What do the Dodgers do now? Personnel wise – NOTHING . FAZ needs rely on what they have developed. They have shortstops that can play at the ML level, although certainly not at the Corey Seager level. Other than Francisco Lindor or Carlos Correa, there is no other comparable SS. There is absolutely no reason to make a trade for a rental like Manny Machado.
But let’s be realistic. Losing JT for the 1st month hurt. It reminds me of when A J Pollock was lost to the DBacks in 2016. That did not end well for them. Paul Goldschmidt is their star, but Pollock is their glue. Losing Seager would be like the DBacks losing Goldschmidt for the year. Seager is the star, but JT is the glue.
I do think position decisions will become interesting. Short term questions…
Who plays SS – Taylor? Kike’? Valera?
Who plays CF – Taylor? Kike’? Joc? Verdugo?
Does Verdugo get a full audition in RF?
If Verdugo plays well in RF, what happens to Puig?
Can Verdugo/Kemp/Puig all coexist and get enough AB’s to justify Verdugo being on the ML roster?
Do you switch Toles with Verdugo when Toles comes off the DL?
Do the Dodgers give JT another week to rehab to make sure he is ready to go? There is no urgency for him right now.
I think a decision needs to be made for one full time SS. That is not a position to be platooned. If the decision is Taylor, I think an argument can be made that Kike’ and Joc can make a competitive platoon in CF. I would have no objection if Valera got a long look at SS and CT3 stays in CF.
Realistically, it is going to be very hard to come back from 9 games back against a very good DBacks team…but not impossible. To believe the DBacks will fold is fantasy IMO. While the Giants did in ’16, I think the DBacks are built more soundly than the Giants were. With Bradley and Boxberger at the back end of the bullpen, that automatically makes them much tougher than the ’16 Giants and their pathetic bullpen. Patrick Corbin is coming into his promise. Matt Koch looks like a keeper and a very good #5 (now #4). The DBacks rotation was already pretty strong with Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, and Zack Godley in the first three slots. With Ray on the shelf for a bit, it looks like Kris Medlin will get his starts for now. He is currently penciled in against Gerrit Cole on Friday. With Goldschmidt starting to heat up, they really do not have a lot of weaknesses to exploit. They also have shown a willingness to spend at the deadline.
I do not see the Dodgers being buyers at the deadline. Will they be sellers? We will know more after this week. Do the Dodgers start to push their youngsters? Does Gavin Lux get pushed to AA? Does he stay at short or begin a transition to 2B? Do Yusniel Diaz and D J Peters get pushed to AAA? Do Mitchell White and Dennis Santana get moved to AAA? Caleb Ferguson? Josh Sborz and Shea Spitzbarth? Do they dare push Will Smith or Keibert Ruiz at this time? Do Yadier Alvarez and Jordan Sheffield begin their inevitable transition to the bullpen? Does Kenta Maeda?
If the Dodgers do become sellers, who is in play?
- Jonathan Lucroy brought back a huge package for the Brewers in ’16. Do the Dodgers move Yasmani Grandal? I am generally not in favor of trading for frontline catchers at the deadline as they need time to acclimate to their new pitchers. But if the Nats climb back into it, will they make a play for Grandal? The Nats may not have what the Dodgers need, but maybe there is that Robbie Ray or Kyle Hendricks buried in the Nats system. If there is, I trust FAZ to be able to find one. The Dodgers will be done with the Nats for 2018 after May 20, so discussions could begin sooner rather than later. Especially while Grandal is hitting extremely well.
- Hyun-jin Ryu will be wanted by some contender, and the Dodgers could get something approaching what they gave up for Yu Darvish. Not quite at that level, but just below. Left handed starters? They are at a premium.
- Will July be the time to put Alex Verdugo full time in RF to see what he has? If so, then Puig becomes available. He should be able to generate a good return, especially with one year of club availability. What Verdugo shows will go a long way to determine if the Dodgers will truly be in on Bryce Harper.
- Logan Forsythe? I do not see a lot of demand for Forsythe. Right now he would be a defensive replacement for a contender. Certainly not a priority for any contender. I suppose he could become a platoon player with Daniel Descalso at AZ. Descalso cannot hit LH pitching (except Adam Liberatore), and Forsythe cannot hit RH pitching. It could be a good fit. But I do not see any other potential contender needing a 2B who is not very good at hitting RH pitching.
- Kenley Jansen could become a big play. If FAZ believes they may have overpaid for Kenley, maybe they try to recoup the cost and get something in return. Maybe the Dodgers have saved Kenley for some other team’s October.
- Rich Hill? See Ryu and Jansen above. I still believe that Hill can win a big game.
- Matt Kemp? It will definitely cost $$$. But he is not a long term solution, and he might bring back some lottery pick of value depending on the amount of $$$$ the Dodgers are willing to include.
- Clayton Kershaw is NOT going anywhere. He needs to retire as a Dodger, and I truly believe he wants to as well.
Those are the questions that are percolating in my head, and I have my opinions. The Dodgers have held on to their kids, so let’s see what they got. Let’s move up the ETA timelines by a year for many of them. Let’s stop blocking them with career minor leaguers. To start, put Buehler in the rotation for good. I would like to see what Diaz can do at AAA. I think pushing Santana to AAA makes more sense than Guillermo Moscoso or Tyler Pill holding him back. Let’s get Mitchell White, Dustin May, Morgan Cooper, and James Marinan in the rotation somewhere in the organization. Let’s see what Sborz and/or Spitzbarth can do at AAA.
Let’s finish the DBack series and see where the team is after that, and then start a plan. Do they pull out the stops and go for it in 2018, or start thinking about 2019?
MINOR LEAGUE UPDATE
OKC – 5-4 Loss to the Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals)
Justin DeFratus started and complete 6.0 IP, surrendering all 5 runs on 8 hits, 2 walks, and only 1. DeFratus was followed by C. C. Lee and Yimi Garcia who pitched 1.0 scoreless inning each.
The Dodgers pulled within 5-4 in the 7th, but could muster a 9th inning single erased by a double play ground ball to meekly end the game. Tim Locastro went 3-3 with 2 doubles, and catcher Cael Brockmeyer went 2-4 with a double. Rob Segedin hit his 3rd HR on the season.
OKC still boasts a PCL best record of 18-5.
Tulsa – 1-0 Win over the Arkansas Travelers (Mariners)
The game went into the bottom of the 7th a scoreless tie. Logan Landon led off with a ground rule double and went to 3rd on a Luke Raley ground ball. Landon then scored the only run of the game on a sac fly by D J Peters.
But the story was the combined 3 hit shutout thrown by starter Frank Duncan who went 6 innings, followed by Dylan Baker, Corey Copping, and Josh Sborz with 1 inning each. Sborz picked up his league leading 5th save with 3 K’s and 1 HBP.
The Tulsa Drillers now have a Texas League best record of 15-9, and find themselves 1.5 games up on the Springfield Cardinals in the Texas League North.
Rancho Cucamonga – 2-1 Win over the Modesto Nuts (Mariners)
Zach Reks’ 2 out 2 run triple in the 6th proved to be the decisive runs for the Quakes win. Of course some Dodger organization failure to come through with RISP also was present. In the 7th, the Quakes loaded the bases with 1 out, and 2 ground balls later the inning was over without pushing an insurance run across.
But this night belonged to the RC pitching of starter Dean Kremer (6.0 IP), who allowed 1 run on 4 hits, 3 walks, and 9K. Patrick Curry (2.1 IP) and Andrew Istler (.2) finished the game for the Quakes, with Istler notching his 1st save on the season.
Offensively, Rylan Bannon went 3-3 with a walk, Reks went 2-4 with a double to go along with his triple, and 1B Hamlet Marte also had a 2-4 night with a double.
The win brought the Quakes record to 12-14, but only 1.0 game behind the Lancaster JetHawks (Rockies) in the California League South.
Great Lake Loons – 15-2 Loss to the Quad Cities River Bandits (Astros)
This game started off poorly and went downhill from there. This game featured a pair of 1st inning grand slams for the River Bandits; one of starter Max Gamboa, and one of reliever Andre Scrubb. Gamboa started and pitched .1 inning, but not before allowing 7 run (6 earned), on 3 hits, 2 walks, 1 HBP, and 1 K. In Scubb’s 1.1 inning, he allowed 4 runs on 3 hits, 2 walks, 1 HBP, and 3 K. Devin Hemmerich went 2.1 innings and only allowed a 3 run HR, with 2 hits and 2 walks. The game ended with catcher Garrett Hope mopping up with 1.2 hitless shutout innings, with 1 K.
Offensively, the Loons lone bright spot was a Nick Yarnall 2 run HR in the 6th.
The Loons continue to struggle and have a Midwest League record of 7-15.
OKC – Tyler Pill
Tulsa – Devin Smeltzer
RC – Andrew Sopko
GL – Wills Montgomerie