The Dodgers just don’t know how to stop, do they? First it was Hanley Ramirez, next up Shane Victorino, then Brandon League, and now Adrain Gonzalez. Oh, and Carl Crawford and the lovable (not) Josh Beckett could join that lengthy list as well. Gonzalez, though, will be the biggest upgrade should this trade be completed.
For one, James Loney will say his good byes. For two, Gonzalez’s name mustered in between Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier just looks good. Forget the stats. That lethal 1-2-3 punch has few flaws when that trio is clicking. The stats can prove that point, too.
James Loney, who was scratched from the Dodgers’ starting lineup on Friday, has been the primary option at first base this season for Los Angeles. Juan Rivera has sprinkled in a few starts, and he hasn’t stood out, either. So the numbers being produced for that position are bleak. Dodgers’ first baseman have posted .641 OPS, the lowest mark out of any position on the team. Except, of course, the pitchers spot.
Loney, specifically, has exactly a WAR of zero. Yes, zero. After compiling a .389 WOBA is 2007, he had high expectation to live up to. Now, he’s nothing but mediocre. His downward spiral stems back to about 2009.
Granted, Gonzalez hasn’t had the greatest offensive season, but his WAR checks in at 2.7, a vast improvement over Loney. Considering his track record, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him take off in LA. Because before this season, he averaged a 5.8 WAR for three straight years. In all reality, Boston just hasn’t been a great fit for Gonzalez, and for that matter, anything to do with Boston hasn’t been a great fit.
So simply, Gonzalez would be a huge upgrade over the Dodgers’ current culprits. Additionally, he would be an upgrade defensively at first base. James Loney usually only started at first base because of his above average defensive. Gonzalez, whose UZR/150 at first base is 14, would be an upgrade over Loney’s UZR/150 of 5.
Forget the other pieces in the deal and the massive amounts of money that’s involved. Gonzalez is a building block for the future. He’s signed through 2018, and he’s still in his prime at the age of 30. And the Dodgers have needed a first baseman all along. They weren’t going to let that hole in the infield exist for much longer. Management was either going fill the hole in the offseason, or in the season. They chose the latter. When the trade gets announced, the Dodgers will have officially upgraded every position that needed a repair. First, it was third base (Ramirez). Next, it was left field (Victorino). The only glaring hole was first base, and Gonzalez will be that first baseman for years to come.