Dec
13

Possible Trade Partner: Los Angeles Dodgers

By

(Stephen Dunn/Getty)

With the Yankees scaling back their spending, the Dodgers have emerged as baseball’s new financial superpower in recent months. The team’s new ownership has absorbed roughly $600M in salary obligation since July, and this year they’re likely to set a new MLB payroll record. All of that money has brought stars to Los Angeles, including big name guys like Hanley Ramirez, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Zack Greinke. It’s been fun to watch from afar.

All of the spending has left the team with some surplus though, including on the infield as Ken Rosenthal notes. The Dodgers have seven (!) backup infielders after acquiring Skip Schumaker this week, though we should really say it’s just six backup infielders because Juan Uribe is completely useless and likely to be released before Opening Day. Seriously, he’s posted a 55 wRC+ in the two years since signing a three-year, $21M contract. Yikes. The Yankees need infield help among several other things, other things the Dodgers can offer as well.

(Mike Stobe/Getty)

Jerry Hairston Jr. & Nick Punto
Two veteran utility men that offer different skill sets. We all remember the elder Hairston brother from his time with the 2009 Yankees, when he most notably scored the game-winning run in ALCS Game Two on Maicer Izturis’ walk-off error. He’s a contact-oriented (11.3 K% and 87.4% contact rate since 2010) right-handed batter who has little power (.111 ISO) but will take a walk (7.8 BB%). Hairston can adequately play almost any position, though he only played 13 innings at short over the last two years. Hairston had hip surgery in September (labrum tear and bone impingement) and is a question mark for Opening Day. He’s 36 years old and is owed $3.75M in 2013.

Punto, 35, is a contact-oriented switch hitter who saw his strikeout (22.0%) and contact (84.1%) rates decline noticeably in 2012. It could be a small sample size thing (191 plate appearances) or it could be a sign that the end is near. Punto had a big platoon split this year (62 wRC vs. RHP and 107 vs. LHP) but hadn’t in the past. He’s an infielder who grades out as about average at second, third, and short these days. Neither he nor Hairston offer much speed, but Punto is a slightly better bet to steal a base. He’s owed $1.5M next season.

Rosenthal says the Dodgers are most likely to move Punto (and Uribe, but yuck), which isn’t much of a surprise. Hairston is the more desirable player despite his hip surgery, and they’re going to keep him in an effort to win this year. Punto is never going to hit like he did in 2011 again (125 wRC+) and history suggests he’s a true talent 70-75 wRC+ guy, which stinks. Is he better than Eduardo Nunez and Jayson Nix? Not offensively, but he surely is with the glove. He’s someone the Yankees could look into just for depth if the Dodgers are willing to give him away.

(Stephen Dunn/Getty)

Scott Van Slyke
Van Slyke, 26, was designated for assignment yesterday to clear room on the 40-man roster for Schumaker. He is Andy’s son and a right-handed hitting corner outfielder/first baseman. Van Slyke didn’t hit a lick in his big league debut this season (38 wRC+ in just 57 plate appearances), but his Triple-A performance was huge (152 wRC+). The problem is that it didn’t just come in the Pacific Coast League, he also played his home games at altitude in Albuquerque. It’s hard to find a more hitter friendly environment, so take the hitting stats with a big grain of salt.

Baseball America ranked Van Slyke as the team’s #21 prospect prior to this season, saying he “has a nice swing with good wrist action (and) started showing solid power to all fields.” They also note that he’s adequate defensively in left and at first base. He tagged lefties for a .329/.398/.593 batting line with 10.9 BB% and 15.8 K% in the minors over the last two years (again, grain of salt), and profiles as a platoon corner bat.

What makes Van Slyke especially appealing is that he has two minor league options remaining, so he can be shuttled back and forth between Triple-A and the big leagues in 2013 and 2014 without having to be put on waivers. The Yankees need a right-handed platoon bat given their all-left-handed outfield, but I assume they would prefer someone more established. Van Slyke could be just a depth piece stashed in the minors though, which has value. I don’t think he’ll clear waivers, so the Yankees would have to swing a trade to acquire him.

* * *

The Dodgers don’t have many roster holes to fill, but they do need a left-handed bat off the bench and a reserve outfielder capable of playing center field. Chris Dickerson, who obviously will never going to get an opportunity with the Yankees, fits both of those needs and could be dangled. He’s not much, but then again neither are Punto and Van Slyke. They also need an extra catcher, but the Yankees aren’t in a position to give away catching help at the moment.

There is absolutely nothing exciting about the prospect of acquiring players like Punto and Van Slyke, but they would potentially fill some needs for New York. The cost shouldn’t be anything prohibitive and if either guys bombs, it would be easy to cast them aside and eat the money since it wouldn’t have any impact on the plan to get under the $189M luxury tax threshold in 2014. The Yankees need infield help and a right-handed bat, and Punto and Van Slyke could serve as depth pieces in those roles.

Categories : Hot Stove League

108 Comments»

  1. Lecter says:

    Your missing Kershaw. We might have to give up David Adams but Kerahaw a good pitcher. maybe even Jeff Kemp if we dangle the right pieces.

  2. dalelama says:

    My baseball centric depression grows with every article. It feels like 1965 all over again.

  3. Bob Buttons says:

    BRef Elo rater has Dent one spot higher than Uribe. Not that the rankings mean much but yeah, both played 12 seasons to this point, roughly the same amount of PAs and Dent seems to be the better player. Guess his 2009/2010 made him seem better in a lot of minds.

  4. Abe says:

    I’m still trying to figure out how a retired NFL quarterback factors into a MLB trade.

  5. Jim Is Bored says:

    Yes to Van Slyke, no to Punto or Hairston, unless they come for pennies.

  6. MannyGeee says:

    hold on, let me get settled securely under my desk before I say this…. OK ready? here goes.

    I would GLADLY trade Chris Dickerson for either or both of those guys.

    *ducking*

  7. jim p says:

    i wonder what the arithmetic is on the Dodgers blowing by the luxury tax cap. It must be a huge penalty, they’ll be paying after 2014.

    • City Island says:

      According to Cot’s, the Dodgers are at $169 MM for 2014. That doesn’t include any money they might give to Kershaw, though via arbitration or extension. Other notable arbitration eligible players include A.J. Ellis and Kenley Jansen.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Just speculation, but they’ve mostly underachieved for years and recently got a new TV deal I believe, so they might have a lot more to gain from winning and increasing revenues than they have to lose from increasing costs. Yankees, on the other hand, have won for almost 20 years now and I believe have their games on network TV is Japan (as an example of their brand value), so substantially increasing revenues is probably tough to do.

      • Tom says:

        Getting a new TV deal probably makes it less important actually (from a business perspective). I don’t think the deal has any opt outs so their TV revenue is locked in for 20 years.

        Their attendance was 5th in MLB last year and they’ve drawn over 40K/game three of the last 4 years, so I’m not sure how much more there is to gain there (probably a little, but not a whole lot)

        How do the Dodgers increase revenue at this point?

  8. Gerald Williams says:

    Girardi and Granderson for Mattingly and Kemp. (my trade proposal sucks)

  9. Gerald Williams says:

    Seriously though… no interest in any of the players written about here.

  10. Robinson Tilapia says:

    So how about Dickerson FOR Van Slyke then? BOOM.

    Andy Van Slyke has a 26 year-old kid. Holy fuck.

    • vin says:

      How about Tom Gordon having a 24 year old son?! Tom was still on the Yanks 7 years ago.

      I remember Kobe Bryant being the first athlete to give me some perspective on age. My whole life, athletes werer always MUCH older than me. Then Kobe came along, and he was only 2 years my elder. Needless to say, it’s been all down hill from there. It does pain me when I think about a guy who’s 30, and say “nah, he’s too old.”

  11. Kosmo says:

    apparently 6-7 teams already have interest in SVS. One rumor is he might be headed to the Pirates with C.Capuano.
    SVS was the 10 ranked Dodger prospect which makes it kinda weird they would give up on him so suddenly. His 2012 home/road splits at Albuquerque were pretty much equal and his 2011 double A year at Chattannoga was excellent.
    NY has next to no chance of landing him.

  12. Josh says:

    You know why I used to go into every series, regular season or playoffs, against the Twins the last few years knowing we were going to stomp them? Because they gave regular at bats to a (younger) Nick Punto. I would rather see the Yankees hold a raffle for the posters on this board to fill the last seat on the bench than employ Nick Punto in any capacity with the Yankees. Unless they traded for him and made him the clubhouse attendant – that would be fun. Even then he would probably manage to post a lower OPS than every other team’s clubhouse attendant.

  13. Knoxvillain says:

    Hamilton to the Angels. Wow. I love the offseason Texas is having. Looks like third place for them next year.

  14. ClayDavis says:

    I definitely just walked by Randy Levine in Midtown. Really wanted to yell something at him. Though I pussed out.

  15. Robert says:

    The offspring of Steinbrenner do not realize the damage that they are doing to the franchise.Attendence will plummet as will the Yes ratings. I for one will be attending more Trenton Thunder games than NY Yankee games.

  16. Chris Widger says:

    SVS would be great.

    Cubs would be willing to eat 26 mil of Soriano’s 36 mil for a ‘prospect.’

    Cash should get on the phone and see just how desperate Theo is to dump him, at least. He can’t be more immobile in the outfield than Ibanez.

  17. DERP says:

    So what will Mark Trumbo cost?

  18. Chris Widger says:

    Hamilton to the Angels for five years.

    Hope they did their homework.

  19. paul a says:

    Josh Hamilton just signed with Angels for 5 years. I wouldn’t have given him a 5 year deal so I’m glad the Yanks stayed away.Now maybe all the other chips will fall and we can complete our roster.

  20. Chris Widger says:

    More importantly, Ramiro Pena to the Braves.

  21. Luisergi says:

    Hamilton an Angel.

    Nova,+, for Trumbo?

    • The Real Greg says:

      BINGO. Add Conger in there too.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I don’t know if I would give up Nova for Trumbo straight-up. For 2013 it could make sense (though Trumbo is an awful defensive player), but beyond that I’d probably rather the SP than the platoon OF/1B/DH bat.

      • Chris Widger says:

        He’s a bit more than a platoon player though. I mean, he’s not as good as his ridonkulous first half, but I don’t think he’s as bad as his rookie year either. And he could learn to take a walk.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Thing is that he plays well at 1B and DH, while being able to sort-of fake corner OF. Last season on the whole he was at a .346 wOBA, which isn’t that good for a 1B or RF. I’m wrong in calling him a platoon bat since he has no splits in two seasons, but I would say marginal starter.

          To me a marginal starting RF is easier to find than a mid-rotation SP. If you average Nova’s 2011 and 2012, that’s about what you’ve got. Of course, if you believe Nova will never be good again… trading him would be smart.

    • Kosmo says:

      Trumbo is under team control until 2017. He can play multiple positions LF/RF/1B/3B and DH. IMHO I donĀ“t see him being moved.

    • Sam G says:

      Wow they lost hunter and signed Hamilton. There outfield depth is now:
      Trout
      Wells
      Hamilton
      Trumbo
      Bourjos

      The yanks should trade for trumbo. or bourjos or wells. Wells of course being on a salary dump, I mean he would fill jones roster spot and if GRANDY is traded then either one would be a good platoon with Dickerson in left and Gardner in CF. But with trumbo he can play OF and backup 1B for Tex also 2014 playing 3rd.

  22. Andrew Brotherton says:

    Angels just inked Hamilton, Kendry Morales would be a great target.

  23. Dicka24 says:

    I’m wondering if acquiring Punto, and paying his full $1.5 million for this year, would be enough to get SVS tossed in. Basically, would sending a piece their way, and picking up Punto’s money, be enough to force the Dodgers to toss in SVS? Punto isn’t worth $1.5 million imo.

  24. Preston says:

    I don’t think the Angel’s are looking to move anybody. Right now their line-up is C Iannetta, 1B Pujols, 2B Kendrick, SS Aybar, 3B, Callaspo, OF Hamilton, OF Trout, OF Trumbo/Borjous, DH Morales. I think they are much more likely to just keep Trumbo and Borjous. Neither is a star that needs to be in every day, and it wouldn’t be difficult to find them both a ton of AB’s (especially with Hamiltons injury history) they are both cost controlled for several more years, and they are both versatile. Maybe they’d dump Morales and move Trumbo to DH, but I wouldn’t if I was in their position.

  25. Chop it Up says:

    I actually remember Jerry Hairston for booting a ball and ruining Pettitte’s perfect game against the O’s and him standing straight up with a “Oh no, I fucked up” face.

  26. YanksFanInBeantown says:

    I just want A.J. Ellis

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