Theeeere They Go!!

Well okay then.  The Dodgers have finally spoken or more appropriately…ROARED.  Once again Andrew & Co. has done the impossible and freed up a lot of cash and moved players who were reportedly upset with how they were being played.  I will miss all three Dodgers, especially Alex Wood.  I know others were very partial to Yasiel Puig and he will be missed.  Matt Kemp’s homecoming was well worth it.  I can understand why Puig and Wood may have been a bit disgruntled.  I am not sure I understand why Kemp may have been upset unless it was due to how he was used in the post season.  But it is time for us to move on.

 

You wouldn’t know this if you read certain other blogs, but this is obviously a precursor to other transactions still to come.  Kluber?  Realmuto?  LeMahieu?  Harper?  Stanton?  Pollock?  Any combination?  The rumors are rampant.  As it currently sits, the Dodgers freed up $16MM in cash and are now $24MM below the CBT threshold.  Unless the Dodgers are willing to move others, they cannot bring Giancarlo Stanton or Bryce Harper to LA and stay under the CBT threshold.  They could trade for Kluber and Realmuto; they could sign Pollock and DJLM; they could trade for Stanton if NYY kicked in some $$$.  They could even sign Harper if they are willing to go past the CBT for one year. But they will do something.

 

I am sure that the rumors are going to continue until the next step, but for now, let’s take a look at who the Dodgers did acquire in return.  Even if it is temporary.  It is actually a very decent return prospect wise.  21-year-old RHP Josiah Gray and 20 year old SS/2B Jeter Downs.

 

Josiah Gray was traded to the Dodgers on his 21stbirthday.  I bet this is a birthday he will never forget.  Josiah is a converted HS SS who got one college scholarship offer, to Le Moyne College, a very small Jesuit private school in Syracuse NY.  He played sporadically as a SS as a freshman but started to pitch in the Hamptons Summer League.  For his sophomore year, he continued to play SS but he also became the team’s closer.

 

In the summer after his sophomore year, Gray decided to concentrate as a pitcher in the Cape Cod League.  When he returned to Le Moyne, he proceeded to dominate his competition in his junior year. He went 11-0 with a 1.24 ERA as a first-year starter.  Per BA’s pre-draft scouting report, Gray’s fastball sits at 90-95, and he has an average to fringe average slider and change.

 

Gray was rewarded with being the Reds compensatory balance B pick in the 2018 draft (#72 overall) and proceeded to continue his dominating year by starting 12 games in the Appalachian League, going 2-2 with a 2.58 ERA and 0.88 WHIP.  He had 59K’s in 52.1 IP and 17 BBs.  That is a better than 3-1 K/BB ratio.  He also allowed only 1 HR in those 52.1 Innings.  He is probably headed to the Midwest League where DC can follow him more closely, but if his trajectory continues do not be surprised to see Josiah Gray in a Quakes uni before the summer.  He does have three pitches that are still developing, so he will continue to get starts, but with his much improving change, BA considers his floor as a high leverage late inning reliever.  Gray was the Reds #20 prospect.  Where will he land on the Dodgers prospect list?  Could Josiah Gray become the Dodgers version of a Kyle Hendricks trade?

 

One other interesting fact about Gray being selected out of Le Moyne, was the last pitcher the Reds selected out of Le Moyne was Tom Browning.  Browning attended Le Moyne from 1979 to 1981.  He then transferred as a senior to that other baseball Mecca, Tennessee Wesleyan College and was drafted in the 9th round by the Reds in 1982.  Dodger fans can only hope that Gray has a big-league career commensurate with Browning’s.

 

The second prospect the Dodgers acquired is 20-year-old 2B/SS Jeter Downs. Downs was a compensatory balance A pick (#32 overall).  Per BA pre-draft report, as a “HS senior Downs played in many of the key showcase events, but it was at the Area Code Games that he really shined. There, Downs hit two home runs and made one of the best defensive plays of the week in the middle of the infield, showing plus hands and an advanced internal clock. Evaluators are still split on whether Downs will end up sticking at shortstop–in part because he is an average to near-average runner–but he established himself as one of the top hitters in the class with an outstanding spring. As of mid-May, Downs was batting .422/.518/1.000 with 12 home runs and only 10 strikeouts. Downs has a smooth swing; he uses his lower half well and has quick hands and loose wrists. He uses the whole field well and earns praise for his natural timing in the batter’s box. Defensively, while he flashes plus arm strength, some scouts haven’t seen Downs’ arm play at that level on a consistent basis.”

 

With Gavin Lux, the Dodgers now have two top rated SS/2B in the organization. Drafted out of a Florida HS, Downs was bought out of his Miami commitment.  He enjoyed his first full season professionally in the pitcher friendly Midwest League, that included 13 home runs, 23 doubles, and 37 steals.  He is a potential 20/20 guy.  He is a launch angle student with 33.2 percent fly ball rate and also had a solid line drive rate of 17.5%.  He does strike out a fair amount for a middle infielder with a lot of pop ups.  He will need to improve on those skills, but he could become another RVS student in refining his swing.  Scouts do like his power potential.  He is still playing SS but most believe that he is destined to 2B or even CF.  Perhaps young Jeter Downs is on the CT3 track.  Downs should start the year in RC, and be one of the younger players in the California League.

 

And just in case you were wondering, yes Jeter was named after Derek Jeter.  I know DC will have a lot more to say about these two fine prospects if they both happen to stick with LAD.

 

It is entirely conceivable that both Gray and Downs will get moved for Kluber or Stanton or Realmuto.  It is lot more difficult now to trade Verdugo with Puig and Kemp gone.  That would require Harper or Stanton to the Dodgers.  So, it could be Downs and Gray plus one of May/White/Smith/Kendall for Kluber or Realmuto.  Kluber is my #1 target with Stanton #2.  The Dodgers would need to get cash back in the trade to allow them to make other moves.  The need for RH bats makes Muncy available and DJLM becomes a possibility.  Pollock in CF and Bellinger at 1B and the defense just got better.  The Dodgers will get better, we just have to wait and see.  There are multiple possible scenarios, and I am sure that all scenarios are going to be sold as absolute over the next few days(?).

 

So, while we wait for the next shoe to drop, there are still positives to come out of this trade.  All one has to do is quit hating on Friedman and look realistically at what they have accomplished.  If the Dodgers do nothing with the CBT savings, then I will join all of the naysayers.  But if they can turn this into a potential Kluber and Harper/Stanton acquisition, then this was a masterpiece. BIG IFI know.  But Friedman has done it before, so I will not say he cannot accomplish big things when he puts his mind to it.

 

 

This article has 52 Comments

  1. This is what Sickels thinks of the two prospects:

    8) Jeter Downs, 2B-SS, Grade B/B-: Age 20, comp round pick in 2017 from high school in Florida; hit .257/.351/.402 in Low-A with 23 doubles, 13 homers, 37 steals, 52 walks, 103 strikeouts in 455 at-bats; aggressive runner with more power in the bat than you might think given 5-11, 180 size; controls zone reasonably; defensive tools fit best at second base where he should be above-average in time; good makeup and fun to watch, I like him more than I should given the data; ETA 2021.

    10) Josiah Gray, RHP, Grade B-: Age 20, second round pick in 2018 from Le Moyne College; posted 2.58 ERA with 59/17 K/BB in 52 innings in Appy League, just 29 hits; converted shortstop with 93-96 MPH fastball, with movement; slider and change-up need more consistency as you’d expect given background but impressed observers in pro debut; may need more development time than typical college arm. ETA 2021.

  2. Jeter Downs 7, Josiah Gray 16 already on the the Dodgers MLB Pipeline Prospect List.
    .
    I expect them to be part of a trade as per Andrew Heaney and Zach Eflin. Downs may be more enticing to keep and to other teams because of his potential at 2B. Gray with a fresh arm may start in 2019 but has high leverage relief written all over him.

  3. Like Hawkeye and others, I’ll wait until the other moves fall before a final opinion. I like Puig and will miss him but there have been rumors for 2 years now and there was no talk of extending him. I felt they could not keep both Puig and Verdugo another season and Puig should get regular playing time with the Reds and Ward and will hit 30 HR’s in that park. Kemp was going to be a cap casualty and Wood is another guy they had no interest in extending. Hard to believe this is the best deal out there, maybe it was the only deal out there. The talk about these are the ones who complained the most about usage seems far fetched to me, I never saw it or heard it but they are all former All Stars so of course they want to play. Grandal is in the same boat-he was not extended and the team has apparently moved on. There has to be a deal for a catcher in the works with the inclusion of Farmer in this trade and exclusion of Barnhart coming back. I am in the camp of JTR and Kluber being better additions than Harper. I like the idea of Stanton coming from the Yanks and it makes sense for both sides. The Yanks take back Hill and throw in some cash the Dodgers throw in some prospects and the RH bat goes to a corner OF spot. Or Joc and Hill instead of prospects. It’s time to move on from the one and dones or extend them. Without further RH hitter moves there will be a lot of playing time for Kike/CT3 and possibly Freese. For the love of all things holy do not trade away Muncy! For every poster who thinks he will regress I posit he is the only guy who can catch up to a good fastball with the possible exceptions of Cody and JT. All 3 need to do better on breaking balls but Muncy is the guy who gets into fastball counts and makes pitchers pay the most consistently. The new hitting approach being preached will benefit all the players but these 3 the most, being able to go the other way in certain counts and situations but still turning on pitches on the inner half. My wish list now:
    1) Kluber
    2) JTR/other vet C
    3) Stanton
    4) Bullpen
    5) Harper/Pollock

  4. I will also add Seager coming back helps a lot because he already uses the whole field and can hit a good fastball. He like to jump the 1st pitch which is often the best one a hitter will see in any AB and his clutch numbers are the best on the team. Kike and CT3 could also benefit from the new approach=more contact and less pull happy.

  5. I believe Verdugo is no longer in any trade package. He will now start in RF. If we get Kluber in a trade and sign Pollock, I will be happy. That moves Bellinger to first where he belongs. The defense will be very good. Let Kike, Taylor and Muncey fight it out for second base. Kike or Taylor platoon with Pederson in LF. I would really like to see Pederson become an every day player. Hell with the platoons. Do not trade for Realmuto. Let Barnes start and bring up Ruiz mid season.

  6. Just for the record I apologize ac for the jtr comments. I should have had a v8. I thought you were referring to Justin turner. I didn’t know Realmuto was jt. I knew that could not be true. I do think Realmuto and Kluber are targets with Stanton and Harper under consideration. Friedman I am sure made the best deal available for puig and wood but I am sure he would have liked to have dumped their full salary. Apparently, they had very little value.

    1. This is why it is so hard for us fans to gauge a trade. If Friedman could have made a better deal, he would have. That’s likley why it took so long. We value a player a certain way, but maybe a trade partner doesn’t place the same value on him.

      On Kemp: Pedro Moura saif that Kemp’s weight “balloned” in the second half. The Dodgers got a nice run from him the first half of 2018, but Matt must love his food more than his career.

      On Puig: Most teams did not want him… even the Reds needed more players to be convinced to take him. Frankly, most teams are afraid of him and what he will do to their culture. I wish him well, but the Dodgers will be a more disciplined team without him, and Verdugo is no longer blocked.

      On Wood: His mechanics and herky-jerky delivery hurt him. Maybe he can get that smoothed out, but I really think his future is a multi-inning reliever, not as a starter. However, he copped an attitude when relegated to the pen.

      On Farmer: The Friedman Bashers say “The Dodgers need a catcher, why would they trade him? That’s how stupid Friedman is!” (Actual quote). Maybe the stupid one is the guy who thinks Farmer is really a catcher….

      It’s possible that by subtracting those 4 players, the Dodgers could be a better team in 2019, but I doubt that we will know, because more moves will be made. If the Yankee want Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado, they will need to trade Stanton. Harper is LH and stanton, Judge and Machado are RH, so Harper makes a lot of sense for them. I almost a pure salary dump, the Dodgers could take Stanton if they traded Rich Hill and his $17 million one-year deal. They may be forced to dump him for one-year of Hill if they really want Harper and Harper makes a lot of sense for the Yanks.

      We are pretty sure something more is coming, we just don’t know what it is.

      1. Totally agree with you mark. The constant rumors on puig had to have some truth. Although many fans love him and I liked him he was not going to get an extension so you can’t block Verdugo. I hope Verdugo has his best attitude as it has been rumored that he has some rough edges. Kemp couldn’t stand prosperity. Wood, his performance ran the gamut. Farmer not a catcher. More to follow for sure.

        1. I AM OK FOR VERDUGO TIME. BUT I WILL MISS PUIG BECAUSE IN THE BORED TEAM (with hr o striek out strategy) was the only fun player to see. I suppose more trades comming . I want Stanton. I dont like the Harper posobility

  7. As much as I want Harper I just can’t see the FO doing that deal. I think the next moves are Kluber and one of DJLM, Pollock or JTR. If they don’t get JTR it will be a “stop gap” veteran acquisition until the Ruiz or May are ready.

    1. DJLM makes as much sense as any. A gold Glover and solid hitter to man what has become a black hole at second base. However they may not want to block lux if they feel he is a year or 2 away. Pollock injury history and maybe has had his career year plus losing a draft pick. Realmuto demands are too high at this point but may come around. Kluber might be the best possibility but they will want Verdugo if you can live with that. If that happens we will have to get Harper or Stanton. The Yankees probably want Harper so they would have to get rid of Stanton. If Friedman wants Stanton I think he will get him but the money has to work.

  8. Stanton’s contract has an average annual value of $25 million,.
    .
    According to a Jon Paul Morosi source, the Yankees could get $30 million in relief from the Marlins, but not for the first three seasons and only if Stanton does not opt out of the contract after the 2020 season, news first reported by Joel Sherman.
    .
    The Trade
    Hill ($16M) to the Yanks.
    $30M to Dodgers in 2021 from Marlins
    Stanton ($25M) to Dodgers
    Other players
    .
    Verdugo and Maeda to Cleveland for Kluber
    .
    LF Pederson
    3B Turner
    SS Seager
    RF Stanton
    CF Bellinger
    !B Muncy
    2B Taylor
    C Barnes
    Bench: Kike’, Freeze, Toles, F/A Catcher
    .
    Kershaw, Kluber, Buehler, Ryu, Stripling

    1. Joc would likely have to be part of a deal for Kluber, but I really can’t see Cleveland trading him… unless they think he is toast!

      1. Cleveland might want Joc but I don’t think the Dodgers would include both Joc and Verdugo in a trade. With Stanton on the team they don’t need Pollock and would want to keep Joc’s lower salary. If they traded Joc instead of Verdugo, they would have to include additional players.

  9. Well I am off to spend the weekend with my two sons, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter in Reno. This will be our Christmas with them. Maybe the next shoe drops today, maybe not. But it will be fun speculating with my boys.

  10. Boy, did yesterday shake up the troops…Being a Dodger fan and old timer here I say: ” Been there Seen this”… Some trades/salary dumps over the years have worked and others not…
    All the God given talent a player could pray for, but Dodger pitchers and catchers will not miss Puig’s errant throws to cut off men..
    I don’t know how many times starting in ST that I blinked and said ” Damn, this the Kemp of old times ” and then there was the break… I feverishly checked the stands for Rhianna, but to no avail!!! He just disappeared…
    I like the kids we got, but I wouldn’t unpack my sunscreen too fast…

  11. AC…Have fun and if you get a chance could you put $5 on the #3 horse in the 7th. at Santa Anita Opening day the 26th…
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to you and yours..

  12. Haven’t really checked out all the haters on Freidman for this trade. While I really liked Puig, even though he drove me nuts sometimes, like my son was telling me, sometimes you have to give to get, as far as players go. While this was a big time salary dump, Freidman once again did the impossible and talked someone into taking this deal. I don’t have a problem with this trade at all, it really frees Freidman to do a lot of creative things. My only beef, is please, please don’t break the bank for Harper. Save that cash for Arenado next year. I like A. J. Pollock, who can flat out rake and is a good defender if we can keep him on the field. Get Pollock, find a way to get Kluber, and if you have room to work out something for Realmalto, do it. If not, there are still some veteran catchers out there bridge the gap for a year.

  13. Could the Dodgers flip the two new prospects plus May and Barnes for Realmuto? Or would they have to add Alvarez? If the Dodgers keep Lux, Ruiz and Verdugo, I would be fine with that.

    I would not trade for Kluber. I would try a deal with Hill for Stanton (maybe that is dreaming… but so that’s what we do). Maybe Joc Pederson and Hill for Stanton?

    Lineup:
    1. Verdugo RF
    2. Turner 3B
    3. Seager SS
    4. Stanton LF
    5. Bellinger 1B
    6. Realmuto C
    7. Kike/Muncy 2B
    8. CT3 – CF

    What a lineup!

    Rotation:
    Keshaw, Buehler, Ryu, Maeda, Stripling, Urias, Gonsolin (he’s coming quickly)

    1. I don’t see any way that the trade you outlined for Realmuto would satisfy the Marlins Mark. You would have to sub Smith for Barnes at a minimum plus include Alavarez and they might not even settle for that. I agree that we shouldn’t move Verdugo. He’s our right fielder until he plays himself out of the job (which hopefully won’t be for about 8-10 years). I’m one of those who thinks we won’t get Harper and I’m not really sure Friedman even wants him. I do expect him to trade for or sign a power hitting outfielder who bats right handed (Stanton, Pollock, Haniger or someone we haven’t even thought of). Also, I don’t think that management would start the season with both Maeda and Stripling in the starting rotation. One or the other yes, but not both of them. Somewhere deep in the bowels of Dodger Stadium Andrew is reading all of our comments and laughing. “If they only knew what I have planned………………………………”

    2. Mark how about this trade: Miami gets Gary c from yanks,plus the 2 dodger prospects and a top 10, 20,yankee prospect,yanks get realmuto plus hill, we get Stanton plus 25 million from yanks, steckinrider from marlins. The Dodgers then use money to get Harper. That could be a framework.

      1. I was with you all the way until the part about using the money to get Harper. How about using the money to pay Stanton, get a catcher to platoon with Barnes and add another good arm to the pen. I think there’s a limit as to how many huge contracts they can absorb at one time. Remember, they still have to pay Kershaw.

        1. You are probably right about the contracts but next year there is arenado, goldy, sale, cole and I don’t know who else. We will be losing 16 mil on hill, baileys 28 mil., and puig, woods salary gone.After this year we will have a lot lower payroll than we started with this year unless we add a significant amount. We will actually be able to go after somebody like arenado if Friedman chooses. Stanton would be nice then the yanks could have Harper.

  14. Actual Headline on a Dodgers Blog:

    Judging The Dodgers Puig, Kemp Trade to The Reds, Possibly One of The Worst in Dodgers History

    Someone took a lethal dose of No Brains.

    LMAO!!!

    1. it was comical to read the last 2 articles on that blog. As was the article titled something like “Friedman loses winter meetings” or something

      i had to go in with the mentality “don’t take this seriously”

      1. They start with the premise that “Everything Friedman Does is Wrong.

        So, this is what they say:

        “Friedman is the only current GM who has lost two World Series in a Row.”

        However, in order to do that, he is the only one to get to two World Series in a row!

        It makes me sad that some people lead such a joyless life.

        1. They can’t even get their “facts” right last time I checked Jon Daniels was still in charge in Texas

    2. I like the debate at this blog in question, but agree the blogs fall all too quickly into:
      `
      “How can I throw out a context-free, ‘hot take.’ To gin up emotions.”
      `
      It’s a short term strategy that doesn’t work in the mid-long run.
      `
      This is demonstrated as the # of frequent contributors there has fallen pretty sharply.

      1. I am somewhat dumbfounded… there’s not much more to say, except that I am worried about their mental health. Something is obviously wrong.

    3. Puig was the only fun think in the bored dodgers last season. But it is ok is gone but only if stanton is comming. I never have liked Harper

  15. Pedro Moura of The Athletic on the trade.

    The​ trade​ the​ Dodgers struck Friday afternoon is​ not​ a strict​ salary dump, nor is it a clearing​ of​ the​ way​​ for Bryce Harper. Their seven-player deal with the Cincinnati Reds, rather, is a hybrid. It’s a prospect pick-up, a salary dump, and a surplus sell-off.

    By sending away Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers opened up right field for Alex Verdugo, their top prospect who has nothing more to prove in the minor leagues. By ceding Alex Wood, the Dodgers increased their distance from the luxury-tax threshold and lost little, since they can still boast sufficient starting depth without him.

    And by swapping Matt Kemp and $7 million for Homer Bailey, whom they immediately released, the Dodgers convinced the Reds to include two young prospects of some significance: 20-year-old shortstop Jeter Downs and 21-year-old right-hander Josiah Gray.

  16. Still don’t get all the idiots hating Freidman on this trade, As we all know, DON’T underestimate this guy, 9 times out of 10 he pulls a rabbit out of his butt and wows us. I am going to sit back, eat my Christmas ham, and wait for the other dominoes to fall. Seems like Freidman has us off to a good start this offseason. We should all be excited on this site, as we have a guy in Freidman who is not afraid to make the unpopular moves to make us better. So pull up a chair by the fire and let’s watch him go to work. Very, very fired up for his next moves. If anybody out there is hating on this trade, they are not doing their homework on the inner workings of baseball. Do your backround work before you bitch.

    1. I was pretty certain Puig and wood would be traded. I also was optimistic that Friedman would find a way to off load Kemp to free up a roster spot.

      I didn’t figure that it would all happen in one trade. Although I rank the Culbertson trade up in the Pantheon of awe inspiring transactions, this one (The Farmer Trade) was pretty good as well.

        1. That’s was also a good one. What awed me about the Culbertson trade is it was purely a creative salary dump that got us under the CBT

  17. AC

    Thank you for writing this up, I know this couldn’t have been that easy for you, to write.

    But you are going to be in the right place this weekend with your family and your sons.

    Because you will be able to digest these moves, and talk about what other moves might be made after this with your sons, like you already mentioned.

  18. I don’t think anyone here, or any writer knows what is coming next, or what Friedman’s true intentions are at this point.

    But there will be certainly more moves, that is pretty obvious, so I wouldn’t assume anything, at this point.

  19. Never mind Mark, I found it. The dude on Dodger Report must have had a few too many shots of JD, because he’s on a friggin roll! Wow, I didn’t know there were blog guys with such a negative outlook on their own team. I’m guessing Freidman is not getting a christmas card from this guy. The man sure is spewing alot of hate this close to Christmas. Take a walk around the block, dude, it’s gonna be ok. Once again, Freidman is going to make you look foolish.

    1. There are just a bunch of Friedman haters there. That’s all they exist for. I don’t know if it’s more pathetic than sad.

  20. IF there are no further deals the Dodgers are weaker today than they were yesterday, But I fully expect more trade to open up now. I am not a fan of Harper. We are already LH dominant and traded two RH outfielders. Muncy should bring back a good return from an AL team moving Belly back to 1B where he excells.

    1. Muncy might be as good of defensive third baseman as is Andujar and the yankees want lefty hitters and the Dodgers need a righty bat. Andujar would play 1st base for the Dodgers. If that happens I will think of Andujar as Steve Garvey until he physically takes that vision out of my head. As we might remember, Garvey started at 3B but moved to 1B because he couldn’t get his throws close enough to 1st base for them to be caught.

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