That didn’t take long at all.
Yesterday, we reported that the Dodgers had made second baseman Dee Gordon available in trade talks. When the club acquired shortstop Jimmy Rollins earlier this today, we speculated that the move seemed to setup a Gordon trade.
Mere hours later, Gordon is reportedly headed to Miami along with right-handed starter Dan Haren and infielder Miguel Rojas. The Dodgers are receiving a quartet of players in return, headlined by left-handed starter Andrew Heaney.
The other three players headed to Los Angeles are utility fielder Enrique “Kike” Hernandez, right-handed starter Chris Hatcher, and catcher Austin Barnes.
I’ve been looking at this trade from a number of angles, but ultimately it appears to be an absolute steal for Los Angeles.
The Dodgers were clearly selling high on Gordon and dumping salary with Haren, but somehow they managed to land a legitimate long-term prospect in Heaney, despite having zero leverage in trade talks.
This was an absolutely brilliant deal by president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.
Gordon, 26, made his first All-Star team in 2014 while hitting .289/.326/.378 on the season. He led all of baseball with 12 triples and 64 stolen bases.
After a hot start, he trailed off considerably as the year progressed and hit just .279/.289/.335 over the season’s final two months.
Prior to 2014, Gordon had hit .256/.301/.312 in 621 at-bats spread over three seasons while playing slightly below-average defense at second base and shortstop.
He is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter and is projected to earn $2.5 million next season. Gordon is team-controlled through 2018, but gained an extra year of arbitration eligibility as a “Super Two” player.
While Gordon seems to be a one-year wonder that the Dodgers sold high on, the other part of the deal headed to Miami, Dan Haren, is a wildcard and that’s setting aside his less-than-stellar performance over the past three seasons.
Haren, 34, said earlier this offseason that he would likely retire if he couldn’t pitch in Los Angeles. It’s currently being reported that the Marlins will receive financial compensation if Haren does choose to retire.
Rojas, 25, can play shortstop, third base, and second base so he brings some versatility, but he’s put up a .238/.305/.297 slash line in nine minor league seasons and posted an equally uninspiring .464 OPS in 149 at-bats with the Dodgers last season. He’s likely viewed as organizational depth.
The Marlins are clearly banking on Gordon to replicate last year’s stats and are hoping Haren is willing to move back east. The Dodgers, however, legitimately hit the jackpot in snagging Heaney for next-to-nothing.
Heaney, 23, was rated the Marlins number one prospect by Baseball America prior to last season. Among all prospects, he was ranked #29 by MLB.com and #30 by both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus.
He was roughed up in seven appearances with the Marlins, but posted an impressive 2.77 ERA, 1.140 WHIP, and 262/68 K/BB in 259.2 innings over three seasons in the minor leagues. The Southpaw figures to be a big part of the Dodgers rotation for a long time.
The other players headed to Los Angeles in the deal all bring potential upside as well, furthering the belief that Miami has already “lost” this trade.
Hernandez, 23, was originally acquired from the Astros in July as part of the Jarred Cosart deal. He made his big league debut this past year hitting .248/.321/.421 in 121 at-bats between Houston and Miami. He could factor into the second base situation in LA, but his versatility allows him to play elsewhere as needed.
Hatcher, 29, had a breakout season in his fourth year in the big leagues posting a 3.38 ERA, 1.196 WHIP, and 60/12 K/BB in 56 innings of work. He figures to be an inexpensive addition to one of baseball’s best paid bullpens.
Barnes, 24, has hit .298/.390/.431 over four minor league seasons and finished up 2014 with a .913 OPS at Double-A. While most of his time is spent behind the plate, he’s proven versatile by playing second and third base as well.
Ultimately, this deal looks like a highway robbery for the Dodgers. The club will save roughly $12.5 million in 2015 by moving Gordon and Haren; and they acquired a top prospect and three very useful pieces in return.
The Dodgers are quickly putting themselves out ahead of the pack in the National League West and it looks like there is plenty more to be done; this trade, coupled with today’s trade for Jimmy Rollins, and rumors surrounding Matt Kemp, Jake Peavy, Cole Hamels, and Chase Utley suggest that the Dodgers are far from done tinkering with this roster.
Expect a flurry of action as Winter Meetings wrap-up on Thursday.