Brandon Morrow’s Replacement

By the time Brandon Morrow got to the big leagues in 2017, the Dodgers were ready for someone to set-up Kenley Jansen on the back of the bullpen.  Brandon Morrow filled that bill and while I would love to have him back, there are two problems:  (1) He was healthy last year, but he has generally never been that healthy at any time in his career; and (2) some other team is going to way overpay for him. At least, that’s what I think. So, there is an opening in the bullpen for a set-up man.  All who are qualified please apply!

I happen to think that Yimi Garcia could be that guy.  At least one Dodger Insider believes that Yimi Garcia will be “back with a vengeance”.  That would be a real plus.  He’s only 27 and will be 18 months post-Tommy John at the start of the season.  He can throw in the mid-90’s and has excellent control.  In 75 IP in the majors, he has allowed just 59 Hits, struck out 81 and walked just 12. His career WHIP is 0.947.  That last stat speaks volumes.This guy has the potential of being the Dodgers 8th inning guy if he can develop another Plus Pitch.  His slider was close at times and if he can improve it, he could be a stud. He also makes less than $700,000 in 2018.

If I were a betting man, I would bet that in September and October 2018, the Dodgers bullpen will included at least two of these pitchers:

  • Walker Buehler
  • Julio Urias
  • Dennis Santana

All have electric arms.  Maybe the arms the Dodgers need are all within the organization already?  What if the team starts 2018 with this rotation?

  1. Kershaw
  2. Hill
  3. Wood
  4. McCarthy
  5. Ryu

With Maeda is the pen along with Stripling, Stewart, Garcia, Avilan, Cingrani, and Jansen.  Why not?   Yes, the Dodgers could trade for Zack Britton, but past performance is no guarantee of future prospects.  The Dodgers also have Trevor Oaks, Edward Paredes, Wilmer Font, Josh Fields, Adam Liberatore, el Gasolino, Yasiel Sierra, and Scott Kazmir (long shot). It would be nice to have more, but that’s a lot. Let McCarthy start in the rotation and if he does well, trade him at the break and call up Buehler.

And that doesn’t even take into account  Shohei Ohtani – more on him later…

Giancarlo Stanton Headed to LA?

Would the Dodgers like to have Giancarlo Stanton?  Absolutely!  Even Ray Charles can see that.  The real question is whether it will ever get that far because for them to have a shot, Giancarlo has to reject every other trade proposal.  So far, he has not accepted any of them.  That’s all we know for sure.  He has to reject them all and then the Dodgers can step in.  I have no clue how soon or if even that could happen.  I do know that they can stay under $237 Million next year and trade for Stanton.  It all depends upon who blinks first.  Stanton could say “I am not waiving my no-trade clause. PERIOD!” and start the season with the Marlins.  Will he blink?  That’s what we don’t know…

The Dodgers Next #2 Starter

I think Shohei Ohtani could slot as the Dodgers #2 starter and also get 200 or so AB’s on offense.  The money will be as good or better with LA than any other team.  His swing is not unlike Cody Bellingers’ and if he doesn’t work every day on it, holes will be exposed.  The problem is, in this new era of baseball, you have to focus on what you do 24/7.  I do not think he can be a superstar pitcher and hitter.  I think he can be a superstar as a pitcher right away.  To be a superstar hitter, it will take longer.  He should focus on pitching and hit when needed, if he shows he can.

Second Base

I like Chase Utley a lot, but I like him as a coach or in another position. He’s a great guy in the clubhouse and he can deliver a clutch hit… at times.  He’s a pro’s pro, but he’s nearly 80 years old.  In his 3 years with the Dodgers he has hit .202, .252, .236… although his OPS has went up every year.  Last year it was a semi-average .728.

AC first mentionedJace Peterson, who still is only 27 years old as a non-tender candidate and I agree.  He was Atlanta’s regular 2B in 2015 and 2016. In 2015, he hit .239 with a .314 OB% and in 2016 he followed that up with a .254 BA and a .350 OB%.  Last year he regressed as Brandon Phillips was the 2B.  He has a career .261 OB% against LHP, but .330 against RHP.  He’s young enough that Turner Ward could help him a lot.

I mention this, because while I believe Logan Forsythe will have a career year in his walk year, and while he has hit RHP pretty good over his career, he did not hit righties last year.  Peterson can also play 3B, SS and the outfield.  At the right price, he is worth a shot!  I do hope Chase decides to retire. Let’s not forget that Logan hit 37 HR in 2015 and 2016 and that he batted .281 in 2015 and .264 in 2016.  That’s what I expect from him in 2018.

Winter Meetings

Things may stay quiet until the Winter Meetings.  Everyone is waiting for the first shoe to drop and none have as yet.  It seems to me that Shohei Ohtani will decide quickly and then all hell will break lose after that.  It’s just a feeling I have and I have been known to be wrong before.


  • A number of trades could go down if the Dodgers get Shohei Ohtani or Giancarlo Stanton or both.  Grandal, Pederson, Toles, Verdugo, Alvarez and 2 or three other prospects could be involved.  Right about now, it is “HURRY UP AND WAIT!”
  • Finally, let me remind you of one thing:  Don’t attach any significance to what FAZ says or doesn’t say.  They don’t want us or any other team to know their strategy. They aren’t going to say if they will or won’t be under the salary cap. They will also appear to be “IN” on just about every big free agent… if only for the purpose of driving the price up.  They aren’t saying… nor should they!

This article has 24 Comments

  1. McCarthy and Ryu are weak links in the starting rotation. I’d rather have Maeda.

    Kershaw, Hill and Wood will be fine, but another starter is needed. Signing Ohtani would be a great. He would pencil in as the #2.

    Stanton…who knows where he’ll be traded, if anywhere?

    1. McCarthy and Ryu respectively had a 3.86 and 3.89 ERA as starters while Maeda’s starting ERA was 4.35. 2018 will be Ryu’s and McCarthy’s second or third year back from surgery and I would not be surprised to see one or both put up excellent numbers. I think the odds alone are in their favor.

      Look at Dallas Keuchel. In 2016 he had a 4.55 ERA and in 2017 he was 2.90. The same with Gio Gonzalez. Ryu and McCarthy can do the same things. In both cases, it has simply been health. Brandon Morrow found health for the first time last year. He may never do it again.

  2. I like Garcia, he of the ridiculous spin rate. Coming off an injury and with options left he may start the season at AAA but will get a chance in ST. Wilmer Font who is out of options, reigning PCL pitcher of the year and healthy should at least be in the discussion with his pitch mix, control and strikeout rate as a bullpen candidate and spot starter. Maeda stays in the rotation unless McCarthy and Ryu are both lights out (if they are still on the team) or Buehler forces their hand. Stripling and Stewart give the team some depth options.

    All the discussion on other sites is about Ohtani and Stanton, the 2 elephants in the room. It seems to be slowing down movement as teams wait to see what happens. Ohtani setting all meeting in LA and narrowing the list of teams seems to signal an advantage for the Dodgers and a fairly swift resolution. It does not appear the Dodgers are in on Stanton but that could be posturing.

    The Winter Meetings should be a barn burner, hard for me to figure out how much the team will be involved, could go either way. The Orioles seem a likely trading partner with a need in the rotation and at catcher and some nice bullpen pieces and young talent. They could go big, go small or do nothing. It’s the anticipation that is hard to take but it’s that way for all the other teams and their fans too.

  3. I have to admit that I had no clue what FAZ would do last year and I still have no clue this year.

    I happen to think that is incredible.

  4. McCarthy sucks he needs to go. Agon need to go also, cody needs to stay at firstbase. They have to many outfielder. they need to trade some. they definitely need a #2 starter.

    1. With all due respect, and out of curiosity, what #2 starter should they get? Should they spend $150M for 6 years for Yu Darvish? They are not going to sign Jake Arrieta. I guess it also depends as to how you define a #2. Chris Archer’s intrigue is that he is an innings eater and has a great team friendly contract, but outside of # of innings pitched, Archer is not a better pitcher than Alex Wood or Rich Hill. Knowing that the Dodgers are not a huge proponent of a 200 IP pitcher, his value diminishes. He would command a king’s ransom in return, and I do not see FAZ going in that direction.
      I think it is more likely that they would add a #4 or #5 with Tyler Chatwood or Jhoulys Chacin, allowing a potential move of Maeda to the bullpen or trading Ryu. I would really be interested in what #2 pitcher anyone really thinks is available.

  5. I am not sure who the setup but will be. Maybe it will be by committee. But my head tells me Doc is going to start with Pedro Baez. For whatever reason he believes in Petey. It might end up being Stewart or Garcia, or Font, or Buehler, or Urias. What if Liberatore comes back as he was mid-year 2016? The one FA position I do expect FAZ to go for will be a high leverage LHRP. I am guessing that Mike Minor fits that bill as well as anyone. It could also be Tony Watson who was an outstanding setup before he was elevated to closer, which did not go very well. Some are built for that role, most are not.
    While I like Zach Britton, at $12.2M, he is a little too costly if he is not the Britton of 2016, but more the Britton of 2017. I also think I that Baltimore has this one year to go for it. I do not think they will move Zach before they are out of the playoff picture. The O’s of 2018 could be the Royals of 2017 where they hold onto the FA stars tooooooo long.
    IMO, the Dodgers are big underdogs for Stanton and Ohtani. For Ohtani, the Yankees have the bonus money, a DH, and are from NY, an advertising capital of the world. Logically, how do you turn that down. With Stanton, it is all up to him. If he wants LA, he is going to have to tell the Midgets no. St. Louis needs to move on. How many times does Stanton have to say no?
    Right now I am concentrating my wishlist on 4-5 players. The Dodgers need a GG CF, and the one who may be available is Ender Inciarte. That is only because Ronald Acuna is ready to start his climb to superstar. Inciarte has a very team friendly contract with a $4.7M AAV. His salary for the next 4 years is $24M with a $9M option with a $1.025 buyout in year 5. The Dodgers could then be patient for their next Willie Davis, Jeren Kendall. Bumswrap said he would rather have Christian Yelich over Inciarte. While Yelich is a very fine player, he is a LH hitting LF who can play CF. The Dodgers already have three of those; Toles, Verdugo, and Joc. Plus Yelich is much more expensive…$7M AAV, $33.25M for the next 4 years, with a $15M option and a $1.25 buyout in year 5. I would much rather have the GG CF. Now if Ozuna becomes available, then the picture changes.
    My second player is FA LH hitting middle infielder, Jace Peterson. He is the LH hitting 2B the Dodgers need. His cost will be right around $1M. He does not bring the intangibles of Chase Utley, but he is more versatile and less expensive. Ryan Goins and Erick Aybar will also be looked at, but neither are that much better than Jace, and will cost a lot more.
    My other two are Orioles prospects RH hitting LF Austin Hays, and RHSP Hunter Harvey. I have been consistently “pushing” for these two since the WS. I will not rest until they are Dodgers.
    If there was a 5th it would be LHRP Mike Minor, or RHRP Brandon Morrow. Yes there is a risk with Morrow and injuries, but it is not like the Dodgers haven’t faced those risks before. Right Kaz? Not too mention Brandon Beachy, Brandon League, Brian Wilson. Or maybe they should just stay away from pitchers named Brandon.

    1. Source : Cardinals offer to Marlins as I previously reported, is centered around P Sandy Alcantara. I’m now told STL has also offered more money than SF in their deal.
      Source : Stanton trade expected to be finalized in the next 2-3 days.

  6. It’s going to be an interesting month. The winter meetings are always one of my favorite baseball events.

    I would like to see the Dodgers add a solid starting pitcher, a center fielder, one strong reliever and a multi position utility man.

    I think Ohtani would be a very nice get for the Dodgers as hat solid starter. He would certainly provide some security if Kershaw opts out of his contract and is not resigned. Last winter (before Turner and Jansen resigned) I proposed a Kershaw trade to Houston, getting McCullers, Bregman, Devinski and Kyle Tucker in return. While, I can’t imagine the Dodgers without CK, a future without him is something that needs to be considered. I have very little confidence in McCarthy and Ryu will probably be no more than a number 5. Buehler is a year away, same with Urias. That’s where Ohtani would fill a huge potential hole. As for McCarthy, I would send him to Baltimore for any of the various trades proposed by Mark and AC. A potential starter that I’m higher on than most is Trevor Oaks. He is an innings eater, with great control and he has done much off-season work on increasing his velocity. I view him as a slightly better version of Stripling and Stewart (both of whom I like). If Ohtani is not obtainable, then I would focus on someone like Chris Archer. He would cost some prospects, but he is young, controllable and quite good. I think he will only get better.
    As for CF – I guess that depends on what happens with Stanton. My preference would be to obtain someone like Inciarte. Then you could move Taylor to left and your outfield is pretty well set. Plus you have some nice back-ups with Toles, Kike and perhaps Verdugo.
    Morrow would be nice to have back, but not a a break the bank price. Minor is a good alternative and I hold out hope that Yimi comes back strong. I agree with AC that Roberts has a stronger belief in Baez than most others. I would not mind having Watson come back. Maybe some one like Spitzbarth or Broussard rises to the occasion and makes the team.
    I see Grandal as being an exceptionally strong trade piece. Unless he was hurt at the end of the season, it seemed bizarre that he would just fall off the scene during the playoffs and world series.
    I have no opinion on the utility player. Jace P. sounds as good as anyone out there. But then again, maybe LoCastro can also fill that spot. I’m sure he’s going to get a strong look during ST.

    1. The only issue with Locastro is that he bats RH, and the Dodgers would be looking for a LH hitting infielder. Realistically, Locastro will be competing with Kike’, and I do not think he wins that battle.

  7. Nice post 2demeter2. I see it the same way. Though I might like to obtain both Stanton and Inciarte! After all …

  8. Well things just got interesting on the Ohtani front. Reports are that he has informed the Yankees that he will NOT sign with them.. Admittedly I did not see this coming. I do not know what other organization can offer him more than LAD.

  9. Shohei Ohtani has allegedly told the Yankees he will not be joining them which makes it a whole lot more likely LA is in the mix.

    AC beat me to the punch!

    1. Logan White was leading the way when the Dodgers almost signed him years ago. I’m not surprised by this. I’m not happy the Giants are a finalist to get him. I thought LA, NY, Seattle, Texas would be the favorites with AZ and SD as sleepers from what I’ve read.

    1. I hear if they don’t have an “L” in the name of the city they are out. BTW, the Angels are in Anaheim.

  10. From Kike:

    Dear Shohei Ohtani,

    I’m willing to switch positions if you sign with us! Also, I could catch your bullpens if you’d like!

    Ohhh and before I forget…. Yu, Kenta and I are like bffs! Just saying, in case you need one!


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