Mailbag #27: Hamels Trade, Greinke In 2016, Mets Trade, Frias Pen, Looking Ahead

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Maceo: Johnny Cueto, Cole Hamels, David Price, or another possible ace … would you trade Julio Urias for any of these?

I can throw out Cueto and Price right away, because paying a top-10 prospect in the MLB for a rental is just foolishness. Hamels, on the other hand, is intriguing since over the last five years he’s a top-10 pitcher in the MLB. Additionally, his contract is under market value and he’s under team control until at least 2018.

That said, he is 31, is currently hurt (minor), and he is making $22.5 million annually over the next three seasons, which cuts into how much value the team is acquiring over, say, keeping Urias and just dumping trucks of cash in front of house of Price, Cueto, or Jordan Zimmermann. For a team on a strict budget, Hamels’ contract actually being quite a bargain has a ton of value. For the Dodgers? Maybe not so much.

Going back to the question, would I trade Urias for Hamels? Unlike how I suspect the front office of the Dodgers and many analysts and fans may feel, I probably would do it … in a vacuum that only considers value-for-value. However, that’s not the reality, as there are other options available on the market for this year. Thus, I’m guessing if the team can’t trade a combination of lesser prospects for Hamels, they’ll end up dealing some of those said lesser prospects for a rental in Cueto or Price instead.

Tom: If Hamels is available, who would you propose in a trade that Philly would deem acceptable, or would they simply ask for too much?

I honestly think they end up asking for too much in the form of either Corey Seager or Urias.

What would I part with? Almost any other combination of three or four other prospects in the system. Something like Jose De Leon, Chris Anderson, Zach Lee, and Cody Bellinger, I guess? I’d just want to avoid giving up both De Leon and Grant Holmes. Either way, a trade like that would strip the system of a ton of depth and a pitcher in De Leon who I’m convinced is a rotation candidate sooner than later, which would suck, but you’re getting Cole freaking Hamels for the MLB club, so I can’t think of a better use of prospects. Problem is, I don’t think it’s enough, nor do I think there’s that sexy marquee prospect name that the Phillies will want to show to their fans (I do think De Leon will be hyped on prospect lists a lot more starting next year). Another team will likely make a better offer is basically what I’m assuming.

Let’s hope Ruben Amaro Jr. is as incompetent as everybody assumes he is! Just like I would trade the entire farm system to see Giancarlo Stanton hit dingers out of Dodger Stadium all year. Irrational? Yes! Awesome? YES!

Ron: I sincerely hope the Dodgers don’t make a trade for a big-name starter, or worse, a stop-gap like Aaron Harang. They have talent in the pipeline and it is now time to start using that talent (and no, I don’t mean Urias). Mike Bolsinger, Lee, and Joe Wieland should all be given chances to fill in while Hyun Jin Ryu and Brandon Beachy rehab. Trading for a big name only closes the door on a prospect. I think the time has come to start relying on homegrown talent.

Fair perspective, and I actually agree with you, but usually you want those prospects competing for one rotation spot, not two or three (if Brett Anderson inevitably gets hurt). I have no problem with letting that collection of potential back-of-the-rotation guys duke it out for the #5 slot, but it’s not like these are elite arms we’re talking about that necessarily deserve a middle rotation spot and a ton of patience. Also, the idea of letting prospects take key roles is always what people say they want, but they rarely want to have the patience to deal with the growing pains. I still remember how many people assumed Joc Pederson was gonna bust just cause he had a poor cup of coffee last year.


Alex: The Dodgers seem to have a surplus of third basemen and a need for starting pitching depth, while the Mets have great starting depth but need a 3B with the David Wright injury. What are the most likely trades between the two teams?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Mets have to trade for Justin Turner back after letting him go?

Honestly though, I don’t see a trade here. I’d rather the Dodgers just go with the in-house options over trading for Dillon Gee, and while Jon Niese is solid, I still see him as more of a back-end guy. Not sure Bartolo Colon and his dropping velocity should be considered at this point in his career either, and dreams of acquiring any of the Mets’ younger arms is a pipe dream. Also, I seriously doubt the Mets trade for Turner back just for ego reasons, Alex Guerrero basically can’t be dealt cause then he would hit free agency after the season, and Hector Olivera is going nowhere.

Well, all that and Turner has a .400+ wOBA so far this year.

Sara: Bolsinger and Frias have both performed above expectations. When/if Beachy arrives to claim a spot, and assuming no further injuries to starters, which one gets bumped from the rotation?

Carlos Frias is probably getting bumped, because despite being much better than expected as a starter, I think he’s a long-term multiple-inning reliever type and that he can excel in said role. I’m inching closer to believing Bolsinger is legit as a back-end starter type, maybe not at the low-3 FIP level he’s currently at, but a quality option nevertheless. Furthermore, a lot of Frias’ struggles with command and adding/subtracting velocity/pitches can be mitigated by a move to the bullpen where he throws a couple innings at most and can ramp his fastball up to the high-90s.


Blaise: Do you think Zack Greinke will remain a Dodger for the 2016 season?

If I had to guess right now, I’d say no.

Unless he absolutely collapses or gets hurt, he’s going to opt out, and a 32-year-old pitcher with declining fastball velocity and rumblings of elbow issues being signed to probably a six-year deal worth $25+ million annually doesn’t sound like something that would appeal to this front office. In a way, him opting out after this season is best-case scenario for his contract because they get three of his prime years and don’t have to pay for his mid-30s.

That said, I wouldn’t necessarily mind paying him if he’s healthy because he’s been a command-and-control guy for years now, and can still amp it up to 93 mph selectively, which might age better than people expect. A deal of reasonable length with just a raise on the average annual value? Sure. Also, we still don’t know how the free agent market will shape up, what the Dodgers will do over the rest of this year, or when the currently injured Dodgers starters will be healthy again. Lots of factors still to be determined.

Just as a fan, I’d love to see him return.

Drew: Anderson has been pretty solid so far. Assuming, big if, he stays steady and healthy all year, the Dodgers offer him arbitration right? It’s a win/win whether he accepts or declines. It’s the same for Beachy in 2017. What about Howie Kendrick?

For Anderson and Howie, it wouldn’t be arbitration, so I’m assuming you’re talking about a qualifying offer. Beachy, however, would still be arbitration by then, and assuming he’s healthy at the end of this year and then again next year, it’s hard to find a reason why the Dodgers wouldn’t offer him arbitration. That health assumption is, of course, completely up in the air as of now, and while he seems on his way back currently, who knows what will happen after two elbow surgeries in three years.

Going back to Anderson and Kendrick, I think they’re both relative no-brainers to receive qualifying offers if they’re healthy unless the Dodgers have a clearly superior plan in place. ~$17 million is a lot, but what’s the worst-case scenario? With Kendrick, you end up with a 32-year-old above-average second baseman on a one-year deal for about market value. Kendrick would be an idiot to accept that deal as he edges closer to the downswing of his career, and he likely wants at least three years, so I don’t see risk there. In Anderson’s case, he’s on pace to profile as a solid mid-rotation starter, and getting him back on another one-year deal for a $7 million raise after he’s proved his health is hardly risky. Like with Kendrick though, one would think Anderson would try to secure more long-term security than a one-year deal after showing his arm was indeed fine. Of course, all of this is dependent on both of them finishing the year at their usual performance levels and healthy, which is still yet to be seen.

In general, it’s safe to assume the Dodgers are going to extend arbitration offers and qualifying offers because there’s arguably no team better suited to take on short-term big money additions to the payroll.


Scotty: I’ll read your posts, [but] the people who comment/live here are vulgar and inappropriate and are clearly entitled to shit that I’ll never know about. Fuck this.

About Chad Moriyama

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"A highly rational Internet troll." - Los Angeles Times