Money Matters

Possible Exit Strategies For Dodgers With Adrian Gonzalez

(Source: www.forbes.com)

With the general managers meetings underway in Phoenix today, I can promise you one thing: Farhan Zaidi is not coming home with Giancarlo Stanton.

The Dodgers’ GM is returning to Los Angeles with his extraneous first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, however, because there’s little to be done about the situation in the second week of November.

For now, L.A. is stuck with the former All-Star player, once beloved but who disappointed many in the organization with his choice to leave the club during the postseason, and who may have seen his last days as a productive National League player. And in case you missed it, one who has been replaced in the starting lineup by this year’s NL Rookie of the Year award winner, Cody Bellinger.

Sure, Andrew Friedman said in last week’s press conference that he expects Gonzalez to report to Camelback Ranch for spring training “strong and healthy,” but what else was he going to say? “Nah, he’s done, we’re done with him, and we’re going to move on any way we can”?

The way I see it there are three exit strategy possibilities for Friedman and Zaidi to ponder between this afternoon and Opening Day next year.

1. AGon stays. You wouldn’t expect a team with a more outfielders than it knows what to do with to have an early-season need to employ Bellinger in left field, but it happened in 2017 with Andre Ethier, Franklin Gutierrez and Andrew Toles injured and unable to play.

If a number of outfielders were to go down for the count in February, however, and if Gonzalez were to recover from his debilitating back problems during the winter, and if he was absolutely ripping the baseball in camp and in some early spring games, then I suppose it’s possible.

Likelihood: Don’t count on it.

2. Traded. Well, if the above scenario were to occur, with  Gonzalez coming in to camp refreshed and ready to play, that would be incredibly helpful to all concerned. But he has to lift the baseball. The little singles beyond the reach of the second baseman will not do. An OPS some 200 points below his career .847 will not do.

If Gonzalez is hitting with authority in exhibition play — and yes, I realize it’s just pretend games we’re talking about here — he is movable. Some team will have a need, and if the Dodgers pick up enough of the $22,357,000 salary for 2018, a trade is a possibility.

With Eric Hosmer and Carlos Santana testing free agency as we speak, there may be vacancies at first base in Kansas City and Cleveland. Same deal with Logan Morrison, Mike Napoli, Mark Reytnolds and Lucas Duda, with the Rays, Rangers, Rockies and Mets, respectively.

The A’s traded Yonder Alonso last summer and rookie left-hand hitting Matt Olson proved capable with a .259/.352/.651, 24 home run mark, primarily in the second half. Oakland also has first baseman/designated hitter RHB Ryon Healy, who managed a .271/.302/.451 line, with 25 bombs, but put up only a .287 on base percentage versus right-handers.

Both are young players, the type you’d expect the A’s to want to play regularly, but who could be prone to long slumps after a promising start (a la Joc Pederson). An extra bat at the right price — especially one who can DH, hit right righties and play a little first base — and it’s not all that difficult to see happen.

Billy Beane loves to deal, and he really loves taking a flyer on a player he can flip to a desperate club mid-season for prospects. If L.A. were to cover $15 or 16 million, leaving Oakland on the hook for only 6 or 7 mil, with a fair portion of that amount unloaded elsewhere at the trade deadline … well, I’m grasping at straws, but it could happen.

Likelihood: A lot of ifs there, certainly, but it’s possible.

3. DFA: In a perfect world, AGon recovers miraculously from his wounds, a trade becomes tenable after an inspiring December of winter ball with Charros de Jalisco of the Mexican Pacific League, and the 35-year-old Dodger is dealt by the end of the calendar year.

Alas the world isn’t perfect, and while the club may prefer closure sooner rather than later, Gonzalez is probably going to get another chance with Los Angeles. He’ll no doubt be given a fresh start following the postseason controversy, he’ll get a chance to show that he can produce in Spring Training, with a happily-ever-after ending within the realm. But that’s a lot of moving parts, and if the Dodgers have to eat the entire $22 mil to move on from the player, they will.

Likelihood: Probably.

Notes:

1. South of the border baseball. The Dodgers will play Padres in a series of regular season ball in Monterrey, Mexico in May. Who knows, maybe they’ll get to visit with new Friar Adrian Gonzalez during the trip.

2. AA. Alex Anthopoulos has left the Dodgers’ front office to become the new GM in Atlanta.

3. Who goofed? And what’s wrong with this picture?

This week is the official #BBWAA awards starting tonight where Aaron Judge of the #Yankees and Clay Bellinger of the #Dodgers will be honored as the AL and NL Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year

— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 13, 2017

4. Noogies. Tweet of the week.

Best use of Starting Lineup figures ever. pic.twitter.com/m1yOUWNi6h

— Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports) November 12, 2017

And remember, glove conquers all.

More Info: www.forbes.com

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