Hi, welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, wondering if anyone has started a GoFundMe campaign to help the Dodgers sign Zack Greinke.
We get to have some fun in the final part of our series previewing the 2016 Dodgers roster. We get to pretend we are the Dodgers’ general manager and sign some players and make some trades. If you remember, in the first two parts of this series we looked at the position players and the pitchers, giving us a roster that looked like this, with their salaries. (For players eligible for arbitration, I used the projected arbitration salaries at mlbtraderumors.com.)
Yasmani Grandal, $2.7 million
A.J. Ellis, $4.5 million
Adrian Gonzalez, $21.857 million
Jose Peraza, $520,000
Justin Turner, $5.3 million
Corey Seager, $550,000
Carl Crawford, $21.607 million
Joc Pederson, $550,000
Yasiel Puig, $7.214 million
Andre Ethier, $18 million
Scott Van Slyke, $1.2 million
Alex Guerrero, $7.5 million
Enrique Hernandez, $750,000
Scott Schebler, $520,000
Clayton Kershaw, $34.571 million
Alex Wood, $600,000
Brandon McCarthy, $12.5 million
Hyun-jin Ryu, $7.833 million
Carlos Frias, $600,000
Chris Hatcher, $900,000
Kenley Jansen, $11.4 million
Juan Nicasio, $3.1 million
Luis Avilan, $1.1 million
Mike Bolsinger, $520,000
Yimi Garcia, $550,000
Pedro Baez, $550,000
J.P. Howell, $6.25 million
Total payroll , $173.242 million.
Now, which free agents to add? Well, we need a couple of starters, so I’m offering Zack Greinke five years, $160 million, which is what most seem to think it will take to sign him. That adds $32 million to the 2016 payroll, bringing us to $205.242 million.
Next, I offer pitcher Wei-Yin Chen of Baltimore a four-year, $48-million deal. Chen is one of the most underrated starters in baseball, with a 27-14 record and 3.44 ERA the last two seasons while pitching in a hitters’ park. That adds $12 million to the payroll, bringing us to $217.242 million. If you don’t like Chen, then go after Yovani Gallardo or someone like that.
Then, I offer reliever Darren O’Day three years, $24 million. O’Day is one of the best set-up men around. Since 2012, he is 23-8 with a 1.92 ERA, striking out better than a batter an inning. As a side-armer, he will give the batter a different look before turning it over to the hard-throwing Jansen. That adds $8 million to the payroll, bringing us to $225.242 million.
Finally, I offer Ben Zobrist three years, $50 million. Most experts have him pegged at four years, $60 million, so I am giving him a little extra money in return for his taking three years instead of four, and he gets to play on a World Series contender. Zobrist can play second base; plus, after winning a title with the Royals, he can bring some of that work ethic to L.A. Zobrist’s deal adds $16.67 million to the 2016 payroll, bringing us to $241.9 million
Those moves give us a rotation of Kershaw, Greinke, Chen, Wood, Ryu/Bolsinger/McCarthy; a bullpen of Baez, Nicasio, Garcia, Howell, O’Day, Hatcher and Jansen; and a lineup of Turner, Zobrist, Gonzalez, Puig, Grandal, Ethier, Seager and Pederson/Hernandez.
OK, here’s where I roll the dice. For the last 18 months, the rumor has been that Miami would unload Giancarlo Stanton for the right package of players. I would offer Miami the following for Stanton: Puig, Guerrero and minor leaguers Julio Urias and Chris Anderson. And we can throw in a couple of lower-level prospects if they want.
Puig, I think, will never match what he did his first few weeks here and will have chronic injury problems. Guerrero just won’t get the playing time in L.A. he needs, but could get it in Miami. And I am not as enamored with Urias as scouts are. I’ve seen him pitch and he doesn’t strike me as the next Kershaw. He’s more like the next Bob Ojeda. I think Jose DeLeon will have a better career as a starter. Anderson could develop into a solid No. 3 starter for the Marlins.
Stanton is from the area (he went to Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High) and is one of the premier power hitters in the game. Sure, he will only be in the second year of a 13-year, $325-million deal, but he only gets $9 million of that next season and he has an opt-out clause in 2020, when he will be making $26 million a year at only 30 years old. So we are really looking at a five-year, $100 million deal for Stanton, because when does a player ever not opt out?
Stanton gives the Dodgers the right-handed power threat they need and will make a great left-right combo with Adrian Gonzalez.
So, with that trade, we remove $14.714 million from the payroll (Puig and Guerrero) and add $9 million.
Final 2016 payroll: $236.198 million. Much lower than the $300 million payroll of 2015, and we suddenly have this lineup: Turner, Zobrist, Gonzalez, Stanton, Grandal, Seager, Ethier and Pederson/Hernandez. With Ellis, Peraza, Van Slyke, Schebler, Crawford and Pederson or Hernandez on the bench. You add in money they still owe Matt Kemp, and a buyout due for Bronson Arroyo, and you get to around $246 million.
Will any of this happen?
Highly unlikely. To be fair, it’s a lot easier to sign deals and make trades on paper when you don’t have to deal with agents and other teams. And it is possible they may have to spend a little (but not a lot) more than I am projecting above. But I would try hard to do all of the above if I were running the Dodgers. But here’s what I think will happen based on recent history and conversations I hear:
The Dodgers will not re-sign Greinke, and he will end up with the Cubs or Giants. The Dodgers will sign a couple of starting pitchers such as Chen, Gallardo or Doug Fister. They will go after a guy like O’Day, and might re-sign Kendrick for a couple of years to play second while waiting for Peraza to mature. In short, the team that takes the field next season will look a lot like the 2015 season, minus Greinke. The Dodgers are hoping that Grandal will be healthy and hit the way he did in the first half of 2015 and that Puig and Pederson will hit much better.
I think this would be a big mistake. Dodgers fans are really down on the front office and are even angrier after the team decided to raise season ticket prices. So I really hope the team goes all in and tries to win the World Series. The Dodgers might have to offer some free agents more money than I did above, but they would still be far below last season’s $300-million payroll and would have only given up one top-line prospect in Urias. Why raise tickets prices and have a big-money TV deal if you aren’t going to spend some of that cash? Saving it for a rainy day?
It would be a mistake to run the Dodgers as if they were a small-market team. You can have a great team next season and still have plenty of prospects in the minors for the future.
What do you guys think? Email me and let me know.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is worried the Dodgers’ TV blackout could extend into next season. Read all about it here.