Before we start this discussion, let’s remember that the time between the Holidays is a real dog when it comes to the Hot Stove League, thus, these really are the Dog Days.
OK, let’s look at what the Kemp-Puig-Wood-Farmer trade produced. The Dodgers sent Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, Kyle Farmer and $7 million Dollars to the Reds for Homer Bailey and two nice prospects. Very simply, the Dodger save about $7 to $8 million dollars next year and the Reds got two starting outfielders, a starting pitchers and a utilityman. The most important part is thatthis saves the Dodgers about $14 million luxury tax payroll NEXT season. That’s really all you need to know.
Many Cincinnati Reds blogs, likeThe Blog Red Machineare proclaiming victory in the trade… but of course they are, because they have had nothing but losers since… The Big Red Machine. So… if you are of the opinion that getting the most MLB experienced talent back is how you rate a trade, then the Dodgers were losers. Sadly, there are some Dodger bloggers who also think the same thing. The thing they are missing… is that EVEN IF the Dodgers don’t make another move (there will be more moves), the team may be better than 2018 because they have so much depth… and you never know who will step up next.
We all have an idea, who that COULD be:
- Alex Verdugomay become an extraordinary hitter. We don’t know, but he has the tools. I read somewhere that no one will play RF as good as Yasiel Puig. That’s really silly! Verdugo has a cannon like Puig, but he is not known for missing cut-off men and throwing to the wrong base, like The Wild Horse. Alex Verdugo’s Peak isTony Gwynnand his basement isVon Joshua. Unless the Dodgers trade him (and I doubt that they will), he has a shot at stardom.
- When the Dodgers offeredHyun-Jin Ryuthe Qualifying Offer they knew that he might accept, and that Alex Wood, who was not happy to be in the bullpen would have to be traded. If you look at pure stats, Ryu was the Dodgers best pitcher last year. He is still learning how to REALLY pitch and his 1.97 ERA and 1.008 WHIP could put him into Cy Young contention next year. 2019 could be Ryu’s “lightening in a bottle.” 2019 is Ryu’s last season with the Dodgers and it could be “one for the ages.”
- Matt Kemp had a nice season (first half anyway), but he shoved too much cake down his piehole and his 1.1 WAR paled in comparison toJoc Pederson‘s 2.3 WAR. Now, if they could just teach Pederson how to hit lefties… well that’s exactly what they are planning to do!
- Who replaces Kyle Farmer? Good kid. Not a loss. Edwin Rios? Maybe.
Three years frown now, we can fully evaluate the trade… and what if Jeter Downs or Josiah Gray becaome stars or what if they are traded for a stud starting pitcher (I’m not even metioning Cory Kluber).
The 800 Pound Gorilla
OK, let’s get to it. Bryce Harper is the 800 pound gorilla… and it seems that he has his eye on the Dodgers. Well duuuuhhhhhh! But he’s LH and the Dodgers need a Lefty Killer… or two. He’s not a left killer, butNicholas Castellanosis! Yeah, he’s a horrible rightfielder, but he only has to play LF for the Dodgers. Casty could be the next JD Martinez. I am not against Bryce Harper, and if he wants tp be a Dodger, I can see that happening, but I can’t see Borass allowing that to happen. I don’t hate him or anything, but I’d rather have Casty and another player than Harper. Put Nick in LF and work with him on defense… he can get better. He’s only 26 and still has ability to grow. He would be a great RH bat in the middle of a lineup that is predomoniately LH.
The Luxury Tax
I think the Dodgers could be over the Luxury Tax in 2019 (slightly… not a big deal). I expect a deal for Castellanos and a catcher like Nick Hundley. Friedman will figure out who he has to trade as long as their names are not Verdugo, Ruiz or Lux. I look for positive improvement from Kike Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger. Max Muncy could be a casuality in the trade for Casty.
On Corey Kluber: I could not see it when it was first mentioned and I cannot see it now. The Padres are involved now and they have more MLB ready talent than the Dodgers which is what the Indians want. The Indians didn’t want Puig or Kemp and Wood did not interesr them. I have heard that Friedman was working with all kinds of teams to trade Puig, Kemp and Wood and that the market for them was very light. We may like those players, but other GM’s evidently did not value them like we might think. I read somewhere that Friedman gave them away too cheap. Do you really think he did not burn up the phone lines and talk to every team trying to move them? Of course he did, but people who say such things really have no idea how other teams value your players.
For the record, I expect Fat Kemp to show up at Spring Training and I would not be the least bit surprised if Alex Wood’s arm fell off. I am not wishing for that. It’s just that I have felt he was conceling an injury for quite some time now. Puig could have a monster year in Great American Ballpark or he could press to impress in order to get a great new contract and fall flat on his face. Matt Kemp was a nice story for half the season, but that wasn’t happening again. It used to be his love affair with Rhianna was his undoing. Now, it’s his love affair with food! I can’t condemn him… I need to drop 25 pounds too!
The 2019 Lineup:
- Verdugo RF
- Turner 3B
- Seager SS
- Castellanos LF
- Bellinger 1B
- Taylor CF
- Hernandez 2B
- ________/Barnes C
To me, Casty is a must. If they sign Harper they will still be very LH. Not saying it can’t happen, but if they sign Harper, Muncy will almost certainly get traded and he could be part of the deal for Casty. Casty will make the Dodgers Nasty. Oh, and I will continue to predict a “Breakout Season” for Kike Hernandez… like I always do!
Just remember, the team Friedman starts the season with, may not be the team he ends with. A lot can happen between now and then…
Seven Weeks Until Pitchers and Catchers Report!
- Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.comhas a nice Q & A about trades and such.