For almost three months now, the writers and fans have been asking, “who will be playing second base for the Dodgers in 2017?” While many have stated that the Dodgers would be just fine with either Kike Hernandez or the veteran Chase Utley in the spot, folks in upper management have been tying up every phone line available to them in order to find a solution by way of trade. Names dropped in the rumors have included Brian Dozier, Ian Kinsler and Logan Forsythe. Finally, resolution is upon us as the Dodgers have traded Jose De Leon to the Tampa Bay Rays for Forsythe.
So far, there has been very mixed reactions towards the trade. Many feel trading De Leon, a highly touted pitching prospect, was a rash and misguided deal in order to begin setting the roster before Spring Training. Others say that the Dodgers have done well by dealing from depth for an efficient and sensible answer to complete their infield.
There is no doubt that many fans are disappointed that earlier talks with the Minnesota Twins ended being just that- talk. There’s no doubt that the power of Twins’ second baseman Brian Dozier is exactly the kind of move to expect from a team in Hollywood, but President Andrew Friedman and GM Farhan Zaidi knew a little better. The Dodgers not only needed to find a solid second baseman defensively, but they also needed to address one of their biggest problems that plagued the lineup in 2016.
The Dodgers floundered against left-handed pitching last season. Netting a second baseman who tends to hit lefties with greater regularity would be killing two birds with one stone. Of course, said stone in this case would be Jose De Leon who will be going to Tampa in the 1-for-1 swap. Forsythe is a lifetime .278 hitter vs LHP. Better yet, his OPS vs lefties is .818.
The Twins and Dodgers could never get on the same page when they were discussing a possible trade that would send Dozier to L.A. Both sides agreed on sending De Leon to Minnesota, but that was about it. The Twins wanted more included in the package that the Dodgers really didn’t feel they needed to surrender. So, instead of sending De Leon plus a few more major-league-ready players to the Twins, they opted to send De Leon all on his own to Tampa for a fine second baseman in Forsythe.
Granted, Forsythe isn’t nearly the power threat that Dozier has proven to be, but this is the more sensible deal. Dozier has batted .270 lifetime against lefties and, in fact, has a slightly greater OPS vs lefties than Forsythe. (.854)
The question in these numbers is- Is Doziers power and slightly better OPS worth the package of De Leon plus a couple other talented players? Perhaps, but the Dodgers don’t need power. They have plenty of it already.
Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Yasmani Grandal and Justin Turner have all proven to be exceptionally lethal batters in the lineup. There is plenty of power already built into the Dodgers lineup. So why sell the farm for the sake of parity? How much power does a team really need after all?
Enter, Logan Forsythe. There is no doubt that Andrew Friedman’s prior relations with the Rays made for a much more soothing tone in trade discussions than with the Twins. In the end, both sides agreed. Jose De Leon to the Rays and Forsythe to the Dodgers. End of story. In this trade, the Dodgers gave up a very promising pitching prospect and that is all. In return, they get a player in Forsythe that can reach base with regularity and enable the rest of the Dodger lineup to chase him in. (If all you power-hungry readers absolutely must be satiated, he did hit 20 homers for the Rays in 127 games last season.)
This is a good deal by the Dodgers and a better deal than they would have got had they caved to the Twins’ demands. Fans should go into this spring feeling even better about their lineup than they did last year.