Thank You To All The Readers of LA Dodgers Talk!

I mean that from the bottom of my heart!  Even though the 2017 season ended bitterly, it was the most enjoyable seasons in the past 29 years.  I said that the season would be considered a failure if the Dodgers didn’t win the World Series…. and I still feel that way.  I think FAZ, Doc, the coaching staff and the players feel the same way.  However, that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy their success.  They just need to remember what the failure felt like and turn it into a stepping stone.

Right about now, the Dodgers are the favorites to win the 2018 World Series according to the Las Vegas Sportbook and FiveThirtyEight. In part, Daniel Levitt of FiveThirtyEight writes:

Hope you didn’t get sick of the Astros and Dodgers, because you’re going to be stuck with them for a lot of Octobers to come. Based on our analysis of all MLB teams since 1988, this year’s Astros and Dodgers each appear to have two of the brightest futures for any pair of World Series teams ever.

In the 2017 Playoffs, Clayton Kershaw was 3-0 with a 3.82 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP.  The playoff teams hit .179 against him and he struck out 33 batters in 33 innings.  The stat that jumps out is the 8 HR! I believe that mostly the fault of pitch selection and his proclivity to want to get ahead in the count.  I think the Dodger pitching staff needs a new voice… with all due respect to rick Honeycutt.

Kershaw’s ERA in the World Series was 4.02 and some (really dumb) fans say along with Roberts and Darvish, he was the reason the Dodgers lost the World Series.  They say that the acquisition of Verlander was the reason the Astros won. Verlander’s ERA in the World Series was 3.75 and Clayton pitched almost 4 innings more than Justin.  Some people just have this narrative in their head that they feel the need to blame someone. “FAZ should have traded for Verlander.” Of course they would say that now!  Look at their records at the time of the trades and tell me that notwithstanding what the Tigers were asking of the Dodgers and with the fact Darvish was 3 years younger, that you thought Verlander was a lot better pitcher than Darvish.  Their records were almost identical.

In early 2017 and through the end of July, Verlander had an ERA well over 4.00.  Many thought he was injured or through.  It turns out he wasn’t, but to say that you “knew” he would turn it around with Astros is a lie.  Verlander was a nice piece, but the Astros won as a team and the Dodgers lost as a team.  I’m sorry, but demeaning the front office, manager and certain players is petty and stupid, although I have come to expect that from certain people (not on this board).

I do want to single out the readers and commenters on this blog. You are an eclectic group and you have excellent takes.  Some days when we have 80-100 comments, other blogs have a 1,000, but when I look at them, I find that 5 people posted 90 times each and then just a few others posted.  Here, I write a blog post or AC writes a blog post and you people agree or disagree, voice your take and move on.  Some blogs are full of one sentence comments and I get stupider reading them.  Others just like to spew vitriol about FAZ, Doc or other players.  2017 was a damn good year, but it was a failure in the sense that the Dodgers did not win it all.  The Dodgers are already working on 2018.  Stay Tuned!

I appreciate you all and am so happy I don’t have to deal with petty, bitter, angry at the world fans.  You are the best!  I will not be posting a lot the next few months… maybe once or twice a week. AC will hopefully keep you up to date and if anyone else wants to write, just contact me.  I would welcome it.

Giancarlo Stanton

Jorge Valenzuela posted a link to a Bleacher Report Article on trading for Stanton.  I am all for Stanton. I think he will be a beast for the next 5 or 6 years. They would have to dump as much salary as possible. Forsythe would have to go. Grandal would have to go. Morrow would have to go. McCarthy would have to go as well, but I think it is very likely the Dodgers could shed all those contracts  while taking prospects back. Actually, if the Dodgers take on all of Stanton’s salary, Miami might be willing to take less.

Stanton wants to go to the Dodgers, so he is in the drivers’ seat. I cannot see him approving a trade to the Giants because they are likely 2 or 3 more years away from contention. He can stare down the Marlins and force them to trade him to LA.

If I were FAZ, I would want Yelich too. Yelich and Stanton would save them $30 million next year.  With the right prospect package, Miami may pull the trigger.  My trade proposal is Joc Pederson, Yusniel Diaz (who impressed me greatly in the AFL Fall Star Game last night), Yadier Alvarez, Dennis Santana and Alex Verdugo for Stanton and Yelich.  FAZ will have to shop in the Bargin Basement for relievers (Watson and Morrow will walk… maybe Avilan), but they are skilled at that.

Lineup:

  1. Taylor 2B (you could flip Taylor and Yelich for L-R matchups)
  2. Seager  SS
  3. Turner  3B
  4. Stanton  LF
  5. Bellinger  1B
  6. Puig  RF
  7. Yelich CF
  8. Barnes  C

Toles, Hernandez, Farmer, Culberson

OMG!

Bleacher Report Rankings of Players:

Catchers 

  • Austin Barnes #13
  • Yasmani Grandal #6

First Basemen

  • Cody Bellinger #5

Second Baseme

  • Chase Utley #25
  • Logan Forsythe #22

Shortstop

  • Corey Seager #3

Third Basemen

  • Justin Turner #5

Center Fielders

  • Curtis Granderson #21

Corner Outfielders

  • Yasiel Puig #15
  • Chris Taylor #13

Starting Pitchers

  • Kenta Maeda #75
  • Rich Hill #45
  • Alex Wood #23
  • Yu Darvish #16
  • Clayton Kershaw #6

Relief Pitchers

  • Brandon Morrow #27
  • Kenley Jansen #2

AGREE OR DISAGREE?

Gabe Kapler

Finally, Jon Heyman in Fanrag Sports finally writes a column on Gabe Kapler AFTER he left the Dodgers that is somewhat troubling. In part, he says this:

Kapler, a bright, charismatic fellow with a background that includes the front office, broadcasting, an impressive major league playing career and a small sliver of managing, certainly fits the new managerial prototype that boasts a diverse resume, and not primarily a coaching/managing background. If you dig deeper, you find a lot of skeptics, even more critics, and many folks who wonder if this could become one of the most interesting — and destructive — episodes in the Phillies’ mostly conservative history.

From interviews with people around the game, Kapler, who comes to Philly from his job as the Dodgers’ farm director, is a love-him-or-hate-him kind of guy, and the word most frequently heard about his time in L.A. is “polarizing.” One player said there was no middle ground between “worship” and “unqualified” in assessments of Kapler, and that seems to be the reaction around baseball, where some are applauding the hire and others are wondering if the Phillies are in the dark about a successful but somewhat checkered reign for L.A. (To be fair, the Dodgers’ prospects are mostly thriving and helped them get to the World Series.)

Kapler is admired by some but also butted heads with enough Dodgers people to fill out an entire roster — it depends on the source. Word got to the big leaguers that enough of them endorsed external candidate Dave Roberts – including Clayton Kershaw, Adrian Gonzalez and others – to affect the process at a time Kapler was seen as the favorite of the Dodgers’ bosses and the early favorite for their managerial job.

Kapler certainly had some interesting ideas, some of which he posted on “kaplifestyle.com,” a men’s website of his thoughts. Some of them lean toward the bizarre, and one that won’t be repeated here involves coconut oil.

Kapler by one account fired a couple dozen employees as Dodgers farm director, and by another he upset “more than half the people” he came into contact with. It also came out that Nick Francona, one of his higher ranking underlings and the son of legendary manager Terry Francona, filed a complaint, first with the Dodgers and then with MLB. He claimed that Kapler helped push him out after Francona, a military veteran of six years on the front lines, reached out to Home Base program, an agency that aids veterans, and claimed he was identified as “ruined” by Kapler.

The timing seems strange.  Heyman has gotten it wrong before.  I’m not sure what to make of all this, but here’s what seems plausible to me:  Kapler took over a struggling farm system full of “good old boys” who were used to doing things the way we have always done them and he brought forward thinking and change, which many people do not like.  He ruffled some feathers, but right here, right now, the Dodgers Farm System is a model for other teams.  I wish Gabe nothing but the best… except when he plays 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 20 Comments

  1. Billy Beane was what we now commonly refer to as a “disruptor.” Oftentimes there’s pushback. Uber is a disruptor. AirBnB is a disruptor. Steve Jobs was a disruptor.

    Thinkers who are driven by innovative ideas often come up with bizarre ones, sometimes good ones just at the wrong time. Sometimes they are just what the world needs effect change.

    I appreciate your blog, Mark, and enjoy reading your opinions as well as AC’s impressive knowledge and insight. I posted one time on the Dodgers Digest blog. I like reading Nosler, but I think my one comment was something to the effect that I felt dumber for reading it. I was banned…after one post. ….ah well.

    Being bitter and angry gets you nowhere. Every day I have to work on being a better person…more positive.

  2. I’ve always thought you learn more from losing than winning. DR and the young core of the Dodgers now know what it’s like to get there but not get over the hump. It should make them hungry, starving even. It should make them better, smarter and more determined. We will now get to see what kind of character these young men actually have. Being a winner isn’t always about actual winning. It’s about holding nothing back, giving all for your team mates. And by this, becoming more of a team.

  3. To me Stanton is not worth the amount of $$$$$ he’s getting. No position player in the league should make more than Mike Trout. Maybe no pitcher either.

  4. Thank you Mark, for providing a great forum and to AC for all of the insight he adds, especially the minor leagues. Think Blue has good minor league coverage, but never more than a handful of comments on a post. DD is the opposite, having hundreds of comments, mostly off topic and really nonsense, but the posts themselves are usually good. With the links I can come here first and look around for other info and post a comment if I like. I try to stay positive and not contradict other posters and most here do the same. Thanks for a great season!

    It’s taken a few days to process the WS and it’s bittersweet but the team was outplayed by a very good team. The few holes in the team were exposed. JT looked tired and nicked up; Cory and Cody had their weak spots exposed; Puig was aggressively attacked; the bullpen was overused, partly because starters were not allowed to go deep; the team wide failure to hit with men on base; a few gaffs by Roberts and the coaches.

    There will be lots of small moves and a few big ones this off season. None would be bigger than Stanton and the fact is there is no one in the minors that can knock 50 bombs and that alone gives Cody some help. If there is a way it can be done and still get under the cap I believe they do it. Grandal is going to be moved and Barnes has won the job. Forsythe will have his option exercised but could still be traded although unlikely. The pitching staff does not need Darvish with the big 3 pus Ryu and McCarthy still around and Buehler. Stewart, Stripling, Font, Urias, Oaks and White for depth. I agree they will only go so far to sign Morrow and instead find another guy like him. Who stays and who is dealt or cut loose will be an interesting subject to follow but this team as constructed will be a force to be reckoned with for the near future.

  5. I too want to thank you Mark for the time an effort you put into providing this great blog. Same for you, AC. I truly appreciate your insight on the Dodgers and the information you provide on the prospects. In addition to this being a very knowledgeable blog, I appreciate the fact that I don’t have to wade through numerous “F” bombs, chili recipes or movie reviews to find out what others are thinking about the present state of the Dodgers. While some of the other blogs, TBLA and Dodgers Digest will provide some very good information, reading through the comments can be insufferable and that’s why I come back here on a regular basis.
    .
    This has been a wonderful year to be a Dodger fan, and barring serious injury to several players, I believe we’re going to be able to relish this measure of success for several years to come. Next year we win it all!!! That’s my bold prediction and I’m sticking to it.
    .
    This off season should be interesting. A few little tweeks and we should be good to go. I wouldn’t mind them adding a Chris Archer type pitcher who is young and controllable. There is always the possibility that Kershaw does opt out of his contract and FAZ must be prepared for that. I look forward to seeing what Buehler and Oaks (I admit to being a big fan of his, as he’s a strike throwing machine and he went to the same HS where I was assistant baseball coach for several years). I’m curious as to what led to Grandal going from the first string catcher to a non-entity in the playoffs. Barnes played well, but he wasn’t so good that YG couldn’t have at least made a cameo appearance. Left field needs to be strengthened as Toles, Pederson and Verdugo, while each with tons of ability are still question marks going into spring training. Certainly Stanton would be a nice addition, I just don’t see that as a FAZ type move. I could see them making a move for a second baseman. Logan Forsythe may be back next year, but there really isn’t a 2B prospect in the pipeline ready to step in when he moves on. Maybe Lux or Estevez can step up and be ready, but I don’t see that happening now. Taylor looks good in CF and iit would be preferable to keep him there. AB can play 2B, but he’s a greater asset behind the plate for the next 2 years. 1B – looks like we’re set there for the foreseeable future; SS – the same; 3B – the same (though we have t be cautious about Turner’s health-Rios and Beatty are in the wings); LF- ???; CF – Tayler; and RF – Puig (although I might consider moving him in the right trade while he’s a hot commodity – it would have to blow me away though); The top 3 starting pitchers are fine; 4 & 5 can be tweeked and in the pen it would be nice to have 2 Morrow types that lead the way to Jansen. Maybe Cingani can grow into that role.
    .
    Thanks again – it’s going to be a fun off-season

  6. Mark
    I just want to say that with all of the material written about the Dodgers that is available on the internet, I enjoy yours the most. It is clever, witty, fun to think about, and amazingly perceptive. The addition of AC and his expertise also adds a lot to this blog site. I want to say thank you for many hours of enjoyment. Despite what some might say I find you a voice of stability and reason with regards to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Again thanks for a great season of reading about the Dodgers.

  7. Hey Mark, just want to give you a shout out for your blog. This was the first(and only) blog site I have been on, and I joined last year around spring training, I think. I can’t tell you how much more my knowledge of the Dodgers players, inner workings of FAZ, and the minor leagues(AC) has been since joining this blog. You always seem to know the pulse of what’s going on out there and what needs to be talked about. You do a great job of setting the table for the rest of us, and the conversation and opinions by everyone are usually right on point. Looking forward to hearing from you and the rest of the crew this winter.

  8. Thanks Mark for all you do. Thanks AC for your contribution. I love to hear about the farm kids. Most of the people who write on this sight are civil. We disagree but do it in such a way to not make it personal.

    As I said in the last post. I would not be surprised to see Joc, Verdugo and Puig traded? One or all three. There are just enough doubts in my mind about all three.

  9. Thank you for the kind words. I am a little burned out so I don’t plan to post much new stuff, but if anyone else wants to, I would welcome it.

  10. The first 2017-2018 Dodger option decision has been made. The Dodgers have declined the Andre Ethier option, and have agreed to the $2.5M buyout. I will miss Ethier. He has been a good Dodger. CK is now officially the longest tenured Dodger.

  11. This is Mark’s toy store, and I am fortunate to be able to play in it. Mark asked me if I wanted to contribute, and his request came at a very difficult time, and this has been a good distraction. Being primarily analytical, I am not all that creative, so it is hard for me to come up with the ideas to elicit wide scale discussion or opinion. That is why this blog is so great because the participants help to keep the conversation going.
    .
    I am not big on the Giancarlo Stanton band wagon. They do not need to commit to that albatross of a contract. If he becomes a Dodger I will keep positive thoughts, but the Dodgers won 104 games without Stanton and should be a WS contender with or without him in 2018. They need another run producing OF, another SP who can pitch 180-210 innings, and to find capable replacements for Morrow and Watson (if not re-signed). They have the resources to get multiple changes, but priorities are going to need to be made.
    .
    Verlander was the missing piece for Houston, and the Astros management spent the resources and assumed the contract to get him. Many thought that Dodger management did the same with the Yu Darvish trade. Verlander worked out and Darvish did not. The Dodgers spent the dollars to keep 2016-2017 FA (Jansen, Turner, and Hill), and I hope they do so again with Morrow this year. But if Morrow wants to be a closer, I wish him luck, but I hope it is in the AL.
    .

  12. Mark, first off let me say that I’m glad to hear that you said that over the next few months you would be posting once or twice a week, rather than having you say that you would no longer be posting at all. That’s what it sounded like until you got to the clarification. Had me nervous for a while. Besides, we’ll be in good hands on the days AC posts.

    Of all the Dodger blogs, this is the only one I can think of where I would actually post. Love the fact that this is an easy site to exchange ideas, not just short blurbs, in a meaningful way. I read some of the other blogs, but this is the only one on which I post.

    I love the idea of the Dodgers acquiring Stanton. And if they do it, I trust FAZ to understand the correct price in dollars and players. There are no guarantees, but a player like Stanton could make the difference between a championship and no championship. And I suspect that in addition to the potential of him paying off monetarily by helping bring a championship to LA, he could also be a major draw during the season, possibly enabling the Dodgers to go over the 4 million mark in attendance. And if the Dodgers were also able to snare Yelich, all the better.

    Mark, regarding your projected lineup above, I would prefer to hit Bellinger in front of Stanton. At this stage of his development I feel Bellinger would benefit more from the protection. But with that lineup, it could be irrelevant.

    AC, this is directed to you. Ever since the Dodgers acquired Drew Jackson I’ve been intrigued by the reports that he possessed an ultra powerful arm. I’ve never seen Jackson play outside of a few highlight videos, but statistically he doesn’t appear to be all that great of a hitting prospect, despite being rated #18 on the Dodgers MLB Prospect Pipeline. Do you know if there has been any thought of converting Jackson to the mound? Seems perfectly logical to me, given Jackson’s lack of offensive production to date.

    1. Drew Jackson does have a plus plus arm and tremendous speed. He is still 24 and reached AA, but outside of his arm and speed his other skills do not quite translate into a ML SS or 2B. I have not heard any news about him converting to a pitcher, but it would not surprise me. Stetson Allie and Ike Davis both converted to pitchers this summer, and Brett Eibner started the transition. The Dodgers have had good success with the conversions…Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez, and Dennis Santana to name a few.
      .
      I do not see the conversion happening quite yet, but down the line I can see him parlaying that arm into a potential reliever. IF HE WANTS TO. He is a Stanford guy with a great mind who may want to enter the “real world” when he deems his infield days are over.

  13. Here’s the cool thing about this blog: I want Giancarlo, AC not so much, Brooklyn wants him so does Dirk, but others don’t.

    Here’s the deal: We could all drink a coffee or a beer over this and exchange our different reasons and at the end of it, we would still all be friends. That’s what I value!

    You all are awesome.

    AC, I disagree with you: This is THEIR TOY STORE!

    However, you are revered by all… including me. THANK YOU for your help!

  14. Thanks AC.

    To the best of my knowledge, Jansen made the transition to pitching in 2009 at the age of 21 (turned 22 in September of that year), and Baez did it in 2013 at the age of 25. Both were pitching in the big leagues the year after making making the conversion.

  15. First time on this blog but I read Mark and everyone on here every day and find it so much more enjoyable and informative than the post on the Dodger site, Thankyou all for your wealth of information.

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