No Longer Just a Wild Horse – A Wild Card!

A lot has been written about Yasiel Puig’s alleged “Knuckleheadedness” – I confess… lots of it by me.  I have been the first to say that he has enormous talent, but his

Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

knuckleheaded ways may keep him from realizing his potential.  If I could trade him straight up for Ryan Braun, I would probably do it (shoot, I’d probably trade Calhoun and Puig for Braun), because with that right handed-bat in our lineup, we would be World Series Bound.  Imagine this:

  1. Forsythe  2B
  2. Seager  SS
  3. Braun  LF
  4. Turner  3B
  5. Gonzo  1B
  6. Grandal  C
  7. Pederson  CF
  8. Toles/Thompson RF  (I’ll call them Toles n Thompson or “TNT”)

The thing is, Milwaukee would have to pay some of Braun salary or take Ethir or Gonzo and they won;t do that and Andre would not waive his no-trade clause in that deal. So, it’s back to reality and when one looks at what has happened to Yasiel Puig since his demotion to OKC last season, it seems at least possible that maybe, just maybe, Yasiel is trying to put his knuckleheadedness behind him.  2015 and 2016 were rough years for the Wild Horse, but if you look back to 2013 and 2014, you can at least have some real hope.

Look at his stats:

  • 2013 – .319 BA/.391 OB%/.925 OPS
  • 2014 – .296 BA/.382 OB%/.863 OPS

You know, I would take that, but I have a feeling that if he is really serious about baseball and his team, he can do even better.  Wouldn’t that be something?  As good as the lineup with Braun was, this one may be even better:

  1. Forsythe  2B
  2. Puig  RF
  3. Seager  SS
  4. Turner  3B
  5. Gonzo  1B
  6. Grandal  C
  7. Pederson  CF
  8. Toles/Thompson LF

Not only could it be an offensive juggernaut with a MVP-Type Year from Puig, but it might just be the best defensive team in baseball.  It’s almost time for Dodger baseball!

Rants & Raves

Posted by Mark Timmons

We started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. We don’t do game recaps or such things — lots of sites do that well. I value sabermetrics, but don’t think they are the “end-all-be-all.”. This is where you should start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome! We’d like to hear your voice.

This article has 20 Comments

  1. I don’t think Braun provides enough value to take on the money, and it looks like Timmons agrees.

    I think the interesting question is how to offset the team’s splits with a limited bench.

    It’s early and there will be injuries and standout (good and bad) performances, but….

    Let’s say they go 7 in the ‘pen. Trace (rehab) and Urias (innings limit) to extended Spring Training.
    Kershaw, Maeda, Hill, Kazmir and Stewart are starters.
    Jansen, Romo, Ravin, Dayton, Avilan, Baez, Liberatore/Wood/Morrow?
    Grandal, AGon, Forsythe, Seager, Turner, Toles, Pederson, Puig.
    That leaves:
    Barnes, Kike, Ethier, SVS and who on the bench?

    Against lefties:
    SVS can slot in at first. Kike in Center. Maybe Ruf then? Or do they need a Culbertson/Taylor to cover SS?

    Ethier really is a waste of a spot at this moment, his injury cost them a chance to move him and now he’s 5 and 10’d. Ruf is also out of options.

    1. Bluto, I am assuming that you are predicting that your 7 man pen will be coming from the nine relievers you identified. Nuno should also be considered with that group, and while most fans are down on him, so should Hatcher, unless he is proven unworthy during ST, and Fields. IMO, as the roster currently sits; no brainers are Jansen/Romo/Dayton/Baez. Avilan will make the pen as he is out of options. Wood or Stripling has to be in the mix, as one will be assuming the original Joe Blanton role as long reliever, part time starter. Whoever is not considered for that role has options and will undoubtedly be moved to AAA, probably as a starter. That makes 6. If Wood is the long reliever over Stripling, I would expect that lefties will be capped at three (Dayton/Avilan/Wood), and both Liberatore and Nuno are optioned to AAA. That would leave the #7 to come from Ravin/Hatcher/Fields/Morrow. I have said previously, and I still believe that Morrow has the potential to be special. But he is just as likely to hurt himself while shaving. I think he needs to prove that he is healthy at AAA and wait until one of the RHRP blows up. I see Ravin going back down to AAA to battle Rhame for the closer role at OKC. I just do not believe that Fields has the potential to shine at the level of any of the others. That leaves Hatcher. This is Hatcher’s last shot with the Dodgers. I am one of the few who actually believe that his arm is good enough to be special; if (a BIG IF) he can command his pitches. His 4-seamer is 96+, and his slider is good. When he is good, he is very good; and when he is bad, he is very very bad. I would suspect that he is on a short leash, and will need to prove his consistency and command in very short order.
      .
      Barnes/Kike’/ Ethier/SVS should be locks. Ruf is out of options, but he is a clone of SVS, and not as good defensively. I do not see how he survives unless SVS is traded. There is no other LH batter on the 40 man, so that would leave the #5 bench spot to come from Segedin/Taylor/Culberson. Whoever is identified for that role will be optioned once Thompson is able to assume a full time role. I see O’Koyea Dickson also joining the OKC to LA shuttle during the year (and Eibner).
      .
      But IMO the real puzzle is in your SP rotation. You make no mention of McCarthy or Ryu. Both say they are healthy and ready to go. Both deserve the right, and will get the opportunity, to prove it or disprove it during ST. If both remain healthy and pitch well during ST, both will make the 25 man if not traded. That would force LA to option Stewart, and option or DFA another reliever.
      .
      It is fun conjecture (at least for me), but there are too many moving pieces to accurately select a Game 1 25 man going into ST. My guess is that the last week of ST and especially the Freeway Series will be a very busy time for FAZ. There are a lot of players currently on the 40 man who will probably not be there come April. I do not see FAZ pushing Bellinger, Verdugo, or Calhoun unless they really REALLY force it. So I would expect to see a trade of some surplus for a LH hitting AAAA player who can join that shuttle. I know that many do not value that AAAA depth, but when you have a front office that utilizes the entire 40 man +, they are valuable fill-in temporary components.

      1. Hi,

        You are reading waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much into my back of the envelope scrawlings. The specifics of who makes the team and who doesn’t isn’t really pertinent right now. We’re not even into ST. I’m more musing about numbers and general roles. Ethier is specified because of his 10&5 rights.

        With regard to relievers, the slash was to indicate that those three (and others including those you mention, and Rhame) would fight for one spot.

        In terms of starters (for this line of discussion) all that really matters is that there will be five.

  2. I agree, no Braun for Dodgers. Braun’s salary is another potential anchor. I still say FAZ gets Dodgers out of luxury tax hell in 2018.

    Although, I suppose it’s possible that Dodgers go get Braun at the deadline, if Puig totally sucks and Dodgers aren’t hitting lefties again and are competing for a championship. I bet from MIL standpoint, Puig, almost anything else, and taking on Braun’s total salary could make it happen at ANYTIME.

  3. The Dodgers will try and get payroll under $220 million this year, but may not make it. Next year, they will be under $200 million.

  4. Is there any way the team will allow Urias to pitch in the WBC? I don’t want any of our starters to pitch in it. Urias’ name is on the pitching tentative roster. Spring training will be messed up this year for us guys who to down for a week. Lots of NL West guys in the WBC. Still will be good. Puig is here to stay until someone better comes along–like Bellinger. But even at his worst, he’s still better than the average replacement. Just get used to:.260; 17; 65.

  5. So far Urias is no-no for the WBC, Dodgers are being very coy about it. I think they want Urias for the all star to playoffs, so there going to limit him early in the year… maybe 180 innings max.

    1. He might suit up and pitch an inning just to be part of Mexico’s team and experience the event. Basically a cameo appearance.

  6. Ethier would platoon with either Thompson or Puig and compete for that opportunity with Toles. If it looks like Puig will play full time and that Toles will get the nod, Ethier should be more willing to go to a team for one year that tells him he will play significant innings in an effort to get another contract.
    .
    If Ethier and McCarthy could be part of the package going to the Brewers, I can see a chance that Braun could be traded to the Dodgers. If it were not for Toles issues with anxiety, I think he would be the player the Brewers would also want. I think we all agree that nothing is going to happen in regard to Braun before the latter part of spring training.
    .
    An SVS/AGon and a Toles/Thompson platoon could be all the Dodgers need to be solid against lefties and allow Joc and his defense to stay in CF and not be part of a platoon.
    .
    Because certain players will either be traded if healthy or released due to old injuries, I think we all will be more accurate with our guesses on who will be on the 25 in July than who will be on the 25 in April.

    1. Bum

      Are you testing me, with Toles?

      I wonder how long Joc will get to face lefties, if he can’t keep his average up, after facing them.

      I do think he is the best defensive centerfielder on the team, but this front office, loves platoons.

      And we just need anyone we can get in the line up, when we face lefties, so I think Thompson, will get every chance he can.

      And who knows about Kike, because I don’t see Corey taking a lot of time off, early in the season.

      UCLA is on ESPN tonight, at 7 my time.

      They are playing Oregon on there own court, let’s see, if there coach, did the right adjustments.

  7. I agree with Mark, I don’t see the Brewers biting on any package that doesn’t include any young guns… they are in a rebuilding mode and not pressing for playoffs. If they were, they wouldn’t trade Braun unless it made the team much better.

  8. I don’t like Braun. And the reason I don’t like him isn’t because of his PED usage in itself, but the way he denied his usage showed the color of someone I’d have a hard time rooting for. The F/O backed out of the Chapman deal for something a lot less shameful and should lose all credibility in an excuse of what we want our team made of. I don’t care for a championship so hard when Braun would have to be part of it. Braun ain’t hero material in my book and I prefer cheering against the weasel puke. No thanks, not on my Dodgers!

  9. That’s a helluva lineup you have there Mark(the one with Puig in the 2 hole minus Braun). I’m totally on board with that one. Not only a lockdown defensive lineup, but some young legs in there as well. For some weird reason I don’t think we have seen the true Trace Thompson yet. Just have a feeling he could have a break out year if he’s healthy and given alot of play time. Also, it seems like we all keep talking about the young guys and their potential. It seems like we have them coming out of the wood work. I know I’m being totally old school and non sabermetric, but i wish we would cool it a bit on the platooning and let these young cats hit against lefties and righties and figure it out, instead of always playing the matchups. Some of these guys have incredible upside, but they need the time to work through the highs and lows of playing over a long season.

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