No one doubts the Dodgers are going to be active in the next 20 days, the only question is what will they acquire, and what will the cost of the acquisitions be. Yesterday I asked which position would the Dodgers upgrade first, and the poll was quite lopsided in thinking the Dodgers would upgrade at 3rd base. Today I'm going to take a look at all the players I think could be available based on research, commentator suggestions, and the ole rumor mill.
We appear to be in heavily on Ryan Dempster or Matt Garza. Either would of course be a shot in the arm to the current rotation but not sure what would happen when Lilly returns. I know I would be more comfortable with Kershaw / Dempster or Garza / Capuano then Kershaw / Billz / Capuano headed into a playoff series, but that is probably an erroneous opinion based on being tired of Billingsley not being what I wanted him to be. If Lilly comes back in about a month, who gets sent to the bullpen? The Dodgers must have a plan if they are kicking the tires on starting pitching, I just don't know what the plan is. Maybe they trade prospects for a starter, and move Chad for a hitter. I don't know.
One thing we have to remember is that the weakness of the lineup was magnified with both Kemp and Andre gone but when they come back the holes will not appear to be so dire. When you remove TGJ and SVS from the everyday lineup the platoon of Abreu/Rivera could probably get it done. With that in mind I'm going to concentrate on a right-hand hitting first baseman, a full-time first baseman, a defensive minded shortstop, and a third baseman.
Whenever trade talks come up, someone asks "who is available". Here ya go.
Our commentator Court mentioned Ty Wigginton as a possible solution and I'd have to agree that he meets the criteria. With the return of Ryan Howard, this right hand hitting corner lost his job in Philly and backup corners are expendable when you are 14 games out of 1st. He'd be a decent platoon mate for James Loney. He's nothing special but he'd fit the bill.
The best possible solution would be Edwin Encarnacion but the price would either be to high, or more realistically not available. I find it hard to imagine the Blue Jays trading him since he's been their best offensive weapon this season. Even in last place in the AL East the Blue Jays are close enough to the second wild card that I'm having a hard time imagining them giving up since they may never be this close again. I only bring him up because the Blue Jays have not squashed rumors he might be available. Maybe he's available because they need starting pitching so desperately. Chad fits this bill if a Dempster / Garcia is acquired.
The Orioles are in 2nd place and just like the Blue Jays in a decent position for the second wild card. They also have an extra corner. With Markakis injured Mark Reynolds has been playing 1st base with Chris Davis in right field but when Markakis comes back one of Reynolds, Davis, or Betemit will be squeezed for playing time. The DH is no longer an option since the Orioles signed Jim Thome. I guess Chris Davis could switch over to LF since Nolan Reimold just had season ending surgery but Endy Chavez is due back Friday. Reynolds has about a 100 point OPS differential to the plus against LHP in his career (.873).
Quite a few TBLA commentators have been campaigning for Justin Morneau to be the guy the Dodgers focus on. At one time the MVP was one of the best hitters in baseball but that was before a serious concussion combined with a nasty wrist injury laid waste to those MVP skills. The five time all-star is still just 31, has a $14 Million dollar deal for 2014, and is now barely an average offensive 1st baseman. Morneau is quite the wild card.
- He could easily not even be an upgrade over Loney, his numbers are not getting better this year they are getting worse as his one home run in his last 26 games would attest.
- As he continues to get at bats he could start to reclaim the skills that made him a five time all-star
- He could suffer another concussion. For the most part baseball is a non contact sport but a 1st baseman does need to dive for a ball, can be run over by a base runner, or he could take a ball to the noggin. This is not something to sneeze at, his concussion was one of the most serious baseball has had, and the Twins were even considering simply making him a DH so they did not have to worry about him on the defensive end.
- Maybe his wrist injury is problematic and that is why he is unable regain the prodigious power of his all-star seasons.
You would think the Twins would trade him. He makes a lot of money, they have a possible replacement in AAA, the team is not going anywhere
The Twin we should be targeting is Josh Willingham to play 1st base. He's an ex minor league catcher who has played 68 games at 1st in the minors along with over 100 at 3rd. He's familiar with the infield, we are not talking about taking someone who has never seen an infield ground ball and sticking him at first. Willingham is a bat. He should have been pursued this past winter instead of throwing money at Juan Rivera. Now would be a good time to make up for that mistake. The Twins say they won't trade him, that is a ridiculous stance, you have the worst team in baseball, you have holes everywhere but catcher and CF, and you have a valuable chip to fill in those holes. His contract info - signed a 3/21 deal for 2012 - 2014 and can earn one additional million if he gets 525 at bats in 2013.
That team down the 5 has Kendrys Morales, and if they plan on playing Vernon Wells when he comes off the DL, no place for him. He'd be a natural fit for the Dodgers, filling the power void at 1st base that they have endured since James Loney teased the fans in 2007.
Hard to imagine Brandon Inge being a better option then Juan Uribe, but apparently he is.
Is Juan Francisco worth taking a look at? The Braves have Prado as their backup 3rd baseman if/when Chipper goes down. The left handed Francisco has plenty of power, might be worth a flyer for now and the future.
Daniel Murphy is a favorite of many here but other then a Olney suggestion of a Dodger / Met match I've seen no indication the Mets starting 2nd baseman is available.
Which brings us to Hanley Ramirez. Talk about an offensive free fall in the prime years of his life. You could use his shoulder problems as an excuse for 2011 but what is the excuse in 2012? Playing 3rd base instead of SS? Can a change of scenery turn this one time superstar back into a stud? He's only 28 with 31 Million left on his contract for 2013/2014. You want to gamble, might as well gamble big.
Or go small and pickup Greg Dobbs to be David Hansen.
Reds might be willing to part with Scott Rolen since Frasier has already proven capable of handling the gig for them.
The Cardinals get Lance Berkman back next week. Which either puts Allen Craig on the bench or Jon Jay. It also keeps Mike Adams in AAA, and Matt Carpenter on the bench. Matt Carpenter is a minor league 3rd baseman by trade. Matt would be a nice addition to the team. The Cardinals have David Freese at 3rd. They have Berkman, Craig, Adams for first base this year and beyond. The lefty hitting Carpenter would be a nice get by the Dodgers.
Everyone seems to want Chase Headley, and for good reason. I put him here, I have zero expectation he'll become a Dodger.
You give Maicer Izturis full time at bats at either SS or 3rd and I suspect he'd be quite the improvement over what this team has gotten from that spot. Yes, his numbers look terrible in 2012 but he's better then that.
Cliff Pennington is a 28 year old SS with out much bat. Not sure if he's even an upgrade over Luis Cruz but Reg mentioned him, so he's worth mentioning here.
Brendan Ryan is a terrible offensive player. He's also one of the sweetest defensive shortstops you will ever get to watch.
The Twins had no business signing Jamey Carroll to that two year deal. He's not an every day SS, the Twins did not have a competitive team, and the price was pricey. You want a six week sub for Dee Gordon, Jamey Carroll could fit that bill but the Twins would need to eat a good portion of that bad contract and simply give him to us for something like Elian Herrera.
Marco Scutaro should be our focus. He is not only a significant upgrade over Luis Cruz, but possibly over Dee Gordon as well. At the very least he'd be a great backup for Mark Ellis's next injury and in case Dee Gordon is still Dee Gordon.
Or we could just buy an Ozzie from the White Sox and call it a day.