While the Los Angeles Dodgers are making some of the biggest moves of the offseason, teams across the league are making smaller-scale additions in hopes of making themselves better in the long-term. The Mets and Steve Cohen, despite being a big player in the hunt for Yoshinobu Yamamoto, are already viewing 2024 as a transition year while their young talent develops, and the Brewers are still finding their feet and hoping to defend their NL Central title after losing Craig Counsell and staring down the barrel of a potential Corbin Burnes/Willy Adames trade.
On Dec. 20, the two teams dealt with each other in a trade that sent Adrian Houser and Tyrone Taylor to Queens in exchange for Mets No. 29 prospect Coleman Crow. Clearly, new Mets president of baseball operations David Stearns saw something he liked in Houser and Taylor during his time in Milwaukee and thinks they'll be able to help make the Mets more competitive next year. But should the Dodgers, who also need to make improvements to their rotation, have gotten in on the action with the Brewers instead?
Not to criticize the Tyler Glasnow trade, but maybe that wasn't the best use of prospects and finances?
Would Dodgers have been better off making trade Mets did with Brewers?
Houser, a veteran in MLB who made his debut with the Brewers, spent a considerable amount of time on the IL this year, pitching only 111.1 innings over 21 starts and two relief appearances. His 4.12 ERA, while not ideal, was an improvement from last year's 4.73 and trended back toward the career-best 3.22 he logged in 2021. With the Dodgers, Houser could have slotted in nicely as a No. 4 or 5, depending on who else they secure behind Yamamoto, Walker Buehler, who will be most likely be innings-capped after coming off of Tommy John, and Bobby Miller.
Taylor, a second-round pick for the Brewers, will also be leaving Milwaukee for the first time, presumably to provide right field support behind Starling Marte, who only played in 86 games this year due to injury, or in place of Jeff McNeil, who might have to make most of his starts at second base given Ronny Mauricio's torn ACL. Taylor only appeared in 81 games for the Brewers this year, batting .234/.267/.446, but he's a strong defensive outfielder and can run well. The Dodgers will be shaking up their outfield a bit next year if they really do commit to keeping Mookie Betts at second, and Taylor would've been a better defensive option for them than Chris Taylor, with a comparable bat. Instead of wasting $12 million on Manuel Margot, this might've been the smarter move.
The Dodgers have had clear goals and successes this offseason. They've taken the plunge three separate times now. And there's no criticizing what they've done. However, it is fair to question if they could've been more efficient with their trade activity.
A move for Woodruff and Taylor would've been somewhat comparable to Glasnow and Margot in terms of addressing their needs, and it would've cost them a lot less on multiple fronts.