With the Dodgers epic struggles early this season firmly fixed in the rear-view mirror, the fan expectations are lukewarm… at best. However, here the Dodgers sit, tied for first place with the D-bags and I tend to like it that fans are not too excited (I like it a lot) because conventional wisdom is frequently wrong. Don’t get me wrong – the 2017 Dodgers weren’t bad, but they were a team built to win during the regular season. In the playoffs, they actually did pretty well, but the Astros did it one game better. Here’s something that should not be lost on any of us: In 2017, the Dodgers had the best closer in baseball and the best set-up man in the game… and they still lost to a team whose closer was an abomination and who had no regular set-up man.
Write that down and remember it! No closer and no set-up guy – just a bullpen that stepped up big time. Maybe that’s a better formula than conventional thinking!
So, when Dodger fans pine for Brandon Morrow, Rasiel Iglesis … or some other closers to turn into lockdown setup men, maybe they are suffering from conventional thinking, myopia and tunnel vision. That’s not to say that the Dodgers would not take a Blake Treinen… if the price was right, but the acquisition of Floro and Neal might show that a “real” set-up man might be too expensive… at least today. Floro can be a “piece” in the pen and float back and forth to OKC, but maybe you have to consider what the playoff pitching roster could look like:
Of course, leaves Liberatore, Ferguson, Goeddel, Floro, Baez, Chargois, Hernandez, Stewart, Fields and Koehler off the playoff roster. If you can’t beat em’ with quality, then try quantity. I know, I am jumping from Point A to Point Z because a lot has to happen yet. Urias needs to get healthy (he is progressing quickly) as does Ryu and let’s not forget how well he was pitching when he went down. It wasn’t an arm issue, so the prognosis is good. A rotation of two lefties and two righties could be immensely complemented with the addition of Hill, Urias, Maeda, Wood and Hudson into the pen as they are all capable of pitching multiple innings. Yes, things have to line up, but this could be a team built for a Championship.
The defense is solid at most positions. Even Matt Kemp is playing pretty well. Mad Max at 2B is the weak link, but he’s more athletic than you might think. Just leave him there and he will get better. Bellinger and Turner are two of the best in the business. Chris Taylor is very good at SS… underrated as well and Yasmani Grandal is one of the best defensive catchers and pitch framers… passed balls aside (it is what it is). Their outfield defense is not spectacular, but it is solid and the arms are excellent for the most part.
I have talked a lot about Machado, but I would never pay what the Birds want. The Dodgers will be in on Manny, just to drive up the price, but they will not sign him. FAZ is not, and I repeat NOT GOING TO TRADE ALEX VERDUGO. They could trade Puig and/or Toles (I love Toles, but he may be the one to go). Joc’s value is sky high right now and he could be included in a deal for a bullpen arm. On the other hand, if things fall into place, maybe the Dodgers don’t need that traditional set-up man. Maybe it’s pure quality and quantity…
Maybe they are built for the playoffs… all they have to do is get there! That’s the immediate problem.
This may be bad news: J.T. Ginn, the Dodgers’ first-round selection (30th overall) in last month’s MLB Draft, posted a message on Twitter on Thursday indicating he has decided not to sign with Los Angeles and instead will pursue collegiate baseball at Mississippi State University. The slot value of the 30th overall pick is $2,275,800.
P.S. Kelvin Herrera has a 4.70 ERA since he was traded from KC to the Nats. Just sayin…