GM for the Day: Los Angeles Dodgers
Poor, poor Ned Colletti. What a mess the Dodgers have turned into, as the McCourt family has turned a once highly respected organization into a complete joke. The Dodgers have three major parts right now: Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. At the trade deadline, the rumors are flying about Hiroki Kuroda going to the East Coast with the Yankees and Red Sox as the favorites for his services. He has a full no-trade clause, though, so it will have to be negotiated. Outside of Kuroda, who would I trade?
The starting rotation has Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and Rubby De La Rosa who would be untouchable. Billingsley is 27 and is signed through 2014 with a club option for 2015, so he isn’t going anywhere. He has 68 wins in his career, and, while he can be inconsistent, he can be viewed as a solid #2 or #3 for the Dodgers long-term. Kershaw is an elite starting pitcher and he is just 23, has already won 38 games, and is under team control through 2014, with arbitration coming up in 2012 for the 1st time. De La Rosa is still new at this at just 22. He has made just nine career starts, but he looks like a keeper. I would deal Kuroda, if he’ll waive his no-trade clause, to the Red Sox for Ryan Lavarnway and Felix Doubront, getting an offensive-minded catcher and a solid left-handed pitcher who is overlooked as a prospect, despite being 23 with a 46-35 record and 3.55 ERA over parts of seven seasons in the Minors. I would then deal Ted Lilly to Detroit for Daniel Fields, a toolsy center field prospect who is struggling in High-A. Fields would be a project who could take Kemp’s spot in a few years, though.
Matt Kemp is my superstar, he is three years younger than Ethier at 26, and he is a Free Agent in 2013. I am keeping him at all costs and I shed some payroll by trading Kuroda and Lilly, though I would have had to take on about half of the $24-26 million that Lilly was owed through 2013. Andre Ethier is eligible for arbitration in 2012, so I am going to trade him and start over. I will work with the Braves on this one. While Pence isn’t worth those aces, Ethier is. He would be a great addition due to his ability to get on base (.364 career OBP), and I think he is worth the $10-12 million he could get in arbitration. However, I’m not taking the top prospect from the Braves, I need more depth. Martin Prado will have to play center for Atlanta with the acquisition of Ethier, as Ethier has never played center in the Majors. As the Dodgers GM, I would want Jordan Schafer to take over center. I want Kemp out of center to protect him long-term, so he’ll go to right. Jerry Sands will be my left fielder, giving him a longer look after his struggles earlier this year, as he deserves another shot after hitting .275/.349/.564 with 16 homers in Triple-A.
This roster will need to be turned over and go young over the next few years, so if I get offered prospects for a veteran bullpen arm, like Mike MacDougal, I will jump at it. I will trade Rafael Furcal and give the shortstop job to Dee Gordon, and trade Jamey Carroll to a team in need of a utility player. Furcal should be useful for a team like the Pirates, who are running Brandon Wood and Ronny Cedeno out there, and I should be able to get more depth, maybe even Gorkys Hernandez, a speedy outfielder in Triple-A.
It is all about depth at this point. Going young, going cheap. Until the McCourt’s lose control, that is all we can do in Los Angeles. Get rid of veterans, play a bunch of kids, see what you have. Get as many prospects as I can and get rid of payroll. Keep Kemp and Kershaw until they retire, if possible, and build around them.