No News Is Good News

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The Dodgers have been painfully quiet this week, and that’s raising the angst of a lot of fans, wondering why Ned Colletti is “sitting still” while the Diamondbacks go out and “improve their team”. (There’s not enough air quotes in the world around that last part, of course, because if anything, trading Adam Eaton and Tyler Skaggs for Mark Trumbo is good news for the Dodgers.)

You can completely understand that. This is the week things were supposed to happen, and so far nothing has happened. You want new players to analyze, old issues to get resolved, and something fun to discuss.

But really, it seems like that isn’t going to happen. Nor, probably, is a Matt Kemp trade, since the team apparently told Dave Stewart, Kemp’s agent, that they had no plans to trade him. (A conversation which Stewart was not supposed to have repeated publicly, since he had to go on 710 and publicly apologize for it. Whoops!)

I think we all felt that a Kemp deal was unlikely, for all the reasons we’ve discussed a million times, but this really doesn’t make it less likely, does it? If the Mariners called ten seconds after Colletti spoke to Stewart and started panicking and said that they’d send James Paxton and Mike Zunino and Taijuan Walker and eat every dollar of Kemp’s deal — which I should not have to tell you is an offer that wouldn’t happen on this planet or any other — you better believe that Colletti’s conversation be damned, Kemp would be on the move. That wasn’t likely to happen before. It’s not likely to happen now. Nothing has changed. (Although I did enjoy Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski insisting they’ve never even had a discussion about Kemp, contrary to the accounts of certain breathlessly reported Michigan reporters.)

With the possibility that something happens tonight, the Dodgers are likely to go home tomorrow without anyone new. Honestly, nothing that even happened this week affected the team that much, so far as we know publicly. The Trumbo three-team deal didn’t include players the Dodgers may have wanted or teams they match up with; Bartolo Colon, Logan Morrison, and Corey Hart, three players who moved today, never were considerations. The Nationals acquiring lefty reliever Jerry Blevins from Oakland might take them out of the J.P. Howell stakes, but it might not.

Kemp remains a Dodger. So does Andre Ethier. Juan Uribe remains a complete unknown. Only one of those things is likely to change soon, and while that’s not particularly exciting, remember that A) it may seem like Dan Haren has been a Dodger for five years already, but that was only a few weeks ago, and B) I’d rather be bored than terrified my team was going to give $60m-$80m to Nelson Cruz or eight years to Shin-soo Choo. The Dodgers will fill the holes they have. Whether that happens on December 11 or January 11 or February 11, well, it doesn’t matter all that much to me.

Breaking: We Have Clues To Where Matt Kemp Is Going

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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweeted earlier tonight that the Dodgers are still in touch with the Tigers, Red Sox, and Mariners about Matt Kemp, with the primary issue being that the Dodgers would want top quality back. That’s totally fine, completely understandable, and not at all new information. We know the Dodgers have been speaking to other clubs, and we know there isn’t likely to be a deal.

But then Rosenthal’s colleague Jon Morosi chimed in to add that Kemp and new Detroit manager Brad Ausmus were once teammates in Los Angeles… and all of a sudden, that started a scavenger hunt. If that’s all it takes, well… Kemp could be going anywhere. Anywhere!

Like…

 

 

 

 

Mystery solved!

The Uribe Of Reckoning Is Near

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If the Dodgers don’t get David Price or Masahiro Tanaka, that’s fine. They still have enough starting pitchers to get by without them..

If they don’t move Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp, also fine. Having four outfielders isn’t the end of the world when two can’t hit lefties and most of them can’t stay healthy, and Joc Pederson hasn’t even seen Triple-A yet.

But if Juan Uribe doesn’t return, then that opens up a pretty big can of worms, because as we’ve discussed, the third base market is just a barren wasteland out there. And as the second day of the Winter Meetings gets going, it’s feeling like a resolution for Uribe is imminent. We know the Dodgers have put out a few offers to him and might be getting impatient on his reply; we’ve heard that both the Marlins and White Sox want him as well.

Since so little happened on Day One, as teams got themselves settled in Orlando and started making the rounds, Day Two is when thing generally get going. (The Tigers already picked up Rajai Davis this morning.) It’s not like Uribe is a top-level free agent — that is, there’s not a huge range of years and salary he can really ask for — which means there’s not likely to be a ton of negotiating left. So while this is just a gut feeling, it sure does seem as though Uribe will be signed and sealed somewhere very soon. If that’s not the Dodgers, then this offseason just took a very interesting turn.

Matt Kemp Still A Dodger, David Price Still Not

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The first day of the Winter Meetings have been relatively quiet so far, other than the truly excellent news that the Dodgers have acquired our pal Jon Weisman for a player to be named later, giving him a limited no-trade clause.

But it’s not likely to stay that way, and the rumors are already flying. Either the Dodgers badly want David Price or they don’t, or Matt Kemp is out the door or he’s not (or not going to be healthy for camp), or the Dodgers are in with four teams on Kemp or Andre Ethier, but that definitely includes or does not include Boston, or the team is getting impatient with Juan Uribe, or they’re “lukewarm” on Masahiro Tanaka, or..

..or, well, you know. Rumors always fly this time of year, they always get people up in arms, and 90% of them lead to nothing. But we still talk about them here, because they’re fun to think about, even if nobody really has any idea what they’re talking about.

So let’s lightning round some important points here…

Price

Yes, the Dodgers are almost certainly interested in Price. No, I don’t put a lot of stock into a Chicago radio host saying that talks are progressing. But I do know this: Dodger fans who are spitballing trade ideas at me have lost their mind if they think the Dodgers are getting price without Corey Seager. I went over the reasons why the idea of a Price trade made me uncomfortable last month, so read that for a full take, but you can’t expect the Rays to give up a better pitcher than James Shields for a lesser prospect than Wil Myers. No, Dee Gordon doesn’t countLikelihood: 12.4%.

Kemp

There’s clearly a big disconnect between the fan take and the analyst take here. Fans — the ones not incoherently calling him “soft” or “lazy,” anyway — seem to think that trading Kemp under any circumstances whatsoever is a bad idea. That’s just not true, really. You make a trade that benefits you. As I’ve said before, there’s likely not a trade out there that’s worth giving up on Kemp. But if one presents itself, then by all means, go ahead and do it. Simply put, since Kemp is still not healthy — he was in a walking boot as of three days ago, and teams may not like his medicals — it’s tough to see anyone giving up enough talent to make this anything other than a salary dump. Likelihood: 3.2%

Uribe

We heard the other day that Colletti had offered Uribe’s camp several deals, and was waiting on the response, so Saxon’s report (linked above) about growing impatience passes the sniff test. Of course, we’ve been over the barren third base market a few times. Chase Headley is expensive and potentially not available. Omar Infante hasn’t played there with regularity since 2008, and is hardly appealing. No one internally is moving there, and after that, you’re left with crazy, uninformed trade speculation. Ryan Zimmerman? Sure, why not? Or Brett Lawrie, or David Wright, or Adrian Beltre, or 10 other names that are in no way realistic. Hell, why not just bring back Carlos Santana? But know this: the slowly lumbering corpse of Aramis Ramirez looms. Likelihood (of Uribe returning): 46.3% and dropping.

Dodgers Bid Farewell to Two Pitchers And Oh Good Lord Something Please Happen Already

So long, Joe Blanton. He was never coming back to the Dodgers and I’ve already nearly forgotten he was ever on the team, but now he’s officially moving on, signing with the Angels for 2/$15m, which is pretty reasonable for a durable average-ish starter.

So long too to Randy Choate, who signed a deal with St. Louis so ludicrous I can barely bring myself to type it out. Three years! For a 37-year-old journeyman situational reliever! That’s the world we’re living in, apparently, though I absolutely cannot parse how Choate got three years while the far superior Sean Burnett managed only two with the Angels.

When are they going to get to the fireworks factory?

You’ve probably noticing that we’re in the midst of the third (and essentially final) day of the winter meetings and here we are talking about the departures of two veteran pitchers who were incredibly unlikely to return. We’re doing that because… it’s… that… slow. Things are moving glacially, because Texas doesn’t want to move on Josh Hamilton until Zack Greinke is resolved, and the other pieces aren’t going to fall into place with the best hitter & pitcher on the board. That leaves us in this dreadfully empty territory where we’ve barely even heard a poorly sourced rumor all day.

Not quite what we expected, right?

Now, that could very well mean that there’s something huge about to drop at any moment. That’s always possible, but I’m guessing this isn’t getting unstuck soon. That’ll make for a few infuriating days for the rest of the week until we’re guaranteed at least some semblance of news this weekend, when Hyun-jin Ryu likely signs before his 2pm PT Sunday deadline. Who knows, maybe the increasingly loud Dee Gordon rumors will lead to something too. Or maybe they won’t. And for now? Well, Mark Saxon says they’ll likely pick up a non-roster catcher or two to compete with Tim Federowicz and zzzzzzzz… sorry, I just bored myself.

Anyway, when Randy F’ing Choate (and Jeff Keppinger too!) can get a three year deal, it makes it seem like we have absolutely no leg to stand on when judging potential demands from Greinke. Six years? Eight? A puppy driving a Maserati full of supermodels, who are all also carrying puppies? Choate pitched like 14 innings a season and just got three guaranteed years. For a guy like Greinke, how can you say no to anything at this point?