With the World Series officially over, baseball fans have turned to the next best thing, offseason trade rumors. Will Yu Darvish re-sign with the Dodgers? Where will Jake Arrieta go? But the biggest question of the offseason will surely be whether Giancarlo Stanton will be traded. While early rumors indicate that the Phillies, Giants, Cardinals, and Red Sox are in on the All-Star outfielder and likely National League MVP, you have to wonder whether the Dodgers will jump into the mix.
Unlike the above mentioned teams, the Dodgers not only have the money to pay for Stanton’s massive contract, they also have the prospects to intrigue the Marlins into letting him go. Stanton would surely be an upgrade in the Dodgers outfield as well, filling in with Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor, and Joc Pederson to form a powerful outfield. Stanton also has made clear his desire to play on one of the coasts and he is from Southern California where he attended Sherman Oaks High School.
That being said, the Dodgers would be much better off avoiding trade talks for the Marlins slugger and turning their sights elsewhere to fill the third outfield spot. Stanton may be the most notable name on the block, but there are many other options out there that would put the Dodgers in a great position to win both now and in the future.
It feels like rumors have swirled around Andrew McCutchen each of the last few offseasons, usually with the Dodgers heavily involved, with nothing ever coming of it. If a trade is going to happen involving the former MVP though, it will be this offseason.
McCutchen is entering his final season of his contract with Pittsburgh and will likely test free agency after the season. The Pirates would be smart to get some prospects for McCutchen while they still can. In fact, at a reasonable $14.5 million for the 2018 season, the Pirates could get a very nice return from any team they make a deal with and the Dodgers have many attractive options.
If the Dodgers feel that a trade of their top prospects for a 1-year player isn’t worth it though, they could explore the possibility of also trading for front of the rotation caliber pitcher Gerrit Cole as well. If the Pirates are willing to trade McCutchen, that likely means they are willing to trade Cole and enter into a rebuild, bringing back a number of top prospects in the process. Cole is not a free agent until after the 2019 season and with Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta seeking massive contracts, he represents a much more affordable option for the Dodgers than looking to free agency.
Jackie Bradley Jr.
The most recent news involving Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is that the San Francisco Giants are in talks with Boston to acquire him.
However, the Giants are also reportedly in talks with the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton and a deal for Bradley is not imminent. What this does indicate though is that Bradley may be on the block.
Obviously Bradley is far less exciting than slugger Giancarlo Stanton, and would not bring much power to the lineup, but the Dodgers would still be improved bringing in the lefty outfielder. Bradley still hit 17 home runs last season and is only one year removed from a 26 home run season. It is not out of the question for him to have another 20+ home run season with Turner Ward as his hitting coach after seeing the way players like Justin Turner and Chris Taylor turned things around under his instruction.
Bradley also represents a major defensive upgrade where Stanton does not. In a pitcher friendly ballpark like Dodger Stadium, having an outfielder than can cover some ground is a huge plus. Having Taylor, Pederson, Puig, and Bradley man the spacious outfield of Chavez Ravine would be fun to watch and would likely save a number of runs for Kershaw and Co.
UPDATE: Jackie Bradley Jr. likely not available unless the Red Sox add a power-hitting outfielder first.
If a defensive upgrade doesn’t intrigue you and power is what the Dodgers want, they need not look further than JD Martinez. Although he finished the season with less home runs than Stanton, Martinez actually represents more power in many ways. He finished with an identical OBP (.376) as Stanton and his 45 home runs are nothing to scoff at. He also finished the season with a .690 slugging percentage, 59 points higher than Stanton.
The clear difference here is the fact that Martinez had 165 less AB than Stanton while playing in only 119 games compared to 159 games from Stanton. Martinez also had an absolutely insane second half after joining the Diamondbacks, swatting 29 home runs in 62 games, a performance that is highly unlikely to be duplicated next season.
Unlike the last two options though, Martinez is available as a free agent and would not cost the Dodgers any prospects to sign him. This is something that is clearly important to the Dodgers front office if they want to ensure that they win both now and for years to come. Trading away top prospects and taking on a contract nearing $300 million just doesn’t make sense. JD Martinez will still cost them, as it has been reported that he is seeking a contract near $200 million, but without prospects trading hands it is a much more reasonable asking price.