The Dodgers enter the 2023 season with a very different lineup from the one that won them 111 games last season. Okay, very different may be a strong way of putting it considering the lineup still boasts Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith and Max Muncy at the top. However, after that, there are some real changes.
Trea Turner, Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger aren’t going to be in the lineup, and Gavin Lux is out for the season with a torn ACL. So there are going to be a lot of new faces (and some familiar ones) filling in, making out a lineup that still has the potential to be good, but probably not as good as the one that had a run differential of +334, tied for third-best in the MLB since 1900.
One of the biggest areas of concern with this lineup is depth, especially with the loss of Lux. Miguel Rojas was supposed to provide that depth, but he’s now going to play a full-time shortstop role. While his bat has been surprisingly great early in spring, he’s only had two seasons with an OPS+ above 100 (and one of them was in just 40 games in 2020).
So, if the Dodgers wanted to recoup some of that depth by moving Rojas back to a utility role — and adding a new full-time shortstop who’s known for hitting — Joel Reuter of Bleacher Report has just the guy in mind. He thinks the Dodgers should swing a deal with the Chicago White Sox for SS Tim Anderson, and has just the package to get it done.
To LAD: SS Tim Anderson
To CWS: 2B Michael Busch, RHP Landon Knack, OF Jose Ramos, RHP Joel Ibarra
So he has the Dodgers adding a two-time All-Star shortstop in Anderson, and trading four prospects, headlined by the team’s No. 4 overall prospect per MLB Pipeline in Michael Busch. Landon Knack is the team’s No. 20 prospect, while Jose Ramos is No. 23. Joel Ibarra isn’t in the team’s top 30.
Here’s a part of his reasoning:
“Anderson, 29, leads all of baseball with a .318 batting average since the start of 2019, and he was an All-Star for the second time last year despite injuries limiting him to 79 games. He is in the final guaranteed season of his contract, but he also has a $14 million club option for 2024, so he can be more than just a rental.”
Anderson has been stellar over the past two seasons, hitting .306 with 263 hits, 23 home runs and 86 RBIs in just 202 games. He was named in All-Star in both 2021 and 2022, but suffered an injury last year that kept him out for most of August through the end of the season. He knows how to hit the ball, though, sporting an OPS+ above 100 in each of the last four seasons.
As for the package, Busch is by far the headliner, and he’s someone who has tons of potential in this league. However, the Dodgers do have quite the logjam with prospects, and it’s safe to assume at least one of Busch or Andy Pages are going to be moved. In this case, it would be Busch.
If you’re worried about the Dodgers giving up too much in this deal, well, don’t be. According to baseball trade values, this is great value for the Dodgers, as Anderson’s value is 41.9, while the combination of the four Dodger prospects is just 29.9. Busch is the biggest reason for that number, with his value at 23.9.
I don’t see the Dodgers making this trade before Opening Day, as they seem content on giving Rojas a shot as the starting shortstop. But if he starts to struggle, or if any of Chris Taylor, Miguel Vargas or some of the other outfield bats struggle, the team may be tempted to make this win-now move, and solidify the lineup with one of baseball’s most electrifying players.
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