Spring Training at Camelback Ranch

Camelback Ranch is a Holy Place where Dodger Fans convene every Spring to make a pilgrimage to the Big Dodger in the Sky!  Yes, there is a Dig Dodger in the Sky… disagree and we have to fight… to the death! [DISCLAIMER: In today’s political climate, I am forced to say that is a joke, otherwise the FBI might be taking me away.]

If you don’t go to Dodger Insider every day and see the photos, you have no idea the sights and sounds of Spring Training that you are missing.  Here’s the LATEST ONE. I used to take lots of Spring Training pictures, but they pale in comparison to Jon SooHoo. I have not been to Spring Training for 5 years after being there for about 15 years before that.  I was there for the last 10 or 11 years at Vero Beach and the first five at Camelback Ranch.  I am going for at least a week next year… come hell or high water.

The Shape of Contracts to Come

The Eric Hosmer Contract is getting closer to the way MLB Contracts should be done. Hosmer is a good first baseman, but he is not an elite 1B. If you rank all the first basemen in MLB, you would have to put (at least) Votto, Goldschmidt, Freeman, Bellinger and Rizzo ahead of him… maybe others.  He is a good first baseman, but not the best.

I think his contract reflects that.  It call for a $5 million signing bonus, plus $20 million a year for his first five years (that takes him to age 33, where decline is imminent). He has an opt-out after those five years, but if he dos not opt-out, his salary is $13 million his last 3 years.  The AAV of the contract is $18 million. It’s a reasonable and logical way of doing the deal.  I am shocked Borass allowed him to take it.  It’s not one-sided.  It’s fair! I had no idea Borass could do that!

Free agency is changing… and in no small part to how FAZ has been operating.  It’s possible that if Clayton Kershaw opts out, he will not get a better offer on the open market.  I think that out of respect for his role with the Dodgers, they should add about 2 or 3 years to his deal and up it a million or two a year and just sign an extension now. I think both parties would be wise to do that!

Rants and Raves

  • On MLB Radio yesterday, I heard a stat that was revealing (this is allegedly from Mike Petriello):  The past 7 or 8 World Series Champions have not had the same closer all season.  Is there a correlation between having the same closer all season and losing? Last year, was a case in point!
  • While most Dodger position players are already in camp, the official reporting day is Monday and Friday, February 23rd in the first game.
  • Good Luck to Tony Watson, except when he plays the Dodgers.  I am not sure he can fill the role they want.
  • The Dodgers have high hopes for Tom Koehler.  All I can say it that it is an interesting concept and hopefully, it will be a Brandon Morrow-esque move.
  • The Dodgers scouted Tim Lincecum’s showcase last week.  Could they be considering him for a spot in the pen?
  • While it would be fun to see, I think “switch-pitcher” Pat Venditte has about a ZERO chance of making the team… but I would love it, if it happened.
  • PeterJ:  You wrote:  “Villify is really harsh MT!! You really Iike Y and myself and others get that!!”  It’s not harsh, it’s reality.  Read a few posts about him that I cut-and-pasted:   (1). “Grandal is just another dopehead who can’t make it without the stuff. Another fantastic trade by FAZ (just sayin).” (2). “Also since this is Grandal’s walk year I will be extremely happy to see him pack his bags and shuffle off into the sunset.” (3). “The sooner he is an exe Dodger, the happier I will be.”  I was just being real.  I don’t make this crap up!  I can find a lot worse if you want to read them…
  • 5 out of 4 people struggle with math, so in case you do, you should know that every team has 8 starting position players (that’s 240 players) and 5 starting pitchers (that’s another 150)… plus every team has a closer (that’s 30 more). Grand Total is approximately 420 players.  MLB.com revealed their TOP 200 Fantasy players yesterday and the Dodgers showed out well with EIGHT players in the TOP 200:
    • #10 Clayton Kershaw (the only pitcher in the Top 10)
    • #28 Cody Bellinger
    • #35 Corey Seager
    • #36 Kenley Jansen
    • #77 Yasiel Puig (the guy some want to trade)
    • #107 Justin Turner
    • #116 Alex Wood
    • #155 Chris Taylor
  • Final Shot:  Matt Kemp will be the starting LF for the Dodgers and you will feel good about it!

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 49 Comments

  1. Damned if I didn’t get my own bullet… Check your BP M.T.
    We all know you are fact driven…
    I was lucky and got to go to Vero Beach’s last year as home of the blue and it was as if I had arrived at Mecca… Camelback is now the same for me and as my wife and I sit down behinf home plate on St. Patty’s March 17, I will look to sky and say ” I have arrived”…
    $144MM for a good, repeat good 1B… Surreal aint it !?!?

    1. I got my own bullet as well.
      .
      So, it’s apparently it is funny to think the Dodgers might get one year of Machado for Ryu, Stripling, and Forsythe. It is funnier yet when those doing the laughing fail to add the good pitching prospect that was included with that package. I also asked the question if it were possible to extend Machado’s contract in a way that would lower his average annual cost but with a opt out after the 2018 season. Machado can only win with such an extension in that he opt outs of those lower paid years but should he have a career ending injury, he would at least get something very decent for 5 more years.

  2. The 23rd is my birthday. I’d take it kindly if someone presented me with where I might have a good stream for the game that day. I’m using KODI and if you are familiar that can take a lot of time finding a decent stream. I guess one gets what they pay for……well I pay for nothing but get more I guess.

      1. 39??? closer to 93. I can get MLBN on a few different addons and I can likely be able to find a stream on one of them. It’s just that finding a server w/o buffering can be sometimes hard.

  3. You’re right on about Matt Kemp. Not only will he be the starting LF, he will be hitting 4th or 5th most of the season and will have a monster year. Fat Matt destroyed baseballs for the first 2 months of the season last year. He was on a mission in 2011. I thinks he’s on a mission again. Can’t wait for March 29.

  4. “In today’s political climate, I am forced to say that is a joke, otherwise the FBI might be taking me away”…
    Heck, Mark. Out here in Cali if you want to ask a girl on a date you have to inform her parents, the police, and the gov’t just to let them know it is an innocent request and not assault. Also, make sure you get her pronoun right or there will be hell to pay. Oh, and, love the Hosmer contract. Perhaps sanity is on its way back to the MLB.

  5. Bora$ didn’t have a choice. Only small market bidders for Hosmer in the Padres and Royals. If I were the Padres I still wouldn’t have signed him. He’s going to struggle in a new league against very good NL West staffs. Kershaw/Hill/Wood/Greinke/Bumgarner aren’t going to give him anything to hit.

  6. My thoughts
    I wouldn’t sign Kershaw to an extension.I first want to see if he has any back problems this season, and also, how he pitches in the playoffs.
    Matt Kemp, ( and his $42M reasons why ) most likely will be starting in LF for the Dodgers, but I won’t be feeling good about it.
    Chase Utley, is back with the Dodgers for at least another 2 years, I feel great about this.
    Tim Lincecum, no thank you
    Grandal or Barnes? either one is fine.

    1. I think Utley will be here for just one year. The two year deal is a just a creative way to get another million off the books this year. I think next year, he has a significant position for the Dodgers. To Be Announced!

    2. I’d extend Kershaw just so we make it to the playoffs. The chances slim down greatly without him. And besides it’d be a very sad day to make it that far with him on some other team and then perhaps him likely killing the Dodgers at that point. I wouldn’t even whisper that thought.

      1. If the Dodgers faced Kershaw on some other team I’d probably be cheering for our ex pitcher. That is if they didn’t try hard to extend him.

          1. Using that formula you’d have to give all the other teams the edge against facing the Dodgers. Personally I don’t blame it all on Kershaw alone. Game 7 was a total team uneffort which likely would of had a better outcome if Kershaw had pitched.

      1. Warford, been getting in much golf? I know you like getting away from the UK fog and golf seems to be your reason. Your next time over it’d be cool to tip a beer with you friend.

    1. Hmmm. I don’t know about the absolutely part as they all kinda appear tired to me. Like the sleep hadn’t yet been washed from their eyes. Maybe it’s my eyes as I have the need to hop in the shower to freshen up to begin this day. But first, eggs and coffee that’s strong enough to beat the shit outta my grogginess.. I get tired just thinkin about all the travel they have instore. That’s another thing where Utley’s advice could prove valuable to this crew. Him and Hill both look fresh. Haaaaaaa! GO DODGERS!!!!!!!!

    2. Quas

      Sorry, I am with Bobby on this.

      If Kershaw does his job in game five, we don’t even have to play game seven.

  7. Spring is a bit slow, so I thought I would stir the pot…trade proposal
    Maeda to Seattle for prospects, Ryu/Grandal to Baltimore for prospects, prospects from Seattle and Baltimore plus one of Alvarez, Smith to Tampa for Archer, Kemp, Arbuenna, plus $5million for the next 3 years for Greinke. Please have at it!

  8. What’s going on in Tampa? Odorizzi for a Class A SS? (He did hit .320 last year) I’m sure the Dodgers checked in on him and the price was cheap enough so they didn’t want him. Dickerson DFA’d? 28 HR’s and made the All Star team last year? To make room for CJ Cron who the Angels were going to DFA themselves? Good move for the Twins who needed more pitching and can contend. Head scratching if you are a Rays fan. Dickerson seems a good fit in Baltimore or even Boston, $5.9 M for almost a 3 WAR last season. He leaves a large hole in the Rays OF for this year.

    Chris Tillman goes to the O’s for 1 year and $3 M plus incentives. Along with Cashner they addressed gaping holes in the rotation but with Machado and Jones set to leave they have a narrow window and shaky starting pitching.

    Did the Giants, DBacks and Rockies do enough to contend with the Dodgers this year? I highly doubt it and adding Hosmer and moving Myers to the OF won’t push the Padres over the hump this year either. I think fans of all those teams would like to trade places situation wise.

    Seeing Buehler already pushed back from his throwing routine does not look good for him making the team out of ST. It probably fits with the teams plans to bring him along slowly this year. With the addition of Utley there is only the OF logjam and who is the starting catcher to settle and the composition of the bullpen. This may be a really stacked team at OKC and other affiliates. I just can’t see Stewart or Stripling being in the rotation barring an injury.

    1. Buehler says he is fine:

      https://www.mlb.com/news/walker-buehler-throws-1st-spring-bullpen/c-266728058

      They will be deliberate with him although they want him to make the big club.

      Stewart will absolutely not be a starter. Why isn’t anyone listening? In 2016, he had a 6.38 ERA as a starter and followed that up in 2017 with a 5.27 ERA as a starter.

      As a reliever, Stewart had a 2.18 ERA in 2017 and a 2.25 ERA in 2016 as a reliever. Here’s why: He doesn’t have a good curve and his change-up is maybe average. He has no depth on his slider, but his best pitch is a high-spin fastball which I BELIEVE, he can throw at 97-98 in a relief role. His control is great, so he is a high-leverage reliever. Otherwise, he’s a AAAA starter!

      2018 is a make-or-break year for Stripling. I like the guy but I am not sure he’s anything but a RH Eric Stults, who by-the-way, is still available! 😉

      1. I dont think he is as good as Stults was…but he’s also not a bad as Stults was…Chicken Strip in my opinion struggles to achieve quality starts, yet has the wherewithall to be a horse in the pen. I like him, I won’t say he can’t prove me wrong.

  9. This is the Year
    Ye-ah
    Ye-ah
    Ye-ah
    I’ve got a pounding in my chest, lately
    Feels like MLB17 again
    Losses and losers are getting old already,
    Done parked the caddy, done payed the man
    I ain’t gambling on getting Lucky
    This year ain’t betting on YU
    Counting on getting over the top
    Gonna turn the world Dodger blue
    I’m a put on a ring on every finger
    Just to show that I’m legit
    Gonna win the last game, bury Gurriel
    We won’t get out hit
    If I could, hell yeah, I would bury him a million times,
    Put a ring on every finger
    Just show the world Pantone 294 shines
    Show the whole world that we shine
    We’ll bean a heater, can’t nothing be sweeter
    Than blue in that white wedding dress,
    Ripping off jerseys or dye trying
    Gurriel, he be dyin cryin’, it ain’t rocket science
    All we gotta do is play our best
    Spend the rest of our lives with the ring
    Don’t ya’ know
    I ain’t gambling on getting Lucky
    This year ain’t betting on YU
    Counting on getting over the top
    Gonna turn the world Dodger blue
    I’m a put on a ring on every finger
    Just to show that I’m legit
    Gonna win the last game, bury Gurriel
    We won’t get out hit
    If I could, hell yeah, I would bury him a million times,
    Put a ring on every finger
    Just show the world Pantone 294 shines
    Show the whole world that we shine
    Come on let’s spend this life together
    Rings and f bombs like forever
    With the whole world as a witness
    Gonna flip that bat with every crack.
    Gonna spend this life together
    Rings and f bombs like forever
    With the whole world as a witness
    Gonna punch em out with every damn smack.
    Yea-yeah
    I’m a put on a ring on every finger
    Just to show that I’m legit
    Gonna win the last game, bury Gurriel
    We won’t get out hit
    If I could, hell yeah, I would bury him a million times,
    Put a ring on every finger
    Just show the whole world Pantone 294 shines
    I’m a put on a ring on every finger
    Just to show that I’m legit
    Gonna win the last game, bury Gurriel
    We won’t get out hit
    If I could, hell yeah, I would bury him a million times,
    Put a ring on every finger
    Just show the whole world Pantone 294 shines
    Dodger Blue-Pantone 294 shines

  10. Grandal the latest to experiment with launch angle, per Pedro Moura in The Athletic. (a paysite)
    https://theathletic.com/246939/2018/02/19/dodgers-yasmani-grandal-now-a-launch-angle-true-believer-hoping-for-power-spike/
    A quote: “The coach, 25-year-old Casey Chenoweth, continued to talk. Soon, they were miming what Grandal should do with his hands. Soon after that, Grandal started swinging.
    “As I started seeing myself do it and seeing the ball explode as much as it was exploding without having to do as much as I was doing,” he said, “obviously it caught my attention.”

    Could Mark finally be right – will this be the year that Grandal hits 40 HRs?

    1. It would be nice to FINALLY be right! 😉

      … like I’ve never been right before! 😉

      I like what Austin Barnes said about Grandal:

      “If he unlocks any more power, he might be hitting them out of the stadium.”

    2. Grandal’s tendency to not hit when injured combined with his tendency to get bruised up, might be his biggest hurdles to overcome to get to 40 home runs. If he and Barnes platoon, Grandal might get 3 out of 5 games in the first half of the season and Barnes might get the 3 out of 5 in the second half.

  11. Good Dodger bits all around:
    .
    FanGraphs prospect chat:
    .
    Question: Hey Eric. Starling Heredia: why does he not seem to receive a lot of love? He’s in as a 40 FV, but just annihilated the AZL, and will play 2018 as a 19 year old. What are your thoughts on his ceiling, and is he someone who could shoot up your midseason list?
    Eric A Longenhagen We had him on our upside 40s and 45s. He has huge power and runs well for his size (he’s huge, definitely more than his listed 200lbs) but strikes out a ton and he was much more physically mature than his peers in rookie ball last year. He’s a high variance prospect with big upside.
    .
    Question:
    Edwin Rios has hit everywhere but seems buried in the Dodgers’ system. What is his future?
    Eric A Longenhagen He’s 1B-only for me and needs to become more patient for me to feel good about him clearing that offensive bar. Can he really hold a .350+ BABIP forever?
    .
    On TheAthletic the under-rated Pedro Moura has a bit on Grandal following Turner and Taylor into modifying his swing to increase launch angle:
    https://theathletic.com/246939/2018/02/19/dodgers-yasmani-grandal-now-a-launch-angle-true-believer-hoping-for-power-spike/
    .
    Initially, Grandal stood “very against it,” he said. Slowly, he opened to the idea, aided by the internet and success stories of the likes of Josh Donaldson and J.D. Martinez. That day, what he saw and overheard intrigued him even more.
    .
    “So,” Grandal said, “I started asking questions. If you can average about 15 degrees, you’re probably gonna have a really good year,” Grandal said. “Look at Daniel Murphy. When he was with the Mets, he was about 11 degrees. He hit .280. All of the sudden, the next year, he was at 15 degrees and he was hitting .340-something.”
    .
    The great Andrew Friedman on the starting rotation and giving the young prospects a chance:
    “You look on the position player side and the young players we’ve broken in over the last three or four years, we need to start doing that with our starting pitchers, and get to a point where one or two spots are taken down by our good young pitching and letting them have a runway to develop.”
    .
    “I do think this year will provide some of that, for our guys to have an opportunity to have a softer landing. After this season we’ll have a better idea of who we can pencil in and count on as we start spring training next year.”
    .
    Roberts on Bellinger and Buehler
    The Dodgers have “no plans” to use Cody Bellinger in the outfield this spring, Dave Roberts said and mentioned that, Walker Buehler is expected to throw his first bullpen session in the next two or three days…
    .
    McCullough on Font’s role for the coming season:
    Org depth. Could compete for a spot in the bullpen, but that’s a crowded field.

    1. Cody Bellinger may very well be the best defensive 1B in all of baseball. Why would you play him anywhere else?

      Big wingspan, great jumping ability, cat-quickness and soft hands, He will save a lot of errors and runs at 1B. He’s a defensive weapon!

  12. …. The great Andrew Friedman on the starting rotation and giving the young prospects a chance:
    “You look on the position player side and the young players we’ve broken in over the last three or four years, we need to start doing that with our starting pitchers, and get to a point where one or two spots are taken down by our good young pitching and letting them have a runway to develop.”….
    .
    This quote would seem to give us a clue as to what FRAZ will do about Harper next year. The other clue will be what Verdugo, Puig, Pederson, Toles, Taylor, Thompson do this year.

    1. Not sure about that. I think Harper and Machado are transcendent and you make room for them.
      .
      I do think his point will be the reasoning when they cut Kemp if they can’t trade him.

  13. I think the following relievers will compete for the 7 or 8 bullpen positions. Baez and Fields are good but I wonder from time to time what trade value might they have. If Garcia is healthy, I think he will do well. Same with Liberatore. Paredes always seemed to do well while I was watching. I am curious about Sierra can do. That is a good bullpen and later in the season there are starters that could be moved into the pen.
    .
    .Kenley Jansen
    Tony Cingrani
    Tom Koehler
    Pedro Baez
    Scott Alexander
    Josh Fields
    Tom Koehler
    Yimi Garcia
    Adam Liberatore
    Edward Paredes
    Yaisel Sierra

    1. I don’t think we will see Sierra this year – he’s not on the 40-man and might put them over the salary cap.

      You forgot Stewart and Spripling.

      Does Koehler have a split-personality? 😉

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