To be expected, much has been made of the potential trades and trading partners this offseason. The Los Angeles Dodgers are no different and many might say are at the forefront of roster changes because of two equally important factors. First, with the highest payroll and one of the top farm systems in Major League Baseball, the Dodgers have not been to or won a World Series since 1988. The pressure is palpable. Second, the Dodgers have three players that they may lose to other teams in free agency. Specifically, starting pitcher Rich Hill, closer Kenley Jansen, and third baseman Justin Turner. The Dodgers will be forced to make moves to fill roster spots.

Previously, we discussed the possibility of acquiring third baseman Evan Longoria, starting pitcher Chris Archer, and closer Zach Britton via trades with the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles along with signing free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Since that time, other trade rumors have arisen with Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale, and more.  Each of these trades have their pluses and minuses in terms of return, effect, acceptance, and the possibility of occurring.

For the reasons above, the offseason is always an exciting time when fans, writers, and front offices dream of building a winning roster. What is important to us in determining the future is looking to the past. What the Dodgers front office has done in the past will help us determine what might happen in the future.

  1. We know that to this point, President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman has never signed a player to a contract larger than $100 million USD.

Unfortunately, this means that the likelihood of the Dodgers signing the next $100+ million dollar ballplayer is less than certain. Maybe the Dodgers have just not met the player they feel comfortable paying that much. Then again, the Dodgers let the Arizona Diamondbacks outspend them for starting pitcher Zach Greinke. The free agency class this year many experts have called less than stellar, so the real test of the Dodgers spending habits will be in 2018 when several big name free agents hit the free market, including Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and many others.

  1. We know that to this point, President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman has never traded away a top five prospect to obtain other players.

Friedman has kept to his smaller market Tampa Bay ways in obtaining and retaining the best talent. He has refused to give up on the top ranked prospects in favor of development and signing free agents that complement the roster as opposed to remaking it. Again, the likelihood of the Dodgers trading away the likes of the organization’s future first baseman in Cody Bellinger or other top ranked prospects is unlikely and that is a good thing. It is an investment in the future to be and stay successful as opposed to making moves that feel good short term, but are extremely costly long term.

  1. We know that to this point, President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman would rather trade prospects acquired through other trades than to deal prospects developed through the Dodgers minor league system.

Since Friedman took charge of the Dodgers, he has done two things consistently well. He has acquired top to middle-level talent from other teams in exchange for lower-level talent in the Dodgers system and then traded away or kept that talent down the road for more talent or Major League ready players. The Frankie Montas, Jose Peraza, and Andrew Heaney trades are all examples of this strategy. These trades tend to include multiple trading partners as well since the Dodgers have been unwilling to trade away their best prospects preferring other teams to do so. Very smart. Truth be told, we will not know Friedman’s true value until we have more data on his decision-making where the Dodgers 2013-2016 playoff rosters were mostly the makings of former general manager and current Dodgers front office executive, Ned Colletti.

What does all of this mean for the Dodgers offseason? The Dodgers will look to trade some of their Major League ready players for a mixture of top-level talent and Major League-ready talent. The Carlos Ruiz and Howie Kendrick trades are such examples. Friedman and company will keep, at the very least, their top five prospects, choosing rather to trade away lower-level talent for Major League outfielders, starting pitching, and relievers. This also means the Dodgers might look beyond signing Jansen and Turner in favor of acquiring controllable players from other teams. It also means that we can watch with excitement as Friedman’s move-making has a tendency to precede much larger ones. Now sit back and enjoy the real-life Hollywood show.

Should The Dodgers Pursue Andrew McCutchen?

About The Author

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Jeremy M. Evans is the Managing Attorney at California Sports Lawyer®, representing sports, entertainment, and business professionals in their contract, negotiation, and intellectual property matters. Evans is an Outreach Captain for the Sports Lawyers Association and is an award-winning attorney and community leader. He can be reached at [email protected] or via his website: www.CSLlegal.com.

10 Responses

  1. yarritsblake

    I think Friedman will continue this trend this offseason.  There is little to no reason for us to sign anyone to a $100 million+ deal this off-season given the talent, or lack thereof.  Turner will command maximum 5 years $85-90 million.  I see him more as a 3 or 4 year deal at about $19-21 million AAV.  Kenley Jansen may push towards $100 million, but I still think he ends up at 5 years $85-90 million on our offer.  Unless we go out of our way to sign Cespedes there is no one else on the market that is worth a $100 million contract.  Additionally, I can’t see him trading away our top 5 prospects, save maybe one: Calhoun.  Depending on what list you look at, he is ranked somewhere between 4th and 7th.  I trust FanGraphs greatly on their projections, though they tend to undervalue players and give extremely conservative projections (for good reason), and they ranked him 6th behind Alvarez, Bellinger, Verdugo, De Leon, and Buehler, which is pretty accurate in my mind.  The hard thing is figuring out what prospects to part with to get the parts we need: a RHB lefty mashing 2B and/or OF’er.  The two names I keep coming back to are Kinsler and Braun.  Both, I believe, can be had without giving up any of the top 5 prospects listed above.  Note my trades below are based on FanGraphs rankings of our prospects (which goes up to the top 21).  If they don’t make FanGraphs’ list, I will supplement with MLB.com’s list rankings.
    For Kinsler I have always stood by a package of Calhoun (6th), Stewart (7th), Smith (14th), and Johnson or Van Slyke.  I think that deal gets it done.  If we want to minimize the prospects, eliminating Smith or Stewart, or substituting a lesser prospect for each of them (Sborz or DeJong instead of Stewart, Farmer instead of Smith) then we agree to take on Anibal Sanchez, whose contract is a burden for the Tigers and give them a little extra flexibility this off-season and next off-season.
    For Braun once again starting with Puig, and assuming Calhoun is not included, I think we could throw in Edwin Rios (26th), who is sure to make many top 15 lists for our prospects with his huge power surge this year, McCarthy (like before), and two of Mieses (23rd), Sborz (15th MLB), DeJong (17th MLB), Oaks (30th MLB).  It gives the Brewers an option for adding a raw, but potentially high risk-high reward OF’er in Mieses, and a number of pitchers to choose from.  I think Trevor Oaks could really intrigue the Brewers as he took a similar, though less heralded, path to Brock Stewart.  Stewart pitched 121 innings of 1.79 ERA, 129/19 K/BB ball rising from High A all the way to AAA, and making his MLB debut.  Oaks pitched 151 innings of 2.74 ERA, 108/21 K/BB ball, while giving up only 9 home runs because of his dazzling sinker, again rising from High A all the way to AAA.  And Oaks is two years younger than Stewart.  
    Call me crazy but I think both the Tigers and Brewers can work around both of those deals and it would be fair for all parties involved.  We give up potentially only two top ten prospects away, Puig, and maintain a good deal of depth and talent in our system while vastly improving our team in the short term by acquiring two awesome RHB in Kinsler and Braun.  Here’s to hoping!

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  2. pauldodgerfan1965

    yarritsblake
    I know you mentioned a Kinsler deal before and why he may have had Dodgers on no trade list.  Braun I can see with a variation of players you mentioned, but I am not sure Dodgers will pursue Kinsler now. and my only thought is he may have other reasons as well as to why Dodgers are on his no trade list.  Mainly he may not be too excited with moving to the West Coast, IDK for sure.  But if he is not all in on wanting to come here, then as Dodgers may view it that way, they need to move on, wss.

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  3. EdgarCabalde

    Fans thought that hiring Andrew Friedman and Zarhan Zaidi will result in playing in the World Series and dominate the league. We know that the Dodgers’s biggest problem is in the bull pen but these geniuses released Zac Grienkie without acquiring another top pitcher. John Lester and some other top pitchers were available before this years season started. Clayton Kershaw has been proven a choker in big games and Rich Hill is not a top pitcher. He has more loses than wins playing in the regular season. Isn’t it time to for these people be kicked out from the Dodger organization? All they have done is to cut the team’s payroll, Stan Kasten assured that money is not a problem in acquiring top players.

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