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Los Angeles Dodgers Rumors
The gap between the haves and have-nots in baseball have lessened because of revenue sharing and financial incentives not to overspend in the draft and free agency, writes Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. The Dodgers, however, are utilizing a different model to maximize their financial advantage: buying front office talent. Drellich notes the $7MM average annual value Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman earns would make him the Astros’ third-highest paid player. “Big-market, small-market potential difference,” Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said. “There does seem to be increased competition for talented people that have had success in our industry. That’s not the first time we’ve seen it. It’s not the last time we’re going to see it. As far as front offices with different layers that don’t exist in our organization, it’s a way to get more people in the organization.” Luhnow also pointed out the distinction between a city’s population and its market size and how that affects a franchise’s financial resources. Houston is “the fourth-largest city in the country, but we’re not the fourth-largest market in the country, not even close,” Luhnow remarked. “We’re not ever going to be a small market necessarily, but our revenues are not proportionate with our city size relative to other big metropolitan areas.”
In other news involving MLB’s West divisions:
- Some rival evaluators believe Andre Ethier is by far the most likely Dodgers outfielder to be traded, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (on Twitter). However, Los Angeles will weigh their options. Carl Crawford and, perhaps to a lesser extent, Matt Kemp, also appear to be trade candidates.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels told Jim Bowden of Sirius XM (on Twitter) he will “listen” on Elvis Andrus because of the club’s infield depth. Texas also has middle infielders like Luis Sardinas, Jurickson Profar, and Rougned Odor in the fold.
- Daniels went on to say the Rangers‘ needs are at starting pitcher, catcher, left field, or DH and these vacancies are more likely to be solved via trade than free agency (link). Last month, our own Brad Johnson previewed the Rangers’ offseason.
- The Padres must consider trading one of their catchers (Yasmani Grandal, Rene Rivera, or propsect Austin Hedges) in order to improve their offense, opines Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders if the Dodgers‘ outfield surplus could net them a solution to their shortstop situation. Los Angeles isn’t expected to re-sign Hanley Ramirez and with underwhelming options on the open market, it stands to reason that the Dodgers could explore trading from their strongest area to find a replacement. Earlier this week, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman acknowledged that “the best course of action” would probably be to trade one of Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, or Carl Crawford. More from today’s column..
- While Jon Lester is reportedly receiving “legitimate interest” from six interested clubs, some are skeptical about his market. “Really? Six teams are going to be six years at $150 million for Jon Lester?” said one NL executive. “Sounds like agent enhancement of his client to me.”
- The Red Sox have already shot down a couple of proposals from the Phillies involving Cole Hamels. Cafardo expects the Phillies to reopen talks with Boston.
- The Mariners have fielded inquiries from a few teams on Hisashi Iwakuma and the Red Sox have had at least internal conversations about the 33-year-old right-hander. The Mariners, meanwhile, would want an impact hitter like Yoenis Cespedes in return.
- It’s expected that the Red Sox would want to offer Pablo Sandoval a contract with bonuses that would reward him for staying within a certain range. A Giants official told Cafardo that Sanoval lost almost 30 pounds in the offseason only to gain 20 of them back during the season. The CBA forbids teams from taking money away from players for gaining weight, but they can incentivize staying trim.
- Mark Mulder continues to work toward a comeback but he indicated to Cafardo that he’s not 100% sure it will happen. Mulder was making a run at it last offseason when during one of his workouts he tore his Achilles. Afterwards, the hurler returned to ESPN as an analyst.
- Rival scouts have worked hard to cut through the hype in their evaluations of the Red Sox‘s pitching prospects. The biggest debate concerns Henry Owens and how his 92-mile-per-hour fastball and slow curve would play in the big leagues. Meanwhile, some believe that left-hander Brian Johnson might be the best pitcher in Boston’s system.
- Cafardo reported last week that the Tigers are listening to trade proposals on Alex Avila and mentioned the Braves and Red Sox as possible suitors for his left-handed bat. Today, Cafardo added the Cardinals as a team that could see him as a solid backup option.
Here’s the latest from around the league as we wait for somebody to throw more wood in the hot stove.
- Closer Seung-Hwan Oh of the NPB’s Hanshin Tigers is still eyeing the majors, reports Hyun-Woo Nam of the Korea Times. The 32-year-old reliever is under contract with the Tigers for one more season after making the transition from Korea to Japan this year. Per MLBTR’s report last offseason, Oh works between 94-96 mph with a splitter. At the time, the Yankees were said to have expressed interest.
- Teams with depth could play a “big role” in the shape of the offseason, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Frequent readers of MLBTR will recognize the Cubs (position players), Dodgers (outfielders), and Red Sox (outfielders) as frequent sources of rumors. Sherman also highlights the White Sox who have a different sort of depth – three stars signed to fantastic contracts.
- Earlier tonight, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune answered fan tweets on a number of Mariners subjects. Two may interest MLBTR readers. Dutton hears (tweet) that the Mariners have “some interest” in Melky Cabrera, but the outfielder prefers to remain in the East or Midwest. Meanwhile, he’s heard (also Twitter) nothing to suggest Seattle will check in on expensive free agent pitchers. This jives with other reports that cite a focus on offense.
The latest out of the game’s western divisions:
- The Mariners have had conversations with Nelson Cruz and his agent since the start of the offseason, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports. According to Morosi, Seattle does not have a club policy against signing players with past PED suspensions. A recent report stated that the team backed off of Cruz last year because of his recent Biogenesis situation, but it appears that will not be a roadblock this time around.
- The Padres will listen to trade offers for their top three pitchers (Ian Kennedy, Andrew Cashner, and Tyson Ross) as well as catchers, Yasmani Grandal and Rene Rivera, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported yesterday. Presumably it would take quite an offer to part with Cashner or Ross, and Kennedy could be held and reassessed at the trade deadline. Behind the plate, the 26-year-old, former top prospect Grandal has yet to establish himself fully. Though he posted a solid 112 wRC+ last year, he also rated as one of the league’s worst defensive catchers. Rivera, meanwhile, came out of nowhere to post by far his most extensive and productive MLB season in 2014, slashing .252/.319/.432 over 329 plate appearances while grading out as one of the game’s best-fielding backstops.
- Righty Dan Haren of the Dodgers has come up in trade chatter, but could retire if he is dealt away from Los Angeles, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Haren exercised a $10MM player option to stay on the west coast, and Heyman indicates that he might prefer to hang up his spikes than pitch for any other club but the cross-town Angels.
The Red Sox are trying to set up a visit to Boston for Pablo Sandoval, perhaps as early as next week, reports the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Sandoval has drawn interest from four clubs, per Cafardo, but the Red Sox and Giants are the two most serious suitors. David Ortiz has been pitching Boston to Sandoval and trying to persuade him away from San Francisco, Cafardo hears.
Some more free agent notes as baseball news slows down following the conclusion of the GM Meetings…
- A hefty 22 teams have reached out to agent Mark Rodgers regarding Andrew Miller, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Heyman adds that one team that’s unlikely to make a play for Miller is the Cubs, who are more focused on lengthening their ‘pen with lower-profile acquisitions. Reports yesterday indicated that the Cubs were out on David Robertson as well.A
- Heyman also writes that the Dodgers are serious about making a run at Russell Martin but still facing competition from the Cubs, Pirates and Blue Jays. The Pirates, Heyman hears, are said to have already made a strong bid to retain Martin. Despite their acquisition of Francisco Cervelli, he notes, the Pirates are not out on Martin.
- Six clubs have shown interest in Jonny Gomes to this point, tweets Chris Cotillo of SB Nation’s MLB Daily Dish. The Cubs are believed to be one of those clubs, though Gomes isn’t close to any kind of decision and is still “early in the process.”
- Right-hander Anthony Carter, who spent this past season in Japan, will not have his mutual option with the Nippon-Ham Fighters exercised, MLBTR has learned. Carter technically has to clear waivers in Japan before he can become a free agent and become eligible to sign with a Major League organization or a different club in NPB. The 28-year-old posted a 3.97 ERA in 45 1/3 innings of relief in Japan this season and has a lifetime 4.93 ERA at Triple-A. His best season came in 2013 with the Red Sox when he posted a 3.47 ERA with 11.4 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 at Triple-A.
The 23-year-old Trout won in unanimous fashion — the first to do so since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1997. Trout’s unanimous selection came on the heels of yet another dominant season, as he batted .287/.377/.561 with career-highs in homers (36), runs scored (115) and RBIs (111). Many feel that Trout should have been named the MVP in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons, but the consensus top player in the game now has an MVP to place on his mantle and should probably leave room for a few more to eventually stand by its side.
Trout’s 420 points were the most possible, and rounding out the top 10 in the AL were Victor Martinez (229), Michael Brantley (185), Jose Abreu (145), Jose Bautista (128), Robinson Cano (124), Nelson Cruz (102), Josh Donaldson (96), Miguel Cabrera (82) and Felix Hernandez (48). The full ballot is available in this Google doc from the BBWAA.
Kershaw edged out Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, finishing with 355 points to 298. Kershaw missed a month with back inflammation but still put together one of the best seasons in recent history. In 198 1/3 innings, Kershaw posted a career-best 1.77 ERA with 10.9 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9. Kershaw’s effort won him his third Cy Young Award in the past four years and resulted in a total of 7.5 rWAR and 7.2 fWAR despite the missed time on the DL.
Behind Kershaw and Stanton in the top 10 were Andrew McCutchen (271), Jonathan Lucroy (167), Anthony Rendon (155), Buster Posey (152), Adrian Gonzalez (57), Adam Wainwright (53), Josh Harrison (52) and Anthony Rizzo (37). The full ballot is available in this Google Doc from the BBWAA.
The Nationals made Ian Desmond a seven-year, $107MM extension offer last year, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports, though that also included contract deferrals that would have reduced its true value. Negotiations are expected to pick back up in the months to come, per Kilgore, and that offer will presumably be the starting point. Desmond, who put up another strong year and is now one year away from the open market, is one key piece of the team’s increasingly pressing long-term strategic questions.
Here’s the latest out of the division:
- The Marlins‘ interest in the starting pitching market is fairly diverse, as Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. Possible trade targets range from buy-low (Ubaldo Jimenez) to buy-high (Johnny Cueto), and interest on the free agent markets includes Kyle Kendrick and Ervin Santana. The unifying force here is probably the expected ability of these varying arms to provide innings; as I noted yesterday, the Fish hope to add a solid, veteran presence to their staff.
- Spencer also spoke with the Miami brass about Giancarlo Stanton, and discusses the team’s reasoning for trying to build a winner around him now, even if an extension cannot ultimately be worked out. “We’re trying to get away from that, that we have to trade everybody because they get expensive,” Hill said. “Enough of that. We want to win. We want to keep as many of our pieces as we can.”
- There are “a lot of good fits” for Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd, who is likely to be traded, sources tell Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Philadelphia is seeing interest in Ben Revere as well.
- Of course, the flashier chip for the Phils is lefty Cole Hamels. As Salisbury reports, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says “the free agent market will kind of dictate where this thing goes,” referring to the possibility of striking a deal. “[A]t some point the dominores will start to fall and then we’ll see where it takes us,” said Amaro, who notes that there is no need to deal Hamels since he “traverses the timeline” of contention that the club has in mind.
- Hamels would prefer to be dealt, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Nightengale provides additional teams to which Hamels cannot decline a trade (on top of the previously-reported Cubs): the Yankees and Rangers are the two A.L. clubs, with the Dodgers, Nationals, Cardinals, Braves, and Padres among the National League teams.
- The Braves increasingly sound inclined to aim for the near future, and we’ve already heard several prominent names listed as possible trade candidates. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman provides two more, via Twitter: reliever Jordan Walden (who projects to earn $3MM in arbitration) and young second baseman Tommy La Stella.
- Braves president of baseball operations John Hart says the sides will “need to get creative” to work out a deal to keep Kris Medlen, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. While the team has every hope of keeping the righty, his second Tommy John procedure and $5.8MM projected arb price tag do not make for a straightforward situation given the team’s tight payroll. Sherman suggests that a significantly lower guarantee, combined with incentives and a 2016 option, could be palatable for both sides. It seems that Medlen would be able to do better, however, were he to force the Braves’ hand: he would either be tendered a contract, or hit the open market with plenty of suitors given his upside.
Full Story | Comments | Categories: Atlanta Braves | Ben Revere | Chicago Cubs | Cole Hamels | Ervin Santana | Free Agent Market | Giancarlo Stanton | Ian Desmond | Johnny Cueto | Jordan Walden | Kris Medlen | Kyle Kendrick | Los Angeles Dodgers | Marlon Byrd | Miami Marlins | New York Yankees | Philadelphia Phillies | San Diego Padres | St. Louis Cardinals | Texas Rangers | Tommy La Stella | Ubaldo Jimenez | Washington Nationals
Before the offseason even got underway, the Dodgers managed to make an impact signing that sent shockwaves through the baseball world. With a record-setting five-year, $35MM deal, Los Angeles convinced former Rays architect Andrew Friedman to head west and discover what it’s like to work with a seemingly limitless budget. With years of success in Tampa Bay on a consistently league-dwelling payroll, it’ll be fascinating to watch what Friedman can do with a Brinks truck at his disposal.
- Clayton Kershaw, SP: $193MM through 2020
- Zack Greinke, SP: $94MM through 2018
- Matt Kemp, OF: $85.5MM through 2019
- Adrian Gonzalez, 1B: $85MM through 2018
- Carl Crawford, OF: $62.25MM through 2017
- Andre Ethier, OF: $56MM through 2017
- Hyun-jin Ryu SP: $25MM through 2018
- Yasiel Puig, OF: $24MM through 2018
- Erisbel Arruebarrena, SS: $16M through 2018
- Alex Guerrero, 2B: $14MM through 2017
- Dan Haren, SP: $10MM through 2015
- Brian Wilson, RP: $9.5MM through 2015
- Brandon League, RP: $7.5MM through 2015
- Juan Uribe, 3B: $6.5MM through 2015
- J.P. Howell, RP: $4.25MM through 2015
Arbitration Eligible Players (service time in parentheses; projections via Matt Swartz)
- A.J. Ellis, C (4.151): $3.8MM
- Kenley Jansen, RP (4.073): $8.2MM
- Darwin Barney, 2B (4.053): $2.5MM
- Justin Turner, IF (4.045): $2.2MM
- Drew Butera, C (4.018): $900K
- Scott Elbert, RP (3.086): $800K
- Dee Gordon, 2B (2.154): $2.5MM
- Hanley Ramirez, Chad Billingsley, Kevin Correia, Roberto Hernandez, Chris Perez, Jamey Wright, Paul Maholm
Other Payroll Notes
- Will receive a $3.9MM payment from the Red Sox in 2015 as a condition of their blockbuster trade.
- Billingsley will receive a $3MM buyout after the Dodgers declined his $14MM option for 2015.
When it was learned that Friedman would be joining the Dodgers, there was immediate speculation that longtime Rays skipper Joe Maddon could follow. When Maddon opted out of his contract with the Rays, the rumor mill started churning once again with many wondering if the Dodgers could fire Don Mattingly to replace him with the two-time American League manager of the year. However, the Dodgers were quick to release a statement making it clear that Donnie Baseball would be back in the dugout for 2015. Maddon, meanwhile, signed on with the Cubs.
Joining Friedman in the front office will be former A’s exec Farhan Zaidi and former Padres GM Josh Byrnes. Zaidi will serve as the club’s GM while Byrnes has been named the senior vice president of baseball operations. There are now a number of fresh faces in the Dodgers’ front office that have supplanted mainstays Ned Colletti (who remains in an advisory capacity), Logan White, and De Jon Watson, and the roster could see some similar turnover.
Hanley Ramirez and the Dodgers discussed an extension earlier in the year and the shortstop made it known that he wanted to be a “Dodger for life” and ink a long-term deal. Those talks were tabled in August as Ramirez was sidelined with an oblique injury and the two sides agreed to pick things up after the season. Now, it would appear that they’re more focused on replacing his .283/.369/.448 batting line than re-signing him to a new multiyear deal.
Ramirez rejected the Dodgers’ QO, so they’ll receive draft pick compensation if he goes elsewhere. Despite Ramirez’s injury history and his subpar defense at shortstop (-15.6 UZR/150 in 2014), he still figures to be amongst the most hotly-pursued free agents of the winter, especially given a willingness to play a position other than shortstop. Even if Ramirez’s future is at third base or in the American League where he can be a part-time DH, he will draw lots of attention. Recently, I profiled Ramirez and looked at his potential market this winter.
If Ramirez leaves, the Dodgers could look into a temporary solution at shortstop that would allow them to build a bridge to Corey Seager down the line, possibly in 2016. There are options on the open market, but not particularly glamorous ones: Stephen Drew, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Jed Lowrie stand as the best available shortstops beyond Ramirez. Looking in-house, shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena is a defensive wizard and could be plugged in as the starter with help from Miguel Rojas, but that will require the Dodgers to make a significant offensive upgrade elsewhere.
The Dodgers’ best internal option offensively could be turning to Alex Guerrero at shortstop. Guerrero was signed to a four-year, $28MM deal in October of last year to play second base before something funny happened along the way: Dee Gordon emerged as a highly-productive second baseman for the Dodgers, earning his first All-Star nod in 2014. So, putting Guerrero on the opposite side of the bag from Gordon would be a no-brainer move if Ramirez leaves, right? Not exactly. Guerrero has previous experience at shortstop, but the Dodgers focused on getting him up to speed at second base last season, where he apparently wasn’t blowing observers away defensively. In theory, Gordon would be a very attractive trade candidate in an offseason where there isn’t much available on the free agent market at second base, and that would clear a path for Guerrero to play what might be his best position. Still, that would require a significant package for Gordon and a whole lot of faith from the Dodgers’ front office in Guerrero’s abilities. On the plus side, Guerrero is said to have recovered well from the incident with Miguel Olivo which cost him part of his ear.
The Dodgers’ outfield glut has been a topic of discussion for a long time now and they still have quite the logjam. Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, and Joc Pederson are all in the fold and it stands to reason that they would want to trade at least one of those players for help in another area. Ideally, the Dodgers would probably look to move Ethier and/or Crawford, allowing them to focus on a starting outfield of Kemp, Pederson, and Puig with Scott Van Slyke in support. Friedman, in fact, confirmed that a trade of at least one outfielder seems likely this offseason.
Ethier is owed an eye-popping $56MM after this season and that number could increase even further thanks to an attainable $17.5MM vesting option for 2018 that is tied to plate appearances in the preceding year. Trading Ethier, who once carried so much promise, would require the Dodgers to eat a significant portion of his salary. The 32-year-old (33 in April) slashed just .249/.322/.370 in 2014 with a very pedestrian 0.7 WAR.
Moving Crawford, 33, could be even tougher. Crawford gave the Dodgers a .300/.339/.429 slash line in 2014, an improvement over last season, but it’s a far cry from the work that Friedman got to witness up close for years in Tampa Bay. He also played in just 105 games and that won’t help ease his perception as an injury-prone player. Just like with Ethier, trading the four-time All-Star will mean picking up a good chunk of the check. That won’t necessarily be a problem for the cash-flush Dodgers, but finding a fit could still be tricky.
The Blue Jays could have vacancies to fill in left and center field if they lose both Colby Rasmus and Melky Cabrera to free agency. The Rangers, meanwhile, have a corner outfield vacancy after declining Alex Rios‘ $13.5MM club option. If the Dodgers pick up a very significant share of the check, teams like the Reds or White Sox could have interest. Ethier and Crawford have their flaws, but if the Dodgers can throw in enough cash, they could have appeal to clubs who are looking at a flat free agent outfield market. From a pure talent perspective, the Dodgers would certainly like to trade those two before Kemp, but he is the most expensive of the trio and has drawn significant trade interest in the past.
While the Dodgers have a surplus in the outfield, it appears that they have a good amount of work to do in the bullpen. Kenley Jansen (2.76 ERA, 1.93 xFIP, 13.9 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 in 2014) was stellar, but the bridge to him was anything but. On paper, a ‘pen featuring the likes of Brian Wilson, Chris Perez, and Brandon League (who admittedly did improve from a rough 2013) looked serviceable, but the Dodgers actually wound up with one of the worst bullpens in the majors in 2014. Injuries to Chris Withrow and others didn’t help matters. They’ll have J.P. Howell back in the mix, to serve as a reliable arm, but the Dodgers will make some changes this winter.
This year’s free agent reliever market features plenty of notable veteran names that will see big paydays, but that has never been Friedman’s style for building a bullpen in the past. And, after all, there’s already a great deal of money committed to the bullpen for 2015 with Wilson, League, Howell, and Jansen combining for roughly $30MM in salary. I would expect Friedman to scour the market for value options while keeping an eye out for quality relievers via trade, but then again, maybe he wants to take his new Ferrari convertible out for a spin after years of driving a sensible four-door sedan. If he wants to spend big, David Robertson and Andrew Miller would both look pretty nice in Dodger blue. Meanwhile, guys like Pat Neshek, Joba Chamberlain, and Jason Frasor would be a bit more sensible.
The Dodgers rotation will feature Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-jin Ryu, and Dan Haren but the fifth spot is a bit unclear at this point. Prospect Zach Lee might be a candidate to fill the role, but his 5.38 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in Triple-A last season says that he’ll need some more seasoning before making his debut.
The free agent market is littered with older middle-of-the-rotation types, but Friedman’s newly-found deep pockets should lead him in a different direction. Someone like Justin Masterson, who will turn 30 in March, could make sense for the Dodgers. He’s one year removed from his best season ever (3.45 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9), the advanced metrics say that he was better than the core stats would have you believe in 2014, and he is hopeful that he’ll be back to 100% health after an offseason of rest and rehabilitation. Want to go even younger? Japanese standout Kenta Maeda will be 27 in April and while the bidding for him should be fierce, it’s not out of the realm that the Guggenheim group could green light that signing. Recently, Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com heard that the Dodgers were unlikely to go after any starter that would cost them a draft pick, which would rule out QO pitchers like Max Scherzer and James Shields. On the trade market, names like Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, and maybe Cole Hamels could make some sense for L.A. if they’re willing to part with prospects like Seager, Pederson or Julio Urias.
One more area to keep an eye on for the Dodgers is at catcher, where Ellis may have fallen out of favor as the team’s starter after hitting .191/.323/.254 last season. The Dodgers have already been connected to old friend Russell Martin — the clear prize of the free agent market. The price tag there is climbing by the day, but he’d make a great pitching staff even better and give some more offense behind the plate. If he’s too expensive or not keen on returning to his old stomping grounds, the Dodgers could look to the trade market where Jason Castro and Miguel Montero are said to be available.
With a whole lot of money and an executive at the helm who knows how to stretch a dollar, the possibilities for the Dodgers are endless this winter. Whatever path they take, they’ll return an elite rotation that should keep them firmly in the mix in next year’s NL West.
Speculation that the Dodgers will move one of their outfielders this winter is nothing new, and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman acknowledged the likelihood of that outcome today. As Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles writes, Friedman told reporters this morning, “I think it’s most likely the best course of action to move one of those players,” referring to Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford. Saxon writes that the belief is that Ethier is most likely to be moved, followed by Crawford, but Friedman wouldn’t rule out listening to offers for Kemp, nor would he rule out trading two outfielders and opening the season with Joc Pederson in an everyday role. He did imply that Kemp would be the most difficult to move, however: “Obviously what Matt has done, what Matt’s capable of doing, is significant, especially in this day and age with the run-scoring environment the way it is. His ability in the batter’s box is different.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, Kemp has already drawn some interest, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
More on the Dodgers…
- Heyman tweets that the Dodgers are looking to upgrade at catcher but feels the team has to keep A.J. Ellis around despite a down year at the plate due to how much ace Clayton Kershaw likes working with him (Twitter link). He wonders if the team might pursue an upgrade and use Ellis as a personal catcher for the 2014 Cy Young winner.
- The Dodgers aren’t likely to pursue free agent shortstop Jed Lowrie, tweets Saxon. Los Angeles is potentially losing Hanley Ramirez to free agency, so some have speculated that free agent shortstops may be of interest. The team does, of course, have internal options such as the defensively gifted Erisbel Arruebarrena and the more offensive-minded Alex Guerrero.
- The Dodgers today announced a trio of international signings (Twitter link): Frank Sanchez (the nephew of Dodgers third baseman Juan Uribe), Edwin Reyes and Jerson Dometilla. Each is 16 years old, and SB Nation’s True Blue LA has more on each player.
Kershaw was a unanimous winner, with Johnny Cueto and Adam Wainwright finishing second and third, respectively. Madison Bumgarner finished in fourth place (obligatory caveat: votes were due before the postseason commenced), while Jordan Zimmermann, Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, Doug Fister, Jake Arrieta, Craig Kimbrel, Stephen Strasburg and Henderson Alvarez rounded out the ballot. The award marks Kershaw’s third Cy Young in four seasons.
Kluber, a breakout star with the Indians, edged out Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, who finished second. Kluber received a total of 169 points in the voting, while Hernandez received 159. Rounding out the ballot were Chris Sale, Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, David Price, Phil Hughes, Wade Davis and Greg Holland. Kluber posted an 18-9 record with a 2.44 ERA, 10.3 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and a 48 percent ground-ball rate in 235 2/3 innings.