Remember When Ned Colletti Couldn’t Stop Trading With Tampa?

I know that Dodgers / Rays is suddenly a big series, big enough that FOX and ESPN have each picked up games this weekend, seeing it as a possible World Series preview. I should probably talk about David Price on the mound tonight against Chris Capuano and his silly peripherals, but when we’re seeing a team for the first time in six years — and welcoming them to your park for the first time ever — well, I can’t help but look at the limited history between them.

Of course, when you think of Dodgers / (Devil) Rays history, you don’t think of the six games they split in 2002 and 2007… you think of the four trades they made in just over two years between 2004-2006. That includes gems like…

Antonio Perez for Jason Romano!

This one wasn’t Colletti, but remember that very brief time in 2005 when Perez actually looked like he might be decent because he hit .297/.360/.398? Sure, that required totally ignoring his stone glove or the fact that the ’05 club was so awful that it made him look great by comparison, but still. He was then packaged with Milton Bradley to Oakland after the season, hit .102 in 109 plate appearances, and never played in the bigs again. He’s been out of baseball entirely since 2009. The Dodgers got some guy out of that deal, not sure if he worked out though.

Danys Baez and Lance Carter (shudder) for Edwin Jackson and Chuck Tiffany!

Man, that one still hurts. This is, I believe, one of the very first deals that Ned Colletti made as Dodgers general manager, coming on January 14, 2006, about a month after sending Perez and Bradley north for Andre Ethier. In other news: yes, Colletti has been in charge for well over seven years at this point. We bemoan the loss of Jackson, though the larger crime was probably bringing him up at age 19 in the first place. (Ah, Lance Carter, forever to be doomed to being included in the question of “wait, was it Lance Carter or Lance Cormier who came from Tampa and sucked? Oh, it was both? Okay then.” Also, I thought Tiffany was really going to be a star. Shows what I know.)

Toby Hall and Mark Hendrickson for Dioner Navarro, Jae Weong Seo, and Justin Ruggiano!

Man, that 2006 team was fun. (Well, “fun”.) After starting the season with Navarro and the corpse of Sandy Alomar behind the plate, Russell Martin came up and Alomar was eventually replaced by Hall. Hall, unhappy with being a backup, requested a trade just weeks after arriving, then was non-tendered the same day as Jayson Werth. Oh.

Julio Lugo for Joel Guzman and Sergio Pedroza!

I think this is the genesis of the theory that even though Colletti trades away lots of prospects, he usually trades away the right ones. Remember how highly thought of Guzman was when he hit .297/.341/.540 with 23 homers as a 19-year-old shortstop in 2004? He washed out of Double-A with the Orioles in 2010 and has been playing mostly internationally since. Lugo, meanwhile, was supposed to provide depth in the middle infield since Jeff Kent and Rafael Furcal were banged-up (shocker), but ended up being unhappy and unproductive on the bench, leaving after the season. His loss led to a compensatory pick that was used to select Jon Adkins, who was cut in 2011, so that really went nowhere.

That last one came at the 2006 trade deadline, and there hasn’t been a deal between the two since, though several players have ended up playing for both teams, like J.P. Howell and James Loney.

So Goes the Least Interesting Trade Deadline Ever

punto_sunglasses_april-7-2013Well, that was boring. Not that we really expected the Dodgers to do much, but… Bud Norris to Baltimore? Justin Maxwell to Kansas City, for some reason? Okay, Ian Kennedy to San Diego was mildly interesting, but talk about a total snoozefest. Thanks for that second wild card, MLB, really appreciated, as well as GMs in places like Philadelphia and Seattle who don’t seem to understand when it’s time to sell.

That’s better, I suppose, than some move that we all despised, and we briefly worried about that when Joc Pederson wasn’t included in the Chattanooga lineup today. If anything at all notable happened this afternoon, it was Tampa Bay ace Matt Moore going to the disabled list with left elbow soreness, which means the Dodgers will avoid him when the Rays come to town next week.

Ah, well. Still have Clayton Kershaw against Hiroki Kuroda tonight. Stand down… at least until August waiver moves.

Trade Deadline Day: Prepare For Madness

Future Dodgers? (via)

Future Dodger? (via)

It’s getting down to the final few hours before the trading deadline (4pm ET / 1pm PT), and it’s simultaneously the most fun and nerve-wracking day of the year. On one hand, it’s fun to think about what sort of upgrades your big league roster might have by the end of the day; on the other, it’s terrifying to think what your general manager might consider an “upgrade” and which prospects will be heading off to other clubs.

Last year, we said goodbye to Logan Bawcom, Josh Lindblom, Leon Landry, & Ethan Martin to bring Brandon League & Shane Victorino on board. The year before it was the massively-maligned Trayvon Robinson for Stephen Fife, Tim Federowicz, & Juan Rodriguez move that now looks so, so much better in retrospect; the year before that, it was the truly dark day that saw Andrew Lambo, Blake DeWitt, & James McDonald heading out the door in deals for Octavio Dotel, Ted Lilly, & Ryan Theriot.

So as you can see, it never ends up being simple on this day, and the fact that the Dodgers don’t appear to have any glaring holes hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from circulating. If you’re worried about the possibility of Zach Lee or Joc Pederson or Ross Stripling heading out the door, well, it’s going to be a stressful day.

Still, the rumors around the Dodgers so far have been pretty light, mainly focusing on pitching. Yesterday’s signing of Brian Wilson added further depth to a bullpen that probably needed it, excellent recent performance notwithstanding, and I’m somewhat enthused by the quote that J.P. Hoornstra picked up from Ned Colletti saying that if he didn’t sign Wilson, there were other routes he could have gone to get a reliever, ”but it was going to be trading prospects” and “we didn’t want to do that.” There’s always some amount of public posturing this time of year — remember, it feels like it was about ten minutes ago that the White Sox said they would be “building around Jake Peavy” — but it’s good to hear anyway.

So if I had to put money on it, I’d say that the deadline passes with the Dodgers making a minor move for a depth reliever, or perhaps nothing at all. After all, when your team has won something like 78 of the last 32 games, there’s not a whole lot you really need to do.

Now all that being said, you know that conversations have been had with just about every team, even if they never come to fruition. You imagine that the Dodgers have at least touched base a few times with Philadelphia about Cliff Lee or Chase Utley, and I’m certain that whatever names the Phillies threw back in return would be enough to make your face melt. We all know how Colletti likes his July 31 deals, and while he may be less motivated to do anything this year, let’s not pretend that he’s kicking his cowboy boots up today and turning off his cell phone.

Other than the bullpen and possibly another starter — who could help the bullpen by pushing Chris Capuano there, where I’ve long wanted him — the one position we hear rumblings about is at second base, where Mark Ellis is in the midst of one of the worst seasons of his career. I believe they value his defense and “clubhouse presence,” and he has been better over the last few weeks, so I don’t expect that they’ll go crazy trying to upgrade. That said, the name “Howie Kendrickkeeps floating around out there, and I keep hearing whispers that the Dodgers have interest.

The Dodgers and Angels haven’t matched up on a trade since 1993 — what, you don’t remember “Reggie Williams for Mike James“? — and hadn’t prior to that since 1976, though it should be noted that the Angels didn’t mind trading within their own division to send Alberto Callaspo to Oakland yesterday. That’s a team that’s in full sell mode, and Kendrick, who turned 30 three weeks ago and is signed for $9.35m next year and $9.5m in 2015, represents an interesting proposition.

Kendrick has turned himself into a solid enough defensive second baseman, and he carries a .301/.344/.446 line into play today, along with 11 homers. If he’s not quite the glove that Ellis is, his bat his far superior, given that he’s working on his seventh consecutive season of being worth at least 98 wRC+, something that Ellis has hit just four times. Kendrick’s also six years younger, and would plug the hole at second base that the Dodgers currently don’t have a solution for, which is why they have interest in Alexander Guerrero and why we’re all terrified about Robinson Cano.

Considering he’s not a rental and that the Angels have too much money tied up in this team to punt on next year as well, a productive second baseman in his prime with a reasonable contract isn’t going to come cheaply. The reported asking price is “a front-line, MLB-ready starting pitcher,” and while we know how much stock to put into reports like that, it’s not unfair for the Angels to think big. The Dodgers may not have that in their system — no, Matt Magill is not going to be the centerpiece there — and even you believe Zach Lee fits that bill, I can easily see most not wanting to pay that price.

Otherwise? Well, how about Michael Morse, who is reportedly “very available” and is someone I’ve liked for years, despite his PED past, as a righty power 1B/OF bench bat to upgrade on Scott Van Slyke? Or Daniel Murphy, who can play multiple positions and is someone we know the Dodgers have had interest in before?

However this all turns out, it’s going to be an interesting day (not even including the impending Biogenesis suspension announcements), and with three games kicking off this afternoon before the deadline, #hugwatch is in full effect. But it won’t necessarily be the end, will it? Don’t forget, last year at this time, we had absolutely no idea that Joe Blanton, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto would all still end up in town.

Let’s hear it below — what’s going to happen today?

Dodgers Lacking in Prime Prospect Trade Bait

Editor’s note: Hooray, four days without Dodger baseball! It’s a much-needed break. Today, we welcome back Christopher Jackson of the Albuquerque Baseball Examiner, who did such a good job providing us with an early Isotope status check in April. We talk so much about how the Dodgers have “a lot of starting pitching prospects” without actually looking into how they’re doing, so Christopher reviews how the young arms are coming along through the break. -Mike

The All-Star break is upon us. It is boring. Talking about the impending trade deadline is a lot more interesting. For better or worse, most of that trade talk deals with who the Dodgers are going to get, not how they are going to acquire those players. It takes two to tango, after all, and while some in the comments section might pop off with “just trade Jerry Sands for Justin Upton!” it is time to take a more realistic look at what the Dodgers have on the farm at midseason.

Mike did a solid analysis on the plus and minuses of trading No. 1 prospect Zach Lee already. The problem is that after Lee, things drop off fairly quickly within the organization. There is a reason that Stan Kasten and company have been said to be seeking to take on salary relief instead of giving up a lot of prospects that the organization simply does not have.

The Dodgers have a fair amount of depth in pitching, though in most cases potential will have to outweigh current performance. Most of the pitchers have at least been decent, but there are no real breakout performers. The starters at Double-A Chattanooga are heating up enough to potentially generate more interest. The position players have, by and large, struggled and few if any would bring back anything in return.

So let us break down the pitching prospects in the Dodgers system besides Lee and those prospects up with the Dodgers (e.g. Eovaldi, Van Slyke). All the rankings come from Baseball America.

No. 2 Allen Webster: This season has been a mixed bag for Webster, whose record (3-8) with Chattanooga is not really indicative of how he has pitched. His ERA (4.30) is decent and he has 73 strikeouts to 33 walks in 81 2/3 innings. The Dodgers did move him to the bullpen for five games earlier in the season, but it was temporary and he has posted a 2.25 ERA in seven starts since returning.

No. 5 Chris Reed: Last year’s first-round draft pick has gone 1-4 with a 2.52 ERA between Single-A Rancho Cucamonga and Chattanooga. He has struck out 51 in 50 innings spread over 11 starts and one relief appearance. The Dodgers have kept him on a tight pitch count as they stretch him out from college closer to future big-league starter.

No. 6 Garrett Gould: Well, we know the Astros were interested in the 20-year-old in the failed trade for Carlos Lee and the Dodgers are willing to move him. He has the usual Cal League blemishes (2-6 record, 4.96 ERA), but much like Webster, his record is deceiving. He has 77 strikeouts to 28 walks in 78 innings. Gould has arguably the best pure stuff in the system, something certain teams tend to cherish over actual results.

No. 7 Chris Withrow: The most frustrating arm in the organization is scuffling again in his fourth season with Chattanooga. He still walks too many (28 in 45 2/3 innings) and this year has had trouble staying healthy. At this point his future might lie in relief, so clubs that like to have lots of projectable relievers (looking at you, Padres) should have an interest.

No. 12 Angel Sanchez: The 22-year-old Dominican popped up out of nowhere last year and threw well at Low-A Great Lakes (8-4, 2.82, 84 Ks in 99 IP). Much like Gould, he has found the Cal League a tougher go, already allowing more hits (96) and home runs (12) than last season in 16 fewer innings. He could be ticketed for relief if his curveball does not improve.

No. 14 Scott Barlow: Last year’s sixth-round draft pick has yet to throw a pitch this season, making evaluating him fairly tough. He reportedly had Tommy John surgery recently, and may not be back at full strength until late next year or 2014, ruining any trade value he may have had.

No. 16 Aaron Miller: A sports hernia limited the southpaw to just 36 innings last season. Healthy this year, walks have been his nemesis (45 in 79 1/3 innings) with Chattanooga. His fastball velocity has dropped since he was drafted in 2009, a warning sign to most teams to stay away.

No. 17 Ethan Martin: Withrow’s rival for most perplexing has bounced back, somewhat, from a dismal 2011 campaign. He leads Chattanooga in ERA (2.99), but like Miller has been held back by walks (49 in 93 1/3 innings). Command has always been Martin’s biggest issue and despite the shiny ERA this year, it is clear he has still not turned the corner.

No. 23 Ryan O’Sullivan: The younger brother of former Royal Sean O’Sullivan, Ryan has already jumped from Great Lakes to Rancho Cucamonga this season. He has now made 15 relief appearances to nine starts, but the Dodgers view him as a potential starter down the line. O’Sullivan has a history of injuries at the college level.

No. 24 Josh Wall: The Isotopes closer has an above-average slider and a fastball he seems almost afraid to command. He coughed up three home runs in one inning in his final appearance of the first half on Sunday. If Wall could regain his confidence in his fastball he could at least be another cheap bullpen option, though he is likely a middle reliever/set-up man at the next level.

These Are the Trades the Dodgers Will Make This Weekend

Once again, I’m taking off for the weekend – this time to New Orleans – and with my history of having things happen when I’m gone in addition to the proximity to the trading deadline, you can be sure that something is going down in the next few days. It always happens. I just know it will. So keep an eye out for these moves on the transaction wire…

Dee Gordon to the Reds for Miguel Cairo.

What? Everyone keeps saying how much the Reds need a shortstop and that the Dodgers have one to spare, right? On the other hand, the Reds aren’t the only NL Central team needing some infield help…

Dee Gordon to the Brewers for Mark Kotsay.

Yeah, that feels about right.

(Actually, if it included Mark Attanasio, I absolutely would do that deal.)

Alfredo Silverio and Nathan Eovaldi to the Blue Jays for Octavio Dotel.

I mean, trading decent outfield and pitching prospects for Dotel worked out last year, didn’t it? I don’t know about you, but being able to get 27-year-old low minors outfielder Anthony Jackson in the system was completely worth it.

Trayvon Robinson to the Nationals for Jason Marquis.

Because some blogger had the brilliant idea of not overworking Rubby De La Rosa.

Jonathan Broxton to the Red Sox, Yankees, Angels, Brewers, or Cardinals for anything of any value whatsoever.

Wait, even for a joke article, that idea sounds ridiculous. Who would really suggest that there’s any trade market for Broxton, on the shelf for months with an elbow injury without any set return date?

Oh, that’s right: the geniuses at Bleacher Report. Of course.

Hiroki Kuroda to the Red Sox for Ryan Lavarnway.

Wait, that’s a trade I do want to see happen. How did that sneak in there?

Aaron Miles to the Cardinals for Trever Miller.

Because someone in the comments of a recent post, and I forget who so my apologies, wanted to see what would happen if St. Louis tried to play Miles, Nick Punto, and Ryan Theriot in the infield all at the same time.

Mike MacDougal signs a three-year, $16m extension.

Not a trade, exactly, but just as terrifying.

Vin Scully to FOX for another loan to cover payroll.

Gasp in horror if you like, but would you really put anything past Frank McCourt at this point?

Jamey Carroll to the Pirates for James McDonald.

That sounds okay, what’s the catch?

James McDonald to the Tigers for Brandon Inge.

Oh, for the love of…