The MLB Winter Meetings are upon us and the Dodgers are shaking things up for good or bad, only time will tell. Let’s face it the Dodgers and Ned Colletti had been content in the past to keep the core team together and fill in here and there with pieces they felt would propel the team a step closer to the World Series seemingly at any expense in terms of payroll. That strategy got us close several times but in the end seemed to always come up short. Well this off-season under the new management of President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman and new General Manager Farhan Zaidi the Dodgers are taking a new approach. Dodger fans say goodbye to the Dodgers you’ve grown to know and love because that team is gone. The Dodgers will take the field in 2015 with a lot of new faces and only a handful of the old.
So is this good or bad? I certainly have mixed feelings as a long time Dodgers fan, but let’s break down all of these off-season trades.
First we get the news that Hanley Ramirez rejects the Dodgers $15.3 million qualifying offer from the Dodgers and shortly thereafter signs with the Red Sox. I figured this was coming and though I was sad to see Hanley go I understood because it didn’t make much sense for the Dodgers to sign him to a long term contract with Dodgers top prospect Corey Seager waiting in the wings.
Next up was one of my favorite Dodgers, Dee Gordon. Over the years we’ve seen the ups and downs of Dee Gordon and after last year it’s safe to say Dee Gordon is on an up after making the All-Star team for the first time in his career. So of course it makes sense that the Dodgers trade him away while he’s hot, right? Well again, I know it makes sense but this honestly was a tough one. What makes it tougher for me was the pieces we got in return. Here is the trade:
Middle infielder Dee Gordon, veteran right-hander Dan Haren, infielder Miguel Rojas and a player to be named later or cash to Miami in exchange for left-hander Andrew Heaney, second baseman Enrique Hernandez, righty reliever Chris Hatcher and catching prospect Austin Barnes.
My initial reaction to this trade is that we got some trade bait in Andrew Heaney a first round pick by the Marlins in 2012 and we dumped some salary in Dan Haren who had a marginal season with the Dodgers last year. For me I like the Haren move because it opens the door for some better pitchers to fill in the back-end of our rotation, but I’m not sure giving up Dee will prove to be smart in the long run.
Shortly after making the Dee Gordon trade news broke that the Dodgers traded Andrew Heaney to the Angels for Howie Kendrick. No money changed hands in the deal, so the Dodgers will pay all of the $9.5MM Kendrick is owed in 2015. This obviously replaces the hole left by Dee Gordon at second and based on numbers is an upgrade at the position both offensively and defensively.
So with these elaborate set of trades done the Dodgers ultimately free up a spot in the back-end of the pitching rotation and get an upgrade at second base of course barring another amazing year from Dee Gordon which arguably could happen which is the gamble. With deals done I could see the game plan and I honestly started to have more confidence in the moves Friedman and Zaidi were making, that is until I read MLB Trade Rumors this morning and saw.
Padres To Acquire Matt Kemp
The news just about brought me to tears! Well OK not exactly, but I like Kemp both as a player and off the field as well. I think he represented the Dodgers well and felt like he was one of our franchise players that would play the majority of his career with the team similar to Albert Pujols with the Cardinals. For me it’s too early in his career to be sending him off but let’s break down the trade reported by MLB Trade Rumors.
The deal will send Kemp and catcher Tim Federowicz to San Diego, with the Dodgers receiving catcher Yasmani Grandal, righty Joe Wieland, and a third player, likely pitching prospect Zach Eflin. The Dodgers will also include around $30MM to help cover the $107MM remaining on Kemp’s contract, which runs through 2019.
I’ve got to be honest it looks like a salary dump for the most part. Sure Grandal is an improvement over Federowicz and solidifies the Dodgers in terms of catching but there isn’t much else here especially if Eflin 33rd overall pick in the 2012 draft isn’t ultimately included in the trade. I’m going to be patient though and see how this develops. I was skeptical at first with the Dee Gordon trade but I like where that went and I’m hopeful this will turn out good for the Dodgers once the bigger picture is achieved.
Last up is the potential deal with the Phillies for shortstop Jimmy Rollins. MLB Trade Rumors reported on this yesterday and it sounded like this one was close to being done but nothing solid yet. The Phillies were supposedly interested in some of the prospects from the trade with the Marlins but with Heaney traded to the Angels perhaps Eflin is the new target for the Phillies and helps to make sense of the Kemp trade. Rollins fills the hole at Shortstop left by Hanley Ramirez and gives the Dodgers clubhouse another nice veteran of the game.
Lot’s of moves by the Dodgers, what do you think of them? Leave your comments below.