Dodgers Trade Rumors: 7 Names You Could See Offered in a Potential Fire Sale
When it comes to Dodgers trade rumors in 2011, anything goes. Aside from a few untouchables (Andre Ethier and Clayton Kershaw), and some untradeables (no one is taking Ted Lilly’s laughable contract), anyone could be moved.
If Frank McCourt had things his way, half of this team would have already been traded straight up for cash to cover superfluous vacation homes and mounting legal fees. Fortunately for Dodgers fans, Major League Baseball has taken the power out of McCourt’s hands, and appointed a trustee (Tom Schieffer) to oversee any and all financial decisions made by the team.
While Schieffer’s presence significantly decreases the chances of mass, wholesale trades in Los Angeles, the Dodgers are nonetheless a franchise clearly in need of some help. Their young core isn’t getting any younger, and simply hasn’t been able to produce the way the team hoped they would five years ago. Add a few albatross contracts into this equation, and you have a recipe for financial ruin (and diminishing win totals) on your hands.
Although a true 1997 Marlins-style fire sale is unlikely, the Dodgers have no reason to stand pat at the trade deadline. They are one team that could benefit greatly from beginning a rebuilding process, and what better time to start than in the post-All Star break feeding frenzy, where playoff-bound squads often part with top prospects and favorable contracts for short-term help?
With this in mind, here are seven Dodgers who will be available for the right price, or possibly less, depending on how desperate the franchise is to move past the debacle the is the 2011 season.
1. Juan Uribe
There’s no two ways about it: Juan Uribe (like many Dodgers) is overpaid. He is owed $16 million after this season, and for the Dodgers, a light-hitting utility infielder whose main contributions are in the clubhouse is simply a bad investment.
For most teams, Uribe’s contract is simply too much of a deterrent. But if the Dodgers can find the right home for one of 2010’s postseason heroes, with a team that values his clutch offense, solid defense and intangible contributions, they would be wise to trade him.
2. Chad Billingsley
Billingsley is one of the most interesting names on the L.A. roster in terms of trade value.
As a starting pitcher, he has been average across the board in 2011. However in the past he has shown the ability to anchor a successful rotation. He is owed a ridiculous $31 million over the next three seasons, but if the Dodgers were willing to eat some of his contract, he would certainly invite at least some interest.
The interest in Billingsley may be minimal at the moment, but once a few available starters are taken off the market, teams like the Rangers and Yankees could easily get desperate for rotation help and decide to send an offer out California way.
3. Matt Kemp
The Dodgers haven’t given any indication that Kemp is on the block, but trading him now might be a wise move, and here’s why:
Even without Kemp, Los Angeles still has a nice young core of Andre Ethier, Clayton Kershaw and shortstop of the future Dee Gordon to build around. While Kemp hasn’t exactly been Pacman Jones off the field, he also hasn’t been Tim Tebow, and has provided his share of distractions during his time with the Dodgers.
With the exceptions of Ethier and Kershaw, Kemp has more value than anyone else in Los Angeles, and could certainly yield a prospect or two and some financial relief if the Dodgers decided to move him.
Trading Kemp may seem like a drastic step, but the Dodgers’ situation is dire, and extreme situations call for extreme actions. It is time for Los Angeles to rebuild, and dealing Kemp could ultimately be a first step in the right direction for an epically troubled franchise.
4. James Loney
The Dodgers simply have waited too long to see what they can get for Loney.
The $4.875 million that Loney is set to make next year, combined with his sub-.650 OPS makes him a likely candidate for non-tender after the season. Had the Dodgers put him on the block two or three years ago, it is likely that they could have gotten some interesting offers for him. Now, they would probably accept almost any offer.
One way or another, Loney’s days in Dodger blue are limited. If the team can get anything for him, or include him as part of a larger package, they would be foolish not to do it.
5. Jamey Carroll
It’s odd that Jamey Carroll’s name has been popping up in trade rumors. On the one hand, he provides positional flexibility and would be an affordable alternative for teams looking to acquire some help without selling the farm.
On the other hand, he just isn’t very good.
Although Carroll has topped .300 only once in his career, and has bounced around five teams in ten seasons, he has still managed to garner some interest from several teams, most notably the Brewers.
Although Carroll’s contract makes him an interesting trade target, the fact that he is owed less than $600,000 would seem to be incentive for the Dodgers to retain him. Moving a higher-paid player like Rafael Furcal while keeping Carroll would keep the Dodgers’ somewhat steady at shortstop, while also helping the team financially.
6. Rafael Furcal
Despite a Los Angeles tenure that has been filled with injuries and unmet expectations, Furcal still plays one of the most offensively deficient positions in baseball. Although he has been nothing short of terrible in 2011, he does have a history of offensive production that could lead a team in the hunt to take a chance on him, and absorb what remains of the $12 million he will make this season.
For teams looking for a low-risk upgrade, Furcal could be a nice option. His contract will expire after this season, which means that for roughly $6 million contenders could buy themselves a decent shortstop who will be looking to improve his value on the free agent market.
7. Hiroki Kuroda
If you follow MLB trade rumors even moderately, you’ve likely heard Kuroda’s name bandied about incessantly for the last few weeks.
The Yankees are reportedly interested in Kuroda, as are the Tigers, Indians, Rangers and Red Sox, and with good reason. Kuroda has shown flashes of top-of-the-rotation stuff, and has been vocally open to a trade. He has also been frustrated in L.A. during the 2011 season, posting a 6-12 record despite possessing an E.R.A just over 3.00, with 13 quality starts.
Kuroda is a pitcher who could undoubtedly help a contending team, and could be the piece that takes a team like the Rangers or Indians to the next level. Of all the Dodgers who could be moved, Kuroda is by far the most likely trade piece.