Dodgers Embarrass Themselves On the Field, But What’s Happening Off It?

I mean, basically. I won’t hide that I’m writing this as the Dodgers are down 9-0 in the eighth inning, and if that’s not exactly how the game ends up, well, who the hell can be bothered to care at this point. Aaron Harang got shelled, R.A. Dickey cruised, and A.J. Ellis & Tony Gwynn are the only Dodgers other than Harang with hits. Shocking, I know.

This team is an absolute disaster right now, basically unwatchable. I get that they’ve lost their two big guns to injury and that’s not to be ignored, but every day it’s harder and harder to look at this club and think that they’re related in any way to the same squad that shockingly busted out to the best record in baseball up until just two weeks ago. That doesn’t mean they’re not interesting though, since the big news of the night is the rumored deal with Houston that started out supposedly involving Zach Lee & Jed Lowrie and now seems to be down to something more like Garrett Gould & Carlos Lee. (Jon Morosi notes that Gould was scratched from his scheduled start tonight just before gametime.)

I don’t like passing judgement on a deal before it’s even done and we know the specifics of exactly who is involved, but since I’ll be out of touch all day tomorrow I figure I’ll get my thoughts down on this proposal while we have the chance. I don’t love Gould, honestly, though the people who keep saying “but he’s 1-6 with a 5.12 ERA!” are misguided; he’s struck out 72 in 72 innings in the hitter-friendly California League, which gives him a 3.51 FIP. Prior to the season Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus ranked Gould as his #6 Dodger prospect, between Chris Reed & Chris Withrow, while Jason Parks of BP actually preferred Gould to Lee last month. (An opinion which I have not been able to find many supporters on, honestly.) Most see Gould as a potential #3 starter, which is valuable but clearly not untouchable.

So you want to trade Gould? Fine. In a system deep in good-but-not-great righty starters, it’s the perfect place to deal from depth, and you can lose him without too much trouble. The question would be, is Lee really worth the effort? I mean, sure, he’s better than the execrable Loney, who is just two or three more hitless plate appearances from having his OBP dip below .300. But that’s like saying that Adam Kennedy isn’t your least favorite Dodger because Juan Uribe still exists; it’s exactly not high praise to say you’re better than Loney.

Lee entered play on Saturday hitting .291/.344/.410, which is fine, I suppose. It’s an upgrade, sure, but what’s problematic is that he’s hitting far better in Houston (.286/.362/.459, all five of his homers) than he is on the road (.297/.317/.347, zero homers). I get that Loney is terrible – and he is – but importing a guy without a single homer away from the hitter-friendly Houston park seems like an odd choice to try and fix your power outage. Toss in the fact that he’s a huge defensive downgrade from Loney, important in an infield that has Dee Gordon playing every day, and while Lee might represent something of an upgrade I’m just not sure it’s worth the bother.

Again, I don’t care too much about losing Gould, and we’ll see what, if anything, actually ends up happening. If it does happen, it’s not going to be too difficult to not see Loney’s name in there every night, I’ll admit. (Though I imagine he’d need to be retained for defensive purposes.) It just seems like a deal that would be more about doing something – as I joked on Twitter, “Carlos Lee is a hitter. We need a hitter. Therefore, we need Carlos Lee” – than it is about actually finding a guy who solves the real problem.

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