Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Trade Chad Billingsley? How about trading Devaris Gordon?

Last week in a Fangraphs Chat, Dave Cameron gave even-money odds that Chad Billingsley would be traded in the offseason. Before I read that, I hadn't given much thought to trading CBillz. I still don't know if that would be a good idea but it is worth looking into.

Right now, it seems as if Chad Billingsley is pitching almost as well as he did in 2008. He won't reach 200 strikeouts but he also won't walk 80 batters either. He currently ranks 21st in WAR for 2010, tied with the likes of Gavin Floyd and C.J. Wilson at 4.3 WAR. We know how good he is and at age 26, the Dodgers can keep him around for two more arbitration years.

So the question remains: why trade him? He is valuable but he is still cheap. The Dodgers may be short pitching with Ted Lilly and Hiroki Kuroda eligible for free agency. The Dodgers may be able to trade CBillz for a more inexperienced but promising pitching prospect and get an additional prospect from a team. A team like Toronto is stacked with pitching talent and they are serious about unloading Shawn Marcum and possibly another extraneous starter. That is one situation among some others I am sure but, as we know, the market is not cut-and-dry.

I doubt that the Dodgers would be able to get two bona-fide starting pitchers for Billingsley alone. The trading of James McDonald complicates things because, if McDonald is there, they could give him a spot in the rotation that is his to lose (like the Pirates did) and Billingsley could be more readily traded. With the McDivorce Court Show going on, Ned isn't going to be able to do the one thing he does best (handing out big bags of money) this offseason.

A Torre-led team would not have Billingsley as the #2 pitcher but everyone that doubts Billingsley should quit the silliness because it appears that he is coming together as a top-flight starter. I think that the Dodgers will be able to bring either Lilly or Kuroda back but they probably won't be able to afford both. If Billingsley leaves, pitching will be a problem, but the reality is that the Dodgers are lacking some hitting that trading CBillz may provide. That is why trading away McDonald (and Andrew Lambo) for Octavio Dotel was a bad move. Any reliever at that time was a wasted investment.

I say that if the deal seems lopsided in the Dodgers' favor, they need to trade Billingsley. Otherwise, they should hold onto him. That is, unless the Dodgers are going to go into full rebuilding mode. I doubt that will happen.


Now, let's talk about a completely different playerr. Top Dodger prospect Devaris Gordon is wowing scouts with his speed and athleticism as a shortstop for AA Chattanooga but he supposedly hits like Juan Pierre. That kind of hitting is easier to absorb at shortstop than left field but there is more to be desired.

Maybe it is being spoiled with Furcal's hitting ability or higher expectations but I think the Dodgers should have unloaded Gordon at the beginning of the year but I still think that they should consider swapping him for a prospect similar to Gordon in level of maturation and/or raw ability. I guess I just don't value speed but I would like a shortstop to get on base more than 30 to 35% of the time, especially if he leads off.

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