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.

 

Advertisements

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.

 

Dodgers Trade Rumors: What Will It Take to Land Corey Kluber?

When you really think about it, quite a number of rumors that have generated surrounding the 2018 MLB Winter Meetings have been borderline crazy. Some sources have the Dodgers talking to the Tigers about 26-year-old outfielder Nick Castellanos, while other outlets say Los Angeles could be considering offering a deal to A.J. Pollock. The front office crew of the Dodgers is certainly leaving no stone unturned, and with one big trade or signing, the complexion of the team could change in the blink of an eye.

The Dodgers have been reported to be talking with the Indians since the days before Thanksgiving, but momentum seemed to fizzle a bit when Yan Gomes was dealt to the Nationals. However, more discussions have been happening, with the latest rumors believed to be surrounding righty pitcher Corey Kluber.

I’m one of those guys who believes the Dodgers should address the needs of the bullpen and catcher before pursuing starting pitching or outfielders, but oftentimes it’s tough to capititalize on opportunities based solely on priorities, especially when a two-time Cy Young Award winner is thrown onto the trading block.

The latest chatter suggests that the Indians are asking for Alex Verdugo as the centerpiece of a proposed deal, but if it was just solely Verdugo that Cleveland wanted, surely a trade would have happened by now. In the same breath, Verdugo may be the biggest bargaining chip of the Dodgers, so if he’s sent away early, it takes many other scenarios off the board. One of those could be the pursuit of catcher J.T. Realmuto of the Marlins, who, coincidentally, have asked for a package to be built around first baseman and outfielder Cody Bellinger.

The addition of somebody like Kluber could start a domino effect, most specifically leading the Los Angeles front office to shop a few of its surplus starting pitchers. The first name that comes to mind is Alex Wood, considering Cleveland’s shortage of lefty starters.

So, are the two Alexes—Verdugo and Wood—a reasonable proposition to the Indians? I think I would make the deal without blinking, which leads me to believe that Cleveland may want an even better return.

Kluber’s credentials speak for themselves, unless there’s something happening mechanically or healthwise for which scouts and pundits are oblivious. He’s thrown for 200 innings the last five seasons, and he’s won 18 games each of the past three years. Seemingly, he’s throwing better than ever, as his ERA has been under 3.00 and his WHIP under 1.00 over the last two seasons. On top of that, his 1.4 BB/9 last year was a career low.

And, when considering the buyout structure of his contract, he could potentially stick around through the 2021 season. With a salary of less than $18 million per year, he has bargain written all over him, even with all the mileage on his arm.

While the Dodgers don’t want to deal Bellinger to the Fish, and the Indians don’t want either Yasiel Puig or Matt Kemp as the centerpiece of a Kluber package, bringing Verdugo into the picture makes sense. Joc Pederson is only two years away from free agency, likely taking him out of the running for inclusion, and players like Chris Taylor or Andrew Toles don’t appear to have the upside that Cleveland desires.

There are plenty of free agent catchers and relievers on the market, and by adding a pitcher who has the ability to put up 20 wins with stellar numbers to boot, such an addition may outweigh an acquisition of a catcher who can hit .277/.340/.484 with 20 long balls.

 

 

Dodgers Rumors: A Few Rumblings Ahead of the 2018 Winter Meetings

img_4281

It’s the first official day of Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, so let’s get caught up on happenings and rumors before things (hopefully) get going for the Dodgers.

Continue reading “Dodgers Rumors: A Few Rumblings Ahead of the 2018 Winter Meetings”

Yasiel Puig Trade Rumors Surfacing Once Again

MLB: San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since he burst onto the major league scene back in 2013, trade rumors surrounding outfielder Yasiel Puig have become an annual event, especially during the offseason. This winter, however, whispers are surfacing more than usual, mainly because he’ll be eligible to test the free agent market after next season, so long as somebody doesn’t sign him to a long term deal beforehand. Furthermore, with the Dodgers making their interests public regarding a catcher and bullpen help, the front office crew may dangle the 28-year-old Cuban’s name in a prospective trade package or two at the Winter Meetings this week.

Continue reading “Yasiel Puig Trade Rumors Surfacing Once Again”

Friedman Says Dodgers Not Likely to Hire General Manager During Offseason

af2

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

Continue reading “Friedman Says Dodgers Not Likely to Hire General Manager During Offseason”

4 Reasons Why Dodgers Should Go ‘All-In’ this Winter

img_3524

The Winter Meetings are set to start in Las Vegas in a few days, and what the Dodgers front office will accomplish is anyone’s guess. Fans who are watching other teams make deals can’t wait to see the Dodgers make some deals of their own.

Continue reading “4 Reasons Why Dodgers Should Go ‘All-In’ this Winter”

Is Adam Ottavino a Good Fit for Dodgers?

ao2

Being that there’s no shortage of decent relief pitching in this year’s free agent class, one wonders if boss Andrew Friedman will abandon his typical of philosophy from building his bullpen from within and dip into resources from the outside. While there’s still some speculation that the Dodgers will once again land below the Luxury Tax threshold next season, there still may be some room under the cap to land a quality fireman.

Continue reading “Is Adam Ottavino a Good Fit for Dodgers?”

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

ps
(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.

Continue reading “How the Paul Goldschmidt Trade Affects the Dodgers & the Rest of the NL West”

Are the Dodgers Really Interested in Bryce Harper?

bh2
(Getty Images photo)

Since the moment last season when the Dodgers appeared they would stay under the 2018 Luxury Tax threshold, rumors began to swirl linking the team to Bryce Harper, one of the headlining commodities of this winter’s free agent class. And, as impractical as it would be to sign the 26-year-old, indications suggest that the club is still doing its due diligence in pursuing the outfielder, despite the onslaught of criticism from pundits and fans.

Continue reading “Are the Dodgers Really Interested in Bryce Harper?”