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Jayson Werth hardly contributed to the first-place Nationals last season
Trade: Yankees trade Rodriguez and Dellin Betances to the Dodgers, Dodgers trade Ted Lilly to the Nationals, Nationals trade Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos to the Yankees, Yankees trade Melky Mesa to the Nationals.
Why it Works for the Nationals: Okay, I admit this one is a bit of a long-shot. However, in terms of just baseball, the trade actually works out nicely for the Nationals. They give up Jayson Werth, a guy who will make upwards of $20 million from 2014-2017 and doesn't produce anywhere close to that level. They lose Ramos, a good young catcher, but can replace him with Kurt Suzuki.
In return, they get a solid back-of-the-rotation lefty in Ted Lilly and a toolsy outfielder in Melky Mesa. Mesa is a real sleeper in this deal, as he could have future upside as an everyday player in a corner outfield spot hitting for average, power and stealing bases.
Why it Works for the Dodgers: Well, this is where the trade gets iffy. Do the Dodgers have incentive to make this deal? That is why I included Betances, a young flame-throwing pitcher with ace upside but who has struggled with control in his minor league career. A move to the National League could be just what he needs to get his career on track.
As for A-Rod, the new Magic Johnson-led Dodgers ownership hasn't been shy about picking up under-performing, overpaid big names such as Carl Crawford, Hanley Ramirez, Josh Beckett and Adrian Gonzalez. Rodriguez would be a welcome addition (as long as Hanley moves back to shortstop permanently).
Why it Works for the Yankees: Trading Betances hurts the Yankees farm system as they don't have any legitimate right-handed pitching prospects near the upper levels of the minors other than him.
However, the Yankees don't do so poorly here. Jayson Werth is a proven hitter in the postseason with the Phillies who the Yankees will hope needs a new city to get his bat back on track.
Also, bringing in Wilson Ramos is a potential stop-gap at worst and long-term solution at best at catcher for the Yankees, who cannot continue to keep bringing in Russell Martin on one-year contracts while he hits near the .200 mark.
Ramos is a solid all-around catcher who is an above-average defender and will hit for at least average power.