With the Dodgers being rumored for just about every player on the market, I decided to take a look the three most likely trade partners. These are teams that match up extremely well with the Dodgers needs. These are teams that have multiple players that could help the Dodgers stay competitive even while cutting salary, or at least keeping it the same. These are teams that are likely looking for a return that the Dodgers can offer. This means that as much as I would like to see Troy Tulowitzski (Go Beach!) in Dodger blue, the Blue Jays won’t be making the list. Corey Seager solidified that position for the Dodgers to say the least. This means that even though players like Giancarlo Stanton would clearly improve the Dodgers lineup, the Marlins won’t be making the list either. Giancarlo Stanton simply owns to large of a contract for the Dodgers to be taking on right now. With that being said, let’s jump right in.
Tampa Bay Rays
Evan Longoria & Logan Forsythe
One of the most intriguing pair of rumors of the offseason have come out of Tampa Bay. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported last week the Dodgers were interested in Logan Forsythe. The right handed hitting second and third baseman makes too much sense for the Dodgers. Not only do the Dodgers currently have vacancies at both positions due to Chase Utley and Justin Turner hitting free agency, he is also a very affordable commodity. In fact, Logan Forsythe made only $1mm with the Rays in 2016. He is set to make more than that in 2017 but he will still be much cheaper than the $45mm to $60mm that it will cost to lock up Justin Turner.
The other rumor which I covered in more depth here is that the Dodgers could pursue superstar Evan Longoria. As I discussed before, this is obviously intriguing as it would bring both a superstar bat and a superstar personality to Los Angeles. It would also complete the Dodgers infield allowing Forsythe to focus on one position while being able to give Longoria time off when needed.
The Rays would certainly want Cody Bellinger and Willie Calhoun in any conversation for Longoria and especially in any conversation for both Longoria and Forsythe. Not only is Bellinger the Dodgers top prospect, he would also fill a new hole created by the trade. Neither of those players are first basemen, but Brad Miller would almost surely shift over from first base to shortstop with Matt Duffy taking over at third base. Willie Calhoun would then be given an immediate opportunity at second base and the Rays would be back to fielding one of the youngest teams in baseball while still competing in a difficult AL East. Obviously it would take more than just Bellinger and Calhoun to complete the deal and it would be a big hit to the Dodgers farm system but it would be well worth it.
Ryan Braun & Junior Guerra
Unlike the Tampa Bay Rays discussion, this one will only include one player that the Dodgers have been linked to in the past. The big difference here is that the link between the Dodgers and Ryan Braun is much bigger than any rumor with the Rays. It was rumored that at last season’s trade deadline the Dodgers were so close to a deal with the Brewers that Braun was told to stick around until the deadline passed and many of his teammates were by his side so they could say their goodbyes. The deal would have reportedly sent Yasiel Puig, Brandon McCarthy, and one prospect to Milwaukee for Ryan Braun and his entire contract. The trade was obviously never finalized but it was also reported that the Brewers and Dodgers vowed to revisit the trade again this offseason.
The one name that the Dodgers have not been linked to but that I believe is a real possibility is Junior Guerra. It was this tweet from Jon Morosi that sparked my interest in the 31-year-old pitcher. The Dodgers are clearly in need of starting pitching depth with Rich Hill and Brett Anderson currently on the free agent market and with Scott Kazmir not having the 2016 season we all had hoped for. Even more importantly, if Brandon McCarthy is in fact sent to the Brewers in a deal for Braun the Dodgers will need even more help. I think this trade could be worked out without much change from the Braun deal except that the level of prospect included would need to be much higher and they would need to include a second lower level prospect.
JD Martinez, Ian Kinsler, & Justin Verlander
Now I will start by saying this is obviously the most farfetched of the three trade scenarios I am talking about, but that doesn’t mean it should keep the Tigers off the list. In fact, the Tigers are possibly the most likely trade partners of the three teams discussed. This is because the Tigers have been rumored to be shopping Ian Kinsler, J.D. Martinez, and Justin Verlander. Kinsler is an obvious fit given that the Dodgers currently do not have a second baseman and he would be some much needed pop to the lineup. Verlander makes sense as a legitimate #2 who would likely be a #1 if it wasn’t for the fact that Clayton Kershaw would be in front of him. At first glance it may not seem like Martinez is a perfect fit given that the Dodgers have like 7 outfielders. However, when you take a moment to realize that the best Dodgers outfielder at the moment is either Joc Pederson (who batted .246 last year) or Andre Ethier (who is 34-years-old and played in only 16 games last year), Martinez suddenly looks like much more of a need.
The only reason that this is a farfetched trade is because pulling off a trade for three players of this caliber has simply never been done. The Dodgers completed a blockbuster by trading for Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto in 2012 but that still doesn’t get anywhere near the magnitude of what this potential trade. Beckett was well past his prime, Crawford was a whole different player than he was during his time in Tampa Bay, and Punto was nothing more than a utility player and a throw in. All three of the players in this trade are still in their prime with Verlander being the only exception. When I say Verlander is past his prime though, that only means that he likely won’t be bringing home anymore MVP awards in his career. However, he could very well still bring home another Cy Young award and nearly did just last season when he actually received the most 1st place votes in the league.
The Dodgers simply could not pull off this type of trade without giving up both major league talents as well as many of their top prospects. Cody Bellinger and Jose De Leon would certainly be involved. The deal would also likely include Trayce Thompson, Rob Segedin, and Yasiel Puig. That still might not be enough as it has been reported that the Tigers are asking for “the moon”. As crazy as it may seem, I honestly think I would be fine with that deal. Not only would it make the Dodgers automatic favorites to win the NL West, it would likely put them right at the top of the list for World Series favorites. This would be the exact opposite of taking money off of the books and with the rumored debt problems, but that is a story for another day.