Every buyer needs a seller and every product has its price. The Dodgers perennially find themselves asking the question of “who will sell and how will we buy it?” and that answer often sparks angst within the fanbase and in an organization that prides itself on the depth of its farm system.
In the past, the answer has been top prospects for top players, in other moments it was a small minor leaguer for a lesser known big-league arm. But this year, the Dodgers almost certainly seem to be gearing up towards a higher value piece which will, in turn, cost them a higher value prospect, a situation the Dodgers have reserved for the utmost important moments.
Last year it was Manny Machado that made the move to LA with the Dodgers sending on a five-prospect package headlined by one of the organizations top farmhands in Yusniel Diaz and backed up by three mid-level players and an infielder in Breyvic Valera that profiles as an AAAA type with no sustainable potential to be a big leaguer.
“If it weren’t for a two-homer night at the Future’s Game last year,” one Dodger Scout said. “I don’t know we pull that trade-off and headline it with Diaz. We won that trade and we know it.”
The Dodgers have the craftiness about them and they always have. They know which prospects to send away and which not to but perhaps most importantly they know where their organizational value is. Sometimes that’s in overstocking on pitchers and other times it’s in a quality bat. The common denominator is they rarely seem to blur that line and they know who to keep.
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With the 2019 trade deadline beginning to loom, that strategic shipment of certain farmhands makes its way back into the seemingly never-ending conversation of who can stay and who will go come July 31. This year the theme for LA is the bullpen and they don’t seem to be gearing up for small name options with Will Smith and Felipe Vasquez on the early rumor mill. For that, they’ll pay a bigger price and DJ Peters is perhaps the best option to send in either trade.
“We really love DJ,” a Dodgers high ranking scout shared in conversation. “He has the power, he’s a good guy but he does not particularly profile as someone that remains in the organization. That doesn’t mean he’s a bad player, not even close actually, it just means his value could be marketed.”
Peters’ value could easily be on the market and more specifically to an AL team looking to add significant power to their ranks and a player that profiles as a big league corner outfielder rather than a centerfielder.
Peters defensively ranks as an average overall defender with an arm that rates fairly highly at 60 out of the possible 80 marks a prospect can get at any particular skill category.
“It’s likely that a frame like this moves to a corner [outfield spot] eventually,” FanGraphs’ Eric Longenhagen wrote just over two months ago.
Longenhagen also goes on to point out Peters’ biggest and most AL like flaw being his strikeout tendencies. Over the last two years, the 6’6 outfielder has struck out almost a third of the time and that could, in large part, be due to his sheer size and power-oriented swing.
Peters strikes out a ton and hits the ball hard a ton. A Joey Gallo type both size-wise and characteristically, Peters has the power, the punchouts and the low to mid .200’s batting average that will buoy him to the middle third of the lineup. His power is great but the strikeouts remain everyone’s greatest fear. This year alone, in just 80 games played, Peters has struck out 104 times, good for a 35.9 percent strikeout rate.
But, in today’s day and age of baseball, power speaks volumes and players that have it often succeed. The question just becomes how much to the Dodgers need a player of Peters profile in their system and how much more value could he bring to the table in exchange for a reliever that could ultimately be game-changing in the race for an MLB title. He ranks high enough in the Dodgers’ system that the name value is there. The raw skills are too but combining the Dodgers already powerful outfield ranks, the fact that Peters bring just power to the offensive table and the idea of trading the 24-year-old fourth-round pick is not all that crazy.
This is definitely not all to say that Peters is bad and the Dodgers should do away with him when they can but, rather, it means the opposite. Peters brings value to the table just perhaps not in the Dodgers system. He could thrive in an environment with a designated hitter and his defensive fit could be of less importance if he has to play less of it.
The Dodgers will almost certainly have to trade a top ten organizational prospect if not a top five and that’s the reality of the deadline. With the undeniable reality, the Dodgers will have to choose wisely who they send away and with honest thought, DJ Peters could be a great candidate to send away.
Every trade has its price, every buyer should be willing to pay it and DJ Peters may be a mutually agreeable price tag.