We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

I have cautioned everyone (over and over) that we really know very little about what is going on.  Andrew Friedmanplays his cards pretty close to the vestand I’m guessing that the Dodgers Front-Office Employees have some pretty stiff, iron-clad Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreements, because there are very little leaks from the Dodgers’ inner circle.  We hear Bryce Harper, Corey Kluber, AJ Pollock and other names banded about in connection with the Dodgers, but we really don’t know what we don’t know!  That, ladies and gentlemen is our biggest problem.

Bryce Harper

The Dodgers are “in on” Bryce Harper to the extent that it makes sense to them and also to drive the price up to whoever signs him other than the Dodgers.  If Scott Borass insists on “breaking the bank” on Harper, the Dodgers will not be his team… but Bryce can choose where to go.  He doesn’t have to listen to the Devil. As I have said before, there is interest here, but a lot has to happen before THIS can happen.  Don’t hold your breath.

JT Realmuto

The Marlins are still asking too much for him and I don’t think his value will be any higher than now, because whoever trades for him will have two full seasons of control.  At the trade deadline next season, he will be worth less because you will have him for less time. The Dodgers won’t say who the Marlins are asking for, but we have heard Bellinger.  We have also heard that the Marlins were asking for Kyle Tucker AND Forrest Whitley, the Astros #1 and #2 Top Prospects. They are both MLB Top 10 prospects and the Dodgers Top Two Prospects are Verdugo and Ruiz at #32 and #39.  The Astros won’t give up their Top Two Prospects and neither will the Dodgers.

The Astros better get real on Realmuto of they will get ZERO, ZILCH, NADA.  After trading Stanton, Ozuna and Yelich, the Marlins still do not have any TOP 100 Prospects!  We are talking about a really, really bad managed organization.  Derek Jeter is the new Michael Jordon of baseball as an owner. If the Marlins did not get ANY TOP 100 prospects for Stanton, Ozuna and Yelich, how on God’s green earth do they expect to get two for Realmuto?  I think the Dodgers would give them Smith or Ruiz, Dustin May and another prospect for Realmuto… shoot they should get Puig to put some butts in seats.  He would certainly do that. I have no clue how this will play out but you don’t want to play poker with Andrew Friedman.

Corey Kluber

Injury concerns aside, Corey Kluber is not going anywhere UNLESS what the Indians get back makes them better NOW and in the FUTURE.  That’s a trick. I have an idea:   The Indians trade Corey Kluber to the Dodgers and the Dodgers give them Mitch White, Alex Wood, Conner Wong, Joc Pederson and Matt Kemp…. along with $10 million dollars.  The Indians need a RH outfielder and Kemp has excellent splits against LH and RH pitching.  He can DH occassionally when Santana plays 1B. White and Wong give them two good prospects.  This deal could be expanded, if necessary.

AJ Pollock

If the Dodgers could get him for 3 years/$60 million, I think it is something they should think about, only if they trade Puig and Pederson.  The only problems is the Draft Pick the Dodgers would lose.  I would put him in LF where the wear and tear on his body would be less.  He is a very solid RH hitter with good power, but is an injury risk. That and the Draft Pick loss may cause the Dodgers not to stomach this signing.

Troy Tulowitzki

Low risk and high reward.  He costs the MLB minimum and has the ceiling of being an MVP… and a floor of being in a wheelchair! Other than fans mentioning it, I see no connection with the Dodgers, but at age 35 (which he well be in October), he may want to try and win one in his career.  1B or 2B would be ideal for him, as his glove should play anywhere.  If he could stay healthy for 140 games, you would have a driving force in your lineup.  But, if chickens had lips, they would be people. Again, I don’t know what I don’t know. However, this could be a move Friedman likes: Low risk, high reward!

Conclusion

It is apparent to me that GM’s aren’t making the dope-fiend moves they have in the past.  Going over the salary cap a few or $20 million is not a big deal, because it only costs 20% the first year.  but you don’t want to get into Luxury Tax Hell and pay 50% like the Dodgers did AND lose draft picks.  Losing draft picks may be the biggest issue of all. Harper and Pollock will cost the Dodgers a pick.  Friedman is loathe to do that. I think Miami will come down on what they are asking for Realmuto (or may they really are that dumb).

There are so many moving parts to all of this and not only do we not know what we don’t know, but we don’t even have a clue.

 

 

This article has 26 Comments

  1. I have consistently predicted the Dodgers will trade Puig. Yes, I have thrown lots of spaghetti against the wall because that is how I entertain myself in the off-season but, the one constant has been Puig in a trade.
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    Here is what I think will happen: Puig, Wood, Fields, Taylor, $$ for Raisel Iglesias and Gennett.
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    There is a slim chance they will sign AJ Ellis as a backup catcher. They could make him a coach in the organization during the year when they think Smith can serve as a backup to Barnes.

  2. If Pollock requires a 3 year $60MM contract, RUN, do not walk away from the deal.
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    Andrew McCutcheon is available to play 162 games. Since his rookie year in 2009, Cutch has averaged 155 games per year, never appearing in less than 146 games. He is a 5 time AS, MVP (2 other top 3 finishes). Cutch has a career slash line of .287/.378/.481/.859. Cutch signed a 3 year $50MM contract. AAV = 16.667
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    Michael Brantley came up in 2009 as did Cutch, but only has 3 seasons where he played more than 146 games. Brantley has averaged 114 games per year. Brantley’s career slash line is .295/.351/.430/.781. Brantley is a 3 time AS and has one top 3 MVP vote. Brantley signed a 2 year $32MM contract. AAV = $16MM.
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    AJ Pollock came up in 2012. From 2013-2018, Pollock has averaged 101 games, appearing in more than 140 games only once in his career. His career slash line is .281/.338/.467/.805. Pollock is a one-time AS and has never been a top 10 MVP vote getter.
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    Cutch is 32. Brantley will be 32 in May. Pollock just turned 31.
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    I would not pay Pollock more than 2 years $30MM or 3 years $42MM. When Pollock is good, he is very good both offensively and defensively. He is a grinder. He would fit in nicely as a junkyard dog. Plays with abandon. But when you average only 70% of the games played, you should not get paid as one who plays 96% and has much better offensive numbers. Pollock comes with a lost draft pick while Brantley and Cutch do not.
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    I like Pollock, but I think I would rather pay Puig 1 year at $11.3MM and continue to look for that difference RH bat for next year (Nolan Arenado?), than to commit to a 3-year deal and lose a draft pick.
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    I think you build perennial contenders from within. I do not see an advantage in trading 6 years team control with Ruiz (plus May and ???) for 2 years of Realmuto. The Dodgers will win the NL West with or without Realmuto, and I do not believe he is a difference maker in a WS. I think I would rather go with Grandal on a one-year deal at Ramos’ AAV.
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    Dodgers are not going to be at the Tulo tryout. At this time in his career, Tulo is a utility player, and LAD already have CT3 and Kike’ who can fill the utility role.
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    The one game changer is Corey Kluber. I do not know what it would take, but a rotation of Kluber/Kershaw/Buehler/Hill/Ryu could be very special.

    1. Totally agree. Pollock and Brantley are very fair comps and Pollock isn’t an obviously upgrade to Puig and at more $$, it doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you’re determined that Muncy will play second and Belli will play first.

      Tulo is broken, there’s no need to pursue that one when there’s still attractive second basemen out there.

      I don’t see the Dodgers trading Ruiz, he could be the next V-Mart or Pudge. Doesn’t seem like a Friedman deal.

      Seems like Harper is destined to be a Dodger. They will pay him a high AAV and he wants to be a Dodger. This one will take time. The only way this doesn’t happen is if another teams gets really stupid with it. If this is a Dodgers fail, I’m not too bummed out to go with the Joc/Kemp platoon for another year. If Harper signs, they will look to dump Joc/Kemp before Puig since Puigy can still surprise and be a gold glover in RF.

      Kluber is a gem, his mediocre post-season stats are a little concerning. But, not everyone is Kershaw. You never know when a pitcher gets into a groove at the right time. He’s a big innings eater and will make the pen even better by taking a lot of innings / pressure off of them.

      Puig gets traded every off-season until he doesn’t. It doesn’t seem like there’s a team out there willing to go all in on him. He’s more valuable to the Dodgers than anyone else. I’m gonna go out on limb here and say he’ll be our right fielder on Opening Day.

      Here’s the most likely additions remaining…
      Harper – He wants to be in LA, LA wants him.
      A backup catcher- There’s still options out there and there’s still redundant outfielders and SPs on the roster. There will be a deal somewhere.
      A second baseman – See above.
      Kluber or Bauer – Indians don’t have to trade either. Vedugo will be an Indian if this happens. He’s the best prospect type outfielder with the most control and therefore the most desirable piece for the Indians. I can see Verdugo, May and Rios or Beaty as a realistic trade.

      1. Agree with most of what you and AC posted. I still rank Kluber above Harper as to what the team needs most. If what the team wants is a PR splash then Harper, it’s just money and a draft pick. They would also receive a draft pick for Grandal unless they resign him. Somehow land both and that would be Epic!

    2. Mr. Pollock is not very happy with you right now AC, especially since your logic is very sound.
      I don’t see Arenado coming here. I think the Angels will do whatever they have to next winter to sign Arenado. They aren’t going to be able to keep Trout, especially if the Phillies somehow manage to miss on both Harper and Machado this year. If that happens Philly will just hand Trout a blank contract and have him fill out whatever $ he wants. Even if they sign one of the two this year I think Trout winds up with the team near home that he rooted for as a kid. After all, they have stupid money to spend. So the Angels sign home town kid Arenado which they’ll be able to easily afford because they won’t be paying Trout after next year and will need to show their fans they still want to win. I don’t think they’ll let Andrew sign him right out from under them. On the other hand, I could see Friedman consider Goldschmidt, assuming he doesn’t sign an extension in St. Louis.

      1. Arenado is going to have more teams bidding on his services than either Harper or Machado. The Dodgers will be bidding. He grew up a Dodger fan. In a question and answer session, Arenado was asked and answered the following:
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        Q: Do you have another favorite team other than the Rockies?
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        A: Um no, I used to be a Dodgers fan but I can’t root for them anymore. I’m all Rockies now.
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        I like AJ Pollock because of the way he plays. He gives everything he has to win a game. He could proudly wear Dodger Blue, but he has to be reasonable about his contract pricing in both years and AAV.

  3. Agree, I don’t think the FO should go anymore than 2 or 3 years for Pollock at $13 million per. I’m sure there is some movement to be made on the trade market, but I’m starting to believe Andrew and Farhan may have held onto Wood and Puig a bit too long. Has their value diminished to the point they can’t get much of value in return?

    Sign a veteran catcher, let May and Ruiz further their development, keep May and White and try like heck to get some salary relief by moving all or a combination of Kemp, Wood, Puig, Joc, Fields, and go get Harper.

    Call it a day, meet at CBR in February and get this thing rolling.

  4. I had to stop thinking about these negotiations when it was suggested that Homer Bailey ($28 million) might come to the Dodgers and Puig ($11 million) would go in a salary dump. I know that it is logical, but I just don’t want to put in the work to figure out how.

    1. I was trying to think in what universe Bailey is a good pickup. If that’s the cost to move Kemp just keep him for another year. Same with Puig: if Verdugo is moved they will need him and there goes a RH bat the team is supposed to need. Verdugo is no slam dunk he should earn his spot as a starter. If Verdugo is the centerpiece for Kluber I would make that move.

  5. If the Dodgers can sign Harper at a reasonable rate not a dope fiend price I think they will. The market next year is better for position players with goldy, trout, arenado. Consequently, I would target Kluber, synegard, or some ace maybe cueto. The dodgers will be in on goldy as he won’t cost as much but will probably provide more value. Unlike greinke I think goldy and arenado want to win and won’t just go to the highest bidder. Trout well that would be a pr disaster for the angels if the Dodgers got him. But this year if his medical look good I would get Kluber.

  6. From MLB.com:
    Keibert Ruiz, C, Dodgers’ No. 2:
    As MLB Pipeline’s No. 39 overall prospect, Ruiz is perhaps the most notable name on this list. He proved to be a highly advanced hitter as a 19-year-old in Double-A last season, slashing .268/.328/.401 with 12 homers over 101 games. Hitting from a pronounced crouch, Ruiz is adept at using his lower half and quick bat to drive the baseball, and nearly half (49 percent, to be exact) of his contact was either a line drive or fly ball in 2018. Of course, that means Ruiz also had a high ground-ball rate (44.7 percent). However, given his present strengths as a hitter at such a young age, along with fact that he makes a lot of contact, there’s reason to believe Ruiz will be an even more impactful hitter, hitting for both average and power, as he learns to elevate the ball more consistently.

  7. Tulo wants to play. Why’s that? I would think for the reason that he doesn’t want to go out like this. That could be pretty powerful in itself and if he breaks there’s really no harm other than occupying a spot. It’s hard to believe he’s there for chump change.

  8. Nats sign Anibal Sanchez for two years $9.5MM. I do not believe this is an improvement over Tanner Roark, but if he is the Anibal Sanchez of 2018 he will be a good addition to Scherzer/Strasburg/Corbin.
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    Zac Rosscup signed one year contract with the Mariners.

  9. The Rockies signed Daniel Murphy. 2 year $24MM. It looks like he could get a lot of 1B time. Don’t count out the Rockies just yet.

    1. Great signing by the Rockies. Casey Stern has been calling that a natural fit the entire off-season. He will rake in that park if he’s healthy.

      1. … and the 34 year-old Andrew Miller will be as good as the one 4 years ago? Can we count on that?

  10. Tulo wants to start at SS and doesn’t want to move off of that position. The Blue Jays dumped him because they don’t want him anywhere near Vlad Jr.

  11. The cards could be a World Series contender. They have great young pitching, a lot of thump in the lineup, if miller returns to form they will definitely be the division favorite with the brew crew and cubbies fighting for the wildcard. Colorado is for real. They have a quality rotation with tremendous offensive weapons, and their bullpen can have a bounce back year. It will come down to Colorado and la. If Daniel Murphy stays healthy he might be an mvp candidate at coors. La needs to get into the game, step up and make some moves to improve the team. Kelly was a good start, but we need an ace pitcher and a quality hitter. Hmmm who could fit that? Well, goldy and Murphy could have been pieces, but Harper is still out there….and others. The nationals have improved themselves even without Harper.

  12. Ok guys, been awhile since I have posted, just taking it all in for the last 3 weeks to see the pulse of you all. Listened to David Vassegh’s pod cast the other day, and while he is not my favorite guy sometimes, the people who called in were very telling in how they were very unimpressed with us going after Harper. I agree with them in the fact that first of all, we have way too many outfielders, second of all that Harpers personality goes against the Doc culture of throwing in and sacrificing for your teammates(See Pappelbon and the dugout neck hold for that). Lastly, the sexy thing is to dump Puig and his upcoming free agency, but like Vassegh pointed out, you have to replace Puigs production, while not all star quality, very servicable. Harper is not a plus plus defender, never has been, and for the money he will command is just not a good fit. Don’t forget, we got to the last 2 World Series without Harper, he is not the missing piece to get us top the promised land. Like about 99.9 percent of you guys have posted, and I have shut up and have observed the back and forth of everybody, starting pitching and bullpen help still rules for this Dodger team, hands down. Everything is just smoke and mirrors. We learned an old school lesson against the Red Sox, good pitching ALWAYS beats good hitting. Let’s get off the Harper train and focus on what killed us last season, the bullpen and starting pitching. I would take Kluber and a lights out late inning reliever hand out with Joe Kelly(Iglesias from the Reds) and day over Harper and Manny Moe,just sayin’.

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