The Dodgers Are Alive and Well Thanks to Andrew Friedman

I was going to discus the State of the Pitching, but now I am going to wait until next week when we have a better idea what is happening with one Clayton Kershaw.  That can change everything. Also, what follows is something that I think needs to be discussed.

As most of you know, the Dodgers won the World Series in 1988 as heavy underdogs, and then did not again even sniff the World Series until 29 years later.  I think some fans believe that Andrew Friedman was hired as the President of Baseball Operations for the Dodgers in 1989 and this World Series drought has all been his fault,  However, he was actually hired in the Winter of 2014, and 2015 was his first season.  Before his first season, through free agency or trades, the Dodgers parted ways with shortstop Hanley Ramírez, outfielder Matt Kemp, second baseman Dee Gordon, and pitchers Brian Wilson and Dan Haren. However, they bolstered their farm system and added key players such as catcher Yasmani Grandal, infielders Howie Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins, as well as pitchers Brett Anderson and Mike Bolsinger.

Friedman helped lead the Dodgers to their third straight National League West division title in 2015, but the team fell to the New York Mets in the National League Division Series (NLDS), 3–2. After the 2015 season, MLB penalized the Dodgers with a record $43 million luxury tax after determining their payroll was nearly $300 million, also an all-time record. For the record, Friedman inherited most of that payroll.

In 2016, Friedman cut the payroll to less than $250 million and the Dodgers advanced to the NLCS.  In 2017, Friedman again cut payroll to $241 million and took the team to the World Series, where they lost in 7 games to the Astros. Finally, this past season, Andrew Friedman was able to get under the Luxury Tax as was mandated by team ownership and he still saw the team get to the World Series.. and lose to a better team.  The team payroll in 2018 was reduced to $187 million.  That resets the luxury tax penalty. So, just to be clear,Friedman cut the payroll of the Dodgers from almost $300 million to $187 million while delivering the best record in baseball during his tenure and taking the team to two consecutative World Series!  But not only is that not enough for some fans… they believe he should be fired!

While all of this was going on, Friedman rebuilt the front office with a plethora of old-school baseball guys, hired a team of statisticians, re-assembled a minor league training staff and built the struggling and emancipated Farm System into one of the top systems in baseball.  He didn’t do it like the Cubs or the Astros by tanking for several years and hoarding draft picks.  He built the team while winning the NL West every year and going to the playoffs and World Series.  And… yes, they lost two straight World Series!  So Friedman should be fired?  Are you crazy?

The Dodger organization is the best it has been in 30 years! THIRY FREAKING YEARS!Now, I was on record that when FAZ was hired, I thought they should have “blown up” the team… traded away everyone they could and stockpile draft picks, but Stan Kasten told Friedman that he had to rebuild while remaining competative. What Friedman was asked to do was like boxing with one hand behind his back. But he did it.  He built a damn good team and a damn good farm system… the only problem was that he built the second best team two years in a row.

Some of you want the Dodgers to fire him and hire a “baseball guy”.  Ned Colletti is a “baseball guy” and he is available.  Thanks, but I’ll pass. As I said yesterday, Andrew Freidman is not perfect, but he’s pretty dang good!  Here’s a quote from a Dodger fan:

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.

It’s not just one person who believes that… lots of people say the same thing, but when FAZ took over the team they had the highest salary in baseball… by far… and a bunch of bad contracts from THE TRADE.  FAZ had no money to spend.  They had to get creative… and they did. Yeah, they signed Brett Anderson, Brandon McCarthy and Scott Kazmir, but they also refused to trade Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Julio Urias and Joc Pederson and they acquired Chris Taylor and Max Muncy for a bag of balls.  They also acquired Andrew Toles, Austin Barnes, Yasmani Grandal, Kenta Maeda, Scott Alexader, Alex Wood and re-signed Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner.

This is not the ending they envisioned, but they were limited in what they could do.  It’s easy for us to say who they should have traded for, but we really have no clue what other teams demanded.  Would they rather have traded for Zach Britton  than Ryan Madson?  Duuuuhhhh! But, what did the O’s want for him?  We don’t know.  What we do know is that FAZ did trade for the TOP PLAYER at the deadline (Manny Machado) and as Watford Dodger (Our UK Connection) explained, the Dodgers would not have made it to the World Series without him, even though he may have underperformed in many fans eyes.

Let’s get one thing straight:  FAZ did not lose the World Series.  FAZ got them there.  I wish the Dodgers had won the World Series in 2017 ands 2018… but they didn’t. The fact that they got there tells you they had a chance only 3 teams in all of baseball had. The Red Sox were a VERY, VERY good team who had several players step up in the playoffs BIG TIME.  Players like Steve Pearce (platoon player), Joe Kelly (4.39 regular Season ERA – 0.00 in World Series), Nate Eovaldi and David Price were unconscious.  The Dodgers pitching and hitting collapsed during the Series.  Is that FAZ’s fault?  Remember they were playing a better team that was favored to win.

How were the Red Sox built?  A lot of home-grown players and few trades and free agents.  While the Yankees got all the ink for trading for Giancarlo Stanton and his $300 million contract, the Red Sox  signed JD Martinez for about a third of that.  Martinez may very well be the best bargain in baseball.Signing players to stupid big contrcats is not the path to winning. Allegedly, the Red Sox were ready to walk if Martinez did not sign the $110 million deal. That deal worked out pretty good. The David Price and Rick Porcello deals looked bad at times for a year or two, but the stars aligned for the 2018 World Series. I’m betting that the Dodgers future is brighter than that of the Red Sox.

FAZ Should Have Built a Better Bullpen

Yes, I agree.  However, relievers are a fickle bunch.  Joe Kelly was Scott Alexander during the regular season… actually he was worse than Alexander, but in the World Series he was Superman.  Who knows… Alexander may be unhittable next year.  That’s the nature of relief pitchers. I know this:  If you throw out a relief pitcher after a bad season, you likely will regret it later. 2018 was the year the Dodgers had to get under the Luxury Tax.  If I have to explain why, then you aren’t going to get it anyway!

Assuming that the Dodgers will not sign a player to an extended  long-term contract, is based upon past practices that are no longer valid:

  1. The Dodgers got out from under the Luxury Tax;
  2. The Luxury Tax Threshold goes up to $206 million this year;
  3. The Dodgers have gotten rid of the bad contracts, except for Kemp (and this is his last year); and
  4. There are players on the market who will get some big $$$$ deals, but they are 26 or 27 years old – that’s a big difference from signing a 32 or 33 year-old to a long term deal!

Instead of bitching about FAZ, you should thank your lucky stars that they are running your favorite team.Past performance was based upon a unique set of circumstances that no longer exist. The financial constraints are gone, the bad contracts are gone and this is a new paradigm. Many of you think thew Dodgers will not sign Manny Machado or Bryce Harper and you probably are one of the fans who do not believe they would trade for Manny Machado either.

I have no idea how FAZ values Manny or Bryce, but I believe they will be players for them.  Many fans wanted FAZ to trade for Gioncarlo Stanton but his $300 million contract is a boat anchor.  Quick:  If you could have JD Martinez or Stanton who would you take?  The Red Sox drew a line in the sand and got Martinez for $110 million.  Again, signing big name free agents to long-term deals is usually not the path to success. Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel and Jacob deGrom are three pitchers who will likely get big dollar deals, but all will be over 30 next year and how far out do you want to go?  Again, that is generally not the path to success.  Buying aging pitchers generally ends badly.

I thought, as did many others that David Price and Justin Verlander were done.  The Astros have one more year with Verlander and that may end up ok, but Price is a pitcher I do not think will hold up – the Red Sox caught lightening in a bottle… and, make no mistake winning a World Series does take some luck, but it is what it is. I would not touch those pitchers, but I would consider Manny and/or Bryce… at the right price.

Many of the top baseball minds consider Manny Machado as the best free agent in 2018. He was somewhat disappointing as a Dodger with a .825 OPS… not bad, but not superstar caliber. He dipped even more in the post-season to a .672 OPS – very pederstrian.  Was he pressing?  Was the weight of a new contract messing with him?  Was being on a bigger stage a factor?  Yes, Yes and Yes!  I would not let that stop me from going after Manny and I think FAZ would sign him… at the right price.

Did Manny’s antics in the playoffs hurt his value?  I don’t think so.  In fact, like lots of things, if you look beyond thge obvious, you might have a different opinion.  For example, Manny’s stepping Jesus Aguilar’ s foot  looks bad… until you get into the context. Dodger players had been complaining all series that Aguilar was keeping his foot on the base too long, but he wouldn’t do anything about it.  Manny did something about it, and secretly earned his teammates respect.  What the media perceives as a negative, may actually be a positive.  The umpires knew about it, which may be part of the reason Manny wasn’t ejected from the game.  It wasn’t a bush league play – it was a guy doing something for his team.

Manny’s tenure with the Dodgers was so-so, but at age 26, he will likely get better every year for the next few years… and he has a body that does not seem prone to breakdown.  Unlike Bryce Harper, he is on the field everyday. I think the Dodgers will sign him… if it makes sense.  I’d sooner give him $300 million than Stanton, but I would not give that to eiher player.  It has been speculated that Machado and Harper might get $300 to $400 million, but it was also speculated that JD Martinez might get $200 million and he only got $110 million.  I think FAZ will be in on Manny at the right price… and that price might be around $200 to $250 million. I see no way anyone gives him $300 to $400 million. Just my opinion.

I think you will see FAZ spend more on the bullpen than they have in the past because they will have more to spend. You will also likely see signings like Morrow, Blanton and Koehler as well… because it just makes sense, but the Dodgers have a boatload of possible relievers next season (I’ll talk about that next week) from the minors that they don’t need to make any dope-fiend moves.

Finally, I have heard a lot of talk about how bad Chris Taylor was in 2018 and while I would like to see him cut his strikeouts down by 10 – 15%, he really wasn’t horrible.  Compare him to another CF that many would love to have, Ender Inciarte. I think CT3 can improve and at least be as effective as he was in 2017… maybe better.  We will talk about it more in the offseason, but I believe that the Dodgers will make it a priority to cut down the teams’ strikeouts. FAZ is not nearly as stupid as some may think… in fact, we all should be very happy that Andrew Friedman is running the Dodgers.

2018 Stats

Ender Inciarte

 Chris Taylor

597

AB

536

158

H

136

27

2B

35

10

HR

17

86

SO

178

49

BB

55

.265

BA

.254

.325OB%

.331

.705

OPS

.775

 

 

This article has 166 Comments

  1. I was thrilled when Friedman signed with the Dodgers. I always wanted him and still think he is 100% the right man for the job. (I was also disappointed when Maddon didn’t come over with him, especially since we soon after gave up on Mattingly, who was only there because of Joe Torre . . .)
    *
    I can’t wait for this offseason. Even though we will always be squeezing the margins [see: Freese contract], I also think we make a big splash or two. Our organization is in such good shape we can afford to. I’m serious about wanted Harper, btw. Give him an opt-out and it makes the overall commitment less permanent for the player.

  2. Joel Sherman saying Grandal will likely be offered Q.O.–sounds logical to me.
    *
    If they are worried about Ryu accepting, I hope they have other plans for his money.

  3. Thank you Mark for your well thought out analysis. It did help me get out of my post Series funk to realize that the near future is a lot more positive than I am giving the FO credit to fix. Given that, it makes it more fun to follow what they have planned over the next few months. Yes, they have made our team one of the best in baseball. Now let’s see what they have in store for us that will make us the best. I still think their in game management and home run or nothing approach needs some serious reevaluation. I sure hope that’s on their to-do-list as well. The FO is smart, they should be able to see what we’ve seen. Now what are they going to do about it. This is the fun part of it. Thank you Mark and all who have contributed to making this blog such an enjoyable read. Here’s to the Dodgers in 2019!

    1. But drinking poison kills you.

      I was miserable after the World Series for a few days but some people are miserable 24/7/365.

  4. Mark

    I am with you about making to big of a deal over Manny not backing off when that first baseman kept his foot on the base, much longer then he should.

    Because almost every first baseman you watch in the majors, gets their foot off the base as soon as they can, unless they are stretching for a bad throw.

    But the announcers love to try to make the Dodgers the bad guys, anyway they can.

    What Manny did against right hand pitching, is what would give me reservations on signing him, to a long multi year contract.

  5. From MLB Trade Rumors:

    The Dodgers are “definitely” issuing a $17.9MM qualifying offer to catcher Yasmani Grandal before today’s deadline to do so, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post (Twitter link). The team could also issue a QO to left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, though there’s still an internal debate whether to do so or simply let Ryu hit free agency without the potential for draft pick compensation.

    The decision to issue Grandal a QO at that rate may come as a surprise for some, particularly in the wake of an ugly postseason effort that was underscored by uncharacteristic defensive miscues. But Grandal was one of the game’s most productive catchers with the bat this season, has long rated as an elite pitch framer (arguably the best and most consistent in baseball) and is consistently average or better in terms of controlling the running game. The switch-hitter will turn 30 next month and, even in spite of that ugly postseason showing, should have little trouble securing at least a three-year contract in an offseason where several contenders are in clear need of upgrades behind the plate.

    1. This does not surprise me at all. There is no downside to giving Grandal the QO. If he accepts, the Dodgers will have a good catcher that will allow both Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz to continue their development without being rushed to the ML. The other Dodger choices will be Austin Barnes, Jonathan Lucroy, Kurt Suzuki, AJ Ellis, Devin Mesoraco, Martin Maldonado…for one year. I think it will take 3 years for Wilson Ramos, and the Dodgers are not going to block Smith and Ruiz for 3 years. With the dearth of catching, Grandal and Ramos are primed for a 3 or 4 year contract. Ramos may very well get a better contract because he will not have a draft pick penalty associated with his signing.
      .
      Grandal will not accept and the Dodgers will get a draft pick. Again for those that do not like Grandal, where is the downside?
      .
      As I stated yesterday, I do not see the Dodgers being serious contenders for the services of JT Realmuto. Atlanta, Washington, Houston, Milwaukee will all be more motivated.

  6. Who did say that Friedman must be fired???? Friedman has done a great job but no perfect o of courses. he failed in the strategy of preferring only hitters looking for home runs or no contacts and giving too much importance to the statistics and very little for the perceived. He must increases in this area.

  7. Well now I need to refocus my next post as this topic was exactly what I was going to write about. But you said it much more passionately than I was going to. While I applaud ALL that Andrew Friedman has accomplished, and it is exceptionally significant under less than ideal circumstances as you aptly discussed, I want to concentrate on a couple of areas that I may digress with the FAZ focus. I say FAZ because while I still believe that Friedman is the primary architect, I think Zaidi’s influences are also evident.
    .
    I have been on record as an unapologetic FAZ supporter. But like all of us in life (and in our jobs), FAZ does make mistakes. However, for us to improve, we all need to grow from our mistakes. IMO their number one “mistake” is this apparent (at least to me) love for the all or nothing approach to offense. They seem mesmerized by the number of home runs the team has put up, and disregard the number of strikeouts, especially in critical game situations.
    .
    I am not brain dead and do recognize that FAZ would prefer that there were less strikeouts, but at the same time they are also very accepting of them. If they were not, then there would be consequences for continuously striking out, especially with runners in scoring position.
    .
    The Dodgers AA affiliate, Tulsa, led the Texas league in HR’s and K’s. The Drillers were led by DJ Peters who individually led the Texas League in HR’s, but also led the league in strikeouts, by a healthy margin…192 to 160. There were only two batters above 150 K’s in the Texas League. And yet no Driller came close to the number of PA’s that Peters had. But FAZ will point out that Tulsa did win their first Texas League Championship.
    .
    Rancho Cucamonga led the California League in HR’s and K’s. Five of the top ten strikeouts in the California League were Dodger prospects at Rancho. And again, FAZ will point out that RC did win the California League Championship.
    .
    It is difficult to question their logic when the Dodgers have won two consecutive pennants and their AA and A+ minor league affiliates won their respective championships using the HR and ignoring the strikeout. Therefore there is no apparent reason for the organizational philosophy to change. I think that is especially true for Zaidi, maybe not as much for Friedman. But I see no forthcoming change in philosophy as you may see. I hope I am wrong, but I do not think so.
    .
    If FAZ valued bat to ball skills more than power, then Alex Verdugo would have been on the roster replacing Joc. I do not believe that Joc is better defensively than Alex, so what else could it have been.
    .
    With respect to the CT3 and Ender Inciarte comparisons…I have been front and center for the last several years wanting FAZ to acquire Ender Inciarte. Nothing has changed. You selected Inciarte’s worst ML season to compare. Career comparison:
    .
    Inciarte – .289/.337/.390/.727 – 162 game average K = 84
    CT3 – .262/.331/.435/.766 – 162 game average K = 158
    .
    Both just turned 28. As good defensively as CT3 is, Inciarte is a 2 time reigning GG CF, and is nominated for a third straight year. He is a finalist with Lorenzo Cain and Billy Hamilton.
    .
    Inciarte is in the middle of a 5 year $30.525MM contract. He is due to earn $5MM in 2019, $7MM in 2020, $8MM in 2021, with an option for 2022 at $9MM with a 1.025MM buyout. CT3 is entering his arbitration years in 2019, and will become a FA after the 2021 season.
    .
    I have no reason to believe that CT3 will change his swing. He is not going back to that AAAA swing he used to have. My only hope is that he develops a better knowledge and recognition of the strike zone. And again, there is no reason for him to change. He was not held accountable for his strikeouts. He played in all five of the WS games and struck out 6 times in 18 plate appearances (33%).
    .
    It was very fitting that the last 6 Dodger batters struck out in the WS. Joe Kelly and Chris Sale only had to be within the state of California with their pitches for the Dodger batters to swing.
    .
    No consequences…no reason to change.

    1. AC

      I agree with everything you have said here, and that is why I was so upset when I saw Zaidi’s defensive remarks, and the big smile he had on his face at the news conference, yesterday.

      I see Zaidi still stuck in the extreme all saber metric approach, from when he was in the A’s organization.

      And that is not surprising, because that is where he was really schooled, about being a baseball executive.

      I don’t know if Friedman himself, is a micro manager, or he trusts the guys below him, to do their jobs.

      But Zaidi came off more defensive in that news conference yesterday, and I am far from the only one, that felt that way.

      But Friedman did blame our loss in the World Series, on this team’s offense, so I am hoping he gets it.

      Because I don’t know how anyone could watch this team play all season long, and not see how inconsistent this offense was, throughout the season.

      And how many times have we read here, that people didn’t enjoy watching this team play this year?

      And most of that, is because this team didn’t have a consistent offense, and they would often go through most of a game and not score for a very long time.

      And winning these games often depended on good pitching, or good clutch hitting, and because we were terrible in clutch situations, these games often went the wrong way.

      And in other games against sub par pitching, almost everyone in this line up would hit a solo HR, and the game would be over already, after the third or fourth inning.

      And our players would pad their stats in these games, and the team’s run differential would get better, because the other team’s manager wouldn’t bring in their better pitching, because these these games were already over.

      Like I have said before, I hope the Dodgers will evolve like the Astros and the Red Sox have, because they have combined saber metrics, with old school baseball smarts.

  8. I PREFER MACHADO OVER HARPER. BUT OK IF IT IS NOT HAPPEN. AS FUN I DONT CARE ABOUT the Dodgers money I just want a good team that inspires me …I liked so much the 2015 DODGERS (with Crawford, Hanley, gonzalez kemp, turner etc) maybe very expensive but no with.my money y very funny…I like the 2018 team because they won but sometimes I find it boring

  9. The last from Mlb Trade Rumors:

    Nov. 2: With the deadline now just over three hours away, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that both sides are “optimistic” about reaching a new agreement. As Rosenthal points out, an extension prior to 4pm ET isn’t required
    Kershaw to remain in L.A. into 2019 and beyond. Even after what seems to be a surefire opt-out, he could continue negotiating with the Dodgers, although other teams would then formally be allowed to pursue Kershaw as well

  10. With respect to Manny…I still do not believe the Dodgers will sign him unless they are convinced that Corey will never be able to play SS again. I do get the impression that some on this site and others will be just fine with moving Seager just to make room for Machado, including both of my sons. I am not in that camp. Yes this is an emotional response for me. If Seager is willing to move to 2nd, who am I to argue with him. But his future earnings will take a huge hit if he moves, and I do not think Scott Boras will be okay with that. Therefore I would predict that if the Dodgers sign Manny to play SS, Seager will leave as a FA after the 2021 season as a 28 year old. Some have already said, then so be it.
    .
    As an aside, my son still has contacts within ML and maybe just maybe within the Dodgers. He has heard that Manny is a very well respected teammate. He loved his Dodger teammates and it was reciprocated. I too heard about the Aguilar issue, and what Mark stated was exactly what happened. Sometimes it is best not to come to any immediate conclusions, and just wait for ALL of the facts to surface.
    .
    Manny is going to have to get a better contract than Robinson Cano, which will push the envelope well north of $250MM. Cano got a 10 year $240MM contract beginning his 31 year old season. Manny is not going to accept anything less than $250MM. I still think he ends up in Philly.

    1. It definitely seemed like Machado blended into that clubhouse extremely well. I for one had no problems with his slides into second base. The second one was dumb to grab him late, but it affected nothing the ball was out. I hate that they’ve so pussified the play at 2B. I thought the play with Aguilar was bush but it has bothered me when people say he stepped on his foot. He didn’t. He drug his foot and kicked it off the bag. I appreciate knowing the back story now. As for his lack of hustle at times it’s bothersome but I think guys like Doc, Hill, Freese and some others could get through to him. After he was called out on the carpet, we saw a change on him getting up the line. I know he had two injuries getting up the line/out of the box but maybe someone can get through to him that WS opportunities don’t come easy and if you’d like to end your career as respected as someone like Utley it has to change.
      ~
      I tend to think Machado gets an opt-out in his deal than could shorten the length of it especially from teams that may be wary of his behavior. If his contract drops into the $250 range, I’m definitely in the conversation. I think he winds up a Philly or Skanky, but I wouldn’t close the door on him if I’m FAZ. The Dodgers need to upgrade their offense and especially vs lefties. I think adding Machado, Seager, and Verdugo while getting rid of the current lefty platoon would do that immensely. I would do all three and get into the Realmuto conversations. JT only has two years left and his knees are still balky. Machado or Seager could eventually just take over 3rd.
      ~
      Yes, getting Harper or Machado are long shots and arguably bad moves, but since both are on the table at the moment it is worthy of discussion. Harper will get more money(I think from the Nats) than Machado and would it help our problems vs lefties to sign Harper?

  11. The overall job by FAZ is good. I do not think they should be fired. However, they are smart people and they need to change. If they do not look back on the last two years and figure out what they did wrong, then we are going to repeat the same mistakes. They have to look at the bull pen differently. The bull pen needs to be a strength and not a weakness. They did nothing to help the bull pen in July. You need starters that play every day. You cannot get into a good rhythm by playing half the games. They need to value contact hitters more. They need to value steals more. They need to value doing the little things more to win games. They need to value less the HR’s.

    Now Doc. I do not get the after game press conferences. However, some of you have said Doc does not take ownership when he makes a mistake. That bothers me. You do not learn if you do not analyze your decisions after a win or a loss. If Doc thinks he did not make a bad decision in the last two WS, then we are headed for trouble. Also Doc, on my opinion, values some players more than others. In other words he has favorites. He has to look and see wth his own two eyes what is in front of him. Make a decision on what is actually happening.

  12. The Indians will not be giving any QO to Andrew Miller, Cody Allen, or Michael Brantley. The Dodgers will have discussions with the agents of all three, but I do not see any of them signing.

  13. Independent of any other moves we are considering, offering Grandal the Q.O. is an easy Yes. If he accepts, we have our starting catcher for 2019 and transitioning into the Smith/Ruiz era. If he declines–which is likely–we pocket the draft pick.
    *
    Ryu is a bit trickier because I think there is a much greater chance he accepts and we’re on the hook for an $17 mil one year deal for a starter in a rotation that is already near full (Kershaw?/Buehler/Wood/Maeda/Stripling/Urias/Santana/Ferguson). Assuming we don’t like him at that price, he could accept and hamstring us a bit. I still say the upside to getting the draft pick outweighs the risk.

  14. Rosenthal on the Grandal QO:
    `
    The Dodgers’ rationale for giving Grandal qualifying offer is that he would help bridge the gap to their two top catching prospects, Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz. Expectation is team will give Ryu a qualifying offer as well. Grandal offer first reported by @Joelsherman1.

    1. I think this shows we are smart, not afraid to spend money, and loyal to our own. As for Ryu, when you look at some of the salaries of starting pitchers, $17 mil is not a gross overpay. Hell, I think Mike Leake makes $16 mil . . .
      *
      If true, very solid start to the off-season.

  15. What do you think? Trade max Muncy (no dh in NL) for Whit Merrifield. Merrifield fills a position of need at 2b and leadoff, hits both LHers & RHers. Muncy would be a DH. We could be trading high (or not) with Muncy.

    1. Whit wants to be in KC and the owner wants him there, but I don’t think selling high on Muncy would be the worst mover ever. He’s the #1 candidate for regression next year. In the right package you would have to think about it. His inability to hit curve balls was exposed during the postseason.

    2. I had the exact same idea if Muncy is all it takes to get Merrifield. Muncy was awesome this year and my favorite player but there is no guarantee he will perform in 2019 like he did this year. Before anyone says it, the same thing could happen to Merrifield. It seems like the players we get from the AL have a hard time transiting to the NL. Big exception was Mannywood.

      1. Richie

        You better take a look at Manny’s numbers against righties, since he joined the Dodgers.

        Because his numbers were not all that, against righties.

    3. Are you kidding? Tell me where Max is right now and I’ll pick him up and drive him to the airport myself. Hell… what is it Friday? I’ll pick him up and drive him to KC this weekend, if that’s what it takes… just keep me posted.

  16. Olney on the Indians:
    `
    Faced with market constraints, the Indians will listen to trade offers for some of their veteran players this winter, according to sources. Kluber, Carrasco, Encarnacion, Gomes, etc. Lindor, Ramirez will definitely be held.

    1. They probably should’ve won in 2016 like we probably should’ve won in 2017. But there is no “In Search of Lost Time” in baseball.

  17. My predictions (as useless as they may be)
    1) Kersh current K is tossed, and he resigns for 5/135
    2) Roberts is given a 3 year deal
    3) Gradal is extended the QO, and he declines and leaves
    4) Ryu is extended the QO, but we wind up resigning him for 3 years (a move I LOVE)

    I think Ryu is fully healthy and back. And as a 4 of 5, he is absolutely dominant. This also gives us tons of trade bait (Wood, Strip, Ferguson, Maeda, May/White, etc)

    1. It’s being reported that Clayton’s new deal is very close. I hope they do back off the AAV a bit. No one wants to win a title more than Clayton. Sometimes it’s all in the agent’s hands but CK has to know even saying the Dodgers $5 milllion a year on AAV could help him get the elusive title by bringing in talent better then let’s say Kike batting 3rd in a World Series elimination game.

    2. 4) is interesting. So if we offer it he can use that as leverage. Instead of a 1y/$17m deal he could parlay that into a 2y/$28m deal [for example] or a 3y/$36m deal. The latter two have lower AAV’s and would benefit us from that standpoint. I like Ryu and would have no problem with him staying.

  18. Mark, is there any way to correct what happens to my post? I posted this morning and it has not surfaced. I have tried to change my ID several times and nothing.

  19. Anyone find it strange that the Dodgers worked so hard to save $1 million on Freese’s deal?

    1. Hawkeye

      I thought that was incredible cheap, considering what they gave Forsythe last year.

      You have to reward the players that step up and deserve it, not try to save every last penny.

  20. What do you guys think of the
    Indians making Kluber, Carrasco and the other OG’s available? Should the blue try and get Kluber?

  21. Fangraphs is reporting we have A LOT of money to spend on free agency this off-season. I don’t understand why so many here are against signing Bryce Harper. If it character that’s one thing but if it’s anything else I just don’t get it. Offense was the number #1 problem in the World Series and he’s a great offensive player. He wouldn’t be blocking anyone because Kemp & Puig come off the books after this coming season, Joc & Taylor are platoon types, and Bellinger is a first baseman by trade and plays CF which wouldn’t impact Bryce at all. Toles is nobody to change our plans around and Verdugo looks certain to get a long look regardless of who else we sign.
    *
    Our organization is loaded. We have arms coming up. We have catchers in the pipeline. We have Lux nearly ready to make his mark. We have Seager coming back. We have three straight NLCS appearances and two straightpennants. What’s missing is the knockout punch. I think the cost of free agent pitchers is exorbitant; we’re about to recommit to Kershaw instead of wading in. In my opinion, Buehler is more likely to be our next great pitcher than anyone else. Can you even imagine how much DeGrom would cost to acquire?
    *
    It’s time to pony up. We have the structure in place to support it. Just play around with the lineup like I did yesterday. Bat Harper leadoff or 2nd; move Turner to clean-up. Let Bellinger study Bryce’s mechanics. He really is that good.
    *
    I personally am not only in favor of targeting him; I think it’s close to mandatory that we make an effort. Remember Stanton? Maybe we passed him up for exactly this reason. Machado proved this city is eager for a superstar. We have a great roster but we might be lacking that one guy. Give him all the personality tests you want but at the end of the day I would happy because I could dream on an MVP season, 50 HR, 10 Win WAR, a feisty dugout presence, and a guy that Roberts could bring the best out of.
    *
    10 years $350 mil. Player opt out after 4 years. Sign on the line that is dotted.

    1. Hey I’m all for Harper but his mechanics aren’t always very good. They were quite bad the first half the season. He tends to pull off the ball especially against lefties. He had a nice 2nd half.

    2. I’m all good on signing Harper but he does always have great mechanics. Actually they were quite bad the first half of the season. He tends to pull off the ball especially vs lefties. He had a great 2nd half after they were out of it.

    3. Dionysis

      One thing about Harper, is the fact he has not been consistent.

      And I can’t take most of the Nat’s players numbers that seriously, because they have been playing in a very weak division for sometime.

      But my mind is always open to the right deal, except to another all or nothing player.

  22. From LA DodgerTalk Trade Rumors:

    The Dodgers soft tossed a qualifying offer to catcher Yasmani Grandal but he dropped it. He then lost it under the table and still cannot find it.

    This story is still developing… stay tuned to LA DodgerTalk for more updates.

        1. Val

          I don’t know how you almost fooled Bobby, because when I saw the word dropped, I knew what this was about!

          But on a more serious thought, I would have Grandal get his eyes checked.

          1. Yup… he needs to have his eyes checked for sure. And while they’re at it… they should take a look between his ears as well.
            He’s got kind of a Steve Sax thing going on right now… but with catching the ball. He’s going to need some tricks moving forward to help cope with those nerves and anxieties.

  23. As of last night, #Dodgers and Kershaw were talking about adding an additional year to his remaining two years, $65M, likely bringing total over three years to more than $90M but less than $100M, a source says. Final terms might be different. @JeffPassan reporting deal is close.

    — Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 2, 2018

    1. 31 is my lucky number so this is good. also will be 31 years since a championship next year. we got this.

  24. I think the “incentives” portion should favor the Dodgers. Like, if you suck in October, you owe us some money back

      1. I don’t expect the same from the entire team that I do from “the greatest pitcher of this generation”

        Just like I didn’t expect the same from Andrew Bynum and Rick Fox that I did from Kobe

        1. And he carried his team on his back out of the McCourt era into perennial contenders. He’s had his lapses at times, he’s had failure from his defense at times, he’s had a lot of failure from his bullpen too. Plus some bad managing by Mattingly and Roberts. I don’t hear anyone asking for Kenley’s money back. His HR he gave up was the biggest moment in the 2017 WS and he failed twice this year. It’s a team game.

          1. Hawkeye

            The biggest moment in the 2017 World Series was Kershaw giving away to substantial leads, in game five.

            I am not happy with Kenley, but he has never been put on the pedestal Kershaw has, or gotten paid close to the way Kershaw has.

          2. I couldn’t disagree more. Kenley executes his pitch to Gonzalez. They’re up 2-0 and they don’t have to burn up their pen the way they did. Let’s not forget Maeda and Morrow couldn’t get anyone out in Game 5 because they were exhausted. The Dodgers can use Fields, McCarthy and the rest of the pen they didn’t trust when Darvish exits early game 3. The Dodgers win in 5 or 6 if Kenley hits his spot.

  25. The Dodgers have struck a new deal with star lefty Clayton Kershaw, per Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). It’s a three-year, $93MM pact, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). There are no opt-outs in the pact, Brown adds in another tweet, but Kershaw can boost his earnings through bonuses.

  26. I don’t find it strange that the Dodgers saved a million on Freese. When they picked up Forsythe’s option it was for player they expected to be playing regularly at 2B. Don’t think they thought he wasn’t going to measure up. In the case of Freese, they’re probably thinking of him as just a bench piece, and occasional fill-in.

    I still would like to see Machado come back. But I am in agreement with Mark that is has to be at a reasonable price. The Dodgers could use his right handed hitting bat.

    I’d also like to have Harper as well. Again, money and years probably matter, but I’m perfectly certain that Dodgers brass can do the math, and figure out what makes sense.

    I don’t know if the Dodgers would sign both players, but if they did it would create lots of flexibility for other deals.

    Just popped up on my phone that Kershaw signed 3-year extension for $93 million, with no opt-outs.

    1. Brooklyn

      That might be true about Freeze, but where the heck was the offense, when it came to Forsythe?

      I didn’t know second base, was an all defensive position.

      And Forsythe’s defense that first year, wasn’t something he had consistently provided, in the last few years.

      He was solid, but he was not one of the best defensive second baseman in the league, except that one outlier year.

      1. And Brooklyn, sorry I had to ask this, or you sure Forsythe wasn’t more suited for the bench?

        There is a smiley emoji that can’t be seen with the naked eye, after that question, because I am on my IPhone.

          1. Hawkeye

            Forsythe should have never got a second year!

            Take a look at his offensive numbers, they were terrible.

            And that just might have cost us a decent arm in the pen!

  27. Good post Mark. I, for one, am extremely grateful that we have FAZ in our front offices. Do they swing and miss occasionally? Absolutely. But then, so do Epstein/Hoyer, Cashman, Chernoff and Luhnow. More often than not, however, they get it right and hit the ball on the screws. Moreover, the fact that FAZ was able to keep the Dodgers very competitive while subtracting 100 million from the payroll is no small feat. The other GMs mentioned had the luxury of tanking for several years so they could restock their system with top draft choices. Making draft selections in the top 10 picks is significantly easier than making the right selection at #25. Even then, these GMs have swung and missed badly (say hello, Mark Appel and Hayden Simpson).
    .
    Dave Roberts also makes mistakes. As do Madden, Hinch, Francona, Cora, and Boone. Baseball is one of the more difficult and unpredictable games to play. “Failure” is more apt to happen than “success.” Average 3 hits out every 10 at-bats for and entire season and you might soon be a millionaire. Lead your team to 100 wins, it is going to be coupled with 62 losses. Friedman had the foresight to hire Madden at TB. FAZ hired Roberts, when everyone assumed the job would be handed to Kapler. They obviously saw something in Roberts they really liked. I think they are going to hitch their ponies to his wagon for the foreseeable future. He hasn’t proven them wrong. As to all the people that bitch and moan that Roberts is merely a puppet that only does what he’s told by FAZ, please lay out what actual evidence you have to support that. I look forward to him managing the team for several more years, and while I may cuss at the TV now and again when he makes a decision that I don’t agree with, I rest in the fact that he has much more information available to him than I do sitting in my recliner with the remote in my right hand.
    .
    Val9000 – your Grandal joke was priceless! By the way, I don’t think there is a snowball’s chance that Grandal accepts the QO.

  28. Contracts like that still just blow my mind. That is, players get paid for what they have done. However, if one has to be signed, Clayton is a good choice. He is a fine young man, a good family man, charitable and represents the team well. He wants to be a Dodger and I expect this will be his last contact. He will retire as a Dodger. He may well have a no trade clause.
    .
    I expect his first and foremost goal is to help bring a ring to LA. His inability to do so thus far must weigh heavily on him. He no doubt will no longer be a No.1 as we have witnessed his slow regression. Maybe he does reinvent himself as he is definitely team oriented and wants to do well. Being second behind Walker Buehler would not be so bad. It may well be beneficial to him. Go Clayton.

    1. DC, Clayton has a no-trade clause in the form of 10 & 5 rights. He is not going anywhere.

      1. Yes. Kenley signed a 5 year 80 mil deal after 2016. But Kenley can opt out after 2019, in which case he’d leave $38mil on the table (so he ain’t goin nowhere!)

    1. I expected both, and I think both will decline. Grandal because he knows he can do better with a longer term and more guaranteed dollars, and Ryu because Boras will not allow his client to accept a one year deal. I also think Grandal may be a little bitter as to how he was “used” in the past two WS. Boras obviously has more confidence in getting Ryu a multi year deal with more guaranteed dollars. I still think the Dodgers will consider signing Ryu to a 2-3 year deal.

    2. I had a feeling they were leaning this way. Doesn’t mean Ryu will take it, but considering Urias’ impending innings limit, Hill’s history, Maeda’s inconsistency, Wood’s drop in velo, etc. It made sense. If he takes it, I see Maeda or Wood on the trade block.

      1. It’s funny. I used to dislike having one-and-done players on the roster but now I like it. Gives us flexibility and trade potential. Wood and Puig fit the bill. Could be very valuable to us or flipped if replaced on roster.

          1. Hawkeye

            Verlander is only making 25 million a year, but he is pitching like a 25 million a year pitcher, even in the post season.

            Kershaw is a decent regular season pitcher, but not an ace.

            We shouldn’t have to pay Kershaw off, to go into the Hall of Fame as a Dodger.

    1. I read that stuff, but I don’t think they came close with any prediction last year. They are imbeciles!

  29. A good day for the dodgers. They are operating from a position of strength. I hope they’re talking to all class of free agent and discussing deals teams rich and poor. I think we’ll see more turnover than usual. The rotation and outfield could use some paring.

  30. Some predictions:
    Grandal declines the q.o. and we sign a FA catcher to a two-year deal.
    Ryu accepts the q.o. and pitches in our rotation all year.
    Kershaw wins a ring during his new contract.

  31. First – I am totally enthused about Kershaw’s return. A very reasonable way to bring him back and to have him for a not unreasonable term. He should be a Dodger for life and it looks like he may be.

    I am also pleased to have Freese back – he will be this year’s Chase Utley. And he can hit in the clutch (unlike most Dodgers).

    It made sense to make the qualifying offer to Grandal. It sounds like the Dodgers’ other catching prospects are a year or 2 off at least. I don’t seen Grandal accepting the QO and I really wonder if they bring him back for 3 or more seasons – I have real concerns that he has been on the bench for most of the last 2 World Series. If they can’t trust him in the biggest games then no matter how good he has played at times (and he has been very good at times) you have to wonder whether he should come back.

    I am much more surprised about Ryu’s QO. He pitched 80 very good innings this year. He was 5 – 9, 3.77 with a 4.74 FIP in 2017 and pitched 4 innings in 2016. He has a spotty injury history to be sure. He accumulated 2.2 WAR last year per Baseball Reference and 8.6 WAR in 5 seasons. In 2018, he was 22nd in the NL in pitching WAR.

    About the Braintrust – according to our host, it has, by itself, put the Dodgers in the Series 2 seasons in a row. The players signed or drafted by the ‘Trust’s predecessors don’t matter, I guess.

    Obviously, analytics are here to stay and should be. The question is really how to blend the conclusions reached by the nerds with those of the baseball guys to come up with real decisions about how the team should operate. In my view, the Braintrust over-emphasizes the numbers and has designed a style of play that is almost unwatchable. It’s not solely a matter of wins and losses (although that is an issue) – it’s baseball aesthetics. A game where nothing happens – the pitcher and catcher play catch and the hitter walks, Ks or hits a HR – not that interesting. Baseball is concerned that younger fans are tuning out – is there any wonder why? Baseball has so little action and it gets worse annually.

    The Dodgers had 1394 hits, 1436 Ks, 647 walks. More Ks than hits. They had 235 HR and 6358 plate appearances. This means that the “3 true outcomes” totaled 2318 out of 6358 PA, which is 36.5%. Almost unwatchable. Almost as bad as soccer!

    Mark emphasizes how smart and accomplished the Braintrust is. You can’t say that and assume that they aren’t OK with the way the offense played. The Ks are the byproduct of the offense that it designed. You can’t say that the ‘Trust desired bat-to-ball skills if it built the offense that it built

    I can see the Dodgers hitting even more HR, striking out even more, and hitting for an even lower average next season. It’s a matter of design. You will note that the Bosox hit differently with 2 strikes and 2 outs – the Dodgers just didn’t do that – most of them hit for the fences every time up. There are lessons that have to be learned.

    Reading excerpts of the interview given by Friedman and Zaidi, it looks like more of Tampa’s strategies are to follow. They are planning on training younger players to expect to have “openers” instead of starters, view starters as “bulk” pitchers (their words), more platoons and matchups (they believe that’s how the Dodgers won the pennant) – in other words, more nerd-oriented baseball, more ugly baseball. This won’t be much fun to watch. A parade of relief pitchers, platooned hitters (and pinch-hitters), lots of Ks and HRs.

    We will continue to have a parade of AAAA starters, injured guys and rookies in and out of the bullpen every year as the Dodgers struggle to find the 8 guys who might belong there.

    To recap – the Dodgers had a miraculous season last year (except for a horrible September). This year – they were awful to watch – one of the worst “clutch” teams ever who K’d, HR’d and BB’d at high levels but couldn’t knock in a run from 3rd base with less than 2 outs. An endless torrent of situational relievers who managed to have the 2nd most blown saves in baseball even with the advantage of matchups. A team who’s Pythagorean numbers suggested that they should have won 102 games but who won only 92 due to the inability to perform in the clutch.

    They have to operate differently next year but probably won’t.

    By the way – I doubt seriously they sign someone like Harper next year, but I don’t really think that they should anyway. Friedman says that he likes the team that he has and that the Dodgers will compete next year. I agree that they will be competitive even if the team only nibbles around the margins. But it is a team that should revamp its approach and its personnel.

    1. yes, definitely revamp the approach and personnel of a team that made the Series in back to back years.
      `
      That would be smart.

      1. It would be smart to have a couple of hitters who did something other than strike out or hit HRs. It would be smart to have a couple of relievers who are known to be reliable before the season starts. It would be smart to have a couple of more guys who could play every day and not be so reliant on platoons. It would be smart to have someone who could be relied on to knock in a runner from 3B with less than 2 outs.

      2. Bluto

        Sorry you forgot which teams won the World Series the last couple years, because our line up and approach, was nothing like either of these teams.

    2. Sorry Rick, Ryu pitched better then Kershaw at times this year, and he has his velocity back, unlike Kershaw.

      1. Ryu did not have his old velocity back. He changed the way he was throwing his fastball. It ticked up a little bit pre-surgery he was working at 93-94. Usually up at the end of the season. He was cutting it more and he was working on a two seam last offseason because his four seam got hammered in 2017.

    3. I HAVE PROBLEMS WITH MY ENGLISH ABILITIES SO, I CANT EXPLAINT MY IDEAS CLEARLY. BUT I AGREED WITH MORE OF THESE COMMENTARIES…..I PREFER A FUN TEAM AND FUN GAMES INSTEAD OF KOs OR HRS GAMES EVENT WITH A TWO WS…REPEAT I ENJOYED THAT (HANLEY, CRAFORD, TURNER, GONZO ETC) TEAM WHO LOST VERSUS CARDINALS

    1. I am not sure why you say silly, when they have done nothing to dissuade the continuing strikeouts, or to dissuade the exaggerated launch angle overswing. There was no improvement during the season for hitting with 2 strikes or 2 outs. Why will it be different next year? Friedman has already opined that all of the ingredients are in place for the team to win next year. He did not add that with any bat to ball skill improvement. The best bat to ball skills in the organization not named Justin Turner never got a chance to show what he could do in an uninterrupted audition (Alex Verdugo).
      .
      The one big addition mid year was Manny Machado. Pre trade, Manny had 413 PA and struck out only 51 times (12.3%) with 45 BB. He batted .315/.387/.575/.963. While with the Dodgers, in 296 PA, Manny struck out 53 times (17.9%), with 25 BB, and batted .273/.338/.487/.825. He was surrounded supposedly by better hitters which should have signaled an improvement. However he seemed to take on the Dodgers personna of launch angle, hard swing, and strikeout.

      1. I say it’s silly because if strikeouts are reduced there are more opportunities to create. Now, I don’t think FAZ will articulate that, but if they cut down on just strikeouts looking, there are simply more opportunities to drive in runs and THAT IS part of their M.O.

        I thought Verdugo was ready this year, but for some reason, they held him back… yet they were loathe to trade him. FAZ isn’t going to say why.

        I think a lot of this would have been different if Seager was in the lineup.

        The bottom line is a Zero-Sum game: Cut down strikeouts and you have another type of opportunity. My bet is that they want to cut-down strikeouts by 10% next year. We shall find out.

        1. Nothing will change with Turner Ward as batting coach. The HR is the goal. Whatever it takes.

          The tactic of wearing down the opposing starter and getting into the opponents bullpen will always produce more strikeouts because the batters are trying to take as many pitches as possible per at bat. So many first and second strikes will be recorded by not swinging. Not swinging is a habit that continues throughout the whole at bat. The only way this works is if a batter has a particularly keen eye and sees the ball exceptionally well. Most of the Dodger hitters do not fit this description. This is why we see so many chase balls outside of the strike zone like Belli and Puig. This tactic makes for a very boring game. In this age of fast paced video games and rat a tat ways of speaking, the young players are so disconnected from the bloated old timers like Ward and Honeycutt. How can they relate to these young guys who speak a very different language?

  32. … which is why I say Realmuto and Verdugo!

    If you plug in those two and get some improvemnet from Bellinger and Taylor..

    The add in a healthy Corey Seager…

  33. One final thing:

    WE see opportunities for improvement, but if you expect FAZ to articulate what they plan to do, you are delusional. There will be attempts at preventing the same issues that plagued the team last year, but there will be no press release.

    I just am incredulous that some believe that FAZ is OK with everything.

    1. There is a difference between being acceptive vs being okay. There is no change down in the minors. Just ask DJ Peters and Jeren Kendall, two of their top prospects.

      1. I can’t figure either of those players out. Kendall is the one who says he won’t change his approach. I don’t know about Peters.

  34. If the Dodgers make a move for Harper (I am not against it), then I would move him to LF and trade Pederson , Puig and Toles. That should net a nice return.

    Lineup:
    1. Verdugo RF
    2. Seager SS
    3. Turner 3B
    4. Harper LF
    5. Realmuto C
    6. Bellinger 1B
    7. Taylor CF
    8. Hernadez/Muncy 2B

    1. Dude, what’s with your love affair with Verdugo? He’s a flawed player. Not enough speed for CF and not enough power for the corners. He’s not as good as Puig or Pederson and you’re willing to get rid of both of them to get him in the lineup? And on top of that, you’re willing to pencil in Taylor and his 178 K’s? Muncy / Taylor / Hernandez are utility guys. Toles is better than Verdugo, at least he has some speed and some power. Put Harper or Puig in center, the other in right and deal with the platoon of Kemp and Pederson for another year. Toles is your 4th outfielder. Resign Dozier to bat leadoff and play 2B and deal with Barnes / Smith at C batting 8th. Done.

      1. Dozier 2B
      2. Seager SS
      3. Turner 3B
      4. Harper CF
      5. Bellinger 1B
      6. Puig RF
      7. Pederson / Kemp LF
      8. Barnes / Smith / Ruiz C

      1. Well, after that, I have to respond:

        I don’t have a love affair with Verdugo, but all I can say is “Watch and Learn.”

        Dozier at leadoff? You are speaking of the Brian Dozier who hit .182 with the Dodgers? He makes Taylor look like Babe Ruth.

        Harper or Puig in CF? Put down the crack pipe.

        Barnes, Smith and Ruiz at C? Now, I’m calling 911 on you!

  35. Well because they have a track record (albeit under tax limitations) of how they do baseball, and the post WS press conference led one to believe they will continue down the swing and miss plate approach, and not change that approach, and their view of SP addressed from within the system.

  36. I am hoping Friedman gets it, because he said the cause of the World Series loss, was because of the offense.

  37. I think faz has done an outstanding job for the Dodgers. I can’t say a great job because we have not won a World Series with faz in charge. They have put our team in position to get to the World Series 2 years in a row despite being financially handicapped by the (trade). The Dodgers are definitely moving in the right direction with an exciting future ahead. The Kershaw signing was an ok move. He is fantastic in the regular season and I guess if price can do what he did it’s not too late for Kershaw. I hope he is able to exercise his playoff demons for his and the Dodgers sake. Maybe his health can be improved which would improve his stuff. He is not a number 1 in my mind so move over for Buehler. I believe his contract will exceed his performance but I would love to be wrong. I like the freese signing. No way in hell would I have given grandal a qualifying offer unless they are 90% sure he won’t take it. Please no grandal I don’t care what the stats say he is the biggest choker of all time. Ryu I like but like every pitcher his injuries concern you. As far as Roberts he has had much success. Unlike most on this board his platoons really don’t bother me I think it is mostly a strength. Why would you ever bat joc against a lefty but he can be lethal against righties. It is his dumbass in game decisions, his nonchalant attitude, his arrogance at times, his lack of urgency and I could go on to no avail. He is almost like Kershaw in that we own the regular season but he shrinks in the biggest moments. Roberts needs to grow for the Dodgers to win a World Series. Most everyone knows that except probably him who tries to explain away every dumb… decision.

  38. Historically, platoons occur when players at that position are not good enough to play every day. Until we sign additional players who are good enough to play every day, the platoons will continue.

    Turner and Seager (Machado this year) are every day players. Puig plays mostly every day but … We tried to trade for any every day second baseman but got burned with first Forsythe and then Dozier. If Bellinger evolves from his sophomore slump he will play every day.

    Signing Harper would give us an every day outfielder. I would like to think Verdugo can become an every day player.

    We need an every day catcher.

    Right now Pederson, CT3, Hernandez, Freese, Kemp and Barnes are not every day players. Not sure what is up with Toles. It remains to be seen if Muncy can sustain his 2018 numbers. If so, he could be an every day player. DH if it comes or 2B/1B if necessary. At most positions bat trumps glove.

    If we want to be the NL powerhouse (we do!) and compete with the AL powerhouses (we do!) we need players who are good enough to play every day. We are out from under the luxury tax this year. I expect moves from the front office that will move us away from using platoons because are starters will be good enough to play every day.

    1. So/Cal/Grinch

      Exactly!

      And you will find other then Kemp and Freeze, who were once everyday players, the younger players on your list, didn’t hit well when runners were in scoring position, even when they were facing their platoon strengths.

      Friedman said the platoons were more about the roster they had, not because he wants a bunch of platoon players.

      And last year they were working with the luxury tax.

  39. I have a feeling Ryu will be back.

    Maeda and Wood could be traded.

    What could you get for Maeda, Wood, Puig, Pederson and Muncy?

    1. I would be happy with either a 2 – 3 year deal with Ryu or the OF. I like short deals.

      Those players are all trade candidates. I would include Stripling in my trade candidates though I would be happy to keep him. Stripling or Maeda who ever brings the best value in return. Puig and Wood are last year arb IIRC so would expect them to be included in a trade. Muncy would be selling high. I do not expect him to be able to sustain his numbers so would trade now. Peterson is a 4th OF for a contender but can play every day for most teams. Those players plus prospects should yield 2 every day players (C, OF, 2B) for a perennial contender (that would be the Dodgers)

        1. I am in that group as well. But if he was willing to sign a 3 year $33MM deal as was projected, that would be even better. It is only an additional $15MM total increase, but a $7MM AAV reduction. I still do not see Boras allowing Ryu to agree to accept QO.

          1. AC

            I saw that projection for Ryu, and there is no way Kershaw is three times the pitcher Ryu is, right now.

            And we are paying almost that amount for Kershaw, for only one year.

        2. Why not? The Dodgers have been patient and loyal to Ryu. Ryu is a serious pitcher that wants to prove he is on his game, now. I don’t believe he is in this to squeeze out the most $$.

  40. Alden Gonzalez, ESPN.com:
    “I don’t think I’ve ever covered an athlete who feels as genuine and deep a responsibility to live up to a contract as Clayton Kershaw. He expressed that here, when talking about why his extension is 3 years: “My main priority is to sign a deal I can be productive with. I would never want to sign anything that I didn’t think I could live up to. That’s part of the reason for this deal is I really believe that for three years I can be just as good as I have been. I’m not saying I can’t be good past that, but that’s as long as I was willing to commit to right now.””

  41. Interesting. Reports are that the Indians will make their veteran players available, including their starting pitchers. I wouldn’t mind Kluber in Blue.

      1. I am a huge Drew Saylor fan who someday will become a fantastic ML Manager candidate. But for right now, his value is better suited to working with the kids rather than as a 3rd base coach at the ML level. I think Bill Haselman could be a good candidate to replace Woody. Lombard can move to 3rd and Has can be at 1B where he has experience.

  42. So if we are lucky enough to pick up a guy like Kluber… I wonder how Kersh reacts to being the #3 starter in the rotation?

    1. Kluber’s velocity is down and he has pitched a ton of innings the past 5 years. I can’t see it…

      1. The Marlins just let their infield coach go who Kevin Kennedy considers the best in the game. Perry ?

  43. Assuming ryu accepts:

    1. Kershaw
    2. Buehler
    3. Ryu
    4. Hill
    5. Maeda
    6. Urias
    7. Stripling
    8. Santana
    9. Ferguson
    10. Stewart

  44. Rumor I heard today. Take it as you wish (because I don’t know how to take it)
    Yasmani Grandal’s wife left him for another woman (yes, woman) right before the NLCS.

    yes, it was from a friend’s friend’s spouse who works for the Dodgers. Like I said, take it as u wish. If it’s true, we’ll find out in the coming weeks, as truth always comes out. If it’s not, well, it sounds pretty insane as it its!

    Also, I heard it from a friend who, heard it from a friend who, heard it from another you been messin’ around………

    1. Bobby

      One of my favorite songs from REO Speedwagon.

      I feel bad for the guy if that is true, because any break up is hard.

    2. I guess he struckout at home as well. Something like this could easily have occupied his mind during the NLCS and WS. Terrible timing for him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he took the QO of $17.5M. Will his power alone will attract other clubs? He defense surely wouldn’t. The fans usually know the worth of the player. Grandal has been roundly criticized for the past 3 years. His slumping, poor CS%, passed balls, and inability to be clutch, probably outweigh his framing abilities. He just sat for most of the WS while his do nothing backup got most of the work. Would you pay $17.5M for a player like this?

      1. Yes, although I’d rather have Realmuto. This is just an example of bias against Yasmai. In the 2018 season, he had 9 passed balls. Boston’s catchers (Leon) had 13 and 11 (Vasquez) , Martin Maldonado had 13, Lucroy had 10. Ramos and Realmuto had 8. So, Grandal was pretty dang good. So, you say, “Well, he had a lot of Wild Pitches then.” WRONG AGAIN! He has 31 WP. Lucroy had 63. Maldonado had 53, Molina had 39, Realmuto had 34. Yasmani is among the leaders with fewest passed balls and wild pitches combined. He also has a very good arm and controls the running game.

        Many fans hate Yasmani, but their bias has little basis in fact!

        Did I mention that he is the best pitch framer in baseball?

        MLB TRADE RUMORS has him rated as the 6th best free agent this year… out of 50:

        6. Yasmani Grandal – Nationals. Four years, $64MM. Grandal is the best available free agent catcher. He turns 30 in November and his 116 wRC+ ranks fourth among all catchers from 2016-18. He’s second among all catchers with 73 home runs during that time. Grandal is a switch-hitter and is above average against both righties and lefties. Though Grandal took his lumps defensively in the postseason and does allow a lot of passed balls, he’s one of the game’s best pitch framers and has been above-average in terms of caught-stealing rate over the past four seasons. Overall, Grandal is one of the better catchers in baseball, and he has a shot at the five-year contract standard reached by Brian McCann and Russell Martin. While many teams will prefer trading for Marlins backstop J.T. Realmuto to signing Grandal, only one can get Realmuto and the prospect cost will be substantial. The Dodgers have issued Grandal a qualifying offer but could otherwise move on. The Nationals, Rangers, Twins, Red Sox, Astros, Angels, Phillies, Mets, Braves, and Rockies could be suitors.

        BTW, I heard the same type of rumor about Yasmani about a month ago, but said nothing as I could not confirm it, but if others are hearing it it may be true.

        1. We can all rationalize our positions regarding certain players. The fact that Grandal was benched for a large part of the WS this year and some last year, speak volumes. Time to move in a different direction, if possible.

          1. I agree, because I would like to see JT who has a different style, but Yasmani is still Top 5.

            If it’s true his wife jilted him after he stood by her last year, that would be tragic.

  45. Great write up Mark. It has been frustrating to listen to so many know-it-alls act like the front office is clueless. Glad to read a pointed reality check. The six straight NL West titles and threw two straight world series appearances while rebuilding the farm and getting under luxury tax threshold is really an amazing accomplishment. Always room to improve, of course, but to not be thankful for what we have as Dodger fans would be ridiculous.

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