Looking to 2019 – Part 1

As it stands now, the Dodgers 2019 salary is projected anywhere from $175MM to $180MM. If both Grandal and Ryu accept the QO, the Dodgers will be well past the tax threshold of $206MM. The Dodgers can pick up about $20MM by trading Puig and Wood. Another $4MM to $5MM for Joc. They do not need both CT3 and Kike’. Pick one. Both are arbitration eligible and are projected to be at $3.2MM.

Much has been written about how deep the Dodgers pockets are. How FAZ worked so hard to get the team under the luxury tax threshold just so they could go big with this year’s group of free agents. But what is being slightly ignored are potential financial pitfalls. The case of Ogles v Security Benefit Life Insurance Co et al, U.S. District Court, District of Kansas, No. 18-02265 is still pending. There is still turmoil between Todd Boehly and Mark Walter & Guggenheim Partners. And there are still the issues involving the pending litigation regarding the practice of signing international players, principally the Cubans. The Dodgers are very much being scrutinized in this ordeal. I have no insight as to what the Dodgers finances might be, or how that might impact the free agency signings. Therefore, I am going to give my analysis of what the team may look like without any financial considerations. Today I am going to focus on pitching and catching, while tomorrow I will look at infielders and outfielders.

The Dodgers currently have 39 protected on their 40-man roster. Chase Utley is still listed, but he has stated that he will retire and when that becomes official Chase would be removed from the 40 man, dropping it to 38. There are 22 pitchers, 3 catchers, 6 infielders, and 7 outfielders.

Starting pitching: 2019 will be the year that the opening day starter will not be Clayton Kershaw for the first time since 2010 (Vincent Padilla). Walker Buehler will (should) get that honor. Clayton drops down to #2. Rich Hill should be the #3, and after that it is anyone’s guess. Current Dodgers who will be vying for #4 and #5

Julio Urias
Alex Wood
Kenta Maeda
Ross Stripling
Dennis Santana
Caleb Ferguson

This does not include the possibility of Hyun-jin Ryu returning. FAZ has advised each of the above to approach the 2019 season as if they were starters. Urias will be limited to 100-120 IP and will probably be moved to the bullpen when he reaches 80-90 just so he is available for the stretch run and October. I fully expect Alex Wood to be traded regardless if Ryu returns or not. Ross Stripling has earned the right to start, and Kenta Maeda should either be the #5 starter or traded so that he is not hurt by his incentive laden contract. Dennis Santana will start the season in OKC, which brings us to Caleb Ferguson.

I think the Dodgers have a lot of options for starting pitching, but most are back of the rotation types. Unless Kershaw can come all the way back, the Dodgers have 1 legit top of the rotation type starter…Walker Buehler. I felt the Dodgers missed out big when they did not acquire Gerrit Cole last winter. I do not know who will be available to be Co #2 with Kershaw, but it will not be Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard. Both of those pitchers were Brodie Van Waganen’s former clients and he is not about to trade either one when he needs them both to justify his getting the NYM GM position. Zach Wheeler may be available. He has one year before becoming a FA, but that is who I would target if Van Waganen is willing to deal. I get the impression he wants to ride the big three as long as he can. I am not as excited about Corey Kluber or Carlos Carrazco, but I would certainly listen. A potential ‘out of the box” possibility is the Marlins’ RHSP, Jose Urena.

Outside of Ryu, I cannot think of a FA starting pitcher that interests me. I like Patrick Corbin but not at the price he is projected to get, and he will take less to pitch for the Yankees. Dallas Keuchel is losing it faster than Kershaw. Eovaldi feels more of a late inning reliever than starter.

Relief Pitching: Caleb is 22 years old and has been a very successful starting pitcher. But he was an exceptional reliever for LAD in 2018. There is no question that starting pitchers are paid more handsomely than relievers, but Ferguson has a chance to be an Andrew Miller type pitcher who will face the tough part of the lineup in the 5th, 6th, and/or 7th, and will get paid. Right now, he relies way too much on his fastball, but if he fully develops his secondary pitches (curve and change), he could be unhittable. If I were King of the Dynasty, I would send Caleb back to OKC to start. He should really concentrate on commanding his curve and change. He should not worry about winning or losing, only on improving his secondary pitches. He will never be a 4-pitch pitcher as his slider is next to non-existent. But there is enough velo separation with his fastball (94-96), curve (75-77) and change (85-86) for him to work with to become at best a mid-rotation starter or a weapon out of the bullpen. There is not much difference in pay for those two types. I like him better as a relief weapon.

Jansen, Baez, Alexander, Floro, Cingrani should all be back with the MLB team. But there is one reliever that very few other than me seem to like:

45 Games – 41 IP
2.20 ERA
0.951 WHIP
11 BB/33K
4 HRs allowed
9 inherited runners – ZERO scored.

I recognize that most do not like Josh Fields, but I am in the minority who think he is a valuable middle reliever who can dominate at times and struggle at others. He is not the late inning setup guy and should not be judged as one. Just my opinion. One other name to keep an eye on is RHRP Jesen Therrien who signed a two-year minor league contract last year. I can see Jesen on the big-league club by June 2019. With his fastball, if he even comes close to replicating that changeup from his pitching mentor, Eric Gagne, he could be devastating. I am very high on him…as much as I was with Brandon Morrow. If he can be as good as Morrow was, wouldn’t that be special. Plus he would be under team control for several years.

I am not a fan of paying huge dollars for previously successful relievers in FA. Besides Jose Leclerc (RHRP – Rangers), I could see the Dodgers targeting Taylor Rogers (LHRP – Twins) or Kyle Crick (RHRP – Pirates). If the Astros want to make Ryan Pressly available, I would think the Dodgers would check in. If the Padres want to trade with LAD, I can see discussions around Craig Stammen, Matt Strahm, and Kirby Yates.

FAZ will look at a lot of possible relievers, including many already on the roster. Tom Koehler did not pitch this year, but still has one year of arbitration remaining. I can see FAZ offering Koehler the same deal he signed last year. If he says no, then he is DFA candidate. Other DFA candidates might be Yimi Garcia, Zac Rosscup, Erik Goeddel, Pat Venditte, JT Chargois, and Brock Stewart. Only Venditte has an option. It would depend on how many 40-man spots are needed for Rule 5 draftees retained or FAs signed. Do not expect any big-name relievers, including Adam Ottavino. He would be the only “name” reliever that I would be interested in. It is going to be another bunch of pitchers on the OKC – LA shuttle.

Marshall Kasowski, Jordan Sheffield, Yadi Alvarez, Josh Sborz, and Daniel Corcino are all potential minor league relievers that may be called up during the year. Joe Broussard and Shea Spitzbarth will get a chance to showcase in ST, but they would not be high on my wish list. Besides Therrien, the one I will be watching closely will be Tony Gonsolin. He has a chance to be the 2019 version of Caleb Ferguson.

Catcher: Austin Barnes is a decent backup catcher, but not a starter for a championship team. Kyle Farmer’s reign as a Dodger may very well come to an end. He is a utility infielder who can catch. At 31, Rocky Gale will be insurance and a good mentor for Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz but is most certainly a DFA candidate. I do not expect Grandal to accept the QO, so the team will need someone to fill in before Smith or Ruiz are ready. If Wilson Ramos will accept a 2-year contract, I would expect that he will get an offer. If he wants a three year deal, the Dodgers may still look at that and then include Will Smith in a trade. I am sure the Dodgers will be in on any discussion for JT Realmuto, but I would expect that other teams will be in a position to offer more. Realmuto would be my number 1 target, I just do not think FAZ will match what the Braves and or Nationals may be offering.

Realistically, look for the Dodgers to sign a fill-in type catcher: Kurt Suzuki, Martin Maldonado, or Jonathan Lucroy. Of those three, I would choose Suzuki because he is good offensively, but more importantly it reunites him with his former CS Fullerton teammate, JT. I would also think that FAZ will check in with the Braves for Tyler Flowers if they trade for Realmuto or sign Grandal.

One other option I have been reading about…Will Salvador Perez be made available as has been rumored? He is not the offensive player that Realmuto is, but he is a better defensive catcher. He has three years remaining on a very reasonable contract. There is 3 years with $36MM remaining with a $10.5MM AAV. This would be a fantastic move if the Dodgers could pull it off.

This article has 70 Comments

  1. Barring injury there is 0% chance kershaw doesn’t start opening day. Doesn’t mean he’s our best pitcher but he will still get that honor.

  2. I agree with about everything, but would “nitpick” a couple of things:

    1. If healthy, I think Kershaw gets the Opening Day Start out of respect for his body of work. He seems determined to “get it back” so I just think Striker Buehler has to wait another year. We shall see…

    2. I think Urias gets more than 120 innings. The pitchers that have had his surgery most often could not regain their velocity or had impingement. He has regained his velocity and has experienced no pain… just norml soreness. I think he will be treated lot like Striker was this year. … maybe 150 – 160 innings, but they may start him late or DL him a couple of times. That’s so difficult to manage…

    3. Agree on Koehler – I have no idea what he may bring, however.

    4. Therrien is a pitcher to watch, for sure.

    5. Perez would cost less than Realmuto, but how much less? I like having JT’s bat in the middle of the order. You also know that I “Love” Ruiz, but since Cartya is lurking in the wings, I would trade him if we could get Realmuto. The Dodgers have the prospects, and as you say, could trade Wood, Puig, Pederson, Maeda and/or a few others to get more prospects for Miami. I am usually unwilling to trade a prospect like Ruiz, because he almost certainly will be a star, but JT is young enough and very good so that he can help in 2019. I can’t see Kaybear helping much in 2019. His hitting is close, but his catching footwork and throwing needs improvement.

    6. I like Ferguson in the bullpen… a lot. He can be EXCELLENT there in 2019. I would still leave Santana as a starter… for now. A lot is left to be decided with Ryu, so it’s hard to slot them now.

    7. Guggenheim has some big issues behind the scenes and the Dodgers do not have unlimited resources. Stepping over the Luxury Tax Line could induce a shareholder revolt (that’s the worse case scenerio) which could ultimately lead to having to sell the team. There’s a lot happening behind the scenes, so don’t look for the Dodgers to go past the Tax Threshold. That said, there’s plenty to work with.

  3. On another subject. Last night’s Pacers verses Celtics was probably the most exciting game I have seen in a long time (we are season-ticket holders). The Pacers won on a three-pointer by VOD (Victor Oladipo)!

    1. That was a pretty slick shot under pressure!!!
      .
      The most exciting sporting event I have ever attended in my life remains an Indiana High School basketball game, in and about 1990 or so, I attended a game between Warsaw High School and a high school from Gary, Indiana. If I remember correctly, Warsaw was ranked No. 1 in the State at the time and the Gary H.S. #3. Warsaw, which at time, had a population of about 15-16,000 people, had a gym that held close to 7,000 people. The moment the Warsaw Tigers took the floor the fans went absolutely nuts and they remained that way until the final buzzer. Warsaw lost by 2 points. It was their only loss of the season, if I remember correctly. It was an unbelievably thrilling event!!

      1. This is the Anderson Wigwam that seated over 9,000 and packed it every game back in the day:

  4. I think it’s funny how many times Realmuto comes up in these threads. I said we needed to get him last year before the season started. Had we got him a black hole would have been filled and if it takes Ruiz do it. Last year Miami was in trading mode and we could have given grandal and Ruiz plus who else. If grandal accepts our offer that would be a step back. He is serviceable in the regular season but we cannot win a World Series with him. All the Boston no name catchers could at least put the bat on the ball and catch the ball. Faz are smart people so I assume they know he will opt out, otherwise if winning the World Series is a goal we have stalled it. I hope Therrien is the real deal but with the injury history he won’t make a full year without dL stints. Taylor will be kept to play ss because you know Seager will not start the year. This probably assures Taylor and kike. We might need to get a legitimate hitter like Daniel Murphy. I know he is not a defensive player but if his swing is there we will have a hard time finding anybody better.

  5. They will definitely step over the Tax Threshold at some point. They won’t go over the “screw up your draft pick” threshold. Harper is definitely a target because he’s a generational talent. But, they will not outbid a stupid offer. Hopefully Zaidi will go up north and take the Giants out of the bidding for Harper. Other than Harper, I don’t see any other free agent to break the bank for, especially since Nolan Arrenado (The Perfect Fit!) is a free agent next year. I think this team is going to look a lot like last year’s team. They will do what they think will improve the pen. I don’t even think they’ll trade Wood since Urias will be a slow start guy. But, I do think the team will be much better at the end of the year. Mainly because Kershaw will either be better, or will be on the DL after getting his ailments taken care of. Urias and Bueller will be rotation anchors. Hill will do what he always does, pitch great and get pulled too early and one of the many young starters will step up to be that 4th guy (Gonsolin, Ferguson, White, Santana). Who knows, Wood might even be that guy again. The pen will be better as they will learn their lesson about not picking up a legitimate setup guy, and Kenley will be back to his old self. The lineup will be better because they will finally realize that Kike is not an every day player, Seager instead of Machado, Bellinger mature, Puig another step forward. The lineup right now looks very left handed, not a good look against left handed pitchers. Harper would be a great fit. They need a dependable right handed bat that can hit in the middle of the order. Can they trade for Jose Abreu? They have a history of trading with the White Sox. Bellinger looks more valuable as a CF.

    1. That is something I would consider, although Abreu has only two more years of control. He hits righties and lefties about the same and would fit nicely in the #5 or #6 spot. Puig would likely have to go too.

      1, Verdugo RF
      2. Turner 3B
      3. Seager SS
      4. Bellinger CF
      5. Abreu 1B
      6. Pederson/Kemp LF
      7. Kike or Taylor
      8. ____________________________

      1. Abreu is better than Bellinger, why would you hit him after? When Seager is in the lineup, he bats second and Turner 3rd. Why are you switching them? Puig is better than Verdugo. Plus, everyone at Dodger stadium loves him. Stop with Verdugo over Puig already!

        1. There’s a 50/50 chance Puig is traded due to his salary and Verdugo. Verdugo has the best bat -to-ball skills of ANYONE in the Dodger Organization.

          Some people use “sight” – I prefer “vision.”

          What you have seen is not always what you WILL see!

          1. Next year’s lineup is going to be lefty heavy as it is. They aren’t going to trade Puig in a walk year. They aren’t going to think his 12M salary is too much. In fact, they will probably even offer him a QO the following year, especially after they gave one to Ryu and Grandal. There isn’t going to be a lot of interest for Puig because he’s only got 1 more year of control, so only contenders will be considered. Way better chance Verdugo gets traded because he has more value to more clubs because of his years of control. For instance, I can see the Marlins trading Realmuto for Verdugo, Ruiz, and others, but not for Puig, Ruiz, etc. Deep down you know Puig isn’t going to be traded. Not a chance. You’re just prospect hugging Verdugo. Verdugo is not that good. He’s not even Todd Hollansworth. He’s James Loney. Would you really dump Puig for James Loney?

    2. A lot of assumptions there 59 – Some I agree with, some I don’t buy into;
      1. Zadi going north – I hope so, because I want balance in the front office
      2. CK being better would be great, long way from saying it and actually being better
      3. The young starters will step up – only one (Buehler) stepped up in 2018
      4. FAZ (implied) will learn their lesson regarding the pen – that’s a leap, huge leap. I’m sure they want a better pen but they’re MO will be the same.
      5. Kenley will be back to his old self – entirely unknown, especially with the heart issue
      6. Realizing Kiki is not an everyday player – they have a love affair with the guy, even when he is 0-a gozillion
      7. Pug with another step forward – we could wish but his progress has been painfully slow

      1. You do know that presently there is a great deal of balance in the Dodger’s front office don’t you? It’s not just Friedman and Zaidi – there’s Pat Corrales, Gerry Hunsicker, Raul Ibanez, Joel Peralta, Josh Byrnes, Brandon Gomes, and Galen Carr, among others who have major positions in the front office and who are clearly “baseball guys.” I don’t for a minute think that the front office is just a 2 headed monster that doesn’t have the collaborative input from these individuals.

  6. I’d definitely keep Kike and Taylor. Let them battle in ST for the starting 2B job. Loser is the super-sub. That may not work out perfectly, if neither can improve their two strike approach, but the 2B market is thin. I’d pass on the defensive liability and homophobic Murphy.

    A package featuring Ruiz for Realmuto works for me, but I agree that other teams will come in with bigger offers. Plan A Ramos; Plan B Suzuki makes sense.

  7. AC–thanks for the excellent read. Your Dodger content is as good as any on the internet.
    *
    Agree with others that Kershaw will start opening day. Also, I wish we could convert Maeda to fulltime reliever. Contract is problematic.
    *
    I like your Sal Perez idea. It’s well outside the box. I could see it if we included some salary to offset his deal. Good mentor situation even though the last year might be a release situation.
    *
    We need offensive consistency. At least one more guy like Turner (and Seager) who can form the core and not be platooned.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. I hope you will feel the same after reading my OF and IF takes tomorrow. I am sure that I am going to get that moron label at least once. But I am going to be in Tahoe, so I am not going to stew over it for very long.

  8. AC

    A really good start to the off season.

    I suggest to everyone on here, to treat AC’s suggestions of certain players and pitchers, much like that vintage commercial from EF Hutton.

    Because AC has been that good!

    His suggestions have came this early in the off season, way before anyone uttered any of these pitcher’s or player’s names.

    Morrow and Muncy come to my mind first, but I know there has been more players or pitchers outside the Dodger’s organization that AC has tuned into and mentioned, that have made a big difference in another team’s success, that the Dodgers could have used too.

    So everyone take notice!

    1. As I said above, you may want to take back the kind words after my IF and OF comments. But thank you!!

  9. I can’t see Grandal accepting the QO because:
    1. He’ll receive a more lucrative deal elsewhere.
    2. He’d have a hard time not remembering the home crowd boos.
    3. He needs a fresh start elsewhere.

    1. It’s a timing and scarcity issue. There are only so many “premium” catchers and he’s at the age you have to maximize your opportunities. If I were him I’d turn off my phone and tell my agent to get me the best deal.

  10. A couple of comments.
    .
    1. FAZ is already on record saying that Urias will be limited to between 100 -120 innings. If there is one thing that I believe them on it is innings pitched for pitchers coming off injuries. IMO there is no way Urias will be one of the starting pitchers in the playoffs.
    .
    2. Jesen Therrien will also be on an innings count. He will get extended ST and then some innings at RC & OKC. He will be with the ML team in June and will get 40 innings through September. He had his TJ last September, so he will have been out of commission for nearly 18 months before ST.
    .
    3. I do think JT Realmuto is a difference maker. But I do not see any way for the Dodgers to outbid the Nats or Braves for him. Thus far, FAZ has not outbid any other club for star players during the off season. They lost on Cole, they lost on Ozuna, they lost on Yelich. They did not lose on Alexander though. They will lose on Realmuto. I would rather be wrong and overjoyed rather than count on him and be disappointed again.
    .
    They have a better chance at Perez because they can offer current ML and near ML ready pitchers and prospects. KC thinks they have a chance in the AL Central if they can get pitching. How does Wood and/or Maeda and/or Stewart sound. They will also need to include Will Smith or Austin Barnes. Max Muncy would also be of interest to KC. Lucas Duda is a FA, and Max is an upgrade over Ryan O’Hearn. It is not that Perez is a step back from Realmuto. Certainly not defensively. Realmuto will be 28 to start next season. He had a -7 defensive runs saved, 8 passed ball, 34 wild pitches, 38% CS. Perez will turn 29 in May and had a +1 defensive runs saved, 4 passed balls, 41 wild pitches, and 48% CS. He is a 4 time GG, and I am a huge proponent of defense. I still find it hard to believe that FAZ will give up enough current pitching, even to get an AS/4 time GG catcher. Perez has 3 years of control, while JT has 2.
    .
    The Dodgers will either get 2 years of Wilson Ramos or one year of Kurt Suzuki, Martin Maldonado, or Jonathan Lucroy (or someone similar).
    .
    4. The projected $420M for Harper is absolutely insane, and there is no way he is going to get it. With the exercise of the Hamels $20MM option, and the Jose Quintana $10.5 MM option, and all of the other committed salaries, the Cubs will not be in on Harper or Machado. They are already projected to be $222MM in salaries, well past the $206MM luxury tax threshold.
    .
    With an already crowded OF, the Yankees will not be in on Harper. Boston is also well past the projected luxury tax threshold with a $219MM in current projected salary. The Phillies will be in the bidding, but they are more interested in Machado and regardless of what any sports journalist may say, they will not get both Machado and Harper. The Giants are not close enough as a contender to commit the kind of $$$ it will take to get Harper. They have bloated salaries for Belt, Posey, Crawford, Samardzija, Cueto, and Longoria. Harper is not a stupid kid and knows that his value increases if he can keep the Giants somewhat motivated to drive up the value for the Dodgers, even though it makes no sense for him to sign with SF with that team and at that ballpark.
    .
    I think it comes down to the Nats and Dodgers and I do not see the Nats being outbid. Harper is comfortable in DC. There is no downside for Harper to re-sign with the Nats.
    Plus with Harper, Victor Robles becomes a trade pawn to get Realmuto. It will not take much more than Robles, SS Carter Kieboom, and one of their top ten pitcher prospects to get Realmuto. That would be akin to Verdugo, Lux, and probably Ruiz from the Dodgers to match. That is not happening.
    .
    5. I see no value whatsoever keeping both CT3 and Kike’. They are the same all or nothing good defense player. Sure one can play 2B and one can be a super utility player. But how does that improve the lineup from 2018? If you are a proponent of the hard swing with increased launch angle/high strikeout player, then I absolutely understand why you would like both CT3 and Kike’.
    .
    6. I like the Abreu for Muncy trade idea. That could work for both sides. Abreu would be very good for Puig. Abreu is projected to make $16MM in arbitration. He is the RHH the Dodgers covet. The more I think about it, the more I like it. I cannot see the ChiSox doing any better in a trade for Abreu. Guaranteed Rate Field is a perfect yard for Max.

    1. I believe the Nats are over the luxury tax limit. They need help at second base, pitching and catching. They also have contracts with Scherzer and Strasbourg that will go beyond the time of their current playing times. Not sure the Nats would want to add another lengthy contract to the mix.

      1. They were over the luxury tax for 2018, but they lost $90MM from the loss of Harper, Greg Holland, Gio, D. Murphy, B. Kintzler, Wieters, Herrera, and Madson. They are currently projected by Cots to be at $155. They have a lot of room to add Harper and others. If they sign Harper, they will go all out on a trade for Realmuto, and his arbitration is about $6MM. They will be players for Harper.
        .
        NYY has just stated that they are NOT in on Harper. This is looking more and more like a Nats or Dodgers deal. Phillies want Machado and Giants will stay interested until it gets serious. I would not bet against the Nats re-signing Harper.

    2. I am warming to Abreu too.

      Perez has a .297 Career OB% and he’s usually around that. #8 spot?

      I think they have to get Verdugo in the lineup – he’s the logical leadoff guy.

      Kemp isn’t going anywhere, so a platoon of him and Joc makes sense.

      I would prefer to keep Kaybear.

      Could they “steal” DJ LeMahieu? He won;t cost a pick! One year deal?

      1. Trading smith for Perez makes little sense to me. And keibert is close to untouchable. Wood and joc for perez?

  11. I just don’t see the Dodgers parting with Hernandez or Taylor with Seager questionable. One would have to play ss if Seager is delayed. How many times have we heard that an injured player will return on time only to have them delayed for another month. I believe if healthy urias will be in the playoff rotation. He will have to be dL d a few times to save innings but I think the dodgers have the pitching depth to keep him fresh.

    1. You may be right (probably are) about keeping both CT3 and Kike’. If it were me, I would only keep one. The Dodgers still have Donovan Solano, Angelo Mora, Tim Locastro, and Drew Jackson, who can all play SS for a bit. I am also sure they can sign a journeyman middle infielder for a month if that is what Seager needs. If the medical team does not believe Seager can make it back, then they will be in on Manny Machado.

  12. I predict that Machado and Harper will both sign very late, like JD Martinez did and they will have difficulty eclipsing $200 million… let alone $300 million or $400 milion.

    Here’s my response to that $400 million prediction:

    1. The early prognosis is that FA will sign much quicker this year. But if you are right and the bidding goes late as it did for JDM, I still do not see the Dodgers in on Harper or Machado. I think the Dodgers will want to be all set except around the periphery come pitchers and catchers reporting. Remember, Andrew said that they already have the players who can win it all next year. Some of it may be posturing, but I do believe that Andrew believes it.
      .
      I think MLB does not want collusion talk starting up again, so there will be some small amount of unspoken arm twisting pressure to get teams to sign FA early. Most teams were out of it last year waiting for this year (except the silly Cubbies). Let’s see how quick the top ten go compared to last year.

      1. What if we offer harper a long front-loaded deal with a 4-year opt-out that would net him $160 mil if exercised?

      2. AC, do you believe as Friedman does that the team as constructed can win the WS next year?

        We seem to lack starting pitchers. I think we need another #1 or #2 (CK is a question mark)
        We seem to lack BP pieces.
        We definitely lack bat to ball hitters.
        We definitely lack a catcher.
        We definitely lack a true lead off hitter.

  13. Very interesting possibilities with just 4 of the above suggestions. Trade forAbreu and Perez, sign Harper and play Verdugo. That would result in a lineup that looks something like
    Verdugo
    Turner
    Seager
    Abreu
    Harper
    Perez
    Belinger
    Hernandez or Taylor

    Looks pretty solid and deep to me. Has somebody notified FAZ of what they need to do

  14. This was written last year on December 15th:

    The Red Sox have made it known to Martinez that he is their ”first choice” for a power hitter, Silverman said. However, teams such as the Dbacks, Giants, Rockies, Blue Jays and Dodgers have been interested in Martinez this offseason. Because of the level of interest, Martinez and his agent Scott Boras are seeking a contract worth$200 million.

    Boston showed that good things come to those who wait… Dope fiend moves seldom payoff.

  15. He made his debut in the majors at age 23.

    At age 28, he hit .235 with 13 HR and 40 RBI in 405 AB’s.

    The next year, at age 29, he hit 54 HR with 124 RBI.

    He followed that up with these HR totals per year: 43, 27, 28, 35 and 40.

    Who is it? Jose Bautista (6′ 0″/205 lbs)
    =
    He showed even less than Kike Hernandez (5′ 11″/200 lbs) up to that point.

    Kike is 27 and he may never do that… but he has that kind of power!

    He’s worth the risk!

  16. A few thoughts
    1- If the Dodgers can get someone to play 1st and I don’t mean Muncy ( Abreu would be a good pickup ) then an outfield of Verdugo in right, Bellinger in center, and Taylor in left, with Toles starting the year as the 4th outfielder and see what he does. Time for Pederson and Kemp to go, they won’t be better then last year and the Team needs more from that position.
    2- I don’t see Dozier or Hernandez at second, maybe for one year the Dodgers can make a trade with Miami for Castro, he will cost $11M but he is better then any of the others and has a $16M club option ($1M buyout) for 2020 which hopefully will be time for Lux.
    3- I agree with A C on trading Taylor or Hernandez.

    1. I love Taylor but I’m ready for him to be a 4th of. Keekay can be utility man. Joc could be odd man out. Toles can replace him and verdugo is ready.

  17. Great initial look at 2019 AC. Thanks for taking the time to put some thoughts in front of us to ponder.
    .
    I don’t see the Dodgers doing anything significant at catcher, other than get a piece, who is competent defensively, to fill-in until Smith, Ruiz or another are ready. It is possible that one of Smith or Ruiz tear it up in spring training and after being sent down at the beginning year, are called back up, ala Bellinger and Muncy. I don’t see that happening though, but I do hope that I’m pleasantly surprised. I don’t think we’ll acquire Realmuto.
    .
    It would be nice to add one additional solid starting pitcher. It makes economic sense for Ryu to accept the QO. One more year at that amount can only serve him well. If he’s lights out, it’s great for both sides, and Ryu his the FA market next year with no QO and can demand, and probably receive, significantly more money. If he flames out, he can head back to Korea and finish out his career there. If he rejects the QO, I don’t expect the Dodgers to add a Zack Wheeler type arm (though it seems nice). Perhaps they’ll take a flyer on a Nick Karns type, or just stay in house for the time being and see what they have in Ferguson (who I think is going to be very good) or Gonsolin, or ???.
    .
    In the bull-pen, I do think the Dodgers will add an arm (maybe Cody Allen) and stay in house for the rest. I too Like Fields more than most and I’m hoping for a bounce back year from Cingrani. If Cingrani and Fields come back stronger, that alone should make the pen a bit better. I also still hold out some hope for Charquois. I thought, at least at the beginning of the year, that he had some filthy stuff. Maybe the Dodgers should see if they can get a group rate with Driveline and have several of their young arms spend some time with them over the winter.

  18. Let me remind everyone. It’s easy to look at a guy that was very good or not so good last year and make a decision based upon that. Even Ray Charles can see that. That’s sight… but what about “vision”? That’s seeing a guy BEFORE he is that guy. That’s what you need to focus on. Everyone loved CT3 in 2018. Now, everyone hates him… but who will he be in 2019?

    1. Mark

      I am glad you had a good time at the game last night, because you deserve it, from all the hard work you put in, to get where you are.

      And I still think your clown suit and prop was funny.

    2. Good question Mark.
      If I recall he still had too many SO in 2017, but 2018 seemed to be extreme. Did he not lead the NL in ASO’s in 2018? In my view there was little to no moderation; he swung for the high fastball like he was swinging at a passing comet, or he watched strike three called like he was looking at the moon setting.
      2019? He has to change, it was too ugly, and too painful to watch. But is there incentive for him to change?

  19. If the Dodgers sign LeMahieu, I seriously doubt that they would be in on Machado. And I am in no way comparing LeMshieu with Machado. However, he would be a huge upgrade over what they currently have at 2B, providing the Dodgers with a solid everyday presence, both offensively and defensively. And Seager is certainly no slouch at short, assuming he returns fully recovered.

    The Abreu idea is intriguing. I don’t watch him everyday, and have no idea whether or not there are any signs of decline in his game. If not, he would be welcome addition, and we would still have Cody on hand to take back 1B in the future, if necessary.

    I am not suggesting that the Dodgers sign Harper to a 14 yr. deal for $420 million. But I wonder what $30 million/yr. will look like 8-10 years down the road, let alone 14 years. AC, given that you’re a CPA, maybe you have some thoughts on that.

    That said, even though I think that THE TRADE was necessary at the time it was made, I also don’t think it reflected the long term thinking of the Dodgers, who at the time were recovering from the McCourt years of mismanagement and neglect. I suspect that given the maturity of the Dodgers farm and player development system, we are less likely to see lots of spending on big long term contracts, and greater emphasis on doing it from within and with trades. However, I don’t rule out an occasional foray into the deep waters of free agency. Because of the youth of both players, I suspect that the Dodgers have some interest in both Mshado and Harper. How deep that interest is, and how much they’re willing to commit, is a mystery to me.

  20. Mark, I forgot above to commend you on the following:

    Some people use “sight” – I prefer “vision.” Words of wisdom from a “visionary”.

  21. Was looking for a current player with a better career ops than harper. Other than trout of course. Machado nope. Jd Martinez nope. Betts nope. Arenado nope. Goldschmidt yep. What a hitter.

  22. A little Sunday siesta with me and my percocet… Rushed back to the board to see if 59inarow left us any other nuggets!!!
    Damn he’s like a obscene phone caller…
    Free the fencepost…
    Verdugo somewhere in the everyday lineup only can help…He is a bonafide player…

  23. That idea of trading for Perez and Abreu, signing Harper and playing Verdugo sounds perfect, but unfortunately I doubt very much that this happens, maybe, and only maybe, they did it at the trade deadline, but not before.. I do not remember any other season in which the Dodgers start with so many new faces, and more with this new management, I’m sure they will give a chance first to players who are already on the roster…..
    But i really like that Lineup
    RF.- Verdugo
    3B.- Turner
    SS.- Seager
    1B.- Abreu
    LF.- Harper
    2B.- Kike
    CF.- Bellinger
    C .- Perez
    Bench.- Taylor, Barnes, Kemp, Freese, Toles or Pederson….

  24. Any information on the Japanese pitcher, Yusei Kikuchi, who is being posted? Would the Dodgers be interested? Dodgers have had good results with Asian pitchers signed from their home countries. Darvish doesn’t qualify!

    1. Shoulder concerns. Primarily fastball/slider with an occasional curve. Some think he is headed to the bullpen to limit innings because of health concerns. The Dodgers did scout him, but I do not think they are players for Kikuchi. Padres are high on him.

      1. He absolutely sounds like a lock-down closer…. if he can stay healthy… which he hasn’t, but as he gets older, that should improve? Not! When healthy, his fastball reaches 98 and his slider is devestating. Someone will take a flyer on him… but probably not the Dodgers.

        Some video:

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