Next Man Up! It’s That Simple

As if Dodger fans were not outraged enough by losing 3 out of 4 to the Giants and the team being three games under .500, today we find out that Corey Seager needs Tommy John Surgery.  Of course, over the past few days FAZ has been skewered for just about every imaginable and unimaginable mistake they have ever made – real or concocted.  Almost everyone is saying that the Dodgers should have did more in the offseason: they should have signed Morrow and Watson and Greg Holland, they should have traded for Giancarlo Stanton and yada, yada, yada. It’s a free country… and you can think that.  I didn’t then and I still don’t.

The Dodgers did not need much as they came within an eyelash of winning the World Series. It’s your opinion they needed to make more personnel and I respect it, but disagree.  It seemed logical to me that Chargois, Alexander and Koehler could take the place of Watson and Morrrow and the Dodgers have a plethora of young arms.  I knew Buehler was ready and I felt Ryu would have a good season.  What we didn’t know was that Kershaw, Wood and Jansen would have major issues at the start of the season.  I predicted that Matt Kemp would have a good year, but who knew that Justin Turner would be out for 5 or 6 weeks?  Who knew that Yasiel Puig would not hit?  Who knew that the hitting would be so sporadic?

If I was fine with the moves FAZ made over the Winter, it would be disingenuous for me to second-guess after the fact.  Second guessers are never wrong after all.  They are the damn smartest people in the room – just ask them – they will tell you.  Justin Turner hit .404 last April and the team was at .500. Corey Seager hit .319 last April.  Turner, Puig and Seager are three reasons the team is not scoring runs. I felt the bullpen was solid… and it still may be.  Don’t be so quick to assume the worst.  On April 30, 2107, the Dodgers record was 14-12. The best it can be this year is 13-15.  That’s a worse record, but not terrible.  There’s still plenty of time.

Now, some are saying that FAZ mismanaged Corey Seager’s elbow.  That’s where I kind of draw the line: In a courtroom, they call that “assuming facts not in evidence.” Yes, he hurt it late in the 2017 season – should they have had surgery then and forgot about the World Series?  That’s felony stupid!  Undoubtedly, FAZ knew about the elbow, but absent kidnapping him, drugging him and performing unauthorized surgery on his elbow, there was nothing they could do.  Corey evidently wanted to see if he could rehab it first and even if he had surgery over the winter, he would have likely missed most of this season.  As it stands, he should return in May or June of 2019.  Maybe now we can understand why they re-signed Logan Forsythe and why they signed Donovan Solano and Breyvic Valera.

Look, AC and I have different viewpoints on some of this, but his viewpoints are well-reasoned and articulated.  I respect that and even enjoy it.  But, just saying stuff doesn’t fly with me.  The sky is not falling.  The season is not over.  Maybe the Dodgers players knew the level of the problem with Corey’s elbow.  The uncertainty of not knowing is sometimes paralyzing.  Now they know.  Corey is out and it is NEXT MAN UP.

Tonight, Chris Taylor starts at SS – maybe be stays there. Maybe Kike goes there. There is no right answer, but a healthy Logan Forsythe and Justin Turner will mean a lot. This is Alex Verdugo’s chance.  Let’s see what he’s got.  Andrew Toles could re-join the team in a week or two.  The Dodgers depth will be tested, but they have it in spades. Maybe Doc kept running Joc Pederson out there because he knew there was a possibility Corey could go down.

When Turner comes back, he will likely hit #2.  I think Alex Verdugo will get a  shot at the leadoff spot and I also believe he will be a 20+ HR guy… maybe not this year, but soon. Taylor’s power can be utilized lower in the order.  I know that Yasmani Grandal is not a #3 hitter – he should be at #6 most likely.  As soon a s Turner is healthy, I’d like to see this lineup:

  1. Verdugo  RF
  2. Turner  3B
  3. Kemp  LF
  4. Bellinger 1B
  5. Taylor  SS
  6. Grandal  C
  7. Pederson /Kike CF
  8. Forsythe/Utley  2B

Next man up!  This team is too good, too deep and has too many options.  Lose your minds if you want – I’m keeping mine.  This season is not over.  One has to look no farther than the Philadelphia Eagles winning the Super Bowl this year after losing their MVP QB late in the season.  The next man up was Nick Foles and he manned up! Here we go! Let’s see those Junkyard Dogs again. Let’s hope the Dodgers have a Rookie of the Year again… maybe the Top Two!

P.S.  By the way – I don’t have an opinion about Doc yanking Bellinger out of the game.  I don’t know enough about it. Cody’s explanation sounded reasonable, but I also don’t think Doc is unfair.  Maybe he is harder on Cody because he feels he needs to soar even higher.  I will reserve judgement either way.  What Houston Mitchell said about it was interesting but just shock journalism… he might know a little more than we do, but it’s easy to pile on when someone is down.

This article has 36 Comments

  1. I have tried to not second guess. It is normal to do it. The bull pen seems to be the biggest problem. Yes, our hitting has not been real good and our starting piching needs some improvement. We will see how the depth will work for the Dodgers.

  2. Mark, I pretty much agree with most of what you said. And if things don’t work out, I have total confidence that they will in the long run.

  3. Manny Machado anyone?

    What would it take?

    Probably Ruiz, Diaz, Verdugo, White and C. Santana… or some such stuff!

  4. Well, Belly better put some work in this winter in the outfield cuz 1st base is calling Seagers name. I guess they didn’t know, but I’d rather Seager sat out the postseason last year and was maybe ready for this year. IDK. Looking through the rear view mirror again.

    1. That’s a valid point. How many Shortstops come back from TJ with a great arm? I’m not sure. Belly is special at 1B, but I think Corey could adapt well at 1B too. Maybe Belly goes to CF. What about this lineup next year:

      1. Verdugo RF
      2. Seager 1B
      3. Machado SS
      4. Bellinger CF
      5. Turner 3B
      6. Taylor 2B
      7. Kemp/Toles LF
      8. Ruiz C

  5. After Verdugo made that first throw I told myself he would calm down and learn from it. And that’s exactly what he did on his next throw.

    Mark, you can’t be serious about that package for Machado. That’s what it would probably take, and there’s no way I would do it. And if that deal was made,how did you manage to get Machado in the same lineup with the traded Ruiz.

    Rather than do a costly rental deal for Machado, why not just wait for free agency and sign him for just money during the off-season, something they would have to do anyway after the rental deal.

    1. I did not say I would do that deal, but I will say it now. No I would not!

      There are people saying the Dodgers should get Machado.

  6. per
    “Seager’s 12 WAR since coming into the majors ranks fourth among baseball’s group of historically good young shortstops. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, with Seager in the lineup during that span, the Dodgers have a .604 winning percentage and have averaged 4.7 runs per game. In 43 games without Seager, L.A.’s winning percentage sinks to .488 and the runs average to 4.1.”
    ” Among core position players, a group that includes Taylor, Forsythe, Puig, Turner (who has yet to play because of a hand injury) and Pederson, they have combined to produce 0.1 WAR so far this season.”

    This isn’t “next man up”. The question is – can the Dodgers win without their best position player? They haven’t in the last 2 seasons.

    As to “forcing” Seager to have elbow surgery, we don’t know that it was Seager who refused to have surgery after the Series was over. Talk about assuming facts not in evidence.

    I never espoused the Dodgers spending a lot of $$ this offseason. They weren’t going to anyway. This front office doesn’t really ever do this (except when they resigned their own prior to the 2017 season.) The big salary dump this off-season was nearly miraculous. i never really liked Watson although he’s pitched well for SF. If Morrow was going to get closer money they weren’t going to resign him either. The calculations that brought Alexander to LA haven’t worked out so far.

    You can’t fault the Braintrust for all of this – but there is much to complain about:
    1 – Insisting on bringing Baez in high leverage or late inning situations;
    2 – Leading Taylor off with his sub .280 OBP
    3 – Keeping Font on the roster after his sell by date
    4 – Signing too many utility infielders
    5 – Assuming that everything was going to be fine and not really making any roster improvements

    Put another way, have you seen anything from the Dodgers this season that gives you confidence?

    1. As to “forcing” Seager to have elbow surgery, we don’t know that it was Seager who refused to have surgery after the Series was over. Talk about assuming facts not in evidence.

      Doctors make recommendations – not the team. EVER! This is not on FAZ, which some have implied. The Doctors evidently thought Corey could rehab it and it was probably worth a shot because he would have missed most of the season anyway. Yesterday , Corey said:“My arm kind of told me,”said Seager, who expressed relief at the finality of the diagnosis after months of wondering when his ligament would rupture.“It’s almost peace of mind now. It’s nice to have a plan to reach goals, instead of the unknown.”

      Surgery is always the last choice. We all know that. Ken Gurnick said that:Seager — who battled through right elbow pain late last season and spent the winter strengthening the ulnar collateral ligament and surrounding muscles to hopefully avoid this outcome — said two painful throws with numbness over the weekend led to an MRI exam Monday morning. The results didn’t require an orthopedist or radiologist to interpret them.

  7. It’s not just today we’re not seeing anything from the home plate umpire. The time for an electronic strike zone has come. Someone told me the other day that an electronic strike zone removes the human element. For me that’s pure nonsense. I thought the objective was to get the call right, just like they do with video replay. This is the 21st century; use the technology available to remove the inaccurate human element.

    1. The human element is between the pitcher and the batter, not some arbitrary 3rd person. Many people said negative things about instant replay, I don’t seem to hear those opinions any more. If the batter doesn’t know where the “strike zone” is, it is very distracting, to say the least. Anyone that watched tonight’s game closely should agree. It is very difficult to hit a good pitcher even without that problem. And if you complain about it, you get fined?

  8. IF we become sellers, what can we realistically get in return for our upcoming free agents, Kershaw, Grandal, Forsythe, and Ryu?

  9. For the record, I am not upset with Seager or FAZ or the doctors for delaying what turns out to be the inevitable. I am not a doctor, and I do not play one on TV. Seager said that he did not think he needed surgery, and I will take him at his word. Seager is my favorite non pitching Dodger, and I accept next man up. FAZ will not and should not panic and look to trade for Machado. CT3 can play SS, Kike’ can play SS, Valera can play SS, and Solano can play SS. They cannot replace Corey, but they are all ML players and they have earned the right to try. I also hope that Verdugo gets a full audition.
    I also do not equate questioning strategies with panic. Because I do not think that CT3 should bat leadoff, or that Doc’s continuous use of Baez in high leverage situations is not warranted, is not a sign of panic.
    Where Mark and I do respectfully disagree is that I wanted the Dodgers to re-sign Morrow and Watson. They were proven while Koehler is a total unknown, and as it turns out, contract wise, Watson is only $1M more than Koehler this year, so it was not a luxury tax concern. Again as it turns out, signing Morrow would not have presented a luxury tax issue either. Were they potential health risks? No more than any other pitcher. Certainly no more than Rich Hill, a FA signing I did then and still do support.
    I did not object to the trade for Alexander. It may still work out.
    I also wanted the Dodgers to trade for Gerritt Cole. None of that is second guessing as I said those things all winter. Maybe they did try to trade for Cole, and could not make a deal. We do know that FAZ thinks more of their prospects than most teams value their own, and are unwilling to trade their top prospects. I have no real objection to that either, but I do think there comes a time when it makes sense to move a prospect if you can help the team win now. I just do not think now is the time to make any of those moves.

  10. What Houston Mitchell said was not shock journalism, it was reality, and needed to be said.

  11. A new way for the ‘pen to give up a run – a hit batsman with the bases loaded. That’s what I love about baseball – there’s always something new.

  12. As it turned out instant replay majorly made the game better and didn’t interfere with the pace to any noticeable degree. The sooner that balls and strikes calls get taken away from these clown umpires the better.

  13. per TrueBlueLA: “The loss ended a nightmarish opening month for the Dodgers at 12-16, now eight games back of Arizona in the division. It’s the furthest the Dodgers have been out of first place at the end of April since divisional play began in 1969.”

    But not to worry – it’s early.

  14. Sorry but can’t resist it :

    April 29 – Mark Timmons wrote –

    “Corey Seager looked far from injured, in fact he looked awesome – he had zip on his throws.”

    April 30th

    “Dodgers star Short Stop Corey Seager is out for the season and will undergo Tommy John Surgery”.

    Looks like a day is s long time in Baseball!!

    1. I went back and looked at the throw I had in mind, which was the double play where Corey threw a bullet to 1B. It was smoked but I would bet that is when he felt the pain. If it was partly torn, it probably got worse on that throw. I just said what I saw: a really hard throw. You can look back at the video of the game and see it.

  15. I’m hoping we soon see a bench clearing brawl on the field but I’d settle for a Don Drysdale type pitcher for the #2. That’d put some care into the minds of opposing pitchers. Yep a .300 hitting pitcher that needed no excuses. Paybacks on autoplay.

    1. All a bench clearing brawl would accomplish would be to send even more of our guys to the DL.

  16. The Athletic has a great article about Corey’s injury. It’s a pay site, but here’s a few tidbits:

    Monday’s MRI revealed a significant amount of structural damage to the throwing elbow that exceeded what team physicians had seen in an earlier scan conducted at the beginning of last offseason. At the time, given the amount of damage and time that an elbow procedure would take to heal, Seager and club officials went with a conservative rehab approach that wouldn’t require surgery. It was a decision made with agreement between the organization, its medical officials, Seager and his representation. Now, it’s unavoidable, with Tommy John surgery — previously not considered a necessity, even had there been an offseason procedure — on the docket.

    There you have it! Now it’s in evidence:

    “Where we were in the calendar at the time, it kind of made sense to take a conservative approach and see if that would alleviate his symptoms,” Zaidi said. It obviously worked for a while, and things have now deteriorated to the point where it’s clearly surgical.

    “It was always a possibility. But doing surgery in November when the symptoms weren’t as bad, and the actual structural issue wasn’t as bad (didn’t make sense). It was always a possibility it’d get there. The reality is, even if he did have it, he’d be out for this entire season and we’d be looking at him playing baseball for us at around the same time. The second thing is, that just wasn’t the medical evaluation we had.”

    The Dodgers knew this day would come. Where do they go now?

  17. 1- What FAZ did over the winter I have no problem with, Morrow was my choice to resign but FAZ saw it differently and I accept that.
    2- Seager’s injury, and the way it was handled by everyone including Seager didn’t work, but they all agreed to try without the surgery, their decision
    3- The benching of Bellinger and making it public by Roberts, in my opinion, was a grandstand play by Roberts. Right or wrong keep it in the clubhouse.
    4- I don’t agree with everything Mitchell said but I don’t consider his opinion as shock journalism.
    5- If the Dodgers want Machado, wait until the season is over and try to sign him but don’t give up anyone for a rental.
    6- I don’t think Roberts is in a panic, but He is feeling the most pressure he has faced as a major league manager and how he reacts might well mean his position with the Dodgers. The players on the team are the responsibility of FAZ but how they are used is on Roberts and so far, in my opinion, he is not doing a good job.
    7- I would like to see FAZ take this setback and take the opportunity to see what a few players brought up from OKC can do. Bring up Locastro, and Ramos and play them.
    Locastro 2b
    Pederson cf
    Kemp lf
    Bellinger 1b
    Grandal c
    Taylor ss
    Verdugo rf
    Valera 3b
    8- The game tonight is a must for Kershaw and the Dodgers.

  18. Sports Illustrated’s take: “An uneven lineup, a thin rotation with some struggling arms (including ace Clayton Kershaw), a bullpen whose anchor isn’t right: All of these are big issues to resolve, and the Dodgers have to get them figured out quickly. And worse, they’ll have to do it without their former Rookie of the Year shortstop. You can’t win a season in April, but you sure can lose it, and while Los Angeles’ chances haven’t cratered, the last day of the month has left the team with a lot of ground to make up.”

    USA Today: “They’ve got 3.7 million fans and a future Hall of Fame pitcher to answer to, standing by and now awaiting the front office’s response.”

  19. Baseball 1439 – Well put… My glass is always more than half full and I believe this is a great time to see what we got in these blue chippers…
    #4 – T.J. was the worst to the point he was 86’ed from clubhouse…
    Quas, I remember sneaking to and sitting behind home plate to watch Big ‘D’ and mumbling this should be criminal… Especially in his early years when he couldn’t find his ass with both hands…

  20. As far as surgery for Seager, the best course of action was exactly what the Dodgers did. From a timeline perspective, even if Seager had the surgery right after 2017 game 7, he would have missed all of 2018 (maybe he could’ve DH’d during a potential 2018 world series, but that’s it). By not having the surgery and trying to rehab it, Seager at least had a chance at playing in 2018.

    Now, he’ll have the surgery May 4, 2018, and he’ll miss 2018. So nothing really lost there. If recovery from tj is 10 months, it means Seager will be ready to go March 2019. Most likely, 2018 was going to be a lost year for him anyway, so it was prudent to see if rest/rehab would have done the trick.

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