How Do You Spell Relief?

I think the “trickle-down effect” of Manny Machado in the Dodger’s lineup will be significant.  The Dodgers really miss Corey Seager and he replaces Cory with a stronger RH bat.  This should help everyone in the lineup.  Watch Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger’s stats improve. Depending upon what happens between now and the end of the season, the Dodgers offsense could be more potent than that of 2017… and I salivate to think of a lineup that includes both Machado and Seager in 2019, but I’m putting the horse before the cart! Let’s win this one first!

I am heading to Milwaukee this weekend and doubt if I have much time to post, so hopefully AC can entertain you while I am gone.  I hope to get to see Manny upclose and personal.  Milwaukee’s Stadium is beautiful… and I get to see Clayton pitch as well.  I have not been to Milwaukee for several years, but one of the previous times I was there, Shawn Green hit four homeruns.  That was a great game.

Bullpen Help

The next few days should be very eventful.  The Padres Brad Hand brought back one of the Top 15 Prospects in baseball… because he is controllable for several more years.  That’s the price of control.  Manny Machado brought back a lot because he is a superstar, but the relievers that are on the market like Rasiel Iglesais and others of his ilk who are “controllable” for years to come, will bring back prospects generally in the Top 25, or multiple prospects in the Top 50.  The bullpen guys we all talk about and want, like Iglesais, Vazquez (aka/Rivero), Bear Claw and others will likely cost Verdugo and Ruiz or one of those and a couple of lower-ranked prospects.

I think that is too much to pay. Relievers are a fickle bunch – very few provide consistent production year-over-year, making long-term control certainly less meaningful. One thing that jumpedIn 12 June appearances, teams were OPDS’ing almost 1.000 against Hand.  I think the Dodgers need to try and move some player or players on the 25 man roster (Pederson, Puig, Toles, Wood) in order to get a reliever and it likely won’t be one of the top names that are available.  Think: Get Brad Hand BEFORE he is Brad Hand. It should be interestiung how this plays out.

Dodger News

  • The Dodgers are up to 5th in the latest power poll by Bleacher Report!
  • The Dodgers are said to be going with a six-man rotation and Ryu may start a rehab assignment as soon as next week.  TGhat leave him two weeks or so away.  What then? a 7-Man?
  • Jim Bowden says that “the Dodgers made it very clear in their trade discussions with the Orioles that top prospects — including outfielder Alex Verdugo, catcher Keibert Ruiz, and pitchers Mitchell White and Yadier Alvarez — were all off limits in a “rental” trade for All-Star shortstop Manny Machado. LA’s front office, led by Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi, never wavered from that position, and ended up landing Machado without giving any of them up.” –
  • Manny Machado is big, but Ndamukong Suh IS the BIGGEST offseason pickup by any LA team.

This article has 69 Comments

  1. I think they shouldn’t part with Verdugo or Ruiz, but instead put Maeda, Ryu, or Beuhler in the BP as inning eaters… unless BearClaw is available. Then Verdugo, not Ruiz… especially with Grandal being FA in the off-season.

  2. This will likely be the biggest issue for the club heading into the postseason. What to do with starters and relievers. Ryun wasn’t able to pitch out of the pen last year (but mccarthy sadly was) and that affected our playoff staff. Assuming good health, we could have as many as four starters into the pen in October. How wr handle that could determine our success. Obviously, Houston did it better than we did.
    Nobody wants to see fields or Baez throw a single playoff inning. Some of the other guys are more questionable [floro. Hudson, etc.]. Jansen and Alexander are in and then there are the inevitable deadline additions.
    How will Robert’s and the front office manage the staff heading into the postseason? Big decisions will have to be made and starters will have to be unselfish [like maeda] and take one for the team. If wood or hill turns into a dominant short relief arm like Kenya did last year we could be in luck. We still need to add at least one more durable arm that can be counted on to pitch every day come October.
    I dont think there is that much in the minors that can help us. Maybe sborz or Hernandez but I’m not expecting much.

  3. .300/.408/.555
    40g @ 1b
    37g @ 3b
    Previous experience in OF
    Bats rh throws rh
    How long before we see connor joe in blue?

    1. He’s not on the 40-man Roster so I doubt we see him THIS year and next year, the Dodgers have about 20 other players who might be exposed in the Rule 5 Draft…

      Their depth is going to start costing them players….

      1. Good point. That’s a real factor for them. Also hard to imagine seeing him as long as keekay is around. Rios bats lh so it’s not the same but but so far he hasn’t sniffed DC the bigs either. Enjoy the game tonight. Machado in blue will be majestic. Lots of ladies will get fan crushes on the dude. Hes a specimen.

      2. A list of the 2018 Rule 5 draft guys that stick out for me are:
        Josh Sborz
        Edwin Rios
        Andrew Sopko
        Logan Landon
        Matt Beaty
        Michael Boyle
        Nolan Long
        Andrew Istler
        Corey Copping
        Isaac Anderson
        Shea Spitzbarth
        Jared Walker
        Kyle Garlick
        Joe Broussard
        Karch Kowalyczk
        Connor Joe
        Jake Peter
        Drew Jackson
        Some of these guys have been exposed to the Rule 5 draft before but none are on the 40 man. I know I am missing several others.
        Any of the above will need to be added to the 40 man by November or they will be exposed to the Rule 5 draft. Last year Trevor Oaks and Dennis Santana were added, while Joe Broussard and Karch Kowalczyk were exposed and went undrafted.
        I would say that Connor Joe has a better chance of getting a call in September than Rob Segedin.

  4. FanGraphs on the team’s 24 YO Righty:
    Tony Gonsolin, RHP, Los Angeles NL (Profile)
    Gonsolin debuted among the Five last week following a series of increasingly impressive starts that culminated in an 11-strikeout effort against just 20 batters on July 10th. While he failed to overwhelm his opponents so decisively in his lone appearance over the past week, his July 16th start was notable for another reason — namely, that it occurred against the Arkansas Travelers of the Texas League and represented the right-hander’s debut at Double-A.
    The former ninth-round pick was still quite strong, recording an 8:0 strikeout-to-walk ratio against 26 batters over 6.0 innings (box). ONe account indicates that Gonsolin touched 98 mph, as well, which is roughly in line with previous reports.
    Gonsolin’s slider is naturally effective against same-handed batters, but he appeared to have some strategies for dealing with lefties, as well.

      1. I’d put him in kremers spot. Behind santana, Ferguson, may, white, but probably ahead of cooper and grove (for now). Alvarez gets an incomplete.

        1. Btw, our minor league pitching depth is not great right now. We need some rookie league guys to promote and make names for themselves. We lost a lot of borderline prospects types just due to attrition. Or at least they lost their luster

        2. The Dodgers are not quitting on Leo Crawford who is very much a jekyll & hyde pitcher. But when he is on, he is outstanding as he was in 2 of his last 3 RC starts.
          3rd round pick John Rooney was just assigned to AZL and could find his way to Ogden quickly. 4th round pick Braydon Fisher has started 4 games at AZL (all 1.2 IP). He is a HS pitcher they are high on.
          There is also a whole slew of International pitchers where 1-2-3 can come out of.
          If Gonsolin can master his control, and better develop his curve or slider, he could be a back of the rotation starter. But his floor is as a high leverage late game reliever, potentially a closer. He will get EVERY opportunity to start and prove himself as a legit starting pitching prospect. It is very possible that he will take the Ross Stripling and projected Caleb Ferguson route of learning MLB in the bullpen, maybe by September 2019.

          1. Exactly my thoughts, Gonsolin projects are a back of the rotation starter, but has closer tools. I see him in the pen.

  5. The below is from:
    Matt Kemp deserved his start in the 2018 All-Star game, but age might finally be starting to catch up with him. Over his last 25 games, Kemp is hitting .232 with a .655 OPS. Take out a couple big games in the beginning of July and he’s 11 for his last 73.

  6. So JT didn’t start any of the last three games of the first half, had a four day respite with the break and isn’t starting game 1 of the second half. Should we be worried? Why not a ten day DL and keep Foles up?

    1. Btw I’m a luddite so I called 1 866 800 1275 and they set me up. Will get to watch dodger game!!!!!

  7. I haven’t thought about this a lot, but I was just thinking that with the acquisition of Manny, the Dodgers have quite a bit of extra base hit power following Chris Taylor. I know it isn’t easy to make changes mid-season, but if he can do it, it might behoove Taylor to change his approach and make a concerted effort to cut his strikeouts and better utilize his speed by getting on base more. Again, that sort of adjustment is probably very difficult to achieve mid-season, but if together with Turner Ward, he can pull it off, I think it would make the Dodgers all that much more dangerous. And if Manny then signed on long term with the Dodgers, and Cory Seager returns fully healthy next year, Taylor would become even more valuable next year.

    1. Why would that be difficult for him to be that type of player?

      I thought that was his job.

      A lead off hitter’s number one job, is to get on base anyway they can.

      He is striking out almost at the level that Stanton is, and even closer to Judge in strike outs, but with a lot less HRs.

      I like Taylor too, but he is striking out 35 percent of the time, when runners are in scoring position.

      1. MJ, just because Doc puts him at the top of the lineup does not make CT3 a legit leadoff hitter. The Dodgers do not have a legit leadoff hitter. And with the exception of this year’s version of Joc, every other batter strikes out too much. So it means that CT3 will bat in lead off spot against LHSP, and Joc will lead off against RHSP.
        What is hard for a batter to do is change their approach and swing in the middle of the season. Hitting is muscle memory. You have no time to adjust which is why Joc was so frustrating. If you have to wait for your brain to tell your muscles what to do, you will fail. The best time to change approach and resultant swing is in the off season. You can move your feet, you can move your hand (slightly), but you cannot change your swing. The same is true in golf. Just ask Tiger.

        1. AC thanks!

          I understand these things have to be second nature to a player.

          But I think with Taylor, even if he is not leading off, he needs to have better plate discipline.

          Because he is striking out almost at the rate that Judge, and Stanton are.

          Can’t he just use his same swing, but try not to swing at balls, that are out of the strike zone, or don’t get down on the count, as often?

          You are right, most everyone on this team strikes out to much, except Turner.

          But that is why I think we need a couple hitters in this line up, that don’t strike out so much, so the players with power, can hit them in.

          And so we have some players that get their bat on the ball, when runners are in scoring position.

          I think Verdugo would be a good lead off hitter, myself.

          I think he has the best bat to ball skills in the Dodger organization, including the major league team, although Turner is very good too, when he is right.

          Thanks again!

          1. I did notice Taylor has hit in 10 or eleven runs, consistently, in the last few months.

            And he hit in four runs this previous week, like Toles did.

  8. Typical runners left on base so far. But if Rich Hill can keep this up, I think we’ll get a big hit for him and break this game open.

  9. The Dodgers have Machado. The second half starts tonight with the first of a 3 game series with Milwaukee than Philadelphia for 3, Atlanta for 4, and Milwaukee again for 4, and then Houston for 3. All very good teams, let’s see what happens.
    Mark, I don’t like your lineup, but I don’t like mine either.

  10. Very very very happy with CT3’s base hit there to bring Utley in. Man if he wakes up this is going to be a fun next few months!!

    1. I’ve said it before: if Taylor never gets another hit for us, he has still given us more than we could have ever expected.

  11. I thought Grandal going home was not very smart if there was any question that he would score. It would have been 2nd and 3rd with no outs, and the top of the order coming up. I believe in being aggressive, but there are times that that it can be ill advised.

    1. Brooklyn

      There was another play like that, where Kike was sent home, and I thought that was not a good play either.

      Because Kike was thrown out by a lot, and the runner in front of him scored easily, and most would assume the runner in front of him, would score easily like he did.

  12. Btw. That defensive play by keekay was all world. Exactly what your supposed to do in that situation. Run at the runner. So many would throw.

        1. I’m paying close attention to our relief choices coming out of the break with a fully tested pen
          Alexander is our unquestioned top setup man.

  13. Here is a post from earlier today that I put up right before comments closed:

    Here’s an excerpt from an article in the NY Post about today’s baseball:

    “To that end, June 24 may have provided the most telling game and broadcast of the season, if not the era. It was the clincher, the one containing indisputable evidence that The Game has lost its heart, soul, good senses and mind.

    On SNY, Ron Darling watched the Mets play more fundamentally bereft and bullpen-senseless losing baseball, an 11-inning game of modern home-run-or-whiff ball against the home-run-or-whiff Dodgers. With both teams pulling effective relievers as if they’d arrived at their one-station stops, 14 pitchers appeared.

    Darling: “It seems teams now try to win games through some math algorithms in real time, when the game is calling for you to do something to win the ballgame.”

    Or, as the long-ago radio comic Fred Allen said, “The only thing I know about algebra is that X equals my old man’s signature.”

    And it was Darling who last season said what logical fans have for years been saying to one another: “They pay the big money to the starters, then expect the relievers to win the games.”

    June 24’s game presented final, indisputable evidence of a game in needless free fall. In the bottom of the 10th, the Mets had a runner on first, no out. Next, even against a radical shift, Dominic Smith, 11th overall pick in the 2013 draft, didn’t try to bunt the runner over, perhaps even for a hit. Instead, he struck out on three pitches.

    Afterward, Mickey Callaway offered both a stunning — or was it? — explanation and indictment: Smith had “never bunted in his professional career.”

    At the All-Star break, the Yankees have proven that a team can be competitive playing one-trick, home-run-or-whiff ball because most everyone else does, except with fewer, less-expensive sluggers in mostly larger parks.

    At the break, the Yanks had 821 hits. But as MLB concludes its likely first-ever season with more strikeouts than hits, the Yanks had 866 strikeouts. Consider: The 1978 World Series champion Yanks finished the regular season with 100 wins and only 695 K’s.

    Modern slugger/superstar Aaron Judge, in roughly two full seasons, has struck out 382 times. In 13 seasons Joe DiMaggio struck out 369 times. In 18 seasons, Yogi Berra never struck out more than 38 times.

    And Bryce Harper, this season with 102 strikeouts and 70 hits — and a career disinclination to run to first base — is the new standard in must-get, mega-millions superstardom.

    But we’re not going to abandon the game we love. With all the millions spent for fourth and fifth starters and .235 batters, money should not preclude the cure. Thus we propose:

    MLB teams’ Directors of Bunting, Shift-Defeating and Opposite Field Hitting. That could cause a significant swing in wins over losses, no?

    From there, who knows? Directors of Running To First Base (with video case-studies of why it’s important). Catching With Both Hands coaches. Directors of Allowing Effective Relievers to Pitch a Second Inning. Instructors of Base Runners Noting Where Outfielders Are Positioned.”

    I couldn’t agree more.

    1. My favorites from above:
      1. “The only thing I know about algebra is that X equals my old man’s signature.”
      2. “They pay the big money to the starters, then expect the relievers to win the games.”
      Small ball is for low budget teams that have good defense and good pitching. But it is rare that good pitching is found on low budget teams. Also, time to realize that the old “use two hands” rule is no longer the right way to catch a ball and hasn’t been since gloves became much more than stiff leather.
      The worst part of strikeouts are the swings at pitches that are clearly not strikes. Swings and misses at strikes add swings a hitter gets to hit the ball hard instead of popping up or otherwise weakly hitting the ball.

      1. Bum

        In the outfield, it is better to catch a ball with two hands, or have the second hand next to the mitt, so an outfielder can throw a ball quicker.

        Because that saves time if an outfielder has to make a quick transfer, to throw the ball.

        And I do see outfielders in the majors today, that don’t do this, when a runner in going to tag up, and advance.

        1. I’m all for keeping the throwing hand close in case the ball pops out of the mitt or to more quickly make the exchange but it is more apt to get in the way if it is on the glove.

  14. Did Jansen gain some weight or does my TV need an adjustment maybe that’s why his fastball is down

  15. Heading out to Milwaukee, We are sitting just behind the Dodgers dugout – I’ll wave! 😉

    Just a couple of notes:

    1. Chad Moriyama of The Athletic has a nice piece on Scott Alexander. In part he wrote:“…things are not quite as dire as they appear at first glance. Scott Alexander recently rounding back into form likely means the Dodgers need to deal for only one back-end reliever instead of needing to make multiple moves. After his acquisition from the Royals in the offseason, Alexander looked like a bust early on, and he was mercifully demoted to the minors on April 28. However, after spending some time in Triple-A, Alexander returned on May 9 and has since looked every bit of the guy the front office thought they were trading for.”He makes a great case that the Dodgers do not need to swing a deal for multiple arms.

    2. Kenley’s velocity was back up but the results weren’t good. He needs to figure it out… unless he’s hurt…

    3. Manny looks good in Blue – he wasn’t trying to do too much. He let the game come to him.

    4. Kike Freaking Hernandez. Need I say more?

  16. Enjoy being there Mark. Who’ll be with you? At any rate I’ll keep my eyes peeled when the camera scans above the dugout. Maybe some Dodger brass will tip a beer with ya as it would seem likely the big shots are at hand the these Manny intro games. they have to appreciate all the support you’ve been giving through the years. Oh yeah and CHEERS!

  17. Speaking of Kenley, one pitch does not a season make, but he looked like the old Kenley on his last pitch last night. Hopefully it’s a harbinger of things to come.

  18. With Alexander showing some really good stuff, and with Maeda eventually returning to the bullpen, I like that they could cover a 6th and or 7th inning. The Floro/Hudson/Fields types have great stuff, but don’t give me the Morrow (or Guillermo Mota or Takashi Saito) type confidence in the 8th. Cingrani might; I like him.

    But yes, I think we need 1 stud bullpen arm. Since we likely won’t trade for a playoff game 1 starter, we better shore up the last 4 innings of a game. However, if this management team has shown anything, it’s that they know how to get a good arm in here and have Honeycutt take care of the rest.

  19. The Mets are about to send Jeurys Familia to Oakland. Take him off the market as a potential 8th inning guy for us

    1. Well, at least, he’s going to the AL. There is one RP nobody has mentioned(to the best of my knowledge) and that’s Keone Kela from Texas. His stats are excellent and perhaps he could be available. Seems to me he is one flying under the radar though I’m sure the FO has knowledge of him.
      It wonder what it would take to get him in Dodger Blue?

      1. I mentioned Keone Kela up above. But you are right, he is flying under the radar.

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