The Dodgers have been busy this off season, with two big additions to the rotation and a little work to shore up the bench and the bullpen. Fans are getting excited to see this expensive team out on the field, but the front office may still have some work to do.
There has been baseless Andre Ethier trade rumors all winter long, but could the possibility of snagging Giancarlo Stanton from Miami change things? Is Seattle still interested in a couple Dodger bats?
And will Los Angeles be the final landing place for a free agent pitcher who has stayed unsigned for far too long? Read on, Dodger fans.
According to Steve Dilbeck of the LA Times, Ned Colletti prefers a veteran to back up Ellis, rather than would-be rookie Tim Federowicz. Even though "Fed-X"---as he's so affectionately known---put up good numbers in Triple-A last year, questions abound about his Major League ability.
Personally, I'm a fan of giving the kid a chance. Can he really do worse than Matt Treanor's .175 batting average in 2012 as Ellis' backup? He's been a pretty good prospect in the Dodger system for a couple yeas and I'd like to see what he can do with a little playing time in the bigs.
If Dilbeck is right---and the Dodgers do go out and sign a veteran free agent catcher---where would they look? To me, the only viable option better than Federowicz would be someone like Miguel Olivo who has a little pop.
I think Colletti will make this a last priority, and it will not end up materializing. The Dodgers should be fine with Federowicz, especially since Ellis showed he's good for the long haul last season.
It would be naive to think Colletti hadn't been at least "checking in" on Kyle Lohse this winter. And the longer the 2012 Cy Young contender waits for a contract, the more likely a move to L.A. seems.
MLBTradeRumors.com reported that the Dodgers are indeed looking into a move, even though the rotation is pretty set for 2013. I've been an advocate of adding Lohse to the rotation, given his late-career bloom and the consistency he showed in St. Louis over the last few seasons.
Lohse would be a massive improvement over both Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano in the fifth spot, who could then be moved for prospects or bullpen arms. This would be a significant upgrade to an already-improved rotation, and I have a hard time believing it's a hoax.
I'm buying this rumor all the way, and I hope it comes to fruition. I don't see anything wrong with adding a 16-game winner to the back of the rotation.
Where have I heard this before? Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted that although there's no "real evidence" Ethier is being shopped, it could still happen. That sounds to me like trying to make something out of nothing, but let's take a look anyway.
The main team rumored to be interested in Ethier's services is the same team who wanted Dee Gordon earlier in the winter. The Seattle Mariners are hurting for power in their lineup, even after trading for Kendrys Morales. And they would be a perfect trading partner for the Dodgers in this scenario.
Seattle has the payroll to take Ethier's contract (though the Dodgers would still likely pay some of it), and is rich in both pitching and prospects. In my dream scenario, Ethier, Gordon and a prospect would be sent to Seattle for Felix Hernandez---whose name is constantly mentioned in trade rumors---and a mid-level prospect.
Though the chances of my dream trade going through are slim to none, other deals with Seattle would at least be good to explore. Ethier can't hit lefties, though he does produce well still and has a penchant for walk-offs. I still would be very surprised to see him moving in 2013.
Hear me out after you stop laughing. Sure, it's extremely unlikely. And the Dodgers might not even have the pitching-hitting-prospect combination I'd expect Miami to pursue for Stanton, but it's worth a shot.
First of all, Stanton is on the market. The Marlins said they would listen to offers, and chances are they have about 29 GMs calling immediately about his availability. Stanton is young, extremely powerful and very cheap. He would be an offensive upgrade in right field over Ethier, and would improve an already potent lineup.
Secondly, Stanton wants out of Miami. He hasn't said those words specifically, but publicly voiced displeasure after the Marlins sent half the team to Toronto and look poised for a last-place finish in 2013.
Lastly, the Dodgers are one of the only teams who can afford Stanton. By that, I mean they have extra starting pitching after signing Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu, plus a top pitching prospect in Zach Lee. Could they offer to pay a large portion of Ethier's salary, plus Gordon, Capuano and a prospect for Stanton?
Don't put it past Colletti. I don't foresee Stanton actually moving due to an assuredly high asking price, but if he does, the Dodgers have to be in the running. Stanton is from L.A., after all, and who doesn't enjoy a good homecoming?
For more Dodger news, talk, and analysis, follow Jeremy on Twitter @Jamblinman.