Impressed? I mean, assuming your head has stopped spinning. Think the Dodgers have done a masterful job of shaking up a team that won 94 games last season? That the franchise's very own numbers crunchers have put together a team ready to take that step to the World Series?
Unsure, are you? Thinking it best not to be prematurely all judgmental? Have no fear, that’s what bloggers are for. Because, really, I’m a long ways from overwhelmed by this orchestrated chaos. I fear for their future.
I would love to say I’m looking at this after all the smoke has cleared, because they are certainly not done. There’s still another starting pitcher to nab and probably an Andre Ethier still to trade.
But the Dodgers' 2015 lineup appears pretty set and will probably look something like this:
Jimmy Rollins (shortstop), Carl Crawford (left), Yasiel Puig (right), Adrian Gonzalez (first), Howie Kendrick (second), Juan Uribe (third), Joc Pederson (center), Yasmani Grandal/A.J. Ellis (catcher).
That’s a very nice lineup. It just doesn’t look like a lineup for the most expensive team in baseball, which is what the Dodgers will probably still be when all this is done.
Are they better defensively with Rollins and Kendrick up the middle? Absolutely. Will they be improved in center with phenom Pederson, Crawford in left and Puig back in right? No question.
And they’d better be, because they are unlikely to score as many runs with Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez and Dee Gordon all gone.
Everyone figured the Dodgers would get little in return by trading one of their outfielders, but they were also figuring the outfielder would be Ethier or Crawford. That’s all they could get for Kemp -- Grandal, right-hander Joe Wieland and another pitcher, possibly right-hander Zach Eflin? Plus, they threw in at least $30 million? A part-time catcher who was busted for steroids in 2012, a pitcher coming off two elbow surgeries (including Tommy John) and a prospect they are expected to send to Philly for Rollins?
And that would be Rollins who has one-year left on his contract. Actually three-fourths of the Dodgers’ infield (Uribe, Kendrick, Rollins) will be on the last year of their deals. Plus, they’re all at least 31. What was this about getting younger?
It’s a Barnum & Bailey world. Gordon was under their control for the next four years. Kendrick could be gone after next season and Rollins is expected to be a one-year stopgap until Corey Seager is ready. The Dodgers really have no in the system to replace Uribe or Kendrick.
They also signed Brandon McCarthy (10-15, 4.05 ERA, 1.28 WHIP last season, who may be an upgrade over Dan Haren (13-11, 4.02, 1.18), but not a $48-million upgrade. Yet the Dodgers wanted rid of Haren so badly, they sent $10 million along in the deal to cover his 2015 salary whether he retires or not (OK, so a $38-million upgrade). And for him and Gordon, they got back prospect Andrew Heaney, reliever Chris Hatcher, utility man Enrique Hernandez, and minor league catcher Austin Barnes from the Marlins. I’m so underwhelmed. They’re all fine prospects, but only Heaney was highly regarded, and they flipped him for Kendrick.
Today the Dodgers look improved defensively. But without a dramatic lineup. Guess all their drama was left in San Diego’s winter meetings.