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Is The Hot Stove League About To Heat Up?

I am obviously struggling with topics to bring to blog.  There is not much going on in the world of MLB.  I think there have been 77 writers advising us as to who the Dodgers will be looking to acquire, either via FA or via trade.  Justin Verlander, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Rodón…but never heard about Shelby Miller coming. Now please do not take this as me being surprised or upset about the Miller deal.  He is the perfect extremely low risk and extremely high reward move by the master, Andrew Friedman.  He is just as likely to be another Evan Phillips as he is being a bust.  Jake Reed?  Now that surprised me.  I still do not understand it.  It is not a make or break decision for a WS win, so it is what it is.

Rumors are rampant that some FA are about to sign before the Winter Meetings.  Nathan Eovaldi and Matt Strahm are both believed to be ready to sign.

Houston already has the pitching, both starting and relief. They have 5 solid starters and 2 other rookies.  Their top rated bullpen is back. They had 2 clear positions of need, 1B and C.  They would also like to add a LH hitting OF.  They paid nearly $60MM for three years of José Abreu at 1B.  Many considered this an overpay. But they got what they needed and the cost was not onerous.

Now they are looking very hard at Willson Contreras to be their primary catcher.  I would not bet against Houston signing him, and maybe as soon as the Winter Meetings next week.

They are also talking to Cody Bellinger for the LH outfielder.  Scott Boras has a great relationship with Jim Crane. They may bring back Michael Brantley if they are convinced his shoulder is sound.  I do believe they will find and sign a LH hitting OF.

Houston was the WS winner and owned the AL last year.  They have been to the WS 4 of the last 6 seasons.  They are not sitting back on their laurels.  They are not afraid to extend their youngsters into long-term deals (Altuve and Bregman).  Kyle Tucker, Jeremy Peña, Framber Valdez and the other starting pitchers?  All good candidates for extensions.  They are not afraid to make big trades (Cole, Verlander, Pressly).  They are okay with overpaying for FA (Josh Reddick, Rafael Montero, José Abreu?).  I just do not think they overthink it.  If the deal makes sense for a team to win the current year without destroying the future, do it.

What they are doing will also drive the other AL West teams to respond.  Seattle, Texas, and LAA all of whom believe they can contend at least for a wild card.  That should drive up some FA contracts and increase trade values.  Texas will overpay for a starting pitcher; Jacob deGrom or Carlos Rodón.  Seattle already has Teoscar Hernández, and are looking for a top tier 2B, a LF, and another SP.  The Angels will probably be looking for another high level FA pitcher.  High level… not necessarily elite.

While I expect four of the five AL West teams to be active, they are not the only AL team that looks to be active soon.  NYY has increased their offer to Aaron Judge and has told everyone that will listen that they will not be outbid for Judge.  It is highly rumored that Judge will agree to a new deal by the end of the Winter Meetings.

One thing that exasperates me, and also gives me confidence at the same time, is that AF does not seem to normally overreact to what other teams do.  The one exception (IMO) was the Trevor Bauer deal.  Both San Diego and NYM were making big moves and were in on Trevor Bauer, and AF felt like he needed to make a countermove.

I think AF/BG (and Kasten/Walter) have created Plan A, B, C, D, E,F…They are carefully mapped out, and I feel confident that whatever tack they do take, it will be for the betterment of the team.  What I do hope for is change.  The change does not necessarily mean $$$ thrown at it.  I would like to see a Kirk Gibson attitude come into the clubhouse.  OTOH, if the Dodgers could sign Justin Verlander and Trea Turner, I hope they do it.  If it is Kodai Senga, Andrew Benintendi, and JT, I am okay with that as well.  Sign Adam Frazier for 2B?  Trade for Kolten Wong for 2B?  Trade for Rafael Devers?

Jim Bowden had an interesting take where he looked at 5 possible trade targets for the Dodgers, including Devers.  Just like with most prognosticators, Corbin Burnes was one of the five targets. No surprise there.  He also mentioned a couple of pitchers that I have brought up…Lucas Giolito (ChiSox SP) and Jason Adam (Tampa Bay RP).  There is nothing that would seem to indicate that either pitcher is available, but neither Harrison Bader or Jordan Montgomery were mentioned as trade possibilities.   The 5th player was Tampa Bay’s Tyler Glasnow,  I mentioned Tyler Glasnow last year, but with his new contract, he is going to be difficult to move.  Glasnow will be making $5.35MM in 2023 and $25MM in 2024.  The $25MM is not an option to see how he pitches in 2023 after TJ surgery.  It is guaranteed.

My one caveat is that I am hoping for 4 elite pitchers for the playoffs, and a change in approach from the HR only in the playoffs. With outstanding  pitching, you do not need to beat teams into submission.  One run could make the difference in a playoff game.

Now the impatient me hopes that something happens (besides Shelby Miller and Jake Reed) soon.  I need something to write about.

 

 

 

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Oldbear48

Been having the same problem Jeff. I think there will be some moves made by the middle of next week. Some team will make a splash at the meetings, that always happens. I do not think Bellinger will go to Houston. That would be a total surprise. Philly has emerged as a clear front runner for Trea. Morosi is predicting that the Dodgers will land Verlander.

Oldbear48

Manny Mota was voted into the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame. Congrats Manny.

Oldbear48

Report on MLBTR that Gaylord Perry has passed away at age 86. RIP

Sam Oyed

It would be nice if the Dodgers knew how the Bauer case would be settled before the winter meetings. Not going to happen. Funny how the police investigation took 5 months and the hearing is going into its 7th month.

Badger

I would guess Friedman proceeds as if Bauer won’t be there and his salary is off the books. If that’s not the case, oh well. The Dodgers can afford it. Reset some other year.

OhioDodger

I would go on the assumption that the Bauer suspension will be reduced to one year and he will be available in 2023.

Urias, Bauer, Kersh, May, Gonslin is a pretty good staring rotation.

Bluto

It is, but we’ll never see that rotation.

Jacob Burch

I don’t believe the Dodgers have a set plan because they don’t know exactly how the market is going to play out. I believe their first choice would be to target two high-impact FAs, one a starting pitcher and the other a SS. But whether they can afford that and meet their budget is unknown and while they wait they have to keep active in the trade and lesser-FA markets as well. There are also some internal evaluations we just aren’t privy to; namely, what is the organization’s view on players like Vargas, Outman, Busch & even Amaya? You can never have enough starting pitching so I think there is no problem with quantity but I’m sure we’d like to improve the top end of the rotation, especially in light of Buehler’s unavailability and Urias’ pending free agency. Then there are the positional uncertainties surrounding Muncy & Lux. Also, are Thompson and Taylor viewed as starters? In short, there is a lot of work to do. In any event, a consolidating trade seems likely, where we bundle some prospect depth in exchange for a below-market value major leaguer who fills a major hole. As long as the free agent market moves so slowly, we have time to search these deals out while still maintaining contact with the players we covet.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jacob Burch
Fred Vogel

Sign Verlander and Rodon. Re-sign Trea. Call it a day.

Bumsrap

It rhymes
Now go get the signs.

Jacob Burch

Sign on the line that is dotted.

Bumsrap

“Sign on the dotted line” works better

OhioDodger

And have a $400M payroll.

Fred Vogel

Not my money.

Bumsrap

Exciting news, at least it is while we wait for bigger shoes to drop.

Bluto

Jeff,

Perhaps content for tomorrow’s post if inspiration/subject matter is hard to find….

I haven’t listened yet (darn work!) but Dave Roberts was/is on the Jayson Stark Athletic podcast:

https://theathletic.com/podcast/243-the-athletic-baseball-show/?episode=382

OhioDodger

Could not care less about what Roberts has to say. He is a front office toad.

Singing the Blue

Ugh, I think some team will certainly be willing to take up one off-season 40-man spot on Duran and then move him to the IL in Feb.

When I read your answer yesterday, I commented that AF knew more than we do. Now that I see this answer, I’m not so sure about that. I think the odds are still pretty high that we lose Duran in the draft and we may very much regret that down the road.

Bumsrap

The Dodger in-house offense consists of Betts, Freeman, Smith and hopefully Lux plus question marks. The question marks are Muncy, Taylor, Vargas, Outman, and Thompson.

DH — Muncy backed up by Busch
3B — Vargas backed up by Muncy
SS — Lux backed up by Taylor
LF — Outman backed up by Taylor
CF — Thompson backed up by Taylor

That gives the Dodgers 5 spots in the lineup that are question marks that are backed up with question marks.

All of the questions except maybe Vargas might compete for team leader in Ks.

Then there is the rotation where it is led by Urias plus two injury risk but top notch pitchers in Kershaw and Gonsolin. Those three are followed by May who needs to prove he can get back to his pre-TJ level and prospects that have great stuff when it finds a safe portion of the strike zone which is still a challenge for them. Stone might be an exception but most think he needs another half season in AAA.

Then there is the CBT that the Dodgers need to reset. They might be able to afford the $$ penalty portion of the penalty but they are getting hurt by the player compensation portion of the penalty. They have about $48M to play with and keep under the CBT penalty. What will they do with it?

They will probably lose Urias to free agency after this year. Kershaw might retire after this year. Betts and Freeman are going to eat payroll as they age in their long-term contracts. They need to work a 5 year plan more than they need to sign any of the big free agents to contracts that will add to Betts and Freeman as expensive aging players down the road.

I think they need Miller, Stone, and Pepiot long term in their rotation and hopefully find an Anderson or two as needed. I think they need Pages, Outman, and Vargas to be winners. Maybe Busch could be the lefty part of the DH sooner than later. All that would limit what the Dodgers could do in trades unless those trades were to bring back controllable players and not 1 or 2 year rentals.

I would put Lux at SS and Betts at 2nd base and Vargas at 3rd base. Adames would K too much for me and cost too many prospects. Correa, Bogaerts, and Swanson would add to the Betts and Freeman aging situation down the road.

Verlander on a 2 year $80M contract is possible and probably encourage Kershaw to pitch 2 more years. Is that a good thing?

I would like to add Kelenic and maybe Hanigar or Pollock. Maybe go after Heaney again. Devers would be nice if the Dodgers knew they could extend him.

Bumsrap

Brandon Drury can play 1st, 3rd, LF, and RF. He might be a better signing than Pollock or Hanigar.

Bumsrap

I’m hoping the Giants sign Judge.

OhioDodger

Say no to Judge. Pitching, pitching, pitching.

Singing the Blue

Until you manage to trade CT3, we don’t need another utility guy who can play all over and hits right handed.

Up until last year, in a career in which he has now put together over 2000 at bats, Mr. Drury had a negative bWAR and an OPS+ of under 100 (for his entire career).

Yes, CT3 strikes out way too much, but I’d still rather have him than Drury. And we all know that Taylor’s horrific year in 2022 was solely due to Bellinger’s bad shoulder and broken leg. Don’t ask me to explain that. It’s very complicated.

Bumsrap

The what have you done lately question highly favors Drury.

Last edited 2 months ago by Bumsrap
Singing the Blue

Indeed it does, but I prefer the “what have you done throughout your career” question.

To each his own.

Badger

“They have about $48M to play with and keep under the CBT penalty. What will they do with it?”

Not if Bauer is back in ‘23



OhioDodger

Just waiting for the Judge and first SS signings. That will set the market and open the floodgates.

Jacob Burch

Don’t bore us
Get to the chorus

Singing the Blue

Rays sign Eflin for 3/40, which is more or less the same as Anderson got from the Angels, give or take a mil.

I guess that talent level of pitcher is worth 13 million per year in 2023, if you want to assume that Anderson and Eflin are about equal in talent.

Andrew may have to pay Verlander a bit more.

Bumsrap

Channeling STB, are you saying Verlander could sign for $14M annually?

Singing the Blue

You’re finally beginning to understand me.

Badger

I think it’s more likely $10 million a season.

Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

Last edited 2 months ago by Badger
Singing the Blue

I don’t think we should have to pay him during the winter season. No games.

Badger

Then you don’t get him.

Tough luck kid.

Bluto

Rosenthal has a bit on the Dodgers including this:

One possible scenario: Trade for Brewers second baseman Kolten Wong, a player the Dodgers like, according to major-league sources. Sign one of the big four free-agent shortstops. Play Gavin Lux at third.

Singing the Blue

If Lux’s arm is suspect at short, why would they want to play him at third. Maybe Wong’s arm is good enough for third.

Bluto

Maybe Lux’ arm isn’t suspect?

Badger

Jeff you mentioned above it is dependent on what upper management thinks of Lux at short. Do you think, with all the free agent All Star shortstops sitting there in free agency, they’re ok starting the season with him there? Frankly I don’t.

Last edited 2 months ago by Badger
Bluto

TheAthletic article is the source

Badger

Source for what? They say a lot of things, including Lux to third.

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