Trayvon Robinson was enjoying a breakout season at AAA Albuquerque. 26 home runs, 71 RBI and robust and career best .563 Slugging Percentage and .938 OPS. He was a 10th round selection by the Dodgers in the 2005 draft out of LA’s Crenshaw High School, and a product of Major League Baseballs Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program.
He improved at every level he was sent to, developing into a 5 tool stud who figured to be part of the Dodgers outfield of the future, for the next decade. However that all changed shockingly and sadly for Dodgers fans as he was dealt during the last minutes of MLB’s trade deadline, part of a 7 player deal between the Dodgers, Mariners and Red Sox.
For the Red Sox they get Eric Bedard a solid pitcher who has battled injuries, but one who could really help the Sox as they fight for a spot in the 2011 MLB playoffs. For the Mariners they get Robinson and another 23 year old power hitting prospect in Chih Hsien Chiang, two potential valuable offensive pieces for a club clearly lacking offense.
For the Dodgers the trade is a head scratcher. None of the prospects they obtained are considered to have a high ceiling like Robinson, in fact none were even ranked in the top 20 in the Red Sox organization. The key piece for the Dodgers appears to be catcher Tim Federowicz, who is a career .272 hitter, with a .408 slugging percentage and 37 home runs in just over 1000 at-bats. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti basically summed up the deal by saying:
"“We need catchers he’s one of the guys we’d been looking at for a while, he’s a very good defensive player right now. Good leader, strong behind the plate in a lot of ways. Offense is still a little bit of a work in progress, but he’s made gains.When you look at the catching in the game, it’s tough to find. This gives us another opportunity and we have a good feel for Federowicz. He’s somebody who has gotten better and better offensively.”"
I’m not going to get into the other two prospects, even though one of them starred at the University of Utah which is in my neck of the woods. I’ll let Keith Law from ESPN, their guru of minor league prospects, sum up the awful trade and what the Dodgers got in return for one of their top prospects:
"The Dodgers get … I’m not really sure what they get. Tim Federowicz is a catch-and-throw specialist who isn’t likely to produce enough at the plate to be an average regular, but is plus across the board behind the plate (including a career 34-percent caught-stealing rate) and is no worse than a good backup in the majors. Stephen Fife probably profiles as a right-handed reliever rather than a starter because he lacks the out pitch to start; he’ll touch 95 as a starter with a fringe-average curveball. Juan Rodriguez has a plus fastball, no average second pitch, and below-average command and control — a nice arm to add to your system but a reliever at best and not a high-probability guy either. Unless Robinson was somehow burning a hole in their pockets, this doesn’t make a ton of sense to me, as they didn’t get any prospect as good as he is in the exchange."
I’m sure those comments just have to thrill Dodgers fans. Forget about the fact that Robinson was a local kid, had progressed every year at every level. Forget the fact that he’s a 5 tool athlete who had done everything possible to warrant a promotion to the Dodgers sooner than later. The truth is Ned Colletti has just made yet another terrible decision, because of a previous terrible decision he made when he traded the Dodgers top catching prospect, Carlos Santana, for Casey Blake.
Everything you read about Federowicz’s (I’ll simply call him Fed from here on out) skill set sounds just like a catcher the Dodgers have in AAA right now A.J. Ellis. This deal was all about adding depth at a position the Dodgers lacked depth at because Colletti decided to just let Russell Martin go, with no compensation of any kind, and by trading the aforementioned Santana.
The Red Sox actually have a promising catching prospect who would have actually been considered equal value for what the Dodgers gave up in Robinson in Ryan Lavarnway. While he may not be as defensively gifted as Fed, he does something Fed doesn’t, he actually hits for power and average. If the Sox were so desperate to get Bedard, and if Robinson was the key piece that would enable the Sox to get Bedard from Seattle, then why not trade talent for talent and trade Robinson straight up for Lavarnway?
The Dodgers have a bunch a pitching depth, particularly relievers at AA, and starters who project to be as good if not better than Fife. Why waste your time adding 2 more pitchers to an already deep talent pool and just trade Trayvon straight up for Lavarnway. If the Sox wanted Bedard so bad and it even meant the Dodgers sending another prospect to get him then I could accept the trade.
The fact that the Dodgers got the lesser talented players, by giving up a significantly more talented prospect just goes to show why the Red Sox are annual contenders and the Dodgers are where they are, Theo Epstein the Sox GM is simply better at his job than Ned Colletti is. That and the fact that the Red Sox actually have a stable ownership group and their owner isn’t bankrupt both morally and financially. Imagine if McCourt had actually been successful in purchasing the Red Sox instead of the Dodgers, oh how glorious life would be.
As it is the Dodgers walk away from the trade deadline as one of the biggest losers of any club. They were unable to trade their most valuable asset, Hiroki Kuroda, and pick up some talented youngsters. Then at the last moment they traded away one of their most talented prospects just so they could pick up a player at a position that’s hard to find, and they didn’t even pick up the right catcher from the Red Sox in the process.
Keith Law summed it up best when he said:
"Unless Robinson was somehow burning a hole in their pockets, this doesn’t make a ton of sense to me, as they didn’t get any prospect as good as he is in the exchange."
Finally Ned Colletti made the comment:
"“We need catching…it’s easier to find an OF [on FA market] than it is a catcher”"
Considering Colletti’s success with his free-agent outfielders like Andruw Jones, Juan Pierre, Marcus Thames, Manny Ramirez, Jay Gibbons, Gabe Kapler, Eugenio Velez etc…pehaps Colletti would be better served to actually hold on to young talent rather than continue to swing and miss on the free-agent market.
In summary today was just another kick in a very sensitive area for Dodger fans who have been repeatedly punished all year long for simply being Dodgers fans. So long Trayvon best of luck in Seattle I wish we could say we at least got Ryan Lavarnway for you but we’ll just have to settle for more mediocre “Organizational Depth.”