FAZ Strikes Again!

In case you don’t know, FAZ stands for Friedman, Anthopoulos and Zaidi – the three-headed monster (or braintrust) that ultimately makes the Dodgers deals.  I have never been a great fan of sabermetrics, nor am I a fan of platoons, but FAZ is a huge fan of platoon splits… and I know why.  I get it – it just doesn’t mean I like it.  As most of you know, I have been a supporter of FAZ and their methods, so much so that I have been under intense fire by some fans until it became obvious they had no argument.  The Dodgers could have just as easily went to the World Series last year with a different break or two, but that’s baseball.

But now we hear that FAZ has signedFranklin GutierrezandChase Utley, whose combined ages are 109.  This is after they have already acquiredDarin Ruf and Brett Eibner, and have Trayce Thompson, Scott Van Slyke, Andrew Toles, Andre Ethier, Kike Hernandez and Chris Taylor on the roster.  What the hell are these guys thinking?  I’ll tell you what they are thinking –Way Aheadis what they are thinking.  No one is going to admit to this, but FAZ (along with Guggs and Company) would like to cut payroll.  In fact, they would like to cut $40 to $50 million off of their payroll to minimize the luxury tax they will have to pay.

Mind you – they don’t HAVE cut payroll, but they NEED to cut payroll.  There is a huge difference.

So, they go out and sign more veteran player to contracts for more money… how does that help?  It helps in the fact that the Dodgers now have a Plan B.  The Dodgers could potentially take $50 -$60 million dollars off of payroll by trading a combination of Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Alex Wood, Willie Calhoun, Kike Hernandez, Alex Verdugo, and Chase De Jong for prospects.  Now, it won’t be one deal and it won’t be now, but injuries happen.  Depending upon the circumstances, a team may need an Adrian Gonzalez or Andre Ethier (he will waive his no-trade deal in the right situation) or pitching, and the Dodgers have an abundance of both.

If Gonzo is traded, I think it’s likely Chase Utley could end up at 1B in a platoon with Darin Ruf or SVS… and I think their combined production could rival that of Gonzo… and let’s not forget, Cody Bellinger is waiting in the wings.  This is not out of disrespect for A-Gon.  He is a great guy – it’s just a numbers game and if the Dodgers could cut $30-$50 million in payroll to avoid the luxury tax, they would.  Adrian is on the downhill side (slide) of his career and while the team would miss his leadership, his bat could be replaced.  The same is true with Ethier.

It’s possible you could see straight platoons at 1B, LF and RF.

  • 1B – Ruf and Utley
  • LF – Gutierrez and Toles
  • RF – Puig and Ethier (unless he is traded)

Ruf and Gutierrez hit LH pitchers well.  I have no idea how this will shake out, but I am sure FAZ is trying to dump payroll and it will be hard – very hard.  However, if the dominos fall right, it can be done.This is going to be a very interesting season.

Romo has yet to be added to the roster.  He will when Yimi Garcia is moved to the 60-man.  Who comes off the make room for Utley and Gutizrrez?  I say Eibner and Segedin, although they could move Thompson and Ryu or McCarthy to the 60 Day DL.  We shall see.

Today’s photo is of Tommy and Matt Kemp’s dad, Carl.

Non-Roster Invitees:

It seems to me that there are more non-roster invitees all across baseball than ever before.  ESPNhas the full list and it includes former Dodgers all over the place:

  • Brandon League (Royals)
  • Chris Withrow (Royals)
  • Bud Norris (Angels)
  • Ryan Lavarnway (A’s)
  • Andrew Lambo (A’s)
  • James Loney (Rangers)
  • Allen Webster (Rangers)
  • Rubby De La Rosa (D-Backs)
  • Javy Guerra (Marlins)
  • Ivan De Jesus, Jr. (Brewers)
  • Josh Lindblom (Pirates)
  • Jimmy Rollins (Giants)
  • Michael Morse (Giants)
  • Tim Federowicz (Giants)
  • Jose Dominguez  (Giants)
  • Bryan Morris (Giants)

I guess this falls under the category of the more crap you throw against a wall, the better the chance some of it will stick!

This article has 42 Comments

  1. the three new additions are all one year deals. Looks like a strong push to get to the next level this year. If the injury bug is kinder than the recent past they have one of the best lineups in MLB. I am so pumped……….go blue.

  2. I have no idea how FAZ can make the cuts in payroll, (that’s their job and I can’t wait to see what happens!) but it feels like they are lining up the bowling pins to knock them down again soon. Shed an Agone or Dre and one of the older pitchers and yeah! No new thinking in my note but I think it’s fascinating to watch the business of baseball. Especially the Dodgers! I think these guys are smart and I can’t wait to see more kids get a chance (assuming I get to see this year on Cox!)

    1. I agree – this is going to be very interesting. Here’s what the Dodgers are looking at:
      If they move A-Gon and have to pay half his salary, will they be better off that if they were paying his entire salary and he would on the team. The same with Andre. What if lightning strikes and Ryu, McCarthy and Kazmir are all healthy? They could trade two of them and still have too many arms. These are excellent problems to have.

    1. All I have heard are threats from the Justice Department and I have no idea how that will play out with the new Sheriff…

  3. Aw hell, that might mean Manny Mota Jaime will be subject to extreme vetting!!
    Watching the Blue this season, guess I’ll have to to get with the crew later and see what under the counter options I’ll have.

  4. FAZ “needs” to cut payroll, but, with the mandate to compete NOW and the other “three headed monster”, ECG, (Either, Crawford and Gonzalez), a derivative of ICK, will prevent the Dodgers from getting under the luxury tax threshold in 2017. However, 2018 when ECG becomes, G, as in Good Golly, FAZ will finally exit luxury tax hell.

    Looks like to me, considering the compete now mandate and the above “luxury tax plan” FAZ is merely building the necessary 2017 depth to avoid a “catastrophe” resulting from injury or suckage. FAZ is going for it in 2017!! Franklin Gutierrez tells me that FAZ isn’t content to put all their “platoon right handed outfielder” eggs into the Ruf, Eibner, Thompson, Segedin, Van Slyke and Hernandez basket. I don’t blame them! Are Thompson and Van Slyke healthy?

    Utley is a little surprising to me (although I haven’t seen any salary numbers or terms) but, we know FAZ loves a bargain and options. Perhaps, Utley and FAZ through mutual love and respect, decided to bring Utley in to see how he fits in, if he can’t win a spot he is released during spring training to pursue other options.

    I’m just glad FAZ is expert on managing the 25 and 40 man rosters. Yes, they would love it if one of the “depth” guys really stepped-up allowing them to trade one of the high priced guys Mark listed, but, until it happens the 2017 COMPETE NOW mandate is the priority.

    But wow, do the Dodgers have a lot of potential trade pieces or what?

  5. The recent moves make little sense. I don’t think future trades factor into the decisions at all. It is for major league depth, which isn’t a bad thing. The worst part of it, though, is that they block the development of the younger guys. Now, wha happens to Calhoun? HIs entry is now block for this year, for sure, not to mention the damage to his psyche knowing that he’ll spend 2017 at AAA with 0 chance of joining the big team until September. What happens to Toles? Another obstacle for him to get over in Gutierrez. I see some of the vets getting cut in Spring Training. SVS? Ethier’s days are more numbered. As long as it is vets replacing vets, I’m ok. But vets replacing young, good prospects is not a good vibe for the team. Signing vets to trade young guys is a no no. I hope this is not the plan. Signing vets that block young guys is not a good plan either. The team just got older. So much for the youth movement. Not good.

    1. There was no way Calhoun would make the team this year anyway. Last time I checked he could not pay 2B and we have a logjam in the outfield. The dude can hit, but hopefully he can learn to field too. He needs a whole year at AAA or AA.

      Toles and Gutierrez are likely platoon partners. Franklin (if healthy) will help the team immensely against the likes of the Giants and their lefties. It’s nice to get young, but it’s better to get better!

    2. Calhoun, Calhoun, Calhoun. He isn’t ready. He isn’t going to be ready before September 1st. If he is ready next year, they can decline Forsythe’s option. Calhoun is an awful awful defender and the Dodgers aren’t going to put him at 2B until that changes. I bet he starts the year at AA again and finishes at AAA hoping for a September callup.

      Guetierrez will take Eibners spot on the 40 man for now is my guess. Romo will take Yimi’s. Guetierrez provides some depth in CF much better than Kike defensively. Fairly inexpensive deal they could get out of but expensive enough that Guetierrez wouldn’t decline being assigned to AAA.

      With Forsythe’s versatility, he can give JT a rest when he needs it which allows Utley some AB’s when Seager, Turner, or Forsythe need a rest. He should be an excellent bench piece if he makes the team.

    3. Don’t be so negative Bobbie.

      It Toles plays better than Gutierrez, he’ll be on the 25 man roster. An obstacle to get over, is an obstacle to prove your worth. Nothing more, nothing less.

      Calhoun wasn’t going to make it to the majors at 2B this year, it’s debateable if he ever will. That said, if his psyche is hurt because Chase Utley has his spot, then he’s not got the psyche for pro-baseball.

      1. I agree Gutierrez isn’t blocking Toles, the only thing blocking Toles, is Toles sucking. Look at the roster, only left handed hitting outfielders are Toles, Ethier and Pederson. Even in the infield the only left handed hitting players are Gonzalez and Seager and perhaps Grandal backing up Gonzalez. Gutierrez is FAZ looking for answers with the right-handed hitting players. Utley probably viewed as potential left-handed hitting infield injury protection.

        Depth is like pitching, you can’t have too much of it.

    1. Money raised through the luxury tax is set aside for industry development — not revenue sharing, as is commonly thought. It is distributed as such: the first $2.5 million is reserved for potential refunds, and then 75% is given to fund player benefits and 25% goes to the Industry Growth Fund.

  6. 1. If there were some thought FAZ (Friedman and Zaidi?) has about trading Agon, Utley would replace that vereran presence, especially if it is Bellinger that replaces Agon.
    2. Health more than spring training performance will determine whether Thompson and SVS make the 25 or Guitierez makes the 25 IMHO. I think Gutierez is insurance, nothing more.
    3. FAZ is removing uncertainty with every move they make until they make a big trade.
    4. Innings limits and demonstrated health will delay a big trade unless someone offers a trade FAZ can’t refuse.

  7. I think that Mark has made a very creative argument here, but I think that he is wrong. I think that the Dodgers are stockpiling veterans for the season and will sock the kids with options away in the minors. Then, depending on the performance of the vets and the trade deadline, the Braintrust may try to move players.

    I have said for months now that I have expected the team to make trades for salary relief and that Ethier and one or more of the walking wounded Braintrust pitching brigade (most likely Kazmir as he has most value in trade, possibly McCarthy) and I still think that may happen, but it is looking increasingly like it may not happen until the deadline. I don’t think that they Dodgers are looking to move Gonzalez yet. With this in mind, based on the current roster, I expect the 25 man to look like this:
    SP -Kershaw, Hill, Maeda, Urias, Kazmir
    RP – Jansen, Baez, Romo, Dayton, Avilan, McCarthy, Wood, Fields
    C – Grandal, Barnes
    IF – Gonzalez, Forsyth, Seager, Turner, Utley, Hernandez
    OF – Ethier, Pederson, Puig, Gutierrez

    This means no Van Slyke to spell Gonzalez against tough lefties. It means Thompson and Toles get optioned. It means Ruf gets DFA’d. It means that Stripling and all of the other kids get optioned. It means that Hatcher gets DFA’d. Ryu goes on the 60 day DL as does Yimi Garcia.

    To be honest neither of these signings make any kind of sense to me – yet. If the Braintrust does pull of a surprise move as Mark suggests then…

    1. First Paragraph, Agreed

      Second Paragraph, Mostly agree. While salary relief would be welcome, I don’t believe FAZ is overly worried about 2017 payroll, payroll plan calls for being below luxury tax threshold in 2018 (I believe). I think with the minor league shuttle, Dodgers will often times go with 12 pitchers on 25 man roster.

      Third Paragraph, Who’s got options? Roster management will be key!! Carrying 12 pitchers would solve some of your concerns. Maybe the long anticipated quantity for quality trade will finally materialize.

      Fourth Paragraph, While the latest two moves are a bit of a surprise. We don’t know how the individual players look, RIGHT NOW. Limited knowledge of all that is going on can make management’s moves look questionable at times.

  8. Hawkeye

    I agree, Agone isn’t going anywhere, especially since this team, is still in win now mode.

    And the platoon that was suggested, won’t out produce Agone and a platoon partner, that will give Agone some rest, through out the season.

    And I bet Agone has a better season this year, then last year, even with his age, and the possibility, of an age decline.

    That is because our team will be healthier this year then last, at the begining of the season.

    And that is because Turner won’t be coming back from a surgery, and hopefully, Corey won’t get hurt, and miss most of spring training, like he did, last year.

    Corey didn’t have a good April last year, and Turner didn’t start producing, until the later part of June.

    And because of this, Agone didn’t have much help, at the top of the line up last year, early in the season.

    But even with Agone’s age, he still hit in a higher percentage of runners, then anyone on the team, last year.

  9. I’m not a fan of ST statistics but as far as I can tell, 3 players have to play well over their heads to make the 25 man roster otherwise they are gone. Ruf, Hatcher and Avilan have ZERO options left.
    There are a few that still have ONE option left if FO needs to use it: Kike, Sedegin, Taylor, Thompson Eibner, Barnes and SVS.
    Just FYI


  11. You know Mark, the thing I love about this conversation is that for the first time in YEARS we are all debating over not enough roster spots for all the talent that we have, both rookies and veteran players. How long has it been since that’s happened? This pipeline of young talent coming up in the minors reminds me of when I was a kid in the mid-70’s, listening to Vin broadcast spring training games from Vero Beach, and hearing about a young Garvey, Lopes, Russell and Cey. They always had someone coming up. So refreshing after the McCourt Darth Vader years to finally follow the young pups coming up through the system. I have trolled some of the Giant blogs, and alot of their fans are starting to get nervous because they are seeing how strong our farm system is. They know that we are not going away for a long time. Feels great to be a Dodger fan right now, can’t wait to see what kind of moves FAZ makes. I used to be real critical of them, but I am starting to see the light. There is a method to their madness.

    1. I agree! Too much depth and how to best utilize roster spots is a fun debate. There is going to be lots of competition at Camelback this year, may the best men win! We will soon see who is healthy and has been working this off-season.

      I don’t buy the young guys getting disheartened from all the signings argument. I have seen too many young players talk about how fun it is playing in LA now. They know if they produce they can get to LA, just ask Toles and Stewart.

      1. Exactly Box. In my personal life I always believed I could do better than someone, anyone, else. Just prove to me I’m wrong.

  12. I am not sure if another FAZ move is imminent or not, but I do like the signing of both Gutierrez and Utley, and neither are blocking any youth. As others have said, Calhoun was never going to make the 25 man this year. His hitting is AAA, and he is not going to become a better defender at AA, so he will be assigned to OKC and get every chance to prove he is a ML hitter. He will either become a true 2B prospect or become a part of a potential trade package at the deadline or next winter. Utley is pure insurance. If anything happens to Forsythe, the Dodgers will at least have a true professional to step up. There is no 2B in the pipeline. Kike’ is not a full time 2B option. Seager made it quite clear how he feels about Utley. And Chase and Ethier will be two solid veteran LH bat off the bench. It’s a win-win.
    I do not believe that FAZ is convinced that TT will be available in April, and will likely start the year on the 60 day DL. I am sure that they have been in contact with TT’s doctor, and that may have had something to do with signing Gutierrez. I would guess that Toles is going into ST as the LF starter, and Gutierrez is not going to change that. Gutierrez will be competing with SVS for that RH OF platoon/reserve role. I do not believe that Ruf or Eibner are potential possibilities, and are more likely to be a DFA victim than on the 25 man. SVS has an option, so unless he really goes off in ST and shows that he is a better option off the bench, he will probably be optioned. Gutierrez is also a better defender. SVS is the definition of depth. He is not a difference maker, and he will be available if another RH OF is needed. That is not a bad thing.
    There are those who do not believe that FAZ can do anything positive unless they can get Mike Trout for Leonardo Crawford and Saige Jenco. But signing Gutierrez and Utley is all positive. It’s just not a block-buster that many want.

  13. I think people underrate SVS defensively. He plays a pretty good OF and throws out a decent amount of runners.

    1. Hawkeye

      I agree about Scotty, being better defensively, then some think.

      Even with his injury problems in the last couple years, his defense has been fine, and I think in one of these last two years, he was close to assists leader, on the team.

  14. Jenco for Trout? You have to be kidding me, that’s way to much to give up for him!! We have to hold onto everyone of our prospects! 🙂 Jenco hit a home run last year and pulverized the Pioneer League. And he’s only 22! Trout didn’t hit any home runs his first year in the minors. Man do I wish it were true that we could get every superstar for our 3rd and 4th tier prospects.

    I have come to learn that those that are continually unhappy with everything FAZ does, would be unhappy if Urias pitched a perfect game. They’d complain because he used too many pitches.

  15. Getting back to Dino… Kudos Dino and yes it’s a great time to be a Blue fan… Reaching the 25 is the greatest problem I see at this time… Is this the year???
    Now if I could afford to go to games like I used to!!!



        1. We don’t need Harrison anymore, now that we have Forsythe, and I wonder if McCutchen is in decline or had a bad year in 2016. Me? I don’t take the risk. I think we are good!

      2. Thanks Dino, I had enough and moved on. The opposite of love is not hate. It’s ambivalence – and I have moved on – I hope they can too.
        In the almost month since I started back, I have had over 500 new subscribers sign up. That’s pretty cool.

        Thanks everyone for coming here – I do this for all of us.

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