Bill Shaikin: Dodgers try to play catch-up to Giants on trade front

Matt Moore goes from the Tampa Bay Rays to the San Francisco Giants in a trade for Matt Duffy and two prospects.
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images)

The word of the day is trust.

There is a city in California where fans and players trust that the baseball team is managed by people who have a pretty good idea of what they are doing.

That city is San Francisco. That trust is most readily earned by results. And so, when the Giants trade their top prospect and one of their most popular players in separate deals, three rings in six years insulates team executives from the kind of criticism Dodgers management can face from within their clubhouse, and their fan base.


In order to get starting pitcher Matt Moore from the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, the Giants traded third baseman Matt Duffy and two prospects. To get reliever Will Smith from the Milwaukee Brewers, the Giants traded their top draft choice last year, pitcher Phil Bickford. In four days, the Giants traded four of their top eight prospects, to the sounds of applause and toasts to the prospect of another even-year parade.

“We have a very educated fan base,” Giants General Manager Bobby Evans said Monday. “I think they do a very good job of following the game, not only the Giants, but all of baseball.

“I think they’re very attentive to our prospects, and the results we have at the major league level. … I think they understand the nature of this part of the game and I think they’ll continue to support the efforts on our part to get better.”

The Giants just welcomed back their scooter-riding right fielder, Hunter Pence, from the disabled list.

On Monday, the Dodgers welcomed a new right fielder, acquiring Josh Reddick from the Oakland Athletics. The Dodgers excused the popular incumbent, Yasiel Puig, without explanation. This on the day after he had three hits, and despite the fact that one of their outfield spots is manned by a second baseman, and after recently floating the silly trial balloon that they wanted to trade Puig because they needed another left-handed bat — in a lineup already full of them.

Vin Scully is two months from going off the air, and half of Los Angeles still cannot see him. That is not the fault of Andrew Friedman and the Dodgers’ baseball operations department, but that frays the bond between the team and its fan base.


The Dodgers, so protective of their rejuvenated farm system, would not surrender top prospects for the ace they needed last year, and this year those pitchers were not available in trade. Puig was vanquished without telling their fans why. And, of course, the World Series drought is 28 years and counting.

The Dodgers did get a starter, acquiring Rich Hill from Oakland with Reddick, surrendering three of their top eight prospects. They also added two arms that might help as middle relievers or spot starters.

The Giants and Dodgers were not the only contenders making moves. The Texas Rangers were the biggest winners, getting catcher Jonathan Lucroy and outfielder-designated hitter Carlos Beltran. One year after the Rangers landed ace Cole Hamels after he had rejected a trade to the Houston Astros, the Rangers secured Lucroy after he had rejected a trade to the Cleveland Indians.

Jay Bruce had the weirdest day. The Cincinnati Reds outfielder was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in February, but the deal fell through after an issue arose with the physical condition of a minor leaguer in the deal. On Monday, Bruce was ticketed for the New York Mets when an issue arose with the physical condition of another player in the trade, but the Reds and Mets reworked the deal and ultimately settled on a swap of Bruce for infielder Dilson Herrera.

And the San Diego Padres traded for pitcher Colin Rea, three days after trading him to the Miami Marlins. Rea suffered an elbow injury Saturday, and the Padres agreed to take him back and replace him with a prospect rather than risk losing a grievance over whether Rea might have been damaged goods.

The Dodgers are a modestly better team after their trade for Reddick and Hill, but they lost three pretty good pitching prospects for two players that can leave as free agents after the season. That is no problem, if the Dodgers are a World Series team.


That was the question put to General Manager Farhan Zaidi on a conference call Monday. Are the Dodgers a World Series team?

“I mean, that’s the aspiration,” Zaidi said. “Let’s put it that way.”

The team with the aspiration might start Hill, Scott Kazmir, and Kenta Maeda in the final weekend of the season, against the Giants. The team with the trust might start Moore, Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto.

The Dodgers must hope Clayton Kershaw can return by then. The fans can trust in Kershaw, at least.

Twitter: @BillShaikin



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