Mailbag #32: De Leon/Dozier trade? No Gurriel? Colletti still in charge?

It’s a mailbag. It’s the 32nd mailbag … for real this time, right Chad? Use the form to the right to send us more. You can also email us at [email protected], or send us tweets @DodgersDigest.

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Kenneth: Do you know why LAD did not sign Lourdes Gurriel (who can play 3rd, 2nd, LF) and should be ready for majors mid-season 2017? Seems like a great fit for needs, modest cost even at $28MM for 7Y (well beyond what he was signed for).

Kenneth: LAD is now considering trading huge prospect talent for 2 years of Dozier at 2nd base. Do you know why LAD didn’t land Lourdes Gurriel last Nov? Gurriel would seem to be a perfect long term solution RH bat at 2nd for LAD, and he signed as a free agent (not part of the international pool) for just $22MM over 7 years. Perfect fit for position, talent, payroll … Why not beat the Jays offer ($25MM or so)?

Safe assumption this is the same person.

First of all, Lourdes Gurriel signed with the Blue Jays less than a month after his 23rd birthday for $22 million over seven years. It’s much less than his brother Yulieski Gurriel received from the Astros (five years, $47.5 million). The Dodgers were said to be interested in both of them and ended up with neither of them.

The easy reasoning for that is the scouting department and front office didn’t think they were worth the price tags. Yulieski would have been a more immediate fit for the Dodgers, but Lourdes provided some versatility and youth, yet didn’t get nearly as much as expected. Fact is, he just may not be that good. Sure, a $3.1 million annual investment isn’t much for a major leaguer, but Lourdes might be a utility player rather than the everyday second or third baseman some were led to believe.

It’s hard to scout players when there aren’t extensive looks at them, and the Dodgers’ luck with Cuban players of late hasn’t been great. Outside of Yasiel Puig, the likes of Erisbel Arruebarrena, Alex Guerrero, Pablo Fernandez and Hector Olivera haven’t really worked out. The jury is still out on Yadier Alvarez and Starling Heredia, but the MLB-ready signees have been less than impactful.

Given the choice between Brian Dozier for two years and $15 million or Lourdes Gurriel at seven years and $22 million, give me Dozier every single time. He is a proven MLB producer, while Gurriel is still quite unknown at this stage. His contract doesn’t exactly scream “MLB stud” because if he’s as good as some think, he would have received a lot more interest from other teams and would have signed a larger contract.

Jeff: Not that I don’t love Kenley, but 5 years for a relief pitcher is insane to me. That being said, it was a move we had to do. My question is, since Kenley can opt out after 3, is there anything above board the Dodgers can do to push him down that path, and would they?

I agree that five years is cringe-worthy for a reliever, but when it’s one of the two best in the game showing no signs of slowing down at age 29, I’m a little more OK with it. Kenley Jansen will give the Dodgers at least three years of elite-level production and, as long as he’s healthy, probably all five years — if he doesn’t opt out.

The best way to ensure he opts out is to perform well. He could go back on the market after his age-31 season and conceivably get another deal in excess of three years and worth a similar amount as to what he’s getting paid now. The exact terms of his $80 million deal are not yet known, so we don’t know how much money he’d be leaving on the table if he opts out.

The Dodgers won’t do anything to disrupt Jansen. He has been with this organization his entire career and showed in 2016 that he is dedicated to the team. Why the Dodgers would want to lead him down an opt-out path is beyond me. They are prepared to pay him the full $80 million over five years. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have offered him the contract.

Kenneth: JDL and others for Dozier – don’t do it! LAD might lose Kershaw after ’18, so they shouldn’t trade 7+ yrs of JDL, whose ceiling is #2 SP prospect (plus control, late movement on FB, very high K rate), for 2 yrs of Dozier! Mightn’t LAD bats be much improved vs LHP in ’17; e.g., right-handed platoons of Puig, SVS, Trayce in OF and Hernandez at 2nd (hoping he returns to ’15 form) and Barnes at C (assuming 12 pitchers in 25 roster)? I’d love Dozier, but elite prospects are too valuable to LAD (with such little access to elite draft picks)! Offer Brock Stewart & Calhoun & non-elites (e.g., Micah Johnson, Kyle Farmer), but not more elite prospects for Dozier. Comments?

Hey, it’s Ken again! Boy, he really doesn’t want the Dodgers to trade legit prospects for Dozier. That’s an understandable position.

There is the potential of the Dodgers getting better against lefties because there was a lot of under-performance from the guys Ken mentioned above — specifically Enrique Hernandez and Scott Van Slyke (also, Justin Turner, who was not mentioned). However, Dozier would be a much surer bet, and in order to get a player of that caliber, you have to give up really good prospects — especially since he’d be coming from the worst team in baseball. The Twins are in a full rebuild and aren’t going to trade their best asset without getting quality in return. Guys like Stewart and Willie Calhoun might be involved in a Dozier deal, but they’re not headlining it. It’ll take at least JDL to get to the starting line for a trade, which is why his name has been mentioned.

True, Jose De Leon has six or seven years of team control left, but there’s always risk (especially for pitchers) and everything would have to break right for him to be a No. 2 starter. Then again, there’s nothing wrong with a top-flight No. 3 starter. Those guys earn $15-plus million per season on the open market.

At some point, however, the prospect capital must be cashed in. There are only so many roster spots on a World Series-contending team, so trading guys like De Leon, Stewart, et al, makes sense. There are plenty of lower-level prospects who could take the place of the departed prospects sooner than later, and there will always be prospects. The quality of prospect depends on a team’s scouting and player development staffs, and the Dodgers have been pretty adept at identifying talent and developing it (the former more than the latter). So in this scenario, unless the team believes the prospect is irreplaceable, it makes sense to surrender him for an All-Star caliber player that’s already established.

Justin: What would the team look like today if Ned Colletti was still in charge?

This could be an entire article by itself, but I’ll try to parse it down to a few grafs.

Ned Colletti was out as the Dodgers’ general manager on Oct. 14, 2014. According to Baseball-Reference, his last transaction as Dodger GM was trading cash considerations for Justin Germano. Who knows how much of what happened afterward would have gone down if Colletti were still in charge.

First of all, I’m pretty convinced Yasmani Grandal would not be a Dodger. I’m not necessarily saying Matt Kemp would still be in Dodger Blue (though, it’s highly likely since Ned signed him to that contract), but I don’t think there’s any way Ned pulls the trigger on that deal. Oh, and Dee Gordon is also still a Dodger. That probably means no Howie Kendrick trade or Chase Utley trade come August of 2015.

Adam Liberatore might not have been acquired from the Rays, but Joel Peralta would absolutely have been acquired from the Rays. Brandon McCarthy may or may not be a Dodger (see Jason Schmidt), while Jimmy Rollins would have certainly been the team’s starting shortstop in 2015. And Brian Wilson would have been allowed to struggle through half of 2015 because the Dodgers were paying him $9.5 million anyway. I doubt Brett Anderson would have been signed, and certainly not for $10 million.

Zack Greinke would be back, right? Well, I’m not even sure Ned would have given Greinke that contract — at least, Stan Kasten wouldn’t have allowed it. Remember, Colletti was excluded from the Clayton Kershaw contract extension talks, as chronicled in The Best Team Money Can Buy, while Kasten was the driving force behind that deal.

There is no Alex Wood trade. There is no Frankie Montas/Trayce Thompson trade. Cole Hamels might be a Dodger, but Colletti also did a good job of not dealing big-name prospects during his tenure. If Hamels or even David Price are on board, one of Joc Pederson, Corey Seager or Julio Urias are Phillies or Rays right now (most likely Joc). Scott Kazmir might still be signed, but it depends if Greinke (or another big-name starter) is in the fold.

Just know that the fringes of this organization wouldn’t be as strong if Colletti were still in charge (unless Kasten basically took the reins). Maybe the Dodgers would actually get to the World Series anyway because this is all made up, but their future wouldn’t be as bright with Colletti around (hate to see the payroll situation in this hypothetical), especially as it is now with Andrew Friedman, Farhan Zaidi and Co. running the show.

The ships would absolutely be burned, though.

Paul: Who or what is Purple Drank? (The Dodgers fan, not the unspeakable concoction.)

Funny you should ask. I have confirmed, via many sources, that Purple Drank is actually Ned Colletti. This explains so, so much.

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That’s it for this edition. Here’s hoping for a few more of these throughout the offseason.

Chad’s Note: Lol.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He does contracts and depth charts for FanGraphs and is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a one-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, California, and has yet to be shot.