Those of us who live in Los Angeles seem to be met with this question at one point or another: Is it cheaper to rent or own? In this article we look at the price the Dodgers have paid for two possible rentals. Did the front office make a crafty move at the deadline, or did we just throw away three promising prospects? The short answer, and my personal favorite … it depends.
One thing is certain, we will not have to wait long to see if the trade truly holds the value we hope it does. Since both Josh Reddick and Rich Hill will be free agents next year, it is possible that both players walk and we are left with whatever this season’s final results are. This is the true determinant of value.
The simple answer… Is trading 3 of MLB.com’s top 100 prospects for two soon to be free agents worth it?
There’s one simple answer. That answer is determine by the answer to this question… Will Magic Johnson be holding up the Commissioner’s Trophy at the end of this season? If that answer is yes, then the trade was absolutely worth it. If the answer is no, then we have much more questions to answer.
A Quick Analysis of the Players the Dodgers Received
No. 1 Josh Reddick:
Pros – Reddick mashes right handed pitching and his addition will give him the highest batting average with runners in scoring position on the team. (the Dodgers Achilles heel) Reddick also plays with heart and the word from Oakland is that he will quickly become a fan favorite. His replacing Yasiel Puig seems like a perfect case of addition by subtraction.
Cons – Reddick struggles against left-handed pitching. Guess what? The entire team does too. As much as I like the addition of Reddick on a club house level, I wonder how the trade is going to pay off when we have to go up against left handed pitching. Especially when a team like the Giants just added another lefty to their roster. What’s the best way to beat the Dodgers?
Throw your lefties at them.
No. 2 Rich Hill:
Pros – At 36 years old, the guy is in the middle of his best season as a pro. He does not give up runs and he makes hitters miss. If his dream season can continue where it left off, he could be the best pitching acquisition at the trade dead line.
Cons – The blister. Hill has been bothered by a blister which is why he is currently on the DL. I have heard others say that his age is a negative. How could the guy’s age be a negative if he is going to be a free agent at the end of the season? Do some people think he is going to age five years between now and the end of the season? In my opinion, injury will be the only thing that could derail his season.
Quick Analysis of the Players the Dodgers Traded Away
No. 1 Frankie Montas:
Pros – Montas is only 23 and has electric stuff. He can to the Dodgers as part of a trade that has yet to pay off considering that Micah Johnson is still at triple A, and Trace Thompson has flashed a bit but has been on the DL for a while. I can see Montas being a strong middle reliever.
Cons – Montas’s stuff may be a bit two electric, and this is why I feel he was expendable. He had a rib removed at the beginning of the season, and when he came back, he eventually broke another rib. An issue like this seems to be influence by mechanics. If that is the case, Montas may never get back to the form he was in prior to this year.
No. 2 Grant Holmes:
Pros – Holmes is just 20 and came at the greatest expense of all three prospects, a first round draft pick. He was more than likely the centerpiece of the trade, and I believe he will eventually become a starter in the bigs. His development has taken longer than I thought it would, but he still gets projected as a middle of the rotation type arm.
Cons – Though I think he is a future big league starter, I think he may have been a bit overhyped. His ERA sits over 4 and his strike outs per 9 innings has dipped below 9. I have always seen these as bad signs, and I think the Dodgers felt that his upside may be less than what they were expecting.
No. 3 Jharel Cotton:
Pros – Jharel came to the Dodgers at a fairly reasonable price, a 20 th round pick. However, I feel Cotton may provide the biggest returns for the A’s. Despite a high ERA, his strike out per 9 inning sits at 13.2 and his whip is an impressive 1.12. I feel he is the closest to making his major league debut and has the most upside of all the prospects.
Cons – Jharel does not have many cons aside from having a rather high ERA. He turned heads in spring training and has been doing so all year eventually landing him on the futures roster in San Diego this year.
So was it worth it?
Reddick and Hill cannot be slapped with a qualifying offer, thus making their returns limited to what they produce this season, unless their contracts are extended. The prospects that were included in the trade were not expected to see MLB action for at least one to three years, and the roll of their contributions is yet to be determined.
There seems to be two strategies at play here for the front office. The first is to get an impact bat and arm that could contribute right away. (Hill is expected to start this weekend.) The second strategy was to rework the clubhouse dynamic by removing Puig and adding a player that is known to be a strong and positive clubhouse presence.
One thing fans need to understand is that trading prospects for Major League talent is not a science. This is why there are buyers and sellers at the trade deadline. The goal is to acquire as much talent as possible with assuming the least amount of risk. If you look at the trade in this light, Oakland is a big winner here.
They are cutting loose two players they had no plans of resigning, and in return they are getting three players that have Major League potential. What does this do?
It allows the A’s take chances on young players for very low costs. Since they feel they have no chance at making a playoff run, there is no risk in letting Reddick and Hill go.
From the Dodgers prospective, they are receiving reinforcements that they hope can help keep the playoff train rolling. Having, at the time, the top farm system in baseball gave them the leverage to send 3 of their top 15 prospects, without touching the cream of their crop (Urias, De Leon, Bellinger, and Verdugo).
At the end of the deadline, the Dodger’s Major League club is better than it was before. This, to me, is a win if you are trying to stay in contention. In addition, the Dodgers have the financial means to keep the players if they choose to do so.
So was it worth it? My short answer is yes. I feel the team is better with Hill and Reddick on the roster, than without them and a Puig. Holmes, Montas, and Cotton are not throw away prospects, but their upside to the Dodgers appeared expendable. Only time will tell if this trade was a big loss for the Dodgers as a whole. At this point in time, the trade is well worth the upside that it can bring the Dodgers this season.
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