FanPost

Another 120 Million Dollar Lineup

The team:

 Lineup

LF Angel Pagan

SS Jose Reyes

RF Matt Kemp

1B David Cooper

C  AJ Ellis

3B Juan Uribe

2B Blake DeWitt

CF Tony Gwynn

Rotation

SP Clayton Kershaw

SP Hiroki Kuroda

SP Chad Billingsley

SP Trevor Cahill

SP Ted Lilly

Bench

IF Jerry Hairston Jr.

IF Justin Sellers

OF Trent Oletjan

1B/OF Wily Mo Pena

C   J.R. Towles

Bullpen

CL Kenley Jansen

RP Matt Guerrier

RP Scott Elbert

RP Josh Lindblom

RP Blake Hawksworth

RP James Russell

RP Dana Eveland

The very detailed explanation

Catchers

AJ Ellis – AJ Ellis now has 250 big league plate appearances, a .360 on base, and it seems like our pitchers like throwing to him. He deserves a chance to start. Will this probably be a disaster? Oh yeah. Is it more likely to be a disaster than Rod Barajas or any comparable catcher. Nope.

Sign JR Towles to a minor league deal – Whatever, backup catcher, replace with the minor league free agent of your choice if you aren’t a fan of his. Towles at least has the “upside” of being a prospect at one point in his life. There’s still some value in T-Fed getting swings at AAA so I didn’t want to waste him on the bench so Towles gets to start twice a week.

Relevant minor leaguer – Tim Federowicz

Infielders

Non Tender James Loney (104 million) – Loney is a luxury we can’t afford. At In all likelihood he’ll be a 1.5-2 win player making six million, but that’s the kind of production you have a good chance of replacing for the league minimum. If we had money to spend, bringing Loney back would give us some stability but this team simply can’t afford it. I don’t think anyone would take Loney at six million in a trade so I non tendered him but if you do, assume we traded him for Matt Gamel or something.

Trade Javy Guerra to the Blue Jays for David Cooper and Aaron Loup– There’s a lot not to like about this trade, namely “who is David Cooper”. Cooper is a 24 year old first baseman in the Jays organization whose upside is Lyle Overbay with worse defense, and didn’t have a good year till he hit the PCL. All these are huge warning signs but on the other hand, what a year he had.

Only one other person Cooper’s age at AA or above walked more than they struck out and showed any kind of power at all: Dustin Ackley. Cooper’s 49 doubles lead the league this year so that shows some potential to start putting the ball over the fence. Does Cooper have any hope of become a star? Hell no, but he does have a good shot of giving us what Loney does for the league minimum. If he does fail, we have a decent backup plan in Jerry Sands.

Toronto would do this since they’re overloaded with corner players and Cooper is probably the worst of them all. They threw away most of their bullpen in the Rasmus trade so they need to restock on arms. Guerra was great this year, but he had one of the lowest strikeout rates among closers and his fly ball tendencies have a good chance at becoming home run tendencies. He’s a solid arm to have in your bullpen, but he’s replaceable.

Aaron Loop is a filler 24 year old reliever in high A.

Trade Andre Ethier to the Blue Jays for Blake DeWitt, James Russell and Jeff Beliveau  (92 million) – This is a salary dump. The returns for great players with one year left on their contract aren’t that good as it is, and Dre wasn’t all that good last year. Even if he’s healthy, he’s terrible defense means we can probably get a better return on investment for 12 million. Instead of getting some lottery ticket prospects, we’ll take some of the Cubs depth that’ll improve our roster. DeWitt hasn’t been anything special since he went to the Cubs, but he’s better than Ivan DeJesus or Justin Sellers so he gets the job at second. Russell is a below average reliever, but he gives us an extra lefty at the back end of the pen.  Beliveau is intriguing. At 24 he’s old for a relief prospect but he was one of the most dominant arms in the Southern League this year, putting up the third best SIERA in the league behind only Tyler Skaggs and Matt Moore. He could quickly make his way to the top of the Dodger bullpen.

The Cubs are in a position where they probably should nuke everything and start over, but I think the hype behind a new regime won’t allow that.  Ethier obviously helps the team more than DeWitt and Russell ever will and he’s a huge upgrade over the Brian LaHair/Reed Johnson combo they were running out last year.

Sign Jose Reyes to a 6 year 111 million dollar deal with incentives to extend it to 7/132 (13, 20, 20, 20, 21, 21, 21) (105 million) – Jose Reyes is a very, very good player when he’s healthy. When he’s healthy he’s never been out WARed by Prince Fielder. The problem is the “when he’s healthy” part so he won’t cost nearly as much as Fielder. This could be a disaster, it could be the signing of the century, or I could be grossly underestimating how much Reyes will make. Reyes could mean a six win improvement to the team if Dee Gordon is terrible this year (more on that later) and he alone could turn this team from mediocre to contenders. You have to make this deal if you can.

Juan Uribe – His glove is still intact so he’s an 8 million dollar Jack Hanahan that might hit dingers if I wish really hard.

Sign Jerry Hairston Jr to a 1 year, 2 million dollar deal (107 million) – Someone will give Jamey Carroll a raise this year, so Hairston takes over his role. Either our second baseman or our third basemen will be terrible this year, Hairston will probably take over.

Justin Sellers – He was the second best player 25 or under in the PCL against lefties last year. For now he platoons with DeWitt, when he sucks this becomes someone like Brian Bocock or god help us Eugenio Velez that you forgot existed.

Relevant minor leaguers: Jerry Sands

Outfield

Trade Chris Withrow and Angelo Songco to the Mets for Angel Pagan (112 million) – Pagan was a very good player in 2009 and 2010, building 8.5 WAR in those two years. In 2011, he got hurt, and his offensive and defensive numbers took a huge downturn. On the upside, his batted ball numbers remained largely the same so there’s a good chance he’ll bounce back offensively, and hopefully healing up and moving him out of center will bring the defense back to life. If it works, Pagan can more than replace Ethier.

The Mets need to cut payroll, rebuild, and one year of Angel Pagan isn’t going to help them much.  As I said with Ethier, the going rate for players with one year of control is low so a high risk, high upside guy like Withrow is the best they can probably do.

Tony Gwynn Jr. – His glove alone made him one of the best  players on the 2010 Dodgers,  and in a world where we need to save money he gets to start. A Pagan/Gwynn/Kemp outfield is incredible defensively.

Matt Kemp – Is good.

Trent Oeljtan – Can do a little bit of everything, none of it all that well. Sounds like a good fourth outfielder to me.

Sign Wily Mo Pena to a minor league contract – Because you’re a bad person if you don’t do this.

Pitching Rotation

Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly – Back, hopefully can do what they did in 2010.

Sign Hiroki Kuroda to a 1 year 12 million dollar deal (4 million deferred to 2013 and 2014) (120 million) – Kuroda is back on the same deal. He’s been great for us for four years, let’s make it five

Trade Dee Gordon and Scott Van Slyke to the A’s for Trevor Cahill – The A’s are having a firesale and are in desperate need for an offensive player of some sort, so a high upside guy like Dee Gordon is a great fit for them. Yes they do have Grant Green but the A’s system is so bare offensively that moving him to third wouldn’t hurt. The A’s need young bats with good defense, and Gordon is just that.

Cahill gives the Dodgers a solid pitcher that they desperately need. He was extremely lucky in 2010 which makes it look like he had a huge decline in 2011 but largely he was the same pitcher. While I’m not a big fan of pitch to contact guys, the new and improved Dodgers defense will really help him. No team is unhappy with a young middle of the rotation guy so hopefully Cahill will thrive in the back of the rotation for years to come.

Losing Gordon costs the Dodgers a high upside exciting player, but he’s going to be very volatile. There’s going to be years where he hits .300 with +15 defense and is an All Star, but there’s going to be years where he hits .260 with +5 defense and is replacement level. I’ll take my chances that he’s going to be huge for the A’s with the relative stability of Cahill.

Rotation depth: Dana Eveland, Nate Eovaldi, Allen Webster

Bullpen: Our biggest organizational strength is a ton of power arms. Just keep throwing them at the wall and see what sticks. I wouldn’t be shocked if Kenley and Guerrier are the only guys still on the roster come the end of the year but with Tolleson, St. Clair, Beliveau and more behind them it might not matter.

DFA Juan Rivera – Spite is as good of a reason as any.

In the end this team is at worst as good as it was offensively last year, trading dingers for on base percentage, but it is very good defensively and has a solid rotation with one ace and four solid pitchers behind it. Does it guarantee us the playoffs? Hell no but I have way more hope in this team than the one we had in 2010.

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