The Whole Truth!

It was fun to dream: Ohtani, Stanton, Ozuna, Rivero, et al. – I did it to mask the pain from the loss of the World Series, but now I am sobered up and back to reality. Now I am going to tell you the truth:

  • The Dodgers will be below $237 Million in salary… if only by $1.00. BET ON IT;
  • The Dodgers will not sign anyone to a long-term contract;
  • Yu Darvish will not be a Dodger;
  • Chase Utley will not be a Dodger;
  • Yasmani Grandal will not get traded…. at least not now;
  • Brandon McCarthy will not get traded;
  • The Dodgers will try and make a few trades, but may not be successful as teams are really wary of trading with FAZ for fear sending them the next Chris Taylor (or getting the next Zach Lee); and
  • Don’t be surprised if nothing happens.

What Worries Me:

  • Walker Buehler’s High-Effort Delivery
  • Alex Verdugo’s Psyche
  • A-Gon on the roster
  • That the Dodgers will keep trying Stewart as a starter

Questions:

  • Can El Gasolino learn to pitch?
  • Can Cingrani build on his time with the Dodgers? I see a chance for him to be really good.
  • Does the team really need anything more?

With Grandal and Barnes, catching is TOP 5 in MLB. I see them both on the team until at least July.

Here’s what I see FOR SURE in 2018:

  1. Grandal
  2. Barnes
  3. Bellinger
  4. Forsythe
  5. Seager
  6. Turner
  7. Toles
  8. Hernandez
  9. Taylor
  10. Puig
  11. Culberson
  12. A-Gon (until he shows he can’t)
  13. Kershaw
  14. Hill
  15. Wood
  16. Ryu
  17. Maeda
  18. McCarthy
  19. Baez
  20. Stewart
  21. Stripling
  22. Avilan
  23. Garcia
  24. Cingrani
  25. Jansen

Frankly, I am OK with that.  Pederson is not on the roster and neither is Verdugo. The fact is, this could be a very good lineup. Do they really need to do much? There are lots of options in the minors.

Rants and Raves

So, two years ago the D-Bags were the Darlings of Baseball when they signed Zack Greinke. Of course, his first season was a disaster.  Last year was better and now they are in talks to trade him.  Of course, they will have to “eat” some of that money. Would the Giants like a “do over” with Cueto?  Boston might like a mulligan with Price.

We need to realize… GM’s need to realize that these long-term dope-fiend deals will kill you in the long run.  Cashman should have learned, but he just repeated it again with Stanton.  Fans think FAZ is dumb for not doing the big signings.  To determine who really is dumb, they should look in the mirror. No further explanation should be necessary.

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 52 Comments

  1. Peter Angelos has given given the Baltimore GM the green light to listen to offers for Manny.

    THIS will be interesting!!

    1. His physical showed a grade 1 sprain of the UCL which supposedly the teams knew about. He had a platelet injection in the elbow back in October. No surgery required. Grade 1 is the lowest level of sprain, but there is something there.

  2. The yankees or cardinals, phillies will get manny. the dodgers won’t get anything but bullpen or probably won’t cause no one will talk the bad contracts. I read somewhere that the dodges will play cody in the outfield if Agon is healthy. The dodgers will win their division but won’t go to the world series. They probably won’t have verdugo in mlb roster unless puig or tayler get hurt. They will look for hitting/outfielder, starting pitching, bullpen next july. Kershaw shouldn’t get s extension after next season. He going to have back problems and struggle in the playoffs. urias won’t be much of a starter next season. Their not going to making in big trades ir free agent signs for several years. They need to either play some of mlb ready prospects or trade them instead of just having them wait in AAA and do nothing.

    1. Back to back rookies of the year. Bellinger will get some time in the OF not full-time. Gonzalez will get occasional starts against RH pitching if he’s healthy and that’s a big if. I would bet against it at this time. The Dodgers won 8 out of the last 9 starts of Kershaw’s in the post-season until game 5 of the WS. I guess Game 1 didn’t count. The Dodgers may or may hot be in play for Harper next year. The will have a lot more salary flexibility after the 2018 season if they so choose. Let some sucker trade two top prospects for Machado and then see him walk in free-agency next season. The only team he might do an extension for now is the Yankees.

  3. Judging by the Winter Meetings so far no one is doing much of anything, maybe tomorrow there will be more action. I agree with your takes that for the most part they will stand pat and have an open audition in ST. However I don’t think it’s that dire that the team won’t be able to move some players and contracts in the next few weeks. After many teams spend their money there will be some value signings out there especially bullpen. In order to add players there will have to be a few subtractions from the 40 man which is full. AGon is a sunk cost and may have something left. Kazmir is in the same boat and will get a chance to show if he has anything to offer. Some players out of options may be included in deals to free up some space. One of the LF candidates may be shopped. They have an excess of starters which many teams covet. I trust in Faz and believe the Dodgers will be better next year and I think a deal we all approve will be coming. You make another good point that some teams may be wary of dealing with Faz.

  4. Maybe I just need to see more of him, but the thing that worries me most about Buehler, is what I perceive to be a straight as an arrow fastball. Maybe I just wasn’t watching close enough, but I never saw much movement on his fastball. Nice offspeed breaking stuff, but the fastball just looks hitable to me.

    1. Roberts indicated that Toles, Talor, and Puig are the favorites for the outfield. Joc has his work cut out for him in spring training. My money is on Joc.

        1. Joc will have a $2M contract this year. FAZ’ money is already on him.
          .
          I like Toles and agree with what Roberts said about him but Doc ain’t about to say anything negative about him. It would serve zero purpose.
          .
          I want a team that will have a core that plays together for a long time. Puig will probably be gone as soon as he reaches free agency. The core I like includes Pederson, Seager, Bellinger, Taylor, Smith, Ruiz. Toles and Verdugo could be part of that core as well but I would trade Verdugo for Yelich.

    2. There were a couple of comments that stood out, and I caught them when I first heard the interview and re-listened last night, but I am glad for the transcript. The first one that I caught was:
      .
      Q. Dave, what do you envision Walker Buehler bringing to the club in 2018?
      .

      DAVE ROBERTS: I can certainly expect to see him as a starter. How things shake out in Spring Training will kind of determine where he starts, but for him to continue to develop as a starting pitcher. Got his feet wet last year, and I think that it was encouraging in a lot of ways for Walker — the quality of hitter, the speed of the game, the preparation, being in big league ballparks, I think, all very good for him. But just continuing to develop. Again, we’ll see how it all shakes out, but he’s definitely a part of the solution.
      .
      I kept reading where some were taking Doc’s comment about seeing Buehler as a starter, that he was talking about Buehler starting in the LAD rotation. I did not not hear that at all. “How things shake out in Spring Training will kind of determine where he starts” tells me that Buehler will start, but they do not know where yet. “but for him to continue to develop as a starting pitcher”, indicates to me that he will head back to OKC to continue his development. Again reading between the lines, I think Doc is referring to tightening up his command. There is no question about his stuff, it is just knowing where to put it. Remember Walker started in High A last year. What he needed to get High A batters out was not going to get AA hitters out. When he figured that out, he learned that he could not pitch the same at AAA. But at AAA he had to learn to become a reliever so he could help out at the ML level, and that takes a different skill set. He came a long way in a single year. He has less than 100 professional innings under his belt. He is part of the solution, just not out of ST.
      .
      The second comment I picked up on addresses Bums comments on Joc.
      .
      Q. Is there any kind of reluctance to tinker with guys’ swings to fundamentally change how they may approach hitting? Or are you at the point where this has been proven to be a sufficiently coachable, adaptable tendency?
      .

      DAVE ROBERTS: I think it’s you have to be open to changing, and I think that you can see the guys that don’t adjust. They have a tougher time.
      .
      IMO Doc was clearly speaking to Joc without actually mentioning his name.

      1. That might be true but Joc has done that numerous times. If anything, he needs to stay with a swing longer before changing. Dodgers got a new hitting coach for AAA team. Why?
        .
        Bellinger may need to change his swing as well. Puig made good changes to his swing and more refinement is needed especially against lefties.
        .
        Barnes may need to adjust his swing as well. He will over swing as well.
        .
        Grandal, is a mess. Had to include him in those that need to adjust their swings.
        .

        1. Bum

          I think Robert’s key words there, are changing there approach, to hitting.

          It isn’t necessary about keeping, or changing a swing.

  5. If you sign any hitter beyond the age of 35, you are probably in a bad contract. Just look at Either, Crawford, and Agon. Injuries and age catch up with them. I feel a little differently about pitchers. .Some pitchers can pitch from 35-40 and be affective.

    I hope the Dodgers resign Kershaw. I want him to be a life time Dodger. Yes, there is a stubborn streak in him. He has given everything he has to the Dodgers. We need to show him some loyalty. I firmly believe he will adjust as he gets older.

  6. The Dodgers will try and make a few trades, but may not be successful as teams are really wary of trading with FAZ for fear sending them the next Chris Taylor (or getting the next Zach Lee) I don’t see that as the problem, but I do think the Dodgers strategery of not trading for or signing players in their 30’s to long contracts, or trading top prospects for what the Dodgers feel is lesser talent is more the issue.
    The Dodgers said from day one
    1 Build a strong farm system that will keep the team competitive every year.
    2 Stay away from signing FA in their 30’s to big long-term contracts.
    3 Trade where weakness at a position can’t be strengthened by the farm.
    I think many teams just keep trying and that’s their fault, not the Dodgers.

  7. I respect our front office. This is exactly what I wanted us to do if we won the World Series: go completely internal and set up for the long-term. Just because we came up short hasn’t changed the process. Might be frustrating for fans but it’s smart business.

  8. I was reading another blog this morning and there quite a few there talking about firing Friedman. It’s hard to believe how delusional some people are.

    From The Atheletic’s Ken Rosenthal:

    The team, according to major-league sources, also wants to ensure it does not block opportunities for its top pitching prospects, most notably right-handers Walker Buehler and Trevor Oaks and lefty Julio Urias, who is unlikely to be ready until later in the season after undergoing major shoulder surgery last June.

    The Dodgers’ theory is that they will stall the development of their younger pitchers if they fail to give those pitchers a chance. The team is well-positioned to integrate Buehler, Oaks, and others. It supports its starters by limiting the lengths of their outings — the Dodgers’ rotation ranked 10th in the NL last season in innings — and often protects arms by making liberal use of the disabled list.

  9. The dust is settling on the “sexy” signing and trade, and I too have reflected and think that it won’t affect the Dodgers as those who believe that the sky is falling for not doing these deals. FAZ do not make knee jerk reactions and their M.O. is trading from a position of strength. They have plan A-Z lined up in case they can’t come to an agreement with another team or player. My heart wanted Ohtani and Stanton and that could have really helped, but I’ve been reflecting on both of their careers. Stanton when healthy is tremendous; what are the chances he repeats the past season both from a health and productivity standpoint?

    Ohtani might be 22 or 23, but I remember that when the dodgers wanted to sign him out of high school there was news that he was overworked, having thrown close to 200 pitches in one game, which is the norm for HS pitchers in Japan. So, Ohtani is in his early twenties but how old is his elbow? When Duncan and Kobe were on their last legs, it was said that their knees were way older than the rest of their bodies just because of the overuse.

    Short term success for NYY and California Angels, yep. Dodgers will be right there with them getting better too. Lets trust the process. So Mark, Question, Is FAZ still FAZ after Anthapolouss’ departure?

    1. Gonzo,

      Yes, I named them FAZ before Alex Anthopoulos was hired. It stands for Friedman And Zaidi. Anthopoulos and Byrnes are not in that equation, although both are/were valuable.

  10. Here is a question: Would the Dodgers won their division in 2017 with the Adrian Gonzales performance of 2016? What would have been their record in 2017 been if Bellinger wasn’t ready or not in the farm system?

  11. Twins signed Pineda. Saves the Dodgers from themselves – what they needed. Another injury prone pitcher currently healing from arm surgery. (again)

    He’s missed the best part of 4 different seasons – labral tear surgery and now Tommy John – both his shoulder and elbow.

  12. Cardinals just picked up Ozuna as I predicted they would. Good for the Cardinals. Now FAZ should approach the Cards for Tommy Pham.

    1. I think they plan on Pham in CF this year. Fowler is moving to a corner. Piscotty is getting dealt to Oaktown.

      1. We both nailed Ozuna. No need to get into a bidding war of prospects for a guy with only two years of team control left. I like Ozuna but he’s not been a picture of consistency. Stanton I would have been in on if contracts could be moved but I don’t see Ozuna as that big of an upgrade over Kike, Toles, Joc, Verdugo.

  13. Dodgers clearing the deck for future deals. What those deals may be will depend on how well in organization players do, and what’s out there for how much. Can’t predict when FAZ will see something that speaks to them in some way I could never see, or hear, whatever. They’ll be making deals. Might be minor league deals, might be risk vs reward deals, but they’ll be made. And fans will be angry. Kinda a given in today’s Dodgers.

  14. Your 25 is just about the same as I thought, with the exception that I included Joc and you included Culberson. With Kike’, CT3, and Barnes, there is enough players who can fill in at 2B, SS, 3B. I included Joc because he will have a $2M salary, and I do not see a player making $2M in the minors. Perhaps you envision Joc being traded. It would not surprise me either way, but Joc is a LH hitting platoon LF with the Dodgers, and until he is moved, that is where I would project him, competing with Toles.
    .
    The Dodgers want to get below the $197M competitive balance tax threshold. If they give Brandon McCarthy away, they can accomplish that. I do not see them even approaching the $237M threshold, or signing free agents would not be seen as an issue. Zaidi has said that it is far more likely to add a player through a trade vs free agent signing. The Dodgers have Forsythe ($9M), Grandal ($7.7), and Ryu ($6M), who could be available if they consummate trades and not take back any more salary than those given away. Joc ($2.0M), Avilan ($2.3M), and Fields ($2.2M) are also possibilities for a trade to shed some payroll.
    .
    FAZ indicated that they wanted to tweak the bullpen with value players. When they say that, they are saying they want to unearth another Brandon Morrow. That undoubtedly means relievers like Boone Logan, Fernando Abad, Matt Albers, John Axford, Jeanmar Gomez, Jared Hughes, Ian Krol, Oliver Perez, Glen Perkins, Drew Storen… Again this year, relievers are getting good contracts, so FAZ is waiting for all of the “good” ones to be gobbled up, and then sign 3-4 to minor league deals with ML camp invites and see if any of them are better than Joe Broussard, Yaisel Sierra, or Shea Spitzbarth.
    .
    Neshek – Phillies – 2 years – $16.25M
    Hunter – Phillies – 2 years – $18M
    Morrow – Cubs – 2 years – $21M
    Swarzak – Mets – 2 years – $14M
    Minor – Rangers – 3 years – $28M
    McGee – Rockies – 3 years – ?
    Shaw – Rockies – 3 years – ?
    That is a lot of money for middle relievers, except Morrow will be asked to close for the Cubs, and Minor is being asked to start for Texas.
    .
    Of the top relievers still available (with only Watson as even a consideration):
    .
    Greg Holland (Probably going back to the Rox)
    Wade Davis
    Addison Reed
    Juan Nicasio
    Steve Cishek
    Brandon Knitzler
    Tony Watson

    1. Zaidi should get on the phone with his buddy Billy Beane and figure out how to move MCCarthy over there. Or let Logan White take some mid level prospect that he drafted to move MCCarthy.

  15. Teams like the Phils and Rockies are going crazy beefing up their bullpen and overpaying in the process. They are taking the exact opposite approach that the Dodgers do. With so many internal options available for Faz to choose from I don’t blame them for sitting out at this point. Ozuna makes sense for the Cards and again Faz has many internal options for the OF. The biggest story here is the Marlins doing a complete tear down of their current roster. I think the Dodgers are inquiring but not willing to pay the asking price in trades to this point.

    1. There are conflicting reports on Yellich’s availability but if I’m Yellich I’m demanding they get me the hell out of there.

      1. That should teach everyone not to sign team favorable contracts for teams that are in constant rebuild. They move Stanton and Ozuna, but Yelich has 4 years ($43.25M) and one option year ($15M) with a $1.25M buyout, so he is staying. But if the Fish are willing to trade an All-Star OF for Sandy Alcantara and three lesser prospects maybe Yelich should be explored. Alcantara (22) is a RHSP who is the Cardinals #9 overall and #4 pitching prospect (MLB Pipeline) or #4 overall & #3 Pitcher – (Baseball America). Alcantara’s minor league career: 369 IP, 365 K, 152 BB, 3.95 ERA, 1.34 WHIP. Good pitching prospect, but not in MLB Top 100 or MLB Top 10 RHSP.

    2. I am not sure why the Phils are spending as much on the bullpen as they are. These are two year contracts, and the Phillies are at least 2 years from contending. I understand the Rockies. They have a lot of free cash from CarGo ($20M+). They can re-sign Mark Reynolds ($1.5M last year), and sign Jay Bruce to replace CarGo (which they are considering). Trevor Story will undoubtedly have a better year, and the “kid” pitchers will all have a year of experience. The Rockies could be formidable.
      .
      FAZ will trade on need or look for bargains. Right now, they do not see a need. You can always improve, but at what cost.

        1. I think the Phillies got a good young core that should be able to move up quickly in that crappy division. Miami who finished 2nd will be lucky to win 55 games next year. I didn’t believe in the Mets last year and I won’t believe in them next year. There is a path for the Phillies but they need to show prospective targets for next season they’re moving on up.

          1. Hawkeye

            I think the division the Nats play in, prepare them enough, for the post season.

            Because they are not challenged much, in that division.

            And that division probably makes some of there players individual numbers, look better too.

  16. One other comment made by Dave Roberts in his yesterday’s press conference was the inclusion of Caleb Ferguson in his mention of pitchers on the rise (with Buehler/White/Alvarez/Santana). Most of you know that I have been touting Ferguson for the better part of the last two years. He was the Dodgers 38th round draft choice (1,149 overall) coming off TJ surgery. He is now the Dodgers #21 prospect (MLB Pipeline), their only true LHSP prospect, and the 2017 Cal League ERA leader (2.87 in an extreme hitter friendly league). I cannot wait to watch him in Tulsa.

  17. If the Dodgers were below $197 Million, there would be no Luxury Tax and they could make that if not for A-Gon’s deal. They would have to trade Forsythe, McCarthy and Grandal, but they could do it. This is why long-term deals like this are the Devil.

    I’ll stand by what I said yesterday:

    The Yankees effectively paid $22 million a year for Stanton AND they will be under the Salary Cap in 2018.

    The Dodgers could no way be under the salary cap and with the Luxury Tax, Stanton would have cost them nearly $50 million a year.


    Effectively, A-Gon’s salary in 2018 will be about $67 million counting the luxury tax which could have been avoided had it not been for THE TRADE (sorry Brooklyn).

    The Yankees just got out of a bunch of bad contracts and now they take another one back. I would have loved to had Stanton, but there was no way the numbers would work. .. and I can’t see $400 million for Harper or Machado.

    1. How do you get $67 million? I agree Machado isn’t happening. We will see on Harper. No one of his talent has hit the free-agent market at his age.

      1. Without A-Gon, they could get under the $197 cap. At $40 Million over it , if you add A-Gons salary $22 Mil
        and the 95% tax on $40 Million it is $60 million (the 7 was a typo).

        1. What does the luxury tax bring McCarthy’s and Kazmir’s salary, to next year, since those two combined, cost more then Agone?

          1. They can get rid of McCarthy, but probably not Kaz unless he is packaged with someone else. So, you could choose to assign it to them, but what if one or both has a good year? I guess it’s possible A-Gon is productive too. The point is: KAZ and MAC have been bad deals in retrospect. However, from the day of THE TRADE I said it was a horrible deal. I still feel that way. I did not think Mac and Kaz were bad deals at the time. Many criticize them, but no one has told me a deal that was better at the time.

  18. I like the new ownership and they are outstanding compared to what was there prior to their coming, that includes their management team but what are we comparing them to? The guy who took the Dodgers to bankruptcy. So perspective.

    This was reported above:
    “The team, according to major-league sources, also wants to ensure it does not block opportunities for its top pitching prospects, most notably right-handers Walker Buehler and Trevor Oaks and lefty Julio Urias, who is unlikely to be ready until later in the season after undergoing major shoulder surgery last June.”

    To me that sounds somewhat disingenuous based on how they handled Puig his first year after ST, and keeping Urias in extended ST last year. There are other cases but those stand out. Even talk of moving Bellinger back to LF is ludicrous given his talent with the glove at 1B.

    In the WS;
    The big bats fell silent (Seager – elbow, Turner – out of gas, Bellinger – low & inside pitches), the BP imploded when needed most including KJ. The SP’ers; Darvish after pitching well, telegraphed what was coming next and was devoured and CK was lights out and horrible.

    What are K&Z doing to address those issues, or do the Dodgers go into next season with the Stan Kasten model – making the playoffs is good enough?
    I like the new ownership but standing pat insures similar results.

    1. 1. Well, the FO is not perfect, but after losing the World Series they were just named the Organization of the Year.

      2. Colletti was in charge for Puig’s first Spring Training, not FAZ.

      3. They tried to protect Urias last year by holding him out, but he was already injured.

      4. They have a lot of live arms for the pen… why block them with old relievers?

      5. The Dodger have to get below the Luxury Tax Threshold. They can’t keep paying what they are. They will get into financial issues with MLB if they keep it up.

      6. Cody Bellinger may be the best 1B I have ever seen, but if A-Gon can put together one final year, the Dodgers have to give it a shot – I’ll give you $22 Million reasons why. Personally, I think A-Gon is toast.

      7. Lots of bats imploded in the series on both teams. The Astros hit .230 while the Dodgers hit .205. Plenty of blame here. Stuff happens.

      Bottom line: They have to get under the salary cap and FAZ is trying to get under $197 million which I think is not possible… If they make it I am amazed and all in.

      1. #6 re Cody and Agon. That may be another reason for not spending $$$$ on another outfield bat. If by some chance Agon can play consistently this year, there has to be a place to play Cody as well. I’m with you and think Agon will not play a significant number of games, but this front office has a contingency plan for even the unlikely.

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