Moving Dozier Needs to Include Creativity
Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY SportsWhile no one knows how close we are to getting (or not getting) to a resolution in these trade talks, you can put me squarely in the camp that believes the Twins shouldn't move Dozier unless they're blown away.
Sorry guys, trading Dozier for Jose De Leon in a 1-for-1 swap isn't blowing the Twins away. And trading Dozier for De Leon and Brock Stewart also isn't enough, in my opinion, to pull the trigger.
So what's going to give?
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Get Another Prospect or Two
The Dodgers reportedly are holding steadfast in that they won't budge from not including other highly-regarded prospects like Yadier Alvarez or Cody Bellinger. But they've shown a "willingness" to include De Leon. A package that includes De Leon and Stewart is a good start. So who else could they look to include?
Willie Calhoun - Calhoun is fashioned as a power-hitting left-handed-hitting second baseman. That might cause you to raise a red flag because that's ultimately Jorge Polanco's home. No problem, though, because Calhoun isn't going to stick at second base. His future is likely in left field, where he'd be limited by his lack of speed and arm, only because a 5' 6" first baseman isn't realistic. I wouldn't love Calhoun to be included, but his bat is an asset and assets are what the Twins need to close the deal.
Jordan Sheffield - Getting another arm would be wise and Sheffield has a pretty powerful one (which includes a remade UCL). The Twins liked Sheffield - but didn't love him - coming out of Vanderbilt and there are questions about whether he profiles as a starter or not. But guys that can hit 98 don't just fall off trees and getting him as a third piece wouldn't be a terrible thing.
Trevor Oaks - Oaks profiles as a groundball pitcher who could be a back end starter/middle relief option. There's nothing sexy about him but adding a (good) Nick Blackburn-type would be an acceptable third piece.
Lottery Tickets - The Dodgers have been very active in international free agency the past few years and maybe the Twins could pry away either Ronny Brito, SS or Starling Heredia, OF. Just 17 and neither having made their US debut yet, both prospects have high ceilings but a long way to go. Brito is a defensive wizard who has questions about his bat. Heredia is a big-bodied power hitter who will end up in a corner.
It might go without saying, though, that if the Dodgers were willing to include any of these guys and the Twins were willing to seal the deal with the inclusion of any of these guy that the deal would already be done.
So now let's get more creative.
International Spending Money - The new CBA revamps how and what teams can spend. Hard caps. Pools are much more even.
For example, the Twins, despite having the #1 overall pick in the draft, get no advantage in the international free agent (IFA) market for being the worst team. Because they receive revenue sharing, they will receive a competitive balance pick and extra IFA money. Every team will have a pool of at least a minimum of $4.75 million. The Twins, who get an extra pick after the first round, will have a pool of $5.25 million. There are eight teams who have pools of $5.75 million. The Dodgers fit in the group that has $4.75 million to spend.
So where am I going with this?
The Dodgers are still stuck with the penalties of going over their spending limit in 2015. They can't sign any player for more than $300,000. Maybe they could send some money to the Twins? The Twins could add up to $3,937,500 to their pool. The Dodgers love to spend money, so maybe they'll just spend it all on $300,000 guys... or maybe they could cough up $1.75 million to the Twins, who would then have $7 million and the ability to throw their weight around in that market as the team with the most money. Rules prohibit pool money from being traded until the market opens on July 2, so it would have to called "future considerations."
Take On Bad Money - The Dodgers will always flirt with the luxury tax threshold. With only 13 players under contract for 2017, they are already at $200 million in commitments. They have eight arbitration-eligible players who are projected to get around $16 million. If the four players who fill out the roster all make the minimum, they're looking at a payroll that is nearly $220 million.
The way the CBA reads, the Dodgers would face a 50% penalty on the overage (the limit is $195 million for the upcoming season) which would cost them $12.5 million. In addition to that, they'd be forced to pay an additional 12% on any dollar over $215 million, which is another $600,000. And that's assuming the Dodgers payroll is only $220 million. It will likely be greater. At $240 million? More penalties. It could almost get to the point where the Dodgers are forced to pay $2 for every $1 they spend over $195 million.
So a team, like the Twins, could take on $10 million dollars and save the Dodgers $20 million. You know what could encourage a team to take on money? More prospects.
How could the Twins take on money, you ask?
Brandon McCarthy - McCarthy has two years at $10 million each left on his contract plus a team option. McCarthy has only made 13 starts in the last two seasons due to having Tommy John surgery. He's only 33 and not too far removed from being a pretty good pitcher.
Erisbel Arruebarrena - The Cuban shortstop is a defensive wizard but has been suspended for much of the last two seasons. He's owed $9 million over the next two years. I'm not interested in adding the player - mostly cause I don't know what his issues are - but I'd take on his money to add another prospect (like Sheffield). The Dodgers, in turn, would save up to nearly $18 million of dead-weight.
Yaisel Sierra - Another Cuban, the right-handed pitcher has been a huge disappointment after signing a six-year, $30 million contract in February. He only lasted on the 40-man until the beginning of July and struggled at both high-A and AA. He's still on the hook for five years and $23 million. But he could still prove to be a serviceable arm. While that money is an albatross for the Dodgers - and costing them nearly $50 million - it could be worth taking on for the Twins... if the Dodgers are willing to throw more in.
Of course, this is all based on the assumption that the Dodgers care about wasting money (and they might not).
Brian Dozier (who's owed $6 million and $9 million for the next two years) for Jose De Leon, Brock Stewart, the contracts of McCarthy or Sierra and Arruebarrena (who are owed $6.5 million and $8.5 million the next two years), Calhoun and/or Sheffield and some IFA money in July would be a creative way to get a deal done.
Is it enough? Is it fair?
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