Dodgers: The Dodgers Should Not Be Afraid to Pull From Their Depth
By Sunit Bhakta
With the offseason upon us, the MLB hot stove will continue to heat up. The Dodgers will continue to be among the teams mentioned, and they should not be afraid use the depth they have built up to carry out a move.
The strength of the 2017 Dodgers was not necessarily star power. Yes, they had superstars and stars littered up and down the roster, but a lot of teams have star power. LA’s biggest strength and advantage was their depth.
They legitimately had the “next man up” philosophy. When a man went down, they magically had someone to replace him. That is how Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger came onto the scene and exploded. They had someone for every spot.
They’ve built this unmatchable depth through small but numerous shrewd moves. All because of the terrific scouting and brainpower of Andrew Friedman and his All-Star front office. No one blinked an eye when they traded for Chris Taylor, Josh Fields Tony Watson or Tony Cingrani. Or when they signed Brandon Morrow and Charlie Culberson.
These moves allowed them to hold onto their best prospects and potentially use them for blockbuster deals. But those deals never came because when they did move a prospect, it wasn’t one of their elite ones. Jose De Leon was talented but nowhere near elite like Julio Urias was and was not viewed in the same breath as Walker Buehler. Willie Calhoun wasn’t on the same level of Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger and was not looked at in the same light as Alex Verdugo.
They traded the right prospects to build their major league depth up. And with the frequency of the Dodgers injuries, it’s a match made in heaven.
But now it is time to take advantage of it truly. Giancarlo Stanton is one name that comes to mind. There are other names out there which could be for the taking at the right price as well. And while the Dodgers should by no means overpay, they should not be scared to pluck from their depth.
They have a crowded outfield with Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor, Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo, Trayce Thompson, Kike Hernandez and the eventual return of Andrew Toles. Cody Bellinger can play all three spots; Charlie Culberson has a little bit of experience as well. And there is also Jeren Kendall in the minors, who should be up sooner, rather than later, because of his age and college experience.
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If you have to include some of these guys (other than Bellinger, Taylor, and Verdugo) in a trade for Stanton, do it. Yes, that means even Puig, although it’s tough to see him leaving. But the others are still young quality major leaguers, and cheap ones at that.
Joc’s breakout World Series should have built up some value. Toles has raked whenever he has played. Thompson’s youth, power, and athleticism are intriguing. They are major league ready and can contribute if given the reps they won’t be getting in LA because of the depth.
And another area of strength has turned out to be catcher. Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes are starting quality catchers that are among the best on defense. And they can also hit, which is of value because catcher is a premium defensive position.
And they have Kyle Farmer who is ready to step in and take Austin Barnes’ role from last year. Not to mention, Keibert Ruiz, who is still young, but the Dodgers’ third-ranked prospect according to Baseball America.
Packaging these players with some prospects should allow Los Angeles to get a star player in return. Giancarlo Stanton is realistic if the front office is willing to move some of these players. And if you think the team will not be able to replenish this depth, you are mistaken. They’ve done it multiple times before and will continue to do so.
And it’s not like they will getting rid of all their depth. The franchise will still be loaded and in an enviable position. They need to deal with a position of strength to improve. They will find more Brandon Morrows, Chris Taylors, and Josh Fields. That’s how great Friedman and Co. are. But before that, they need to get out of their comfort zone and make a splash.