The State of the Dodger Position Players

Before We Start…

At least we now know that Clayton Kershaw wants to stay with the Dodgers, if possible, ANDthe Dodgers want Clayton Kershaw to be a Dodger for life, if possible.  I think this is more than an “extension” – I think it may be a lifetime services contract. There’s a lot to discuss and decide.  The fact that both sides agreed to postpone the deadline shows that BOTH SIDES have mutual interest in an extension.  Kershaw doesn’t want to go back to Texas – he wants to stay in LA… but the price has to be right and it has to be right for the Dodgers too. Now, we wait another couple of days – they may or may not get a deal done, but both side are trying. My gut feeling is that they will get it done…. but you never know!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming….

I have read a few comments across the blogosphere from Dodger fans who want FAZ and their ANAL-ytics,  gone.  As I read the syntax I have concluded that it was produced by the same authors that I read onThe Flat Earth Society Blog. Sounds about right to me… Of course, these were also the same morons who said the Dodgers wouldn’t be a .500 team, win the NL West or the Pennant and would never get back to the World Series.

Here’s a Shocker:FAZ is not perfect!  They make and will continue to make mistakes.  Quick, name one Cuban they have signed who has panned out!  At the time, the Manny Machado and Brian Dozier trades seemed to be a stroke of genius, but Dozier was a Dud and Machado was low on character and just did not deliver as advertised.  Right about now, I would love to have Diaz and the other four prospects back… but hindsight is 20/20! The fact is, the farm system is in great shape and the Dodgers got to back-to-back World Series, and will be among the favorites to do so for a third straight year. Who knew that Brian Dozier would make us pine for Logan Forsythe?  WOW!

It doesn’t feel good finishing second two years in a row, but how would you like to be a Royals, Reds, Mets or Orioles fan?  FAZ is smart… and if Zaidi takes the Giants job, which I preducted a month ago, then Josh Byrnes may become the GM.  Will their moniker changed from FAZ to FAB? Friedman And Byrnes? Sounds about right to me…

There will be changes:  To the players and to the process.  I believe they will bring more balance to the Dodger lineup and I really believe it makes sense to target JT Realmuto at the expense of trading Ruiz. Diego Cartya allegedly has even better tools than Ruiz, so if the Dodgers can sign JT to a 4 or 5 year extension, Cartya should be ready by then. JT is controllable fot two more years. Let’s look at the team position-by-position:

Catcher

It seems that Yasmani Grandal is one of the most hated Dodgers of all time… especially after his playoff flop, but if you just graded players on their playoff performance, most players would be flops. Yasmani is a Free Agent, and while the Dodgers are preparing to move on without him, he is one of the Top 5 Catchers in baseball.  If you go by WAR, he is the Number 2 catcher in baseball (2018) behind JT Realmuto. The Dodgers will likely give him the Qualifying Offer, but he will probably get a $60+ million 4-5 year deal from another team. I would be shocked if he took the QO.  Austin Barnes development has stalled and he could be trade bait for a team looking for a backup. He does not have the arm I would like to see in a defensive catcher.

My preference is to trade for JT Realmuto and either get an experienced backup, like Kurt Suzuki or use Will Smith. JT Realmuto would cost the Dodgers several very good prospects, including Keibert Ruiz (who is one of my favorite prospects). However, the deal makes sense because Ruiz would be ready in a year or two as Miami starts to climb out of it’s hole. Ruiz is currently #39 on the MLB Prospect List and will likely climb higher after his AFL Season.

First Base

Let’s get this part over with:  David Freese has a $6 million dollar option for 2019 and  the Dodgers will pick it up.  The FO has liked him for a while and he is a solid team leader.  Beyond that, who is the first baseman?  Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Corey Seager (I can’t see that one unless he is in a wheelchair)?  David Freese is not likely the starter, but he could platoon with Cody BellingerIFCody can’t fix his swing (for the record, I think Cody will figure it out, but Freese is good insurance). Max Muncy has gotten more adept with the glove at 1B and can be solid there, but not the caliber of Bellinger and Freese.  The problem (well, it’s not really a problem) is that Cody may be the best Center Fielder on the team.

My preference is Cody Bellinger at 1B and and Chris Taylor in CF, but both players have to improve.  Neither is far off, but both regressed in their Sophmore seasons.  Cody was exposed again in the playoffs, but he was 4th in HR in the NL among firstbasemen.  I see him working hard on laying off the high pitch and low and inside pitch.  He’s just a baller…

Second Base

I think Max Muncy should be the second baseman, but Whitt Merrifield has been suggested.  I love him as a leadoff hitter, but I don’t think that the Dodgers can afford to trade for Merrifield and  Realmuto, so I would rather have Realmuto. Let me preface the fact that Muncy at 2B is going to take some work.  I’d like to see him get in better condition and he needs some help with his fielding, but he has a “soft” glove.  He might not be a Gold Glover… but he can play a solid 2B.  I saw glimpses of it this year. Kike Hernandez could see time there too against tough lefties.

Gavin Luxis not far off. While not quite as fast as Whitt Merrifield, he is a similar player. At 6′ 2″ and approaching 200 pounds, his body has matured as he eneters his age 21 season.  I think he starts the season at OKC, but he could be aon a very fast track.  He hit .324 with a .399 OB% last year, while OPS’ing .913.  I would think we would not see him until the All-Star break, but who thought we would see Max Muncy when we did?

Shortstop

It’s easy to assume the Corey Seager will be back and never miss a lick, but he had not one, but two (count’em… 2) serious surgeries.  Do the Dodgers trust he will be back or do they re-sign Manny Machado?  Machado would be open to playing in LA, but is he worth the baggage?  I don’t pretned to know the answer… and it just might boil down to what he will get.  If it’s around $200 million, the Dodgers might be in, but if it’s a lot more… no way.  Kike Hernandez or Chris Taylor are Plan C or D.

Third Base

Two words: Justin Turner!  David Freese can spell him and if they sign Machado, but there are too many scenerios to consider, including Seager at any IF position. JT has another good year or two… will Christan Santana be ready or someone else?  Machado or Seager at 3B? There’s a lot to be decided.

Left Field

The only thing that might keep Matt Kemp a Dodger is that who will take his salary?No one! I think the Dodgers would have to pay about $12 to $15 million of his salary to move him… unless they take on some other bad contract(s), and he loves being a Dodger, has embraced a bench role and you might as well keep him for that. He’s loved by his teammates and fans, so eating his salary may be counter-productive. He is morphing into Chase Utley… albeit overpaid by $20 million.

Overall, his .290 BA with 21 HR and 85 RBI looks enticing (only 1.1 WAR) , but people know how much he likes being a Dodger and that counts for a lot… with me too. I want him one more year and can’t see him going anywhere. He needs to become the DH or designated pinch hitter since he can hit both righties and lefties… as can Freese. I think both will be back.

Joc Pederson, Andrew Toles, Alex Verdugo, Kike Hernandez and CT3 are also LF possibilites.  The Dodger outfield is crowded and I would expect to see a trade… or not. A couple of relievers could be added.

Center Field

My preference is Chris Taylor, but Bellinger and Hernandez are just as good, or better. Again, it’s crowded out there.  All three have plus arms as well. Alex Verdugo can play here occassionally, but he’s not really a CF due to his “slightly above average speed”. CT3 is my choice in CF… especially if he can get his OB% back up.  He would have hit 20 points higher is he didn’t look at so many called third strikes.

Right Field

This seems to belong to Yasiel Puig, but he can’t hit lefties and his defense has regressed.  He getting big and musclebound.  My preference is to trade Puig and another outfielder or two and turn RF over to Alex Verdugo. I think Verdugo can play great defense in RF… he has a cannon and might put up a .380 OB% as a leadoff hitter.  I’ll take that.

My Lineup:

  1. Verdugo  RF
  2. Turner  3B
  3. Seager SS
  4. Muncy  2B
  5. Realmuto  C
  6. Bellinger  1B
  7. Kemp/Pederson  LF
  8. Taylor  CF

Bench:  Kike, Suzuki, Toles, Freese

This team doesn’t need Manny Machado or Bryce Harper. They need for players to play to their potential… especially Taylor and Bellinger.  The position players are solid and Puig and Barnes could net a solid bullpen arm… or two. Of course, I am sure FAZ or FAB… have a lot more ideas than I do.

The Future of the Game

While many of you are worried about the future of the Dodgers, there is a much greater worry about the health of the great game of baseball.  In case, you misssed it, two large market teams played in the World Series and yet,viewership was down 25% from last year and is in fact, the fourth least watched World Series ever!Even more astounding is that viewers were down over 40% from the Cubs – Indians series of two years ago. 40 PERCENT!Rob Manfred has to implement changes to this dying game or it’s a game that only old people watch. I expect to see some major changes this winter.  In order to do that, there will have to be some concessions, like raising the roster limit to 26 or 27 players and raising the Luxury Tax threshold. That’s the only way the MLBPA will agree to any changes.  I expect to see:

  • A “hard” 20 second clock between pitches.
  • An electronic strike zone.
  • The DH comes to the NL.
  • A limit of the number of times you can throw to 1B.

Tomorrow:

We will talk about the State of the pitching….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvKyBcCDOB4&list=RDhvKyBcCDOB4&start_radio=1

This article has 70 Comments

  1. I have to mention the vaunted ‘depth’ that you, Mark, would always remind others on the ladodgerreport before you created this blog, that 2018 would be a banner year because of all the talent the Farm was manufacturing. In my eyes, the only two players that stepped off the Farm and are ready for mlb action are Beuhler and Urias, both pitchers. Since Bellinger was called up, not one positional player that I can think of has made the team other than cameo appearances. We suffered this year because of the ‘lack of depth’ of the farm. We had to go to players like Manny and Freese and Muncy and Kemp, to get us out of the swamp that we would have sunk into after Seager got hurt.

    Now, maybe I am premature in my evaluation of the talent that we have seen out of the Farm, but to date, only Verdugo and Toles had any chance of making this team and FAZ seems uncommitted to either of them, especially Toles. I haven’t really seen much of Verdugo and can’t accurately judge his game. I like some things about him but haven’t seen anything that would make me want him as our starting LF except he could be better than Joc, which to me is not saying a whole lot.

    FAZ is very weak in FA and trades for players. We should not expect them to trade for any major talent like Realmuto because that is not how they usually work. They are cheapskates and dumpster divers. They are a very imbalanced FO when it comes to procuring talent that is not walking wounded or used goods. Sure, every dog has its day and sometimes they get a little lucky, but their MO is cheap and cheerful. You might argue that they won two NLCS in a row. Does this really give you some deep satisfaction? I sure don’t get the warm and fuzzies from them.

    1. 1. Actually, I created LA DODGER TALK 15 years before that. I just took a year off and then started LA Dodger Talk back up to spite Scott Andes – at least that’s his story. Maybe you believe it! 😉

      2. It was a banner year, but they didn’t win it all.

      3. The depth is astounding on the major league team (All the national media talked about it) as well as the farm. Ther Dodgers are one of the Top Farm systems. We saw Urias, Buehler, Ferguson, Santana and Verdugo this year and you will see more next year. How many youngster do you want to see a year?

      4. FAZ is weak in trades for major league talent? Some people think Manny Machado will get the biggest contcat of ant free agent ever and they traded for him. Who do they have to trade for: Willie Mays and Babe Ruth?

      5. So they got lucky and got to the World Series two years in a row? If they hadn’t got there, they would have been horrible, but now they are just horribly lucky?

      THE DODGERS ARE IN THE BEST SHAPE THEY HAVE BEEN IN 30 YEARS!

  2. I have consistently said that the Dodger analytics are here to stay, but they need moderation, they need common sense put into the equation. Someone needs to step back and say ok let’s look at the big picture; analytics says such and such, but what is it that analylitics doesn’t say that we are missing (because analytics doesn’t see it all). Presently analytics says use the righty-lefty lineups, but analytics does not address leaving your hottest hitters sitting on the bench to regress and get out of rhythm.

    Common sense says no more Hernandez hitting in the 3 or 4 hole when he never should be there, especially when he’s hitting o for a Gozillion. Grandad hitting cleanup – same issue.

    On Taylor: is his swing fixable? I say Taylor because he seems to be the worst case Dodger who swings and misses. He seems to have two extremes, swinging for a meteor passing by or watching strike three like you watch the moon set on the horizon before walking back to the dugout – exasperating, and painful to watch either way.
    A whole new approach at the plate is needed before I’d watch another season of wild swinging and missing.

  3. I just read an article that talks about the value of Realmuto compared to historically low production offensive production from catchers throughout baseball. If true, and it likely is, then the value of Grandal just went up in my mind, to point at which I would give a QO. Chances are that with the paucity of good hitting catchers in the game, Grandal would likely get a lucrative multi- year offer from someone.

    And with their organizational depth at catcher (especially young ones) I suspect that the Dodgers are in a position of strength if they decide it’s OK to move one of them.

    Is Taylor fixable? I hope so. I think he would be a lot more valuable if he hit 3 HRs, cut his strikouts drastically, and got on base regularly. His speed alone is a weapon he rarely gets a chance to exploit.

    And YES, the electronic strike zone is a must. Replay was introduced to get the play right. Time to get balls and strikes right too.

    1. I’m with you on Grandal. Hell, if he accepts the Q.O. and we don’t want him, we could probably trade him. Is there any rule about forbidding that?

  4. I’m sure most of you will figure out what meant early in my previous post, despite the typos.

  5. Mark – without giving up Diaz and the 4 prospects, there wouldn’t have been a Post Season.

    1. I have already forgotten about Diaz. Verdugo is probably better and he can’t even get a shot with us. Peters, Heredia, Kendall & others might never pan out but maybe Bellinger is now a full-time CF. At some point we’ll probably sign an impact OF or move an infield prospect there. I think we can recover from the loss of Diaz quite easily. Kremer is the guy I hope doesn’t come back to bite us.

      1. I lied. I’m over Kremer too.
        *
        Overall, I’m happy with our approaching to trading prospects going back throughout the entire FAZ regime. I think they identify core guys they don’t want to lose and are willing to move other pieces, especially in bulk. Even Darvish didn’t cost us that much in prospect principal at the time although inevitably some of them do pan out. That’s one of the reason I am NOT in favor of trading Ruiz for Realmuto. I think Ruiz could be a cornerstone of the next core group (along with Lux & May).
        *
        I know this piece is about the position players, but I’m very pleased with where we are with regard to pitching. We have a full rotation, more guys on the way, and several really interesting arms percolating in the lower levels.

  6. I am with Bobby about Kershaw not being 35 million dollar pitcher anymore.

    When a pitcher is the highest paid pitcher in all of baseball, they are expected to pitch well in the post season, too.

    And with all of that, Kershaw has went out on the DL in the last couple years in the regular season, so he has also not been dependable in the regular season either.

    And because of all of that, I don’t think he should continue to be paid 35 million a year, past the two years we already owe him.

    I don’t mind them extended him a couple years at a much lower rate, but not at 35 million.

    Kershaw is not the same pitcher they gave that 35 million a year contract too, and even when Kershaw was that same pitcher, he still didn’t pitch like a 35 million dollar a year pitcher should, in the post season either.

    There is not another team is baseball that will pay Kershaw 35 million a year, and we shouldn’t either!

    I agree with you Mark, that we need a good catcher more then worrying about a second baseman right now.

    And I agree with you that our line up also needs better balance too.

    But in your line up today, you already have four all or nothing hitters, if Taylor can’t adjust.

    And a few of those all or nothing hitters, couldn’t even hit above 100 in the World Series.

    And an average in the World Series is important, as well in the post season, because a team will be facing much tougher pitching, so our players need to be able to put the ball in play, and get hits when runners are in scoring position.

    And hitters that do hit for a good OPS in these situations, most often hit for a good average too, which makes sense, because a hitter must hit with better contact in these important situations in games, because strike outs kill rallies.

    And most of these same players in your line up today, couldn’t do any of these things in the regular season, let alone, in the post season this year.

    In fact, most of these players were so bad in high leverage situations in the regular season, it had been 40 years since a team had been so bad, in high leverage situations.

    Realmuto should improve this team in these situations, but if Verdugo didn’t do that well in these situations in his best AAA year, I don’t think we can count on him to do this, at the major league level.

    But I know there should be more moves in the off season this year then last year, so I expect you to be adjusting your line up, as the off season progresses.

  7. I suspect that once the hot stove gets going in full swing things will heat up in here.

    Probably some people licking their wounds after our recent debacle.

  8. What an odd year this has been: At the beginning of the year I viewed the team as follows:
    .
    Catcher: I thought this was a position of strength. While Grandal had his moments, it definitely wasn’t as solid as hoped. Totally non-existent in the playoffs. 2019 is going to require a make-over, unless Barnes gets over his “I just got married blues” and starts to swing at pitches and actually hit them. Would love to have Realmuto, but so would 28 other teams. I think we’re probably looking at a Barnes/Farmer duo or perhaps they add someone like Suzuki. Smith and Ruiz seem at least another year away. Though, I wouldn’t mind them giving either one a shot.
    .
    First Base: Position of strength. I thought Cody was best defensive first baseman in baseball. I thought his bat would regress some. By the end of the year first base was a tad better adequate. Muncy had a monster year, but he’s average defensively and Cody ended up being our center fielder. 2019, I would put Cody back at first and leave him there. Freese can be used to spell him occasionally.
    .
    2nd base: Position of weakness. I hoped for a Forsythe rebound, but, alas, that didn’t happen until he got to Minnesota. Viewed Kike and Utley as back-ups with Jake Peters in the wings. 2019 its either Muncy & Kike or we go outside the organization and get someone like DJ LeMahieu. I think Lux is the future here. Listening to his interviews, it sure sounds like Dozier wants to stay here, but I’m very lukewarm on that idea.
    .
    Shortstop: Position of strength. I viewed Seager as our best player. Did not see any scenario where we would end the year with Machado. 2019 it should be Seager’s position, with Kike/Taylor back-up. Personally, I would have no interest in bringing Machado back. He’s a good player, but not that good.
    .
    3rd Base: Position of Strength. JT is solid as can be. 2019 the position is his, with Freese or ? as the back-up. However, once JT is gone I’m not sure what the future holds.
    .
    Outfield: Lots of question marks. Left Field I did not foresee the year Kemp had and Peterson is always a question mark to me. 2019 we’ll probably have the same duo, but I would like to just place Taylor and Toles there. Centerfield – wasn’t sure about Taylor and Kike (still not). 2019 I would like to see the Dodgers get a real center fielder (Pollock or, preferably someone younger). Right field, Puig is Puig. 2019 – Frankly, I’m over him and would attempt to trade him while his value is up. Let Verdugo man the position and if he can’t cut it, play whoever is still on the team from Peterson or Kemp.
    .
    Starting pitching; I thought the starters would be adequate, but not stellar. And, for the most part, that’s what they were. Like AC, I would have loved to acquire someone like Gerrit Coles or Chris Sales, but that ship has sailed. 2019 – a lot depends on Kershaw’s decision. Either way, Buehler, Urias, Ferguson provide good young arms. Beyond that, the others, excepting perhaps Kersh, are merely adequate. I would love to add another reliable starter and perhaps jettison Maeda and Ryu.
    .
    Bullpen: position of weakness. While bullpens are notoriously fickle, it would have helped to have one additional hard throwing right hander. It hurt to have Cingani go down with an injury (he was nasty for spurts at the beginning of the year), but it just doesn’t seem likely that your going to be successful with the likes of Hudson, Goedell, Koehler, Floro, Stewart, Garcia, Venditte, Fields and the like. While each had their moments, that’s not a bullpen for the long haul. 2019 – I think it is absolutely critical that the Dodgers get at least one reliever that could serve as a closer, in the event, Jansen continues with his woes. I don’t think Baez is the guy, even though he impressed at the end of the year. I would keep him the role of a 7th inning guy or the role Roberts gave to Madson in the playoffs.
    .
    These are the musings of an old man who is bored at work this morning. Not a whole lot of deep analysis went into these thoughts, but it’s how I viewed the team.

    1. I have had literally every opinion possible of Puig during his tenure with us. Now I am completely firm in my belief we should play him full-time in his walk year and reevaluate him at the trade deadline.

  9. A few random comments:
    .
    1. Catcher – I fully expect that Yasmani Grandal will get a QO and will turn it down. Austin Barnes is a backup catcher. Therefore FAZ is going to need to find a starting catcher. Smith is a year away, Ruiz is two years away, and Cartaya is at least 5. They need someone to fill in before Smith or Ruiz is ready. JT Realmuto is going to create a huge bidding war, and if the Braves choose to get involved, the Dodgers will not be able to match them. I still think that the Braves and Alex Anthopoulos will take a hard look at Grandal before they shell out the player capital that will be required for Realmuto. The dearth of good offensive catchers in ML opens the market. The Dodgers will be in on the discussion, but just like with Gerrit Cole last year. they will not get the difference maker. Options – Wilson Ramos (no QO) would be a fantastic pickup, but he will require too many years for FAZ. But if he can be signed for two years, I would do it. I see the Dodgers looking at Jonathan Lucroy or Kurt Suzuki for one year waiting for Will Smith in 2020.
    .
    I am scratching my head thinking about all of the skepticism on Cody Bellinger. Yes he has had a couple of horrendous WS, but he is still only 23 (July). He hit .260/.343/.470/.814, with 25 HR and 76 RBI. What would the fan base be saying about Kris Bryant who hit .272/.374/.460/.834 with 13 HR and 52 RBI in 2018 and will turn 27 in January. Cody will need to continue to adjust as will Kris Bryant. I won’t even get into the Kyle Schwarber (26 in March) comparisons. Put Cody at 1B or CF and leave him there and let him hit. He will give you GG defense and 25+ HRs and I think an improved BA & OBP.
    .
    CT3 – I am not one who believes that CT3 will change. He was a AAAA player until he changed his swing for 2017. He is not going back to that AAAA swing. All we can hope for is that he will have a better feel for the strike zone. IMO, CT3 and Kike’ are interchangeable. The Dodgers do not need both, and another clone, Tim Locastro, is right there,
    .
    2B – This is hard for me. Before this year, I was adamant that I wanted DJ LeMahieu as the Dodgers 2B in 2019-2021. But the year that Gavin Lux had in 2018, makes him the 2B of the future in my eyes. I do not want anyone blocking his move up the organization. He could start at AAA and be a potential mid-season/September call up. Last winter before most even knew his name, I wrote about the LHH 2B already on the Dodgers…Max Muncy. No, I never anticipated Max having the year he had. I thought he would be another option if Chase Utley was not going to be signed as a reserve. I would love to have Whit Merrifield, but the cost will be prohibitive because he is good, controlled thru 2022, and there is a mutual love affair between Whit and KC. I am not sure that Max can sustain his 2018 season, but he has earned the chance to try.
    .
    SS – I am surprised at the number of fans who do not think that Corey will be able to fully come back from TJ surgery. The number of pitchers who have increased velocity after TJ is incredible, but yet Seager will not be able to throw from SS?? And yes I do realize that he had hip surgery as well. That may very well have been the genesis of the arm problem and now it too is fixed. But FAZ will do their due diligence with the doctors and determine if Corey will be able to make it all the way back. If not, their interest in Machado will increase. This is a wait and see scenario.
    .
    OF – This is a total unknown. I agree that moving Kemp will be next to impossible. He still has value as a reserve OF and PH. I see him on the 2019 roster. FAZ has to find a spot to put Alex Verdugo full time or they will trade him. Joc, Puig, and Toles are all trade potential, as are one of CT3 and Kike’. I am in the camp that I would like to see a full time CF who could conceivably leadoff and run, and keep Belli at 1B. But if FAZ wants Belli in CF, I would have zero problem with that.
    .
    I do not see FAZ in the Bryce Harper bidding war, and would only enter the bidding for Machado if it was determined that Seager will not be able to come fully back.

    1. My sense is that you are saying FAZ will continue making the moves they have in the past – nothing earth shattering (despite the Machado pickup), no going after the best.
      If that is the case they might make it past Milwaukee again but loose to Boston, NY, or Houston.
      To many swing and miss players on this team, BP needs real help, need another starter like say DeGrom.

      1. I see no chance for the Dodgers getting Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, or Zach Wheeler. If they were not in it for Gerrit Cole, they will not be in it for any of the Mets pitchers. FAZ values their best minor leaguers, and it has served them well. The only time I was upset was when they chose not to go after Chris Sale at the 2016 trade deadline because they would not include Julio Urias. If the Dodgers have Chris Sale for 2016-2018, they would have won 2 of the last 3 WS. I am happy that Seager and Bellinger are still with the team.
        .
        Mark is going to be giving his state of the pitching remarks tomorrow, but with Buehler, Urias, Hill, Maeda, Stripling, Ferguson, and Santana, I think FAZ believes they have the requisite starting pitching to contend. If they re-sign Kersh and/or Ryu, that would give them two more. I do not agree, but FAZ has yet to go out of their comfort zone with starting pitching. Machado was out of their comfort zone, but he was needed. I think the Dodgers need a legit co-Ace. I would take a legit #3 with Wheeler, but I do not see that happening.
        .
        I hope I am wrong and FAZ will decide to spend some of that player capital for legit difference makers. However, I think we will see more trades like just happened…LHP Manny Banuelos to the White Sox for a 22 year old LHH 1B Justin Yurchak.

    2. AC

      I think Corey will still be that same consistent hitter, but after this hip surgery, I think he will hit with more power.

      Because he had been dealing with this hip problem for a while, and that surgery for his age, is not a big deal.

      Take it from someone that was much more damaged in that same area Corey was, and I had my surgery at the exact same age Corey did.

      And your right about these TJ surgeries being pretty predictable at the major league level in this day.

      Because loss of velocity has not been an issue with these surgeries, it has sometimes been, just the opposite.

      About DJ, he was out twice on the DL last year for the first time as you probably know, so I think your right, about not blocking Lux.

      1. Dionysis

        Of course that is good for a pitcher, but is that 35 million great for a pitcher?

        And remember what his ERA is, in the post season.

        And if they only add a couple years on the contract Kershaw already has, he is still going to be paid 35 million on the two years left, on his contract.

        And you think he should get an additional two years, at 35 million, when he will be 33, 34, with a bad back?

  10. From Friedman/Zaidi’s presser today:
    `
    Farhan Zaidi said he’s talked to farm director Brandon Gomes about using starting pitchers in relief, and starting position players off the bench, to train them to be flexible in multiple roles.
    `
    On the complaint that, “Multiple roles and platoons are so overrated… You get mediocrity with lineups shuffled day to day. ”
    `
    Zaidi rebutted this very argument just now. A platoon player won the World Series MVP award. Chris Sale closed the final game. Nate Eovaldi and Joe Kelly were set-up men. It’s the way the game is going.
    `
    Andrew Friedman said he anticipates no issues reaching a new deal with Dave Roberts. Farhan Zaidi added that they are hoping to reach deals with the coaching staff in the next week or two.
    `
    Zaidi said the Dodgers would like to bring back all their coaches. Friedman said he doesn’t see any obstacles in reaching a deal with Roberts.
    `
    Friedman said he’s optimistic shortstop Corey Seager will be ready for Opening Day after Tommy John and hip labrum surgeries.
    `
    Friedman said he has “plenty of resources to win a World Series next year.”
    `
    Friedman said the central reason for the World Series loss was the lack of offense.
    `
    Andrew Friedman said it would be unrealistic to expect Julio Urias to make 30 starts next year. His workload will be carefully monitored in his first full season after shoulder surgery.
    `
    The Dodgers will make sure Seager is ready physically for the day in/day out grind first as he spends this offseason rehabbing, but Friedman maintained optimism Seager will be ready for Opening Day.

    1. And the Red Sox wouldn’t have used their starters like that, in the long baseball season, because it isn’t the same.

      And Springer was the World Series MVP last year, and he was no platoon player.

      And check out how the Dodgers two different platoon teams, did in the World Series offensively.

      1. And how many players on both the Astros and the Red Sox play mostly everyday, I would guess the number is higher, then just two.

    2. Correct on the lack of offense, and directly related to the plethora of swing and miss batters we have, and something embilshed by this FO.

    3. Sounds like nothing much will change except Grandal leaving. FAZ is content with their model. After all, they’ve achieved the playoffs every season of their tenure. Why change?

      I can think of many reasons to change but it’s beginning to sound boring. The Dodgers are also a boring team to watch a good part of the time. No hitting, the occasional HR winning the game, poor defense, and a manager that throws darts blindfolded hoping he’ll get a bullseye. Personally, I was sickened watching the Dodgers play this year, in general. They are not a very watchable team in my estimation.

      1. Agree.
        Plus Boston is better, You could say the same about Houston. Milwaukee will be improved as will NY. If the Dodgers stand pat, we will see the same results next year, might not even make it out of the NL

  11. From a recent FanGraphs chat:
    `
    Longenhagen:
    Q: Has Keibert Ruiz grown on you in the AFL?
    A: Yes, I have a 7 on the bat now.
    `
    Q: Will Gavin Lux be a top 5 ss prospect for 19 or does he have to move to 2b?
    A: 2B, still like him, though.
    `
    Q: Is Connor Joe’s increased power he showed in 2018 here to stay? And how is he defense at 3rd?
    A: He has Justin Turner’s swing now, I’m bullish on the bat. Defense wasn’t great last I saw him, though.
    `
    Q: What have you seen out of Jordan Sheffield in relief in the AFL?
    A: 94-95, plus change in the upper-80s
    `

    1. I cannot find any disagreement with Logenhagen (I am sure he ecstatic with me agreeing). The one I am most fixated on now is the transformation of Jordan Sheffield. He has gone from a non prospect starting pitcher to a legit late inning high leverage closer. His change is making him unhittable in a short stint. I think he moves quickly up the proverbial ladder.
      .
      I too see Lux as a 2B, and not just because of Seager’s presence. He moves well enough to be a good 2B. Most of his errors are from the throws. I do not see Lux as a GG defender, but he is at least average and could be a plus bat as a 2B.
      .
      Connor Joe, Matt Beaty, Edwin Rios…keep one and move the others. All three would be better in the AL. I like Matt Beaty more than the other 2, so he would be my pick.

      1. AC, what is the fail rate for minor league players securing and sustaining a position with a MLB club? I would think it would be extremely high considering all those who never make it to the big leagues.

  12. I feel better then I did last year at this time, but a loss is a loss. The Houston series was such a gut punch and utter baseball torture that getting over that did not happen for me until Game 1 of this year series.

    I just watched the post World Series news conference of FAZ. It was mostly just no comment or too early to tell kind of answers. Friedman seems to be setting us up for just moves around the peripheral and likely a few trades possibly for a 2nd baseman and a starter. I really don’t see them doing much of anything besides in house moves and trades, don’t feel they are huge believers in investing in other people’s free agents there recent FA signing failures only deepened that belief more. Extend Kersh 5/145 with an opt out after 2 or 3 years, QO Grandal, pick up Fresse option or likely make it a two year pact like 2/8, and sign a catcher like Suzuki, Ramos or Maldonado. They will trade Kemp likely having to eat around 15 million of his contract to get Verdugo some playing time. I see Ryu getting a short deal of some kind two years and an option, or just letting him walk. I believe having him back would be a very good thing, a lot of questions with our starting staff beyond Walker. No QO for him although it is not out of the realm of possibility.

    They will not waiver from their philosophy on how to build a pen, and they alluded to as much. They both said throwing money at relievers is not necessarily the way to build a pen of elite arms, as they are just as likely to be found in obscure places like dumpsters or waiver wires. Our pen will look completely different next year not necessarily better just different.

    Farhan talked about openers and the possibility of implementing them more. And getting our minor leaguers more prepared for the platoon mania and analytical approach they will encounter with the big club.

    Robert’s was addressed, both seemed resolved that an extension will get done soon. They both seemed giddy about having him. Again I don’t care for him but he has earned an extension.

    I believe a third straight trip to the Series is going to once again depend on how our in house players evolve and improve. Can Bellinger and Taylor find their 2017 stat lines? Will Muncy repeat, and is Verdugo ready for the show? And does Seager go right back to being a 6 win player? What will Urias( if healthy) be able to give us in his 100 to 120 innings of work? What will Jansen give us after his heart procedure? A lot of questions marks for sure.

    On a a meaningless note I would love to get Harper but I am sure they will not go after him. Boras will attempt to link us but I guarantee that the interest would be minimal.

    1. I don’t know. Sometimes this front office surprises me. This could be the offseason we make a big trade. Maybe not a prospects-for-majorleaguer deal but maybe a reallocation of assets. We definitely have some pieces other teams may be interested in.

    2. This report to me is bad news, it sounds like they think they have all the answers doing the same or similar things as what they have done in the past. If they stay headed in that direction, that type of thinking they will be starring at failure come next October.

  13. AC or Bluro I thought Jordan would have more velocity as a reliever like 97 to 98 touching 100? Is he throwing a two seam fastball now? The change is a difference maker 🙂

    1. Adam thank you!

      I Just watched the same after World Series news conference too, and I didn’t get much of anything from it either.

      In fact, this was very much identical to their same news conference, after the World Series last year.

      I didn’t like Zaidi’s comments about the platooning, as you can see above, because I don’t think these strict platoons, helped us much as they think, in the post season, and especially in the World Series.

      And I don’t think these strict platoons were good for a young player like Cody.

  14. The White Sox have acquired lefty Manny Banuelos from the Dodgers, per an announcement from the Chicago organization. He’ll go onto the 40-man roster, James Fegan of The Athletic adds on Twitter. Corner infielder Justin Yurchak is headed to Los Angeles in return.

      1. Picked up an interesting youngster. More on him later. Just turned 22 after two seasons of pro ball.

  15. Lf–harper
    3b–turner
    Ss–seager
    Rf–puig
    1b–bellinger
    C–w. Ramos
    2b–muncy
    Cf–verdugo

    I love Taylor but he and joc can come off the bench with keekay, freese and barnes. Trade Kemp to AL. Toles can take joc’s spot if needed. Huge upgrades offensively. Defense might be horrid.

  16. Thx MJ, agree don’t believe these platoons helped us at all in the postseason, likely hurt us with all the built in days off. The strict platoons seem to work a little better when you are playing practically everyday, don’t like them but under FAZ they are here to stay. Joc has not hit lefties well for years now but Cody hit them well in 2017. And Taylor hit righties better in 2017. I think those two and Puig being more everyday and productive players could be the difference in us getting back and us not getting back.

    Again I believe this team will look similar to the one on the field in 2018 plus Seager and 2b/utility guy, a new starting catcher and a few new pen arms – minus Dozier, Machado, Grnadal and some old pen arms. Ryu could be a minus and then I see us adding another starter. However I want him back, we know him and his medicals better then anyone, and he could be a real certainty in a rotation that has a lot of uncertainty.

    1. Jorge

      I was at the first game Fernando pitched in.

      Me and a friend, use to go to Sunday games early to watch batting practice, and I saw Fernando on the field, and I thought he was a bat boy, because he looked so young, and because he was chunky.

      To my surprise later in the game, Fernando was brought in that game, and he pitched the last three innings of that game, and that was when Vin Scully started saying olay after Fernando struck out anyone.

      That was in 80 before his rookie year.

  17. I have a friend, who like most of us on here, is also a big Dodgers fan…. and he just told me about a possible solution to our recent pain and suffering.

    He had a rough time as most of us did watching the last two World Series losses. He had already tried many of the coping methods that had worked for him in the past… such as holding the rage inside, punching holes through walls, screaming into his pillow, and drinking until he passed out. Unfortunately none of those natural home remedies had been working thus far, so he decided to seek professional help.

    After looking for about 20-30 minutes on Craigslist… he happened upon a promising ad for a self proclaimed world renowned hypnotherapist from India… who was currently offering his services (for a very short time only) at the local Starbucks. Anyway, his methods are a little unorthodox but from what I have heard so far… he might really be onto something.

    My friend said that this hypnotherapist would be able to… retroactively erase the memories from the last two World Series losses and have his mind adjusted to the (new) fact that the NLCS was the very last series of the year… and in doing so, give his client (my friend) the historically untrue reality albeit very satisfying and emotionally freeing belief that his team had won it all in the previous two seasons!

    The hypnotherapist from India said he had no real interest in baseball himself and had only watched a few games in the last two years but could tell that the hubris of the Dodgers front office wouldn’t allow them to divert from their incorrect assumptions on the importance of platooning at all costs, needing to hit more home runs to win more games, dumpster diving bullpen acquisitions, and the insistence on giving so much playing time to glorified farmhands such as Kike Hernandez, Joc Pederson, and Austin Barnes.

    He said he didn’t know who was in charge of the team… but the overall philosophy seemed to him as a very small market mindset… and his guess was that he or she had previously worked primarily in a smaller market like Milwaukee or Cincinnati… somewhere where the team didn’t have as much money and/or where most free agents wouldn’t want to play. And although he agreed with pretty much 99.9% of breathing humans that analytics is extremely important in baseball these days… he reminded me of a quote by the great Vin Scully who said something along the line of… Statistics should be used much like a drunk uses a lamppost… for support, not illumination.

    The hypnotherapist said he was also a little skeptical at first due to the extreme nature of this endeavor and the strong possibility of very serious side effects and long term mental health issues… but he said that after seeing how the Dodgers decided to play during the last two World Series and how difficult it would be to knock off an American League team (especially if their overall philosophy doesn’t change) over the next few years… he thought it was the best possible option available at this time.

  18. Great post Val, similar to your one where you talked about your agrophobia and watching 300 games the last two years alone. I am similar in that regard and also similar in the distaste of the Farhan Zaidi “Baseball School of Philisophical Thought Based in Analytics, Platooning and Socially Acceptable Dumpster Diving within Bullpen Constructs.” Your post speaks for the masses or the small markets, where we are forced in our day to day to be contrite and open to some change. You cannot be the smartest people in the room and small market in approach, hooefully this offseason clarifies whichbone FAZ is?

    1. Thanks Adam… and yeah, we’ll have to wait and see how Friedman and Zaidi respond.
      They’ll have plenty of time in the off season and during all next season to prove how smart they are and if they can learn from their collective mistakes.

      The issue for me isn’t the regular season… I think even if we don’t make a single change, there’s still a 90% chance we make the playoffs next year. The issue will continue to be the playoffs and if the team’s overall philosophy will be successful against the best teams in baseball… as those teams continue to make the correct adjustments against us.

      And since it’s very difficult for hitters to have a particular approach at the plate from spring training through game 162, like trying to swing as hard as they can to hit home runs & extra base hits, not being overly concerned strike outs, etc. And then have a potentially very different approach in the playoffs such as… more situational hitting, choking up with 2 strikes, contact over power, etc… which I think is what will be needed to beat the better teams they’ll face in the post season.

      Wouldn’t it be better to begin the year with that type of philosophy and approach at the plate? I feel like it would pay off during the regular season and even in a much bigger way, down the road in next year’s post season… much like it did for the Astros and Red Sox over the last two years.

      1. Val

        Another great post!

        I love that remark from Vinny!

        And who else taught us the game better then Vinny?

        Vinny also had a lot of common sense that he applied to the game, to communicate with us, what the game was really about.

        When I first read that response from Zaidi today about the platooning, that made me crazy.

        Because I didn’t think he got it, because his response was kind of defensive.

        But Friedman was later asked about the platooning, and he said their goal was not necessarily having a team, of platoon players.

        I don’t think anyone that watched this team all year, could not see this team’s offense struggled, throughout the season.

        So the lack of offense in these last two post season series, was not surprising.

        Every team should want to have more then one way to score runs, that should be a given.

        Because the HRs will come, if they are playing the game right.

        And you have to have those skills to get runners in, in the post season even more, because of all the good pitching they will face.

        So they need to practice these things and have better approaches, throughout the season, to do better in the post season.

        1. Thanks MJ!
          I have been loving the posts by everyone the last few days… they are helping to keep me sane. There are so many intelligent and passionate fans on here… Mark runs a great blog.
          I haven’t had the heart to turn on SportsNet or MLB Network since Sunday… baby steps.
          Yeah… I just read what I saw on here today about his comment and it made me crazy too. Glad to hear a more nuanced take by Friedman.
          I sure miss Vinny! Joe Davis is nice and all but…

  19. Nice start to the off season. David Freeze back on a one year $5 million deal. Sign CK and then start some wheeling and dealing to get us a BP, DJ Lemaieheu, and one more SP.

  20. I agree mostly with your position players. Catching, I always thought was our strength and now it is our weakness. Two WS failures by Grandal is enough. I do not think Barnes is worth keeping. He looks totally lost as a hitter. I am hoping Smith’s development would allow him to be the back up. We will have to trade for a catcher.

    Muncey will have to play second until Lux can take the position. Muncey will be an ideal DH.

    The outfield is where we need to improve. I have never been happy with Joc so I would look to trade him. Toles and Verdugo need to figure in there somewhere. Toles was a starting LF until he got hurt and then he just seemed to fall out of grace with Doc and FAZ. The problem with what we have is to many left handed batters. Puig bats right, but cannot hit left handed pitchers. So we really have JR and maybe a new cather that bats right handed. I am not real happy with Kike or Taylor. They have to change. They are ok if you want to use them as a utility player. They both play great defense.

    I am just afraid we are going to do what we did last year. If Doc and FAZ do not change we will have everyone swing for the fences and we will see another platoon system.

    The bull pen is another scary thought. Are we still going to look at over the hill pitchers? I would like them to develop bull pen pitchers in the minors and bring them into the system. Doc and FAZ need to make changes in how they operate.

  21. Not only is Farhan Zaidi a top candidate for the SF President of Baseball Operations position, but Chris Woodward is now considered a favorite to land the Rangers managerial position.

  22. Dodgers have until 2pm today to offer Q.O. to ryu/grandal. That’s on top of 1pm kershaw deadline. Could be an eventful day for our 2019 roster.

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