Maybe This Team is Built for the Playoffs and World Series

With the Dodgers epic struggles early this season firmly fixed in the rear-view mirror, the fan expectations are lukewarm… at best.  However, here the Dodgers sit, tied for first place with the D-bags and I tend to like it that fans are not too excited (I like it a lot) because conventional wisdom is frequently wrong.  Don’t get me wrong – the 2017 Dodgers weren’t bad, but they were a team built to win during the regular season.  In the playoffs, they actually did pretty well, but the Astros did it one game better.  Here’s something that should not be lost on any of us: In 2017, the Dodgers had the best closer in baseball and the best set-up man in the game… and they still lost to a team whose closer was an abomination and who had no regular set-up man.

Write that down and remember it! No closer and no set-up guy – just a bullpen that stepped up big time. Maybe that’s a better formula than conventional thinking!

So, when  Dodger fans pine for Brandon Morrow, Rasiel Iglesis … or some other closers to turn into lockdown setup men, maybe they are suffering from conventional thinking, myopia and tunnel vision. That’s not to say that the Dodgers would not take a Blake Treinen… if the price was right, but the acquisition of Floro and Neal might show that a “real” set-up man might be too expensive… at least today.  Floro can be a “piece” in the pen and float back and forth to OKC, but maybe you have to consider what the playoff  pitching roster could look like:

Starters:

  1. Kershaw
  2. Buehler
  3. Ryu
  4. Stripling

Bullpen:

  1. Alexander
  2. Cingrani
  3. Urias
  4. Maeda
  5. Wood
  6. Hudson
  7. Hill
  8. Jansen

Of course, leaves Liberatore, Ferguson, Goeddel, Floro, Baez, Chargois, Hernandez, Stewart, Fields and Koehler off the playoff roster. If you can’t beat em’ with quality, then try quantity. I know, I am jumping from Point A to Point Z because a lot has to happen yet.  Urias needs to get healthy (he is progressing quickly) as does Ryu and let’s not forget how well he was pitching when he went down.  It wasn’t an arm issue, so the prognosis is good.  A rotation of two lefties and two righties could be immensely complemented with the addition of Hill, Urias, Maeda, Wood and Hudson into the pen as they are all capable of pitching multiple innings. Yes, things have to line up, but this could be a team built for a Championship.

The defense is solid at most positions.  Even Matt Kemp is playing  pretty well.  Mad Max at 2B is the weak link, but he’s more athletic than you might think.  Just leave him there and he will get better. Bellinger and Turner are two of the best in the business.  Chris Taylor is very good at SS… underrated as well and Yasmani Grandal is one of the best defensive catchers and pitch framers… passed balls aside (it is what it is). Their outfield defense is not spectacular, but it is solid and the arms are excellent for the most part.

I have talked a lot about Machado, but I would never pay what the Birds want.  The Dodgers will be in on Manny, just to drive up the price, but they will not sign him.  FAZ is not, and I repeat NOT GOING TO TRADE ALEX VERDUGO.   They could trade Puig and/or Toles (I love Toles, but he may be the one to go).  Joc’s value is sky high right now and he could be included in a deal for a bullpen arm.  On the other hand, if things fall into place, maybe the Dodgers don’t need that traditional set-up man.  Maybe it’s pure quality and quantity…

Maybe they are built for the playoffs… all they have to do is get there! That’s the immediate problem.

This may be bad news:  J.T. Ginn, the Dodgers’ first-round selection (30th overall) in last month’s MLB Draft, posted a message on Twitter on Thursday indicating he has decided not to sign with Los Angeles and instead will pursue collegiate baseball at Mississippi State University. The slot value of the 30th overall pick is $2,275,800.

P.S. Kelvin Herrera has a 4.70 ERA since he was traded from KC to the Nats.  Just sayin…

This article has 76 Comments

  1. Jeren Kendall now has 102 strike outs in 273 AB’s. Can you say “Wasted Pick?”

  2. Though Gerrit Cole has been spectacular for the Astros, the Pirates have seen impressive production from the three major leaguers they gained in the deal: Colin Moran, Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz. The prospect they gained, outfielder Jason Martin, had been just as good. Through 47 games at Double-A Altoona he hit .316/.379/.531 with seven home runs.

    Who would the Dodgers have had to give up to equal that haul?

  3. For those who may have missed it, from a post last night on some of yesterday’s minor league activity of note:
    .
    Dean Kremer was promoted to AA today and proceeded to pitch a 3 hit shutout (7 innings) in his AA debut. Two of the hits were infield, and one was a bad hop single. He had 3 walks and as he did with RC, he had a lot of Ks. Tonight he had 11 in 7 IP. He looks to be primarily a two pitch pitcher right now. His fastball was consistently in the 91-93 range, but it was his change up that got the swing and misses. He kept the fastball down and placed it well and got a lot of called strikes, and then threw the change which looked to be unhittable tonight.
    .
    Kremer is 22 and was the Dodgers 14th round draft choice (2016) out of UNLV. He is 6’3″ 180 pounds RHP.
    .
    The Drillers won both games of a DH against the Midland RockHounds (A’s).
    .
    Also promoted to AA today were relievers Nolan Long and Michael Boyle. These are good relievers, but they were not the top two at RC. I believe that Zach Pop and Marshall Kasowski were the top two. Moving Long and Boyle gives Andre Scrubb some more opportunities. Long appeared in the first game and pitched a scoreless 9th to get the win. He did allow 1 hit and 1 walk, but also had 1 K.
    .
    Yesterday Leo Crawford was recently promoted to RC and in his first RC start (3rd appearance), he pitched perhaps the best game of his professional career,..7 innings of 2 hit shutout baseball. He did have 1 walk to go with 7 Ks, and the win.
    .
    In another professional debut tonight, SS Deacon Liput went 2-4 with a triple and 2 RBI’s in a losing effort for Great Lakes.
    .
    4th round draft pick 17 year old Braydon Fisher, had a much better outing last night than his debut. Last night he pitched 1.2 scoreless innings for the AZL Dodgers on 1 hit, 1 walk, and 1 K. His 6/28 debut he pitched 1.2 innings, allowing 2 runs, on 3 hits, 1 walk, and 2 K.

    2nd round draft pick Michael Grove has signed (terms not disclosed), while 1st rounder JT Ginn has told both the Dodgers and Mississippi State, that he will be honoring his commitment and attending Mississippi State in the fall…a lifelong dream.

  4. Mark says Kendell was a wasted pick and indeed that might be the case. I don’t follow the minor league’s too closely and don’t know who might be a solid pick over someone who is not, but is the inability to sign your first round draft pick a big deal. Shouldn’t Gasparino and his staff completed their homework and know who they could sign for the slot amount when they picked?

    It seems a significant “blunder” when you pick a player to fill a need in the minor league pipeline and then don’t sign him….just saying.

    1. The Dodgers had a list of guys they hoped would fall to them and Kendall was the only one left at their pick. He has the tools on defense and plus speed and power, just needs to make consistent contact.

      This happened before with Funkhauser on Faz’s watch: first round pick goes back to college. The team could not afford to miss on this pick, signability is always an issue with a HS player as they have the leverage of going to school instead. I agree this is a significant blunder.

      1. Dodger lose his slot money but basically don’t lose that pick as they get an extra pick at 31 next year I think.

  5. I think I’d rather have Hill in the Starting rotation and remove Ryu. It would be nice to add deGrom to the Playoff rotation but I know it’s a pipe dream.

    1. Rich Hill is willing to relieve. It takes Ryu too long to get warmed up. Look at their stats so far this year:

      Ryu – 29 IP, 16 H, 36 K, 2.12 ERA, 0.88 WHIP

      Hill – 47 IP, 48 H, 51 K, 4.56 ERA, 1.37 WHIP

      Now lately, Hill is trending up and I love Rich Hill, but Ryu has been the ebst Dodger starter this year. He deserves a chance to see if he can get back to that.

      He was practically unhittable…

      1. I knew you had a reason for putting in Ryu and taking out Hill. Let’s just try to keep Rich Hill off the base paths. One of the unproven pitchers we are relying on is Buehler. He needs to get some seasoning before the playoffs start. I believe most of us are counting on him to be our #2 but we shall see. I would feel better with one more good starter or 3 to 4 more solid relief pitchers. I feel better about the team this year even without Seager but still uneasy with the pitching staff. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

    1. How much did they sign McClanahan for?
      .
      The Dodgers were caught between a rock and a hard place with their limited bonus dollars available. But that does not excuse Gasparino and his staff not knowing what it would take to sign Ginn. These guys do their due diligence and SHOULD know if Ginn is signable for under $3M. I am sure they could have signed OF Steele Walker out of Oklahoma who most pundits thought they were going to take for their bonus slot. I spoke with a couple of agents who knew that Ginn would not sign for late first round money. I spoke with one the night of the draft, who told me nice kid with a big arm…They will not sign him. He loves Miss St. and it will take a big over slot to sign him. Now this missed pick becomes #31 next year. Why would you take a high school pitcher with a ride to one of the best D-1 baseball programs in the country and not be able to offer the $$$ to get them out of their scholarship? At #30, take the college junior who does not nearly have the leverage a top high school pitcher has. He may not be as good, but the days of buying a player out of their scholarship like Colletti did with Zach Lee are over. While you may be able to get a similar skilled player, you lose the year of development which can never be made up.
      .
      I go overboard at times with praise for the front office, but this was a major blunder. Every NL West’s future got better in the draft than did the Dodgers. If your position is that you build from within, and then you take a significant step back in the draft, it gets harder to contend down the line.

      1. Another factor making it more difficult to sign for late first round $$$ is that because of his age, Ginn will be eligible to reenter the draft after his sophomore year, not after his junior year.

      2. Reports that the D’backs will not sign their 1st round pick, Matt McLain. Will go to UCLA. This falls in the misery loves company category.

      3. He signed for $2.3 Million. It was a blunder to lose Ginn… Gasparino may be in trouble…

  6. It’d be real cool if Dodgers could hold 1st place and not look back going forward but I fear some standings shuffling before July whittles down. Some tough teams ahead but I think the NL west is a lot tougher than the MLB talkers say. Hopefully Dodgers make that clear this month. C’mon Dodgers. be good rascals and join in the band. No Mr. T starter kits!

  7. FAZ has had 6 first round draft picks. They failed to sign 2 and 1 is a bust (at least until now). Gasparino is in charge…

    It didn’t take FAZ long to get rid of Engle and Guerrero!

  8. I don’t know if it’s the worst thing in the world that Ginn didn’t sign. So we save money this year, and we get the 31st pick next year, giving us 2 of the top 31 picks. Maybe next year is a better/deeper draft. It’s not like we just lost the value of the pick; we just lose out on that value for 1 year, but perhaps we get a better player.

    As far as Kendall, wayyyyyyyyy too early to call him a “wasted pick”. Everyone knew he had strike out issues, but in every other category (power, speed, defense), he’s great. We help him work out the kinks with the strikeouts and we have ourselves a star. He’s been in the system 1 year for crying out loud. Last year many called Lux a waste, and look at him now. Not everyone shines the second they get to the minors and gets on a fast track. Some players need more time to figure it out. We of all teams should know that better than anyone, as half of our team is like that (Turner, Taylor, Stripling, Muncy, Joc, etc)

    1. Agreed, way too early for Kendall to be labeled a bust. He was projected as a top 10 pick and fell to the Dodgers and signed when he could have gone back for his senior year. He had strikeout issues in college too, and if fixed he has all the other tools to be a major league CF, and possible lead off hitter, something the system lacks.

      The only thing I didn’t like about the Lux pick was that they could have taken Bo Bichette and 3B was a bigger system need. Bichette has climbed up the prospect ranks nicely. Lux is a nice player but there are a lot of middle IF in the system besides him-Robinson and Jackson come to mind and that’s just at AA.

      Funkhauser turned down $1.5 M to go back for his senior year in college and he did eventually sign-for $750 K. Gasparino either figured they could sign him anyway after others knew Ginn was not likely to take a late 1st round slot or didn’t know in the first place. Too much of a risk when other safer picks were available.

    2. Preston Mattingly comes to mind when speaking of supplemental picks. Otherwise, I agree with you Bobby.

    3. I called Lux a “possible waste.” I am calling Kendall a “full waste.” 😉

      1. The speed is real. The power is real. The defense is real. Give him another year.

  9. You know, now that we’re a first place club again, I sense a different swag on this board!

    Let’s go take this series in Anaheim now

  10. Gasparino in trouble.
    Kendall a wasted pick.
    Ruiz to be traded.

    Is today “stupid and baseless speculation” day?

    1. Haha I agree with you on all three counts. I’m still amazed by how cavalier some fans are with bundling verdugo/ruiz/may as if those guys grow on trees. Throw in diaz/smith/white and the farm system might as well be gutted.

      1. FAZ has shown a proclivity not to deal their Top Prospects and I agree with that. Alex Verdugo has “Star” written all over him… but he has to play everyday. Ruiz is my favorite and Will Smith is quietly coming up the ranks as a very good catcher with improved hitting.

        I am not convinced the Dodgers need to do anything at all… except clear a space for Verdugo and we know who has to go there.

        1. I think Puig would bawl like a little girl if we traded him this month (kind of like Paul LoDuca in 2004). That would be a tough one, despite him not being the superstar player we thought he could be. The fans love Puig.

          1. Trading Puig is certainly an interesting idea. While I agree with Mark below I also think there could be a team that might want to do a “fixer upper”-type move and hope to cash in a revitalized Puig at next year’s deadline. I say keep him and hold his rh bat says in the postseason.

    2. I listened to Bill Poulian one day talk about the importance of hitting on the #1 draft pick at least 60% of the time. He said that GM’s who dipped into the 50% range were the ones on the hot seat. Billy Gasparino is exactly 3-6 in his tenure with the Dodgers. I could be wrong about Jeren Kendall, but usually when a player whiffs at a 37% rate in the minors, he suddenly doesn’t get better. Billy Ashely was 30% in the minors. Kyle Russell was 36%. Kendall is worse. I see a guy who has blazing speed and a good arm who can’t make contact. He has power because he “sells out” on every pitch. Now, I do understand why they took him (his upside was great), but you can’t make that mistake and fail to sign two other picks. Yes, I think Gasparino is being watched closely. I hope Ruiz is not traded, unless it nets Realmuto and that ain’t happening!

      However, at this juncture, Kendall is a wasted pick and saying that is as stupid as saying Matt Kemp would be the starting LF’er for the Dodgers. You thought that was stupid and baseless too. Gasparino should not allow the non-signings to happen. He should “know” before the pick. If I were Andrew Friedman, I would likely not fire Billy, but I would tell him “This ain’t happening again.” Bob Engle and Patrick Guerrero were fired for bad international signings. This is not much different.

      I was listening to Power Alley today and they said: “The Dodgers won’t trade for Manny Machado – they already have him. His name is Max Muncy!”

      1. Yeah, but Bill Poulian was referring to the NFL, where there’s only 7 rounds, and 1st round picks are expected to contribute their very first year. Baseball with its 30-60 rounds is a much bigger crapshoot. I’d like to find a team that consistently hits on 60% of their 1st round picks (not including the Cubs or Astros or Giants who had something like 6 straight years of top 5 picks)

        1. I agree with that, but you whiff on everyone you don’t sign. It would be interesting to research that. The Cardinals have been very successful over the past 15+ years.

          1. With the exception of Rob Morris, Polian hit on all of his 1st rounders in Indy until he let his son take down the Colts drafts.

          2. The cards were successful because they stole the Astros scouting reports lol! They shouldn’t even had a chance to pick this year. The bottom line is gasparino has got to know that he will sign. So excited to be in first place now stay there!

      2. Mark–a couple things. I was the biggest Logan white ever and still defend him to my dying day. I feel he (along with Dan evans) helped rebuild the dodger farm system and this front office largely inherited many of its wealth from that era. Ned colletti sucked.

        That said, we have no idea the dynamic among the front office, the farm director and other arms of the organization. I know you have sources but I’m not going to join the lynch mob for not not signing a #30 pick. He’ll, evr. Losing out on hochevar worked out well for us. It’s not personal; its business.

        Lastly, you deserve credit for nailing the Kemp renaissance. You were largely alone so kudos given. You have now doubled down on your “verfugo will not be traded” prediction. I think he will, along with Rios, alvarez, and heredia.

        As for kendall. We’re trying for elite players, not middling types. Even if hr flames out, his ceoli g as a low first round pick was justified. 5% of one’s portfolio can be devoted to speculation.

        Great blog btw. Glad I found it.

        1. Logan White was a good friend. I had him on speed dial. I did many interviews with him. Here’s one:



          There are a lot more if you want to see them. Here’s one with Logan and De Jon Watson:

          1. Some times I miss those days… but most times I don’t. This blog is a hobby, not an avocation.

  11. Let the record reflect that I have NO connections anymore inside the Dodger’s front office. I have a few throughout the game, but nobody under FAZ… and I’m fine with that!

    1. Dexter Fowler situation is ugly. Could we send contracts their way? Forsythe and more. What bad money do we have left? I’d rather trade for Adam Jones. I think he’s a winner.

      1. Pacman’s Gold Glove has been tarnished for a few years now. Fowler was just a dumb signing. Why would we want him?

  12. I have heard that some blogs are proclaiming that they are one of the TOP 10 Dodger Blogs, but so are we. However, this blog and Jon Weisman’s are the only ones who don’t monetize the site, which is one of the ratings criteria.

      1. AC and DC make the big Bucks.

        DC has been gone for a while… enjoying his family, but I think he will be back this weekend.

        Stay tuned!

        1. Being a former schoolteacher, he graded AC an A+ for his recent work.

          I think I flunked however.

          I have to write a bunch of sentences on the blackboard.

          1. sounds like me during my Fresno State days, and you have to be a dummy to be a dummy at Fresno State!

            Meanwhile, Maeda sure is sharp so far!

  13. Per ESPN: Matt Kemp has 6 straight hits with runners in scoring position. He leads the majors with a .438 BA in the category. WOW!! I sure am glad nobody wanted him.

  14. Hudson walks a bad hitter like Simmons with 2 outs in the 8th to face Trout? That’s why the Dodgers need a good setup reliever.

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