The Dodgers are Better… But, How Much?

I just like that headline!

I do have to admit that just losing Logan Forsythe makes them better.  So, there is that. I hope Logan does well in Minnesota or wherever he lands next year, but great guy that he is, he was an unmitigated disaster in LA.  Well, In guess Manny Machado does make them better as well… yeah A LOT BETTER!

The Dodgers gave up eight, count ’em 8, minor leaguers for Manny Machado, Brian Dozier and John Axford.  That’s a huge blow to the Farm. It really is.  Not all of the prospects will be stars.  Most won’t make it, but it is a numbers game.  The more you have, the better the odds. All of the prospects that the Dodgers traded are prospects we have followed:

  • Corey Copping
  • Luke Raley
  • Devin Smeltzer
  • Breyvic Valera
  • Yusniel Diaz
  • Zach Pop
  • Dean Kremer
  • Raylan Bannon

I would not be surprized if all eight made the majors and maybe a couple could be stars.  It’s also possible all eight will be duds.  You never know, but FAZ showed they will trade prospects when necessary.  They HAD to stay under the luxury tax threshold and they did.

So, the team is better with Manny and without Logan, but what happens with Dozier and Axford may determine the Dodgers’ fate. Axford was not acquired to be the 8th inning guy.  This season he has killed lefties, so there is that, but I think Honeycutt sees something that he can do to help Axford, much like he has helped Hudson.  Hudson had a bad April and May, but from June 6 to July 7, he had 11 appearances.  In 10 of those, he gave up zero runs and 2 in the other one.  He’s still adapting, but I see progress… he’s still not our 8th inning guy.

I do not think Axford is anything special, but he could be a nice piece of the pen.  However, I am from Missouri – he will have to show me.  He has had the ability to be outstanding at times, but he’s been somewhat of an enigma.  Hopefully, Honeycutt has something up his sleeve for Axford.

The Dodgers have wanted Brian Dozier for a while now… and evidently he wants to play for them too… as his arrival during the game showed.  He did not waste time in reporting. Dozier is hitting .224 with a .305 OB% – hardley inspiring.  Maybe at 31, he was uninspired to play for the Twins. What can he do if he is inspired?  Well, last season when the Twin were doing well, he had a poor first half of the season – he hit .242 with a .328 OB%, but in the second half, he hit .304 with a .394 OB% and smacked 21 HR – he OPS’ed .985! That’s SUPERSTAR LEVEL PLAY!

Brian Dozier is now in a position to win for the first time in his MLB career.  I think the Dodgers are hoping they can have the Brian Dozier of the second half of 2017… He actually did much the same in 2016, as well, when he hit 28 HR in the second half while OPS’ing .990. I would not be surprised if Brian Dozier led off and played about everyday at 2B.   If he can come close to his second half stats of the last two years, the Dodgers might be sipping some bubbly stuff!

Getting Dozier will cut into CT3, Joc, Cody and Kike’s playing time, especially with JT coming back Thursday (hopefully).

By Thursday, this could be the lineup:

  1. Dozier  2B
  2. Manny  SS
  3. Turner  1B
  4. Kemp  LF
  5. Muncy  1B
  6. Puig  RF
  7. Grandal  C
  8. Taylor/Bellinger  CF

Dodger News

  • The Dodgers are second to the Astros in team ERA, as LA’s is getting smaller and Houston’s is expanding. The Dodgers are also now second in Starter ERA and are up to 7th in bullpen ERA in the NL.  I will say this: I believe you are going to see a lot of regression in the bullpens of the Diamondbacks and Brewers.  They will drop as the Dodgers improve. That is my opinion based upon what I feel are insustainable metrics. We shall see..
  • Gavin Lux to AA.  I second what AC said: “It’s about time!”
  • Striker Buehler – Dodgers #2?
  • Dodgers offense: 1st in HR, 1st in BB, 3rd in Runs, 4th in OPS, 5th in OB%, 11th in BA.
  • Ryu and Urias are tuning up!


This article has 78 Comments

  1. Since we didin’t get an 8th inning guy, I think the only internal candidate who can handle that role (besides Alexander), is Cingrani. He’s the most interesting piece to watch as he gets heathy and rejoins the team. Hopefully this time off did him some good. I still won’t believe in Urias until I see it, and I’m so happy to be proven wrong there. Strip and Wood would scare the hell out of me in an 8th inning.
    We are now in 2nd place. This will be a nerve-wracking last 2 months. Get hot, win the division in late Sept, and carry that momentum to October.

  2. Per Weisman, and his nifty Dodger Thoughts
    So what’s the full-strength lineup? Say you begin with these starters (listed by position, not by batting order)
    Your bench then features Pederson (.869 OPS), Taylor (.784 OPS), Hernández (.735 OPS), Barnes (.581) and Utley (1.105 OPS as a pinch-hitter), not to mention Alex Verdugo leading the pack from the minors.
    Pederson has absolutely earned continued playing time against right-handed pitchers, so figure he starts many of those games, with the Dodgers rotating rest for Kemp and Puig.
    Taylor could also be part of a rotation in which the infielders (particularly Turner) rest every fifth game, with the exception of Machado, who is as much of an everyday player as the Dodgers have.
    The possibilities to mix and match are pretty incredible.

    1. Works if the Dodgers go to an 8 man bullpen otherwise someone off the bench is moved/ dl.

    2. Right now, for a 12 man postseason pitching staff, I go:

      1. Kershaw
      2. Buehler
      3. Hill

      4. Wood or ryu

      5. Stripling
      6. Urias or wood

      7. Jansen
      8. Alexander
      9. Maeda

      10. Hudson/chargois/floro
      11. Ferguson/cingrani
      12. Axford/santana/#10 trio

  3. For all the moves the brewers have already been a benefactor. They used what the dodgers needed to beat the dodgers two in a row. Soria was huge out of the bullpen but we got Axford. Soria could have been huge for us. I know too much money etc but he was huge in the Brewer wins.

  4. Some interesting points of view from Kyle Glaser at BA ranking the 69 minor leaguers traded during the deadline period. As Mark indicated, the Dodgers lost 8 prospects. BA rated the prospects:
    Top 50 Prospect – Yusniel Diaz – #2 prospect traded (behind Francisco Mejia)
    Decent Chance to Contribute – Dean Kremer – #14
    Decent Chance to Contribute – Zach Pop – #23
    Decent Chance to Contribute – Rylan Bannon – #24 (Forecasted to be versatile bench role w/adequate 1st & 3rd defense, w/some pop.)
    Role Player/Far Away Gambles – Luke Raley #41
    Role Player/Far Away Gambles – Corey Copping #56
    Role Player/Far Away Gambles – Devin Smeltzer #57
    Role Player/Far Away Gambles – Breyvic Valera #65
    Really not a heavy price to pay for Manny and Dozier (I am ignoring Axford). Potentially the Axford trade will cost a 9th prospect; Ariel Hernandez who was DFA’d. I will be surprised if he clears waivers. I think the player with the best chance to move from Role Player/Far Away Gambles to Decent Chance to Contribute, will be Luke Raley.

    1. Really enjoy Kyle Glaser. FanGraphs did a similar listing coming to the even worse conclusion of everyone below Diaz.
      I believe I posted this previously, but I am interested in how many of these prospects were mid-round draft picks who the team developed, and at positions the team is deep at.
      Bodes well for short/medium/long term. I think. I’m probably wrong.

      1. Yusniel Diaz – International Signee
        Dean Kremer – 2016 Round 14 – RHSP (Probably end up RHRP)
        Zach Pop – 2017 Round 7 – RHRP
        Rylan Bannon – 2017 Round 8 – 1B/3B
        Luke Raley – 2016 Round 6 – OF/1B
        Corey Copping – 2015 Round 31 – RHRP
        Devin Smelter – 2016 Round 5 – RHP (Starter and now reliever)
        Breyvic Valera – Minor League Contract – Utility
        We should probably add the next two as well (Part of Floro Trade)
        James Marinan – 2017 Round 4 – RHSP
        Aneurys Zabala – Acquired in Chase De Jong trade – RHRP
        None of the above are irreplaceable with whatever remains in the farm system. Obviously Diaz will hurt the most, but not as much as losing May or Lux would have been, and Verdugo and Toles (and Ramos??) were blocking him. You do not get Manny without Diaz.

  5. There was an update on Cots Luxury Tax Tracker regarding the Dozier/Forsythe trade. Dozier’s contract cost was $1,639,785, while Forsythe’s saving is $2,951,613. Part of that savings was spent on $491,935 for John Axford. Cots is now projecting the Dodgers are currently $4,962,916 under the luxury tax threshold, and that is considering Maeda’s incentive bonus to be $5MM. That is on the high side, so there is more potential savings if anything comes up in August.
    I would still like to know what the International slot money was in the Marinan/Floro trade. The Marlins are now favored to get the one top International prospect remaining…Victor Victor Mesa. He still has not been declared a free agent by MLB, but I sure wish the Dodgers were in on him. He has potential All Star CF written all over him.

  6. Couple of counterpoints to Mark:

    I would be surprised if all 8 of the prospects traded made the majors. Very suprised.

    Secondly, dozier has been in a position to win before. As recently as last October he had 2 hits, including a homer and a walk, in the twins wild card loss to nyy.

    Bullpens are unpredictable. I cant blame our front office for looking for creative solutions to an age of problem. I think we have the innings covered. It’s just a matter of how. Win from within.

    1. agree wth the bullpen part. We had the best 8/9 combo last year, and that combo faltered in a couple games in the World Series.

    2. I do not expect all 8 prospects to make the majors and most will not be starters if they make it, but I still would not be the least surprised if they all made it… even for a cup of coffee. No superstars but they all have a skillset and all are good actors, as far as I can tell.

  7. Enjoyed listening to pittsburgh’s gm yesterday. I really like what they did. They are within 3 games of a playoff spot and are going for it. Nobody’s backing in this year. Some team’s going to go out and get it.

  8. We don’t know what will happen, but I could argue that in the second half of 2016 and 2017, Brian Dozier was one of the TOP players in baseball. I am hoping for that guy!

  9. I heard Zaidi today. JT back Thursday or Friday. If JT doesn’t come back at a relatively high level. This team is in trouble. Dozier, JT, and Machado should help against lefties. Watching Taylor’s AB’s drive me crazy these day. The angle his bat comes through the zone looks so off to me. The amount of times he’s looked at strike three this year is maddening. I hope Dozier catches fire because Muncy, Kemp, and Bellinger are slumping terribly. Kike has been overused all season long. He’s just not an everyday player as much as we would like him to be.

    1. Whatever Kike does the rest of the year, good or bad, it won’t stop MT from declaring this
      winter that he’ll hit .300 in ’19, and be the everyday player he was meant to be since Gordon
      was sent away:-).

      Logan Forsythe (foresight is 20/20!) turned out to be the player I was afraid he might be in a
      big other-league city under pennant pressure.

      Hope he does well for himself and Twins…

      1. I have never thought of him as a .300 hitter… but he can get you 30 HR. Let’s not forget that he is still just 26 years old.

        Brian Dozier didn’t become Brain Dozier until he was 28. Kike’s number are better than Doziers at 26 years old. Why do people pick on Kike?

        Like Kike, he struggled against RHP at that age.

    2. We need jt to be jt but even when he is not a 100% he makes the pitcher work. We always swing on 3-0 pitches. It seems when we are behind late in the game by 1 or more runs and the count in our favor at 3-1 we should be more selective. Especially when pitchers seem to have lost it. If you are going to swing it should be a pitch that you can drive not just a strike. We are too impatient in those situations. That frustrates me about Roberts, he would talk about how pitchers would throw Forsythe a first pitch strike and everybody knew it, THEN tell him to swing. Or, we should have been more patient so TELL them to take a pitch. But, Forsythe continued to watch the first strike go by and we continue to be impatient when it is best to be patient. Maybe Forsythe mentally just couldn’t pull the trigger but it is much easier to give a take sign. I’ve always said there are 3 kinds of people: people that makes things happen, people that let things happen, and people that say what happened. I just feel he lets things happen in those situations. But, he is the right guy at the right time I have heard so I apologize for questioning. It just frustrates me when our offense is stymied.

  10. Andrew romine is starting at 1b for Seattle today. Over 9 major league seasons he sports a tsl of .235/.291/.300.

    1. Lux was finally promoted too. Ruiz has pretty much been catching all the time. It will be interesting to see if Smith catches more at AAA than AA. Good to see Ruiz get a couple of knocks last night. He’s been struggling with the bat.

  11. Well, Machado has officially become a Dodger. SO rate in Balt 16%. With the Dodgers 31%. I’m just so over watching Taylor(31%), Bellinger(28%), and Muncy (30%) not making contact. Joe Davis mentioned that until recently Muncy had a low SO rate which is not true. It had been 28% (which surprised me).

    I don’t agree with trying to play everyone. You have 8 starters that should play almost daily. If you’re not a starter then you’re not good enough to get additional playing time. Maybe, platoon at a couple of positions but that’s it. If a bench player needs to replace an injured player that’s when he’ll get AB’s and become “sharp”. I just don’t understand playing a bench player to keep them “sharp” for maybe no reason. Everything seems to be based on what might happen (i.e. pitching changes, injuries, etc.) as opposed to what is actually happening on the field.

    My lineup (with Strikeout rates):
    CF Peterson (18%) / Hernandez (22%)
    2B Dozier (23%)
    SS Machado (31%)
    LF Kemp (24%)
    3B Turner (13%)
    C Grandal (25%)
    1B Bellinger(28%) / Muncy (30%)
    RF Puig (22%)
    Enough of Taylor as a starter and less of Bellinger until they learn to make consistent contact.
    Somebody, anybody, please, use a 3 strike approach with runners in scoring position. Thank you.

  12. Great take Ted. I tried to same the same thing yesterday but you did it with much more research. The offensive struggles, in my opinion, are a result of the K rate and the inability to put the ball in play. The Dodgers find many ways to get on base with a hit, a walk, a BB, a HPB etc. but when you follow that up with K’s you offer no chance of scoring runs.

    CT3 is a bit overrated and Bellinger’s lack of adjustment is utterly confounding. Our only help is JT and with him hitting behind Manny maybe his stroke reappears.

  13. Tonight’s Dodger lineup vs. Brewers:
    Pederson CF
    Machado 3B
    Kemp LF
    Grandal C
    Dozier 2B
    Bellinger 1B
    Taylor SS
    Puig RF
    Hill P

    Report that Turner will be activated tomorrow

  14. AC – your guys Jacob Amaya (GL) and Brandon Montgomery ( RC) both moved up today. Luis Rodriguez to Tulsa is interesting but probably a temporary move.

    1. I knew about Montgomery, but not about Amaya. He wasn’t in the lineup at Ogden but that wasn’t unusual. As you know I am pulling hard for both. This does give Arocho and Brito time to work together. Luis Rodriguez – Probably emergency infielder. Drew Jackson and Michael Ahmed both went on the DL.

  15. Mine vs Lefties:

    Vs Righties
    Bellinger/Grandal 1B/C
    Grandal/Bellinger C/1B

    I’m tempted to bat Bellinger 8th vs righties until he snaps out of it. He may even get sent down for 10 days when Turner gets activated. I’ve seen enough of Taylor and Kike starting. If Joc or Puig go into a tailspin then I’m inserting Verdugo

    1. Hawkeye

      Even with Taylor’s strike outs, did you know he hit in the most runs in July on the team?

      He hit 440 when runners were in scoring position in July, and he hit in 18 runs this way, and he hit in twenty runs total in July.

      He also hit 333 in June, when runners were in scoring position.

      What no Toles?

      Toles missed most of last year, and he missed two months at the beginning of the season, but he is hanging up there, with Verdugo.

      And he hit in more runs then Verdugo, when he was up, in half the at bats, and that was the most that week, for the major league team, tied with Taylor, that week.

      1. He’s been terrible as of late. Too many times needing some contact and he makes none.. I suggest someone step up tonight. Toles/Verdugo, I’d have them both on speed dial.

  16. Here’s Plaschke (I know) on the Dodgers’ bullpen:
    “They needed a setup guy for Jansen. They needed one of the several available closers who could supply a strong-enough bridge to Jansen that the Dodgers could avoid a repeat of last fall’s two bullpen-blown World Series losses.
    The Dodgers scoured the league’s bullpens for what they know could have been their most important arm this October and they came up with … John Axford?

    “The Dodgers needed more than that, and they know it, and now everyone has to spend the next two months holding their breath and praying they will not have to relive the nightmare of Scott Elbert.

    Remember him? He was another nice guy who, in the fall of 2014, was inexplicably brought into a division series tie score in St. Louis in the seventh inning with only one postseason inning on his resume. He quickly gave up two runs, the Dodgers lost the game, eventually lost the series, general manager Ned Colletti lost his job, and manager Don Mattingly lasted only one more year.

    Bad October bullpens can not only lose games, but disintegrate teams. Elbert was used only because he was part of a bad bullpen. Without an additional arm, this fall’s Dodgers bullpen could enter the postseason as the team’s scariest one since then.”

    You can’t make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear.

    The party line is that they will go with match-ups and that will solve everything. They didn’t have a 7th inning guy or an 8th inning guy last year and it won’t be a problem.

    Here’s a scary though from Dodgers’ Insider:
    “Morrow was one of six Dodger relievers last regular season to throw at least 12 innings in the seventh. He was also one of four Dodger pitchers to throw at least 15 innings in the eighth — a group led by far by Pedro Baez, who had 29 innings of work in eighth innings during the 2017 season.”

    Anyone want to see El Gasolino coming in the 8th inning of a close game down the stretch or in the post-season?

    Anyone ready Dodger Thoughts this morning? Interesting look at who pitched out of the pen last postseason:
    Jansen – 16.7 innings
    Morrow – 13.7
    Maeda 10,7
    Watson – 7
    Cingrani – 5
    Stripling – 3
    Fields – 1
    McCarthy – 1

    Much of last year’s most effective post-season ‘pen is gone. And who have they replaced them with? John Axford?

    1. and… what did that get the Dodgers? Zero, Zip, Zilch!

      In the 2017 World Series, the Dodgers pen had a 3.57 ERA , while the Astros had a 5.86 ERA. The Series was lost on starting pitching and clutch hitting, although if the pen were perfect, they could have won too.

      Plaschke is Russian for “Full of crap”

        1. I think I like the playoff version with 8 starters. That leaves Alexander, Jansen, Ferguson and Floro . If the 8 starters are healthy, yes – I like that pen.

          On paper, the Dodgers had the best pen last year. This year they are trying something different. Will it work? That’s the question, but I can see it.

          8 starters with 4 working out of the pen… and I believe Julio is part of that.

          The Athletic discusses it as well:

  17. Buster Olney trading deadline grade:
    Los Angeles Dodgers: A-plus. Once they landed Manny Machado, they clinched a perfect score here, because he was deemed by front offices everywhere — from Philadelphia to the Bronx to Arizona to Milwaukee to L.A. — as the one slam-dunk difference-making player. He’s already paying dividends for the Dodgers: With Justin Turner out, Machado has moved to third base and is hitting .304 with a .500 slugging percentage, in keeping with his season-long performance. Even if the Dodgers fail to win the World Series, even if they fail to reach the postseason, the front office can know it turned over every rock to get better during the season, by landing Machado, second baseman Brian Dozier and reliever John Axford.

  18. Great defense and great hustle. Not. Hill was mad and I do not blame him. Time to put a few butts on the bench.

  19. Where in the HELL is the offense the past two games?!?! Way too much pressure on Walker and Hill to pitch perfectly. Damn.. It’s friggin Milwaukee, not the second coming of Nolan Ryan. This is where the home run or nothing launch angle(Ct3, Cody) dies.

  20. There need to be a closed-door meeting no reporters and start showing some butts out these players look like they’re just going through the formalities

  21. Can SOMEBODY get me a damn hit! The last couple of games are getting ridiculous. The Brewers are punking our butts.

  22. Dodger offense is horrid. Time for some big league ass chewing, assuming Doc hasn’t done that already. Where has Kemps game gone? Muncy has regressed, Manny looks mortal, Cody is being WS Cody, CT3 is the Mariner’s CT3 and Yaseil….well lets just say he’s still a basket case.

    Light a fire, play some small ball, move a runner along, hit behind a runner, quit swinging for the fences and win a freaking game. This feels a lot like September 2017 when we went like 1-17 I think.

  23. All of our HR’s are solo shots. Nobody gets on with a single or double any more before the HR. I do not like this brand of baseball.

  24. The 7th inning is my kind of baseball. I guess I am old school. I know I am old that is for sure.

    1. There are lots of oldtimers on this board. I go on Medicare this year.

      How many here don’t have a 6, 7 or 8 as the first number of their age?

  25. For the record, I’m happy Doc is leaving Alexander in to figure this out. I want to see if he can handle this type of situation

    1. He has been very good of late. Not great tonight, but he hung in there.

      I smell walk off!

      1. Yeah. Even when he’s wild you see the ball movement/velocity. Hope he gets another 8th inning shot soon to redeem himself (or prove that maybe he can’t handle it)

  26. I wonder if JT is fully healthy and with the acquisition of Dozier does CT3 see some less starting opportunities? I’m a bit tired of his K’s and think he might need a rest. I like Joc and Hernandez as our righty/lefty combo in CF. Just saying.

  27. Manny needs to relax and stop trying to kill the ball, especially when all he needs to do is get a base hit.

  28. Machado has turned into a k machine and no clutch. Absolutely pathetic Muncy and machado can’t make contact.

    1. He’s seeing the ball well right now. It’s a good thing because the rest of the team is not.

  29. And finally the Dodgers get a HR with a runner on, when all they needed was a solo HR. Of course Yasmani took away a chance for Dozier to top off his night with a walkoff.


  30. Loved Kike’s bunt and our commentator’s both commenting on small ball and the DH. Loved Puig’s double though I really felt like he’d be ‘the guy’ to get the walk-off. Guess Puig wanted to give that honor to Kemp, which I really loved. It’s all in the details, gotta love it! CHEERS!

    1. Oops!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t know why I said Kemp other than I was too full of hope during his ups.

  31. Yasmani! He deserved that walk off and the Dodgers needed it for sure. He had a fantastic july don’t turn the calendar and he will never know. Dozier inauspicious start with a strikeout and error but he made up for it with 3 hits. Here’s hoping he has one of his scorching final 2 months. Go Dodgers!

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