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Three Bats That Could Balance the Dodgers’ Lineup

Dodgers
Oct 16, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros left fielder Marwin Gonzalez (9) flips his bat after singling in a run in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox in game three of the 2018 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It has been quite some time since the Dodgers’ lineup has looked balanced on paper. Left-handed hitting has dominated the news cycle for the past few years and continues to be the theme in free agency. Yet, despite the groans and moans for Bryce Harper to Los Angeles, things appear to be changing.

With the idea to balance the lineup after trading away Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, there are potentially several names that could fill the void left by the Wild Horse’s departure. Here are three of the biggest names in trade rumors:

Manny Machado

Look, I get it. Dodgers fans don’t exactly have a love affair with Machado after his playoff run. Machado slashed a below average 273/338/487 in his regular season time in LA. He also hit just 227 in the 2018 playoffs but did go deep three times. He also had a few unfortunate incidents on plays at first base and had the bad luck of being the final out of the World Series. So yeah, I get why fans might not want to pay him.

But the fact of the matter is that he may be one of the best options on the market right now. Machado was ninth in the entire league with a wRC+ of 141 on the season, as the only shortstop in the top ten. He also has a DRC+ of 143, making him the 11th best hitter in the league by that metric. There may not be a whole lot of room in the infield for him, but he’s the type of talent you make room for.

Nick Castellanos

The more I look at this one, the more it makes sense to me. Castellanos may be a bit overpriced in this market, but the Dodgers should absolutely look at him as a viable replacement bat. Although he has just the 2019 season left before free agency, Castellanos’ production over the past three years makes him worth the cost.

Sine 2016, he is hitting 277/325/493 and averaging about 22 home runs a year. His OPS+ in that time span measured at +121, roughly seven points better than Yasiel Puig in those three years. If you want to measure their wRC+, Puig was at 123 last year while Castellanos was at 130. They are essentially the same profile of player on paper, and Castellanos is projected to make about the same money. So what would be the reasoning for trading Puig in the first place? We’ll have to see what they do with the Reds’ prospects they got.

Marwin Gonzalez

This guy makes the list because he fits the mold of the type of player Los Angeles loves. A utility guy that can play all over the diamond and become an instant impact bat. His numbers last year don’t exactly jump out at you, but his 2017 numbers are eye-popping. He hit 304/377/530 with 23 long balls in the Astros’ World Series run.

The issue with Gonzalez will inevitably be his monetary demands. Most sites out there have him projected to make an annual average right around the value of a qualifying offer. Personally, I think he will take a three year and 50+ million dollar contract whenever he does sign.  Is he worth it? Probably not if you’re basing it off his 2018 numbers. But boy wouldn’t it be something if he could get to his 2017 form? Worth at least a thought.

Looking Ahead

I think I am one of the very few who believe Bryce Harper will not be coming to Los Angeles. Would it be nice? Absolutely. I just do not see Harper taking less money to play out west, nor do I see the Dodgers’ front office backing up the semi-truck full of cash to make a deal happen.

Realistically, I think we will see a deal like one of these guys listed above. Deals that don’t exactly sell the season tickets at an unprecedented rate, but ultimately deals that make the team better. That’s the Friedman way, and it’s what has gotten us to the World Series back-to-back years. Now, let’s see if his magic can take us that one extra step.

Merry Christmas y’all, it’s been a pleasure covering baseball with you this year.

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. MERRY CHRISTMAS! Who may be a late Christmas present? Castellanos? Offensive numbers similar to Puig’s except Castellanos has consistently crushed LH pitching — but Santa takes him away before next Christmas. Machado? Failed his audition so Dodgers put him on the naughty list. MLBTR predicts 4 years and $36MM for Marwin Gonzalez — put a bow on him and deliver him to the Dodgers along with Harper who hits LH and RH pitching. Then Dodgers can have a late Christmas exchange using extra OF’ers and pitching to fill other needs.

    • The Dodgers have to get rid of Machado!!! With Seager returning we do not need him….at all. And we esp. do need his blown up ego or his failure to hussel. He’s good….but he is not all that!

    • MERRY CHRISTMAS SOCAL! If it was at all possible and the Marlins actually came down on their asking price, I wouldn’t mind JT Realmuto as a middle of order RHB. and when ya think about it Realmuto is only under control through 2020. As far as Harper goes…WSS.

      • MERRY CHRISTMAS Paul. Dodgers still have time to settle catching position for 2019, perhaps as late as mid-January, but Marlins need to decide if they are going to “fish” or just “cut-bait.” Everything I have read is that Dodgers are very high on Smith and Ruiz, so finding a one year bridge to these 2 prospects works for m.

  2. Dodgers MUST haves – a right-handed batting catcher and 2nd baseman to offset all the left handed bats and balance the lineup. Gonzales as a multi-position player wouldnthurt either. Piching help is needed in relief, not as a starter.

  3. Dodgers MUST haves – a right-handed batting catcher and 2nd baseman to offset all the left handed bats and balance the lineup. Gonzales as a multi-position player wouldnthurt either. Piching help is needed in relief, not as a starter.

  4. After all these several years of speculation of the Dodgers signing stars with massive contracts and it not happening… I take it these people writing the articles for these blogs feel they must write “Something” because it isn’t going to happen and you guys should be embarrassed.
    The Dodgers are not signing anyone to an 8 or 10 year 100 million dollar plus contract period. Get real people.
    They cleared the massive logjam in the OF and 1 slot in the line for a starter. Kasten is the architect people. Look at his game plan its the same as the one in Atlanta only with more resources.
    I would not be surprised if the club stays with Verdugo and Toles coming up as Pollack and Harper are not get fits because of Money…
    A pitcher might be in the cards if they move two more starters.
    Friedman said something the other day…He said look at all the prospects we have traded in the last two years. I took that to mean they are going to restock the Farm and not get crazy this year.
    My prediction is they generally stay with the roster they have and see where they are at in June or July…Then they will have money and a good idea of need.
    The second half club with Kershaw back, Ryu and Turner and Muncy hot was if extended over a full season a 100 win club. They do not need to do much to win the division as threee of the clubs are rebuilding and I think we can beat the Rockies with the club we have now. today…

    • There is no way a businessman will pay a luxury tax when he can make the same money and not pay a tax. The Dodgers will not sign Harper unless the money is right. The Dodgers are making money, hand-over-fist no matter what they play or where they stand. When you realize that the Time Warner deal is for TWENTY YEARS and 8 BILLION dollars you will see that they’ve made all their money and the winning has already been accomplished. Championship rings for the players is a side issue. Guggenheim are investors, not players.

      • And the once great Dodgers franchise has been nothing more than a brand for these kinds of scum to buy and sell the last 3 decades. Winning championships for the fans is just something that may or not happen but either way they are winning at making good money which does nothing for everyone else. Players and fans

    • I agree with you about the writers, they ARE the rumor mill. And yeah, the Dodgers aren’t about to sign a player for more than 3-4 yrs. Why do that when you have a farm system?!

    • If the Dodgers don’t add someone decent then they will do what they’ve done the last two years, fall short AGAIN. That moron Friedman act’s like it’s his own personal money the team spends. Subtracting Puig, Kemp and even pathetic Alex Wood makes the team worse, not better.

  5. If the opposing team still shifts on the Dodgers and the Dodgers cannot respond to that, then not much will change. Let’s not go back to “better to strike out swinging for the fences than bunting for a hit” play.

  6. Is real stupid to trade Puig then try players below Puig.Dodgers will regret getting rid of Puig even if they sign overrated Harper who”s a liability in outfield.

    • Agreed the dodgers are going to regret trading Puig and the fans are going to remind them… he sells tickets.

  7. Seriously tired of the Pederson Kiki tandem strikeout machines. Give up the 2 new prospects and these 2 guys for Realmuto. I guess the price is too high for R, just dreaming. Harper has such a fabulous upside I really don’t get why everyone is so down on him. His on base and RISP and splits are good. He’s not going to get 400 mil. Maybe LA can give him 20 mil for 3 then 3 or 5 at 40. In 3 years Kersh’s 33 mil will expire. Everybody seems to hate on the guy.

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