Anything But Conventional

Just to clarify – yesterday I did not say that Stripling was the Dodger’s Ace… yet!  Just that he could be by the end of the season and a lot of that depends upon how he pitches the rest of the way.  Unlike Alex Wood who was  often hitting 97 MPH early in the season last year, which was totally unsustainable for him, Strip is usually 92-94 MPH with an occasional 95 MPH mixed in.  Wood was a power pitcher early last season, since then he has become more of a finesse pitcher, and it was good to see him pitch better last night, even if the Dodgers picked him up with some outstanding defense.

Ross Stripling is not doing anything unsustainable, which leads me to believe he can continue on this same path, not just this season, but in seasons to come.  His peripherals are totally in line with his ERA, WHIP and Walk to Strikeout Ratios.  By seasons end, the Dodgers will have to decide how to slot him in the playoffs.  How he continues to pitch is only part of the equation.  The other part of the equation is one Clayton Kershaw.  How he comes back will also be a big part of this. Was it his biceps tendinitis that caused his drop in velocity or something else.  I suspect we will find out soon enough.

It’s pretty clear that the cream has risen to (almost) the top as the Dodgers are pulling away from the Rockies and Giants and are within striking distance of the D-Bags (1.5 games).  The Dodgers are headed to the playoffs again and this year, I believe talk of trading for pitching is silly and unnecessary. Maeda is back in the rotation with Hill due back next week against Chicago.  Then there will be Clayton Kershaw’s return and the return of Striker Buehler.  Ryu should be back in early July and then Julio Urias is expected in August.

Even if there are injuries… and there will be, the Dodgers rotation is one of the strongest in baseball. The starting staffs ERA is 3.47 which is #5 in all of baseball and a lot of that has been patchwork.  It will drop even more as they get healthy.  What then happens is that pitchers like Wood, Maeda and Urias will go to the pen, making it much stronger… and we don’t know if Koehler can make a difference.  FAZ thinks he can…

Scott Alexander’s stuff is filthy, even when he walks hitters, they can’t score because they can’t hit it.  He just needs a “pinch” more control to be dominant! Overall, the pitching is trending the right direction.  Caleb Ferguson goes today… and year or two years sooner than expected, but here he is.  He has gotten better with each start – let’s hope that continues.  This may be his last start and he will either go back down  to OKC or work out of the Dodger’s pen. I’m guessing he goes to OKC, but he would be a nice arm out of the pen.

Josh Fields has been outstanding all season and Erik Goeddel has been unscored upon (and lucky) and  then there are all the other arms that are on the OKC to LA Shuttle, which runs at least once a day!  The depth the Dodgers have stockpiled, while maybe not tops in quality is tops in quantity… and then as the starters return, the others who slide over to the pen, may make it TOPS IN QUALITY.

As good as the hitting has been over the last month, it’s not like anyone is putting up unsustainable monster numbers.  Matt Kemp is having a good year, but he could get even better – I don’t see him regressing – he’s all in!  It may take another month for the pain to go away, but at some point Justin Turner is going to rake as is Cody Bellinger – you will not keep this kid down all season. If anything, I expect the team to hit even better as the year progresses. However, I still can’t get the idea of Manny Machado out of my mind.  I know, that is not FAZ’s M.O., I know!  But, maybe it is.  Their M.O. is unconventional and that would certainly be unconventional.

Maybe it’s time to “Gut the Farm”  – Contrary to what some think, I do not think this is a “waste year.”  I think this team has about everything it needs… except one more hitter.  They would have been fine with Corey Seager, but he is lost for the duration of the season.  Maybe it’s time to get Manny.  Roll the dice  and plan to sign him long-term.  Manny Machado in the #2 or #3 spot of the batting order would make this one of the fiercest lineups in baseball:

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

I am thinking about this because I believe the Nationals are the team to beat in the NL.  I believe they will “sell out” to win it.  They will trade for JT Realmuto and Brad Hand.  The Dodgers pitching is sufficient but they need Manny’s bat.

What Would The Dodgers Trade?

It will take a lot.  Start with Alex Verdugo, Mitch White and  Keibert Ruiz.  I am extremely high on Ruiz, so I would give up Yusniel Diaz and Jeren Kendall in his place, but Baltimore may demand it.  Edwin Rios and Andrew Toles would be a part of the deal too. I would do Verdugo, White, Diaz, Kendall, Rios and Toles for Manny – the O’s would have to take Logan Forsythe to balance the $$$ to keep LA under the luxury tax.  That’s a lot to pay, but it’s a lot to get as well.  Yes, it is not FAZ’s M.O., but to-date, they have been everything but conventional.


This article has 49 Comments

  1. Only make a trade like you suggest if a long term contract with Machando is worked out in advance! I still think it is an overpay.

  2. I agree that it is an overpay, but if it delivers a World Championship, it will be worth it.

    If I were Machado or his agent, I would not agree to any deal. The Dodgers are in a position to outbid anyone if they want! I think Mannymania would give LA an edge anyway!

  3. Why O Why???
    Getting Machado this season and paying that price reminds me of a song that came out in 66 by the Lovin Spoonful, ‘What a day for a daydream’…
    While I’m at it, could we put the ‘Ace’ handle on the back burner for now!??! We (SP) seem to be doing quite well as a unit…
    Lets bring the brooms out just for kicks…

  4. I said yesterday that Machado would be a great get, but your suggested trade is too rich for my blood. As a FA next year I think the price might be slightly less than you suggested, but it will cost a lot. I say if they’re given the opportunity to acquire Machado to go for it with just a little less. Fosythe has to be included because of the $$ but I would suggest Forsythe, Wood, Kendell, White and Verdugo for Machado. That would give the O’s one veteran pitcher, one young promising arm and two legit outfielders. Might have to include Urias or Dias to close the deal, but if they get the chance to get Machado, they’ve got to go for it.

  5. I don’t see the Dodgers going after Machado, and giving up a huge package for a rental. If I’m Baltimore you won’t get Machado for Verdugo, White, Diaz, Kendall, Rios, and Toles.
    I would think Baltimore wants a King’s ransom from whoever they trade Machado to, and that is not a King’s ramson, in fact, if that is the deal Baltimore would take, I think the Dodgers would take it even for a rental. I think Baltimore will want more, much more, maybe something like Verdugo, Ruiz, Santana, an infielder not named Forsythe, and one more, how about Stripling? Take it or close the door behind you. Baltimore is trading a 26-year-old true Super Star in his prime and the buyer will pay. With no guarantee of a long-term contract signing by Machado FAZ will pass.

    1. I like this, even the minor league teams need starters right now, maybe they can fix him.

      I like Machado and prefer him to Harper but this deal is not going to happen.

      2 really nice games against the Giants, good pitching and defense and just enough hitting. Today will be different, I predict a football score and Dodgers by a field goal (or touchdown) at home.

  6. It would be awesome if Ferguson got his first ever win vs the giants. Let’s get it for him

    Another interesting story from today’s LA Times sports page: did you know that Erik Goeddel’s father, a scientist, was the inventor of synthetic HGH?? Fascinating.

    1. Bobby

      Remember Kershaw’s great uncle, founded the planet Pluto, and now Pluto isn’t considered, a planet?

  7. It’s interesting that Mark’s post today seems to be a response to one from me a few days ago. He’s sure a glass-is-half-full guy!

    So Dodgers’ starters are returning from the DL so all will be right with the world. What makes you think that they all stay healthy?

    So the “extrra” Dodger starters just go to the ‘pen and create the bridge to Jansen? We know that Maeda pitches well out of the pen, that Ryu can’t pitch out of the pen because it takes him too long to warm up due to his prior history of arm surgeries, and that Stripling pitches OK in long relief but he’s never been tried in short relief. Buehler didn’t pitch well in relief in a small sample last year either in AAA or in the bigs.

    The ‘pen has pitched better of late, but I don’t have faith in it at this point. Too many shaky performance by too many. This isn’t last season’s lockdown ‘pen, and given how few innings the starters are pitching this year, this will be the Dodgers’ achilles heel.

    As for this season being a “waste season”, I just don’t see the Dodgers spending $$ if it will mean breaching the tax cap this season. They will make cheap, insubstantial changes and I expect that will mean maybe a reliever or two but not much more than that. Forget about Machado wearing Dodger Blue in 2018.

  8. Glass half full for me…Doc has got the team believing!

    1) Joc…..LF
    2) Max..1B
    3) JT…….3B
    4) Cody.CF
    5) Yaz…..C
    6) Puig..RF
    7) Kike..SS
    8) LF……2B
    9) CF……P

    Like the lineup, finally the LH batters face a RHP. Plays Kike the hot hand and sits Taylor. Logan starting to heat up, plays over Valera. Kemp needed a blow, serve his suspension today? If Caleb can go 5 Dodgers win 7-3. If not a 10-7 slugfest today.

    They are going slow with all the starters rehabbing, probably the prudent thing to do. When they get Kershaw back and Buehler go to a 6 man rotation.

    1. actually, good call on Kemp saying “F it, I’ll serve my suspension today.” I hope that’s what happens

  9. Just heard that Koehler had a setback. Now he’s due back in August. ..

    Maybe never!

  10. Taylor swinging above the ball and under the ball. Really thought he was for real. Not so sure now.

    1. I still think he is for real. What has really hurt him is looking at called third strikes. He can overcome that.

  11. Both Taylor and Bellinger swing at way too many pitches out of the zone; too much effort to get the right launch angle lead to ugly swings.

  12. I have never seen anybody strike out on more3-2 pitches than Taylor. He is not as good as last year and probably, hopefully better than this year, which would be pretty good. We need machado so I would give white, Smith, diaz,, Santana, and Forsythe. If all starters are healthy in the end then wood and Maeda would solidify the bullpen. Forget Koehler he was a cheap gamble anyway. If he comes back fine if not oh well. Furthermore about Taylor, he is not a base stealer and strikes out way too much so put Muncy at second and leadoff. Muncy gives a quality at bat pretty much everytime. He reminds me of turner.

  13. OK, get Ferguson on the Shuttle back to OKC! He will be very good someday… not today!

    1. CF not ready for prime time yet. Probably will be back in Sept. He averaged 20 piches per inning to day. Oh well, another BP day. We still have 6 innings to go!!!

      1. I’d love to see what Manny Banuelos can do but he’s not on the 40 man roster and he has no options left, I think.

  14. Machado would be a huge difference maker in the Dodgers lineup, and well worth an expensive price in talent, especially if the Dodgers are planning on signing significant new young talent in this years international signing period on top of their recent draft. But if the Dodgers deal for Machado, they have to do so with the idea that they will go all out to sign him long term over the winter.

    I’m not as sanguine as Mark about the pitching going forward this season. Kershaw, Hill, Koehler, Ryu, etc., are all health risks to some degree. So adding an arm would make sense to me, depending, of course on who it was and the cost. As for Ferguson, I like his stuff, but it appears that although close, he’s not quite ready. Then again, he’s only 21.

  15. On to Chicago, it was a great homestand. Like Uncle Ned Colleti always says, the other guys get paid to play too. Giants still have some pieces left. Still like the way we are trending…

  16. Machado is a great fit for this year while Seager is out but not as good thereafter especially if the Dodgers are paying him $30M through his age 36. That is a 10 year $300,000,000 contract and he will want more.
    Seager is probably a better defensive shortstop and if Seager returns to shortstop at full strength, Machado would need to return to third base and that would send Turner to first base and Belli to the outfield until Turner’s contract expired. Machado might not want to sign a long term contract if he thought he would return to third base as soon as 2019.
    Machado would be a good long term sign if Seager couldn’t make the throws from shortstop and had to move to first base. Moving Belli to the outfield reduces the positions available to Puig, Joc, Toles, Verdugo, Hernandez, Taylor, and Kemp.
    I would trade for Machado without worrying about signing him as a free agent next year.

    1. Bum

      Although I would probably rather wait to see where Corey is with his arm, you do make the best case I have seen, for going after Machado, just for this season.

      Because you are right, Corey is a far better defensive shortstop then Machado’s defensive numbers at shortstop are, this year.

      And your right, do we really want to move Cody full time to center, and move Turner to first base, like we may have to do, if Machado is brought to this team.

      And we have to think about signing Corey in the future too.

      I guess like every deal, it almost always depends on who is in the deal, to make a trade like this.

      But you do make a good case, for only going after Machado, for this year.

      1. Mark and I are the creative talent and we hire number guys to worry about the details. There are lots of ways to deal with the numbers including getting Baltimore to keep some of Machado’s salary or include Forsythe in the trade, or make another trade that saves salary. Maybe I’ll have a couple of drinks with the Orioles President, shake his hand, call him handsome, and then let Bolton work out the details.

        1. Bum

          There is a more important person you should do that with, just think who could be easily handled, as long as you, are consistently flattering him.

  17. The author wants three from Buehler, Verdugo, White, Kendall, or Lux. That is from an Orioles blog. I would trade Verdugo, Kendall, and Alvarez instead of White and keep Buehler and Lux. The Dodgers should also go after Britten and add Forsythe, Baez, and Wong.

  18. Wait until the off-season and go after Machado at that time. I don’t want to give up any good talent without the assurance that we could sign him to an extension (of which I have my doubts).

    1. Totally concur with that Rudy, our record with Rentals has been very poor (Manny excluded).

      Wait for the Off Season and sign him, and slide him or Corey to 2B.
      I don’t Trade Verdugo – I think he is going to be a very good MLB everyday player.
      If we trade at the TD lt needs to be for a Starter.

      If CK opts out, and I don’t think he will, I don’t resign him. Use the money elsewhere.

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