looking to trade Matt Kemp's only protection, but if it means filling a big hole, then it should be done. Also, losing Ames could hurt a little, but the Dodgers have a glut of right-handed pitching prospects (starters and relievers).

1B/LF Logan Morrison, FLA
.247/.330/.468, 23 HR, 72 RBI, 116 OPS+
- Morrison is the type of the guy the Marlins wouldn't normally make available (and they haven't). He was demoted to the minors for seemingly no apparent reason in August. Some speculated it was because he was outspoken on Twitter. If a team is that afraid of a player, they don't deserve to have him (yes, I'm editorializing).

What would it take to get him?
To Florida: Allen Webster, Alfredo Silverio, Shawn Tolleson
To Los Angeles: Morrison

Why it works for Florida: The Marlins get three guys close to the Majors, with Webster and Tolleson ranking in my Top 10 Dodgers' prospect list. Silverio is in the low-teens at this moment. The Marlins are always seemingly in the market for a center fielder. Silverio might best be suited for the corners, but he could get a look there. They also get a young starter and fire-balling reliever.

Why it works for L.A.: The Dodgers get a guy who is a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat and can play either left field or first base. In the Dodgers' case, he'd slot in at first base. Oh, and he's just 24 years old.

2B/3B Martin Prado, ATL
.260/.302/.385, 13 HR, 57 RBI, 89 OPS+
- This would be a case of buying low. Prado can play second or third base effectively, which is something the Dodgers could use. He had three consecutive seasons of .800-plus OPS from 2008 to 2010 before falling to .687 last season. The Braves have made him available and the Dodgers should be in on him.

The Braves are said interested in cutting payroll while acquiring a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat. The Dodgers have a person who fits the latter.

What would it take to get him?
To Atlanta: Andre Ethier
To Los Angeles: Prado, J.J. Hoover

Why it works for Atlanta: The Braves are in the market for a bat and have a big hole in left field -- the position Prado played most in 2011. Ethier, despite coming off knee surgery, would be a nice get for the Braves. The money might be the only factor with this trade.

Why it works for L.A.: The Dodgers clear up some room in the outfield for Jerry Sands and another player (I'm looking at you, Logan Morrison). Plus, Prado makes less, offering the Dodgers some payroll flexibility. They also acquire a solid right-handed back-of-the-rotation or relief prospect in Hoover.

3B Ian Stewart, COL
.156/.243/.221, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 21 OPS+ (Majors)
.275/.359/.591, 14 HR, 42 RBI (Minors)
- Prior to the 2010 season, the then-24-year-old was on the verge of stardom. Stewart was coming off a 25-home run campaign and looked to be putting it all together (despite a .228 batting average). His 2010 wasn't horrible, but he didn't improve much, if at all. His 2011 was disastrous. He never got on track and has likely worn out his welcome in Colorado.

What would it take to get him?
To Colorado: Aaron Miller
To Los Angeles: Stewart

Why it works for Colorado: The Rockies get a former No. 1 pick who still has a chance to be a starter but will more likely end up in the bullpen. Plus, Stewart doesn't appear to be in the Rockies' plans.

Why it works for Los Angeles: The Dodgers don't have to give up much to buy low on a guy who has solid potential.

3B David Wright, NYM
.254/.345/.427, 14 HR, 61 RBI, 114 OPS+
- This is the one not a lot of people are talking about. There always seems to be a guy who gets traded who comes out of nowhere. Wright could very well be that guy. He's owed $15 million in 2012 and has a 2013 club option for $16 million (with a $1 million buyout). The Mets are said to be looking for a young center fielder. No, the Dodgers aren't going to trade Kemp for him. And there aren't many high-upside center fielders in the Dodgers organization otherwise. But they have a corner outfielder and starting pitcher who could interest the Mets.

What would it take to get him?
To New York: Ethier, Billingsley
To Los Angeles: Wright

Why it works for New York: The Mets get a bat to seemingly replace Wright's in the lineup (albeit not at the same position) and a young starter who had a poor 2011. Both are prime for bounce-back seasons. The Mets would keep Billingsley long-term and they could collect draft picks for Ethier after 2012 if they don't wish to keep him.

Why it works for Los Angeles: The Dodgers get a cornerstone-type player who's had mediocre seasons (by his standards) two of the last three seasons. Plus, he is immediate protection for Kemp. The Dodgers save some money in 2012, but it also opens up a hole in the rotation.


I'd handicap the likeliness of a trade among the six players above like this:
  1. Ianetta
  2. Stewart
  3. Prado
  4. Morrison
  5. Mesoraco
  6. Wright
I'm a big Morrison fan, so I'd definitely want the Dodgers to explore that deal. I'm also intrigued by Prado. With the proposals above, the Dodgers could pull of both deals. Ianetta would be a nice acquisition, but the price tag (money wise) begins to get high. Mesoraco might be the most intriguing player of the bunch. Stewart would be a nice buy-low option. And if the Mets came to the Dodgers about a trade involving Wright, Ethier and Billingsley, they'd absolutely have to listen.

That does it for my 2011 off-season preview.

Next up: My 2012 plan.

Have thoughts? Leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. Logan Morrison? For three of those guys? HELL NO! That would go down as the worst trade in Dodgers history, are you crazy????