News, No News, Good News & Bad News

The Good News

While the Dodgers couldn’t jump out of a boat and hit water last night, the good news was that Rich Hill is rounding into form and becoming the type of starter the Dodgers thought the were getting until he turned into the Poster Child of Blisters.  Thanks to Laser Technology, Rich Hill now has a bionic finger (I just made that last part up because it sounded good) and can superspin that baseball. Rich Hill is looking good, Clayton Kershaw is loooking good, Kenta Maeda is looking good, Ross Stripling is looking good and Alex Wood is looking OK. Walker Buehler is set for a rehab start in Rancho Cucamonga next week and hopefully will be back by next weekend.  That’s six (count ’em 6) starters and Doc has indicated he will likely go with six for a while… if all six are healthy.

Clayton’s velocity was better than it has been all year – he touched 93 MPH and it shouild increase as he stretches out his innings.  As long as he is in that 92-92 range, he can be very effective.  At some point Ryu is due back, probably mid-to-late July as is young Julio who has thrown two bullpen sessions this week.  I would think that Julio would pitch out of the pen, while Ryu should slot into the rotation.  Let’s not forget how good he was before he was injured.  When Buehler and Ryu get back, Wood and Maeda could be forced to the bullpen.  That may saound all well and good, but neither one will be happy about it.  How they respond to it will likely determine the success of the team.

The Badder News

Besides Kenley Jansen, here’s the complete list of reliable relievers that the Dodgers can count on:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Josh Fields is having a nice season, but is on the DL, so is el Gasolino, who was pitching well in June, but insipres no confidence.  Yimi Garcia’s slider isn’t sliding and Scott Alexander’s sinker isn’t always sinking.  Maeda and Wood could both be 8th inning guys, but here’s the deal: I don’t think the team can wait that long (it may be a month).  They need a pitcher to be that “Bridge to the River Kenley”… Like NOW! Daniel Hudson has shown flashes and he is certainly willing, but I don’t trust him yet!  That could change.

There are relievers out there on teams going nowhere who can fix the Dodgers bullpen bleeding and by the playoffs, the bullpen could be a huge asset with Wood, Maeda and Urias in it, BUT THEY HAVE TO GET THERE FIRST!  … and that’s the biggest problem right about now.

The other problems are Utley, Forsythe and Barnes – If your OPS is below .630, you have no business on a MLB roster.  I don’t know what happened to Logan Forsythe and Austin Barnes, but the team needs to quit trying to figure it out.  Chase Utley is just old – that’s easy to figure.  The Dodgers can’t afford to carry two of those players… let alone three! They just need to end the Logan Forsythe Era… YESTERDAY! Release him… and I like him!  I believe Austin Barnes has an option left – send him to AAA to play everyday to figure it out and offer Chase Utley a front-office or coaching position. It’s time.

Call up Will Smith, Alex Verdugo and Andrew Toles.  They can’t do any worse.  Most likely they will do much better. Send Alexander and Garcia back to AAA to work on their pitching. Call up Corcino and Liberatore. Do something… even if it is wrong!

One final piece of Good News:  JT is almost back!

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 24 Comments

  1. I’d love to see Will Smith for 10 days and hopefully starting 6 of those games. Give Barnes those 10 days to relax and play everyday in OK. Do it now and Barnes would get a couple games back with the Dodgers before the All Star break.
    .
    Absorb part of Forsythe’s salary and the Rays might take him back.

    1. FAZ is not going to start the clock on Smith. If Barnes is optioned, it would be Farmer who gets recalled. Plus the other OKC catcher, Rocky Gale, was just voted on to the PCL All Star roster. If the team needs to make a move from the non roster players I would think FAZ would turn the AAAA catcher who has some ML experience (SD) and move Smith to AAA. I like Austin Barnes, but maybe this is a good time to include him in a trade package, and not let him diminish anymore value than he has. Grandal is good for another good run (maybe even 2).

      1. I could be wrong, but I do not think that Farmer is a major league backup catcher. I think he is more of an “emergency” catcher.

  2. June and July is traditionally the time Minor League rosters get shuffled. This is a good time for many MiLB players as some get pushed up the organization . But it is sad for many others who get released. Just recently released from Ogden were RHP Jeremiah Muhammad, RHP Adelberto Pena, RHP Colby Nealy, and LHP Justin Hoyt. Released from Great Lakes was RHP James Carter. Released from AZL was C Zach Taylor. And while not a prospect, released from OKC RHP Guillermo Moscoso. I know that in some cases the player has asked for their release because they want to get on with their lives. I do not know if that is the case with any of the players identified above or not.

  3. Recently released former Dodger 2nd round draft choice, Mitchell Hansen, has landed. On 06/28 he signed with the Charleston RiverDogs, the SAL affiliate for NYY. He got into his 1st game yesterday and went 2-4. I am going to continue to follow Hansen.

  4. Mark I totally agree with you to option Barnes and dfa or trade or bench Forsythe. He played real well in the playoffs last year but we have to get there. Ac I would also be willing to include him(Barnes) in a trade package but maybe wait until a triple a stint where he might rejuvenate. I will say it one more time but we need to get Realmuto if it takes Ruiz and Barnes to start the trade add Forsythe and we take on their 2b contract. If we could swing a deal with Miami they could fill most of our issues, and I know at what price. If we don’t make a deal soon for a reliever or if we don’t quickly get some people off the dL we might have the giants overtake us. When Buehler comes back put somebody in the pen like or not.

  5. The sky is not falling, this team just does not do things the easy way but they are scrappy! They got too cute one day with Buehler and bats went cold last night but Anderson had been lights out his last 2 starts on the road. I don’t get why Logan gets so much PT and please bat him 8th. The bullpen is tired from overuse and needs reinforcements. The starters need to go deeper and Hill did just that last night. You can’t beat anyone if you are shut out. The team will add arms for the pen and figure out 2B and hopefully it’s enough to make a move.

  6. I have been beating the drum for adding bullpen pieces and doing something about 2B for weeks now. This team’s bullpen is below league average. You can look at a given period and say “see, it isn’t so bad” but the Dodgers have played 81 games – we are 1/2 way through the season and it is what it is. Here are the numbers:
    17 blown saves – 30th (worst in MLB)
    31% inherited runners score (15th)
    4.01 ERA (17th)
    .247 batting average against (16th)
    .724 OPS against (17th)
    .134 WHIP (16th)

    You just can’t put lipstick on this pig. The Dodgers need a relief pitcher transfusion.

    1. Great post dodgerrick! This gets to the real heart of the matter. Roberts can’t fix this any more than mattingly could when he kept pitching Kershaw too long. Faz is the only one who can fix this but ownership has closed the bank so they will have to get creative. No doubt they are very much aware of this predicament and will try to figure it out. They tried with Koehler and Alexander with Koehler zero and Alexander some help at times. It is hilarious for those of us to even dream of machado etc. when we can’t even afford a decent relief pitcher. Ac has done it but we all need to research the next blue light special who has an injury history but was drafted high and then we will have our reliever. Somebody like Goeddel, fien,etc. who have been released but no claimers.

  7. I hear that JT Chargois is being recalled to replace Buehler from yesterday’s option. Have not seen it verified.

  8. Forgot to mention above on roster moves that Liberatore and Banuelos were put on the 7 day DL.

  9. Big day in Los Angeles: Kenta Maeda needs to get us a win and Lebron James has landed in LA and we’ll officially be able to speak to him at 9:01pm

    1. In my opinion, if James wants to win THIS year, he won’t sign with LA. Maybe there is more to it…

      1. Maybe he doesn’t care about winning this year.

        He’s already won.

        Then again, LeBron and Kawhi is a ridiculous duo.

        If he cares about winning this year, he would have opted in and demanded a trade to Houston.

  10. Is there any chance Faz acts before the deadline,??? This team could use a shot in the arm now. Maybe that would propel them to a 10 and 4 record before the break while facing mediocre teams. After the break the schedule is daunting and the team as it is constructed now will be lucky to go .500 during that stretch. Need to play complete baseball to take 2 of 3 on the road or home against good teams, which come in bunches right after the break.
    However this is just wishful thinking, I believe FAZ amd ownership look at this as a whatever year, if we make it great if we don’t they have a myriad of excuses to passify fans. And even the most irate fans can be passified in the off-season with a couple of fa signings.

    I will believe it had become a whatever year until they prove otherwise. Until then I will keep dreaming up trade scenarios.

    How about Verdugo and Toles, any chance we see either of them before September?

  11. Point Guard
    1. Lonzo Ball
    2. Brandon Ingram

    Shooting Guard
    1. Labron James?
    2. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

    Small Forward
    1. Brandon Ingram
    2. Josh Hart

    Power Forward
    1. Kyle Kuzma
    2. Julius Randle

    Center
    1. Julius Randle
    2. Ivica Zubac

    1. Let’s add DeMarcus Cousins
      .
      Point Guard
      1. Lonzo Ball
      2. Brandon Ingram
      .
      Shooting Guard
      1. Labron James?
      2. Josh Hart
      .
      Small Forward
      1. Brandon Ingram
      2. Josh Hart
      .
      Power Forward
      1.Julius Randle
      2. Kyle Kuzma
      .
      Center
      1. DeMarcus Cousins?
      2. Ivica Zubac
      .
      Bench
      Moritz Wagner
      Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk

  12. Wednesday, June 27, 2018
    Updated: June 28, 12:19 PM ET
    How the Lakers’ ‘Genius Series’ is helping rebuild their winning culture
    By Ohm Youngmisuk
    ESPN.com
    .
    EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Seated in comfortable gray leather chairs in the team’s state-of-the-art film room, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brook Lopez and the Los Angeles Lakers are captivated by the scene in front of them.
    .
    The speaker at the front of the room is cursing — a lot — and begins pounding on the wall. No, this wasn’t an irate Luke Walton reprimanding his inexperienced rookies for taking selfish shots, nor was this Magic Johnson trying to fire up his young team with a charismatic speech straight out of the Showtime era.
    .
    On this March day, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is holding court at the Lakers’ training facility, and Hollywood’s biggest action-film star is commanding the Lakers’ attention like he once did with sold-out arenas as WWE’s biggest and most entertaining draw.
    .
    The Rock walks over to the wall between a flat-screen television and a projector screen and places his right hand flat on it before knocking on the wall a couple of times.
    .
    Then Johnson rests his muscular back against the wall.
    .
    “This is what works for me,” Johnson tells everyone of how he starts every morning. “Excuse my language, my back is up against this m—–f—– … every day. It’s against this m—–f—– because that’s what I believe in, and when my back is against this m—–f—–, then there’s nowhere to go … but that way.”
    .
    Johnson points both his index fingers forward, then continues his 30-minute-plus motivational talk, delivering the kind of insight that Fortune 500 companies pay big money to successful personalities to impart upon their leaders and employees. This past season, the Lakers brought in their own All-Star cast of movers and shakers in Johnson, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Hollywood heavyweight Jeffrey Katzenberg and Olympic and world champion sprinter Allyson Felix to share the secrets to their success as part of the “Los Angeles Lakers Genius Series.”
    .
    Not only did some of the world’s brightest help inspire young Lakers such as Brandon Ingram, but the Lakers’ brass credits the series with helping transform Kuzma’s body and Ball’s diet, and even aiding the front office with further identifying the type of winning player the Lakers look to add as they try to return to NBA prominence.
    .
    Lakers trophies
    The Lakers are trying to rebuild a winning culture after missing the postseason for five consecutive years.
    .
    Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and team president of basketball operations Magic Johnson have been trying to restore the team’s culture as they rebuild the roster. The duo sometimes leans on what they refer to as “Lakers DNA” — core pillars and characteristics they look for in players to add to their rebuild. Among those traits are a high basketball IQ, a healthy obsession with basketball, strong work ethic and habits, and a burning desire to win.
    .
    Before the Lakers set out to land superstars like LeBron James and Paul George in free agency in the coming weeks — superstars who embody all of those traits — Johnson and Pelinka exposed their young core to some of the most successful individuals on the planet.
    .
    “Under any scenario, [the Genius Series] will be a huge, rich benefit for the development of the guys,” Pelinka said. “Whether it is getting them ready for when the other star geniuses come [to the Lakers] or becoming that themselves.”
    .
    After spending two decades around Kobe Bryant as his agent and friend, Pelinka saw how obsessed the Lakers legend was with improving and constantly searching for new ways to find any advantage he could get over his opponent. It was Bryant’s curiosity that in part inspired Pelinka to create the Genius Series.
    .
    “I remember one time [Bryant] called me and was like, ‘Have you ever seen the way a cheetah attacks its prey? Like when it is hunting down a wildebeest?'” Pelinka said. “He said, ‘I have really been thinking of ways to creatively change some of my movements and noticed that there was this incredible beauty in how a cheetah uses its tail to balance itself when it jumps in the air.’ And he said, ‘I have been moving my foot in different ways, almost like the tail of a cheetah, to learn how to have proper balance when I am shooting my fadeaway jumper.'”
    .
    Pelinka also wants to see his players develop diverse interests off the court, much like Bryant, who became an Academy Award-winning filmmaker (animated short category) after retiring. It’s why the Lakers GM — who constantly is reading up on what made some of history’s most successful figures like Leonardo da Vinci tick — organized team field trips to Broadway’s “Hamilton” and Musk’s SpaceX, where Walton and his players were surprised to see how young many of Musk’s brightest rocket scientists are.
    .
    Musk was asked by one Lakers player what his take is on preparing for his competition.
    .
    “Like the mad scientist in the lab, he looks down and shuffles and is pondering the question,” Pelinka said. “And he said, ‘Well, I know if I am making the greatest rockets in the world, and if I am making cars that can do things that no other cars in the universe can do and drive themselves, be powered by the sun, the competition becomes irrelevant to me.
    .
    “‘So if you as Lakers are committed to being so good at pursuing your own form of excellence, it won’t really matter as much what the competition is doing.'”
    .
    “This [Genius] series has meant a lot to our Lakers. To have them in front of our guys, explaining how they became successful, has meant a lot and it changed their lives.
    .
    ”- Magic Johnson
    For Felix, speaking to the Lakers gave the six-time Olympic gold medalist a chance to put competition into perspective, telling the players she envied their opportunities to play 82 regular-season games and — if they achieve their goals — playoff games beyond that.
    .
    “Every year you get a chance to go to the championship,” Felix recalled of what she told the Lakers. “And for me, you get every four years, [when] my chance [and training] can come down to about 21 seconds.”
    .
    Magic Johnson looked around the room and saw his players realize just how much they might take things for granted.
    .
    “She said, ‘I can’t even pick up a pound — I got to stay in shape for four years,'” the executive said. “You can just see they were, like, amazed by the time and work that she has to put in to run her race that lasts less than 30 seconds.”
    .
    Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had the room busting out in laughter when he challenged Felix to a race. Walton said with a smile that he wants to invite the champion sprinter to training camp to humble his fastest players.
    .
    “For me it was just really a cool experience, growing up being such a Lakers fan,” said Felix, who is from Los Angeles. “One of the neatest things was that they brought in a woman to speak to them. I thought that was really special, that they could find the value there.
    .
    “As athletes, usually you are trying to hunt for the answers on your own, and you are trying to get in touch with certain people. To have them brought to you, and what I really love is people from all different industries, to me you find such inspiration in different places. … I would love to have something like that during my career.”
    .
    Magic Johnson, who might know more than anyone how special being a member of the Lakers organization can be, says the Genius Series has had a measurable impact on a young roster that included 13 different players with two or fewer years of NBA experience last season.
    .
    “Listen, this series has meant a lot to our Lakers,” Johnson told ESPN. “To have them in front of our guys, explaining how they became successful, has meant a lot, and it changed their lives. … I have been enjoying this just as much as the players. There’s greatness in what they all do and how they do it. But everything came down to the same thing: preparation … discipline.
    .
    “The Rock came in and was so passionate,” Magic Johnson continued, as his eyes and voice grew more animated. “He really fired them up and got them going and [feeling] like, ‘Hey, I need to stay in this gym and do the things I need to do.’ [Dwayne Johnson] gave them the discipline. Making sure [to watch] what you put in your body. That was a big thing, too. Everybody changed their diets now — Lonzo changed [his diet].”
    .
    Kuzma has taken full advantage of the Genius Series, forming a tag team connection with Johnson that already is providing visible results. Growing up in Flint, Michigan, as a fan of the WWE and The Rock, Kuzma has developed a relationship with Johnson since his visit to the Lakers’ facility.
    .
    Hitting the weight room this offseason, Kuzma has noticeably added muscle. He recently posted a photo of himself in a sleeveless T-shirt on Instagram saying, “Yo @therock appreciate the tips on summer gainz” with a flexed-biceps emoji.
    .
    Johnson, who has given Kuzma nutritional advice, replied on Twitter, saying, “Kuz told me he wanted his best summer ever. Boy’s puttin’ in the work.”
    .
    Assistant coach Miles Simon, who has been running Kuzma through individual workouts this offseason, told Walton he no longer can push the 6-foot-9 Kuzma in the post anymore. Kuzma was clearly listening when Dwayne Johnson told the Lakers that his anchor to success is waking up at 4 a.m. daily “before anybody else and grounding my thought process [that] no one will outwork me … no one.”
    .
    Regardless of what happens to the Lakers’ roster this offseason, Pelinka plans to continue the Genius Series in 2018-19. He’s keeping next season’s lineup a secret, but Pulitzer Prize-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar is a possibility after the Lakers tried getting him to talk to the team this past season.
    .
    Of course, if Johnson and Pelinka meet their lofty free-agency goals, the Lakers might have their own basketball genius residing in the Staples Center locker room.
    .
    “I think that Los Angeles is the most unique city in the world in terms of a place where, like, the greats or geniuses congregate,” Pelinka said. “So why not take advantage of this here?”
    .
    “That has always been the Lakers and Hollywood,” Pelinka later added. “When we are winning here, we know what it is like — the [Leonardo] DiCaprios, the biggest stars come out to cheer for the Lakers. We want to bring that back.”

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