The Case for Standing Up

Yesterday, we discussed “standing down” at the trade deadline because of many problems with this 2018 version of the Dodgers. While they are officially in first place in the NL West, they look like a flawed team… and they are!  But guess what? So is every other team.  It is my opinion that this starting rotation is as good as any in baseball… from top-to-bottom, especially if they are healthy.  The Astros have the best Team Starter ERA at 3.02, but the Dodgers are gaining on them and are #2 with a 3.31 Starter ERA.

Overall, the Dodgers are #3 in Combined Team ERA just 0.01 point behind the Yankees who are #2 behind Houston. Here’s an interesting stat:  from pitches 60-90, the Dodgers starters are the best in baseball in ERA.  Of course, part of that is because the starters often don’t pitch past that and the Dodger starters have fewer innings in that range than many other teams.

There is a lot of good news on the injured pitcher front for the Dodgers with Maeda, Buehler and Hill all healthy and Ryu and Urias getting there. Remember, that Ryu was our best pitcher before he went down.  The Dodgers’ starters are #1 in the NL in ERA and #2 in all of MLB behind the Astros. Look at what could be, if the Pitching Staff is Healthy…

Starting Pitchers

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

Bullpen

  1. Fields
  2. Alexander
  3. Floro
  4. Hudson
  5. Maeda
  6. Wood
  7. Urias
  8. Jansen

Not on the Roster

  1. Stewart
  2. Rosscup
  3. Venditte
  4. Liberatore
  5. Koehler
  6. Hernandez
  7. Goeddel
  8. Garcia
  9. Ferguson
  10. Cingrani
  11. Chargois
  12. Baez

That’s a lot of depth!

As AC has stated, there are not a lot of stars in the Dodgers’ Minor League System, but there is a lot of depth!  So, stand up!  Trade Lux and May and Sheffield  for Machado and Britton.  Hopefully Britton can close if necessary. I am worried about Jansen’s down-tick in velocity, and it would be nice to have a LH closer too. It looks like Britton is now healthy – he has a 0.00 ERA in his last seven games with a 0.86 WHIP.

Manny Machado would look good in that lineup and maybe a new form of Mannymania could take over.  Who knows, he might like the bright lights and want to stay? It still seems like something FAZ would not do, but this is a new paradigm – FAZ has never been in this position.  They have always had several “dead contracts” on the books.  They were prepared to have “Dead Kemp” but he was resurrected! They ARE committed to staying under the salary cap and re-set the tax threshold, so that is an issue they have to work around.

I guess it is going to depend upon what they have to give up.  The farm system is deep, and while there are only a few who have “star potential” (Verdugo, Ruiz, Diaz), there are many others who have an opportunity to evolve into star caliber players. Like every Front Office, FAZ has had their share of mistakes.  Even the Cubs and Astros had their share of mistakes – it’s just easier to cover those mistakes when  you have a bunch of high draft picks, year-over-year.  FAZ has never had that luxury, so you really can’t use the same measure.  The last two starters acquired by Theo (Quintana and Darvish) have not delivered like expected.  Houston whiffed on their #1 draft pick two years in a row. Stuff happens.

Fans complain that FAZ won’t spend the money, but they HAVE spent the money.  They have paid more in salary than any team in baseball the past 5 years!  I am still very concerned about the “in fighting” and legal issues at Guggenheim.  That has the potential to wreck this team.

Who Plays Where?

So, if Manny is traded to LA, we know he will play SS, but where does everyone else play?  While Max Muncy is not the equal of Justin Turner at 3B, he is surprisingly good.  He has excellent hand-eye cordination and a soft glove.  I would consider moving Turner  to 2B (if he is willing).  CT3 goes back to CF and Cody to 1B.  Just my thoughts on the subject!

Grandal Haters

Among qualifiers, here’s where Yasmani Grandal ranks among all MLB catchers:

  • 4th in BA
  • 3rd in OB%
  • 3rd in OPS
  • 4th in HR
  • 3rd in RBI
  • 5th in doubles
  • 2nd in runs scored
  • 17th in passed balls

… and yet, so many Dodger fans still hate Yasmani Grandal.  Theyt wish he were better… so do I! Yeah, I’d like Realmuto too, but at what cost?  Yasmani is pretty damn good… then add in the framing metrics! I had predicted greater things for Yamani, but he’s still one of the TOP 10… maybde TOP 5 catchers in baseball and trading him, unless it’s for Realmuto would greatly hinder a playoff run.

This article has 29 Comments

  1. I know I have been an advocate for Machado, because I believe he greatly enhances the chances of the Dodgers to win the NL West and NL. It is not that I do not think they cannot win it without him, it just that Machado separates the Dodgers from the crowd. Considering the Division Leaders, there are 11 teams in the NL within 5.5 games of a post-season berth, and 7 teams within 2 games. Pittsburgh (5.5), Washington (5.0), Giants (4.0), and St. Louis (4.0) all believe in some degree that they still have a chance. I know I would if I were a fan of any of the 4 teams.
    .
    There will be some wheeling and dealing during the next couple of weeks, with the sellers getting a good haul for some rather pedestrian players. Pittsburgh and St. Louis seem inclined to believe more in 2019, but the Nats and Giants have to go all infor 2018. The Nats are re-opening talks with the Marlins about Realmuto, especially since Ramos (their backup plan) is on the DL with hamstring issues. Apparently 2018 means so much that Victor Robles or Carter Kieboom are no longer considered untouchable from the Nats, and that is probably just what it would take to get Realmuto.
    .
    While I do like the idea of Machado and increasing the chances of winning it all in 2018, May and Lux is a lot. They fit within the O’s time frame of 2-3 years, and FAZ should be able to find or develop comparable players within those two years. But it gets harder when drafting so late to find the hidden gems.
    .
    Machado is at $16M and Britton is at $12M, for a prorated portion of $28M to be absorbed by LA. That is not doable if the Dodgers are going to stay under the luxury tax threshold. After an estimated $5.4M bonus for Maeda, I figure the Dodgers have around $10M they can play with. FAZ worked a miracle to get the team in this under luxury tax position, they are not going to blow it now. Ultimately, I do not think that it is moving May and Lux that would hinder the trade, although that is certainly not in the FAZ comfort zone, but it is the salary. As much as Bums wants to include Forsythe in the trade, the O’s are not going to take him. They can get comparable prospects from the Phillies and Brewers without taking on Forsythe.
    .
    Also contrary to the relievers Mark has listed above, there is not a lockdown 8th inning guy that I would feel comfortable with. I am not convinced that Jansen is healthy, and maybe a Kyle Barraclough can get Jansen to the DL for a couple of weeks. He is on pace for a 74 game 78 IP season BEFORE the playoffs. Both are career highs. He needs to be ratched down, and which one of the Dodger relievers would you feel comfortable closing games during a 2 week span? Hudson is good as a rubber arm to come in under any circumstance with the ability to go multiple innings. Last week I wrote that I thought that Floro looked good but I did not think it was sustainable, because he has never done it over an extended period of time. The next day he gives up a critical HR. I have already stated on a number of occasions that I am a fan of Josh Fields, but not as a lockdown setup guy. Does anyone else think of Don Stanhouse (fullpack) when Scott Alexander comes in? Kyle Barraclough and Drew Steckenrider would give me comfort in the 8th and Barraclough as a closer.
    .
    While Machado is preferable, I think FAZ looks at less expensive options like Eduardo Escobar, Twins ($4.85M) and Jose Iglesias ($6.275). Machado dollars and prospects required are just too risky for FAZ, or nothing.
    .
    While I like Barraclough and Steckenrider, I think FAZ is more comfortable with Adam Conley, yet another converted starter. With Conley it is still going to be a, 6th, 7th, and 8th inning by committee, and a Jansen burnout.

  2. Maybe Bellinger and Taylor haven’t been up to what they did last season, I believe they both are more complete ball players now. With more experience under their belts they may be able to concentrate on their offense the rest of the season. Can’t keep a good man down and Turner is a great man soon to be healed in full. Kike will continue to astonish us with glove and bat. He’s got skills beyond expectations. Kemp and Grandal will continue with the offense even when we’ll be steamrolling. We wouldn’t be in !st at this point without them. Jock and Max, who’d a thunk it? Pitching will soon put us in a run like we’ve grown so used to seeing almost to the point where going from 10 under to 1st dosen’t look so great. Dodgers won’t let us down in the remainder. When I look at what’s in front of my lens I see every reason for confidence. Things are just heading that direction.I’m all in and that’s with what we got. Kershaw and Jansen are too. Dragons to sleigh in the post season. Standby!

  3. Jason Stark has hinted that Machado will be a Phillie after the All Star game tomorrow and before the season resumes Thurs/Fri. It’ll be an interesting next few days for sure

    1. Stark did indicate that there is a hand shake deal in place, and the Phillies feel confident. They have the pitching the O’s are looking for. With Nola and Arrieta and Eflin they could be formidable.

  4. 1 – It takes something to get something. The Dodgers can’t refuse to trade all of their prospects and expect to get something back in return. I’m sorry, no one wants Logan Forsythe and they won’t trade their best relief pitchers for Forsythe or his ilk. I am always bemused by some of the trade proposals that I read here.
    2 – Thus far, the Braintrust has mostly avoided trading any prospects that have made an impact somewhere else. I would expect that if they trade a prospect that he’s probably not as good as some people think.
    3 – AC makes an excellent point – the Dodgers will not go over the tax cap this year no matter what. Forget about Machado and Britton and forget about the O’s taking back Forsythe’s salary.
    4 – Each year, the Braintrust has obtained relievers at the deadline (and starters too). Absent a huge splash like DeGrom (and that’s not happening), they will focus on relief help this time around. Whether they will pony up a prime prospect for a late inning guy is another matter.
    5 – The Dodgers’ other big hole is at 2B. IF they trade for the likes of Dozier (who’s having a bad season) or Gennett they will have to lose another INF off of the roster. Maybe they DFA Forsythe or retire Utley early.

    1. I’d love to have Gennett but he’s going to cost a lot. I’m on record as saying we should stick with Muncy and he will get better the more he plays that position. If that’s not in the cards then I would seriously consider Merrifield from KC.

  5. I continue to have a really hard time seeing how Machado fits in. If Taylor goes to CF, then the OF is (AT LEAST)
    Toles, Kike, Pederson, Taylor, Kemp.

    And that’s with Puig on the IR.

    Am I totally mistaken here? You have to think Pederson/Toles will/would be traded. Right?

    1. Yes, Pederson and Toles would go. I like Manny but I really don’t like the deal. It seems that we are making huge accomodations for him, when CT3 is a better shortstop. I write and throw out ideas, but I honestly feel that a lot of the solutions to the Dodgers problems lies “in-house.” Dozier is having a bad year. Will he get better on a winning team? Hard to say. Gennett is not going anywhere.

      I would settle for a good 8th inning guy and try and get better from within. Give Verdugo a shot. Leave Muncy at 2B and cut Forstyhe. I was all for re-signing him but it blew up.

      I would leave Toles or Verdugo at leadoff.

  6. I like this article way better than the give up article. Manny and Britton would push the Dodgers over the top and would have a dirty bullpen especially when all the starters come back. I think the best lineup with Machado would be…
    Taylor 2B
    Turner 3B
    Muncy 1B
    Machado SS
    Kemp LF
    Bellinger CF
    Puig RF
    Grandal C

    If Taylor has problems getting on base, put Kike in that spot and at 2B

  7. Random thought: I like our starters but i dont put much stock into any stats that show us having a top rotation. Our starters dont throw enough innings to be considered a top rotation and any overall pitching excellence we have is largely due to depth and active management (the latter of which can go sideways fast in a short series). This puts a huge burden on the bullpen and our best hope is that pitchers stay healthy (and get healthy) and we can shift a couple arms to the pen come October. Relief pitching is definitely a way to improve the club as well as adding a middle if the order bat that might allow us to mix and match around the edges rather than in the heart of the lineup. I dont think we need machado but we need to add a productive bat. Preferably a rh. Someone asked earlier if we have a logjam in the outfield (even with Puig out) and I think it’s clear we do. Verdugo needs to be given a shot at a starting job by opening day 2019 at the latest. Otherwise what’s the point of developing prospects. I think we have some quality pitching in the pipeline as long as we are smart at the deadline. One way to make this current rotation even stronger is to bolster the pen with two durable arms. Save some bullets for the postseason and go full steam ahead once we get there. Multi-inning bullpen guys like Houston used to close us out. It’s the new plastics.

  8. Here’s what bothers me:

    Turner is the best 3B, so he stays at 3B.
    LF is Kemps best spot due to his age.
    C is Grandal and Barnes.
    Bellinger is the best 1B… maybe in all of baseball.
    So, we put Manny at SS? He may be a little better than his metrics, but he’s no CT3.

    Without Manny, this is our defense:
    1B – Bellinger (Gold Glove Caliber)
    2B – Muncy (the weakest defender on the team)
    SS – Taylor (Elite defense, if not GG)
    3B – Turner (Same as Taylor)
    LF – Kemp (better than many think)
    CF – Toles and Hernandez – Above average
    RF- Puig and Verdugo – Upper level
    C – Barnes and Grandal – Elite defense)

    You throw Manny in there and it’s a bunch of players outta’ position.

    Better offensively but weaker defensively.

    1. I really do not believe the Dodgers are in on Machado. The Phillies are okay with including Adonis Medina (their #2 prospect & #74 MLB prospect) but the Dodgers are not inclined to include Dustin May (Dodgers #10). I can see why the Dodgers value May so highly. May is younger and is pitching better in a hitter’s A+ League (California League) vs. Medina in more of a pitcher’s A+ League (Florida State League). However, MLB Pipeline rates Medina higher than I might, and Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo are better evaluators than me.
      .
      Gavin Lux may be the Dodgers #12, but he is Baseball America’s overall #81. He is a much better prospect than Arquemedes Gamboa. Baseball America rates Lux #81 and Medina #100. Different positions. I do not care what they say, but IMO May and Lux is a better package than Medina and Arquemedes. So it really depends on who else the Phillies may be including.
      .
      I can see why the Dodgers might have balked, and the Phillies maybe went for it. The Dodgers have 5 Baseball America Top 100 prospects while the Phillies have 2, and Medina is #100. The Dodgers farm is far superior than the Phillies, and they could offer comparable prospects but not of the Phillies liking. If the O’s prefer the Phillies offer and the Dodgers will not agree to May and Lux, then so be it.
      .
      I got caught up in the Manny hype. It reminds me of last winter’s circus for Giancarlo Stanton. Most of us did not believe the Dodgers were in on it, but the longer it went on, the more intriguing and possible it seemed, and many were putting together lineups with Stanton. I think the same is true with Machado.
      .
      Machado improves the Phillies, but by how much? Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta are good, but from #1-#5 they are not as good as the Dodgers. The Dodgers have more overall power than the Phillies, even with Machado. The Phillies defense will be worsened with Machado over Kingery even if the offense is improved. As questionable as the Dodgers bullpen is, it is still better than Philly’s. The Dodgers are playing much better baseball than the Phillies lately, so the addition of Machado makes them better, but are they better than the Dodgers? If the Dodgers add 1 or 2 top relievers, I cannot see the Phillies (with Machado) better than the Dodgers.

  9. Next year the Dodgers will have three powerful lefty hitters in Seager, Muncey, and Pederson. Their righty compliment is Kemp, Turner, and Taylor. Puig should be considered a lefty hitter because of his severe reverse splits.
    .
    Puig and Kemp will be free agents after next year and thus both could be traded. That leaves Taylor and Turner as the righty sluggers. Will Smith might be the third but should not be considered strong enough in his first year.
    .
    The Dodgers need a power righty bat next year. Toles and Verdugo might do okay against lefties but they will not hit for power against them.
    .
    I can’t figure out the desire to put Taylor in CF while complaining that he strikeouts too much and has a terrible average w/RISP. His strength is as a SS. He doesn’t strengthen the defense in CF enough to play there.

    1. you forgot Cody as a leftie power hitter. But I agree with you that we need a big right handed bat (or have Puig become that, but who knows if he ever will)

      That’s another reason I can see trading Joc or Verdugo/Toles and get some balance .

  10. Anyone considering Seager for next year needs to remember that he didn’t have his TJ surgery until May. That probably puts his return next year in July or August.

  11. Scooter is rumored to get an extension in Cincy. He’s a hometown boy and wants to stay. It’s Machado or Dozier if the Dodgers are going to upgrade the infield and add a bat. Dozier is a notorious 2nd half hitter. The Dodgers #1 priority needs to be bullpen help, but count me in as someone who is getting caught up watching the Machado rumors.

  12. Heyman reporting the Dodgers are the favorite in the Machado sweepstakes. He described it via twitter as a fluid situation. Those who are emotionally attached to any of the following: May, Verdugo, Toles, Pederson, Puig, Ryu, Wood, Lux, White or Kendell should prepare themselves because a couple of those players will be moved if the Dodgers acquire Machado.

    If true and it’s close what say you: My prediction is Joc, May, Will Smith, and Alverez for Britton and Machado. To balance the $$ the O’s take Forsythe off our hands. Not even sure that pencils out but just soitballing here.

  13. Yep it’s finally coming to an end!!! The crack house frenzy which has accompanied the trading deadline is all but over…
    I see the FO getting some relief help later on and like Quas, I’m all in and lets release the Kraken…
    I know he’s a long shot but Tulsa LF Jacob Scavuzzo 11 RBI’s in his last 2 games… I hope he gets a shot with someone down the road…

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