Joc Pederson

Why Giants would be at big disadvantage in NL West with new DH rule

Why Giants would be at big disadvantage in NL West with new DH rule

The Giants didn't plan to have a designated hitter in 2020, but now that the rule change is all but assured for a shortened season, they're actually in pretty decent shape

The obvious solution is shifting Hunter Pence and Alex Dickerson into that spot on a regular basis, as they were set to split time anyway in an effort to keep both veteran outfielders healthy. The addition of the DH also would open at-bats for Pablo Sandoval, who should be 100 percent healthy if the sport resumes in July, clearing a bit of the infield logjam created by the additions of Yolmer Sanchez and Wilmer Flores. 

Buster Posey would surely soak up plenty of DH at-bats, and it's possible the rule change could lead to Joey Bart making the "Opening Day" roster. With his power, Bart could even be an option to DH at times if the Giants don't feel the glove is ready. 

A DH would help the Giants score more runs in 2020, but will it actually help them win more games? They would be at a disadvantage against AL teams that were planning for this all along, and it's possible that adding one more hitter would actually widen the gap in the NL West. 

FanGraphs took a look at rosters recently and determined the Giants would be right near the bottom of the NL in terms of gains from a universal DH. Here's how we think they would stack up against the rest of the division:

Los Angeles Dodgers

The good news is a shortened season would give some hope to the rest of the teams in the division, who would have no chance of keeping up with the Dodgers' depth over 162 games. The bad news is that a universal DH gives some of that edge right back. 

The Dodgers could move Joc Pederson, who hit 36 homers last year, to DH and still have an outfield of Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger and A.J. Pollock. Or could give most of the DH at-bats to Max Muncy and still have an infield of Bellinger, Gavin Lux, Corey Seager and Justin Turner. They could give Turner, 35, additional rest and replace him with Chris Taylor or Kiké Hernandez. They could use the DH to keep Betts or Bellinger in the lineup for both ends of a doubleheader. 

The Dodgers being the Dodgers, they will do all of these things. Any way you slice it, this helps them. They have the most talented lineup in the league, and they might benefit more than anyone from having an additional hitter. 

Colorado Rockies

They're pretty similar to the Giants, in that a DH could best be used getting older players off their feet. First baseman Daniel Murphy certainly could use a bat-only role, and 33-year-old outfielder Charlie Blackmon would benefit, along with 34-year-old Ian Desmond. 

The Rockies could fill the ensuing hole at first by moving Ryan McMahon, who hit 24 homers last year, around the infield, allowing extra time for Brendan Rodgers, a 23-year-old infielder who is one of the top 30 prospects in the game. 

This is where you might see the biggest impact in the standings. The Giants finished ahead of the Rockies last year and expected to do so again, but the DH certainly helps the Rockies more than most NL clubs. 

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San Diego Padres

They've spent years trying to figure out what to do with Wil Myers, and this could solve that problem. The Padres would also be able to hide Jurickson Profar's glove at times, and there are certainly nights when they would be better off using Francisco Mejia at DH and letting the other catcher, Austin Hedges, handle the young staff. 

The Padres have a weird glut of outfielders who are talented but not stars, and the DH would probably benefit that group quite a bit, particularly Josh Naylor, a good young hitter who has struggled defensively. Newcomer Tommy Pham was the designated hitter 21 times last season in Tampa Bay. 

Overall, the Padres definitely would have an edge over the Giants in a game with a DH. 

Arizona Diamondbacks

The answer here is simple:

OK, OK, the Diamondbacks probably won't do that. Bumgarner hit just .127 last year with two homers, but you can bet he'll convince Torey Lovullo to give him at least one day as the DH. Perhaps even against the team that let him go to a division rival ...

The Diamondbacks have a strong all-around roster, one that should compete for a postseason spot under any rules, but they won't hugely benefit from a DH. Jake Lamb seems to be the best solution, and perhaps being a DH would allow him to stay healthy and get back to his 2017 (30 homers, .844 OPS) ways.

[RELATED: Five Giants prospects who had underrated seasons]

The Diamondbacks might actually be hurt by this more than any NL West team. They were hoping to chase down the Dodgers, and giving the Dodgers a DH while also taking away the advantage Bumgarner had over other pitchers certainly favors Los Angeles.

Why A's should be seen as big winners of revised Mookie Betts trade


Why A's should be seen as big winners of revised Mookie Betts trade

The A's likely were big fans of the original trade that would have sent outfielder Mookie Betts and pitcher David Price from the Boston Red Sox to the Los Angeles Dodgers. They're likely even bigger fans of the adjusted trade that reportedly was agreed to Sunday.

The main structure of the trade remains unchanged, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. Betts and Price still are going to the Dodgers, while outfield prospect Alex Verdugo is the main piece going back to the Red Sox.

Since 2015, Betts' first full season in the majors, these are his finishes in the AL MVP voting: 19th, second, sixth, first and, most recently, eighth. Him departing the league for the NL can't be seen as anything other than a major positive for Oakland.

But hold on. It gets better.

As part of the original trade, the Dodgers also had reportedly agreed to trade outfielder Joc Pederson to the Los Angeles Angels in a salary dump. But for whatever reason, The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported Sunday that the trade between the Dodgers and Angels now is off, citing sources.

Pederson is coming off a season in which he slashed .249/.339/.538 and hit a career-high 36 home runs to go with 74 RBI. That's a power bat that would have likely played a prominent role for a divisional rival, who now ... won't. It's always possible the two Los Angeles teams could come back to the bargaining table, but at least for the time being, it appears the A's lucked out.

[RELATED: Olson Q&A: A's star talks exit velocity, favorite actor, more]

Unless you're worried about a few good prospects on a team that just agreed to trade away one of the best baseball players on the planet, it's difficult not to view the results of Betts trade as a tremendous development for Oakland.

How A's look following Mookie Betts, Dodgers-Red Sox blockbuster trade

How A's look following Mookie Betts, Dodgers-Red Sox blockbuster trade

The two-team MLB blockbuster trade turned into three. 

We knew a Mookie Betts acquisition would happen eventually, and that's exactly what occurred on Tuesday when the Boston Red Sox reportedly sent the 2018 AL MVP and pitcher David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers in part of a blockbuster deal that included the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Angels:

Additionally, Joc Pederson reportedly will be heading to the Angels in the trade along with pitcher Ross Stripling. The Dodgers will acquire second baseman Luis Rengifo. 

Now that you're up to speed, what does this mean for the A's?

Well, not a lot on the surface. But the reloading Angels shouldn't be ignored.

A's manager Bob Melvin spoke to NBC Sports California earlier in the offseason and mentioned how the Angels will be one of the most improved teams in the league. This was back when the team acquired All-Star third baseman, Anthony Rendon.

Pederson is coming off of a 36-homer season with the Dodgers, and despite a slight uptick in power over the last few seasons, this isn't a game-changer for when the A's face their AL West foes. It may even benefit the Green and Gold, as Peterson struggles against lefties, with a career .188 average.

The Angels needed to take over the empty spot in right field after Kole Calhoun's departure for the Diamondbacks. Pederson's average ISO is higher than Kalhoun, so with the addition of Mike Trout and Justin Upton, the Angels could gain an advantage from the extra raw power boost.

The Halos also needed pitching, so the addition of Stripling is a good one to add to the back part of the rotation. 

The 30-year-old earned an All-Star selection in 2018 when he boasted a 3.02 ERA, 1.189 WHIP with 136 strikeouts in 122 innings with the Dodgers. 

The Angels now have five starting pitchers in addition to two-way player Shohei Ohtani, who will be added into the mix on the bump at a limited amount once he's cleared from Tommy John rehab.

Los Angeles surely will make things interesting in the AL West, but regardless, the Astros remain the A's biggest competition yet again in the division.

Meanwhile, the Twins, another playoff team the A's could face down the line, weren't at the focal point of the Betts trade but they added to their pitching staff as well.

Maeda will bolster the Twins' starting rotation immediately. Despite getting rid of pitcher Brusdar Grateral, one of the league's top 100 prospects, this appears to be more of an acquisition that would help the Twins immediately rather than waiting for the 21-year-old to flourish in his reliever role.

Maeda boasted a 4.04 ERA with 169 strikeouts in 153 2/3 innings with the Dodgers last season.

The A's open their 2020 season against the Twins, who signed former Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson to a four-year, $92 million contract in late January.

[RELATED: BoMel excited to see young catchers this season]

As far as how the Red Sox did in the trade, losing Betts is a major blow. And Boston also needs to find a way to fill the spot left by Price in the rotation.

The only strong weapons the team has left to rely on are the offensive talents of J.D. Martinez, Rafael Devers, Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts.

But that's about it. The Dodgers got a great one.