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Theory On Why Elite Pitching Is Not Being Traded

IMO, because the playoffs have been expanded to 12 teams there are a great many more teams that believe they can be the next Arizona D-backs or Baltimore Orioles.  I would include Texas except they have spent north of $600MM the last two years in FA,  but the bulk of their core is home grown or early career trades.

Being honest, while they did get some very timely hitting in October, Arizona built their team on speed, defense, and a rebuilt bullpen.  They only had two SP going into the playoffs, and Brandon Pfaadt found himself to make it three.  Arizona did it in a very tough NL West.

Both Central Divisions are winnable by all five teams Yes even Pittsburgh and KC.  If Arizona can win with Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly as the two known starters, why can’t Dylan Cease and Michael Kopech be that duo for CWS.  At least they want to start the year with a chance, and see if Michael Soroka or Jared Shuster can give them 4 very reliable October pitchers.  If not, Cease can be moved at the deadline.

Same in Milwaukee.  Are the Brewers out of it with Burnes, Freddy Peralta, and Wade Miley.  They believe very highly in Adrian Houser, and Colin Rea has been on the verge of stardom for a while.  CWS and Milwaukee have their Aces.  They are in no hurry to get rid of theirs.

Detroit could be this year’s D-backs and sneak into the playoffs.  I have brought his name up a lot the last two years, but they have Tarik Skubal who could be in the CY discussions by the end of the year.  He is backed up with Kenta Maeda and Matt Manning in their rotation.  And they are hoping for a clean injury free year from their uber pitching prospect, Casey Mize.  Why not run it out to see where they are in late July.

KC believes they are close enough to challenge in the AL Central.  Cole Ragans has become their Ace.  They are looking for a bounce back year from Brady Singer and an injury free year for Daniel Lynch.  All three are former 1st round picks. They have $30MM to spend, and they can find some decent pitching with that.  They are hoping that their 24 year old Venezuelan LHSP, Angel Zerpa, finally emerges this year.  And they have Jordan Lyles to eat innings.

Cleveland has more pitching than they know what to do with.  Well they do know what to do with it, but they just cannot find that OF with slug. Forget what the trade simulator says.  The simulator says that Maddux Bruns (5.7) straight up for Shane Bieber (5.8) is fair.  I read somewhere that the Dodgers should include Jose Ramos in a package.  Why?  If a team wants him and believes he can make a difference at the MLB level, then they will wait until the Rule 5 draft and take him for $100K.  Deluca?  Cleveland wants an everyday difference making OF not another platoon OF.  They could go back and sign Michael Brantley on a return, and keep Bieber.  I cannot see AF trading Andy Pages straight up for Shane Bieber, much less packaging him. Bieber is not in the Burnes, Cease, Glasnow aisle.

As I said yesterday, I quit trying to noodle what Tampa Bay might do.  It is possible that they will trade 1 or two of Tyler Glasnow, Isaac Paredes, and Randy Arozarena.  I have heard that Brandon Lowe is also available.  The AL East is a lot different than the AL Central.  It is going to be hard for TB to stay near the top without McClanahan and with Toronto, Baltimore, NYY, and Boston all looking for significant improvements.  They do have Shane Baz coming back, but how good will he be first year back?  I can see Caleb Ferguson going to TB in a trade.  He has shown he can be a decent opener, something TB loves to employ.  TB has one catcher on the 40 man, and no real catcher prospect.  Their only catcher prospect on their top 30 is in High A (Dominic Keegan #9).  Austin Barnes would be a perfect back up catcher for Tampa Bay.  Diego Cartaya would be a nice target for TB.  The Dodgers actually do have the players to match up with TB.  With Arozarena having 3 control years, Andy Pages becomes a nice target for TB, and the Dodgers would be more than willing to move Pages if they had Arozarena for three years.

I think it is more likely that CWS, Milwaukee, Detroit, KC, and other mid-tier teams staying away from trading their top of the rotation pitching.  They want to at least give their players and fans the thought that going into the season they have a shot.  If not, there is always the trade deadline where contending teams are more desperate.





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Interesting and formative. Thanks


Mark at LADT likes to say that AF is playing chess while most others are playing checkers. I think AF is playing Jenga.


Or maybe RISK


Elite pitchers nearing free agency on small market or lower division clubs are likely the ones that will be traded. Some wealthy teams will likely overpay for those players. That is just how it is. The same is true for those handful of free agent players currently getting all the press. Only a few teams will be involved in these signings. We are lucky to be one of those teams

I believe it’s impossible to build a team in winter for a tournament the following October. We had a team that should have easily defeated the team in their own division they had clobbered in their head to head meetings and had beat them by over two weeks in the standings. We had a powerful offense lead by future Hall of Famers Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman and another future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw on the mound. What happened is well documented. All three of those players failed miserably.

We will again be a team that in Spring and Summer scores a lot of runs and will again be favored to win our Division. If we continue to score in the postseason tournament we will have a chance. There are no guarantees the Dodgers will be a successful Fall baseball team and nothing they do this winter will change that fact.

The “Fall Classic”, with 12 teams in the running, maybe more in the future, will remain a crap shoot, with inferior teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks making the finals on occasion. Nothing can be done about that. The years of the two best teams meeting for the Championship are long past.

So for now we continue to wait to see if we can outbid the other three or four teams in the running for Ohtani. I think we will get him but even if we don’t, as I said we will again be the favorites to win the West and try it again in a roll the dice post season tournament.

On a personal note, it’s my opinion winter blows. With the exception of my downhill skiing days I’ve never been a fan of winter. Winter is basketball season, an indoor sport. I’ve never been a big fan of indoor sports. So these winter days I wait for weekend football games, I wait for the Dodgers to do what they will do and I wait for Spring Training. I wait. And wait some more.

Last edited 6 months ago by Badger

Your point of view is quite a strange one, Badger. Basketball has nothing to do with winter even though it’s played in winter. It could easily be played in any season, anywhere. Hockey, played on ice, would be more aligned with winter but it also could be played in any season. I guess you are really not a ‘sports’ fan. Were you this way when you were a kid?


I know Badger and he misses his days “playing” Curling. He was especially good with the broom.


Curling is more demanding than you think Bum. I still have mad broom skills by the way.


Not a sports fan Jeff? Have we met?

I played football and baseball in high school and college. Also made the Marine Corps baseball team in ‘67 but didn’t play as I had WestPac orders come through. Was removed from practice to sign out of San Diego and go to further combat training at Pendleton. I played 3 years of intramural football, softball, some soccer, and basketball in college. One summer, age 17 I played Legion and Connie Mack, both highly competitive leagues in Orange County and Long Beach. I played MABL Division I into my 50’s. I also played tournament softball into my late 50s, and umpired tournament softball and baseball games to the semi pro level in Northern California. I’ve been a Dodger and Rams fan since 1959. I’ve been to several Lakers games, back in the early 70s when I worked hospitals in the LA area and got free tickets from doctors.

It’s true that as I have aged I don’t do the winter sports I once did. I also don’t attend as many games as I usta did. I willingly admit that I prefer outdoor activities but to assume I am not a sports fan is ludicrous.

Last edited 6 months ago by Badger

Don’t fret.


Heading for California in the morning. Will check on all the in-action before I go. Got a lot to do today to get ready to go.


These meetings might be setting a record for non action. Bieber and Clase being shopped by Cleveland.


Now that the Yankees have their perennial batting champion they won’t need Soto anymore. Looks like SD missed their chance.


It’s been rumored SD is having financial issues and will look to rebuild with controllable talent as quickly as possible. What’s your take on that Jeff?

Last edited 6 months ago by Badger
Singing the Blue

Your thoughts about how we might match up with the Rays are very thought provoking, Jeff. Maybe something happens there.

The upside to the lack of activity at the meetings is that the time between the meetings and New Years will be much busier and more entertaining than usual.


Once the big domino falls things will pick up.


Well said!!


Everyone wants more better starting pitching. With the exception of Kershaw’s terrible outing, that dbacks series was winnable. The staff gave up 4 runs in each of the next two games. Those games were lost not because of pitching, but because of a lack of hitting. The Dodgers hit .177 with a team OPS of .498 in those 3 games. If Mookie, Freddie and everyone with the exception of Smith had hit, we could have won that series

Teams slump. Every team slumps. The Dodgers hit a hiccup at the wrong time. How does a team prevent that from happening? You can’t. You just have to hope it doesn’t happen at the wrong time.

Last edited 6 months ago by Badger

I think that there’s been a delay in the trade market for upper level pitchers because their current teams are waiting for a free agent pitcher or two to sign to establish a market value, at least in part.


Ohtani decision is expected by Sunday


Mad Dog ripping Ohtani a new orifice. Alana ripping him too. The secrecy is driving everyone nuts. Mad Dog all over Gomes for throwing Roberts under the bus on TV yesterday after he admitted the Dodgers had met with Ohtani earlier in the week. Ohtani has never played on an Angels team that has had a winning record. Of course, that means little to the Dodgers who perennially win more than they lose. Soto trade talks between Yankees and Padres heating up. If Ohtani goes to Toronto, the other main player in all of this, fine with me, resign JD to DH, sign Gurriel to play left field, trade for Burnes or Cease, no Adames or Yelich, and maybe even kick the tires on Bieber and Clase. Sign one of the fringe reclamation projects and the team is ready to go come spring.


Yankees have lost 3 players in the rule 5 draft, the Red Sox 2. The Dodgers surprisingly have not lost anyone in the major league side of the draft.


Heyward signing now official. Roster stands at 40.


Got a 1965 Mantle in the mail yesterday. Sweet card. 1914 Ruth rookie sold for 7.2 million. Damn!


Dodgers lost two players in the minor league side of the rule 5 draft. Carson Taylor went to the Phillies and they lost a minor league pitcher to the D-Backs. They did not select anyone.


Carson was a catching prospect for about a srason.


I can’t tell if specific names being associated with a rumored trade signifies anything, but….

:According to multiple sources, one name that will not be moved in a potential deal is right-hander Bobby Miller, who the #Dodgers have no interest in moving. The #WhiteSox have been looking to add arms this winter.

Busch, Sheehan


Cease and Jake Eder

It works for both me and the trade generator!


Can Dodgers fix Eder?


As JD would say, lottery ticket play.


We don’t know that Miller was asked for, we don’t know if he was asked about in what context, all we just know that he’s not being discussed.

where was that report about the Reds ask reported?

Last edited 6 months ago by Bluto

I don’t know or care if they asked for Miller, because we don’t know if they did or in what context. It’s irrelevant.

For what it’s worth, Sheehan has a higher (slightly higher) value than Petty and Lowder combined. 29 to a combined 27.


I Would disagree with your universalism about irrelevance.

Passan, Kurkjian, many others are relevant. Most blogs? On those we can agree.

The trade simulator?
Totally irrelevant, but tons of fun and helpful for people like me who need guidance in valuation.

Last edited 6 months ago by Bluto

“So is every baseball opinion blog out there. Opinions of fans and writers are just pure speculation”

I agree with this, said so yesterday morning. Everyone is guessing, some get paid to do so.


I think you are being facetious. I hope you are. If so, please forgive what follows, but I ONLY post it because you may not be.

Two things:

ONE: First and foremost, I really, really, really hope you are not writing and maintaining this fine blog because it’s relevant to me! I’m very weird, I have lots of opinions and thoughts that aren’t shared by others, more to the point is that I don’t know you, and have no bearing on your life. I hope you are doing this blog because you enjoy writing about the Dodgers and baseball, that those things are important to you or at least bring you happiness or peace of mind, bring a smile to your face, act as a distraction, allow you to scratch a public writing itch, or for whatever relevant reason you have!

TWO: Relevance. Relevance to me is probably 100% different from your POV or Badger’s, or that guy who always wants to trade Muncy. Everybody gets different things out of reading blogs and participating in communities. For me, all I really care about is understanding what’s going on. Why the Dodgers construct the roster as they do, why they preference player X over player Y. Why trades are made or offers, offered. Thus to me things like speculating under what conditions Miller’s name was intoned in a conversation btwn two GMs is totally and completely irrelevant. Thus to me things that Passan or Feinsand write are more relevant because they are closer to the “real info.” For other people relevance can be defined as the opportunity to talk to people of similar (or different) backgrounds or perspectives, for other people it could be an opportunity to pretend how great the Dodgers would be if they ran things, to imagine a paradise of a Dodgers without Max Muncy, some people actually like just making notation when they are right and/or others are wrong, Scott Andes had a blog that was a ton of fun until he let it be infiltrated by some people who found relevance in solely having the opportunity to be stupid, rude and blusterous. Everybody gets different things out of reading a blog (much less hosting or operating one.) Thus relevance is almost exclusively subjective.

That said, I think this community is quite excellent. The discussions, the exchange of actual information (thank you for the Reds link!) and the diversity of opinion are really, really rewarding.

Last edited 6 months ago by Bluto
Jeff Dominique

I understand. But for me it would be helpful if you were to say in your opinion it is irrelevant rather than just stating it. Because whether Bobby Miller was discussed in a trade with CWS is relevant to me. Everybody is going to ask for Bobby Miller. Milwaukee will want Miller in a trade for Burnes. TB will want Bobby Miller in a trade for Glasnow. I recognize and acknowledge that Miller is NOT going to be included in a trade for a rental, even a two year rental. But that leads my brain to then move as to whether CWS or Tampa, or Milwaukee gives a rip about the remaining LAD prospects. So it is relevant for me to form any kind of potential deal.

For me, it is relevant that Milwaukee may not consider trading Burnes to LAD without including Adames and getting Lux plus significant pitching in return. Being true and relevant are not necessarily the same. I have no way of knowing if it is true, but it is relevant for my opinion forming.

Anyway, I am done on this topic.


Trade simulator approves the Soto deal:


Er, maybe not!

I don’t know if “cash” is of a fair valuation.


Looks like the Padres won that deal.

Soto was leaving anyway. Maybe he stays in NY? Boras will negotiate his next deal so only 1 of a small handful of teams will be in those negotiations.

That King guy must be pretty good.


I tend to agree, I read a comment that resonates with me. That executing trades which are primarily driven by pitching prospects is especially worrisome because pitching prospects have such variance.


Pitching variances. Please expound Bluto.

Seems to me pitching should be easy to predict. With the analytics available, velocity, spin rate and command information are abundantly available. There are also professional sports psychologists to measure mental makeup. Scouts, coaches and management should be able to know, and know a few years in advance, who will be among those picked to be in the starting 5-6. Looking at the current depth chart I see 11 pitchers who can go 5 innings in the bigs next year

Pitchers in today’s game have to throw strikes with mad spin exactly where they want them for 5 innings to make a guaranteed 9 figure income. Pitchers of yesteryear threw twice the number of pitches in a year and sold cars in the offseason to pay the bills.

All that said, I realize the last step to the top of the pyramid is the most difficult to make

I’m rambling again. I shall stop and eat a bagel.


Pitching variance just means, or meant, that most pitching prospects don’t amount too much


That could be said for all prospects.

Jeff Dominique

I have a different take on who won the trade. IMO, NYY won the trade, and for the reason that was written so much better and more succinct than I could, in the Athletic this AM.

The Yankees ranked 26th in the majors in OPS from their outfield, and that’s despite the presence of Aaron Judge. Remove him from the calculation, and New York’s outfielders slashed .214/.276/.360 for a .636 OPS. So yes, even if it costs you a good pitching prospect and a promising big-league arm, you do what it takes to add Soto’s career .946 OPS to that group. 

NYY will find a replacement for Michael King, and they will find a different pitching prospect like Drew Thorpe (who is good). The others that were included are very replaceable. NYY did not give up any of their top OF prospects which SD could use.

NYY needed Juan Soto. They did not need Michael King and Drew Thorpe. SD could not afford to keep Soto. All reports are that SD is hemorrhaging cash because of their failed TV deal with Bally. They overextended, and now have to pay the piper.


I was just going on the simulator values Jeff.

Soto will help NY but what if he leaves after a year? NY has to pony up Judge money to keep him. I suspect they will offer it, but, who knows what Soto wants.


Yes, by simulator values it’s a massive overpay for 1 year of Soto.

There’s a discussion here:

I would say that the simulator has trouble evaluating at the very high end of the spectrum. Soto is on a HOF career track, not sure how that get quantified.

And it has trouble evaluating financial fit. By financial fit, I mean it makes more sense for the Yankees to overpay for Soto because they have the resources to retain him EVEN if he hits the open-market. If the Rockies had traded for him, that would be a different story.

Last edited 6 months ago by Bluto

If he signs long term with the Yankees, it’s a win for them. What if he leads them to a World Series then leaves in free agency?




So, funny story: Early last week, I scheduled with my season ticket rep to stop by Dodger Stadium last Friday, Dec 1, to grab my season ticket holder gift and a few other items from the Dodger offices (over on the Lodge level down the left field line).

My rep called me Wed or Thurs last week and said she needed to cancel Friday (didn’t give me a reason why), and asked if I could come this week instead.

Today Bill Plunkett just tweeted:
“Today’s meaningless nugget of Shohei Ohtani news — his meeting with Dodgers was Friday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. Stadium tours were ppd/cancelled, team store was closed so no accidental sightings.”

I guess I now why I was told to stay away!!

Last edited 6 months ago by Bobby
Singing the Blue

Shohei told AF,
‘two guys I don’t want to see when I get to the Stadium, Doc and Bobby!”

Fred Vogel
Singing the Blue

Agreed. He was fun to watch.

RC Dodger

Starting to see more significant transactions with the Soto trade, Rodríguez signing and Candelario signing. It now looks like Friedman made a mistake by not agreeing to add on an option Year for Rodríguez at the trade deadline. They would have had Erod for the playoffs plus locked him up for 4 years and $69 million compared to the $80 million that Arizona paid.
Pretty surprising that the Dbacks added a top starter before the Dodgers. Now 3 top starters have signed: Nola, Gray, and Rodríguez. And 4 top FA starters remain: Yamamoto, Snell, Montgomery, Imanaga,
The rumors are that Yamamoto may sign for $250-$300 million, while Snell and Monty will be $150-$200 million. Only Imanaga may sign for under $100 million. With so many teams still looking for pitching, the Dodgers will have difficulty signing one of those guys. Yamamoto likely goes to NY, Boston, or SF. Monty to Texas. Snell to ATL, Sea, or SF. Imanaga may be the best option for the Dodgers.
In the meantime, the Dodger focus seems to be on Ohtani, the $600 million DH. Seems crazy to put so many resources in one player, when the major need in 2024 is starting pitching. And Ohtani sets his own rules. Telling management what they can say, dictating media schedule, demanding a 6 man rotation, and monopolizing the DH spot every day. But as Jeff has said, this is a business decision, not a baseball one.


Do we know what we were offering in that rejected trade?


Of course not, lots of speculation though! It’s in no one’s interest to shed publicity on the actual reason


After the Soto trade to NY:

“The Braves are +650 to win the Fall Classic, followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers at 7-1, the Rangers and Houston Astros at 9-1 and the Philadelphia Phillies at 10-1. The Arizona Diamondbacks head into the offseason at 25-1 to win next year’s World Series.”

Yankees are 17-2.

I guess signing Heyward and Kelly kept us right up there with the odds makers.


It might be Ricky Vanasco early signing that changed the Vegas odds.


Good point Bobby.


If the Dodgers sign Ohtani then I would like it if the Dodgers were able to trade Muncy for Burnes. The Brewers need a first baseman. I would let Rojas play 3rd base.

2B Betts
1B Freeman
DH Ohtani
C Smith
CF Outman
LF Pederson/Taylor
RF Heyward/DeLuca
3B Rojas
SS Lux

Burnes, Buehler, Miller, Pepiot, Sheehan, Stone, Grove


Where’s Vargas? What about Busch? I’d rather him in left than Pederson.


I would hope a few of Vargas, Busch, Stone, and the double AA pitching prospects would be traded for a third young third baseman and a “good” pitcher.

Maybe the Dodgers bring back Pederson, Justin Turner, and Kike’ on one year contracts. If the Dodgers don’t sign Ohtani then DH could be shared by Pederson and Turner with Turner getting playing time at third and Joc in LF.

Lee could be a good fit in LF if STB would be okay with him there instead of CF. Whitfield would also be a good fin in LF. I’d like to exchange a few 3 outcome hitters with a few contact hitters. I see Pederson has become more of a hitter than a swinger. Not sure if last year was a product of several hand injuries or not or maybe it was just too much platooning by the Giants.

Singing the Blue

If Lee and Outman would be in the same outfield I’d be more than happy to leave it to Doc and/or AF to determine who plays where.

I’m not thrilled with your rotation above.
You’ve listed 7 pitchers.
Grove has proven more effective in relief than as a starter.
Stone has failed so far in his MLB outings.
Sheehan has shown promise but hasn’t proven himself yet.
Pepiot looked great but in a very small sample size.
Miller looks to be making good progress.
Buehler is very uncertain coming back from TJ #2.
Burnes is an ace.

That rotation does not inspire confidence. It could be great but it could be pretty awful, or anywhere in between.

Assuming that we trade for Burnes, we still need Yamamoto and one other established MLB starter (someone like Ryu, Wacha or Lugo would be fine). If we don’t get YY, we need to do what we have to in order to get Cease or Glasnow.

Oh, and just to continue our years-long exchange, no thank you on Joc.
But I’m fine with Witt.


I left room and for Friedman to add his touch.


7 starters isn’t that many. We used 17 last year. I believe both Sheehan and Stone gained valuable experience and will be better prepared to step up and step in.


This is great:



Most of those were right down the middle.

Singing the Blue

Must have taken quite a bit of work to get the timing right on ball hitting bat in time with the music.

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