Gammons: Dodgers Were Close on Luke Hochevar

August 8, 2013 at 11:02 am | Posted in Luke Hochevar | Leave a comment

The trade deadline this year passed without a whole lot of activity, unless you were incredibly excited over the acquisition of Drew Butera, in which case: thanks for reading, Mrs. Butera. At the time, I noted that the Dodgers appeared to have been working on something else that didn’t work out, with Ned Colletti appearing on MLB Network to say there was “one other thing in the fire at the deadline that didn’t come through.”

We’ll likely never know exactly what the specifics were, but Peter Gammons pops up today with this tidbit:

As it turns out, the Dodgers went right down to the trading deadline trying to add parts for a world series run. L.A. sources say they were working on deals with the Angels and Royals for Luke Hochevar and Howie Kendrick and were willing to trade pitchers Zach Lee, Chris Reed and Chris Withrow. It unraveled minutes from the deadline.

We’d heard about rumored interest in Kendrick and in fact discussed it earlier that day, deciding that Kendrick was a solid player who would be an upgrade on Mark Ellis, but probably not someone worth emptying out the system for.

Hochevar’s a new name, at least in terms of present interest, because he’s more infamously known as the player the Dodgers drafted and failed to sign with the 40th pick in the 2005 draft. Hochevar then went #1 overall to Kansas City in 2006, which arguably meant that Clayton Kershaw was still available for the Dodgers to take at #7. Thanks, Luke!

Anyway, Hochevar has been hilariously awful for the Royals, compiling 758.1 innings of 5.44 ERA (4.44 FIP). That ERA is only the third-worst in baseball history dating back to 1900, so there’s that. (The two guys worse than him with a minimum 750 innings, Kyle Davies and Scott Elarton, were both on the Royals within the last six years. Royals going to Royal, I guess.)

For some reason, the Royals never non-tendered him, and to his credit he’s turned into an effective reliever this year, adding nearly three MPH to his fastball and putting up a 1.93 ERA (3.23 FIP) in 43.2 innings. So sure, I’d have taken him in the bullpen ahead of Carlos Marmol or Brandon League — not that League was going anywhere — but I can’t say I would have cared enough to give up anyone this team might ever miss. Reed for Hochevar? Sure, why not, though I don’t really like Reed all that much. (Obviously, the price would have been rightfully higher for Kendrick.)

Again, we’ll likely never know the true details here, but after years of uneven deadline deals on this team, I’m pretty happy they they didn’t make a move for the sake of making one. I imagine most of you feel that way too.

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