Category Archives: Hot stove

Trading Matt Kemp = 5 Years of Mediocrity

Dodgers designated Charlie Haeger for assignment today. Jon Link was called up. Link has shown he’s decent, or at least worth a shot over Haeger from the bullpen, so this doesn’t change a whole lot. Haeger was easily the worst Dodger pitcher of the season, but the Dodgers’ turns with replacement players have been not fun.

Carlos Monasterios is still on the DL, but the good news is Chad Billingsley should return on Monday, according to Rotoworld.

Ken Rosenthal today suggested the Dodgers trade Matt Kemp to the Mariners for Cliff Lee, completely glossing over the fact that the Dodgers’ pitching problems are almost solely because of the bullpen. Not that trading for Lee wouldn’t be awesome, but the Dodgers would need to fill Kemp’s offensive hole and a 110 OPS+ from centerfield is pretty dang good. Right now, it’s about 8th best from an everyday CF starter this year, and the two in front of him don’t look sustainable.

Talent ebbs and flows, that’s just something you have to deal with. Rosenthal, who played coy this off-season before predicting the Halladay-to-the-Phillies and ensuing Lee-to-the-Mariners trades, or his intel in the Dodgers organization seem(s) to believe the Dodgers won’t be playing for anything past 2010. There’s no replacement in the organization for Kemp.

It’s silly that the Dodgers would trade away such a cheap solution (and sell-low at that) in shallow-pocket times with no one coming up in the future.

Here’s the Dodgers’ money obligations through 2015. A pretty cursory glance says the Dodgers are gonna have a good chance to get back into the division in 2012. Andre Ethier, Kemp, Russell Martin, Billingsley, Loney and Kuo will be in their final year of arbitration and Clayton Kershaw and Blake DeWitt will be in their first year. So that’s five position players, two starting pitchers and one awesome reliever who will still be playing together by that point. The rest will be filled in as the off-seasons unfold. If the Dodgers don’t sign Lee or another non-filler rotation arm in the 2011 off-season, there’s plenty more where that comes from in the 2012 off-season.

Here‘s free agent pitchers at the end of this season. And here‘s free agents at the end of the 2011 season. A front end of the rotation starter won’t be hard to pick up, especially considering the Dodgers’ ownership divorce woes should be over before the start of the 2011 season AND the Dodgers will lose $35 million at the end of the 2010 season. A good portion of that money will go to arbitration, but not all of it.

The one thing that’d be very, very hard to replace is a cost-controlled potential 6-win starting centerfielder with a long, healthy rapsheet. You can sign Cliff Lee in the off-season, but you can’t sign Kemp. Kemp’s defense may never be great, but his bat puts him in exclusive territory. And worst case scenario, move him to right field next season, move Ethier to left and sign a good defensive centerfielder. Carl Crawford will be available. Or Colletti can trade an outfielder like Jerry Sands, who was promoted to AA this past week, or Kyle Russell to a team with a decent above-average defensive CF, like the Red Sox for Mike Cameron.

Without Kemp, the future looks muck bleaker for the Dodgers. No Kemp means no good third outfield bat. It means an at-best outfield replacement and while Cliff Lee is very, very good, it still doesn’t address the bullpen problems. It actually creates a line-up problem. (Dear Matt Kemp, please understand that everyone in this city thinks you’re the poop. Love, Los Angeles Dodger Fans).

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Dodger Trade Rumors Popping Up Now

From MLB Trade Rumors:

  • Speaking of Lee, Seattle is telling clubs that they want young hitters in return for the ace. It’s a desire that could be a hurdle for several interested clubs. The Mets, for example, wouldn’t part with Ike Davis in order to land the hurler on a rental. Meanwhile, the Dodgers wouldn’t want to give up Matt Kemp or James Loney.
  • Rosenthal adds that the Dodgers may have a hard time landing the elite starter that they seek. The Astros are looking for financial relief and top prospects in return for Roy Oswalt. Pulling off a deal for Dan Haren of the Diamondbacks could prove to be difficult as Arizona likely doesn’t want to trade him within the division.

Just before that, Rosenthal said the Twins could be major players in the Lee sweepstakes. Trading for Dan Haren is intriguing. Mets sound like the smartest landing spot for Lee, they’ve been more free-wheeling in regards to giving up prospects and have the ones most prepared for the majors in Ike Davis. They could just as easily go for Haren, though, which would be awesome since CitiField is good for flyball pitchers and Haren’s been burned all season on the HR/FB ratio.

I guess Oswalt just won’t go anywhere.

As we’re nearing the deadline, it looks like the Dodgers are less and less likely to make a deal for a top-tier starter. The biggest move the Dodgers make sounds most likely to be for another relief pitcher, which wouldn’t be bad–the bullpen does need help.

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Too Early To Be Talking Trade or Deadline? Let’s Do It Anyway.

It’s the end of May, right?  Then it’s probably really early to be talking about this, but why not.  The Dodgers are close to first place, trailing an overperforming team and their two real threats are the Giants (who are trailing them) and the Rockies (who are vastly under-performing).

*As a side note, the Padres could very well be for real.  Most of their players are performing at a competent level and their pitching has carried them. Their starting pitching has been over-performing (Jon Garland, Clayton Richard and Wade LeBlanc, specifically), but their bullpen’s performance has been dynamite and their run expectancy is lower than their ERA. We’ll see how that works out for them by the end of the season, but they basically are what everyone thought the Mariners were going to be this year.

So why not make a trade now?  Nip this one in the bud early?  The earlier in the season you make the trade, the better.  You’re getting ++ pitching, defense or offense and the sooner you get it, the more you can use it.

Let’s also assume for the sake of fun that the Dodgers have no problems with money right now and that they can afford to pay the end of a player’s contract after dropping from a $110 million payroll from last year to $90 million this year.

Let’s go shopping!

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A negative view on Chapman

Pessimistic is a good way to describe how I feel about Chapman on the Reds.  Jonathan Mayo came up with an alternative scouting report on Chapman today. Read it here:

Fastball up to 95-100 mph. Slider is very inconsistent, below-average in quality. Changeup is well below-average. Mechanically, he often opens up too quickly with his front leg which, in turn, forces him to get around his slider. He doesn’t always find a consistent slot with his release point — high 3/4 to 3/4 — where he gets pretty good late movement. He doesn’t have a great feel for pitching. He is an above-average athlete with the kind of body you like to see in a pitcher. Future as a reliever seems more likely. Has shown a tendency to sulk and quit when the pressure is on.

I didn’t know about that last line, I hope that’s not true.  I’d hate for him to quit when the potential is there.

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The Cubs could use some FO help

From ESPN Insider

The Cubs are searching for a center fielder and might be waiting to see whether free agents Matt Holliday or Jason Bay somehow end ups in Boston.

Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune reports today that the Cubs would immediately make a “major effort” to land Jacoby Ellsbury if the Red Sox were to sign Holliday or Bay. Rogers adds one way to pull off such a trade might be for Cubs GM Jim Hendry to be part of a three-team deal that sends first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the Padres to Boston for prospects.

Trading away Milton Bradley and receiving Carlos Silva was already a terrible trade.  Sure, Milton may have been unhappy and I completely sympathize with both parties, but he was producing at an above-average rate at 10 million a year.  Silva is a well-below-average albatross at 13 mil a year.  Silva was given maybe one of the worst free agent contracts in history after having two consecutive years of abject failure because of his a miraculous age 26 year–seriously, 7.89 K/BB ratio out of nowhere.  In 2008, he put up a terrible year and only pitched 30 innings (with maybe his worst production ever) in 2009.  He’s also known for having an attitude problem, so what did the Cubs really gain here?

Now Hendry, who has already handed out horrible above-market contracts to about half of his starting pitchers and position players, is considering trading whatever is left in his farm system for an overrated centerfielder.  If Josh Vitters and/or Starlin Castro is involved in this trade, Hendry is competing with Omar Minaya for worst GM in baseball.

Oof.  Bad times for Cubs fans.

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How the Halladay trade went down

Obviously the biggest trade of the off-season was Roy Halladay shipping off to Philadelphia (and Cliff Lee moving to Seattle in conjunction).  No argument there.

Bob Elliott with the Toronto Sun has an interesting piece about how it went down, from the 2008 off-season all the way to the actual trade. (You can read the full article here.)

JULY 5, 2009: Yankee Stadium

Then-GM J.P. Ricciardi asks Halladay if he intends to sign another contract with the Jays or does he want to leave?

Halladay told Ricciardi he’d wait and see “where the Jays were after 2010.” If they had a strong finish, he would re-sign with Toronto. If not? Adios.

July 16

The Jays want infielder Gordon Beckham from the White Sox for Halladay.

July 17

The Cards say they will not include outfielder Colby Rasmus in a Halladay package.

July 30

The Dodgers say the Jays are asking for five or six of their best prospects.

July 31

The Jays ask for starter Derek Holland and first base prospect Justin Smoak from the Rangers.

AUG. 1

The non-waiver trade deadline has passed and Halladay is still a Blue Jay.

Oct. 11

Having replaced the fired Ricciardi as Jays GM eight days earlier, Anthopoulos summons Halladay as part of his one-on-ones with each player.

Halladay tells him: “I’ve always tried to do the right thing for this organization.

The new GM remembers Halladay as being “very apologetic,” but tells the pitcher he didn’t need to “apologize for anything.”

“Whether it was jumping on a plane in the winter to help us recruit a free agent, structure his contract (his salary went from $12.8 million in 2007 to $10 million in ’08) or anything else Halladay always did what was best for the club,” he said.

Kinda tragic.  Anthopoulos seems like a cool guy.

There’s a ton more behind the scenes stuff, and it gets even more interesting when Elliott gets into the winter meetings, but you’ll have to go read it.  Very good reporting and note keeping by Elliott.

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