Despite winning the NL West the past two seasons, the Los Angeles Dodgers have radically retooled themselves in an effort to win it all in 2015. The Dodgers, now led by former Tampa Bay Rays President Andrew Friedman, have made the following moves.
They began by trading All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon, starting pitcher Dan Haren and utility man Miguel Rojas to the Miami Marlins for pitchers Andrew Heaney and Chris Hatcher, catcher Austin Barnes and utility man Enrique Hernandez.
The Dodgers then turned around and traded Heaney to the crosstown Los Angeles Angels for second baseman Howie Kendrick.
Kendrick’s new double play partner will be none other than Jimmy Rollins. It is unclear at the moment what the Phillies will get in return, but what is clear that Rollins 15 year tenure in Philadelphia is over. Both Kendrick and Rollins will be free agents after the 2015 season.
The Dodgers also signed starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who split 2014 with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the New York Yankees, to a four-year, $48 million. Not bad for a number four starter.
And if that wasn’t enough, the Dodgers traded superstar Matt Kemp along with catcher Tim Federowicz to the San Diego Padres for catcher Yasmani Grandal and pitchers Joe Wieland and Zach Eflin.
So the Dodgers starting lineup in 2015 will look something like this:
LF Carl Crawford
SS Jimmy Rollins
CF Yasiel Puig
1B Adrian Gonzalez
3B Juan Uribe
RF Andre Ethier
C Yasmani Grandal
2B Howie Kendrick
P Clayton Kershaw/Zack Greinke/Hyun-jin Ryu/Brandon McCarthy
Putting aside the four starters, it is a veteran lineup. Only Puig and Grandal are under 30. Kendrick and Rollins are free agents Of course, it’s entirely possible the Dodgers could deal Ethier as well. They tried to send him to the D’Backs for Miguel Montero, but apparently Arizona didn’t want Ethier although Tony La Russa denies it. The D’Backs subsequently dealt Montero to the Cubs.
I like Kendrick. He’s one of the more underrated players in the game, but I’m not sure why the Dodgers wanted one year of Kendrick rather than four more with Gordon who had a breakout season leading the NL with 64 stolen bases, is five years younger than Kendrick and doesn’t become a free agent until after the 2018 season. Clearly, the Dodgers are focused entirely on the short term, namely 2015 and not beyond. Meanwhile, the Marlins get a bonafide leadoff hitter and some much needed speed.
The Kemp trade once again shows the meaningless of long term contracts. After Kemp was voted runner up in the NL MVP balloting in 2011, he signed an eight-year contract extension worth $160 million. Three years into that extension, Kemp is gone. It’s true that he was plagued with injuries in 2012 and 2013, but rebounded in 2014. Now the Padres get the biggest shot in the arm since Steve Garvey, another Dodger great, came down Interstate 405. To be fair, I do think the Dodgers got a very good catcher in Grandal who could be a mainstay for them for years – unless they deal him in a year and a half.
I’m not sure McCarthy is worth $12 million a season, but he won’t hurt an already deep rotation.
I think the Dodgers will probably win the NL West again, but I don’t see a World Series calibre team here. If they do win the NL West in 2015 and nothing more than these moves will be looked upon as a bust on a grand scale.
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