The Dodgers HAVE to Get Under the Luxury Tax

You may think that the Dodgers WANT to get under the Luxury Tax Threshold purely to save money and that is absolutely true, but there’s another aspect to getting under the $197 million number: If they don’t, they will likely be in violation of baseball’s “Debt Service Rule.”  Major League Teams must comply with certain debt to asset ratios, and while the Dodger assets are high, so is their debt. I’m sure AC can explain it better than me, but the Commissioner will not let the Dodgers slide on this one.  The other MLB owners do not think it is fair that the Dodgers can outspend them by tens of millions of dollars, and they are making sure that MLB is forcing the Dodgers to HAVE to get under the threshold.

It’s not like the Dodgers are poor or in any financial crisis… far from it! Actually, from what I hear, other owners have complained about this for some time.  So, the Dodgers simply HAVE to cut payroll.  Now, this is not “official”  – I doubt that either side wants it public, but I have read it in The LA Times and heard it from a couple of other sources. I believe that it is true.  So, it’s truly moronic to criticize FAZ for not spending this winter.  If Yu Darvish is available for $80 or $90 million, then the Dodgers might be motivated to trade Grandal or Wood  or Ryu.  Frankly, I could see them moving Wood after the year he had in 2017.  Sell high!

With Buehler nearing ready and Urias ready later in the year, I could see the Dodgers trading Wood, Grandal and Pederson or Kemp (If they could just get someone to pay even $6 to $8 million a year of his deal.  I happen to think that Hyun-Jin Ryu will have an excellent year… and then he walks for 2019.  It’s almost a certaintity that Buehler and Urias will be in the 2019 rotation… maybe the 2018 version.

Kenta Maeda is a marginal starter in my opinion, but if he hits his marks, he could make $10 million in 2018, so he is a trade candidate if Darvish were signed.  What if the Dodgers traded Wood, Maeda, Grandal, Pederson and Kemp and $7 million a year of his deal?  Not to the same team, mind you:  Maybe Wood and Kemp (you want Wood, you have to take Kemp) in a package and Pederson, Maeda and Grandal in another for just prospects, then flip the prospects to Miami (maybe Pederson goes there) for Yelich.

Trading all those players for Yelich and prospects would weaken the team depth, but with an outfield of Yelich in LF, Taylor in CF and Puig in RF, the offense and defense would be crazy.  Actually, the team would be loaded at every postion.

Here’s the rotation in 2018

  1. Kershaw
  2. Darvish
  3. Hill
  4. Ryu
  5. Stripling/Buehler/Urias (later)

2019 Rotation

  1. Kershaw (if he’s healthy, FAZ will not let him walk, if he’s not, he won’t walk)
  2. Darvish
  3. Hill
  4. Buehler
  5. Urias/Ferguson/Santana

There’s a solid chance that Yasiel Puig takes another big step forward in 2018.  When he came up in 2013, it was just too easy and the next year he backslid a little, because it came to easy to him.  He wasn’t a student of the game, he was not serious about it and he did not work at it. His demotion to OKC was a wakeup call in 2016 and he has minimized his knuckleheadedry!  Once you have tasted success from hard work, you want to work harder… at least most people do.

Yasiel Puig is one of the TOP Right Fielders in baseball.  He’s not going anywhere soon.  The trades I mentioned would constitute a BLOCKBUSTER, but the team depth would still include Hernandez, Toles, Peter, Farmer and oh… they are talking about bringing Chase Utley back.

Things could suddenly get very hot, but the thing is: Any moves have to (1) Keep the team under the Luxury Tax and (2) The moves have to improve the team. It’s going to be interesting this last month before pitchers and catcher report.

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 61 Comments

  1. Chemistry is an elusive term but important for a winning team. Trades tend to change chemistry, sometimes for the good and sometimes not. With this many players changing it is always a gamble.

    That being said, I don’t think the trades so far have adversely change the chemistry. It has mostly been a noun era shuffle and restocking after some free agent losses.

    This trade proposal also leaves most of the current players with the addition of known quality players. Grandal will be gone next year – free agent who likely won’t be resigned given our org depth at that position. Wood being replaced by Darvish would likely be a wash from the chemistry perspective. We can’t have both.

    Yelich is a quality player from all perspectives

    1. How “salary” became “noun era” I have no idea. Between auto corrrect and small phone screen and fat fingers …..

    2. Mark, do you really want to trade Wood before the Dodgers find out if last year was a fluke
      or if they have a 27-year-old rising star. I agree with moving Grandal and Ryu, both are FA after this season so moving both is a good move, especially if the Dodgers can save close to 15M this year. If the Dodgers can get Darvish to agree on a 4year deal at 20M per year the Dodgers could make that deal and still be under the Tax. I think it will take more than 7M per year to move Kemp, I think it will take 15 to 18M per year to move him. If the Dodgers can accomplish all of the above I think they would move Kemp and save 6M over the next 2 years. Many IF’s which show how little I know.

      1. I like Wood, but he scares the hell out of me. I just feel his arm is going to fall off like Dave Dravecky. I won’t post the video.

  2. I understand you are just ‘stirring the pot’ with blockbuster trade proposals but these are huge! I am NOT in favor of moving Wood, he made huge strides and figured out how to keep the ball down with movement. He became a swing and miss pitcher that still gets a lot of ground balls. He has 2 years before becoming a free agent and at $6 M is a bargain this year. All the other guys: Grandal, Joc, Kemp and Maeda can go in the right deal, Ryu too. But I don’t think the Dodgers are after starting pitching, they want to see what Buehler, Urias, Stewart, Santana, White and Font have to offer first and save some serious money. Maybe they move some salary to fit Darvish (Kemp) but not likely with 5 other teams bidding.

    Yelich is a difference maker but the Marlins asking price must be too high. They may want to move Castro as well and don’t need Grandal with Realmuto around. How about Joc, Thompson, Alvaraz and Forsythe for Yelich and Castro? If they want another major league ready pitcher pick one from Stewart, Stripling or Font. If they want another OF we have plenty to choose from that Yelich makes expendable. The Dodgers take on a little salary but upgrade 2 positions.

    The team has been so quiet it seems most likely they go into spring training with the team they have, however they are not prone to leak details out so there could be explosive things going on behind the scenes. I also am not in favor of bringing Utley back and do not want Puig moved-he is worth more to us than anyone else.

      1. Thompson is useless; Forsythe is not a sexy trade candidate for a Marlins team. We will have to, and rightfully so, add Verdugo to any Yelich deal.

        1. consensus seems to be that if we’re not willing to move buehler, a logical package would consist of verdugo, alvarez, smith/ruiz, someone like sheffield.

          yelich is incredibly valuable because of his contract so any deal that seems like a good one for us probably wouldn’t cut it.

          personally i’d do the one with smith in a heartbeat but i’d have to think long and hard about moving ruiz.

          wild card could be diaz, if we’re actually interested.

        2. I included Forsythe to offset Castro, saving the Marlins $4 M this year and more next year. I am fine with Verdugo being included, and maybe Smith but not Ruiz. Just saying the Marlins would like to move Castro and it may be part of the price to get Yelich.

  3. When did the Dodgers sign Darvish and how did I not hear about that and how do they expect to get under the luxury tax limit with Darvish’s contract and why are we talking 2019 and who the hell wants Kemp anyway(nobody) unless Dodgers pay and…aw, never mind.

  4. Mark,
    .
    This point isn’t accurate, and is well-refuted by the Effectively Wild crew with Jeff Passan (“The Arm.”
    .
    The incentives to get under the luxury tax are not onerous. Most teams can spend much more than they do. Heck, the Pirates have ludicrous cash flow and asset appreciation.
    .
    The incentive to get under the luxury tax is, more likely than not, pure greed.
    .
    https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/category/effectively-wild/

    1. I would not use the word “greed.” Well, maybe with the Pirates! Is is greedy to want to make a profit? Is it greedy to have to make a profit for your investers? If you are on the hook for $2.1 Billion for the purchase of teh Dodgers, is it greedy to want to get a nice return?

      That said, I know that the Debt Service Ratio is a thing. The rules, intended to ensure clubs have the resources to support their financial obligations, generally limit a team’s debt to 10 times its annual earnings, although Manfred has wide latitude to enforce those rules. The latest Dodger Financials show a negative $20 million operating loss. I believe that the Dodgers have over $400,000,000 in loans. Do the math….

      Can I prove it? I don’t know. What say you, AC?

      1. That’s a lot of zeros! I assume it’s $400 M in debt and if so that’s only 20% of the purchase price. I also would think the $20 M ‘paper loss’ is creative accounting for tax and investment purposes. They do put a lot back into the product besides player salaries, they are not cheap in my opinion but are showing more fiscal restraint.

        1. I am sure that they are using GAAP Accounting. GAAP is a combination of authoritative standards (set by policy boards) and the commonly accepted ways of recording and reporting accounting information. GAAP improves the clarity of the communication of financial information-

          (I can feel AC’s breath)

          1. I have been in client meetings all day. I hate it when work gets in the way of baseball. I really do need to retire.

  5. Rose colored glasses: Beuhler and /or Urias in the rotation any time soon. Stick with what we know: Wood is probably better than either of them will ever be. POTENTIAL again. Bad word like “Hope.” The only problem with Wood, long term, is his health. But Beuhler and Urias are probably in worse shape than he is.

      1. Rose colored glasses are better than brown colored gasses. Mark, you were so close. Just had to get the L out of there.

  6. How about this trade???

    Dodgers: Hill/ 16M, SP; Kemp/ 20M, LF/DH, Forsythe/ 8M, 2B; Peterson/ 5M, CF; and Fields 2M, CL.
    Twins: Dozier/ 9M, 2B; Buxton/ 2M/ CF/LF

    Dodgers receive $40M in salary relief for 2018. With this money, they could sign Darvish, and be close to $40 mil under the 2019 limit.

    Twins have a decent team and plenty of cap room and need to make a move this year. They need at least one SP a late inning reliever, a DH, and replacements for Dozier and Buxton due to trade. This does all of this and would make them a better deeper team.

    1. The Twins are trying to sign Darvish. They aren’t going to help the Dodgers get salary relief.

  7. I believe I expressed reservations about Buehler some months ago, based on my observation last year that his fastball appeared to be straight as an arrow, despite the velocity. That observation was reinforced when I read the following in a Baseball America scouting report. “The one shortcoming of his fastball is it doesn’t have a ton of life, making it easier for hitters to square up when he misses his spot, a problem that was exposed during his September callup in the Dodgers bullpen.” Mind you, they do have a lot of good things to say about Buehler, such as his fastball “jumps on hitters quickly”, and they consider his slider and curveball to both be “plus pitches”. And they do rank him as the Dodgers top prospect.

    So while I understand that Buehler is no doubt a legitimate top pitching prospect, I would not be reluctant to include him in a deal, especially if it brought back a player of Yelich’s caliber. Of course, I’ve only seen him a limited number of times, and I trust that Dodgers’ management has a pretty good handle on his overall worth.

  8. Baseball America says this:

    One of the top pitching prospects in baseball, on his best nights Buehler pitches with three above-average or better pitches. His fastball is a top-of-the-scale monster with good late movement.

    Read more at https://www.baseballamerica.com/majors/expect-walker-buehler/#ZqGKqSh0sop4yxz8.99

    I have watched him and his fastball “explodes.” I don’t know who wrote he had no movement. Now, when he was called up, his fastball looked flat, but I chalk that up to just being nervous.

    1. Based on an admittedly small sample at the end of last year, I wasn’t enthused about Buehler’s fastball for 2 reasons:
      1 – I thought it was too straight
      2 – he couldn’t spot it consistently – either out of the zone or too much of the zone.

      Small sample and he started the season in Single A, so i don’t draw any permanent conclusions, but I agree with Brooklyn

  9. The MLB debt service rule is not as hard and fast as some like to make it. Is it a rule? Yes. Are they ways around the rule? Yes. Do some teams get more leeway than others? Yes. When a team is not deemed to be in compliance, MLB is looking for a PLAN to get into compliance. The CBA gives MLB the option of granting 5 year waivers for new owners to get into compliance. That 5 year waiver has come and gone for LAD, and if there was any real concern by MLB, the Dodgers would not have been able to commit $200M for three players last year. Kasten and Manfred have both said there is no concern. All parties have said that LAD is working towards the PLAN that was presented. The Dodgers have an $8.35 billion television contract to counter any debt, and that is very much taken into consideration.
    .
    Baseball teams are subject to a rule that “limits debt to no more than 12 times annual revenue, minus expenses”. The big question is, what represents expenses. The purpose of the rule is to see what Net Operating Income is available to satisfy debt payments. Therefore, expenses should exclude interest, depreciation, amortization, and taxes. This is also referred to EBITDA, Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization. I have no idea if that is how MLB considers “revenues less expenses”, but it is exactly how most lenders look at companies and their debt structure. “What is the amount of revenues less expenses required to meet debt service”. Since the Dodgers have not made a profit since the purchase, it would appear that only zero debt would be in compliance if it considered all revenues and all expenses.
    .
    One other consideration is that the original purchase included Guggenheim Baseball Management, Inc. assumed $412M of McCourt debt. How does that figure into the MLB debt service rule?
    .
    I am sure that the financial statements are subject to audit, therefore the reporting would be compliant with GAAP. Guggenheim Baseball Management, Inc. is not a publically traded entity, so everyone is guessing at what their debt is. Forbes is guessing at $400M. Even if that is the true amount, what is not known is what the terms of that debt are.
    .
    Kasten has always been enamored with building from within, but realized that they needed to make a splash. They dropped below 3M in attendance and lost credibility with the fanbase, thus the need (in their mind) for “The Trade”. The trade had to be approved by MLB, thus ownership was able to convince them that moving payroll to $300M was necessary to rebuild arguably the best franchise in sports. After 2014, Kasten wanted a proven baseball executive who could build a team through the farm system and keep salary under control. Thus the hiring of Andrew Friedman and his hiring of Farhan Zaidi, two top executives who knew how to build from within and within a budget. Yes all teams/entities have budgets. Guggenheim and MLB also recognized that costs of the trade would go away after 2018 and were willing to accept the elevated salaries, even with the $200M committed after 2016.
    .
    Fortunately FAZ was able to manufacture a workaround that finally gets the Dodgers to a salary level under the luxury tax threshold for 2018, and regardless as to who is going to become free agents next year, there will be no 10 year $300M – $500M contracts signed. If they re-sign Kershaw they will not need Keuchel. They would consider Keuchel if Kershaw opts out and moves on, but not at a $200M contract. While Harper would be nice for any lineup, he will not be a Dodger. Machado is a no with Seager. And Donaldson is a no with JT. I do not see the Dodgers going north of the luxury tax of $206M in 2019. But even if they do, the tax will be decreased to 20% rather than 50%.
    .
    I am sure that the Dodgers have shared their vision with MLB that includes major investments in the farm system, international operations, and the physical facilities in Chavez Ravine and Glendale, AZ. MLB obviously was aware that the capital needed to invest in those areas could have been used to reduce debt, but Guggenheim knew they needed to invest heavily up front and worry about the debt later. The Dodgers plan appears to be acceptable to MLB.
    .
    One other consideration is that clubs are allowed to renegotiate debt to ensure that the team revenue is not used to repay that specific debt or use it as collateral. We do not know how much of the original $412M assumed debt falls into that category. One thing I am comfortable with is believing that MLB was undoubtedly more than willing to work with the Dodgers, as most of that McCourt debt would probably have to have been assumed by MLB. The team is more than competitive, and not a lot of salary is needed to upgrade the team. The Kasten plan is coming together, and I am sure MLB is okay with whatever non-compliance may exist. At least for now, and as long as they continue to formulate a plan.

    1. So, it is possible that MLB told Kasten they had to get below the Luxury Tax Threshold and everyone would be happy?

      1. I think it is entirely possible. But I also have to think MLB is more concerned about teams like the Marlins, and for teams that will not spend to be competitive. I do not think they are happy with teams folding to start over. I do not believe they think it gives MLB a good image even though it is an allowable strategy. MLB does recognize that the Dodgers will meet their debt service concerns, even if it takes a couple of more years, as long as they have a viable plan. But being under the luxury tax for 2018 gives credence to that plan.

  10. Cardinals made another good trade today. They moved a #4 OF (Randal Grichuk) to pick up a key reliever (Dominic Leone) and a lottery pick pitcher (Conner Greene). Grichuk was being squeezed due to an OF of Ozuna, Pham, and Fowler and with two OF who are in the MLB top 100 and major league ready (Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader).
    .
    Dominic Leone is a 26 year old RHRP who came into his own last year. 70.1 IP, 2.65 ERA,1.05 WHIP, 81 K, and 23 BB.
    .
    Grichuk gets a great opportunity to join an OF with Granderson and Pillar as the other scheduled starters, with only one top OF prospect close to ML ready, Anthony Alford.

    1. Cardinal fans have been unhappy with the absence of activity this off-season, but I keep hearing that they are in on Hosmer and Holland. That would really even up that division.

  11. Mark, Because the Twins are going to lose Dozier to FA next season getting Fields and Foresyth is not the worst that could be expected. Buxton, considering his ongoing underperformance mirrors that of Peterson and, that both were similarly rated at their entry into the majors, seems an even swap option. Unless Hill is considered overpriced at 16M per year in 2018 and 2019 then the cost for the Twins to assume this expense and acquire a #2 starter seems fair. That leaves Matt Kemp. You’re a fan of keeping him and I favor moving him. The market for early to mid thirties power hitting former all-star outfielders with declining skills seem to be in the range of between 12-16M per year and Kemp’s stats seem to demonstrate that he could help the Twins as a DH and fill-in LF, I’d even also throw in Thompson to give them more defense in the OF. Let’s say the Dodgers have to throw in $7.5 M per year and wouls save 32.5M in 2018

    1. I am not a Matt Kemp fan, but unless they get some value for him, I am all in favor of giving him a chance. Kemp keeps getting thrown out there in trade scenarios but the Braves could find no takers and so far the Dodgers have found none (not saying that they won’t), but the only people who have been anle to trade Kemp so far have been commentators on blogs.

  12. Mets still want an infielder. Forsythe should be of interest to them. Add Ryu to the deal to get player(s) Miami would want.
    .
    Boston still wants a big bat like martinez but might not be able to sign him. Martinez does not want to DH. Kemp probably would be happy at DH. There is still a chance for Kemp going to Boston and nothing going back to LA but partial payroll relief.
    .
    Puig is a free agent after this season. If he does as great as some are saying here, the Dodgers would probably go with Verdugo in RF instead of giving Puig a monster contract. He is not the same attitude challenged person he was when he and Mattingly were together. He would draw fans in Miami. He would love to play CF. Mattingly would only have to live with him one year and should be able to stomach one year. Puig loves Miami. It could happen. Puig, Alvarez, Toles, and White or replace one or two of the the those prospects with players obtained by trading Grandal and or Forsythe for Yelich.
    .
    Sign Darvish with payroll saved with the Kemp, Forsythe, Ryu trade.

  13. At the risk of annoying you, let me summarize what I think you proposed. Trade Forsythe, Ryu, Kemp, Puig, Alvarez, Toles, White, and Grandal for Yelich, a couple of prospects, and a chance to sign Darvish. First, Puig will not be a free agent next year. He has one year of arbitration. His contract only covered 2 years of arbitration. Next, it would then appear that your outfield would be Thompson in LF, Joc in CF, and Verdugo in right. Your trade eliminates the Dodgers #2 and #3 pitching prospects. Your bench would be Kike’, Farmer, Peter, and ? for the other two. I am surprised that you did not include Verdugo and Thompson so as to eliminate any competition for Joc. So we hurt the team offensively, defensively, ML bench, and depth just to let Joc be the Dodgers CF.
    .
    I think a better idea might be to let Joc compete for LF and CF, and if he does not win it, trade him to Miami for Kyle Barraclough, or Ziegler and cash. St. Louis and Toronto just set the market for #4 OF’s. Donnie loves Joc, and he would start for sure in Miami. He would probably hit better in the NL East since there are very few quality LHP other than Gio in that division.

    1. Just a guess but I believe CT3 has been told he’s the every day centerfielder and don’t worry about being bounced around the field. Joc will be competing for left field.

      Joc most likely makes the opening day roster I think Toles starts in AAA to be sure his knee is healed. Verdugo goes to AAA so he can get regular at bats. This is based on Kemp being on the roster. If Kemp gets moved it’s wide open between Joc, Toles and Verdugo

      1. There is very little doubt in my mind that CT3 will be roaming CF for the Dodgers next year as long as Forsythe is on the team. But if Forsythe is traded to make room for Darvish then that opens the door of Taylor maybe moving to second.

    2. AC, at the risk of again telling you that you put words i my mouth that I didn’t put there and that usually that kind of stuff does annoy anybody, let me set you straight.
      .
      I was identifying trades the Dodgers could make that could reduce payroll and allow them to sign Darvish and proposing what might have to be given up for Yelich.
      .
      Forsythe and Ryu to the Mets would free up payroll in that the return would be players that Miami might want.
      .
      To get Yelich I said it would take Alvarez, Puig, White, and Toles but the players the Dodgers got from the Mets could be used to reduce the number of Dodger prospects included in the Yelich trade.
      .
      I am not a big fan of Puig. I think what he adds to the Dodger defense in RF is equal to the defense he reduces from CF. A CFer can’t go after a ball in the RF gap with abandon because Puig will bang into the CFer. He has only one gear in that regard. Also what he gives us with arm strength he takes away with his decisions hit or not hit the cutoff player. He is a good trade high player. Trade him now and make room for Verdugo or make room for Harper next year should Verdugo not do well enough this year.
      .
      White is a safer bet to be in the rotation in 2019 than Alvarez even though Alvarez has better stuff. Attitude could hurt Alvarez. So, hopefully what the Dodgers get from the Mets for Forsythe and Ryu could allow the Dodgers to keep White.
      .
      I think the 2019 rotation could be Kershaw, Buehler, Urias, White, Wood, Stewart which could be strong enough to withstand Kershaw not being extended and allow the Dodgers to further save payroll by trading Hill next year.
      .
      The Dodger lineup next year will no doubt be Taylor, Seager, Turner, Bellinger, Puig, Pederson, Barnes, Forsythe. I am good with that and have said so many times.

      1. “I was identifying trades the Dodgers could make that could reduce payroll and allow them to sign Darvish and proposing what might have to be given up for Yelich.” How is that different from my summary? You said “Forsythe and Ryu to the Mets would free up payroll in that the return would be players that Miami might want”. Your words, not mine. That seems to me that you are making the trade of Forsythe and Ryu to get prospects that Miami might want. Certainly there is a reduction in payroll, but it was you that said “return would be players that Miami might want”.
        .
        Then you said “To get Yelich I said it would take Alvarez, Puig, White, and Toles but the players the Dodgers got from the Mets could be used to reduce the number of Dodger prospects included in the Yelich trade.” Again your words, not mine. That would seem to mean that the Met prospects would be in place of the Dodgers prospects of Alvarez and White, since those are the only two Dodgers prospects you were including. Since there were Mets prospects, that would mean that you would have already traded Forsythe and Ryu to get them. In both of your posts you have traded Forsythe, Ryu, Puig and Toles, and the only player in return is Yelich. In your original post you stated, “Puig, Alvarez, Toles, and White or replace one or two of the those prospects with players obtained by trading Grandal and or Forsythe for Yelich.” Admittedly, I did not know what your plans for Grandal were. I just assumed he was gone to the Marlins or another team for more prospects to include in the Yelich trade. So I will accept that was perhaps a bad read by me, but that is how I read it. However, I will go with your second post and exclude Grandal, meaning that Grandal would replace Farmer as one of the bench players.
        .
        I did make an error in my summation, I forgot to add Yelich as the LF. My bad. With Forsythe gone, that would move CT3 to 2B. A good 2B but not as good defensively as Forsythe. That would then get you what you really want…Joc in CF, Yelich in LF, and Verdugo in RF. I am not sure that any baseball executive would consider that a better offensive or defensive OF than Toles, CT3, and Puig.
        .
        In the second post you also said, “The Dodger lineup next year will no doubt be Taylor, Seager, Turner, Bellinger, Puig, Pederson, Barnes, Forsythe. I am good with that and have said so many times.” You could very well be right. That could be the lineup, but I am just as sure that many on this site (and others) do have a doubt that Joc will be the LF. I can only speak for myself, but IMO at best Joc is a platoon with Kike’. And I have said many times that I believe it will be Kike’ in LF to open the season, facing Bumgarner. I think that if any player gets the everyday LF job it will be Andrew Toles. In more than 1400 career PA, Joc has a slash line of .222/.345/.435/.780, and career against LHP he is .184/.278/.321/.599. Those are not acceptable for a corner OF. Toles is actually younger than Joc and deserves a like amount of opportunity to see what he could do. But if you are right and Joc is the everyday LF, that would mean that Joc had a great ST, and won the job. I have said all along that I am indifferent to Joc. He is not a favorite of mine, and I do not dislike him. I have defended him, and I root for him because he is a Dodger. If he competes for the job and wins it, great for him and the Dodgers. But I am not in favor of trading away his competition just so he gets yet another opportunity.

        1. AC, Joc probably will platoon with somebody but because righties pitch 70% of the time that would make Joc the dominant player between Joc and Kike’. But, don’t forget that Puig was platooned as well against lefties because of his reverse split.
          .
          Why do you insist on repeating Joc’s stats against lefties and never mention Puig’s stats against lefties?
          .
          Also, if Forsythe and Ryu were traded for prospects that were to go to Miami, then that is the same thing as saying Forsythe and Ryu were traded for Darvish. Why, because the Dodgers traded the cost of Forsythe and Ryu for the cost of Darvish. FAZ might want to give Darvish 4 years but instead give him 5 years if the first year were at a cost that helped keep the team under the payroll penalty cap.
          .
          To say it another way, the Dodgers trade Puig, Alvarez, Toles, and Met’s prospects for Darvish and Yelich. Probably have to add a prospect further down the ranking than White.

  14. The Mets would have zero interest in Forsythe and Ryu. The Mets could always bring back Walker or deal for Harrison or Castro.

    1. The Puig RF-CF argument is nonsense. All players should attack a baseball the way Puig does. It’s up to the CF to take charge which Joc doesn’t do worth a darn. Possibly due to his lack of speed. He collided with Bellinger last year too. Every now and the a ball is perfectly gapped where neither OFer know if they have it for sure or not which leads to a collision like we saw last year.

  15. Bumsrap, First I very much doubt you will come close to getting any prospects from the Mets for Forsythe and Ryu that Miami would accept in a trade for Yelich. The Dodgers have better prospects then the Mets have so all the players for Yelick will come from the Dodgers.
    I disagree with you about Puig, he is the best defensive right fielder in baseball, so including him in a trade for Yelich and placing Verdugo in right field is not going to happen, if anything the Dodgers will trade Verdugo along with other prospects to Miami for Yelich and have Taylor in center and Puig in right which would be an outstanding defensive and offensive outfield.
    I haven’t heard anything about Alvarez and his attitude, please let me know where you read that.

  16. Bumsrap (IMO) is just stirring the pot a bit with some creative trade ideas, nothing wrong with that. I do disagree with Puig being a hazard to the CF’s but whoever plays there does have to take charge early because Puig will go all out to make the spectacular play, nothing wrong with that either.

    I don’t believe the Dodgers are going after starting pitching at this point but can’t rule anything out. I agree with Ron Fairly’s take earlier that Toles and Verdugo start the season in AAA and Joc and Kike or Kemp platoon there. Either Thompson or Kemp will be the odd man out and Thompson is easier to deal but has little value. It may take awhile to see how it all shakes out. Buehler will also start the season in AAA barring injuries or a truly lights out showing in ST. The other real battles will be in the bullpen for the final two spots and who is the final bench player.

    1. I like to be a little weird in the off-season and with this year trending to zero on big trades, then only far out ideas seem to be fun–for me.

  17. If the Dodgers cannot trade Kemp before the Season, then they almost have to let him start in LF, provided he is not blind, crippled or crazy (and he may be). That would send Toles and Verdugo to AAA to hone their skills.

    Joc and Matt platoon in LF:

    Here’s what can happen:
    1. Kemp cannot cut it and is released;
    2. Joc cannot cut it and is sent to AAA;
    3. Kemp rakes and you either leave him there or let his value build and trade him then; or
    4. Joc rakes and you either anoint him or trade him.

    You still have Verdugo and Toles at the ready. There is no reason to trade any of those players now… UNLESS someone really wants to overpay! I am optimistic about Grandal and Ryu. They are critical cogs. I look for big seasons out of both.

    Yelich would be great – everyone is expecting him to become a superstar. He has a small salary. The Marlins will want the world for him. You will be “buying high.” How smart is that?

    Also, I do not think Chris Taylor will ever play 2B… except in some strange emergency. He is not a good 2B and stats bear it out – 2B is his worst position – he has a .944 fielding % there.

    1. Pretty much agree, Kemp has gotten off to good starts each of the last 3 years since leaving the Dodgers. If he comes into camp in shape and can field the position adequately he provides more upside offensively than Kike. Platooning could keep Kemp healthier as well but it must be earned on the field and in the clubhouse. Kike would still get starts to rest regulars, PH opportunities and the famous double switches. Toles, Joc and Verdugo will have to earn their playing time too, as it should be. There is no reason to coddle or hand anything over to these players. It does make Thompson an afterthought and his days may be numbered.

      Grandal and Ryu give the team two edges when the team is coming back basically the same: Grandal keeping both catchers fresh for the long season and combining their offense in a natural platoon. Barnes however was one of the top OPS players against RHP which was a Forsythe weakness so expect to see him get some starts at 2B as well. Ryu is a very good #5 pitcher and if he is matched up against other 5’s and not allowed to pitch in Coors Field he could be a real steal at his salary in a walk year.

      Having said all that I still can’t shake the feeling there is a late developing trade or signing looming with all of the bargain talent still out there unsigned. It’s half off at the Dollar Store!

    2. If Kemp is on the opening day roster, I think Kike’ is destined to be the primary infield backup. He would give Turner, Seager and Forsythe days off. If Puig can’t hit LHP again this year then he may see time in right. It all comes down to what Kemp can bring to the table.

      1. There is just as good a chance that Kemp and Joc will platoon in LF and Kike’ and Puig will platoon in RF as Puig was platooned against lefties last year already. Puig does not hit lefties.

          1. OK, you may be right. I’ll write that down and we will see. By the way, I’m not saying he will do anything. I just think there are $43 million reasons to try it. I have no clue what he can do… I readily admit that… and I don’t think anyone else does either.

  18. FAZ will not be trading Forsythe, Grandal, Ryu, Wood, Hill, or any of the regulars. FAZ will be just fine with going to battle with 7 of the 8 spots in the lineup set:
    .
    Bellinger
    Forsythe
    JT
    Seager
    CT3
    Puig
    Barnes/Grandal
    .
    FAZ will not sign Darvish. They will not exceed the luxury tax threshold. The rotation will be Kershaw, Hill, Wood, Maeda, & Ryu. Buehler and Urias later in the season. Maeda to the bullpen, probably in September to get ready for the playoffs.
    .
    It will be open competition for LF amongst Kemp, Toles and a Joc/Kike’ platoon. I am not a Kemp fan, but if he does bounce back offensively, that is what would personify a corner OF in my opinion. If Kemp is still with the team after the Freeway Series, Kemp will be the everyday LF and Joc could be a late inning defensive switch. Toles would go back to AAA to play everyday and would be recalled once Kemp gets injured, as he will undoubtedly do. If Kemp is still with the team in July (and playing regularly), he probably becomes a very big potential to trade.
    .
    The only area that I see possible changes is in the bullpen and bench. But I think all of those players would be signed to minor league contracts with a ST invite.
    .
    The only player that appears to be available that I would have any interest in a trade for would be Christian Yelich. I agree with Mark that it will require an overpay, something FAZ will not do. So very little chance that Yelich becomes a Dodger.
    .
    I am looking forward to seeing Jake Peter, Max Muncy, and Henry Ramos in ST. I think one of Peter and Muncy make the 25 man, and I think that Ramos has a chance to make some feel a little uncomfortable. Joc, Toles, and Ramos are all within one month in age. Ramos is at a huge disadvantage, but he had a wonderful spring last year, and what if he duplicates it?
    .
    The Cardinals had two reserve outfielders that they moved this winter. Piscotty to the A’s for Yairo Munoz (Cards #10), and Max Schrock (Cards #11, and #8 2B prospect per MLB Pipeline). The Cardinals already good farm got two good additions that moved to #10, and #11. Then they traded Grichuk for a reliever who may have found it last year, Dominic Leone, and a RHP who turns 23 in April with a fastball that grades a 70. He has a lot of questions, so he is a lottery pick, but he does have that 70 grade fastball to work with. Plus he slid in as the #23 prospect for the very good Cardinals farm system. If Henry Ramos or Trayce Thompson have a good spring, it could indicate a trade of one of the Dodgers #4 OF. I like the return the Cardinals got for two OF’s they were not going to use.

    1. Your insightful opinions never cease to amaze me. I like Peter or Muncy getting a shot over bringing back Utley for a LH hitting utility option. Utley really can only play 2B and is just a passable 1B. Those 2 guys you mentioned can play all over the place. Kemp is a wild card, and a sunk cost so might as play him if he is still around. I don’t think he would play every day though. I can’t help thinking Barnes gets some starts at 2B because of his high OPS against RHP and to get his bat in the lineup more than last year. The catching will be more of a 50/50 than last year. This saves a roster spot for another reliever but I think the bench will sometimes be 4 and sometimes be 5 during the season. It’s fun to speculate who will be this years ‘break out’ candidates. I personally look forward to Baez battling with a pitch clock, it may help him or maybe his head explodes.

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