Get Over Darvish and Get Used To Kemp!

Just Say No Yu

  • The Dodgers Ace, Clayton Kershaw had a 4.02 ERA in the World Series and he’s a goat?
  • The Astros Ace, Justin Verlander was awesome with a 3.75 ERA and he is amazing?
  • Dallas Keuchel (the Astros #2) had a 5.32 ERA in the World Series.
  • Yu Darvish ERA in the World Series? 21.60. Let’s sign him. Hell no!

On the biggest stage in baseball, namely the World Series, Yu Darvish didn’t just mess up – he was deplorable.  Clayton Kershaw has had some excellent outings in the playoffs and World Series, only to have it unravel in one inning (like the 7th).

Clayton Kershaw has a 4.35 ERA in the playoffs, but if you take away a couple of bad innings, his ERA is in the 2.00’s.  No excuses, just fact. Yu Darvish has a 5.81 ERA in the Post-Season including a 21.60 ERA in the World Series last year.  He pitched 3.1 innings and allowed 9 hits, 9 runs and 2 HR in those debacles.  He had two opportunities to win the World Series for the Dodgers and  in both cases, not only could he not get it done, but he was worse and badder than bad. Yes, “badder.”

Kobe was a killer.  Michael Was a Killer.  Mad Bum was a Killer.  Clayton wasn’t and Yu Darvish was a baby pitching to men.  I don’t care if he was tipping his pitches, with his stuff, no one should hit him like that.  Yu Darvish is not a killer and he will block some of our kids.  Hopefully, FAZ is just runnng up the price on Yu.  Darvish?  NO!

By all accounts, Yu Darvish is a wonderful person.  He’s a great guy!  His teammates love him.  Clayton wants him back.  The problem is:  He’s not a killer.  He comes up totally empty on the biggest stage! Move on – there’s nothing to see here folks.  Darvish will not be a Dodger.

Get Used to Matt Kemp

For those of you who think Matt Kemp will not be on the team at the start of the season:  You may be right… or not!  The Dodgers have tried to trade him, but they have a figure in mind, and so far, no one has agreed to it.  If you think some team will trade for Matt Kemp and assume some salary if the Dodgers throw in Wilmer Font, you are delusional.  If you think the Dodgers are going to release Kemp before Spring Training, you are delusional.  If you think the White Sox will trade for Kemp, you are delusional.  However, the Dodgers are not delusional.

They owe Kemp $43 million over the next two years, and unless some team wants to pay at least $15 million of that, they have nothing to lose by seeing what he can do. Actually, the Dodgers are probably asking for a team to pay 50% of his salary.  Maybe some team will step up, but I doubt it. Yes, I have heard that Kemp is a defensive liability, but I do not believe that! I believe that if Matt Kemp WANTS to play defense in LF, he can play at least up to league average… probably better.

Friday night, I watched the Indiana Pacers give up 49 points in the first quarter. Last night, they gave up 27 points in the first quarter.  Their head was not in the game Friday night.  They are human.  Matt Kemp’s head probably was not in the game playing for Atlanta or San Diego, but given a shot at redemption back in LA, he just might surprise you as a defender.  This is a case of where you forget the stats.

Unless the Dodgers are overwhelmed with an offer, Matt Kemp will have every opportunity to be the Dodgers left fielder in 2018.  I am not delusional – he will never win a Gold Glove in LF, but he can be serviceable.  In fact, barring injury, I expect Matt Kemp to be the starting LF on Opening Day. I would not even be surprised if Kemp put up some monster numbers…

He’s in great shape and would like to be a part of a winning team.  They say you can never go home, but Kemp is home and poised to deliver. Very few players can help a team like Matt Kemp.  Conversely, very few players can destroy a team like Matt Kemp.  Thus… Chase Utley!  Chase Utley is vitally important as the locker room Policeman.  Kike, Justin, even Cody and Corey can hold their own and Yasmani Grandal is quietly an enforcer.

Many fans, beat writers and national correspondents say that Kemp will be cut or traded.  Timmons says no.  Let’s see who is right!

Wilmer Font

This guy could be  big part of the Dodgers pen in 2018.  He approaches triple digits and has a rising fastball.  Look out for this guy!


Trayce Thompson, Ross Stripling, Kyle Farmer, Joc Pederson and Rob Segedin are all being shopped.  Only the right deal will move them.


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 60 Comments

  1. It would be nice to have a stud RHP right behind CK, but not at the expense that most teams want for one. I still believe FAZ is in no rush to make things happen this year, but will wait to see how things play out this ST. I see the trade deadline as the moment of truth for this year’s club. Then we can all sit back and see what they do with the likes of Kemp, Pederson, and others who could be moved in a trade.

  2. Frankly, I would rather trade for someone in late July so we would only owe 2 month’s salary against the cap instead of an entire season. I suspect many teams will try to free up money for 2019 free agency and some bargains may be available. This will be especially true for those teams who have tried to compete in 2018 but have determined that they are not going to make the playoffs.

  3. Wow M.T. I said I would “consider” Yu… “Get over it”??? I’ve said many times I’m more than happy with the team I have going into ST and the F.O. will adjust at the trade deadline as req’d.
    And the monikers hail down upon us!!! “Deplorable” “Badder”, “locker room Policeman” “delusional” etc. etc.
    Of course, once hailed as the the best catcher in the known baseball world, Good Old P.B Grandal is now ” quietly our “Enforcer”…
    I don’t know about the rest of you, but feel a sense of calmness and Oh heck, sorta warm and fuzzy…

  4. Well, Peter, that was not just written for you… there might be one or two people other than you who read this blog.

    Evidently, you are talking about someone else, because I have never called him the best catcher in baseball… maybe “one of the best!”

    And, I did not say he was “Our enforcer” – I said he was “quietly an enforcer.”

    Big Difference – You are consistent – You pretty much have twisted everything I wrote, but if it makes you happy, have at it – you must be ecstatic!

    I am pretty much used to people downgrading Grandal. He had a bad year last season. Kike had a bad season in 2016, but I still knew his value. He came back strong in 2017. Watch Yasmani take his job back this year!

    Maybe he will improve on his PB, but if he does, some will say that his eyebrows are too bushy. Haters gonna’ hate!

    Grandal is one of the best catchers in baseball. I love Barnes too, but right now he’s “everyone’s flavor of the month.”

    I generally don’t second guess, but put me in the category that if Grandal were the catcher in the WS, the Dodgers would have won. It should not be lost on anyone that Yasmani’s son was born during the World Series. I have no idea what role his wife’s difficult pregnancy had in his season, but Kike’s father having cancer evidently distracted Kike in 2016.

  5. Darvish in his major league career is 56-42 and he is looking for somewhere between $150 to $175 M for the next 5 or 6 years, whereas Ryu was 28-15 in his first 2 years with the Dodgers before he missed all of 2015 and then had just I start in 2016. This is Ryu’s last contract year with the Dodgers and all things considered I’d rather go with Ryu. I’d much prefer Buehler and his potential for the next 5 or 6 years over Darvish and his aging skills.
    I think you are right about Kemp, I don’t see Pederson beating out Toles or Verdugo for the left field position. Kemp just needs to play reasonable defense and show some offense to beat out Toles and Verdugo ( 43M reasons why that is even remotely possible ) to be the starting left fielder.I think Toles will have a good spring but I think it would take a great spring for Toles and a disaster of a spring for Kemp to even get FAZ to even think about Kemp on the bench. Great shape and attitude with Kemp on the bench become what all are worried about, Kemp being the self-centered jerk he is and causing nothing but trouble until they let him go. I think all are hoping he looks good and some team puts in a very very small bid for him.

  6. I do not think FAZ will do anything more this year. We are set until the trading deadline in August. Barnes and Grandal will compete for the starting position. Regardless, we will have strength in that position. LF is wide open. Someone will have a very good ST and take control. The starting pitchers and bullpen will work out. We have the arms. Doc and Honeycutt will make decisions on how the players produce and where they fit in. I am very confident we will win the West again and play in the WS and win it all this year. Let ST begin. I cannot wait.

  7. Twisting!!! Nope… I’d love to have Grandal win out in ST and give me his 2016 numbers or close…
    Haters gonna hate ??? Who in the heck hates Grandal???
    Really though, could you clarify Dodgers win the WS if Grandal is behind the dish???Pitch framing??? Calls a good game??? Hitting??? I got to know…
    Go Philly… (actually I’m in it for the commercials)

    1. You twist more than Chubby Checker. 😉

      Yasmani Grandal was #1 in all of baseball in Catchers ERA at 3.22. Austin Barnes was at 3.74. That’s a half run a game.

      Grandal caught 32% of runners trying to steal. Barnes caught 22%. I can only assume something else was happening during the playoffs to cause Barnes to start 13 games and Grandal to start only 2, because Barnes may have been a better hitter, but Grandal was clearly the better receiver, which is why I think he wins the job back in 2018..

      1. I like Grandal and I think at this point he calls a better game but he’s faded in the 2nd half 3 year’s in a row now and how many times he caught CK compared to Barnes has to skew those numbers a bit. I’d like to see a 50/50 split this year.

  8. Here are some of the things everybody will be watching in order to asses whether some of the negatives from last year might hang over to 2018.
    1. Joc’s weight and quickness and ability to hit more often to the opposite field.
    2. Forsythe’s ability to hit righties.
    3. Puig’s ability to hit lefties.
    4. Kemp’s attitude, weight, and defense.
    5. Bellinger’s swings at breaking balls into his feet.
    6. Buehler’s control.
    7. Toles recovery from surgery.
    8. Verdugo’s power and readiness for the MLB.
    9. Barnes and Grandal competition.
    10. Baez’ ability to cut 2 minutes off his average time between pitches.

    1. Bums,

      Here’s my take:
      1. Joc has the opportunity to platoon with Kemp or be the #4 OF – It’s on him.
      2. Forsythe has always hit RHP – I think he will again in 2018.
      3. See #2.
      4. Agree.
      5. He has ALWAYS shown the ability to adjust.
      6. He has had good control until his callup.
      7. Toles is allegedly recovered but may need to play everyday at OKC for a couple months.
      8. He will start at OKC. The rest is TBD.
      9. I believe Grandal will win the job.
      10. Do you really think Baez can throw a pitch every 7 minutes?

  9. It looks more and more like the team is set going into ST. That is not a bad thing, and I have read the team walks away from more deals than any other. There will also be some spirited competition for the last few spots on the 25 man. FAZ will continue to work around the edges of the 40 man all season long and use the OKC express.

    Biggest battles:
    1. Who steps up in LF? There are not enough AB’s for all the competition they have created.
    2. Who wins the battle for #5 starter? I think Beuhler and Stewart go to AAA and Stripling and Font go to the BP.
    3. Who is the setup man for Jansen? It is probably by committee, Baez and Alexander 1st up.
    4. Who wins the catching job? This battle is good for the team, hope they both play a lot.
    5. To Utley or not to Utley? I think he is a safe addition but won’t play a lot. They have internal options too.

    I am more than ready for the start of ST, and the real speculation begins. There are some positions with real competition but only a handful of spots are really in play and about 22 locks to make opening day.

  10. Here’s a very exciting thing I read today about Scott Alexander:

    “Justin Turner at third base, Corey Seager at shortstop, Logan Forsythe at second base and Cody Bellinger at first base combined to save 23 runs last year with their defense, according to FanGraphs.

    Kansas City’s infield of Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, Whit Merrifield and Eric Hosmer combined to save -14.”

    He is licking his chops to play in LA.

    1. Got to say it’s easy to see how sexy the likes of a Logan Forsythe would appear to a RP that’s realized his own game ain’t of the sexy strikeout types usually we usually look for in RP’s. This infield is probably better than ‘the infield’ and will only shine with Alexander’s style and that was really a cool short to read.

  11. I do think that the Dodgers would have liked to sign Darvish. Darvish wanted to re-sign but FAZ was not going to unless they could lower their salary level even more…meaning move Matt Kemp. The slow free agency winter has led to a lot of OFs still without teams, and nobody is going to want a very questionable Kemp at $43M with the two Carlos’ (Gonzalez and Gomez), Jarrod Dyson, Jon Jay, Rajai Davis, John Jaso, Cameron Maybin, Michael Saunders, or even Joey Bats all available with a little more than a week before ST starts. I still believe the Dodgers will try to move Kemp before March 29, and are hoping that he has a good ST so that some AL team will want him. When the trade was made, I would not have thought Kemp had a chance of going to ST with the Dodgers. He not only is going to go to ST with the Dodgers, but has a chance (a very good chance) at starting for LA on March 29 against MadBum. I know a lot of Kemp Dodger jerseys will be coming out of storage.
    The Dodgers are too LHSP, in a RH hitting world. Maeda is starting, but he belongs in the pen where he can be dominant. The same with Brock Stewart and Ross Stripling who will probably be starting in OKC. I would have liked to have seen Darvish for that reason alone. His stuff is good, and I would have liked to have seen Honey and Prior work with him for a full year. But it is not going to happen, so we move on.
    The longer this Hot Stove freeze continues, the better the deals will become, and the bubble candidates will become those with minor league contracts. There have already been a number of potential relievers who have signed minor league deals that I was hoping to see the Dodgers ink. Two RHP I would like to see sign LAD minor league contracts with a decent minimum and heavy incentives would be Clay Buchholz and Trevor Cahill. I think if Cahill gets over his insistence of starting and concentrate on relieving he would be good. Buchholz is only 33 and is worth a shot, more than Justin Masterson or Jair Jurrjens were.
    I do think the Dodgers will re-sign Chase Utley. He needs to go out with a WS ring (more important than his Phillies ring). I am pulling for both Wilmer Font and Trayce Thompson to make the 25 man on March 29. The only way Trayce makes it is if Kemp is not on the roster, so I guess I am pulling for Thompson over Kemp, even though Kemp has a higher offensive ceiling.
    Kenley/Baez/Cingrani/Fields/Alexander/Koehler are 6 relievers who are pretty much guaranteed a spot. That would leave Font/Garcia/Liberatore/Paredes all on the bubble for #7. Garcia/Liberatore/Paredes all have one option remaining so if Font has a good spring, he could be the #7. If not, he will be a DFA candidate, and will absolutely be picked up.
    Grandal over Barnes or Barnes over Grandal. I do not have a dog in that hunt. I like them both. The Dodgers will win with either and that is all that is important.

  12. I like Grandal. But dammit…. his eyebrows are too bushy! Don’t you agree, Mark?

    It will be interesting to see how teams react come July if Kemp actually gets it going.

  13. Chubby Checker here… A.C. -glad you cruised in here to lay a lil logic out there..
    Got my ST tix and I’m anxious to see how Font does… He has set up guy kind of stuff and I hope he sticks… Thompson and his damned injury, he was starting to shine..
    Although young, my darkhorse out of ST would be Verdugo..
    Bushy eyebrows??? Beats MT ‘s pork chop underwear…

  14. Brock Stewart: I do not think he is starter. PERIOD! The sooner he and the Dodgers come to grips with that, the better off everyone will be. Stewart’s stats in the pen are outstanding! He could be a lock-down set-up guy. On the other hand, I think Ross Stripling should start and like AC said, go to OKC and do that.

    Wilmer Font: His ONLY chance with the Dodgers is in the pen… and he might be spectacular! I would start him right there. Forget starting.

    Trayce Thompson: If healthy and he has a good Spring anything can happen, but he will not make the team if Kemp is on it. It all depends upon what happens to Matt. He might have interest from other teams if he can play well.

    Yasmani Grandal: Is this the year I have predicted? We will see… I like Austin Barnes a lot!

  15. I also agree that Maeda would be OUTSTANDING in the pen, but his agent is going to make some noise. Maybe if they promise a re-negotiation…

    What if Walker Buehler is lights-out in the Spring? Could he make the rotation? Pitch him every 5th day until August and put him in the pen when Urias is ready.

  16. Reading all the comments it feels like we are all looking to the season starting. We have enough questions to make spring and the season intriguing and enough knowns to make us cocky.
    I am looking forward to the year that Peters and Bellinger both hit 50+ home runs each.

  17. I have been bouncing back and forth between the Laker game on ABC and PGA golf at TPC in AZ. I have watched the TPC tournament several times and played the sister TPC course next door many times. I am in the middle of winter in New Hampshire and would love to be in AZ right now.

  18. Wow – lots to talk about here;
    1 – If the Dodgers don’t trade Grandal i expect that he will get at least 1/2 of the playing time behind the plate. i don’t like his footwork and all of the PBs, but he was taught how to call a good game by AJ Ellis and has improved his throwing.
    2 – I agree with Mark that Stripling has starter’s stuff. He has back end of the rotation upside. I’m not so sure about Stewart.
    3 – Buehler has a straight fastball. Maybe he was overthrowing during his time with the Dodgers and his FB straightened out? Anyway, he’s not ready for prime time. Maybe later this season/
    4 – Darvish has some of the best stuff in baseball. Everything moves. His K/9 before the start of the 2017 season was 11.32, the highest of all time. With due respect, Ryu is no Darvish.
    5 – No to Trayce Thompson. He runs bad routes and his minor league numbers never projected success in the pros.
    6 – The problem with keeping Kemp is a roster construction issue. If the Dodgers keep “only’ 7 relief pitchers, this means 5 man bench. One will be Barnes/Grandal, and one will be Kike Hernandez. In the past they have kept 2 INF so Utley or another INF will make it. This leaves 2 spots for Joc/Toles/Verdugo/Farmer/Segedin. If they keep 8 RP (which they did at times during the season), then only 4 bench players. If Kemp is generally competent defensively and hits with the kind of power of which he is capable, then it’s a good gamble. That’s the big ‘if” and it doesn’t include all of the clubhouse/character issues that have been raised by others.
    7 – Agree with AC about bullpen construction except that he doesn’t leave space for a long man, such as Stripling or Stewart. Is Font the new long man? And the Braintrust has spoken as if they expect Yimi Garcia to be a contributor to the ‘pen this year. Fields and Baez are sort of the same guy – they both throw hard and give up HRs. Do we really need both?

        1. I had both teams covered in case of a blowout. It’s football, what the hell do I know! Entertaining game last night though.

  19. I really did not care who won, but it was the most exciting Super Bowl I have ever seen. Just 1 Punt!

    What an offensive show!

  20. Miami has now played 6 seasons in their new stadium. Long enough. Time to move the team. Montreal or Portland , OR would be my choice. Maybe let the Rays play a few homestands in Miami.

  21. Rosenthal suggested this morning that Marlins might be willing to trade Realmuto to the Nats for Carter Kieboom, a shortstop that is ranked as #3 Nats prospect.
    Maybe the Dodgers could reduce payroll if they could include Grandal and Wong in a three team trade with Wong and Kieboom going to Marlins and Grandal going to Nats and Realmuto to the Dodgers.
    Realmuto or Barnes could be moved in 2019 or 2020 to make room for Smith or Ruiz.
    Dodgers save payroll.
    Dodgers have two catchers that can help the team against lefties which is good because they already have solid hitters against righties besides Grandal.
    Wong and Carter Kieboom is a better return for Realmuto than just Carter Kieboom.
    Nats might have to add another player to keep the Dodgers out of the deal but the Dodgers could add another player again to stay in the deal. A chess match that all starts with how much the Dodgers want to reduce payroll.

  22. I’m not brave enough to call Matt Kemp a lock on the Opening Day roster. (Injury aside) It’s my belief that Kemp will be traded, if it is deemed, he brings more value to the club elsewhere. He’s like that mountian climber on that Price is Right Game…

  23. Baseball Prospectus has their 101 Prospect list:

    21. Walker Buehler, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
    25. Alex Verdugo, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
    41. Yadier Alvarez, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
    54. Keibert Ruiz, C, Los Angeles Dodgers
    69. Dustin May, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
    73. Yusniel Diaz, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
    86. Mitch White, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

    That’s 3 International Signings.

    Old friend:
    43. Willie Calhoun, DH, Texas Rangers

  24. I wouldn’t be the least bit shocked if Darvish signs for one year with Dodgers. Not that I think that will happen though I’d like it to happen. And it wouldn’t be the first time something along the same lines to occur. If Darvish would showcase his value this would be the best route it seems to me. I know the only thing he needs to prove is he’s far better than the last impression in the WS. Nolasco raised his stock with that formula.

    1. Anyone who puts Smith ahead of Ruiz has not been paying attention.

      BP has him at 54. I’ll bet that by mid-year, he’s in the 20’s or 30’s

      1. I like those Fangraph guys a lot.
        I’m pretty sure they’ve been paying 1000% more attention (and time aggregating information) than you or I.

        1. FanGraphs WAR (fWAR) and Baseball-Reference WAR (bWAR) make their calculations differently but wind up with similar WAR for most players. See the link below on Archer for an example.

      2. I like the speed that Smith brings to the catcher position. He is a plus defender and did have a great AFL last year. Ruiz is clearly the catcher with the most promising bat.

  25. More anecdotal information:
    Quite a few guys did a good job of keeping the ball in the yard last season. Some, not so much. Some notable 2017 HR/FB rates:
    Buehler: 13.6%
    Santana – 6.9%
    May – 6.5%
    Ferguson – 5.6%
    Yadier – 5.3%
    White – 4.5%
    Quite a few guys did a good job of keeping the ball in the yard last season. Some, not so much. Some notable 2017 HR/FB rates:

    Buehler: 13.6%
    Santana – 6.9%
    May – 6.5%
    Ferguson – 5.6%
    Yadier – 5.3%
    White – 4.5%

    Of note, in that article, for Yadier Alvarez:

    “The industry has begun talking about Alvarez’s makeup after he looked out of shape early last spring, but he’s in Arizona already working on his changeup command in preparation for the season.”
    “In the last year, Will Smith has altered his stride in a way that has increased his in-game power rather significantly. He’s an Austin Barnes sequel who’s perhaps two years from the majors.”

  26. That is great news about Alvarez. If he gets serious, he has #1 stuff… especially if his changeup looks like a fastball when it leaves his hand.

    It’s time for Clayton to master the changeup. It can make his unhittable.

    1. this is going to be an amazing year to watch our prospects. I might have to get that MILB package to go with the mlb package

      1. It’s well worth it. Back in the early to mid 2000’s the Jacksonville Suns had a stationary video cam which broadcast all of their home games… Loney, Martin, LaRoche, Kemp and others I watched by the hour.

  27. I spotted a license plate while in line to get me some french fries last night – DGER FN – Idaho recognizes – Dem Boy’s are big-time now!

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