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.
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.
- Taylor 2B (you could flip Taylor and Yelich for L-R matchups)
- Seager SS
- Turner 3B
- Stanton LF
- Bellinger 1B
- Puig RF
- Yelich CF
- Barnes C
Toles, Hernandez, Farmer, Culberson
- Austin Barnes #13
- Yasmani Grandal #6
- Cody Bellinger #5
- Chase Utley #25
- Logan Forsythe #22
- Corey Seager #3
- Justin Turner #5
- Curtis Granderson #21
- Yasiel Puig #15
- Chris Taylor #13
- Kenta Maeda #75
- Rich Hill #45
- Alex Wood #23
- Yu Darvish #16
- Clayton Kershaw #6
- Brandon Morrow #27
- Kenley Jansen #2
AGREE OR DISAGREE?
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.