“A .209 hitter this year against left-handed pitchers, Puig was disgruntled by how he was limited to playing against right-handers, according to people familiar with his thinking who spoke under the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject. The frustration was said to affect his play, and Puig is now described as distrustful of management and open to playing for another team.” – Dylan Hernandez, LA Times.
Is this a surprise that players do not like being platooned? This seems to be a common theme running with the pre-FA Dodgers when it comes to platooning them. Disgruntled or not, even Ray Charles can see that this approach is hurting the future earnings of these players. It is now suggested that the trade value for Yasiel Puig is so low that the Dodgers need to hold onto him because there is more perceived value for the Dodgers than any other team. Dodger fans are no different than other teams’ fans. They overvalue the “worth” of a favorite player. We all saw what Paul Goldschmidt, one of the very best hitters in all of MLB, was worth in a trade. Dodgers management has told all MLB teams who will listen that Puig cannot hit LHP. We may not necessarily agree with that, but if you do not think that is indeed the perception, then I think you are not being realistic.
Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly, organizational depth, and a supplemental draft pick gets Goldy. A couple of 100-200 prospects for one year of Puig? That is not undervaluing. That is a couple of a teams’ top ten picks (not SD or Atl or ChiSox). How much more do you expect? Yes, Puig could be included in a trade, but it is going to take prospects going with him to get a deal done for a MLB game changer like Corey Kluber. The question will be…does Cleveland think they can win in 2019? If yes, then they would be interested in Puig, and might be persuaded to trade Ethan Hankins whose ETA is 2022. Doubt it, but maybe.
If they want to trade Kluber to rid payroll and build their farm system, then Puig will not be going to Cleveland. Dodger fans are going to say, but what if Puig gets back to that 2013 player? That cannot compare to the pitcher that has won two CY awards since then, was #3 last year, and has pitched 200+ innings the last five years. Some Dodger fans will retort that Kluber is 33, thrown too many innings, and is bound to go downhill beginning in 2019. Why trade Puig for that? It is probably more likely that Puig will pull a hammy before Kluber starts to regress.
Andrew & Co. have been loath to trade their perceived top prospects. They are not going to trade Cody Bellinger who every team wants. I know I am stating the obvious but there can be no trade unless both teams believe they can get something out of it. To the best of my knowledge nobody on this site has spoken to Cleveland and asked them what their requirements are for Kluber. What if they walk away unless Bellinger is included in any trade for Kluber? Yes, Cleveland would like to have Puig, but not as the main return for Kluber (or Bauer). I have read some say they wouldn’t trade Puig for Kluber straight up. I just scratch my head on that one. Some fans are going to be disappointed no matter who is traded (or not traded) which is why Friedman is not going to listen to any of the hair-brained trade proposals that some fans think are fair (including mine).
Look what the M’s got in return for multiple years of Jean Segura…JP Crawford and Carlos Santana. And the M’s needed to throw in James Pazos, a pretty good LHRP. Forget about Nicasio, that was to even out the dollars a little more. And you think one year of Puig is going to net a better deal? I could very well be wrong (it will not be the first time), but I doubt that Puig can bring anything comparable in ML players than that. And that does not help LA in 2019.
Two of the LAD top four prospects are catchers. Do they really need both Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith? How can both fully develop as ML catchers if both need the time behind the dish to get acclimated to the pitchers, and fully develop their foot work, framing, blocking skills, ball transfer, and arm to 2nd. It takes experience to perfect those skills. You cannot develop them when they have to split time and one has to play 3B (Smith) while the other catches (Ruiz). Trade one before their perceived value diminishes as did Carson Kelly’s. I have always liked Carson Kelly since he was drafted in 2011 and believed him to be the heir apparent to Yadi Molina. He is still young, and I hope he has a resurgent career for AZ except when he plays LAD.
Maybe the best the Dodgers can do is to trade Puig and Wood for minor league prospects, platoon Muncy and Freese at 1B, pick CT3 or Kike’ to play 2B, platoon Joc/Kemp in LF, keep Belli in CF, start Verdugo in RF and hope he is the hit machine many believe him to be.
For those that would prefer to trade Verdugo over Puig, I ask again. After Puig and Kemp leave, who plays OF for LAD? Toles, one more year of Joc, who will not be extended, and utility players CT3 and Kike (one more year). I prefer Bellinger at 1B, and would prefer a leadoff hitting CF, but if no other OF what choice do the Dodgers have but to play Belli in CF? Forget 2018 AAA players who are all gone except Verdugo and Toles. The only AA OF last year who are still with the organization and have a potential opportunity to move to AAA are Zach Reks, Kyle Garlick, Logan Landon, and DJ Peters. The three most legit OF prospects for 2019-2020 FA are all LF…Corey Dickerson, Marcel Ozuna, and JDM (if he opts out). But JDM would be silly to leave the AL even if he opts out.
I have suggested it in the past; see if Baltimore would be amenable to a Joc for Austin Hays (23) trade. Maybe Austin Hays will be a bust, but he is a better option than any other RHH OF in the Dodgers organization, including DJ Peters. Sure, Kyle Garlick (27) is a good story, but he is not a prospect like Hays. Hopefully DJ Peters learns how to make contact, but do you really want a corner OF with a 250 K possibility?
I will be very surprised to see anymajortrades for the Dodgers. It is not Friedman’s style to trade pitchers like Stripling, Maeda, Ferguson, Santana, or May. He values that depth. Wood may be different as he is a back end of the rotation right now for the Dodgers, and maybe he brings a mid-tier prospect. But it is just as likely that Andrew values that depth more and Wood goes back to the bullpen. I honestly do not think he gives a thought as to what that may do to Wood’s potential earnings. His only concern is to the Dodgers (as it should be). He is not going to trade Buehler, Kershaw, Seager, Bellinger, JT or Jansen the only other players with value. Every team has their versions of CT3, Kike’, Joc, Toles, Barnes, and any of the relievers not named Jansen. The one question remaining about the current roster is what is the real value of Max Muncy? Is he truly the hitter we saw in 2018? Does he belong in the AL? Can he and Freese be proficient enough at 1B to keep Belli in CF?
As a fan would I like to see a more exciting lineup? Absolutely. Would I like to see Realmuto behind the dish for two years? Absolutely. Would I like to see Corey Kluber in the rotation? Again, a resounding yes! Would I like to see Jose Leclerc come out of the bullpen gate for the 8thinning? Make it happen. It is not important what any of us want. The team will contend just as they are constructed for 2019. They will win the NL West, AGAIN. Good enough to win the WS????? So, the far more important question is what willAndrewdo at the Meetings?