Creative Dodgers Blowing Up MLB Trade Deadline

The Los Angeles Dodgers have been busy this deadline, reportedly landing a slew of pitchers in a recent three-team deal. Are they done, or is this just one step in a grander scheme?

I have a question for all you baseball fans out there: What in the world just happened?

All indications pointed to the Los Angeles Dodgers picking up right hander Mat Latos and struggling slugger Mike Morse from the Miami Marlins in exchange for three lower-tier pitching prospects. Then, the Braves jumped in and it suddenly became a three-team deal, involving prized Braves prospect Jose Peraza, talented lefty Alex Wood and resurgent reliever Jim Johnson.

Then it was off. Then it was on. Then there were medical issues. So it was off. But now it’s back on?

Sounds like my first relationship.

Basically, nobody knows what’s going on. Throw this on top of the Carlos Gomez-to-Mets deal that happened, then didn’t, Justin Upton Tyson Ross Matt Kemp being pulled from the Padres game, and Cole Hamels allegedly finally moving to Texas, and my Twitter timeline was in an irreparable state of disarray.

The dust still hasn’t settled. It hangs, rather, blinding the beat writers and rumor mongers who are trying to locate survivors among the carnage.

Such is life at the MLB Trade Deadline.

April 29, 2015   Miami Marlins starting pitcher Mat Latos (35)  during a game between the Miami Marlins and the New York Mets at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida.  Mets deleted the Marlins 3 to 1.   Mandatory Credit to ICON/JCSalas

Latos is reportedly headed to Los Angeles in a massive three-team deal.

(For a dizzying, yet thorough and satisfying look at the potential deal, check out MLBTradeRumors.com’s breakdown here. Fantastic as always.)

As for the Dodgers, all we think we know is that they are trying to pick up a glut of pitchers for a mostly unrecognizable haul of minor league players and that they might turn players from that group into a sales pitch for Tigers’ ace David Price.

It had been rumored all along that the Dodgers’ top target was Price, because they believe they can get him to sign an extension in Los Angeles. Price, a 29-year-old free agent after this season, will command top dollar and a long queue of suitors willing to pay.

Of course, the Dodgers hold a financial edge over the rest of the league, and it doesn’t hurt that Price’s old boss now runs the show at Chavez Ravine (his other old boss has commandeered the Cubs’ dugout, and they’ll likely be aggressively pursuing Price in the off-season).

With Hamels (probably) off the table, are the Dodgers actually going to take that front office brain power, endless stream of money and well-stocked farm system and turn their attention to Price? Will they seal the deal with the Braves and the Marlins and send, as reported, Paco Rodriguez, Hector Olivera and three pitching prospects away for Morse (who would likely be DFA’d, a casualty of a salary dump by two teams in one trade), Latos, Wood, Peraza, Johnson and lefty reliever Luis Avilan?

If so, how long will any of those guys be around? We’ve already seen Andrew Friedman work every angle to flip players for prospects for other players for other prospects and he’s happy to throw around dead money while doing it. So, is it possible that he takes Wood or Latos and Peraza and makes them the headliner of a swap to Detroit for Price?

Is it truly possible that Friedman and his merry band of geniuses could essentially turn a 30-year-old minor league infielder (Olivera, who does get rave reviews from scouts and was a top target of the Braves in the past), a good but inconsistent reliever coming off elbow surgery (Rodriguez) and three lightly regarded, low-level pitching prospects into two MLB-ready relievers, a good starter and a David Price?

Goodness me.

April 6, 2015: Detroit Tigers starting pitcher David Price (14) tips his cap to the crowd as he's taken out of the game with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning during the Opening Day game on Monday afternoon, Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan.

Could all of the Dodgers’ moves just be part of a grander scheme?

It could certainly happen. If the rumors are to be taken seriously, the Dodgers want Price. They’ve gotten creative to land players they wanted before (Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick this winter, for example), and they may just do it again.

The real question is, are they actually in a better position just keeping what they’re potentially receiving in the three-team deal?

No doubt Price is a catch, especially if you can re-sign him long-term after the season. Especially especially if Zack Greinke opts out and signs elsewhere.

But Wood is a very solid left-handed pitcher under control through 2019. Latos looks like his old, dominant self after coming off a DL stint. Peraza, though not as coveted as he was a few years ago, is still a 21-year-old highly touted infield prospect with plus speed and impressive numbers at Triple-A. Johnson and Avilan can help settle a very inconsistent Dodger bullpen.

Lining up Clayton Kershaw, Greinke, Price, Latos/Wood and Brett Anderson would have opposing teams on their knees weeping.

Similarly, lining up Kershaw, Greinke, Latos, Wood and Anderson would have opposing teams’ at least choking back the tears.

Adding big talent to a system that already produced an All-Star rookie center fielder and has two of the top four minor league prospects in all of baseball would be considered highway robbery. Buying that big talent and then moving it immediately to the Tigers for a former Cy Young winner going into his prime doesn’t sound so bad either.

It seems that no matter the final score, Friedman and Farhan Zaidi will have vastly improved the Dodgers’ rotation and bullpen for the stretch run at minimal cost (translation: without dealing top prospects Corey Seager or Julio Urias).

It’s just a matter of whether they want the biggest fish available, or the whole ocean.

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