For two days they appeared to be sitting on their hands. On the third day they made the splash. The Los Angeles Dodgers jolted the winter meetings in San Diego by acquiring Jimmy Rollins and cash for a couple of low-level prospects. Rollins is a welcome sight in Dodger land as now the team has a veteran short-stop who is on the down-side of his career but is a nice stop-gap while the Dodgers wait for Corey Seager to claim his rightful place in the six-hole. This is a one year rental to fill a spot of great need and it didn’t cost the Dodgers a high level prospect. Great move. Then, the stunner…..
The Dodgers traded All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon and right-handed veteran pitcher Dan Haren for four prospects. Social media and Twitter were enraged at the announcement of this deal. Dodgers fans were beside themselves in trading a young All-Star who seemed to be a piece that you could build around. Never-mind what the Dodgers might be getting in return, “how could they trade Flash Gordon, they cried?” I will tell you why.
Andrew Heaney people. Andrew Heaney. Sure, not a household name now. But, the best pitching prospect in the Marlins system. A left-handed hurler with a plus-fastball and slider and comes with tremendous upside. If the deal had included Heaney alone it would have probably been good enough for me, but there was more. The Dodgers also received Enrique Hernandez. A 23 year-old outfielder who is versatile enough to catch and could be a key reserve down the road. Chris Hatcher, a 29 year-old right-handed pitcher that immediately can step into the bullpen and give the Dodgers an arm that brings power stuff. Hatcher appeared in 52 games throwing 56 innings and striking out 60 batters. He had an ERA of 3.38 and a WHIP of 1.20.
The fourth player is the guy I am really excited about. 24 year-old Austin Barnes. He is the nephew of former big leaguer Mike Gallego. He is an Arizona State product who hit .304 in High-A an Double-AA with 13 home runs and 57 RBI’s. He also had an OBP of .398. Better yet, he is a catcher. A position of weakness in the Dodgers system.
Heaney is known commodity and should be solid pitcher for years to come. There are some who believe he already will anchor the Dodgers rotation as their 5th starter this season. Even if the three other players do not make it to the big leagues, it gives the Dodgers farm system depth, something that was lacking. The Dodgers have a top-heavy system. Stars on the horizon with Julio Urias, Corey Seager and Joc Pederson, but not a lot of length that they can use as trade bait when they need something. At best this trade gives the Dodgers some farm system depth, and a possible trade chip to land a big-time arm (Hamels.) At worst, it gives the Dodgers length in their system and options. Something the farm has been lacking for several years.
I love the trade and applaud Andrew “Nerd Boy” Friedman on his bold move. Selling high on a marginal player is always a good thing, and the Dodgers got one of the best pitching prospects in baseball for a guy that was a fan favorite, but was limited in how much he could help the Dodgers long-term.