What Comes Next?

Right about now, we have a few more days until we find out if Hyun-jin Ryu and Yasmani Grandal accept or reject the Dodgers Qualifying Offers.  I predict that Ryu will accept and Grandal will reject.  Then the fun begins… in the the measntime, the Dodgers have a few vacancies to fill throughout their organization.  They are in need of a third-base coach, hitting coach and, what else…..  Oh yeah… a GM. It will be interesting how they fill these positions.  Do they stay in-house or go elsewhere?  I must confess I have no clue.  I never saw Turner Ward leaving and it’s my opinion that Chris Woodward is not even close to being ready to be a manager, but I’ve been wrong before…  I did however, predict Farhan Zaidi would leave long ago… in fact, I predicted it would be to the Giants over a month ago.

Blessing or Curse?

Will losing Zaidi be a blessing or a curse?  Many fans blame Zaidi’s micro-managing tendencies for the recent World Series losses, but the fact of the matter is that the Dodgers might not have even gotten to the World Series without Zaidi.  Think on that one for a minute. We simply don’t know. Losing Farhan  could become a stumbling block or a stepping stone. Whomever Friedman hires as GM will be very important in the Dodger’s future prospects for returning to the World Series.It has been suggested by some that Kim Ng might be a good candidate and I know that she is a qualified candidate (or used to be before stats took over), but when she worked for the Dodgers, she was very close to Ned Colletti and was not involved with analytics.  Also, her association with Ned could be a hinderance.  Josh Byrnes is an in-house candidate who wasn’t good in SD, but would be working under Friedman in LA, so he may be fine. However, Friedman may opt for someone we would never think of.

The Bullpen

FAZ doesn’t value a bullpen” is something I frequently hear.  I do not think that is true.  What is true is that they do not belive in giving out big contracts for relievers. They shop differently than many do…. although more and more teams are doing the same. I posted this a couple of days ago 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.
The Dodgers have lots of young arms, including Jordan Sheffield who is blooming as a reliever in the AFL.  Friedman will continue to pick up scraps from the bone pile or the “Dollar Store” as some like to say, in order to find a diamond or two.  However, with the plethora of arms that are ready or nearly ready in the Dodgers’ Farm System, they won’t feel the pressure to make  a big deal for a high priced reliever. However, if the right opportunity presents itself, the Dodgers would be all over it. Zaidi had an eye for talent – we know that.  How much will his los hurt the Dodgers?  It’s hard to say, but I will tell you who are happy he went to the Giants that you will be sorry fairly soon that he is there.  Their stock just went up.

Talking Point

The Angels have two more years of control with Mike Trout, but with their problems, it’s hard for me to see him re-signing there.  There have been suggestions that he might be traded. Of course, the Dodgers would be the LAST team the Angels would trade with, but what if they offered the following for Mike Trout?
  • Max Muncy
  • Chris Taylor
  • Alex Verdugo
  • Keibert Ruiz
  • Jordan Sheffield
  • Mirchell White
Would you do that? Would the Dodgers?  Would the Angels? Big Contracts

This article has 48 Comments

  1. The Dodgers would do that deal but the Angels wouldn’t. Ruiz is the prize with Verdugo having real prospect value as well. White is a nice piece but the rest are flawed.
    Name you five favorite Dodger prospects and that’s about what it would take to land Trout: Ruiz, May, Verdugo, Smith, Lux. I don’t see either side signing off on that.
    Besides, Harper is right there for the asking if you want to spend the money, which I’m not the organization does.

  2. If Anaheim gives us Trout, you can bet Cody Bellinger woud headline the package heading down the 5 freeway, and I’d drive all those guys down to bring Trout back up!

    1. I’ll say two things for the Angels: they have one of the strangest rosters in baseball by virtue of having Trout/Pujols/Ohtani, three iconic players at varying points in their career trajectories. Secondly, no baseball fan should ever forget Nick Adenhart and what an unbelievably human and organizational tragedy that was.

  3. **LAdodgertalk Exclusive**
    Excerpts from a recent (completely fabricated) Farhan Zaidi interview:

    (On leaving the Dodgers)
    Recent empirical data suggests that my emotions have been platooning between happiness and sadness over the last few days.

    (On Bruce Bochy)
    I have reached out to Bruce several times over the last few days to go over my baseball philosophy with him. However, he hasn’t answered any of my calls and has not tried to call me back. I’m sure he’s just on vacation or something.

    (On the home run ball)
    There’s an old saying in the newspaper business that says… If it bleeds, it leads. Well, I have a saying of my own and that is…. If a player can’t hit the tater, then I say see you later!

  4. When I say the Dodgers do not value relievers I am not referring to big name high dollar relievers. I am not an advocate for any of the high priced FA relievers. I am against signing Britton, Kimbrel, Miller, Allen, and to a lesser degree Ottavino. I would have been against signing any of the Rockies relievers last winter. That was flat out stupid. But that does not negate the fact that when we know for a fact that Keone Kela and Ryan Pressly were available last summer, the Dodgers instead traded for John Axford and Zac Rosscup. Machado was a good acquisition, but why go half way? The bullpen was a problem, and the Dodgers should have gone after legit lock down high leverage relievers. I was all out for Jose Leclerc, but admittedly I have no idea if he was available. But Kela and Pressly were and one or both could have been a Dodger.
    If the decision to play with the waiver wire to uncover that nugget is the philosophy during the winter, I actually have no problem with that. Keep experimenting until you find the right fit. Come June/July, you better have a bullpen that you believe can win. But at the trade deadline when you know there is a problem, it needs to addressed, and for 2018 it was not.

  5. Dodgers Rumors: Organization Presented Potential Investors With Document Outlining Plans To Remain Below Luxury Tax Threshold For Additional Years.
    The Dodgers plan to keep their player payroll below the level that would require a luxury tax payment for at least the next four years, according to a document prepared for potential investors and reviewed by The Los Angeles Times.
    Not surprising, not surprising at all.

    1. I am not sure why anyone might be surprised. This is why the Dodgers will pay Kershaw, but not Harper/Machado.

  6. Per Pedro Moura in The Athletic, the Dodgers aren’t necessarily going to replace Zaidi.
    “Friedman said shortly afterward he is unsure whether he will make a hire to replace Zaidi. He is unsure whether he will have time to hire a general manager. The bulk of Zaidi’s responsibilities will, in the short term, fall to vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes, director of baseball development and scouting Alex Slater and director of player development Brandon Gomes.

    “Player personnel decisions are front and center right now, and they have to be,” Friedman said. “So we’re just trying to figure out, between all the various staffing things, how to prioritize it.””

    The Dodgers are not looking to spend much this offseason, per Dodgers’ Digest.
    “The Dodgers are planning to keep their payroll below the competitive balance tax threshold for at least four years, according to a report by Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times.

    Under the projections prepared for potential investors, the Dodgers would spend $185 million in 2019 and 2020, $191 million in 2021 and $196 million in 2022.

    The threshold will be $206 million in 2019, $208 million in 2020, and $210 million in 2021, so the projections are actually comfortably below the tax level.”

    “The Times asked for Tucker Kain, the Dodgers’ chief financial officer and the managing director of Guggenheim Baseball Management, to explain to fans why the business model presented to potential investors showed that the team does not plan to spend above the threshold in the near future, even as revenues increase. “Unfortunately we have to decline the interview request,” Dodgers spokesman Steve Brener said.”

    Not a Josh Byrnes fan. He was bad in SD and wasn’t good in Arizona either.

  7. Enough with the same garbage of ” did not acquire good pitchers ” It was not possible, they had to stay under the tax, also, knowing that Dodgers could not exceed the spending limit, we do not know what players wanted the other teams, enough to continue with the same trash as before, it was, it’s over, period … Now we have to concentrate on this new season !!

    1. I am not sure that believing the team needed relief pitchers is garbage. Kela, Pressly, and Leclerc combined made less than Ryan Madson individually. So, luxury tax was not a concern. As far as what was asked for in return, all we can do is speculate that FAZ could have done better. Kela was traded for 24-year-old AA LHP Taylor Hearn and 19-year-old lottery pick Sherton Apostel. Hearn is the Twins #6 pick and Apostel is not in the Top 30 prospects.
      Pressly was traded for 23-year-old AA RHP Jorge Alcala (Twins #11) and 19-year-old Rookie League OF lottery pick (Twins #14).
      I have a hard time believing that FAZ could not have put together an equal or better package had they wanted to. They chose not to. I have already stipulated that I do not know whether Leclerc was even available much less what it would have cost in prospects. Kela was the closer, so it doesn’t seem out of line that Leclerc would have cost less than Kela.
      If you believe John Axford/Zac Rosscup/Ryan Madson were the proper additions, that is a personal valuation. But if you do believe that bypassing better available relief pitchers was a mistake (as I do) then I believe the FO needs to learn from their mistakes so as not to repeat them.

      1. Pressly was a great pickup for the Astros with a 0.77 ERA in 26 games. He pitched 23 innings allowing 11 hits, while striking out 32 and walking 3! He was unbelieveble! But who could predict that? Look at his record for his first 5 years:

        2013 – 3.87 ERA
        2014 – 2.86 ERA
        2015 – 2.93 ERA
        2016 – 3.70 ERA
        2017 – 4.70 ERA
        2018 (before trade) – 3.40
        2018 (after trade) 0.77 ERA

        Who knew? I conclude that Houstin has one hell of a pitching coach!

        1. Yeah… “pitching coach”. I think Trevor Bauer has a theory about some of those miraculous pitching turnarounds.

        2. He was one of my 3 that I was touting before the deadline. He came into his own this year with the Twins, and everything started to click.
          Pitching coach or Jeff Luhnow knows talent???? I am betting on Luhnow.

    1. Sounds about right.
      But in a perfect world we could get Realmuto for Puig, Barnes + Wood, and/or a prospect.

  8. I have no doubt that Farhan Zaidi has an eye for talent (a good eye), along with a data driven analysis to measure the player’s value. If that is where it stopped, the chances for the Dodgers success would have been greater. But his micro-management of the lineup/game was unwarranted. I have no objection to hiring a manager who buys into your philosophy, but then let him manage. There is no doubt in my mind that it was not Doc Roberts brilliant idea to bat Kike’ 3rd in Game 5. I also have no doubt that before the WS, match-ups were discussed and it was decided that it was better for a LHRP (Wood) pitch to Nunez, rather than RHRP (Baez) pitch to Devers. Everybody knew that Devers/Nunez and Moreland/Pearce were interchangeable components and IMO decisions were made before the WS how best to attack that later in the game (relief pitching). The GM should stay out of game management. I am not naive and believe that Zaidi was communicating with Roberts during the game. But you have to believe that Roberts was told what to do under various circumstances before hand. After striking out both Moreland and Bogaerts why wasn’t Baez allowed to stay in? Let your manager manage. He has the pulse of the game (or he is supposed to). If Roberts believed that Baez should have come out, then he should be held accountable.
    Maybe Zaidi will have learned from his mistakes (I call them mistakes), and he will stay out of creating lineups and game management under various scenarios. I have no doubt that Bruce Bochy would not have batted Kike’ 3rd in the WS. How that tandem works will be a good back story to lock on to.

          1. Evans #1 – Campanis much further down the list. He wanted to trade Hershiser for Jim Sundberg. I could never forgive him for that.

          2. But he did not trade Hershiser. Some of the best trades are those that are not made. Take a look at his draft picks. He engineered what is considered the best draft in history, 1968. Buzzie Bavasi (Jan) & Fresco Thompson (June) were officially the GMs, but it was Campanis’ draft. He had 4 teams that made the WS 74, 77, 78, 81.
            Maybe I will do a more thorough research (it is fun), but off the top of my head he traded for Reggie Smith, Rick Monday, Andy Messersmith, Tommy John, Dusty Baker, Jimmie Wynn, Kenny Landreaux, and signed Fernando Valenzuela. Besides the 1968 drafts, other Rookie of the Year Draft picks – Steve Sax, Steve Howe, Rick Sutcliffe. He made some questionable trades (Sutcliffe for 1), but what GM hasn’t. I think he can stand on his own.

  9. Bruce and Z, that’s gonna be a fun relationship. Kinda like Sioscia and Dipoto. I would love to be a fly on the wall during pre-game meetings. I guess I’m the only one that’s happy about Z leaving. First, you’re a loser if you go from the Dodgers to the Giants, so DLTDHYITAOTWO. Second, everyone says that Z is the one who finds these Max Muncy, Chris Taylor, types. Well that’s great as I review a roster full of incomplete players. Muncy can’t field, Taylor strikes out too much, Kike has ants in his pants, Joc can’t hit lefties , Barnes can’t hit at all, etc. They picked up a dozen of relief pitcher projects, yet only one (Floro) made the post-season roster. I’ll give him this, no one he traded away is really any good, problem is the same can be said for everyone he acquired (Yu Darvish). Well, Manny was pretty good, but had flaws, like Puig lite.

    Anyways, I’m sad we lost Woodward. Maybe sad to lose Ward, but Tim Hyers seems to be the big loss. Hopefully Roberts doesn’t feel as pressed to make so many match up decisions now that bully Farhan is out of town. Maybe Freedman feels a little heat in his contract year. Let’s hope this makes for a busy off season where we can replace all these bench players with some guys that can play. Turner, Belli, Seager can play full time. So, we only have 5 position players to work out, just a catcher, second baseman, and entirely new outfield should do the trick. A leadoff hitter with speed, on base skills and elite defense in CF or 2B would be great (This doesn’t sound like Verdugo). Otherwise it’s gonna be another year of beer league where everyone plays the position they want, and everyone swings for the big one. Cuz, chicks dig the long ball.

    1. I think it all starts with the catcher position. I’m sure we have our feelers out there for at least a part-time backstop to share the job with Barnes. Out of all the positions to platoon, I’m fine with it happening at the grueling position of catcher.
      It also sounds like we’re interested in adding a full-time 2B. That position has been a void for us and even though we have multiple options none is a perfect fit.
      Assuming we are committed to Muncy at 1b (and I think having Freese around supports this view), that pretty much settles the starting infield and we can turn our eyes to the outfield.
      I disagree we need a new outfield. Puig is a starter, Bellinger looks like our CF, and Verdugo is ready for a job. If he’s still behind Kemp/Joc, I think we should just trade him. He is clearly ready and deserving of 400 at-bats.
      I think our rotation is full to brimming, even without Ryu. We need to leave some spaces open for if/when Santana/Ferguson/May/White/Gonsolin are ready. Kershaw, Buehler, Hill, Maeda, Wood, Urias, Stripling should be enough.
      That leaves the bullpen which is either a total mess or overloaded (or both). The front office deserves both credit and blame for putting together recent bullpens. I thought it was great in 2017 until it wasn’t; I was worried about it in 2018 and it proved me wrong (until the World Series). Roberts gets a share of blame for the bullpen’s woes as well. I have no idea what we’ll do from this point on.
      Conclusion: It’s probably time to prune down the roster. Trade some guys. Swap for contracts. Make a challenge prospect deal. I’m ready for change (although my first choice is Harper). The writing is on the wall for an active offseason.

  10. If I’m being extremely honest and putting aside who my favorite players might be… I think I would look at the current 40 man roster like this.

    Players that I keep at all costs… because of their current or potential value:
    Buehler, Urias, Seager, JT, & Bellinger

    And that’s pretty much it. I would be open for business and willing to trade pretty much everyone else on the current 40 man roster.

    I think what this team needs to address most are the following:

    They need more professional hitters with better bat-to-ball skills that don’t strike out so much and can deliver more w/ RISP.
    (Having JT, Seager, and Freese on the roster is a good start… but that’s obviously not enough. Verdugo (if he stays with the team) will be a nice addition)

    One more quality starting pitcher (I think all great teams need 2 great pitchers that they can rely on to help them get big wins when they need it. I think Buehler proved he’s that kind of pitcher during the 2nd half of the year, but especially in Game 163, Game 7 of the NLCS. and Game 3 of the World Series. Kershaw might surprise us… but how can you honestly bank on him coming through in the playoffs… you can’t. I mean, if he does that’s great… but I think if you’re trying to win a world series, you’ll need a legit #2 pitcher behind Buehler. I just don’t see them shelling out the money for a guy like Corbin… so I guess we have to hope that Urias will be ahead of schedule??

    I would like to see them add 2 strong (actual) proven relief pitchers… guys that can regularly handle 7th & 8th inning set up duties and/or the 9th inning if Kenley isn’t right.
    (This probably won’t happen either… but hoping Maeda, Wood, Alexander, Madson, Rosscup, Floro, Chargois, etc. will lock it down in the post season is just madness)

    Quality Catcher (There’s not too many great catchers out there… so if Realmuto is a Realoption for us… then I think you have to try your best to get him)

    Legit Leadoff Hitter (I don’t see it happening, but they desperately need one)

    Everyday 2B (Whit Merrifield would take care of both 2B and he’s also a legit leadoff hitter… but that ain’t happening either)

    New Pitching Coach (The pitchers all seem to love Honeycutt, so I wouldn’t necessarily let him go. But if you look at some of the more questionable pitching decisions that were made this post season and also in the 2017 World Series… you have to ask yourself, where was Honeycutt during the decision making process? And if it’s not his role to advise Doc on those types of decisions… then what is he doing on the bench. And if it’s all been scripted ahead of time by the FO then just get rid of the position altogether. But if it’s true that he does have some input for those in big in-game pitching decisions, then deserves his fair share of the blame.

  11. Val!!! Where have you been hiding with this cachet of info/analysis and problem solving… Really like your stuff…
    Of course then I also like cold toilet seats!!!
    P.S. It’s always a dead giveaway when you mention ridding us
    of Honey!!!

    1. Thanks Peter! Well, you know what they say… You catch more flies with Honey(cutt) comments than you do with vinegar. What they always fail to mention though is that you can actually catch the most flies with manure.
      P.S. Which is the smell I often associate with your comments.

  12. Val, I feel better now that you’ve grounded me…
    I just get damn depressed when I see that what I’ve got with my Blue just doesn’t cut it…

    1. Ha! It’s all in good fun my friend.

      I know what you mean though. The regular season was rough enough… but to get so close again for the 2nd straight year and to lose the way we did… it’s a bitter taste for sure.

  13. I know the Dodgers have been the best pitching team in baseball since Honeycutt started, but is it past time?

    I don’t know….

  14. I should have figured out that Friedman would not name a GM. It’s kind of a redundant position in business and baseball.

    I used to have a GM, but got rid of my last one 4 years ago. No need to replace him…

  15. Being run by a massive hedge fund is worrisome, and always has been. The recent report about projected earnings and spending in the years to come is upsetting. I understand we can compete and win with a 185 million dollar payroll next year, but would be in so much better of a position at 230 million. Boston surely proved that spending a little more goes a long way especially within the tight margins of the postseason. I think the front office’s expenditures this offseason will be very telling as we move forward with this regime.

    I am curious what our resident experts feel about Shakin’s report? AC, Mark, Val, Dodgerrick, MJ, DionysisDodger Chattter please speak on the matter of you have an opinion about this topic? Or anyone else who has a thought?

    Does our ownership continually get passes because of what they spent previously, I feel they don’t. All we here about as fans is the mighty spending power we have, well let’s see it. Or if not then admit as much ownership. Friedman’s remark about going past the luxury tax was ominous for those of us who would like to see them spend.

    1. I think the Dodgers will keep under the Luxury Tax which is $206 million. How much under? I don’t know, but I am OK with it because USUALLY the highest payroll doesn’t win…. except this year!

      I am not a fan of this ownership group. We should form an investment group of fans and raise $3.0 billion by selling shares and buy the Dodgers, like the Packers are owned by fans. I’ll be the CEO, AC can be CFO, DC is Team President, Bobby is COO, MJ is Traveling Secretary and DodgerRick is Cheif Legal Council. Now just send us 3 Billion and we will get you a team, Dodgerfans! We will retain all the baseball staff, but fire Kasten.

      1. I am on board.
        The Shaikin report should not be a surprise. Todd Boehly told us all this a couple of years ago. He said unequivocally that the Dodgers cannot sustain the salaries as they were, and they need to get down to $200MM and stay around there. IMO they can make significant improvements and stay under the the $206MM luxury tax if they make smart trades and strategic FA signings. I am working on something for this weekend on the subject.

          1. On the MLB Channel today, John Hart said he wouldn’t take what the LA Times found about the Dodgers not going over the luxury tax for the next 4 years, that seriously.

            He doesn’t believe that is something that is written in stone.

          2. Nor did it take into account the extra revenue generated from the playoffs and World Series the last two years.

    2. Thank you Adam. But I know nothing. My immediate reaction is it was a click bait hit job. We’ll see.

  16. I like Mark’s idea. I think it would be great if the fans owned the team. Maybe we could come up with a tiered ownership plan starting as low as $2,500 and going up to $100,000 where you would have different benefits and perks coming at each ownership level.

    Or maybe we just try to find one million Dodger fans worldwide that would like to invest $3,000 in making a bid on the team. Then we would could have a million CEO’s running the organization. I’m sure things would run pretty smoothly then.

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