Those junkyard dogs were nowhere to be found yesterday!
The Dodgers front office under Andrew Friedman has been linked to numerous players over the time he has been in charge. Cole Hamels, David Price, Aroldis Chapman, Ryan Braun and others have all allegedly been the subject of trade talks with FAZ, but no one pulled the trigger, although Chapman almost happened. If we are to believe the Fish Hacks, Ryan Braun almost became a Dodger at last year’s trade deadline and there were also talks over the winter about it. It never happened.
Now we are again hearing rumblings that the Brewers and Dodgers are again discussing Ryan Braun. I have been around long enough to know not to believe half of what I see and none of what I read, but I do think there is merit to the position. Before, I go any further, let me say that it is too early to make any determination about this team… or others for that matter.
Baltimore is 6-2 and Minnesota is 6-3. They have the two best records in the American League. Cincinnati and Arizona are both 7-3 and have the best record in the National League. THERE IS A VERY GOOD CHANCE NONE OF THEM MAKE THE PLAYOFFS! How you start is not as important as how you finish. So, the fact that the Dodgers are not hitting is somewhat troubling. The fact that they are not hitting LH pitching is troubling… but they aren’t hitting RH pitching either. If a ball is thrown, bet against it being hit by them and you will be a Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner!
But it’s very early, except for the fact that other teams are struggling too. Shoot, Ryan Braun is struggling, but he is a .304 career hitter (who hit .305 last year) and his exit velocity is about 6.3 MPH over league average. He has not lost any bat speed. His career OPS is .910 – compare that to A-Gon at .853. Also, realize that A-Gon’s exit velocity is about 10 MPH less than that of Ryan Braun. Adrian’s exist velocity is actually 3.5 MPH BELOW League Average. But, he’s injured…. OK! Excuses…
I think some tough decisions are going to have to be made. A-Gon is in full decline and Cody Bellinger is knocking at the door. I think he is ready. Andre Ethier is likely done. Carl Crawfish was paid to just go away. That accounts for $60+ million in Dodger payroll and Braun would only add to that.
The jury is still out on Ryu. He is on a plateau – he has improved, but he has a ways to go and I am not sure he can get there. He has worked so hard to get here, but we have to realize that he may not be able to dial it up another 10%… and he has to in order to be effective. I do not see Wood or Stripling in the rotation, except for an occasional spot start. They are too effective in the pen. However, Julio Urias is likely less than two or three weeks away. I would say that is how much time Ryu will get.
I do not know how the Dodgers can get rid of A-Gon, Ethier and Kazmir, but there has to be a way. Between the three, they are owed $56 million a year. If they could dump them so that they only owed them $36 million, they could afford Ryan Braun. Get your geniuses to work, Andrew! Figure out how I can have this lineup:
- Forsythe 2B – R
- Seager SS – L
- Braun LF – R
- Pederson CF – L
- Turner 3B – R
- Bellinger 1B – L
- Puig RF – R
- Grandal C – L/R
At Cleanup, Joc would get to see more good pitches. That is a tough lineup… and young enough. The Dodgers system is full of Left-handed hitters and Milwaukee needs to rebuild. If the Dodgers overpaid with prospects, could they get the Brewers to take back some salary? Salary, like Scott Kazmir? Would a package of Kazmir, Calhoun, Verdugo and Stewart get it done?
Look, I have been an advocate of building the farm and FAZ has done exactly that. However, you cannot keep all the players. There are only 40 spots at a time, so you do have to trade some prospects. Calhoun and Verdugo are both very solid prospects and Stewart is a nice-middle-to-back-of-the -rotation guy. I am not saying I would definitely do a deal like that… but I would have to explore it and think about it.
Nobody knows for sure, but there are rumors the Giants are also interested. You usually make a trade for one reason: to help your team… and Ryan Braun would do that. But , there is also another reason and that is to prevent a team you will have to beat from getting better and Ryan Braun to the Dodgers would do that as well. I am generally not in favor of signing aging players to long-term deals and Ryan Braun would be owed less than $75 million through his age 37 year. He does not have a body-type like A-Gon or Crawfish. He’s more of an Andre Ethier-type body (well, that’s not working out so good is it?). He makes $20 million this year, followed by, $19 million next year, $17 million the year after and $19 million in his last year (that is, if the Dodgers buy that option out).
This all may be a dream, but you have to at least consider it. I think the team will hit regardless, but with Braun, they will hit better. Again, it’s just an idea that probably won’t happen… but could! However, just for the sake of clarification, I think the Dodgers will hit, and hit well this year. Someone said that Braun would fit right in with the Dodgers since he is hitting his weight. See, that’s really dumb! Lots of players are off to a slow start. I swear some people have no clue about baseball a game of peaks and valleys. Look at this after 10-12 games:
- Russ Martin – .042
- Carlos Gomez – .136
- Edwin Encarnacion – .156
- Dexter Fowler – .176
- Justin Upton -.182
- Nelson Cruz – .184
- Ben Zobrist – .185
- Ender Inciarte – .189
- Alex Gordon – .189
- Brandon Belt – .190
- Matt Carpenter – .192
- Neil Walker – .195
- Albert Pujols – .200
- Carlos Santana – .200
- Carlos Gonzalez – .205
- DJ LeMahieu – .212 (NL Batting Champ)
- Kyle Schwarber – .212
Get the picture? How many of those guys will stay there? Not many! Several will hit .290 or .300+. This is baseball and I would rather have a hot finish, instead of a hot start. One of the main things to know about baseball is it is a long season of peaks and valleys. Oh, and lest we forget, when healthy, Brett Anderson is a pretty good pitcher.
- Dave Roberts says that this is the Dodger’s hitters problem: “I know it’s early, but it’s a little bit of guys wanting to do too much.”
- Actually, the way the Dodgers are hitting, I am somewhat surprised Brett Anderson didn’t pitch a no-hitter!
- There are signs of life: Kike is getting a few hits, The same with Toles and Forsythe. Seager is still slumping but is OPS’ing .871 (in a slump). Gonzo is getting hits but has no power. He’s dinking and dunking. Puig is erratic and SVS can’t jump out of a boat and hit water. Justin Turner seems to be the only hitter who has a clue and is ready for each and every at bat!
- As bad as the Dodgers are, they are still 16th in hitting, which simply means that half the teams in baseball are not hitting either. This too shall pass! The Blue Jays are hitting .190 as a team.
Minor League Report
- OKC BOX –Won 8-1 Justin Masterson pitched 5 innings of 2 hit ball with 5 K’s. Morrow closed out the game with 2 K’s in the 9th. Bellinger hit a HR and Verdugo was 3-5.
- TULSA BOX– Lost 7-5
- RC BOX– Won 6-3 Diaz was 3-4 (.333) and Ferguson and Spitzbarth pitched well as did Hermerling.
- GL BOX– Lost 6-3 Hanson played and went 0-5 and May pitched 4 strong innings
(UPDATE) PRESS RELEASE:
DODGERS REINSTATE PEDRO BÁEZ
LOS ANGELES –The Los Angeles Dodgers today reinstated right-handed pitcher Pedro Báez from the 10-day disabled list (right wrist contusion) and optioned right-hander Josh Fields to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Báez, 29, made three rehab appearances with Triple-A Oklahoma City, allowing two runs in 3.0 innings, while allowing just one hit and collecting three strikeouts. Báez, who did not make a Spring Training appearance this year, went 3-2 with a 3.04 ERA in a career-high 73 appearances with Los Angeles in 2016. Last season, he ranked among National League relievers in holds (23, 9th), opponents’ batting average (.195, 12th) and WHIP (1.00, 12th).
Fields, 31, last pitched yesterday against the Cubs, allowing a hit in 0.2 scoreless innings of relief. Fields tossed 3.0 scoreless innings in four relief appearances with the Dodgers, while striking out six against only one walk.
TONIGHT’S GAME LINEUP
- Toles LF
- Seager SS
- Turner 3B
- Gonzalez 1B
- Forsythe 2B
- Grandal C
- Pederson CF
- Puig RF
- Kershaw P