Hot Stove Week

Unless AC posts (which he is welcome to do of course), I will likely not have much time this week, so I thought I’d throw bout a few talking points.

  • Ronald Acuna, who is a TOP 5 MLB Prospect for the Atlanta Braves and likely a budding superstar, was named the AFL’s MVP. His line was 83 AB’s/5 DBL/7 HR/16 RBI/.325 BA/.414 OB%/1.053 OPS.  Pretty impressive!  However, even a novice would have to acknowledge that Will Smith can at least be mentioned in a TOP 100 Prospect list after he put up these numbers:   62 AB’s/1 DBL/1 TPL/2 HR/16 RBI/.371 BA/.452 OB%/1.017 OPS.  Will Smith is a Top 100, likely a Top 50 prospect.
  • Here are the Dodger Prospects who deserve to be in the Top 100:
    • Walker Buehler
    • Alex Verdugo
    • Keibert Ruiz
    • Will Smith
    • Yusniel Diaz
    • Yadier Alvarez (he’s still in)
    • How about Edwin Rios?
  • Grandal or Barnes… or both?  The Dodgers could wait until the trade deadline to trade Grandal… maybe Will Smith is ready by then? I think it is inevitable that he will will be traded… but when… and for what or who?
  • What if Stanton nixes all trades except to the Dodgers?  Then what? It’s suddenly a buyers market and the only option Miami has is to trade him to LA or keep him. Frankly, he was betrayed by the Marlins front office and he may want to stick it to them.
  • Chris Woodward could go to Yanks as their skipper – he’s an underdog.
  • Manny Banuelos appears to be this years reclamation project.  In 20121, he was the Yankees #2 prospect, ahead of Dellin Betances and is a LHP who once had three plus pitches but struggled with control.  Sounds like a switch to the pen (which was started last season) is just what Dr. Honey Cutt ordered. He could emerge as a force in the pen and he will only be 27 next year as he is 3 years removed from TJ.
  • Rob Manfred says the pace of play will pick up next year.  That could help el Gasolino, especially if he can develop another pitch, like a cutter!
  • Morrow, Minor or a bunch of castoffs?  I can’t say either way…
  • Is is possible that Buehler and Urias are BOTH in the rotation after the All-Star break in 2018?
  • I have been thinking about trades:  How about a blockbuster? Brandon McCarthy, Alex Wood, Pedro Baez, Josh Fields, Joc Pederson, Kike Hernandez and Logan Forsythe for Zach Britton, Brad Brach and Jonathan Schoop? Think about that one!

OK, there’s some conversation starters!

Posted by Mark Timmons

We started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. We don’t do game recaps or such things — lots of sites do that well. I value sabermetrics, but don’t think they are the “end-all-be-all.”. This is where you should start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome! We’d like to hear your voice.

This article has 16 Comments

  1. Grandal or Barnes or both? As I have said all along it will depend as to how Grandal is valued in a trade. FAZ is not going to give him away. $7.7M is not enough to worry about for a luxury tax standpoint if the Dodgers can get a 1 WAR season in return, which should not be a problem. If moving Grandal will help in putting a package together for a #2 SP, a big bat to slide in behind Belli, or a top tier ML ready pitcher, OF, or 2B, then by all means trade him. If not, I will be more than happy to go into the 2018 season with the best catcher duo in MLB.

  2. First and foremost may all of you LADT guys n gals out there have a Great & Safe Thanksgiving…
    God willing and the creek don’t rise, 2018 will be another run at the Ring!!!

  3. Ronald Acuna has superstar written all over. He is their best CF prospect since Andruw Jones. He has nothing to learn in MiLB, and the Braves are more than one CF away from contention, so I believe he is going to be on the 25 man when they break from ST. While I believe that the Braves will want to hold onto Ender Inciarte, I also believe that they will listen on trade proposals. I have always been a fan of Inciarte. I would hope that FAZ would at least make a call.
    .
    As far as your projected Dodgers identified as top 100 prospects, I agree with the 1st six, but not Rios. To be a top 100 talent, IMO one needs a position. Like Calhoun, Rios’ best chance is in the AL. He has tremendous offensive skills but no position.
    .
    The problem with Stanton is not that the Dodgers do not have the personnel to make a trade, it’s that the contract is waaaaaaaaay to prohibitive. I just cannot see it. I still think the Cardinals have the best chance of making it happen.
    .
    Speed of play is irrelevant to Baez. The only thing that can help him is the development and USE of that 2nd pitch. Heck just show it once in awhile.
    .
    NYY says they want a manager with MLB managing experience. Chris Woodward doesn’t fit that role.
    .
    I hope the Dodgers will sign both Morrow and Minor. But chances are it is going to be Font or Stewart who will be replacing Morrow and I believe that Watson has a better chance of getting signed by FAZ than Minor. I hope I am wrong with my feelings on this. Without a strong #2 who can provide 180-210 IP, the bullpen is going to have to be at the level of NYY bullpen, not Baez, Fields, and Banuelos.
    .
    The O’s and Dodgers can be great trade partners. But if the Dodgers trade that many players, including the number players that are under team control for several years, I would insist on Austin Hays and Hunter Harvey. If the Dodgers front office reads this blog as Mark says…Please go after Austin Hays and Hunter Harvey.

    1. AC, I say that “tongue in cheek,” although I know the communications staff provides links to all relevant Dodger blogs to the FO on a daily basis.

  4. I posted yesterday why I believe Grandal should be traded this winter.
    Stanton and his cost in money, prospects or both is a move the Dodgers just don’t need. I think Ozuna, Yelich or both would be the way to go with the cost in players and prospects worth the trade
    Dodgers signing both Morrow and Minor would be very good, but like AC I don’t see that happening.

  5. Baseball America’s
    Dodgers Top 10 Prospects

    1. Walker Buehler, RHP
    2. Alex Verdugo, OF
    3. Keibert Ruiz, C
    4. Mitchell White, RHP
    5. Yadier Alvarez, RHP
    6. Yusniel Diaz, OF
    7. Jeren Kendall, OF
    8. DJ Peters, OF
    9. Will Smith, C
    10. Dennis Santana, RHP

    BEST TOOLS

    Best Hitter for Average: Alex Verdugo.
    Best Power Hitter: DJ Peters.
    Best Strike-Zone Discipline: Alex Verdugo.
    Fastest Baserunner: Tim Locastro.
    Best Athlete: Jeren Kendall.
    Best Fastball: Yadier Alvarez.
    Best Curveball: Walker Buehler.
    Best Slider: Mitchell White.
    Best Changeup: Imani Abdullah.
    Best Control: Dustin May.
    Best Defensive Catcher: Will Smith.
    Best Defensive INF: Errol Robinson.
    Best INF Arm: Drew Jackson.
    Best Defensive OF: Jeren Kendall.
    Best OF Arm: Alex Verdugo.


    PROJECTED 2021 LINEUP

    (Listed with 2021 season age)

    C Austin Barnes (31)
    1B Cody Bellinger (25)
    2B Chris Taylor (30)
    3B Justin Turner (36)
    SS Corey Seager (27)
    LF Alex Verdugo (25)
    CF Joc Pederson (29)
    RF Yasiel Puig (30)
    SP Clayton Kershaw (33)
    SP Walker Buehler (26)
    SP Julio Urias (24)
    SP Alex Wood (30)
    SP Mitchell White (26)
    CL Kenley Jansen (33)

  6. Grandal gives the Dodgers a rare LH/RH opportunity with Barnes. Grandal is a switch hitter but does not hit LHP that well. Barnes hits RHP very well and Farmer as a backup can probably hit LHP better than RHP. Teams usually have one off day per week and a backup catcher gets 1 start, usually Sun after a night game on Sat. They have 3 options: Trade Grandal now and get something useful in return whether packaged or by himself. This might be best for the team and player after the post season benching. They could sign him for Arb year 3 at $7.7 M or so and trade him at the deadline or keep him the entire year. It might be taking a step back to not keep him if Barnes can’t handle full time duties and the young catchers are not quite ready. He is not worth a QO of $18M or so next year, he would take it. The final option is to sign him long term which I thought was a real possibility prior to last year but not anymore with the emergence of Barnes, Smith, Ruiz and others who are younger and cheaper.

    Yu, Morrow and Watson all could be brought back but I would give odds of 10% on Yu for salary reasons, 25% on Morrow because someone will give him closer money and 50% on Watson who can get both lefties and righties out. The team prefers to sign their own free agents first and all would like to return so there is a chance and they surprised everyone last year by signing Hill, Turner and Jansen.

    Stanton is a real option because he has the no trade clause, wants to come here where he grew up, to play for a winner and the team has the money and prospects to make it work. The longer he stays on the market the lower his price goes because teams who can afford him will start signing free agents which I doubt the Dodgers do. They should keep the channels open and slow play it. I still put odds at only 25/30%.

    Then there is Ohtani who is the best player to come from Japan in a long long time. The team should make every effort to sign him as the top priority because of his youth and obvious talent. He also want to come to the Dodgers (sense a pattern here?) He has said he likes Darvish but I have read that he really looks up to Maeda as well. The team was linked to him out of high school and the LA market is an obvious fit for him. I put the odds at 50% they sign him with a creative deal and let him pitch and play OF and PH as well.

    There are a lot of other things that could be done such as shed payroll if adding Darvish or Stanton, trade young major league talent plus prospects for an impact player, or the typical dumpster diving and ST invites for auditions. They have decisions to make on Oaks, Font, Thompson, Avilan, Paredes and others or risk losing them through Rule 5 or because they are out of ML options. Then there are the returning injured players like Urias, Toles, Garcia and Liberatore. Dayton is trickier with his TJ surgery but could be stashed on the 60 day until ready. If the rumors are true that Urias is ahead of schedule on his rehab that is pleasant news unless you are McCarthy or Kazmir. Additions to the 40 man ahead of the Rule 5 draft are the 1st order of business and could yield some clues as to their thinking. The Dodgers are in an envious position of not having to make many moves to be right back in the WS but could if they chose make a big or little splash. Zaidi said they want impact players and they are always a bit more difficult to obtain.

  7. The Yankees will get ohtani. The dodgers need to just release kazmir, hes done. They need bullpen and a good hitter, also a starting pitchng to pitch 2 In the rotation. They need to keep bellinger at first. They already have to many outfielders and don’t know what to do with them. Agon should a few to give bellinger a day off, other then that he should PH or DH. Urais won’t be as good as the dodger think he will. He’ll struggleon commands and hes velocity will go down. McCarthy needs to get traded, he sucks and dodger fans don’t want him anymore. Joc needs to go, he’ll keep struggling and be sent back and fourth from mlb to AAA. I’m also gonna say this, if the dodger lose next year world series. I wouldn’t be surprise if Kershaw opt out cause their are killing him and not giving him the help he so needs.

    1. If Kershaw opts out, it won’t be because of “not giving him the help he so needs.”

      It will be because he wants to go back to Texas and I have no clue if he does nor doesn’t.

      It’s silly to say the team has not given him the help he needs. They won 104 games in the regular season. Their depth is incredible – every knowledgeable fan know that. While not blaming Clayton for the World Series loss, in game 5, the Dodgers staked Clayton to a 4-0 lead and he gave it all back in the 4th inning. The Dodgers came right back and scored 3 runs the next inning and Clayton gave them back. If Clayton had pitched like our Ace in game 5, the Dodgers would have been ahead 3-2 and only needing to win one of the next two games. The Dodgers gave Clayton the help he needed. He did not deliver. It’s on him!

      I love Clayton, but there is no excuse and it’s not the FO’s fault!

  8. The Braintrust has not signed a new free agent (ie., a player from another team) to a contract for longer than McCarthy’s 4 years (exception is Maeda who got 8 years but at $3 MM/year plus incentives) or for more than $16 MM/year (Kazmir, Hill). There is no way that, after missing the title by 1 game, they will overspend for the likes of Stanton or give up top prospects for him. The Dodgers have about 5 guys who can participate in LF next year assuming that Taylor stays in CF and Puig in RF.

    Same thing about relief pitchers. Other than Jansen, the Braintrust does not spend $$ on relief pitchers. Anyone who thinks that they will suddenly change is operating on the basis of wishful thinking and not on previous track records. Brandon Morrow and Tony Watson are long gone.

    I don’t belief that the Dodgers are suddenly dissatisfied with Grandal – just that it makes sense to trade him if they think Barnes is the real thing. It will save $7MM against the luxury tax and they have Farmer to back Barnes up, or they can hire from the hiring hall of the International Brotherhood of Backup Catchers, Local 322.

    I agree with most everything that AC posted above with 1 exception – they won’t be acquiring a #2 starter. They will go with what they have and hope that Buehler or someone else from the minors is ready if they need another starter, at least until the Trade Deadline.

    1. Mostly agree except perhaps on Watson, don’t think anyone offers him big money and he may give a discount. What about Ohtani? While a bit of a projection in the NL he would be worth it and the $20 M posting fee does not count against the luxury tax. A vet backup catcher costs $1 to 2 M, big savings over Grandal. Looks like you are on the trade or dumpster diving side of the discussion and that is in reality the most likely course. Tend to think they have plenty of starters for this year and if they are injured or ineffective another deadline deal can bring help for the playoffs.

    2. I agree that FAZ has not signed a 9 figure FA, and I do not expect this year will be any different. If the rumors are correct, they supposedly did offer Greinke a 5 year $150M+ deal which he turned down and signed with the DBacks. It was probably posturing knowing that he was not going to sign, as Greinke made it very clear he was going to the team that paid him the most. I think they can sign Darvish and make other roster moves to stay under the $237M threshold, but they won’t. It is not who they are.
      .
      I do think they would be willing to sign a relief pitcher but not a second closer on a long term deal. I like Morrow, but it is not like FAZ to give a setup reliever an Andrew Miller contract. I think they believe they can get the same out of Font or Stewart or another obscure RHRP that we do not know yet.
      .
      But they are willing to pay the price for a 2nd reliever for one year. They were willing with Chapman, and they were willing with Britton. They are still involved with talks on Britton, but it is only for one year. But it is more likely that they approach Watson for the two years $12M that is being rumored which will be less expensive that Britton for one year, and not cost them any prospects. Mike Minor would be a LHRP that may also be out of the FAZ comfort zone. They probably feel comfortable with going into the season with Cingrani, Avilan, and Liberatore as the LHRP, with Paredes in line to contribute through the OKC express. Dayton will be back around All Star Week.
      .
      As far as #2 starter, I do not think they will go get one, I think they need one. I keep reading that FAZ holds on to the premise that there are not a lot of needs on the current ball club, but Farhan has stated that they could acquire one high impact player. Like you Rick, I think they will work around the peripheral and then see what improvements can be made at the trade deadline. That is what they have previously done.

  9. Urias’ arm might never be the same. I can see him going to the bullpen as a Hong Chi Kuo-type LHRP.

    Stanton isn’t coming. FAZ is all about minimizing risk and Stanton’s contract is a MAJOR risk.

    Can FAZ find another Chris Taylor and Brandon Morrow this offseason? If so why ever trade for or sign an expensive star?

    The trade of Grandal/McCarthy/Maeda/Joc to Baltimore for prospects makes so much sense it probably won’t happen.

  10. The fact that FAZ has not signed or traded for any long-term contracts doesn’t mean that they won’t. They haven’t in times past because they had THREE horrible contracts in Ethier, Crawfish and A-Gon. Ethier and Crawfish ‘s contracts have expired and if A-Gon could be traded in the Stanton deal (he’d probably waive his no-trade deal for a couple-three million), the Dodgers would not have a bad contract for maybe 6 years. By then, guys like Kike may be making $20 million a year (who knows?).

    While not the prime factor, the Giants are being aggressive in going after Stanton. FAZ has to consider if that is a bane or a boom!

    The cool thing is: The Dodgers don’t have to do a Damn THING! But, if Stanton exercises his no-trade clause, the Marlins have no bargaining power.

    A-Gon, Kaz, Alvarez, Kendall and Peters? I’d do that in a heartbeat!

  11. On Julio Urias:

    No one can predict how a pitcher will come back from any surgery, but this injury is especially hard to come bcak from. Here’s what we know:

    June 27, 2017: “The surgery was a success,” manager Dave Roberts said. “I don’t know in medical terms; all I know is in seeing the [email] thread from Dr. [Neal] ElAttrache, he’s a lot more optimistic than he was when he was first going to do the surgery.

    August 9, 2017 Urias said he was encouraged by ElAttrache’s cheery post-operation report, which stated that “everything was better than expected.” Unlike most similar tears, Urias’ lacked scar tissue in the area because it had torn in an acute fashion. Typically, overuse is at fault.

    “He obviously can’t guarantee anything,” Urias said of ElAttrache. “That depends on my rehab and how much work I put in, but after a month and a couple days, I feel really good.”


    November 17, 2017 – Joel Sherman of The New York Post reported on Wednesday that, “[Julio Urias] is progressing well, according to Dodgers officials, who believe he could return to the team as early as May.”

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