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James Shields or David Price: Tampa Bay Rays are Ready to Trade an Ace

Thursday November 8th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:  With center fielder B.J. Upton most likely leaving for free agency, the Tampa Bay Rays will have some gaps to fill in their lineup this offseason. Unless they sign a high-profile free agent like Josh Hamilton (which I discussed in my last feature), the Rays will need to make a move to land a bat. The Rays have a solid pitching staff. Some may even say they have a pitching surplus. With David Price and James Shields leading the staff that includes Jeremy Hellickson and Matt Moore, the Rays can say that pitching is their strength. Out of all these pitchers, one should probably be traded though in order to boost the offense.

The two pitchers that would carry the most trade value on the staff are Shields and Price. Hellickson and Moore are both young and somewhat unproven, so they would probably not provide much of a return. Shields is a pitcher I compare to Mat Latos, who was traded to the Cincinnati Reds from the San Diego Padres last offseason. The Padres cashed in big time. For Latos, the they got a haul including Edinson Volquez, the projected number two starter in the Reds’ rotation at the time, Yonder Alonso, a top prospect, and Yasmani Grandal, another prospect and first-round pick. If the Rays traded Shields and got a deal similar to that of the Padres, they would be set up quite nicely for future success.

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Los Angeles Dodgers: The Logic of Taking on Big Stars and Huge Salaries

Friday August 31st, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:  The Los Angeles Dodgers have gone all out this year, trading for Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton, and four former Red Sox players in one big swap: Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto, and a game-changer in Adrian Gonzalez. Right now, the Dodgers are what one would call “stacked”. They have stars at many of their positions and have added key pieces to their pitching staff. Fans of any team dream of this. But, these acquisitions came with a heavy, heavy cost.

The Dodgers went after underperforming stars that weren’t living up to their large contracts. Hanley Ramirez had failed to rebound like the Marlins expected this year, so the Dodgers got him for a low price on the condition that they would take on the rest of his contract. Money is not too much of an issue for the Dodgers under new ownership, and it is evident. The second—and even more impressive—move that the Dodgers made involved the Red Sox. Carl Crawford had been an absolute bust for Boston. He has not played a full season after signing a major contract two years ago, and recently shut his season down to get Tommy John Surgery. Adrian Gonzalez had a good year for the Red Sox in 2011, but started off this year slowly and didn’t produce the way the Sox hoped. Josh Beckett has also been awful this year, posting over a five ERA.

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2012 Trade Deadline Update #4 7/27: The Dodgers Need More Pitching- Evaluating the Options

Friday July 27th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: After acquiring shortstop/third baseman Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins, the Dodgers got exponentially better. With Hanley, the Dodgers gained an offensive force on the left side of the infield. With two solid pitchers, the Dodgers are good team, but a third would take them to the next level. There are several options out there:

Cliff Lee, Phillies

Signed through 2015, Lee will be a long-term option that could cost a premium. Fortunately for the Dodgers, money isn’t too much of a factor now with the new ownership. The left-handed Lee would fit well possibly as the number-three starter after Chad Billingsley to rotate left/right/left with Clayton Kershaw at the top of the rotation. The Phillies might trade Lee this year due to his out-of-character 1-6 record with a 3.95 ERA.  Signing Cliff Lee could potentially put at risk the ability to re-sign Clayton Kershaw, since Kershaw’s two-year $19 million contract expires after next year. The Dodgers would be busy paying Lee the last three and a half years of his five-year $120 million contract, so Kershaw might have to settle for a little bit less (even with the new ownership) or sign with another team—the last thing the Dodgers would want. Acquiring Cliff Lee will be highly unlikely for this reason, plus the fact that the Phillies might want to hold onto their 2nd/3rd ace. Read the rest of this entry

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