When It’s The Middle of July…

…and you have two players below .600 OPS (Barnes and Forsythe) and one barely above it (Utley @ .621), it’s time for some new blood. It’s bad enough that the Dodgers have four other KEY HITTERS hitting .245 or lower: Pederson, Bellinger, Grandal and Hernandez. The diference is that their OPS are all .779 to .843. We all know what the definition of insanity is.

Let’s face it: Barnes, Utley and Forsythe are HUGE BLACK HOLES for this offense.  They all need to be replaced… LIKE NOW. They are all nice guys and great clubhouse leaders but the fact of the matter is: none of them could jump out of a boat and hit water. Barnes needs to go to OKC, and of course, the conventional wisdom is that Rocky Gale would take Barnes place, but I would call up Will Smith from Tulsa.  He has power and is hot.  He has shown he deserves it. Rocky is a career minor leaguer and could be a fill in. I want to try and catch some lightening in a bottle.  I’m looking for a Hero – someone who could step in and step up.  I think Will Smith is worth a shot. Yes, a roster spot would have to be created.  Create one. Segedin is the odd man out.

Next, I would call up Alex Verdugo to take Forsythe’s place.  Since Kike can play the infield, the Dodgers don’t have to keep another infielder here, but the next bat I would call up is Kyle Farmer – he can play all over and maybe he can get hot.  I just know that the three boat anchors need to be gone.  Hopefully, Austin can turn it around and get a call back up, but maybe, just maybe, one of these guys might make a huge difference.

It a tough call to send three guys packing… especially when they are all high-character persons, but this is a bottom line business.  You are what your stats say you are.

Memo to Doc:

  • Just Leave Muncy at 2B.
  • Let Toles start in CF for a couple weeks.  See what happens.
  • Play Verdugo everyday.
  • Use Kike as the designated rester.  He plays at 3B, SS, 2B, CF, 1B at least 5 times a week to give guys a rest.
  • Try something new – stop the insanity.

Good News/Bad News

Actually, Rich Hill was pretty impressive, even though he lost.  He made a few bad pitches, but Cody saved a HR by jumping above the wall to snatch it.  I think Rich Hill is healthy, he went 7 innings and looks like he is close to being what he was in 2016.

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 67 Comments

  1. super-interesting for hopefully everyone….

    MLB hitters explain why they can’t just beat the shift
    http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/24049347

    This bit from Daniel Murphy may also resonate here with those who wonder what has happened to small ball:

    “It’s really difficult to get three hits in one inning. If you hit three singles, it’s one run. If you get a walk and a double, you might get one run. If you get a double and a single, you might get one run. So my goal is to touch second base every single time I step to home plate. If I’m not mistaken, somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 percent of ground balls go for extra-base hits. If I want to touch second base, I’m not going to be able to hit the ball on the ground. Pulled ground balls are not really base hits in this league anymore.

    1. I am all for creating a rule that a 3B and SS have to be on the left side of the infield and a 1B and 2B on the right side. That would stop the shift and increase scoring.

      1. Yeah, a lot of people I didn’t expect (including Dennis Eckersley) have come out against shifting.

        I don’t like regulations where the market can work better, but maybe I’m wrong.

  2. I didn’t realize how ugly it was until I saw yesterday’s lineup, and saw .200 for the 7 hitter, .200 for the 8 hitter, and then the pitcher. No wonder Lauer pitched so well!

    I don’t like the consistent feast or famine lineups we have. When we hit 4-6 hr per game, it’s fun to watch, but they’re usually solo home runs. When the ball isn’t flying out of the park, then we have a tough time manufacturing anything. That’s where good hitters (like JT or Seager) make a difference. Manny is that type of hitter, which is why I”m not opposed to trading for him if the price isn’t crazy

  3. Here’s Houston Mitchell from the LA Times on the Dodgers with RISP:

    “As a team, the Dodgers hit .245 with runners in scoring position, which is 11th in the NL. Their on-base percentage is .343, which is seventh and slugging percentage is .397 which is 10th.
    With two out and runners in scoring position, the Dodgers are even worse at .201, which is 14th in the league.”

    Matt Kemp (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
    Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell and what do Ross Stripling and Max Muncy have to do to make an All-Star team?
    RISP
    I get a lot of emails from readers complaining that the Dodgers can’t get a hit with runners in scoring position. Is this true? How bad is the team at that?
    Human nature leads us to recognize things that back up a belief we already have. If we don’t believe they can hit in a key situation, then every time they fail, we will point to it and say “See, I’m right!” It’s like buying a new car. Buy a new Jeep Wrangler, and suddenly you start noticing every other Jeep Wrangler on the road. So, let’s take a moment to look at the numbers and see if this belief is true. That’s the RSIP part, not the Jeep Wrangler part.
    These numbers are all through Saturday’s games.
    First, the Dodgers are third in the NL in runs scored and are averaging 4.8 runs per game.
    But let’s look at specific RISP stats.
    As a team, the Dodgers hit .245 with runners in scoring position, which is 11th in the NL. Their on-base percentage is .343, which is seventh and slugging percentage is .397 which is 10th.
    With two out and runners in scoring position, the Dodgers are even worse at .201, which is 14th in the league.
    1. Matt Kemp, .438
    39. Chase Utley, .333
    129. Joc Pederson, .277
    138. Yasmani Grandal, .273
    148. Max Muncy, .268
    164. Kiké Hernandez, .259
    189. Chris Taylor, .243
    212. Yasiel Puig, .228
    260. Justin Turner, .207
    275. Logan Forsythe, .194
    286. Cody Bellinger, .183
    317. Austin Barnes, .133

    So – if no HR, no runs. They need guys with bat to ball skills and guys who can hit with RISP, but they aren’t going to remake the offense in mid-season. They will live or die with the longball. I think that’s how the Braintrust likes it anyway. You know – 3 true outcomes.

    1. Add to your human nature thoughts it is also true that people read sales brochures after they make the purchase more often than before. Apparently we vote the same way.

  4. I feel like a yo-yo. One day I feel up because the offense seems to come together, even if the relievers let us down. Relievers (and good ones) can be acquired via trade, while offense potential is pretty much limited to Manny Machado and Scooter Gennett. So there is not much that can be done with nights like last night or weekends like LAD just had with the Angels.
    .
    Dodgerrick is right that FAZ favors the long ball. That is how this team is built, and it is how their prospects are being developed. There is no question in my mind that if Verdugo could hit with power, that he would already be on the 25 man. He had been out of the lineup for three consecutive games, reason unknown to me. We will see if he plays tonight in the AAA All Star game.
    .
    The same can be assumed about Yusniel Diaz who should be in AAA except for his lack of power. It can be argued that Diaz’s spot is taken by Kyle Garlick who leads OKC with 11 HRs.
    .
    AA – DJ Peters leads the Texas League with 18, Will Smith is tied for 4th with 15, and Luke Raley is #10 with 13.
    .
    A – Rancho – Rylan Bannon leads California League with 19, Cristian Santana tied for 4th with 13, Connor Wong tied for 8th with 12, Cody Thomas tied for 11th with 11, and Logan Landon tied for 15th with 10. RC players with 9 are Omar Estevez, Jeren Kendall, Gavin Lux, and Hamlet Marte. That is 9 potential double digit HRs on the RC squad.
    .
    Even in Rookie Ball the Dodgers are not to be outdone. Tied for first in the Pioneer League with 4 are James Outman and Dillon Paulson. Tied for 3rd in AZL is Drew Avans with 3. In what has to be considered somewhat of a dilemma for the AZL Dodgers, is that they have the best record in all of AZL with a 14-4 record but only have 6 HRs, 3 of which are by one player, OF Drew Avens.
    .
    The HR seems to be the #1 metric for offense.

      1. He went 1-4 last Thursday and then did not play Friday – Sunday. The AAA AS break started on Monday. Today is the game. He is in the AS roster which is why I wondered if he was going to play today. As you indicated, OKC is back at it tomorrow night.

        1. AC

          I was noticing for a while, they were alternating giving Toles and Verdugo day’s off, for a while there.

          But Verdugo only sat out two games in a roll, for a doubleheader one time.

    1. I think you are correct and it is partially because of what Bluto posted today:”THE SHIFT.”

      Ban the shift and Diaz and Verdugo become more valuable.

      1. Why? Verdugo doesn’t strike me as a dead pull hitter? You’ve often compared him to Tony Gwynn. Gwynn would destroy the modern day shifts.

  5. Pretty much agree with all that Mark said above.

    As for shifting, if it increased offense (which I think is good for the game), I would have no problem requiring teams to play two infielders each on the left and right sides of the infield. However, where I can understand why hitters don’t consistently try to beat the shift, I wonder why they often hit into the shift in situations that require only a base hit to score a run, especially in situations where that run is the tying or winning run in a game.

    Last night was another example of why the inconsistent Dodgers offense could use Manny Machado.
    _
    Although he’s only 16 and several years away at the best, I wonder if the signing of Diego Cartaya might make the Dodgers more amenable to including Keibert Ruiz in a trade package.

    1. I will tell you that if you have 4 infielders on one side of the infield and if a pitcher executes his pitch, it is hard to hit it the other way. If they are coming inside, it’s hard to hit it bthe other way.

  6. “Pulled Grounballs aren’t hits anymore.”
    ~
    Don’t pull the ball all of the time then. I certainly get the jist of their viewpoint but at the same time in sounds like players not willing to pass the baton and keep the line moving. I remember Vin many times talking about the pitchers actually not pitching the way the shift was set up. I think partly because if you only pitch inside the pitcher will get taken deep more often. So, I think Murphy insinuating that all pitches are on his hands is a bit of BS
    ~
    One of the biggest differences from Cody last year and this year is that he had more of a two strike approach last year. He was willing to beat the shift either by going the other way or bunting.
    ~
    The shift is actually used on 17% of pitches.

  7. From today’s FG chat:

    Question: Rumor has it the Orioles rejected a Machado trade offer centering around Alex Verdugo. That has got to be astronomically stupid of the BAL front office, right?
    Kiley McDaniel: If that’s there now, it’ll be there in a few days

    Question: Between Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith, who should the Dodgers be most reluctant to trade?
    Kiley McDaniel: We prefer Smith and we’ve heard the Dodgers do as well

    1. Add cartaya and wong and nobody can touch our catching pipeline. Even if barnes is more of a backup than starter were good. We could use a one year stopgap next year before they hit.

  8. If the Dodgers are looking for help in the bullpen, and second base, then why not try to trade with Miami for Barraclough, Castro, and go all in and try for Realmuto.I’m sure it would take a lot to get them but if Miami would take Grandal, Pederson, Puig, and Smith ( back up in case Miami can’t sign Grandal for next year) plus 1 or 2 prospects it might work for both teams.
    Kemp, Toles, and Verdugo in the outfield. Realmuto, Bellinger, Castro, Taylor, and Turner in the infield. I would love to include Forsythe but not Miami or any other team is going to take Forsythe, so for the rest of the season, he is a bench player.

  9. I read that this Padres pitcher tonight, comes at the hitters with a tough arm angle, but I don’t know that to be true myself.

    If that is true, Toles probably should have been started yesterday, but I understand why most don’t have faith in Forsythe, because I feel the same way.

    Because Toles has been good against lefties this year, and he did find against lefties in the majors last year, too.

    Roberts probably has Forsythe hitting ahead of Cody, so Forsythe gets better pitches to hit.

  10. The Dodgers lost Giancarlo Stanton to the yankees. Now Manny Machado will be next. Dodgers do realize they would have to beat yankees in potential world series. Damn Dodgers pull the trigger to bring a ring.

    1. 1. The Yanks are further out than the Dodgers.
      2. The Dodgers didn’t lose to Stanton to the Yanks . They choose not to bid for him.
      3. Manny says he wants to play for the Yankees. Screw him.
      4. When was the last time a big name trade resulted in a World Series win… and Verlander doesn’t count because he was horrid before the trade – many thought he was done?

  11. Outlaw the shift. Good grief. Why not remove the mound and dig a ditch for the pitcher to throw out of.

    1. While we’re at it let’s make the game 7 innings. Make 3 balls a walk and 2 strikes an out. Hell, why not make a foul ball with two strikes an out. The MLB just had two excellent post-seasons and a league full of young stars. Instead of building on it and promoting it we have a commissioner and the lazy sports writers whining about the game, pace of play, and shifts.

  12. Dodgers didn’t lose Stanton tobthe Yankees. They simply didn’t go after him because doing so would certainly have put them over the luxury tax threshold.

  13. I read this in a chat on the page TrueBlueLA

    ”Sad to see Imani Abdullah retire. Must have been more to it than the reported blister issue.”

    But I do not know how important it is or what effect it may have

      1. Another wasted overpaid draft choice. Forsythe needs to see a psychologists, psychiatrist, or a hypnotist or preferably retire. Roberts should have his head examined for playing him. I was relieved when they intentionally walked Barnes because I have more confidence in Maeda at this point. Why in the world would you not play Toles? He could hit cross handed better than Forsythe.just put Muncy or kike at second and play them. As a diehard dodger fan it is sickening to see these lineups.

  14. Some really impressive at bats by Bellinger the last few games. I know he isn’t always locked in and he has definitely looked terrible at the plate late last year and early this year… but if he can just maintain that kind of focus day in / day out, he can easily become a .300+ hitter… he reminds me a little of Will Clark.

  15. Will Clark was a generationally great hitter. Obscured by tony gwynn but second to George Brett in terms of LH swings. In my lifetime.

    1. And wade Boggs was a cyborg. Frank Thomas was my man. Piazza not bad either. Prime piazza ripped the leather off the ball.

  16. The only Dodger who can hit with RISP is Kemp. He’s been amazing. You talk about Bellinger – he’s hitting under .190 with RISP. If he’d been up he would have probably K’d.

      1. My point is that he’s not the 2nd coming of Tony Gwynn or even the hated Will Clark at this stage of his career. Let’s wait to see how he does over the next 10 seasons before we crown him the outstanding left-handed hitter of his generation.

    1. Haha! I’m sorry I mentioned his name. I agree with both of you though.

      I guess a better way of saying it is… I’ve seen glimpses this past week of a young player that might just be on the cusp of figuring it out… after he had been somewhat figured out by opposing teams and pitchers, late last year and early this year. I think if he can fulfill his enormous potential… he could potentially be a perennial all star and hit for both average and power. He has a sweet lefty swing… which reminded me a little of Will Clark. But yeah, we’ll have to wait 10-15 years before we can start making real concrete comparisons between the two.

  17. Damn FO/Doc – All I ask for is that whether it was Verdugo or Toles, that you bring em in, play em against lefties or rightys every day and see what we got… Toles gets one start and he sits!!! Caca De Vaca!!!

  18. AC – “I don’t know why they keep him…”
    Why can’t I bite my cheek and reply like that… I’m too damn old to call it maturity… Alas, things to work on…

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