The Dodgers need starting pitching. Last night a report came out that they’re willing to deal Yasiel Puig in the right deal. Later Ken Rosenthal reported that they’re discussing Alex Guerrero in possible trades.
The loss of both players could solve some problems for the Dodgers, separate and apart from whatever problems the players they’d get in return might solve. In dealing Puig, L.A. could (a) get nice talent given his value; and (b) rid themselves of a guy who aggravates certain segments of their clubhouse. Guerrero is a different kind of square peg in that he really doesn’t have a solid defensive position and his contract is such that he can refuse minor league assignments and the like.
Of course, like Puig, Guerrero has considerable upside too. Though he has cooled off considerably, his bat has pop and the tear he went on earlier this year may make some suitor think, if they squint just right, a player could be made out of this project. And while his defense is dreadful, he can, in theory, play any number of positions making someone possibly see him as a corner guy or a super sub. There’s at least something to work with there.
Either way, one of the hallmarks of the new Dodgers regime was cutting bait on guys who were playing out of position like Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp and trying to get a more conventional baseball team on the field for lack of a better term. Getting rid of the defensively challenged Guerrero and putting an end to the Puig drama, such as it is, would be in line with that. If it solved a glaring weakness — the rotation after Greinke and Kershaw — it could be worthwhile.
The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli reports that the Nationals will pay their minor leaguers $300 per week through the end of June. MLB agreed to pay all minor leaguers $400 per week through today, May 31. Many teams have extended that by at least a month. Some, like the Marlins, Padres, and Mariners, have committed to paying their minor leaguers beyond that.
Ghiroli also notes that the Nationals cut more than 30 minor leaguers, as there will almost certainly not be a minor league season this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is interesting that the Nationals are only offering $300 per week as opposed to the standard $400 weekly. If we assume that the Nationals’ organization has 275 minor leaguers, they will save $110,000 in August by offering $100 less. The Nationals are coming off of winning a championship. While the Nationals haven’t experienced as much of a boon as other champions due to the unfortunate timing, their owner still has a net worth north of $4 billion. The Nats’ franchise value is approximately $2 billion, per Forbes. No, it’s not all liquid, but $110,000 is change that gets lost between the couch cushions for this and many other franchises.
Players are taking note of which teams take care of their players and other personnel, and which are not. The teams that continued to pay minor leaguers, kept staff paid and on board, and helped in other ways will have a better time going forward of attracting and retaining talent both in terms of players and front office personnel (including scouts). While teams should pay their players out of a sense of morality, there is a competitive advantage to doing so as well.