Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Farhan Zaidi offers insight into dealmaking process

FZBy Jon Weisman

As you might suspect, Major League trades — especially when there’s a deadline — don’t come in a neat and tidy process. It’s sloppy and time-consuming and anything but linear.

Tonight, Dodger general manager Farhan Zaidi spoke tonight the Dodgers’ deadline deals, and offered some interesting perspective about how they actually get approached and executed.

Here is a sampling of what he said. Well, not really a sampling — a rather large, detailed chunk …

  • “We’ve still got August to make waiver deals. We’ll continue to scour those. There’ll be some players there and some more opportunities.”
  • “When you trade for players that other teams covet, but maybe didn’t have access to or didn’t think were available, that spurs a lot of phone calls, saying, ‘Hey — we saw you trade for this other guy. Would you consider this other deal?’ I think sometimes that gets mistaken for the acquiring team … actually shopping those players, which wasn’t the case.”
  • “There’s a tradeoff between talent and taking on money when you can. In our situation, with our directive to build up our farm system, to the point where we can operate at a level of sustainability … there are times when it makes sense to substitute cash for players.”
  • “It’s not a specific objective of ours to find deals like that, but when we think it’s to our advantage and it makes financial sense, then obviously we’re going to pursue that.”
  • “It’s other teams’ perspectives, too. There are teams in situations in the middle of the season where they may be beyond their budgets, and where there’s a real premium on being able to offer more money. In those cases, if we have flexibility, it makes sense for both teams to pursue that.”
  • “It’s usually just part of the dialogue. It doesn’t necessarily start that way, but it might veer into that direction. I mean, a lot of times it’s hard to find a specific fit on players, and that can kind of bridge the gap.”
  • “We targeted Mat Latos, and in the course of those conversations, different layers were added, the pick was added, taking on some of Michael Morse’s contract was added. Those things just come out of extended discussions.”
  • On spending limits: “I don’t think there’s a specific number. The bigger issue, I think, is not just a limit in one specific year, but over time in kind of figuring out where we want to be. We don’t have set numbers, but directionally we want to head toward a more sustainable level. Nobody’s ever mentioned a number to us. We just try to make each individual decision in a vacuum. At some point, the broader context is important.”
  • On what Latos brings: “He’s a guy who when he’s at his peak is one of the best starting pitchers in the National League. He’s had three good starts this month, has a 1.80 ERA. There’s some people in our organization who have experience with him, obviously, and obviously he has experience in this division. … And being a big physical guy, we feel good about his chances to not just maintain but be stronger down the stretch. That was important to us, targeting guys we thought had the durability to impact the second half of the season and the playoffs.”
  • On acquiring Alex Wood: “A lot of that came out of canvassing the league for players that we would have beyond 2015. A lot of conversations happened about the fact that we’re going to have a rotation in flux this offseason, with a couple of players either being free agents or at least having the option. So I think in the back of our minds, we always had the notion that adding one cost-controlled starting pitcher, particularly if the second add was a rental, that kind of worked well together. Just looking around the league, Alex’s track record, having a 3.10 career ERA, being a guy who strikes out guys, gets ground balls, doesn’t walk players, fit a lot of what we were looking for.”
  • “We were mostly just listening (today). Even with the trade deadline being at 1 o’clock Pacific, the effective trade deadline is earlier than that, because there’s a lot of paperwork and medical due diligence that has to happen. You don’t really get to work all the way up to that 1 o’clock deadline. But we were in very early today, continuing to hear from other teams, not placing many outgoing calls because we felt we did what we needed to do yesterday.”
  • “We had frank conversations with (Michael Morse) after the acquisition. He understood the complexities of the deal, and that there was a chance that he wouldn’t actually be coming here and playing for our organization. Knowing that Michael was under DFA status, being approached by the Pirates about a player we would have going forward, where the money was comparable but at least having Tabata going into 2016, at least gave us more time.”
  • “When you trade a prospect, it’s because somebody values that prospect in some ways more than you do, and when you don’t trade a prospect, it’s maybe that you value them more than the industry does (at that time). … We value (ours) pretty highly, and there’s certainly a group of them that were going to be very difficult to (acquire).”
  • On trading Hector Olivera: “In the time we had him in the organization, I think he validated how we felt about him as an offensive player, but there were questions going into next season about where he and Justin Turner would both fit. At one point we felt that either guy was a possibility to move to second base. We were more reluctant as Justin continues to get more comfortable at third base and with his production this year to consider moving him. He’s really solidified that position for us, and with Hector, that seemed like the position he was more comfortable at. So a lot of it was a positional fit and getting a young second baseman (Jose Peraza) at a position where we might have an opening going into next season.”
  • “I’ve actually said publicly that (Corey) Seager and (Julio) Urias … you stop short of saying ‘untouchable’ because you don’t know what opportunities are going to present themselves, but I couldn’t see any scenario where we (would). There’s certainly guys in that next group — I don’t want to name names — that we value pretty highly, particularly guys as they continue to climb the ladder in Double-A and Triple-A. Once you see that shorter road to the big leagues, it gets harder and harder to move those guys.”
  • “There were certainly conversations we had with teams where all of our players were at least asked for. … I think particularly with those top two guys, we never thought the market was there.”


Johnson, Avilan and Wood on becoming Dodgers


Dodger Insider magazine — August 2015 edition


  1. Is Jose Tabata the second baseman Zaidi was referring to, or is it Peraza?

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