Who Says This is the Same Team as Last Year?

I frequently hear this:

  • This is the same Dodger Team as Last Year.”
  • “The Dodgers are standing pat.”

I guess some people think that if they say it enough, it will become true.  If that’s the case, keep repeating over-and-over that you are Brad Pitt.  Poof, it will happen!

READ THIS SLOWLY:  This is not the SAME team as last year.  Is it better?  I don’t know…. MAYBE.  Maybe not, but it’s not the same team. Let’s go over this:

Gone from last year’s edition of the Dodgers are Chase Utley, Andre Ethier (he did not play a big role, but he was on the playoff roster), Brandon Morrow, Brandon McCarthy, Adrian Gonzalez, Tony Watson, Luis Avilan, Grant Dayton, Josh Ravin, Charlie Culberson, Franklin Gutierrez, Scott Van Slyke, Chris Hatcher, Sergio Romo, Fabio Castillo, Yu Darvish (probably gone) and Curtis Granderson.  I can’t count Scott Kazmir because he never played.

That’s at least 17 players who were on the roster for at least a time last year, who are now gone!  It’s not the same team.  Of course it could be even more different if the Dodgers make a trade or sign a free agent.  Added to the 2018 Dodgers could be the following players:

  • Andrew Toles – He was on the roster for a minute, but spent the year on the DL.  He’s Backkkkkk!
  • Matt Kemp – Yeah, he might make it.
  • Scott Alexander
  • Dylan Baker
  • Tony Cingrani – For the full season
  • Yimi Garcia
  • Tom Koehler
  • Henry Owens
  • Dennis Santana (maybe)
  • Julio Urias – Missed most of the season
  • Jake Peter

Add in the fact that Walker Buehler could be on the team, for real and with subtraction and addition, this is certainly not the same team.  At question is whether it is  a better team?  Maybe FAZ is done – maybe they aren’t, but I can’t say the team is better anymore than I can say the team is worse.  I can say it is different and maybe it is better.  That’s why they play the games.

I will say this: The 2018 Version of the LA Dodgers has the potential to be better!

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 64 Comments

  1. I do agree with you Mark. Let’s look at each position. Catchers-will bebetter. Barnes now knows he can hit major league pitchers. Grandal will make changes and hit better for average and lay off bad pitches. 1st-Will be better. Cody will figure out how to hit low inside pitches. 2nd.-Will be better. Forsythe will hit right hand pitchers. SS and 3rd base-Already good. LF-Verdugo or Toles will win the job. We will have an every day player in left. CF-We will have Taylor all year. RF-Puig will improve and be a force. I cannot believe I said it. Starting pitchers-Same group. Good enough. Beuhler and Urias will be starters sometime next year. Bull pen-Not sure. The potential is there to be very good. It will play out.

    Injuries happened to every team. The Dodgers are built to handle any injury. That alone will make the Dodgers better in 2018.

  2. Sad to say but there are two seasons: regular and post-. We need to prepare for a full resupply/reinforcement push toward the end of the season to help get us over the hump. This is the year we save some bullets. I think we wanted to with Buehler but it was too soon. I expect us to stash a few guys in AAA with an eye toward unleashing them in Sept./Oct.

  3. You are very good at looking through rose colored glasses. To me the better question is are they better than the team that went to the WS? The jury is out on that one, but staying static usually means regressing, especially when the competition is improving. It does appear the Astros are better and the Astros exposed some flaws, are those flaws being addressed?

    1. You are very good at looking through rose colored glasses.

      Since FAZ was hired, people have been telling me exactly that. every year… and every year they have been wrong! The team has gotten better every year and went further every year and unlike Houston (who blew it all up and tanked), they have remained competative year-after-year. Our farm system is Top 5 and very deep. Houston is likely in the mid-to-low teens now.

      In case you didn’t read what I wrote, how is moving 17 players and adding at least 11, staying static? The Dodgers lost the World Series in the last game. Flaws? Sure. The Astros have plenty too. Do you trust Verlander? I don’t. Cole? Everyone’s darling! We shall see. I think the Astros are a very good team and are ranked #1 in the Power Ratings, but the Dodgers are a close #2, and they were intent upon getting under the Luxury Tax.

      As more of our youngsters mature, you might see some amazing things. Right now, many regard LF as a black hole, but what if Kemp or Pederson or Toles breaks out? Everyone loves the Yankees too, but they have lots of holes. This time last year, people were mocking FAZ for signing Morrow. So, maybe FAZ knows better. Yes, they have proved it and I trust their direction.

      So many older fans are “kicking the cat” (FAZ is the cat) because the Dodgers haven’t won for 30 years… but FAZ has only been in charge for 3 years! Misplaced aggression! I like what I see and lots of fans make themselves miserable because they have very little insight into what is really happening.

  4. This season’s Dodger team I think has the potential to be outstanding, but to achieve that goal the team will need some or all of the following.
    1 A healthy Kershaw for the entire season and nothing less than an outstanding playoff performance.
    2 Wood to show he is a legit #2 starter.
    3 Hill to have a better year than last year
    4 Buehler, when he is called up or if he makes the team out of spring training needs to be much better then whoever he is replacing.
    5 The bullpen will need to be as good or better than last year,( I think this will happen.)
    6 Forsythe needs to be much better offensively than last year or FAZ need to find someone who can.
    7 Left field needs to become an asset, a player who can play every day and contribute from opening day on, Toles or Verdugo, I’m not a fan of platoon baseball, all that is doing is trying to hide a weakness.
    8 If Barnes is the starting catcher he needs to show the Dodgers they can trade Grandal and if Grandal is the starter he better be playing for his FA life.
    9 Taylor and Puig, nothing less than better years then last year from both.
    10 The Dodgers are not a good team or even a fair team at playing small ball but they can be better than last year by trying to be better hitters with men on base and I’m not talking about bunting because the team is terrible trying to bunt, I’m talking about being more pitch selective when runners are on base, don’t swing for the all or nothing HR but just make contact.
    11 Would love to see the whole team cut down on their strikeouts.
    12 Trade or DFA Kemp, PLEASE.

    1. I was with you until #12.

      I think they have to let him try out and if he can’t, then do what they need to do. I’ll give you $43 million reasons why.

      Kemp has been working out with teammates this offsesaon, so I a pretty certain FAZ will give him a “look-see.”

      We do not need Matt Kemp, but two years ago, he hit 35 HR, 39 Doubles, 108 RBI with an .803 OPS. I would take that from the #6 or #7 spot. He has it in him.

  5. “Rose colored glasses”
    For those who can’t see that FAZ has improved this team and the entire Dodger organization, year after year, well are think they are wearing blindfolds.
    You can’t blame a 29 year drought on Faz, but you can give them credit for the last three years.
    The move they made with the Braves ought to help bring things into focus. FAZ is moving to ball forward, IMO

    1. FAZ put us in prime position to win it all last year. We are still in a role of favorites. There’s not much else that can be done. It’s on the players and coaches from here on out. Our system is loaded and I think we saw with the Darvish deal last year even the “perfect fit” is no guarantee for success (at least not as long as there are 29 other teams that want to win as well).

  6. Hello Mark

    Where did you read about Kemp working out with teammates?
    I would be interested to see that article.
    I really hope that he can come to ST in good shape & smiling.
    I was always a fan & I cannot see any reason why FAZ would release him without seeing if he has anything in the tank.
    On his part, i can’t believe that he wouldn’t be motivated to have one last push, for the team where he played his best Baseball.
    As for all the “Clubhouse Cancer” stuff, that was a different time, under a different manager, who seemed to have a few issues with varying players during his tenure.
    My guess, unless they can find a taker to share some of his salary, he gets on the 25 in April, and at least gives it a go.

    I do, as I’ve mentioned before, totally agree with Bruce’s point about staying static usually leading to regression.
    That being said, I’ve been wrong virtually every pre season when assessing our chances, so that bodes well!

    1. Watford

      I totally agree with you about this team and this manager, being a different animal, then we had before.

      And I am sure Kemp is a different person now, too.

      And if Kemp isn’t going to be part of the solution, he will be gone!

      I also think Cole is not going to be an automatic ace, like some think.

      The National League Central was not as strong of a league, as the National League West was last year, and Cole’s era was over 4, pitching in that league.

      And he isn’t going to be pitching to any pitchers, in the American League West, this year.

      He is a good young pitcher, but I think we all get caught up in these moves in the off season, and they don’t always work out, like we think they will.

    2. Three different clubhouses wanted him gone. Not just one. Let us not forget the ball down the line against the Nationals that Toles cut off, relayed to Seager who then gunned the guy out at the plate in the 2016 NLDS. FAZ values defense and OBP. Kemp provides none of those two.

  7. You touched on an important perspective. The team we break camp with is the team for the 162 game regular season. We can’t compare that with last years team that was in the WS.

    Year to year comparisons will need to wait until we see who is on the roster after the trade deadline.

  8. This article smacks of semantics. Yeah, there is roster churn like there is every year but essentially, the Dodgers are standing pat. Now, I’m not complaining about that. This is a team that made it to game 7 of the Series last year. This is a team that needed to get under the “cap” so they were never going to make any big deals this offseason. This is a team without any big weaknesses so they don’t need to do what the Giants are doing and adding major players and lots of salary to try to compete. This is a team with a healthy farm system so if someone goes down, they will usually have the spare parts to cope. But it’s not fair to say that this isn’t essentially the same team that played the 2017 season.

    1 – Adrian Gonzalez is gone, but he was essentially gone last year. He played badly for a month or 2 and wasn’t a factor.
    2 – Ditto with Andre Ethier, Scott Kazmir (never pitched), Brandon McCarthy (good for a month or 2), Grant Dayton, Sergio Romo (gone in May or June), Josh Ravin (hardly pitched), Charlie Culberson (not on MLB roster until September), Tony Watson (deadline deal), Curtis Granderson (ditto), Yu Darvish (ditto), Franklin Gutierrez (never a factor).
    3 – Major changes this year compared to last – no Chase Utley, Brandon Morrow, or Luis Avilan – guys who are gone.
    4 – Major changes this year compared to last – add Matt Kemp (maybe), Scott Alexander, Yimi Garcia (maybe).
    5 – Same guys will play 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, C, RF, CF and maybe LF (unless Kemp stays); same starting rotation; most change in bullpen but same closer.
    6 – Veterans a year older; kids have another year of experience. That’s true every year.

    1. How much has the Astros Roster changed?

      I think they may have all the same position players they did last year.

      They added a 35 year-old ace which is a guarantee for success. Everyone is raving over Gerrit Cole – a guy who has a mid 4.00 ERA?

      Ken Giles is the Closer – what could go wrong there? Dallas Keuchel has up and down seasons and Charlie Morton discovered the Holy Grail at age 34? Maybe…

      Houston is a good team, but have they really impoved that much?

      The World Series is a crapshoot. The Astros and Dodgers both scored 34 runs. The Dodgers were outhit by .205 to .230, but something that sticks in my craw is the Astros hit Dodger batters 7 times, while we hit them 2 times. I think the Dodgers need to pitch inside more and if you hit ’em, you hit ’em. Hopefully Mark Prior can change that culture. I think Roberts is too good of a friend to Hinch! Back ’em off the plate!

      If you look at ERA+, FIP and WHIP you can see that it was a crapshoot. Houston won, but they were lucky. Sometimes, that’s all it takes. No excuses – but the Dodgers were RIGHT THERE!

      1. Not saying the ‘Stros have changed much, or that the Dodgers really needed to. Just that they haven’t changed much.

  9. Here’s another way to look at it:

    The infield is about as good as it gets with two young budding superstars in Seager & Bellinger, a stud 3b in Turner, a solid 2b in Forsythe, and a highly valuable tandem at catcher in Barnes/Grandal. Maybe we’ll miss Culbertson (and Utley?) a bit but I think we will figure out the bench and it won’t be a weakness.

    The outfield is brimming with potential. On top of Puig & Taylor we have at least five options for the remaining spot. Maybe it’s the one place we could still an impact player (Yelich?) but even if we do nothing it’s still interesting enough that an answer is likely to emerge without tinkering.

    The rotation may be lacking a true #2 but, again, we all saw that a #2 can s— the bed just like anyone else. I personally think we still could use an “innings-eater” to help avoid our bullpen being overtaxed, but I also recognize the existing talent we have in our current starting five plus Stewart/Buehler. Being that trades lost us some depth in McCarthy/Kazmir[!]/Oaks, I wouldn’t be surprise to see us add a swing-man type who could either pitch in the rotation or the pen OR pitch, say, four shutout innings in a playoff appearance. I guess we already signed a guy like that but I forgot who it was!

    The bullpen: fickle things. I think we have enough; I think we need more; I think roles will change; I think we’ll make moves. Magic Eight Ball says, “You got me!”

    We’re in very good shape. We really can’t worry about the other teams, just ourselves.

  10. I would like to point out the fact that the game is played “between the lines.” Yes, some teams on paper have made some big moves (thank God, most are in the AL!), but as Mark and others have pointed out, this doesn’t guarantee success on the field. You nay sayers, who like to point out that the team did not get Hamels when many thought the team just needed another ace to put us over the top. But, FAZ thought the risk wasn’t worth the reward, and held onto their prospects, and went another way. It did not work out, but we have had a great team on the field since then, because they did not give prospects away. I believe FAZ will watch this team on the field, and make any needed changes either from within the organization, by trade or free agency. These guys are sharp finding the Morrow’s et al, and will continue to be cutting edge on all things baseball. So all the micro-managing we are doing before ST evens starts, is needless panic… let’s chill and watch what happens in ST, and then start harping on needs… just saying.

  11. I certainly agree with the general premise of Mark’s last two pieces. Yes, this team is in good shape for 2018 and the foreseeable future. I do expect some of the young stars to continue to improve. Especially Bellinger and Puig. Cody played a lot of baseball last year. He didn’t get the rest in spring training that the big leaguers got and then he played deep into October which he had never done before. He was out of gas and pressing during the WS. He will only get better in my opinion and unlike Joc, he has already shown the ability to adjust, lay down bunts, and have a two strike approach. The one thing that was always missing for Puig was coming up with clutch hits. He did that last year and you could feel the proverbial monkey being lifted off his back. Yes, the knucklehead might be late at some point this year, but he learned to have big league AB’s on a daily basis and take care of his body. Taylor should be better and the same for Seager if his elbow is okay and that is a big IF.
    ~
    However, I do disagree that Alexander and Koehler more than makeup for the loss of Morrow. Morrow is a piece the Dodgers have never had in recent years. Yes, Joey Pancakes had a nice season but you always wondered when reality was going to arrive for Blanton. Unfortunately it was during the playoffs of 2016. Might a Santana or Garcia slide into a prominent role? It could happen I guess. I always liked Yimi more than most. He’s quite good when he keeps the ball in the park. I don’t expect the list of AAAA players acquired to replace Morrow eithier. They will have to do it with quantity of arms. Matt Albers is still available, but which Albers would you get? Look at his career.
    ~
    It was a great move to unload the dead weight contracts. I wonder what would have happened if they had gotten it done a bit sooner. I don’t think the Rockies overachieved last year like some have said. Arizona will be tough, but take a step back if they lose JD. The Giants are putting together a better team on paper. A team that will be a disaster if it doesn’t work out for them next year though. I was more interested in Cutch last year than this year. Pittsburgh waited too long on him. They got squat from SF. A reliever who has command issues and an OF who may be no more than a 4th OF or platoon partner. The Padres have been trying to be players in the market. The NL West is by far the toughest division in the NL and maybe baseball. Sitting still and doing close to nothing is rarely the best recipe for success.
    ~
    The Dodgers have waited out the market and should make a move to bring back Darvish. They acquired Darvish for a reason. There was a need and there still is. They wanted a RH pitcher for the playoffs. He was great during the playoffs and took a dump during the WS for a variety of reasons. They still need an innings eater. Kershaw has to be used a bit more carefully. I think his injury last year was a lot to do about nothing and they more than babied him back, but they still need to be a bit more careful as he approaches 30. Hill, Wood, Ryu are not innings eaters. I’d like to see Wood repeat his season and go 180 innings, but to count on it would be a mistake. Hill has been beating father time lately, but inevitably he will lose that battle. Maeda? Solid, probably belongs in the pen on this team, and he isn’t going to go deep into games. Buehler or Urias will be knocking at the door. Hopefully both. Having both would make trade deadline deals less likely so not as much money needs to be saved for such acquisitions.
    ~
    Ryu was solid last year and yes I agree that he will be better. 10.2 innings, 20 hits, 17 Runs, 12 ER, 4 HR’s. That was Ryu’s numbers in Denver. He also had a stinker against the Rockies in LA where he gave up 3HR’s. Remove those numbers and he was quite good. I don’t agree with Mark when he says that he will throw 180 innings. 150 is more realistic if he is a Dodger, but some team could use a LH pitcher of his quality who makes so little. I’d hate to trade him, because I am a fan, but if it meant free up space for Darvish then get it done. Give Honey and Clayton a full year with Yu. He is an innings eater.
    ~
    I’m not big on moving Grandal, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world. I believe in Barnes, but I do worry about someone of his size moving into the full-time spot and if there is one question I have still is his pitch calling. I was one of those last season who said he needs to play more, but some of the pitches in Game 5 were head scratchers. The Astros were literally stepping in the bucket and trying to hit balls over the short LF wall and he kept coming inside. He started about1/3 to 1/4 of the games last year I believe. I’d like to see it move to 50/50 this year and keep them both fresh.
    ~
    I also have to believe the Yelich issue issue is getting ugly in Miami. Do the Dodgers need him? No, but I would think the Dodgers could acquire Yelich for some some quality, but also bring in Castro and Ziegler in exchange for some money the Dodgers would want to move. It’s a long shot, but I don’t think the Yelich camp is going to quiet down anytime soon. Pitchers and catcher report in 28 days I think. This stare down between the agents and owners will have to end soon. The Passan piece mentioned all of the reasons whey Dodgerrick and I thought it was more than Boras holding up the market.

    1. Hawkeye

      I think Darvish is one guy who would take less money to be happy on a team, and he loved being on the Dodgers.

      And as you know, Darvish and Kershaw, are throwing together everyday, so the talk with Darvish might be more, then just talk.

      What a redemption story that would be, if Darvish and Kershaw, could take us all the way!

  12. If the Dodgers could get Jeter to kick in $8 mil a year for Kemp, then this could happen:

    1. Trade Forsythe and Grandal for Two Good Prospects and flip said prospects to Miami.
    2. Trade Kemp, Pederson and Toles, along with Alvarez and Diaz for Yelich, Castro and Ziegler.

    I don’t like Castro – he a defensive downgrade but he’s OK. It’s an overpay, but it fits.

    1. Pretty close to what I was thinking. I had Forsythe going to Miami and Toles staying home in LA. Castro could possibly be flipped elsewhere I suppose. However, he does own a certain Redneck who pitches in SF. The Marlins would need OF and the Dodgers have plenty to offer.

      1. a healthy forsythe could have a jeff kent-esque 2018 hitting behind all those good players in front of him in the lineup. I don’t play fantasy baseball but if I did i’d look hard at forsythe as a prime bounce-back guy next year.

        1. https://dodgers.mlblogs.com/position-series-second-base-f19c3eb137c1
          .
          This is an article written by Cary Osborne, Dodgers Digital and Print Content Coordinator, and writes articles in Dodger Insider, wrote the above in review of 2B in 2017. It delves heavily into Logan Forsythe, and I think Cary would agree that Logan might be a prime bounce-back guy. At $9M he is a legit trade candidate, but I think FAZ also believes that he is a bounce-back candidate, and a reasonable financial risk for a 2B. Especially considering the Spring and start he had in 2017. Plus, with the premium FAZ places on defense, I do not see how they trade him. Because of the lack of premium players at 2B in the system, I would guess that Logan will get extensive consideration after the season.

    2. I was in favor of trading for Yelich over Stanton from the start and would very much like to see Yelich in the Dodger lineup but just maybe that obsession with Yelich is blinding me from other options.
      QUESTION
      Do the Dodgers need Yelich at the expense it will cost?
      If FAZ thinks that the Dodgers are a much better team with Yelich then make the trade for him, but what if they believe that while Yelick might be better ( maybe ) for one season the overall talent the Dodgers have just might be as good or better and maybe cover CF, RF, and SB, Maybe FAZ has the confidence in Toles, Verdugo, and Diaz for the future in the outfield and Taylor moving to second.
      Yelich batted .282 with 18 HRs,81 RBIs and 137 strikeouts in 602 at-bats. Toles with 96 at-bats before his season ended batted .271 with 5 HRs and 15 RBIs and 16 strikeouts.Yelich turned 26 years old in December and Toles will turn 26 years old in May.Yelich may have a breakout season but Toles hasn’t shown what he can do for a full season. What if Verdugo makes the team out of spring training and is the hitter everyone expects him to be, a pure contact hitter as the leadoff hitter with Taylor moving to the 5th spot. Diaz will start at Tulsa and show FAZ if he is ready for 2019.
      Yelich is young and very talented but back to the question, is he worth the overpay the Dodgers will be forced to make if they want him.We don’t know that answer but I think it might be worth more to the Dodgers to stay with what they have and if they are right on these future players then what a team.

      1. Baseball 1439

        I agree with you about Toles, and this team needing a player, that will hit consistently, more then a player, that can just hit one out.

        I think Toles could be that player, and he does have pop too.

        That is why I told AC Toles will never have the same experience that Yelich has, when he steps on the field, this year.

        That is just the truth!

        But he may have close to the same skill set, as Yeich has now, eventually.

        I am only keeping my mind open about Kemp, because I want what is best for the team.

        And don’t think Kemp will be on this team, if he isn’t best for the team, because I don’t think Roberts will allow that to happen.

        But I am pulling for Toles, more then anyone, but I also know he is coming back from a knee injury.

        And because of that, it might take Toles longer to get back, to where he was.

        Because he will have to test his knee, especially on defense.

  13. Dodger fans… well probably all baseball fans, look at what a player did last year and if it’s good they think that is what he will do next year. If it’s bad, he should be traded, cut, hanged, spindled or mutilated.

    I said a couple of weeks ago that I believe Logan Forsythe will have a career year in 2018. That’s not just blind faith, but based historically on what Logan Forsythe has done, his work ethic, his talent and his character!

    I really do think Yelich is on the verge of being a superstar… but so do others… including the Marlins. He’s controllable through 2022, so there is that. I’d love to have him, but they have to at least get SOMETHING for Kemp.

    Here’s what I think: FAZ is going to let this play out!

  14. 1. Just because some wanted to see Gerrit Cole come to the Dodgers, I do not think anyone actually believes he is an Ace. He would be a #4 at best with LAD, as he will be with the Astros. But I do expect him to be close to 200IP, which is what the Dodgers need. They are not going to get that from any pitcher, including Kershaw. I think Kersh will be around 190, and Wood around 175. But I do not believe that any of Hill, Ryu, or Maeda will be north of 150.
    .
    2. I am now, and always have been an avid supporter of FAZ. They are masters at building a 40 man roster necessary for a 162 game season, and they have acquired players at the last two trade deadlines that put the team in a position to win. It just has not work out for them…yet. Sometimes you need to hold the players accountable, and not the front office.
    .
    3. I do not know of any regular participant on this site who wanted to see the Dodgers make the trade for Hamels knowing what they would have needed to give up. Other sites…yes.
    .
    4. I believe that the off-season is when you comment and critique on what the FO has done or has not done. While I do support FAZ, that does not mean that I cannot have my own prejudices as to how to make the team better. They are just opinions of one fan, and in no way are meant to be taken as criticism of FAZ.
    .
    5. While I do not believe the Dodgers have to do anything to win the Division, they could make themselves better in 2018. While Yelich is not a necessity, he sure would look good in Dodger Blue in LF next year at Dodger Stadium. But I would not make any wholesale changes to make it happen. I see no benefit in moving Grandal or Forsythe just to make room to take on additional Marlin salaries so as to get Yelich. If some other team wants to overpay, let them. I would trade Joc, Alvarez, Diaz, and Estevez to get Yelich. The Dodgers would still retain Verdugo and Toles. Otherwise, I would be fine with Toles or Verdugo winning the job outright or a combination of Toles/Joc/Kike’ in LF.
    .
    6. The bullpen is not done being tinkered with. It will be fluid all season long. I agree with Hawkeye that Alexander and Koehler will not make up for Morrow. And while nobody was more of a champion for Morrow last year than me, I would not have given him the contract the Cubs did. I wish him all the best except against the Dodgers. FAZ thinks Morrow can be replaced by Cingrani and Garcia. Maybe. FAZ certainly knows more than me, and has more information at their disposal than me. I absolutely trust them on this one. I do not believe they are blowing smoke. Watson and Albers are both still available. But I would only offer a $1M-$2M guarantee with heavy incentives. Albers earned $1.75M last year. He is worth a $1M to $2M gamble. There are still Neftali Perez, Xavier Cedeno, Glen Perkins, Seung-hwan Oh, and Zach Putnam available for a minor league contract with a ST invite.
    .
    7. Veteran pitchers will be signed to AAA contracts just as Justin Masterson, Jair Jurrjens, Wilmer Font, and Fabio Castillo were last year. I would consider Chris Tillman with a small guarantee and heavy incentives, one being if he makes the opening day 25 man.
    .
    8. I like Darvish, but not at the expense of going over the luxury tax threshold. Darvish would have to agree to a 5 year $80M contract and FAZ would have to find a team willing to take Ryu and Kemp and prospects. The value of the prospects would depend on how much cash the Dodgers would have to include. I still think the White Sox are a valid trade partner. The White Sox have a ton of great pitching prospects, but they could sure use a Ryu for one year so that their pitchers would have more time. Kemp would be a far more solid DH for ChiSox than Davidson, and could probably do some real damage at Guaranteed Rate Field.
    .
    9. I am not a Matt Kemp fan, and I do think that there are reasons for not bringing him to ST. He would take away AB’s and playing time from Toles, Joc, and Verdugo. He may not be a clubhouse cancer, but he certainly is not a team leader. However, I am prepared to be wrong on Kemp.
    .
    10. While I would like to see Yelich (or Darvish), I do not expect it. I will be fine with the team as it is, and see what top of the rotation rental SP or rental power hitting OF comes available at the deadline. I do think Verlander’s contract was an issue last year, but I do not believe that salaries will be an issue this year. Next year they should be well under the luxury tax, as I do not see them as players in the Harper/Machado/Keuchel/Donaldson auction. I do expect FAZ to make a very generous multi year extension offer to Kershaw, and I do expect that he will agree to stay a Dodger for life. I do think FAZ will also look for a 2B next year on a three year deal and leave CT3 in CF. It could be Logan or it could be LeMahieu…3-4 years at $16M (FAZ’ magic number). The Dodgers have no regular 2B in the pipeline for at least 2-3 years.

      1. Adam,

        I’m not AC, but he could play it… just not very well. He’s a couple of years away, in my opinion.

      2. Defensively, he might be capable of 2B in 2019, but I am not sure he will be able to hit sufficiently to be a regular for a couple of years. 2B is becoming more and more of an offensive position. He hit decently at AA, and may get pushed to AAA this year. He makes contact, but not a lot of pop. I like Errol, and he should become a very good utility player. He is very good defensively at SS and 2B and is now being introduced to 3B and CF. IMO, Tim Locastro would be the 1st choice to be the 2B, or perhaps a platoon with Jake Peter. I do not like platoons, especially for a middle infield position, but it does not seem to faze FAZ.

  15. What if Joc finally got his swing right and it showed in the Series. And what if he got in shape (Mark said he was working out) and honed his swing all winter. He is improving his strike recognition and I wouldn’t trade him just yet.

    1. Some people are picking Joc as a “break-out candidate” in 2018.

      The Dodgers are so deep… who knows?

  16. Morning folks…enjoyable reading as always.

    I think the last team that was truly different was back in 1988!!

    Will the “Ain’t Done Shit Boy’s” win it all in 2018?

    I sure hope so!!!

    1. Alex Wood is 150th according to that chart.
      I’m guessing he’ll be the next breakout pitcher.

    2. That is an excellent site, thanks for sharing!
      A couple things jump out to me:
      They project a 5 man bench with Thompson and Segedin on it. Segedin has an option left, Thompson does not. Most of last season there was a 4 man bench and an extra pitcher.

      Font is listed at AAA but is out of options. He will turn 28 this season and will be quickly claimed if DFA’d off his performance at OKC last year. The Giants (Herges) Braves (AA) and Phils (Kapler) are very familiar with him. AC mentioned a two way contract like Culberson signed last year, allowing him to stay stretched out and ready for a call up if a starter goes down.

      3B is really thin with Jake Peter, Nick Ahmed, Maz Muncy and Moran listed at AAA (plus Segedin) All can play multiple positions. If anything happens to JT they would be in trouble.

      1. Suspect if JT is out for significant time Forsythe would see significant 3B time. Segeden option for rest days

        1. In that hypothetical, I wonder if they’d ever consider giving Barnes 2b and giving Grandal C full-time. This assumes a lot, including our keeping Grandal.

        2. I like Will Smith a lot. I think he has a chance of being on the Dodgers by July and could replace Grandal who would be traded. If Smith hits like I think he will, he could move to third after Turner’s contract expires and that would make room for Ruiz ‘ bat at catcher.
          .
          Kike can play third as well. He hasn’t looked great there but that is probably because he hasn’t played there much. If Turner were to miss 45+ days in the second half, that might be the reason Grandal is traded–for a third baseman.

          1. Will Smith has had all of 3 plate appearances with 2 HBP at AA. There is no way Smith is going to move to the ML dugout in July. The hardest jump is from HIgh A to AA. Until he plays well at AA he is only a prospect. Bellinger/Kershaw/Seager were all outstanding at AA which is why you have a far better idea if they have a legit shot at ML or not. Kershaw was so dominant that he went from AA to the ML dugout. He did bounce back and forth a little, but he dominated AA.
            .
            Right now Will is not even projected to be the top Dodger catching prospect in the system. That belongs to Keibert Ruiz, who actually has 1 more plate appearance at AA than does Smith. He played in the final AA playoff game where he caught Dennis Santana, who allowed 1 unearned run and lost 1-0. Ruiz’ prospect status has jumped to #3 overall catcher prospect in MLB Pipeline behind Francisco Mejia (Indians) and Carson Kelly (Cardinals). Ruiz has followed Smith through the organization and has outhit him all the way through. They both now belong in AA. Let’s let Smith succeed at AA before we anoint him ready for the LAD dugout in July. The Dodgers still have Farmer to be backup catcher if Grandal is moved.

      2. I always forget about Trayce. Still guessing he’s elsewhere before opening day.

        Maybe we’ll make up for a quiet winter with an active spring.

      3. In your hypothetical, I could see Forsythe slide over to 3rd, with Peter/Muncy and Kike’ platoon at 2B.
        .
        One other player that was not included as a potential 3B is Kyle Farmer.
        .
        The Dodgers do not have a true 3B in the pipeline until Rancho. Matt Beaty can play there, but he is projected to be more of an OF this year at OKC. Edwin Rios is not a 3B, but he does play there and he does have a good stick. Cristian Santana is projected to be at Rancho this year. He is raw defensively, but has the instincts and skill set to be at least average at 3B, but he does need work. His defense is probably three years away, just about the time JT’s current contract ends.
        .
        The lack of a true 3B was why I was hoping the Dodgers could work something out with the Cubs to get Jeimer Candelario who did very well when he was called up by Detroit last year. I am sure FAZ is aware of the lack of depth for a true 3B, but I would like to see trading some of the pitching depth to get a top AA prospect at 3B. Ironically, the Dodgers do not have a projected 3B for Tulsa right now.

  17. If the Dodgers make another trade the domino that needs to fall before that trade is made is a Martinez signing.
    .
    The 2018 Dodger outfield will be:
    LF Yelich
    CF Pederson
    RF Kemp/Toles
    .
    Take it to the bank.
    .
    Puig will be traded.

    1. It’s funny because in the 2017 season that I followed, Chris Taylor was damn close to being our team MVP. I’m guessing that it’s fans, not management, who are even thinking of taking away the job he just won.

      The CT arc: fails to make roster; joins bench; spot starts in LF; starter in LF; starter in CF; leadoff man; NLCS co-MVP

    2. I took it to the bank and the bank said there were insufficient funds in that account.

      1. No way Kemp ever plays RF;
      2. No way Taylor is not in CF;
      3. No way Yelich would not play CF over Pederson if Taylor were injured;
      4. No way Puig is traded; and
      5. No way Taylor plays 2B.

      An outfield of Pederson in CF and Kemp in RF would be horrible. I still think that after this season Taylor will be Top 4 or 5 in CF (all around) – he’s no fluke, as Turner was no fluke. His wheels keep him in CF. He’s also so a high baseball IQ. Joc has an IQ! He will have Spring Training to get ready and I think he will be a huge asset in CF.

  18. Bum what if Peterson fails what happens to center field I don’t think please will be traded maybe can’t trade it then you’re stuck with toles Kiki in left I hope you’re wrong.

    1. Puig would not be traded to Miami for Yelich, not a good match with Donnie boy. Pederson on the other hand is a Donnie boy favorite. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who would be traded for Yelich. I’ll give you a hint, not Puig.

  19. If Chris Taylor is for real and getting better than why the talk of moving him out of leadoff and into the 5 hole. He had an .OBP of .354 which is something the Dodgers sorely lacked from their leadoff hitters over the years. Unlike Verdugo he can run which is nice to have in front of Seager, Turner, Bellinger, and Puig. The Dodgers have a number 5 hitter. Puig! He hit almost 30 bombs last year. Taylor’s K levels are a bit high, but I would rather that happen out of the leadoff spot than when the bases are congested.
    ~
    I agree that Forsythe is going to have a bounce back year offensively and I love his defense at both 2nd and 3rd but his career year happened two years ago. He will never hit 20 bombs again in the NL West.

    1. I can see Forsythe do this in 2018:

      Bat .275
      OB% – .366
      HR – 15
      2B – 35
      High Caliber Defense

      He has 18 games in Colorado and Arizona – he could get a few HR there!

    2. Agreed Taylor is the best leadoff man we have, I only would consider Toles there if he comes all the way back from his injury. CT is a good RBI guy, I think that’s why some want him moved down. When the lineup turns over with 2 outs he has come through often as well batting up top. The problem with Toles is he would probably be platooned so they would lose the set top half of the lineup. I liked Puig in the 5 hole and he seemed to handle the ‘pressure’ just fine. One thing to note is the entire order will have speed except for Grandal and even he’s no AGon. Now if the LH hitting guys can drop a bunt now and then into the shift or slap a ball to LF we would really be moving guys around the bases. Other than a couple of the pitchers (mainly Kershaw) no one can really bunt either but Roberts does not play much small ball. JT, Puig and Cody could all steal more bases and so can Barnes which would keep them out of DP’s.

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