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MLBTR Mailbag: Dickey, Ethier, Price, Kennedy

As usual, I answered about forty questions in Tuesday's chat, and today we'll get to a few unanswered ones from that session.

Who do the Giants go after for left field? - Allen

Gregor Blanco, Andres Torres, and Francisco Peguero have manned left field for the Giants this year, posting a .250/.299/.336 line at the position.  In the National League, only the Reds and Marlins have received worse from left field than San Francisco's .634 OPS.  Asked yesterday by Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com if he's satisfied with the production of his left field platoon, GM Brian Sabean replied, "I think so."  He continued, "We went on the side of the defense and the speed and to take our chances. And it wouldn’t be that much of an eyesore statistically from a run production standpoint if we had a bona fide six hitter, which should be [Brandon] Belt, but we’ve been forced to rotate and scramble a little with the bottom three spots. But on balance they’ve done a good job, given the skill set."  

Given the way Sabean steered the question toward Belt, I have to wonder if the first baseman is in as much jeopardy as the left field platoon.  Of course, Belt is actually hitting .297/.343/.516 out of the #6 spot in the order, and he's hitting quite well this month.  To answer the original question, Josh Willingham makes a lot of sense for the Giants if the Twins are willing to deal him.  I imagine the Giants are unlikely to turn back to Melky Cabrera, Nate Schierholtz, or Alfonso Soriano.  Beyond Willingham, Alex Rios and Mike Morse could be a couple names to watch, but the Twins, White Sox, and Mariners are in the range of contention currently.

If the Blue Jays decide to sell any chance the Mets get R.A. Dickey back? - Dan

Having won their last four games, the Jays are currently no further from contention than the Mets, who have dropped six in a row and have the second-to-worst record in the league.  So while the Blue Jays could become trade deadline sellers, it's difficult to picture them selling back to the Mets.  I also think they'd keep Dickey regardless, as he could be a key piece for them in 2014 and '15.  Furthermore, if Dickey's ERA still sits near 5.00 in two months, the Blue Jays would be selling low and perhaps unable to win back either premium prospect sent to New York in the deal, Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard

Is this the year we trade Andre Ethier and who would we target via trade? - Dodgers fan

Ethier, 31, is hitting .267/.355/.385 on the season in 155 plate appearances.  He has over $10MM in remaining salary this year, plus another $70MM for 2014-17.  The contract, signed in June of last year, isn't looking so great at the moment given Ethier's power drought.  Moving Ethier makes sense this summer if the Dodgers drop completely out of contention, with outfielders Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson waiting in the wings.  A top 100 prospect seems unlikely, but the Dodgers could focus on moving 60% or more of the contract, depending on how Ethier is playing in two months.  They could also try for a bad contract swap, though I haven't found a good matchup yet.

Does Tampa trade David Price for a legit controllable bat, prospects, or hold on to him this summer? - Grinch 

New information has emerged since this question was asked, as Price left last night's start with a left triceps strain.  We're not even sure yet if a DL trip will be necessary, but given the expected massive asking price on Price, the injury has to give would-be suitors pause as the lefty has also seen his average fastball velocity dip below 94 miles per hour.  The Rays have played well of late, too, so they'd have to take a serious nosedive to consider trading Price with two-plus years of control remaining.  Keep in mind too that an ERA in the 4.00s this year would depress Price's 2014 arbitration salary, making it easier for the Rays to fit him into their payroll.

Could Ian Kennedy be a good change of scenery guy? I can think of a few contenders that may want a solid SP that they can buy low on. - Sean

Kennedy, 28, has a 4.88 ERA, 7.2 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 1.14 HR/9, and 38.8% groundball rate in 55 1/3 innings for the Diamondbacks this year.  Strikeouts are down and walks are way up, which is concerning.  Earning $4.265MM this year as a first-time arbitration eligible player, Kennedy is at the top of the salary scale for his service class, a pace that might slow a bit with an off-year.  He's under team control through 2015, and since he is represented by the Boras Corporation, there's a good chance he reaches free agency when eligible.  He is a good candidate for a change of scenery, and if there's one GM who might trade his Opening Day starter midseason while contending, it's the Gunslinger.

Arizona's rotation has a 3.68 ERA, sixth-best in the league even with Kennedy's 4.88 ERA covering about 22% of their innings.  The readiness of Triple-A pitchers Tyler Skaggs, Randall Delgado, and Zeke Spruill would have to be a factor in considering a midseason trade of Kennedy.  None of them seem ready to fill Kennedy's shoes, as an innings eater who should be able to post a sub-4.00 ERA from here on out if the walks come down.  However, as a reader pointed out in the comments, Daniel Hudson should return from Tommy John surgery in July, which could provide the needed depth to trade Kennedy.


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