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Save Yourself a Headache, Don’t Try to Figure Out the Dodgers Moves Just Yet

December 11, 2014

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Wheeling and dealing, left and right. A fun time of the baseball year.

I’ll start this edition by saying trying to make sense of today’s Dodgers moves is futile since they’re part of a bigger makeover. So analyzing the specifics right now isn’t worth it. Wait, wait and see what happens next and more, what the thing looks like when the smoke clears.

On the face of it, here are some random comments about deals and rumors of deals we’ve heard today…

Losing Dee Gordon is a big loss in terms of a catalyst, a kid who finally got it under Maury Wills’ watchful eye, and a fun player to watch. He will wreak havoc atop a fun Miami Marlins lineup – good for him, going to a good home. Those who say trading high on Dee was smart and he tired in the second half, or got lucky, well, you’re entitled to your opinion and you’re partially right. Trading high, like the Dodgers may next on Matt Kemp, is always a smart move. Not sure about the haul they got back, but regardless of who “won” the trade, Dee was the Dodgers position player MVP last season imo, all due respect to A-Gone and half-season Matty. Speed kills. Speed changes games. Speed makes pitchers nervous. Speed makes fielders nervous. Speed makes #2 hitters better as they get fastballs – something that was evident last year as the Dodgers #2 hitters thrived. Dee played a very solid defense, even though lazy pundits tonight have said he didn’t. I suspect they only know his defense from his shortstop days. I’ve heard Andrew Friedman said Dee was poor defensively. If this is true, Friedman didn’t watch Dee either and is wrong. Dee’s a good player and I hope he runs wild in Miami. I hope the Fish are a surprise NL power as they’ve certainly collected a nice group of players over there. Dee will be missed, because unlike many of the players on the team, Dee loved being here and was a joy to see each day.

Not sure how Brandon McCarthy for four years is better than Dan Haren for one. I guess I’m not a big brain like the Moneyball gang the Dodgers have assembled. McCarthy will be the 5 starter, or perhaps 4, depending on whether they add Cole Hamels and/or trade Zack Greinke.

If they add Hamels, they have Greinke insurance – two dominant lefties at the top of the rotation. Hyun-Jin Ryu had shoulder injuries twice last year and it’s reasonable to think he will be hurt in 2015, at least spend some time on the DL. So maybe you have Clayton Kershaw, Greinke and Hamels, with McCarthy, Andrew Heaney and others behind that if Ryu is hurt, or they move Greinke rather than wait for him to probably opt out after 2015. So then your rotation is Kershaw, Hamels, Ryu, McCarthy and the rest. As you can see, a lot depends on Ryu’s health and whether Greinke is around. i.e. big names, but still a little confusing to me.

I am not a fan necessarily of what I’m seeing but given the Dodgers were embarrassed two straight Octobers, I don’t mind any changes. I hope they don’t deal Joc Pederson or Corey Seager, but almost anyone else is ok with me. The folks enamored with celebrity hottie Matt Kemp moving to San Diego, likely in a three-team deal with Philadelphia, need to realize the Dodgers weren’t winning with him. If you could trade high on a young, cheap All-Star like Dee, you can trade high on an expensive, sometimes pouty, injury-marred Kemp. The fact of the matter is Kemp could bring back Hamels and maybe a catcher, and there are a lot of outfielders around beside him. He’s a luxury item that can be parlayed into another luxury item and clear space in the crowded outfield. My only thing is dealing Kemp within the division will no doubt come back to haunt the Dodgers as Kemp, if he stays healthy, is the kind of guy who will rise to the occasion vs. the blue. But, San Diego has to find a way to attract a big bat to spacious Petco and Philadelphia needs to move Hamels and get younger – so…

I know Yasmani Grandal’s name is bandied about as the next Dodgers catcher and I understand his value, especially as a power bat, but I wish Friedman instead got Miguel Montero. Better catcher, better hitter, not a proven PED cheat. I do like the idea of replacing Kemp and Hanley’s “big bats” (and big egos!) by spreading the offense around more evenly (KC style!) – some at catcher, some at shortstop, some probably at second (if/when Dodgers add Chase Utley). So assuming the dust clears and Kemp and Hanley are gone but Grandal, Jimmy Rollins and Utley are added, also allowing Joc to play, you might have a more balanced attack looking something like…

Rollins SS
Crawford LF (SVS vs. lefties)
Utley 2B Kendrick 2B***
A-Gone 1B
Puig RF
Uribe 3B
Joc CF
Grandal C

As you can see it’s more evenly distributed, with no need for those two “big bats”. Plus, decent defensively.

Anyway, these are some of my initial thoughts. I don’t like the pen and hope they fix that, and probably some of the long men they’ve added and other arms acquired as second parts of recent deals may address that. Teams need bullpens, and the Dodgers is not good. The rotation is a work in progress and I’m not as confident with all those big names as some are because I don’t know which will be there, and which might be hurt.

I do appreciate the interest in tweaking something that wasn’t working. Dodger fans are creatures of habit, so they don’t understand what is happening. They like to wave the foam fingers and talk about how hot Kemp is. The Dodgers have not been a serious contender and have been soft. Not sure if all this change will help – it could create new chaos – but it’s at least interesting to watch.

Unless you hear tomorrow the Dodgers have acquired Cole Hamels and perhaps Chase Utley in a three-team deal with San Diego, sending Matt Kemp to the Padres, don’t try to wrap your head around what’s happened so far. There are months until spring training, and nothing right now is as it appears.

*** Moments after posting this, the Dodgers apparently have flipped Andrew Heaney to Anaheim for Howie Kendrick. I told you not to try to figure any of it out. đŸ™‚

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