The Stupid Tree Has a Few Less Branches!

In Andrew Friedman’s first year as Predident for Baseball Operations, the Dodgers were bounced in the National League Division Series.  The next year they went a round further before losing to the Cubs in the National Lgeague Championship Series.  Right here, right about today, they are ahead of the Cubs 3-0 and on the cusp of being in the World Series for the first time in 29 years.  Since the hiring of Friedman and Zaidi (“FAZ”), I have been in a verbal war with some Dodger fans who insisted that FAZ was over-hyped and incompetent, and should be fired.  Shoot, some morons wrote exactly that during Spring Training THIS year.

Finally, at age 63, I have learned that you can’t tell stupid people anything. I could never shut them up, but FAZ could and Did! The Anti-FAZ-O-PHOBES in the Stupid Tree have finally cut off their branches! The Dodgers… THE ANDREW FRIEDMAN DODGERS are one game away from the World Series! Exactly 18 of the 25 players have been aquired by FAZ since 2015.  They have rebuilt the roster and the farm system while winning at the same time.  This is unchartered ground.  I cannot think of anywhere this has been done before.  Usually, the Big Club has to suck for a while to rebuild the farm, but not the Dodgers.

The Dodgers future is bright and their NOW is shining just as brightly as well.  This is baseball where anything is possible, but being up 3-0 in a 7 game series, with two more games in LA, I happen to like their chances of their stated goal all year “WORLD SERIES OR BUST!”  Do you know that the Dodgers are 14-2 in their last 16 games!  So much for the Mother of All Losing Streaks killing their season.

  • Andre Ethier stayed ready and it paid off.  I am not sure he can play back-to-back games, but we might see today.
  • Yasmani Grandal can’t be elated but he can’t agrue with success either.  Alex Wood like pitching to Yasmani, but will Doc keep Barney in because they are on a roll?
  • I find it curious that Adrian Gonzalez is at home and not with the team.  Very curious.
  • Nice to see Joc have some success.
  • Thanks to Hawkeye, Yu Darvish may have a new theme song:

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 57 Comments

  1. Darvish looked his best last night. At times it looked like he was throwing a wiffle ball. Now that Honey got him straightened out, I hope he will discount his contract to resign with the Dodgers next year. Kershaw can OPT out after 2018 and with the back issues I’m not sure if he will or not. I just don’t know if the Dodgers are willing to spend the money to keep Yu in Blue or to resign Kershaw if he opts out. I am just curious about the relationship between Doc and Grandal. I was wondering that when Farmer was the pinch hitter the other night. I know Grandal likes hitting from the left side but it was a big stage for Farmer to succeed in. Anyway, I am excited to see the Dodgers back in the World Series. One more Win……………….. One last thought, If you look up the word focus in the dictionary, you will see a photo of Kenley Jensen. He only has one goal in mind and you can tell by just looking at him.

  2. God Lord that last slider Darvish threw! Wiffle ball is a good description for it. I said it before and I’ll say it again – Darvish has made himself some money this off-season. I have to admit I was concerned how Puig would react to striking out in his first AB as he didn’t agree with the call. He didn’t let it effect his later ABs which is huge growth from him. Baez’s finger wave was funny but if Puig did that people would lose their minds. Everything went perfect for the Cubs to get Puig there. Was kind of surprised to see Stripling but we still have Maeda to be the long man if needed. The bigger question is whether Roberts will let Morrow go more than 1 inning today. I would doubt it.

  3. I think I read today in the Times that Grandal will be starting tonight. And I’d rather see Ethier in there over Granderson (or even Yu batting instead of Granderson)

    We’re 1 away kids. . .

  4. IMO it should depend on how Ethier feels. If he feels good he should start. His earned it with his play last night.

    1. Most likely it will be the G-men tonight….Granderson and Grandal. It is still a team and Roberts has to manage all of them.

  5. I do not know why Agon is not in the dugout, unless flying is not very comfortable. However, there were some defensive plays made by Bellinger that Agon would not of made. Bellinger is our first baseman. I am sure it is hard on an aging ball player. What the Dodgers will do with Agon next year I have no idea. Let him negotiate and sign with another team. Pay 1/2 his salary for one year.

    1. Agone is not in the dugout because he didn’t want to be a distraction, for the team.

      But he is in close communication with Roberts, and the players.

  6. A step away from the great playoffs to recap some Dodgers related notes from around the way:
    .
    Eric Longenhagen had a chat and chimed in on some Dodgers’ prospects:
    On LAD prospect Donovan Casey (recently had a great debut)
    .
    “Not sure off the top of my head what his bonus was. Saw him this spring in RF and on the mound. Good body, solid average athlete, plus arm in RF. I’d have to double check my notes to see how hard he threw on the mound but I wanna say he was 90-93? Hold on…. I have ‘above average bat speed, glimpses of barrel control, needs mechanical overhaul, good frame, plus arm’ …. So yeah I think he’s interesting. The Dodgers have had recent success turning toolsy, late-blooming OFs into prospects.”
    .
    Dave Cameron, also at FG, weighed in on a controversial (for me) subject:
    QUESTION: Rest is great, but you can lose momentum. Are you in favor of a scrimmage game being played for the team that wins in 4 in preparation for the WS?
    Dave Cameron: Momentum is a myth.
    .
    Cameron also weighed in on Darvish’s potential cost:
    QUESTION: If Arrieta is 4/100, what does Darvish get? More years or just more per year?
    Dave Cameron: Both, I’d put Darvish at 7/175.
    .
    BP puts the Cubs (via their PECOTA projections) a slight favorite for game 4:
    Odds of winning: 54% Cubs, 46% Dodgers

    John Sickels’ blog has the “3 LA Dodger Prospects You Need to Know”
    Trevor Oaks – projects to be a reliable innings eater at the back-end of the rotation that could put up some surprising numbers.
    DJ Peters – the definition of beast. He stands at 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds, and simply launches baseballs.
    Imani Abdullah – certainly growing into his big frame. The earliest reports on his fastball was that it was a high-80s offering and now it’s in the mid-90s. It’s most impressive when you consider he didn’t start pitching until his junior season of high school.

    1. Donovan Casey – Had a fantastic 1st year. He hit a combined .403/.453/.604/1.057 primarily at Ogden (Pioneer League). He was projected to go in the top 10 rounds, but the Dodgers got him in the 20th round. It is hard to say what his bonus was. It was not 6 figures or they would have to have reported it for bonus pool calculations. But he probably got a fair amount to make sure that he did not go back to Boston College for his senior season. Many thought that he would sign as a pitcher, but he will be a speedy OF for the Dodgers until he proves that he can’t, and then he may go back to pitching. He has a mid 90’s fastball. The surprise was that he hit 7 HRs at Ogden (which really isn’t hard at that park), but hit a total of 4 in three years at Boston College. His test will come next year at Great Lakes, but I know he generated some attention.
      .
      Darvish’s value – I would agree with Cameron at 7/$175M. It has already been reported that Darvish wants Strasburg $$$, and that was Strasburg’s contract years and amount, with 2 opt out years. Somebody will pay him that. I just think that it will be too long and too rich of a commitment for the Dodgers. Buehler should be in the rotation next year, with Urias and White ready for 2019. Plus Oaks conceivably can become a back end of the rotation as well. With those pitchers, I just do not see the Dodgers overpaying to get Yu. Even Jon Lester contract may be too much (6/$155M). At 31, I do not see the Dodgers offering more than 5 years, with a back loaded component to keep luxury tax issues in sight.
      .
      I do not see Jake Arrieta getting anywhere near 7 years $175M. His numbers have continually (and significantly) declined the last two years from his CY 2015 season. He will be 32 for the 2018 season. Dave Cameron is far closer to the information than I am, but I just do not see it. I think there is more of a chance for him to go the Matt Cain route than getting back to his CY days.

  7. Granderson/Ethier. Six of one, half a dozen of the other as far as I’m concerned. Let’s not forget that Granderson missed a huge hit that was just foul down the right field line the night before. And Ethier’s second hit wasn’t exactly a screaming line drive. It was off the end of the bat, with perfect placement just past the 2nd baseman. Also, I’m not sure how Ethier will do against a pitcher who throws harder than Hendricks. At this stage I don’t have much confidence in either one of them. Both players are in the twilight of their careers, and all we can do is hope for the best.

    Even though I think THE TRADE is part of the reason why the Dodgers were able to keep winning while re-building, I agree with you wholeheartedly that FAZ has the right formula. And I also believe that FAZ was hired because Stan Kasten had the right formula beginning in 2012, and that the latter was determined to put in place like-minded execs to guide the Dodgers as he passed into the background.

    The reason you can’t tell stupid people anything is because they’re too stupid to know that they’re stupid. Surely you know that.

    Given Stripling’s less than stellar performance last night, and assuming the Dodgers don’t suffer a monumental collapse (because it ain’t over until it’s over), does anyone think that Pedro Baez might replace Stripling in the WS, especially because that spot on the pitching staff is reserved for less than high leveraged situations?

    1. What is not lost on me is that many of the FAZ-O-PHOBES have either disappeared from the old site, totally dropped off the face of the earth or changed their moniker and are posting under a new assumed name… but I know who they are. I am not going to publically name them, but I will respond to e-mails.

    2. Granderson/Ethier. Six of one, half a dozen of the other as far as I’m concerned.

      No truer words were ever spoken.

    3. That’s all Granderson does is hit foul balls hard. I keep hoping he will run into one, but Andre is a much better hitter when healthy.

      1. Completely agree with you and as an armchair GM I wouldn’t have even traded for Granderson. Nonetheless, I still expect him and Grandal to start tonight.

  8. While on my 5 mile walk yesterday, I was listening to the Astros/Yankees game. With a 4-0 lead, the Astros announcers were already counting on a Game 4 win, Keuchel winning Game 5, and setting up Verlander as the Game 1 WS starter, coming back for a possible Game 5, and relieving in a possible Game 7. Somebody needs to tell them that there are 9 innings in a game, and that with Aaron Judge, the Yankees should never be counted out. I dislike the Yankees immensely, but I hate cocky homer announcers more.
    .
    I feel badly for Ross Stripling. He has not pitched in some time (last pitched 10/1 – 2 IP), and with the exception of his first pitch to Avila, did not look good with his command. It is tough to measure up to a bullpen standard where perfection is now the expected. But he needs to achieve that standard to get back up on the hill. This off-season, the Dodgers need to determine whether he is a starter or reliever, and let him stick with that role. He is certainly capable of being a back end starter for somebody and will be wanted by a lot of teams. I still believe he can be a good (very good??) reliever if permanently placed in that role.
    .
    I know there are luxury tax concerns for 2018, and the Dodgers want to get below that threshold of $197 million, but FAZ can be very creative. After “fixing” Darvish, do the Dodgers try to re-sign him? I have to believe the Dodgers will make an effort for Morrow and Darvish. The luxury tax threshold increases $9 million in 2019 to $206 million, so that gives them options on contract structuring. They also have to consider CK and his opt out potential after 2018. However, Darvish has been very good in his two post season starts…11.1 IP, 8 hits, 2 runs, 1 BB, 14 K (both wins). He has been outstanding beginning with his Sept 13 start against the Giants. In his last three regular season starts, he pitched 19.1 innings, allowing 1 earned run, 9 hits, 1 walk, and 21 K. So far, he has been a tremendous asset and investment. With AGon, McCarthy, and Kazmir contracts, and arbitration cases that could see significant increases in 9 eligible players, projected to be $26.3M, it will be tough to find contract money available for a Yu Darvish. It is projected that all 9 will be offered, but 2-3 could be moved in trades before their hearings…Grandal, Joc, Kike’ (combined a projected $11 million), so that could open some dollars.
    .
    I have been such a huge advocate of Alex Wood since the 2015 steal from the Braves that I will be watching tonight’s game as if I were a dad watching his son pitch in a big game. I will be squirming with each pitch in my Wood #57 jersey. I really cannot wait to see him pitch after three weeks off. In Bill Shaikin’s article, Alex had a couple of quotes. “It’s the playoffs, and it comes down to who wants it more and who executes when they need to execute. I feel I’m going to do both those things, and I’m really excited for the opportunity. I’m really excited to have it be my turn and hopefully throw well and pass the torch on to the next guy.” I still believe his pitch count will be limited. I hope the Dodgers jump on Arrieta, Wood can get thru 5, and then turn it over to the bullpen.
    .
    The Dodgers are one win away from Doc Roberts managing the 2018 NL All Stars in DC. Doc needs that opportunity, so hopefully the Dodgers will get that done tonight. Go Blue.
    .
    Idahoal referenced a great article from Bob Nightengale, which I did read yesterday from Bleacher Report. It was just another example of the story book ending to Game 2. The 2017 Dodgers are stealing the late 70’s/early 80’s mantra of the Pirates…”We are family”. Debbie and Kim Sledge are still performing as Sister Sledge, maybe the Dodgers can bring them out to sing the National Anthem, and then a little We Are Family.

    1. I too hope Wood does well. I thought the Dodgers blew a chance to use him in the NLCS last year during the game Maeda was pulled, and Fields came in to strike out the pitcher. After that it was an opportune time to use Wood and they instead went back to Joey Pancakes for another HR.

  9. I am hoping the Yankees win the AL Pennant and I’m already claiming the Dodgers as owning the NL Pennant. It couldn’t get better than Dodgers sweeping (like 1963) Yankees as the drought end nail. These two teams squared up for the championship crown more often than any and if you hate the Yanks you gotta love the Dodgers – and vise versa.

    1. I would prefer the Yankees because there is no Verlander or Keuchel or McCullers Jr. They do have a very good bullpen and Aaron Judge, but the Dodgers have a better bullpen, better starters, and overall a better offense. I still think the Astros are going to win the AL pennant.
      .
      I guarantee Dave Roberts is not thinking the NL pennant is in the bag. He has been where the Cubs are, and he remembers what can happen with one single play in the 9th inning, of an elimination game, against a HOF closer.

      1. That’s why I preferred the Cubs, no Sherzer or Strasburg to face. I prefer the Yanks for the same reason, they are a somewhat flawed team and there is a lot of history there. The ratings would be through the roof! I have a feeling Houston’s dual aces close it out though and if the Dodgers sweep their rotation is set up perfectly while Houston’s is scrambled a bit.

        Tonight is no gimme but for the second game in a row the Dodgers are even money in Vegas, had to jump on that. Not sure the stats but when a team comes home for game 3 that is the biggest lift they will have. After looking out of sorts last night I don’t think the Cubs will be able to grind it out unless they jump all over Wood and then they will see Maeda. The Dodgers have trailed in every game with the Cubs but battled back to win and lead in runs scored 15 to 4. I have selected my favorite broom for later tonight.

      2. I don’t want any of the Dodgers thinking the game’s in the bag and I’m certain they all feel they haven’t won the Pennant…..yet. Could the Dodgers choke? I’d say it’s possible but not at all likely. They’ve got to feel pretty confident and that’s not a bad thing, but none want to look foolish. So I’m not making a very bold statement by me already giving the pennant to Dodgers. It’d be hard to lay a 10/1 bet on the Cubs. or rather 1/10 bet.

      3. Completely agree with your viewpoint as well and would much prefer the Yankees – for the fun of it – if for no other reason. I also think if the Yankees win 4 games they will actually “make it”.

  10. Correct me if i’m wrong, but I don’t believe that the structuring of a contract has anything to do with the luxury tax. As far as I understand it, it’s all based on AAV. If a player signs a 4 year deal for $100 million, then $25 million is counted towards the luxury tax for 4 years, no matter how payments are actually spread out.

    Correct me if I don’t know what I’m talking about.

    Why all the captcha pictures when I do this on my phone, but only have to check “I’m not a robot” on my computer?

  11. AC-Wood is a competitor. He will give it his best shot. I worry a little about the inactivity. Kershaw, Hill, and Maeda and Wood are competitors. They do not want to come out of the game. Darvish is a little more laid back, but excellent pitcher. Maybe they can find a way to sign Darvish. If some team offers him 7 years, I do not think the Dodgers will be in the running. Kershaw has back issues. With Kershaw, Hill, Darvish, Wood, Maeda, and Ryu we have one great pitching staff.

  12. An off the wall observation. Since they are showing the strike zone and where the pitches cross the plate, I have come to realize how bad the home plate unpires really are. I was going to keep track of all of the bad calls they make during the game but was to lazy to write it down. They miss so many calls that it is hard to believe MLB does not go to the electronic system to call balls and strikes. I would think the umpires would be ashamed, but I doubt they really care.

    1. They’re bigger than the game itself. Just ask any one of them. It was really bad when they were backing every bad call made by any of their brethren. Instant replay is the best ting that’s happened for the game and I can only hope they go robo for balls and strikes. Getting it right should be the top of matters regardless of unions.

    2. Campy

      I thought the umpire last night, was very good.

      He wasn’t giving Hendricks strikes at ankles, like the umpire did for Hendricks last year.

  13. Taylor-ss
    Belly-1B
    Turner-3B
    Puig-RF
    Ethier-LF
    Granderson-CF
    Grandal-C
    Utley-2B
    Wood-P

    I thought we might see Joc & Andre again. I have to believe I either it is a matchup thing or they didn’t like the cheap hit by Bryant that Joc should have got to last night.

  14. Jansen is the MVP of this series. Besides playing better, the team is getting all the breaks. A couple of chalk hits last night. I’ll take Lady Luck every time. Finally the Great Dodger in the Sky is pulling the right strings. The Cubs came into game 3 still confident champions. To a great extent, they choked it. The Cubs blinked first and now it’s time to finish this part of the 2017 story.

  15. Don’t know how Arrietta has done against lefthanded hitters this year, but he has to go against a bunch of them at the bottom of the lineup. Not a bunch of great hitters, but they’re all capable of running into one. Except for Puig, not a great defensive outfield. But it’s baseball, and anything can happen.

  16. Granderson has good numbers against Arrieta. So, this may be the night he knocks one out. The wind is blowing out again.

  17. I can’t see any way Darvish re-signs with the Dodgers. I think he will get a 6-7 year/$150-200 million deal. Somebody will give him that, but I can’t see that it’s FAZ.

  18. Why would you ever give Ethier any pitch other than a change up and the same for utley. Those two would swing at a 50 foot Change up every time and miss it by a foot. I realize you can’t win every game but the offense has not been disciplined tonight. Totally disappointed in granderson. I guess he is just awful. I hate to say it but might well play pederson as granderson. He killed us in the playoffs a couple of years ago so I guess he has just lost it. Arrieta has good stuff tonight but it doesn’t seem to matter who is pitching against granderson it’s kkkkkk…

  19. In game 4 tonight, the old guys look really old. Chase, Andre, Granderson. AARP roster tonight. Too many for any offensive spark. I’m old too and recognize the phenomenon.

    1. If Granderson is on the roster tomorrow, Roberts should be fired. If Granderson wants a World Series ring, he should retire in the next 2 minutes, and open a spot for someone (Segar) who can play the game. He can not play any more. THat’s obvious to anyone who knows anything about baseball. In the 67 years I have followed Dodger baseball, this is the most amazing demonstration of incompetence at all levels I have witnessed.

  20. Nomar and Orel both talked about changing the line up, and all the strike outs, at the bottom of the line up, and they only mentioned Granderson’s name.

    They said Roberts would be asked about Granderson!

  21. Cody ripped that ball. With a little better direction or launch angle it was a hit or gone. If not gone, it’s one out and two on base with Turner and Puig to follow. Bsseball is truly a game of inches, even fractions of an inch.

    Quintana starting for Cubs tomorrow. That means Barnes, Culberson, Forsythe and Hernandez in the lineup. No Ethier, Granderson, Utley or Grandal.

    And if the game gets down to the bullpens at the end, I wonder how much throwing over 40 pitches tonight will affect Wade Davis if he’s needed tomorrow. And he didn’t look overly impressive tonight.

  22. Wow, pretty weak lineup at the bottom tonight, might have cost us a win. Pitching was lights out as usual, but the 6-7-8 spots were worthless. Hope we dont trot that out again. Don’t give the Cubs hope, step on the neck tomorrow and end this thing. Don’t really care how Kershaw does, just give me a good starting lineup with some bats and we can do this.

  23. Arrieta wasn’t at his best tonight especially early, but unfortunately with half the lineup selected by Doc unable to make contact, he was able to get away with it.

    Taylor, JT & Puig were nails & Cody hit his HR, but really he shouldn’t be batting 2nd.

    Wood was ok, and did a good job of keeping any traffic off the bases, but 3 HR is gonna hurt you.

    Was Doc being stubborn by keeping Granderson in there? And what of Chase? I think they need to sit and one needs to go if we get to the WS because a half fit Seager has to be a better option.

    Overall I’m disappointed because that game was there to be won.

    1. Any lineup with Granderson in it can not win a major league baseball game. He is a nice guy, no doubt. He is just NOT a baseball player anymore. You only need to look at the faces of the rest of the team when he comes to the plate to understand what he has become. It is sad, but “there is no crying in baseball”! There will be no series victory with Curtis on the roster.

    1. Usually only the first comment is held in moderation. I am not sure why the software is holding yours – I will have it checked out. Idaho Al, Dirk and Roger are also having moderation problems. I’m on Eastern time and went to be after the game, so I just checked it this morning.

      It is not my purpose to moderate anyone.

    1. Yes. And he needs to replace Granderson before tomorrow’s first pitch. If Granderson stays on the roster through the weekend, the Dodgers will not be going to the World Series.

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