[mlbvideo id=”37044215″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]
By Jon Weisman
In the wee hours, Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Freidman discussed Wednesday’s exchange of players with the Marlins and Angels. Above is some video, below are some excerpts …
On acquiring Howie Kendrick:
“Well, obviously we traded away some really good players tonight in Dee (Gordon), Dan Haren, and Miguel Rojas. But we feel like within the totality of the moves that we made ourselves a better team, adding Howie Kendrick. We felt like he fit us incredibly well; the right handed bat, tremendous hitter, really good defender. And then the young players we got in Austin Barnes and Enrique Hernandez and Chris Hatcher. We felt like within the totality of it we made ourselves a better team.
“Howie is really good on both sides of the ball. Really good defender. Good bat to ball, we feel like. The right-center approach that he brings with him is something that fits incredibly well with Dodger Stadium. Great makeup reports. We feel like he’s going to fit in really well in the clubhouse.
“Obviously, Dee is a really talented player. We feel like Howie is, too. As far as who’s better defensively it’s probably not appropriate to opine on, but I think Howie is a very gifted defender.”
On how the trades came together:
“We started this offseason with really good basic talent in place. We were coming off an extremely successful (National League) West division championship. But as we looked at it and tried to figure out different ways that we could try to continue to improve the roster, we felt like there were certain areas we could target and certain guys that fit within the scope of what we were trying to do.
“We had talked a little bit with the Angels in the past couple of weeks about Kendrick, just expecting some interest and not knowing how things might evolve, and feeling like Howie was a guy that could potentially fit us incredibly well.
“We’ve had conversations with the Marlins since I guess the GM meetings, kind of off and on in different iterations. And the last couple of days things have really picked up. We felt like it was potentially an opportunity to line up on both fronts.
“We went to sleep (Tuesday) night we felt like the (Andrew) Heaney-Kendrick part was in place if we could line up on all the details on the Marlins side. A lot of back and forth Monday, Tuesday and today, and finally got to a point where it worked for both sides.”
On next steps:
“I think we have a lot of conversations still going on. A phone call can change things, as we talked about the past few days. … We’ve obviously had a tremendous amount of conversations with the teams and various agents. And obviously something can happen, but we still feel like we’re going to continue to focus on how we can continue to improve our roster.
“It’s certainly possible that we’ll add two pitchers, two starting pitchers, whether it’s through the trade front or on the free agent market, but it’s safe to assume we’re going to try to add two starters.
“I think you’re always constantly evaluating your roster, trying to make improvements wherever you can. My guess is we’ll continue to do that the remaining days of the winter, into Spring Training and into the winter as well. … We still have two more months until pitchers and catchers report, and there’s a lot more time for us to continue to focus on how to improve our roster.”
I get that they are trying to create a more balanced lineup….and more depth. It needed to be done. I wish though someone would ask Andrew how he is going to replace Matt Kemp’s productivity? Why were they so gung ho on trading Kemp? I know he had the most value…but that is a reason to keep him. These are the Dodgers not the Royals or the Rays…. Was it clubhouse chemistry? Was it because he was below average in the field?
These are interesting moves . On an one by one basis.
1- Really like the Kemp trade.. Kemp is obviously a better hitter than Grandal, but not by a ton (Kemp 128 career OPS v. 120 Grandal). Grandal’s big offensive upgrade over Ellis should dwarf whatever downgrade will come from Pederson plugging in for Kemp in the lineup. Yes, Grandal’s defense at Catcher is a mixed bag. He is supposed to be a good pitch framer but has some problems throwing runners out. Getting Pederson’s glove into the OF and Kemp’s out, however, will create more wins. Then there are Wieland and Elfin, who could end up as decent bullpen guys or backend starters plus the small matter of $ 75 million of salary relief on Kemp. Grade: A-
2- Brandon McCarthy for 4 yrs, $ 48 million. The $ 12 million per is a much better investment than the $ 10 mil per on Haren, as McCarthy is both a superior pitcher and younger. But whether an injury-prone 31 yr. old McCarthy provides decent value over the whole contract is another matter. Grade: B
3- Kendrik for essentially Dee Gordon. Yes, Kendrick is a better defender and hitter than Gordon. And yes, this was the time to trade Gordon when his value was higher than it likely will ever get. My only disappointment is not retaining Heaney for the future as Kendrik has limited shelf life beyond this year. But I can see why the Dodgers didn’t think Alexander Guerrero was ready to take over 2b. Grade: B-
4- Rollins trade. Clearly there was a need at SS after Hanley left and no doubt Rollins has a better glove than Hanley. But not significantly better. When all the smoke blows away, Rollins made about 7-8 more plays than Hanley per 150 games and of course the offensive downgrade is substantial. Can see why Friedman let Hanley walk though – given the contract he wanted and his injury history, plus Seager is the future. My real quarrel with all of this is trading away the insurance SS, Miguel Rojas, who is a superior glove guy. He made 10 more plays than Rollins (who made slightly fewer plays than a league avg SS). While Rollins’ bat was respectable, further decline can be expected and hopefully the Dodgers don’t give up much in the two prospect pitchers for a one year rental of a 36 yr old SS. Grade: C
I feel that the best thing to do right now, as a fan, is to say nothing and not really make up an opinion until opening day. There are some moves that were not to my liking but I’m sure there were good reasons for them. I expect more moves to come.
This is where I’m at. On the surface I thought they should have gotten more for Kemp, or at least give a lot less money along with him. But as far as judging the trades themselves, need some time to tell.
I am hopeful there are other moves in the works, like for Hamels. I agree we need to just wait and see the overall result before commenting. The prospects we received from Florida seem to make me think the Gordon deal was good, but the blue chip we sent packing for one year of Howie. And the bullpen needs to be addressed. We missed out on Andrew Miller, Russell Martin, and the Ethier trade fell through. If we had Montero, would we have still traded Kemp? Had we traded Andre, would we have still traded Kemp? I should disclose that I’ve been a huge Kemp supporter from the beginning. I wanted him to stay. I think we needed to clear a spot for Pederson if we weren’t going to trade him, but somehow I was hoping Kemp would have stayed. Grandal and his PED usage made me not so fond of him pushing AJ aside. But I don’t claim to know as much as the front office so I will withhold my judgement, but I am still disappointed to pay 30 million for Kemp to hit against us 18 games a year for the next five years.