In what was believed to be the last deal that went down before the 1 p.m. PDT MLB trade deadline, Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti correctly summed up his organization with this phrase: "We needed catching." Colletti addressed this need by trading outfielder Trayvon Robinson to Boston for three players, including soon-to-be 24-year old catcher Tim Federowicz.
Robinson was then traded by the Red Sox with Chih-Hsien Chiang to Seattle for pitcher Erik Bedard. Robinson was hitting .293/.375/.563 with 26 home runs in Triple A. Yes, Robinson accumulated those numbers in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League and yes he struck out in 29.3% of his plate appearances, but that doesn't mean he was without value. Colletti acknowledged that Robinson was behind Dee Gordon and Jerry Sands among position player prospects in the Dodgers system.
Colletti described his farm system is deep in pitching, calling the Double A staff well above average. Colletti added that the system was lean in position players and "ultra lean" in catchers. "You can move people around the outfield. You can move people to the infield. You can't move somebody behind the plate," Colletti said, apparently forgetting about converted third basemen Russell Martin and Carlos Santana.
In Federowicz, the Dodgers got a catcher hitting .275/.337/.397 in Double A. Colletti said he has been talking with Boston off and on this season for Federowicz, who Colletti called "a very good defensive player right now. A good leader, strong behind the plate in a lot of ways. His offense is a work in progress, but he's made gains in that." Talks with the Red Sox had cooled until this morning, when Boston GM Theo Epstein called Colletti about a possible three-way trade with Seattle.
Federowicz will report to Triple A Albuquerque, and is in the catching mix for 2012.
The Dodgers also got pitchers Juan Rodriguez and Stephen Fife in the deal. Rodriguez is a 22-year old who will report to Class A Great Lakes. "Rodriguez has a huge arm, strikeout guy, needs some more refinement on his secondary pitches," Colletti said. Fife is a 24-year old who is 11-4 with a 3.66 ERA in Double A this year, about whom Colletti applied the Ely-esque praise of "pitchability."
There is a decent enough chance Trayvon Robinson may never be a major league regular. But at the very least, Robinson could have been a cheap fourth outfielder for three to six years, which seems like more of an upside than the Dodgers received in return. To me this trade is an overreaction to fill a need, a need Colletti himself was largely responsible in creating. I'm not even confident that need was anywhere close to being filled. Which leaves me empty.