Open Thread #2, Winter 2015

I’m calling it winter. The wind is howling through my windows this morning and I needed two blankets last night.

Next month MLB’s Winter Meetings take place. After observing the just-concluded GM meetings, here are Jerry Crasnick of ESPN’s thoughts about what to watch for at the upcoming gathering:

  1. How active will the trade market be?
  2. How serious are the Cincinnati Reds about making trades?
  3. What do the Detroit Tigers need to do to become relevant in the AL Central again?
  4. How can new team president Mark Shapiro and interim GM Tony LaCava plug the pitching holes in Toronto?
  5. How do the St. Louis Cardinals move on from the loss of Lance Lynn to Tommy John surgery?

Here is a post from ESPN with upcoming important dates in the offseason and a bunch of links from their writers to stories of free agency, offseason storylines and trades already made.

229 thoughts on “Open Thread #2, Winter 2015

  1. Believe whichever expert you want…
    Olney also addresses the Puig situation in his previously-linked column, reporting that Dodgers upper management “is much more open to the idea of moving Puig than they would’ve been, say, 18 months ago.” If Puig is really a clubhouse problem, Olney feels the Dodgers should cut their losses and trade him this winter, since they’re one of the few teams with the financial muscle to not have to worry about getting the best possible return back for a sell-low player.

    • Well, it filled the daily allotment of cyberspace but told us little or nothing. I liked what I saw of Kiki last year and that suits me better than the cold statistics they used. I didn’t see enough of Peraza to have an opinion. From what they wrote I wouldn’t sign either of them, which refutes my judgement from what I saw last year. Which is why I won’t pay any attention at all to that scouting report.

  2. Bob, how would you like Starlin Castro as a second base option? He’s available and not too expensive. And he has power potential.

    • Didn’t slug so well within the confines of Wrigley last year and not sure that we couldn’t get as much production out of a Quique/Peraza combo at a much lower prices.

      • FO would decide that. Not to be short, but it just wouldn’t matter at all whom I would offer. I guess that means I don’t have strong feelings about getting him…

    • You never know how players will work out… I’m not too impressed with Barnes so if Fernandez could be had for Barnes and a couple of pitchers not named Urias, I’d be inclined to go for it.

        • If 29 ABs impress you, you’re easy. Most of what I’ve read indicates most people consider him as utility, able to play multiple positions. Those guys are expendable in trades for very good players.

      • Seems cheap for what has proven to be an elite level pitcher under control for I think three years. Good thing is that he has already had his TJ, Urias not yet Hard to imagine that the Fish would value Barnes now more than they valued him before but new GM and all that.

    • I thought Fernandez was a happy player that worked hard. I had never heard that he was a problem. That is why I thought a couple of years ago that it would be a good idea if Puig were traded for Fernandez.

      I love fun loving players. It’s not like they aren’t filled with testosterone just like more dour players but some players like Pederson, Seager, Kershaw, are fun for me to lwtch and root for because they are humble.

      I might not like Fernandez. But Puig’s antics don’t bother me so maybe neither will Fernandez’ antics.

      I would rather trade Puig for Harvey but if that trade can’t be made and Puig for Fernandez can be, I would do it. I would not include any pitching prospect higher than Alvarez and I would want Ozuna also if Barnes and Alveraz were included.

      I would also want to sign Heyward if Puig is traded.

    • If Utley is signed I hope he won’t repeat with Peraza what Rollins did with Seager. I want Peraza to play as soon as he is ready. That didn’t happen with Seager.

      • There was likely some temptation for the FO to advance Seager’s call up after Rollins continued to decline with the bat with a dismal June of OPS .552. He did rebound in July and through mid-August hit OPS .750. Meanwhile, Corey was having some difficulties with the bat and only hit .695 during that period in the minors. As I recall Seager also missed a week with an injury in mid-July.

  3. Shelby Miller and Dodgers mentioned in same breath.

    …”On the surface, then, it might be asked why the Braves would have any interest in dealing players such as Miller and Julio Teheran, both of whom are affordable, well-regarded, younger pitchers. (You could say the same of already-dealt lefty Alex Wood.) The answer, perhaps, is that the value of these kinds of pitchers is arguably highest right now, when the club is simply not ready to compete, making it an opportune time to cash them in for assets that will be of greater utility down the line. It’s also worth noting that, as with Simmons, both Miller and Teheran will enjoy fairly significant raises over the coming seasons.”

    Buehler should be ready by the time the Braves are again ready to compete. How about Buehler and Chris Anderson for Miller.

    Kershaw, Miller, Ryu/McCarthy, Anderson, Wood with Ryu pitching 100 innings and McCarthy pitching 100 innings.

    • Who knows? Don’t follow them, but in their trades with us the Braves appear to be in disarray. After all they traded Wood for a 30 year old 3rd baseman who had never played in the Bigs.

      • The Dodgers out-bid Atlanta for Olivera. One could say that the Dodgers bought Wood for $16M plus any part of Olivera’s salary not paid by Atlanta.

        Atlanta seems to be happy with the pitching prospects they got from the Angels for Simmons.

        • Well, there was a lot more going on in that trade than that, but the point being that Olivera seemed to be the key acquisition for them after they had apparently decided to rebuild.

          • True. I guess my statement is only fair if Zack Bird and Peraza swap is a wash and Paco and Avilan swap is also a wash. I will continue to ignore Johnson and Arroyo in that trade.

          • Guessing that you wouldn’t actually mention your starting 2nd baseman next year in the same breath as Zach Bird.

          • I haven’t seen enough of either to have formed a strong feel for their ability. I like Peraza’s speed and what I have read about his defense. Yeah, for now I would mention both in same breath.

            What are your thoughts on Peraza?

          • You pencil in Peraza as your starting 2nd baseman and haven’t formed a strong opinion on his ability?

  4. All three were great this year, but everyone loves the Cubbies.
    Arrieta was incredible the last half of the season, Kershaw and Greinke were great the entire season. Arrieta is more personable than Greinke. He won the popularity contest, not that he was not deserving, but I just believe Zack to be more deserving.

  5. Jimmy Rollins did about an adequate job last year at shortstop. I wonder if he is good enough to consider as backups for second, third, and short? A switch hitter with pretty good pop for a guy his size, he’d come cheap and take a one year contract.

    • He was actually above average as a RH, but doesn’t have the LH bat that we probably want for a utility infielder.

    • My outfield: SVS, Joc, Kiki’, Schebler
      My infield: Justin, Cory, Peraza, Utley, Pujols, Barnes
      My catchers: Grandal, Ellis
      My rotation: Kershaw, Harvey, Ryu, Anderson, Frias
      My relievers: Jansen, Howell, Garcia, Baez, Avila, Cotton, Anderson, Bolsinger

        • Pujols refers back to a trade idea I have shared a couple of times that gets the Angels out of a back loaded contract that pays an older Pujols way more than he will be worth in exchange for two years of Ethier and Crawford and three years of Agon.

          It gets the Dodgers well under the payroll penalty and allows them to go after Heyward if they wanted and if they did sign Heyward that would let them trade Puig for a second baseman or pitcher.

  6. Come on guys and gals, put some crazy comments up for us to kick around. This site stays alive if we say stuff, wild stuff, crazy stuff. In fact the crazier the better. This is the hot stove league time.

    Don’t wait for someone else to say something and just counter punch. Lead with your right.

    • Not sure what else Dave might have going on, but would he really want to be Bud’s bench coach again?

        • Yeah, I guess it’s best to hitch his wagon and wait for other opportunities in the next couple of years. Would help his chances if the Dodgers won a couple of WS.

  7. Might a great pitch framer be more susceptible to getting beat up behind the plate? I am going to guess yes. And as such I think the Dodgers should trade Grandal. Whether or not he gets banged up a lot due to pitch framing, he does get banged up.

    Just to give everybody a target to shoot at how about this trade:

    Grandal for Wieters. Weiters just signed a QO so his cost is $15.8 and is a free agent at the end of 2016. So, how about adding Hernandez and Jonathan Schoop (2B) to the deal.

      • For goodness sake (not typing the words I want to avoid a Rule 1 Violation) Audit, how can you come up with that stupid interpretation of my comment. I proposed Grandal and Kike’ for Wieters and Schoop. And Bob, really?

        You won’t find articles on pitch framers getting more banged up because I am the first to suggest it. Pitch framers don’t just jerk their glove back into the strike zone, they catch the ball with the edges of the glove instead of the pocket. That to me says more pitches and foul tips are going to get past the glove and into the catcher.

        • “Whether or not he gets banged up a lot due to pitch framing, he does get banged up” My point was that all catchers get banged up, even, or particularly, the one that you want to trade for. Even if you were proven to be right in your hunch, hard to imagine that spending $16 million for one year of Wieters would be a reasonable solution.

          • $16M less what Grandal will earn in his first year of arbitration. Maybe the Dodgers get $$ on this trade. Did Wieters miss games because he was banged up or because he had TJ surgery?

            I worry about Grandal. If he starts hitting like he did before he quit hitting cold turkey, maybe he should move to first base. His bat would be too valuable if he continues to get banged up as much as he does.

            Also, I am still playing with second base. Schoops could be ready to breakout.

    • Banged up? Wieters has only played 100 games in the past two years. Never heard the notion of framers getting more banged up. Would imagine, however, that they are more susceptible to passed balls.

      • Wieters had TJ. surgery but before last year’s injury, he had three straight seasons with at least 20 home runs and two years with 75 or more RBI.

    • Timing is everything. If his first three months and last three months could be reversed, he’d have won. His and Bryant’s stats were very close but Bryant did most of his in the last half of the season and that’s what they remember when it comes time to vote.

  8. A SF Giant was walking by a mental hospital and behind a fence he hears people chanting 13, 13, 13, 13, 13, over and over again. He tried to look over the fence but it was too high. Then he saw a knothole in the fence and was able to look at the other side but he didn’t get a good look because he got poked in the eye by a stick.

    Then, as he was holding his eye, he heard a different chant. 14, 14, 14, 14….

    • Gnats gneedn’t peek through a gnothole – they’re small enough to squeeze between the fence planks.

  9. From

    Rays relievers Jake McGee and Brad Boxberger are two of the more coveted relief arms on the trade market, and ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Dodgers,Diamondbacks and Nationals are among the interested teams (Twitter link). The Astros and Tigers have also been listed as possible suitors for Tampa Bay’s excellent eighth/ninth-inning duo. The left-handed McGee, 29, is projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to earn $4.7MM this offseason. The right-handed Boxberger, 27, is not yet arbitration eligible. Both have seen significant time in the ninth inning over the past two seasons, as McGee collected 25 saves from 2014-15, and Boxberger led the AL with 41 saves in 2015. McGee seems like the more obvious trade candidate, on paper, due to his projected 2016 salary,

    Baez, Garcia, and Ian Thomas for the two or maybe Liberatore, Thomas, Ravin, and Lee?

  10. Those folks calling for the Dodgers to sign a “brand-name” second baseman and right-handed hitting outfielder should first observe what a handicap Crawford and Ethier is to us now before you hope for a new player or two to be set up to be in the same position in a few years. Crawford is a total loss, could be replaced and improved by a player from OKC at 5% of what we’re paying him. Ethier is a better situation in that he does have defensive and offensive merit, worth maybe 40% of his salary. I would accept someone like MJ Upton only because he has a bad contract we could trade Crawford for and he is an excellent defensive outfielder capable of playing centerfield which could make him a platoon mate for Joc. Putting out new money (overpaying) for Justin Upton or Jason Heyward would be a huge mistake.

    • Believe that Dre pretty much earned his salary last year. CC was a salary dump in order to get AGon. We can live with a platoon-type RH, doesn’t have to be at the level of Justin Upton, in order to free up Quique for 2nd/infield utility. MJ is certainly worth a look, particularly if you could get him for CC+. Chris Young, an FA, might deserve a look as well.

      • Yes, I’ve always liked Chris Young. I hear the Yankees are after him, I hoped FO would be interested but I didn’t give it much chance. They surprised me when they let Ruggiano go so easily, he’s more in the FO’s price range.

  11. Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly says his team’s payroll will drop from its $300MM threshold in 2015 to much closer to the $200MM level, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. The vast Dodger payrolls of the first few years under the Guggenheim group’s ownership were meant to ensure the team could stay competitive while rebuilding the farm system, and once this young talent starts to emerge, the spending will drop. Boehly thinks “sustainable is more like the league average [payroll], plus some, or plus a lot.” As Shaikin notes, this still leaves the Dodgers with the flexibility to maintain a payroll at or near the luxury tax level every year.

    • To stay competitive Dodgers would need Greinke/Price at the very least. That would bring us to around $220 million. If the owners are willing to go up to around $250, we should be able to fill additional needs in at least two of the remaining areas needing attention 2nd/pen/RH outfielder. This would mean waiting until after 2017 to get the next chunk of savings from Dre and CC.

        • It’s not savings if you have to eat their salaries to trade them. Unless we can get back something really valuable, I wouldn’t trade Dre, given his contribution and I am not sure that they are willing rely on Schebler at this point for a LH outfielder. CC doesn’t have much of a market unless we eat the whole thing.

  12. In their end-of-season discussions, the Indians briefly considered using Jason Kipnis in the outfield next season with Jose Ramirez taking over at second,Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes. The team abandoned the idea, however, since Kipnis is just too valuable at the keystone. Cleveland is in dire need of outfield help and may need to make a big trade to fill the void,

    Ethier plus $$ and Van Slyke for Kipnis?

    • The deal in and of itself looks good, but how do you see our outfield after that and what else would you do?

      • Add 1st base to Kike’ s backup responsibilities. Sign Utley to backup 1st and 2nd and 3rd. Platoon Kike’ and Crawford in left. Bring up Schebler when Crawford goes on DL.

        Then adjust as needed.

        • Take Crawford to the Dog Pound and have him put down, make Kiki the right handed left fielder…
          (Crawford really brings out the worst in me. I may get drunk (first time in 30 years) to celebrate if they can find a way to get rid of him. ANYWAY)

    • I would say Ethier plus $$ OR Ethier plus SVS. Maybe I’m expecting SVS to have too much value. He really didn’t prove that last year, did he?

      • He didn’t replicate his 2014 season, but SVS was right around his career marks. Still has value to us at those levels as platooning outfielder and spelling AGon, who hits southpaws, can field and doesn’t cost much

      • Kinsler’s contract:

        2016 age 34 $14,000,000
        2017 age 35 $11,000,000
        2018 age 36 *$12,000,000 or $5M Buyout

        Kinsler would be the bridge to Peraza.
        If the Dodgers included no more than $4,000,000 with Ethier, I would include Hernandez. That changes the trade to Ethier, Hernandez, and $4,000,000 for Kinsler. SVS stays with the Dodgers.

        • Way too much. Why didn’t we just offer Kendrick 3 years and $36M, keep Kiki, keep Ethier or trade him elsewhere. I appreciate FO more each day…

          • My thought was to move payroll from outfield positions to infield positions since both Crawford and Ethier can’t both play left field at the same time.

            That trade concept doesn’t mean that Detroit would not have to add another player to balance the trade or merely take Ethier and Hernandez without any payroll compensation.

          • The Dee Gordon trade netted us Kiki and Heaney who turned into Kendrick and a couple lessor players. They did not acquire Kiki to trade him off for some over the hill second baseman. ‘Ain’t going to happen…

          • If you think you can assume what FAZ will do or not do you are going against the odds. I am just throwing out thoughts on potential second basemen because FAZ has said second base is their only position besides pitcher that they are thinking the most about.

            If they could trade Ethier or Crawford for Kipnes that would be great but Detroit could fill an outfield opening by moving Kipnis to the outfield so they need a replacement. What other second baseman might the Dodgers offer up that might entice Detroit to trade Kipnis?

            I personally am okay with Peraza at second base for the Dodgers.

            Why is it that most people are willing to find fault with a trade but not suggest an alternative?

          • Trading Ethier for Kipnis doesn’t add payroll to get a bridge to Peraza second baseman but signing Kendrick does.

          • You think they’d take Ethier straight up, pay all his $40M salary? If we have to pay most of his salary, we might as well keep him, make Kiki the second baseman.

    • Some of those remind me of comments, which can be on a whole other–and even lower–level. Below are a couple from there I saved for their sheer ignorance.

      If I had claimed in pubic that the Dodgers once were in the AL, I’d crawl in a hole and pull it over top of me and never comment anywhere ever again.

      But these days it seems trendy to wear your ignorance as a badge of honor, and to get a bit testy when someone calls you on it–not get embarrassed as normal people would.
      “The company this guy (CK) is associated with is unreal.

      Randy Johnson


      Pedro Martinez


      Nolan Ryan

      Philter15 4 hours ago

      “All of those guys have dominated in both leagues. Kershaw must do the same to be placed along side those hall of famers. He is great no doubt but he would have to prove that in the AL as well”

      Philter15 4 hours ago

      “Brooklyn Dodgers were in the American League guy. You don’t know your own teams history?

      “@Philter15 From what planet do you get your baseball facts? NL since 1890
      Even after it was pointed out to His Ignorance that the Dodgers have been in the NL for more than 100 years, he wanted to argue about it.

      IIRC, no one corrected his claim that Koufax pitched in the AL, nor pointed out that all names on his list of elite pitchers are not on quite the same level.

      Probably just as well.

      • Er, um. uhhh..oops…..typo in word public corrected. //One letter can make all the difference, he belatedly notices.

        Actually, claiming anything in that other place–the one without the L–would have been hard (sorry,sorta).

  13. I predict FO will trade Crawford for Giancarlo Stanton. And Ellis for Bryce Harper. And finish up by trading Ethier for Kris Bryant. And sign Zack, Price, Cuetto, and Leake.

      • I sometimes wish I could drink, life might be a little easier to take… I average about 1 beer per month. My post was an over reaction to others wants and hopes here, for players the Dodgers will never have, at least not before they’re old and worn out like Utley. I try to keep my wishes reasonable but maybe they’re right, it doesn’t cost any more to dream big.

    • What, exactly, did you do to your crystal ball before it went ballistic? It’s still in warranty, I hope.

  14. Let’s assume for now that Urias, De Leon, and Buhler can be at least #2 pitchers as soon as 2017. Given that, the Dodgers could sign Greinke and Price and keep them for one year maybe 2 and then trade them for a need other than pitching.

    That would let the Dodgers have their cake (prospects) and eat it too.

  15. If pitching and defense plus smart play and maybe contact is the recipe for success and since Heyward seems to be the #1 free agent available, here is what I would try to do. (sorry, nothing new here)

    1. Sign Heyward.

    2. Sign Greinke.

    3. Trade Puig and Ryu for Harvey.

    4. Sign Price.

    5. Sign O’Day

    6. Make Peraza starting 2B.

    7. Trade Ethier and $$ for Jayson Werth

      • They need a RH bat and can fill in with Crawford, Hernandez, SVS. Werth’s contract is higher than Ethier’s but for the same length so maybe no $$ are exchanged. Werth’s early career was as a Dodger so there is that.

      • No comment about how much money I spent? I figure the Dodgers can trade Price once Urias are ready.

    • They will sign Heyward the day Hell freezes over. Trade Ethier for Werth the day after that and trade Puig and Ryu for Harvey the day after that. Other ideas workable…

        • Audit–That was less of a prediction of what I thought KFAZ would do and more one of what I would try to do. Oh, I said that already didn’t I. My bad.