What Is The Master Plan?

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.

The Twists

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 !

 

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 37 Comments

  1. I personally like having grandal and Barnes who provide the best catching duo in the majors. I don’t know why grandal was basically out in the postseason but there might have been a good reason. Grandal could have that breakout year. I mean I think he is capable of 30-35 homers. For some reason he just seems to fade at the end of the year. Another guy who could breakout is Kiki. He is young and this could be his year. I like toles but he has not proven himself yet, not to say he won’t, but after an injury you never know. If they perform as expected you could have Kiki/toles, Taylor, and Puig in the outfield and use Kiki or Taylor at second to rest Forsyth. The real loss is Morrow but you have Yimi Garcia coming back and at playoff time maeda. You have kershaw, hill, maeda, ryu, and McCarthy (ugh) in the rotation with Stripling,Stewart, Urias , buehler, Kazmir ready to step in. That’s a quality team which could be improved at the trade deadline. They could do nothing now and still be really good barring injury. I think they need to get younger in the rotation with Otani a long shot but a great pickup. If buehler progresses he could be the setup guy or starter. Work on the bullpen and get a young starter or maybe we have one(Urias) and another really good solid hitter (rh) preferably and World Series here we come.

    1. You forgot about Wood which should keep McCarthy out of the rotation. You also left out Joc who needs to have an off season like Taylor last year and work on his swing mechanics. Agree on everything else, Ohtani has more than a zero chance of coming to LA and can play OF and Grandal could break out if there was a reason he was hardly used in the playoffs. Garcia and possibly Font could have a shot in the bullpen, Baez needs to use his other pitches and will have a pitch clock this year. The team really does not need much and is in a great negotiating position. However there is excess on the 25 and 40 man rosters or they will lose some players out of options. I could see a quantity for quality trade that is not a blockbuster at the Winter Meetings.

  2. Well said. This FO will surprise us with an off season transaction none of us saw coming. I didn’t think they would trade Dee Gordon and they did. They moved Kemp and I didn’t expect them to sign all three of our big free agents last year (KJ, JT and Hill-I though maybe two of the three but not all three).

    I agree Stanton is probably not going to be acquired, but they will make some moves and it’s going to be quite a discussion item I suspect. Winter Meetings start in 15 days. FO still needs an asst. hitting coach and a Director of Player Development.

    It’s a great time to be a Dodger fan.

  3. I totally forgot about wood who will be a starter. He is just coming into his prime hopefully. He makes our rotation younger and better.

  4. Since the Braintrust took over, other than resigning their own free agents last year (Hill, Jansen and Turner), the most $$ that the Dodgers have spent on any free agents have been on broken down starting pitchers (Kazmir, $16 MM/yr, McCarthy, $12 MM/yr., Anderson $10 MM for one year, Hill, $16 MM/yr). They have taken on NO big long-term contracts.

    To expect them to do any differently after winning 104 games last year defies logic.

    The Dodgers have a luxury tax problem that they want to get out from under.

    With all this in mind, I expect the Dodgers to attempt to shed salary and to nibble around the edges. They will sign a couple of reclamation projects for the bullpen, maybe a backup catcher from the International Brotherhood of Backup Catchers (they can go to the hiring hall and get the next one available), and maybe a lefty-hitting INF or a righty-hitting PH.

    I also expect them to trade one or more of the following: Grandal, Pederson, McCarthy, Ryu, – they won’t find takers for Gonzalez or Kazmir and they may DFA one or both of them.

    I expect the Braintrust to assess need at the trade deadline and make improvements then.

    They have big decisions to make after 2018. Do they extend Kershaw? Do they go for one of the huge free agents available (Harper, Machado, et al)? Do they keep Puig? This year they will mostly lay low.

    1. Apparently the early rumors were just that…rumors. Both Dre and his agent say that he will be playing next year.
      .
      In another move, the Dodgers just signed 28 year old RH hitting OF Travis Taijeron to a minor league contract. Taijeron is a former Met. Who knows, maybe he turns out to be another Mets cast off.

  5. About Ohtani, Friedman went all the way to Japan to at the end of this last season, to see Ohtani pitch, and he also took Orel with him, to scout Ohtani.

    And Friedman has also already said, the Dodgers could work what Ohtani wants to do, into there system.

    And with the way the Dodgers use the ten day DL, I don’t think it would be that hard for the Dodgers to work Ohtani’s wishes, into there system, like Friedman said.

    1. Almost every team went to Japan, but Seattle has already said Ohtani can pitch and hit and the Yanks will say the same. I think there will be a circus around him as well. I can’t see any compelling reason he would want to come to LA unless that is just his dream.

      1. LA has the largest Japanese community, in the US.

        And I hear LA has much better weather, then NY or Seattle does.

        And Darvish loved playing for the Dodgers, and he said the food in LA was better too.

        And like I already wrote, Friedman has already said the Dodgers could work with Ohtani’s desire to hit too.

  6. I think we do need Ohtani for the future. We need some youth in the rotation and a potentially great player. What if kershaw opts out after next year? We will need to bolster our rotation to move forward. Vegas I left out joc intentionally, I just don’t see him starting but if toles doesn’t work out he could platoon with kike and/or be an occasional starter in center. I like joc and I think he has heart plus big time power. He was a pleasant surprise in the playoffs. But, I think one of the most ifnot the most key at bat he was up with a runner on third with less than 2 outs and did what? Struck out, I believe that was game 2 and we were up 3-1 with a chance to put the game out of reach. That is a situation where the hitter has to put it in play. But that’s what you get with guys like joc. We already have 3 guys in the lineup like that maybe to a lesser degree in grandal, bellinger, and seager. I think bellinger will improve he just got overmatched in the series in part due to lack of experience.

    1. Therealten

      I agree about Joc.

      And even though Joc had a good average for the series, he didn’t hit in a single run, with just a hit.

      All of his RBIs came from the HRs he hit.

      And we already know Joc can get on hot streak, and hit a bunch of HRs, but he has still not hit consistently after three years.

      The Astros got rid of all there players, that were those type of hitters.

  7. I think Stanton is not likely to happen. Ohtani I’m not so sure about. If the Dodgers really like him, then I’m certain that they are imaginative enough to devise a plan that works for him and the Dodgers.

    Not saying the Dodgers would do this, but perhaps they could concoct a plan that allows Ohtani to start once per week (like he did in Japan), in a sort of modified rotation that helps keep the entire rotation fresh for the entire year. On the other days during the week, Ohtani would alternate between starting in the outfield and taking days off. And there are times during the year when the Dodgers will be playing AL teams on the road, when Ohtani can be used at DH.

    Whatever the case, if the Dodgers really want Ohtani they will do all they can to satisfy whatever demands he has. And a lot depends on how much Ohtani would prefer to play in LA, if in fact he does.

    1. The foundation of the story is based upon the premise that the Dodgers have a gap in LF. While LF was not a position of excellence, in 2018 the Dodgers have Kike, Joc, Toles and Verdugo to vie for playing time. Ozuna would be great there, but he would cost as much… or maybe more than Yelich, and they only control him for 2 years. Yelich has 5 years of control. Braun would be great if he were 5 years younger – he’s not! Additionally, that story implies that Verdugo can play CF… and he can, but not everyday. CT3 is the best CF’er on the roster and will get better with experience.

      I like Yelich, but if it were me, I think I would sit tight with what I have.

      I think the Dodgers need to see who can step up. Consider this:

      1. Could Joc Pederson hit .240 with 35+ HR? He has that potential.
      2. Could Andrew Toles hit .300 with 15 HR and a .350 OB%? He has that potential.
      3. Could Kike “break out” like J.D. Martinez did at the same age? He might have that potential.
      4. Could Alex Verdugo hit like Tony Gwynn? He definitely has that potential.

      All of those things may be possible, but not likely. One could… which one? That is the question.

      1. I have little confidence in Pederson being anything more than what he is, a strikeout machine with HR power. The problem is his HR’s come with zero runners on base and his strikeouts come with runners on base.
        Toles I think has the potential to be a consistent .300 hitter with maybe 15 to 20 HR power plus he will play a pretty steady LF.
        I think Hernandez is what he is a super sub.
        I agree Verdugo has the potential to be a very good contact hitter with very few strikeouts.
        If the Dodgers don’t make a trade for an everyday left fielder then Toles or Verdugo is who I would go with.

  8. Most people say the Dodgers won’t go for Stanton due to his contract. At the same time there talk of us going after Machado in 2018. Given his contract will exceed that of Stanton how many here really think the Dodgers will do anything other that extend Kershaw in 2018.

  9. I believe it’s Kershaw that can opt out after 2018. So in reality, whether or not he gets extended beyond 2018 depends on whether or not he chooses to opt out, and if he does, whether or not he and the Dodgers can agree on a new free agent deal, or whether he decides to sign elsewhere.

  10. 1. I think that whether the Dodgers are in the Harper and Machado Sweepstakes depends upon what happens in 2018 and what the price is.

    2. Maybe Clayton wants to go back to Texas, but pitching in Arlington won’t be kind to his career ERA and WHIP. If he stays in LA, he has a chance to go down as the Career ERA and WHIP leader of All-Time. Yes, ALL TIME! I don’t think he wants to go elsewhere and if he doesn’t, the Dodgers will add to and extend his deal. Take that to the bank. As has been said, Clayton needs to change in two ways: (1) Change his pitching style and sequence and (2) he has to develop a Change-Up! Clayton never was Sandy Koufax, but he need to change from closer to Sandy Koufax to closer to Greg Maddux! If he does, his best years are ahead of him!

  11. I do not think the Dodgers will do much this winter. They have two areas of concern. Bull pen and LF.

    They need to resign Morrow and Watson or replace them if the price is to high. Garcia is coming back. Cingrani will be back next year. Baez could be good if he learns to pitch and not throw. He needs another pitch.

    They have the players to play left field. However, you cannot wait till ST to see if Toles, Joc, Verdugo or Kike can win the position. That is to many trying to win one position. Kike will be given a chance to win it, but the Dodgers look at him as an ideal bench player who will get a lot of playing time. I think the fight will be between Toles and Verdugo. Joc will be the odd man out. Joc has the potential, but he has shown very little desire to change. He needs a new team. The loser between Verdugo and Toles will be the fourth outfielder.

    One more point. FAZ is very concerned about getting players with the right attitude. That is why Forsythe has been resigned. He is a good clubhouse guy. Puig probably comes the closest to not being the right clubhouse guy. The incident with Verdugo in Sept. is concerning. That incident was handled by Hill. I bet Doc was smiling the whole time. Let the players handle the situation. This tells me there are leaders in the clubhouse who are not afraid to step up when needed.

  12. Further color on Giancarlo, from Morosi:

    Sources: Some teams pursuing Giancarlo Stanton believe the Dodgers are his first choice, and that he will be reluctant to approve other destinations until there is clarity with LA. The Dodgers and Marlins have had contact regarding Giancarlo Stanton trade concepts, but talks have failed to progress so far; STLCards and SFGiants showing more sustained interest.

    1. Like I said earlier:

      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 these three things happen, Stanton could be a Dodger. Like Olney said, he holds all the cards. If he wants to come to LA, he will. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

      This could become very, very interesting because nobody on the Dodgers or Marlins are talking.

  13. If Giancarlo is set on being a Dodger and wants to screw the Marlins, he will be a Dodger.

    Kazmir, McCarthy and A-Gon to the Marlins along with Pederson, Alvarez, Toles and Sheffield.

    Take it or leave it!

    They might have to give A-Gon a couple -three million to waive his no trade.

    That knocks down Stanton’s contract by $40 million+. I would do that.

    Grandal could be traded too and save another $8 million.

    Look at this lineup:

    1. Taylor CF
    2. Seager SS
    3. Turner 3B
    4. Stanton LF
    5. Bellinger 1B
    6. Puig RF
    7. Barnes C
    8. Forsythe 2B

    Utility: Farmer, Smith, Verdugo, Kike, Whoever

    I am foaming at the mouth!

    1. I want to keep Puig (wash my mouth out). The $50 mil doesn’t work for salary purposed. They actually have to trade the players. The Marlins can release them…

      1. I was thinking more along the lines of the Dodgers receiving 5 mil a year for ten years from Marlins to somewhat offset Stanton’s yearly salary.

        1. But they need salary relief this year by taking on Stanton’s deal. They can afford it going forward, just not in 2018!

          1. Your quote from above: “Secondly, Miami will have to take some salary back or pay off the Dodgers to tune of $50 million dollars.”

  14. Not to change the subject, but what-the-what? The site https://dodgersway.com/ has a profile on “Sterling Heredia” whose name really is “Starling” and they show a picture of Alex Verdugo. I guess I make my share of typos too. They call him a slugger, which right now is a stretch, but he is an interesting talent… at 18 years old. The power may come, but it’s not there yet!

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