A Confederacy of Dunces

In 1980 a book by that title was released eleven years after the authors suicide, no doubt caused by the premise of the book, which is both depressing and true.  The author John Kennedy Toole, was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Price. The premise of the book is that “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.”Just to be clear,“a dunce is a person considered incapable of learning.”

This morning, I perused about 15 Dodger Blogs on the web and, while there are a lot of smart fans out there, there are some who just do not have a clue.  I shudder to think how they get through life.  To a man, the Dunces are against FAZ (Friedman and Zaidi), call for their firing, and spend most of their waking hours deriding everything they do.

“Yeah, the Dodgers won, but it was in spite of FAZ.”

“Yeah, the Dodgers lost because of FAZ.”

“Yeah, but they won’t win 104 games again.”

“Yeah, they traded for so-and-so, which was stupid.”

“Yeah, they didn’t trade for so-and-so, which was stupid.”

Yeah, they don’t understand sabermetrics.” 

No matter the outcome, good or bad, the dunces (I prefer the word “moron”), spin it to make FAZ look bad! I wanted to stop and post on several blogs “What is wrong with you people?” But, I then realized you can’t tell dunces anything as they are incapable of learning. There!  I feel better.  Hopefully no dunces reside here.

Don’t get me wrong, FAZ has made plenty of mistakes and I don’t agree with everything they do, but under their leadership, the Dodgers are recognized as one of the best organizations in baseball and have a very robust farm system that is likely still Top 5. Actually, we have a lot of varying opinions here on this blog and most are highly rational and well-stated. We don’t all agree on the lineups and pitcher usage and some people fall in love with a player regardless of their warts.  That’s what fans do. Let me remind you that hindsight is also 20/20,

The great Astros wasted two first round picks in back-to-back years on players who are now out of baseball. In 2014, they took Brady Aiken when Kyle Schwarber, Nick Gordon and Trea Turner were on the board.  In 2013, the took Mark Appel when Chris Bryant, Jon Gray and others were still on the board. Bad picks, signings and trades happen to everyone. The Dodgers are loathe to trade certain prospects – whether that is the right decision will be decided by history.

You may not agree that the Dodgers have not traded for a big time player (Stanton) or pitcher like Gerrit Cole… and that’s fine. If Cole keeps pitching like he is now, it’s hard to argue with AC that he’s not worth Verdugo or Buehler, Diaz and a couple of other prospects. But, we don’t know.  Time will be the judge.  Also, what Buehler and Verdugo become will be part of the verdict.  Right about now, the Dodgers could really use Cole and maybe their failure to trade for him has caused the Big Dodger in the Sky to curse the team this year.  “I gave you the resources – now you are going to hell.”

It feels like that sometimes, but I don’t believe it. I just think the Dodgers have had a lot of bad luck: Turner, Seager, Puig, Hill, Forsythe, Ryu and Kershaws and Jansens woes.  I do see value in Daniel Hudson, BUT HE NEEDS TO GO TO AAA AND GET HIS ACT TOGETHER.  He ain’t there yet! Also, the vitriol against Grandal has started again, even though this is how he ranks among all catchers in MLB:

  • 3rd in RBI
  • 6th in HR
  • 4th in BA
  • 2nd in OPS
  • 3rd in Slg
  • 3rd in OB%
  • 2nd in BB

He only has 2 passed balls and is 22nd in fewest wild pitches. I don’t know what they want, but they seem to think he can be traded (even though they say he is horrid) and Barnes and Farmer will lead the Dodgers to the promised land. Kyle Farmer is hitting .224 and has caught a total of 7 major league innings!  Take off your dunce hats!  Farmer is no catcher. He’s a utility guy who can also catch. Maybe Will Smith is ready, but that’s a big leap of faith.  Grandal is not going anywhere.

Soon, Turner, Forsythe, Puig and Hill will be back.  Ryu will be in July or August.  Chris Taylor is heating up as I predicted.  This team will have to make a run in the second half and it just might be fun to watch.

Then Again… Maybe The Dodgers are Cursed:

DODGERS PLACE CLAYTON KERSHAW ON DL

LOS ANGELES –The Los Angeles Dodgers today placed left-handed pitcher Clayton Kershaw on the 10-day disabled list with left bicep tendonitis and recalled right-handed pitcher Brock Stewart from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Kershaw, 30, has made seven starts this season going 1-4 with a 2.86 ERA (14 ER/44.0 IP) and has held hitters to a .234 average, while striking out 48 against just 10 walks. The southpaw last started on Tuesday against the Diamondbacks, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out six in 6.0 innings as he did not factor in the decision.

Stewart, 26, who will make his second stint with the big league club this year, made his 2018 debut on April 30 against the Diamondbacks, allowing one run and striking out three in 1.2 innings of relief with the Dodgers. The right-hander has made four starts with Oklahoma City this season, going 1-0 with a 2.41 ERA (5 ER/18.2 IP) and has struck out 20 batters against just six walks, while limiting the opposition to a .200 average. In 2017, Stewart appeared in 17 games (four starts) with Los Angeles, collecting one save and posting a 3.41 ERA (13 ER/34.1 IP), while holding batters to a .226 average.

This article has 70 Comments

    1. Not unthinkable to me Mark. I hate that it has happened but I fully expected Clayton was not healthy. I also doubt that Kenley is.

    1. They have depth, but there is no Kershaw, Turner, Ryu or Seager equal in depth.

      1. I see you’re not a fan of the Oxford comma.
        *
        One would hope there is a viable replacement for Ryu, at least, somewhere in the system. It’s not like he’s really that good.
        *
        Can’t see Kershaw opting out now. Blessing or curse?
        *
        It would have been nice to see Verdugo come up big with the bases loaded yesterday but it was not to be. Great catch, however.

  1. Cole would look good right about now or maybe a “lights out BP” but that’s another discussion. This team indeed has bad luck and a serious case of WS hangover. Kershaw probably opts in now and that’s a good thing.

    JT to miss 40 games or so, Ryu out until after the AS break, Seager out for the year, Kershaw to miss some time, a submaximal offensive performance from CT3 and others a BP that stinks = a top 15 draft pick.

    If the Dodgers win the division this year I’ll take back by cynical comments on FAZ realizing their depth decisions did indeed workout. If they don’t, I will continue to be critical that they gave McCarthy 48 million, Kazmir 48 million, exercised the qualifying offer on Anderson, traded and then started Darvish in game #7, exercised the option on Forsyth for 9 million, letting Morrow get away and signing Koehler.

    We can continue to give them kudos for not trading away talent, but acquiring the right talent is also an element of running a solid FO. Forsythe, Koehler, Darvish, Reddick et al have been utter failures. CT3 was a nice trade, but some of their (FAZ) poor FA acquisitions have contributed to the team’s financial situation that forced them to get under the CBT and it wasn’t just the Punto trade that caused that.

    I’ll still watch, I’ll still root and I’ll still bleed Dodger blue, but laud FAZ as the geniuses that some think they’re……can’t do that yet!

    1. Here’s the part of the equation people forget:

      The Cubs, Braves, Astros and other teams were built by “blowing it up.” Kasten promised the Dodgers would not do that while trying to sustain winning. FAZ has done that… until right now, but this season has a long way to go. I think the ship will be righted, but ask this question:Where would the Astros be without Bregman, Correa, Reddick, Verlander and McCullers?They are doing OK with them, but where would they be without them? That’s the magnitude of players the Dodgers are without.

      Cleveland was picked by some to win this year, but they are struggling at 17-16. My advice is not to lose perspective.

  2. For the record (then and now), IMO Buehler was and is untouchable. I have no idea if that is what Pittsburgh asked for Cole, but if that was required then I would have said emphatically NO. I have stated that FAZ could have put a package together better than what Houston gave up; pitchers Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz, 3B prospect Colin Moran, and lottery pick OF Jason Martin. It was always NYY that was going to get Cole that I was concerned with because they absolutely have the prospects that would have given them Cole, but they backed off as well.
    .
    I have also said I have no idea what kind of package FAZ was willing to offer, so it is unfair to criticize without knowing. If Alex Verdugo was the stumbling block, then I might have pulled the trigger. Yes Verdugo shows that he may be able to hit MLB pitching at a high caliber, but had not yet, but Gerrit Cole has shown that he can pitch very well at the MLB level already. Verdugo is a RF who can play CF, and the Dodgers had Puig already there who was coming off a good year. Alex was a luxury at the time. Albeit not so much of a luxury now.
    .
    Do I think that FAZ holds onto their prospects too tightly? Maybe. I do believe that you build the team from within so I would move with extreme caution. But without any research, the only Top Ten talent that FAZ has traded that I can remember was RHSP Grant Holmes. I do not remember if Frankie Montas was top ten at the time. I believe his injury moved him out. I would much rather trade from strength for a difference maker with a reasonable contract. Since FAZ has been in LA, two starting pitchers meant that criteria…Chris Sale and Gerrit Cole. I do know that Urias was a deal breaker in any Sale deal, and IMO Sale was worth it. I cannot criticize because I do not know who else Chicago asked for. What Boston gave up was impressive so it might have been very hard to top. I also know that It will take more in a trade to get someone from the same league, so Pittsburgh may have asked for much more than Houston gave up.
    .
    Just as I agree that we do not know all that is being discussed in trades, and hind sight is 20-20, I also do not accept that the Dodgers would be better in 2018 with Tom Koehler and Scott Alexander as the two big acquisitions. I do not count Kemp because that was a salary reducing transaction, and FAZ could not move Kemp as they wanted. I do give FAZ tremendous credit for getting under the luxury tax, but it will only mean something if they do not let $$$$ dictate what they do next year.
    .
    Finally I do not buy that the Dodgers did not sign Morrow because of injury concerns. Injury concerns did not deter FAZ in signing Brian Anderson, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, Rich Hill…..IMO it was either money or that Morrow wanted to close and knew he could not with LAD. I can accept the latter, not the former.

      1. Is that the same Willie Calhoun who is hitting .254 at Round Rock?

        I was down with that trade, even though we netted nothing. He cannot play in the NL without a DH.

        In retrospect, I wish he was included in the trade for Cole.

        1. I was totally fine with the trade when it happened. Calhoun is exactly the kind of flawed prospect you use as currency in trade for a need.

    1. AC

      Especially after just going to game seven, in the World Series, and I am talking about the former, just like you.

  3. Good news on the way………….Danny Espinoza signed to a minor league contract and is already at OKC. Yes, the same Danny Espinoza who hit .173 with 109 strikeouts in 295 plate appearances last year. Bargain basement hunting I can see!

    1. It’s called “organizational depth.” He is not on the 40-man, nor will he see LA this year. Every team has these guys.

  4. I figured something was in the works when Brock Stewart was pulled from his start at OKC yesterday. Now we know what it was.

  5. In retrospect. Anderson, McCarthy and Kazmir were unmitigated disasters, but the Dodgers paid them (combined) over $50 million less than the D-bags paid Greinke. Rich Hill may very well be worth his deal – the jury is still out. I think with Morrow, it was that he wanted to close AND the Dodgers did not want to pay him $20 million. It was a combination of both. The Cubs are babying him… he has only pitched 11 innings. As bad as Kenley is – he has logged more innings. I was listening to a Cubs game last week and Morrow’s pitches were in the mid-90’s. He topped out at 96 one time. That would concern me as he is a guy who was routinely 98-101.

    The Cubs now have two bad contracts: Darvish and Heyward! Darvish has a 6.00 ERA – what a mess. FAZ made right call on him.

    1. Maybe mostly due to not being able to trade Kemp. Luck helps too.
      .
      Kershaw maybe only missed 3 starts if lucky.

  6. Oh, for the record, I sometimes think FAZ holds on to players too long, but if Urias, Buehelr, Verdugo and Ruiz all become stars, I will change my mind. I think all four of those players will be All-Stars.

  7. Anyone know where Edwin Rios is? I still think he can be decent trade bait to an AL team
    Anyone know why Kemp plays right and Verdugo left? I’d prefer Kemp just stay in LF while the better defender play right. Then again, maybe we want Verdugo getting accustomed to LF for the future?
    Anyone watching Mitchell White pitch for Tulsa today? You can really see he has some good stuff!

    1. Rios is in AZ as far as I know. Why? I don’t know.

      Kemp is more comfortable in RF and you are right – Verdugo will most likely play LF in the future, but don’t bet on it.

      I’m watching White, and he looks like he is a stud!

    2. Bobby

      Earlier in the week, they said Kemp was playing right, because they thought more balls will be hit to left, then rightfield.

  8. I heard exactly the same thing that MJ did. I also wondered why Verdugo wasn’t in RF, especially after he confirmed what I’ve read about him with with a throw he made from RF last week. I just love the thought of Puig and Verdugo in the corners, or as I like to think of it, Cannons in Corners. No one would ever run on the Dodgers.

    1. Kemp has gotten a wake-up call and he has answered the bell, Some people think he will injured sooner or later, but he have averaged 549 AB’s the past 4 years. He could have a huge year and another one next year.

  9. I have total trust in the way Kasten, Friedman, and Zaidi are running the Dodgers. Friedman said from the beginning that the plan is to make the Dodgers a competitive team year after year. To achieve their goal they wanted to
    1 Build a strong farm that could move players to the Dodgers as they are needed
    1 Only trade for a player when the farm can’t produce a player the Dodgers need.
    3 Stay away from free agents in their 30’s who are looking for long-term contracts.
    They have made some good moves and a few poor moves but they are staying with their beliefs and so far I think they are doing a very good job.

  10. I’ve read the scouting reports but how does locastro look with the big club? Unable to watch.

    1. Locastro is very fast, but I have never been a fan. Hope I am wrong, but I see him as utility only!

  11. Diaz with another good game today. I think I’d take Kemp over Puig in 2019. Yasiel better produce when we gets back or he could be squeezed out of our plans.

  12. I just turned on the game. How have the Dodgers managed to strand 12 runners in the first 4 innings?

    1. Right now, they can’t jump out of a boat and hit water.

      The scrubbs won the only game here.

  13. I think that most Dodger fans are generally favorably disposed to the Braintrust. The team did just play in the World Series for the 1st time in 30 years. Of course, many of the players were on the team or in the system before the Braintrust was ensconced and the next 5 years will tell the tale. I do not blame them for injuries to many key players. You can argue that they way that Seager or Urias were handled or the medical decisions made (and it’s not just the player involved in the decision making) was erroneous.

    The big plus this off-season was getting under the luxury tax. I agree with others who opined that the fact that Kemp can actually play is a bonus and a lucky break.

    They weren’t going to trade for Stanton or resign Darvish – the luxury tax, you know. They weren’t going to sign Morrow for closer’s money. You can argue that they didn’t do much this off-season, but they did just win over 100 games and go to the Series, and they have some depth in the minors so why would they?

    The Dodgers had a middle-of-the-road offense last year and won by run-prevention (good pitching and defense). This year they have actually scored more runs per game than last year. The starters have largely been pretty good. The bullpen – that’s another issue.

    Last year’s ‘pen’s numbers?
    3.48 ERA, .222 BAA, .660 OPS against, 10.2 K/9, 1.154 WHIP.

    This year:
    4.45 ERA, .248 BAA, .741 OPS against, 10.1 K/9, 1.427 WHIP.

    They keep giving the ball to the likes of Baez, Cingrani, Alexander (mercifully in the minors now) and Hudson.

    If it’s not working, do something different.

    1. Amen!

      But they can’t win if they can’t score.

      El Gasolino is in…

  14. Heartless bunch right now. No emotion, no life, no BP, no offense. No good!

  15. So, I just got my tickets for the first two games of the Rockie Series. The wife and I will be in LA for 4 days and I’ll see 2 Dodgers Games – Monday and Tuesday. I plan to go to RC Wednesday night.

  16. M.T. – See no vitriol today against Yasmani!!! People yesterday including myself wondering about what pieces we could include for a trade and your boy was included… He’s our MVP this year as I stated weeks ago and the chants will fill the Ravine…
    On the Vitriol side, maybe you could divert to the ‘Trade’ to relieve this compulsion?!?!
    Yep, I officially feel like the curse of the L.A. Clippers is upon my beloved boys in Blue…

  17. M.T. – Have you been to Phillipe’s for a beef dip sandwich??? You can park at the Train Station and walk there… Walk back and jump on the free Dodger bus (beats the Ravine parking by a few bucks)…

    1. That sounds good. A supplier in Chino is taking us out in RC Wednesday PM. Here’s what he said:

      The Quakes games are fun, my sons and I have been many a times. They have thirsty Thursdays! $2 beers

      Let me know when you want to visit and we will roll out red carpet for ya. I’ll take you and Patty to dinner one night if you have time. Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga is by my house and its an awesome open air mall that has great spots to eat.


      Does he speak the truth?

      The parking I got at the Ravine was $40 bux.

          1. parking at Dodger stadium is $15 if u buy online, or $20/$25 at the gate (unless u want VIP parking)

            Victoria Gardens does have some pretty solid restaurants.

        1. Yes there is a very nice open mall, just ten minutes from the Quake’s stadium, that has a great places to eat.

          And there are plenty of other restaurants close to this area too.

          It looks like 90 will be the high on Wednesday, but it does cool down, around dinner, I mean supper time, I forgot you were from Indiana.

  18. I’m no fan of Harvey, but if Kershaw is out for any length of time should the Dodgers take a flyer on him?

    1. Not only is Harvey a surly dude, but so far he shows no ability to pitch. I’m all for second chances … if he can pitch and shutup! 😉

  19. M.T. – Parking at Train station is about $8… R/T bus with a bunch of die hard Dodger fans is free…
    Luv Rancho… Great on my retirement budget and sometimes, maybe sometimes you get to see the future….

    1. Philippe’s looks awesome. I was thinking of ordering some. They ship anywhere!

  20. I like Grandal he is a quality catcher but he is not a good hitter. He has a lifetime .242 ave and has no business batting third in the lineup. To be sure he has an occasional hot streak which he had early but not now. He is streaky good at times but also goes into horrendous slumps. Since we can’t win anyway put Kiké in at third and play him everyday. Find out what he can do with everyday at bats. I would not waste one more at bat on a guy like Muncy when you have Kiké available. Play him every day somewhere. Play Verdugo everyday or at least until the all star break. Pitching is a problem, we need to get younger and Buehler is a start. I don’t know if there is such a thing as good health with pitchers we certainly don’t fair well with pitching injuries. We might get back in the hunt but I doubt it. We are not going to beat Houston, Yankees, Boston, nationals , and maybe cardinals anyway. It is looking more and more like an experimental year so experiment. If we are out at the deadline just retool. Just get rid of Forsythe either way, that is one place we have depth. All I have heard is depth depth but we apparently don’t have any at third because that is a black hole. Just play Kiké, at least until Turner comes back. We need to find reliable starting pitchers who can go 6-7 innings but so does everyone else. Our bullpen is being burnt up by weak starting pitching. Oh well just hoping things improve and they will just maybe not this year.

  21. From the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons

    Biceps tendinitis is an inflammation or irritation of the upper biceps tendon. Also called the long head of the biceps tendon, this strong, cord-like structure connects the biceps muscle to the bones in the shoulder.

    Biceps tendinitis usually occurs along with other shoulder problems. In most cases, there is also damage to the rotator cuff tendon. Other problems that often accompany biceps tendinitis include:
    Arthritis of the shoulder joint
    Tears in the glenoid labrum
    Chronic shoulder instability (dislocation)
    Shoulder impingement
    Other diseases that cause inflammation of the shoulder joint lining

    Yikes!!

  22. It is so hard trying to stay positive after watching the Dodgers lose their 3rd series in 4, with two against the Marlins and Padres. They lost 7 out of 11 against the west.
    .
    What a contrast in watching two games today. I was having an early lunch at a restaurant with an outside patio, and of course the Giants game was on. I started watching in the Giants 4th and watched Alen Hanson get on an infield single. Then Austin Jackson got on an infield single. Braves pitcher Soroka gets two quick strikes on pitcher Suarez who is trying to sacrifice, then throws a breaking ball that stays up in the zone (very easy to see) with little movement and Suarez gets the sacrifice bunt. Then with two strikes, Gregor Blanco hits a shot to Freeman at 1st but Hanson was off on contact and beat the throw home. When was the last time the Dodgers had a runner on 3rd with less than 2 outs and go on contact? When was the last time the Dodgers made contact with a runner on 3rd with less than 2 outs? Jackson moves to third and scores on a sac fly. Giants scored two runs with only one ball hit out of the infield. Sometimes good things happen when you swing the bat and use speed.
    .
    In contrast, today six Dodgers were called out on strikes. Swing the bat and try to make something happen. Bellinger did get two infield singles, one with 2 strikes. Last 7 outs today were strikeouts. 22 strikeouts the last two days against the Padres…THE PADRES. Eric Lauer (who throws like a BP pitcher) comes into the game with 8.0 IP, 13 hits, 9 runs, 6 walks, and 10 strikes, with a 10.13 ERA, and he looks like a CY candidate.
    .
    Eric Lauer, who is 22, throws 102 pitches and goes 6. Ross Stripling throws 5 shutout innings, and is only allowed to go 68 pitches. Enter Tony Cingrani…2 run HR. Cingrani has been horrible after he left a game with a “dead arm”. He had two walks in the combined no-no. Is he hurt? The Padres let Lauer work through problems and he gained more confidence the more he went. Even the Giants Anthony Suarez gets to throw 93 pitches.
    .
    I agree with those that say DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. The Giants were not scoring when Austin Jackson was at leadoff. Bochy moves him down and sticks Gregor Blanco at leadoff, and the Giants are off and running. The Giants are supposed to have an inferior minor league system to the Dodgers. Joe Panik goes down, and they bring up Alen Hanson who has been a tremendous plus for them. Pence goes down and they bring up Williamson. Williamson goes down and they bring up Slater. Cueto goes down and Suarez comes in and pitches extremely well. The Giants have lost their #1 and #2 starting pitcher, and their #3 to start the season. They were without two members of the bullpen that were supposed to be critical. They did get Will Smith back. They lost their LF and 2B. And with a supposed inferior farm system, they are 4 games over .500. Bumgarner is just about ready to begin throwing, and the Giants are ahead of the 4th place Dodgers by 4 games. And what changes do the Dodgers make? CT3 is still hitting leadoff with a sub .300 OBP and 38 K’s (24% of PA). The Giants call up Hanson and he plays. The Dodgers call up Valera and he sits. The Dodgers call up Locastro and he ends up in CF with Kike’ at 2B. Valera, Locastro, Muncy, Farmer, Kike’… How many utility players do the Dodgers need? The Giants have position players. Only Gorkys Hernandez is a Giants utility player.
    .
    I see no energy, no drive. This is not the same dugout as last year. No worries, Tom Koehler will soon be able to pitch.
    .
    Okay, I am done venting. My TVs are safe for another day. Beat the Snakes on Tuesday.

    1. AC

      Don’t feel bad, I thought a lot like you, about our offense, not being productive.

      And we know Roberts knows these things, because this was part of his game.

      And Maddan did this stuff, when Friedman was his boss, so Roberts should feel more free, to do this stuff, to get our offense more productive, among other things, like you brought up.

  23. Kershaw biceps tendinitis probably out 2 months, ryu after all star games means probably the rest of the year, turner probably another month, hill well he should have done a rehab start but hey why won’t go but 4 anyway if he starts in may. Hill is going to set the record for most times scheduled to start but fewest times in a season where he actually did start lol after second thought Kershaw maybe August probably tweek back while rehabbing. Forsythe probably will move to 60 day so we can add newly acquired Brett Anderson from Oakland. Just in Anderson stubbed toe so out for the season. Nomo San has agreed to a minor league deal adding more depth to the rotation.

  24. Come on AC, you’re my usual ray of hope… (venting is good though)
    One day at a time, one series at a time… That’s all I got…

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