Great day in L.A. today! I woke up this morning — phone blowing up with some of the greatest news I’ve seen in a while. Ned Colletti had acquired Hanley Ramirez from the Miami Marlins. Who would have thought this was an option even two weeks ago?? Not me. When Ramirez’s availability first became available a week or so ago, my original thoughts were that the Dodgers stood the best chance to get him due to the fact that they would be one of the few teams that could afford his salary. When it came down to it, the Marlin’s were going to pay the A’s half of Hanley’s salary, before the Dodgers came in and accepted it. Let’s look at what we gave up and accepted on.
Marlins Give Up:
Hanley Ramirez, SS/3B and Randy Choate LRP (Lefty)
Hanley, as stated before, is going to be a huge addition to L.A. He is an All-Star caliber player that also has some hardware on his shelf. He has won the Batting Title and also won Rookie of the Year. He is expected to initially start at shortstop in the absence of Dee Gordon. However, when Dee is scheduled to come back around mid-August, the idea is for Hanley to move over to 3B. Now most of you are probably wondering, If Hanley is so good, why didn’t we have to give up big name players for him? The fact that we took on his large contract is a big factor in it, but also, Hanley does come with a little baggage. This deal can either go two ways, and this is just me being entirely honest with you guys. The first way, and the way we all hope, is that he returns to the Hanley he was in recent years, and makes an immediate impact on the team. the second way, and the way we could all be dreading, is if he continues on his head-case path that he is currently on. There has been a lot of rumors going around saying that Hanley didn’t like being moved to 3B when Miami brought in Jose Reyes. Hanley, earlier in the year, punched out a dugout fan with his hand in July, which eventually developed an infection in both his hand and with manager Ozzie Guillen. Ned, Don, and all of the Dodgers organization believes that with the new team, and change of scenery, a whole nation away, that Hanley will fix his attitude and return back to his form. If he does…the Dodgers definitely just made one of the better moves they have in a very long time.
Randy Choate is a guy that is definitely not going as talked about in this deal. He is a left handed reliever which was another major hole that we needed to fill. He isn’t the “come in and completely shut teams down” kind of player, by any means, but he is definitely a good contribution. The fact that he is a lefty is great, and this year, in just 44 innings, he has only allowed 7 runs. Randy should also be decently familiar with Dodger stadium, seeing as he pitched for the Diamondbacks for four years through 2004-2007. Aside from the Dbacks, Randy has played on three other teams dating back to 2000 (Yankees, Rays, Marlins), making the Dodgers his fifth team in his career. I don’t think he will be dominant or mind-blowing by any means, or else we’d be talking about him a lot more. However I do think that he will provide that lefty stability that we needed in the pen.
What the Dodgers Gave Up:
Nathan Eovaldi, RHP (Starter) and Scott McGough RHP (Reliever)
We have all grown to love Nate. He has pitched his heart out for us after Ted Lilly went down, but in the end, just never got the run support he needed and found himself with a 1-6 record. His 4.15 ERA may not sound great, but is better than Clayton Kershaw’s ERA in his rookie campaign, (4.26) so that should say something there. It’s tough to see Nate go, especially when we have pitchers like Chad Billingsley still in the rotation consistently being inconsistent, but in the end, we have to realize that Nate was a prospect this entire time. The minute Lilly returned, he was going to be sent down to the minors anyways. At least we could get something for him, while his value is still high.
Scott McGough, although our own prospect, is the one guy in this trade that not many people know anything about. Let me give you a quick report on who exactly we let go. Scott was drafted in the 46th round of the 2008 Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of high school, but instead, opted to attend the University of Oregon. It proved to be a good choice for him, because his college career bolstered him up 41 rounds where the Dodgers took him in the fifth round (164 overall) in the 2011 draft. He began his professional career with Ogden in Rookie League, and made just six appearances before being moved to Class A Great Lakes Loons. He recorded decent numbers (2.21 ERA with 8 saves and 25 strikeouts in 20 innings) but when he was promoted to High-A Rancho, his numbers began to decrease. In my opinion, he allows far too many baserunners to be a major league pitcher. He allows roughly a hit per inning, and a walk every other inning. Although he does have 48 K’s in 47 innings, the baserunners was the thing that always worried me. This year, for Rancho, he is 3-5 with a 3.99 ERA. While those numbers aren’t terrible, if a prospect is going to be a talent at the major league level, those numbers need to be a lot better. Usually, I hate to see a prospect go with so much developing to do, but the fact that Scott is a right handed reliever, that doesn’t seem to be dominant in the Class A levels…I think it’s safe to say that there isn’t much development to be had on this one.
The corresponding move was to send Todd Coffey to the 60-Day DL, and move Adam Kennedy to the 15-Day DL with a strained groin. In the end, the major part of the deal was that the Dodgers would be taking on Hanley Ramirez’s big contract. He is towards the end of a six year contract that pays him $15 million this year, $15 million next year, and $16 million in 2014. The Dodgers are planning to pick up around $40 million of that remaining contract. The nice part about this deal, is that we have 2 more years where Hanley is guaranteed to the Dodgers, in which time we can continue to build, and allows us to offer him a good deal when it comes to sign again, assuming that Hanley puts up the numbers we all know he is capable of. All I know for sure now is…I can’t WAIT to see Hanley in that Dodger Blue.
Ted Lilly, who has been out since May 24 with left shoulder inflammation, is finally starting to pitch close to 100%. He threw yesterday, and expected to feel strong again today. Lilly said that he was likely to throw one more solid bullpen session, then face hitters in practice, then finally head out for a minor league rehab stint. Once this happens, Ted will obviously be well on his way to being back in the rotation.
“I feel pretty confident I can start being aggressive with the throwing program,” said Lilly. “This was the most intensity I’ve had.”
With Ted being close to his return, what will that say about our rotation if the Dodgers acquire Ryan Dempster? It is easy to say that Nate Eovaldi would be sent down if we acquired Dempster now, but with the rotation of Kershaw, Bills, Cap, Harang and Lilly, will a move with Billingsley finally be made? My initial guess would be to send Bills to the pen, but with a lingering $9 Million contract just for this year alone, it’s too political to say for sure. If anything else, the Dempster move will shake things up if it happens. Only time will tell.
Oh boy, have the rumors been flowing tonight…where to even start? How ’bout I just dive right in.
The first initial rumors for a trade was as follows:
Jed Lowrie from the Astros coming to LA for Dodgers #1 prospect Zach Lee, and #6 prospect Garrett Gould. When I heard this, I just about died of a heart attack. I thought, ‘No way…not even for Ned. There is NO way that anyone would ever think this is a good idea. Right?’ As I was fumbling for answers, brainstorming for reasons as to why this would ever be even remotely considered…updates were made.
Apparently there was confusion among sources. When the name “Lee” was mentioned, it was assumed that it was the Dodgers’ prospect Zach Lee. That wasn’t the case. It was in fact, Carlos Lee, the Astros’ 1B, and Zach Lee was never mentioned in trade talks. This gave me a huge sigh of relief. Then the official update (which has stood all the way up until this point) was Carlos Lee to LA for Dodgers Prospect Garrett Gould. The confusion with people involved was also surrounding Lowrie. Lowrie is a shortstop for the Cubs as of right now. If he came to the Dodgers, he would have been used at third, a position that he isn’t comfortable with. Dodgers are not and will not give up on Dee Gordon for quite some time.
I’m ok with this Carlos Lee-Garrett Gould trade, and I’m also not. I’ll explain.
I’m ok with it, because Garrett Gould has been wildly mediocre in the minors for us. He does show a lot of promise, I’ll give him that, but his numbers are subpar. For the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Single A), Garrett has gone 1-6 with a 5.12 ERA. He is a much less risk to give away than Zach Lee is, who is a former first round pick, and just promoted to AA Chattanooga yesterday. With that being said, Garrett is still a very big asset for the Dodgers. The reason I’m not ok with this trade, is because of the impact (or lack there of) that Carlos Lee would have for us. I don’t believe in giving away potential assets for the Dodgers for old, mediocre, short-term talent that isn’t a large upgrade in the first place. We need power at first and third base. No one is disputing that. James Loney isn’t getting the job done. No one is disputing that either. Carlos Lee was a power hitter. Was. This year, he has only hit five homeruns (compared to Loney’s two) and all of those have been at home, in Minute Maid Park. Don’t even get me started on his defense. We all know what Loney can do at the bag, and to put it mildly, we’d be losing a ton on defense with Lee.
Another interesting note in all this…was that Garrett Gould was scratched from his start tonight with the Quakes an hour before game time. Could this trade happen sooner than everyone thinks? I am finding it hard to find another reason that would point to why he would get scratched at all. More updates on this as they come in.
Ryan Dempster is also a name that has been thrown around tonight as well. Dodgers sources have said that they are very interested in acquiring Ryan Dempster. While the sides haven’t talked since the week before Dempster went on the disabled list, a person familiar with the situation suggested the Dodgers have a very good chance to land the veteran right-hander and are the odds-on favorite to land him once he comes off the DL. The Dodgers’ pitching has been very strong and were getting wins when the offense was performing. However, you can’t win games without the support of your offense, no matter how good you are. Ryan Dempster would be a great fit in the Dodgers rotation, but I strongly believe they need to focus on offense first and foremost. With that being said, I wouldn’t mind seeing him in Dodger blue at all.
Edwin Encarnacion: I was asked on Facebook to hit on Encarnacion so I will, as much as I can. It’s hard to talk about players from other teams, because teams won’t give out (nor do they even know) who will be available come the trade deadline. When it comes to Dodgers sources, I have a bit more of an in and know who we’d be willing to trade, but as far as other teams go, it’s hard to say. All I have gotten from anybody is that if the Blue Jays are out of it near the deadline (currently 7.5 games out of 1st) they will be willing to deal. Now the tricky part is…who are they willing to deal out? I’ll bring you into a bit of the chaos that surrounds the Blue Jays situation. This is a summary of what I found among top CBS and Fox Sports writers. Buckle Up.
The Blue Jays are giving “little indication” that they intend to trade potential free agents Edwin Encarnacion and Kelly Johnson, Rosenthal and Morosi write. Scouts are saying they’ve been told Encarnacion IS available for the “right” pitcher, Stark reports. Yet one person told Stark Encarnacion is “not available, as far as I know.” Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.com wrote earlier today that the Blue Jays would have multiple suitors if they make Encarnacion available.
Confused? Yeah so am I. Long story short, we will know a lot more after the July 2nd International signing deadline, when GM’s and team’s can start focusing more on their big league teams. More on that in my Stan Kasten interview. Stan does a great job describing what goes through a team’s head around this time of year. As far as Encarnacion goes, I would LOVE to have him on the team and think that he would be the influential power bat that we so desperately need.
If there are any more players that you are curious about, or would like an update on, please feel free to contact Dodger’s Insider on Facebook or on Twitter and ask away. I am more than happy to do my best and give you the most up-to-date information there is available.
Due to the length of this post, I am going to write about Stan Kasten and what he has to say about the direction of the Dodgers in my next post (which I will finish tonight). It’s a great article, that will honestly get you excited about where things are going. Talking to Stan and hearing him talk gets me extremely pumped up and I’m 100% on board with what he’s doing. Hopefully, after this article, you will all feel the same as I do.
Before I end this, just some quick notes. In regards to the International signing, Dodgers made their first move today by signing Cuban prospect, Yasiel Puig. Puig, 21, was added to the Dodgers’ 40 man roster today and was signed for a 7 year, $42 Million deal. He was immediately optioned down to the Dodgers’ rookie level team in Arizona and placed on the temporary inactive list. Ned Colletti said the signing was only the ‘first piece’ to re-establish their presence in the international market and that “this signing is a snapshot of a much bigger vision and bigger plan.”
Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times also tweeted (while I was writing this post actually) that the Dodgers first round pick (18th overall) Corey Seager, also signed tonight for $2.35 Million. More details on that later.
Reports are saying that Kevin Youkilis is leaving Boston by this weekend. Question is — Where is he going?
For those of you that have read anything I’ve posted before, you would know that I never liked this Youkilis trade. However, in the past 24 hours, my tune has 100% changed. I’ll tell you why.
Now Dodgers sources are saying something a little bit different than before. They are saying that they would use Youkilis to replace Uribe at third, rather than Loney at first. Now this I love. I never thought Loney was our number one problem. He is a problem, for sure, don’t get me wrong, but not our number one problem. I think Youkilis would give a slightly bigger threat in the middle of the lineup than Uribe would anywhere.
Last night was fantastic. It gave me hope of a Uribe-less future. Adam Kennedy may have only gone 0-2 with a walk, but not seeing that haggard swing that tries to blow the guts out of every ball he sees in the lineup was so refreshing. If we want to improve this team – Uribe HAS to go. No questions asked.
Now Youkilis will not be our savior. He will not come to the team and have a Manny-like impact back in 2008. We still need a big bat. I thought a perfect example of the impact he’ll have would be a Casey Blake. Someone that is in the lineup, and stays consistent with a homerun every now and again. Youkilis obviously isn’t having the year that he would have hoped, and his numbers have dropped off immensely. His batting average is .225 and his wOBA is .306. However, I think these numbers could change when he leaves Boston. Here’s why:
If you remember back in 2008, Manny’s numbers were no where near where they were compared to his career. It’s because he was practically doing it on purpose to make a point that he was unhappy in Boston. Now I’m not saying this is a case of “Youk being Youk” but it could very well be a morale problem that has his numbers down. Bobby Valentine has recently sat down and told him that his playing time is getting cut because of how well Middlebrooks is playing at third.
“He doesn’t necessarily totally agree with it and doesn’t wake up in the morning and hope that’s the case,” Valentine said. “But I think the professional person that Kevin is, he understands it,” Valentine told reporters. “Yes, I think he’s fine.”
So Youkilis definitely wants to move, and he definitely wants no part of the Red Sox anymore. So could his numbers improve with a better morale? Absolutely. And who better to help that than Donnie who is an absolute player-friendly manager.
Like I said before, Youkilis is not the only answer to our offensive problems. But he does help. If by some off chance that you still aren’t convinced that Uribe is a detriment to the team…let me help.
Back in 2010, when Uribe was signed on, Ned Colletti said this about Uribe. “He will provide more power, he has thunder in his bat.” Funny part about that is…he has no thunder in his bat. In fact, there isn’t even a storm brewing. This year he has one homerun. One. That was hit May 11th, at Coors Field. For those of you that don’t know, baseballsfly out of that stadium. Point in case…Dee Gordon also has one homerun this year…at Coors Field. See where I’m going with this? When Ned wants to give an argument about how Dee has thunder in his bat, I’ll be all ears, but until then, my argument stands.
In June, Uribe is hitting a horrendous .179 with two RBI’s, eight strikeouts and no walks. That means every 3.5 at-bats that he gets, is a strikeout. On the year, Uribe is hitting a line of .231/.278/.324.
I wanted to bring up that statistic wOBA. This stands for weighted on-base average. It’s a great stat that tells you in a little bit more precision exactly how much someone gets on base. The league average this year is .309. Just for a bit broader understanding of where a player should be, last years average was .316. So anywhere around there is average.
Youkilis’ wOBA for this year is .306. Just 3 points below the leagues average. Uribe’s is .283 — 26 points below.
I did the math for our potential lineup before (without Youkilis) and after (with Youkilis). Keep in mind the lineup will change drastically after the trade deadline with the arrival of Kemp and Ellis from the DL.
Our team’s wOBA goes from .309 (not bad, considering league average) and shoots up to .333 with Kemp, Ellis and Youkilis. Only three teams have wOBA’s better than that.
I like this trade, I think it would be a great addition, however I still think we need to add another big bat in July. We’ll see what happens. But sources are saying that talks are getting very intense with regards to Youkilis and this deal could happen anytime from as early as today, to at least the end of this weekend. So be looking out for more updates on this.
For those of you that are wondering what we’ll have to pay — not much. Boston will most likely be eating most of, if not all of, the remaining $12 Million on his contract, and the $1 Million buyout. However, with that being said, Boston is paying more of the contract in order to get a better prospect. Who that is will probably determine which team Youk goes to. As of right now, the top two teams are the Dodgers and the White Sox. Check back to see if any updates have occurred.