The rumor surrounding the Dodgers organization throughout the day is that Elian Herrera could be on his way to Los Angeles. Immediately I can hear fans crying out, saying: “Who?!”
He plays second base, third, shortstop, left-field, center-field, and right-field.
Herrera figures to be the next in line of Dodger prospects getting their chance to shine at the Big-League level, following most recently Scott Van Slyke.
Also on the list is Justin Sellers.
So why is it smart?
It’s important to catch a player at the right time, especially when he is riding a hot streak. A tremendous boost of confidence could be what a player needs to swipe a job at the big-league level. And if not, showcase their talents for other teams in the league.
Come the trade deadline, teams like the Phillies (Cole Hamels) and Mets (David Wright) will have more of an idea as to who is Major League-ready, and can be used immediately, intensifying their trade value.
At this point, those left out of favor could include names like James Loney and Juan Uribe, and even perhaps Dee Gordon. Their contracts could be exchanged with another similar player that might be struggling, and has a difficult contract to get rid of, but could fill a hole.
In the case of Dee though, he would commend a generous bounty, one that would be attractive enough to begin a package surrounding Wright. Think back to the Josh Beckett trade to the Red Sox in exchange for Hanley Ramirez. It helped both teams.
Going back to Herrera, if he does get the call to Los Angeles, he will do so having hit in 17 straight games, and will be looking to make the most of his “audition” for the Dodgers. If it goes well, expect he or Gordon to get moved in a few weeks.
Remember this over the course of the next couple of weeks as players move in and out of the Dodgers roster. When it pays off, remember to thank new owner Stan Kasten, who is a master of this tactic.
And at the very worst, it will grab the attention of the slumping players who will understand that if they don’t respond, they will be on the next flight to Albuquerque, and even worse, perhaps the unemployment line.