I Confess to Being a Contrarian

If you are a contrarian in the investment community, you likely have a very good track record of making money because it has been proven over and over again, that running with the herd is a recipe for failure.  A contrarian often looks like an idiot most of  the time until they clean up the mess that the herd made with their ill-advised buying. In short, a contrarian wants to buy when everyone else wants to sell, and sell when everyone wants to buy (i.e., see Graham and Dodd’s Security Analysis).

What I have found is that what is often obvious to me is not obvious to others.  I’m a contrarian in business, investing, life, sports and with the Dodgers.  While it is not always true, I believe that if everyone is doing something… or thinking something… it’s probably wrong!  I also must confess that I have not mastered the contrarian mindset.  For example, a few weeks ago, I (like lots of other Dodger fans) called for Chase Utley to be DFA’ed.  I wasn’t alone.  A lot of other morons said the same thing. Yeah, I admit, I was a moron!

I have been saying that Rich Hill would come around, but many Dodgers fans wanted him gone, executed and dismembered.  Wrong again! While he is not back 100%, he sure looked better in his last start and in another start or two, he will be there.  WRITE THAT DOWN! Rich Hill will be a very important component in the Dodger’s quest for a World Championship.

When Guggenheim and Company hired Andrew Friedman, I sensed they had hired a kindred spirit.  It was obvious to me, that he was a contrarian.  He was going to buy low and sell high, and he was not going to make dope-fiend moves.  When others were selling , he was buying and vice-versa.  He took risks on injury-prone pitchers and stacked them deep while buying them cheap.  I saw and understood his plan and was immediately branded as an idiot (by people who now have shown themselves to be the real idiots).

See, contrarians have to endure the insults and ridicule of people who are not adept at perceiving the obvious immediately.  The lemmings just kept running off the cliff, bad-mouthing FAZ as they plummeted to their destruction.  Ideas that are not conventional or out of the norm are ridiculed by the lemmings who follow the same plan over-and-over … the cliff! Look, I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I picked up on this one right away!

Some fans even made it personal in their attacks against my ideology.  Dodger Therapy was venerated as gospel and I was the anti-Christ. All I can say is “Where is the moron who wrote Dodger Therapy now?”  I’ll tell you where:  He’s in a strait-jacket, mumbling unintelligible ramblings about FAZ.  What a dumbass!

Andrew Friedman’s version of the Dodgers have won the division every year since he has been in charge, went further in the playoffs every year, are in prime position to win it all this year and have one of the finest and deepest farm systems in baseball.  I took so much flack the past two years in my support of FAZ that I had to leave another blog and keep the morons out of this one.  Here’s the good side:  if you can post here, I deem you to be “not a moron!

In fact, I have surrounded myself in this blog with people who are smarter than me.  That’s really not much of an accomplishment because  98.9% of the population are smarter than me.  So there is that!  The moral of this story is not to run with the lemmings.  Conventional wisdom is usually wrong.  Be calm, be collected, be real. Don’t panic over dumb stuff!

Lots of fans castigate FAZ for not signing pitchers that pitch deeper into games.  Well, the Cubs, Giants and Mets had pitchers who pitched deep into games last year.  Is that a recipe for success or failure the next year?  You may not like it, but the times, they are a changing!   Why? Lots of reasons, but they are!  Get over it and get on with life. This is the way it is.

Sooner or later the FAZ-A-Phobes will have to give up the fight, but it might be a while since they are intellectually challenged.  Someone asked how much longer we will have to watch Hatcher?  The answer is “At Least One More Time.”

Rants & Raves

  • Ryu is stuck – Maybe he should get traded to the Orioles who need starters.  He might be their #3.
  • Justin Verlander a Dodger?  Surely you jest!  Not a chance! No more bad contracts!
  • FAZ mismanaged Julio Urias and has no plan.”  That’s silly! They don’t have a plan because they don’t know how his health is.  Duuuuuhhhh!  They are supposed to know more today.  To blame this on FAZ is really… well the only word I can think of is dumb!  Holding him back and not letting him pitch everyday causes a sore arm?  Really dumb!  Do better than that! You can disagree with how he has been held back, but the fact of the matter is: They want him to be ready at the end of the year.  How else you do that is subjective.  I happen to agree with it, but it’s an opinion.
  • I hear A-Gon may be back Mid-July… or not!
  • Ethier?  Allegedly September.  That means “We have no clue.”

Minor League Hot Sheet

  • OKC played 2 and won 2.
  • Verdugo was 2-6 and Calhoun was 2-4 with his 15th HR.  Farmer was 3-5 with his 6th HR and is hitting .360.  Thompson was 2-5 (.217) and hit his 7th HR
  • Rios hit his 15th at Tulsa and sopko went 5 strong innings allowing just 1 run.
  • Raley, Peters and Estevez all had two hits at RC.  Peters, Diaz and Estevez homered.

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 46 Comments

    1. I hope it’s a sign Joc has turned the corner. We all know Justin will hit. Joc was the one who worried me.

      1. Mark

        The best thing I saw with Joc last night, was the fact he swung at the first pitch, instead of trying to work the count.

        Because sometimes the first two strikes are the best pitches, a hitter will get.

        And sometimes I think Joc tries to over work his counts, and he ends up down with two strikes to often.

        And Joc and most hitters, are not as good, when they are down on the count, with two strikes.

        Joc’s first pitch actually looked a little high to me, but Joc must of knew that that was a good pitch to drive, and he did.

  1. Mark

    I am glad you brought up Urias, because I wonder if his arm was already sore, when he really started pitching this year.

    He didn’t ever pitch like he can this year, and maybe the extra innings he pitched last year, caused him to have a little tenderness, once he started really pitching.

    And Urias didn’t want to say anything about the soreness he had, because this was his big chance to be on the major league team, from the start of the season.

    I can’t understand why anyone would put what happened to Urias, on the front office.

    I have not always been happy with some of the signings they have done, when it comes to the free agent pitchers, but I don’t know how anyone can put on the Dodgers, what happened with Urias this year.

    They were trying to do the right thing, and keep Urias’s innings down, so he would be able to pitch when it was more important, at the end of the season.

    There was no prescribed way to break Urias in slowly, to keep his innings down,, and to have him be ready and sharp, to join the major league rotation, at the right time.

    The front office was just trying to do the best for Urias and for the team.

    And I agree with Mark, that Urias will make his mark on the team, before the season is over.

  2. I had a discussion yesterday with one of my closest friends who is a huge Giants fan. I started by laughing at how Cueto has announced he is going to opt out after this season, and how their ship is sinking and now it’s every man for himself. He then told me that the Giants lead the league in pitching quality starts. I countered that it was because there was nobody they could trust in their bullpen. Starting pitchers going deep into games sure has not worked well for SF. For those that want to hold on to the past, the future is here and you are going to be left behind.

    1. Cueto opting out? With another $89M to be paid on his contract after this season, I will believe it when I see it!
      .
      Perhaps there is another team that will pay more than $89M to a 32 yr old (in 2018) pitcher who is coming off a 4.42 ERA, 1.30 WHIP and .264 BAA season with over 1700 MLB IP on his arm, but it would have to be somebody who isn’t a “contrarian”.

    2. AC

      It is a big night for your guy.

      I hope he continues to pitch like he has, and pitches as well, as he did, the last time, he faced the Rockies!

      I hope these extra day of rest, helps him pitch deep into this game!

  3. Kike had another big night last night, too.

    He has been much better this year, and he has showed a lot of people that he can be a very good asset for the team, with both his defense, and with his bat, even though some, try to pick at his defense.

    I don’t think Joc makes that same throw that Kike made, to cut a runner down, at home.

    Sometimes everyone including me, expects to much, from a player that is not playing on a regular basis, like Kike.

    And that is why I was not upset with what Utley was doing at the begining of the season either.

    Utley was basically signed, because the players wanted him on the team, again.

    And he has done more then what he was expected to do, even though it seems like he is slowing down a little, at the end of this month.

    It also seems like Bellinger is cutting his strike outs down, and bringing his average up this month too, and it is good to see Cody making those adjustments, so early in his msjor league career.

    And just like last year at this time, Turner’s power, has returned.

    And Turner also put out an extra effort in the off season, to hit lefties better this year, and he has done that, and that makes a bigger difference then we probably know, since our numbers against lefties are better this year.

  4. Mark, you should have moved the Rants and Raves heading to the top of the page. i agree with what you say and as Always Compete stated about starting pitchers. The Royals showed that you don’t have to have pitchers that can pitch deep into games IF you have a goo bullpen. As I said in a previous post, with the way pitchers are being taught to go full bore from the start of the game they can’t go nearly as deep unless they get several quick outs. It was nice to see Joc swing at the first pitch. I know we’ve all been annoyed when guys take strike one right down the middle at-bat after at-bat. Grandal is another one that does it alot. I remember a batting coach saying in the late 80s or early 90s that his philosophy for his players on the first pitch and 3-0 was to look for a pitch on one spot. Maybe I’m one of Mark’s morons but I would think that after repeatedly taking strike one down the middle you would start looking for a pitch down the middle.

  5. Mark, thanks for reminding me about Fraudy at Dodger Therapy. I hadn’t gone there in months, but did today. I guess I just needed a good laugh and got it.
    .
    Fraudy’s last FAZ hate filled article was on April 18, 2017. Since then he has gotten a total of 8 outside posts, including some moron posting as both “Badger the Olde” and “badger3” and conversing with HIMSELF. Fraudy couldn’t have been more wrong about FAZ, but some of his followers sure do need therapy.

  6. Although there is value in clubhouse presence and fielding and intangibles these 4 have season averages of:
    Forsythe-.211
    Pederson-.226
    Hernandez-.228
    Utley……….-.231
    The problem is they get lots of AB’s because they have no one better. Hopefully they improve and if they don’t there will be changes made. If a starting pitcher is traded please bring back a bat who can hit both R and LH pitching.

    1. Would you trade Maeda, Forsythe, Alvarez, Calhoun, Stripling and Buehler for Manny Machado?

      1. Where would Manny play? He would have to agree to a contract extension as oart of the trade.
        .
        I would put him at second and keep Turner at 3rd.
        .
        Dodgers don’t need him this year, so I would wait for free agency.

      2. I was in on the trade until I got to Buhler. Substitiute some other names and I’m back in. I doubt the O’s give him up so I don’t think he is going anywhere.

      3. You mean .228 BA, .300 OBP, striking out 23.6% of the time Machado, who wants $300M + in free agency after next season? NO! Maybe in the old days, but not now, “dope fiend move”.
        .
        Someone once told me, “You may not like it, but the times, they are a changing! Why? Lots of reasons, but they are! Get over it and get on with life. This is the way it is”. That person was wise!!
        .
        I keep the 4 guys on rookie contracts, including 2 possible future aces and a fifth, Maeda, on a great contract. I think contrarian FAZ is on to something with this DEPTH thing. You never know who is going to shine and who is going to suck. Better to have lots of options and go with the players who are shining.

    2. Too many fans jump on and off what they think of a player based on as little as 30 games.
      .
      Utley’s career is ending and he will tire and will need much more rest than he has been getting.
      .
      Forsythe is adjusting to a new team, new league, and injuries. He will start hitting the ball hard again.
      .
      Joc had a good year in 2016 and a great second half. The adjustments he made over the winter while working with coaches caused him to lose launch angles but he was still hitting the ball hard. He’s ready to continue where he left off from last year.
      .
      Hernandez is one of the best utility players in baseball. He can fill in as needed against difficult lefties in lots of positions.
      .
      Vegas, you have been pessimistic for a couple of weeks during a time when the Dodgers are streaking. Everything okay?

      1. Bums, I have been on Cloud 9 with the Dodgers this year. They have a lot of grit and fight in them and are well managed. Their pitching is lights out and their farm system the bomb. Roberts plays all of his guys and I am not singling anyone out, just listed the lowest averages of the ‘regulars’ I see a lot of. The 2B and OF platoon has been a weak spot, and they have discovered Taylor and Bellinger can do the job better even though they did not make the team initially. I don’t give up on players easily but they do the job or sit. I’m rooting for all of them to do well and as a team they are coming together. However moves will be made now or in the off season if some players don’t improve. I’m not saying trade 6 guys for Machado, I’m saying some guys getting starts need to be playing better including our friend Mr Puig. Just my 2 cents from the soap box.

    3. Vegas

      I believe any major leaguer that is playing on an everyday basis, should bat at least 250, but there are other regulars on this team, that are not on your list, that are not doing that.

      But baseball people tend to look at a player’s OPS.

      And I think a everyday players should be able to hit against both lefties and righties, like AC has said too.

      Every team needs players to be there for a day off, and in case of injuries, and to be role players.

      I will always expect more from an everyday player, that is getting more at bats, and more consistent at bats, then a part time player, that gets much less at bats, and less consistent at bats.

      Kike is needed, because we have players in our regular line up, that can’t, hit both ways.

      And he and Turner were much of the production in yesterday’s game, until a rightie pitcher, came into the game.

      And with Logan, his numbers against lefties, are much different, then the numbers you listed about him there.

      And we have a predominantly leftie line up, so we need our right hand hitters, to be able to hit lefties.

    4. Vegas,

      Those four players are all in different circumstances.

      Chase Utley hit .122 in April, followed up that with .314 in May and is at .204 in June. He is OPS’ing .721 which is not horrible.

      Joc Pederson hit .220 in April, .182 in May and is hitting .313 in June, so he is on the upswing. He is OPS’ing .757, which is not bad.

      Hernandez hit .234 in April, .271 in May and has slumped in June to .163 but has hit 3 HR and is OPS’ing .800 which is good.

      Forsythe hit .295 in April and only played 8 games in May before getting injured, while he hit .160. He came back from the DL a couple weeks ago and was horrible until the last 7 days when he has hit .304 with a .838 OPS.

      So, all except Utley are on the Upswing at this point. I think Chase needs to rest a little.

  7. At 52, I’ve been a lifelong Dodger fan (except for the four years that Garvey was a Monk), and one thing I’ve learned in all those years is to be patient. I used to be one of those folks that wanted to get rid of a player after a bad week or two but have since figured out that the season is 162 games long. Unlike the NFL where a week or two is a rather large chunk of the season, players in the MLB have a loooong time to get it right. Baseball is most certainly a game that will teach patience it might just take a few more years for some people to learn.

  8. The good thing about our lineup right now is anyone can hurt you. Seager swings at the first good pitch he sees. Yes, Utley is there because the Dodgers wanted him in the clubhouse. I was against his signing. What do I know.

    I will disagree with you on one thing with Urias. I have said this before when FAZ tried to use the 10 day DL for the starting pitchers. Pitchers are creatures of habit. They like a routine. Lack of a routine has hurt Urias this year. I would of kept him at the training center for April and May. There you could control his workouts and routine. Then I would of brought him up to AAA in June. Put him on a five to six man rotation. Let him throw up to 90 pitches. When he was ready, bring him up to the majors. Now let him go up to 100 pitches and in a five man rotation. This starting and stopping him never allowed him to get into a routine. I think this has hurt him more than anything. I think this year has been a total waste for Urias. If his arm is fine we may see him in Sept. Again, we may not see him at all this year. This is why I thought he did not look good when he came up this year. He just did not have good command of his pitches.

    1. Idahoal

      There was definitely something going on with Urias, with the way he pitched.

      I am just glad he has no structural damage, because he didn’t seem like himself, at all.

      What is odd, if there is no structural damage, why is Urias getting a second opinion, from another doctor?

    1. The worst part of the article is the last line calling it a career threatening injury. Not good news.

      1. Anterior capsule surgery effectively ended Johan Santana’s career as an ace. Chris Young came back from it.

    2. Boxout

      I thought it was odd that Urias was seeing a second doctor, and then I saw something in Dodger Nation, but nothing like your post.

      Thanks for posting it!

    1. Probably not in LA. The prognosis I read was he is out for 12-14 months. That basically takes him out for next year. The more immediate question is what will he be like in 2019. I do not know what pitchers have successfully come back from this surgery. The two I readily recall are Hyun-jin Ryu, and Johann Santana. Ryu is back, but certainly nowhere near where he was at before surgery. After surgery on 9/4/10, Santana missed all of 2011. He did come back and had a good start to his 2012 season, including a no-hitter on June 1, 2012. However with a sprained ankle in July, and with lower back inflammation in August, he was done for the year. On April 3, 2013, Santana had a second shoulder surgery and he has not pitched since. In 2012, his last year, Santana was 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA and 111K in 117 IP. His last ML game was August 17, 2012. Not the Johann Santana pre-surgery.
      .
      A third pitcher, Chris Young, also had the surgery. He actually had a decent year when he returned with Seattle, and was recognized as Comeback Player of the Year. He was an integral part of the 2015 KC Royals WS run, but had a not so good 2016 and was just released by the Royals.
      .
      Hopefully Dodgerrick can help out here with some hope for young Julio.

  9. Terrible news. We will not see Urias until 2019. I just hope he can come back. FAZ has done everything they could to protect him. Things just happen.7

  10. Horrible news about Urias.

    Anterior capsule tear is a big deal. The 1st guy that I heard that had this was Orel Hersheiser. He kept pitching after it was repaired but was never as good. From Dodgers’ Insider “Team physician Dr. Frank Jobe proposed a surgery more radical than the experimental ligament-transplant surgery used in 1974 on Dodger left-hander Tommy John. Jobe had performed labrum surgery on NFL quarterback Jim McMahon and PGA golfer Jerry Pate. But never a Major League pitcher. Jobe reconstructed Hershiser’s anterior capsule and tightened the ligaments in his right shoulder.”

    Houston Methodist Hospital explains the shoulder capsule like this: “Surrounding the shoulder joint is a watertight sac called the joint capsule. The joint capsule holds fluids that lubricate the joint. The walls of the joint capsule are made up of ligaments. Ligaments are soft connective tissues that attach bones to bones. The joint capsule has a considerable amount of slack, loose tissue, so that the shoulder is unrestricted as it moves through its large range of motion. If the shoulder moves too far, the ligaments become tight and stop any further motion, sort of like a dog coming to the end of its leash.”

    Anterior capsule injury can cause instability of the shoulder and lead to dislocation. It is frequently a career ender. From an article in the Seattle paper in 2014, about an injury to a pitcher named Danny Hultzen: “The last repair is the most serious. Pitchers have returned from partial tears to the labrum and rotator cuff, but only a few have returned from capsule surgery.

    Hultzen rattles off the names of Mark Prior, Johan Santana and John Danks. Other players who had the surgery include Chien Ming Wang, Rich Harden, Dallas Braden and Chris Young.” (Young actually had a thorasic outlet surgery.)

    While Urias is young and doesn’t have a ton of mileage on his arm, the odds are good that he will never be the same. The Dodgers need a back-up plan.

    1. A back-up plan to a prospect?
      ~
      That’s called another prospect.
      ~
      McCullough reports that Urias’ injury is different from those DodgerRick cited in his penultimate paragraph. “Acute” and without scar tissue. Could be spin, could be a big difference, I have no clue.
      ~
      Question: With Taylor and Kike hitting as they are, what role does Gutierrez play on this team? I wonder if the team tries to free up a 40 man spot (how soon can they move Urias to the 60?) for Verdugo who is seriously raking.

  11. When I went to spring training I was really impressed by Wood and Bellinger, but had no idea that they would be performing as they have. It is great that our rotation against Col. would line up with Wood, Kershaw and McCarthy. We have a chance to sweep them.

  12. I agree with you Bluto on Gutierrez. There is no need for him now. In fact, the game last night should of been 6-0. Kike or Taylor would of gotten to that ground ball. Kike and Taylor can play anywhere. That has to be a comfort to the manager to know you have two players that can probably play seven positions and play them well. They are both just good athletes.

    Verdugo should be brought up. He needs an opportunity to show what he can do. I feel the same about Calhoun. He needs to be included in a trade to an American League team. He just does not have a position with the Dodgers.

  13. God speed Julio… Hope to see you soon… From everything I’ve read, I’m now slipping into analysis paralysis… We know he’ll give it the good fight…
    Depth, how sweet it is!!! First person comes to mind is Brock Stewart… He’s somewhere near the top in possibilities and I really like the kid…
    ST 2018 will be an audition frenzy and I’m looking forward to being there…

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