Pruning The Roster To Keep It Healthy

Yesterday Mark wrote, “this Dodger Team, right here, right now, is better than the 2018 version.” I will stipulate that the Dodgers may be better just for the loss of Farhan Zaidi and Turner Ward.  That may be cruel, and they may do wonderful things for their new respective clubs, but they were a disconnect for this team.  Friedman wants more of his fingerprints on the roster and approach, and RVS is quickly growing on me to where I am now an advocate. CHANGEis good (or it can be).  In this case, I am going with that it will be good bordering on very good. But let me play devil’s advocate.  Signing MG Kelly is a good start.  As an aside, when I hear the name Machine Gun Kelly, my mind immediately goes to the radio DJ and sometimes actor.  Another story for a much different time and place.  But in order for the team to be WS Champions, they must go further.  Too many starting pitchers, too many relievers, too many OF.  And while each has too many, the position can also be improved. Right here, right now, the rotation is (per Doc):KershawBuehlerHillRyuMaeda While not necessary, who can argue that adding Corey Kluber to the rotation (for a potential three years) makes the team better.  The Dodgers lose Hill and Ryu after 2019, unless Ryu is extended which is also a possibility, except for Scott Boras being his agent.  Will he take 3 years for $33MM with an option with vesting?  Or is Boras counting on a big year for some big bucks next year? OK I digress. What would it take to get Kluber?  Before everybody simply says Verdugo is expendable for Kluber, what happens if Puig and or Kemp and or Joc are moved for salary relief and prospects.  Who plays OF?  Andrew & Co. has to think longer term.  Who plays OF in 2020 when Puig and Kemp are gone.  If Puig is an extension candidate, it would have been offered by now.  Puig may have already played his final game in Dodger Blue, but if not, 2019 will be his last.  The same is true with Kemp.  So, before the Dodgers trade Verdugo to get Kluber, the plight of Puig and Kemp must be finalized.  I am okay with moving Puig and Kemp for prospects.  But please no more relief pitching prospects.  And no to Homer Bailey.  See what RH OF bat might be available.  I still think Austin Hays is a prospect the Dodgers should pursue.  Trey Mancini?  Horrible year last year, but maybe RVS can help him.  TheyDO NOT HAVE TO BE ALL STAR PLAYERS.  A J Pollock/Michael Brantley/Nick Markakis? I feel another potential article on outfielders coming.  The point is the OF situation must be dealt with before the Dodgers can deal Verdugo in a potential Kluber acquisition.  There are too many unknown variables.  And unknowns scare Andrew which is why he needs his depth. Without adding more confusion to the rotation with the addition of Kluber, the Dodgers still have a dilemma withTOO MANYstarters as it is. With the rotation currently set as indicated above, that leaves two former All Stars out of consideration; Alex Wood and Ross Stripling, not to mention young Julio.  Julio is the easiest to deal with initially.  He goes to AZ for extended ST, then to RC and OKC for live action, and then to LA.  But as a starter or as a reliever?  I am projecting that he will be lengthened out as a starter so if a starter is needed, he will be ready.  He can always go back to relieving thru the end of the season. The season will dictate what happens with Urias. What about Wood and Stripling?  Wood has a healthy price tag estimated at $9MM for one year.  He could go to the bullpen, but there is also a logjam there.  It appears more than likely that Alex gets traded.  But to who, and for what return? I am fine with Wood moving on, but now what about Ross Stripling who is pre-arbitration with 4 years of team control?  Strip is 29 and will be FA available at 33.  2020 is easy, he slots right in for either Hill or Ryu, but what about 2019. Mark projectsBIGthings from Ross in 2019, but not if he does not start. The Dodgers could keep him and put him in the bullpen, but as with Wood, the bullpen has a logjam as well.  So, is Stripling more valuable to the team as a potential starter and current year reliever, or as a potential trade chit for something much more needed?  I floated a proposal of Stripling for Jose Leclerc.  Both have 4 years of team control.  One is a starter while one is a closer/setup.  The Rangers really do not need a closer right now so why not Stripling and Stewart (or Sborz) for Leclerc?  Yes, it hurts the Dodgers to lose Strip, but Leclerc makes the bullpen not just good, but elite.  . To the bullpen.  As I see it, right here, right now (as opposed to Doc and Andrew):Jansen – CloserKelly (R)Alexander (L)Baez (R)Cingrani (L)Floro (R)Stripling (R)Fields (R) Sorry Mark, but this is good, but not elite.  Adding Leclerc or Kela makes it elite. That leaves Ferguson going back to OKC as a starting pitcher.  It also means the release or trade of Brock Stewart, Yimi Garcia, and JT Chargois.  I am purposefully leaving Wood out because I cannot see any way he stays, but if he were to stay, he would replace Fields who has an option remaining.  Fields is another trade potential which would put Ferguson back in play as a reliever. The Dodgers still need to do something at catcher.  Is Austin Barnes going to be the starter or the backup?  I do not see how the Dodgers can get Realmuto with the prospects they are willing to trade.  Bellinger is a non-starter.  Next up.  If Pittsburgh is willing to do a Wood for Cervelli straight up, that could work for LA.  I am not sure how Pittsburgh feels about it.  But Strip for Cervelli is a non-starter as well.  There were multiple trade proposals bandied about with Cincinnati that discussed Tucker Barnhart coming to LA.  I may be wrong, but I see Barnes doing better offensively in 2019. Maybe not at the 2017 level, but better than 2018.  Therefore, I do not see Barnhart as much of an upgrade over Barnes. At $4MM AAV he could certainly share with Barnes, and either Barnes or Barnhart could be traded when Smith or Ruiz is ready.  Barnhart is not available unless the Reds get Realmuto, and the Reds are not willing to include Nick Senzel (nor should they for two years of Realmuto). It seems more reasonable that the Dodgers should look for that backup on the FA market…Nick Hundley/Martin Maldonado/Jonathan Lucroy/Caleb Joseph/Matt Wieters/AJ Ellis.  James McCann just signed with the ChiSox taking another option away.  While none of those stand out much more than the others, the Dodgers have time to wait for the Marlins to get a little more realistic about Realmuto.  The longer the Fish wait to try to make up for the poor trades they did last year with Stanton, Ozuna, and Yelich, the higher the risk that they will wait too long to get a fair return much less an overpay for Realmuto. The Dodgers are discussing salary dumps, and I assume for a chance at Bryce Harper.  Word is that the Dodgers may be in but not for 10 years.  They may be willing to front load the contract with a higher AAV and opt out for an overpay for his productive years, but they are not going to be tied up for 10 years.  If ChiSox want to meet his asking price, so be it.  But if he drops like JDM, the Dodgers could be in a position to pounce. With the MG Kelly contract, the current CBT salary is at $198,158,333, leaving a “cushion” of $7,116,667.  If the Dodgers consummate the reportedly proposed trade of Wood and Kemp for Homer Bailey that would represent a 2019 CBT salary reduction of $11,500,000.  If they move Puig and his forecast $11,300,000, then those moves would take the “cushion” up to $29,916,667.   With Homer Bailey, Josh Fields is probably gone freeing up another $2.3M, and making the cushion $32,216,667.  Now what to do with that?  I see no path to both Kluber and Harper and a backup catcher for $30MM.  As it currently stands, Harper is only available if the Dodgers are willing to go above the CBT Threshold.  Let’s say that Harper is willing to accept a front loaded 6 year $210MM contract ($35MM AAV) with 2 opt outs after year 2 and year 3, and they can sign a catcher for $3MM.  That would place the Dodgers $5,783,333 over the threshold. One more possibility is to convince Ryu (Boras) to accept 3 years $33MM with one option with vesting and a $3MM buyout.  If Ryu wanted, you can include an opt out after year 1.  That drops the Dodgers below the CBT threshold by about $1.1MM.  It can be done with someone smarter than me and with knowledge as to whether LAD is willing to go above the threshold pulling the trigger.  Let’s continue this make believe fantasy and look at the potential 25 man roster: SP – Kershaw, Buehler, Hill, Ryu, and MaedaRP – Jansen, Kelly, Alexander, Baez, Floro, Cingrani, Stripling, BaileyC – Barnes, TBD1B – Muncy, Freese2B – CT3, Kike’, Muncy3B – JT, FreeseSS – Seager, CT3, Kike’LF – Harper, CT3, Kike’CF – Bellinger, CT3, Kike’RF – Verdugo, CT3, Kike’Reserve OF – Joc or TolesThe all LHH OF would be an issue, and Andrew would undoubtedly frown on that.  Plus, the White Sox may come in and blow Harper away with a monumental and historic offer leaving the Dodgers out of the Harper sweepstakes.  Harper looks more and more unlikely.  If the Dodgers want Harper, it may be best to do whatever else they want to do personnel wise, free up a lot of salary, and wait for Harper to fall into their laps as JDM did with Boston last year. I am still on board with the Dodgers going after Corey Kluber (Verdugo, Maeda, and prospects White and Kendall), moving Stripling/Stewart (and ???) to Texas for Leclerc.  That would make the Dodgers rotation and bullpen elite.  Last year the Dodgers let Cole slip away.  That should not happen again with Kluber.  Wood and Fields to Pittsburgh for Cervelli. Roster could look like:Starting Pitchers – Kershaw, Kluber, Hill, Buehler, RyuRelievers – Jansen, Leclerc, Kelly, Alexander, Baez, Cingrani, Floro, Garcia/ChargoisC – Cervelli1B – Muncy2B – CT3SS – Seager3B – JTLF – JocCF – BellingerRF – PuigReserve – Freese, Barnes, Kemp, TolesFerguson to OKC as a starting pitcher.  No Homer Bailey.  If no Leclerc, then Stripling goes to the bullpen.  CBT salaries at $201.3MM with a potential to drop additional if Ryu agrees to extension (which he should).  I like that second roster much more than the 1st and it is achievable. That not only prunes the ML roster making it more potent even with less depth, but it also prunes some of the minor leaguers allowing some of the younger prospects to move up faster. But with a little tweaking:  Extend Ryu to three years $33MM – Save $6.9MM AAV.  Trade Puig for prospects – Save $11.3MM.  Sign Harper 8 years $240MM.  That takes the CBT salaries to $213.33 which I believe the Dodgers can make up with Harper merchandise sales and other advertising featuring Harper.  Put Harper in right instead of Puig, and there is no team that can match up with LA.  LA would be having a downtown parade in November, and I will make my reservations early. I think it is all doable.  However, there are still waaaaaaay tooooooo many moving pieces, so we need one of Mark’s blue dominos to fall to get this Winter going. 

This article has 57 Comments

  1. I would sign off on Leclerc for Chicken Strip. It takes talent to get talent and Texas may want a local boy.

    I would think that Wood can be moved, but would not bring back much. Wood for Cervelli sounds about right, to me, but maybe the Pirates would want Wong too. I would still do that, but I have no idea how each team values the others players. That’s the hard part. The Indians have shed a little salary in Yonder and Edwin. They want a RH hitting outfielder but they know that Puig hits like a LH hitter.

    I could see Kemp and Maeda to Cincy for Bailey, and Bailey would either end up as a lockdown reliever or as a DFA. That saves over $10 million. Now, if you could get Cincy to take Puig…. maybe that’s where Barnhart comes in, but he would be a defensive liability.

    If Harper wants to be a Dodger. Friedman will accomodate him, but not with a 10-year deal. It will have to be creative with opt outs.

    There are so many moving parts to this, and it is holding up the market, but what do you do?

    1. What do you do? I am going to take a trip down to LA and get things started. They need a little push. I will make the trades and let Andrew negotiate with Boras (Ryu and Harper).

  2. AC everything you posted makes sense and I’m sure Friedman is looking long term before he makes any trades or makes offers for any FA. I do like Kelly ( not in on the nicknames ) but as you stated he does not make the bullpen elite but he’s a good start.
    If Friedman wants the Dodgers to return to the WS in 2019 he has more work to do, I don’t know if the Dodgers will go after Harper but Corey Kluber is one player the Dodgers can make the trade and this time they should make the deal.
    Let’s see what happens.

    1. To me, Kluber is the must get. I have never been that much of an advocate for Harper, but it sure seems like a lot of people are, including many of the baseball pundits who think Harper wants to be a Dodger and is just waiting for Friedman to make his trades, free up payroll, and then make their best pitch. There just seems to be too much momentum for their not to be any real interest. Even the White Sox have made it known that they want a run for Machado instead of Harper with the trade for his brother in law, Yonder Alonso. Philly is now making noise that they only want Machado and only if he will play 3B, and would rather concentrate on relievers (and maybe Keuchel). NYY want relievers. Cubs have no salary left. St. Louis will do nothing in the OF unless someone takes Fowler. It sure seems like everybody is out of the Harper market leaving LA to clear the deck to get him for less than 10 years and maybe a reasonable AAV. And apparently, Harper wants to be a Dodger. So I was trying to see how it could work by first filling their needs…SP, RP, catching, clearing payroll. Then waiting until the Dodgers had the leverage in negotiations (as Boston did last year with JDM). Andrew is not a dumb man, and is very patient (unlike us fans).

      1. After trading Edwin, Yonder and Gomes, word is Indians won’t be as “motivated” by financial concerns now. Translation: Kluber and Bauer more likely to stay.

  3. Harper will not sign with anyone until he absolutely knows the Dodgers won’t move on him. He wants to be a Dodger, Boras wants him to be a Dodger and the Dodgers want him to be a Dodger. Can Friedman work his magic…….time will tell.

    1. I do believe the Dodgers may go over the LTT FOR JUST 2019, with the right deal for Harper. I am going to assume Kemp is moved. and the Dodgers save $8 of his $21 million. This is what I would like to see:

      1. AC traded Ross Stripling to Texas for Leclerc.
      2. The Dodgers sign Harper.
      3. The Dodgers trade Ruiz, Peters, Stewart, and May for Realmuto. (It’s a lot, but you get two years of the best catcher in baseball). Hopefully Cartaya is ready in 3 years…
      4. Puig, Kemp, Wood and Pederson are all traded.

      This is the lineup I would love to see:

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

      Kike – supersub, Toles, Barnes, Freese

      That would be a powerful and effective lineup!

  4. SMH – Better chance the Dodgers go over the CBT that for Ryu to give back $7 Million. You’re a finance guy, who it their right mind would give back $7 Million?

      1. Mark, if you make $100K a year right now, would you take a job for $61,453 if they said they would guarantee that money? I know I wouldn’t.

    1. You really are a short term thinker. You give up 7 to get a guarantee of another 22 plus whatever option buyout dollars are there. It is a good deal for Ryu who never stays healthy. I also never said Ryu would do it, but it is an option he could explore. With his health history, there is a better chance that he goes on the DL again than to stay injury free all year. There probably is more of a reason why the Dodgers wouldn’t do it than Ryu. There can be no QO next year. He would be hedging his bet on his health. But when your thought process can only go 5 minutes in the future, I can understand why that is difficult for you to comprehend. I try to think of ways to make the money work while you just think that it is okay to spend others money because they have an unlimited amount (or so you say). In your world the Dodgers can spend $250MM+, even though they say they aren’t.
      If you want to come at me, go right ahead. But stay away from arguing finance with me because you are out of your league. Better yet I will just ignore your patronizing. Feel free to insult on. I am done replying to you.

      1. I thought Ryu wanted this to be his last year in the MLB and then go kack to Korea to finish his career or am I thinking of someone else?

        1. I have not read that he only wants 1 more year in MLB. That could be true. He will be 32 next year. If he doesn’t get what he wants from a MLB team next year then I suppose he could go back to Korea. Iwakuma went back to Japan this year.

      2. Gloves off. You’re probably not very good at finance if you have to tell everyone how good you are at finance, twice a week, on a baseball blog. If you were that good, your work address would be on Wall Street or Wilshire Blvd.
        I’m a Systems Architect for a .com that everyone has head of, by the same logic I win all arguments about analytics. But, I’m not reminding everyone twice a week.
        Very nice that you call me short-sighted and then go on for a paragraph about how the Dodgers and Ryu probably wouldn’t do the deal you proposed.
        I have never said the Dodgers have unlimited money, just that they will blow past the CBT threshold before Kershaw’s contract is up. If you want to put your money where your mouth is, I’m game. I have another one for you as well. Ryu will make more than 2 years / 15.1 million in his next deal.
        Take a Motrin, Aunt Flo will return home soon. Being condescending is not a good look for a Blogger.
        In the immortal words of Spicoli…You D*ck!

  5. Curdybuff, I liked your Realmuto comment in the last thread. I would do that trade. I have always liked Smith as the next catcher due to his defense and speed. Let’s stay strong up the middle. I have never liked having a catcher in a key to the offense due to that position being physically draining accompanied with aches and pains constantly being collected as the season proceeds. Also, if Smith progresses offensively in 2019 and Barnes bounces back, Realmuto could be traded at the deadline and get a good return.
    Harper might be fun to have on the team but I won’t miss him if he isn’t on the team.
    Leclerc would be an awesome pickup but if the Dodgers make a trade with the Reds, maybe they could get Raisel Iglesias ($8M AAV and signed through 2021) instead. Kemp, Wood, Fields, Santana, Puig for Bailey, Gennett, and Raisel Iglesias. Freidman and the Reds can add anybody else needed to make the trade.
    2B Gennett
    SS Seager
    3B Turner
    CF Bellinger
    C Realmuto (Curdybuff’s trade of Ruiz, Santana, Rios, etc)
    LF Pederson
    RF Mitch Haniger (Hill to Yanks for prospect X, Verdugo, X, Taylor to Seattle)
    1B Muncy. Freeze
    Kershaw, Buehler, Ryu, Stripling, Maeda (Depth = Stewart, May, White, Ferguson, Gonsolin)
    Jansen, Iglesias, Kelly, Baez, Alexander, Cingrani, Floro, Bailey.

    1. Bums, you have Stewart making the 25 man? He is out of options, so he either makes the 25 man or he is designated for assignment and somebody will pick him up. If he is not picked up and he chooses not to become a FA then yes he will be depth at AAA.

      1. If Stewart had injury issues that caused him to lose speed off his fastball and he gets back up to 97 early enough for the Dodgers to make a spot for him in the bullpen then perhaps Bailey and most of his salary could be traded to make room for him on the 25. Otherwise, maybe he could be included in one of the trades I suggested.

    2. If the Dodgers really wanted to be a great defensive team they would have to find a way to trade Muncy to the Rays for Kevin Kiermaier and move Bellinger to 1st base. Other players needed? Who might they be?

    1. Grandal was #1 in pitch framing.

      Barnes is 13th,

      Realmuto is 54th.

      Grandal was 3rd in DWAR. Realmuto was 4th.

  6. Pitch framing skills should be a unneeded skill when electronic balls and strikes make it to modern baseball though.

      1. Will you please give me the winning lottery numbers via the crystal ball you use to make comments like that.

  7. I just had a Lakers fan offer me $2,400 for my Pacers tix on Feb 4. As much as I want to see that, I can watch it on TV with a $2,000 profit!

  8. Wow – so the roster as currently composed is better than the 2018 roster? Let’s see – lose Grandal (according to Mark and most baseball analysts one of the top catchers in baseball), Machado (arguably the best left-side infielder in baseball), Brian Dozier (not good last year but a top 5 2B for the 4 previous seasons); regain the questionmark that is Cory Seager, Julio Urias and then Joe Kelly for whom I propose a different moniker – Wild Man Kelly.

    Kelly was a .5 bWAR player last season. He was a player with extreme swings of performance.
    April – ERA – 3.09 WHIP – .857 K/9 – 8.5 BB/9 – 3.1
    May – ERA – 0.63 WHIP – .698 K/9 – 10.7 BB/9 – 2.6
    June – ERA – 8.31 WHIP – 2.077 K/9 – 6.2 BB/9 – 7.3
    July – ERA – 8.38 WHIP – 1.759 K/9 – 8.4 BB/9 – 6.6
    August – ERA – 1.42 WHIP – 1.342 K/9 – 9.9 BB/9 – 2.8
    Sept/Oct – ERA – 8.31 WHIP – 1.962 K/9 – 11.4 BB/9 – 5.2
    Totals – ERA – 4.39 WHIP – 1.355 K/9 – 9.3 BB/9 – 4.4

    Of Dodgers relievers with more than 20 IP in 2018 only Eric Goeddel had higher BB/9. Remember with the frustration over Scott Alexander’s inability to find the plate? His BB/9 was 3.7.

    I honestly don’t know what possessed the Dodgers to pay $8.3MM/year to a reliever who had an ERA over 8.00 in half of the months of last season and who actually walked over 5/9 IP in 3 months last season. And lest you think that last season’s lack of control was an aberration, Kelly’s BB/9 since converting to a full-time relief role in 2016 have been 5.4, 4.2 and 4.4.

    I agree that the Dodgers should trade from their surplus to obtain needed players where necessary. Obvious candidates have been Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp in the OF, Alex Wood, Rich Hill and Kenta Maeda among SP.

    Catcher is the position of need. After last season’s debacle, I can’t believe that the Braintrust is going into 2019 with Austin Barnes and a prayer. In 200 AB, his OPS was .619, his SLG was .290 (hard to accomplish a sub .300 SLG) and his OPS+ was 72! Not only that, he only threw out 22% of runners stealing, in line with his career mark of 20%. Mike Piazza couldn’t throw but he could hit! Mike Scioscia, John Roseboro and others weren’t great hitters but they could throw. A career backup won’t get the job done here.

    As for those who pine for AJ Ellis, Nick Hundley and others, the Dodgers won’t sign a catcher who isn’t a plus pitch framer – that seems to be the attribute they prize most. Check it out – in their careers, Ellis and Hundley are considered among the worst framers in baseball.

    I find it curious how many bandwagon fans that there are. We’ve been told by our host and by many who post here that Farhan Zaidi is a mad genius and that naysayers are just naysayers. Now that he’s gone, Zaidi has been blamed for the constant platoons, batting orders by matchup, and the overemphasis on launch angle and consequent strikeouts. How do we know that was all attributable to Zaidi?

    Similarly, Turner Ward has been blamed for the poor situational hitting and strikeouts. But who here thinks that Ward or any coach doesn’t coach the way that the manager and front office tell him to? How did he coach before 2018? And how did he coach in stops with other teams? Not like last season. I suspect that the instructions came from the top, and that means both Zaidi and Friedman. So – I don’t think that getting rid of Turner Ward and Farhan Zaidi’s defection to the Giants will solve all of the Dodgers’ problems.

    In essence, as of right now we have mostly the same guys that we had last season. And I for one will be astonished if that isn’t the case when Spring Training starts.

  9. Rick

    I just read this from someone’s comments in the LA Times.

    Kelly gave up 32 earn runs in 65 innings, but 22 of those runs came from 7 appearances that consistented of only 3 1/3 innings.

    And I believe it said Kelly made 70 or 73 appearances last year, so Kelly only gave up 10 runs, in 70 or a little less then 70 innings, last year.

    1. Rick was choosing statistics that supported the story he wanted to tell apparently. That’s called spin.

    2. They made the same arguments about Ryan Madson last year. We all know how that turned out. Kelly was unhittable against everyone in the postseason, every postseason he’s pitched in. He throws 100. Ardolis Chapman had a problem walking to many, until he didn’t. Overall, I think, I’m hoping Kelly will be fine.

  10. I talked to a scouting friend who said that if the right coach gets him, he could be better thsn he has ever been.

    1. Some have an interesting view about what they saw and heard vs. seeing what can be. That is the exact same attitude people had about Brandon Morrow. There is no question about Joe Kelly’s “stuff”. Do people really think Friedman makes these decisions in a vacuum? Do people really think that Friedman didn’t speak with his baseball people before making a $25MM decision? LAD got into 2 consecutive WS because the FO havs a bunch of morons?

  11. Mission accomplished for the front office. No luxury tax payment.
    To show you how much a charade that excuse is:
    The AP reports the great Red Sox paid $11.9 million in luxury tax. To put that in some perspective, they paid $47.5 million to have Pablo Sandoval go away and a $30 million penalty to sign Yoan Moncada. The tax is hardly some big deal.

      1. The amount, as I depicted by the Sandoval and Moncada expenses, is immaterial.
        The tax is just a rubric used by owners.

    1. Per the AP, “Boston has owed tax in the years of three of its four titles this century, paying $3,148,962 in 2004 and $6,064,287 in 2007. The Red Sox stayed under the tax threshold when they won in 2013.”

      Worth it?

      1. Dodger LT Payments:

        2018- ZERO (World Series)
        2017 – $36.2 million (World Series)
        2016 – $31.8 million (NLCS)
        2015 – $43.7 million (NLDS)

  12. I just don’t understand the complaints that we overpaid for Kelly. Many have wanted a setup man in the bullpen after the loss of Marrow last year. So, the front office tried to fill that role with low cost, unproven pitchers and it, unfortunately, didn’t work out. Now, the front office signs a 100 mph reliver and that has proven success. And, people complain that we paid too much for a reliver with an high ERA without examining Kelly’s stats. I don’t consider ERA as important for a reliver just for the reason that MJ stated above. A few bad outings, pitching one inning at time, it can take near perfection to get their ERA “acceptable”. Such is the case with Kelly. He had 7 saves opportunities and blew 5 of them. Conclusion… he’s not a closer. When used as a setup man he did very well. Which is the role we have signed him for. For the season he only gave up 4 HRs! At the end of the season that was a week’s worth for our closer. So, what’s the right value for an effective setup man? Probably 7-9 MM. Colorado spent 100MM on two setup men and a closer last year. All crapped the bed. We’re talking 25MM for three years for someone who has a success as a setup man and was lights out on the biggest stage. Is he perfect? No. If he was he would be a closer making 15-18MM a year.
    I’m thrilled with AF decision to finally pay up for a setup man for Kenley. Only time will tell if it was a good move and a good value. There is no sure thing when signing a player. Many whine and complain when a player signing doesn’t work out. That’s weak. Like you knew that was going to happen. No you didn’t!
    We have had a few unbelievable finds under this front office (Taylor, Muncy, Marrow). We’ve, also, had many signings that didn’t work out, especially with pitchers. Let’s see where this one falls. I think the odds are that it will work out. If not, then at least give the front office credit for trying and move forward. Carry on.

    1. It’s not just his ERA – for short relievers, I’m especially worried about WHIP and BB/9. He puts guys on consistently and walks way too many guys for the late innings. Look at the numbers.

      1. Rick

        I understand your concern about the walks, because I don’t think anyone likes a reliever that gives away, to many free bases.

      2. He is now 31 and I am guessing Freidman believes he will improve his command and control. I love a WHIP less than 1 and certainly not over 1.1. But if a pitcher is hard to hit then a few base runners won’t hurt him as much as it would a pitch to contact pitcher. All stats don’t apply equally.

        1. We can always use Kelly the same way Cards did and have him take out the scarry competition. I’m only kidding…….sort of.

  13. 2B Gennett (via Kemp, Wood, Fields, Santana, Puig for Bailey, Gennett, Raisel Iglesias)
    SS Seager
    3B Turner
    1B Bellinger
    C Realmuto (Curdybuff’s trade of Ruiz, Santana, Rios, etc)
    LF Pederson
    RF Mitch Haniger (Hill to Yanks for prospect X, Verdugo, X, Peters to Seattle)
    CF Kevin Kiermaier (via Muncy + Taylor + Bailey + $12M)
    Bench: Hernandez, Freeze, Barnes,
    Kershaw, Buehler, Ryu, Stripling, Maeda (Depth = Stewart, May, White, Ferguson, Gonsolin)
    Jansen, Iglesias, Kelly, Baez, Alexander, Cingrani, Floro, Stewart.

      1. I try to humor myself and sometimes I am able to humor others as well. I could just counter punch other’s comments but is too glass half empty.

  14. Anybody that has seen Ruiz hit, catch and command the team defensively and work with the pitching staff would not suggest that he should be traded. At age 19, he is the best catching prospect that I have watched since I saw Johnny Bench as a rookie with the Reds. Trade any other catcher prospect in the system..

    1. dd–i hear you completely and I tend to agree but . . . What if Realmuto is the answer right now and gives us a chance to win a ring within the next two years? I tend to think we should only do it if we’re all-in, like harper and maybe Kluber all-in. It would be a change in philosophy for sure. Your point is loud and clear though. What is your first-hand knowledge of him?

  15. watched him play at three different ballparks while he was in the Midwest League in 2017. He was playing with Lux, Robinson, May, etc. and he just looked and acted like a man among boys. You could see the team respond when he reset the OF or took control in meetings on the mound. Every ball I saw him hit was a hard line drive and he hit balls down both lines, into either gap and to straight-away centerfield. Only saw him strikeout once and I wouldn’t have swung at the third strike either.

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