Winter meetings, Day Three

Update: Kemp is gone to the Padres for catcher Yasmani Grandal and a pair of pitching prospects. Fedex also goes to the Padres, along with about $30M to defray part of the cost of Kemp’s contract.

Wow! In very short order today the Dodgers

  • Got 36-year-old shortstop Jimmy Rollins from the Phillies to fill the gap left behind when Hanley Ramirez went the free agent route
  • Traded Dee Gordon and Dan Haren to the Marlins in exchange for pitcher Andrew Heaney, backup catcher Austin Barnes, minor leaguers Enrique Hernandez and Chris Hatcher
  • Flipped Heaney to the Angels for second-baseman Howie Kendrick
  • May be close to signing free-agent pitcher Brandon McCarthy
  • and have discussed adding pitcher Cole Hamels and second-baseman Chase Utley to the Jimmy Rollins deal with the Phillies

And there’s still tomorrow to find deals which send Ethier, Crawford or Kemp to somebody for a starting pitcher or prospects!

Now that they’ve gotten Kendrick, I can’t see why they’d want Utley except as more bait to trade off, as they did with Heaney (hey, kid, I’d have liked to see you pitch!). Do the Phillies need an outfielder?

Update: changed the post title to day 3, which is accurate. I lost a day somewhere.

155 thoughts on “Winter meetings, Day Three

  1. I’d been thinking after what happened with Haren that Wilson might be in danger, that contracts alone wouldn’t determine roster spots any longer. Just didn’t think it’d be so soon. Wonder if League will stay around. He’s an extreme ground ball pitcher, so that’s going for him.

    Dunno what League’s K/BB ratio is. But the FO doesn’t seem to want pitchers who walk very many, with Wilson the most recent example. Dominguez and Magill were others.

    • League has always made me anxious and, while I might not throw him under the bus, his departure wouldn’t necessarily upset me.

  2. BTW – I am guessing that the Geek Squad (as Package calls them) is aware that our GG/SS 1st baseman is 32 years old and is owed $89 million over the next 4 years. Sell high?

    • From the GM’s comments, I get the impression they won’t try very hard to keep Grienke when he ops out, that is offer him more money.

  3. Bad news, WBBsAs, your favorite player, Brian Wilson, has been Designated For Assignment. I had to come back to tell you. My condolences…

        • Yeah. Wilson cashed in big based on 13 good innings at the end of 2013. But he was pretty atrocious last year – putting small villages on base with the BB and his velocity was down again. Probably best that they didn’t try to stick with him just b/c he’s owed all this money…

          • Actually, it’s encouraging to have a front office that recognizes a sunk cost and doesn’t hesitate to deal with it.

          • Agree on the sunk cost notion. No point trying to chase lost dollars.
            . Am wondering who they felt they needed to keep on the 40 man that required Wilson to get bumped. Not that hanging onto WIlson was important. But he was under contract and might have been at least an option to have considered if he had shown some signs of righting of the ship in ST and other guys in the pen got hurt.

  4. A friend forwards a suggestion for off-season reading:

    Edward Achorn- The Summer of Beer and Whiskey. The best book of the bunch, Achorn tells the story of the 1883 season and, he says, the popularization and salvation of baseball as the American pastime. The National League (the only professional league at the time) was a stodgy place in the 1880s: no drinking, expensive (50 cents) tickets and no baseball on Sundays. Along came a German immigrant by the name of Chris Von der Ahe who wanted to make some money. He probably liked baseball, too. He owned a beer garden in St. Louis and realized that baseball could be highly profitable if gate fares were lowered, the game was played on a day when working class people could make it and beer was sold. So he founded a league- the American Association, which eventually merged with the National League- and, as in the Field of Dreams, they built it and they came. Achorn’s lively book is a pretty awesome book for those interested in baseball (duh!) and also Americana. Baseball as capitalism and history and beer, well, not bad. Readable and short- maybe I should have saved this for the offseason (tomorrow!) to liven up the dull, sad days of winter.

  5. OK, so what’s our lineup going to look like? SVS looks like our only traditional 4, and that’s against lefties. And perhaps Gonzo against righties, but how would you line up the rest?

    • This is a good question. I expect SVS to platoon with Crawford, who is no No. 4 hitter. Grandal’s pop is apparently underrated, but I wouldn’t expect him to be a No. 4 hitter any time soon.

  6. I had recorded Friday’s Access Sports Net show discussing the week…
    Bulldog, Hairston, and some other fellow…. Just watched it last night.
    They kept referencing the strength of the Dodgers’ pitching “staff” … and, the perceived need (not being as urgent) to add more arms like McCarthy as the “staff” is so good….
    In my mind, aside from any prospects that come up and ‘light the world on fire,’ we have 2 premier arms. (Kersh and Grienke) – And, that’s all. Who am I missing?

    From 2014: Haren is gone, Beckett retired, Ryu reminds of me of Jerry Reuss as he usually gets hit around pretty good in at least 2 or 3 innings each outing & injury a concern, Howell made everything look difficult in 2014 vs. 2013 where he made it look easy. The young, hard-throwing righty from the Dominican looked good at times, but was all over the place. Kenley was Kenley. Paco looked more bad than good plus injured, Elbert returned just in time to get roped by the Cards. The Beard didn’t have his best year….. but, I still love the guy and wish him the best in 2015.

      • Boras, from that: ” You’re talking about a guy who has a historic record under his belt.’

        Um…..yep, you sure are. Only Boras would say that and think he could sell it.

  7. Can someone clear up something? The money sent the Marlins was to cover Haren and Dee, likely as a push toward retirement for Haren but for sure to get him gone. Supposedly the Dodgers pay this amount no matter what Haren does.

    But if he retires, doesn’t he forfeit his salary? If so, are the Dodgers just on the hook for Dee? How will that work?

    • What do you mean “on the hook for Dee?” He’s now property of the Marlins. Haren’s gone too, whether to retirement or to the Fish. I think the $10M is gone too, no matter what Haren decides to do.

      • On the hook just for Dee’s salary, not both. Question was if Haren retires and that means he doesn’t get paid, does that mean the Dodgers don’t send that $10M?

        I’ve read that the Dodgers have tp pay it anyway, but seems like there should have been a contingency clause.

  8. Another analytical take on all the moves:” Couple clips from it:

    “Before the Dodgers decided to throw Colletti out on his toupee, the potential for the Dodgers becoming a juggernaut had to be tempered. Even with their Scrooge McDuck vault-sized financial reserves, Colletti had spent the Dodgers into a bit of a corner.”

    “Already he (Friedman) has turned an average Dodger infield defense into arguably the best defensive infield in the majors.”

    “Friedman has proven that in two months he can both reshape this club in his image and upgrade the roster at the same time. He also isn’t going to continually sacrifice the future for one run at glory, like Colletti so often did. He’s setting up the Dodgers to finally become that juggernaut everyone feared and to remain at that level for a very long time.”

    • If he weren’t rightly concerned with the hitting and doubts about Dee being able to sustain his performance, he could have had the best defensive infield in the majors just by keeping Rojas. The kid had a dWAR of 1.8 in just 400 odd innings! Such a move would have saved the Dodgers $20 million and 14 years (ages of Rojas/Dee relative to Rollins/Kindrick).

  9. According to Fan Graphs, from 2008-2014 the Rays were the # 1 team in baseball in offensive WAR. Pretty impressive that Friedman did this with limited resources. It was done through a balanced approach – Rays were # 1 in BB and also in Baserunning. -middle of pack in HR’s. When it came to pitching the Rays were 11th. Not bad, considering that they weren’t able to attract (or retain) big-dollar frontline starting pitchers.. This is not to say that he is infallible. But his track record certainly merits some benefit of the doubt that these aren’t bird-brained movei because he’s sent a few big names packing I think he needs to address offense at 3b – while Uribe’s glove is great, his hitting is terrible. Work still needs to be done on the bullpen also. But we have literally 3 more months to see how some more improvements can be accomplished. And yes, the goal is to win the NL West not just eek into the 1 game WC playoff. But 94 or 96 or even 100 wins are no guarantee of going anywhere in postseason either. The last 20 years are littered with 100 win teams who went home after their LDS.

    • He gave Weird Game James (Loney) a place to play, so I love him for that. Juan Uribe isn’t terrible, but just a different kind of hitter who just gave us the two best seasons of his career (reaching OPS+ 120 last year). I do look for him to regress now at age 35.

      • No doubt Uribe has been offensively productive in ’13-’14, but he’s a career 87 OPS and he put a couple of mid-500’s OPS seasons in ’11-’12. As best I can tell, part of Friedman’s strength with the Rays was having decency at every spot and actually that was Dodgers’ strength in ’14 except for Catcher, which hopefully has been shored up now. Obviously the downgrade from Kenp’s bat is a concern, but that coupled with Uribe falling off the cliff again could pose problems. Clearly, the only solution for 3b is a trade unless Headley is on the radar. Given the groundball orientation of our staff, Uribe’s glove is probably considered important enough to risk the offensive tumble. But as you note, at age 35, the chances of a regression are fairly big.

    • Uribe has his shortcomings, but I wouldn’t call his offense terrible the last two years. The previous two it was indeed terrible.

  10. Whether the Kemp deal is good, whether the Friedman regime turns out to be good, whether Grandal ever learns to frame a pitch, and on and on, none of it matters right now. I am a Dodger fan and have been for as long as I care to remember.
    What I am having a difficult time with now is I think we fans are the only ones who are still around with the Dodgers. Ownership has changed multiple times, there is no allegiance from them to the players, and likewise, there is no allegiance from the players to the owners. Yet I am supposed to blindly go along with what has and is being done with the team now, by guys I don’t know who they are.
    Yeah, I will keep following and rooting for them, or for the brand called the Dodgers, but in my mind, who are these guys? Any of them, who purport to be the Dodgers.
    I am sure this applies to any fan who follows any team in any sport at this time. It’s just that at this point in my life, knowing how hard I work to make a buck and make ends meet, I am supposed to support a team that I no longer know, and players who have low or no morals. Yes I know, Kershaw is a gem of a guy and charitable and such, but for every Clayton there are probably dozens of Rices and Pearsons and Pucketts etc etc.
    I’ll root for them, its what I do, I guess it’s the sheep mentality.

    • Grandal apparently already ranks highly on pitch-framing (though I am personally skeptical about the entire concept of pitch-framing). I have some reservations about him because of injury history and the PED connection, but I’m willing to keep an open mind. I wish Kemp were still a Dodger, but I’m guessing that, before his contract is up, the Pads flip him to an AL team where he can eventually DH.

      • What would have prevented the Dodgers from doing the same with Matty before his contract was up?

        • They bet that his value was at its highest right now.

          There’s an old Dodgers tradition of offloading players before their decline really kicks in. See Garvey, Cey, Lopes. Before that see Billy Cox and many others. The bet management makes is that it’s smart enough to recognize the high point of the player’s career and sell/trade him just as he’s tipped over that point.

          • In principle the idea is good, but sometimes they don’t choose the optimum point. Greg Brock was never going to replace Garvey, and Cey had several good years for the Cubs.

          • And Garvey did the same for the Padres, and Lopes did all right with the As and Cubs, then pretty much sank with the Astros. But they replaced Lopes with Sax, Garvey with Brock and Marshall, and Cey with Guerrero. So they only really blew it at 1B, in my memory.

          • Guerrero was not a 3B. Throughout the Dodgers’ entire LA history, Cey has been the only truly memorable third baseman.

          • I understand the concept, but each of the people you mention were 34 years or older and had already had a couple of years of decline (less so in the case of Cey).

  11. I think that Kemp trade was a bridge too far and find to galling that we had to throw in $30 million. To me a risky proposition. Is our outfield defense all that much better? Puig held his own in CF and was only likely to improve. Matty’s bad defensive performance was when he was in CF and LF. In RF he seems about average. As well, defensively our new catcher is nothing to write home about. On offense, Matty produced a second half that mirrored his 2011 season. I would take the offense combination of him and Ellis over Joc (love the guy) and the new catcher without a second thought. Joc really needs to work on his K rate and not sure that the Bigs is the place to do it. Leave him on the farm for another year and the $30 million you spent could have been used to unload either Dre or CC after 2015. (at that point Dre would have $48 million remaining on his contract and CC $41 million).

  12. Item here earlier about Kemp dissing a teammate, cursing, and throwing equipment makes me wonder if he wasn’t one of what’s been called two disruptive clubhouse influences now gone.

    Suppose the other bad influence now gone must be Hanley. Have seen stuff about his attitude.

    Didn’t see that kind of stuff about other Dodgers from last year. Was there any?

    Clubhouse issues are the kind of thing teams don’t want the public to know much about.

    • I not sure why, but losing Kemp doesn’t bother me as much as it logically should (if that makes sense) 🙂

      • If Kemp plays like second half last year or better and Grandal doesn’t do well, it won’t look so great.

        If Kemp falls off and/or has more health issues, it’ll look a lot better. Plus, he’s 30ish, and the final couple years of his contract could become Ethierish, especially given his defense. If so, that’ll be a SD problem, not a Dodger one.

        Management gambled they were selling high on Kemp. The maxim originated by the Dodgers’ Branch Rickey–better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late–comes to mind.

        Those so upset about Kemp are convinced he’s absolutely sure to return to his MVP level and torment the Dodgers for years. Guess we’ll find out.

        No one has a working crystal ball, but keep in mind Friedman has been called one of the best evaluators of talent there is. Doesn’t mean he can’t miss on some, but smart money would bet he’ll hit a lot more than he misses.

        Speaking of money, this is the kind of deep-pockets move Friedman never could have made before. But in this deal, 30 mil or so to SD is no more than just another tool. (Like the money sent Miami.)

  13. There are still too many outfielders: Puig, Joc, Crawford, SVS, Heisey, Ethier. On the face of it, Ethier would seem the likeliest to go but, if Joc falters, Andre would be the best alternative – but he doesn’t want to be a bench player next season.

    • Lotta pressure on Joc to perform and they don’t seem to have the luxury at this point of keeping Heisey in the 25 to at least start off with a platoon in CF. They may trade Dre and cash for a bag of beans, as it is hard to see where he fits in to me.

      • I’ve always liked Dre, and think he could stage a comeback, but the indicators don’t point in that direction. His departure would probably be the best-case scenario, though I doubt they’d get much of anything for him.

  14. More “A” grades for the Dodgers, this time from Jonah Keri at Grantland.

    What we can say for certain is that the Dodgers now have one of the
    better double-play combinations in the NL; they dumped a contract that
    could have been an albatross for them over the next five years and got
    real talent in return; they kept all of their key prospects and added
    minor league depth in the Kemp and Gordon trades that they could use to
    make other moves; and they have the money, the flexibility, and
    (clearly!) the will to keep upgrading as opportunities present

  15. I’m just picking my jaw up.

    I saw in passing this morning that Dee was traded, now Kemp.
    I agree with much of what’s posted below: that Matt was turning around, but also that he’s injury-prone.
    Of course, all of this — like the speculation before any season — is based on past performance and expectations. I learned my lesson after the first couple months of this past season — that what’s on paper doesn’t mean a thing until they start playing . . . then continue to play.

    So . . . while I will miss Dee and Matt, I am hoping that the Front Office knows what they’re doing . . . AND that whatever 25 we end up with are winners thru next October!

  16. Our favorite Giants blogger gives the Dodgers an “A” for both the Marlins deal (Heaney, Hernandez, Hatcher & Barnes) and the Padres deal (Grandal, Weiland, Eflin for Kemp and Fedex). He also gives them “As” for the Rollins deal and the Kendrick deal. But! He only gives them a “B” for the Brandon McCarthy deal. As he says, “Ha ha, there goes your perfect GPA, Dodgers. Hope you picked out some good safety schools, losers.”

    I don’t think I’d grade the Kemp deal as highly as an “A”, but I like the others a lot.

  17. Mark Saxon at ESPN thinks part of yesterday’s frenzy had to do with getting a clubhouse full of good players who could play with one another.

    . . . what this really was about was restoring functionality, to the roster
    and to the atmosphere around the team. That last part is so nefarious as
    to invite ridicule. The players don’t have to hold hands and engage in
    group therapy before every game. They also probably shouldn’t curse
    loudly, throw equipment and demean a teammate when they’re told to get
    ready to play another position, as Kemp did — according to team sources
    — when the Dodgers decided he could no longer play center field and
    moved him to left.

    • Some sloppy reporting here. He goes with the narrative of Rollins, Kindrick and Grandal being grinders in that they get on bass and stike out in moderation, when if fact Grandal gets on base far less than Matty and K’s about as much. He also talk about how much the Dodgers struck out during the post-season against the Cards. Matty struck out 3 times in 17 plate appearances with an OPS of .886. Gimmie a break. A number of sportswriters seem to be falling all over themselves to praise the new front office and not doing their homework.

      • “get on bass”

        Sounds like if this baseball thing doesn’t work out, they might have a future on the pro bass fishing circuit. -;])

  18. Arizona’s trade of Wade Miley to Boston won’t make Scott Van Slyke happy. SVS is 8-for-18 lifetime vs. Miley with five of the hits being homers and the other three doubles. He also has three walks for an OBP of 524,

  19. I will miss Kemp and, to a lesser degree, will also miss Dee (whose replacement, however, is a clear upgrade). I hope both do well (but not v. the Dodgers). The Dodgers did need a catching upgrade because A.J. is aging (for a catcher) and somewhat fragile), but I’m not totally sold on Grandal (though I expect he and A.J. will share the position). I expect it won’t be a complete platoon because Grandal hits both ways.

  20. Rubby de la Rosa and Allen Webster back to the West with reported trade of Wade Miley by Snakes to Bosox.

  21. interesting comments from a blogger on I think he makes a bit of sense

    This is all about the big picture. The new Dodger brass understands the big picture. Rollins at short while Seager matures, Kendrick has more years in him at second. These guys are proven winners with solid defense, plenty to offer offensively. They are going to be younger on the infield in a year or two with players at least as good as these. Now about Kemp and Ethier…Kemp is one year removed from having doctors tell us that his career may be over because of his ankle. And he took a long time for a young man to come back from that shoulder. It is a risk to keep or to move. But either way, the outfield circus needs to end. Get Pederson in center, move Puig back to right, platoon Crawford and Van Slyke, and get Grandal to eat up time behind the plate. Throw in McCarthy and another solid reliever and we are better than last year and into the future. Look at the slash lines, look at the defense, look at the leadership…all improved. Look, you can’t live in the past by holding on to Ethier & Kemp or you end up where The Philadelphia Phillies are today. Keep it going, Freedman & Zaidi…

    • Not sure I share the imperative that someone has to move. In this case, just so we can put a rookie in CF. Don’t like the idea of losing our two big righthanded bats (Hanley and Kemp) either.

  22. Trying to figure this switching 2nd baseman business. Maybe Austin Barnes is the second coming of Jeremy Brown.

  23. It’s 3 a.m. Buenos Aires time, and I’m gonna have to sleep on this (though often, in BA, things are just getting started around this hour).