The White Sox dominated day one of the Winter Meetings, trading for Jeff Samardzija and signing closer David Robertson to a 4 year, $46 million deal. Then the Cubs dominated day two of the Winter Meetings, trading for Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero and signing ace Jon Lester to a 6 year, $155 million contract.
Well, the Dodgers must have felt left out after missing out on Jon Lester (did they even make an offer?), because they have made one blockbuster deal with the Marlins and traded two pitching prospects (to be named) for Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
The blockbuster deal involves the Dodgers traded All Star second baseman Dee Gordon and starter Dan Haren, and his $10 million salary, to the Marlins for pitching prospect Andrew Heaney, catching prospect Austin Barnes, reliever Chris Hatcher and second baseman Enrique Hernandez. Yes, the Dodgers have agreed to kick in Haren's $10 million 2015 salary. Yet, he told ESPN's Dodgers beat reporter Mark Saxon earlier this offseason that if he was traded, he would retire. To get this deal done, the Dodgers agreed to pay the Marlins the $10 million whether Haren retires or not. It has been reported that the Marlins will use that money on a first baseman and a starting pitcher.
In addition, the Dodgers have made a reported three team deal sending two pitching prospects to the Phillies for shortstop Jimmy Rollins and cash. We are still waiting to hear who the third team is and how much money is involved, so more to come. Due to the fact that money is involved, the deal is not final, but we should learn which pitching prospects the Dodgers are giving up and who the third team involved is.
But, based on the two deals the Dodgers new front office, Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi, I have to say I like the moves they have made. I can''t say I would be happy to see them deal Matt Kemp to the Padres, but apparently there are more moves to come. More on that later.
Rollins is still a solid hitter at the plate, with decent power and speed. Rollins may not be an upgrade at the plate over former Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez, but he is a huge upgrade on the defensive side of the ball. Rollins fantasy value will take a bit of a hit as he leaves the hitters park in Philadelphia for Dodger Stadium, but the Dodgers traded for him for his experience and his defense. ZiPS projects him to hit .243 with 14 home runs, 74 runs scored, 56 RBI and 21 stolen bases. Not bad in the low run scoring environment we now live in.
Rollins will be a free agent at the end of the 2015 season, so he is the bridge to top prospect Corey Seager, who should be ready sometime in 2016.
In the Dodgers-Marlins deal, Dee Gordon and Andrew Heaney are the two big names fantasy owners need to know about in this deal. Gordon moves to the Marlins and will play second base. His main fantasy skill is his speed, and that will play anywhere, so his fantasy value stays relatively the same. But, the fact that Friedman and Zaidi dealt him makes me think they are selling high on him. Time will tell, but I have always liked Gordon, and am sorry to see him go.
With that said, if you can get a young, controllable starting pitcher like Heaney, who was a top 30 prospect prior to the 2014 season, you deal Gordon for him. The Dodgers will control Heaney for the next six seasons, and he could slot in as their #4 or 5 starter depending what the Dodgers do to fill the hole that dealing Haren creates.
And that brings me back to the Rollins trade, as the trade has yet to be approved by the commissioners office. There are some who are speculating that one, or a few, of the prospects the Dodgers received in the Marlins deal, could be headed to the Phillies in the Rollins deal, especially since the Phillies are sending cash to the Dodgers.
There is also plenty of speculation that the Dodgers could use Heaney, and some of their own pitching prospects, in another blockbuster for Phillies ace Cole Hamels. Here is Bill Shaikin from the Los Angeles Times:
With #RedSox sending young pitching to ARI for Miley, that could put #Dodgers in best position to send young pitching to PHI for Hamels.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) December 11, 2014
Note: while writing this, the Diamondbacks are rumored to have traded Wade Miley to the Red Sox for Rubby DeLa Rosa, Allen Webster and a minor leaguer.
There is also the rumored Matt Kemp trade to the Padres for catcher Yasmani Grandal and a prospect or two. Apparently, this deal is on hold as for the deal to be completed, a third team may be needed to get involved. Like I said before, I am not crazy about the Dodgers dealing Kemp, but if it ends up with the Dodgers trading for Hamels, then I don't mind it as much.
All told, it appears the new front office is reshaping the Dodgers roster to better fit the stadium they play in, focusing on pitching and improved defense, rebuilding their farm system and reducing payroll.
Time will tell whether all these changes results in a World Series appearance, but I wouldn't bet against them.