Dodger Position Players: Over, Under, Sideways, Down

The Bryce Harper rumors are growing, but even with Dodger officials traveling to Las Vegas to meet with him, “What happens in Vegas, will likely stay in Vegas!”  Just my opinion. There will likely be some more player movement by the Dodgers this offseason, but I believe that Andrew Friedman is right – the Dodgers really don’t need much, and they certainly don’t need to make changes just for the sake of change.  If the team has good chemistry and is young, then sometimes it is better to let them grow together.  The difficult part is to know when to fold on a player or stay with them through growing pains. If Harper falls into their lap, so be it, but I am not holding my breath.

It’s obviosuly not up to me, but if the season started today, here is what I would consider to be out best starters,  I will discuss my opinions of each player with regard to:

  1. Upside
  2. Downside
  3. Worst Case Scenerio
  4. Best Case Scenerio
  5. Most Likely Scenerio

Here we go!

Austin Barnes – C

Upside– Austin Barnes is very versitile and can play just about anywhere in the infield as well as catch. However, he would only play 2B or 3B in an emergency as he has focused on catching for the past two seasons.  He is a very good pitch framer and performs well behind the plate.

Downside– He does not have a rocket arm, so he cannot throw out speedy runners.  His bat was absent for all of 2018 as he hit only .205 for the season while slugging a miserable .290.

Worst Case– Austin does not regain the hitting tool he showed in 2017 and fails to hit in 2019 as well. His  throwing arm becomes a liability.

Best Case– He regains his stroke and hits .289 with a .408 OB% and .895 OPS like he did in 2017.

Most Likely– I think he will fall somewhere in between his great season on 2017 and horrid season of 2018.  If he could put up 300 to 350 AB’s and hit his career average (.240/.364 OB%/.735 OPS) as well as play great defense, he could be a solid piece in a powerful lineup as the #8 hitter. He is not likely to play enough to get many AB’s over 300. He would need a solid backup or catching partner. That could come after the All-Star game in one Keibert Ruiz.  I’m serious.  He may be ready THAT soon.

Cody Bellinger – 1B

Upside– Cody Bellinger is one of the best defensive first basemen in baseball, certainly the best 1B on the Dodgers.  However, he is also the best centerfielder on the team.  The problem is that he can only play one position at a time.  In a perfect world, he would be the first baseman every game.  With his reach and athletic ability he will save many runs over the course of a season as the first baseman.  He also has a very strong arm and is the second fastest player on the team.  His ability to play CF puts him in the Top Tier of centerfielders.  He has 50 HR potential and is young and shows the ability to adapt.

Downside– He has had issues with low and inside pitches for a while and pitches high in the zone. He was pathetic in the 2017 World Series and even worse in 2018.  He is prone to striking out on certain pitches, high or low in the zone.

Worst Case– He does not evolve and adapt and continues to be a guy who hits 20-25 HR and bats .250-.260 while playing great defense.

Best Case– He continues to adapt and evolve and cuts down on his strikeouts while improving his pitch recognition.  He could flirt with .300 and hit 50 HR if he can adjust.

Most Likely– I think he will adjust and improve incrementally in 2019.  Something like a .270 BA with a .360 OB% and 30+ HR would be easily attainable.  If left at 1B he will win several Gold Gloves.

Max Muncy – 2B

Upside– Max has a great pitch recognition as well as a very quick bat.  He has just figured out how to hit at the MLB level.  He will strike out a bunch and walk a bunch.  He should be a player who can hit 30+ HR every year with a high OPS.

Downside– He strikes out too much and fails to walk.  He is challenged with the glove… mostly range.

Worst Case– He gets exposed and becomes Juan Uribe… minus the glove.

Best Case– With a full season of playing,  he is capable of 40+ HR and could OPS in the high .900’s – that’s superstar material.

Most Likely– I think he can maintain his level of hitting in 2019 and if given all of Spring Training at 2B, he can become an adequate and willing defensive second baseman. I see .250 BA with 30+ HR asnd a high OB%. His bat would be among the best at 2B.  He just needs a lot of reps and Kike can be his caddy defensively.

Corey Seager – SS

Upside– Corey was one of the Top Three Shortstops in baseball before the 2018 season.  He should be able to get even better and improve for the next 3 or 4 years before his ultimate move to 3B.

Downside– He is big for a SS and maybe the surgeries will impeed him.

Worst Case– His injuries rob him of his agility and throwing and he ends up having to play 1B or he loses his bat speed due to his hip.

Best Case– Corey was a budding superstar before his injuries.  With 100% recovery he is a MVP Candidate with .300+ BA and 30+ HR capability while playing very well defensively.

Most Likely– Assuming he will be healthy (which is a big assumption), I could see him starting slowly and regaining his stroke back by mid-season.  A .285 BA with 25 HR would be a huge plus. I think he can deliver that… maybe more in 2019.

Justin Turner – 3B

Upside– Hands-down the best hitter on the Dodgers, and heart and soul of the team.  If he can stay healthy, he can be a TOP 5 MVP Candidate.

Downside– He crowds the plate and gets his share of HBP.  That, and his age and health are big concerns. That’s a big reason David Freese was resigned. Wait! He’s old too!

Worst Case– He gets injured by a pitch and also hurts a knee again and it is a long season where he only get a couple hundred at bats.

Best Case– JT plays in 150 games batting .334 with 33 HR and 115 RBI. That’s possible… if he stays healthy.

Most Likely– I hope for a Best Case Scenerio, but we are likley to see him replicate last year.  I do hope he can stay healthier a little longer.

Joc Pederson – LF

Upside– Joc has tremendous power and I list him as the starting Left Fielder because there are more right-handed pitchers than LHP.  He made some improvments last year and if he keeps it up he can be quite a force.

Downside– I would not consider Joc to be a studious person or a tireless worker… as yet!  Maybe he can change that, and he could easily take two steps back.

Worst Case– He reverts to old habits and hits .180.

Best Case– Joc gets 450 AB’s and hits 35 HR while hitting .250 and playing decent defense.

Most Likely– Probably somewhere in the middle:  27 HR and a .245 BA with a .340 OB%. I’ll take that!

Chris Taylor – CF

Upside– CT3 broke out in 2017 and looked to be on a path to being a really good player… if not a star. He’s learning CF and has the speed to play there.

Downside– See 2018.  He struck out 31% of the time and likely set the all-time record of looking at called third strikes.

Worst Case– He plays the same as last year.

Best Case– He adjusts and reverts to the player he was in 2017.

Most Likely– Again, probably somewhere in the middle: .270 BA/.345 OB%, 20 HR and fewer strikeouts (10% fewer?).

Yasiel Puig – RF

Upside– Yasiel still has not realized his immense potential (maybe he never will), but this is a guy who is a cross between Bo Jackson and Roberto Clemente. He has the talent to be an MVP.

Downside– Look at 2016.

Worst Case– He reverts to 2016 and early 2017 and/or is on the DL all year with hamstring issues.

Best Case– .320 BA/.390 OB%/40 HR/120 RBI and Gold Glove Defense in RF.

Most Likely– What he did in 2018 is probably what we can expect.

David Freese – Utility

Upside– Freese is a leader of men and a guy who shows up, shuts up and steps up. He has a career .275 BA with a .349 OB%.  He’s a solid utility guy and pinch hitter – Just don’t overuse him.

Downside– He will be 36 next year and could be on the downhill slide.

Worst Case– He reverts back to 2015 with the Angels when he hit .257.

Best Case– He gets 250-275 AB’s and hits over .300.

Most Likely– Probably pretty close to the Best Case.

Kike Hernandez – Utility

Upside– He becomes JD Martinez.

Downside– He stays Kike Hernandez.

Worst Case– 2016 when he hit .190 with a ,283 OB%.

Best Case– He builds on last year where he hit .256/.336 OB%/.806 OPS with 21 HR.

Most Likely– Probably a little better than last year, but not JD Martinez. He’s still likely the best utilityman in MLB!

Matt Kemp – LF, RF, PH

Upside– He has another year like last year.

Downside– He gains the weight back and reverts to the old Matt Kemp..

Worst Case– He’s done and the Dodgers cut him.

Best Case– In 300 AB’s he hits 20 HR.

Most Likely– I am not optimistic about Matt like I was last year.  He will likely be a role player and get a  few big hits.

Alex Verdugo – LF, CF, RF

Upside– Tony Gwynn.

Downside– Andrew Toles.

Worst Case– His attitude is not improved and he has a limited view due to where his head is.

Best Case– Leadoff hitter with a .400 OB% and excellent defense in RF.  Keep him out of CF as much as possible.

Most Likely– Puig is traded and Alex plays RF and win the ROY.

Andrew Toles – LF, CF, RF

Upside– 4th outfielder.

Downside– Kroger.

Worst Case– When he was in the Rays minor league system.

Best Case– He wins a spot as the 4th outfielder.

Most Likely– It depends upon who gets traded.

I didn’t list a catcher because Ruiz and Smith are not ready and Gale is an Emergency Only Catcher.  There will be trades and signings and who knows what, but this is what the Dodgers have now.  It’s not Murderers’ Row, but it’s enough to win the NL West and other opportunities will arise at the Trade Deadline.

I left Kyle Farmer off because I do not think he is a viable option.  I hope I am wrong. Matt Beaty and /or Edwin Rios could see time, but that’s to be determined.

Next:  I’ll evaluate the pitchers.

 

This article has 86 Comments

  1. Good stuff. I’ll have more to say about the roster later. So I woke up to the Harper story and I have to restate my belief he is a perfect fit for us. An impact bat and generational talent who only costs money. We can afford him and we have the farm system intact to grow around him. We’ve tried it others ways and come so close. It’s time to try something new. Handing out a mega-contract is risky business, but sometimes you have to say what the f@#%.

  2. LOL – Dionysis. Didn’t you “give up” on Harper just yesterday? Mark, not even Roberts will configure the defense of Taylor, Muncy, Bellinger like that. The only way Muncy plays 2B and Belli 1B is if we get more outfielders. Muncy plays first, Taylor second and Belli center.

    A healthy Toles might just have starting CF / Leadoff hitter ceiling now that he’s two years removed from that ACL injury. He’s probably better than Verdugo as he’s faster and has some pop and a great arm. He’s another 5 tool guy that gets overlooked because of his terribly weird backstory in the Rays organization.

    You have 9 or 10 guys that are 27 or under listed here. This group of guys still have a ton of upside. Too bad all the best hitters are left handed, except JT.

    1. Yes I did. I gave up on believing the Dodgers were actually interested. From Day One of the offseason I have thought he is the player they should target. Otherwise, what was the whole point of getting their financial affairs in order?
      *
      Assuming the money can be made to work–and I forgot my original proposal, something front-loaded with a player opt-out after four years: 10y $350m with first 4 y @ $40m per year and next 6y @ $31.5m?–he fits very nicely into our lineup.
      *
      I’d bat him leadoff or 2nd [probably 2nd] and play him everyday in LF. Eventually he could move to 1B if needed but not for a while.
      *
      It’s possible we were waiting to get the Roberts contract sorted out before we went full steam on him, and it’s still possible this is either a smokescreen OR we’re willing to be outbid by another team (which is after all, smart negotiating 101).
      *
      I really want Harper. And I’m not normally a “Sign Player X at Whatever Cost!” fan. I agree with many here who say it usually backfires. I just think we’ve built up our farm, we’ve come close to the pinnacle, but we need to climb to the summit. There aren’t many chances like this and I’m willing to be wrong if it doesn’t work.
      *
      I’m not sure if we’ll win a WS with him or without him. But I think he’s closer to an MVP than a flawed player. I think he could hit 50 HR. And I think he could ALL the spotlight away from Kershaw, Jansen, Turner, Bellinger, & Seager and just let them play. He would be THE MAN. I think we need him.
      *
      (Yeah, maybe Puig would be traded as a result but I could live with that.)

      1. Actually, I believe my original “Dope Fiend” contract prediction was 10y/$370m: 4 years @ $40m with a player opt-out & 6 years @ $35 m with an AAV of $37m, breaking all the records.
        *
        I know some here consider that ludicrous but inflation is real, players are better, and teams have more money. “In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine.” –Benjamin Graham.
        *
        Like it or not, Bryce Harper might just weigh that much in the baseball universe.

  3. Thanks 59…Just about sums it up for me… Just gives Toles and Verdugo alot of innings at Camelback and see what we have for Opening day…
    Not quite yet though… I get it, Manny malingered but Yasiel, Yasiel, Yasiel, a guy who couldn’t find a cutoff man if his life depended on it and lets put him in the company of Roberto Clemente!??! That comparison is dope fiend stupid…
    Folks we got a new Yasmani on the block…

  4. I would like to see a different second baseman, left fielder, center fielder and maybe a different catcher. Still early,let’s see what happens.

  5. Peter Gammons guested on the MLB Network this morning and spent quite a bit of time praising the Dodgers new hitting coach. He talked about how Robert Van Scoyoc incorporated Ted Williams into his hitting philosophy. He said somebody early on said they thought Pederson was a doubles machine and that Verdugo might be the biggest beneficiary of Scoyoc. Also that the Dodgers want to work on solid contact WRISP instead of swinging for the fences. Basically Gammons said that Scoyoc would do the opposite of what most here feared.
    .
    If Gammons is right, Pederson, Verdugo, Bellinger, Seager, Barnes, will become more doubles hitters and less home run hitters. I have less optimism for Taylor.
    .
    I think Smith is the heir apparent to Grandal and not Ruiz. Actually, I think there is a good chance that Ruiz will be packaged in a trade. There was a rumor that Ruiz and Verdugo would get Realmuto but I don’t think the Dodgers will trade Verdugo now that Scoyoc is the hitting coach. Maybe Puig and Ruiz for Kluber as the main pieces of such a trade.
    .
    Muncy and CT3 for Merrifield maybe.

  6. I’ve got dope fiend fever this morning. If we are indeed interested in Bryce Harper, to me that signals that we are truly all-in. If Kluber can be had for a payroll-neutral price, I’d say he’d be a good addition to a championship-aspiring squad. Finally, if we’re going to do all that, might as well pull the trigger on the deal Mark wants so bad: Realmuto in blue. Those three could vault us to the top of the heap. We’d lose some prospects (Ruiz guaranteed for Realmuto & likely a couple other painful ones), but we’d place ourselves seriously among the elite of the elite. I don’t think we’d be able to afford a new 2B after all that, but I believe we have enough internally to cover the position.
    *
    (FTR, I am against trading Ruiz, but because I am a fan of Smith, I would get over it.)

  7. I may be in the minority here but I don’t see Harper wearing Dodger blue. and for one thing, it doesn’t address our basic needs( C, 2B, BP,RH power hitter). Also we would have to trade some of our OF for pennies on the dollar. I won’t even go into how much he would cost but signing him would in all probability stop us from getting a FA NEXT year.

    1. No disrespect, RichieF, but Harper is one of those who it doesn’t matter what side they bat from. He’s a hitter pure and simple and I don’t factor that into the equation at all. If the argument is, “We should go after Stanton instead because he’s RH and we need a RH bat,” I just don’t buy it. Talent is talent. Maybe for the supporting cast it matters, but not for the main character. If the best actor for the part of Romeo is African-American, you cast him. (Sorry for the strange metaphor–it worked for me in my head.)

  8. Only because of some maternal woes in 2017 and a lil marital discord in 2018 (Yikes) we had a young version of Johnny Bench right in our sights… Thank God he didn’t bite on the QO, so low ball him on a one year deal and hopefully with no aforementioned problems, he can continue his road to Cooperstown…
    Orrrr just get A.J.

  9. 59

    Your right, we don’t know what we have with Toles yet.

    He has only played two seasons in the last four years, and he pulled his hammy and was out a month at the beginning of last year.

    He hit almost 30 points higher against righties then Verdugo.

    And he hit 50 points higher then Verdugo when runners were in scoring position last year.

    And his OPS was 300 points higher then Verdugo in these situations, too.

    If last year was Verdugo’s best year, what does that say about Toles, when Toles has only played two seasons in the last four years?

    And remember one of those years Toles missed, was not because he was injured, so it isn’t like he is always injured.

    Who in that outfield is going to get hits when runners are in scoring position, if Joc is going to get most of the at bats, over Kemp?

    Puig looked good in these situations in the post season, but non of those other outfielders even had decent numbers in these situations, last year.

    And that carried over to the post season, and was part of the reason we only won one game in the World Series.

    1. I think there’s a lot of logic here. It’s one reason I think we could conceivably trade Verdugo: because we could have a similar player in Toles. I’m not sure how history will view this comparison, but stranger things have happened. (re: Toles, this is definitely a case of the ORG knowing much more than we do about things.

      1. Dionysis

        Your right you just don’t know.

        It isn’t like Toles was not thought of highly at one time, he did get an invite to the Cape Cod Summer League, and he has missed quite a bit of time, in the last four years, like I already said.

        1. From memory, the Andrew Toles story as a Dodger has been: came out of nowhere, performed quite well, won the LF job outright, got injured for the year, didn’t make the roster when healthy, got injured again, and didn’t play much at all when he came back up. He’s really a walking Incomplete right now and if not traded, he at least deserves a long look during spring training. I can’t imagine we have any issues with his hustle or attitude. He seems a quiet intense dude to me. It might just be a depth issue, as Verdugo didn’t even get that many chances himself and most pundits have him pegged as clearly ready for the show.

          1. Dionysis

            That first year Toles came up in July, and played the rest of that season in the majors, and throughout the post season.

            The next year, was when he won the leftfield job, and hurt his knee.

  10. Surplus value. Does anybody here put much stock into it? I like the idea of factoring in a player’s contract status into their overall worth, but I think, like with most projections, it’s just a fancy way of doing guesswork. For example, I just read on the Mariners’ blog that Carlos Santana, according to one computation, is worth $6.5 mil in “surplus value.”
    *
    To me, context is ignored with these calculations. Where will he play? How much is he needed? How does he fit into the team as a whole? Like all predictions based largely on conjecture, the only one that matters is an aggregate of the many. I guess I would listen to that number a bit closer, but still not put much stock in it.
    *
    (Full disclosure: I’m seeing this type of trade analysis more and more, especially with prospects, which is even harder to do–for example, Verdugo could be an all-star or a flame-out.)

  11. I think there is ZERO chance Ruiz is traded. If Friedman were willing to trade him, JT Realmuto would already be a Dodger. Baltimore asked for Keibert as has Miami. Will Smith is a nice player, but Ruiz is a generational talent. In 2018 at Tulsa,Ruiz caught 85 games (740 innings)as a 19 year old. He had 415 AB’s with 26 BB and only 33 K’s (8% strikeout rate).Will Smith caught just 33 games (271 innings)as Ruiz’ teammate. In 352 AB. Smith walked 43 times and struck out 112 times. THAT’S A 32% STRIKEOUT RATE… and Smith is 4 years older than Kay Bear. The Dodgers have already anointed Ruiz as their next big league in-house catching option. Smith may be his backup, but I don’t think he is a starting C.

    Ruiz has a shot at being really special.

      1. At AA at age 19, how many players can boast 415 AB’s with 26 BB and only 33 K’s (8% strikeout rate)? That is elite bat-to-ball skill.

    1. Preach it. Clearly, there are no real untouchables but Ruiz/May/Lux are probably about as close as we can get. I think the exception is when the player you are receiving represents about the ceiling of the player you are trading (with team control factored in as well). For example, we might’ve traded May for DeGrom last year, or Lux for [damn, where have all the 2b gone?!?!?!].
      *
      I’m glad to hear you say you wouldn’t trade Ruiz for Realmuto. I see Ruiz as the backstop of a dominant Dodgers team someday. As I said, the only reason I waffle is Smith could be that guy too. Different profile but potentially similar impact. When we drafted Smith, I saw him as our version of Posey. Ruiz is looking like he could be Piazza (or Victor Martinez).

      1. Dionysis

        Victor Martinez is not a bad comparison, when we are talking about hitting.

        Because he and Miggy, helped JD Martinez a lot, when he was on the Tigers.

        If Ruiz hits as well as Victor once did, he will be doing pretty well.

      2. It’s hard to project his power, but I think he is special.

        For the record, over the past 20 years, I have said the following prospects were special:
        Beltre
        Kershaw
        Seager
        Bellinger
        Verdugo
        Ruiz
        Russ Martin
        Andy LaRoche
        … yeah, I know!

        1. No Greg Miller or Joel Guzman? 😉
          *
          I’m such a prospect-lover I was sad when we traded Chuck Tiffany.

        2. I liked Loney a lot. And I’m not sure I believed in Bellinger until I saw his minor league highlights. The dude was hitting balls WAY beyond the RF area on a regular. Like, the ball would clear the fence, clear the berm, and wind up back behind some trees. That’s power!

    2. I like Ruiz better but because of his time in college and age Smith is a bit more advanced and could probably handle the defense part right now. Hard to say how he adjusts to ML pitching but he has decent power too and can play other positions. I don’t see Ruiz ever being moved off catcher and he should be retained as catcher of the future unless there is an obvious return that can’t be passed up. Barnes and Smith could work as a tandem for a year while Ruiz develops at AAA.

  12. The Tickets go on sale for Yanks/Bosox at the London Stadium (2012 Olympic Stadium), tomorrow, and I’m on the mailing list.
    What do you think of these prices?

    https://www.london-stadium.com/sites/londonstadium.com/files/media/mlb_london_series_-_hospitality_-_csm_brochure.pdf

    https://www.london-stadium.com/top-stories/mitel-mlb-present-london-series-2019-venue-pre-sale-information?utm_campaign=720350_MLB%20Pre-Sale%20Reminder%20Tuesday&utm_medium=email&utm_source=London%

    20Stadium&utm_content=MLBInfo&dm_i=454F,FFTQ,2ZF0J8,1RBBY,1

    Was thinking of going, but that is expensive

  13. Here’s a fun thought exercise: pretend that this morning’s Harper interlude was just a fever dream and has no chance of happening; what else could we do with approx. $30m to upgrade the roster?

    1. Kluber for prospects, plus proven set up man that can close.
      Stanton.
      Harper/Machado.
      Sherzer for prospects.
      Trade for and extend DeGrom
      Realmuto plus DJLM plus proven set up man that can close.

    1. Magic probably wasn’t there, but where there’s smoke there’s fire. Many have made the arugument that the current ownership is about their portfolios and balance sheets rather than going over the luxury tax to win. I will make the argument in an era that places WAR at $9 million that Bryce Harper has such a surplus value(also important these days) that the Dodgers financial background would tell them that it is stupid not to be in on a 26-YEAR OLD star who wil give them an immense surplus value and after 5 years will be only 31. Give him an opt out after 4 or 5 years. If not, watching Stanton and Cano’s contracts get moved tells me that Harper’s will be moveable if for some reason the Dodgers are an unlikely rebuild in 5 years.

      1. so with the nationals signing corbin for big money and the phillies rumored to be hot for machado, does that mean it’s the yankees and us competing for harper? something that would be unacceptable would be for the cardinals to get him and win another WS before us. i guess i don’t take CWS or CWS too seriously as suitors. maybe the cubs belong in the mix?

    1. Well, that was a fun way to spend the morning. Didn’t AC just post something yesterday about it be boring and we could just make something up?

  14. Per Morosi (FWIW), Patrick Corbin will be signing a 6 year deal imminently. And unless the Yankees have agreed to go past their 5 year commitment it will not be them. If it is imminent, I am going with the Phillies who are going to spend a “little stupid”. Timing with Segura trade is perfect.

      1. Probably puts Harper out of reach for the Nats. It’s been said they consider him their 3rd best player (behind Soto and Robles).

        1. And yet he is worth $300+MM? Nats made a better choice. With Scherzer, Strasburg, and Corbin, the Nats will match any MLB rotation. They upgraded their bullpen. They upgraded their catching. I am sure they are not done. They still need a 2B. It is also very possible that Rizzo will try to extend Rendon.

          1. Nats are incredibly talented. Trea Turner & Adam Eaton too. I would personally like to nominate Matt Williams as one of the worst major league managers I’ve ever observed on a regular basis. Dusty Baker was fine when he was there but this new guy might be as bad as Williams. How can that team not be better?

      2. Wow. Nothing is cheap. I have no opinion on this deal other than it appear to take away potential funds for Harper. Maybe this deal makes Alex Wood look even more valuable as a trade piece. Prime year lefty starters don’t just grow on trees.

  15. The Dodgers will never be in on any contract that is 10 years in duration. Magic never met with Harper. Harper will never be a Dodger, unless he falls in our lap.

  16. Nats lose two draft picks for signing Corbin: 2nd and 5th round.
    *
    This is where the specter of an arm injury looms behind such decisions on pitchers. Position players can get hurt too but on an everyday motion that is part and parcel of their job. (Puig says just watch me pull a hammy to prove you wrong.)

  17. For all of those that got excited because of the report that Magic met with Harper, there is absolutely zero evidence that anyone connected to the Dodger organization has met with Harper and Boras, or intend to. There is zero evidence that Bryce Harper or any $100MM+ 5+year contract will be offered. It could happen, but it has not happened with Andrew & Co. Friedman will stretch the envelope for Dodger players (JT, Jansen, Hill), but name a player that he signed for a contract above $50MM not playing with the Dodgers. Maybe he will but I do not see it.
    .
    I know there was speculation that the reason the Dodgers got below the CBT threshold was so they could spend big this year. I choose to believe the investor package that stated the Dodgers will stay under the threshold for 4 years. Next year it will be easy with Kemp, Wood, Puig, Hill, Ryu, and Freese coming off the books (about $80MM). I am holding out hope that they will spend next year for Arenado or Rendon or Strasburg if he opts out. But I am certainly not counting on it.
    .
    If the Dodgers were truly going to be in on any high cost FA this year, they would never have offered a QO to Ryu who was always expected to accept it. Ryu and Kershaw are the FA signings this year. The Dodgers are now south of the threshold by $15.6MM before considering anything for Maeda, or for any trade deadline possibilities.
    .
    Andrew believes in homegrown talent and signing 100+ marginal players hoping to find another CT3, Toles, Muncy…That is what Andrew excels at. That is why he was hired. To build a contender, but not just spend. Besides once Kershaw potentially comes off the books after 2021 season, five homegrown Dodgers come up for FA. Seager 2022, Bellinger & Urias 2024, and Buehler and Ferguson 2025. The agent for three of those guys is Scott Boras. Soon to follow, Verdugo, Lux, May, and ???? That is who Andrew focuses on. Not Bryce Harper. I doubt that anyone with LAD even checked in on Corbin. That was all Nationals, Phillies, NYY.
    .
    I understand people want Harper and not Stanton, and I am still not sure why. For a 162-game average: Harper – .279/.388/.512/.900 – 32 HR & 91 RBI. Stanton – .268/.358/.548/.905 – 43 HR & 109 RBI. 2018 Defensively – Harper DRS -26 & -14.4 UZR. Stanton DRS 5 & UZR 7.3.
    .
    Harper has had one absolutely phenomenal year (10.0 WAR). Harper WAR ratings:
    2012 – 5.2
    2013 – 3.7
    2014 – 1.1
    2015 – 10.0
    2016 – 1.5
    2017 – 4.7
    2018 – 1.3
    .
    Stanton WAR ratings:
    2010 – 2.8
    2011 – 4.1
    2012 – 5.4
    2013 – 2.6
    2014 – 6.5
    2015 – 3.8
    2016 – 2.6
    2017 – 7.6
    2018 – 4.0
    .
    Outside of 2013 and 2015, Stanton had better WAR ratings for every other year. Stanton is a SFV guy. Tell me again why Harper is better than Stanton. Because of the Boras publicity machine?

    .
    I am sorry. Harper is good and to some elite, but he is not a generational talent. I reserve that moniker for Mike Trout and Mike Trout only.

    1. Age and body type would be the argument for Harper over Stanton. Also, defensive metrics are a long way from being accurate.

    2. Just looking at OBP, Harper comes out clearly ahead.
      *
      In Harper’s best year (which could say represents his ceiling), he OBP’d .460. Last year he was at .393 & career he is .388.
      *
      Stanton best year saw him OBP .395. Last year he was at .343 & career he is .358.
      *
      I’m not trying to cherry-pick here, just simply looking at a stat that means a lot to me and seeing how they compare. Last year, Harper’s BB/K was 130/169 [that’s actually more K’s than I would prefer] with Stanton’s being 70/211.
      *
      I think it’s safe to say Harper has better command of the strike zone than Stanton–especially if we ever get robo-umps!
      *
      Harper whiffs plenty in key spots but I’d rather have him at the plate than Stanton.

      1. I am not a Harper fan, never have been. I am not an advocate for Stanton at his contract either. But he is less costly than Harper will be, and he fulfills a need for a RH batter. If the defensive metrics were closer, there may be an argument. But they are not even close. Harper knows that his defense is not at the level of others which is why Boras is telling everyone that Harper is athletic enough to play 1B. He is just not an elite defensive player. Harper’s career OPS is less than Stanton, while the BA is not that different. Harper walks more bringing his OBP up but not enough to make up for the slugging difference Stanton has over Harper.
        .
        I just disagree with those who think Harper is better than Stanton. Different strengths that some look at differently than I do. Some look at OBP, I look at OPS. I am a big advocate for defense, while others are not, which is a primary criteria as to why I like DJLM. We just value certain things differently.
        .
        I am also more pitcher oriented than others, which is why if the Dodgers were to make any move, I would hope that it would be for Kluber. And Rudy, he is priced very fair with minimal obligation.

        1. All good points. Harper is a free agent and Stanton isn’t though which may be the most salient factor.

  18. Somewhere in the whistling wind, I hear someone saying “dope fiend!”, “dope fiend!”
    .
    Corbin is a nice pitcher, but definitely not that nice. Unless, we have an active trade market, it is going to be a slow off season for the Dodgers, if pitchers like Corbin command roughly $23,500,000.00 per year.

    1. I think it’s insane if you ask me. Considering 2019 is the only season that really matters, I’d rather have Ryu for one year than Corbin for six.

      1. What else is crazy is that’s being reported than the Nats essentially paid more for there not to be a player opt-out in his contract. Strange when exceptions become the norm.

        1. All pitchers are only one pitch away from Tommy John. When AC hires me as his assistant GM I will stand steadfast in the belief that pitchers are fragile and that starting pitchers only ply their trade 30-35 times a years. Too much money for too little return.

  19. https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-indians-are-in-a-bad-but-enviable-position/
    *
    Interesting piece by Jeff Sullivan about why the Indians, a perennial contender, might be willing to trade a top starting pitcher. Among the reasons provided is the idea that a [good] move could expand their window of contention; another is that it would an unconventional move; lastly, they would have the added leverage of being able to walk away, something the Mariners apparently don’t have.
    *
    I left a trade idea in the comments. Something along the lines of Verdugo + May/Santana/Gonsolin/White/Uceta + other pieces for Kluber. Kluber is really really good and even though he has age and mileage, he could be exactly the kind of pitcher we could use in the postseason especially. His contract situation is close to ideal too.
    *
    With Corbin signing with the Nats today, the arms race just heated up {pulls down sunglasses}

  20. Well saying the Dodgers don’t need much may be true. What they have will get them to the playoffs, but WS winners, I doubt it. My fear with this S Kasten model is we do just that, compete for ten years and win only one WS. Trotting the same team out there year after year while others improve is not enough.

    Those ‘good players’ (Taylor, Kiki, Muncy, etal) might be versatile, but they are not stars that carry a team – in crunch time they get crunched and their weaknesses are exposed.

    Forget any huge FA contracts, Freidman has a track record and he won’t deviate. He won’t even trade some of the better blue chip prospects to fill the holes. I’ll be pleasantly surprised if he lands Kluber, who would be a great addition.

    It is time to trade Puig while he still has value. Make it happen Freidman.

    On Grandal coming back; can’t wait for that playoff game where Puig or Verdugo make a perfect throw to home and Grandal drops the ball – time to move on from Grandal.

    BP will continue to be reclaim projects, and dumpster diving. For better or worse Freidman won’t pay money for good relievers aside from K Jansen.

  21. Ya, but Grandal is the best framer since since I don’t know who???
    Since were going nowhere with this FA thing, the little woman and I saw Bohemian Rhapsody last night and it was damn good. I regret never having seen Queen, one of my favs .

  22. AC – Knew about Adam Lambert and God knows he’ll be flamboyant enough…
    While hopefully I can get you again, did you order tickets for the Stones??? My big venue days are over…

  23. I think Adam Lambert is very appropriate, both in voice and actuality.

    Who knows what Freddy Mercury would be like in this day, where he wouldn’t have to try to be something different?

      1. He should have won American Idol- finished 2nd but in the Finals Show fronted a song for Queen and killed it-and the rest is history.

    1. A close friend of mine knew that I was a huge Freddie Mercury and Queen fan. I was never an American Idol fan but he told me to turn it on to listen to this guy who is Freddie and doesn’t know it yet. I started to follow Adam Lambert and I always believed he was perfect for Queen. When Queen appeared with him on the finals, I knew it was a match. He absolutely can hit the notes that Freddie could. After leaving American Idol Brian May asked him to front Queen, but he turned them down because he wanted a solo career. It didn’t last. He has toured with Queen multiple times and is a ton better lead singer than Paul Rodgers ever was for Queen.
      .
      Sorry for the off topic discussion on Queen, but they are one of my ultimate favorite groups, and I love music almost as much as I love baseball. And music helped keep me sane as a child so I always give it tribute when I can. That is why I really like Mark’s music additions which I listen religiously.
      .
      I will never watch American Idol again after seeing Adam Lambert lose to a non-talent.

        1. Now that is funny. That is the exact album I just had on while working. The topic got me going. But now I am going to listen to it again thanks to you.!!

          1. Funny story: My CFO and I were talking and our Sales Manager walked in to ask a question. My answer was:It’s better to ask forgiveness than it is to ask permission.”My CFO said:I hate guys like you. I fire guys like you!.We are friends… he can’t fire me….

    2. To MJ, Freddie lived life to the fullest. I do not know if he could have had a more complete life, but the music world would have been so much better had Freddie lived.

  24. Just got back from the Bulls – Pacers game. MC Hammer was there… mercifully, he did not sing.

  25. The fact that the Nats signed Corbin, the Catchers and Relievers tells us that they have moved on from Harper. That’s one less team off the board.

  26. Took the Missus to see Bohemian Rhapsody on Saturday night.
    Thoroughly enjoyed it. Have always said that if I could see a band from any time in history, it would be Queen.
    Watched some old footage from Live Aid when I got in. That would’ve been a Gig to go to.

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