Tag Archives: Cliff Lee

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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A Q&A with Project Prospect’s Adam W. Foster

Adam W. Foster is the fanatic’s scout.  He has a good eye and often replies to open questions asked on Twitter. He has catalogued videos of nearly every prospect in each organization. His opinions are respected within the community, but mention his name to the casual baseball fan–or even an avid baseball fan–and you’ll likely get a “who?”

Foster, who runs Project Prospect with Lincoln Hamilton, took time out of his pre-draft schedule to talk about the 2010 Rule IV draft and the current state of the Dodgers’ minor league system.  Questions are in italics.

(Before you continue reading, remember that Foster is a Giants fan and is Grade A evil for what he says about the Dodgers’ minor league system).

For the upcoming 2010 Rule IV draft, what’s the first thing that stands out to you? What should the casual fan know about the talent that’s coming out of this draft?

There aren’t many attractive college bats coming out of major conferences. …

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Dodgers Have Good Shot to Capture NL West Lead by Week’s End

On paper it looks like the San Diego Padres, who hold a tenuous one-game lead in the NL West over the Dodgers, will still lead the NL West after the weekend. The Padres get to play at depressed Seattle while the Dodgers have to play the NL Central-leading Detroit Tigers.

But the Padres may be a good fit for the Mariners to earn a few wins and the Dodgers get to face the back of the Tigers’ rotation. Take a look:

Tonight: SDP Wade LeBlanc vs. SEA Cliff Lee
Tomorrow: SDP Clayton Richards vs. SEA Ryan Rowland-Smith
Sunday: SDP Mat Latos vs. SEA Felix Hernandez

In the Dodgers-Tigers match-up?

Tonight: LAD Chad Billingsley vs. DET Dontrelle Willis
Tomorrow: LAD John Ely vs. DET Armando Galarraga
Sunday: LAD Hiroki Kuroda vs. DET Rick Porcello

Gotta like those odds as a Dodger fan. The Latos-King Felix match-up looks most interesting for Sunday. On the other hand, the Mariners’ offense can make any team look like they’re facing the 1890 Cleveland Spiders, so who knows.

It’s a little more complicated than starting pitcher match-ups, but long and short of it is the Dodgers are at least tied for the division if they win two of three and the Padres lose two of three. With the Mariners throwing out two of their best starters, I’d lean in their favor. Likewise, the Tigers are starting their two worst pitchers this year (Porcello has a 11.9 hits per nine rate; Willis has a 6.1 walks per nine rate) and a minor league call-up. The Dodgers don’t have to see Justin Verlander and the Dodgers’ offense should be able to take advantage even without Andre Ethier. while two of Kuroda, Bills and Ely should find their way through the Tigers’ line-up.

That’s my one unknown, is what the Tigers’ line-up has to say. Starting four guys with sub-.80 OPS+s is hilarious, but it’s not those four that I’m worried about.

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