Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings are upon us. While some fans have grown anxious at the Los Angeles Dodgers’ lack of moves, this annual gathering is generally the starting point for Hot Stove season.
Whether it’s free-agent signings or trades, the transaction wire is about to pick up steam. Let’s examine what the Dodgers are looking to accomplish this week in Nashville, Tenn.
When the Arizona Diamondbacks swooped in and struck an agreement Zack Greinke, Dodgers fans were rightfully shocked.
The front office, however, was not. Retaining the righty was a priority, but paying Greinke over $200 million to pitch into his mid-to-late 30s doesn’t fit the front office’s M.O. of getting younger.
So, who’s left?
Johnny Cueto becomes the biggest name still available on the pitching market. His final appearance of 2015 wasn’t bad — a complete-game victory in the World Series.
However, Cueto’s season was volatile, with his performance after arriving in Kansas City being shakier than his delivery. Plus, he’s already turned down a six year, $120 million offer from Arizona and had an MRI on his elbow earlier this year.
On the other hand, who else is there? Options such as Yovani Gallardo, Hisashi Iwakuma and Ian Kennedy are no better than No. 3 starters and each received a qualifying offer.
The Dodgers reportedly reached an agreement with Iwakuma. Scott Kazmir may be the best free-agent option, but do the Dodgers need another lefty in the middle of their rotation?
This is where trades come in. The front office hasn’t been afraid to deal over the past year and the best value may be found in working with other clubs.
Plus, the names being floated around as available targets are far more attractive than what’s left of the free-agent market.
It’s believed the Cleveland Indians are looking to unload one of their pitchers for outfield help. The Dodgers just so happen to have a glut of outfielders, a couple of whom are young and talented.
Corey Kluber hasn’t been mentioned as a potential trade candidate, but the 2014 American League Cy Young winner had a strong follow-up performance in 2015 and is signed to a team-friendly contract (under control through 2021 for $63 million).
Carlos Carrasco has established himself as another top-shelf target, being a year younger than Kluber with very similar numbers over the past two seasons and an even better contract (under control through 2020 for $37.5 million).
Then you have the young guns, Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer, who will be 26 and 25 on Opening Day in 2016, respectively.
Another name that’s been floating around for what seems like months is Shelby Miller. The Dodgers have been in contact with the Braves and Atlanta reportedly asked for Joc Pederson in return, which the Dodgers declined.
Los Angeles seems more likely to part with Yasiel Puig. One more name that’s been speculated as being available is Oakland Athletics right-hander Sonny Gray.
The A’s ace pitched a complete-game shutout against the Dodgers last July, on his way to a breakout season. The 26 year old is under contract for the next four seasons.
In the end, passing on signing Greinke and Price make sense, as committing boatloads of money to pitchers who are headed for decline doesn’t generally yield the best results.
However, Greinke does need to be replaced and the best place to look right now is the trade market.
CONTINUE READING: What To Expect From The Dodgers — Relievers