Rants & Raves

  • So, lots of times when trades are made, it’s because one team see somthing in a player that they believe they can “fix.” The Cubs signed Jason Hayward thinking they could “fix” his swing… they couldn’t. When the Tigers got JD Martinez he was already “fixing” his swing and they thought they could help… they did.  On case worked, the other didn’t!  The Gerrit Cole trade is a case where the Astros think they can “fix” Cole, by changing his pitch selection and adding a changeup, while the Pirates Ray Searage thinks he can “fix” Musgrove and Felix. The Pirates also believe that Moran and Martin will be very good players.  Moran will likely even start at 3B THIS year.
  • Some Dodger fans say “Well the Dodgers could have put together a better package.”   A better package according to who? You don’t know how these teams value your players or how FAZ values Dodger prospects.  Neither do I! I get tired of fans saying “The Dodgers could have easily beaten that package of players” when they have no clue how the other team values the Dodgers players.  That’s moronic.  Sure, the Dodgers could have beaten it, but the Dodgers’ system is much deeper and they are intent on keeping it that way. Houston has a window of opportunity that will close somewhat after 2018.
  • Who will “fix” their players?  Will the Astros fix Cole?  Or will the Pirates “fix Musgrove and Felix?  Maybe they will all be “fixed” or maybe none will be fixed.  Some scouts think Cole can be an Ace.  Others think he will regress even more in the AL.  Time will tell.
  • I have been willing to trade Alvarez for a while.  FAZ hasn’t.  I suspect they have a lot more insight into his body and soul than I do.  More than you too! Hopefully, the trade works out for both teams.  The Astros did not give up what they regard as their Top Prospects, but Martin and Moran were Top Prospects – just not ones they were loathe to trade, like Tucker, et al.  Evidently the Pirates wanted more than the Dodgers were willing to give up.  It’s likely as simple as that!
  • We know that San Diego was considering Eric Hosmer… and maybe they will get him, but it they don’t they sure missed a great opportunity to bring back Adrian Gonzalaez who lives in San Diego.  If he’s healthy, it would have been a great thing for him and the Padres.  It was a chance they both should have taken.  It just makes sense.  The Mets aren’t going anywhere either.
  • If the Dodgers sign Yu Darvish, I could see them trading Wood and Grandal…. even Forsythe, if they get Yelich (long-shot)  Just saying… Sell high!
  • The Giants could have gotten better yesterday.  If everything goes right for them, they could be tough, but EVERYTHING has to go right and they have a lot of Old Bodies.  They might win 85 games.
  • Dan Szymborski of ESPN.comhas a column on players who may “breakout” in 2018. Christain Yelich is atop that list and he compares Yelich to Joey Votto and Will Clark and expects to see him put up that kind of season.  He also lists Danny Salazar as a breakout candidate.  I happen to agree with both of those players.  The next player he picks as a breakout candidate is one Joc Pederson – yeah, THAT Joc Pederson:

Pederson had a fairly miserable 2017 season, even earning him a stint for Oklahoma City (and typing that, it still feels weird that the Dodgers’ Triple-A franchise isn’t in Albuquerque). A lot of his offensive woes have to do with his .241 BABIP. ZiPS thinks he should have had a .296 BABIP in 2017 based on his hit ball profile and while he has underperformed the ZiPS BABIP in the past by about 15 points in his first two seasons, even a .280 BABIP would have put his OPS+ around 115-120 rather than 95.

The largest flaw in Pederson’s offensive game has been his plate discipline, but his overall weak season camouflaged his progress on that front. He swung at a lower rate of out-of-zone pitches than he did in either 2015 or 2016 and set a career high for swinging at the in-zone ones. Despite a career-high in overall swing rate, his swinging strike rate dropped to 9.5 percent, actually better than the league-average, a first for him. Two years ago it was at 14 percent.

Key breakout stat: 28 percent shot at a new career high for OPS+

This article has 29 Comments

  1. Most fans overhype their own prospects and are underwhelmed with their perceived value of other team’s prospects. I am as guilty of that as anyone, maybe moreso. And while I do believe that the Dodgers could have put together a better package, I know FAZ would not have. There is a big difference in could and would. To your point, Pittsburgh wanted ML or ML ready cost controlled players, and got three for sure, with a potential 4th in Jason Martin. Musgrove and Feliz will be on the 25 man for sure, but with David Freese on the roster, I do not think Moran will start for the Pirates, at least initially.
    .
    Timing is also critical in looking at the trade. The Pirates thought they had 3B under control with Jung Ho Kang, but he is no longer on the roster, and probably will never be again. The Pirates had two 3B in their Top 30 prospects, Ke’Bryan Hayes (20) and Oneal Cruz (19), neither of whom will be able to replace Freese in 2019. Moran fills that hole, a hole the Dodgers could not have filled. The Dodgers do not have any potential 3B until Cristian Santana starts to move through the organization. No, neither Rios or Beaty are legit 3B candidates. Both probably belong in the AL.
    .
    The Dodgers also do not have a surplus of ML ready OF that other teams’ desire. Verdugo and Diaz are not going anywhere unless some other team wants to overpay. Kendall is too much of an unknown. He could be a star or he could be a bust. So that would leave Heredia as the highest valued OF to compare to Martin. Comps to Musgrove (25) and Feliz (24) could be Stewart (26)/Stripling (28) and Baez (29). But the age difference is significant. So again to your point, if the Pirates were looking at a ML ready 3B, a close to ML ready young OF (at least AA), a young 5th/6th starter /long reliever and a young power reliever…no, the Dodgers could not have matched that. They would have to overpay with pitching or higher rated OF, which they would not do for a #4 SP.
    .
    I still think the Astros stole Cole because who they traded were not needed by the Astros (in 2018) as much as the need for a reliable #4 innings eater. Cole may have been the Pirates #1, but he is not an Ace. He will slide in behind Keuchel, Verlander, and McCullers, and before Morton. Moran is blocked by Bregman. The loss of Musgrove and Feliz will be offset with the addition of two seasoned vets, Hector Rondon and Joe Smith, and with Colin McHugh and Brad Peacock going to the bullpen fulltime. Pittsburgh knew they could not compete in 2018 even with Cole, so they also did well with the addition of three players ready to help this year, and one more perhaps by 2019. Both teams accomplished what they wanted to do.
    .
    I think the McCutcheon trade is another example where both teams helped themselves, and something the Dodgers could not have done. I like what the Pirates did more than the Giants, because McCutcheon does not make the Giants a contender in 2018 (IMO), which is what they wanted to accomplish. Reynolds and Crick will both help the Pirates in 2019 more than Cutch will. If the Pirates thought they could contend in 2018, they would not have traded Cutch.
    .
    More importantly for the Giants, with less than $5M to spend and stay under luxury tax, they cannot make any other significant additions, and if anyone gets hurt, where do they go? Their bench and farm are desolate. Their bench is Kelby Tomlinson, Nick Hundley, Jarrett Parker, Mac Williamson, and Panda. If any of Panik/Crawford/Tomlinson go down, who replaces them? If Posey or Hundley go down, who replaces them? Those are the only two catchers on the 40 man, and they have one prospect (Aramis Garcia) who is at least a year away. Their #4 & #5 are Ty Blach and Chris Stratton with only Tyler Beede as a potential replacement for any of the starting pitchers. After Melancon/Dyson/Smith/Gearin/Strickland, their bullpen is horrid. They will have to pick 2 from Law/Okert/Osich. Everything has to go right, and everybody has to stay healthy for the Giants to reach .500.

    1. Realistically, it would be nice if one from the group of Kendall/Heredia/Peters hits. I personally think Verdugo is prime trade bait [especially if he has a nice start to his 2018 in AAA] and Diaz is the next prospect to make a mark in the outfield.

      It seems like nobody quite knows to make of our outfield. I would submit that CF & RF are rock solid and in no need of an upgrade. LF, while having uncertainty, holds considerable upside with the following options:

      1. Platoon of Joc & Keekay
      2. Toles as primary LF
      3. Some combination of Joc/Keekay/Toles/Kemp/Verdugo

      Taylor could move to LF if we made a big splash like Yelich, but I’m not even listening to any Taylor-to-2b talk until 2019 when Forsythe is potentially gone.

      As mad as I am at Darvish for crapping the bed, I’d do that Calhoun deal every day of the week.

  2. Good takes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t think the Dodgers were ever in on Cole and certainly not Cutch. Even though it’s been a slow off season there have been some big trades and LOTS of FA have not signed. Aside from the big names look who is still out there for a bargain signing:

    Starters: Buchholz, Cashner, Colon, Dickey, Feldman, Garcia, Garza, Hellickson, Jiminez, Lackey, Liriano, Miley, Nolasco, Norris, Peavy, Sanchez, Tillman, Vargas, Volquez.

    Relievers: Axford, Benoit, Cahill, Chavez, Clippard, Collmenter, de la Rosa, Duensing, Feliz, Grilli, Perez, Perkins, Qualls, K-Rod, Rosenthal, Siegrist, Storen, Street, Uehara, Watson, Travis Wood.

    Big Names: Bautista, Melky Cabrera, Duda, Espinosa, Frazier, Carlos Gomez, Cargo, JJ Hardy, Holliday, Austin Jackson, Lind, Lucroy, Montero, Napoli, Nunez, Peralta, Phillips, Reyes, Reynolds, Suzuki, Walker, Werth.

    I see why it is difficult to move Kemp with so many others still out there. Same with Grandal and Ryu. The Dodgers have enough room to add a couple more players, maybe a SP and RP if they choose to and the price is right. But they don’t NEED to. Still the bargain nature of the market has to be making them think about it.

  3. If we like a player we see more of the good, if we have given up on a player we see the bad. Many have said that Joc still swings hard at everything. Joc just needs to put a whole season together.
    .
    I would love to see both Joc and Yelich in the Dodger outfield. The Dodgers want a full time center fielder. Joc needs to hit lefties better before the Dodgers will want to put him back in CF. If he does, I think Taylor will move to second base, but not before.
    .
    I have said several times before when I was being serious that the Dodgers are already good and don’t need to do anything more. If they sign Darvish though, I suspect Grandal and Forsythe could be traded. To get Yelich, my preference would be to trade Puig to make room for Yelich’ salary. I don’t think Puig would go to Miami because of Donnie.

    1. “The Dodgers want a full time center fielder.”

      Well, it’s a good thing we have Chris Taylor then.

      1. It is as he is good and hits both righties and lefties. Could use a second baseman that hits righties and lefties as well.

        1. Partially based on discussions on this site, I’m banking on one of Muncy/Peters/That Philly Guy to win the LH 2b role.

          Either that or sign Neil Walker or someone like him . . .

  4. Stuff from around:

    1. Old friend Willie Calhoun is now the TOP PROSPECT in the Ranger system. Let’s hope he does great.

    2. Interesting column in today’s NYPost about Adrian Gonzalez and how he’s not necessarily well-loved in the baseball dugout.

    3. mlb.com predicts the Astros and Dodgers as the best teams for the coming season.

    4. Sickels’ blog takes a look at Dodgers sleeper prospect, Caleb Ferguson.
    https://www.minorleagueball.com/2018/1/9/16869616/sleeper-prospect-caleb-ferguson-lhp-los-angeles-dodgers

    5. Bryce Harper is 5 months younger than Aaron Judge.

    1. This is the article of which Bluto speaks:

      https://nypost.com/2018/01/15/why-adrian-gonzalez-can-bother-the-mets-clubhouse/

      Over the years, I have been crucified for having the Gall to say he was not a good clubhouse presence.

      I think Willie will be a great DH! I love the kid. He just can’t play the field.

      AC has been telling us about Ferguson for a while now.

      The fact is, he could see then Big Team as soon as this season. His arm is ready for some innings.

      1. Agon ‘s dugout demeanor has improved. Old tags are hard to get unattached. But we could see him hanging around Roberts and talking about the game. There are coaches for that. He has loosened up.

        1. If that is true, then why did the Dodger players not want him in the dugout during the playoffs?

          They didn’t even want him on the field.

          They didn’t want him in uniform.

          1. Boy! How hard must be for you to say “They” when it’s been you all along who doesn’t like him

      1. But Joc is way slower than Toles. He can make up for mistakes. Toles can learn better routes, but Joc can’t learn better speed! Routes are important, but most CF’ers are one of the fastest (if not the fastest) players on the team.

  5. I agree with you Mark on CF defense rankings. I just am not a Pederson fan. Never have been one. At best he is a platoon player. It is either a HR or KO. I just think we can do better. I would like someone who can play LF every day. That is why I hope for Toles or Verdugo.

  6. Esteban,

    There’s a difference between not being a fan and not liking him. I think the Dodgers paid to much for him and he was not a great leader, but he was a good guy and hard worker. He helped Puig a lot, I like him, but didn’t love him. He was a very good player and I would have thought he might want to end his career in San Diego.

    1. Mark! i’ve been following your blog for a long time now, and i think it’s the best (I didn’t like it when you take your sabbatical) I been a dodgers fan since the 70’s. this it’s actually my first time posting (well technically this it’s my second) Adrian was a good player as long as he could do it. but you always blame him for “the trade” It was not his fault. We are in good shape now and I hope the drought end this year 🙂

      1. Esteban,

        Thanks. But I blame Kasten and Colletti for The Trade. I would have loved it if we didn’t have to take Carl Crawford to get A-Gon. CC made it a bad deal for me.

        I really do with Adrian well. I’d like to see him in the Dodgers front office someday.

        Peace!

  7. Here’s the best article that I have read on the reason that free agents aren’t being signed and how the money thing works in baseball now.
    https://sports.yahoo.com/heres-baseballs-economic-system-might-broken-224638354.html
    When 1/3 of the teams have decided to tank before the season starts then there is no place for free agents to go. Trying to lose should not be allowed. The minimum salary floor needs to be reconsidered. Teams shouldn’t be getting money from the league or from the “competitive balance tax” if they aren’t going to spend it on players. Teams like the Dodgers shouldn’t be penalized when there are guys like Derek Jeter who stand to make $6 MM for blowing up his team and being as bad as possible.

    1. Here is a chart of the revenue of each team. I don’t disagree with you, but there are some huge discrepancies:
      Statistic: Teams of Major League Baseball ranked by revenue in 2016 (in million U.S. dollars) | Statista
      Find more statistics atStatista
      Salaries are only a part of operation costs. Even with revenue sharing, it is impossible for the bottom teams to really thrive.

    2. It is a great article. While I agree with most, I do not agree with it all. While not saying it, Passan hinted that there could be some sampling of collusion going on, and I do not think that is true. I think one of the biggest reasons why free agency has not taken off with non-elite (mostly mediocre) veterans is due to the article below:
      .
      http://www.espn.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/85090/bad-money-the-worst-contract-investments-on-all-30-teams
      .
      Passan does not give credence to Boras holding up free agency, citing that everyone knows how Boras handles the market by waiting it out, and he does it every year so why is this year different? IMO it is different because he controls; one of the two top free agent starting pitchers, two of the top free agent position players, and one of the top two free agent closers. He has never had that position in the past. I think it is naive to think that some (most) of the 20 clubs that will be bidding on free agents want to see what the market is before they enter, especially since the Yankees and Dodgers are not involved.
      .
      I believe the other point made without actually saying the words is that Tony Clark is no Marvin Miller or Don Fehr.

  8. Looking at that chart, it appears to me MLB might want to reconsider having 2 teams in Florida! Time to move one to Charlotte or Portland.

      1. I thought there were two teams there…

        Oh, I get it!

        😉

        Tell me a joke on Tuesday and I’ll laugh on Friday.

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