It has been an interesting offseason so far for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Some may say things have been quiet in Los Angeles since the Dodgers lost the NLCS to the St. Louis Cardinals in October.
I say it has been a quietly active offseason for the Dodgers.
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The first thing the Dodgers did was end the uncertainty surrounding pouting manager Don Mattingly and his contract status. While it is far from a long-term commitment, the Dodgers inked Donnie Baseball to a new contract for 2014. That was after the ownership group fired Mattingly’s best friend and bench coach Trey Hillman behind his back, but that’s just a minor detail!
Rumor has it that the Dodgers are negotiating a long-term deal with Mattingly. So, once the “Real Managers of Los Angeles” drama was settled, the Dodgers got busy and jumped on one of the most prized non-MLB free agents of the offseason – Alexander Guerrero. The Dodgers signed the 26-year-old middle infielder to a four-year, $28 million contract.
If you aren’t excited about the potential of Alexander Guerrero taking over for the aging Mark Ellis at second base in 2014, then you must not know anything about him. Guerrero put up Yoenis Cespedes-like numbers in Cuba from 2009-2012. Take a look at Guerrero’s stats:
2012 – 21 HR, 51 RBIs, .290 AVG, .402 OBP
2011 – 22 HR, 66 RBIs, .310 AVG, .401 OBP
2010 – 19 HR, 87 RBIs , .343 AVG, .414 OBP
2009 – 19 HR, 71 RBIs, .338 AVG, .408 OBP
For those who may not excel in math, Alexander Guerrero’s numbers average out to 20.3 homers a year, 68.8 RBIs, a .320 average and a .406 on-base percentage. I’ll take that every day of the week and twice on Tuesday for our starting second baseman!
It still remains to be seen as to whether the Dodgers might try Guerrero at shortstop and move Hanley Ramirez to third for 2014, but that’s another article topic altogether!
Next in the “quiet” offseason in Los Angeles comes news that the Dodgers are either shopping or haven’t told teams to fuh-get about it in entertaining Matt Kemp trade possibilities. You remember Kemp, right? He was the franchise player who posted otherworldly numbers in 2011, but who has jumped on the back of milk cartons around Los Angeles since with a caption: “Have you seen this man’s body, bat and mental toughness?”
If you would have told me the Dodgers were even remotely considering trading Kemp prior to last season, I would have told you to shut your dad-gum mouth afore I smacked it! Tell me that now, and you know what I say? I say, “I think it’s time to consider it.”
I’m not sure if Kemp will ever regain his 2010 form. And even if Kemp’s body cooperates and he is “healthy,” I’m not sure his psyche will ever let him become the five-tool stud who was destined to be a franchise player along with Clayton Kershaw.
Kemp has missed 145 games over the past two seasons and is less reliable than an old Ford Pinto. The Boston Red Sox have been rumored lately to be interested in acquiring Kemp. Back in early November, the Seattle Mariners were reportedly interested in Kemp.
I say if the Dodgers can get a nice return in prospects and a pitcher or position player for Kemp, they should do it now. Kemp is due to earn an average of $21.2 million per season over the next six years. If the Dodgers can shed some of that financial burden and pave the way for their next five-tool outfielder, then I say pull the trigger!
That next five-tool outfielder, by the way, is 21-year-old left-handed hitting and throwing Joc Pederson. Pederson has been on the fast track to stardom in Los Angeles for the past three seasons, and he hasn’t disappointed at any stop along the way.
At double-A Chattanooga in 2013, all Pederson did was smack 22 homers, drive in 58 runs, hit .278 and steal 31 bases. In 2012, Pederson was even better at single-A with 18 homers, 70 RBIs, a .313 average and 26 steals. In rookie ball and single-A in 2011, Pederson posted 11-65, .323 and 26 SB numbers.
Not only can Pederson hit for power, but he hits for average and is a terror on the base paths. While he may not be ready to join the Los Angeles outfield in 2014, the Dodgers have proven that they are fine with Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke in the outfield without Kemp.
So much for a quiet offseason in Los Angeles this winter! Oh, and I haven’t even touched on the signing of 33-year-old fifth starter Dan Haren! Haren may not be what he once was, but he is a better option right now than the injured Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley, or the unproven Stephen Fife.