Depth, Depth and More Depth

Yu Darvish did not disappoint Friday night. I have to admit that I flat out did not want him (because he would most likely be a pure rental). But, Hawkeye Dodger and a couple of others, kept clamouring for him and then the Dodgers finally traded for him and the rest is history.

  • Clayton Kershaw would be the Ace on any team in baseball.
  • Yu Darvish would be the Ace on just about any team that did not have Clayton… or Chris Sale.
  • Rich Hill was the pitcher of the month in July and could be the Ace on several MLB teams.
  • Alex Wood has Ace-Like stats.

Any MLB Player pretty much HAS to sign with the team that gives them the best offer (unless it’s not a big difference) because the Player’s Association pretty much demands it.  Now, if a team offers Player-X a 5 year/$84 million deal and another offers a 5-year/$79 million deal, the player can pretty much go with the lower offer and forego $1 million a year.  Think about that though – $5 million is a lot of dough.  $5 million is more than most people make in two lifetimes… so that’s huge!

Barring something crazy, Yu Darvish will likely get a 5 to 6 year deal for $150 to $200 million after this season (especially if the Dodgers win it all).  So before you get all happy and think the Dodgers might work a deal with Darvish – I don’t think so. If the Dodgers win it all, then he was worth it, but let’s face it folks: If the Dodgers would not pony up the money for Greinke, why would they do it for Darvish… especially when the farm is loaded with starting pitchers?  I am hoping Darvish never gives up a run in his Dodger career, but it will be a short one.  Some GM will give him a blank check and he will have to take it.

That said, I am now really glad he is a Dodger! I am going to continue to enjoy the run… and what a run it is! CT3, Seager, Bellinger, Turner and Puig are all getting the job done big time.  When guys aren’t hitting, others are picking them up and when they aren’t hitting they are doing other little things to help the team.  A team is more than the sum of the parts, so when someone says “It’s time to end the Forsythe experiment,” do they even begin to understand that Logan Forsythe has been a big part of a team that has the best winning streak in MLB since 1912?

I still hear people complain that Rich Hill doesn’t pitch deep enough into games, but he was the pitcher of the month in July when the Dodgers did most of their winning.  You have to look at the totality of the circumstances.  The Dodgers have the best ERA in baseball by close to a half run a game!  The starting pitching is part of that equation, and in fact, the Dodgers starters have the best ERA in baseball… and the bullpen is only .03 of a run behind the Indians for the top spot in relievers.   So, the pitching is pretty dang good and the Dodgers do not need to have pitchers pitchers go that deep into games.  Darvish could have went another inning on Friday, but why?

By the way, the Dodgers Bullpen WHIP is 1.08 while the Indians is 1.17.  Just sayin….

Here’s one thing that you can say for sure about this team:  Character matters!  Taylor, Utley, Gonzalez, Seager, Bellinger, Kershaw, Turner, Jansen, Hill, Forsythe, Wood, Jansen, Morrow are all High-Character, High-Integrity Guys (I’m sure I left someone out, my apologies).  Even Yasiel Puig is fitting in and is maturing into a real asset for the team. Just leave him in the #8 hole and let him rack up the numbers.  A #8 hitter who hits 30+ HR is sick. Don’t mess with success.

I heard today that when Bellinger was up for about 12-15 days and was expected to go back down to the minors, that A-Gon went to Dave Roberts and told him that Cody was a better option.  I’m sure he knows that now too.  Adrian will be back in a few days, but it will likely be a limited role.  I think he has the right mindset and could be a killer pinch hitter. In the playoffs, it doesn’t seem likely that Utley, Gonzo and Ethier are all on the roster, but that would be an intimidating bench for RH pitchers.  That leaves Barnes and Hernandez as RH options.

Will Brandon McCarthy be picked up on waivers?  I say yes!

Ryu today – Let’s sweep the Mets! Sunday Night Baseball.  I’ll miss Joe Davis – he’s First Class!

BTW, SpokeBob asked for this yesterday.

Ted Williams:

Cody Bellinger:


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 80 Comments

  1. One thing I think is huge that we all don’t talk too much about is the way that the Dodgers keep coming back from 3 or 4 run deficits to win games. Yeah, we all get caught up in the hoopla, myself included, but this is a so important going forward into the play-offs. How many times in the last 5 years, and I am bringing up some ghosts here, did the Giants and the Cardinals (you s.o,b, s, dont’ tell me you didn’t hit Hanley in the ribs on purpose) rise from the dead and come back in so many play-off games. WE have that hammer now, the aura that no matter what, you better drive a stake through our heart to take us down. I remember so many seasons ago, back in the Donnie baseball days, that a team would get a lead in the play-off game and you could just see the air go out of the dugout. I know we all think Ethier is a stand up guy, which he has mellowed over the years, but don’ forget Donnies last year when the Mets knocked us out and before the whole national baseball audience you could see him barking at Mattingley in the dugout to just f**ing manage.Never forget that. Do you think Roberts would put up with that? He commands so much respect in the dugout and brings that all for the cause mentality. I’m going to get the whip out and beat that dead horse, but the Dodgers have become what our arch rivals used to be. Grinders, Junkyard Dogs, and just flat out scary in the late innings.

    1. If you have followed me for a long time, you will know I am not a big Andre Ethier guy, but as a lifetime Dodger he deserves something. I haven’t called him Mr. Softee for quite some time.

  2. Pitching –Check

  3. The Dodgers are going to get under the luxury cap. They will not sign Darvish when they have Beuhler at a much cheaper option. They have the money. That is not the issue. Where you draft players is changed by the luxury cap, that is what will force the Dodgers to change. I hope we can give Darvish a WS ring and say thank you very much. Good luck on your next job.

    I really think the bull pen is going to be lights out. Watson is looking pretty good. When you have Morrow, Baez, and Watson before you get to Jansen, you have pretty good flame throwers. The best part is that they all have other pitches. They are all pitchers, not just flame throwers.

    If Agon comes back and is hitting well. I would not be afraid to move Bellinger to left and Taylor to center. I do not think think it hurts us defensely. If Agon is hitting better than Joc, that is the move to make.

  4. I might add Max Scherzer to the list of pitchers Yu would not be the Ace for the team he was on, but other than Kershaw/Sale/Scherzer there are not too many you can make an argument that Yu would not be the Ace. Lester and Greinke have legit arguments, but so does Yu when compared to those two.
    Because of Kershaw/Wood/Hill/and now Darvish are getting the publicity, Kenta Maeda is quietly putting together a very good 2 month run. For June and July, Maeda has pitched in 10 games (8 starts). He has compiled 46.2 IP with a record of 6-2 and one save. His ERA is 2.31, batting average against in .212, with an OBP against of .272. He has walked 11 with 44 strikeouts, for a very good 4-1 K/BB ratio. He has allowed 4 home runs (less than 1 per nine innings).
    Maeda is on pace for another 10 starts which will give him 27, for an additional $3.5M in incentive bonus for starts. He has already earned $1M, and will get a 2nd $1M after start 20, and $1.5M after start 25. He is also in his innings pitched incentive bonus run. He has earned $250K after 90 innings. He will earn another $250K for every 10 innings. The way Kenta is pitching, he will should get to 150 and maybe 160 innings.
    Many complained that Maeda had a great start in 2016 and a bad summer, running out of gas. He turned it around this year, with a bad start and is on a very good run. Like Mark, I do not care that he pitches 5-6 innings. The Dodgers are winning with this formula. Come October, there will not be as many pitches in those arms. As has been chronicled on numerous occasions, starting pitching is not 7-8-9 innings in the post season. It is the bullpen that is becoming important. When October comes, two seasoned starting pitchers, Maeda and Ryu, will be in the bullpen. What a difference pure depth makes.

    1. I think you mean ” not as many pitches ON those arms” which should mean there are more pitches left IN them,

    1. Does that thought support your thought of moving Taylor to a more physically demanding CF if Agon plays first?

  5. Nice article and while I can’t completely disagree with your assessment on Forsythe, his AB’s are often painful to watch. Strike one looking, strike two looking, and strike three either looking or swinging. I love his grit, what he adds to the team chemistry and his defense but Chase gives the team more pop and if Agon comes back healthy and swinging a hot bat, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Cody move to LF occasionally and see CT3 at 2B.

    Call me crazy but with the contracts for Crawford, Guerrerro, Eithier and the possibility the option is declined on Forsythe and BMac is moved a lot of money becomes available to invest in Yu. Would the FO do it? Who knows but they just might. After the 2018 season, Agon is off the books as well as Kazmir (with the exception of deferred $) I think the FO would strongly consider trying to get Yu signed, but for now I’m enjoying this season. WS or bust!

      1. It doesn’t matter if the contract is back loaded or not, that annual average value that counts towards the luxury tax. A five year 100 million contact is counted as 20 million a year no matter how you pay it out

  6. I think they may consider signing Yu to an extension. Having Maeda and him around certainly won’t hurt their chances of getting Otani.
    with Bueller in the bullpen to start the season, along with Stewart and Stripling. McCarthy and Ryu to the highest bidder.

  7. Thanks Mark
    The comparison is more striking when they are not wearing hats…..they both have the same hair. I also think their eyes are very similar, I wonder how their eyesight compares. Teddy Ballgame had fantastic vision.

    I believe that if Agon can get his stroke and timing back that he can be a dangerous pinch hitter and DH when needed. Roberts does an excellent job of getting reserves playing time and resting regulars and we have two months to set the roster up for the playoffs. I like Cody at firstbase….he is an exceptional defensive 1st sacker.

  8. Dodgers rotation in 2017:

    4 days rest: 35 starts (last in MLB)
    5+ days: 74 starts (most in MLB)

    Hyun-jin Ryu starts on 6 days rest tonight

  9. Al
    Does that mean we can expect CT to go long again.
    It does seem like he has not had a day off for a while.

    “They don’t have any easy outs,” Lugo said. “Every one of them, you’ve got to bear down and make pitches. And if you don’t, you see what happens when you make mistakes.”

  10. I read somewhere that only 22 of the final 52 are against teams with winning records.

    We need to go 30-22 to tie the NL record for wins. Math majors will tell you that means 31-21 to break the record.

  11. I don’t like what I have been seeing with our bullpen, lately.

    Our relievers have been coming into a games, and walking a hitter, and giving up HRs.

    The bullpen has given up a HR in four, of the last five games.

    Our relivers can’t be coming into games in the post season, and giving hitters, free bases.

    Those walks seem to always come back and score, so our relievers need to come into games, and throw strikes.

    And if we would have lost more of these games when a reliever gave up a HR, we would not be talking about how good our bullpen has been lately.

    And I don’t see Forsythe as a leader on this team, he has only been an everyday player for two years, before he came here, in a eight year career, and he has only been with this team, for less then a year.

    But I don’t think Forsythe and Joc are hurting the team right now, because we are winning, so Roberts can afford to give Forsythe and Joc some more time, to see if they can start hitting.

    But when Agone comes back, that might change this, and I just don’t see Forsythe being that important for this team, or more of a leader then Agone has been, for this team!

    And Mark you supported this, when you mentioned what Agone did to be a team player, and support this team, by saying, Cody was more important to this team, then Agone was, himself.

    Sorry Forysthe does not have close to the resume that Agone has, and Forsythe has only been with this team, for a mere minute, unlike Agone!

  12. Logan Forsythe is not having a good season with the bat this year— so far! However, does a lot of things for this team that may not be recognized. Just to be clear, of all Major League 2B with at least 200 AB’s, Logan Forsythe is 5th in OB% at .360. He does take a lot of pitches which wears down the opposing pitcher and he takes a lot of walks.

    He is second behind DJ LaMahieu in BA and OB% against LH pitching in all of baseball… among 2B! He hits .309 against LH pitching and has an OB% of .447 against Lefties and is OPS’ing .928 against them which is “NEAR SUPERSTAR” level. He has been a huge part of why the Dodgers are better against LH pitching.

    $8 million is too much to pay for that? Forsythe is 2nd on the Dodgers in OB% against LH pitching and 4th in BA against lefties. He is hitting .194 against RH pitching, but his contribution this year to the team’s success against lefties is huge! Unless he tanks the rest of the way, it would be ridiculous NOT to pick up his option.

    1. As always, FAZ makes those decisions, not you or I. We shall see what we shall see. What would Barnes or Kike or Taylor produce with Forsythe’s at bats????

      1. Kike is also part of the resurgence against lefties – so he plays for Joc. I would love to see Barnes at 2B. I think he would be very good, but maybe he has a greater value as a super utility guy. Farmer too?

    2. Mark

      The fact that Forsythe has those high OBAs, is not helping him, be a better hitter.

      In fact I think Forsythe trying to work his counts so much, may be coming in the way, of his hitting.

      After all, the first pitch, may be the best pitch a hitter might get, especially someone, like Forsythe.

      Because oppposing pitchers, know the Forsythe will allow them to get ahead, with their first pitch strike, more often then not, because he is so predictable, ask any Dodger fan.

      But I agree, he is good to have for the post season, because he does hit lefties well, and he seems to have a sure handed glove.

      But if you think about it, sabers value walks the same as hits, but if a hitter gets a walk, they are not even charged with an at bat, like a player that hits a single, would.

      1. Wrong.

        The full formula is OBP = (Hits + Walks + Hit by Pitch) / (At Bats + Walks + Hit by Pitch + Sacrifice Flies). Batters are not credited with reaching base on an error or fielder’s choice, and they are not charged with an opportunity if they make a sacrifice bunt.

        1. Bluto

          I know all of that!

          The problem is, that sabers value walks, the same, as a single.

          But hitters that walk, don’t have that at bat, go against, their batting average.

          So hitters that walk, don’t lose or gain on their batting average, yet sabers, still give players that walk, the same credit, as a single.

  13. This year, the Dodgers are hitting .257 against LH pitching and have a .345 OB% against them.

    Contrast that with last year, when the Dodgers hit .214 against LH pitchers and had a .291 OB%.

    Logan Forsythe is a big part of that.

    1. Mark

      Forsythe is suppose to be an everyday player, not a platoon player, and there are far more rightie pitchers, in baseball.

      I would say that Turner hitting lefties better this year, and Kike hitting leftie better this year, especially with power, along with Taylor, and Corey and Cody hitting lefties well too, is a bigger part of that.

      Sorry Mark, I am in, an argumentative mood today, for some reason, but in a good way!

      1. Bluto

        And that is because walks don’t do all the things, that a hit can do, especially when runners are on base!

        1. On base percentage, MJ, just is there to measure getting on base.

          A bloop single counts as much as a liner as a walk.

          1. Bluto

            If there is a runner on third, and the hitter at bat, hits a bloop single, the runner scores.

            That doesn’t happen with a walk.

          2. Who cares? The batter got on base. If the next batter gets a walk, and the next. Then does the third batter deserve more credit for “scoring” the runner??!?!?!

            Of course not.

            Why are you even debating this?

          3. Bluto

            I know what OBA is.

            But sabers are are valuing a walk, as the same as a hit.

            And they use OBA plus slugging, percentage to get OPS.

          4. MJ,

            Are you not understanding?

            A walk is as good as a hit when you are evaluating GETTING ON BASE.

            How can this be difficult to grasp?

  14. Good article Mark. I think Forsythe has to step it up the next two months. I believe he will. What I do not like about Forsythe is he almost always takes the first pitch. It always is a fastball right down the middle. Generally they say you get one good pich to hit every at bat. Often that is the best pitch Forsythe sees. Taylor and Seager do not wait around very long.

  15. I think Logan Forsythe has a lot of value, but will he be our 2B next year? Maybe or maybe not. He has an option for next year, which is $7.5 million more than his million dollar buyout. He’s very tradeable, but there’s a lot left to be decided this year.

    Last August, Logan hit .290 with a .382 OB% and OPS’ed .941. I think the people who wanted to get rid of Chase Utley can tell you to wait and see.

  16. BTW, among Dodgers players, Justin Turner leads in OB% against LH Pitchers with a sick .488! Forsythe is 2nd with a .447. Seager is .408, Taylor is .402, Barnes is .376 and Kike is .352.

    Now, if we could just get Puig to hit them…

  17. Beuhler in relief yesterday for OKC. So-so performance. LoCastro at .375 for OKC at 2b. He might be the solution to the Forsythe dilemma. Except that before there is spring training competition, Forsythe’s option will have been picked up. I doubt if the team will just give the job to Lo Castro.

  18. If Grandal goes on the 10 day due to back spasms he will watch Barnes be a better catcher and hitter in his absence. I have been saying that Barnes will get 40 to 50% of the playing time at catcher by mid-August.

  19. Joc, if by chance you read this blog do us a favor and go back to hitting the pitch to center and adjust from there on inside and outside pitches. You were one of the best Dodger hitters in the 30 games leading up to the All Star game and then you began to think pull pull pull. How’s that working for you?

  20. Here is a look at the Dodgers payroll obligations for next year per Spotrac:

    Roughly $177M and the threshold is $197M for luxury tax. In 2019 the payroll drops to roughly $116M and the threshold goes to $206M. So $20M under next year and $90M under in 2019.

    JT and Kenly and Hill took a cut this year by back loading their contracts for 2017:
    Only the signing bonus is prorated over the contract life, so Darvish could take a large bonus and back loaded contract, maybe with an opt out in 3 years to help get the team under the luxury tax.

    There are still a lot of players under team control that will get $550K or so and some key players arbitration eligible including Grandal, Wood, Joc, Kike and Baez and players with 1 year deals like Morrow that are candidates to be resigned. They have about $20M to play with for those players to stay at the cap with no other moves. Freeing up McCarthy, and either Ryu or Forsythe saves more than enough to sign Darvish, all their team control players they want to keep and some other around the edges moves. Moving AGon might be doable if they throw in a prospect and eat half his salary, Kazmir would be a heavy lift.

    The Dodgers final offer to Greinke was reported to be $155M for 5 years or $31M but they were outbid. If the Dodgers offer that to Darvish and he signs elsewhere I still think Otani might come here. Back loading it would be tricky but they have a lot of room only 1 year later.

    I would love to see them find a way with the caveat that the Dodgers win the WS and Darvish is a big part of it. My gut tells me they will make a valiant effort but fall short and then turn their sights on Otani who is young and has massive upside. He also wants to hit as well as pitch in the major leagues.

    1. Thanks. Informative post. I expect Joc and Hatcher to be non-tendered and I don’t think they pick up Forsythe’s option, so I agree that there will be money for Darvish IF they choose. Another thing they can look into is pairing up some of our prospects with the deadwood contracts in trades. All the prospects won’t work out and we couldn’t use them all if they did…

      1. I don’t see why Joc would be non-tendered. He and Grandal (sorry Mark) could be valuable trade chips down the road. Along with Hatcher. Anyone want Hatcher? Anyone?? Going once, going twice, sold to the Yomiuri Giants for pennies on the dollar.

        1. Want to feel bad? Hatcher is collecting just under $7000 every day while he is on the DL. Worse? Franklin G. is sucking up a bit over $18000 a day. Together, in one day they get almost as much as I do in a year of retirement income. Pure waste, both of them for the whole year…

    1. I am not giddy, but whether now or in 2 years, a team has to be interested in signing him, and as the article stated there are numerous teams in on him but he is leaning towards only 3, the Dodgers, Rangers and Padres, and the Padres are not competitive and don’t have the $$.

      1. And the Rangers probably won’t have Darvish, whom I think will be an important recruiter.

    1. The claim isn’t that he is not a real major league player, it’s just that he’s not anywhere near worth what his contract option calls for next year, and FAZ, NOT being an idiot, will NOT pay the option.

    1. Mark

      Now I definitely agree about Ryu!

      He has always been a very good pitcher.

      Did you see that HR Cody just hit?

      Forsythe got another hit, again off a leftie.

      1. I would pay $7.5 million for a Great 2B who mashes lefties!

        Shoot, maybe Utley comes back for one more…

          1. There is an alternative outcome. FAZ can buy out the option ($1MM), and then offer him a smaller contract, $4MM -$5MM. I still favor giving the job to Taylor with Kike and Barnes as backup. Save the money.

  21. Darren Daulton just died. Sad!

    Brain cancer.

    My ex-wife and oldest son’s mother succumbed to the same thing at age 37! My son was 8. He’s now 30 and still hasn’t gotten over it.

    1. Mark

      That is something that a child will never get over.

      But it does get easier or better, after so many years.

      But kids that become adults, still have that fantasy about what if, especially when something like that, happens at that early age..

      You can’t change that, but I am sure you have been there, from the begining, and that makes a big difference!

  22. Some of it is magic;

    and some of it is tragic…

    but I’ve had a good life all the way.

    We were both with her when she died and it was awe-inspiring! It’s quite a story…

    He just can’t get past it. He’s a great son and is doing well in life but he can’t get over it.

    1. Mark

      I guess he still needs more time, all you have to do, is continue to be supportive.

      I know you have had a good life, but no parent can be totally happy, if they don’t feel their child is as happy too..

      1. He has been my biggest challenge. My other two kids were easy comparatively. His mom was from big money, so he’s a millionaire, but money doesn’t buy happiness. He knows I have his back…

  23. It must have killed ESPN to praise the Dodgers. It was interesting to hear how much time they devoted to the Mets’ phenom (Rosario) who hasn’t done anything much yet. (He looks like a great glove – let’s see if he can hit.)

    The Dodgers are the Swiss Army Knife of baseball. I give the Braintrust full credit – they have created a roster of interchangeable parts. They have
    3 first basemen (on the 25 man active roster) – Bellinger, Utley and Farmer
    4 second basemen – Forsythe, Utley, Taylor, Barnes and Hernandez
    3 shortstops – Seager, Hernandez and Taylor
    4 thirdbasemen – Turner, Hernandez, Barnes and Taylor
    3 catchers – Grandal, Barnes and Farmer
    5 outfielders – Puig, Pederson, Taylor, Hernandez and Bellinger.

    They can mix and match depending on matchups and the hot hand. The computers tell them whom to play. It works, even though it offends my old school sensibilities.

    They have won 77% of their games since Bellinger came up 4/25. 77% of 162 is 125 wins.

  24. It should be an interesting series with Arizona. Our starting pitchers should be Maeda, Wood and Darvish. Ryu looked great. So did Cingrani. I was glad Cingrani had a good outing. Playing on a new team, you want to make a good impression.

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