Bay of Puigs: Reading Between the Lines

Once a Knucklehead… Always a Knucklehead

We all saw Puig get thrown out trying to steal 2B at the end of Saturday Night’s game and Dave Roberts was unusually vocal in his displeasure.  It turns out that the blown steal just may have been “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”  I am not privy to what is going on, but I have heard whispers that the Dodgers locker room has not been a great place since the middle of August.  From what I hear, it involves Puig.  Writers know, but they aren’t saying.  Me, I don’t know, but Doc is sending Puig a message!

Yasiel Puig will likely win the Gold Glove as a right fielder in the NL and can still hit 30 HR this year.  Hopefully, the team can keep him under control throughout the playoffs and World Series and then trade him in the offseason.  His time in LA is up.  Only one team can afford Giancarlo Stanton and that’s the Dodgers (well, others might think they can) and I predict they will go after him in the offseason. Put together a package of Pederson, Puig, Diaz, Alvarez, Rios or Oaks for Stanton?  The Marlins get a choice of 4 or 5 players. Miami get a few Cubans and salary relief.

The Marlins are blowing it all up and Stanton will be traded. The Dodgers could probably have Dee Gordon back for taking his salary and another mid-level prospect. It won’t happen though because even though Dee is #5 among 2B in BA, he is 18th in OPS.  FAZ values OPS more than BA.

While we are talking 2B, Brian Dozier leads MLB second basemen with 32 HR.  He would have been nice as the #5 hitter – all we had to was include Bellinger in the deal.  Ha!

The Dodgers will try and keep a stiff upper lip and keep this “Bay of Puigs” in house, but I think Puig is gone after this season. I would love to see this lineup NEXT year:

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

Kay Bear Ruiz will be ready in 2019 (and he is going to be special) and Grandal can walk then.  Let Barnes man 2B and let Farmer backup Yasmani.  Barnes can also serve as an emergency Catcher which is a nice luxury to have.  I think Austin can be an outstanding 2B.

Speaking of 2B, Willie Calhoun, who is a former 2B, got a hit in his first AB for Texas and is 0-13 since.

With Yasmani Grandal’s home run in Sunday’s game, the 2017 Dodgers set the franchise all time record for home runs in a season with 212… and they ain’t done yet! As has been talked about by everyone, they have six players with 20 plus home runs. Actually, it’s seven, but Granderson hit most of them with the Mets.  The thing is:  the Dodgers can field a lineup where the top seven hitters have twenty plus home runs.  That’s a nice piece of their success.

Cy Young:  Scherzer or Kershaw?

Clayton is the ONLY Dodger pitcher ever, including Koufax and Drysdale to have seven consecutive 200 strikeout seasons.  Right now, it’s pretty even in the Cy Young race in the NL.

  • ERA – Kershaw 2.21/Scherzer 2.55
  • Wins – Kershaw 18/Scherzer 16
  • WHIP – Kershaw 0.93/Scherzer 0.91

I think it boils down to their last start! I think if Clayton is lights out and wins his 19th, he can win, but it is close.  On the other hand, Scherzer could also be lights out! The only problem is that Clayton will have to do it in Colorado and that is not a park where he pitches well.

Monday, we need to see Yu Darvish be Yu Darvish.  He needs 7 or 8 strong innings for his playoff psyche and the keep the Indians a game behind the Dodgers.


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 27 Comments

  1. At 8-16 this month, the Dodgers are having the worst September for any MLB playoff team ever.
    To date, the worst September finish for a team that made the postseason is 9-15 (.375) by the 1998 Padres.

    1. Rick – I don’t know if it’s human nature, but my confidence is beginning to wane.
      I have been hoping that this dreadful run was a blip, something that could easily be reversed, but I’m starting to think that it’s a terminal decline.
      Maybe when the bright lights shine out a week on Friday everything will be ok.
      The Adrenaline will kick in, and we will be fine,
      However, the rational part of my brain tells me that it’s not likely that a whole team can suddenly start hitting again, and a whole Bullpen can put it together again, or that the chemistry will return.

      To be honest, it’s gonna take a hell of an effort from here to beat AZ, then the Nats or Cubs and then Houston or Cleveland (potentially), with so
      Many players off form.

      The list of players performing anywhere near the top of their game is very small.

      I have read Mark for 6 seasons now, and to be fair to him, he has gotten most things right, and because of that, I have a lot of trust in his opinion.
      This really is a leap of faith if I am gonna really believe that the boys can turn this terrible run around.
      I know things can change very quickly in sport, and suddenly you have a piece of luck, or an exceptional play, and momentum is turned, but somehow Doc needs to press the reboot button and get the guys going again.
      I would suggest forget playing the AAA guys, and get all the regulars out there.
      Get the lineup set, slide Puig back to the 8 hole, and get JT & Corey as many ABs as possible.

      The run that you mentioned above is a very sobering one

      1. Watford, the Dodgers limped into the playoffs last year with a 1-5 record their last 6 games, including 2 losses to the Padres and 3 straight losses to the Giants. They were the away team and underdog against the Nats in the NLDS and beat them 3 games to 2. They were a huge underdog and away team against the Cubs and got into Game 6 of the NLCS with Kershaw going for the good guys. They basically got by with 3 pitchers (Kershaw/Hill/Jansen). They have a few more this year. Unless there are those that think that Darvish, Wood, and Morrow are not better than last year’s version of Maeda, Urias, and Blanton. They also have Bellinger replacing AGon, Chris Taylor replacing Joc, and Puig replacing Reddick. Grandy/Dre/Kike’ vs. Toles/Howie is a wash.
        Sure, some will choose to look at the Dodgers from an arbitrary point in the season and point out how bad they are playing. I choose to look at what they have done since April 3, and that is 99-57 and the best record in baseball.
        You said it best a couple of weeks back about adrenaline. The adrenaline will kick back in on October 6, with Game 1 of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium. If they cannot get up for the NLCS/NLDS/WS, they deserve to lose. That does not mean that all they need is adrenaline, but I like their players and their chances against any team in MLB.

        1. AC – you’ve given me a much needed shot in the arm.
          We certainly need JT & Corey back firing on all cylinders, and Yu needs to step up.

          One thing is for sure, like Vin said, the Dodgers certainly won’t do it the easy way.

  2. Kershaw going to win his 4th CY, Dodgers going to win over 100 games. Bellinger breaking rooking HR record.

    Enjoy this season folks…as Dabo Swinney always says, the best is yet to come!!!

  3. I have never been a big Puig supporter, but I was glad to see him playing better in 2017, and very much hoped it would continue. I still believe that he presents the best opportunity for a #5 hitter in the Dodgers playoff lineup. And he undoubtedly deserves the RF GG. Puig had a fantastic June .298/.394/.571/.965, a very good August .268/.417/.537/.954, but has not been stellar the other four months. None of the other four months did Yasiel have an OPS north of .800. Contrarily, Chris Taylor (CF) has had 3 months with an OPS north of .900, and one north of 1.000. He has had a very pedestrian September (as have most Dodgers). And I agree that FAZ greatly favors OPS over BA. Take a look at the minor leagues and see how they value OPS. Corner infield and corner outfield positions need to carry big OPS.
    If Puig had successfully stolen 2nd base Saturday, it would have been a great steal. So I agree with those that stated the steal attempt was not the problem, but the fact that he did not slide was the real concern. I do not know if Utley would have continued the inning, so the actual outcome of this game with respect to the overall best record in the NL or MLB will forever be unknown. Right or wrong, I have always had the impression that Yasiel Puig has played to be noticed as an individual. And to be fair, I get the same impression with Bryce Harper. I do suspect that Puig will not be a Dodger next year.
    With a near $245 million 2017 payroll, the Dodgers need to be more than salary neutral in their 2018 roster, so I really do not believe that the Dodgers will make a play for Stanton unless, they include Kazmir (remainder of his contract), McCarthy, and get reimbursed dollar for dollar for AGon (who has full no trade rights). Both JT and Kenley have reduced payrolls for 2018 which should give them some more breathing room. I am also not comfortable that Giancarlo will remain healthy for the entirety of his contract. I see no reason for Stanton to opt out after 2020. Something tells me the Dodgers will find another OF without incurring that massive albatross of a contract. Maybe that OF is Andrew Toles.
    I agree that Keibert Ruiz has a chance to be special, but I am not ready to promote him to the 25 man in 2019 until we see what he does at Tulsa and OKC. If he gets to OKC next summer and does well, then 2019 is in play. As of right now, who starts at AA, Ruiz or Will Smith? Neither one is ready for AAA. The Dodgers do need to make a decision on Austin Barnes…is he a catcher or 2B? If he makes the move to 2B, he should not be considered as a catcher EXCEPT in emergency situations. Also, are the Dodgers sold on Farmer’s ability as a ML catcher? He has not caught 1 inning at the ML level.
    I think the days of Willie Calhoun at 2B are probably behind him. With the Rangers, he has only played LF defensively. He may be 1-14 with 5 K’s, but I do think he will become a fixture in the Rangers lineup. He is a good hitter. Hitting at the ML level is not as easy as Cody Bellinger, Aaron Judge, or Rhys Hoskins are making it look.
    I am too much of a homer to think that anyone other than Kershaw deserves the CY. One of the pitching matchups I have seen for Colorado is Maeda/Ryu/Kershaw. It should be Kershaw/Darvish/Wood with McCarthy/Maeda/Ryu and Hill (if need be for the work) coming in from the bullpen. How else can you determine if McCarthy, Maeda, or Ryu can relieve without actually having them do so? And I absolutely stipulate that Doc Roberts has forgotten more baseball than I will ever know. But I do have an opinion.

    1. I agree with much of what you said with the exception of Puig playing for himself anymore than any other player on the team. The guy hustles down the line each AB. He dives for balls and crashes into wall. When Bellinger hit the record breaking HR, no one cheered for him more than Puig and that has been the case all year.

      Now, should he be benched for not sliding? Sure! I would be all over the kids I coach for that. I agree that trying to get a runner into scoring position with two out is not a bad baseball play. I agree with MJ, I think he got deeked by Crawford, pulled up and then went awkwardly into the bag when he realized a throw was coming. I think he was more embarrassed than he was hurt. Thus, no treatment after the game. I think that is what irked Roberts so much. My only problem is when Turner ended a game not sliding or diving back to 2nd, Roberts response was something like, “he made an aggressive play getting to 2nd base and he got caught trying to make an aggressive play.” Without knowing what it is truly going on in the locker room on my part, there is a lack of consistency there. As is coaching games like they’re spring training and then making the quotes Roberts made yesterday.

      A mountain out of a molehill was the response yesterday and it should have been handled in house and then been done with by the coaching staff. Now, showing up late for early BP today is definitely something that should get him benched tonight. I’m hoping wires just got crossed because it was an early BP. I noticed today that Roberts said today that Puig has been better this year about these things and he was going to be back in the lineup tonight. Now it will be tomorrow. Puig’s greatest challenges has been how he handles failure. He blew it by not sliding the other night. It’s a new test for him. He’s had a great season. It’s time for everyone to right the ship.

  4. While things appeared it was something more than a slump, I thought it almost had to be clubhouse poisoning. It’s hard to think Puig is all of the problem as the problem is so gigantic that it took the wind out of what may have been the best team of all times. If that’s really the case I would think Puig would of been benched or sent down. Something this size almost surely has to include differences between management and players, but at what level? I just hope that whatever has disgruntled our crew will be put aside so they will play in a way they won’t regret for the rest of their lives knowing they blew what coulda-shoulda been. Screw the dumbshit and get your heads right and write history in ‘THIS’ reality. Show em Dodgers!!!!!!!!

    1. Q, I will disagree with you at this point, I don’t think it is a clubhouse thing either between the players or management and players. I think our guys were playing out of their heads for a long time, we drove in the runs, hit home runs, came back in late innings and turned over leads to the BP and they held them. Suddenly, for no external reason, they have returned to normal, or less than in some cases. We are leaving runners in scoring position, our BP can’t hold the opponents, we can’t come back late in the game, and, while we are still hitting lots of homers they are often with the bases empty because we aren’t hitting well. Even the number of walks we are taking has gone down.
      We are just not playing well or up to our potential and the same snake has bitten almost all our guys.
      Can we turn it arround?? Maybe, but I fear it is not likely, especially in light of the information about playoff teams in the past few years.

      CK should win the Cy Young going away. The only possible stumbling block, he is scheduled to pitch his last game in Colorado where he has not done well in the past.

      I agree with several on here that Puig will be traded before next year.

  5. Kershaw winning the Cy? Maybe, as he has the most wins and lowest ERA and his team has done well. For some reason, and I don’t understand WAR, but Sherzer is way ahead of Clayton, like 6.9 to 4.6!

    Puig traded? Maybe but he still has outperformed his contract, made big strides in plate discipline and has been outstanding with the glove. He may be a knucklehead but he is OUR knucklehead! I think most teams would take him in a heartbeat. Unless Joc does a total makeover he is the guy I would like to see go.

    Can the Dodgers flip a switch? I agree with Mark and AC and say yes. The team needs a rest and is about to get one. They were able to nurse injuries and not rush anyone back and that has included, Cody, Cory, Clayton, JT and Wood, all of whom were All Stars this year. We pick on the bullpen but Jansen got little use during the cold streak with no leads to protect-he will be fresh! This is a better and more balanced team than last year with firepower and deep pitching plus some good defense. I am quietly confident and rooting hard for the Men in Blue!

  6. This team won’t make it past the NLDS. It hasn’t hit in over a month. Averages are dropping like rocks. Pitching will be ok but won’t overcome lack of offense. I think for some it is fatigue. Seager is a key piece but his arm is affecting his hitting. Without his bat this offense has no chance. The giant games were played like the playoffs. But the playoffs have no teams that have lost 90+ games. Puig’s not going anywhere. He just might be coming into his own. He’s too valuable to the team to trade him. There probably is something to the notion that the bad steal was just the tip of the iceberg. I think the steal attempt was ok but the execution stunk. Roberts was overly quick to condemn the play and the player. There is something else there. Still not enough to trade one of your best players. Stanton’ s contract won’t be taken up because of the luxury tax implications. I wish the playoffs were 2 months ago. Now it is totally upside down from then and the results will be another early, brutal exit.

  7. We were playing at an unbelievable pace that was unsustainable so we slumped. I still believe because of our pace Roberts thought we could just coast in and started throwing subpar lineups out there thinking we would still win. By the time he realized this is not working we were reeling. Turner was in a dreadful slump, seager and bellinger were injured, grandal and Taylor slumping, our bullpen has gone through a horrible period, and our starters struggled. This all adds up to a horrible slump. However, I think the worm is turning. Kershaw, darvish, wood, and Hill have pitched well recently, Jensen, morrow, cingrani, have been helping the bullpen. Really I think the offense needs to show life as seager, Taylor, bellinger, granderson need to catch fire while grandal and Forsyth seem to be trending up while turner just needs to be healthy and puig needs to go back to the 8 spot and Barnes needs to continue to be Barnes. If our offense starts clicking like we can it will again come down to can kershaw win when it is his turn.

  8. A lot of negativity in here today regarding a team that just clinched the playoffs and won 2 of 3 from the Giants. Life is good!

    Third baseman voted “Most Inspirational Dodger” by his teammates and coaches

    – The Dodgers announced today that third baseman Justin Turner was named the winner of the 12th annual Roy Campanella Award, which is given to the Dodger player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher. The award, which was voted upon by Dodger uniformed personnel, will be presented to Turner by Campanella’s daughter, Joni Campanella Roan, and his grandson, Cary Bell, during pregame ceremonies tomorrow night.

    Former Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal received the inaugural Roy Campanella Award in 2006, and since then the honor has been awarded to Russell Martin (2007), James Loney (2008), Juan Pierre (2009), Jamey Carroll (2010), Matt Kemp (2011), A.J. Ellis (2012), Clayton Kershaw (2013-14), Zack Greinke (2015) and Chase Utley (2016).

    Turner, 32, was initially signed by the Dodgers as a non-roster free agent with an invitation to Spring Training prior to the 2014 season and since then has emerged as an All-Star on the field and a strong leader inside the clubhouse. Turner has led the National League in batting average for much of the season and currently ranks second in the league in both average (.321) and on-base percentage (.414) while playing elite defense in 114 games started at third base.

    This season, the Long Beach native earned the final roster spot on the NL All-Star team through the “final vote,” garnering a record-setting 20.8 million votes online and via social media. Since coming to his hometown team in 2014, Turner ranks among the National League leaders in batting average (.303, 9th), on-base percentage (.378, 7th) and OPS (.881, 9th).

    While setting an example for his teammates to follow on the field, Turner has been just as impressive as a leader in the community, which this year culminated in his being named the Dodgers’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.

    Turner, who was nominated by his teammates for the MLB Player Association’s Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award last year, frequently makes community appearances on behalf of the team and often schedules his own visits to Cedars-Sinai Hospital to spend time with patients and to the Los Angeles Dream Center – a nonprofit that assists homeless families with residential, foster care, medical, life skills and other services.

    When Turner signed a four-year contract to stay in Los Angeles this winter, he helped counsel All-Star closer Kenley Jansen, who eventually committed to staying with the Dodgers for five years. When the pair met with the media together after signing their deals, Jansen had this to say about the 2017 Roy Campanella Award winner:
    “To have me and Justin back here, it kind of sets a tone for the young guys to kind of see how the process goes,” Jansen said. “Justin signed here on a minor league deal and became a star. Me, being a catcher who failed and then becoming one of the best closers, for the young guys to see that, I think it will help us a lot to win a championship.”

    Added Dodger manager Dave Roberts during the season:

    “J.T. is the epitome of what we’re trying to do going forward, the type of baseball player he is, what he stands for. Those are the guys you win with.”

    Campanella was a three-time National League Most Valuable Player (1951, 1953 and 1955), eight-time All-Star and a member of the 1955 World Championship team. He played in five World Series and his 142 RBI in 1953 set a franchise record, since surpassed by Tommy Davis (153 in 1962). In 1,215 career games during a 10-year career, all with the Dodgers, he batted .276 with 242 home runs and 856 RBI.

    He began his career in the Negro Leagues, establishing himself as one of the top catchers in the league before joining the Dodger organization in 1946. Campanella played for Class B Nashua of the New England League, making that club the first integrated affiliated baseball team in the United States.

    On Jan. 29, 1958, just as the Dodgers were making final preparations for their move to Los Angeles, Campanella was involved in a tragic car accident that paralyzed him from the neck down, marking the end of his playing career. On May 7, 1959, a Major League record-setting 93,103 fans filled the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on “Roy Campanella Night” for an exhibition game between the Dodgers and Yankees.

    He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969 and was among the first three Dodgers to have their uniform numbers retired alongside Jackie Robinson and Sandy Koufax. Campanella remained active in the Dodgers’ Community Relations Department until his death on June 26, 1993 at the age of 71.

  10. Per True Blue LA:
    “LOS ANGELES — Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was penciled into the starting lineup for Monday’s series opener against the Padres, one day after he sat amid manager Dave Roberts talking about “trust issues” surrounding the outfielder.

    Then, Puig showed up late to a planned 3 p.m. early batting practice session on Monday, so he was benched again.

    “To be frank, there was a situation where he had to be on the field, and he was late,” Roberts said. “Where we’re at right now, it has to be very clear to everyone in the clubhouse that the only purpose is to prepare for the postseason, to finish this season strong, and to be about goals.

    “No one player can be bigger than the team. The priority has got to be for all of us. For me, that was a decision he made. Not me.””

    1. Knucklehead! Odd lineup tonight with Kike hitting 3rd in RF and Forsythe 5th at 3B with JT out. Doc starts Segedin at 1B in the 8 hole and his .133 BA and puts Cody in LF. Barnes is 6th at 2B so to me they have weakened the defense in the infield and outfield. Wood is hittable but Darvish better bring his A game tonight. Puig was something like 5 for 8 against Wood also.

      1. Hawkeye

        I think your right about Roberts being more upset with Puig, because he didn’t take credit for what he did.

        The fact that Puig blamed it on rolling his ankle, is probably why Roberts was so upset.

        Remember Puig use to do that with Mattingly.

        Roberts just wanted the truth!

        Because he wants Puig to trust him, so Puig can tell him anything.

        1. Especially when he doesn’t even bother to carry out the BS and get treatment.

          Maeda with a little bad luck and a little over amped. I want to see more Maeda and more Buehler the final week. I did like Pedro starting Sanchez with two sliders. Orel with right on the double. He threw a slider to a guy with slider bat speed.

    1. Vegas

      I agree, the energy with the team, has been better from the very beginning of the game!

      Remember the last series against the Padres?

  11. Two of the remaining five games clinch the league and three would mean Cleveland would need all six of their games to win HFA. I don’t know what happens when both leagues tie for most wins, and that’s as likely to occur as not. Is this something already established? So Dodgers win 105 games for certain HFA! Sounds good to me.

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