Loyalty Rewarded in a 2017 NL Pennant

As I am sitting in my Friday office chair at Starbucks, waiting for my two former Giant clients and our regular Friday coffee business/baseball chat, I just cannot stop smiling.  A lot of the regulars came up and congratulated me knowing how faithfully I have worn my Dodgers jerseys win or lose.  Today it is Kershaw, on back to back days.  It’s been raining all night in NorCal, so I broke out my heavy Dodger jacket as well.  Even those wearing Giants gear are telling me Good Luck to the Dodgers in the WS (even though I know they do not mean it).  But I remind them that no matter how happy I am at this moment, the job is not done…they do have 4 more wins in them.  The goal was to WIN the WS.

 

On July 18, I wrote an article… Andrew Friedman and His 3 Year Plan.  I went back to read it again, and it just reminded me how he built the 2008 Tama Bay WS team in three years and how similar the process was for the 2017 Dodgers, and again in 3 years.  Anyone can see talent in Kershaw, Harper, Bryant, Scherzer, Verlander, and all of the others that have made their superstar status (including Darvish).  But how many saw the talent in Chris Turner, or Brandon Morrow, or Alex Wood, or Andrew Toles,  or Yasmani Grandal, or complimentary pieces like Kike’ Hernandez and Charlie Culberson.  How many would have given up on Yasiel Puig (including me)?  Doc said the Dodgers made a conscious investment in Yasiel Puig, and that investment is now paying huge dividends.

 

It’s not just acquiring the talent, but finding them with character and an unselfish attitude, and melding them into a family.  Maybe the Nationals or Cubs have accumulated better players, but they do not have better TEAMS.  After the 2016 season, how easy would it have been to move past Kike’ Hernandez.  Not the Dodgers.  They recognized the magnitude of his family concerns, and anyone who has followed Hernandez even for a minute knows that he wears his emotions on his sleeves, and they treated Kike’ accordingly.  In one game, that loyalty was repaid big time.  Or how about Charlie Culberson.  He hits a walk off HR in the final 2016 home game to clinch the NL West, but more importantly on Vin Scully’s last home game, and becomes a cult hero (quoting Hawkeye).  I was not a part of the negotiations, but in my conspiratorial mind, that HR was rewarded with a ML contract even though there was not a place for him on the ML roster, and Charlie obviously felt as if he were home.  He wanted to be a Dodger.  Dodger catalyst All Star SS Corey Seager goes down with a back issue…no problem, we’ll put Charlie Culberson on the NLCS roster, and he can start at SS in Game 1 backing up Clayton Kershaw.  No pressure.  He gets a game tying Sac Fly in Game 1, and then goes on to hit 5 for 11 in the NLCS including 2 doubles and a triple.  Doc said he wanted Charlie in for his defense.  Well, we saw that in his 3 games, but none better than Game 5.

 

While CT3 was Andrew’s and his front office’s find, it was Ned Colletti’s team that uncovered the JT gem.  Now those two are 2017 NLCS co-MVP’s.  Not the superstar can’t miss talent, but two players that were not given anything but a chance, and seized it.  They are both now fully entrenched in the Dodgers’ lineup, but it took a while for both to make it.  Again loyalty has paid off.

 

Money is important to us all, but some recognize that when playing with monopoly money that most can never spend in a lifetime, that playing where you are happy is also a MAJOR consideration.  A great example is the last two years FA seasons.  Two years ago, the Dodgers made what they believed was a more than fair offer to Zack Greinke. The offer was not in the Andrew Freidman comfort zone, but he was willing to spend $150M to bring back Greinke.  However, the mercenary wanted the most money he could make and was not willing to take less to stay with a team that many thought was a good home for him.  He would not have the pressure of being the Ace, could thrive as a #2, and make $150 million.  How do you spend $150 million, even in LA? FAZ realized that Greinke was more interested in $$$ than being a part of the family that was being built, and said no to 6 years and $200+ million.  Okay, Zack got his extra $50 million (and yes that is a lot to turn down), but he is sitting at home after the Dodgers spanked him in the NLDS.

 

Compare the Greinke scenario with what transpired last offseason.  Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner, and Rich Hill were then FA about to get a lot of $$$$, and most thought the Dodgers would be able to sign only one of them.  There were countless discussions on the various blog sites as to who that one player should be.  Instead all three signed for less than they could have received elsewhere.  Hill loved teaming up with Kershaw to combine their competitive warrior mentalities.  Jansen and Turner just loved being Dodgers.  Did Jansen’s wedding help that happen?  Undoubtedly.  While they could have signed for more elsewhere, they also recognized that they had more than enough money to set their family (and several generations) up for life, and cemented the point that family is what is important.  And of course, as this story book season unfolds, all three were crucial to a NLCS Game 2 victory.

 

I am sure Greinke is happy clipping bond coupons, and there is nothing wrong with that.  Good for him.  I wish I could experience that lifestyle. He is a good person, great family man, but he is not a Dodger.  He is wired differently than Jansen/Turner/Hill with different priorities, and Andrew Friedman knows the difference.  Yu Darvish will become even wealthier than he already is, but will he be willing to take less to stay with the Dodgers?  How about Brandon Morrow who is going to get a very big payday?  But that discussion is for another day.  Now we have to turn our attention and focus on WINNING 4 MORE GAMES.  Bring on the Yankstros.

Posted by Always Compete

This article has 56 Comments

  1. Great post.
    hopefully Darvish, and Morrow will also have that same mentality that JT and Ritchie Rich and Kenley had.
    hopefully all those stories about how comfortable he feels in LA (darvish) and what heck of a postseason he is having so far, will be his selling point as to how important being in a family is.
    Journey is not down, best out of 7 first to 4 #onegameatatime

  2. Well said AC. Look at Toles. He was stocking shelves and out of baseball. His injury has derailed him but Freidman took a chance. Morrow, JT, Taylor, Toles, Segedin, Wood, Hill and Barnes have loyalty toward the Dodgers because the Dodgers took a chance on them. They stuck with Puig longer than I would of stayed with him. They changed Jansen into a pitcher. Kershaw, Seager and Bellinger come up and they are stars right away. However you need the the complementary players who have worked their butts off to make it. Coaches helping players succeed. This brings loyalty. It is a great time to be a Dodger. Four more wins baby. I love the Dodgers regardless.

  3. Great Read AC! However, we have come to not expect any less from you. It’s been a great season and I believe that the Dodgers will win it all… regardless of who they play.

    They are on a mission from the Big Dodger in the Sky! They won’t be denied! 😉

    I hope I am wrong, but Darvish will get a Greinke-like deal: 6 to 7 years – $175 – $200+ million. If he pitches well in the World Series, it might be higher.Alvarez (?) and others in the pipeline, is it prudent to pay that kind of money?

    Turner and Jansen maybe left 3-5 million on the table, but there no way Yu will leave tens of millions. I think the Dodgers will offer him 5 years/$140 million, but someone will do what the D-Bags did with Greinkwe. They just never learn.

  4. AC

    Another good perspective of the Dodgers, Thanks again!

    A lot of people who are not Dodger fans, talk about the Dodger’s payroll, and how the Dodgers are trying to buy a World Series.

    But what is the total cost of all the players on the Dodger’s roster, for the World Series, this year?

    Because a lot of that money on the Dodgers payroll, are not the players the Dodgers will field, for the World Series this year.

  5. IF Toles comes back in good shape, I don’t see the need for many offensive changes.
    1st – Bellinger
    2nd – Forsythe (I do think they p/u his option)
    SS – Seager
    3rd – Turner
    LF – Hernandez/Toles platoon
    CF – Taylor
    RF – Puig
    C – Barnes/Grandal platoon
    Bench -Three of: Culberson/Pederson/Verdugo/ Agon/Farmer/Locastro
    Goodbyes to: Utley, Dickson, Ethier, Granderson, Gutierrez, Thompson, Segedin

    1. Wouldn’t be surprised if Grandal is traded. He’s going to get costly.
      Not sure Gonzalez goes, unless he chooses to walk away from guaranteed millions.
      Verdugo on the bench doesn’t sound like the team’s MO with young players. He could, theoretically, platoon with Toles (if Tolesy is healthy) Or one of those two could be moved.

      This, of course, pre-supposes no injuries.

  6. I do not believe the dodgers will overpay for a free agent pitcher. Darvish, Arrieta, etc. are not going to leave money on the table. The dodgers have stockpiled enough pitching for next year with a rotation of kershaw, wood, hill, ryu, and McCarthy is a good rotation with Urias maybe second half. Plus, they will be looking for a deadline deal. They also have other minor league options like Stewart etc. they can be very selective on how to upgrade. I do think that if there is anyway possible they will go after Stanton or otani if he is available. Right now I am just on cloud 9 thinking about this years World Series.

  7. What is really up with Seagers back and why so little real info? Saying now he may not be ready for the WS. Is it more than just a sprain? Something serious? We fans would like to know.

  8. Nice post AC. Can’t argue within anything in it.

    It’s probably a little early to be thinking about next year, but it’s perfectly natural to do so. But seeing Trayce Thompson’s name reminds me that I still haven’t given up on him. For me his horrible 2017 is the direct result of his not being fully recovered from last year’s back injury. He may well not be in the Dodgers’ plans, but I suspect that he’s a strong candidate for a comeback next year.

    I doubt if the Dodgers are willing to commit big dollars to Darvish, especially if they’re serious about re-setting the luxury tax clock. I also wonder if the Dodgers will offer Kershaw what he wants if he opts out after next year, especially considering that after 2018 the free agent market is expected to be very strong. A lot will depend on what happens between now and then.

    Meanwhile, I have no preference on who we face in the WS. It’s all in the hands of the Big Dodger in the Sky. 🙂

    1. Brooklyn

      I am glad you brought up Kershaw, because I have been wondering with his injury issues, what would be a fair value, for the Dodgers.

      Darvish looks so good right now, I wish we could get him, like AC said.

      He is only two years older then Kershaw.

      And Darvish looks like he would hold up well too, but I do know he had TJ surgery two years ago.

  9. 1. I think the Dodgers will try and trade Grandal this winter, but the price will be high. They don’t HAVE to trade him and he has a great deal of value. He is arguably one of the Top 5 or 6 catchers in baseball for the past 3 years. They could package Grandal and a prospect or two for whatever they think they need. Ryu and McCarthy could be part of any deal and while they won’t give Joc away, he could be traded too. He’s a candidate for a Taylor-Type Swing Makeover! The Dodgers have Kay Bear Ruiz and Will Smith who should be ready in 2019. Better to trade too soon than too late!

    2. The Dodgers aren’t going to tell us what is up with Seagers back, but we better assume it is bad. At this juncture, it looks like he is on the World Series Roster. I have not heard credible evidence to say otherwise.

    3. I think Stanton is on the Dodgers’ radar. It could be a complex 3 or 4 way deal, if it happens at all.

    4. To me, Brandon Morrow is worth a 3 Year/$15 million deal.

    5. Gonzo’s contract may be insured and could be a way out. I am not sure he can play…

    1. Even if it is insured he still counts against the luxury tax threshold. I wish Morrow will be that cheap. Someone will offer him the chance to close.

    2. Agree on the first two points.
      .
      Zero point zero percent chance Stanton comes here. That might be optimistic.
      .
      Can’t see the team spending money to bring Morrow back. Too easy to build a pen.
      .
      I’m sure Gonzalez’s contract has some insurance on it. I don’t understand what that has to do with anything though.

      1. I also think they would specifically insure the type of injury he has sustained and considering the contract was originally signed with Boston who knows.

        I think the Dodgers will open up their wallets to a certain extent for Morrow. They were willing to take on Chapman’s contract from the Reds and Britton’s from Baltimore. It hasn’t been easy for the Dodgers to find an 8th inning guy. I just think it will be more than 3/15

  10. I hope Dodger Rick, and his wife are ok.

    I believe he said his wife wasn’t healthy, and I believe he takes care of her.

    I haven’t seen him on here, for a while.

    1. I was thinking the same thing.

      If we don’t hear from him soon, I’ll reach out. I have his e-mail.

        1. OK MJ, I got a reply from Rick. He said I could let everyone know:

          Hi Mark. Thanks for asking.

          My wife has been in the hospital since 10/12. She originally had sepsis, which is a life and death situation (the 6th leading killer in the US). She is coming out of it fine, but since her strokes she essentially can’t see or talk so it is up to me to make sure that everything goes the way that it is supposed to in the hospital so I’m there 20 hours per day on average. (Plus she needs dialysis regularly and I have to put the needles in – it’s a long story.)

          Anyway, she’s feeling better and I’m hoping that she will be released in the next few days.

          How ‘bout them Dodgers anyway?


          At LAdodgerTalk, our hearts are with our brother and family! Godspeed, DodgerRick!

  11. I think the Dodgers will try to sign Darvish, but it will not happen. Somebody will offer him 7 years. Morrow is the one I hope they sign. Having two strong relief pitchers in the back end is desirable. I do believe they will keep Forsythe. He is a grinder. He will hit righties better. Decisions have to be made on Joc, left field and catching. Pitching will be solved internally. Just let them compete for the positions. They need to solve Baez’s problem. He needs at least one more pitch. He could be devastating just like Morrow.

  12. Great game by the Astros tonight, Morton for 5 and McCullers for 4 for the shutout. Two teams with over 100 wins square off with all their starters in line to pitch on normal rest. One caveat: Houston lost all their games on the road against the Yanks and Dodgers have home field 104 wins to 101. I preferred to face the Yanks for match up and history reasons but betting the Dodgers and Astros on parleys made me a ton of money for about 2 months and it was what I expected for a WS. The Astros have been to the WS 1 time in their history with no wins, losing to the White Sox. So the Dodgers return for the first time since their win in ’88 a drought of 29 years and the Astros are winless since ’62. This will be a great matchup of two pretty even teams but the Dodgers have proved they can win on the road against both the DBacks and Cubs. They have to be really patient against the starters and get to the Astros bullpen which was great in the regular season but struggled in the playoffs. Hopefully they get Seager back which could be a huge boost to the lineup. I like our chances to bring it home.

  13. Dodgerrick, I was wondering where you have been. I was going to say something but I am glad that MJ pushed the issue. I will be keeping you and your wife in my prayers . We suffered a stroke in our family early this year as well, and we continue to pray for a full recovery. I hope you will be back soon, so we can all celebrate the 2017 WS championship together.

  14. DodgerRick

    First, I don’t know how you do it, but what great dedication to your wife!

    I got sepsis not to long after I had my minor stroke, and I know it is much harder for the people being there, for someone.

    I am glad to hear your wife is getting better, and you will both be coming home soon!

    Please remember to take care of yourself, when your able to.

  15. Did everyone hear what Reddick said after that game last night?

    He said he wanted to play the Dodgers, because he felt Dodger fans, didn’t treat him well.

    1. Are you speaking of the Josh Reddick who hit .314 with 13 HR and 82 RBI with a .847 OPS or the Josh Reddick who hit .040 with a .117 OPS this postseason?

      He wilted on the BIG STAGE this offseason, just like he did when he came to LA. Were Dodger fans supposed to say “You are great Josh” or “You suck Josh?” For the most part, he really sucked!

      1. I remember him saying that Dodgers fans were letting him know they wanted Puig back. I hope they boo him every AB.

        1. Hawkeye

          If he plays defense in right field like he did last year at Dodger Stadium, and runs the bases the same way too, we might get some easy runs, from him!

          I think what he did this year on the Astros was an outlier year, since he has not done this well since 2012, and he is age 31 right now.

          He is very familiar with all of the pitchers in the American League West, and he was in a line up of very good hitters, so he probably got a lot of good pitches to hit, this year.

          1. I’m sure he also saw a lot of fat pitches considering the rest of the lineup. Reddick has always been a decent player, but failed for the Dodgers and it was frustrating for fans because Puig was back on the roster in September and showing improvement from earlier in the season. Considering Reddick’s failure done the stretch and so far during this year’s playoffs. The fans should do everything possible to get into his head.

    1. Hawkeye

      I agree with that, and compared to the Red Sox and the Yankees, and the Phillies, Dodger fans are not that bad.

      Reddick was a big choker in every facet of the game, when he was a Dodger.

      He was even picked off, three times!

  16. Just got back from South Bend and that my friends was a good old fashioned arse whipping and they did’nt even hide it behind it shed!!! This is a very good N.D. team but there’s alot of football left.
    We wont sign Darvish although it would be nice.. Keep Grandal and Barnes and wait on K or a kid I’m looking forward to seeing next week, Will Smith..
    I’m with you Idaho except for Baez..
    Last but not least… DodgerRick take care and God bless you and yours… You’re in my prayers n thoughts..

  17. I’m here at La Jolla soaking up some rays and getting ready for Game #1. It was on my bucket list to go to a Dodger World Series game. Check. I was hoping for the Yanks but in my opinion Houston will give us a better fight. Thank You AC for the great write up. I try to sign on every day to see what everyone is saying. A great way to start the day is a cup of coffee and LA Dodger Talk. Go Blue

  18. Bill Russell played more Dodger games than any other ever. I know you’ve tried saying you’re not that Bill Russell but………..Okay whatever you say is how it is. So enjoy your first World Series game @Dodger Stadium Bill. I hadn’t been there since June 20 2008 rookie Clayton Kershaw pitching against Indians and sadly Dodgers lost in 12 innings.

  19. Rick, may the outcome meet the measure of you and your wife’s wishes. Mine are best o shots for it to be joyful.

  20. It should be an entertaining WS between two very deserving pennant winners. For the regular season, offensively the Astros were fairly consistent and good with RHP /LHP and home/away:
    .
    RHP .283/.345/.482/.827 RHSP .282/.355/.475/.830
    LHP .278/.348/.466/.814 LHSP .282/.342/.479/.821
    .
    Home .279/.340/.472/.812
    Away .284/.351/.483/.834
    .
    But during the playoffs, the Astros are showing some cracks in their armor. For the playoffs, the Astros have 5 players with BA greater than .200 led by Altuve, Gurriel, Correa, Gattis, Springer. Sub .200 BA include Bregaman, Beltran, Reddick, Gonzalez, & McCann.
    .
    Playoffs – .247/.324/.407/.731
    ALCS – .205/.274/.347/.621
    .
    For the playoffs the pitching has allowed a slash line of .236/.299/385/.684.
    .
    Contrast that with the LAD playoffs slash lines of:
    .

    Offense – .273/.378/.494/.872
    Pitching – .169/.216/.345/.561
    .
    Taking into account that the Dodgers have played 8 playoff games compared to 11 for the Astros, every Dodger with more than 10 AB has a BA of .273 or greater -Puig/Turner/Forsythe/Taylor/Bellinger/Barnes/Culberson/Kike’/Seager. Only Granderson was sub .200 (1-15).
    .
    The two big differences between the two teams is the bullpen and catchers. The Dodgers need to:
    1 – Continue to be patient and work starting pitchers to get to the bullpen. That is a big weakness for the Astros.
    2 – Turn the switch on the running game. McCann has a CS% of 13% and Gattis has a CS% of 10%.
    3 – Do not let Altuve beat you.
    4 – While all pitchers should be available for multi innings, stay consistent with matching pitchers with hitters.
    .
    The Dodgers should win, and it should be over by the weekend. I am picking the Dodgers in 5.

  21. Dodgers at home in 7. Should be a great series. Would rather have had the Yanks and they almost got there. They did better than expected. Correa can beat you too. So be careful with both. Verlander is resurgent in Houston, be patient and work for an early exit if he is on his game.
    .
    Houston has done a great job of building a new team, and for the long term. Did Nolan Ryan have much impact on the build? Don’t know if he did but am wondering what his input was. Rangers down, Astros up since Ryan moved along to Houston.

    1. Hawkeye

      All I read about Agone was that he didn’t want to be a distraction for the team, and he is in constant contact with Roberts, and the team.

      But it must be hard for Agone, so I would give him a pass on this!

      He is this badly hurt, probably because he never wanted to go out on the DL, when he should have.

      And that is probably before he even was on the Dodgers, because he took pride in being in the line up.

      1. I get not traveling with the team with a bad back, but I’m not sure how rooting for your teammates to win a WS is a distraction. Seems kind of lame to me unless he’s over there for some medical reason. I’ve gone back and forth with him this year. First, he went to the WBC while injured and came back unable to perform. Then he seems to do the right thing and take the DL time to heal and acknowledge that Cody is the man. However, heading to Italy during the WS seems off. Of course I don’t have all of the information.

  22. Damned if the torches are out in the village for Agon… Patience… Maybe he goes next year and the beat goes on for whoever is next!!!

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