Sometimes Your Best Moves Don’t Look Like It At The Time

Think about this:

  • One of the first free agents signed last year was Charlie Morton by the Astros.  Charlie was a 33 year-old journeyman pitcher who went 14-7 with a 3.62 ERA (1.193 WHIP) in the regular season and then put up a 1.74 ERA (0.581 WHIP) and was the winning pitcher in the clinching game of the World Series.  What I remember is that “experts” from many sources ridiculed the signing, saying that the Astros “way overpaid.” What did the experts know?
  • In a case close to my home, NBA experts denounced the Pacers trade of Paul George to OKC for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. They said that the Pacers were “swindled.” Victor is playing at an All-Star Level and Sabonis (age 21) is averaging 12.5 ppg and 8.7 rpg as a backup to Miles Turner.  Paul George?  The Pacers swindled OKC in my opinion. What did the experts know?
  • What about the signing of Brandon Morrow?  The FAZ-Bashers openly denounced it. What did they know?
  • Alex Wood?
  • Chris Taylor?
  • Cody Bellinger wasn’t ready! He wasn’t?  Well, Keith Law and I said he was, but I digress!

I could go on-and-on, but I will stop there.  The above examples are a few that are fresh in my mind. The so-called “experts” often don’t know any more than we (me and you) do.  Sometimes they know less.

The same is true with who are the finalists in the Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton Sweepstakes.  Who the hell knows?  If I were Andrew Friedman I would say to Shohei Ohtani:

“This is LA – we sell out almost every game.  This is the biggest stage in the world.  You will be seen by more people around the would here than in any other ballpark (unless you have Time Warner). It’s not for everyone.  Some can’t stand the pressure.  Maybe you will do well in another smaller market, but in the back of your mind, you will always wonder if you could have made it in LA.  I think you have what it takes, but do you? “

That would be my speech to him with that twist of reverse psychology.  What do they have to lose?

Who the hell knows?

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 65 Comments

  1. Would love Stanton in Dodger Blue but I just don’t see the FO taking on a contract like his. I recall one of the Dodger owners (Todd Boehly) making a comment last year that the team needed to get control of spending (my words not his) and since he is one of the five members of the ownership group we might take “that to the bank” (pun intended).

    Just don’t see Stanton as a Dodger, but I want to be wrong so bad!

  2. Logan White, Nomo, Saito, and Ohtani’s former trainer all working for SD.
    ~
    Stanton can be had at the Dodgers price if they so desire. The Dodgers don’t need to try to screw the Marlins over just put something out there that works for LA and is reasonable. If Giancarlo knows that Dodgers want him he will wait it out. This whole idea that the Marlins would have any leverage by threatening to trade the rest of the team is hooey. Gordon and Ozuna are they only tradeable contracts that give them much relief.

  3. We’re there really people openly bashing the signing of Morrow? I don’t think he was much more than a blip on the radar at the time.

    1. “Another typical FAZ signing.”
      “Waste of money.”
      “Another old and infirm.”

      … among others.

    2. Mark is right on this one. I remember being soundly criticized last Spring for having the audacity to posit that Brandon Morrow was going to be a key component in the bullpen for 2017. Anybody who actually watched him in SD the summer before was not surprised.

      1. I wanted Morrow and Taylor on the 25 man out of ST and posted that without much criticism. It took injuries to actually open up the roster spots and that’s what happened with Cody too plus their performance in the minors. Sometimes the team takes a longer term approach than the fans want. Morrow was a classic low risk high upside signing and he got a prove it deal. Now that he proved it he will be paid well.

        1. I definitely wasn’t calling for him to be on the roster at that time but at worst he was minor league depth.

  4. Based on this article — https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/los-angeles-dodgers — I would guess that the Mariners and Angels are the best bets to sign Ohoni but the Dodgers are still in the game.
    .
    The Dodgers would benefit from a #1 or #2 skilled righty in their rotation but we have read that Ohoni’s fastball is straight and comes in more often at 91mph than it does at 95.
    .
    Here is an interesting story on Babe Ruth’s transition from pitcher to outfielder. — https://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/ed-barrow-s-decision-move-babe-ruth-outfield

    1. From what I see, his fastball in the low 90’s has a lot of movement. It’s when he throws 100+ that it is straight.

  5. Here are the players on last years opening day roster who are no longer on the team:
    Romo, Dayton, Hatcher, Van Slyke, Gutierrez, Utley plus AGon.
    Opening Day on DL:
    Baez, Ethier, Garcia, Kazmir, Ravin and Stewart. Only Utley and Ethier were on the WS roster and both are gone.
    World Series Roster players not on opening day roster or DL:
    Taylor, Bellinger, Culberson, Cingrani, Watson, Darvish, Fields, Morrow.

    The point is the team is good at stashing guys with options for later use and improves the team at the deadline. It would help if they don’t sign any players like Gutierrez or Romo to fill holes that don’t exist. I trust in Faz!

    1. Maybe Romo was too amped up to play for the Dodgers. He was lights-out for TB.

      Gutierrez wasn’t expected to play everyday, but his disease just shut him down.

      Two ideas that failed… but they didn’t cost much.

    1. Um, that’s a film review, not one of statistics and their usage.
      `
      Perhaps a better take on the “debate” between new and old-school analysis should be that NO TEAM doesn’t have and rely on an analytics department. NOT ONE.
      `
      Holy jeepers, maybe we need a dimwit test instead of a human one.

  6. Only weaknesses are high-end SP (preferably RH), set-up man, and possibly LF (although it appeared we have the depth to cover it).

    Sign Otani, bring back Morrow, and add a veteran RH bench bat and we’re done.

  7. FanGraphs makes a play that the Dodgers should pursue Stanton:
    `
    https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-dodgers-should-pursue-giancarlo-stanton/
    `
    Kind of a bird in hand argument, “The Dodgers’ cost to acquire Stanton isn’t just the money they’d have to pay Stanton and whatever luxury tax payments came along with taking most of his deal; it’s the opportunity cost of maybe not signing Harper next year, or having to let Kershaw walk if they decide they really do want Harper anyway.”

    1. He convinced me. With so many young lh hitters and mostly Diaz, Peters, and Heredia as rh hittes in the pipeline, adding Stanton checks that box in a major way.

    2. It seems to me that he is saying the Dodgers pay $250 million of the deal and that Joc Pederson is the centerpiece? That’s a no-brainer. I can’t see a deal without Verdugo or Buehler.

      1. I cannot remember where I read it, but I read one pundit indicating that the Marlins were requesting Keibert Ruiz and Yusniel Diaz ++. That does look like something they might request.

          1. I said it looks like something the Fish would request, not that I would do it. I agree that Ruiz and Buehler right now would be untouchable.

  8. I wanted Morrow instead of Hatcher who was out of options and Taylor over Van Slyke who had an option and they were keeping Gutierrez anyway and CT3 had been playing some OF in ST. Taylor was called up on April 19th when Forsythe went on the 10 day DL. Morrow was not called up until June 21st. Van Slyke went to the Reds as part of the Cingrani deal and the Reds DFA’s him on Aug 9th. Hatcher was traded to the A’s for $500 K in international bonus money on Aug 15th.

      1. I think we all wanted Hatcher gone. Sending Morrow and Taylor down worked out because Taylor looked bad in CF during ST but was making great plays at SS when given the chance.

  9. There is a lot of bizarre stuff out there right about now.

    Some are saying that Ohtani (1) prefers a smaller market like San Diego; (2) he wants to be the only Japanese pitcher on the staff; (3) money and winning are not that important to him.

    What to believe? None of it!

    Like the title of today’s blog “Who the hell knows?”

  10. It looks like Mike Minor is off the market as he signed with Texas (allegedly). Terms and dollars were not immediately known.

  11. 4 yrs/$28 million. They’re saying they plan on using him as a starter but that contract is about what he was expected to get as a relief pitcher.

      1. I like Morrow but I think his health is to “iffy” to do that kind of deal.

        2 years/$12 Million

  12. I was listening to MLB Radio this AM and they were talking to a former teammate of Shohei Ohtani and he said his impression is that Ohtani would prefer to pitch in a smaller market… that he is not a Big-Market kind of guy! He said he is quite and very humble and a very hard worker, but did not think he would sign with a big-market team.

    SO, THERE IS THAT!

    1. Big Fish in a small pond can be just as suffocating. Do any of these markets really qualify as a “small market”. SD would be the only one that fits that description.

      1. Hawkeye

        The Cubs are still on his lis.

        And when he was playing in Japan, he didn’t have a car, so he never drove himself, to work.

        From what I heard from former players, who have played for the Cubs, they could live right around the stadium there, and they could practically walk to the stadium, if they wanted to.

        Also, they never had to pay for any meal when they went out to eat, either.

        1. I had read that too about him not driving. LA traffic could certainly persuade someone not to live there.

  13. On Minor and Morrow:

    It’s really not like FAZ to sign a guy like Minor or Morrow to a big deal. They like to sign them BEFORE the breakout. They are looking for the 2018 version of Minor and Morrow. That’s what we should look for.

    Cingrani is a candidate.

    1. I would have liked to see what Minor could bring, but it was a longshot. Morrow makes more sense because he is a Dodger and FAZ has shown that they are somewhat loyal to players who want to stay. They will not overpay, but I think they would be willing to go three years for a returning setup guy. But if Morrow is looking to max out his earning potential (which I would not blame him one bit), he will be playing elsewhere.
      .
      I still think they are looking at Cingrani as a loogy. Maybe they expand his role.
      .
      I still think that Tommy Hunter can make sense.

  14. Stuff from all over:
    `
    FanGraphs Prospect Chat:
    On who has the best chance of being future starting of for dodgers: diaz, peters, or heredia?
    Eric A Longenhagen: Diaz has the best chance because he’s well-rounded and the most polished of that group, but Peters and Heredia have more upside.
    `
    On who is seen as a better starter prospect: Mitchell White or Dustin May?
    Eric A Longenhagen: May
    `
    on Dodger OF prospect Kendall?
    Eric A Longenhagen: Tooled up but needs a swing overhaul.
    `
    FanGraphs also has a fan poll about the Dodgers front office:
    the current results:
    Very good 76.53%
    Pretty good 17.37%
    Average 3.76%
    Very bad 2.34%
    Pretty bad 0%
    `
    BP has an overview and a Top Ten for the Dodgers system:
    The State of the System: Our 2016 best system is baseball is starting to dip due to graduations and trades, but it’s still a top ten org, and there is still more potential impact talent close to the majors.
    `
    The Top Ten:
    Walker Buehler, RHP
    Alex Verdugo, OF
    Yadier Alvarez, RHP
    Keibert Ruiz, C
    Dustin May, RHP
    Yusniel Diaz, OF
    Mitchell White, RHP
    Jeren Kendall, OF
    Gavin Lux, SS
    Jordan Sheffield, RHP
    `
    Old Friend News:
    The Dallas News had an off-season mailbag. One subject was Calhoun, of whome they write:
    As the roster stands at the moment, I think Willie Calhoun’s role is as a left fielder. The roster has Mazara in right, DeShields in center and Calhoun, perhaps in a bit of a platoon with a right-handed hitter, in left. But the Rangers could also add a center field candidate and move DeShields to left and leave Calhoun fighting for at-bats as a part-time outfielder and part-time DH. He can hit in the big leagues, but he did look awkward in left in his first month in the majors. How much of a shot he gets next year, I think hinges on two things:
    1. Do the Rangers add a center fielder who would push DeShields to left?
    2. Do the Rangers find a way to move Shin-Soo Choo’s contract?

    1. I’ll play…I agree with Logenhagen that Yusniel Diaz has the best chance of the three (Peters and Heredia) to be a starting OF for the Dodgers. However, I guess it is how you define “more upside”. I think the only significant upside either Peters or Heredia has over Diaz is power. All three have plus arms, but Peters’ and Heredia’s are better but not that significantly better than Diaz. Neither Peters nor Heredia can defend, run, or hit as well as Diaz. IMO, Diaz is a better prospect than either Peters or Heredia, but all three will play MLB.
      .
      I think Logenhagen would have to be convinced that May will develop a better curve or change to get three plus pitches. He is still one year removed from High School, so he has time. Right now, White has three plus pitches and is working on developing the change. White is 3 full years older so has had more time to develop. If May can develop and master a plus change, he will become an outstanding starting pitcher (top 2-3 of a rotation). They are both big kids, but not too thick so they can still physically mature (although May more so than White). Right now, White has an unhittable cutter, so to me he is the better starting prospect.
      .
      Jeren Kendall will either be a perennial All Star or a bust. He is the ultimate high risk/high reward player. Defensively, speed, and power potential he is the reincarnate of Willie Davis. Whether he can put the bat to the ball enough to be a legit ML hitter will decide his overall potential. I suspect the Dodger hitting instructors will try to break down and rebuild his swing. To maximize his potential, he needs to take away some from his power potential and use his speed more. Launch angles are the current wave, but he should spend a lot of time with Brett Butler to learn how he can make a bigger impact with his bat and legs.
      .
      I would replace Lux and Sheffield with Will Smith and Dennis Santana in BP’s Top Ten. Personal preference. The player I am most looking forward to watching next year…RHSP Morgan Cooper.

      1. Yusniel Diaz is as smooth as a glass of Maker’s Mark!

        If he can develop a little power, then it’s winner, winner, chicken dinner!

        I am high on Diaz, not Peters and Heredia.

        While we are at it, I am also not high on Kendall, Lux, Alvarez or May. Not saying they are not going to be good, but I am high on these guys:

        1. Buehler
        2. Ruiz
        3. Diaz
        4. Verdugo
        5. Smith
        6. White
        7. Santana (White and this guy could rise quickly)
        8. Oaks
        9. Wong
        10.Farmer

        … in that order.

  15. 1. Buehler
    2. Ruiz
    3. Verdugo
    4. Alvarez
    5. Diaz
    6. White
    7. Santana
    8. May
    9. Kendall
    10. Smith
    .
    I look at a top ten from highest ceiling potential. Trevor Oaks will be with the ML club this year, but he is a back-end rotation pitcher at best ( nothing wrong with that). For whatever reason Yadier Alvarez went backwards in 2017, but there is no denying his potential. He has a top of the rotation arm, but we do not yet really know what he has between the ears and in his heart.
    .
    IMO Kyle Farmer is a utility player who can catch. His ceiling is a backup catcher (again nothing wrong with that). That is not a top ten prospect for me. Connor Wong is too unknown for me. He had a very good 1st year, but there is nothing that I have seen or read that tells me he is a sure starting ML catching prospect.
    .
    Kendall is like Alvarez to me. He has the tools. He can play outstanding ML CF right now, but I do not know if he can out hit Clayton Kershaw. He needs to redo his swing, and if he resists, that bonus money is going to have to last a long time. But if he listens and works hard, he will be a star. He can routinely turn a gap double into a triple. CT3 had 5 triples to lead the team, while Kendall had 8 in 162 AB’s. He has Willie Davis potential. I am hopeful he starts out at Rancho so I can see him when he comes to NorCal. I will get to know Stockton and Modesto very well. Maybe even Visalia.
    .
    I like Dustin May’s ceiling more than Oaks.

    1. AC, I like your list. Seems about dead on to me. It will be interesting to see how guys like Melvin Jiminez develop this year. Rios continues to just hit at all levels. Seems like a poor man’s Calhoun, but probably deserves more attention than he’s getting. Buehler and Ruiz are the untouchables to me.

  16. If for no other reason, the Dodgers posturing in the Stanton circus is creating a better market for the Marlins and a worse one for the Midgets. At first it was Chris Shaw and Tyler Beede, plus $250M of the $295M contract. Since then they have apparently added Heliot Ramos to the package. Ramos was considered a potential #1 pick by the Dodgers behind Kendall (who they never thought would be available) and Bubba Thompson. Now there are some reports that are saying that Christian Arroyo will also be included. Some say no, but there are multiple reports of yes. That is the Midgets top 4 prospects. That would absolutely decimate the Giants farm. Somebody please make the trade already. Mike Minor, Miles Mikolas, Doug Fister, and Wily Peralta is just not enough excitement 5 days out from the Winter Meetings. Teams that are not into the Stanton or Ohtani sweepstakes need to start to make some moves. Then the Giants and Cardinals will need to make some moves just in case the Stanton continues to say NO or lose out altogether. I detest the Giants, but if I were pulling for them, I would be pushing Lorenzo Cain for CF, Mike Moustakas for 3B, and Brandon Morrow for RHRP. That would address their primary problems at a cost far less than Stanton, and no loss of current prospects. Sabean and Evans obviously see the handwriting on the wall and feel they need to go all in to try and save their jobs.

  17. There is just not much going on… evidently until Ohtani and Stanton land somewhere. The longer it goes, the more likely the Dodgers could land Stanton. At least, that is what I think.

    We know the Cards and Giants have deals the Marlins would approve, but we don;t know all the details. It seems to me that with the extra millions in taxes he may have to pay, a team might have to cough up more money… unless it’s the Dodgers because Stanton wants to go there.

    I think the Marlins are going to be forced to go to FAZ and say”OK , what will you pay?” FAZ is going to offer Alvarez, Diaz and a couple of lower-level prospects and will up the ante if the Marlins take Gonzalez, Kazmir and McCarthy. The Marlins will release Gonzo and he will sign with SD or LA for the minimum. Miami is going to be put in a position where they have to take what the Dodgers offer. The Dodgers don’t have to do this. They know they don’t! They can go into the season with Toles, Verdugo, Pederson and Kike as LF candidates and I think they will be fine, but if they can get Stanton at THEIR price, they will do it.

    Joc could ride his WS success to a nice season.
    Toles could be a very nice player.
    Verdugo is a stone-cold hitter.
    Kike is a break-out candidate.

    The Dodgers aren’t afraid to go with what they have, but if they can get immediate salary relief AND Stanton, well that would be a fairy tale! Hey, remember Jim Fairey? Late 60’s early 70’s! Started with the Dodgers as a rookie, taken in the expansion draft by Montreal and played there for three years. Then, came back played his last MLB season as a Dodger. If you don’t remember him, it’s because he wasn’t very memorable.

    Hurry up and wait!

    I also heard on MLB Radio that he “knows for sure” that after Stanton is moved, Miami is also going to move Ozuna and Yelich. They just want to get Stanton moved first.

    I predict Ohtani will decide by this coming weekend.

    1. Not so sure about Pederson having a nice season.
      I agree with you concerning Toles and Verdugo especially Verdugo.
      Kike as a break-out candidate I would love to see that but I don’t think so.

      1. i was kinda pissed keekay didnt win the starting lf gig fulltime after his nlcs breakout. oh well

    2. I certainly agree with the general premise of your post. I agree I think Ohtani will decide soon. I think pitchers like Darvish, Cobb, Arrietta, and others are waiting on his decision. I think he’s going to Seattle or SD, but I would be pleasantly surprised if he chose the Dodgers. Of course the city burning down around him can’t help either.
      ~
      I don’t see Gonzalez okaying a deal anywhere. Maybe if he’s guaranteed his release by Miami, I guess it is possible. All these deals that we’ve proposed sending some combo of expiring contracts to Miami for the 1st year make sense. The one thing it doesn’t do for Miami is get them to the payroll number they want for 2018. Kazmir’s contract is full of deferments so I think moving his $15 million for next year is more doable. McCarthy is an asset they could use for the next two seasons as well. I think Stanton and his agent wait for the winter meetings that start on Sunday night. At that point it may be shit or get off the pot for the Dodgers. If the Dodgers make an offer Stanton will hold his ground and demand LA. He’s no dummy. The Dodgers have the best shot at winning for the foreseeable future and he get’s to go home.
      ~
      As for our current LF candidates. I like Toles/Kike combo. I don’t see Kike ever being more than a platoon player unless he learns to stay on a pitch from a RH pitcher and drive the ball to RCF. He’s all pull and can’t hit a curve ball from a RH pitcher. He’s an easy out for righties. There’s no doubt he hits lefties with authority. Was Joc’s post-season success due to work on his new swing? Who knows and who knows if he will stick with it as soon as he hits a slump. If Verdugo is all that he’s hyped to be as a hitter, he’s not a platoon guy and unless he’s traded probably should start at AAA until he can play every day. If Taylor is staying in CF, I just don’t see room for both Joc and Verdugo.
      ~
      The Marlins may indeed move more players after Stanton, but they have some bad deals they can’t move either at the current contract levels like Prado, Ziegler, and Chen. Gordon and Ozuna have deals that someone would pick up. I think Yellich is pretty cheap for quite some time so I think he’s the last guy they would move unless they got a great haul for him. If they’ve moved everyone else then why not. Donnie Baseball isn’t getting what he signed up for down there.

      At the meetings, I’m offering Kazmir, Arrubureana, Verdugo, Alvarez, +1 more for Stanton and $3 million per year of his contract as a starting point and I’m letting it know that an offer is out there. The Dodgers tend to be hush, hush but in this case it would benefit them not to be.

  18. The Dodgers might not have won their Division without Bellinger’s 39 home runs and they will need that kind of bat in the cleanup spot again in 2018. I for one am worried about Bellinger after what happened in the World Series. If it were not for that worry, I would not have any desire for Stanton.

    1. Cody will adjust. I have seen him do it over and over. He was just in a slump at a bad time. He will find a way, but I would still like Stanton in the right deal.

    2. Bum

      Why would you be worried about Bellinger, when we are only talking about just seven games, and one week of play?

      That is far to small of a sample size, to make a judgment on any player, and especially, a young player like Cody, who only played a month in AAA, before he came up this last year.

      Not many people who knows a thing about baseball, would make a judgement on any player, let alone a very young player like Cody is, on what they did in just twenty plus at at bats.

      And it isn’t like Cody didn’t do anything offensively, because he did have some big hits for this team, in those seven games, and his hits, came in clutch situations, and they were not just HRs.

      I would think what Cody did throughout the season, in 500 plus at bats, means a lot more, then what he did, in twenty plus at bats, and in just one week.

      And remember, he hit those 39 HRs, and broke the rookie record for HRs, in the National League, even though he didn’t start the season, in the majors!

  19. I do not comment much in the off season, but I love to read your comments. I really like the break down Mark and AC do on the farm kids. You guys have to spend a lot of time doing this and I appreciate it.

    1. My wife is constantly telling me that I need a hobby to retire, and I reply that I have already started by following and studying the minor leagues, and writing my opinion. It has always been a passion but more so now. When I do retire, I plan on spending a lot of time at minor league ball parks throughout the Western US watching great baseball. I have also considered traveling the high schools, colleges, and summer leagues and become a bird dog scout.

      1. AC

        Your wife knows you are doing what you love!

        She just has to give you a hard time, once in a while.

        And Rudy is right, you do have good eyes, and a good mind, for the game, and it shows in everything, you write!

  20. I’m not a prospect expert but here’s how I view our system as of right now:

    Top tier: Beuhler–Can’t-miss stuff makes him latest in line to be long-term #2 to CK. Control/command still needs refinement but at the least he should be a key arm for us in 2018, especially come the postseason. In some ways it’s best to think of him as Urias 2.0: they may have similar impacts by the end of the year and beyond.

    Next tier: Verdugo: The hit tool better be plus/plus because his debut was a dud. I personally see him as a trade piece in light of Toles’ eventual return. In any event, he’s in the running for the LF job (platoon at least) along with Joc.

    Rising Fast: Ruiz, Santana, Heredia, Peters (I would be upset to see any of these guys trade)

    All the talent in the world, but: Alvarez & Kendall (maybe Sheffield belongs here too as reliever)

    Solid with lower ceiling than others: White (a personal favorite due to sturdy frame), Diaz (we need rh bats), Smith, Lux

    Sleepers: May (not really a sleeper but poised to break out), Rios (more trade bait?)

    Even after that, we have lots more guys with serious potential. The system is loaded and the major league team is too. Interesting to see how it all plays out.

    1. Sounds like it is. The Giants want an answer by Sunday. Basically, it is accept the Giants or veto and hope the Dodgers make a deal if you’re Stanton. I think it helped the Dodgers case when it was reported that the Giants were more worried about LA than STL.

  21. Mariners and Angels acquiring more international slot money tonight to put toward Ohtani. Both AL teams obviously.

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