So the Dodgers are shopping for a first baseman, according to Buster Olney. But who is on Ned's shopping list? There's no way to know, of course, but we can speculate. Here's the list that I'll pass along to Mr. Colletti for his consideration based on expected production (given career averages, when healthy, what the hitter can be expected to produce over the course of a full season):
- Adam LaRoche, Nationals - expected production: .265, 25 hrs, 90 rbis - mutual option for $10 million for 2013 season
- Justin Morneau, Twins - expected production: .275, 25 hrs, 100 rbis - free agent after 2013 season
- Bryan LaHair, Cubs - expected production: .280, 22 hrs, 70 rbis - arbitration eligible after 2014 season
- Garrett Jones, Pirates - expected production: .250, 20 hrs, 80 rbis - arbitration eligible after 2012 season
- Ike Davis, Mets - expected production: .260, 20 hrs, 70 rbis - arbitration eligible after 2013
Understand, we are looking for upgrades over James Loney, who's expected production is in the neighborhood of: .280, 13 hrs, 85 rbis but who is heading to free agency after this season. Guys like LaRoche and Morneau have proven to be very consistent hitters in their careers and are approaching free agency in the next year or two. The Twins might find it hard to part with Morneau a year early, but you just never know.
Davis and Jones have shown power and production in the past and are young enough to recapture that. Neither would be a significant upgrade over Loney immediately, but their value could rest in their ability to produce over the next few years. They should be reasonably priced in the trade market. And, for a team like the Dodgers who have more than one hole to fill, could be attractive additions.
LaHair is the real wild card. He's 29 and is just now coming into his own. The Cubs may wish to sell high on him as they're looking to rebuild. With that, he's probably not worth the high price they'll be asking, giving his inconsistencies.