To the common fan, the beginning of the Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi era in Los Angeles has been an uneventful one. Sure, they moved around some players on the fringe of the roster, but nothing major — right?
As Fangraph’s so beautifully points out, Zaidi and Friedman are doing what Ned Colletti has failed to do for years — construct a roster that goes 40+ deep. Basically, to put it in layman’s terms, the new regime is creating a roster that won’t require them to trade actual, live humans for players like Kevin Correia and Roberto Hernandez midway through the season in a pinch.
But even if trading for Juan Nicasio, Joel Peralta and Mike Bolsinger doesn’t get your pulse bumping, have no fear, because Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014 was a day to remember (and it’s not even over yet!).
It started with a reported deal for Jimmy Rollins, which was quickly followed by the trade of Dee Gordon, Dan Haren and Miguel Rojas, then there was the alleged signing of Brandon McCarthy and finally, the trade for Howie Kendrick.
Yay Genius Squad!
Let’s start with Rollins — the perfect short-term solution to the Dodgers’ shortstop problem. Despite being fairly old (36), Rollins was still extremely productive last season — posting a WAR of 3.9, which was good for third-best among shortstops.
On the surface, Rollins’ .243 batting average will disappoint the traditional fan, but his .717 OPS and 17 home runs are more than adequate for Los Angeles — especially when you consider what an upgrade he is defensively.
In fact, I feel like there’s probably a better word than “upgrade” to use when you go from Hanley Ramirez to someone who is actually good defensively.
With their shortstop problem solved, the Dodgers moved on to a position they actually were fairly deep at — second base, by moving Gordon to Miami. With Darwin Barney, Alex Guerrero and Justin Turner all on the roster behind Gordon, it seems that Gordon had become expendable.
Especially when you wonder whether banking on a player with on-base percentages of .280 and .314 in 2012 and 2013 is really a good idea. Sure, Gordon turned things around and hit .289 last season, but he drew just four walks and failed on 10 of his 31 attempted steals after the All-Star break.
Is Gordon definitely due for regression going forward? Maybe, but it wasn’t a risk the Dodgers needed to take — especially when a team like the Marlins was willing to sell them prospects.
CONTINUE READING: Dodgers’ Genius Squad Works Wonders