Talks Between Dodgers & Reds Still Steady, Apparently

The offseason is starting to heat up with trade rumors and free agent speculation, and there is a lot of buzz surrounding what the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to do to try to improve their roster.

They’ve made consecutive World Series appearances, but are looking to see what player transactions can ultimately get them over that final hump to a championship

The Cincinnati Reds are rumored to have their eye on multiple Dodgers players, including Yasiel Puig and Alex Wood.

The Reds have finished last in the NL Central for four consecutive seasons, and it appears like they’re interested in making some big acquisitions to reassert themselves in that strong division.

They recently lost speedy center fielder Billy Hamilton to the Kansas City Royals, so there is definitely a need in the outfield.

The Dodgers are also said to be looking to trim payroll to make room for other potential acquisitions, and the Reds could be willing to oblige that request in order to improve their own lineup.

Ken Rosenthal has some interesting reporting on the subject. He says that the two teams have talked multiple times about a trade.

Puig is in play, as well as other Dodgers outfielders and pitchers. The Dodgers would want to trim their payroll, and Puig is projected to make $11.3 million in arbitration.

Wood is also a player to keep an eye on in these ongoing discussions, as he is projected to make $9 million in arbitration.

Rosenthal also notes that one variation of this deal could result in the Dodgers taking on Homer Bailey’s $28 million he’s still owed in order to get prospects from the Reds.

That alternative would be going against their supposed desire to trim payroll, but it would be a way to get some prospects.

There was a lot of talk about how Puig grew distrustful of Dodgers management last season, so it’s not hard to envision him on another team next season.

Mark Feinsand of MLB.com is reporting that the Dodgers have been actively trying to trade either Puig or Matt Kemp.

Based on his age and salary figure, Puig would presumably be easier to move than Kemp, but Puig’s fiery personality could definitely make teams shy away from wanting to add him to their locker room.

Kemp is set to make $21.75 million next season, and perhaps the Reds would be willing to take on that contract if the Dodgers agreed to take the Bailey contract off of their hands.

The Dodgers have a very crowded outfield and starting pitcher group right now, so it makes sense that guys like Puig, Kemp, and Wood are being shopped.

It looks like the Reds are a team that would be willing to take on a hefty contract, and the Dodgers seem to want to unload one of those three players in exchange for increased payroll flexibility and a less-crowded depth chart.

Dealing Puig or Kemp could open up more playing time next season for another outfielder, and Wood being dealt would make it easier to project the rotation for the beginning of the 2019 season.

 

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Roberts Says Maeda Will Begin Next Season in Starting Rotation, Not Bullpen

The Los Angeles Dodgers have a deep roster, which is great, but it can certainly make some players unsure of what their role is going to be as the seasons progress.

Kenta Maeda spent time as both a starter and reliever last season, appearing in 39 games and starting 20 of them.

Maeda ranked sixth on the team amongst pitchers in games started, behind Alex Wood, Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Walker Buehler, and Ross Stripling.

It’s a pretty crowded field, especially when you also throw in Hyun-Jin Ryu, who spent most of the season injured but still made 15 starts.

There are a lot of viable options for the rotation next season, and it appears that Dave Roberts has already developed a vision for how the rotation will look at the start of the 2019 campaign.

Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times is reporting that Roberts has said that Maeda is going to begin next season in the rotation.

Given that there are five players who got more starts than Maeda last season, and assuming Roberts is going with a typical five-man rotation, this endorsement of Maeda essentially means someone who got more starts than Maeda last season is getting bumped.

Stripling seems like the most obvious casualty since he has been utilized as an option out of the bullpen when the roster is healthy.

He made the All-Star team last season as a starter, but his experience out of the bullpen makes him the most likely to be moved back to the pen next season.

Stripling didn’t start a game until April 30 last season, so there’s the precedent for him not being viewed as a primary starting pitcher when other options are healthy.

It’s also pretty safe to assume that Ryu is going to have a spot in the rotation at the beginning of the season as well, given that he accepted the $17.9 million qualifying offer.

Ryu had a 1.97 ERA in the regular season and started four postseason games, so there are certainly more reasons beyond financial to suggest he’s going to start next season in the rotation.

With the inclusions of Maeda and Ryu, that means that two of the pitchers who ranked in the top five on the Dodgers in starts last season won’t be starting next season in the rotation.

Kershaw and Buehler are obviously going to be in the rotation and with Stripling the most likely to go back to the bullpen, that leaves either Wood or Hill out of a rotation spot to begin next season.

It becomes even more complicated when factoring the role of Julio Urias into the equation, who pitched in seven postseason games after missing much of the 2018 regular season after shoulder surgery.

Urias is probably going to be on some type of innings limit next season, and it’ll be really interesting to see how the team ultimately utilizes him.

There are trade rumors surrounding Wood right now, and there is definitely a market for a pitcher who has a 3.29 career ERA and is only going to be 28-years-old next season.

Hill might be a bit harder to move via trade, given that he’s going to be 39 next season and due about $18.67 million for 2019.

The Dodgers have a talented but crowded starting pitcher group, and the final spot in the rotation between Wood and Hill is likely going to come down to which one gets traded away.

In terms of what to do with Maeda, it’s probably best for him and the team to pencil him in as a starter instead of a reliever.

He has a lower ERA and WHIP out of the bullpen compared to as a starter, but he has a lower batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage against as a starter in a bigger sample size.

Maeda has the stuff and the resolve to face a batting order multiple times, as batters have hit just .238 against him in their second plate appearance with him as a starter.

Stripling has a better ERA, WHIP, batting average against, on-base percentage against, and slugging percentage against as a reliever in his career compared to as a starter.

It’s probably the right decision for Roberts to put Maeda in the rotation for next season, and it’s going to be really interesting to see if Wood gets traded.

Assuming everyone is healthy on Opening Day, the rotation is most likely going to feature Kershaw, Ryu, Buehler, and Maeda in some order.

The final spot is going to depend on if Wood and/or Hill get traded. Stripling has the proven versatility to be wherever he’s most needed, whether that’s in the rotation if there’s not an obvious alternative or in the bullpen if there is a viable option to start ahead of him.

 

Friedman Says Dodgers Not Likely to Hire General Manager During Offseason

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For the past handful of seasons, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been one of the best-run franchises in all of baseball.

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How the Paul Goldschmidt Trade Affects the Dodgers & the Rest of the NL West

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(NBC Sports photo)

Paul Goldschmidt has arguably been the best player in the NL for the last six seasons, and the Los Angeles Dodgers have had to contend with him being in their division that entire time.

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Tony Cingrani, Dodgers Reportedly Reach Contract Agreement

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have apparently avoided salary arbitration with Tony Cingrani, as the lefty agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.65 million.

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Dodgers Acquire Reliever Adam McCreery from Braves

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The Dodgers have made another roster transaction, acquiring Adam McCreery from the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday afternoon in exchange for cash considerations.

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Dodgers Officially Release Erik Goeddel, Zac Rosscup

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(Getty Images photo)

This continues to be a busy offseason as the Dodgers tinker with their roster in preparation for another season of baseball.

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Dodgers Acquire Drew Finley from Yankees for Tim Locastro

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(MLB.com photo)

The Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday traded Tim Locastro to the New York Yankees in exchange for Drew Finley and cash considerations.

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Kenley Jansen Prepares for Offseason Heart Surgery

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(Mandatory Credit: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Baseball is a great escape, and while we passionately follow teams and players, there are always stark reminders that it really is just a game, and there are far more important things.

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Dodgers Sign Reliever Kevin Quackenbush to Minor League Pact

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The Dodgers have signed reliever Kevin Quackenbush to a minor league contract, adding a potentially useful bullpen arm for next season if he can bounce back successfully after a dreadful last couple seasons in the majors.

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