These Dodgers Are Better Than Some Think!

Buster Olney recently listed his TOP 10 SUPER UNITS.  Now, this will likely change as more players sign contracts or more trades are made.  In fact, Gerrit Cole being traded to the Astros arguably changes the Starting Rotation Power Ratings. Here’s where the Dodgers landed on Olney’s lists:

Top 10 Rotations

  1. Nationals
  2. Dodgers
  3. Indians

The Astros could now be #1 on paper.

Top 10 Lineups

  1. Astros
  2. Yankees

Dodgers were #10. I think this is low and I’ll tell you why later.

Top 10 Bullpens

  1. Yankees
  2. Dodgers (even after losing Morrow)

Top 10 Defenses

  1. Angels
  2. Cubs
  3. Dodgers

Top 10 Teams

  1. Indians
  2. Dodgers
  3. Astros
  4. Nationals
  5. Yankees

Top 10 Rightfielders

  1. Aaron Judge
  2. Ginacarlo Stanton (how can they play 2 RF’ers?)
  3. Bryce Harper
  4. Mookie Betts
  5. JD Martinez
  6. Yasiel Puig – Yes that Puig!

Top 10 Centerfielders

  1. Mike Trout
  2. Charlie Blackmon
  3. George Springer
  4. Lorenzo Cain
  5. Tommy Pham
  6. Byron Buxton
  7. Chris Taylor – During the postseason, a Cubs official said, “I’m not sure anybody is squaring up the ball more consistently than he is right now.”
  8. Ender Inciarte
  9. Odubal Herrera
  10. Kevin Kiermaier

Top 10 First Basemen

  1. Joey Votto
  2. Freddie Freeman
  3. Paul Goldschmidt
  4. Anthony Rizzo
  5. Cody Bellinger – Who has added 15 pounds of muscle through conditioning and nutrition.

Top 10 Third Basemen

  1. Nolan Arenado
  2. Jose Ramirez
  3. Anthony Rendon
  4. Kris Bryant
  5. Manny Machado
  6. Josh Donaldson
  7. Justin Turner

Top 10 Shortstops

  1. Francisco Lindor
  2. Carlos Correa
  3. Corey Seager

Top 10 Catchers

  1. Buster Posey

If you could add Grandal and Barnes together, they might be Top 5!

Top 10 Starting Pitchers

  1. Max Scherzer
  2. Corey Kluber
  3. Chris Sale
  4. Clayton Kersahw

Top 10 Relievers

  1. Kenley Jansen
  2. Craig Kimbrel
  3. Andrew Miller

A lot of Dodger fans are dejected that the Dodgers did not trade for Giancarlo Stanton, after-all, he wanted to be a Dodger, but I can think of about 250 million reasons why that might not be the deal Dodger fans think.  In fact, the odds are, it will not be a good move for the Yankees.   If you look at past history, you know that’s right… but in your heart you want to sign EVERY PLAYER who was the best at their position last year.  But, what will they do this year?

Andrew Friedman said he did not want to block the youngsters so it seemed unlikely he would sign a starting pitcher, plus he is loathe to give up minor league prospects on their “Secret Do Not Trade List.” What he says means nothing.  He could sign Darvish tomorrow… or not! Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.

It’s early, but I am going to tell you why I am more optimistic this year than in 2017… and I think you will have to acknowledge that in the Winter of 2016 and 2017 many (even on this board) were prone to negativity about the Dodgers.  Yes, 30 years – I get it! But, I also see huge progress. Let me tell you my reasons for optimism:

The Core of the Team Will Get Even Better

  • You saw what Chris Taylor did last year.  By the end of 2018, Chris Taylor will be recognized as one of the Top 3 or 4 Centerfielders in the game. Give him some stability in the lineup and watch him bloom! He will build on last years’ success. If not a superstar, he’s a star!
  • Cody Bellinger will become a Superstar and Gold Glove First Baseman.  By the end of 2018, he may be the best 1B in all of baseball.
  • Logan Forsythe is playing for his last contract and I think he will have a breakout year – kind of like Zach Cosart did in his walk year.  Watch this guy!
  • I have to refrain from making predictions about Yasiel Puig, but there is a lot of potential left in his tank. If he can build on last year…. YIKES!
  • Whoever plays LF could have  a huge year. Toles, Kemp, Hernandez, Verdugo, Pederson – One of these guys could be crazy-good. I just have no clue who it might be.  Well, I have a clue – one of those 5! Hint:  Matt Kemp + Chip on his shoulder + Humbled + Home again + Turner Ward + Not having to be the big dog could = Success!

The Starting Staff Will Get Better

  • I think it starts with Clayton being disrespected as the #4 starter in baseball. Hopefully, he has learned how to manage his back issues. In some cases, they can be managed.  In others they can’t.   Clayton has every reason to put up Cy Young numbers again… including his opt out… which he will, if healthy! I’m not saying he will leave.
  • I think Hyun-Jin Ryu will have a very good season as he heads to free agency. I would expect to see him with about 180 innings and a 3.00 ERA.
  • Alex Wood will be stronger and able to pitch more – and he has shown he really knows how to pitch. I look for him to pitch 170+ innings
  • If a pitcher is ever poised for a Career Year it is Rich Hill in 2018.  Luck is where preparation meets opportunity. He’s in excellent shape and I can see him pitching 150+ innings.  If he does, the results will be outstanding.
  • I think Buehler and/or Urias will be in the rotation before the end of the year.  I am not sure Buehler needs more seasoning at AAA, as much as he just needs to pitch.

The Bullpen Will Be Stronger

  • As crazy as that seems, I think it will be true.
  • I think Baez will begin evolving – we have seen flashes of it and he can be a force.
  • Cingrani, Fields, Garcia, Font, Baker, Liberatore, Parades and Owens all will be part of that OKC Shuttle.  This is incredible depth!
  • Koehler and Alexander will more than offset the loss of Brandon Morrow.
  • Two pitchers I think will impact the bullpen to a huge extent are Brock Stewart and Kenta Maeda.  I think both can be lock-down relievers.  Maeda will start the season in the rotation, but Urias or Buehler may end up taking his spot.  The other one could also end up in the pen.
  • Let’s not forget about Ross Stripling who has pitched 174 innings the past two years with a 3.87 ERA.

The Team Depth is Incredible

The Dodgers truly have 40 players on their roster and will use them all.  It’s going to be fun to watch the evolution of the young guys… guys like Stewart, Stripling and Austin Barnes.  Barnes could be a force. One national sports writer said that if he were starting a team now, he would chose Austin Barnes as catcher, not because e is better than Buster Posey NOW, but Posey is on the downside if his career – Barnes is on the upside.

You know Grandal will be working to get his job back and maybe be more open with working on his swing. The Dodger’s catching is in excellent shape with Barnes and Grandal.  Everyone is expecting Barnes to be THE GUY and he may be, but do not forget Yasmani Grandal. He had a sub-par season last year, but he’s still young and you just never know… why do players slump one year and come back with a vengeance the next?

There’s More Help on the Farm

  •  Obviously, Walker Buehler is the Dodgers’ top prospect, but when will he be ready??  We all can have opinions, but the fact is: we don’t really know.  I’m probably in the minority, but I think he just might need to to pitch in the Majors at the end of Spring Training.  We will see.
  • Alex Verdugo could be ready or maybe he needs to go back to AAA and work on his launch angles. He’s close, any way you slice it.
  • Will Smith may be MLB worthy very soon and KayBear Ruiz is on a fast track.  Watch out!
  • Yadier Alvarez has incredible raw talent – if he can’t cut it as a starter this year, he might go to the pen.  Ditto for Dennis Santana.
  • Yusneil Diaz is smooth as silk and closer than you might think.
  • Jake Peter has a shot at making this team.

The Astros Are Everyone’s Ideal Team Right About Now

Many Dodger fans are upset with FAZ and impressed with what the Astros have done. This reminds me of the D-Bags when they signed Greinke.  Everyone was in love with them… and they tanked.  Justin Verlander is not capable of again putting up a 1.06 ERA like he did with Houston last year.  In his previous 4 years with Detroit, he put up ERA’s of 3.82, 3.04, 3.38 and 4.54.  He will be 35 next month and I think he was pitching on adrenaline for Houston last year.

Dallas Keuchel  is 30 and has won the Cy Young, but there is a pattern: he has been up and down. In 2015, he won the Cy young with a 2.48 ERA and followed that up with a 4.55 ERA in 2016.  He’s no sure thing.

… and Gerrit Cole is Gerrit Cole.  He is certainly tantalizing but after putting up a 2.60 ERA in 2015, he followed that up with a 3.88 ERA in 2016 and 4.26 in 2017 and he had injury issues in 2016, like lots of pitchers. Maybe he will do better in the AL. McCullers has lots of upside, but has never pitched more than 125 innings and has Charlie Morton suddenly at 34 become Cy Young?

Certainly, the Astros are a great team, but I remain unconvinced they are better than the Dodgers who have only nibbled around the edges… because they don’t have to.

I like this 2018 version of the Dodgers – there are lots of possibilities and probably a few surprises in store.

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. I agree with Bum at the end of the last thread: Leftfield is NOT a “big question mark”. The only question is “who’s the everyday leftfielder?” We have plenty of talented guys, so the only question is “who gets a chance to shine?”

    Toles, if healthy, is he most dynamic of all of them. Power, speed, defense. He’s proved it in the time he’s played. Joc has proved the exact opposite. Verdugo is only a top 20 prospect in baseball, so he could be ready to totally take that job over. Matt Kemp on a part time basis is totally fine out there as well, regardless of his salary.

    The bigger question is who’s our 8th inning guy? Not, who’s our leftfielder.

  2. Good comments, but at this time of the year even die hard Giant fans think they are going all the way. Can’t wait for Spring Training, already got my tickets.

    1. You have no idea…. I have the misfortune of living in Giant’s territory and the conceit is palpable. Ironically, it’s mainly because so many ‘fans’ have no idea how the game works or even how its played. There are many many wealthy/rich ‘fans’ and Giant’s games are the place to be come Springtime, yet, ask a ‘fan’ about a team before ’10 or even ’12 and many have no clue. Lots of superstition regarding even years in the Bay Area when it comes to the Giants. Credit though: many are true baseball fans and longtime Giant’s fans but they mostly reside in the outfield seats (games are freakin’ expensive there).

  3. I think there will be several positions being watched closely in ST and the early part of the season. The 4 and 5 starters have Ryu and Maeda as big favorites but Buehler, Stewart, Stripling and Font could also impress. The final couple of spots in the bullpen and their roles will be in flux. Does Forsythe hit RHP better? He has a similar swing to Kike, who has the same issues on sliders that he can’t reach from RHP. If not Barnes, Taylor or a guy like Jake Peter could get some AB’s at 2B against RHP. The big dogfight will be in LF and at this point I would take the winner of Joc and Toles and of Kemp and Kike for the platoon. Kemp has much more upside offensively, especially early in the season but he will have to earn it. I could see Toles, Verdugo, Buehler and Stewart start the season in AAA while everything sorts itself out, performance and health wise.

    Possible lineup against RHP:
    Taylor………CF
    Seager…….SS
    JT…………….3B
    Cody……….1B
    Puig………..RF
    Kemp……..LF
    Barnes……C
    Logan……..2B
    I don’t think teams would try to throw every LHP against that lineup nearly as much as in the past.

    Possible lineup against RHP:
    Taylor……..CF
    Seager……SS
    JT……………3B
    Cody………1B
    Puig………..RF
    Joc………….LF
    Barnes…..2B
    Grandal…C
    That’s a pretty stout lineup too and the first 5 remain unchanged against all pitching.

    If Toles wins the LF battle he could lead off, moving Taylor into a RBI spot like 5. Kike loses AB’s but who would you rather have, Kike or Kemp in a power and RBI role? Kike will still see time in the OF, 2B and SS. Roberts likes Logan at 3B when JT needs a frequent day off. Playing time should go the the guys who EARN it by their performance and that includes Grandal and Forsythe and everyone in the OF, rotation and bullpen. The 40 man roster is filled with guys who can go up and down as needed for injuries and performance during the long season. Still, there are probably only 3 or 4 spots on the 25 man really in play at the outset. Guys like Font and Thompson who are out of options and on the bubble will be under pressure but will still get a long look. I think they would both be quickly claimed if DFA’d so they could also be moved late in ST.

    1. I don’t see Barnes as 2B when Grandal catches. Catching is a grueling position. I look for Barnes and Grandal to split work load at catcher at least first half if only to keep them fresh.

      1. Just to clarify: this would be if Forsythe does not handle RHP better this year. Barnes had some starts at 2B last year to get his bat in the lineup and Taylor can move there occasionally if multiple OF’s from the pack force their way onto the 25 man. Joc and Toles can handle CF if that happens. Those were ‘possible’ lineups.

  4. Darn I hate to be “comments closed”…
    Yasmani Grandal is a prime trade candidate… Exceptional pitch framing aside, he has the foot work of Benoit Benjamin… Watched him 2 years at ST working with Yeager, but alas, you cant make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear…Love his power off the bench and wait for a trade opportunity…
    Bobby your comments on Toles are spot on… Can’t wait to see the Dodger OF situations play out at the end of ST…

  5. Well since I made the statement, I will defend it. Bums infers that I said LF was a weakness, while what I actually said was that the “Dodgers got to the WS, have no discernable weaknesses, but did not get better. They lose Darvish and Morrow and pick up Alexander, Koehler, and Kemp (for how long?). LF is still a BIG question mark.”
    .
    There is a distinct difference in the terms weakness and questionable. One you know, one you do not. In your reply referring to the LF position, you even said “the only question…” In Mark’s rundown of each position, I do not remember seeing any Dodger in the top 10 LF, and yet they were well represented in every other position. There are five potential LF on the 40 man, Toles, Verdugo, Joc, Kike’, and Kemp with nary a one being considered a favorite. The most obvious solution is a platoon (which I personally do not like). But even there is it Kike’/Joc, Kike’/Toles, Kemp/Joc, or Kemp/Toles?
    .
    Bellinger is the 1B, Forsythe is 2B, JT is 3B, Seager is SS, CT3 is CF, Yasiel is RF, and Barnes/Grandal are co-starters behind the dish. We know the 5 starting rotation, and the bullpen is always fluid, and always will be with FAZ. Thus the only unknown is LF. 5 candidates, no stand-out, none considered worthy of being a top ten. How is that not a BIG question mark?
    .
    We know Bums is pulling for Joc to be the everyday LF, and Mark seems to like Kemp out in LF. Joc is a platoon OF at best until he proves he can hit LHP. But his career splits indicate that he is not going to get that opportunity. I am not nearly as optimistic about Kemp as Mark is. Kike’ is wasted if he is not the super utility player. My personal preference is Andrew Toles as the everyday LF, with Verdugo going back to OKC to work on his launch angles. IF Kemp is truly a changed man, and recognizes the team is superior to the individual, then he will accept a bench role. That does not mean that he stays there, but he needs to show a willingness that he will do whatever is best for the team. That has always been a problem for Kemp in the past. Maybe he has changed, but that too is a big question.
    .
    Would the Dodgers be improved with Christian Yelich in LF? Is FAZ willing to pull the trigger on such a trade? Probably not. So that leaves the 5. How is that not a big question mark?

  6. First off, I have never been a Matt Kemp fan, but he’s on the team and there are $43 million reasons I will root for him to do good. Here’s the things: He has the talent, but has never had to work hard to get what he wanted. If he’s motivated to do the work, he could again be very good.

    Secondly, I would love to have Yelich. Not only is he good, but I think he will get better. Yelich in LF makes more sense than Stanton or Ozuna and AC is right, Yelich will cost a lot. I am assuming that the Marlins would not pay a penny for Kemp, so the Dodgers would just have to cut him. Maybe that plays out… or not, but myself, I would trade Diaz, Alvarez, Pederson and Will Smith for him. That’s a lot! I would think Miami would do that deal and getting a couple of highly rated Cubans would not hurt attendance. Pederson would play immediately and the Marlins would get three of the Dodgers Top 10 prospects. It would be even better if Miami would pay Kemp $4 or 5 million a year.

    This is my preference:
    1. Taylor CF
    2. Seager SS
    3. Yelich LF
    4. Bellinger 1B
    5. Turner 3B
    6. Puig RF
    7. Catcher
    8. Forsythe 2B

    Bench: Catcher/Peter/Hernandez/Toles/Thompson

    1. “First off, I have never been a Matt Kemp fan, but he’s on the team and there are $43 million reasons I will root for him to do good. Here’s the things: He has the talent, but has never had to work hard to get what he wanted. If he’s motivated to do the work, he could again be very good.” That is how I took your original comments. I am unconditionally not a fan, but I will root for him if he is a Dodger.
      .
      I like the trade. You have added Will Smith, and I think that is okay. Ruiz has the higher ceiling and Farmer can be a capable backup until Ruiz is ready. I really do not know why the Marlins would not take that deal. I can see why FAZ wouldn’t. But I harken back to comments made by Colletti in his book that the holdup for acquiring Manny was adding Andy LaRoche to any deal. Colletti finally put the deal together including the Pirates who really wanted LaRoche. He said that it was much better to take a player you are sure of that will help the team win this year than players who MAY help in two-three years. LaRoche was a solid prospect (who never panned out), but he was no Manny. Yelich makes the Dodgers better in 2018.

  7. 1 – LF is a question mark. Do they keep Kemp and run him out there most days and replace him in late innings defensively? Do they dump Kemp and platoon either Joc or Toles and Kike? LF will be OK but not really a strength. The Braintrust will make a deadline deal if LF isn’t productive.
    2 – A rotation with Maeda and Ryu at 4 and 5 is OK but the ‘Stros will be better. Other teams will be as good or better too.
    3 – Mark is wearing rose-colored glasses this morning. Hill, who threw 133 regular season innings last year (2nd most in his career) will throw 150+ this year? Ryu, who’s arm is held together with paper clips will throw 180 this year?
    4 – Several Dodgers had career years last year (Turner, Jansen, Taylor, Wood) but we are to expect that several Dodgers will be even better this year (Bellinger, Taylor, Wood, Hill, Ryu)? The smart money says no.
    5 – Forsythe will be better just because? Same with Baez, Hill, Wood, Ryu and Bellinger? Taylor and Bellinger faded badly down the stretch last year. Forsythe played better in August and September but stopped hitting with power and had horrible platoon splits. Ryu didn’t even make the post-season roster – neither did El Gasolino.
    6 – I expect the Dodgers to win the Division but not to win close to 100 games this year. They didn’t improve this year but that wasn’t the plan. The plan was to stand pat, get under the cap, and plan for 2019. They’ve accomplished this. The question of whether it is enough to return to the Series is another question.

    1. Bellinger and Taylor did slump in September and in the post-season, but some of that has to be attributed to never having played that much. Bellinger hit .219 in the post-season and Taylor hit .254 in the post-season.

      Kris Bryant hit .176 in his first post-season. That happens with young players. He hit over .300 in 2016.

      I also don’t think Wood, Jansen and Turner had “Career Years.” In particular, I think Turner can do better.

  8. IMO the off-season is the time to critically look at the team and try to make it better. Full optimism starts when pitchers and catchers report for me. So right now I am in the how can the Dodgers get better mode.
    .
    They could use an inning eating starting pitcher. I am not as optimistic as Mark is on Ryu pitching 180 innings. I agree with Mark that Maeda is best suited for a bullpen role, and I think that is where he will be at the end of the season. I do think Wood can be a 175-180 innings pitcher. Hill’s ceiling is 150 IP, and Kershaw should no longer consider 200IP. It has been reported that Buehler will get 125IP total this year. They could use a Jeff Samardzija type who will pitch forever and not worry about ERA. The idea is to save the bullpen. If a #5 is going against a #5, hopefully your offense can pick up the non-dominant pitching. I think it is short-sighted to always consider Clayton Kershaw to be the savior of the bullpen. That is why I like Cole. I do not look at him as an Ace, but as an innings eater. How about a 1 year flyer for Jason Vargas. He pitched 180 innings last year. Does he have one more heavy incentive laden year in him?
    .
    I just read a rumor that indicated “Yu Darvish could be signed for a “reasonable” price, John Harper of the New York Daily News writes. This could be a contract in the range of five years and $80MM-90MM range”, and that he is a prime target for the Yankees. 5 years at $80M is exact comfort zone for FAZ. How possible is that? It should at least be explored. If they go into the season with Kershaw/Hill/Wood/Maeda/Ryu can win the division handily with that rotation, but is that enough for the post-season? IMO it is not at the level of the Nationals who are now without Dusty at the helm, and that improves them even more.
    .
    Could they use a lock down 8th inning setup guy? Yes, but who? FAZ believes they have that in Cingrani and Garcia. Maybe it will be Brock Stewart. We know Doc loves Baez and he will undoubtedly go into the season as the favorite for that role. I see Alexander being used more in situations where a double play is needed. Friedman knows how to build bullpens. That is why the OKC express is so vital. They will mix and match until they find the next Brandon Morrow. I see them signing someone in the mold of Neftali Perez, Xavier Cedeno, Matt Albers, Glen Perkins, Seung-hwan Oh, or Zach Putnam to a minor league contract with a ST invite.
    .
    I have long stated that FAZ builds a 40 man roster better than any organization. Some like to argue that the 25 man is more important. For the 162 game Championship Season, I disagree. They need the depth of a 40 man for the “next man up”, and to keep players fresh for the grueling summer. For the playoffs, yes, the 25 man is the most important. That is why FAZ has gone fishing at the deadline to find that player to take them over the top. Both Hill and Darvish were acquired for the playoff. But both were rentals and not with long term repercussions like Cole Hamels had. The Dodgers will have to find that player this year. Where I hope they alter their thought process is if a JD Martinez is available, go after him. The Josh Reddick/Curtis Granderson experiment did not turn out too well.
    .
    The bench is also a fluid role. In my world, the bench would be Kemp/Joc as the RH and LH hitting role players. Kike’ would be the super utility player, Grandal would be the backup catcher, and Jake Peter or Max Muncy would be the LH hitting middle infielder candidate. Peter or Muncy would be part of the OKC express if the Dodgers needed an 8th reliever.
    .
    I disagree with Mark in that I do not see the Dodgers as a better team going into 2018 compared to the team that finished in 2017. They are built to win the NL West. They do not need to be better to win the NL West, but they will need to be to win the WS. So a lot will depend on who is acquired at the trade deadline, and how developed Walker Buehler and Julio Urias can be.
    .
    One other point about the ‘Stros, I agree that Verlander is not going to pitch 1.06 for Houston. He does not need to. He will be need to be Justin Verlander come playoffs, something that he has done. We cannot say the same thing about our Ace. The ‘Stros know they have a window and are going all out while they can. Cole is better than Musgrove this year. Moran is blocked by Bregman, Feliz will be good, but with Peacock and McHugh going fulltime into the pen, the pen depth will be better in 2018 than it was in 2017. They know they will not be able to sign Altuve, Keuchel, and Marwin Gonzalez next year, and Verlander will be one year older. They will have catching issues, and can Gurriel and Reddick continue to produce? There is talk they are still considering Greg Holland. They are going full on for 2018. At some point the Dodgers have to say, this is the year we go for it. It cannot always be about next year and the year after. For some of us there may not be a lot more tomorrow’s to look forward to. 30 years is enough.

    1. There is a lot to unpack here…first off the projected 5 man rotation all managed 25 or more starts last year and could have had more. They did ALL have stints on the DL so there is that but there is also no McCarthy to give starts to. The wild cards here are Buehler and Urias who both will have their innings watched closely and Maeda can move to the pen when they are ready.

      There will be some late bargains in the free agents the closer we get to ST and I would not rule out a surprise addition that makes the team better. The Marlins have not just Yelich but also Realmuto and Castro wanting out but since the Gordon trade they have not done a deal with the Dodgers. The new regime might feel differently and at 200-1 they are not going to the WS anytime soon so maybe they match up.

      I am weary of all the Astors love being thrown around, I kind of doubt they even make it back to the WS with The Yanks, Indians and Red Sox all wanting to knock them off but they will easily win their Division with only the Angels really improving on paper and the Rangers, Mariners and A’s not doing much. Who cares anyway since the only way they match up with the Blue is in a WS rematch.

      It just seems the Dodgers are doing the smart thing by not making knee jerk deals just to make them and not bringing in aging vets to block the kids. They have preserved the special chemistry they had last year and I will go out on a limb and predict another 100 win season. They have all their options open to further improve the team as the off season and regular season play out.

      1. The Dodgers could be better and still not win 100 games. We know this: The Giants Will Be Better! They won’t win the division, but they should be better. The D-Bags will be as good or better, as will the Rockies and Padres. The Division will be tougher, so 100 may not be as likely… but they will be close!

        1. The Giants kind of have to be better since they finished with the worst record in the NL. I don’t think Longoria and Sandoval are going to be saviors. They do have a decent rotation but take a look at their OF and tell me who the 3 starters are. The Padres are awful, their rotation is way below average. I don’t think Headly and Galvis are the answer to their lack of offense. The Rockies beefed up their bullpen but their starters are pedestrian and the rotation rookies wore down in the stretch last year. They did not replace Cargo, Reynolds or Lucroy with much of anything. The DBacks have a decent rotation, I will give them that, but the bullpen aside from Bradley is a mess. Their OF is really thin and the loss of JD really hurts. I don’t see the divisional games being an issue except all of the teams view the Dodgers as their rival while the Blue only view the Giants that way. The Dodgers could have won more than 104 if they didn’t coast for 2 weeks in Sept. and I don’t believe Roberts will do that again. The Dodgers also beat up on the other divisions and the other league last year.

          1. Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show
            10
            Touchdown U S C Tiago Pereira 6.60 4.20 3.40
            4
            Old School Ike Tyler Baze 6.40 5.00
            3
            Alphadar Saul Arias 8.80

  9. A.C. should have been a horse named Fighting Irish…
    Damn it’s good to be living in SoCal… 75 to 80, shorts and a T and a bbq going on the patio…
    To repeat, the NLW will be a gauntlet…

  10. 1 – Giants will be better this year just because they can’t be worse. Longoria will be an upgrade at 3B. They have no OF; their INF will be solid. Rotation will be OK – they have a couple of young guys (Blach and Stratton) that will be question marks. Melancon starts the season healthy so they have a closer but they don’t have good ‘pen depth.
    2 – Dbacks will not be as good. For one thing, no JD Martinez. Pollock and Peralta are good in the OF; they are solid around the INF; rotation is good and ‘pen has questions.
    3 – Rox overachieved last year. Rotation is suspect; ‘pen will be lots better. Offense isn’t as good as everyone thinks.
    4 – Pads are questionmarks; they have a highly-ranked farm system. Rotation is pretty bad. They were supposed to be the worst team in baseball last year; maybe this year?

    Hard to see the Dodgers not winning the Division. I see the Snakes 2nd, Rox 3rd, Giants 4th, Pads 5th.

    The postseason is the big question, but it’s a long season and reinforcements from deadline deals or the minors could make the difference.

    1. FLASH!

      This just in: I agreed with every word DodgerRick said!

      This is an historic moment.

      😉

  11. I started saying I wanted Yelich last year and while I still want him, I think it best to do that in July. The Marlins are already positioning him as a HOFer and the Dodger trade pieces are undervalued because they still have “unknown value” tags.
    .
    I think the regular season bullpen is more than good enough and with Maeda moving to the bullpen for the playoffs, will be great then.
    .
    The rotation is solid now and later in the season should stay strong by replacing tired or injured starters with Buehler and Urias. I have always liked Stewart more than most and I think he will get at least 15 starts.
    .
    In a couple of years the rotation could be Buehler, Urias, Alvarez, Wood, Stewart. Why? Because Kershaw might opt out and Harper might opt in.

  12. AC, If we can get Darvish for less than 100 million, I would do it. We would have to stay under the salary cap, and some trades would have to be made. Ryu would be one option. Although I think he is going to have a good year. Having Darvish on the team may help keeping Kershaw next year. I understand they are working out together this winter. Move Maeda to the pen and let Beuhler be the 5th starter with no pressure. I would love to see Kershaw, Wood, Hill, Darvish and Beuhler be the five starting pitchers. Maeda could fill in when necessary.

    1. First, I agree with everything Bobby said, when it comes to leftfield.

      I also think Vegas made a good point, that it isn’t a given, that Forsythe will hit right hand pitching, this year.

      Because Vegas’ comments about certain hitters, weaknesses, has seem to ring true with me.

      I do think Kemp is the wild card in leftfield, but I think this outfield surplus will work its self out, like it has, every year.

      I do think AC and Idahoal make good points, about getting Darvish if he is dirt cheap, by baseball standards today, too.

      We already know that Kershaw can’t lead us to a World Championship, by himself.

      And I do think Ryu is going to surprise some people, this year too.

      I think Ryu having to watch this team from the bench in the post season, made Ryu want to be even better, this year.

      He is a very proud guy.

      And I hope Buehler can make a bigger mark on this team this year, too.

  13. Mark, I agree with some of your comments and disagree with others.
    Chris Taylor, I think he will have a better year than last year, but I don’t see him as the 3rd or 4th best centerfielder in baseball.
    Logan Forsythe, If he can come close to his 2016 numbers along with his defense. then he will be a huge asset, if he plays like he did last year I see him being replaced, maybe by Tim Locastro.
    Matt Kemp, “Chip on his shoulder” he’s always had that and that’s part of his attitude problem. Humbled, he wasn’t in SD, and he wasn’t in Atlanta, it’s not in him. Home again, Turner Ward or whatever the bottom line is he thinks of himself first, is not and has never been a team player and is nothing but trouble,
    Leftfield, in my opinion, is between Toles and Verdugo, the winner plays every day
    Pederson is Pederson and not much help,
    Rich Hill, I see him having another year like the rest of his years with the Dodgers.
    Toles, Verdugo, Buehier and maybe Urias could all be contributers this year along with the same or better years from the rest of the team.
    The Dodgers I don’t think will win 104 games but they have the potential to be a better team than last year.

  14. Unless the Dodgers unload some contracts, they really can’t sign anyone substantial, and keep under the luxury tax threshold. Several players, especially Maeda have substantial bonus clauses.

    You have to make sure you don’t accidently go over it. If you go over it a dollar, you might as well go over it $35 million.

  15. The Diamondbacks would love to re-sign Goldschmidt but might not have the money due to Greinke’s contract. If they could trade Greinke they might be able to extend Goldschmidt’s contract another 5 years. Lets say that is true and they trade Greinke. AZ did well with Martinez and could use a power bat….
    .
    Here goes: Kemp, Ryu, Mitchel White for Greinke.

  16. Nats nearing a deal with Howie Kendrick-2 years at $7 M total per MLB Trade Rumors. There will be more bargain signings as players realize they are not going to get the contract they wanted.

    1. I am not sure I understand this from its face. I do not keep up with the Nats, but $7M ($9.1M with 30% luxury tax) seems a lot for reserve for a reserve. From an outsider’s point of view, Brian Goodwin seems to be the #4 OF, and Wilmer Difo would be the reserve for 2nd, 3rd, and SS, and Matt Adams the reserve for 1B and for LF (if necessary). This creates 5 bench players (Goodwin, Difo, Adams, Severino, and Kendrick). This maxes the bullpen at 7, and I assume they are comfortable with that. I understand why they would want to keep Robles and Stevenson in the minors.
      .
      I cannot imagine Kendrick playing over Goodwin in LF when Eaton needs some days off for his knee. What I can imagine is if Murphy’s recovery from his surgery is not going as well as they thought, and they would rather have Kendrick as a semi-regular over Difo, but his 2B defense is really declining.
      .
      I think if I were a Nats fan, I would prefer they sign Lucroy as a starting catcher than Kendrick.

  17. Would it be worth kicking the tires on Felipe Rivero?

    Know he would be very expensive in terms of prospects, but might be the best time with Pittsburgh looking to the future?

    He would be a game changer in the Pen.

    1. Watford

      Good to hear from you too!

      I have seen some talk about getting Rivero too, so you are right on there!

  18. I would love to have Rivero, but the cost would be high. He’s controllable through 2022 so you would have to over, overpay.

  19. McCutcheon to Giants. Now they have actual major league players at 3B (Longoria) and at one OF spot. They also have 10 players making over $10 MM in 2018. Cutch is a free agent after 2018 season. Are the Giants going for it one more time? Will they try to sign Cain or someone like him to play CF?

    1. The Giants helped themselves, but I do not believe that Cutch and Longoria make them contenders. Too much has to go right, and they have no depth to fall back on. They are north of $193M on luxury tax leaving them no room to add and stay under the cap. They are at 50% tax, and they have also stated that they want to stay under the cap to reset the tax percentage. Cain takes them over the threshold leaving them at 50% tax next year as well.
      .
      I see no way Cutch can adequately play CF at AT&T. He had trouble going back on the ball in PNC after he was moved up to take away the singles that drop in. How he does that at AT&T will be an adventure. I think the Giants try to sign Jarrod Dyson to play CF who should be less than $3M and keep them under $197M.
      .
      Maybe I am in the minority but I think Pittsburgh got the better here. Bryan Reynolds (#4) is a good prospect who should make the ML in 2019. That will allow them to move Marte or Polanco. Polanco/Marte, Meadows, Reynolds could be a very good OF. Kyle Crick (#16) is a power reliever with a fastball that sits 94-97 and touches 100, with a 2-seamer that hits mid 80’s with heavy sink. Searage should be able to refine Crick who should become the key setup for Rivero.
      .
      This trade smacks of desperation to try to save Sabean’s and Evans’ jobs.

  20. They have no choice, they have to go for it, can’t turn back . They had to make that deal, and for Longoria also. They are looking at the abyss in a couple of years with the group they have, while FAZ sit’s back and does nothing. Now how many times have I thought that over the last few years and end up having a big bottle of ketchup with my crow. Just gonna shut up, cook up some popcorn and wait for the FAZ show again. They never disappoint. Smart money is on them.

  21. It looks like the Midgets are going for it one more year before they blow it up. Just like the Madres did a few years ago. If they’re out of it in July they’ll have a fire sale. I don’t think they have the SP to make the playoffs.

    1. I agree. And I also think they’re smart to bring in these vets. If their vet team gels and all play well, they’ll be right in the race with us in July, with guys who have won before.

      But it isn’t working in June/July, they have a ton of vet trade bait which will help them quickly rebuild their farm. We saw what the Yanks/WhiteSox/others did when they dumped a few good pieces at the deadline. Get 3-4 top 100 prospects for your vets, and all of the sudden your future is bright again. I’m sure the Giant front office was thinking of not just competing 2018, but also of acquiring valuable assets which they could flip for better farm talent than was originally used to acquire those assets.

      1. Bobby, the difference is the teams you mentioned were not in long term contracts or had very team friendly contracts. Chapman, Miller, Eaton, Sale were short term (Chapman)
        or great team friendly contracts, and demanded an overpay. Cueto, Samardzija, Crawford, Belt, Melancon, are way overpriced and they will not get much back. Think A-Gon/Kazmir/McCarthy salary dump. The one player they could move to get return is Bumgarner. Even Posey could be tough to move. The Giants are going all in and when they do not make it, they will be done for awhile.
        .
        The Giants will play the Dodgers tough, but overall they are a .500 team. Outside of maybe catcher, there isn’t one position that is better than the Dodgers.

  22. Curtis Granderson signs a 1 year deal with Toronto for $5 M. Interesting day with Howie Kendrick also signing for 2 years with the Nats, The Giants trading for McCutchen and Dodger Blue reporting the Dodgers had a meeting with Yu Darvish. It could get interesting now that the Dodgers have gotten past arbitration and can focus on a final tweak or two or even a bigger deal.

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