3 Los Angeles Dodgers Prospects Who Farhan Zaidi Should Not Trade
With the non-waiver trade deadline fast approaching, the Los Angeles Dodgers have to be working frantically to upgrade their pitching staff.
Their rotation is extremely shallow with Hyun-Jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy each out for the year, and their bullpen has struggled and could use some reinforcements. However, the front office must walk a delicate line and not overcommit for this year and sacrifice the future.
This is particularly relevant for the Dodgers, given their front-office fiasco last July. Outgoing GM Ned Colletti was forbidden from trading any of the team's top three prospects (Corey Seager, Julio Urias and Joc Pederson) because ownership did not trust his ability to get fair value.
In 2015, though, the handcuffs are off. The new regime is trusted and proven, so we should feel comfortable assuming that any prospect trade will at least be well-reasoned—because, after all, no player is truly off limits. For example, the Dodgers would gladly trade Corey Seager for Mike Trout or Bryce Harper. Still, though, there are certain players that the organization should be wary of offloading.
Seager could be the key piece in a blockbuster trade, but it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which the Dodgers could get fair value for the young shortstop.
A 21-year-old shortstop who can hit the way Seager can is one of the most valuable assets in all of baseball. One need not look any further than a call-up from earlier this year: Houston's Carlos Correa, who Seager replaced as Keith Law's top prospect after the Astros promoted their shortstop.
Like Correa, Seager is a big shortstop whose primary carrying tool is his bat. He will be under team control for six years once he makes the big leagues and will fill one of the hardest positions at which to find talent.
This type of player does not get traded often, so it's difficult to establish what fair value is, but even Cole Hamels—who is under contract for at least three more years after this one—doesn't seem to be enough.
Urias is an interesting case. As a young pitcher, he appears to be exactly the type of player the Dodgers should be looking to trade. Pitchers are often unpredictable in terms of both health and performance, and Urias is only 18, so he is still right in the age window where many pitchers get hurt from overuse.
However, I don't believe the Dodgers should trade him because I think he could actually fix some of their problems. He underwent elective surgery earlier this year, which conveniently forced him to miss almost two months and keep his innings count down. Because of that, he could be available in September should he be needed.
It is unlikely the Dodgers would be confident or desperate enough to use him as a starter, but he could be a bullpen option late in the year. It would be a good opportunity to get him accustomed to the major leagues, and the Dodgers won't have to gave up significant assets to try him if he fails.
Admittedly, this isn't great timing, but Lee's disastrous performance on Saturday is part of the reason the Dodgers shouldn't trade him. He was a high draft pick and a highly touted prospect for many years, but he had a terrible 2014 and hasn’t been outstanding this year. And his 2015 debut was a disaster.
However, there is still a possibility that Lee could become a serviceable major league pitcher, even if there does not appear to be much recent evidence to that end. And because of that recent performance, any Lee trade would likely be for a minimal return. I would rather take the chance that he bounces back to be a mid-rotation starter than sell this low.
Fast risers like right-handed pitchers Grant Holmes and Jose De Leon (both starters) are valuable but should be available for the right trade. They are both clearly talented, but—as mentioned above—pitchers are notoriously fragile.
Players such as outfielder Scott Schebler and left-hander Chris Reed are close to the big leagues and don’t have huge upside, so they can and should be used as filler if a team wants cost-controlled bench assets.