Hey guys, Drew back here! I posted my first MLB Offseason Chatter article yesterday afternoon, and I thought I was just about up to date on the news. Little did I know, the Dodgers decided to mess with my sanity last night, as they have made not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE huge moves over the past 24 hours. I'm going to attempt to make some sense out of it for you all, so let's embark on this roller coaster ride, shall we?
Dodgers trade for Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins (not official yet)
The Dodgers were able to fill a hole at shortstop after Hanley Ramirez fled for Boston earlier this offseason. Rollins offers switch hitting ability but over anything, an incredible veteran presence and unquestioned leadership qualities. His contract expires following the 2015 season, but the Dodgers are using him to fill the gap between Ramirez and top prospect Corey Seager, who will be gearing up to start for LA in 2016. The deal has not been finalized yet, but should be completed by the end of the day.
I would have preferred to see Rollins stand put with the Phillies for the remainder of his career, but then again if I were him I'd get out of there as soon as I could. J-Roll has played his entire career in Philadelphia, and last year he set the Phillies record for career hits, passing Mike Schmidt with his 2,235th hit. He will forever be known as a Phillie regardless of how this move works out, but it's worth a shot to possibly get his second ring in what could be one of his final seasons.
Dodgers trade 2B/SS Dee Gordon, SP Dan Haren, IF Miguel Rojas, APTBNL
Marlins trade SP Andrew Heaney, 2B Enrique Hernandez, RP Chris Hatcher, C Austin Barnes
Well, that was short lived. Heaney put it best:
From how it appears, the Dodgers didn't seem to want Dee Gordon any longer. And I get that, because he may be at his peak value this season after being named an All Star and stealing 64 bases in 2014. However, many view this as a fluke season from a player whose OBP is normally hovering around .300. The Marlins view Gordon as a "Juan Pierre type player", but I see him as a Pierre-lite if anything. I do like his versatility and he proved last year that he could make the transition from shortstop to second base, which will come in handy for Miami next season. I don't think Gordon will repeat his 2014 season, but I do see him fitting relatively well hitting ahead of Giancarlo Stanton next year.
The general reaction to this trade though, was that the Marlins got too small of a return for their top pitching prospect. Dan Haren may not even play in 2015, as he's said earlier this offseason that he'd pitch in LA where his family lives or retire. Sure, pitchers come a dime a dozen these days, and Heaney's small sample size in the big leagues last year wasn't all that impressive, but it appears as if Owner Jeffrey Loria and GM Dan Jennings got a bit impatient with someone who could complement Jose Fernandez in the top of the Marlins rotation just a year or two down the road. But, Jennings waited a lot longer to trade Heaney than Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers...
Dodgers trade SP Andrew Heaney
Angels trade 2B Howie Kendrick
Well, that was short lived. Heaney put it best:
Well, @Dodgers we had a good run! Great to be a part of such a storied franchise. #thanksforthememories
— Andrew Heaney (@Heandog8) December 11, 2014
Either way, Heaney was moving to Los Angeles, and I'm sure he's much happier about that than coming up in the circus down in Florida that's currently in the works. He could make an impact as soon as this season for the Angels, and I'm curious to see how well he develops, because this could go down as an enormous mistake for the Marlins and now the Dodgers.
As for Kendrick, he was probably traded to free salary cap for the Angels of Anaheim to possibly go and get another key player. I would sacrifice a player of his caliber for the potential of Heaney any day, but the Dodgers needed to fill the void they created 20 minutes earlier by letting go of Dee Gordon, and this will fill it perhaps better than Gordon would've. Kendrick has had a solid career, with all 9 seasons spent with the Halos, but this could give him a chance at a World Series if Friedman and the All Star front office with the Dodgers truly know what they're doing. He batted .293 last season and had a much higher OBP than Gordon, proving that the Dodgers would prefer a high on base guy over a stolen base threat in their lineup (I would too).
So, just to recap this so far, the Dodgers are now looking at a double play combo of Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick for this upcoming season. Next season, both of their contracts are up, and I don't expect to see them lock up Rollins with Seager waiting in the wings. I can see them extending the 31 year old Kendrick, but we'll see what kind of move they have up their sleeves.
Dodgers sign SP Brandon McCarthy to a 4 year, $48 Million Deal
This move stung for a lot of Yankees fans, including myself. McCarthy did a great job in the second half of 2014 for the Yankees after being traded from Arizona for lefty Vidal Nuno. Who would've seen $48 million going to McCarthy after having a 5.01 ERA in the 1st half of the season after spending all of his prior career facing injuries? However, he appeared to have re-invented himself as the season moved along, and his advanced metrics looked much better than his actual performance indicated. But, $48 million does appear to be a huge overpay for a guy who has a difficult time remaining healthy for a full season. It's like if they were to give Dee Gordon an $100+ million contract after his breakout 2014 season, because McCarthy's performance in New York could have been a fluke or a hot streak. When this guy is on his game, he can act as a #2 pitcher in most team's rotations around the league, but the Dodgers are paying for him to consistently perform as such, and that may be a bit too much to hope for. He will also be 35 by the end of the deal.
McCarthy is a great clubhouse guy and absolutely hilarious on Twitter, and I really enjoyed having him in pinstripes last season. One of my offseason goals for the Yankees was to retain him, but the price and contract length were just too steep for Brian Cashman to even bother. I'm not a big Dodgers fan, but I wish Brandon all the best and hope he can perform the way he did in the Bronx consistently, because it was a lot of fun to watch.
Dodgers trade OF Matt Kemp, C Tim Federowicz, $32 Million Cash
Padres trade C Yasmani Grandal, P Joe Wieland, P Zach Eflin
The Padres have been looking for a big bat to show off all offseason, from Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas to former Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval. Here they add Kemp, who will be paid about an average of $15 million a year from the Padres with $32 million of his $107 being eaten by LA. With his inconsistency but high potential, they are paying a great price on the former superstar. I don't know how well he'll do in a relatively weak Padres offense in a pitcher friendly ballpark, but it could be the beginning of more moves to come for San Diego. Kemp is 30 years old, and is heading towards the final years of his prime before injuries will most likely hamper him even more than they have already. The Padres also received a good hitting catching prospect in Federowicz, who could make up for the loss of their former starting catcher Yasmani Grandal.
Grandal batted .225 with 15 home runs and 49 RBI last season in San Diego, but could perform much better in Dodgers Stadium, which is a lot more hitter friendly than Petco Park. He will share catching duties with AJ Ellis. Over anything else, it appears the Dodgers didn't want anything to do with Kemp any longer, and they ended up saving $75 million dollars that at this rate will be fully spent in a few hours. Perhaps they could use that money towards trading for Phillies All Star lefty Cole Hamels, which I would love to see because it would keep him from going to Boston. Zack Greinke could opt out after next season and become a free agent, so trading for a star like Hamels could act as a great long term solution.
So in total, over the past day the Dodgers have added Jimmy Rollins, Howie Kendrick, Brandon McCarthy, Yasmani Grandal, and a wealth of prospects and cash, while losing Dee Gordon, Matt Kemp, Andrew Heaney (kind of), Dan Haren, and some prospects. The cash appears to be the difference maker here, or else I'd say the moves ended up equaling themselves out. But they are far from done as far as I can see, and if they can add Hamels or someone of high quality thanks to the Kemp savings, this offseason could wind up being a tremendous success for the boys in blue.
I hope this helped you guys gain a better understanding of what went on yesterday with the Dodgers! Of course, if you guys have any suggestions as to how I can improve my Offseason Chatter posts be sure to let me know! Thanks everyone, and for now,