There is not a whole lot to talk about that has not already been cut, bit, chewed, swallowed and regurgitated, and probably many times over. As we have also digested, all of us have favorite Dodgers; many who have moved on to other teams. I think Bums is holding a spot for Joc for when he gets to the HOF.
One such Dodger fan favorite was Yasiel Puig. Unfortunately, Puig never attained the stardom that he hinted at back in 2013. He had his moments, and his arm is special. Bat flipping, bat licking, hitting coach kissing, tongue wagging, and all-around fun were attributes that made Yasiel a fan favorite. At times bad base running, overthrowing cut off, being late to games, immature rants were also Puig attributes that gave Yasiel his other persona; one which he gave not only many fans, but also FO, managers and coaches, and teammates heartache. He was an enigma with a boatload of talent that could not be harnessed; thus why the moniker of Wild Horse penned by the great Vin Scully was so apt.
But now Yasiel has been traded (along with Kemp, Wood, and Farmer), which will be forever known as the Kyle Farmer trade. In addition, those fans of Puig are incredulous that the FO now says that they need a power RH bat when they had one in Puig. Never mind that Puig was a left-hand hitter hitting from the right side of the box. Puig fans will point out that Puig didn’t always fail to hit LHP, but it can also be pointed that Alex Wood use to be a 16-3 pitcher by Alex Wood fans. Baseball is a game of what have you done for me lately. The Dodgers need a RH bat they can count on other than JT.
So how does the team get that RH power bat? There are not many available, and those that are, are already on teams where a trade needs to be consummated. JT Realmuto comes up in discussions quite a bit. Catcher is seemingly a position of need, but certainly not at the cost the Marlins are holding out for. The Fish will hold out until some team blinks, but it will not be Andrew Friedman that blinks. The Fish want Barnhart and one of Nick Senzel or Taylor Trammell from the Reds. If Dodger fans think Verdugo, Lux, and Ruiz are untouchable, you know that Senzel, Trammel, Hunter Greene, and Jonathan India are as close to untouchable as they come for Reds fans (and management).
I have heard names like Francisco Cervelli and Jose Abreu. Cervelli has significant health concerns with concussion protocols. That is a real problem for catchers. All I need to do is ask my son who had more than his share, and at a time when there was no such thing as concussion protocol. Abreu is a possibility, but then what do you do with Muncy? That also makes David Freese irrelevant.
Giancarlo Stanton is a love him or hate him type player. I think Stanton would look good in Dodger Blue, but right now NYY thinks he looks just fine in Yankee Pinstripes. We will find out after the first of the year if Manny Machado gets his dream team, NYY. That would make Harper almost impossible to get unless they unloaded Stanton, but fans are seemingly happy with the RH dominance in a stadium built for a LHH hitter. But for some reason, Harper is not getting a lot of love in NY. It could be for show, but it could also be that NYY is happy for the production from Stanton at much less dollars and less years than would come with Harper.
DJLM and AJ Pollock as FA are possibilities, but neither one is known for any kind of power. Who I want to write about is soon to be 27-year-old Nicholas Castellanos. The Dodgers interest appears to be quite genuine. At first, I was underwhelmed because Castellanos is perhaps one of the worst defensive OF in MLB. And then I remembered one of my baseball creeds, you can always hide a weak defensive but strong OF bat in LF. Because if Castellanos is indeed traded for, he is going to be compared to Puig. It is only natural. So let’s take a look at some of the key metrics comparing Castellanos to Puig for 2018.
|2018 slash line||.298/.354/.500/.854||.267/.327/.494/.820|
|2 outs RISP||.310/.364/.606/.969||.179/.256/.333/.589|
Where the Dodgers needed help the most in 2018 was a big RH bat in the middle of the lineup, hitting against LHP, hitting with 2 outs (keeping an inning alive), hitting with RISP, hitting with 2 outs and RISP. In every situation, Castellanos was superior. Puig was at his best in the 7thor 8thspot in the lineup, while Castellanos was at his best in the #4, but was also very good in the #3 and #2 (but those are taken). Simply comparing the clutch metrics, and there really is no comparison. This is not meant to be critical of Puig, but just to show how good a RH bat Castellanos is, and how he can be an immeasurable help to LAD. Castellanos shows he has the ability to provide offense for the Dodgers where they were most lacking last year.
Is Castellanos another DJM? He is a prolific RH bat while being a very poor defensive player. Check. He is two years younger than DJM in his final year with the Tigers & DBacks before FA. So what should it take to get Castellanos. It isn’t surprising that the Tigers are asking for Verdugo or Ruiz. Why wouldn’t they. But they are not going to get either one for one year of Castellanos and they know it. But start big and maybe you end up with a better return than you would have originally thought.
The DBacks traded three middle infielders:
2B Dawal Lugo (23 at time of trade)– Made ML debut in 2018. Should be starting 2B in 2019.
2B/SS Sergio Alcantara (21 at time of trade)– Played AA in 2018
SS Jose King (18 at time of trade)– Played in the NY Penn League (Rookie League for College players)
That was a decent haul for JDM. Lugo is considered a potential 2B starter for Detroit in 2019, Alcantara should be in AAA at 22, and King should start at low full season A at 19. For a full season and for a player 2 years younger, it may take more to get Castellanos. At the time of the trade, Lugo was #8 for the DBacks (currently #15 for Detroit), and Alcantara was #28 for the DBacks (currently #21 for Detroit).
I would propose DJ Peters (RF), Connor Wong (C), Kenneth Betancourt (2B), and Brock Stewart. That is a superior package than what the DBacks returned for DJM. However it is now believed that the Tigers are going to wait until Harper signs so as to reset the OF market, which should generate an even better return.
If the Dodgers want a power RH bat, Castellanos is the best option for what the team was lacking last year and what they need this year. Yasiel Puig fans will not accept that Castellanos is a better option, but maybe if he hits more like JDM than Puig, they can get over their displeasure.
Then again maybe it is all just an illusion and Andrew wants Bryce Harper all along.