Hurry Up and Calm Down!

On April 18, 2017, the Dodgers had 8 wins and 10 losses. They simply were not hitting, but I think it ended up OK (except for the very last game).  As a matter of fact, on May 3rd of 2017, the Dodgers were just one game above .500.  Should the Dodgers make a plethora of moves now and get rid of hitters not hitting and pitchers not hitting?  That’s silly and impossible!  Does anyone with a rational mind think the following players will end up the season hitting what they are now?

  • Cody Bellinger – .240
  • Matt Kemp – .222
  • Chris Taylor – .222
  • Corey Seager – .192
  • Kike Hernandez – .188
  • Yasiel Puig – .179
  • Joc Pederson – .154
  • Logan Forsythe – .083
  • Kyle Farmer – .000

I seriously doubt it! The pitching has been fine.  The team ERA is 2.58 – that’s awesome.  It’s just the lack of team hitting.  That’s baseball.  It will change.  These guys will be fine – I don’t think they will win 104 games again, because many teams are improved, but they will likely be around 97-99.  Don’t panic.

This team has shown they are incredibly streaky – they can go 52-8 and then lose 20 in a row.  I suspect some of it is related to the fact that the goal is to win it all and they are focused on that instead of just TODAY’S game… well, there isn’t a game today, but you get my drift.

Some fans are upset because the Dodgers stood pat… at least that’s what they say.  If you are playing poker and have four kings and a 2, does it mean you stood pat if you keep the four kings and only get one card?  If Tom Koehler had not hurt his shoulder, the Dodgers would have had seven (count ’em, 7) new players on the roster.  I guess standing pat has a different meaning to some.

This team did not need a blockbuster deal – they needed tweaks around the fringes and they needed to get under the Luxury Tax.  They did both.  You can point to the bullpen meltdown a couple of days ago and rag on Alexander and Baez and claim that suddenly Dave Roberts is a moron, but the pen is fine, the pitching is fine and Urias and Buehler should be ready at different intervals.  By the way, Doc is one of the best managers in baseball.

Roberts is exceptional.  Its just that when Managers make moves that don’t work, it’s easy to second guess.  “Why did Doc use all his relievers, he should have kept some back for a 15 inning game?”  Yeah, he should have known Kenley Jansen would blow a 3-run lead and the game would go 15 innings and he would be out of pitchers.   The moron should have saw that coming.  After all, the second guessers saw it coming.  They see everything… after the fact.  Geeezzzz!  Give it a rest.

This team is too good, too talented, too deep and two focused on what they want to accomplish.  Sometimes you can be so focused on a goal that you forget about how to get there.  They will figure that out shortly.  As we know, the Dodgers have a plethora of outfielders and a trade could be made if they want to tweak the roster… but I would not hold my breath.  JUstin Turner will be back… and that will help… a lot!

You don’t dismantle a team that won more games than any other team in baseball in 2017… even though they fell one game short.  You don’t stand pat with the same 25 (and they didn’t) – you blend in about 25% new players, but you don’t make wholesale changes.  That’s just counterproductive and plain dumb… and FAZ is anything but that.

The Dodgers and Astros front offices have changed the landscape of baseball forever.  Scott Borass is no longer able to fleece the GM’s like he used to.  They all have the same analytics, they all know that the big free agent deals suck.  Guys like Greg Holland and Mike Moustakas had to take pennies on the dollar, because they were asking so much that teams who needed their services just moved on and filled their needs other ways.  They moved on and there was no market left! Next years free agent class is also going to feel the pain.  There will be no $400 million dollar contracts and no $300 million dollar contracts.  The teams no longer play that game with Borasss – they just move on.  Scott Borass has lost his power in the analytics era.

I still think Manny Machado makes the most sense for the Dodgers, but that’s a ways away.  Meanwhile, the Dodgers have a World Series to win.  To do that, they have to focus on the game they are playing TODAY.  As soon as they figure that out, they will catch fire and all you need to do is hang on for the ride!

This article has 49 Comments

  1. Thanks for the pep talk Mark! I needed that! I read somewhere that this is the worst start since 1998! Anyway, I love your posts!

  2. Looking at a comparable roster is a faction as to when do you make the comparison. I choose to look at the WS roster compared to the starting 25 on Game 1. From that WS roster, gone are Andre Ethier, Charlie Culberson, Yu Darvish, Brandon Morrow, Brandon McCarthy, and Tony Watson. That is a turnover of 6, but it is only part of the story. How were those players replaced?
    .
    Ethier replaced by Kemp – Not much of an upgrade if any. This is significant for other reasons…luxury tax considerations. If Kemp could have been moved, it would be Toles replacing Ethier, and that would have been an upgrade.
    .

    Darvish replaced by Ryu – Significant drop in talent
    Morrow replaced by Baez – Very significant drop in talent
    Watson replaced by Alexander – Drop in talent
    McCarthy replaced by Chargois – Very significant increase in talent
    Culberson replaced by Font – Simply a change of extra position player for pitcher. A change of #25.
    .
    Even if Tom Koehler does not get hurt, he replaces Font, and the upside is not significant if at all. Compared to the two ALCS participants, the Dodgers in no way improved from last year. The Dodgers lost their trade deadline addition to the Cubs, lost their setup guy to the Cubs, and no significant upgrade. The Astros kept their trade deadline acquisition (Verlander), upgraded their starting rotation with Gerrit Cole (over Musgrove), and upgraded their bullpen with Joe Smith and Hector Rondon (over Gregerson and Liriano). The Yankees upgraded with the addition of Giancarlo Stanton, Brandon Drury and Neil Walker. They also have Sonny Gray for a full season as their #4. He is not an Ace, but he is not expected to be with Severino and Tanaka. Boston did not stand pat, and are obviously not concerned whatsoever about the luxury tax. Houston, NYY, and the BoSox represent the elite in the AL. I think the Indians have fallen off of that level, and while the Twins and Angels have improved, they are not at that level either.
    .
    It is not the Cubs that the Dodgers need to be worried about in the NL, but rather the Nats. Yes they still need a #5 and can use an upgrade at catcher, but they have Adam Eaton for a full year, and Doolittle, Madson, and Kintzler for a full year in the bullpen. Plus, they no longer have Dusty Baker in the dugout (a major upgrade). It also appears that the DBacks still are not afraid of the Dodgers. I do not beleive the Cubs have gotten any better, just more expensive salaries.
    .
    So while I agree that the Dodgers technically did not stand pat, they also did not improve, while their most significant competition did.

    1. Sometimes the improvement comes from the maturation of your existing players. as well as surprises from others. At this time last year, people scoffed at Morrow and Taylor and Bellinger were just names.

      1. but honesty, where’s the upside in the rotation?

        Kershaw: I guess that he stays healthy all year
        wood: already had a career year; we’d be thrilled if he just repeated
        maeda: I guess he could improve
        hill: kinda is what he is at this point
        ryu: biggest upside play here

        the improvements, if any, will come from the young guys stepping in. they need the opportunity to do so. kemp and ryu aren’t necessarily problems right now, but if they’re keeping toles & buehler from helping us they could turn into problems.

        I;’m still bit numb from last year so i’ll taking this all in stride. keep calm and play the youngsters.

    2. AC

      Are you concerned with Woods velocity not even averaging 90, at this point in the season?

      I know he pitched ok yesterday, but averaging under 90, is pretty low.

      1. Wood has pitched 14 innings and allowed 7 hits with ZERO walks. His ERA is below 2.00. But last year he was hitting 95-96 at times. It doesn’t worry me unless he is getting poor results.

      2. It is not how hard you throw, but where the ball is pitched. Greg Maddux made a HOF career with little velocity, because nobody was better at command and control. And before anybody says anything, I am NOT comparing Wood to Maddux. There is no comparison. Alex has had two quality starts, and has zero runs scored for him in those two games. He has zero walks and 10 K’s. Ryu 5 walks in 3.2 IP and Alexander 5 walks in 2.1 IP. Jansen and Baez 2 walks at critical times. Now that concerns me.

        1. AC Thanks!

          I thought so much, but I thought I would ask, because last year, when his velocity went down, he wasn’t quite the same.

  3. I agree with AC’s assessment of this year vs last year. I also am a big fan of DOC’s but he has to quit putting Jansen in the game if he’s not ready to pitch and run for Kemp in the later innings when down by a run. Let’s start playing smart baseball. This feels like the Cubs of 2017. I also agree with Mark that the Dodgers are simply not hitting. Stevie Wonder can see that. Peace

  4. Declaring the pitching fine is not quite the way I see it. Kinda OK would be a little more accurate. A little early for ERA to be much use as a tell on how the pitching is doing. Right now it’s more like…. hitting bad, pitching so so, Dodgers lose. Rats. C’mon you bums.

  5. I don’t see where Machado fits on the team. Both SS & 3b are taken. I like his game and think he’d be a mega-star in LA, but I’d be shocked if we signed him. I’m fine with the strategies of gradual improvements from within, but as AC says, other teams are improving and we might not have kept up with the pace of progress (or talent inflation as it were).

  6. The Dodgers have not looked good so far but way too early to hit the panic button. Hitting is contagious and when they heat up different guys can step up each day, right now they are pressing instead of moving the lineup along.

    Since the team is off today let’s focus on the minor league teams who open today, starting with Buehler getting the call. He will be watched closely to see if he’s ready and to a lesser extent Toles and Verdugo.

  7. When things are going bad, the manager is an idiot and when they are going good, he’s a genius! The truth lies somewhere in-between.

    I think that either Kike or Logan will have a breakout year.

    I still think Kemp could be a Bison.

        1. They said that Verdugo and Toles would both play CF. I don’t think Verdugo is an everyday playedr there, but Toles could be.

          1. I feel like at some point an outfielder needs to go. Forget Kemp for a second and assume Taylor and Puig have CF/RF covered for at least the rest of the year. LF is more than covered through some combination of Joc/Toles/Keekay/Verdugo. Fast-forward to 2019 and let’s keep Puig in RF. If Taylor stays in CF, which I think is a safe default to assume, that leaves one full-time position (LF) for the winner of the Toles/Verdugo/Joc battle. If Taylor moves to 2b (which I think is more likely to be filled by Keekay, Barnes or a FA like Dumbass Dozier), let’s put Toles or Joc in CF to complete the OF. In 2020 we could have Puig leave with Verdugo possibly slated to replace him. Or, Peters could man RF and add Verdugo to the crazy LF mix. Put Taylor/Toles/Joc in CF and now we have Diaz who could be in the LF mix as early as 2019. Hell, ignore Kendall & Heredia altogether for this exercise.
            Conclusion: we don’t don’t too much in quality but maybe in quantity. I expect us to trade an outfielder before the month is out. And I’ll pour a little bit out for my homie Twice-Released Trayce, who has vanished without eponymy.

    1. Jacob throws hard but that’s it. I wish him well because he was drafted by the Dodgers, but I do not see him as a loss. He is 25 and should have a decent career as a journeyman middle reliever. There are a lot of those kinds of pitchers, available, and that is not a knock on Jacob. He is on a 25 man, and that is good for him and his family.

      1. AC

        I was thinking there has to be another pitcher in the Dodger’s organization, that can throw hard, like Baez does.

          1. JS

            His fastball was to straight, and he didn’t have good command of his fastball, and his other pitches, but your right, he did throw hard.

  8. I didn’t. what about avilan wherever he is? or the a’s guys we sent for rich hill?

    1. Avilan – 6.75 ERA for the ChiSox

      Cotton – DL with TJ

      Montas – Did not make the club

      Hatcher – 7.71 ERA

      1. The third pitcher to the A’s in the Hill trade was Grant Holmes. He is still assigned to Midland (AA), but is not on the active roster. He was invited to ML camp for the A’s but did not appear in any game. I think the sheen on his star is getting tarnished a bit. He is still very young with a live arm. Just has not put it together. I still wish him well.

  9. Who is Alec Asher?

    Starting to get tired of this roster manipulation. It’s like churning a portfolio at point.

    I’ll wait for a scouting report.

    1. Alec Asher was part of the Cole Hamels deal. He has a 95-97 MPH fastball and a hard slider. He’s 26 but has not lived up to his pedigree. He was a starter but I think he gets converted to a reliever, where he could add a couple of MPH. He’s worth a look in my opinion.

      1. I agree he is worth a look. He’s still young, and in a very small sample size in 2016, he pitched very well for the Phillies. He just went backwards in 2017.

  10. Final minor league rosters have been submitted and there have been some changes and still some questions remaining.
    .
    OKC will start Walker Buehler tonight, followed by Manny Banuelos, and Brock Stewart. #4 and #5 are still TBD. The OKC bullpen has made multiple changes. They also have 4 listed as 2B (Locastro, Peter, Solano, Valera) and 2 listed as 3B (Muncy and Segedin), with no listed SS or 1B. I think we will be seeing multiple lineups for a while. With only 4 OF’s, Locastro is going to get some good OF time.
    .
    Tulsa will start Dennis Santana tonight, followed by Caleb Ferguson, Justin De Fratus, Devin Smeltzer, and Yadier Alvarez. I am assuming that DeFratus is holding Mitchell White’s spot in the rotation and he will go back to the bullpen. One surprise is that maybe the decision has been made with regards to Josh Sborz. He is not currently in the rotation, and maybe everyone has come to the conclusion that his quickest path to MLB is as a reliever.
    .
    Rancho starts Dean Kremer tonight which is somewhat of a surprise. Kremer will be followed by Andrew Sopko, Jordan Sheffield, Tony Gonsolin, and Imani Abdullah. I am again assuming the either Kremer or Gonsolin is holding a rotation spot for Dustin May. I was surprised to not see Chris Mathewson in the initial rotation. It will be fun to see how the infield develops with Isabel, Estavez, Lux, and C. Santana, with Rylan Bannon filling . It will also be fun seeing Jeren Kendall and Donovan Casey playing in California. This will be a very good test for both of them. This will also be a determining season for OF’s who may be on the outside looking in…Saige Jenco, Logan Landon, and Cody Thomas. One or more really need to break out to be noticed as a prospect.
    .
    Great Lakes will start Max Gamboa tonight. Max will be followed by Riley Ottesen, Melvin Jimenez, Jesus Vargas, and Edwin Uceta. What is most surprising to me with the current roster is that it does not include Mitchell Hansen. Hansen is a former 2nd round pick that just has not worked out. He has certainly fallen out of favor. Neither James Marinen or Morgan Cooper have been assigned.
    .
    Other questions are where will Matt Beaty, Edwin Rios, and Yusniel Diaz be assigned? Jesus Liranzo was claimed by the Pirates. Former Dodger farmhand Drew Maggi, who had a very spring with the Indians, drew a 50 game suspension for PED violation. He tested positive for amphetamines.

      1. Sierra is assigned to OKC, but is not yet on the active roster. I have not heard any rumors that he is injured. He is not on the DL. He is undoubtedly back in AZ with a lot of other pitchers including Mitchell White, Dustin May, James Marinan, and Morgan Cooper. Yaisel has a very live arm, but needs better control. He walks way too many batters. The pitching instructors probably want to tweak his mechanics. MJ asked who in the minors can match Baez’s velocity, and Sierra’s 4 seamer sits at mid 90’s and touches triple digits. With a complimentary 2 searmer and slider, he epitomizes a hard throwing reliever IF (BIG IF), he can throw strikes.

        1. Yasiel would have to blow everyone away to get a roster spot this year, because his salary doesn’t count now.

  11. OKC Starting Lineup:
    .
    Toles – LF
    Ramos – RF
    Verdugo – CF
    Segedin – 3B
    Muncy – 1B
    Solano – SS
    Peter – 2B
    Gale – C
    Buehler – P

    1. it’s not pretty for sure. But I’m looking forward to watching Dennis Santana throw in this 5pm game!

      1. i would venture to say santana is a traditional dodger-style pitcher in the mold of astacio, ramon martinez, all the power fastball/slider types over the years. guys that can hum a heavy ball on you. none heavier in my memory than prime dreifort. remember when he came back as a reliever and never looked better. i always thought that guy tried his hardest. he couldn’t the injuries. massive talent. ohtani who? 😉

          1. agree. That bullpen we had in 2003 with Dreifort, Mota, Gagne was the best I”ve ever ever seen. If Dan Evans would have been allowed to trade for a bat in 2003, we would’ve been unstoppable in the playoffs with a prime Kevin Brown, Nomo, and that bullpen. Oh well…..

        1. I like Santana a lot. If he can’t make it as a starter (and I have no reason to believe he can’t), he can be a closer!

  12. I just talked to “someone in the know” who told me the following:

    1. Alex Verdugo has increased his speed and agility and the Dodger Brass think he can play CF (if that’s true, I am very wrong); and

    2. The Brass do not see Andrew Toles as a CF – They see hiim as a RF or LF. Maybe Bumsrap is right – Toles needs to learn 2B.

    1. I believe both of these “reports” a lot more than Mark’s report from last year of the team trying to trade Pederson and Maeda in JUNE of last year.

      Both coincide with published reports.

      The team really like Verdugo from what i’ve read.

      I continue to believe that the only reason one (if not both) are on the active roster is the inability to trade Kemp.

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