Last night, we learned that in addition to the reported trade hunt for a righty bat which never happened, the Dodgers also were in on a “professional lefty bat”, with Ned Colletti saying of a potential deal, “We had one with some life to it, but the team filled its need in a different direction and still has the player we like.”
Well, that seemed pretty easy to track down, especially considering that James Loney was unlikely to be the backup plan at first base for the Angels or anyone else, and so I quickly guessed that the potential trade partner might have been the Blue Jays, Mets, or Twins, all of whom filled relief needs this week without giving up anyone who would have been a fit for the Dodgers.
That seems to have been about right, because this morning, Ken Gurnick’s article is updated with the name: according to a source, the Dodgers were attempting to acquire infielder Daniel Murphy from the Mets. Murphy, 28 in April, has seen time at first, second, third, and left field in parts of three seasons for the Mets, missing all of 2010 with injuries to his right knee and nearly two months in 2011 with a left knee injury. When he’s been able to play, he’s been productive, compiling a .292/.343/.441 career mark, with 2011 exceeding that line in all areas. In the field, he grades as good enough in small sample sizes in the infield, though the scouting reports differ, and he’s brutal in left field. (I say that not just because the numbers declare it to be true, but because I watch more than my fair share of Mets games, and I’ve seen him take routes out there that would make 2007-era Matt Kemp cringe.)
So you’ve got a versatile infielder, under team control through 2015, with some life in his bat. No surprise that the Dodgers would be interested in such a player, though it does raise a few questions, namely, what would the price have been? The Mets clearly had an interest in adding relievers, seeing as how they added Jon Rauch, Frank Francisco, and Ramon Ramirez in the span of a few hours, and that’s the one area the Dodgers have some depth to deal from, so that makes sense. Dealing high on Javy Guerra? Love it. Selling low on Kenley Jansen? Not so much. Of course, we’ll probably never know.
In addition, it makes you wonder just how Murphy would have fit into an infield that seems to be completely full. (This is exactly why signing Adam Kennedy stinks so much, by the way. People say, “well, it’s only $850k, so who cares?” It’s not about the money, it’s about the flexibility lost by giving away a roster spot to a player who you could have easily signed – or at least found a reasonable facsimile of – in February.) Assuming no one in their right mind is taking Juan Uribe back in a trade, the only movable infield piece is Loney – and that might have meant a first base platoon of Murphy and Juan Rivera or Jerry Sands.
In any case, it might all be for naught; the Mets rebuilt their bullpen in one evening, so I wouldn’t hold out a lot of hope that this moves forward. Fun to think about, though.
A lot of people have asked about the repercussions of yesterday’s court ruling that says the Dodgers can sell their TV rights before the expiration of their contract with FOX at the end of 2012; I think people get confused by the tweets that say “Dodgers win”, when in reality, the Dodgers are Frank McCourt. If McCourt wins, then no one else does. That alone makes this decision a loss for fans, though it’s hard to quantify that in real terms. I agree with Jon Weisman that it’s difficult to see how marketing the rights now – a deal that, if struck, a new owner would not be locked into – increases the value of the sale price McCourt gets, though it’s tempting to fall into the conspiracy theories about McCourt trying to retain ownership that Ross Newhan put forward recently. I can’t see how this will gain McCourt any upfront money, however, because even if he is able to strike a deal before his April 30 deadline to sell the club – far from certain – there’s no way any media company is actually writing him a check for a contract that a new owner has the right to walk away from. Also, don’t forget that the deal he kept trumpeting was worth $300m was from FOX… and I imagine they’re not eager to work with him at the moment.
If there’s anything this ruling does guarantee us, it’s continued endless litigation, since FOX intends to appeal the ruling.