Release the Kracken!

The Dodgers will not win 104 games this year… and I am not saying that they aren’t as good as last year.  Depending upon how things shake out, you could be even better.  They just won’t win as many games because all the teams in the NL West are better… in fact, most of the teams in the NL are better… except for maybe the Marlins and the Pirates.

Competition is going to be more intense and the competition is better.  The Giants are better, the Rockies may or may not be better, and the Padres are also better.  Even with losing J.D. Martinez, the D-Backs are likely better.  They get Tomas back and Sousa and Dyson help make up for the loss or Martinez.

So, I doubt the Dodgers will win 104 games again… they might have difficulty winning 95, but I think they will improve, just due to experience and better play from LF and I am inclined to predict that Matt Kemp will have a monster year… but I will wait until he makes the team before making such a crazy prediction. However, I am seriously starting to believe that.  He certainly has the support of many fans and his teammates.

Then comes the revelation that Yasmani Grandal has been working on his launch angle all winter.  We know what that has done for some players.  What might be lost on some is that Grandal started working on launch angles to better understand hitters and to call a better game.  Then it evolved into improving his game.  I said it before: Yasmani Grandal has 40 HR power. I am going to give Yasmani a new Nickname “The Kracken.” Is the 2018 the year the Kracken is released?

By the way, Yasmani is not my favorite Dodger player, not even close… but a guy who starts studying “launch angles” so that he can become a better signal caller is very telling.  I admire his work ethic and how when he lost his job to Barnes, he never uttered a cross word.  Even with his passed balls, I love Yasmani Grandal’s game calling and he changes games with his pitch framing. If he could jack 40 BIG FLIES, now that would be incredible!

Spring Training Notes

  • I think you are going to see a lot of Trayce Thompson this Spring as he will afforded every opportunity to make the team, as he is out of options.  Healthy, he could be a great asset!  Don’t judge him by 2017.
  • Wilmer Font, Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart are going to be stretched out as starers, but I don’t expect to see any of them start many games this season.  Walker Buehler… probably!
  • Wolmer Font is scheduled to start the Opening Game on Friday.
  • Tuesday’s Dodger Inside Photoblog isHERE!
  • The Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw have “open dialogue” with their franchise player… whatever that means.
  • A scout just told me that no team will trade for Kemp, but privately some think his only chance is with the Dodgers and a couple actually think he could have a “monster year.” His smiling face is all over the PhotoBlog. Jon SooHoo is an employee of the Dodgers. Dodger Insider is ran by Dodger Employees. All FAZ would have to do is tell them to not feature Kemp and we would not see him.  I am telling you right now (barring injury), Matt Kemp will be the Dodger’s starting leftfielder.  I think he has one really good year left.  Maybe I should have called this “Release the Krackens.” It could be an amazing story!
  • Get your MLB.com subscriptions up to date – Friday’s game is on TV!

Opening Day Lineup Prediction:

  1. Chris Taylor  CF
  2. Corey Seager  SS
  3. Justin Turner 3B
  4. Cody Bellinger  1B
  5. Yasiel Puig  RF
  6. Matt Kemp  LF
  7. Austin Barnes  C (But it could be Grandal if Kershaw wants him, even Mad-Bum on the mound)
  8. Logan Forsythe  2B
  9. Clayton Kershaw  P

UPDATE:  We have added some new links under Mandatory Reading on the Right Side of the blog.  Enjoy!

This article has 46 Comments

  1. After 2011 but while Kemp was still with the Dodgers he was aware he wasn’t playing up the expectations and didn’t like fans becoming as aware also. I’m certain he wished the details of his contract weren’t made public. When interviewers asked questions of things like how was the building of his new custom mansion coming along one could easily tell he didn’t like answering questions of the such. 3 trades later brought him down even further with light at it’s end of a chance to redeem some of his self worth at the place where he first made himself into what MLB saw as the best in the game of 2011. The mission he’s on is to prove he’s more than a throwaway and that’s all the fans ask from him. Well also to be a good in the clubhouse guy who’s an asset. We want the 40+ but will settle for less, but what I want most from Kemp is effort with grace. Grace will go far.

  2. Think Stewart and Stripling are more valuable to the team working out of the pen.
    Trayce will get the opportunity but I don’t see him making the team
    Grandal or Barnes should be a battle that will continue into the season.
    Kemp, made it to spring training, and most likely my biggest fear will come true. If he can help the team and keep his mouth shut that is what counts, but I am not rooting for him.

  3. Wouldn’t it be an incredible story that former malcontent, contentious, clubhouse ruining, ripped off of the MVP comes back and wins the NL MVP? I think so…

    1. I think I’ll just watch and see what happens if he outplays all the competition and wins the position on merit and not on $42M than good for him and good for the Dodgers.

  4. I’m one also who thinks/hopes that Kemp will have good year… He’s got to be aware of his future as a DH is drawing nearer… Maybe GM’s take notice during ST…
    That being said I want the kids start emerging as the future… Toles remains my favorite to hopefully make the 25… I hope Thompson shines and gets a chance to be moved to a better opportunity.

  5. No way Matty wins the NL MVP. That ship has been hijacked and sunk. It’s highly possible that his teammates may award him with an MVP type gesture…

    1. There was NO WAY the 1988 Dodgers with smoke, mirrors, a lame Kirk Gibson and a team of Stuntmen and Junkyard Dogs should have won the World Series, but they did not know that, so they did it anyway.

      There was no way a bunch of never were’s and hardly been’s could have pulled off the Miracle on Ice, but they didn’t know that, so they did.

      “Never Underestimate the Power of Dreams and the Influence of the Human Spirit.”― Wilma Rudolph

      Mind you, I am not predicting the MVP for Matt Kemp, but it’s not teh strangest thing that have ever happened. The money is on him NOT doing it… buy you never know.

      1. Well, if your gonna have an attitude like Tommy. I suppose it’s possible. You’d best get to selling the idea, on Matt though…you two, have a lot of promise to fullfill. :0)

  6. Mark, I hope you are right. But if I also wear my rose colored glasses, Joc would return to CF and Taylor to 2B with Kemp in LF.
    .
    I would like to see a three team trade with Machado going to the Rays, Archer going to the Dodgers, and let your imagination figure out what goes to Baltimore.

    1. I’d rather have Machado and why would TB do that for a one-year rental? TB is re-building and could get at least 2 TOP 10 Prospects for Archer. They can lose 95 games with or without Machado.

      I’d trade Alvarez , Smith and Verdugo for Machado, but you would have to trade Forsythe and I doubt they can trade him now. They could have earlier…

      Next, I’d lock Turner, Seager and Machado in a room and tell then to figure out who plays where.

      This is the lineup:

      1. Taylor CF (25 HR)
      2. Machado SS (35 HR)
      3. Seager 3B (30 HR)
      4. Bellinger 1B (40 HR)
      5. Turner 2B (25 HR)
      6. Kemp LF (35 HR)
      7. Grandal C (40 HR)
      8. Puig RF (35 HR)

      OK, back to reality. It ain’t happening!

      1. Why trade for Machado when you can get him for free in a year and not ruin the work to get under the threshold?

        1. I’m not sure you are asking me, but if you are, I doubt that I would do that… unless I wanted to be all in to win this year and keep him from the D-Bags who are rumored to covet him. That would be a hell of a lineup!

      1. The Orioles need two MLB ready pitchers to have a decent season. Boston and NY are loaded so Baltimore’s future won’t look that much better if they go full re-build. Grandal and his 40 home runs would replace Maldonado’s bat plus give them the catcher they need. Ryu and Stripling would give them two MLB pitchers they need. I will let FRAZ come up with the sweetner to make the deal.
        .
        The Dodgers don’t need Maldonado for one year. They have a solid infield already. The Rays could be happy with Maldonado’s $3.9M salary for 2018. Send them Forsythe as well and their fans would be ecstatic.
        .
        Besides, I am just taking a break in the day to humor myself. Once the season starts I will watch games instead.

  7. Surely, you jest!

    His OPS was .782 last year. He got off to a poor start last season but rebounded. His career OPS is .805 and the two previous seasons he OPS’ed around 100 point higher – .876 and .861. Plus that was all done by age 24!

    Hall of Famer to be, Adrian Beltre OPS’ed .835 once before age 25. Nolan Arenado had higher OPS before age 25 but it was at Coors and that doesn’t count. His career OPS at Coors is .958 and .790 on the road.

    He has 138 HR by age 25. Beltre had less than 100. In terms of natural talent, there are few that compete with Machado, and he’s still capable of becoming one of baseball’s five best players (not my words).

    Manny Machado is just entering his prime. Plus, he is an exceptional defensive player who can play SS or 3B.

    Last I checked, we had Seager and Turner. Machado will be a Free Agent next year and I would rather see the Dodgers go after him than Harper… for two reasons: (1) he’s RH and would balance out and slot between Bellinger and Seager; and (2) Turner is nearing the end of the road in a year or two. They need a SS or 3B.

      1. Right now Arenado is a TOP 10 player, but I think people will be disappointed in him if he moves out of Colorado. He is reminiscent of Vinny Castilla, who had three straight seasons of 40 + HR and fours straight seasons where he averagesd.925 OPS in Denver. He played in Colorado for 9 years where he OPS’ed .870, but after he left, his OPS was .569-.692. Colorado really inflated his stats. He was gone a few years and came back and OPS’ed .867 with 35 HR at age 37.

        Who ever signs Arenado will pay for the Coors-Inflated Version (.958 OPS) and get the road version (.790 OPS). No thank you!

        1. Nolan’s road OPS the last three years
          2015-.835
          2016-.832
          2017-..886

          You’re incorrect. He and Machado are the best two defensive 3rd baseman I’ve ever seen. Machado’s demand to play SS this year is selfish and doesn’t help their ball club.

          1. Well, I checked and his career OPS is still .790 on the road and .958 at home… so he has gotten better the past three years. Machado is a very good third baseman, but I think Arenado is the second best 3B I have ever seen, next to Adrian Beltre!

  8. I like Arenado better too, because I think he has a better attitude, then Machado.

    Arenado OPSed 886 away from Colorado last year, so that is still good numbers, away from Coors field.

    I wouldn’t want Machado playing shortstop this year, if I was an Oriole fan, because I think that may be to hard on Machado’s knees.

    Because Machado has had a knee surgery, on each of his knees, and I just think playing short, will probably put more stress on his knees, this year.

    Because there is much more lateral movement playing short, then third base.

    1. Bum

      I don’t have a problem with most player’s OPS, if their OBP, is not based more on walks, then hits.

      Because I think every player on team, should be able to put the ball into play, when it is needed.

        1. Bluto

          The sabers might consider a single as the same, as a walk, but they don’t do the same things, especially if a runner is in scoring position.

          1. That argument is silly, and irrelevant.
            `
            You wrote:
            “I don’t have a problem with most player’s OPS, if their OBP, is not based more on walks, then hits.”
            `
            Which is wrong.

    1. Everybody is and should be interested in Machado.

      Arizona’s got some roster issues in the near future….

  9. Barnes – sore right elbow, will DH for now till??? A step closer to Grandal’s big 40 unless his wife is with child…
    Big Machado fan, but the knees and his $$$ demands have me worried!!!
    Has Andre hooked up with anyone yet???

  10. I don’t know Arrenado’s numbers away from Coors, but anybody’s numbers would be worse away from Coor’s. How much worse? I’m not sure. Would he adjust to his new ballpark? I think so

    Regardless, he’s a gold glove 3b, and I think he’s the ideal guy to bat between Franchise and Franchise II. Unless DJ Peters or Puig or Yusiel Diaz becomes elite this year..

  11. Machado’s career OPS is .805? How is that elite enough to break the bank? FAZ can get that production for a fraction if Machado’s cost!

  12. Hawkeye posted Arenado’s OPS Home & Road Splits for the past 3 years and he is narrowing the gap compared to his career splits. What if the Rockies fall out of contention in July? Do you see where I am going with this?

    If the Rocks gave the Dodgers a window to negotiate with Nolan and they could strike a long term deal, would you trade….

    Alvarez, Maeda, Verdugo, Forsythe (filler), Pederson and Smith for Arenado?

    Think about it…

    1. I don’t think the Rockies would deal him to LA for darn near anything. Especially this year. Now if it’s 2019 and they’re out of it, maybe. He is the face of the Rockies franchise these days. The days of Tulo and Cargo are long gone. So a trade seems unlikely. Nolan hasn’t been shy about stating how big of a Dodgers fan he is so I don’t think it is just a coincidence if Arendado doesn’t sign a long-term deal in Colorado anytime soon.

  13. I see Espn.com is already falling all over themselves talking about incredible the Cubs are going to be this year. I guess that’s why you still have to play the games. No mention at all about how the Dodgers are going to be this year. Don’t even know why I’m surprised.

  14. If the Dodgers had planned for such a tight free-agent market, I wonder if they would have picked up Forsythe’s option. I like Forsythe well enough and I agree with Mark that he will have a bounce-back year. Considering this year’s market, he probably doesn’t get $9 million. Also, if the Dodgers really thought there was a chance for Kemp to be a contributor when the brought him in would they have preferred to move Taylor to 2nd rather than pay Forsythe. Once again, I’m not knocking Forsythe. It’s just funny how the sequence of things could have made this off-season turn out differently. Had they pulled the trigger on the Atlanta deal when they first started talking about it with AA made a Stanton deal been more likely? I think they got distracted trying to offload their junk on Miami who wasn’t biting. Kemp would have been only one contract(like Castro) to move. Hindsight is 20/20 and I was an advocate for picking up Forsythe’s contract but would the savings of no Forsythe been enough to sign a certain pitcher that Mark dislikes. I don’t think so, but it was another $7 million off the books if they declined his option I believe. Forsythe’s ability to also play 3rd at a high defensive level is important, but if #27 is producing then where does Kike get his AB’s against lefties. Taylor is a natural SS who could play 2B and 3B too. They were forced to make a decision on the option quickly, but now that they have Toles, a not fat Kemp, an in-shape Joc to go along with Chase and Kike I wonder if FAZ regrets picking up that option.

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