Although it has only been a month since the Los Angeles Dodgers were eliminated from playoff contention, we now have our eyes set on the off-season and what it will bring.
As the Winter Meetings are set for December 4th-8th, the pre-meeting rumors have already started swirling. The most popular of course being the possible availability of some of the best young pitchers in baseball. Chris Sale, Chris Archer, and Sonny Gray have all had rumors surrounding them about their possible moves, but could the Dodgers be in on any of them? We have already seen one significant move this off-season with the trade of Howie Kendrick, but who else could we possibly see the Dodgers target? I put together a few scenarios of what I believe could be called the “perfect off-season.”
- Scenario 1: Let Justin Turner and Kenley Jansen Walk, Trade for Chris Sale & Todd Frazier, Sign Mark Melancon
This scenario is incredibly unlikely, but it is not impossible. Justin Turner just put in an incredible year and was huge to the success of this team. But due to his career year, he is going to be asking for a lot of money. Like Turner, Kenley Jansen also put in a tremendous year which could require the Dodgers to pay up to retain him. So if the Dodgers do not resign these guys, they could potentially choose a cheaper option to replace their production.
To start things off, I would love to see the Dodgers get another solidified ace. Sale is going to take a lot to get, but the Dodgers have the power to get anyone they want. It is not a coincidence that the top two teams involved in the rumors are the Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves, who respectively have the top two minor league systems in the MLB. So please do not get angry with me Dodger fans, to get greatness you have to trade young talent!
Each deal I have prepared is centered around De Leon and Verdugo, it is just impossible to get away from that. To obtain a starting pitcher under contract for a good price is as hard as it gets, which is going to cost top prospects. Luckily, a deal like this would allow the Dodgers to obtain Cody Bellinger which should be the ultimate goal. The Dodgers would have a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Chris Sale, Julio Urias, Kenta Maeda, and another arm. That sounds pretty good to me.
The only downfall to this is that the Dodgers take on Frazier’s contract, which is not that terrible. Frazier would bring immediate impact to the 3rd base position. After this deal, the Dodgers could go after closer Mark Melancon for millions less than Jansen. This scenario could be a real win for the Dodgers and the immediate future.
- Scenario 2: Sign Justin Turner, Trade for Chris Sale
In the first scenario I explored the possibility of not resigning both Jansen and Turner, now I’ll look at somewhere the Dodgers do. The first step would be to re-sign Turner. In his age-31 season, Turner hit 27 home runs to go along with 90 RBI. The Dodgers know what he brings to the table and would gladly welcome him back. Letting Jansen go would be a big part of this scenario, allowing the Dodgers to free up some extra cash to sign Turner to a multi-year deal.
The Dodgers trade SP Jose De Leon, Alex Verdugo, and Yadier Alvarez to the Chicago White Sox for Chris Sale
Alvarez has an incredible amount of potential, but I believe the Dodgers would be able to survive with him gone. With guys like Urias, Walker Buehler, and Jordan Sheffield still growing, the future arms would be safely locked up.
- Scenario 3: Sign Kenley Jansen, Trade for Chris Archer and Logan Forsythe
Of all of the scenarios I thought of, this is easily my favorite. The Tampa Bay Rays are approaching a rebuild, and the Dodgers can jump right in and assist. By not signing Turner, the Dodgers could spend big on Jansen. Having someone that you trust in the ninth inning is essential, especially in October. I would not be opposed to the Dodgers bringing him back on a big contract.
Chris Archer has shown flashes of greatness at the beginning of his young career. Archer has struck out over 230 batters the last seasons, good for second in the American League. The best part of Archer is his contract, which is under team control for the next five seasons. Those are just some of the reasons that makes him a top target for teams this offseason. Getting Archer would require a lot, so I think the best bet would be for the Dodgers to go after Logan Forsythe as well. Forsythe can play multiple positions, including third base and second base.
Forsythe, like Turner, hit twenty home runs last season. He would be a cheaper option to replace Turner. I am probably in the minority on this, but I am totally for trading Puig. We have seen a decline from him at the plate, especially in the power department. Another positive to trading Puig sooner than later is the value he has. His trade value is dropping each season, and it is time for the Dodgers to sell as high as they can. Adding Puig to a deal would also give the Dodgers the ability to retain top prospect, Alex Verdugo. He could easily be the Dodgers Opening Day starter in 2018.
Diaz has plenty of upside, but he lacks some tools. He is an above average fielder but lacks power and speed. He has the upside of 15 home runs and 15 steals; I believe he is easily expendable if we can retain Verdugo. Barnes is already 26 years old and has not made strides with the at the MLB level; he could be a risk the Rays can take for this season.
After an injury-plagued season that almost resulted in a trip to the World Series, the Dodgers are looking to improve. Getting over that hump is obtainable, but not without making some moves. It was just a short two years ago when the Dodgers made six trades at the Winter Meetings, but I think it is safe to assume we won’t see that again. We know that Farhan Zaidi will be active, but the final question will be, “how active?.” I guess we will find out in the upcoming weeks.