No, seriously. A+. Catcher has been upgraded, shortstop has been upgraded, second base has been upgraded, depth has been added, and essentially all it cost was Matt Kemp and a left-handed pitching prospect named Tom Windle.

I will break down each move individually below, but the main takeaway for Dodger fans should be relief. The joy of having a competent front office is not a feeling Dodger fans have had much recent experience with. But Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi proved their worth in a crazy 12-hour period.

A quick recap:

IN: SS Jimmy Rollins, 2B Howie Kendrick, C Yasmani Grandal, RHP Brandon McCarthy, RHP Joe Wieland, RHP Chris Hatcher, assorted minor leaguers

OUT: 2B Dee Gordon, RF Matt Kemp, RHP Dan Haren, SS Miguel Rojas, LHP Tom Windle, C Tim Federowicz

Got all that? Great, because it gets more confusing. The Phillies trade and the Padres trade are interconnected; according to CSNPhilly.com, the players going to Philadelphia for Rollins are reportedly minor leaguers Tom Windle and Zach Eflin. While that seems simple, Eflin is coming from San Diego in the Kemp trade—which has not actually been finalized yet because physicals are still pending. And each of Kemp (shoulder and hamstring), Wieland (elbow) and Grandal (knee) has significant injury concerns, so the physicals are not a formality.

The Marlin and Angel deals are finalized, so at least there’s no mystery. Additionally, the Brandon McCarthy deal appears to be done as well, according to ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon.

Notes: The following recaps will assume all mentioned trades will be successfully completed. All advanced statistics courtesy of FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.



This trade is the simplest. Per ESPN, the Dodgers traded Dee Gordon, Dan Haren and Miguel Rojas and received LHP Andrew Heaney, RHP Chris Hatcher, IF Enrique Hernandez and C Austin Barnes.

Hatcher has thrown 89.2 career innings in the major leagues, and he has seen mixed success. His 4.82 ERA is uninspiring, but his 3.56 FIP and 3.51 xFIP tell us that he is better than that number. He could very well turn into a competent part of the bullpen.

Barnes and Hernandez are minor leaguers. They are quality organizational depth, and acquiring such players is a skill that former general manager Ned Colletti appeared to lack.

Heaney was subsequently flipped to the Angels.

In terms of the players the Dodgers gave up, Gordon is the only potential loss. Rojas was a competent defense-first backup, but he is replaceable. In fact, Erisbel Arruebarrena is still on the roster, and he can be what Rojas was. Haren was not good last year: He posted a 4.02 ERA despite getting help from a .276 BABIP.

Gordon is the question mark. A more detailed analysis can be found here, but essentially Gordon has half a season of good performance and about 250 games of below-average performance. It’s entirely within the realm of possibility that his first half of 2014 was his real performance and he simply suffered through a slump in August and September. I, however, would bet on his overall career numbers being more indicative of the future than a three-month hot streak.


The Dodgers traded Andrew Heaney to the Angels for Howie Kendrick, per Mark Saxon of ESPN. It is unclear whether or not this was a three-team trade or if the Dodgers had the option to keep Heaney, but regardless, they acquired a significant upgrade at second base.

Howie Kendrick is a legitimately good hitter. Since getting a full-time job in 2009, he has had just one below-average offensive year (a 98 wRC+ in 2010). Additionally, 2010 was also his only negative defensive year. That type of production from a middle-infield spot is extremely valuable.



This tweet from Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly (h/t Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal) started the 12-hour saga, and it signaled the arrival of the Dodgers’ 2015 shortstop. Rollins is not the MVP candidate he was several years ago, but he is still a valuable shortstop. His 103 wRC+ from 2011, 101 from 2012, and and 102 from 2014 demonstrate that he can still hit, and he actually continues to post positive defensive numbers as well.

By far the most amazing part of this trade is that the Dodgers essentially gave up nothing. Zach Eflin was not a member of the Dodger organization before yesterday, and Tom Windle is a lefty from High-A who may end up in the bullpen.


Matt Kemp being traded, as reported by ESPN, is the most controversial deal the Dodgers made yesterday. He is a fan favorite and also the most talented of the potential trade options (Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford), but that talent meant that he was most likely to bring back a significant return. Of course, he is also not a guarantee to continue to perform.

The optimism surrounding him is related to his second half. After the All-Star break last season, Kemp posted a 170 wRC+, which would have been the best mark in the league if he had continued it for the whole year. The problem, however, is that there’s no guarantee that Kemp would be that good in the future. In fact, he’d probably be closer to his career mark of 128.

Additionally, though, none of this analysis factors in age, defense or contract. Kemp is already 30 years old and thus past his peak, so his performance is likely to decline as he gets older. His defense is bad: He has been a positive defender just once in his career (2009), and the last two years are two of his worst years. Plus, as he moves to right field, he will lose any value he gained simply from being in center field.

Finally, his contract status cannot be ignored. He was owed over $100 million over the next five years, so even with the $32 million the Dodgers are sending to San Diego, the Dodgers make immense savings (about $70 million).

The players the Dodgers are receiving are not scrubs, either. Wieland does not have much of a major league track record, but he has a career 3.27 minor league ERA.

Grandal, though, is the centerpiece. The switch-hitting catcher will likely split time with AJ Ellis, but he is probably a better player. He has put up a wRC+ over 100 (league average) each season, and his career mark is 119. This compares favorably to AJ Ellis’ mark of 98. His defense is also an improvement, though. It surely has not escaped this front office’s attention that Ellis ranked 99th out of 100 eligible catchers in pitch framing last year, while Grandal ranked 13th.


Brandon McCarthy

A free agent, McCarthy signed a four-year, $48 million contract, per Mark Saxon of ESPN. He has actually been quite good over the course of his career—as long as he can stay healthy, that is. He has not posted a FIP over 4.00 since 2009, and he has posted the best strikeout-to-walk ratios of his career over those same last four years. The problem, though, is that 2014 was the only year of his career that he made more than 25 starts.

McCarthy represents a significant upgrade over Dan Haren, whom he is likely replacing. He is also a health risk, but when he’s on the mound, he’s a competent back-of-the-rotation starter.

Thus, overall, the Dodgers’ winter meetings cannot be deemed anything but a massive success. They upgraded at three different positions and added some minor league depth while shedding roughly $70 million of payroll obligations for the next five years.


Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs.

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