I Am No Kool-Aid Drinker

I am an unabashed and unapologetic supporter of FAZ.  They have built a tremendous team and know how to utilize a full 40 man roster to their advantage because they have the depth to do so.  I also believe that a winning TEAM is greater than the sum of the individual players.  Clayton Kershaw is special.  There is no question of that.  But he is one of 40, and I believe that the other 39 players together can help to offset the loss of the one.  No single pitcher can replace Clayton Kershaw.  But that does not mean they cannot win without him, it is just going to be a lot more difficult.  I think the moment you concede that your hopes are unrealistic of winning a championship without one player, then you will be correct 100% of the time, and you can begin your “I told you so’s”.

In 1968, Earl Morrall replaced a quarterback legend, the Baltimore Colts’ Johnny Unitas, due to an injury in the last pre-season game.  Morrall guided the Colts to a 13-1 record, 2 playoff victories before losing Super Bowl III to Joe Namath and the Jets. Two years later, Morrall replaced Unitas for Super Bowl V, and this time brought a world title to the Colts.   Now nobody is saying or implying that Earl Morrall is a better quarterback than Johnny Unitas, but the Colts were a great team and were able to overcome a disaster like losing Johnny U.  Conversely, Dan Marino is arguably the greatest quarterback ever to play in the NFL to never win a Super Bowl.  In fact, as great as he was, he appeared in only one Super Bowl.

We can all come up with anecdotes to support our individual beliefs or biases.  I am one that believes that the team is greater than the individual.  Others can and do see it different.  That does not make one camp right, and the other one wrong.  It is just a different way of looking at how to build a champion.

However, just because I believe in the team over the sum of the individual players does not mean that I do not believe that there cannot be improvements.  I AM NOT A KOOL-AID DRINKER.  I believe that FAZ has built the best team for a 162 game season.  No team has the depth that the Dodgers have.  I am not sure that any team is close in that regard.  But the team is built for a long 162 game season.  Are they built to win in a short series?  That is a fair and legitimate question.  The playoffs are a best of 5, and 2 best of 7 game short series where individuals can in fact rise to the occasion.  So while I believe the Dodgers can win with Kershaw/Wood/Hill and Maeda/McCarthy/Ryu, I would prefer a solid top of the rotation RHSP in that mix.  The Dodgers would be better with Gray or Darvish.  The Dodgers would be better with Justin Wilson as the 8th inning setup.  The Dodgers and their 11.5 game lead can afford to trade for Zach Britton and monitor his innings until the playoffs.  Andrew Miller is not available but the Dodgers would be stronger with Morrow/Fields/Baez/Britton or Wilson as the bridge to get to Jansen. Ryu and Maeda or McCarthy (assuming one is #4 SP) can move to the pen with Stewart and Dayton/Avilan/Stripling to fill in if needed.  The last two WS champions had superior bullpens.  It was also MadBum coming in from the bullpen in Game 7 that won 2014 WS.

But like everything we want, there is a cost associated with the acquisition.  I want a Porsche 911 Carrera.  But it would put a big hurt in my retirement if I followed my desires and bought the Porsche.  The Dodgers are fortunate to have the FO that values a farm system and can trade some of the coveted players from a surplus.  The Dodgers have a wealth of RHSP in their system.  They all cannot play for the ML team. Brock Stewart, Walker Buehler, Yadier Alvarez, Mitchell White, Trevor Oaks, Jordan Sheffield, Dennis Santana, Josh Sborz, Imani Abdullah, Scott Barlow, Wilmer Font, Andrew Sopko, Dustin May, AJ Alexy, and Devin Smeltzer.  How long before Morgan Cooper and James Marinan join that group, or Caleb Ferguson (LHP) and Melvin Jimenez.  Or a multitude of DSL and AZL pitchers.  Of that group, only Walker Buehler and Yadier Alvarez rate Ace potential (right now).  Stewart and White seem to be solid mid-rotation candidates.  May and Santana could get to mid-rotation as well.  Not including current year draft choices or Jimenez, the others have a ceiling of back end rotation and bullpen.  Some could be high leverage relievers (Sheffield/Sborz).  More than half of these pitchers have greater ceilings and floors than Jharel Cotton, Frankie Montas, and Grant Holmes (yes, IMO with no scouting background).

Willie Calhoun and Edwin Rios are solid power hitters, a trait the Dodgers covet.  But where do they play?  The DH may in fact come to the NL, but when?  Calhoun is ready now.  Rios probably sometime next year.  DJ Peters is not far behind, but he can play all three OF positions.  Ibandel Isabel is probably in the Calhoun/Rios category.  I am sure the Dodgers will find a quality DH if and when the DH comes to the NL.  Yusniel Diaz and Starling Heredia are two high ceiling potential OF.  They are just not at the Alex Verdugo level…yet.  And Jeren Kendall may be the best of the bunch offensively and defensively.  When is he penciled in?  What happens with Henry Ramos?  Could he be another find like Andrew Toles?  What about Kyle Garlick/Luke Raley/Tyler Adkison/Zach Reks/Cody Thomas/Carlos Rincon/Jacob Scavuzzo.  Many of these are potential Scott Schebler type power hitters.  It is just knowing which ones are real and which ones may not be.  That is where good scouting comes in play.

The Dodgers have three solid catching prospects in Will Smith, Keibert Ruiz, and Kyle Farmer.  With Grandal and Barnes on the roster do they really need all of Smith/Ruiz/Farmer?  There are also two to three solid potential prospects in the lower rookie leagues that may impress in the next couple of years (not to forget 2017 3rd round draft pick Connor Wong).

I am not sure that the Dodgers have any sure fire middle infield can’t miss prospects.  But they have several that can and will make the ML at least as a utility player.  Drew Maggi/Jose Miguel Fernandez/Tim Locastro/Drew Jackson/Omar Estevez/Brandon Davis/Ronnie Brito/Gavin Lux/Errol Robinson/Erick Mejia/Oneil Cruz/Moises Perez/Jacob Amaya all have potential.  Corner infielders like Cristian Santana/Matt Beaty/Nick Yarnall/Michael Ahmed also have potential (especially Santana).

The Dodgers may have four top 100 players, but they probably lead MLB in the 101-200 prospect range, and the last time I checked, ML rosters are full of those guys with that label.  The Dodgers are full of Cotton/Montas/Holmes caliber pitchers.  FAZ is just better at determining who is better, and packaging others to get a needed piece.  Could they gamble with Verdugo believing in what they have in Kendall?  To me, the only untouchable is Buehler, followed by Alvarez and Verdugo, and then White.  I am not including Stewart in the discussion because he is already on the 25 man, and they can ill afford to trade him this year.

I too am tired of the “Wait Until Next Year” mantra.  29 years is long enough. This team seems special, and with a little help, they can become prohibitive favorites.  It may sting, but it will not hemorrhage the farm system.  Some of our favorites may end up with the A’s or Tigers or Rangers or Phillies or Mets or Pirates, and you can bet I will follow them.  But if FAZ believes that Sonny Gray or Yu Darvish or Justin Wilson or Pat Neshek or Addison Reed or Tony Watson or even Justin Verlander can help the team without sacrificing the luxury tax or farm system then I am in.  I do not see them messing with the position players, but top of the rotation starting pitching and high leverage relief pitching can cement an already solid team.

Posted by Always Compete

This article has 103 Comments

  1. In communicating with Mark, he said, great start by Santana in AA. Dennis Santana went 5 innings in his AA debut, and got the win. He allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, 2 BB, 6 K. Dennis Santana is quick to remind us that there are great arms (Yadier Alvarez), and there are pitchers (Dennis Santana). While Alvarez has received the headlines with his electric arm, all Dennis Santana has done is outpitch him last year at Great Lakes, and this year at Rancho, and so far at Tulsa. That is not to say that he will continue to do so, but Santana is rocketing up the Dodgers prospect list. He has made it to #5 on one mid-season list that I can remember. Santana has a plus fastball and a plus slider. He needs to develop his change so as to become a solid mid rotation type starter. If the change does not come, he will become a high leverage late inning reliever. But I would not bet against him on improving that change. In Tulsa’s 6-4 win over the Springfield Cardinals, Darrien Tubbs had three hits, while Errol Robinson and Peter O’Brien had 2 hits, while Matt Beaty slugged his 11th HR.
    .
    Rancho was shutout by the Lancaster JetHawks (Rockies) 3-0 – No standout performances. Let’s move on.
    .
    Great Lakes 2-1 win over Quad Cities River Banks (Astros) – Leo Crawford got back to his solid pitching going a strong 8 innings and getting the win. He allowed the one run on 4 hits, 1BB, and 6K. Andre Scrubb got the save. I still believe that Leo Crawford has a future.
    .
    The story at Ogden continues to be Jeren Kendall. He had three more hits, including a double. But the real story so far is his lack of strikeouts. In his 22 AB, he has but 3 strikeouts. He is still a free swinger as he has yet to walk. He has for stolen bases in 4 attempts, and plays a tremendous defensive CF. He is going to be fun to watch. It may not take long. Oh yeah, Christian Stolo/Justin Lewis/Patrick Duester/James Carter combined to pitch the Raptors to a 5-1 win over the Helena Brewers.
    .
    In the AZL Dodgers 6-1 win over the AZL Padres, 5 pitchers combined for the win. Four of the five were current year draft picks; Riley Ottesen (5th), Riley Richert, Marshall Kasowski (13th), Mark Washington with the win (13th), and Luis Paz continued his mastery in the US after his promotion from DSL earlier this month. This was his 6th game in Arizona. In 7 innings, he has allowed 1 run on 3 hits, 2 walks, and 10 strikeouts. He has a .115 BAA, and 0.71 WHIP.

  2. The problem for FAZ is to figure out which players can and cannot be traded. Which players are blocked and which players are not blocked. He is going to trade a player or two who are going to be very good for another team. I do not care if that happens. Schebler has done very well for Cincinnati. Is he better than any of our three outfielders we have now? I say no. I would like to have a good LHRP. If we have to over pay this year to get one, I would do it. This team is special. What a message it would send to all the players and Dodger fans.

  3. Great article, as usual. Loved the Porsche analogy. I guess it is too much to expect that something like this would happen to FAZ.
    .
    A sixteen-year-old came home with a Porsche, and his parents began to yell and scream, “Where did you get that car?”
    .
    He calmly told them, “I bought it today.”
    .
    “With what money?” demanded his parents. “We know what a Porsche costs.”
    .
    “Well,” said the boy, “this one cost me fifteen dollars.”
    .
    The parents began to yell even louder. “Who would sell a car like that for $15.00?” they asked.
    .
    “It was the lady up the street,” said the boy. Don’t know her name — they just moved in. She saw me ride past on my bike and asked me if I wanted to buy a Porsche for $15.00.”
    .
    “Oh my goodness!” moaned the mother, “she must be a child abuser. Who knows what she will do next? John, you go right up there and see what’s going on.”
    .
    So the boy’s father walked up the street to the house where the lady lived and found her out in the yard calmly tending to the flowers. He introduced himself as the father of the boy to whom she had sold a Porsche for fifteen dollars and demanded to know why she did it.
    .
    “Well,” she said, “this morning I got a phone call from my husband. I thought he was on a business trip, but I learned from a friend he has run off to Hawaii with his secretary.
    .
    Then apparently she stole all his money and stranded him there. Well he called me, without a dollar to his name and asked me to sell his Porsche and send him the money.
    .
    So that’s exactly what I did.”
    .
    Well maybe the Marlins will sell us a Porsche for $15.

    .

    It is clear that the Dodgers have a rich/deep farm system. I don’t think anyone is against trading some of the prospects to improve and bring home the GOLD this year, including FAZ. The reason I don’t think it has already happened is the other teams really want to stick it to FAZ. I am sure FAZ is weighing the options and the cost/benefit of trading. I trust them to make the right decision. The GREAT under the radar moves are stacking up in FAZ’s favor, probably also makes the other teams hesitant to trade with Dodgers.
    .
    An aside, Sounds like the farm is a little lean in the left handed pitching department, also third base. I gotta believe FAZ is also looking to trade from areas of strength to fill in the gaps. Love to see some quantity for quality prospect trades also.

    1. They are light in the LH pitching (Caleb Ferguson highest rated lefty), and 3B. Brendon Davis (at Rancho) looks to be moving over, and could be someone to watch. Cristian Santana (at Great Lakes) is the one with a high ceiling. I usually look up his name every game. Rylan Bannon (2017 8th round draft pick) is at Ogden and is more than holding his own. His slash line is .405/.450/.703/1.153. In 38 PA, he has 3 HR, and 7K (about 18%). So there are 3B candidates at Rancho/Great Lakes/Ogden. Not so much at the upper levels.

  4. On the new MLB Top 100 Prospect List, the Dodgers have six players:

    #13 – Walker Buehler
    #28 – Alex Verdugo
    #51 – Yadier Alvarez
    #71 – Willie Calhoun
    #86 – Jeren Kendall
    #89 – Yusneil Diaz

    I am going to suggest as AC did that the next 100 players have a ton of Dodgers on the list.

    Mitch White, Keibert Ruiz, Will Smith, Dennis Santana, DJ Peters and Morgan Cooper could all be close….

    1. I think we need to add Jeren Kendall to the DO NOT TRADE list. Guy is going to be a stud, heck he is a stud.
      .
      Last night, Kendell went 3-for-5 as he fell a triple short of a cycle. Also only something like 3 strikeouts in 20 something at bats. The Dodgers development department will turn this guy into a monster (for other teams). When was the last time we had a true five-tool center-fielder, including lightning speed. Maybe Never.

      1. I did not add Kendall to my list because “technically” he cannot be traded. But yeah he is about as untouchable as it gets. I agree that he is the best CF prospect the Dodgers have had, at least in LA. It is kind of hard to forget Duke Snider. As Joc continues to play well, Kendall is going to be allowed to percolate down below. But it will not be long. MLB Pipeline has him at a 2020 ETA. As a starter, okay. But he is going to be on the 40 man sometime in 2019 with a September callup. Maybe sooner.

    2. AC

      Another well written piece, to add to your collection!

      I still think we need a good leftie relief pitcher, or a rightie that can get both lefties and righties out, because unfortunately, Dayton has not did anything, to change my mind up to now.

      And if we added a good right hand starter, that would be great too.

      It does sound like we have enough good prospects in the organization, to make a good deal, if the front office is offered one, and it doesn’t sound like it will hurt the organization at all.

      The thing we always have to remember is that not all of these prospects, will be good viable major league players.

      And I know it is hard to think like that right now, because of what Corey and Cody have done for this team.

      And wasn’t that a great adjustment by Cody last night, to win the game?

      And Mark has been saying that Cody is capable of doing this, for quite a while, it looks like Mark is finally right!

      1. Not to mention being clutch, that last at bat by Cody was impressive because you could literally see him making adjustments in real time. That tells me that he can sustain his high performance. Also, as a 22 year old, he will continue to get stronger.

  5. Great read Mark. That is exactly how I feel but could not have expressed as well as you did. Bellinger is on fire. Grandal , Pederson , CT3 and Turner all had a hand in last nights victory. I’m at the game tonight in section 3. I’ll be wearing my LA Dodger Talk blue baseball hat. Odds are they will win tonight because the last 2 times I attended they lost.

  6. AC!!
    WOW!!
    Thanks for taking the time to not only have a take but to write that take so eloquently.
    ;
    I don’t think opposing GMs want to stick it to FAZ. I certainly don’t hear FAZ moaning over how bad they are treated by other GMs. I do think GMs want to get another team’s top prospects in exchange for a key veteran at the trading deadline.
    .
    To us that feels like GMs want a team’s top 5 prospects regardless of their MLB rank. A team’s #3 ranked prospect that is ranked #25 in the MLB is pitted against another teams #3 that is ranked #55 in the MLB. Again, it feels like one team is forced to offer their MLB #25 or lose out to another team’s MLB #55.
    .
    That thinking would explain why Arizona got Martinez instead of the Dodgers but I don’t think the Dodgers wanted Martinez because they were happier with what they already had that hit from the right side LF and 2B and preferred the options that had against righties in CF and RF.

    1. Maybe not all GMs want to stick it to FAZ/Dodgers, like Oakland and Tampa Bay, but you can’t ignore, Martinez going to AZ cheaply. How about all the NBA owners ganging up to get the Chris Paul trade nixed or the Paul George (Sorry Mark) trade to Oklahoma City.
      .
      In my opinion the small market teams have long preferred to help each other and stick it to the Dodgers and Yankees. I think it’s short sighted on their part. There would be a lot more interest in MLB if the Dodgers met in the World Series about half the time and the Dodgers meeting some, small market, upstart team the other half of the time. Don’t believe me? Just ask the unbiased posters on this board!

      1. Meant to say Dodgers met the Yankees in the World Series half the time and Dodgers against small market teams the other half of the time.

      2. Teams didn’t like McCourt but they knew they could get prospects from him if they ate some payroll. The Dodgers have generated lots of revenue sharing so they can’t be disliked too much and they haven’t got all that much from their huge payroll.
        .
        I don’t know, just talking.

  7. I just heard that Oakland would be looking for a top notch CF back in the Sonny Gray trade. Would the Dodgers include either Pederson or Verdugo? I guess if they wanted Gray they would have to.

    1. My guess would be Verdugo. Longer team control which is what Oakland wants. I think you have to consider it. 2 years and 2 months of Sonny Gray is pretty good, and you have to give to get. It would certainly depend as to who else they want. Joc is certainly not hurting the team in any way, and if his power continues, his OPS will continue to climb. If there is a metric that FAZ seems to covet it is OPS. Some do not place OPS that high of a metric, but I think FAZ does. FAZ will take a .240-.260 BA with 20-30 HRs annually with good (not great – sorry Bums) defense from Joc. With Toles/Kike’/Taylor there are plenty of capable CF to spell (or platoon) with Joc, and keep CF patrolled until Jeren Kendall reaches the pinnacle.

    2. I would not be afraid to include Joc in that deal. I am confident Chris Taylor can play CF as well as Joc. That would leave LF for Verdugo or Bellinger (if Gozo is healthy).

      Would Pederson, Alvarez and Calhoun get Gray? If so, I would do it. He’s controlled through 2020 and has shown that he is pretty much back to what he was two years ago.

      Plus, Joc would put more butts in seats for the A’s. They could have up to 40 people at a game then.

      1. You just can’t resist can you Mark. Agon is a big gamble and Kike’ can’t hit righties and Verdugo is a 21 year old with zero MLB experience and you want to trade a player, Joc, that was as good as any hitter when they made that run of 30 games that separated the Dodgers from the rest of the NL West.
        .
        With Joc your glass is always half empty and mine is always half full. It will be nice when he can get the glass 75% full so we can agree.

        1. I also don’t trust Joc offensively. I love Joc defensively, and he seem like a good team player.
          Granted, Joc started the Game 5 rally last year in the NLDS with that huge opposite field HR off Scherzer in the 7th. So he did come up massive then.

      2. Well, Joc is from the Bay Area, so his family alone will more than double the attendance. You are right, ownership will have to take that into consideration.

        1. Added Data: Joc will be getting more expensive, cause for FAZ to trade. Plus, we will need one or more places on the 25 man roster for incoming, reason enough to offer trades from the 25 man, especially if we can so easily replace the dear departed (Joc).

    3. Toles would qualify as well and the A’s don’t need him this year anyway. I don’t put Verdugo in the top notch CF category. I think his best position will be RF. Puig could be a CF consideration for the A’s as well.
      .
      Toles and Cahhoun for Gray?

      1. Bum

        Why would the Dodgers want to trade the one outfielder, that they have, that can not only hit for a very good average, but has power, and speed that Joc couldn’t touch?

      2. Toles has next to no value.

        He’s coming off a knee injury, and his metrics are from limited samples.

        Better to keep Toles and continue to develop him back (or further) into an asset.

  8. Box, I agree with you above. Kendall has star power! Joc, you are our temporary CF my friend!
    Bill Russell, yes, I would trade Verdugo for Sonny Gray. Gota give to get.
    We are 69-31. If we suck for the rest of the way, and go .500, we finish with 100 wins. That means we most most likely have home field in NLDS, most likely have home field in NLCS, and likely have home field in the WS (I still feel Boston would beat Houston in an ALCS). Therefore, it’s time to think about our postseason roster, and not our current roster. And I agree with AlwaysCompete above; we need right handed #2. We need that “wipeout leftie”, as Dave Roberts said last night. We also need Logan Forsythe, or someone else, to step up in the 5 hole. CT3, Seager, JT, and Belli are the top 4 going forward. Who gets that clutch RBI in the 5 hole, before Joc/Grandal/Puig come up?

    1. That #5 hitter will probably depend on the pitcher, RH or LH. It might go to the hot hitter and that could change weekly.
      .
      I would like to see Barnes play against lefties and hit in the #5 hole.
      .
      Against righties, Joc at #7 and Puig at #8 makes the lineup very deep.

    2. The season is almost 2/3rds over and Forsythe hasn’t stepped up and probably won’t. Neither will Joc hit “”20 or 30 home runs”, he has 10 now, maybe 16 or 18 by the season’s end. That is very replaceable.

      1. You may be right. He may not get to 20 this year. But he did get 26 the two previous years, so he is more than capable. I make no value judgement, but I think it is more fair to look at what Joc has done since he came back from the DL on June 13. He has participated in 34 games since then. His batting line is .278/.391/.608/1.000.
        He has hit 8 HR in those 34 games which calculates to a 39 HR pace. That seems to me that he is a 20-30 HR guy on a full schedule. Secondarily, the Dodgers are 28-6 in those games.
        .
        Now maybe you are smarter than me in judging talent. But to me, I do not yet know who the real Joc Pederson is. But while you say he is very replaceable, if he is the player that has been playing since June 13, that player is not that easily replaced. IMO, as good as Alex Verdugo may be, he cannot replicate that OPS. He will strike out less, and hit for a better average, but he will not hit for power like Joc Pederson can. He also cannot play CF at the same level as Joc. You may not value OPS, but I think the FO does.
        .
        Before I pass judgement on a 25 year old CF with 2+ years ML experience, I would prefer to see whether he can replicate the last 34 games thru the end of the year.

    3. Hawkeye

      I know that Toles value is low right now.

      But I still think Toles has shown more on offense then Joc, in the last couple years.

      But Bluto was saying that, when Toles was playing too.

      But I always respect your opinion, so thanks!

  9. Earl Morral almost single handedly cost the Colts Super Bowl 3. He was so bad that Bubba Smith accused him of throwing the game. I was a Baltimore Colts fan prior to an Indy fan.

    1. Good piece though. Outfielders can be found. I would deal Verdugo for Gray if the Dodgers are high on Gray.

    2. But the Colts did get there without Unitas, and he did get a win in Super Bowl 5. I was a 15 year old Packers fan at the time (Super Bowl 3), so I was bummed that the Packers did not get there for 3 in a row. Life without Lombardi on the field. I do remember Morrall not playing very good in that game. Everybody remembers Joe Willie, but the Colts were the better team.

      1. Oh yeah, they definitely were. Morrall had a nice career as Griese’s backup too. Namath probably the most overrated QB ever. It was the Jets running back and the poor play of Morrall that were the real stories. Jimmy Orr waving his hands in the end zone standing there wide open only to have Morrall throw a pick. Don Shula wasn’t loved by the Colts players either especially Unitas.

  10. Bobby – hope you are well.
    Did I miss something?
    I thought the winner of the AS Game had home field advantage unthreatening WS?

      1. Hi MJ

        I didn’t realise that it had been changed.
        Hope you are enjoying this run as much as I am.
        Hope you are right about Clayton’s back!

        1. Watford

          I am definitely enjoying this run!

          And I really think that Kershaw will be better quicker, then everyone thinks.

          And I know he won’t rush anything, because he learned not to do that, after last year.

  11. I do not know why you guys want a SP. We need a LHRP. I want Wilson. If we have to take Verlander to get Wilson, I would do it , if we can manage the luxary tax

    1. Do you want Kershaw going on short rest? Do you trust MCCarthy or Maeda in a playoff game? It isn’t one or the other. Some thought re-signing Hill before Turner and Jansen made him a bigger priority which wasn’t the case.

      1. And I think Verlander would help take the pressure off Kershaw, in the post season, performance wise, and maybe mentally too.

        Because Verlander has been a very good big game pitcher, in his career.

    2. Idahoal

      I assume that the front office knows more then us, about the luxury tax, and because of that, I don’t think they will make a deal, if it isn’t a good deal, for the team.

  12. Al

    Was thinking the same thing – killing two birds with one stone.
    I can see this one happening.

  13. I would love Verlander and Wilson. I know it will be expensive. Money wise. But, we are close. I can taste a. World Series.

  14. The Dodgers have most of the talent and the mojo that they need to win this year. This team seems to be able to win – in that sense, I agree with AC. There is an intangible there that you either have or don’t. This bunch has come from behind to win over 25 times and has, amazingly won EVERY GAME in which it had a lead at least at one point during the game.

    Given all of this, I would argue that they should pull out the stops and take a crack at the brass ring.

    While I wanted JD Martinez, I think that the Braintrust figured that the roster as currently constituted was enough to win. The obvious weakness (LHRP that we have been talking about for weeks now) is something that will be addressed. The real question now is whether the team needs a starter, either with or without Kershaw.

    Wood has been spectacular this year – the new arm slot has resulted in a more repeatable delivery, better control, more MPH on the fastball and a better changeup. While he has never performed this well this long before, the changes that he has made are not temporary and should result in superior performance all year, although I expect that the league will adjust to him to at least some extent.

    Hill has gotten it together lately. He is like the girl with curl – when he is good he is very good but when he is bad…
    The big issues with Hill, as with McCarthy, are health and reliability. Assuming that Kershaw is back and that Wood is still very good, the big risk may be that Hill and/or McCarthy aren’t healthy or pitching well when the post-season starts.

    So – what will it cost for 2 months of Yu Darvish? Or for 2 years of Sonny Gray? I suspect that because the Dodgers have had a few great prospects for each of the last several years (Pederson, Seager, Urias, Bellinger and now Buehler, Verdugo and Alvarez) teams have demanded at least one of them or refused to trade. If the Rangers or A’s take that approach with the Dodgers, then they will have trouble making the kind of trade that may be needed to put the team over the top. It’s going to be tough – does the Braintrust go for it this year?

    Please – just say “no” to Justin Verlander. He’s 34, has pitched to a 4.50+ ERA this year, and will cost $28MM/year for each of the next 2 seasons.

    1. It’s not two months of Darvish. It would be three. October is why they would acquire him. I have been all on board with FAZ’s plan. I didn’t want to deal the kids while the Dodgers were rebuilding the system, but now the team is full of young players like Seager, Belly, Joc, Puig, Taylor, Grandal, and there is plenty more coming. The Dodgers failed to add the arm needed in 2015. They didn’t want to deal Urias + for Hamels and fell short with their JDL=SVS offer and wound up with Latos and Johnson. They failed to bridge the gap from Kershaw to Kenley from 2014-2016. Joey Pancakes didn’t cut it come playoff time and Baez failed multiple times to get a big out. This is the year!

      1. Where did you hear that the Dodgers offered JDL and Van Slyke to Amaro? There’s a poster who insists that JDL could have gotten a Hamels trade done.

  15. I noticed that Erisbel Arruebarrena played last night for AZL Dodgers. Does anyone know anything about this?

    1. Well, In think it boils down to dollars and sense. He has top play if he is able or not get paid. It’s usually all about the money.

    1. That is about 10 AB’s longer than I expected. It took Zach Reks (10th round – Kentucky) only 4 games and 10 AB’s to go from Ogden to Great Lakes. I like Kendall’s chances of getting to Rancho before the end of the year.

  16. AC – enjoyed the very well reasoned thread.
    A couple of years ago I would have definitely been in the ” trade the prospects” camp.
    However. After, Puig, Pederson, Seagar, Urias and now Belinger, we have been spoilt with the success of our Minor League System. We have seen that FAZ has a decent eye for knowing which players to stick or twist on, and it makes me feel uneasy to give them up.
    In this case it’s Ferris & Verdugo that I want to keep.
    Therefore, if any kind of deal can be reached with Detroit for Verlander & Wilson, where we don’t have to give up
    up on those two, then I think I’m in.
    I know he’s expensive, but Verlander is a workhorse, and we could still use him next year, as well as his obvious experience of post season play this year.
    We get another year of Wilson and unless something really weird happens in the next 12 months, we hopefully will be in this position again next year, with the addition of Verlander in the rotation and Verdugo in LF, make us even stronger!

    Kershaw
    Wood
    Verlander
    Hill
    Ferris B

    Urias/Ryu/McCarthy/Maeda

    That is some rotation next year.

    A Wilson/Verlander trade gives us two stabs at it (17/18).

    So, what gets it done?

    Alvarez, Calhoun plus other prospects.
    Or maybe a ML ready performer like Puig plus the above?

    I do think we need Wilson & Verlander would be insurance against CK not making it back this season.

    1. I’d rather have Sonny Gray and Zach Britton. I know it would be expensive but we could start printing the WS tickets now. This is what Kenley had to say about Britton. “Man that would be awesome, you just gave me goosebumps.”
      Is there anyone here who doesn’t think Britton is much much better than Liberatore, Dayton or Avalian? He just set an AL record of 55 consecutive saves. He could very easily share the closing duties with Kenley and Kenley wouldn’t have to worry about 4-5 out saves anymore. In my mind they compliment each other perfectly with Britton in the 8th inning. Just my opinon.

  17. Nothing said about Taylor’s playing the left field corner and throw to Seager for the play at the plate. He fielded it like an infielder. Great heads up play by him. And Seager. I say stand pat on trades. We have capable guys in the pen. Starters depend on Kershaw. Wood and Hill #1&2 in the playoffs might be enough with solid bullpen work. I look for Morrow to be the 2 inning guy. He has a chip on his shoulder and has something to prove to the various teams that cut him. He can go every day and brings it at 100mph. He’s the man we are looking for. He can become an Andrew Miller. I hope it’s with our team.

    1. Actually, I thought both made bad throws that short hopped people or the play wouldn’t have even been close. I am on board the Morrow train though.

      1. Puig’s play in RF shows why they are perfectly content with him hitting .250 with some power and stolen bases.

  18. What did everyone think about Paredes last night?

    Cody said that he had a lot of trouble hitting against Paredes last year, in AA.

    You always have to love a story like Paredes, because he was pitching in his first Major League game at thirty.

    1. Hi MJ:
      He was hit pretty hard in his perfect inning from what I read. 87MPH slider and 92MPH fastball. Probably just average. I’m sure he had the jitters in his debut.

      1. Richie

        Thanks, I didn’t know much about him.

        I thought he might be good, since Cody said that, but you might be right, about his first time.

        I hope you are hanging in there!

  19. Interesting read with respect to what Oakland wants for Sonny Gray, and the speculation. They have indicated that they want a CF in return. Nothing said about when the CF ETA is. The biggest speculation has the Yankees using Estevan Florial (NYY #5) as the centerpiece. However he is a 19 year old in low A and he is at least two – three years away. MLB.Pipeline has him at a 2020 ETA. With the number of young OF on the 25 man, and high OF prospects they have in their farm, this seems very plausible.
    .
    The speculation for the Brewers were either Lewis Brinson or Brett Phillips as the CF prospect in the package. The Brewers seem to be backing away at Gray and seem very reluctant to trade Lewis Brinson to anyone. They could easily afford to lose Brett Phillips, but I do not believe that will be a sufficient CF to pry Gray from Oakland.
    .
    The speculation on the Braves is Ronald Acuna. Acuna is a five tool OF who is 19 and playing well at AAA. Acuna is the Braves Walker Buehler. They have a lot of young pitching talent (6 in top 100) with Newcomb already at ML, and three others with 2018 ETA. One has a 2019 ETA (Kyle Wright) who may end up the best of the bunch, and one at 2020. I do not see the Braves as a realistic trading partner right now. If Acuna is as good as they think, Ender Inciarte could very well be a Winter Trade option that will bring a good sized haul back. Inciarte has a great team friendly contract and is controlled through 2021 with a team friendly option of $9M and a $1.025M buyout for 2022. He will be 31 in 2022. It could be Inciarte who the A’s look at, and that is more viable to me than Acuna.
    .
    The speculation on the Astros was Daz Cameron. He is a legit CF prospect with a 2019 ETA. If I were the A’s I would hold out for Derek Fisher or Kyle Tucker. They are not true CF, but they are very gifted OF’s with plus bats. Tucker is a Verdugo type hitter with power. He was considered the best high school hitting prospect in the 2015 draft. Fisher has been called up to Houston, and has 2 HR’s in 21 PA. He can play CF, but he is looking to be an outstanding LF. With McHugh back, I just do not see the Astros trading either Fisher or Tucker, which is why the speculation on the true CF, Daz Cameron.
    .
    If the A’s are not concerned with a 2018 ETA, then the Dodgers could dangle 20 year old Yusniel Diaz as their CF in the package.
    .
    If I were the A’s I would absolutely want Acuna from the Braves, but would settle on Inciarte and 2-3 of those young pitchers. Or Lewis Brinson from the Brewers, another 5 tool “can’t miss CF (not happening with Brinson).
    .
    The Yankees seem to be the primary block with Estevan Florial or Dustin Fowler as the CF in their package. I may be very biased (okay I am very biased), but I think Yusniel Diaz has a higher ceiling and floor than either of those prospects. Jeren Kendall makes Diaz a luxury (although certainly worth keeping in my estimation). So if ETA is not as important as being a true CF, then it may not be Verdugo that they are looking at, but rather Diaz.
    .
    It is fun (at least for me) to try and think as a GM, and having no idea what the heck they are really thinking. Alas, this will all end in 6 days, and then it is back to just a plain old boring pennant race.

  20. So, they don’t listen to me and are going to start Brock Stewart?

    OK. I warned them!

    1. They brought up two extra relief pitchers and have an off day on Thursday. If they get 5 innings they will be thrilled. They may be show casing Stewart too.

  21. He’s been a real bonus as has Cody.
    Who woulda thought that losing AGon would be a positive thing?
    Still don’t understand why Faz didn’t select Taylor after his wonderful ST?
    70 wins by the end of July. Unreal.

  22. Willie Calhoun. Ho-hum…..3/5 with his 23rd HR s
    .
    Hard to believe his offense is not good enough to help offset any defensive deficiencies he might have.
    .
    Calhoun has half as many home runs as strikeouts in AAA at age 22 (23:46). Joey Votto (26:52) is the only major leaguer with more than 3 HR that has done that in 2017. Strangely, Mike Moustakas is the closest to matching the feat (29:62)

        1. I’d drive him to Dodger Stadium. But wouldn’t give him FAZs job, just add him to the FAZ staff.

          1. I’m retired so I don’t want a job, so to make me less desirable, I am willing to add a pitcher.

          2. Add a pitcher?? Unpaid intern status for you! OK, maybe that was a little harsh, what pitcher?

  23. Watford my man – Not Toles, were looking and at 2018 starting OF with speed at the top of the order!!!
    Calhoun – Bluto summed it all…
    Good God, isn’t there a defensive specialist somewhere out there to work on him???

    1. Hello Pete

      I’ve got Alex V setting the table for years to come. Without Toles we’ve still got Joc, Puig, Verdugo & Taylor (who can also lead off).
      Willie looks great, but where are you gonna play him? Looks like an out & out DH to me.
      No way Oakland does that deal.

      I too am
      Looking forward to the McGregor/ Mayweather fight, although I fear it could be a bit one sided. Shame they’ve not having a fight in each code.
      Like to see Mayweather making him on under UFC rules.
      Back off to the Emerald Isle again next week Pete for another 3 days at the Galway Races. Had such a Craic last year, we had to go back.
      Still, it’s taken a year to recover…
      Slainte!

      1. Watford

        Toles has shown he can not only hit for a good average, he hits with power, and has elite speed.

        Toles hit more HRs, in his first month starting the season, then Joc did.

        Joc has not been able to hit for a decent average and he hasn’t hit consistently, after two plus years.

        And he doesn’t have the speed Toles has.

        And Joc’s defensive metrics have went down.

    2. Willie’s problem is simply that there is too much of him in some places…. From someone who has had the same problem all his life. No matter how actually proficient he becomes, no matter how hard he pushes himself, he will always LOOK slow and clumsy, even if he isn’t. Accept him as a first baseman or a DH, that’s the only thing we can do.

  24. From cbs sports
    .
    Yankees have already made one big trade, getting David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox to bolster the bullpen, as well as Todd Frazier to add another bat. I don’t think they’re done, either. New York is currently sitting in the top AL wild-card spot and I don’t think you make a trade like that trade with the White Sox only to close up shop and call it a deadline. Not when you just lost Michael Pineda to Tommy John surgery and have a rotation opening.
    .

    Now, that said, the Yankees are very protective of their top prospects, and I don’t see them trading any of them at the deadline. That takes them out of the running for Gray and Darvish. The Yankees still have enough prospect depth to add a rental fifth starter, however, plus pick up a new first baseman. Right now, the Yankees are the only contender that needs a first baseman or designated hitter. They’re in position to let the market for Lucas Duda or Yonder Alonso come to them,
    As for pitching help, the Yankees would love a young controllable starter, though that’s not going to happen without trading top prospects. That makes a rental more likely. With Jaime Garcia and Trevor Cahill being dealt yesterday, the top remaining rentals are Cardinals righty Lance Lynn and Padres righty Jhoulys Chacin. Don’t be surprised if the Yankees do something creative like add another reliever, then move Adam Warren or Chad Green back into the rotation. Point is, the Yankees are not done.
    .
    .
    Bums: Interesting.

  25. Watford, You Craic till you need a seat… Tip – #3 in the 3rd. has won me tens of dollars at Del Mar racetrack near San Diego. You’d love the venue… Logo: Where the turf meets the surf…
    Willie – Can’t a guy hope!?!
    I really don’t think we’ll see both Puig & Joc roaming the confines of Chavez in 2018…

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