I hate saying that! It was a bitter loss… one that I am not likely to get over… ever! Early in Game 7 I blamed Roberts for leaving Yu Momma in for more than 3 seconds, and maybe that had an effect on the Dodgers psyche, but when you only score 1 run and are 1-13 with RISP, you can’t win. End of story! Justin Turner hit .160 in the World Series. Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig each both hit below .150 and Austin Barnes hit .174.Logan Forsythe hit .278 and Joc Pederson hit .333. Other than that, the Dodger hitters really sucked for the series. If it is any consultation, the Dodgers went to the World Series while winning 5 staight division titles and never “blowing it up.” The Astros did it the usual way: they blew it up, accumulated prospects, sucked for a few years and then Won it All, just like Sports Illustrated predicted back in 2014.We can blame Doc, but without Doc, this team doesn’t get to the series. Second-guessers are never wrong. I did not agree with his every move, but when hitters don’t hit, you can’t win. Houston did not win Game 6 because they did not hit. The Dodgers did not win Game 7 because they did not hit. It’s as simple as that! We can hash and re-hash what happened, but the fact of the matter is that it is over. Houston is the World Series Winner and we have to wait until next year.
- If Kershaw had pitched deeper into games and not blown a big lead…
- If Kenley had saved the game he blew…
- If Doc had let Rich Hill pitch deeper…
- If FAZ had not put McCarthy on the roster…
- If Yu Darvish had pitched like he did in the NLCS…
- If Chickens had lips…
Lot’s of “IFS” – Move on. There’s nothing to see here.Right about now, we just need to take our mind off the World Series and look ahead to 2018 and beyond. Here are a few ideas I have about Dodger personnel looking forward:
This is the strongest aspect of the Dodger’s franchise. After starting in time for the 2015 season, they have advanced the team every year while building a winning farm system and culture. The Dodgers were in the World Series because of Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi – they didn’t lose because of them. The future is bright and this will not be the last time the Dodgers make the World Series in the short term.The Dodgers have lost Jeremy Zoll and Gabe Kapler from the Farm System and will be on the lookout for another dynamic person to fill that job. I believe they will go outside the organization for this hire, but Drew Saylor could possibly be a candidate. This is a vitally important job. It hurts losing Gabe and Jeremy but that’s what happens when you have a successful system. Som eteam will make a run at Farhan Zaidi, but maybe not this year! I know this loss will stick in his craw for a long time.
I think Dave Roberts could be the best Dodger manager… EVER! But he’s not perfect and he is smart – he will get better. It is rumored that Rick Honeycutt will be out as pitching coach, but that may or may not be true. It is possible that he could be placed in charge of the entire Pitching Staff in the organization. Kind of like “President of Pitching.” I have no clue if that is true or who they would look at as a replacement. Bob Geren could possibly get a manager’s job, but most are filled, so he may be back. I would guess that the rest of the staff will be intact.
With the emergence of Austin Barnes, and the fact that the Dodgers have Kyle Farmer, Will Smith, Keibert Ruiz and Conner Wong at the ready or nearing ready, Yasmani Grandal becomes expendable. He is still under team control and is a high quality catcher who can bring a nice bounty on the trade market. I expect the Dodgers to shop him, but the cost will be high! Someone will likely pay the price and Austin Barnes will be the catcher next year. Yasmani could be “bundled” with some of our excess outfielders or a pitcher or two.
First Base:Cody Bellinger
Forget how horrible he looked in the World Series, Cody Bellinger will be just fine. Well, not “fine” – he will be a superstar! Defensively, he’s the best 1B in baseball, but he’s a 22 year-old kid and he got smoked in the World Series. He will learn and adjust. The bigger problem at 1B is “How do the Dodgers get A-Gon to get gone?
” That’s the real trick. Maybe he is unable to play. He doesn’t even look like the same player he was last year and I can’t see him getting surgery and re-habbing to play. At one time I thought he might have a future with the organization, but after what has recently transpired, I doubt it. I do not think A-Gon will be on the roster next year.
Second Base:Logan Forsythe
The Dodgers hold an option on Logan Forsythe next year and will exercise it, without question. Logan Forsythe will be the Dodgers’ second baseman in 2018, but that will be the end of his run. I expect a “career year” from Logan next year. Chase Utley will retire. I hope the Dodgers bring him into the front office or coaching staff in some capacity, but his run is over. I wonder if Gabe Kapler will try and recruit him to Philly as a player/coach?
Corey Seager is one of the top three shortstops in baseball. Nothing else to say. He will have an ax to grind next year. He needs to work on that low and in pitch, just like Cody. Kike Hernandez is a viable replacement as is Charlie Culberson and then there is Tim Locastro. The only question is: what is the deal with his back? Is it a one-time strain or is it chronic? A chronic back problem could initiate a position change to 3B, in which case Justin Turner would move to 2B and Logan Forsythe would be non-tendered or traded. That would mean that the Dodgers might be in the market for a shortstop since I do not think any farm hands are MLB ready. Zack Cozart is a free agent and might accept a 3-year deal, but his career year might drive up the price to where it is not practical. Of course, there is Charlie Culberson who filled in admirably for Corey in the NLCS. Let’s just hope that Corey is fine and is the Dodgers’ shortstop for the next ten years.
Third Base:Justin Turner
Justin Turner has 2018 and maybe 2019 as a regular third baseman. If the DH comes to the NL, the JT is the Dodgers man, but for 2018, you can write in his name at 3B. Maybe after 2018, the Dodgers will look at Manny Machado to play 3B, with JT moving to 2B after Logan becomes a Free Agent after 2018.
Outfield:U Pick ’em
Andrew Toles should be back and Alex Verdugo could be ready next year. Then, there is Joc Pederson who saw his stock rise with his play in the World Series. The fact that all three are left-handed is a thing. Chris Taylor is the Centerfielder – he is very good and should get better. He’s an ideal leadoff hitter who should continue to improve in all phases of the game. Another lefty, Andre Ethier sees his contract expire this year. He should retire as a Dodger. Maybe he has a future in the organization. Curtis Granderson will also be gone.Finally, there are Kike Hernandez and Yasiel Puig. Hernandez is looked at as a “super utilityman” because he can play anywhere… especially SS, but a lot of people are dismissive of his offense. Me? I think there is a possibility that he could be a huge offensive force in the future. Quit laughing and listen to this:Through age 25, JD Martinez was a utility player who hit a grand total of 24 HR in 899 at-bats. At age 25, Kike Hernandez has accumulated 28 HR in 836 AB’s. At age 26 Martinez worked on transforming his swing much like Justin Turner, Jose Bautisa and Chris Taylor have and grew into the player he is today. The Dodgers could go out and sign JD Martinez or they could let Kike Hernandez grow into a player like JD. I am not saying that he will… but he could! You have to at least consider it.Then, there is Giancarlo Stanton who drives a Brinks truck. The Marlins have made it clear that he will be traded. The Dodgers at least have to consider that idea. A lineup that includes Stanton would be formidable. Lots of moves would have to be done to make that happen. It’s a long shot, but the Dodgers have the money to make it work. A trade for him woulds likely have to be a 3 or 4 way deal involving Grandal, Verdugo, Hernandez, Pederson and a couple of pitchers. Oh, and then there’s the money in the Brink’s Truck that has to be delivered to him.I do salivate thinking of this lineup:
- Turner CF
- Seager SS
- Turner 3B
- Stanton LF
- Bellinger 1B
- Puig RF
- Forsythe 2B
- Barnes C
The Dodgers paid over $100 million to players who had little to no impact on the field this year:
- Adrian Gonzalez – $22.357 Million
- Andre Ethier – $20.0 Million (Including buyout)
- Carl Crawfish – 21.857 Million
- Alex Guerrero – $7.5 Million
- Scott Kazmir – $17.667 Million
- Olivera, Arruebarrunea and Kemp – About $13 Million
Crawfish, Ethier and Guerrero come off the books this year. Arrrrr comes off next year along with A-Gon. That’s nearly $50 million in salary THIS YEAR.
Starting Pitching:Kersahw, Hill, Maeda, Ryu, Buehler, Wood
I am sure that the Dodgers will try and get Clayton to extend his deal this winter rather than wait until after the season. If he won’t extend, then there is a chance he could be traded, but it’s not likely. He’s mostly snakebit in the playoffs. This year, he had a 4.02 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP. Those numbers do not compute. I think FAZ would like to keep him a Dodger for life, but at what cost?Yu Darvish should not even be considered as a free agent signing. His mental makeup is not what they need. Alex Wood will likely be in the rotation, if healthy, as will Rich Hill. Kenta Maeda’s contract will keep him as a starter and Hyun-Jin Ryu will be another year removed from surgery.Other starting prospects are Brandon McCarthy (if he can EVER be healthy), Scott Kazmir (stick a fork in him), Brock Stewart (he profiles as a bullpen arm to me), Julio Urias (maybe in September) and Walker Buehler. I think Walker Buehler could spend a month or so in the minors at the start of the season, but he’s a keeper.
Relief Pitchers:Jansen, Cingrani, Stewart, el Gasolino, et al
This is where it gets dicey. Yimi Garcia could be back after missing last year due to TJ surgery. Of course, Kenley Jansen will be the closer, but Brandon Morrow will be sought as a closer by several teams, including the Cardinals. The fact that he pitched in all 7 World Series games drives up his price. As a closer, he might get 4 or 4 years at $$10-$12 million per year. The Dodgers can’t do that, but they might do $28 million/3 years.Brock Stewart could be an outstanding reliever next year. Tony Cingrani will be back, but Tony Watson may get a better deal elsewhere. Wilmer Font should get a look-see if they keep him on the roster and Ross Stripling needs better control. Then there is Luis Avilan, Josh Fields, Grant Dayton, Adam Libertore, Edward Paredes, and El Gasolino (Pedro Baez). Maybe Kenta Maeda would re-do his contract and become a reliever. That would strengthen the pen, but they better plan on LAM (“Life After Morrow”) – he’s going to get some big money as a closer, but FAZ will be looking on the scrap heap for more arms… and they will likely find one… or three.Also, don’t forget about Yasiel Sierra and other minor league pitchers who are rapidly developing.
Goners:Gonzalez, Ethier, Granderson, Kazmir, Watson, Gutierrez, Grandal and Utley
Prospects to Watch in 2018: Walker Buehler, Yasiel Sierra, Trevor Oaks, Alex Verdugo… and maybe Mitchell White
There is a lot of work to get done. FAZ will meet with the staff soon and formulate a new plan. The Dodgers fell one game short – I am sure the players hate it more than we do. This can be a stepping stone… or a stumbling block! It’s their choice.