Chase Utley to the Dodgers trade speculation + Ricky Nolasco & Matt Garza updates

ChaseUtley

Chase Utley is a name being thrown around internally by the Dodgers, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Not much to substantiate it other than his sources, but it feels like this rumor was inevitable.

From 2005-09, Utley put up a line of .301/.388/.535/.922. Add plus-plus defense at second base to that equation and you have a potential future Hall Of Famer. Unfortunately, over the last three years, injuries have taken their toll, and he’s hit .264/.367/.433/.800 with merely plus defense. Still a well above-avearge player, but nothing like the 6-8 WAR monster he once was.

2013, then, appears to be a bit of a resurgence for Utley at age 34. Posting a .284/.348/.517/.866 line while carrying the same plus defensive profile, he would be a significant upgrade over Mark Ellis at second base, and would immediately slot into the middle of the order.

Utley makes $15 million this year and will be a free agent after the season is through, but if there’s a type of player to give up significant assets to acquire as a rental, it’s All-Star talent like him.

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On the Ricky Nolasco front, both Buster Olney of ESPN and Heyman report that the Dodgers are in talks with the Marlins.

Ideally, the Marlins want a “good prospect” and “all the money gone” in exchange for Nolasco, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports.

The Marlins, according to one rival executive, want a “good” prospect for Nolasco and “all the money gone.” In other words, they want their trade partner to absorb the approximately $6 million remaining on Nolasco’s contract.

That said, a report by Heyman today suggests that it might be an either/or choice for the Marlins, as the Dodgers appear willing to eat salary but not trade the prospects, while other teams (including the Orioles/Giants/Rangers/Rockies) are more willing to trade an appealing prospect but not eat all the money.

The Dodgers have been considered a favorite since they might be willing to absorb the $5.75 million remaining on Nolasco’s $11.5-million 2013 salary, but the source suggested late Monday afternoon that there’s no deal currently on the table from anyone who is tempting enough to take. But that could change “in a half an hour,” the person warned.

As I said when I looked at his potential acquisition in depth, the advantages of getting Nolasco are that it prevents competitors from obtaining him and it allows the Dodgers to have depth in their rotation. Obviously those aren’t absolute needs, so surrendering a significant asset for him is less than optimal.

Fortunately, the Dodgers seem to be playing their cards right so far, focusing on salary relief and their desire to keep their own farm system in tact.

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Matt Garza talks figure to heat up soon, as teams have been out in droves watching his recent starts, according to Carrie Muskat of Cubs.com. Heyman echos that sentiment, and names the Dodgers among the potential players.

The Orioles, Rangers, Giants, Padres and Dodgers are all said by sources to have varying degrees of interest in acquiring Garza, with the Blue Jays, Red Sox (though they seem more focused on bullpen help at the moment) and several other teams seen as possible destinations for the 29-year-old.

His performance versus his reputation, in addition to his potential cost, are reason enough to shy away, but Paul Swydan of FanGraphs adds injury concerns to the mix.

On December 28, Garza guaranteed that he’d be ready for opening day. Then the problems started. On February 17, he was removed from his first live batting practice session after holding onto his left side. The next day the story was that it was a mild lat strain, but Garza didn’t think it would be “a big thing.” A few days later, Garza was still confident that he’d be ready for opening day. That confidence lasted just six days, when he reported that he might start the season on the disabled list. Then he had a flare up a few days later, and it was decided he would definitely land on the DL for the season’s start. He wouldn’t throw off a mound again until April. Then after being rained out of a rehab start, he was scratched from the next, with the proverbial “dead arm.” He would finally make his first rehab start of the season, or start of any kind really, on May 1. He sparkled in his four minor league starts, allowing just two runs over 15.1 innings, but the main takeaway here is how long it took him to get back on the mound.

That means if he was on the Dodgers, he would trip over the mound and be out for the year.

About Chad Moriyama

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