I have something that just set me off that I saw on Sportscenter Steve Phillips was asked for his recommendations to the Dodgers on how he would make their team a World Series contender. After hearing him talk, I quickly wondered what reality he was talking about. Here are Phillips' takes, more or less, and my own, in full unedited glory.
Step 1 – Trade for Miguel Cabrera or Sign Alex Rodriguez
First off, I will credit Phillips with correctly identifying the Dodgers' need for power in the lineup. However, this is the wrong way to go with it.
If you take Phillips’ later assumptions into account, it’s going to have to be Rodriguez or nothing, as the Marlins currently are assembling a list of players that they are targeting from different organizations that they would want in return for the potential Hall of Fame hopeful.
One of those is almost certainly going to be Clayton Kershaw, a young lefty that is going to be as good as Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz.
Kershaw would have to be sent back in any deal that for Cabrera, that's a given. It was Kershaw that was a sticking point in the Dodgers' failed negotiations this past summer for Mark Teixeira.
As for A-Rod, he'll cost nothing but money, but it'll be a WHOLE LOT of money.
My Solution - Why Not Settle With What you have in house? The Dodgers have a perfectly good third base prospect in Andy LaRoche, who has hit the batting line of .295/.525/.901 in the minors and has averaged 18 Homers and 61 RBIs in an average of 90 games per season.
Why not give him a full season to prove that he can hit? He's a lot cheaper than Rodriguez or Cabrera and would give a power boost to the lineup as well.
And if you must get rid of LaRoche, go after a cheaper third baseman to save some money for what is about to come next. The Rangers would be happy to give up Hank Blalock straight up for LaRoche. The Pirates would be willing to give up Freddy Sanchez if it meant getting LaRoche.
The only possible way of getting Cabrera might be asking the Marlins if they'd be receptive to a deal of a paid for Juan Pierre (solving their centerfield issue), LaRoche (solving third while improving the infield defense) and including Andre Ethier and Jonathan Broxton. That would be the only way I could see a deal for Cabrera working, though I would prefer to just use LaRoche.
Step 2 – Sign Andruw Jones, Aaron Rowand, or Torii Hunter to play centerfield and move Juan Pierre to left.
Yikes. Here's another bad idea.
Pierre is a terrible outfielder and has a weak arm as well. He's probably one of the worst contracts signed in the Ned Colletti era.
Philips said that acquiring one of the three centerfielders mentioned above would not only improve the offense, but also improve the defense as well.
Here's an idea, which would work with Philips' plan and would still have the desired effect.
Trade Pierre for whoever you can get, preferably a reliever or a swingman to help the pen and the rotation if necessary. Second, play Ethier (provided he's not traded, of course) in left, and play Matt Kemp, a blossoming young monster, in right.
If you get Andruw Jones, which would work, in center, congratulations. You just improved the outfield defense and upgraded the offense to boot.
Step 3 – Trade For Johan Santana.
Ooookay, where to start.
Provided you haven't already traded Kershaw, going after Santana creates more problems than it does solve any.
First off, you would immediately open a hole in right field, as it would likely require a package of Kershaw, Kemp and LaRoche to get Santana, even if you do get him to agree to a contract extension.
Guess what, you just opened a hole in right and third base.
You could play Ethier at right, but I like his bat better in left field. And it would make the necessary the addition of a Rodriguez and a Andruw Jones in order to fill those holes, leaving you with a much more expensive roster which wasn't necessary in the first place.
The Dodgers could enter next season by making only one foray into the free agent market and that would be it:
• Furcal (SS)
• Martin (C)
• Kent (2B)
• Loney (1B)
• Kemp (RF)
• Jones (CF) - Brought In Via Free Agency
• LaRoche (3B)
• Ethier (LF)
• Penny (RHP)
• Lowe (RHP)
• Billingsley (RHP)
• Schmidt (RHP)
• Wolf (RHP) - Brought Back
Contracts Traded For Bullpen Help - Pierre (CF) to Marlins For Kevin Gregg (RHP), Nomar Garciaparra (1B) To Texas For Akinori Otsuka (RHP).
And there you have it. I'm done. That team I just put together should win 88 games, maybe 90 if the team stays healthy and the youngsters develop.
There was no need to go spend foolishly on several players that may not have been worth it. That's the reason why you have a farm system. So you can eventually have young, cheaper, higher upside pieces to build around and eventually contend with.
And all without having to mortgage my best pieces in the farm and to keep the payroll more or less reasonable in the long run.
I'm beginning to understand why Phillips was tossed out so quickly by the Mets. He just BLEEPed.