Mailbag #7: David Price, Relievers, Colletti, Kershaw Nickname

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Evan: “I noticed that the Bleacher Report did a little mock trade scenario, with each GM played by a BR employee. They had each mock GM make their most likely and best offer they would trade for Price given their teams’ prospects, needs, surpluses in certain areas where high-level prospects are blocked for the foreseeable future, etc. Anyway, the employee “playing” as Ned Colletti offered Joc Pederson, Zach Lee and Chris Anderson in exchange for Price (far and away the best offer on the table). I had a few questions for you stemming from one main concern, namely: in my opinion it seems like giving up Pederson AND Lee, not to mention Anderson; is a really high offer, especially compared to the types of prospects/packages other teams were willing and/or able to offer. Now, I know we have too many outfielders, but I was really hoping for a Matt Kemp, Puig, Pederson outfield for many, many years to come. Now, I can live with trading Lee if it gets us Price back in return. So, here are my questions: 1) What would you think of this trade: Pederson, Lee, and Anderson for David Price. If you were in Colletti’s shoes, would you pull the trigger, or do you think it’s paying too much?”

TL;DR. But seriously … First, I think you mean Baseball Prospectus. There will be no Bleacher Report sourcing ’round these parts. Chris Rodriguez, guest on the podcast and Dodger fan, played Ned Colletti and did indeed offer Pederson, Lee and Anderson for Price. I thought the Cardinals’ offer was strong, but there was more impact potential with the Dodger package. I honestly think that deal is a little light, and that was before Friday’s blockbuster trade involving the A’s and Cubs (which Mike broke down really well at FanGraphs). After seeing Addison Russell dealt for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, Andrew Friedman (Rays’ GM) was the happiest guy in baseball. There’s now a precedent set for a guy with 1.5 years left on his deal, and Price is a superior pitcher to Samardzija.

But back to the original question: Yes, I would do that deal in a heartbeat. It would hurt to lose Pederson, as he’s the best center fielder the Dodgers have closest to the majors. But it’s more and more likely the Dodgers aren’t going to trade one of their outfielders before July 31, so there really isn’t room for Pederson on the roster. I thought it before, but I’m even more convinced now: it would take two of Pederson, Julio Urias and Corey Seager to land David Price. That might be too much to pay for a team whose farm system is finally gaining traction and notoriety, and isn’t particularly deep on high-end talent.

Anthony: “Are the Dodgers ever going to man up and cut the dead reliever weight and bring up Paco and Elbert (when he’s ready)?”

One would hope so. This is reminiscent to last season when the Dodgers were able to trade Matt Guerrier to the Cubs. Once they did that, they recalled Chris Withrow and eventually recalled Jose Dominguez. Withrow was great and was pitching well this season before his elbow blew up. Dominguez had his struggles but is pitching well in Triple-A. The difference is, Paco Rodriguez has already shown what he can do against Major League hitters (not just lefties). He should have never been demoted to Triple-A, but because he has options and the Dodgers signed three relievers in the offseason, he was the odd man out. Now, Chris Perez is atrocious and Paul Maholm — despite pitching better since being removed from the rotation — still hasn’t been what the Dodgers were hoping for. They could easily be released and no one would shed a tear. They could be replaced with Rodriguez and any combination of players, such as Scott Elbert, Dominguez, Yimi Garcia or Pedro Baez. Elbert hasn’t pitched since Aug. 26, 2012, so I’m not sure they’re going to want to rush him back. Garcia has yet to make his debut and Baez had one (predictably) poor performance in the majors. If they do cut the dead weight, I’d replace Perez and Maholm with Rodriguez and Garcia.

Eric: “Help me understand how anyone would seriously suggest we should spend the (almost certain) high price to obtain another fifth starter when you basically don’t need one in the playoffs? Doesn’t make any sense to me.

This is in reference to Price. Slotting starting pitchers isn’t the best way to evaluate a rotation. If the Dodgers were to somehow acquire Price, he wouldn’t be their “fifth starter.” He’d slot in right behind Zack Greinke and give the Dodgers the best 1-2-3 rotation in recent years (Clayton Kershaw-Greinke-Price). That bodes well for a deep playoff run. Acquiring Price would improve the entire rotation, because Price is one of the very best pitchers in the game, and Dan Haren — who would get bumped in this scenario — is not. It’s about talent acquisition and even if the Dodgers don’t need another starter, if they have a reasonable chance to acquire one of the game’s best, they should be trying to do so.

Kent: “Hey guys, Love the new site layout, especially how you guys made it more prominent who authored a particular post. As for my question, do you guys still hate Ned Colletti? Has he redeemed himself? Or is he still the hellspawn of the Incompetent GM Devil?

Thanks! I’ve said it a few times, but Colletti isn’t nearly as bad as he’s made out to be. Yes, he was pretty awful early in his tenure (Jason Schmidt, Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, Carlos Santana, Octavio Dotel, etc.), but he’s been much better of late. The best prospect he has traded was Santana, followed by Nathan Eovaldi (for Hanley Ramirez). The Dotel deal was especially bad because of the value he gave up and the value he got in return. That’s been his biggest problem in trades. The Ramirez deal and Nick Punto trade have worked out well, as did the Ricky Nolasco deal. He signed Greinke and has stockpiled the roster with talent. It’s hard to “hate” him for doing that.

Ray: “Hey guys, So I’m huge on reading the latest rumors to get my hopes up about what superstar player will rock the blue next. Because as we all know Dodgers can probably afford every player during next months all star game. the names i hear a lot are David Price and Chase Utley. I’ve recently heard Adrian Beltre‘s name pop up. So among the three who’s most likely to come our way?

Of the three, Price is most likely. Not because of cost, but because of availability. Utley is a staple in Philadelphia, and Ruben Amaro, Jr., apparently doesn’t ever trade his veteran players (aside from Shane Victorino to the Dodgers, unfortunately), and that fanbase would react rather poorly to the team’s best player for a decade being traded. As for Beltre, it’d be prudent for the Rangers to shop him (as they’re going nowhere this season), but I just don’t think they’re going to do that. If they put him out there, though, they’re bound to get a ton of great offers for the potential future hall-of-famer. He’s signed through next season and has a vesting option for 2016, so the cost in prospects would be great, despite Beltre’s age (35).

Jonathan: “How is it that Clayton Kershaw doesn’t have an awesome, fear-inducing, swagger-laden nickname? Yes, I know that today’s nicknames are either “First Initial followed by Surname First Syllable” or sticking “King” in front of any name that’s anywhere close to monarchical, but doesn’t Kershaw deserve better? Better from you, from me, from the media?

Meh, I’m not a lover of nicknames. In fact, I think there are too many nicknames in sports in general. Basebal Reference lists his nickname as “The Claw” and his other well-known nickname is “Kid K” — both of which suck. Why can’t he just be “Clayton Kershaw”? I mean, that works. But if you must have a nickname, “Dabes” is probably, well, dabes.

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. 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 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.