It’s Time to Get Back to Reality!

OK, I’ll put down my crack pipe, if you put down yours.  Stanton and Ohtani were crack!  Just say no to drugs!

This Team Is Still Pretty Special. The won 104 games and just missed winning the World Series by “that much.” Let’s start with this:  The Dodgers are set at a number of positions with some high quality players, most of whom are young enough to improve even more. Offensively, here’s where the Dodgers are set by position:

Catcher –Right now the Dodgers have two starters: Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes. Catching is in good hands, but some think Grandal could be traded.  It does make sense if  the Dodgers can get a good return.  Kyle Farmer is however, not ready now (if ever) to be a backup catcher on the MLB level.  Will Smith is an option internally.

First Base– The only two words you need to know are “Cody Bellinger.”  He’s a future MVP and Gold Glove Candidate. Don’t let a few bad games in the World Series erase his body of work and his work ethic.

Second Base– The plan is to let Logan Forsythe play out his tenure as a Dodger as the starting second baseman.  He changed leagues and for whatever reason had a down year last season, but I think he will work extremely hard to return to form and get the biggest contact he can in 2019. He could have his career year…

Shortstop– This is manned by All-Star Corey Seager… and if there was any inkling his elbow was not sound, he would be getting surgery right about now.  Rest assured he has lots of second opinions by world class doctors.

Third Base– For three more years, it’s Justin Turner. Not quite an All-Star or Gold Glover, but he will do pretty well until that guy arrives… if he does arrive.

Center Field– Chris Taylor had NEVER played the outfield in the major or minor leagues until last season.  He started in Left Field and ended up in Center Field. Chris is currently the best CF’er on the team.  That was after one season.  With a full Spring Training and playing nothing but CF, I think he will be even better in 2018.  Not Gold Glove, but darn good.  He is such an athlete that I could see a Gold Glove in his future. Center field is well manned with Taylor there.

Right Field– Until I see otherwise, I am standing by the former-knucklehead, Yasiel Puig. He made great strides last year both offensively and defensively.  He did regress against LH pitching in 2017 for some reason, and if he works that out, he will be even better.  It looks to me that he is just reaching his potential as a player. He can be “scary good.”

Left Field– Currently, there are four candidates:  (1) Kike Hernandez, who my opinion could be a “breakout candidate;” (2) Andrew Toles who tantalized us with his story a performance for parts of two seasons; (3) Joc Pederson who is maddening and yet talented; and (4) Alex Verdugo, who could be Tony Gwynn at best, or Chris Gwynn at worst! Who knows? I have to believe that one or two may fulfill their promise and one or two could be traded.

I think the current core of Dodgers will improve as most are young enough to do so.  With Ohtani and Stanton both not coming to the Dodgers, maybe it’s time to just focus on better pitching.  I really don’t think the Dodgers need more offense.  Ohtani and/or Stanton would have been very nice, but at what cost?

Brandon Morrow was great last year, but I question if he can stay healthy, and the Cubs (not the Dodgers) are taking the risk to find out. So, the Dodgers need an 8th inning man… or two. In fact, I think in today’s game, it is two.  Here are the pitchers I would like, and I think that their respective teams could be motivated to trade them for more prospects.

Raisel Iglesias – He is the RH component in the pen for the 8th inning.

Felipe Rivero– Felipe is the LH component in the pen for the 8th inning.

I’ll let FAZ figure out how to make that happen. It will involve some prospects, but both are controlled through 2022.  Under Honeycutt, both could get better.

I thought about Chris Archer as a starter, but he would cost too many prospects and I don’t really think he is that much of an upgrade over Jhoulys Chacin who would be very useful to the Dodgers. I would sign him to a 3 year/$25-30 Million deal and I think he just might evolve to a #3  or #4 with Honeycutt’s help.  MLB Trade Rumors predicted a 2 year/$14 million deal for him but I suspect it will be more.  They also predicted a $20 million dollar deal for Tyler Chatwood too, but the Cubs gave him 3 years/$38 Million.  Chacin will get a lot more too.

I would also try and re-work Kenta Maeda’s contract so as to pay him for bullpen performance. He might be good for 90 innings out of the pen and not that much more as a starter.

Rotation:

  1. Kershaw
  2. Hill
  3. Wood
  4. Ryu – I look for him to pitch 170 innings
  5. Chacin –
  6. McCarthy – can we get something?
  7. Kazmir – Probably not?
  8. Oaks
  9. Buehler – 2nd half
  10. Urias – 2nd half

Pen:

  1. Stripling
  2. Stewart
  3. Maeda
  4. Avilan
  5. Rivero
  6. Iglesias
  7. Jansen
  8. Baez
  9. Fields
  10. Cingrani
  11. Font

I also like AC’s suggestion to sign Jace Peterson as LH utility bat.  I do not see A-Gon on the team next year.

None of the trades or signings I suggest will likely happen, but this is pretty good team and with a little luck, they could win 100 games again…. and beyond. FAZ has a better idea.

Let the Winter Meetings begin.  It just might get crazy!

This article has 90 Comments

  1. I don’t think this FO believes in big money or trading top prospects in building a bullpen. Other than the closer, that is.

    And other than at the deadline for a playoff push.

    Blanton, Morrow. Those guys are cheaper and provide great ROI.

    1. You may be right, but I prefer to think that they will do what the market dictates. They did not NEED another hitter, but the do NEED relief pitching… most likely anyway.

  2. I’m not one of the disappointed fans for not getting Stanton, I never believed the Dodgers would make a series offer for him, and his commitment of 10 years. The Dodgers will not sign any FA outfielders in their early 30’s because that’s not the type of moves they make.
    The Dodgers are not going after Ender Inciarte because center field is not the issue, left field, and a batter to protect Bellinger is, and the Dodgers can accomplish both by trading for Ozuna who is young, cheap, plays a good outfield, and is signed through 2019. Ozuna could be the bridge before some of the prospects are ready in 2020 or the Dodgers could re-sign him. He is not Stanton but he will be what they need and the cost is 2 years, not 10,

    1. Ozuna will likely cost Verdugo and Alvarez… maybe it could be Joc and a lower level prospect instaed of Alvarez, but they will want Verdugo.

      By 2020, we should know if DJ Peters is Kyle Russell or not.

      1. Taylor CF
      2. Seager SS
      3. Turner 3B
      4. Bellinger 1B
      5. Ozuna LF
      6. Puig RF
      7. Forsythe 2B
      8. Barnes C

      Not too shabby, but they need a couple of “lock-down” relievers.

      1. If it takes Verdugo, Alvarez, Pederson, and another mid-level prospect I’m in. Your right about the relievers.

  3. I agree with your assessment Mark. They need to figure out LF. I would trade Joc. I just do not like the all or nothing attitude. Let Kike, Toles and Verdugo fight it out. I think Ryu is going to be much better than anybody thinks. It usually takes two years to come back from shoulder surgery. Chacin would just cost us money. Maeda looks like a very good relief pitcher. He looks at best an average starting pitcher. Last year I just waned Baez off the team. However, I have not given up on him yet. He has to add another pitch. If he did he could be very good. I have changed my mind about Grandal. I would keep him. I have been high on Beuhler. He needs to be in the mix somewhere. The pitching needs to be looked at by FAZ. Here is what I believe about putting a team together. 1. Pitching 2. Defense 3. Hitting. Last point-Stanton’s contract is a bad contract.

  4. I was just listening to Steve Phillips on MLB Radio who explained why the Yankees were able to trade for Stanton while the Dodgers weren’t:

    The Yankees effectively paid $22 million a year for StantonAND they will be under the Salary Cap in 2018.

    The Dodgers could no way be under the salary cap andwith the Luxury Tax, Stanton would have cost them nearly $50 million a year.

    Some people think that FAZ can’t or won’t make trades like that because they have a small market mentality!

    That’s moronic!

    FAZ didn’t make that trade because they are not dumbasses!

    1. They could have got under or at least close but they had to unload at least $20 million in bad contracts in the deal.

  5. The Dodgers seem to be able to have a good enough bullpen for the regular season by rotating the hot pitcher into the setup role. The playoffs have been a different story except for last year. Maybe Maeda can be that setup guy for the playoffs if no one else steps up or is added to the team.
    .
    Regular season rotation: Kershaw, Wood, Maeda, Hill, Ryu
    Playoff rotation: Kershaw, Wood, HIll,
    .
    I said this a couple of Posts back and I still like it:
    .
    Because I want the Dodgers to take advantage of their youth and because I want them under the salary penalty now, I would be happy if the Dodgers were to start the season with this lineup:
    .
    Taylor, Seager, Turner, Bellinger, Puig, Pederson, Barnes, Forsythe.
    .
    Kershaw, Wood, Hill, Maeda, Ryu, Buehler/Stewart or hopefully Ohtoni.
    .
    I like having Toles and Verdugo as young inexpensive talent available as needed which could be as soon as opening day.
    .
    I would give Grandal playing time as he seems to be a much better player in the first half than he is in the second half. His value would increase for a mid-season trade if he hits early in the season. That would give Barnes more rest that would help him be strong in the second half and give Smith more time to develop and be Grandal’s replacement after the trade.
    .
    It would be great if Morrow were re-signed and I would like to trade for Britton later in the season after his health is better known. Grandal and Verdugo for Britton and Austin Hayes would be good pieces of a trade package.
    .
    I have always gone back and forth with Puig. My main concern with him is his threat to the center fielder. He will be a free agent soon enough anyway. Now might be a good time to use him to help get a team to take on one of Gonzales’ , McCarthy’s, or Kazmir’s contract.
    .
    I would love if the Dodgers could dump the contracts of McCarthy, Kazmir, and Gonzales. 100% is doubtful.
    .
    I am curious if Toles could be converted to a middle infielder like Russel and Lopes were. He could be the lefty hitting compliment to Forsythe although I prefer that Taylor be the full time second baseman and Forsythe traded–(Angels?)
    .
    In summary, I think the Dodgers could improve by subtraction more than addition other than relief pitching and adding Ohtoni.
    .
    I would rather trade for Thousand Oaks native Christian Yelich than for Inciarte. But I have been looking for a righty version of Verdugo and Austin Hays may be that player. This link takes you to Baltimore’s top 30 prospects. Hayes is their #2.
    http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017?list=balThislink takes you to Baltimore’s top 30 prospects.
    .
    If Kershaw wants to opt out of his contract I would let him go unless he dominates in the WS in 2018. He would be the one leaving the Dodgers and not the other way around. His salary is big enough already.

      1. The O’s saw the Stanton trade to NYY, and know that Boston will have to counter. Rumors have it for Martinez or Hosmer or Abreu or Santana. Maybe 2. The O’s know they are out of it for 2018, and they are now listening to offers for Machado (St. Louis is very much into the discussion). They are probably looking for a rebuild. They may move Britton but not for McCarthy and Ryu. They will want prospects (top), and the Dodgers cannot take on the Britton salary. With Stanton going to NYY, that basically removed the O’s as my favorite trading partner for players like McCarthy/Ryu/Grandal.

        1. The O’s counter move may be blowing up the team it appears. If they’re truly trying to deal Machado as it was reported today, I don’t see them taking on the likes of McCarthy, Grandal, or Ryu.

          1. Angelos changes his mind every hour on Machado. It is hard to know what direction he thinks they should go. If you ask Duquette and Showalter, unless they get extensions, they are going to want to go for it this year.

  6. Eric Stephen’s latest projection as to where the Dodgers stand with the competitive balance tax is at $214M. The luxury tax threshold is $197M for 2018, so they are $17M over the threshold, subject to the 50% penalty. The next tier is $217M which kicks in another 12% surcharge. The third tier is $237M which includes a 45% surcharge plus draft slot penalties.
    .
    The current $214M projection does not take into account the incentives that may be due Kenta Maeda, which will be somewhere between $3M and $6M. So if the Dodgers do nothing, and keep Maeda as a starter, they are in the 62% tax bracket.
    .
    Regardless as to what fans want, the front office has made it abundantly clear that the luxury tax is a significant issue, and that it is more important to drop below the $197M threshold than to add payroll. Because the Marlins viewed the Stanton transaction as purely a salary dump, the Dodgers had virtually no chance to acquire him.
    .
    So this idea that Ozuna is relatively cheap is inaccurate if you take into consideration that there is another 62% penalty added on to that cost. Ozuna is projected to make $10.9M is arbitration; therefore his true cost will be north of $17.5M. That is not happening. The Marlins know they can trade Ozuna without including any cash (or bad contracts), so the Dodgers are not real players in this deal.
    .
    The luxury tax is why Brandon Morrow was not a consideration. His $10M AAV will have the same tax consequence as Ozuna.
    .
    Lock down relievers? Only if you believe, as I think the Dodgers do, that Pedro Baez, Josh Fields, Luis Avilan, Tony Cingrani, Ross Stripling, Brock Stewart, Yimi Garcia, Wilmer Font, Edward Paredes, and Adam Liberatore are the “lockdown relievers” Roberts will have as a bridge to Jansen. That is 11 relievers for 8 spots with Fields, Avilan, Cingrani, and Font out of options. FAZ is not going to give multiple top prospects for Iglesias or Rivero, for a position they believe they can address elsewhere. I do not see another ML reliever being added. FAZ will continue to look for relievers to add to OKC, but not LAD.
    .
    The Dodgers efforts, if any, will be to alleviate payroll, not add. There is NO CHANCE the Dodgers can move Scott Kazmir or Adrian Gonzalez. Kazmir will go to Spring Training, because there is no harm in that. IMO he will either be released or placed on the 60 Day DL out of Spring opening a 40 man spot. I disagree that A-Gon will be left off the roster. He will not waive his no-trade. If he is healthy at all, he will make the 25 man and be a LH bat off the bench, and an occasional start for Bellinger. He will be an expensive PH.
    .
    The Dodgers will have to hope they can move Grandal and McCarthy, which could save nearly $20M in salary. But they will not bring back any significant help for 2018. Nobody is going to want McCarthy at $12M. Matt Harvey at $6.5M is a better risk than McCarthy at $12M, and the Mets are looking for a high leverage reliever (not a closer), in return. While Grandal does have value, he is probably more valuable to the Dodgers than to anyone else at $7.7M.
    .
    I do not see Ryu as a 170 inning pitcher. At best he will replicate 2017. He is at most a 25 start pitcher. He will be on the 10 Day DL at least 3 times in 2018. Because of his contract, Maeda will get every opportunity to start. If the Dodgers cannot move McCarthy, that will be 6 starting pitchers not including Buehler, Oaks, or Urias later in the year. The Dodgers are more likely to go to a 6 man rotation to give more rest to Kershaw/Wood/Hill. They have certainly been hinting at that with the usage of the 10 Day DL in 2017. There will be no additional starting pitching. FAZ will see that Maeda/Ryu/McCarthy and then Buehler/Urias/Oaks are better options than any other starter on the market.
    .
    I have no problem with CT3 in CF. He has a problem going back on balls hit over his head (he hesitates), meaning he will have to start deeper than most CF. This means there will be more hits that will drop in front of him. He will track down the gap hits as well as anyone not named Kiermaier or Pillar. While I like Inciarte at CF and Taylor at 2B, I recognize the Dodgers are not going to take on more salary. So CT3 in CF it is.
    .
    The Dodgers cannot keep Toles, Pederson, and Verdugo. Verdugo is an obvious choice to go back to start the season at OKC. Joc may have value, but at $2M as a LH hitting platoon LF, most contending teams will look at that as a luxury and not a need. It is possible that a non-contender will view him as a potential, but they are not going to give up high tiered prospects for him. So Joc will be a Dodger in 2018 (until he again shows he cannot hit) leaving Toles as a candidate to go back to OKC with Verdugo. It will come down to Toles or Trayce Thompson. Toles is more likely to go to OKC to play every day than sit on a bench. TT can sit on the bench just like SVS in prior years.
    .
    Rotation (5)
    Kershaw
    Wood
    Hill
    Maeda (musical 10 day DL)
    Ryu (musical 10 day DL)
    McCarthy (musical 10 day DL)
    .
    Pen (8)
    Jansen
    Baez
    Fields
    Cingrani
    Avilan
    Stripling
    Font (or DFA)
    Stewart (OKC shuttle)
    Garcia (OKC shuttle)
    Paredes (OKC shuttle)
    Liberatore (OKC shuttle)
    .
    Position (8)
    1B – Bellinger
    2B – Forsythe
    3B – JT
    SS – Seager
    LF – Kike/Joc
    CF – Taylor
    RF – Puig
    C – Barnes
    .
    Bench (4)
    Grandal – catcher
    Kike/Joc – LF
    Toles/Thompson – #5 OF
    A-Gon – LH PH/1B
    .
    That is a $214M to $220M team the Dodgers will start with. They will continue to stack prospects, but there is no place for them until 2019 when A-Gon, McCarthy, Kazmir, Forsythe, Ryu, and Grandal all leave via FA. With the exit of those players, and with Arruebarrena, Ethier, and Toscano off the books, the Dodgers will save $72.70M for 2019. The more I listen to Jon Heyman the more I am convinced that the Dodgers may in fact have a debt service issue coming up for 2019. Therefore I predict they will not spend any savings for Harper/Machado/Donaldson/Keuchel or any other $100M+ player, other than Kershaw.
    .
    I am prepared to be wrong (and I hope I am), but I do not think I will be far off.

    1. MCCarthy makes $10 million next year with a club option for $5 million in 2019. He should be moveable even if for a bag of balls.

      1. He has a $12M AAV and luxury tax hit. The O’s still need starters, so yeah he could go to the O’s for a bag of balls. But $12M is a lot to ask for a team that may be in a rebuild. The O’s do not use International Pool money, so maybe they have some left they can use to send to the Dodgers.
        .
        I cannot think of a contender that might be willing to take a $12M salary cap hit for a back back end of the rotation starter. Astros are looking to maybe add Darvish or Arrieta. The Yankees would rather spend it on Sabbathia. The Red Sox have enough starters better than McCarthy. The Twins have enough back of the rotation and will spend but only on a Darvish or Arrieta type, or Lance Lynn as a backup. The Indians are looking to trade 1 of their own. The Nats may get another starter but not a McCarthy at a $12M hit. The Cubs will probably get Cobb. The Pirates cannot afford McCarthy, and St. Louis has enough ML ready pitchers to stay away from McCarthy. The DBacks had McCarthy and let him go already (and cannot afford him), and Colorado has relief needs and can muddle through with their young starters.
        .
        This is not a criticism of FAZ, because I agreed with the decision at the time, but McCarthy is the Dodgers $12M problem. All we can do is hope that he is the pitcher FAZ thought he was at the end of the 2014 season.

        1. It is always possible to move a contract by taking bad another contract and/or throwing in prospects. Say the Pirates think McCarthy has something left and like his $5 M team option for 2019 and trade McCutchen ($14.5 M on final year) for Mac, Joc and a lessor prospect. Maybe they prefer Toles or Ryu instead. Faz will be trying hard and having many discussions this week. A lot depends on which teams decide to rebuild and which teams go for it.

    2. Gonzalez, Ethier, Crawford, Grandal, MCCarthy, Kazmir, Greinke, Guerrero, Arrubureana, Kemp, Ryu, and a good chunk of Kershaw’s deal will have come off the books from just a few years ago after this season. I would think they would be past the debt service problem at the end of this year. If not, what the hell is going on.

      1. Right now the only one I hear who is talking about it is Jon Heyman. But he is not getting any counter-back discussion. I do not have the sources he has, and I do not have access to the Dodgers balance sheet to make any determination. But this year’s problem is the luxury tax. The debt service issue probably goes away if they do not take on any new large contracts this year.

        1. Your analysis is the best I have seen, there is something to be said for keeping the team together and rewarding loyalty and production, I agree there will likely be no major moves. However the 40 man is full and they already lost Barlow, Ravin and Dayton because it is so full and they all had takers. Faz likes to have a floating spot to make moves during the season and Fields, Avilan, Thompson, Cingrani and Font would all be long gone if DFA’d so I think they will make the opening day roster and have a chance to prove their value in ST. Kazmir is a 60 day candidate initially and there will be some other 10 day DL moves at the outset. Garcia, Toles and Liberatore are coming off injuries so it makes sense to start out at OKC.

          I just believe the team will thin out some of their starting pitcher surplus and try to move either Ryu or McCarthy or possibly both. Then there is Joc and Grandal who have value. Another team may like either Stripling or Stewart. None may happen but there will be discussions this week. I have a hard time believing they will stand pat with all of the trading chips they have. I predict a 3 for 1 or 4 for 2 type deal or multiple smaller ones to thin a bit of the excess OF and pitching to address other needs. Maybe not a 3 team blockbuster but a value based approach to the roster for 2018 and beyond.

        2. Just today Bill Shakin had tweeted out a link to a story that he wrote about it last winter probably because Heyman had put the subject back out there. I would hope the issue is behind the Dodgers after this season. Between the TV contract, the expiring contracts, and a WS run I can’t see how this would still be an issue because I didn’t think the purchase of a team was a highly leveraged deal.

  7. Excellent analysis AC. I agree with most of it, and just not knowledgeable enough to be certain one way or another on some of it.

    I also took note of the debt service issue when I heard it last night.

    I would think that with added time in CF, that CT3 might be able to get a better jump on balls hit over his head, especially if it’s something he consciously and conscientiously works on.

    1. CT3 is a tremendous athlete, and will learn…and learn quickly. But he is still a 2B playing (and learning) CF. He may end up back at 2B next year when Forsythe is gone anyway. My only thought with Inciarte was to have a natural CF, move Taylor to his natural 2B position now, and move Forsythe in a trade (Angels or NYM).

      1. Tim Locastro could be a 2b sleeper for 2019. He’s played more at that position in the minors than anywhere else. While he probably profiles best as a utility player, stranger things have happened. I view 2b as one of the thinnest positions in the system. Lux and Estevez might be playable there but that’s a ways off (if ever).

  8. LF–Toles seems like a safe bet to begin the year in AAA getting reaccustomed to the daily grind of everyday play. I see Keekay as a platoon half. That leaves Joc and Verdugo battling it out for the starting LF job (Trayce doesn’t really factor in for me). I guess Joc could be trade bait but I don’t see him returning more than he’s worth to us as a potential highside play. We’re pretty balanced in terms of rh/lh bats so I’m not sure if adding a RH OF thumper is that much of a priority. Right now I’d have Joc as the starting LF with Verdugo having to prove he deserves the job. We could begin the year with both Toles and Verdugo in OKC. In any event, I sense a trade of an OF at some point this offseason. Seems a bit crowded to me.

    1. I think you are right about Verdugo starting in OKC. Given the track record of recent years, even Seager and Bellinger had to force their way into the starting lineup as call ups. No matter how well Verdugo plays in spring training I don’t see him winning the LF job on opening day.

  9. Verdugo is a potential replacement for Puig when Puig becomes a free agent. He’s 21. Few play in the MLB at that age.
    .
    Toles odds of playing increases even more in 2019 if Taylor moves to second after Forsythe leaves for free agency. I would get a kick out of Toles platooning with Forsythe this year say as soon as June?

  10. I would assume that with the money owed on the original purchase of the team, all the upgrades to the Sadium, Lockeroooms, Pressbox, Camelback Ranch, Buying OKC and with the hundreds of millions paid in the Luxury Tax , that Guggs and Company have not retired a lot of debt.

    I can see that what Heyman says has some validity, but I will defer to our head bean-counter….

    1. That $8.35 B TV deal pays $417,500,000 per year over 20 years. I’m sure the team has large expenses but that’s a lot of lettuce!

  11. Listened to Cashman on Sirius XM. Yankees weren’t on the outsided looking in because they were hoping for Ohtani. They had checked in on Stanton at GM meetings, but Ohtani was the priority. When Marlins had made deals with St. Louis and SF, Cashman wished them luck and they were out. Like the Dodgers, they were trying to move contracts and it wasn’t working. I believe Ellsbury was who they were trying to move. After the veto, the Marlins engaged the Yankees.

  12. Vegas, this is splitting hairs, but if memory serves the Dodgers TV deal was for 25 years, NOT 20 years. If you use the average over those years, the annual return to the Dodgers is $334,000,000, which is still a whole bunch of change. But, of course, we really don’t know how the Dodgers are paid. My best guess is that it isn’t the same every year, and is probably a number that increases over time. However, I believe it’s by far the largest TV contract anywhere, and that given the current problems Time Warner is having selling it to other providers, it may well be the last contract of its kind, at least in present day dollars. But whatever the case, it’s still got a lot of years to run, and by the time it ends I will probably not be around to care.

  13. Mark, you’re probably correct in your assumptions about the un-retired debt. But I also wonder, as I noted a while back in another post, whether or not Guggs has any plans to develop the land around Dodger Stadium. I don’t remember the details, but I recall reading a couple of years ago, or thereabouts, that the Giants had a plan to develop land around AT&T. If that’s so, I can’t imagine that the Dodgers aren’t planning the same, even though it would be a cooperative deal with Frank McCourt. Ugh!!!

  14. I don’t believe the Dodgers will get Ozuna. Teams like the Cardinals and Giants need him much more than the Dodgers and those two specifically have been through the trade process in swapping names with Marlins during the Stanton ordeal. It will be bullpen pieces and then head into the season with what they’ve got.

    1. Agreed. If the Cardinals are focused on Manny Machado, it could be the Giants who will slip in.

  15. Neshek is back with the Phils at 2 years $16-$17M. Under their current salary constraints, they cannot compete with that kind of offer for a 2nd tier reliever (albeit a good one).
    .
    Friedman has indicated that he is going to concentrate on the bullpen at the Winter Meetings. Minor League and waiver wire contracts? More for the OKC shuttle?

  16. I agree with AC’s post 100%. The Dodgers won’t spend the money that it would take to get a guy like Stanton for 3 reasons:
    1 – They have a team that just won 104 games and will improve where needed but not much is needed;
    2 – They have luxury tax problem.
    3 – They are philosophically opposed to big money contracts where they are buying too many years of questionable performance.

    The days of even contracts like Kershaw’s are probably over.

    None of the 3 guys that they extended last year are signed for more than 5 years (Jansen).

  17. Love the FO but you have to wonder what the heck they were thinking when they signed Kazmir. He was a very average, well-traveled MLB pitcher when they signed him to a three year $16 million AAV contract. That signing at the time was a “head scratcher,” and still is.

    1. Yeah, sometimes moves don’t work.
      .
      The thinking (to stop your head-scratching) was to get him at a value due to his injury history, and then to have him opt-out and get the draft pick as the young pitchers developed.
      .
      I think that was the thinking…

    2. They panicked when they missed out on Iwakuma, but honestly I had a bigger problem giving McCarthy 4 years at the time of the signings. One more year and they’re behind us.

  18. It is indisputable that Kazmir has been an utterly bad deal for the Dodgers.

    Here’s what is also indisputable:
    2013 – 158 IP – 4.04 ERA
    2014 – 190 IP – 3.55 ERA
    2015 – 183 IP – 3.10 ERA

    Those are very good stats for a 31 year-old LH pitcher who would sign a 3 Year/$48 million deal. I can see that it did not work, but I can also see why they did it. How many other pitchers with those stats were available for such a short-term deal? They were wanting him to be a #4 or #5. Who knew his hip would fall off?

      1. I remember the media saying he was signed to take up the slack by Greinke leaving, but I also remember saying we had a #1 and 5 #4’s.

        He had and opt-out after 1-year and almost everyone thought he would take it. He didn’t and the rest is history.

        1. If his body hadn’t broken down, I agree that he would have opted out. McCarthy for four years I will never get.

          1. I am not sure the Dodgers can trade McCarthy. I think all we can hope for is that McCarthy and Kazmir can be healthy for a half season. Is that too much to ask?

          2. McCarthy can probably do that. I keep hoping someone needs a #5 when the dust clears. It seems like that $5 million team option for 2019 would make him appealing to someone. The Dodgers need one inning eater in my opinion. I wish they could move McCarthy and find a way to bring back Darvish. With the cat out of the bag on how Darvish was tipping you would think Honeycutt could do something about it if he’s as good as advertised.

  19. I hear that McCarthy and Kazmir are both working with specialists so as to be ready next year. I am not holding my breath…

    But, you never know.

  20. What did we get out of Either in the last two years? What did we get out of Agon last year and what this year? Add Kasmir and McCarthy to this list and you have a lot of wasted money. Home grown farm kids look pretty appealing.

    1. I was just about to post this. It didn’t make any sense that Darvish would just mentally meltdown in the WS after such a good playoff run or suddenly have bad stuff. Darvish had good numbers against Houston prior to the WS. I’m very disappointed that the Dodgers didn’t catch this after the Marlins told the world that he was tipping his pitches.

  21. With all the arms the Dodgers have in the minors, the more I think it is possible we will see some youngsters in the pen, like:

    Buehler
    White
    Santana

    I am not convinced that any of them is a starter. I’m not saying they aren’t either, but with Kershaw and Urias, you “KNEW” they were starters. I thought that about De Leon too… in 2015, I got to thinking he might be better suited for the pen.

    Santana, White and Buehler could be “lock-down relievers.” It’s the mental aspect, you have to worry about.

    Right now, I am convinced that Dustin May is a starter. This could be his year to bloom. Alvarez could be a high-leverage reliever. The jury is still out on whether he can start.

    1. 4 of the top ten Dodgers picks in the 2017 amateur draft were for all practical purposes drafted as relievers; Riley Ottesen (5), Wills Montgomery (6), Zachary Pop (7), and Connor Strain (9). These draft picks seem to validate what emphasis that FAZ places on the bullpen. These are not future CY winners, but could be critical middle relievers in the not too distant future.
      .
      Of Buehler, White, and Santana, both Buehler and White are starters to me. That does not mean that they cannot be relievers at the ML level for a season while a spot opens up. Santana has high leverage/closer written all over him. His fastball has a heavy sink and his slider can be devastating. He absolutely has the mentality of a reliever, and his arm does not have much wear and tear. He should be able to pitch in back to back games, and go multiple innings if need be. He and Jesen Thierren could be the bridge to Jansen, but not until 2019, with Santana in position to replace Jansen if he decides to opt out after 2019.
      .
      White should start at AAA with Buehler. Buehler needs to go to OKC to work on command. With the number of relievers the Dodgers have there is no need to rush Buehler, but I would have no objection to the Dodgers bringing Buehler along slowly as the Cardinals did with Carlos Martinez, and may do this year with Alex Reyes. Buehler’s arm and pitches are top of the rotation solid, it is his command that needs work. The same was true with Urias. There is the argument that command can be taught better at the ML level surrounded by ML pitchers and coaches. I will leave that up to the pitching gurus in the Dodgers organization.
      .
      Mitchell White can be a RH version of Alex Wood. He can be devastating twice through the lineup and iffy the third time through. That takes experience and an ability to pitch rather than throw. With three plus pitches, White needs to start and needs to be allowed to fail the third time through the lineup at AAA. How else do you learn?
      .
      I am not sure where Alvarez will end up; starter, reliever, Dodger, or other team. He is a wild card. He has three plus pitches, and a potential 4th. It is not his ability that is in question, but his mental/emotional/psychological makeup. This will be a critical year for his development. He has too much potential to give up on. If not as a starter, he will be a significant high leverage reliever with his fastball and slider, he can be unhittable. His curve is plus, and if he can further develop his change, the sky is the limit for him. IMO he starts until he can’t.
      .
      Two pitchers you did not mention are Josh Sborz and Jordan Sheffield. Sheffield reminds me of Jharel Cotton. Both have good fastballs and sliders, and are developing a plus change. Cotton is 5′ 11″, 195 lbs, and Sheffield is 5′ 10″, 190 lbs. The Dodgers are not about to say a RH pitcher less than 6′ 0″ cannot start. They have already made that mistake. Cotton could not relieve, but that is where Jordan Sheffield should be slotted. I do not see Sheffield in the rotation as a Dodger. I would like to see what Sheffield can do as a reliever before he gets included in a trade.
      .
      Josh Sborz is kidding himself if he thinks he is a starter. He has fallen off the prospect map as a starter. He is a better pitcher than Chris Reed ever was, but he is a reliever, and he needs to understand his best chance at being an impact ML pitcher is as a reliever. If he still insists on being a starter, I would trade him and take the chance that he will become a starter for another ML team.
      .
      Dustin May has decent command, but needs to develop a solid third pitch before we really know where he will end up; starter or reliever.

      1. Sleeper is Caleb Ferguson, a polished LHP who just might be the top southpaw in the system. Not a massive upside but the world needs back-of-the-rotation starters too.

        1. In my mind, Caleb Ferguson is not a sleeper. I have been touting him for two years. He is the ONLY LHSP the Dodgers can consider a prospect. And I absolutely agree that back of the rotation pitchers are needed. Every team needs a #4 and #5 (soon maybe a #6?). FAZ is very good at understanding that, and building the depth. Everybody wants the #1 and #2, but those are hard to come by.

  22. While I believe what I wrote yesterday that the Dodgers will not do anything at the Winter Meetings, that does not mean that they will not try. They cannot do anything of significance without unloading contracts. I do not believe that the Dodgers will be able to move McCarthy and his $12M AAV, but maybe Hawkeye is right and someone will look at the $5M option as a possibility. In addition to McCarthy, the Dodgers have three other payroll luxuries that can be moved; Forsythe, Grandal, and Ryu. But in order to move them, there has to be an interested team to deal with.
    .
    With McCarthy, Grandal, Forsythe, and Ryu, FAZ would have to look at teams looking to make a go for it in 2018, and if it does not work out, possible trade deadline possibilities because none of the four are qualifying offer possibilities. In my mind, two teams stand out with needs who in all likelihood will go for it in 2018; Angels and Orioles. O’s more of an unknown right now. Neither team has luxury tax concerns and can take on the salaries if they want to. The Angels need a 2B, catching, and relief pitching. Forsythe, Grandal, Fields, Avilan are all potential here. They could also use a SP who is less of a question than what the Angels have, and that could be Ryu. The Angels have a lot of young pitchers that may be available. My two favorite are Parker Bridwell and Nick Tropeano, both RHSP. I would include Heaney, but LAD does not need another LHSP.
    .
    The O’s need starting pitching and starting pitching and starting pitching. They have two starters right now; Bundy and Gausman. Maybe they would be willing to take McCarthy for that proverbial player to be named later. While his AAV is $12M, his actual salary is $10M, making him more of a possibility. He is less of a risk than Chris Tillman who they are considering. Since they do not have any real LHSP potential, Ryu is also a possible fit. The O’s do not need to commit to multi-year contracts for Lance Lynn, Jason Vargas, or Alex Cobb this year. With Caleb Joseph as the only potential backup for Chance Sisco, Grandal should be a consideration. Also, the only four infielders on the 40 man are Tim Beckham, Chris Davis, Manny Machado, and Jonathan Schoop. They are four solid starters, but Logan Forsythe could give them some utility usage.
    .
    The Dodgers are not going to resign any of Grandal, Forsythe, Ryu, or McCarthy, so the moving of any of them would help this year if for nothing else, getting closer to the luxury tax threshold. That is more than $30M in salary relief which they could use.

    1. The O’s need 2 starters and a vet catcher and are now asking for offers on Machado. Jones is on the final year of his deal at $17.333 as well. They are stuck with Davis for 5 more years at $21.118 M through his age 36 season, Trumbo 2 more years at $11 M per. Ryu would immediately be their #3 and they need a leftie, Grandal would be their starter, McCarthy a 4 or 5. They could use a leftie OF too and Joc might have some appeal. Hard to say what the O’s do and their owner sticks his nose in. They should probably go full rebuild and are in a tough division but may decide to go for it this year. It’s possible they bring Tillman back too. The question is what do the Dodgers take back? 1 year of Adam Jones and 1 year of Britton would be almost a salary wash and both would be in contract years. Jones hit .285 with 26 HR’s and still plays a good CF. Britton pitched well at the end of the season and had a 2.89 ERA and 15 saves but was dominating the year before. Both teams fill a need for this season and Faz just said the goal is to be under $237 M payroll this year.

    2. AC

      Were you surprised that they resigned Forsythe, when they could have just moved Taylor to second, with the outfield choices, they have?

      1. MJ,
        Not really. They needed to keep their options open. If he stays (which he probably will), the Dodgers have a potential bounce back contract year in Forsythe. He is still a good defensive 2B.

  23. I see the Yankees dealt the Padres a mid-level prospect to take Headley’s contract off their hands. MCCarthy anyone?

  24. From what I can tell the following teams need SP: Yankees, Twinkies, Orioles, Cubs, Midgets, Madres, and probably others. Free agents will fill some holes, but why not get Ryu in exchange for a second tier prospect rather than overpay for Darvish or Cobb? Also, some teams will need SP during spring training when injuries start happening.

    1. The Yankees need a number 5. The Twins could use some pitching but are going hard after Darvish. The Orioles need a lot of pitching but might start a fire sale. The Cubs are going hard after Cobb for their final start. Don’t see the Giants and Dodgers matching up. Padres need pitching.

  25. With all these young arms the Dodgers will figure out where they need to pitch. Sometimes you just have to throw them in the fire. Even Kershaw has trouble adjusting sometimes. Doc sometimes needs to be more patient. He needs to let pitchers fight through the line up for the third time. Pitching is the most important ingredient in putting a team together.

    1. It was a salary dump for NY. The Padres brought on a veteran with an expiring contract as long as the Yankees gave them a prospect that SD liked and NY didn’t value. Now the Yankees can look to acquire another pitcher without going over the $197 million mark.

  26. Dave Roberts said Walker Buehler will be a starter in 2018 after relieving for Dodgers in September.
    `
    Roberts said Andrew Toles is expected to be healthy and will compete for LF job.
    `
    Roberts won’t give timeline on Julio Urias’ return from shoulder surgery beyond sometime in 2018.
    `
    Roberts said he wasn’t surprised to hear Yu Darvish was tipping pitches to Astros in World Series, but said there also was poor pitch execution.
    `
    Roberts reiterated that Kenta Maeda is expected to be a starter after relieving in the postseason.

    1. Thanks for this. Only caught the very end of interview.

      Even though it seems like a longshot, I guess I need to throw Bellinger into the LF mix if A-gon plays 1b for any amount of time (until injury for example).

      If money is really that much of an issue, playing both A-gon and Belli while Verdugo and Toles develop is at possible in theory.

      Can Joc become our new supersub OF?

    2. The only thing that gives me pause about Buehler is his “high-effort” delivery, but I used to think the same about Justin Verlander.

      I am excited about Toles.

      Urias is progressing beyond expectations. Baseball Prospectus says this:
      Given the depth of Urias’ arsenal, the quality of the changeup, and his left-handedness, he could likely suffer a minor loss of velocity and still be effective, if not what he once was. Alvarez—at this point—is stuff over polish, and lacks the depth in repertoire that could elevate him above even an injured Urias. If Urias returns clearly diminished, he will look far too high in retrospect.If he returns even at 90 percent of his former self, there’s a good chance he deserves to be above Buehler.

  27. Would the Dodgers consider this?

    Verdugo, Alvarez, Buehler, Grandal, Forsythe, McCarthy, Pederson, Baez, Stripling and Ryu to the Orioles for Manny, Britton and Brach…

    PROVIDING Manny signs a 10 year/$340 Million deal and PROVIDING Corey Seager moves to 3B because Manny wants to play SS.

    The Dodgers would take on a little salary (not much) and this would be the lineup:

    1. Taylor CF
    2. Machado SS
    3. Seager 3B
    4. Bellinger 1B
    5. Turner 2B
    6. Puig RF
    7. Toles/Kike LF
    8. Barnes C

    Would you?

  28. Truth be told, I would rather have Machado than Stanton. He’s 25 and would be 35 at the end of the deal. He’s a first ballet HOF just like Adrian Beltre who left the Dodgers at age 25.

    This might help me to get over that and move on with my life…

    Pretty please?

  29. McCarthy, Ryu, Fields for Britton. Or switch Avilon for Fields. Or Baez for Fields.
    .
    Grandal and Forsythe and Fields/Baez/Libortore for Cron and Parker Bridwell

  30. Zaidi said:
    `
    1. Trades are more likely than free agent signings for the Dodgers in the next week. He expects the next two weeks to be busy in the industry after a slow winter.\
    `
    2. The club’s search for relief help is focused on the value end, not the top end. Sorry those who were delusional about Britton.
    `
    3. The club still is having active dialogue with Darvish, a free agent. About the story dealing with him tipping pitches, said the possibility was already on club radar before Game 7. Thus, in response to the unasked question, “Did they have something on him? It’s certainly possible.”
    `
    4. The team doesn’t feel it needs a lefty hitting 2B, Chase Utley’s role the last two seasons.

      1. They give that same quote every year. Unless McCarthy is moved there is no way I see him coming back.

  31. Tommy Hunter is off the boards. Headed to Philly. I really would have liked to see what he could have done with the Dodgers.
    .
    Rangers in talks with DBacks about Greinke.
    .

  32. Mark, You have made this site the best blog ever (for us Dodger fans) and I just want to thank you for adding such a blessing to my life.

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