Happy New Year Dodger Fans!

The past three years have gotten progressively better.

2018 is the Jewel!

Happy New Dodger Year Everyone!

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 56 Comments

  1. Well I ended the year with something I hope not to repeat……..locking my keys inside my apt. So a fresh with a fresh year that it’s almost amazing I made it to 2018. Happy new year all!

  2. Happy New Year to all. I will continue to read the blog and do hope to evolve.

    Has Jewel performed yet? I like her she sings that song There ain’t no Z in Boise There were’nt no ring in 2017!

  3. Happy new year!! I hope this is the year for the World Series champion Dodgers. Along those lines I just keep thinking how the dodgers can get better. Much has been said about Joc Pederson. I like joc and I think he is a team player albeit out of shape. Even though he came up big in the World Series I can’t help but think about one at bat. With a runner on third and less than 2 outs he struck out. The game would have been over had he gotten the runner home. In those situations you have to have people put the bat on the ball and that is why Barnes was there over Grandal who will either k or dp. They can both help immensely over the course of a long season but in a short series they either have to improve that or not play. One of Roberts biggest mistakes was not pinch hitting there. I was watching thinking he will k and so was Houston. I believe we need a playoff caliber starter or a stronger bullpen. Roberts completely quit using fields, stripling could not be trusted, and McCarthy was game over for la. He overused Maeda and morrow because he couldn’t trust the rest. These people help through the season but in a short series players have to be able to put the ball in play and pitchers have to be trusted so it has to be considered how to get players who can execute in a short series.

  4. ….”With a runner on third and less than 2 outs he struck out. ” True, but at that point in the game every Dodger was striking out. Joc broke up Scherzer’s no-hit, shutout game in the 5th or 6th that was the beginning of getting Scherzer out of the game but, yes, let’s talk about that that strike out. He also hit a ball on the nose and sent a hard ground ball to second with the bases loaded. Others were striking out but Joc hit it hard. Shall we complain about that at bat as well?

    1. According to some, the World Series loss was the fault of:

      a. Doc
      b. Kenley
      c. JT
      d. Cody
      e. B-Mac
      f. Kershaw
      g. Joc
      h. Morrow

      I say: it was a team effort! No finger pointing for me.

      1. I did not say we lost the series because of joc. I was just pointing out the need to reduce strikeouts in those situations. One of jocs issues is too many strikeouts. My point was in a short series it is more crucial to grind out at bats and put it in play. I am not sure that joc will ever be able to do that or Grandal either. Looking ahead maybe we need to consider someone who is likely to put it in play. I was ecstatic watching joc hit the homer off scherzer so there’s that. It is certainly debatable but my thought at the time was we don’t need a homer just put it in play so I would have pinch hit. Houston certainly values putting the ball in play as they were able to drop their strikeout rate a ton from the previous year. I read a focus for them this year was a reduction in strikeouts.

        1. Bobby

          Good point!

          How could we forget Yu, especially with the different ways, we can get witty, with his first name.

  5. Mark
    Thank you for this site, just wish I joined 3 years ago instead of posting on the other site.

    1. I appreciate all of you – even when we disagree.

      That’s part of the fun: Disagree without being disagreeable!

  6. Amen Mark! Thank you for hosting a site that all readers can enjoy! Looking forward to 2018 and another bite at the apple. I like you and others don’t think the team needs much change, I think leadership will wait till the ASG, to make any big move to a finishing touch before the playoff run. Team chemistry will be the key, and there will no tolerance with the likes of Kemp or other sulking types… can’t wait for ST!

      1. Thanks for posting that Mark.

        Can’t believe that a year has passed since then.

        Happy New Year Guys & Girls.

  7. Happy New Year-thanks for the great year Mark. As many have said great site.

    Re 2018: I think we will likely go into spring training with pretty much our current roster.

    Re LF: Toles/Pederson it’s your job to win it – time to take charge. If Pederson doesn’t win job he will be back up. If Toles doesn’t win job will either be back up or start in OKC-depending on health/rehab status. Verdugo will start season in OKC no matter how we’ll be does in ST. Hernandez will be other half of platoon. Wild card is Kemp

    Starting rotation: Kershaw, Hill, Wood, Ryu, Maeda. Buehler likely starts in OKC unless significant injury to starting 5. Oaks is other option if significant injury. Stripling or Stewart if need spot starts. I don’t see significant contribution from Urias until 2019 but may see some late season innings

    Pen: Kenley and take your pick from others. It will be a revolving door (10 day DL, OKC shuttle). Players will have to show who belongs. Expect significant contribution from Cingrani. Would love to see Stewart embrace bullpen role. He could be a valuable piece. Oaks with his ground balls could be as well if he converts.

    Other starters are pretty much set. Expect Barnes and Grandal to split duties initially.

    Re Kemp: as many have said three options. Traded if anyone will take on any of his salary. Otherwise he comes to camp in shape and wins significant time in LF or DFA

    I don’t expect significant trades until July when we see what we have and what we still need. Expect add a high end starter ? another bat and some pen piece like last couple years. Will remain under luxery tax with any potential additions/trades

    1. AC

      I think your right about Kemp, he just might be that wild card, in left!

      I hope he shows up in great shape, and has the motivation to show everyone, they were wrong about him.

      And if Kemp does that, I do think he could play decent enough, defense in left.

      And if Turner Ward could help Puig lay off those outside sliders, he could help Kemp with that too.

      He really could be great protection for Cody, in the line up.

      If Kemp comes to spring training like that, I am sure he will also have an attitude adjustment, if he did have those issues, with these other teams.

      And I am not worried about that, because I don’t think Roberts would let that happen.

      He hasn’t been moved yet, and that says something.

  8. Having access to this site and all the passion it brings is a blessing. I live 15 minutes from Dodger stadium, I can watch the Friday night fireworks from my deck. (I do go to several games each season but typically avoid Friday nights)
    This sight which I’ve just recently begun participating in makes being a Dodger fan all the more fun.
    I love how Mark and AC get the ball rolling and how everyone else piles on with their opinions and GM work.
    I agree that striking out while swing for the fences with runners in scoring position is pretty frustrating. Of course when the ball does fly it’s fun. But working on manufacturing runs in those situations should be something seriously worked on this season.
    I also agree losing the WS was a team effort, lots of factors and reasons. Baseball is a humbling game and our boys got beat, but we all know they will be back and likely learn from the 2017 experience
    After reading the article by Molly Knight that Mark recommended, I hope and am cheering for Matt Kemp, ” to come home again”. I really do hope he finds redemption at the Ravine in 2018.
    I finished Ned Collettei’s book last night, (as text clock struck 12), I thought it was pretty interesting and is a good read.

      1. It was to warm to leave the windows rolled up while driving today. The bees weren’t aware it’s still winter. Oops! I shouldn’t be rubbing it in.

    1. Playing golf tomorrow in shorts and short sleeve shirt. Should be in high 70’s. However, we haven’t had any rain this season and it is really dry. At least we don’t have any fires going right now.

  9. Woke up to -17 Degrees F.

    Pretty Cool! I actually like it… for a few days.

    Most of the schools are closed today. It will warm up in a couple of days.

    Supposed to be in the 30’s by the weekend.

  10. -19 with snow forecast for late afternoon should make for a long drive home this evening.
    Mark, I read the article by Molly Knight, but that doesn’t include the 2013 and 2014 seasons when he was again trouble, especially in 2014 when he was nothing but trouble for Mattingly and the team. I’m not rooting for Kemp. Time for the first meeting of 2018.

  11. 22 degrees in Boise. It snowed the day before Christmas. I’m really hoping it melts before spring training begins. Kemp still has trade-able value does he not? Someone will need a big bat before the season begins, won’t they? While the Dodgers made the move to get under the so called cap and reset the luxury tax. They are smarter than to handcuff themselves with a tool that they can’t use. Kemp was an emotional player. When his emotions were focused on the field of play. He could dominate. If he can manage to ignore the unnecessary distractions, it’s possible the team could enlighten and teach him some new tricks in order to better utilize the tools he still possesses. No longer would the fear of him twisting an ankle and creating a power gap in the line-up. He’d be just another part of the equation.

  12. I would like to see the Dodgers play a little more small ball next year.
    1. Bunt against the shift of you are a left handler.
    2. Hit to the right side with a runner on second and no outs.
    3. Hit a sacrifice fly with a runner on third.
    4. More steal attempts.
    5. More hit and run.
    If we could do those things, we would be a more complete team. This was Doc’s game when he played. He is the one that needs to make it happen. I know home runs are more sexy, but small ball is part of the game.

  13. Like Campy and Quas, I can’t complain about the weather here in Cali except for the damn draught(?) being mentioned again…
    Idahoal I’m all in with you. This is why I want to see Toles and Verdugo given a good look at in ST… Verdugo is a future RBI crown in the waiting…

    1. agree. Despite Joc’s good week in late October, I have way more faith in Toles and Verdugo, thus rendering Joc unnecessary for this club going forward.

      Joc is useful trade bait to a young team who can’t contend. They can let Joc grow. We don’t have time for, as B17 calls it, “Joc’s shuffles” anymore. We need a ring!

      1. Players age 26 to 29 are more likely to be as good as you want Joc to be than there have been players age 23 to 25.

  14. Joc just battled through a tough season, to raise his level of play and produced in the post-season. Gotta give him props. Joc is also a reliable fielder.

      1. Toles has a very good arm, and he has pop, but not Kemp pop.

        But I would bet he is the fastest of the bunch, by a lot, even a year removed, from knee surgery.

        But I think what has happened with our outfield depth, will play out, like it always has played out.

        I am just glad we have a lot of talented outfielders, and spring training is right around the corner.

        I just want what is best, for the team.

        And if Roberts gets the team offense, doing the little things, like Idahoal mentioned, I wouldn’t bet against this team, making it even farther in 2018, much like the Royals did!

  15. IMO Toles showed last year before he went down last May that he has a reliable arm. And if he lacks so called Kemp power, he has the mentality to hit to move runners around the bases. As stated already, and I agree, we need alot more of that mentality to be a better team. Toles can hit the ball out and he knows when not to and when to work for that base hit with runners in scoring position.

    1. Then they go and make another move and it should still be an interesting spring. Welcome to the fold Dylan Baker!

      1. This is exactly who FAZ finds. Way under the radar, but has a high ceiling as a high leverage reliever. He has a plus fastball and slider, with his slider being his swing and miss pitch (a very good pitch). His fastball is in the 96-99 range. He has an average change, but as a reliever he only has to show it to give the batter a different speed and angle. He turns 26, and really has pitched very little since 2014.
        He has not pitched above AA, but I think he starts out at OKC and see where he is at. He still has one option remaining which will be used this year. I think he has a chance to be one of the OKC to LA to OKC reliever chain.
        I know most do not get excited about these types of deals, but they do excite me. I like this trade. Maybe not in 2018, but in 2019 both Baker and Jesen Therrien figure to get a long look as late inning relievers.

  16. It will be an interesting ST for sure but there is still time for a lot of moves for a lot of teams. The kids with options will probably be optioned, if only to push their arbitration clocks back. Barnes and Grandal will both play a lot with Barnes playing 2B once a week against RHP. Turner needs a day off pretty often too. It’s the players with no options left like Thompson and Font who will have a target on their backs. Ryu and Maeda have the 4 and 5 spots to lose and do they need both Stewart and Stripling as swing men? Of course some injuries will pop up too whether real or imaginary to give a few an extra look. Last years team on opening day looked very different from the playoff version. I still like Watson to come back on a team friendly deal for 1 or 2 years. If Font is DFA’d his old pitching coach Matt Herges is now on the Giants who have the 1st chance to claim him-I don’t see that happening. Kapler in Philly would claim him too if he got that far. The next news may be the arbitration guys getting resigned and my feeling is they all avoid hearings and settle.

  17. I forgot about Alex A in Atlanta who also might claim Font or even Thompson. It will be hard for the Dodgers to sneak anyone through this year. Maybe a split contract like Culberson had last year if they have a good spring?

  18. Well hopefully the “not so hot ” stove league just might be ready to break loose. The Pads have given Eric Hosmer a guaranteed 7 year offer, and the BoSox have given JD Martinez a 5 year offer. Now it is up to Boras to counter. I do not think there is much more out there for them although Boras will tell them that ten other teams are still very interested and have the teams bidding against themselves.
    The Cubs have given Arrieta a 4 year $110M contract offer, but he wants 5 years. The Cubs are not willing to go 5. The Yankees are not going to go for Darvish as they want to stay under $197M this year. They will wait out Pittsburgh in their quest for Gerrit Cole. Teams are waiting for Darvish to set the market for Cobb and Lynn. And then Cashner. Once Hosmer and Martinez are inked, the rest should go quickly.
    I am sure that Boras sees Holland as superior to Wade Davis, and wants a better deal than Davis got. I am just not sure that teams buy into that scenario anymore. Addison Reed could have been signed by now, but he is asking for 4 years. Most teams are not willing to go 4 for him. He knows teams will go three, so why not hold out for the 4th year? He’ll get signed. I am not sure why Watson has not signed anywhere. If he is not asked to close, he is a very good late inning LHRP. With Cingrani, Avilan, Liberatore, and Paredes, I just do not see the Dodgers signing another LHRP for $5-$7M AAV.

    1. While I do not think the Dodgers will go for Watson, I do think they should take a look at RHRP Matt Albers. He was outstanding last year for the Nats, and he will cost less than Josh Fields. The big question is at 35 can he do it again? Fields is younger and could get some interest in a package deal. Just a thought to stir the pot.

    2. Good to see some movement on the FA front, it hopefully unfreezes the market.

      Watson is a former closer who can get both lefties and righties out and can pitch multiple innings. Avilan is merely average and is a ground ball pitcher. Liberatore is coming off an injury and struggled last year. Paredes is unproven at this point. Watson was trusted in high leverage situations in the post season last year when Fields, Baez and others were not. I like Cingrani but adding another lock down leftie allows him to be used more as a loogie. They may not sign him back but he makes a lot of sense and it would not surprise me.

  19. Dylan Baker is certainly full of potential. He used to hit triple digits and 2018 will be his firts full season in a while. He has four pitches and while he has never pitched above AA, he could be a factor. He has the pedigree, Alaska boy that he is.

    1. Baker is someone I will watch a lot this year. I am not as excited with him as I was with Morrow, because there are still a lot of questions. With Morrow, I was jazzed from his SD Padres work. It will take until 2019, but I think that Both Baker and Jesen Therrien will be players we talk about coming out of nowhere.

      1. I agree. I’m always fascinated by these moves and how they work towards constructing a team over time and provide minor league depth pieces. Justin Masterson, among others, did that last year

  20. Dodgers just hired for one of their open coaching positions. Mark Prior was hired as the bullpen coach. This is a good hire.

      1. Three years as the Padres Minor League Pitching Coordinator. I like Josh Bard, but Prior is a step up. Like I said, this is a great hire, and not just because he was a Trojan.

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