Use Your Vision… Not Your Sight!

In 2017, the Dodgers struck out 25.5% of the time and in 2018, it went up slightly as they struck out 25.7% of the time. They were not even close to being the worst in baseball in striking out, but they were in the bottom 30%.  In 2016, the Houston Astros almost led the AL in strikeouts.  Tampa Bay barely beat them. In 2017, the very next year, the Astros went from nearly the worst in strikeouts to the very best in the AL against the strikeout.  Not only did their strikeouts go down, but their homeruns increased from 198 to 238! That change coincided with a World Series Championship.  One thing that should not be lost in this is that if there is one team that makes greater use of analytics than the Dodgers, it is the Astros.

I know that the Astros fixed their strikeouts and hit even more homeruns.  You know this and you can bet the Dodgers know this.  If the Dodgers had the power to increase their home runs while reducing strikeouts, do you think they would do that?  We all know the answer… and so do they.  Will they try and do that? Of course they will… but they aren’t going to announce it.  There will be no press release.  However, it’s just common sense to try it.

You can get bent out of shape that the Dodgers are going to use starters and relievers differently in the upcoming season, just like you can get bent out of shape about Manny spiking Jesus, but there’s more to that story, just like there’s more to this story.  Other teams have been doing that for a while – specifically the Astros and the Cardinals.

FAZ is not going to tell you that they would like to see Chris Taylor cut down on his strikeouts, but I guarantee that they are planning how to do that right about now.  Maybe they should announce that they are going to try and cut down on team strikeouts.  Yeah, that would be really dumb to say it! But, it would be really smart if they tried that and I am sure that they are… because they are not dumb… and that would be dumb.  Really dumb.

I don’t think the Dodgers can reduce their strikeouts by 25%, but I do think a goal to reduce strikeouts by 5 to 8% is realistic and attainable.  The Astros cut their strikeouts by 25% between 2016 and 2017!  Grandal will likely be gone and Kemp will have fewer AB’s while Taylor and Bellinger can drop their strikeout totals with some work. It has worked in the past.   Joc Pederson more than doubled his HR while dropping his strikeout rate by 4%.  The front office is not going to discuss this, but they would be really stupid not to try… and they are not stupid.

How Much Should Change?

The Dodgers got to the World Series two years in a row… and lost.  The Astros won it all in 2017 and failed to make it back in 2018.  Should they blow up their team?  I don’t think so, although there will be changes.  Half of the Dodgers World Series Roster changed from 2017 to 2018.  There will be changes this year for the Dodgers too. Boston will change and Houston will change.  Contracts expire, free agents get signed, players sign with other teams, players retire and trades are made. I would suppose that you will see about the same type of movement as last year… maybe a little less. Here’s a list of changes I recommend:

  1. The Dodger need a new catcher. Grandal is gone! Kyle Farmer is not a catcher and Keibert Ruiz is at least a half-season away.  Will Smith is a possibility.  Austin Barnes will improve his hitting next year (because he can’t get worse), but I would look to a catcher like Kurt Suzuki to fill a cap of about 300 AB’s.  He’s inexpensive and savvy. For the record, I think Barnes will come back with a vengeance! I also think it’s possible we could see Ruiz after July.  Before you mock me, who told you Seager, Bellinger, Buehler and Toles were ready long before anyone else?
  2. The Dodgers need a RH Power Hitter.  The team is very heavy on the LH side and someone suggested a trade I happen to like:  Max Muncy to the White Sox for Jose Abreu.  That’s the best idea I have heard. If I had to throw another prospect in, I would do it becasue (1) the Dodgers need a RH power hitter like Manny never really was; and (2) I can’t see Muncy sustaining what he did.  Sell high. Abreu has two years of control and then move Bellinger back to 1B.
  3. The Dodgers need to trade Yasiel Puig.After his rookie year, I advocated trading him for Gioncarlo Stanton and was roundly criticized. I do like him (sometimes), but it is past time to move him.  Why?  (1) He might as well be a LH hitter because he can’t hit lefties.  He has reverse splits. He hit .209 against LHP and .297 verses RHP.  He’s almost a superstar against RHP, but a scrubb against LHP. (2) He is sliding very rapidly defensively.  He’s no longer a TOP right fielder; and (3) His body-type is going to produce some major injuries.  He had a 2.7 WAR in 2018.  I think he can be moved for a couple of prospects or in a package for another player.
  4. It’s time for Alex Verdugo.  I’ve been saying that for a couple of years. Alex has a cannon of an arm and has a chance to be Tony Gwynn… or something close (a chance). I think he’s the leadoff hitter the Dodgers covet.
  5. Trade Toles or Pederson.  The other one platoons with Kemp in LF.  See who has the most value and move them.  Matt Kemp is virtually untradeable.  Every GM knows he loves being a Dodger (Strike one).  He makes $21 million and the Dodgers would have to pay at least $15 million of it (Strike two)… and he is a team leader and fan favorite.  He’s worth more than the $6 million the Dodgers would still owe him (strike three).  Let’s not forget that he hit .290 with 21 HR and 85 RBI this year.  He actually hits RH pitching better… but not by that much. A platoon in LF could be very productive.
  6. Decide on a Second Baseman.I was wrong about Gavin Lux. When they drafted him, I said they made a mistake. They didn’t! He is the real deal and may be ready by July.  In the meantime, let Kike Hernandez and Chris Taylor fight out who starts at 2B. I would only sign LeMahieu for a steal of a deal.
  7. Draw a line in the sand on Bryce Harper. Whoever thinks he will get 14 years and $420 million from the Dodgers has been seriously involved in illegal drug use. The Dodgers will try and get creative, but they won’t go over $275 million…. if that!
  8. Think about trading Wood, Stripling, Maeda, Stewart (along with Puig and Pederson or Toles). If the Dodgers put together a 3 or 4 way deal that included some of those players, and included some prospects, could they snag aCorey Kluberthat didn’t involve Ruiz or Verdugo?

Here’s my roster:

  1. Verdugo  RF
  2. Turner  3B
  3. Seager  SS
  4. Abreu  1B
  5. Bellinger  CF
  6. Taylor  2B
  7. Kemp/Pederson (or Toles)
  8. Barnes/Smith/Suzuki

Bench: 

Kike, Freese, Toles or Pederson, Suzuki or Smith, Locastro or Ramos

Starters:

  1. Kershaw
  2. Kluber
  3. Buehler
  4. Hill
  5. Urias

I think it is 50/50 that Ryu takes the QO.  Then there is Gnsolin, Wood,  Maeda and Stripling… if not trdaed.

Bullpen:

  1. Jansen
  2. Ferguson
  3. Santana
  4. Alexander (look for a huge year from him)
  5. Fields
  6. Baez
  7. Floro
  8. Cingrani or Koehler

Remember, don’t just look at what you see… use your vision. Sight is simply the faculty or power of seeing. “Oh, this guy hit 35 HR this year, we should get him.”

Vision is the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be. “Oh, this guy hit 12 HR this year, but he looks to be capable of breaking out soon.”

You can use your eyes… I prefer vision.Get the guy BEFORE he is that guy… not after.

By the way, Albert Pujols was once the best player in baseball. So was A-Rod and Josh Hamilton and King Felix and Robinson Cano.  All were paid way past their productive years which hamstrung their teams… Felix and Robinson continue to do so.  Forgetaboutit!

It is looking more-and-more like Farhan Zaidi will soon be the President of Baseball Operations for the Giants and some Dodger fans are giddy to lose him.  All I can say is “You really have no Clue!” If he goes, the hated Giants just got a huge edge!

Parting Shot

  • Getting to the World Series two year in a row is incredible.
  • Losing two years in a row is tragic.
  • But a lot of luck was involved.
  • Steve “Freaking” Pearce was the MVP (no one in the history of the world predicted that).
  • David Price who was worse than Clayton Kershaw in the Post-Season and 3 years older, but was lights out in the Post-Season for the first time EVER!.
  • Joe Kelly was smoked during the regular season, only to become “Smoking Joe” in the playoffs.
  • Nate Eovaldi was unhittable.  Who predicted?  No one.
  • Matt Barnes has a 4.14 career ERA, but was 1.04 in the Post-Season.
  • Rick Porcello had a 4.28 ERA during the regular season but was 1.93 in the World Series.
  • Eduardo Rodriguez had not pitched in weeks and was Cy Young.
  • The Dodgers pretty much neutralzed the big hitters of the Red Sox, but the scrubbs beat them.

The whole point of this is that the World Series is a Crapshoot.  We were lucky to see the Dodgers there two years in a row… and a third is indeed possible… We just need the Big Dodger in the Sky to help them finish it!

This article has 130 Comments

  1. Not easy for sure in today’s game when slugging is so heavily valued and upcoming prospects are taught elevation and launch. The game ebbs and flows so perhaps we are getting back to simply balance .

    1. Vision:

      Verdugo RF (What if he hits .300 with a .360 OB%?)
      Turner 3B (Full year!)
      Seager SS (Wasn’t here last year and is arguably one of the Top SS in baseball)
      Abreu 1B (Solid, if not spectacular RH Bat)
      Bellinger CF (Look for a rebound)
      Taylor 2B (Same as Cody)
      Kemp/Pederson (or Toles) (Just average years)
      Barnes/Smith/Suzuki (Not a lot expected)

      … and a lot less strikeouts!

  2. I agree with everything you said except the last few lines. The reason the Red Sox pitching staff looked so good in the World Series is that the Dodger hitters were so-o-o-o bad. They have the knack of making a minor league pitcher look like a legit major leaguer and a legit major leaguer look like the the reincarnation of Cy Young. That is the root problem. Until that is corrected, they are destined to repeat their recent history.

    1. For the record, the Dodgers as a team were 3rd in team OPS last year, behind only Boston & NYY. In fact, we were the only team in the top 5 from the NL. I realize the season went south but . . .

  3. Good stuff M.T… I’ll still say Boston was the better/luckier/? team…
    Your parting shots are why this grand old game will drive you to drink…
    Now before I grab about 7.5 MG of percocet, a little breakfast and begin my morning exercise program how about this!?!?
    Chg. # 1… How about bringing in A.J. Ellis for a year???
    Work with Barnes and make Clayton Kershaw an extremely happy camper… Come July or ?? make an addition with one of the kids or a F.A. or go with the flow… Not very sexy, but good on the payroll for now…
    P.S. Hopefully A.J. will begin his coaching career with the Blue after this…..

    1. I think Bowden is realistic on most of his top 35, and much closer when it comes to Harper and Machado. But when I read his Grandal prediction yesterday, I thought he was way off. Salvy Perez has a $10.5MM AAV, Francisco Cervelli has a $10.3MM AAV, and Wieters a $10.5MM AAV. Bowden used a comp of Brian McCann of a $17MM AAV at a time when the Yankees were trying to buy a championship. I see this as an outlier, and not a true comp when teams are trying to be more cautious with long term deals.
      .
      Salvy Perez is 18 months younger, 5 time GG at a defense first position, and 6 time AS is a more likely AAV comparison. Somewhere between $10.5MM and $14MM AAV is where he is more likely to go. IMO if Grandal gets $12MM AAV he should be happy and take it.

        1. I’d do that in a heartbeat, but Gennett is a local Cincinnati boy beloved by the fans. I can’t see Cincy doing that… unless overwhelmed.

    1. Someone in the front office has answered my prayers. Ward was a big part of why the Dodgers hitting has been abysmal except for the HR. Letting him go and moving in another direction is A-OK! This is a sure sign the FO wasn’t happy with the production of our bats. Now, if only Roberts is shown the door!

      1. Devil’s advocate: If we win Game 7 in 2017 then follow that up with a WS appearance in 2018 would you still make the same comment?

        1. I never spend my time thinking about what ifs. All I know is that it was painful watching the Dodgers bat for most of the year. The slumps, SO’s, strategy of tiring the SP by taking so many pitches, etc., made for a very boring season. I didn’t like McGuire, either.

  4. That tells me FAZ was not happy with the hitting and they probably let Ward know he could look elsewhere. The Dodgers will keep the coaches they want…. unless of course, they are getting a promotion (Woodward).

    I do wonder what this does to Puig?

  5. I thought Turner Ward initially came to the Dodgers to be closer to his wife’s family, so something doesn’t sound right here.

    I have no idea if Turner Ward tried to change these players approach, and they either were not talented enough to adjust or they didn’t want to change their approaches.

    Remember our assisted hitting coach was hired by the Red Sox the year before.

    I will say this, Puig sure did a good job in the prior series before the World Series, and in the World Series this year.

    And Puig had problems in the past in high leverage situations.

  6. For the Reds to talk to Ward, they had to get the Dodgers permission. That speaks volumes. FAZ is headed a different direction.

    The Red Sox players look to JD Martinez for hitting instruction as much or more than Tim Heyer.

  7. It would be nice if they looked at Marlon Byrd as the hitting coach, I think he’s the guy that reworked Turners swing

  8. Would this qualify as a shocker?

    Dodger decline to pick up option on roberts after he demands extension; Joe Girardi announced as new manager with 3-year deal.

    haha

  9. Process of elimination on Harper: Who is left besides the Giants and Nats that can be considered real competitors for him? I’d imagine he’d want to get out of the NL East so I’m crossing off Atlanta & Philly.

    1. Dionysis

      Did you see that article in the LA Times yesterday, that the Dodgers should sign Harper?

      I can’t imagine Harper going to the Yankees, because he likes his hair and beard to much.

      1. No, but I’m aware it’s becoming a mainstream opinion. I am almost never in favor of the big signing–in fact I thought we overpaid for Kevin Brown and was never a fan even during his dominance–but I think now is the time. I was so mad in 2017 when we fell short but this year I’m not. But we obviously need something else. Why not him? The fact that our system is so loaded only adds to the logic of the move; we can be gradually adding in Verdugo this year, Lux next, then Ruiz. Bellinger and Seager are still young. Buehler is only the tip of the pitching talent that could be on the way. In some ways I think we owe it to our veteran core (Kershaw, Turner, Jansen) to go for broke. It’s only money! Even players at the end of their contracts like Puig, Wood, Hill, & Kemp are part of the ride in 2019. Third times the charm is trite but we could almost be WS favorites if we make the right moves. I’d certainly bet on us.

  10. I disagree with your premise on strikeouts. You stated that you do not think that FAZ should acknowledge that LAD strikes out too much and CT3 in particular? My question is why not? It is not a secret that the Dodgers expand the strike zone on the high side and swing wildly at high fastballs. It is known throughout baseball, and the Red Sox exploited it. I agree that Eovaldi, Kelly, Barnes, Porcello, Rodriguez…looked good in the WS, but it was because they threw to the Dodgers weakness. Every team knows that the Dodger hitters can be beat with high velo fastballs up in the zone. To acknowledge that is not going to give away any team secrets. So, go on record and state: “One of our objectives next year is to cut down on the strikeouts. Shorten up with 2 strikes. At least make contact in a run scoring situation.” Sounds superficial, but at least the team knows that the FO acknowledges in public that strikeouts were a problem.
    .
    CT3 struck out 25% of the time in 2017. That was too much at the time, and if FAZ really thought they could work with him to cut down on his strikeouts, they should have worked on that for 2018. However, CT3 struck out 29.5% in 2018. So why do you think he is going to cut down on his strikeouts in 2019? There is nothing in his past to indicate that he can. Without the extreme launch angle and extreme hard swing, CT3 goes back to being the good defensive AAAA offensive player he was before 2017.
    .
    Also, Farhan was not shy about telling the world in his opinion the reason the Dodgers were struggling early was due to lack of homeruns. So, it is not because they will not acknowledge a shortcoming in their view. What is the difference in their acknowledgement that strikeouts were a problem…unless they do not think that it is? Farhan especially loves the HR, and the increased strikeout is just an unfortunate byproduct of the HR. I will repeat what I have said before…FAZ may not like strikeouts, but they accept them.

      1. I cannot disagree that letting Ward walk MIGHT indicate a change. Or maybe Ward wanted to change and knew he could not with the current front office and manager. He is going to a team that had a better team batting average, better team batting average wRISP, a better team batting average wRISP and 2 outs, less strikeouts, and less HR. Maybe that is more of who Turner Ward is. Isn’t that just as possible?

        1. AC

          It is a little hard to believe, that Ward was not doing what the front office wanted him to do.

          Mostly because of what Zaidi said about team, needing to hit more HRs.

    1. I think Bellinger showed some signs of shortening his swing. Taylor really hasn’t and could be a casualty as a result, but I still think he is very valuable as a bench piece, defensive replacement, pinch-runner. Puig also showed some signs of improvement although patience will never be his game. Grandal was a disaster but he’s gone [most likely]. Joc is a mix or good and bad but he is what he is at this point and maybe he’s more a 4th OF than a starter. Maybe Verdugo, Toles, & Seager could add positively to the team concept. Freese is already co-captain of the “good at-bat” crew (Turner gets to steer the ship). I think if we make a concerted effort to give more at-bats to players with good eyes and situational awareness we could see a subtle shift in our style of offense. Home runs are not bad. Strikeouts in and of themselves are not bad [they are a subcategory of outs]. I don’t know if people are honestly advocating bunting more or going the other way to move over a runner. I think each player probably has a natural limit to their ability to do this. Yes it can be taught but it’s more on us to pick the right guys to give at-bats to rather than changing players’ approaches.

    2. AC, exactly right. The Red Sox beat the Dodgers and luck had nothing to do with it, exploiting the Dodgers weakness’s had everything to do with it. Hitting home-runs is what FAZ want and situation hitting is not in their stats sheets, hopefully it will become part of the Dodgers game in 2019.

  11. I think I agree with others that it might be time to make some tough decisions of certain players whose skill sets may be close to redundant. Do we keep:?

    Taylor or Keekay
    Kemp or Puig
    Joc or Toles
    Ryu or Wood
    Stripling or Stewart

  12. Mariners might be selling. They are a mess. Stay away. Look at the contracts for Leake, Gordon, & Nicasio and tell me that team has any chance of turning it around soon. They have almost no farm system and their best player is a reliever. They obviously aren’t signing Nelson Cruz now. I do wonder whether they would swap us something for Matt Kemp. Or are we all fools for even thinking we’d trade him after last year’s surprise performance?

      1. He has a pretty good contract. There are whispers he won’t be able to play SS too much longer. I wonder if he could handle 2b?

  13. I, like many others knew Ward could not survive the offensive meltdown the Dodgers did in the WS. I am glad they’re moving on, infusing a new voice and hopefully a new approach in the hitting room. Is Roberts safe?

  14. Everyone loved Turner Ward and he wasn’t the problem after 2017 but he is after 2018? Stupid to say the least.

    1. I’m in favor of giving him three years [same as Kershaw] with the understanding that this is his window to win the whole thing and if not, sayonara. Hopefully he reflects on some of his decisions in the past two World Series and learns a little from them as we all should do when we come up short of our goals.

  15. Offseason to date:

    1) Re-signed Freese to one-year deal
    2) Extended Kershaw one extra year through 2021
    3) Offered Q.O. to both Grandal & Ryu
    4) Closing in on Roberts extension (& lost some coaches)
    5) Have to think catcher position is next to be addressed

  16. Lf-Harper
    CF-Bellinger
    RF-Puig
    3B-Turner
    SS-Seager
    2B-Segura
    1B-Muncy/Freese
    C-Realmuto

    I’ll go with this until QO’s are accepted or turned down and then reality sets in. I’m adding Familia as the setup guy too.

    1. that didn’t take long to get a new 2b! actually, i would surprised if they traded him. he’s a core piece for them along with cano [who is untradeable]

  17. I don’t necessarily think that the offer to Ward has anything to do with the Dodgers wanting to move on from him. I believe that when a team is interested in an employee of another team it is standard procedure to ask permission to talk with that person, and that permission is generally given. This wasn’t a promotion, but maybe it involved more money, years, etc. And it makes perfect sense that Ward would fit in very well with the Reds, given the bandbox they play in. Lift and launch might make perfect sense in that place. However, it may well be that the Dodgers were not averse to a change, and maybe welcomed having the decision of whether to let Ward go taken out of their hands.

    I would love to have Harper and Abreu, and I also still like Puig, not to mention Verdugo. And I also don’t think that moving Kemp is impossible if the Dodgers’ objective is the overall improvement of the team. Kemp would be more valuable in the AL, and I think he showed enough last year to interest some team to take a flyer on him, especially if it involved only money. If the Dodgers could save somewhere between $6-10 million, why wouldn’t they be amenable to moving Kemp? And why wouldn’t some team in need of an offensive upgrade be willing to take on that amount of money, especially with only a one year commitment? Finding another player of his caliber would likely be more expensive, and could involve the surrender of talent.

    And yes, despite the fact that I still like Puig, I’d be perfectly willing to include him in a trade, given of course, that that trade brought back significant value. In any case, given all the variables, I simply get dizzy thinking about all the possibilities.

    And finally, since I am not confident with our 2nd base options for this year, and because Lux is anything but a sure thing in 2020 (no rookie is), I am still in favor of signing LeMahieu. Even a 3-year deal would not deter me (at a price that did not break the bank). If LeMahieu in any way stands in the way of Lux, he will more likely than not be tradeable. And if LeMahieu is playing well, then I would have no problem in delaying a full-time job for Lux until 2021. And then there is the question of JT showing the signs of age. Personally, I have no problems with having high caliber organizational depth, just in case.

    1. Actually, if it is a lateral move, such as asking Milwaukee for permission to interview their GM (which just happened), it is frequently denied!

  18. As stated by many above the Boston pitchers looked like Cy Young because the Dodger hitters aren’t that good outside of Turner and Seager. HR’s yes, bat to ball no.
    Is Ward leaving a reflection on poor hitting? We don’t know, but hopefully FAZ wants improvement, but why now, it has been ongoing for a few years?

    Additionally if we want to win NOW (2019) we need a new catcher – get Realmuto. Too long to wait for Ruiz. And if Ruiz is part of the deal for Realmuto so be it. Part of the goal of an improved farm system is for trade material to fill holes in the lineup. I’d rather have Realmuto starting than multiple prospects in OKC.

    Also when Buehler pitched Boston stopped hitting, same with Hill, CK not so much, Ryu not so much. We need another #1 or #2 SP. Do what it takes to get DeGrom which will be a lot, but the next WS outcome will be different with him added to the rotation.

  19. There’s an interesting article by Dale Murphy in The Athletic today.https://theathletic.com/636256/2018/11/06/dale-murphy-an-advice-column-for-gms-heading-into-the-offseason/

    Here’s a snippet: On sign stealing: “The number of wild pitches and past balls has risen every year since 2015. Velocity has a lot to do with that, but so does miscommunication between pitcher and catcher. When the guy throwing the ball and the guy catching the ball aren’t in sync, confusion ensues. Mistakes happen.”

    On launch angle: “You see, launch angle isn’t created by swinging up; it’s created by where you make contact on the ball. If you make contact with the center of the ball, you’ll hit a line drive. If you get too far under it, you’ll pop up.

    Launch angle is a result, not a technique. If you want to hit fastballs, you need a flatter, compact swing.”
    And
    “Odds are, you’re overvaluing home runs and undervaluing making contact. High-strikeout teams typically aren’t suited to the playoffs. The Red Sox had the fifth-fewest strikeouts in baseball this year. The Indians had the fewest, and the Astros had the second-fewest. ”

    On Bullpenning: “But asking your starter to leave the game after three or four innings? Five, at most? That might work in a short series if you’re lucky; it won’t work over a full season. You need starting pitchers who can go deeper into games. You need pitchers who can go six or seven innings, not four or five. You need pitchers who can throw 120 pitches, not 80 or 100.”

    “If you want to stockpile two dozen relievers and have them shuttle back and forth from the major leagues to the minor leagues to play matchups and keep the big-league team afloat until October, by all means, do so. But you’re probably better off finding and developing two or three horses who can go seven innings a night. ”

    In another article in The Athletic by Ken Rosenthal was a discussion about Farhan Zaidi moving from the Dodgers to the Midgets:
    “*Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi will have numerous factors to consider if the Giants offer to make him their top executive, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported.

    One major concern: The Giants, with few moveable assets, will not be an easy fix. As one rival exec put it, “There is not a lot of juice to squeeze from that fruit.””

    1. Rick

      I was just thinking if Zaidi takes the Giant’s offer, there is no way he can make up his line ups with a bunch of three outcome hitters, in AT&T park.

      As you already know, not many HRs are hit in AT&T.

  20. I have no doubt that Dale Murphy is correct. Still, it always appeared to me as if Taylor was swinging up. Which might be the reason (along with his uncontrollable hard swings) that he struck out so much.

    And why is it that so many people think that Taylor was a weak hitter before coming to the Dodgers and changing his hitting style. That doesn’t appear to be the case given this:

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/t/tayloch03.shtml

    I see no reason why he couldn’t alter his style to strike out less, and hit line drives. Based on his career stats, it appears to me that he could replace HRs with a different variety of extra base hits. And I’m certain he could make better use of his speed if he were on base a lot more.

  21. I hope Zaidi doesn’t go to the midgets. I enjoy knowing they’re a complete dumpster fire and I don’t want to see a Dodger executive go there and help them turn it around.

  22. If FAZ wanted a “scapegoat” they could have just dismissed Ward after the World Series, but they let all this happen without a word. It will be intereresting to find out the erst of the story… and we will find out.

    1. Zaidi did say at that News conference, that they expected all the coaching staff to remain with the team.

      And the Reds gave Turner Ward three years.

    1. also an LSU product. he’s checking some boxes for me. at the least we should be involved to push up the price if the rockies plan to keep him.

    1. He hit something like .220 on the road last year. If there’s anyone in that lineup that’s a product of Coors field it’s DJ

    2. Well if true it says the in-house options leave something to be desired contrary to what Freidman said earlier. Actually good news.

    3. Sure… I would prefer Scooter Gennett or Whit Merrifield at 2B if I had my choice… but I don’t think that’s living in reality.

      DJ LeMahieu would (in my opinion) be an upgrade over Kike, CT, Dozier, etc.
      His home / away splits are definitely something to consider… but I think if he’s available right now, they should get him.

      Then we can start easing the Lux Capacitor into the Dodgers lineup in 2020

      And I 1000% agree with those that have said sell high on Muncy. And I don’t think that should be controversial opinion… it should be one of the easier decisions that they’ll need to make this off season.

  23. Zaidi–I wish him the best. I’m sure he’ll be missed. I hope we can find a suitable replacement. That said, after he goes I won’t give him a second’s thought. Like Tony Soprano says to P—- on the boat before he whacks him, “Did you ever even exist?”

    1. and Dodgers Digest has a very thorough piece on Kikuchi. i never knew he had such a crazy leg kick at the end of his delivery. it’s a cross between rich hill and morten anderson. i’d want him just for the entertainment value alone. his stuff looks legit.

    2. Hawkeye

      I only scanned at that article but it just sounds like the Reds were willing to give Ward what he wanted, and the Dodgers wouldn’t match the Red’s offer.

      But we saw how they didn’t give Freeze that extra million, so I don’t really know what to think.

  24. I just talked to someone in the “Know” and there is nothing sinister to Ward’s departure. He wanted to be closer to Alabama and the Dodgers let him go… That’s the Company line. .. from the Reds point-of-view.

    That’s all I know.

  25. I don’t care what LeMahieu hit on the road. I mentioned this the other day on this site, and believe I’ve seen it elsewhere. Rockies hitters often struggle on the road because they play half their games at altitude, and have diificulty adjusting to normal conditions away from Coors. Put those same players in normal conditions practically all the time and the numbers in those conditions will normalize.

  26. That does make a lot of sense.

    I looked at DJ’s numbers away from Coors the previous three years, before this last season.

    And he had pretty decent batting averages, he hit 300 twice, and 297, and his OBP’s numbers were pretty good too, and his OPSes were in the middle 700s.

    That would be a lot better then Forsythe ever did, and DJ did have 18 DRS last year.

    They say the difference with how off speed pitches break differently from home and away too, is not an easy transition for the players on the Rockies either.

    He is certainly not a power hitter, but he can hurt

  27. I’m not worried about Ward signing with the Reds. There are a number of good hitting teams in MLB, so I guess there are other very capable hitting coaches. My best guess is that the Dodgers are aware of the coaching talent available. Could be that the next great hitting coach will come out of the minor leagues. As Mark is wont to say, maybe the Dodgers will find the next great hitting BEFORE he’s the next great hitting coach.

    I’m not going to lose any sleep over this. But Puig night. 🙂

  28. From ESPN.com:

    The Dodgers also won’t be shelling out significant dollars for relief pitching, regardless of how much trouble their bullpen gave them. The Colorado Rockies did that last offseason, committing a combined $106 million to Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee. But Davis (4.13 ERA), Shaw (5.93 ERA) and McGee (6.49 ERA) all struggled, validating what has become dogma in the Dodgers’ front office.

    “You look back over time at free-agent relievers, and it’s not a very good track record,” Friedman said. “So, we’re not going to do it just to win a headline on that day.”

    “Elite relievers come from everywhere,” Zaidi added, “and that’s our responsibility, to be resourceful and try to find those guys. The solution isn’t always, and is often not, just going out and trying to spend money. Sometimes the best relievers come from thinking more creatively about guys who can do that job.”

    As an executive with the cash-strapped Tampa Bay Rays, Friedman would often root for other clubs to sign high-priced free agents because he knew it would cripple them long term.He brought that same logic to the affluent Dodgers and vowed not to let deeper resources trigger impracticality.

    1. Generally true, but if we had a #1 or a #2 (Sale) before WS 2017 we would not have lost to Houston despite the other failures that series.

        1. Mark, I don’t know, probably costly. After two WS losses I’d rather have a championship. In my opinion at some point Freidman has to be willing to deal prospects for established players that fill a need.

  29. Here’s what we know. The Reds FO called Friedman and asked if they could interview Turner Ward for the position of hitting coach… and Friedman said yes.

    From The LA Times:

    Andrew Friedman, not Farhan Zaidi, sauntered into the Parlor room at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa at 2:10 p.m. Tuesday to represent the Dodgers in the first of the general managers meetings’ two league-mandated media sessions this week. It was the first time Friedman, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations, had drawn the assignment since his first offseason with the Dodgers in 2014. Zaidi, the club’s general manager, spoke for the organization at this event the previous three years. But Zaidi might not be the Dodgers’ general manager for long.

    In the latest twist in a chaotic young offseason for the Dodgers, Zaidi is considering an offer to become the San Francisco Giants’ president of baseball operations. He hadn’t made his decision as of Tuesday night. Friedman declined to comment on the situation, but he confirmed the Dodgers will not block Zaidi from pursuing the job and Zaidi is not attending the GM meetings this week.

    The obvious internal options are assistant hitting coaches Brant Brown and Luis Ortiz, both of whom joined the organization last December. Friedman confirmed the rest of the coaching staff — Brown, Ortiz, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, first base coach George Lombard, and bullpen coach Mark Prior — are under contract for next season.

    Turnover in the coaching and front-office ranks isn’t foreign to this regime. The Dodgers lost director of player development Gabe Kapler, vice president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos, and bullpen coach Josh Bard last offseason, and chugged along to another World Series appearance. But constant turnover challenges continuity and replacing Zaidi could be their biggest challenge yet.

    “Obviously, it’s a compliment to our organization, the group that we’ve assembled,” Friedman said. “And on one hand, I’m really happy for these guys who are getting opportunities. On the other, it is challenging for employees. But with that comes opportunity for other people that we have in our organization that we feel can step up.”

  30. I think he’ll pluck the next whiz kid as the new Dodgers GM. Who that is I have no idea, but my money is a data-driven sabermetric guy who is probably less than thirty years-old and never played baseball beyond high school but can work an excel spreadsheet like no one else.

  31. I think that Farhan will do well in SF, but now that he is gone, I have heard that a small rift might have been festering between Zaidi and Friedman. Friedman is on record recently as not being a huge fan of platoons, while Zaidi was very much a fan… to the point of “hounding” Roberts to make lineup changes. I think whoever Friedman hires will be much more “hands-off” with Roberts.

    It will be interesting whom Zaidi hires as GM and how he gets along with Bochy. That could be interesting…

    1. Hands off with Roberts? Is that really a good thing? My great fear is that he really is a terrible in-game manager and that most of the decisions he’s made that cost us games were his and not the FO.

      1. Friedman is one of the smartest guys in baseball.

        He’s not handing out deals to guys who are poor game managers.

        Maybe Zaidi was the issue…

        1. So, you are saying Roberts is a good in-game manager? I’m saying he’s doing the bidding of the FO for game plans and uses his own judgement in making poor in-game choices. If you can show me otherwise, I will continue thinking this. He had no managerial experience before he was hired. Maybe Friedman is psychic? Roberts is a company man, a front man. I would think the president would want someone who can think, not carry out orders.

    2. Jeff, I’m not big on Roberts, he does have his warts, but how many dumb moves were dictated before a game ever started by a micro-managing, platoon every night, algorithm only GM (Zadi).

      1. Well, it’s always been a question kicking around in my mind. How much meddling is from the FO and how much is from Roberts? Surely, not every decision comes down from the FO. There are in-game decisions that have to be made based on present situations occurring in a game. No time for a call from the FO directing Roberts or anyone else on the field. Plus, if the FO has their algorithms in place for every situation, then Roberts is nothing short of a monkey. Unless I see some solid evidence that the FO is calling all the shots, Roberts gets the bulk of in-game managing. Tell me if I’m wrong and show me how I’m wrong.

  32. “I am delighted to return to the Bay Area and to join one of the most storied franchises in the game,” Zaidi said in a statement. “I have watched the Giants from afar and I have great respect for the organization’s culture and many accomplishments. I am excited about this new opportunity and I’m looking forward to getting right to work.”

  33. I agree Mark , Bochy is not as on board as Doc as far as platooning and analytics, plus he has 3 rings and Zaidi has none. With that said, the game always changes, and while I liked both Ward and Zaidi, we do need a new breathe of fresh air to get us over the last hurdle. Sometimes a new direction , while scary, can get players to be challenged, and they will respond in a positive way. We have most of the players in place, they just need a fresh approach. I am gettin excited.

  34. I refuse to look at the loss of Turner Ward and Farhan as a negative. Change brings opportunity, new strategies, a new voice and a new approach. I’m excited with the possibilities and look forward to the next week-10 days where we’ll hear about a new 3b coach, hitting coach and GM. I’m thinking Hasselman gets elevated to the big club in some capacity and someone we’ve never heard about (a la Farhan in 2014) gets named GM.

    Winter Meetings start in about 5 weeks.

  35. What if, Friedman jettisons the following players?

    Puig
    Pederson
    Muncy
    Taylor
    Hernandez
    Farmer
    Maeda
    Wood
    We are stuck with Kemp for one more year… but that’s OK.

    Would this lineup be productive:
    1. Lamahieu 2B (one edict: “Get on Base”)
    2. Seager SS
    3. Harper LF
    4. Turner 3B
    5. Abreu 1B
    6. Bellinger CF
    7. Verdugo RF
    8. Barnes and me can platoon

    Fewer strikeouts and more runs. I can see it….

    1. I know Cody probably has a higher War playing center, but I think Cody is more valuable to the team at first, he will catch up with his bat.

      He makes everyone in our infield better!

    1. I dont know if he will but he should be in the conversation. Opportunities like this are rare. If there’s a match we should be aggressive.

  36. Kim Ng as GM… Extremely sharp woman, been around all facets of the games and would be coming back home…
    Did I mention great PR!??!

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