It’s Just Speculation: Reds-Giants-Dodgers Three-Way

With roughly a month until the trade deadline, it’s often a fun exercise to explore possible trades that could happen before the end of July. These are not full-out rumors, just off-the-cuff speculation of trade scenarios.

Anyone who works in the industry or is an analyst can tell you that trades involving multiple partners are exponentially hard to complete. Getting two teams to agree on which players will be exchanged is hard enough, adding any additional “cooks in the kitchen” can douse the hopes of any trade quickly.

But one deal that just may work could be a three-way trade between the Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants, and the L.A. Dodgers. Two of these teams, the Reds and the Giants, are in tight pennant races and are in need of a little additional help to propel each to the front of their respective division.

The Reds have a wealth of catching talent. Catcher Ramon Hernandez is enjoying a terrific offensive season (.308/.370/.513) and has provided well behind the plate as well. Although he hasn’t hit nearly as well as Hernandez, Ryan Hanigan has been relatively close to league average for a catcher and has more defensive potential than Hernandez at this point in his career. They also have a catcher by the name of Devin Mesoraco crushing Triple-A pitching down in Louisville.

However, their starting pitching has been relatively attrocious. Starters Bronson Arroyo, Edinson Volquez, and Travis Wood all have ERAs north of 5.00. Although they are looking forward to the return of Homer Bailey, the Reds are in desperate need for reliable starting pitching to team with the top offense in the NL.

The Giants are in a complete opposite predicament. They have a wealth of starting pitching, but lack any sort of viable offensive output from their catchers now that Buster Posey is out for the season with a broken leg.

Yet, there has been rumors that the Giants are very reluctant to give up any of their starting pitching for an offensive boost. Although they boast an impressive starting five that’s been good enough to essentially make Barry Zito a very expensive middle reliever, it is unlikely that they will be open to giving away any of them mid-season for a bump in offensive production.

That’s where the woeful Dodgers come in. With the McCourt dealings providing a blanket of financial insecurity that lays heavy on the organization, the Dodgers have been rumored to want to deal away some of the players nearing free agency. One of those players, pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, is enjoying a fine year for the Dodgers and has become the most likely to go. According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports numerous teams have scouted Hiroki, including the Reds.

By sending Kuroda to the Reds, the Dodgers would relieve themselves of his salary for the rest of the season. The workhorse starter would give the Reds’ rotation a mid-season boost that they so desperately need. The Reds could then clear some salary to pay Kuroda by trading Hernandez to the Dodgers, clearing the way for Mesoraco to join them in Cincinnati. Hernandez would be a big boost to a lack-luster Giants offensive lineup and would be a free agent at the end of the season, allowing Posey to slip back in behind the plate next year. In return for letting Kuroda go, the Dodgers would then receive a couple prospects from the Giants and possibly the Reds.

Looking at previous trades of similar players that are about to hit free agency, it is unlikely the Dodgers will receive a player like Zach Wheeler or Eric Surkamp. Then again, the market for upper-end starting pitching will be very meager and the price may go up even though it is a somewhat of a salary dump move for the Dodgers.

Of course, there are a number of roadblocks in such a deal beyond just the three-way obstacle. This would mean that the Dodgers and Giants would trade within their division, not a completely usual practice in MLB. Also, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Kuroda would require compensation to waive his no-trade clause. It’s also possible that money exhanged in the deal as well.

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Over Spilled Milk: 2006 Draft – NL West

Each year, with the draft approaching, I look back at a previous draft to see how the players drafted have worked out.  Essentially, most of the players that will be regulars in the majors will be up within five years of when they are drafted.  So I will be reviewing the 2006 draft.

Reviewing every draft pick by each team would take forever and would consist of a large amount of, “….didn’t work out”, or “….is out of baseball”.  So I’ll just review the picks of the first three rounds for each team and notables from each team’s later rounds.

Now we’ll look at the National League West:

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks had a nice pitching crop come out of the 2006 draft, too bad the two main products don’t currently pitch for them. With the 11th overall pick, the D’backs selected Max Scherzer. Scherzer was sent to the Tigers in a package that landed them Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy. Kennedy has certainly softened the blow of losing Scherzer, who is pitching well for the Tigers. The Diamondbacks traded their supplemental round pick (that they received for losing Tim Worrell to free agency), righty Brooks Brown, to the Tigers as well. Their return, catcher James Skelton, didn’t fare that well and has since moved on to other organizations.

Pitcher Brett Anderson was picked up in the second round. He was included in a package for Dan Haren and is now one of the Oakland A’s better pitchers. In the third round, the team selected pitcher Dallas Buck. Buck helped the Oregon Ducks win the College World Series that year, but eventually got injured in the minors. He was passed on to the Cincinnati Reds in a deal for Adam Dunn in 2008, but hasn’t been able to fully return to his collegiate form. Their second third round pick went to outfielder Cyle Hankerd. Hankerd didn’t hit well enough in the minors and was released this February.

Righties Hector Ambriz (5th round) and Daniel Stange (7th round) were picked up later in the draft. They both had short stints with the big league club, but weren’t able to lock down a regular spot in the bullpen. Catcher John Hester (13th round) received a little time in the majors before being sent to the Baltimore Orioles to complete a trade for Mark Reynolds. He hasn’t been back in the majors since. Lefty Clay Zavada was drafted in the 30th round that year. He had some success in pen for the D’backs in 2009, but hasn’t made it back.

Colorado Rockies

The Colorado Rockies had the second overall pick in 2006 and used it on pitcher Greg Reynolds. Reynolds has been up and down from the minors to the majors. This year he’s been used as a long man out of the pen in Colorado. Their next two picks, outfielder David Christensen and lefty Keith Weiser have both struggled to produce decent results. Christensen hasn’t played at all this season.

Catcher Michael McKenry was drafted in the 7th round. He saw a little time in the majors, but was dealt this March to the Boston Red Sox for reliever Daniel Turpen.

The Colorado Rockies were stop number three for pitcher Andrew Cashner. Cashner would be drafted for a fourth time in 2008, this time by the Chicago Cubs. Andrew rose to the majors fast, but is currently on the 60-day DL with a shoulder injury. Lefty Scott Maine hopped drafts as well, he spurned the Rockies for the Diamondbacks in 2007, the third time he was drafted since 2003. He’s seen a little time in the majors the past couple years.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Out of the entire 2006 draft, only two players have made it to the majors, only one for them. But the first one was a nice haul in himself. With the seventh overall pick in the draft, the Dodgers selected Clayton Kershaw, viewed by many anymore as their ace. They also had two more first round picks for the loss of Jeff Weaver to free agency. Pitcher Bryan Morris and infielder Preston Mattingly were taken with those picks. Morris excelled and was traded to the Pirates in the Jason Bay/Manny Ramirez shuffling. He’s pitching well at Double-A at this time. Mattingly has had troubles hitting since he was drafted, never hitting well enough to make it to Double-A.

The Dodgers didn’t have a 2nd or 3rd round pick that year.

Pitcher Alex White has been the only other player to make it to the majors. However, he didn’t sign with the Dodgers after being drafted in the 14th round. The Cleveland Indians drafted White in the 1st round in 2009 and he shot through the minors in 2010 and has spent some time in Cleveland this season.

San Diego Padres

With the 17th pick in 2006, the Padres took Matt Antonelli. Once one of the Padres top prospects, Antonelli was riddled with injuries and inconsistency. He’s now in the Nationals organization, hitting well in a limited sample at Triple-A. The Padres would have two compensation picks for losing catcher Ramon Hernandez to the Orioles. The first was used on outfielder Kyler Burke. Burke has since been traded to the Chicago Cubs in a package for catcher Michael Barrett, but he hasn’t hit well enough to merit a move up to Double-A during his tenure in the minors. The second compensation pick allowed the Padres to acquire infielder Chad Huffman. Huffman’s been selected off waivers twice, once by the Yankees and then the Indians.

Pitcher Wade LeBlanc was the Padres regular second round pick. He’s been up and down from the majors the past four seasons with mixed results. Their third round pick, outfielder Cedric Hunter, got his first taste of the majors this season, but is unlikely to be anything more than a fourth or fifth outfielder at best.

Current St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese was picked up in the 9th round and eventually traded for Jim Edmonds

If he can return to his 2010 form, pitcher Mat Latos may be the find of the draft for the Padres. Drafted in the 11th round, Latos won 14 games last season and seems to have regained his form this season after a slow start.

San Francisco Giants

One year after a relatively ugly draft in 2005 that didn’t include a single pick in the first three rounds or a significant contributor on their major league roster (outside of Sergio Romo), the Giants pulled away possibly the best single pick in the entire 2006 draft. With the 10th pick in the draft, the Giants selected Cy Young award winning Tim Lincecum.

The Giants received two compensation picks for the Cubs’ signing of Scott Eyre.  The first came in the supplemental first round and went to shortstop Emmanuel Burriss.  Burris has been up and down over parts of the past four seasons, but he’s been a flexible utility player for the team. The second compensation pick came in the third round and was used on lefty Clayton Tanner. Clayton is currently sporting an ERA in the mid-4.00s in Triple-A. As stacked as the Giants rotation is, Tanner could be converted to relief soon, or used as trade bait.

Like Burriss, infielder Ryan Rohlinger (6th round) has been up and down over the past four seasons and playing multiple positions.  Eleventh round pick Brian Bocock has seen the majors in 2008 and 2010, but the shortstop never stuck on the roster. Yet another fringy infielder was drafted in the 36th round. Matt Downs has some power and played more of a corner infield utility spot compared to Burriss, Rohlinger, and Bocock. He was eventually claimed off waivers by the Houston Astros. He’s putting up his best statistics this year in an attempt to keep a bench role in Houston.

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Over Spilled Milk: Sandy Alderson’s Biggest Trade

As Sandy Alderson eases his way into the GM seat for the New York Mets, I felt it was a good time to look back at what was possibly his biggest trade.  Although I don’t have a complete trade history of Alderson at my finger tips (come on MLBTR, read my mind!), it’s looks as though his trade for Bob Welch may have “taken the cake”.

After coming close to winning the Western Division title in 1987, Sandy Alderson and the Oakland Athletics’ front office went all out to push the team over the top. The team acquired Bob Welch to be the team’s #2 pitcher and Dave Parker for his veteran leadership and still relatively viable bat. They also signed Glenn Hubbard and Dave Henderson to fill holes at second and center field.

On December 11, 1987 Alderson entered into a 3-team trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets. The key piece of the trade was pitcher Bob Welch, who along with Matt Young, went to the Athletics from the Dodgers. The Dodgers also sent Jack Savage to the Mets. The Athletics sent Alfredo Griffin and Jay Howell to the Dodgers. The A’s also sent Kevin Tapani and Wally Whitehurst to the  Mets. Rounding the trade out, the Mets sent Jesse Orosco to the Dodgers.

Bob Welch had 10 good seasons with the Dodgers before he was dealt to the A’s.  He would go on to have three very good seasons for the A’s, winning 61 games over a three-year stretch, including 27 in 1990 when he won the Cy Young.  Although he would go on to win 35 games over the next four seasons, he took an obvious downturn after the 1992 season.  But he did help the team get to the post season four times, including winning it all in 1989.

Matt Young didn’t pitch for the Athletics until 1989, but he didn’t that well when given the chance.  In 37.1 innings pitched, Young posted a 6.75 ERA and a 1.955 WHIP.  He also gave up 31 walks while striking out 27.  The Athletics released him after that season.  After bouncing around some, he was signed by the Boston Red Sox and pitched in a very odd no-hitter.  On April 12, 1992 he allowed two runs on seven walks and an error by shortstop Luis Rivera on the way to becoming the fourth pitcher to throw a no-hitter and still lose the game.  It was not recognized as a true no-hitter though as he only pitched eight innings.

Although Jack Savage had decent ERAs in the minors, his peripheral stats weren’t promising.  After the trade he spent another two seasons in the minors with the Mets.  He had a pretty good overall season in 1988, posting a 1.18 WHIP, but was never given the ball at the major league level.  The Mets shipped him out as the PTBNL in a 1989 trade deadline deal that also involved Rick Aguilera, David West, Kevin Tapani and Tim Drummond in exchange for the Minnesota Twins’ Frank Viola.  Although the Twins allowed him a chance at the majors, Savage struggled and didn’t pitch in the majors again after 1990.

Once tabbed the “Ozzie Smith of the American League”, Alfredo Griffin’s defense was his greatest asset.  But the speedster didn’t draw walks well and was at times overly agressive on the basepaths.  In his first season with the Dodgers his bat fell apart, hitting just .199/.259/.253 in 316 AB.  Most of his regression could likely be linked to breaking his wrist on a Dwight Gooden fastball.  He would rebound and play three more seasons in L.A. and is now the first base coach for the Angels.

Although he had a down year in 1987, Jay Howell had just completed a season that saw him earn 16 saves and a trip to the All-Star game.  But he had some of the best seasons of his career in a Dodgers uniform after the trade, closing 81 games over four years.  He also closed one game for the World Series winning Dodgers in 1988.

Kevin Tapani was a fast-rising prospect in the A’s system before he was dealt to the Mets.  He continued to pitch well in the minors for the Mets and even received a three game audition in New York before he was included in the same trade for Frank Viola that Savage was involved in.  Tapani would become a solid presence for the Twins, including aiding the team in winning the 1991 World Series.  The innings eater would go on to have further success in L.A. and with the Cubs before retiring.

After three decent seasons in the A’s system, Wally Whitehurst pitched better in the Mets’ system.  He received a call-up in 1989 and became an important member of the team’s pen in 1990.  That year he pitched to a 3.29 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP in 38 games.  The Mets converted him to a fifth starter/long reliever in 1991 and pitched there through 1992 before being traded to the San Diego Padres.

The last player to be noted as part of this trade is Jesse Orosco.  Yes, the rubber-armed reliever who pitched 24 seasons in the majors and won 87 games amongst the 10 teams he played for.  Orosco pitched to an impressive 2.72 ERA in his only season in Dodger blue, though he had a less-than-stellar 1.34 WHIP.  Jesse became a free agent after the 1988 season and would of course go on to pitch for various other teams until 2003.

It looks as though Sandy Alderson came out as the winner of this trade, finding a key piece to his rotation that would help him get the A’s to the playoffs four seasons out of five.  The Dodgers added two very good arms to their pen in Howell and Orosco and a slick fielding shortstop in Alfredo Griffin.  Griffin struggled mightily in 1988 with his wrist injury, but both pitchers played important parts in the team’s success in 1988.

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Over Spilled Milk: 2005 Draft – NL West

Each year, with the draft approaching, I look back at a previous draft to see how the players drafted have worked out.  Essentially, most of the players that will be regulars in the majors will be up within five years of when they are drafted.  So I will be reviewing the 2005 draft.

Reviewing every draft pick by each team would take forever and would consist of a large amount of, “….didn’t work out”, or “….is out of baseball”.  So I’ll just review the picks of the first three rounds for each team and notables from each team’s later rounds.

Rounding it out, we’ll look at the National League West:

Arizona Diamondbacks

With the worst overall record in 2004, the Arizona Diamondbacks selected at the top of each regular round in 2005.  With the first overall pick, they picked up their franchise offensive piece for many years to come in Justin Upton.  Although he’s off to a somewhat slow start this season, he’s established himself as an offensive force that will only get better over the next few seasons.  In the supplemental first round they picked up righty Matt Torra.  Torra is still progressing through the minors, but he gives up too many hits to be successful in the majors.  A switch to relief may be in his future.

Second round pick, Matt Green, struggled throughout his minor league career.  He struggled in the independent league in 2009, but is still with the Grand Prarie AirHogs this season.  In the third round the D-Backs selected Jason Neighborgall, a right-handed pitcher who never had an ERA under 11.00 (yes, that’s right) in the minors.  He hasn’t pitched in professional baseball since 2007.  They also had a supplemental third round pick for losing Richie Sexson via free agency.  The team tapped Micah Owings, a righty who had been selected twice before (Cubs-2004, Rockies-2002).  He quickly climbed his way to the majors and drew the interest of the Reds as he was included in a trade for Adam Dunn.  The Reds have switched him to relief this season with mixed results.

Lefty Greg Smith was drafted in the 6th round and put up decent numbers in the minors.  The Oakland A’s received him as part of a blockbuster trade for Dan Haren in December 2007.  They then flipped him to Colorado in November 2008 in a package for Matt Holliday.  Third baseman Rusty Ryal (6th round), has hit well enough in the minors to get a couple call-ups, but it’s unsure if he can make enough contact in the majors to stay.

Colorado Rockies

The Colorado Rockies would’ve had a disasterous 2005 draft if it weren’t for their first round pick (7th overall), Troy Tulowitzki.  He’s provided good defense, good hitting, and some leadership for the Rockies. Supplemental first round pick Chaz Roe has gradually moved through the minors, but he’s getting pounded in Triple-A this season.  A move to the bullpen may make him a great reliever for the Rockies as his fastball may hit the mid-90s more regularly, making a good to pitch combo with his sharp curve.

The Rockies picked outfielder Daniel Carte and pitcher Zach Simons in the second round.  Carte got as high as Double-A, but struggled mightily last season and could be out of baseball now as he hasn’t played yet.  Simons switched to relief in 2007 and has put up some decent seasons in the minors.  He may yet become a fringy middle-reliever, but Zach is still at Double-A.  Third round pick Kyle Hancock signed, but quickly decided minor league baseball was not for him…before he even threw a pitch.  He tried to come back in 2009, but after putting up mediocre results for a 21-year-old in Rookie League, he’s apparently been released.

No one else in the Rockies’ draft has panned out so far.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers’ first pick in 2005 was a supplemental first round pick for losing Adrian Beltre.  They picked Luke Hochevar with that selection (they also picked him in the 39th round in 2002).  Luke decided to go back to school and was drafted by the Kansas City Royals the following year.  Their other supplemental pick for losing Beltre, this time in the second round, was shortstop Ivan DeJesus.  Ivan’s showed up on the team’s prospect lists three times, but hasn’t been able to hit enough to secure a spot in the majors or draw enough interest in a trade.

Right-hander Josh Wall is still pitching in their minor league system, but he’s still in A-ball.  Third round pick outfielder Sergio Pedroza hasn’t played in the minors since 2008.

Fourth round pick Josh Bell is a third baseman that was used in the trade to acquire George Sherill.  He’s recently been ranked as the Orioles #2 prospect and may find himself in Baltimore soon if he raises his batting average.  Fifth round pick Jon Meloan, used as part of the trade for Casey Blake, is now with the Athletics after a couple trades and waiver pick-ups.  Reliever Brent Leach (6th round), has had a ‘cup of coffee’ with the Dodgers, but has had significant troubles in Triple-A, let alone the majors.

The Dodgers did draft Chase D’Arnaud in the 44th round, but he didn’t sign and was eventually drafted by the Pirates.  He’s now one of their upper tier prospects.

San Diego Padres

The San Diego Padres 18th pick in the draft and went after pitcher Cesar Carrillo.  He immediately rose to being the team’s top prospect in 2006.  But it’s been a downhill trend since.  Carrillo has seen a little time in the majors, but right now he’s further honing his stuff in Triple-A.  Supplemental first round pick Cesar Ramos was one of the team’s compensation picks for losing David Wells.  The lefty has seen time in the majors as recently as this season, but he gives up too many hits to be effective.

Second round pick, Chase Headley, was the team’s top prospect in 2008 and has seen a significant amount of time in the majors.  Although he’s struggling, there’s signs that he’ll start hitting well soon.  Their second pick in the second round was another compensation pick for David Wells.  That pick, catcher Nick Hundley, has seen a decent amount of time in the majors.  He has decent power, but lacks the ability to hit for a good average.  Third round pick, righty Josh Geer, has seen a sampling of time in the majors.  But his struggles starting will likely push him to middle relief eventually.

Outfielder Will Venable was drafted in the 7th round.  He’s seen over 100 at-bats in San Diego over the past three seasons.  He profiles as more of a 4th-5th outfielder at this point, but could be relatively useful to the Padres.  Reliever Jon Link was taken in the 26th round.  The White Sox traded Rob Mackowiak for him in 2007 and he was eventually included in the December 2009 deal for Juan Pierre with the Dodgers.

San Francisco Giants

Interestingly, the Giants didn’t have a single pick in the first three rounds of the 2005 draft.  That’s an eyebrow raiser.

They selected pitchers Joe Martinez and Alex Hinshaw in the 12th and 15th rounds respectively.  Both have seen limited action in the majors.  The only real success for the Giants in the 2005 draft was reliever Sergio Romo, a righty that has pitched in the majors the past three seasons.

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It’s Just Speculation: Roy Oswalt to the Dodgers

Yesterday we listed the potential suitors in the possible upcoming Roy Oswalt derby.  But let’s not just stop there, how about full-out speculation?  Let’s take some potential suitors and see what they could offer the Astros for Oswalt.  For this short series, we’ll take John Sickels’ Top 20 Prospects lists over at Minor League Ball and snatch a few players off that great listing to make up a potential trade package.

As a disclaimer, it’s just speculation, this is not a rumor.  We also have to consider that there’s a likelihood that Astros GM Ed Wade and owner Drayton McLane will have to kick in some money in the deal.  The quality of the prospects that would come back in the trade would likely relate to the amount of money included.  Also, Ed Wade’s leverage has been lessened somewhat by Oswalt’s trade demand.  He doesn’t have to deal Roy, but it could be a potential negative media storm if he doesn’t.

With all that in mind, let’s look at one of the suitors, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Los Angeles Dodgers have been lingered in 3rd place in the NL West much of the season, but are now in 2nd.  Memories of Kevin Malone have an article up on Roy Oswalt and whether or not they need him.  Bill Shaikin of the LA Times (MLBTR link) reports that they have at least kicked the tires on him.  Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, even rookie Jon Ely have pitched well in the early going.  But they have gotten bad performances from Vicente Padilla (6.65 ERA), Ramon Ortiz (6.30 ERA), and Charlie Haeger (8.49 ERA).  Adding a fifth solid pitcher and providing insurance against a late-season rookie regression of Ely may push the Dodgers into considering a trade. 

What would it take?  I imagine that the bidding will likely start with two of the team’s top arms in the system.  Likely a combination that includes a couple from a pack of Chris Withrow, Ethan Martin, Aaron Miller, and Scott Elbert.  They might then pick an outfielder in the lower levels of the system, but with interesting upside as they prepare for the post-Carlos Lee era in 2013.  Power slugging, but strikeout prone Kyle Russell and the toolsy Jonathan Garcia fit the bill.

In the end, I believe that the Astros go after Withrow (B+, Sickels), Miller (B), and a Kyle Russell (C+).

Cliff Lee is the closest comparable that I can find at this time.  The Mariners gave up pitchers Phillippe Aumont (B-) and Juan Ramirez (B-), as well as outfielder Tyson Gillies (C+).  There were quite a few at the time that mentioned that Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. didn’t get enough for him.

Is this enough?  Is it too much?  Who’d you throw in a package for the Astros’ ace?

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It’s Just Speculation: Hu’s Available for Trade?

Ok, ok, enough with the homonym-like titles!  But I just couldn’t resist!  Dodgers shortstop prospect Chin-lung Hu is available for trade, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter).  Although the now 26-year-old Hu isn’t really much of a prospect anymore, you’d think he’d draw some interest from teams interested in adding a shortstop or a backup infielder.

The first team that comes to my mind would be the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Considering that their projected starter at short, Ronny Cedeno, hit .208 with a .256 OBP last season, Hu might actually be useful for the Bucs.  There may be those who think that Bobby Crosby may be able to push aside Cedeno if Ronny doesn’t hit.  But seriously, what are the chances of that happening (.223 with a .295 OBP last season)?

CHONE and ZiPS have very similar projections for Hu this season.  The both feel that he can hit in the high-.250s with five home runs, about 20 doubles, a few steals, and an OBP hovering around .300.  Sure, that’s nothing to write home about, but it’s decent.  He’s also further away from larger pay days / non-tendering than Cedeno is.

The team’s best middle-infield prospect, Chase D’Arnaud, is at least a couple years away.  So it’s not like trading for Hu will block anyone in the near future.

Depending on the price, go after him Neal, what do you have to lose?

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Trade Bait: Juan Pierre to the White Sox

The Dodgers finally unloaded a contract that was a mistake since it was signed.  Yesterday they traded Juan Pierre (and $10.5 million) to the White Sox in exchange for two minor league pitchers.  Pierre, who hit .308 with a .365 on-base percentage and 30 stolen bases, will be slotted in at the top of the White Sox’ batting order and play left field.

The White Sox will apparently pay $3 million of Pierre’s salary in 2010 and $5 million of the final year of the contract, 2011. That’s a decent for a player that some may consider as more of a 4th outfielder. It will be especially good if he continues to hit like he did last season. But Pierre hasn’t had an OBP at or above .365 since 2004 (.339 OBP average while in L.A.) and his success rate for stealing bases has gone down the past two seasons and a total of 10 points since 2007 (81% to 71%). He’s starting to age and it is starting to show in his main asset to a ball club.

Technically the deal includes two PTBNL, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports says the two players will be John Ely and reliever Jon Link.  Ely was #19 and Link was #15 on John Sickels’ list of the top 20 White Sox prospects before last season.  

Ely had a relatively impressive year in Double-A last season though.  After going 10-12 with a 4.71 ERA at High-A in 2008, John went 14-2 with a 2.82 ERA at Double-A in 2009.  Ely has a mediocre fastball, a curveball with varrying degrees of effectiveness, and a decent changeup.  He could become a back of the rotation starter or a middle-reliever in the bigs.

Jon Link is a reliever with a low-90s sinking fastball, a good slider and a decent changeup.  But control problems have limited his effectiveness since he joined the White Sox organization in a Rob Mackowiak trade with the San Diego Padres.  A 4.3 BB/9 rate will not make it in the majors and Link will have to work on it to make it to L.A. next season.

Overall, this was a good deal for Ned Colletti and the L.A. Dodgers.  He cleaned up his mistake signing by taking on a little over half the remaining contract in exchange for two pitchers that may eventually help out the Dodgers’ bullpen.  If Juan Pierre can maintain an OBP over .350, I could say this is a decent trade for Kenny Williams and the White Sox too.  But I’m not sure could bet on that, especially since he’ll be facing American League pitching for the first time.

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It’s Just Speculation: Edwin Jackson back in Dodger Blue?

Tigers starting pitcher Edwin Jackson broke out this past season as he went 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA after coming to the team in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays.  Many consider him and staff ace Justin Verlander a good 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation.  But the Detroit Tigers have been advertising lately that they need to trim some payroll.  The vesting of Magglio Ordonez’ option for 2010 hadn’t helped things.  Now Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski is considering parting out a few players off of his team to cut payroll.  One of the first rumored players to be dealt has been Jackson.  Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi from FOXSports.com recently reported that the Los Angeles Dodgers have some interest in their former prospect. 

Edwin Jackson was originally selected by the Dodgers with their 6th round pick in 2001.  By 2004 he was ranked as the team’s top prospect and 4th overall in MLB by Baseball America.  But the team quickly soured on Jackson after struggles in 2005 and 2006.  They eventually traded him with Chuck Tiffany to Rays for relievers Danys Baez and Lance Carter.  Tampa edged him along and he honed his craft in the majors, throwing a mid-90s fastball and a high-80s slider.

In need of a long-term right field option, the Rays chose to trade Jackson to the Tigers after a decent 2008 season.  Jackson had a good overall 2009 season, but he fell apart in the second half.  Even with the second half downturn, Jackson will likely get a sizable raise through arbitration.  With Jackson’s expected raise, Dombrowski may be interested in trading away the pitcher for a cheaper replacement with an eye to get the roster to a manageable level that he can add parts where he needs.

Although there are some that believe that the Tigers won’t be able to afford to sign both Jackson and Verlander long-term, it is entirely possible.  As I mentioned in September, after 2010, the Tigers will not have Nate Robertson ($10 million), Jeremy Bonderman ($12.5 million), potentially Brandon Inge ($6.6 million) and Magglio Ordonez($18 million, $15 million vesting option for 2011 unlikely) on the payroll.  That’s $37.1 million off the payroll before counting in arbitration raises and escalating contracts.  Considering bothplayer’s current pay and what would be available, both extensions are possible.

But if the Dodgers or some other team has enough interest, I think Dombrowski will pull the trigger to trade him now.  Edwin’s ugly second half and the possibility of getting some decent prospects back for him may be too enticing to walk away from.  Could a package starting with James McDonald be enticing enough for Dombrowski hand Jackson over to the Dodgers?  Are there any other prospects that could draw the interest of the Tigers more than McDonald?

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Rookies to Look For: Scott Elbert

In 2009, Dodgers fans got their second look at one of their top pitching prospects, Scott Elbert.  The lefty pitched in 19 MLB games this season, posting a 5.03 ERA, but striking out 21 in 19.2 innings.  With a 3.20 BB/9 rate, the rookie still has some work to do on his control.  Yet, there’s not denying his stuff.

Elbert throws a low-90s fastball that can occasionally touch the mid-90s.  He has problems throwing for strikes though.  Same for his hard-cutting curveball.  It is his best pitch, when he’s able to throw it for strikes.  Scott also has a change-up that he throws occasionally.

Although the Dodgers once had high hopes for Elbert as being an integral part of the upper 2/3 of their rotation, with his control issues he’s looking more and more like pitcher destined for the pen.  But with the hook that Scott has, he has a chance to the dominant lefty out of the pen, shutting down left-handed hitters in critical situations.

As I typically do with the Rookies to Look For segment, I tried to find a YouTube clip of Elbert in action.  However, there wasn’t much available, except one about his spit cup.  It’s sad that a video like this gets 319 views.  It’s even worse when some blogger doing a post on Scott Elbert actually links to it….

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Rainy Day Reading: “The McCourt Divorce: Readers’ Digest Version”

While thumbing around in my nightly RSS feed reading, I came upon an article from The Hardball Times writer Craig Calcaterra.  He wrote a hillarious article entitled, “The McCourt Divorce: Readers’ Digest Version“.  If you have time to read it (although it’s a “Readers Digest Version”, it is pretty lengthy), it’s worth the time. 

In it, Craig summarizes some of the details of the divorce and what each party is wanting out of it.  This looks like it will be a brutal and drawn-out war between Frank and Jamie McCourt.  Throughout it, he takes makes cracks about players and owners alike.  These two were a couple of the best:

  • Jamie made $2 million a year when she worked for the Dodgers. You can look at this one of two ways: as an awful damn lot of money to pay a person for coming up with stupid stuff like “Dodgertown, California” or as a total steal considering she made 1/6 the money Jason Schmidt did and actually, you know, did stuff.
  • “Since I was a young girl, I dreamed of owning a Major League baseball team.” David Glass says the same thing all the time. Verbatim.

Of course, every time that I hear of a disgruntled woman possibly taking over partial ownership of a team, I think of the character Rachel Phelps in the movie “Major League“.  With this possibly being dragged out in court over many months, what affect will it have on the Dodgers?  Could GM Ned Colletti be forced to dismantle like Kevin Towers was in San Diego?  Doubtful.  But hopefully it won’t come down to Joe Torre taking puzzle-like pieces of clothing off an image of Jamie McCourt to push his team to the playoffs next season.

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