Whether or not a trade happens between two teams can come down to many nebulous factors, from the relationship between the two GMs, how clubs value players, and the level of motivation a team has to move someone. But one important element that can be looked at objectively is how the teams match up. This is a series where I’m going to look at how the Yankees match up with the other team for their prospective trade targets.
What do the Dodgers need?
Mostly they need to improve their offense, which ranked 11th in wOBA in the NL. (C) Rod Barajas is a free agent, and fringe players like Dioner Navarro and AJ Ellis saw significant time behind the plate last year. An everyday catcher who can rake would be a coup. Right now they’re saying Juan Uribe will play 3B in 2012, but after posting a dismal .250 wOBA in 2011 that seems like a stretch. Closer Jonathan Broxton signed yesterday with the Royals, but they have an in-house replacement with Kenley Jansen. Outfield is largely set, with established stars in (RF) Ethier and (CF) Kemp and long awaited rookie slugger (LF) Jerry Sands getting his feet wet in the bigs last year. They need to replace rotation stalwart Hiroki Kuroda, who is a free agent. Further thinning their rotation is the loss of Rubby Le la Rosa, whose Tommy John surgery has him set for a target return date around August of 2012.
Who do the Dodgers have in their farm system?
The system is deep in arms with Double-A righthander Allen Webster a standout. Teammate (1B) Scott Van Slyke (son of all-star Andy Van Slyke) lead his league with a .345 BA and 19 homers and 90 RBIs at Chattanooga. Top prospects (SS) Dee Gordon, (2B) Ivan DeJesus Jr. and (LF/1B) Jerry Sands all saw time with the MLB club last year.
Matching Yankee trade chips:
Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, Brandon Laird, Hector Noesi, Dellin Betances, Adam Warren, David Phelps
Billingsley is signed to a team friendly contract of 3 years 35M from 2012-14 with a team option for 2015. The Dodgers figure to be active once their ownership situation gets finalized, but getting that done may take them through the hot stove season, so it could be a quiet offseason. The Matt Kemp extension was done with tacit approval from MLB, knowing a cornerstone star locked up long term would enhance the value of the franchise for prospective buyers. Chad is somewhat similar to the Dodgers version of Phil Hughes. Both were highly touted prospects that were thought to be future aces, and both have struggled to find consistent success at the MLB level. His 4.21 ERA (1.452 WHIP) led the staff last year, and his ERA and FIP have been largely aligned for the past 4 years. He’s always walked his share (career 3.93 BB/9) but the strikeouts have dipped annually for the past 4 years, peaking at 9.01 K/9 in 2008 and coming in a 7.28 K/9 last year. A likely cause is his stuff is down last the two seasons. The velocity on his slider and curve are way down, and the movement on his pitches is down pretty much across the board. Yet there’s nothing whatsoever in his injury history to explain it. Coming off his 2011 season Chad is very much a buy-low candidate, and it’s difficult to imagine a team giving up a top-flight prospect to acquire him.
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