Have you been on the internet in the last 24 hours? You have? Good. Then you’ve seen people freaking out left and right about the prospect of the Dodgers acquiring Carlos Marmol from the Cubs. (Hell, even Bailey, the mascot of the Kings, had to weigh in with his opinion.) We haven’t been immune to that here, either, because when news first came out about the possibility yesterday I was far from thrilled about the idea, though I urged caution until we had the details.
Well, now the details are here, and I have to say — I can’t really complain about this all that much.
Headed to Chicago, unsurprisingly, is Matt Guerrier, DFA’d by the Dodgers over the weekend. That’s it. No prospects, no one on the active roster. No one here shed any tears when he was cut, and so that’s the definition of getting something for nothing. From the Chicago point of view, they shed the heartburn of Marmol and get someone just a bit more reliable — if not nearly as exciting — in Guerrier. They also save some money in the ~$3m difference between the two contracts, though not all that much, since Tim Brown reports they’re kicking in $2m of Marmol’s salary. If Cubs fans dislike it, I suppose we can feel good about that. (Dylan Hernandez reports this adds only $500k to the Dodger payroll.)
In addition to Marmol, the Dodgers get $209,700 in slot money to sign international free agents, and that’s the real value here. Long story short, one of the reasons Yasiel Puig signed for so much last year is because the new CBA strongly limited the amount that players can spend on young, international free agents; after giving Puig $42m last year, the Dodgers had just $2.112m to spend on everyone this year. Per Baseball America, that’s just the 18th most room available in baseball. (Players like Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez are exempt due to age and experience.) I renew my objections to this ludicrously inefficient new system.
So basically what you’ve done here is turn Guerrier, who we all wanted gone anyway ,into additional budget to sign young players. You’ve also picked up a lottery ticket in Marmol — do read Chad Moriyama’s piece on whether he’s fixable — and here’s the kicker: I have heard, but cannot confirm right now, that when Marmol agreed to come to the Dodgers, he also agreed to spend some time in the minors with an opt-out date. If that’s true, which I’m working to verify, then the issue of him taking someone’s roster spot right now is moot. (Update: confirmed.)
There’s a good chance Marmol never contributes to the Dodgers, and I’m with you all in worrying about Don Mattingly using him in high-pressure situations should Marmol ever get to town. But in exchange for someone none of us wanted, there’s the chance for value here, both in Marmol and international talent. I’m having a really hard time finding fault in that.