Dodgers: Searching for Truth in Dodger’s Winter Rumor Wonderland

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 26: Giancarlo Stanton
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 26: Giancarlo Stanton /

It’s the time of the year again:  Decorating, gift wrapping, hot cocoa making, and the Baseball Rumor Machine are in full swing. The possibilities are as endless as the rumors themselves. Much like snowmen and lightsabers, the endless frozen cascade of winter baseball rumor mania has become a treasured part of our holiday season.

Every baseball writer from here to Timbuktu will be putting in their two cents (and more) on just about every possible rumor, whether real or fake, leading up to and throughout the winter meetings which start Sunday. Everyone takes part. (Ok fine, I’ll scrap that Kemp trade idea article) For the next two off-seasons at least, the plethora of Dodger rumors figures to keep you warm during the winter, till all the diamonds have thawed. While the stories may be entertaining, the realities are often a tad less exciting.

The Dodgers currently find themselves entrenched in a bevy of high profile rumors. That’s not to say there isn’t any merit to all this talk we enjoy so much. LA has found themselves on a short list of suitors for the enticing Shohei Ohtani. The twenty-three-year-old Ohtani will reportedly lose out on a contract of hundreds of millions of dollars because he wants to come to the majors now instead of waiting until he is 25. He’ll start out earning the standard rookie rate. Good for him. It’s clear that money isn’t the main priority for Ohtani. But is winning?

Jon Heyman has reported that he believes San Diego may be the flamethrower’s new preferred home. It has been widely reported that he prefers to play on the west coast in a smaller market. San Diego does have a fairly intriguing collection of young talent. Also, it’s probably the most beautiful city in North America. Still, losing out hundreds of millions of dollars to play for a team that spends 90 percent of its existence in a perennial rebuild? Sounds like a player’s worst nightmare but to each their own.

The Seattle Mariners provide another intriguing opportunity for the young man dubbed “The Japanese Babe Ruth”. Ohtani would figure to receive some time in the DH spot there, with a regular opportunity to show off his much talked about bat. Whatever the case may be, it appears LA’s lights are a bit too bright for Ohtani as the Dodgers seem to be an underdog in this pursuit. Ohtani figures to reach his decision soon, and no later than December 22nd.

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Then, of course, you have Giancarlo Stanton, who apparently desperately wants to call LA home. Far more than St. Louis it seems. The idea of putting him next to Cody Bellinger, who could together potentially provide a hundred homers is certainly enough to make any Dodger fan salivate. The team hasn’t had a 1-2 combo punch in their order like that since, well… ever. Then, there is the mega obstacle of Stanton’s contract, which still sits at ten years and almost 300 million. LA is desperate to get under (or close to) next year’s tax threshold of 197 million. A team that stands at over 40 million dollars over that mark will have their future draft pick lowered ten spots.

Up to this point, LA has played it cool on the Stanton front, as they usually do. Everything the team has done would seem to negate a Stanton deal. The Dodgers have made a steadfast effort to save money. Albert Pujols also brings a stark reminder of what age can do to expensive talent.  Still, If the Giants get word that Stanton may lift his no-trade clause and accept a deal, then don’t be surprised to see LA swoop in and at least make an offer for Stanton.

I’d be surprised to see LA give up more than a hypothetical package of say (OF)Joc Pederson, (SP)Yadier Alvarez, and (C)Will Smith, for Stanton. Miami will probably have to eat at least 30 million of that deal and take a Brandon McCarthy or a Scott Kazmir (or both) in return. The word is that no Stanton deal is close, but LA still has most of the leverage here as Stanton’s preferred destination.

This deal could be put on the shelves for a while, possibly spilling into the new year. Heck, this could be a reincarnation of the Ryan Braun trade drama of sorts. You know, the rumor that will never die? Speaking of which, what about Ryan Braun? He’s the Great Value version of Stanton. Even at his age, his bat is still potent, and he’d be coming cheap as ever regarding prospects and what’s left on his deal. He’d prove a steady postseason stick and has a career OPS of 1.000 in Dodger Stadium. And where’s Yasmani Grandal going? Is he going to be packaged in a three-team deal for Zach Britton?

Next: What would the Dodgers sales pitch to Ohtani sound like?

Ok, I’ll calm down. That’s just me getting into the holiday spirit. Let’s take this time to thank all of the baseball writers for bracing the cold, and keeping our stoves hot. Thank you for keeping the Dodger faithful’s dreams of Stanton and Ohtani alive another day, and the World Series nightmares at bay.