The Dodgers probably need to add two arms before the trading deadline on Friday, a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher. Despite what many say, there aren’t actually many holes on this team, but two season-ending injuries in the rotation necessitates an addition. Additionally, while the bullpen is improved from 2014 — I doubt a Scott Elbert will pitch key innings in the playoffs — giving Don Mattingly more back-end relievers would be wise, as the less decisions he has to make in that regard the better it is for the team.
As expected with the Andrew Friedman/Farhan Zaidi duo, there hasn’t been a ton of rumors or information being leaked out there, but there’s been a few hints.
Cole Hamels has long been mentioned as a potential trade target, as everything from his home state to nickname to contract status makes sense for the Dodgers. And according to Jayson Stark of ESPN, the Dodgers have emerged as one of the favorites.
The Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Dodgers have emerged over the weekend as the likely favorites to trade for Philadelphia Phillies ace Cole Hamels, multiple sources said.
I said this in the mailbag before, but I’m skeptical. The Dodgers have repeatedly indicated that Corey Seager and Julio Urias are off limits, and that really complicates things. Jose De Leon is already a top 50 and arguably a top 25 prospect, and pairing him with a combination of arms like Grant Holmes, Chris Anderson, and Jharel Cotton and bats like Darnell Sweeney, Scott Schebler, Cody Bellinger, Alex Verdugo, and Jordan Paroubeck would be an interesting package, but it does seem like other teams could do better if they wanted.
Adding Urias to a package would instantly change the game and would surely be enough to land Hamels, but I completely understand why the front office is so reluctant. People are always mentioning other top prospects that have “busted”, throwing out Zach Lee and Joel Guzman and others like that, but it’s much more rare for guys rated as highly as the Dodgers duo to bust. So yeah, to an extent, I agree, prospects are overrated. However, I think people forget that highly-rated prospects that are already in the upper minors, especially now with improved medical and scouting, not only bust less than other prospects but are also increasingly becoming the best way to secure stars. Trading prospects out of the top 50, especially those without high upsides? Sure. Trading prospects not ranked at all? Go ahead, as they’re generally gonna be more or less fungible. But while Seager or Urias or both may not work out, the odds that you’re trading away the next Clayton Kershaw are hypothetically about the same as the odds you’re trading away the next Rick Ankiel, and given the rare opportunities to acquire stars in today’s game, you generally want to err on the conservative side when it comes to legitimate top prospects in baseball. Hamels is already a star, but he’s also being paid handsomely, and him being a relatively expensive bargain is not as valuable for a payroll rich team like the Dodgers as it is to others, especially with this crop of free agent starters coming up.
Hamels, of course, is not the only option, and they’re also targeting David Price, according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports. Neither Seager nor Urias will be necessary to score Price since he’s a rental, but the real problem here is whether or not the Tigers will sell. Fortunately the Tigers lost to the Rays yesterday, and if you want Price, be rooting against the Tigers all this week. I doubt Price will be cheap or anything, but De Leon or Holmes plus others should be appealing.
If all else fails, the Dodgers are looking into Yovani Gallardo, according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports. I have questions about this, because Gallardo is not the strikeout guy he once was, and his velocity is the lowest in his career (barring 2008 when he threw 24 innings). This is the sixth straight season his strikeout rate will have gone down, and his walk rate has not improved to compensate for that, so why is he better with the Rangers than he was in his last seasons with the Brewers? Basically his HR/FB rate has been cut in half from the last four years he’s pitched, and while he’s keeping the ball on the ground at a solid rate, one has to be skeptical whether he magically learned homer prevention methods or if he’s just gotten lucky this year. That said, he appears to be a solid mid-rotation candidate (like a #4, really), and anything would be a boost over … well … whatever that #5 spot is now, but paying for the 3.1 ERA would be a mistake.
Other guys on the market would be James Shields (would be amusing), Tyson Ross (yes, please), Andrew Cashner (pass), Jeff Samardzija (I like this compromise of likely cost/effectiveness), Mike Leake (sure?), and Jesse Chavez (this too would be optimal).
Interestingly enough, the Dodgers haven’t really been attached to relievers. Aside from the guys who will likely demand to be closer, candidates are Francisco Rodriguez (eh, sure), Joaquin Benoit (would be nice), Jim Johnson (an underrated value), Neal Cotts (maybe unnecessary LOOGY?), and Brad Ziegler (I guess, probably too expensive for his value).
In less likely trade news, Yasiel Puig‘s name has come up again thanks to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
1) It says they’re just “listening”, which they absolutely should do.
2) It’s Nightengale, so god knows if this is really a thing or not.
3) If you’re a fan and you want to trade Puig cause of his 2015 OPS, please remember that because he’s missed so much time, he’s like a hot week away from being right around his career norms. The reason to trade him is because you believe he can get equally valuable players back.
Speaking of Dodgers outfielders, Joel Sherman of the New York Post provided us with this rumor about Andre Ethier.
The Dodgers have been mentioned as a possible trade partner because — as was exposed against the Mets — they could use rotation depth beyond the brilliant 1-2 of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke — plus they have an outfield glut.
Wilson could be used as a bit of a salary wash to get either Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford. Wilson is making $18 million this season and is due $20 million next year — the final season of his contract. Crawford is making $20.5 million this season, $20.75 million next year and $21 million in 2017. That is on a seven-year, $142 million pact that Crawford signed with the Red Sox after the 2010 season, when the Angels finished as the runners-up.
Hey, anything is possible, and this would be the ideal time to dump Ethier’s contract on a team since he’s now rebuilt his value. At the end of the day, even assuming he’s “back”, he’s still a 33-year-old platoon corner outfielder that’s worth 2-3 WAR now and will likely decline as he gets older and older. But do the Dodgers really want to rely on Crawford’s health at this stage? And I’m not sure the Angels would give up a solid-average starter with only one year of commitment left after 2015.
Oh yeah, Alex Guerrero is also being shopped, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. He would likely need to waive that free agency clause to have any semblance of value to a team acquiring him, which he might do if he wants out bad enough, but given his recent run, he would be smart not to. And again, this just highlights how pointless the Juan Uribe trade was. Sure, let’s say he asked out so he could build his free agency value in a walk year, the Dodgers still don’t have to grant him that wish, and Uribe would be playing like twice a week for this team. All of that lost over Guerrero, basically. Gah.