The Big Blue Dodger Machine

I still like the name “The Big Blue Wrecking Crew” but that was another time and another team.  We can’t use the same name again – there are rules against such things.  The 1988 Dodgers were comprised of “The Stunt Men” who include Mickey Hatcher, so that was a fitting moniker too. I thought of other names like “The Blue Juggernaut.”  But, the way this team is built with a mixture of vets and young players and with the incredible depth that they have and just the way they go about their business is like a “machine.”   They are a MACHINE! A machine is where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and the parts in this machine are pretty dang good.

The Big Blue Dodger Machine – I like it! Henceforth they are christened as such and are to be called by that name.  The Big Dodger in the Sky has given his approval upon the name.  It is now the law of the land.  I have proclaimed it!  Dang, I sound like Donald Trump!  The Big Blue Dodgers Machine refers to this current version of the Dodgers… we might call them that for the next 10-15 years!  It’s a good time to be a Dodger fan, right about now!

Doc is Right – Cody Stays at 1B

I had hopes that Adrian Gonzalez would miraculously revert to his glory years after a few nice hits, but it ain’t happening. He is on the downhill slide of his career but he can be a nice role player.  Cody Bellinger may be the best defensive 1B in baseball and of course, we know how his bat plays.  He is the 1B – Period! Adrian will get a few spot starts with Cody going to the outfield, but Adrian is a role player for the Dodgers as of right now, unless A-Gon really starts driving the ball and I have only seen a couple of flashes.  He has “warning track power” but knows how to get a key hit.  He’s part of The Machine.

The Dodgers infield is among the best in baseball… if not the best, defensively and offensively. Utley and Forsythe share 2B, but Corey Seager and Justin Turner are amazing.  This team has two Cy Young winners on the DL and another Cy Candidate there as well.  The cleanup hitter and ROY is there too along with other high-quality players and they don’t miss a beat.

The outfield is set as Chris Taylor is now the current and future centerfielder (sorry Joc, but you have no future in CF here… maybe LF, but that is on you).  Granderson and Puig man the corners of an excellent outfield. Of course, Granderson is here for just this year (I suppose he could come back on a team-friendly deal like Chase Utley, if he wanted).  Next year, this just might be the lineup:

  1. Barnes  2B
  2. Seager SS
  3. Turner  3B
  4. Bellinger  1B
  5. Taylor  CF
  6. Puig  RF
  7. Grandal  C
  8. Toles or Verdugo  LF

If Farmer is ready to be the backup catcher, I would love to see Austin Barnes at 2B.  I think he’s is who his stats say he is .299 BA/.419 OB%, .928 OPS in less than 200 plate appearances).  I like Logan Forsythe a lot, but with Farmer blossoming and Barnes being a very good defensive 2B and excellent hitter, I would make that move. Forsythe is tradable but to Dodgers do not have to pick up his option up. Granderson will likely be gone and Toles will be back.  Maybe A-Gon retires and has his contract torn-up to get his pay off the books and the Dodgers sign him to a 10-year personal services contract. There is no better liaison to the Hispanic community.

Rants and Raves

  • Chris Taylor is for real!  His swing is for real.  He’s a huge cog in The Machine. Just imagine that FAZ got him for some trash they wanted to dispose of (apologies to Zach Lee).
  • Alex Wood is in the Cy Young conversation.  Another trade below the radar.
  • Yasmani Grandal means more to this team than most people even understand.
  • Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig were all acquired by the old front office, but FAZ was loathe to trade them and it has paid off in spades.
  • Yes, Ned Colletti and Logan White left their stamp on the team, but this is Andrew Friedman’s team and they will be a machine for quite some time.  This is a sustainable model that FAZ has built and it is nothing short of incredible.
  • The Dodgers Have 91 Wins – No Other Team Has More Than 78!  That is just plain sick!
  • Remember when we (me included) wanted to get rid of Maeda and Ryu?  That was silly!
  • Scott Barlow went 10 and struck out 7 on 3 hits at Tulsa.  OKC may not play for a while with all hurricane rains and such.

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 37 Comments

  1. Regarding the previous thread, just ignore my post. I clearly had a brain freeze.

    First off, I didn’t notice that it was written by AC, NOT Mark. Second, I completely forgot about Granderson, who I definitely prefer over Agon. So when Bellinger gets back, he goes to first, Granderson remains in left, and Agon goes to the bench. And if the Dodgers go to the WS, then Agon can DH against righthanded pitching.

    Clearly, I need to get more sleep.

    I’m not going to take any time thinking about the “The Big Blue Dodger Machine” except to say that I’d probably prefer something else that was not so close to “The Big Red Machine”.

    1. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem… Give me a better name! 😉

      Big Blue Wrecking Crew Revisited?

  2. I find it amazing that last night we won our 91st game.

    Last year we won 91 games total, and that team was on the verge of going to the world series. It’s a fun ride, kids! Hope to see you all at the stadium sometime

  3. Right on Mark.
    This team was slumping on the road trip and still went 5-2. Big Blue is so deep with talent that we are still able to compete and win without having our best line up. It is a combination of our great pitching, relentless offense and amazing defense that allow us to be so consistent. On any given night we can win with two of the three and if all three are kicking it we blow the other team out of the water.

    I believe that Agon will have a special part to play in the post season.

  4. We get it FAZ is awesome. At this point who would or could argue. Moving on….Big Blue Machine, Big Red Machine. Plagiarism. Let’s keep looking. Meanwhile looking forward to September to see the new crop of close to ready prospects coming up. Gonna be fun to watch Buehler face some MLB hitters. He is as close to can’t miss as it gets. Like Urias, hopefully without the injury disappointment. Everyone ready for the playoffs. Anyone else nervous about the playoffs? Guess after all this time away from the WS it’s kinda in LA fans DNA to be nervous at playoff time. Still, ya gotta love their chances this year. Go Dodgers.

  5. Last year I feared playing the Cubs. This year I fear no other team. Not that we can’t lose, I just believe that we are better than everyone else.

  6. The stipulation Mark made that Agone must be healthy, and hitting, I agreed with.

    And I have no problem if Agone isn’t in the line up, if he isn’t hitting, unless he starts hitting enough, before Cody comes back.

    And I like the idea about having Barnes at second next year, instead of Forsythe.

    Because although Forsythe seems sure handed on defense, he isn’t the same hitter, against righties, that Barnes is.

    And Barnes is younger and he can grow, with all the other young players, in our infield, right now.

    There is no need to pay Forsythe that kind of money, to be our utility guy next year, when we have so many different options, because of the flexibility of all of our players, on this team.

    I also think Mark may be right about Joc too.

    Because Joc isn’t doing much in AAA, since he went down.

    Joc has only hit 211, and he has struck out six times, and they have not played Joc in centerfield, even once, since he has been at AAA.

    And I don’t know that this is true, but I have heard, apparently Joc isn’t taking this demotion, as well, as Puig did, last year.

    And that is too bad if that is true.

    1. Hawkeye

      As always, I appreciate your opinion, so I am not absolute about Agone playing, like I just said above.

      And I always appreciate, your good thoughts!

    2. Barnes isn’t moving to 2B next year when he is probably the starter at catcher in 2019. Now when Ruiz is ready to be the man, that is a different story.

  7. Another post season MVP for a Dodger farm hand. Tulsa Drillers 1B/3B Matt Beaty was named Texas League MVP (AA). Matt is batting .324/.381/.506/.887. He has 29 doubles and 14 HR. He has struck out a mere 50 times in 436 PA…11.5% rate. I have discussed Matt quite a bit this year, as he just continues to hit. He’s another left handed hitter. I do not know how he would play in the OF, but to me he is a left handed hitting Rob Segedin. Matt was a 12th round selection from Belmont University in 2015. He will get a chance next year at OKC, and then who knows?I
    .
    Matt was joined on the Texas League post season All Star team with RHSP, Scott Barlow who has had a very good year at AA. To succeed at AA as well as Scott has done puts him in the discussion for 2019. In 17 games started at Tulsa, Barlow is 6-3, with a solid 2.12 ERA, and .932 WHIP. He has 108 K in 93.1 IP, and 35 BB. He has allowed 8 HR in those 93.1 IP. He is from the Santa Clarita Valley so that makes him a local product. Scott was a 2011 6th round draftee
    of the Dodgers.
    .
    Congratulations to both Matt and Scott for a great season thus far. The Drillers’ season may be continuing. They are currently tied for the 2nd half league lead with the Springfield Cardinals. They have 6 out of their final 10 regular season games against those Cardinals. The winner of the 2nd half continues into the p!ayoffs.

  8. Adrian Gonzalez is a man and a consummate teammate. Dylan Hernandez elaborates:

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-dodgers-adrian-gonzalez-20170817-story.html

    Here’s the best part:

    I’m not expecting anything,” Gonzalez said. “I’m not coming in here saying I need to play every day. I just want to be a part of the team and contribute any way I can.”

    That’s the example I want to set for the younger guys,” Gonzalez said. “I’m not going to sit there and complain because I’m not playing. I’m going to be ready for when he does need me.”

    1. Good for him. I think he’s seen enough crap in the locker room from 2012-2014 to not go down that road.

  9. AC: I do not know how he would play in the OF, but to me he is a left handed hitting Rob Segedin.
    .
    You mean he can’t field at the major league level? (although I’m not completely sure that Segedin hits at the ML level either)

    1. No. What I mean is that like Segedin, he can hit, play both corner infield positions, and is venturing into the OF this year. That is how Segedin got to the ML, so it seems that it could be a good approach for Beaty as well. Hitting .324 in a pitcher’s league is outstanding. He can hit. You strike out less than 12% of your plate appearances at AA, you have demonstrated that you can put bat to ball. Whether he does at the next level or at the ML level we will have to wait and see. Some phase out, some continue to develop. I do not believe Beaty is currently penciled to be a regular in a steady position at the ML level, but being able to play 3rd, 1st, RF, and LF (like Segedin) opens the door for playing time. He even played 2B this year. He plays for an organization that values flexibility to fill bench and reserve roles. Not everybody can play at the Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, or Clayton Kershaw level. So the more skills you display, the better your chances.
      .
      Matt has also displayed more power this year. If he hits another HR this year, it will be 15, and will equal the number he hit in his first two years combined.
      .
      I am not making a direct comparison to Cody, but last year at Tulsa, Cody batted
      .263/.359/.484/.843. It was a good year. While this year, Matt has batted
      .324/.381/.506/.887. Cody did have 23 HR, but only 17 doubles. Matt has bettered Cody’s numbers across the board. Matt is not as fast, nor as gifted defensively. But he can hit. It was not a fluke that he was named Player of the Year in the Texas League.

      1. Thanks for the pertinent information on Matt, AC. My point: I hope he is much better than Segedin because I don’t think that Segedin is a ML caliber player, at least for not much more than an occasional fill-in, at best. Therefore I don’t want him to be a Segedin comp and hope he has a much higher ceiling.
        .
        It is always hard to say who will make the transition to the bigs and the surprises go both ways. LaRoche is one example – ask Mark about him. Taylor is another example. I generally hope they all make it because I love to see the young guys come up and be successful. I just don’t think that’s in the cards for Segedin. Hopefully it is for Matt.
        .
        I also am not as high as most on Verdugo. His hitting talent is undeniable. I feel there are other intangibles that could derail him from having a hugely successful ML career. And I know that everyone wants Buhler up Sept 1st and all the signs point to it happening, but I am doubtful of that call up happening. I will cheer for his success if it does but don’t think that it will, or should happen.

  10. Maybe someone can help me with this. There seems to be a consensus that Puig has turned it around. Even Garciaparra, who early in the year was very critical of Puig, speaks in glowing terms regarding his progress. I have always been a super fan of Puig, and I was really bummed out when he was sent down last year, though I now appreciate that it was a good thing. Here is my question: Much of the time Puig takes the first strike–a decision he makes before the ball is thrown which he makes clear by his body language. What’s with that? And wouldn’t he at least fake that he might swing? Obviously this is working out ok, but I don’t understand it (his strikeout rate is going down, to boot). During many ABs , he is limiting himself to two strikes for success when it would seem three would be better.

    1. I’m with you on that and I’ve been a Puig supporter too. Sometimes it is on strike one. Other times it is in a hitter’s count like 2-0. That’s when it really drives me crazy. However, a year ago he was playing in OKC and many thought we would never see him in Dodger blue again. So, if that’s are biggest complaint all is good. I’m sure it annoys Turner Ward too and it is still a work in progress like figuring out why he isn’t hitting lefties this year.

    1. The Deep Blue?

      Hell, every idea I have ever had was plagiarized!

      That might grow on me…. I like it a lot!

      Hawkeye,

      I think Kay Bear is our Catcher in 2019!

      Just my opinion. I have him as our #1 prospect and no one else does. We shall see…

      1. 2019 might be pushing it. Getting through AA and AAA in one year as a catcher who will start the season as a 19 year old might be asking too much. I agree he will be the catcher of the future, but I think it is more likely to be 2020.
        .
        I had him as my #3 because I think it is easier to project pitchers than it is to project position players. The pitcher has the ball, and can control the outcome a little better than the position player. For the pitcher, the arm gets the higher floor, but the heart/desire/head get the higher ceiling.

        1. I like to step out there… I did it with Cody.

          Corey was ready a year earlier… although it worked out pretty OK.

  11. Besides Kershaw pitching at OKC, Yadier Alvarez pitches for AA Tulsa tonight. Jordan Sheffield starts for RC tonight. Brandon McCarthy pitched 3 shutout innings in his rehab start at RC last night.

    1. That means McCarthy is being stretched out to get a Sept start or two. When he is on he has good stuff but I worry about his yips in the playoffs, even out of the bullpen. But this will prove he is healthy and make him easy to move in the off season. I prefer Maeda and Ryu’s mental makeup better for playoff pressure. I have heard the Wood in the bullpen discussion but he is too good to leave out of the rotation if healthy.

      As valuable as Grandal is the Dodgers have to make a decision whether to sign him to his final arbitration year or extend him and possibly block all the catchers in the system including Barnes, Farmer, Smith and Ruiz plus the newly drafted Wong. Of course he could still be traded either way they decide if someone starts knocking louder on the door. Considering the state of the catching when Faz came in, this is a dramatic turnaround.

      If the bullpen can navigate today’s game nicely for a win I hope the critics cut the pen some slack. If it becomes a high scoring affair then I will stand corrected. The other issue of men LOB is better than not getting men on base which is the problem teams facing the Dodgers have. Getting men on base puts constant pressure on the opposing teams. I think the team is overdue for an offensive breakout.

      1. And a really insightful article in Fangraphs about Grandal and his comparative value to the team. I was impressed by him. It’s a long way from the days where, when a player was interviewed, he game cliched platitudes about taking every day one game at a time. He seemed very aware of his comparative skills and how his performance ranked this year versus last year, and had a good, reasoned analysis of why Posey was more valuable. He had insight, and he’s a student of the game.
        **
        **

        http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/a-clandestine-operation-with-yasmani-grandal/

      2. Vegas

        I agree with you about McCarthy, and it is exactly for the same reason.

        Let’s hope he does have those couple good starts like you mentioned, so the Dodgers can move him, and lower the payroll a little, maybe.

  12. Meanwhile, Kersh today for OKC: 5ip, 2 hits, 1ER (a solo hr by Jorge Soler), 0bb, 8k, 64 pitches (43 strikes)

  13. I love Agon’s attitude. That is what I would expect from him. He, Utley, Turner, and Kershshaw helped develop the culture in the club house. They just want a WS trophy.

    1. I meant move McCarthy in the off season after showing he is healthy.

      Bullpen game is what is is, would not have mattered if they can’t score a run. No 9th inning heroics tonight. Ravin who looked unhittable last night gives up 2 and Avilan 1 but Luis pitched a perfect 9th. LOB not really a problem as only 5 got on base!

      These things happen when you have 5 starters on the DL, and with Stewart looking bad his last game and with a 20 game lead no reason to rush Kershaw back. Darvish goes tomorrow and they will bounce back strongly to take another series from the Brewers. Then an off day and on to AZ.

      JT 0 for four tonight, down to .329, while Blackmon goes 1 for five with a HR and drops to .335.

  14. Offense has stopped working:
    Bill Plunkett: “Dodgers shut out for 2nd time in 4 days after going 46 consecutive games without being blanked. Lose 3-0 to Brewers.”

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