I keep reading; you try to put the best team on the field that you can but without killing the future. I am not sure what that means. One GM’s idea of killing the future will be different than another’s idea. But I am guessing that a trade scenario that I just read falls into that category, without question. I just found this particular trade scenario unfathomable from someone who considers himself a journalist. His trade scenario would be to trade Diego Cartaya (#2), Michael Busch (#3), Gavin Stone (#5), Andy Pages (#6), Ryan Pepiot (#8), and River Ryan (#13). That could be close to 50 years of control of 6 of the top 13 prospects in the best farm system in MLB. For whom? 3 months of Shohei Ohtani. His rationale? The Dodgers get to keep Bobby Miller (#1), Dalton Rushing (#4), Emmet Sheehan (#7), Nick Frasso (#9), and Nick Nastrini (#10).
BTW, the first 5 of those prospects suggested to be traded are all in the newly published updated MLB Pipeline Top 100 prospects. MLB Pipeline continues to update the list once multiple prospects graduate as a prospect and into becoming a MLB player. How is that defined? Per MLB Glossary: “A player shall be considered a rookie unless he has exceeded any of the following thresholds in a previous season (or seasons): • 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues. • 45 total days on an active Major League roster during the Championship Season (excluding time on the Injured List).” Once a player achieves those milestones, that player is no longer considered a prospect for these prospect lists.
On June 25, 2023, Sam Dykstra (MLB Pipeline) published the updated Top 100 list. Lo and Behold, the Dodgers are again back at the very tippy top of farm systems. Baltimore may choose to argue the point, but I think they lose that argument. The Dodgers have NINE top 100 prospects:
- Bobby Miller (RHP) – #9
- Diego Cartaya (C) – #22
- Michael Busch (INF) – #38
- Dalton Rushing (C) – #51 – NL Futures Game roster
- Gavin Stone (RHP) – #53
- Andy Pages (OF) – #58
- Emmet Sheehan (RHP) – #78
- Ryan Pepiot (RHP) – #84
- Nick Frasso (RHP) – #95
That is 5 RHP, 2 catchers, 1 infielder, and 1 OF. Gee, I wonder who the Dodgers prefer to develop?
Baltimore follows LAD with 7 top 100 prospects:
- Jackson Holliday (SS) – #1 – AL Futures Game roster
- Colton Cowser (OF) – #15
- Jordan Westburg (INF) – #34 – just called up to MLB by Baltimore
- Heston Kjerstad (OF) – #40 – AL Futures Game roster
- Joey Ortiz (SS/2B) – #67
- Connor Norby (2B/OF) – #71
- Coby Mayo (3B) – #80
That is 5 infielders and 2 outfielders. It appears that Baltimore has a different approach to prospects when compared to LAD.
Arizona had 3 top 25:
- Jordan Lawler (SS) – #7
- Druw Jones (CF) – #16
- Brandon Pfaadt (RHP) – #25
Arizona also has multiple prospects not in the top 100, but will definitely be playing ML baseball, and many can be used to package for that #3 SP, pushing Tommy Henry or Ryne Nelson to the bullpen.
Below is a table as to where each team falls within the top 100 prospects.
|Selections Per Prospect Rankings|
Cincinnati also has an excellent farm system where they can use top prospects to get help at the deadline. They have 6 top 100 prospects.
- Elly De La Cruz (SS) – #2 – 21 years old playing very well at MLB
- Noelvi Marte (SS/2B) – #18 – 21 years old at AA
- Edwin Arroyo (SS) – #27 – 19 years old at A+
- Cam Collier (3B) – #58 – 18 years old at A
- Andrew Abbott (LHP) – #60 – 24 years old at MLB
- Christian Encarnacion-Strand (1B/3B) – 23 years old at AAA
Taking a look at the updated LAD Top 30 prospects:
- RHP – 6
- Catcher – 2
- Infield – 1
- Outfield – 1
- Outfield – 2
- Infield – 3
- RHP – 2
- Catcher – 1
- LHP – 2
- OF – 3
- Infield – 3
- Catcher – 1
- RHP – 2
- LHP – 1
- RHP – 10
- Infield – 7
- Outfield – 6
- Catcher – 4
- LHP – 3
- Bobby Miller – #1 – MLB
- Gavin Stone – #5 – AAA
- Emmet Sheehan – #7 – MLB
- Ryan Pepiot – #8 – MLB IL
- Nick Frasso – #9 – AA
- Nick Nastrini – #10 – AA
- River Ryan – #13 – AA
- Landon Knack – #18 – AAA
- Kyle Hurt – #28 – AA
- Peter Heubeck – #30 – A
The above does not include Michael Grove who now has 60.1 IP and is no longer considered a prospect, but was on this list earlier.
That is 11 RHSP prospects still prospects or rookies. There are also three LHSP:
- Maddux Bruns – #15 – A+
- Ronan Kopp – #19 – A+
- Justin Wrobleski – #29 – A
Going back to the original premise… you try to put the best team on the field that you can but without killing the future. In 2021, the Dodgers packaged both their #1 and #2 prospects Josiah Gray (RHP) and Keibert Ruiz (C) for 3 months of Max Scherzer (RHSP) and 1 year and 3 months of Trea Turner. It did not turn out positive for LAD, but I would still do that trade 10 out of 10 opportunities. The cost was the Dodgers top two prospects, and it did not kill the future. In fact, the future is so much better after less than 2 years.
Do the Dodgers need 11 RHP prospects? Do they need 4 top catching prospects?
- Diego Cartaya – #2 (21 at AA)
- Dalton Rushing – #4 (22 at A+)
- Yeiner Fernandez – #14 (20 at A+)
- Jesus Galiz – #23 (19 at A)
The above does not include Thayron Liranzo (19 at A), Nelson Quiroz (21 at ACL), or Carlos Rojas (20 at ACL). There are also multiple catching prospects at DSL. The best may be 18 year old Victor Rodriguez.
The above also does not include a pair of potential MLB backup catchers: Hunter Feduccia (26 at AAA) and Carson Taylor (24 at AA).
Bottom line is that LAD has a boatload of potential MLB talent in their loaded system they cannot possibly utilize each and every one on their roster. I also do not believe that the starting pitching is deep enough with proven MLB starters they can go into the playoffs with what they currently have on their 40 man. I certainly trust the braintrust that has led the Dodgers with the best team (based on W-L percentage) since AF was hired to make the decisions.
I cannot remember when AF traded for a starting pitcher that was not a pure rental: Rich Hill, Yu Darvish, Max Scherzer. While I would not rule out Shane Bieber, I would certainly not consider him at the top of the priority list. The same is true with Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff. Marcus Stroman will cost a lot in prospect capital. He has said that he wants to remain a Cub, but will almost certainly choose to opt out for a better (longer) deal. He is hoping that Chicago will tear up the existing contract and extend him without opt outs. His current contract calls for $21MM in 2024 IF he does not opt out.
The same is true for Eduardo Rodriguez (Detroit) who has an opt out after 2023 and will have three years and $49MM remaining. It is widely rumored that Eduardo will opt out.
The Dodgers are not going to spend the player capital to acquire pitchers who are not pure rentals, but could turn out to be.
I think it is totally out of character to trade with NYM for Justin Verlander as Jim Bowden (The Athletic) has suggested. The time to do that was 2017. He is owed the remainder of $43.3MM 2023 salary and a full $43.3MM salary for 2024, and a $35MM vesting option for 2025 if he pitches 140 innings in 2024.
For me, the #1 SP priority has to be RHSP Lucas Giolito (CWS). He is a pure rental, and one who will be a very favorable extension target or FA signing for 2024. #2 priority would seem to be pure rental LHSP Jordan Montgomery (St. Louis). I do think that an outside option will be true rental RHSP Jack Flaherty (St. Louis). Not my personal choice, but he does seem to fall into the…”We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better, stronger, faster” category that AF likes to pull from.
With Daniel Hudson and Jimmy Nelson sure to help the current LAD bullpen, and a longshot possibility of Ken Giles, I think the urgency to rebuild the bullpen is no longer a top priority. That will also hold true if the Dodgers pick up 1 SP (dare I say 2), and move quality starting arms into the bullpen for the stretch run.
RH bat? I have no idea who that could be. St. Louis is rumored to be listening on Paul Goldschmidt. Not coming to LAD. Next!!!
Making a trade with prospects will not kill the future, but not trading prospects could create a logjam that will not be easily rectified with the talented RHP the Dodgers have. Pruning always helps an organism grow. While AJ Preller may take a chain saw, AF will use cutting shears.
Not considering Max Muncy or Chris Taylor as options, what potential deals for SP would some of you armchair GMs pose?