Next Man Up!

But, just who is that man?  Currently, I do not think it is Andre Ethier (he may never be back), Adrian Gonzalez (another two weeks?), Logan Forsythe (at least a week away), Willie Calhoun (not ready), Scott Van Slyke (seriously?), O’Koyea Dickson (sliding badly after great start), Brett Eibner (no), Trayce Thompson (needs another few weeks) or Alex Verdugo (Verdugo is holding his own at AAA, but with absolutely no power). Maybe one of them could step up later, but at this juncture, it doesn’t appear that one of them is the answer.  It’s a big blow to lose Andrew Toles, who seemed to just be coming into his own and it’s a shame, but it is what it is, and it truly is next man up!

When Clayton Kershaw went down last year, many people were lamenting the luck and felt the Dodgers were doomed.  I wrote that it may end up being a blessing… and it was!  Never underestimate the power of the human spirit! But, the Dodgers have great depth to pull from.  I think the first order of business is to decide if Chase Utley can be viable part of this team or not.  I’ll give you the fact that it can take a while to get going and he did have a double on Tuesday Night,followed by two hits last night, so that is encouraging, but can he continue?  I hope so, but I am not so sure.

This is not going to go away for a while – Does it make sense to trade for Ryan Braun?  It’s a fair question… and a real question now that Andrew Toles is gone for the season.  I was beginning to think that with Toles progress, maybe a trade was not necessary.  Now it may be a reality that the Dodgers need to make a trade.  Ryan Braun is on the radar – you can rest assured that the Dodgers checked in with the Brewers again. However, that may not be the best solution.  He is injured AGAIn and his breakdown physically is not going away.  Maybe he could pop a few “roids?”

Remember, to get quality, you have to give up quality.  The Chicago Cubs need pitching.  The Dodgers need a left fielder.  How about a switch-hitting left fielder with 25+ HR power and a plus bat?  How about Ian Happ? Trade Alex Wood even up for him! Happ is an above-average runner and solid base stealer who draws walks and could fit at the top of a lineup. He has great strength and plus bat speed with above-average power from both sides of the plate that plays more with line drives to the gaps. Happ goes deep in counts, but doesn’t shorten up with two strikes and has a track record of striking out a lot. It may be a year early for him… or not!  He is like Seager and Bellinger in that he plays up to his competition.  I would consider it!  The Cubs need a good starter and Alex Wood is one!  His value has never been higher.

What is real NOW!

Logan Forsythe is likely due back off the DL in a few days.  He has logged 14 games in LF. He is a possibility there. Of course, Cody can play anywhere in the OF, although Center may be pushing it.

  1. Forsythe  LF
  2. Seager  SS
  3. Turner  3B
  4. Bellinger  1B
  5. Grandal  C
  6. Taylor  2B
  7. Pederson CF
  8. Puig  RF

That’s may not be too bad…. but I want Happ!  I’m pretty certain that Bellinger will be the short-term LF. Currently, the Dodgers have 5 position players and 7 pitchers on the DL.  Depth Baby!  They have two teams!

Rants & Raves

  • Maeda went 8.1 which is his longest stint in MLB… ever.  I would have taken him out after 8, but I get what Doc was trying to do.
  • Rich Hill threw 5 hitless innings at RC last night.  He threw 68 pitches and his control was not great but his stuff was filthy.  Now, let’s see how his finger is.  Maybe that callous is growing..
  • Yadier Alvarez went the last 4 innings – 5 hits, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K – he’s not there yet!
  • Cody Freaking Bellinger – what can you say?
  • Andrew Toles will come back stronger and better than ever next Spring.  I believe that!
  • As long as the only runs Baez gives up are homers, I’m fine with it!

 

Posted by Mark Timmons

I started LA Dodger Talk in 2001. I took a year off in 2016 and now I am back. This site is about giving another perspective outside of the average day-to-day reporting. I don't do game recaps or in-depth sabermetric analysis. I value sabermetrics, but leave that to people smarter than me... which is only 98% of the population. This is where you start your day as a Dodger Fan. Welcome!

This article has 59 Comments

  1. It wasn’t that long ago that many were writing off Kenta Maeda specifically, but also Dodger starting pitching in general other than Kershaw and McCarthy being able to go more than 5. Maeda has gone 7, 5, and 8.1 in his last three starts. I do not know if this is a true renaissance or if it is just a blip. But Dodger pitching skeptics do not know either. I know the mantra will now shift to, “well it is only the Pirates. “
    .
    Then there is Hill. Much was discussed after his first rehab assignment only going .2 IP, and the nerve of him saying it was a successful outing. Then there was a following comment that while getting in the work and not getting the blister to flare up were important, Hill also has to get outs. It was almost like, “Oh you want outs too? Not getting a blister isn’t the most important issue? Okay.” He then goes out, throws five no hit shutout innings. Of course the skeptics will say, but it is only A Ball.
    .
    Julio Urias throws too many pitches. Alex Wood is really not very good and is inconsistent. The mystique of Clayton Kershaw is waning with his BB and HR allowed up, and his ERA now at an unsightly 2.40. No, the starting pitching is not a problem. I am not that naïve to believe that every Dodger start will be a quality start, but I also do not believe that the pitching is bad because the organization does not believe that the number of innings pitched is the most important stat. While the Hill stint on the DL was legit, I do not believe that the Ryu and McCarthy DL stays were due to injuries. IMO, it is more of a FO that knows how to manipulate the 10 Day DL rules.
    .
    You know I like Ian Happ. I have long been an advocate for trying to get him from the Cubs, but I am not a fan of trading a 26 year old pitcher with a career ERA of 3.32 over 529.0 innings pitched, for a near 23 year old prospect with no true position. Now if they want to include Carl Edwards Jr….After watching Bellinger’s catch last night in LF of a Polanco line drive, I am fine with Bellinger in left and either Utley or SVS at 1st until AGon is ready to come back. Chase certainly did not embarrass himself defensively at 1st last night either. FAZ has done a good job of building the depth to cover these situations. After all, wasn’t it just recently that Toles was one of those depth players? I see no benefit of a trade unless it is for a difference maker for this year.
    .
    Speaking of trades, Chris Bahr of Fox Sports offered the following suggestions of seven trades that need to be made right now:
    Chris Archer to the Cubs
    Yu Darvish to the Yankees
    Jose Quintana to the Astros
    Lorenzo Cain to Nationals (actually makes a lot of sense with Eaton out for this year only)
    Mike Moustakas to the Giants (??????)
    Ervin Santana to the Angels
    Marco Estrada to the DBacks
    .
    The only reason that the Giants would go for Moustakas would be if they could extend him. That might shore up 3rd base for them, but what other holes would it create? The Giants are not going to be buyers. Cueto will not be in a Giants uni come August. Maybe not Matt Moore either. I could also see Hunter Pence being moved.

  2. Maybe you are right Mark. Boy do I hate giving up Wood. Mainly because Maeda, McCarthy, Hill, and Ryu just are not totally healthy. Right now you have Kershaw, Wood, and Urias that I trust to take the ball every five days. I might sit tight for a while. If Forsythe can play left and Bellinger at first until Agon comes back, this may be an ok lineup. Good thing we have depth.

    Seattle has lost three starting pitchers. They are starting three rookies. De Jong is part of the rotation now.

  3. First off great win last night, sure it’s the Pirates but you have to play who is on the schedule. Rockies are more worried than the Dodgers right now, they could play tight. Should be a good match up and test for the team. The Dodgers need to stop letting the Giants hang in with them and get out the brooms this time!

    Until all of the players are back healthy I would prefer they hang onto the starting pitching depth as it can evaporate quickly. Especially Wood unless he is the centerpiece for an impact player. Looking at AC’s list I like Cain as a low cost rental and I like Archer but his cost may be too high. I like Happ too but not for Wood straight up. I just get the feeling any big move will be closer to the deadline when the buyers and sellers sort themselves out and the current health questions get answered.

  4. No rush to make a trade unless we upgrade our team. Until Forsythe is back Grandal can spend some time at 1B and Barnes can get more time in at C with Cody in LF. Reluctantly Joc leading off and SVS can fill in at both 1B and LF. This allows an op to see if SVS has anything left and cover all positions until we can asses our needs and trade possibilites until Forsythe is back. Man the ship, hold tight.

  5. Well, I am back from attending Daughter’s college graduation and a side trip to the ancestral home town of Pella, Iowa. Couldn’t help but feel a little like “Ray Kinsella” pursuing his field of dreams. Although, in my case it was hooking up with distant cousins, Dutch Pastries and a Tulip Festival. I didn’t experience any sightings of the departed, but did hear tales of alleged ancestral sightings by the current resident of one of the old family homes. A completely successful trip!
    .
    HUGE bummer about Toles, the guy was blossoming right before our eyes. He will be badly missed. His injury should remind all of us of the importance of DEPTH and “versatility”. Dodgers have in-house options (thanks to versatility), but will they be enough? Mark is right, “This is not going to go away for a while”. I think FAZ will want to see what we have in Gonzalez before making any big moves, unless of course, the price is right!!
    .
    I am with Always Compete, not interested in trading 26 yr old Wood for a 23 old prospect, but maybe for 24 yr old Baez. Do we want to trade a left-handed starter to the Cubs? Good chance we see them in October.
    .
    How come, Chris Bahr of Fox Sports, didn’t have a Dodger trade?

    1. I think Happ is better than Baez! Baez is a better defender, but Happ is a switch-hitter with power. I think the Cubs would do Baez for Wood as well.

      1. You might be right, not that familiar with Happ, I do know you and Always Compete value him highly. My thinking on Baez is that, we need to weaken Cubs major league roster, if we trade with them. Baez isn’t a huge need to Dodgers with the emergence of Taylor, but I like trading for someone YOUNG, cheap, VERSATILE, team controlled and a proven major leaguer if we are trading a young stud pitcher.
        .
        I agree Wood’s value has never been higher, including to the Dodgers! If he is traded, Wood looks so good to me, I think we should get proven major league talent or a COUPLE guys off the top 100 prospect list, an “Archer” type return.

      2. Mark

        Isn’t Happ a second basemen?

        That might work, but left is where Cody will probably be playing if Agone can come back and hit, at least like he did, last year.

        I think Agone can get healthy because his elbow hadn’t been a problem for him when he went out, he had just irritated, an old herniated disc problem, by picking up his daughter.

        And with Cody in the line up, and an healthy Agone, that makes us a pretty good offensive, team.

        Because like you said, Agone wasn’t our top bat last year, but he was probably the third best bat, in our line up, last year.

        But I understand your concerns about our outfield, other then Cody.

        Because we can’t expect more then 250 from the two outfielders that we now have, and maybe twenty HRs, each.

        Joc had the best offensive production in the outfield last year, but most of that was his HRs, and walks, with a bunch of strike outs.

        But Joc has only hit one HR this year, and he currently has 7 more strike outs, then hits.

        And I don’t think we can depend on Puig yet, because it is to early in the season, right now.

        He has never consistently hit well, since the first half of the 2014 season.

        I think it will depend on what Joc and Puig have done, up to the trade deadline, on whether they will make a trade, for offense.

        And do we really want to help the Cubs right now.

        I am curious to see how we perform against the Rockies this weekend, because the Pirates, are not that much better, then the Padres, right now.

        1. MJ, Happ is listed as a 2B, but he is moving around and spending as much time in the OF as 2B. The Cubs value versatility as much as the Dodgers. Plus, his defense at 2B is not stellar. He is not Javy Baez with the glove. I think the Cubs are grooming him to be Ben Zobrist, who is also starting to show his age. I think he will be a solid major leaguer like Zobrist or Logan Forsythe, just not enough to trade Wood for (IMO).

          1. AC

            Thanks!

            I actually forgot about Baez.

            So Happ is mainly a bat, then.

            Mark got you there, when he mentioned both Wood and Happ, in the same deal!

            How did you mess up your knees, so much?

            It just sounds so painful!

          2. MJ, football originally tore them up. I was a 5’7″ 125lbs running back in high school. Just not a lot there anymore to keep the knee in place. The ACL was because of a golf swing that went very wrong.

  6. Interesting link from the Rockies perspective:
    http://www.espn.com/blog/statsinfo/post/_/id/131923/off-to-a-franchise-best-start-rockies-face-reigning-division-champion-dodgers

    Dodgers have won 10 of 12 and yes it was against the Phillies, Giants, Pads and Pirates. After this road trip to Denver and SF they play the Marlins, Cards twice, Cubs, Brewers and Reds and no one is playing lights out right now. This stretch are all winnable series, even on the road. Take Bellinger and Taylor out of the lineup and their record might be 6 and 6 instead of 10 and 2 so Mark is right, we still need a RH power bat, just needs to be the right deal for this year and the next couple. No one has more pitching than the Dodgers, knock on Wood!

    1. AC

      Now I know why you loved the way that Anthony Davis, ran that kick off back, at the begining of second half, against Norte Dame.

      The golf thing, sounds like it had to be bad!

  7. Happ was super at 2b in the Spring. A tough out. Maeda appeared to have the corners with the fastball yesterday, which made the slider unhittable. We don’t need a trade; team is still ok. Another good series: Astros at Yankees with Kuechel going tonight. Rockies are good right now, so strap it on.

  8. Let’s see if he can make it three in a row. The game starts at 5:05 PT. I hope that I can be home to see the game at that time. The Drillers are visiting, so maybe the offense can have a good top half of the 1st inning giving me more time.

  9. Interesting trade; youth for youth. However, do we toss another rookie into the prominent fold?

    Or, do we go vet and now stick Braun in LF? Granted, that means Agone sits, and I”m not sure if that happens yet. Therefore, if we do a Braun type deal, it’ll be a July move when we know for a fact that Agone is done. He will get every chance until then to prove it was only his injuries that slowed him down to start the year.

    1. Braun looks to be ready for that “De-Cline” He has never been an iron man and now I think he’s a Multi-DL – Trip Guy!

  10. 1 – If Happ is really any good they won’t trade Wood for him straight up. The Cubs are not inclined to trade top prospects any more than the Dodgers are and Wood is not a top tier starter.
    2 – The Braintrust won’t make a move yet. They will see if Gonzalez is finished before doing anything else. There is a lot of uncertainty in the ‘pen, the rotation and the OF/1B right now. The Braintrust will probably try to fill the biggest need/s and won’t overreact to the Toles injury until they have more data.

    1. I am not so sure the Cubs would not trade for a middle-of-the-rotation starter like Wood. .. unless they are concerned about his health. Starting pitching is at a premium and they need it BAD!

      Now, understand that when I purpose a trade, I do not mean that I would do it. I don’t know if I would trade Wood for Happ, because Wood can be Andrew Milleresque, but I would think about it!

    1. Actually I wish Story was playing. His line is .180/.289/.396/.685 with a league leading 45 K in 128 PA. He has 6 HR and only 2 are in Denver. With Story out, Rookie Pat Valaika will get the bulk of the SS time, and his start is better than Trevor’s. His line is .308/.333/.538/.872 and 5K in 27 PA. Not a great sample size, but still an improvement over the 2017 version of Trevor Story.

  11. DODGERS REINSTATE HYUN-JIN RYU

    LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers today reinstated left-handed pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu from the 10-day disabled list and placed right-handed pitcher Kenta Maeda on the 10-day disabled list with left hamstring tightness.

    Ryu, who will make his sixth start of the season today, was placed on the disabled list on May 1 with a left hip contusion. He last pitched on April 30 against the Phillies, allowing just one run on three hits in 5.1 innings, recording his first win of the season in the Dodgers’ 5-3 victory. Ryu has gone 1-4 this year in five starts for Los Angeles, posting a 4.05 ERA (12 ER/26.2 IP) and has struck out 29 batters against only eight walks in 26.2 innings.

    Maeda pitched in last night’s contest against the Pirates, allowing two runs on five hits in a career-high 8.1 innings as he recorded his third win of the season. In seven starts this year, he has gone 3-2 with a 5.03 ERA (22 ER/39.1 IP) and has struck out 40 batters against only nine walks in 39.1 innings.

    FAZ is very adept with this DL thing!

    1. Sure they are. Now Ryu is getting the poo kicked out of him and Maeda can’t come back for 10 days.

        1. He can’t come back until he serves his 10 days. Maybe Hill comes back?

          They can bring players who have been optioned to the minors back early after a new DL placement

  12. I just don’t think you can keep juggling these pitchers. Biggest series to date and you bring a guy off the dl who obviously has no rhythm and McCarthy will be the same way. Maeda finally starting to hit his stride so now you dl him. It sounds like McCarthy wasn’t happy about it. I look for one of their own players to file a grievance for all this phantom dl stuff. They do in the minors consistently. It is just embarrassing to come into a big series and pitch a guy who hasn’t had consistent game action. Seemingly creating a crisis when we were pitching very well. I know they want to nurse these guys for the long haul but there may not be a need for the long haul. I just don’t see how you can expect them to be sharp when you keep manipulating their routine.

    1. It is not working out well tonight, that’s a given, but the big picture says the Dodgers are the best pitching team in baseball. Starters are #1 and Relievers are #1. Overall, it has worked.

      I’ll question it when it’s not working. You can’t just cherry pick one game (deplorable that it is). The big picture says it works.

      1. Mark

        Our offense needs to at least, get to work.

        They are swinging at high fastballs they can’t hit, and they are out, of the strike zone anyways.

        1. Mark

          So the elevation is causing them to swing at high fastballs, out of the strike zone?

          You are right, it does seem right!

  13. Probably, just excited for a series only to be beaten before you can get settled in your seat. One thing is for sure Ryu didn’t benefit tonight from the layoff. It is something to observe moving forward. It also seems that extra rest is detrimental to kershaw when they do it. Hopefully, I am just overreacting to this Ryu meltdown.

    1. Pitchers often don’t throw well with too much rest. Pulling him off the DL and throwing him in Colorado did him no favors. Landing at 3:15 AM and throwing a pitcher who hasn’t pitched in 9 days had disaster written all over it.

  14. I would not feel comfortable going into the playoffs with our group of starting pitchers, no matter that they are currently “#1”. It just means other team’s pitchers have yet to reach their stride. Kershaw, Urias, possibly Maeda, possibly Hill, possibly McCarthy = a recipe for another disappointing season. FAZ needs to get us another solid starter. And enough of the Braun trade talk. Let it go.

  15. Pitchers are creatures of habit. They have a routine they follow. They will not mess with Kershaw or Urias. They may do it to Urias if his innings go to high. I am ok with that situation. Maeda is on the DL for what? Get your five best pitchers out there and let them pitch. You can very easily move Wood to the pen. He is very good in both situations. Sometimes I think FAZ thinks too much.

    Ryu uses his curve ball a lot. In Colorado they tell me the curve ball does not work well. The fast ball, slider, cutter and change up are the best pitches to throw in Colorado. Fist it was Ryu, then McCarthy and now Maeda on the DL. Hill has been out longer with a blister. Go with six starters. I am ok with six. Kershaw will not be happy and FAZ will not do it. I am second guessing FAZ. In my opinion, they have it coming. I am too dam old to change. Go with five starters.

    1. Go with 5 and stick with it unless there is a real injury. I’m ok if Urias needs a start skipped later. Hill had a real injury. I guess I understand MCCarthy if it limited his fielding and hitting. Someone for the betterment of the team will have to go to the pen or AAA.

      1. That might work with most teams, but McCarthy and Ryu have missed considerable time. Urias is being held back so he is fresh at the end. Wood has not pitched deep into games for a couple of years and Maeda is just discovering what he is.

        I do know that McCarthy strained his left shoulder and the team is just being cautious. Hill is trying to figure out the blister issues. There are too many moving parts here to just have 5!

  16. One thing Verdugo could offer is a leadoff hitter. There are plenty of points against bringing him up but he does have a +.400 OBP.

  17. It’s one game!

    The Dodgers are #1 in starting pitching and #1 in relief pitching.

    Urias just started (late).

    Hill is working on his blister and McCarthy is being treated carefully.

    This is a marathon… not a sprint and FAZ wants to keep people fresh.

    If everything is so bad, how do you explain being #1?

    A week ago, everyone (me included) thought Chase Utley was through. We all look like dumbasses now.

    I see what their plan is and it’s a good one: Keep people healthy and get hot at the end.

    1. I appreciate your points…I’ve been a fan since ’58… but be careful not to O.D on the blue Kool-Aid. The staff right now is decent (I know, #1 and all that crap) but they need to improve in order to take it to the next level.

  18. But assuming they reach the postseason, pray tell who is in the rotation? The only sure thing is Kershaw. All of the other guys have already spent time on the DL or in the minors except Wood. The Cubs will have Lester, Arrieta, et al; The Nats will have Scherzer, Strasburg et al. The Dodgers don’t have a real second ace.

  19. I’m willing to bet that those four pitchers you mentioned do not all make it to the post-season… and they have no “fallback position.”

    Kershaw
    Hill
    Urias
    Maeda
    McCarthy
    Wood
    Ryu
    Stewart
    … and more.

    Who is #1 in team ERA?-

    It’s just like last year when Kershaw went down. Watch and learn… again!

      1. So, get a guy you have to trade a bunch of Top Prospects for and pay big money to, knowing you have Buehler, Santana, Alvarez, White, Oaks, May and others coming?

        Kershaw #1
        Hill, Urias #2
        McCarthy, Wood, Maeda #3

      1. LOL… Maybe!

        This is just the way to preserve guys until the 2nd half. I would try it too… I like the concept. Time will tell….

        1. They were playing the team in front of them in the standings so each loss is a full game difference maker. To pitch the so-called “injured” Ryu after time off and him being so reliant on touch to be effective made no sense.

          1. Well, that turned out to be right.

            I might place more stock in it if you had said that yesterday.

  20. Hey, ass kicking though it was, well basically Ryu threw us under the bus by the 3rd inning, we came back pretty good. Chase is making us all (except my wife who loves the Silver Fox) look kind of foolish right now, I hope he continues to make us look stupid. Hey, we got the bats going this time, I feel real good going into the weekend. We can at least get a split if we keep hitting like we are. Tell you what though, Ryu wasn’t even CLOSE tonight. It was painful just to watch the guy get batted around like a pinata. Hope that was just a hiccup, we could use the real Ryu as the season goes on. Love how we battled, the Dodgers of 3 or 4 years ago would have folded up the tents and boarded the bus for the hotel. We got this!

  21. Come on guys n gals… A little analysis paralysis… I know it stings to lose a game on the front runner, but were playing in the chamber of horrors!!! A ‘E’ coupon ride for a pitcher… Deep breathe now!!! We’ll get em today…

  22. Sometimes they overthink things, and this was one of those times. Ryu struggles at Coors anyway and they send him out minus his best fastball and needing a couple innings to dial in-ooops! It’s 7-0 after 2, let’s leave him in awhile longer. Ooops! I give the team credit for battling back and making a game of it, I turned the game off as Roberts finally went to the bullpen.

    It seems some folks come out after a bad loss actually happy their opinion of the team is validated. That kind of irks me but it’s only your opinion. Every team stumbles and has hot and cold streaks, and a loss like last night ticks me off but I know there is another game today. The team is in very good shape and will be fine. I hope tomorrow a couple posters have nothing to say because it means a good win tonight!

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