On Sunday, Fox Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal reported
the Indians and Dodgers are in discussions to pull off a blockbuster trade.
The report has the Tribe sending undoubtedly their two best players, Victor Martinez and Cliff Lee, to the Dodgers for first basemen James Loney, one of their young starting pitchers — either all-star Chad Billingsley or 21-year-old Clayton Kershaw — and a handful of top notch prospects.
I know what you are thinking: Here we go again.
I, however, would pull the trigger on this trade faster than you can say “Cliff Lee is going to New York anyway in 2010 so the faster we pull the trigger on this thing, the easier it will be to accept the facts.”
Yes Lee is an elite pitcher and V-Mart is one of the better all around hitters this town has seen in the past decade, as well as an excellent leader, but the truth of the matter is both become free agents following the 2010 season and Cliff Lee has one foot out of the door and both will be two of the most attractive free agents after next season.
I’ve seen this movie before.
The Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers will offer big contracts and the Indians will counter with an insulting offer.
Because the two aren’t free agents after this season, their trade value is even higher as opposed to shipping them out next season, when they’d probably only land a prospect or two as the receiving team will likely only be renting their services for a few months.
Here the Indians would not only be getting major league talent, but one of the better young pitchers in baseball.
Whether it be Billingsley or Kershaw, the Indians are landing a top notch pitcher who they can build their rotation around for years to come (and then ship them out or let them walk when they become free agents in 4 or 5 years. Yes, this is a recurring cycle that will never end. Deal with it.)
Kershaw is only 8-5 for the Dodgers, but his ERA stands at an impressive 2.96 and he has 110 strikeouts in 112 innings.
Billingsley is 10-5 with a 3.72 ERA with 126 strikeouts in 133 innings. He is 25.
Kershaw is a lefty, Billingsley is a righty.
The rumored deal would also include the Dodgers no. 1 overall prospect, OF Andrew Lambo and starting first baseman Loney who is batting .285 with seven homers and 62 RBIs.
The 25-year-old Loney, although a solid ball player, is the least attractive part of this deal.
As Rosenthal’s article suggests, both teams are denying the suggested rumors but that is standard. No team executive would publicly say they are shopping their players or in talks to deal them unless bridges are already burned.
The Dodgers are also heavily pursuing Blue Jay’s stud Roy Halladay, but if Toronto refuses to part ways with him which is seeming more and more likely, expect the Dodgers, as well as many other teams, to go very hard for Lee.
If Lee and Martinez are traded, which is inevitable within the next year, no one should be surprised. This is the way it works here, but at least the Tribe would be landing some major-league talent as opposed to past trades where we were just receiving prospects that takes years to bloom.