Lest we forget, the Dodgers were so close, so very close to winning the World Series last year and they were (for the most part) a very young team. The CF, SS and 1B were all under 24. The RF was 26 and the catcher was 27. Next year, they will be even younger after Chase Utley, Andre Ethier and Adrian Gonzalez are gone, but that’s not to say they can’t get better. As we contemplate this, FAZ, namely Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi and the rest of their front office are working on just that.
Many of us would like to have Giancarlo Stanton on the team, and while I am not saying it won’t happen, I will say it will take some amazingly, incredible events for it to happen. First and foremost, Stanton has to refuse every other trade proposal. That in itself is a huge long-shot. Secondly, Miami will have to take some salary back or pay off the Dodgers to tune of $50 million dollars. Thirdly, the Marlins will not get a King’s Ranson like they think. Add it all up and it seems very unlikely that Stanton will be coming to Chavez Ravine, except as a member of another team.
If you look at the first three years of Andrew Friedman being in charge of Dodger baseball operations, you will see that they didn’t make any dope-fiend moves. Well, they made one: Hector Olivera (which cost Bob Engle and Patrick Guerrero their jobs) and they have had a few that didn’t work (Johnson, Latos, Reddick, for the most part), but their methodology has been extremely successful. They had nearly $100 million of dead contracts on the books last year, but the majority were inherited. Gonzo, Ethier, Crawfish, Arruebarruena and Guerrero accounted for $76 million of that sum. However, the FAZ bashers want to only talk about that other $30 million owed to McCarthy, Kazmir and Olivera. Shoot, they even bitch about the $2.75 million the Dodgers are paying Matt Kemp to stay away.
Their mantra is “McCarthy, Kazmir, Olivera, what horrible deals” and they it say over and over. Then they bitch about trading Peraza and Schebler and Cotton, Montas and Holmes. Where, exactly would any of those players be playing for the Dodgers? It’s still amazing to me that these people continue their lunatic rants over nothing. Try and move on and see what the next step might be.
The way I see it, there are two ways the Dodgers could go this winter… well it’s actually one way with two different twists. It’s not likely that the Dodgers will sign more than one of their Free Agents. Yu Darvish, Andre Ethier, Curtis Granderson, Brandon Morrow, Franklin Gutierrez and Chase Utley are long gone. It would be nice if the Dodgers could bring Utley back in a front office or coaching role, but he is gone. The only free agent the Dodgers might sign is Tony Watson, but it will have to be at a team-friendly deal. I believe Tony can be an effective reliever for the Dodgers if he continues to evolve.
I guess it is possible that Brandon Morrow comes back, but it would have to be a really good deal and I don’t see that happening. Additionally, the Dodgers will not tie up $150+ million with Yu Darvish and they will not sign any free agent who has strings attached (losing draft picks or dropping in the draft).
The Same Ole’ Same Ole’
“Dance with the one who brung ya‘” is an old saying meaning keep doing what you have done. Make a few trades (Chris Taylor, Logan Forsythe, Austin Barnes, Kike Hernandez, Yasmani Grandal, Luis Avilan, Alex Wood, Tony Cingrani and Tony Watson are some examples), sign some players as free agents (Andrew Toles, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda) and let the youngsters grow into their roles (Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, Yasiel Puig, Chris Taylor).
If the Dodgers sign any free agent relievers, it will likely be of the 2017 Brandon Morrow type. They could make a run at Mike Minor (who is 29) but more likely it is a reconfirmation project like Morrow was. I could see them signing another RH starter like Tyler Chatwood or Jhoulys Chacin simply as insurance. There are a few other relievers like Steve Cishek, Anthony Swarzak, Tommy Hunter or Michael Pineda (who might flourish in the pen) that might be interesting at the right price. At any rate, it doesn’t seem likely to me that the Dodgers will spend big on pitching. There is simply no need for it.
In 2018, Alex Verdugo, Walker Buehler, Trevor Oaks, Brock Stewart, Dennis Santana and even Will Smith could see time with the Dodgers. I think Santana can pitch in relief for the Dodgers RIGHT NOW! Andrew Toles will be healthy which is another youngster in the mix. The Dodgers could elect to go with what they have and let Toles, Verdugo, Pederson and Hernandez battle for time in LF. That seems to be the obvious choice.
Here’s one twist: Alex Verdugo is 21, Christian Yelich just turned 25 and has three things going for him: (1) He has been a very good player for three years, (2) is signed to a team-friendly deal through 2022, and (3) he has the ability get even better and become a borderline superstar. Miami says they won’t trade him and the Dodgers said they would not trade Dee Gordon (so there’s that). The Dodgers could elect to trade Verdugo, Alvarez, Sheffield and another prospect for Yelich. The Marlins would certainly have to consider such a deal. Some may say Ozuna is who they want, but he costs a lot more and is signed for two years. The Dodgers would have five years of control with Yelich.
The Dodgers do not have to trade Yasmani Grandal, and if they keep him they will again have the best catching in the majors. However, they could elect to trade Yasmani Grandal, Brandon McCarthy, Ross Stripling and $5-6 million to the Baltimore Orioles for Zack Britton. The cost is the same for the Dodgers and Baltimore gets immediate help. McCarthy is a risk for them, which is why the Dodgers send back cash. Stripling gives them another starter.
These are just ideas to ponder. I have no preference. Between Toles, Verdugo, Kike and Joc, the Dodgers should have an excess in LF. There could be a trade for one or two of them too. I have said that Alex Verdugo could become a “Tony Gwynn Type Hitter” but you never know. He could go either way. I was much more confident in Cody and Corey. Alex certainly has the talent – I am not sure if he has the intangibles Corey and Cody do, but I am not saying he doesn’t either.
The market will dictate a lot of this. Rest assured: FAZ has a grip on this. I will enjoy seeing it all play out!
By the way, I think there is Zero Chance that the freak show named Shohei Ohtani will be a Dodger. He wants to hit and pitch and it seems that only an AL team can do that. Plus, he will be a huge distraction and no one knows really how he will do. I can’t see it happening !