With the All-Star break upon us and the trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Los Angeles Dodgers currently sit at 51-40 and are in 2nd place in the NL West. The season up to this point has been full of injuries and inconsistency but also the season has brought the debut of Julio Urias as well as some magnificent pitching from Clayton Kershaw.
While the Dodgers are currently 2.5 games ahead in the wild card race, after winning the NL West for the past three seasons, fans are expecting a fourth. So in order to make that happen, the front office may look to go out and make a splashy move in order to catch up to the San Francisco Giants. So, we decided to go through the Dodgers current 40-man roster and rank each player based on tradability. This is part 2 where we will be ranking the 25 most valuable players that the Dodgers have.
Group 3: Hard To Say Goodbye
25. Yimi Garcia, Relief Pitcher, $517.5K–2016
While Garcia has been on the field for less than 9 innings this season due to an arm injury, the fact that he is only 25 and making less than a million dollars keeps his value intact. In his first full season with the team in 2015, he appeared in 59 games while compiling a 3.34 ERA to go along with 68 punch outs and only 10 walks. He slowed down as the year went on, but as he gets more accustomed to a full years work load, the flame throwing Garcia figures to be a major contributor in the backend of the pen for many years to come.
24. Adam Liberatore, Relief Pitcher, $507K–2016
Liberatore has probably been the biggest surprise on the Dodgers this season. After briefly making some scattered appearances last year, he has come into his own this season and has essentially been un-hittable. He has a .61 ERA in 29.1 innings and recently set the franchise record for consecutive scoreless appearances with 24. He would be higher but I want to see this kind of production over the course of an entire season before he starts reaching un-tradable status.
23. Joe Blanton, Relief Pitcher, $4M–2016
Dodgers fan are probably wishing that this version of Joe Blanton was present in his brief stint with the team in 2012, but alas, that was when Blanton was still moonlighting as a starter. The journeyman has reinvigorated his career as a reliever and has been solid as a rock in a pretty prominent role in front of closer Kenley Jansen. He has a 2.09 ERA, giving up only 11 earned runs in 43 appearances. While he is up there in age and more expensive than most other relievers, Blanton now plays a very crucial role for the team and it would hurt to lose him.
22. Chase Utley, 2nd Base, $7M–2016
21. Andre Ethier, Outfielder, $18M–2016/17, club option for 2018
Both Utley and Ethier are in strange positions. They are veteran players who make a fair amount of money, are, for all intents and purposes, past their primes, but are steady presences in the locker room and play largely mistake free baseball. So it is the same kind of issue that was presented with A.J. Ellis, how do you weigh on field production against the positive intangibles that they bring? Ethier has been on the DL since Spring Training after having his best numbers in years last season as he slashed .294/.366/.486. Utley’s number don’t make your jaw drop (.263/.346/.377, 5 HR’s and 27 RBI’s) but he takes good at-bats at the top of the order and has a hard nosed style of play that cant help but rub off on teammates. While neither player is anywhere the height of his abilities, both bring enough to the table still where they are valuable to the team.
20. Jharel Cotton, Pitcher
The first major surprise of the list, unless you are a diehard Dodgers fan and pay attention to the minor leagues, you may never have even heard of Jharel Cotton. He is a consensus top-10 prospect in the organization, and while not as heralded as Julio Urias or Jose De Leon, Cotton has potential to be a very solid pitcher in the middle of the rotation, or as an impact reliever. Often caught up in the midst of the the Dodgers countless other prodigious young pitchers, Cotton is someone I would definitely keep an eye out for.
19. Brett Anderson, Starting Pitcher, $15.8M–2016
18. Scott Kazmir, Starting Pitcher, $11M–2016/17/18, can opt out after 2016
Brett Anderson surprised everyone by becoming one of the first players ever to accept a qualifying offer this past offseason, gambling on himself to repeat last seasons solid performance. Unfortunately, like most of his career, this season hasn’t even had the chance to get started as Anderson has been on the DL all year. Kazmir filled into his rotation spot and has been…frustrating, to say the very least. When he’s on, you’d feel confident throwing him out in the second game of a playoff series and when he’s off, you wouldn’t want him in a 15 mile radius of the stadium. He is 7-3 but has an ERA hovering just below 5. If he could find any semblance of consistency, Kazmir could be a nice weapon to have, but until that happens, he’ll still be making fans rip out their hair by the handful.
17. Howie Kendrick, Utility, $10M–2016/17
Howie Kendrick couldn’t find a new employer for most of the offseason which led to him coming back to the Dodgers for a greatly reduced price. He started the year on the DL, lost his starting 2nd base spot to Chase Utley and was instead placed in the outfield. After struggling mightily for the first month or so, he was able to turn it around and now more resembles the Howie Kendrick that everyone around the league has grown accustomed to. He’s an example of a player who can contribute on the field and is also a great locker room guy, which lands him this high on the list.
16. Brandon McCarthy, Starting Pitcher, $11–2016/17/18
This placement is based purely on the, probably woefully misguided, hope that McCarthy can stay on the field for the rest of his contract with the Dodgers. If he can stay healthy and keep up the high rate of strikeouts his displayed with the team, he can be quite the 4th or 5th starter in a rotation. But that is a huge “if” and if he cannot stay healthy and spends more time on the DL than on the field, this ranking will look rather foolish.
15. Yasmani Grandal, Catcher, $2.8M–2016
14. Austin Barnes, Catcher, $512.5K–2016
This will also probably be a controversial selection, especially in light of Grandal’s recent explosion against the Padres. However, Austin Barnes looks to be the future of the catcher position for the Dodgers as Grandal is still only batting an anemic .212 and anytime there is celebration because a batter gets above the Mendoza line, there is cause for concern. Barnes is cheaper, younger, and more versatile than Grandal and despite not blowing the cover off the ball in his brief major league appearances, his longterm projections are enough to warrant being this high.
13. Alex Wood, Starting Pitcher, $530K–2016
While Wood has recently spent lots of time on the DL, he is still an insanely cheap pitcher, with years of club control left on his contract, and is only 25. In his four seasons in the majors, he is 27-30, but that is primarily because he’s spent most of his time with the Atlanta Braves who have not been good as of late to the say the least. But, he has a 3.38 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP with 448 strikeouts. Wood is another young pitcher whom the Dodgers would be wise to keep around and hope that he capitalizes on his immense potential.
Group 2: Not Going Anywhere
12. Justin Turner, 3rd Base, $5.1M–2016
Turner has been a revelation since arriving in Los Angeles in 2014. He has taken over as the everyday 3rd baseman and number three hitter in the lineup. Look at the disparity between his four years with the Mets and the two and a half he’s spent with the Dodgers.
- .265/.326/.370, 8 HR’s, 86 RBI’s, and a .696 OPS
- .296/.368/.477, 36 HR’s, 147 RBI’s, and a .845 OPS
He is a completely different player than he was in New York and Dodgers fans everywhere will rejoice because of this. He has turned it back on recently after starting the season in a slump and he figures to be a stalwart in the lineup for the stretch run.
11. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Starting Pitcher, $7M–2016/17/18
10. Kenta Maeda, Starting Pitcher, $3M–2016/17/18/19/20/21/22/23
9. Frankie Montas, Pitcher, $510K–2016
Three pitchers that figure to be a part of the staff for many years to come in some fashion or another. Their spots are really interchangeable as they each bring something different to the table. Ryu has more experience and has already pitched in big games, Maeda looks like a steal for the amount of guaranteed money he’s making and the length of his contract, and Montas could turn out to the best of the bunch. While Maeda and Ryu will be key cogs in the starting rotation, Montas may eventually end up in the bullpen as he can light up the radar gun and looks like he could form a deadly pairing with Kenley Jansen at the back of the pen. Montas and Ryu have spent most of this season on the DL but that doesn’t at all take away from their value. The Dodgers would have to get something pretty special in return for any of these pitchers with what they all bring to the table.
8. Trayce Thompson, Outfielder, $512.5K–2016
The first player of the youngsters brigade to appear on the list and one that is having a season that few will have seen coming. While going through a bit of a slump recently and not actually being an everyday starter (which is still somewhat ponderous to me, but that’s another story for another day) Thompson has still made quite the impact this year. After being acquired in the trade that brought over Montas, people knew Thompson had potential, but not many saw this coming. In what’s his first full season in the majors, Thompson has 13 homers and 32 RBI’s with an OPS of .796. While those numbers aren’t outstanding, when you see him play, the potential is there. Unequivocally, he looks like a big leaguer. He takes good at-bats and is fantastic in the outfield. With Carl Crawford gone, Yasiel Puig (ridiculously) on the trading block and Howie Kendrick not the longterm solution, for next season and hopefully many to come, get used to hearing Thompson’s name.
7. Adrian Gonzalez, 1st Base, $21M–2016/17/18
There’s not much else you can really say about Adrian Gonzalez. All he’s done in his four and a half years with the Dodgers is slash .284/.386/.463 with 87 homers, 372 RBI’s, and an OPS of .810. All while playing gold glove caliber first base and being a consummate professional. You can’t ask for anything else. He has been the cornerstone of our lineup ever since arriving, and there’s little chance the team will move him before his contract is up.
6. Joc Pederson, Center Fielder, $520K–2016
Pederson is a young player who broke into the league last season and was a terror for opposing pitchers for the first half of the season. He was crushing home runs, getting on base more often than not, and playing excellent center field. He tapered off in the second half however, and hasn’t been able to reach those same heights he hit last season this year. But, it would be incredibly short sighted to give up on the 24-year-old. From a defensive standpoint alone, Pederson has immense value, and I’m a part of the camp that believes the more time he spends in the majors his average will go up and his strikeouts will go down. The power figures to be there pretty consistently, and if he can work out those other facets of his game, the Dodgers will have a stud patrolling the outfield and a power bat in the middle of the lineup.
5. Yasiel Puig, Right Fielder, $5.5M–2016/17/18
There may not be a single more polarizing player, for the Dodgers for sure, and perhaps in the entire league than Yasiel Puig. The Cuban outfielder has been a lightning rod for attention ever since he broke into the league doubling up Chris Denorfia to seal a Dodgers victory with a laser throw from right field in his debut three years ago. Obviously though, the attention has not been all good by any stretch of the imagination. But, to say that all the criticism that Puig has received in his career so far has been fair or warranted is honestly, ludicrous. The standards he set for himself in his first half a season in the majors set a bar that would be difficult to maintain for players with such clout as Mike Trout or Bryce Harper. While he has by no means been an amazing, MVP caliber player that people expected him to be, to insinuate he has been a disappointment is equally as ridiculous. However, he has been inconsistent, he has dealt with his fair share of injuries, and on occasion he’ll still make a poor throw or have a gaffe on the base paths. BUT, he is only 25, he is under contract for two more seasons, and he is insanely cheap. Oh, and did i mention that part where he is actually a pretty good player and has the numbers to back that up? Here are his career stats:
- .287/.363/.470, 53 HR’s, 177 RBI’s, .833 OPS (not to mention his generally outstanding outfield play)
Now, tell me again why everyone is so gung-ho to get rid of him? I don’t understand, I will never understand, and I will be tremendously disappointed if the front office does decide to part ways with him. As Vin Scully so famously said, Viva Cuba…Viva Puig
4. Kenley Jansen, $10.6M–2016
You can’t really say much else about Kenley Jansen. He is the most dominant closer in Dodgers history (I love Gagne, but those darn steroids make it hard to place him over Jansen). He has converted 169 or 191 save opportunities, has a career ERA of 2.16, a WHIP of .91 and a ridiculous K/9 of 13.76. He’s one of the top closers in all of baseball and doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. Please, don’t let him walk, pay this man.
Group 1: The Untouchable Trio
3. Julio Urias, Starting Pitcher, $507.5K–2016
Julio Urias is 19 years old. Nine. Teen. He does things like this to grown men.
To say he is going to be really good sets an unfair precedent to those other players who consider themselves to be really good. I look forward to watching him grow and develop into the front of the line starter that he figures to become. For an organization that already boasts the best pitcher in baseball, the rich appear to be getting richer.
2. Corey Seager, $510K–2016
Some people may think that Seager deserves to be at the top of this list, and those people have a very valid argument. One look at his stats (.297/.357/.521, 17 HR’s, and 42 RBI’s) and when you consider that this is his first season in the majors, and when you also consider that he is 22 and making less than a million dolllars, the players you would trade him for can’t total more than 3 or 4. The projected Rookie of the Year winner and an All-Star to boot, Seager has all the tools to become the next honest to goodness mega superstar in the league. It’s hard not to get ahead oneself when talking about Seager and the more he plays, the harder it becomes. But, I can say with more confidence than most things that Corey Seager is going to become a bonafide star in this league, and it is much more a question of when than if.
1. Clayton Kershaw, Starting Pitcher, $32M–2016/17/18/19/20
When you have a prodigious talent such as Corey Seager on your roster and he isn’t even the most valuable member of the team, you must really a generational player on your hands. In Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers have exactly that. Far and away the best pitcher in the league, and he has a strong claim to title of “Best Player. Period”, Kershaw has redefined what is possible for a starting pitcher to do. The superlatives don’t do him any justice and seeing the stats on paper, no matter how impressive and occasionally absurd, don’t quite do him justice either. It’s hard to put into words the impact that Kershaw has on the mound for the Dodgers without spewing out pages of advanced stats and historical context for how he is performing. Simply put, Kershaw is the most valuable, the most important, the most un-tradable player and the best player that the Dodgers have. With all respect to Mr. Corey Seager, much like with most comparisons to Kershaw, it’s really not that close either.
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