In doing some research, I was reminded of two trades the Cardinals made this year that did not include Ozuna. In 2014/2015, the Cardinals had two solid OF prospects that they were very high on…Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty. This year they were traded to Toronto and Oakland respectively. In the trade to Toronto, Grichuk netted them a very good RH middle reliever, Dominic Leone. In 70.1 IP in Toronto, he went 3-0 with a 2.56 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. He had 81 K’s and 23 BB’s in those 70.1 IP. They also received RHP prospect, Conner Greene who is now #23 in a good Cardinals system.
For Piscotty, the Cardinals netted super utility prospect, Yairo Munoz, and “scrappy” 2B Max Schrock. They are #10 and #11 prospects in the Cardinals system, and both are very near.
While the return was good, the primary reason to make the trade was that Grichuk and Piscotty were blocking two very good OF prospects, Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader, prospects# 4 and 5 in the Cardinals system. Bader should make the 25 man this year, and O’Neill is probably a year away. The Cardinals have never been afraid to make trades as long as they got equal value and if they had a need. In these two cases they got both.
The reason this interested me was because the Dodgers have a similar situation. A couple of years back, Joc Pederson was that highly rated prospect who came up, but now may be blocking two other OF prospects who probably have a higher ceiling; Andrew Toles and Alex Verdugo. Joc is not going to be a regular and if they can net any kind of return similar to what the Cardinals got, they should consider it. His value is not going to be better at the end of the year if he doesn’t play all that much. His WS performance could convince some team that he would help them.
One such possibility is the Orioles. They are very RH heavy in the OF. Their OF depth is Trey Mancini, Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo, Joey Rickard, and Austin Hays, all RH hitters. Mancini and Trumbo also serve as the DH. In fact, Chris Davis is arguably the only LH hitter who will be on the 25 man. Joc could play a lot with the O’s and could be a potential 40 HR guy in Camden. With the exception of Boston, the other three teams in the AL East have a largely RH rotation. It would open up the logjam in LF and give both Toles and Verdugo a legit shot at making the roster.
It is possible that the Dodgers could work out a deal with the O’s and Rays that would send Joc and Ryu to the Orioles for prospects the Rays would want, and the Dodgers could add in a couple of other not on the NO TRADE list to the Rays for Chris Archer. I still believe that Archer’s true value is in his contract, not necessarily in his pitching. He is a solid dependable innings eater who strikes out a lot of hitters, and balances out the rotation. Make no mistake, I do not believe that Chris Archer is an Ace. He is a mid rotation guy on the Dodgers, but he would be the most dependable starter they have. The Dodgers would also save money in that scenario. Chris Archer has a $4.25M AAV for the next two years, and has two option years at $8.25M. That is 4 years control at a good value. Ryu and Joc are $8.6M AAV. That would put the Dodgers at more than $20M below the luxury tax, balance the starting rotation, and open up a logjam in LF where the loss would be minimal if any at all. That would free up a lot of cash to go after whatever they need at the trade deadline. I would think that the Dodgers could offer whatever the O’s traded for Joc and Ryu, plus two of Jordan Sheffield, Edwin Rios, Imani Abdullah, Gavin Lux, and Connor Wong. If it needed to be three, then it would still work. All five are in the Dodgers Top 25, and the Dodgers farm system is a top 5 system. Because I truly like his potential, it would hurt me personally, but I would include Jeren Kendall in the equation.
One other scenario that FAZ likes to explore, is to go bargain hunting and uncovering that gem. Justin Masterson and Jair Jurrjens were two such options last year, and neither were needed. Brandon Beachy was a prior year consideration. I still think if the Dodgers can sign Clay Buchholz and or Chris Tillman to minor league deals they would be worth pursuing. Yes, I know they are easy to dismiss. They are no longer top of the rotation pitchers, and a potential waste of money that will get the anti-FAZ crowd going nuts. But maybe they catch lightning in a bottle again. What’s the downside?