I Think I Will Miss You Most of All, Alex Wood

My apologies to the Wizard of Oz line, but it seems appropriate for me at this time.  Please indulge me with a tribute to one of my all-time favorite Dodgers, Alex Wood.  I do not know why I grew an attachment to Alex Wood.  He has been someone I have followed since his rookie year, wishing that he could somehow find his way to the Dodgers.  That was kind of selfish since he was somewhat home in the South having grown up in North Carolina where he was North Carolina Class 4A player of the year in 2009.  After HS he matriculated to University of Georgia, about 60 miles from Atlanta. Wood had TJ surgery after his HS senior season, but after 3 years at the University of Georgia, Wood was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 2ndround of the 2012 amateur draft.  Wood started his professional career in the South Atlantic League, Low full season A ball.  In 2013, Wood started in AA, and after 2 months was promoted straight to Atlanta where he made his ML debut pitching a scoreless 9thinning mopping up an 11-3 win against the Toronto Blue Jays.  He made his ML debut less than 1 year after being drafted. It was on my 61stbirthday sitting in a friend’s back yard BBQ for me, while watching the Dodgers play Atlanta that I first “discovered” Alex Wood.  As most of us remember, 2013 did not start out well for LAD and everyone was laying bets as to when Donny Baseball was going to get let go.  On June 9, 2013, the Dodgers started the day 7.5 games back of the DBacks.  It was sure to be a memorable pitching duel between Matt Magill (LAD) and Mike Minor (ATL). Okay maybe not!!! Actually Minor pitched well, while Magill…well what do you expect happened?  The Dodgers were down 8-1 and a 22-year-old LHP came in to pitch for Atlanta.  He had a quirky delivery that I became fascinated with.  He pitched the 7thand 8thinning allowing 1 hit and striking out 3.  That was my first look at Alex Wood, and I have been a fan ever since. On July 30, 2015, Alex Wood became a Dodger in one of the wackiest three team trades I have ever seen.Dodgers – Alex Wood, Mat Latos, Michael Morse, Bronson Arroyo, Jim Johnson, Luis Avilan, Jose Peraza.Miami – Victor Araujo, Jeff Brigham, Kevin GuzmanAtlanta – Hector Olivera, Paco Rodriguez, and Zach Bird Wood did not have a great opening season with the Dodgers, as he hurt his foot shortly after arriving, and really got on Dodgers’ fans bad side with a poor outing in Game 3 of the NLDS against NYM.  He was linked to Brett Anderson ever since by waaaaaay too many. Wood was not acquired to be the Ace, because that role was already owned by Clayton Kershaw.  #2 Co-Ace was Zach Greinke, and #3 was Brett Anderson who actually had a decent 2015 season.  Wood was a 23-year-old LHSP with 4.5 years of team control as a #4.  But yet he was judged as if he were an Ace rather than a #4. For the next three years, Wood went on to post a 26-14 record with 364.1 IP, a 3.29 ERA and 1.153 WHIP.  He allowed 98 walks and struck out 352 batters.  He was a 2017 All-Star and started a critical Game 4 of the 2017 WS against Charlie Morton and the Astros.  The Dodgers were down 2 games to 1, so this was a must-win game.  He was pitching a no-hitter with 2 outs in the 6thinning of a 0-0 game and gave up a George Springer HR and was pulled.  Brandon Morrow finished the 6thand pitched a perfect 7th, yielding to Tony Watson who pitched a perfect 8th.  The Dodgers tied the game in the 7thand exploded with 5 in the 9thto get the crucial series tying victory.  With CK going in Game 5, who wasn’t feeling good after Game 4…with much thanks to Alex Wood. Alex would also pitch the final two innings in Game 7 without surrendering a baserunner.  He had 3 Ks in those two innings. While not the All Star he was in 2017, Wood was still the most dependable starter in a rotation that was never fully healthy.  He started more games than any Dodger (27) and would probably have had 30+ starts had he not been moved to the pen. I can be bitter about how it all ended with Alex as a Dodger.  He will be 28 when the 2019 season starts, and instead of getting ready for the Dodgers rotation, Friedman decided that it was more important to give a QO to a 32-year-old LHSP (in March); a pitcher who pitched all of 82 innings last year and signed for $18MM, twice the projected cost of a pitcher 4 years younger.  Some will point out the loss in his velocity.  Maybe it was the change to a no wind up.  Or maybe it was just poor mechanics, and with his delivery is certainly believable.  Many called it stupid for Wood to go from the stretch, but then do not say a thing about Strasburg doing the same thing. It worked for Strasburg, but not for Wood.  He is 28 and seems more determined than ever to fix the problem. No, instead I will celebrate the 3 ½ years he spent with LAD and look forward to his season pitching for the Reds, except the two times he will undoubtedly pitch against the Dodgers. I will end this post with a tweet I woke up to on Saturday.Alex Wood – 12-21-18 (Instagram)“What a ride! The last 4 years in LA have been nothing short of amazing.  4 division titles, 2 NL Pennants, 2 World Series appearances and I couldn’t be more proud to have been a Dodger.  I gave every ounce of energy and effort I had to LA and I loved putting on that uniform every day.  Thank you to all of the fans, your passion for the Dodgers and your support for me and our team is something I’ll never forget.  Last but not least, thank you to all of my teammates.  What an awesome group of guys I’ve been able to play with the last 4 years, y’all are what made it so much fun and I will miss each of you greatly.  Here’s to new beginnings.” Okay, one final item.  I have the following article archived.  Because Kyle Farmer is also included in the trade, I found going back and reading the article a great tribute to a couple of great teammates and friends.  To Yasiel, Matt, Kyle, and most of all to you Alex.  I will miss you all. http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/20236495/dodgers-kyle-farmer-alex-wood-share-tattoo-tribute-paralyzed-former-georgia-teammate

This article has 66 Comments

  1. I will have to say I am not a fan of the qualifying offer given to ryu. I think ryu is a better pitcher than wood but not at 18 million. Once ryu accepted wood was the odd man out. Many would like to have seen a multi year for ryu but I am indifferent about that. I think Friedman is not giving him that at this point because he sees urias in the rotation in 2020 if not before. Wood was certainly one of the best pitchers in the game when he went 16-3. With his youth I did not see him as a 4 I was hoping a 2 or 3.At 28 he still could bounce back to become a force but apparently the Dodgers didn’t think so. Apparently the reds didn’t believe it either or they would have absorbed his salary. If anything in the trade the dodgers got more room under the salary cap but basically paid to move on from puig and wood. I would have thought someone would have taken on those contracts but I’m sure Friedman took the best deal out there. Wood led us in innings last year and starts I believe. It seemed he was constantly moved back a day though as if he wasn’t physically right. If he is healthy and recovers some of his velocity he is a solid pitcher. Cincy will be a tough place to re-start a career.

  2. Yeah, we fans sure are a fickle bunch. With words he’s giving us at his exit what less can we say other than thank you kindly Mr. Wood.

  3. Yes AC they are gone, but the only way I will miss them is when all the moves by Friedman are done and the team is not stronger. I think this is the first move in making this team better than last year and I am looking forward to that.
    Let’s see how it all plays out.

  4. I’m a bit conflicted with the trade of Wood. To me, he was neither an exceptional pitcher, nor was he horribly bad. I agree that when you compare Ryu and Wood side-by-side you have to ask about the logic of offering Ryu the QO but lets be honest neither pitcher was going to get a multi-year contract from Andrew. Not with the current number of pitchers on the 40-man roster when considering their respective youth and ML projection.

    As has been well chronicled over the last several days the Dodgers got some payroll flexibility, added some nice talent to the minor league pipeline and and set themselves up for other moves. Hated to see Wood go but I’m happier his $9 million arbitration salary is gone and we can further develop the likes of Ferguson, Urias, Sanatana, Gonsolin, May and White.

    The Dodgers are young with many pre-arbitration and FA eligible players, a deep minor league system and a ton of payroll relief on the horizon and they will need to be smart by identifying those minor league players who will develop and contribute at the major league level and then acquire free agents at positions where there is a lack of depth etc.

    With the exception of Verdugo it seems the OF depth in the system is thin. Kendell is suspect as to whether he’ll ever develop into ML offensive talent and Peters has a hole in his swing as big as the Grand Canyon. Go get Harper and let CT3 and Enrique battle it out for 2B, use a platoon of Muncy and Freese at 1B, play Cody in CF, sign Lecroy for 1 or 2 years, use Verdugo and other pieces to get Kluber and then keep the big league staffed with the eventual arrivals of Lux, Ruiz, Smith, May, White, Gonsolin, Grove.

    We don’t want to be the 21st century Atlanta Braves and win the NL West 14 consecutive years, we need to win a WS championship.

    I suspect the trade and FA news will be quiet this week and pick up after the New Year.

  5. Classy exit by Wood… Always thought he would have been better as a long or middle man and he wanted none of that…
    The Puig… I guess he’ll have a new place to lick his bat and a big salary from someone in 2020..
    Kemp sure fooled me!!! In ST i just blinked and kept seeing the Kemp of old, the Bison return… Just disappeared after the AS break… I even scoured the stands for Rhianna…
    I’m damn happy for Verdugo and his shot at starting RF at the Ravine. Best pure minor lg. hitter I’ve seen since lets say Johnny Werhas…
    We’ll see what’s next, but IMO it could be down the road a bit…
    The current angst against Friedman will pass hopefully soon. The more they bitch, it’s like the monkey going the palm tree… The further he gets the more you see of his ass… Hell it was Doc not long ago.., the a

  6. Wood was a competitor and when he was good, he was very good. Freidman can’t seem to resist offering the QO, even after being burned by doing so in the past. Ryu bounced back in 2018 and was great at home.
    Whether true or not, it seemed like Freidman wanted to trade away players that balked at platooning or playing in a role that they made clear they didn’t prefer. Ryu didn’t want to be a reliever either but the difference was that Wood showed ability in relief and Ryu needed a full starter’s warm up.
    Each of us have players that they enjoy rooting for and like and do so often without being rewarded. Loney was my favorite before Joc. I liked Jim Lefebre as well. I appreciate your loyalty to Wood, AC.

  7. How about Muncy to Yanks, Andujar to Mariners, Hanigar to Dodgers. Muncy can defend 3B as well as Andujar and gives the Yanks a lefty bat that they need.
    That puts Taylor in CF or Verdugo in CF with Bellinger returning to 1B.

  8. Freidman has apparently said that he would include Verdugo in a trade for Realmuto. It might eventually happen.
    C Realmuto
    SS Seager
    3B Turner
    1B Bellinger
    RF Hanigar
    LF Pederson
    CF Taylor
    2B Hernandez/ Lux

    1. If Yanks would rather have Harper than Machado, Taylor could play short for the Yanks while didi gregorius heals from TJ. Hill and CT3 for Stanton. Could the Yanks get more? Maybe not without coughing up the money they want to use to sign Harper. Dodgers would still get the $30M from Miami if Stanton doesn’t opt out in 2021.
      C Realmuto
      SS Seager
      3B Turner
      1B Bellinger
      LF Stanton
      RF Hanigar
      CF Pederson
      2B Hernandez/ Lux
      Mark, try to beat that craziness!!

      1. Realmuto won’t lead off and Pederson won’t play CF. Stanton could coem, but the Dodgers don’t have enough to get Haniger.

    2. Where did you hearFreidman has apparently said that he would include Verdugo in a trade for Realmuto?

      1. Just believe me when I say, Friedman let Alex know he will have a starting position next year. But it wont be given to him, he will have to work his tail off to keep it…. people dont realize what the Dodgers brass and scouting department think of Verdugo, there is a reason why he hasn’t been traded yet, he is the only true untouchable prospect in the Dodgers eyes… dont let prospect rankings fool ypu, because at the end of the day, prospects have to put up numbers, and Verdugo has better numbers that most prospects ahead of him, if it went on production alone he would be a top 10 prospect in all of baseball (which I believe he already is). But bottom line Friedman isnt going to trade one of their best defensive outfielders with 6 years of control, so people need to stop the rumors, my sources are nearly 100% reliable.

  9. I liked Alex Wood but always felt his arm would fall off. The first half of 2017 was amazing for him. His stuff was as filthy as anyone in the game. When I was in my mid-20’s I could throw in the high 90’s, but unlike when I was younger, it hurt… my shoulder and forearm would tingle and burn. So, I threw in the low 90’s. Now, I am not saying I was good or anything… but I could throw hard and I know what it feels like when you throw too hard for your body. I think that’s where Alex was at. If he could have sustained 95+ he was an Ace!

    I also felt he was best in the bullpen as a multi-inning guy, but he never bought into that. 2019 is really Ryu’s second full year back after missing two years and a big part of another. I think he could deliver a big-time year. His stats are astounding:
    82 IP
    68 H
    15 BB
    89 K
    1.008 WHIP
    1.97 ERA
    2.6 WAR (Alex Wood’s WAR was 1.0)

    Ryu could pitch like a #1 or #2 in 2019….. Friedman gave him the QO because it was low risk, high reward! You never know what will happen (injury wise) but tell me what pitcher Friedman could have had for 1 year/$17 million who has the potential to produce what Ryu can.

    The Dodgers caught lightening in a bottle with Kemp the first half of 2018, but he started shoving stuff down his piehole and probably will maintain that M.O. No loss there and you know how I feel about Puig. Maybe he will realize his immense talent somewhere, but it wasn’t going to be in LA.

    The Dodgers obtained payroll relief and may actually be better in 2019… even if they don’t make anymore moves. If Alex Wood is anything close to what I think and Strip and Ryu start because Wood is gone, then the Dodgers may be better. I’m glad Alex was a Dodger – he is a class act and his goodbye tweet showed how classy.

  10. I posted this on some other blog, but it was deleted within five minutes. Oh well. I did want to share my thoughts, though. Needless to say, I don’t think it’s one of the worst trades in Dodger history.
    “We could have gotten more. I think that’s the point.”
    Says who? …and what could they have gotten that would have been better?
    Trade scenarios don’t reside within the vacuum of your wishful thinking. Other GMs from other organizations read, too…and they’re aren’t dumb….and they operate within the same rules of maximizing self interest with finite resources.
    Kemp is the baseball equivalent of a junk bond. That the Dodgers saved a little money by swapping him out for Bailey without giving up prospects is impressive in itself. But Kemp was just a throw in.
    Wood has been a decent starter, and was sparkling at times last year, but his velocity has declined, as had his effectiveness, and he finished in the bullpen where he had some pretty pivotal collapses. The Ryu QO signing and Stripling and Urias in the pipeline makes him redundant…and expensive if you anticipate his arbitration value….and he’s in a walk year…and he isn’t happy about his role.
    Puig is Puig, and his underachievement and immaturity have been well documented for going on five years now….and he’s expensive…and he’s in a walk year…and he’s a blockage, to either Verdugo or a potential signing. I personally like Puig, and wish his big homer in the WS wouldn’t have been erased by the relief corps breakdown, but unloading him now is smart from a financial perspective, a production perspective, a paring of surplus perspective and a team chemistry perspective.
    You do realize that, even though Wood, Puig and Kemp where decently productive players, the nature of their respective contracts – expensive and/or not controllable – seriously DEPRESSES THEIR TRADE VALUE.
    The Dodgers accomplished several things at the same time with this trade:
    – They unloaded Kemp, who discovered food again after the ASB last year and wasn’t happy that his declining production earned him a spot on the bench…and the 20 mil
    – They got something for a surplus SP who has been effective at times, but is not worth potentially 8 figures as a LOOGY.
    – They got something for their entertaining but underachieving RF who will very shortly become an expensive and underachieving RF. It wasn’t that long ago that he was demoted to AAA, and his continued need of constant babysitting and inability to hit the cutoff man and not make baserunning mistakes after five years just shows that the Dodger FO refuses to prove Einstein’s definition of insanity.
    – They replenished the farm system that, although still one of the better farms, had been denuded somewhat through promotion and buying deadline rentals. They can either flip them in another trade, or keep them to add to the farm depth because they both have high floors.
    It’s not just about what the Dodgers get in return in a simplistic WAR for WAR equation, it’s also about what serves the needs of the team’s long term objectives. They gave themselves some financial flexibility, roster flexibility, improved the team chemistry and added to the farm depth – and they accomplished these multiple objectives in a single trade, which is borderline miraculous. I think this trade is right up there with the Atlanta trade last year.

      1. I went back in and watched the video today and OMG, they are bat-shit crazy.
        Image and video hosting by TinyPic
        I refuse to mock people with those kind of issues. It’s sad!

        1. I never watch those vids. Don’t care about some baseball blogger’s take on beer, but I just watched…and wow!

          It’s axiomatic that whenever you hear the phrase, “master plan, ” in relation to someone’s strongly held opinion, there’s probably a hefty dose of batshit going on, as in, get out the tin foil hats!

          Love your blog as I always have. Glad you created the environment where smart, civil, respectful and SANE folks discuss a topic that is dear to our hearts.

          Merry Christmas…and Happy Kwanzaa

  11. Puig has a rifle arm but throws over the cutoff man, throws to the wrong base frequently. He took steps backwards on defense this year. He has power but can’t catch up to a good fastball. He rarely produces with the game on the line. The homer he hit in the playoffs was center cut off a tired pitcher who had no respect for puig so he threw it right down the middle. He still has to hit it but the situation could not have been better. I even told my daughter before the pitch that if he was ever going to get a pitch it would be this one. He cannot bat anywhere but down in the order. He is fast but not a good base stealer. He is an injury waiting to happen with his bulk. Finally, he makes very poor decisions on the bases and in the field. He could finally harness his talent in Cincy where the park should help. His plate discipline did get better but it better continue. He could be another one who plays better with a non contender. As usual no one really knows he could finally be great or have an injury plagued year. I think he could be huge in a contract year but I would be leery of what might follow. I will say I was there for arguably his best game of the year. He hit 3 homers in stl and I loved rubbing it in on the cards so thank you puig for that.

  12. I”d be willing to bet anyone that Ryu has a MUCH better year than Wood. Wood seemed like a nice guy, but if that were the requirement for being on our pitching staff, I’d be the damn ace!

    Ryu showed dominant stuff last year. That’s amazing to have as a #5. Once we add Kluber this whole staff will have a chance to dominate every turn out. But yes, Wood was fantastic in that must win Game 4. He saved us, only so that our “ace” and “best pitcher of his generation” could break out hearts 24 hours later. Who knows what would have happened if we started Wood instead of Darvish in Game 7, but I”m sure it wouldn’t have been any worse than what we saw.

  13. #1 – I will go on record that I am not on-board for Kluber. I do not think the Dodgers have the players to trade for him , nor do I think they should. I think his decline has started and the next three years of him will not be close to the last 3. Just my opinion.

    #2 – I am not on-board with Julio Urias going to OKC. He’s MLB ready now. Instead, I would put him in the bullpen the first half and use him in multiple innings, with an occasional spot start. Maybe he has 45 innings by the break. Then, I would put him in the rotation.

    #3 – Lucroy turned down a $4 million/1 year deal with the A’s. Top that if Realmuto doesn’t happen.

    #4 – I don’t think will include Lux, Verdugo or Ruiz in a trade for Realmuto, so how can it happen? Smith, May, Alvarez, Peters and White? Would the Marlins bite?

    #5 – Nick Castellanos would be a very nice LF’er. He could be the next coming of JD Martinez (bad fielding and all). How about Pederson, Downs and Gray (or another one or two) for Casty? He absolutely demolishes LHP. I think Casty is at the top of Friedman’s list.

    #6 – I think DJLM would be a bad pickup because he is aging, his OPS is regressing and he is not in Colorado. Forget what he was. He ain’t all that now.

    1B – Bellinger
    2B – Muncy
    SS – Seager
    3B – Turner
    LF – Castellanos
    CF – Taylor
    RF – Verdugo
    C – Realmuto

    Subs: Kike, Freese, Toles, Barnes

    1. I suspect Kluber may not be right physically. If he is I would want him. If urias is healthy I agree pitch him. He is a guy who could make us forget about Kluber if healthy. Lucroy sounds good to me but I wouldn’t break the bank for him. Time is on the Dodgers side on this one. The marlins have to get real or it could be a deadline deal for much less. DJLM is probably better than what we got and is rh. I doubt that Friedman would block somebody like lux over him. Dozier might be had for one year but I see the nationals lurking. Can’t say about Castellanos other than he is a righty who hits lefties. We don’t need a defensive liability. I am shocked there has not been another move yet. I thought Friedman would have had another move ready. I am not near as excited now because it looks like we just got rid of some depth but really didn’t gain enough financially to make a big splash. I still think the marlins, Yankees, and Dodgers are a match but it is a longshot. Castellanos is probably the best we can realistically expect with somebody like Lucroy sharing catching duties. If we go for a defensive catcher Maldonado. I agree with your lineup mark except I’d say realmuto won’t be in it.

    2. If you’re going to use that lineup, I think the better defensive alignment would be Muncy at 1st, Taylor at 2nd, Bellinger in center.

  14. The truth is no one can make a judgment about this move or the other moves that will still be made, after this move.

    But the first time the chickens may come back to roast about these decisions will probably happen after the 2019 season, depending how successful the 2019 team is.

    But most so called experts believe trades and moves, take a longer time to come back to roast, then even the end of the next season.

    AC I read Alex’s remarks after that tribute he made to his teammates, and to the Dodgers.

    And he really sounded excited to make a new beginning on a new team, where he will probably have the opportunity to pitch in the Red’s rotation, and know his place with his new team.

    I also read Puig’s remarks too, and he sounded positive about this move also.

    I guess Turner Ward called Puig, right after the news came out.

    1. Well done MJ. Neither pro- or con -Andrew can have much to say
      until all of the deals are done.
      I’ve always been pretty comfortable with his strategies, but not
      a fan of many tactical decisions. And I rue his bang-for-buck….

  15. I want to be clear. I support the trade 100%. All of it. The Dodgers now have one monster contract on the books for the next three years, and that will not and should not go away. I am fortunate that Mark has given me a forum where I can give tribute to and to say good-bye to a player that I have always liked. It was not meant as a slight to Andrew Friedman or the trade in any way.
    I was not against Ryu getting the QO even though once accepted it obviously meant the end to Wood’s career as a Dodger. Ryu may have a great 2019. I don’t know why that should be predicted, but as a Dodger fan, I certainly hope he can pitch more than 100 innings. With all of the freed cash, I would not leverage the 2019 season on him.
    The rumors surrounding the Dodgers at the beginning of the Hot Stove League were that they wanted to shed the payroll of Kemp, Puig, and Wood. If you took the time to read between the lines, that was always going to happen before anything else. If it did not happen, they would settle with Joe Kelly as the lone addition and play with the same group as they did in 2018; with the exception of Seager over Machado.
    Some want Harper, but I do not believe he is a WS Champion maker. If he fell into the Dodgers lap as JDM did for the BoSox, okay. I heard Friedman say that the problem with the Dodgers in the WS was the offense. Some take that and assume he is after Harper. But I also heard him say that he did not like the “all launch angle all the time” approach the team obviously used. Nor the constant platooning. Friedman decided to change the approach rather than add one bat. A bat by the way that has also not been that productive in the post-season. Andrew’s apparent belief is that it was not the player(s) but the approach. He believes his players have the ability to adapt, and Cody Bellinger seems to buy into it. CT3 could not possibly do worse now that his hitting guru is his hitting coach. JT is already an advocate. So I am fine with letting the new approach take hold and see what that brings.
    But they still have $24MM they can spend and stay under the CBT threshold, and I believe they will spend it. But how is anybody’s guess. Just as the rumbling that the Dodgers were working on shedding payroll, maybe what I continue to read is where Andrew wants to go. Those rumors are loudest when they talk about the need for a starting pitcher and RH bats. Harper is neither which is why he is not at the top of the FO wish list. He may be on the wish list of many many fans, but I do not think on the list of the one person that matters most; Andrew Friedman. He may end up a Dodger, but that will not be the first choice.
    I think the interest in Kluber is genuine. I just do not know how realistic it is. The interest in JT Realmuto is genuine, but not at the expense that the Fish want in return. But so is the apparent interest in two RH bats for 2B and CF; DJLM and AJ Pollock. Are Nicholas Castellanos and Jose Martinez legit options for a RH bat as those rumors have been floated? I have absolutely no idea how the money will be spent, but I do believe it will be spent on multiple needs rather than on one LH bat.

  16. The more I think about this trade the more I like it. The hardest thing to do in sports is stay on top. The Dodgers traded surplus veteran players for highly regarded prospects. The production of Kemp, Puig, and Wood can be replaced from within or free agent signings. The prospects keep the prospect pipeline flowing that will ensure the Dodgers stay competitive in the future.

  17. AC, your post was perfectly clear. You would only have to clarify it to those that lack cognitive skills.

  18. I have been telling co-workers for a couple of weeks now that the Dodgers will do 1 of 2 things: either stand pat and fiddle around the margins or make a number of interlocking deals that will make major changes in the roster. Obviously, #1 isn’t happening. So – will #2?

    Dumping Puig, Kemp, Farmer and Wood for salary relief and a couple of mid-level prospects only makes sense if this is the 1st of several transactions. Otherwise, we have gotten rid of 3 guys who were contributors last season and 2 who have been contributors for several seasons for essentially nothing. I get the argument that we have created roster space – in fact, I totally understand that. In theory, Verdugo has the space to become the regular CF or RF and the rotation becomes clearer. Assuming no further changes to the roster, I assume the rotation is Kershaw, Buehler, Ryu, Hill and Maeda with Stripling and Urias in the wings. Wood might be the 8th best starting pitcher if he is left with this group. He has been surprisingly durable and mostly effective during his Dodger tenure, but there wasn’t really a place for him anymore.

    Nonetheless, they have gotten worse, not better unless they make major moves. And I assume that by creating roster space, obtaining prospects to trade and clearing salary, this is what they plan. Depending on the next moves, this may be the latest masterstroke – or not. If they do nothing, then it was a terrible trade. Eric Stephen at TruelueLA, in an article about the trade, wrote: “Put another way, a two-time defending National League pennant winner traded three regulars a year away from free agency for a player they released and two prospects. This isn’t the type of moves big market teams make, unless followed up with something else.” I agree. I think that most here do too.

    The question is, “What’s next?”. There seem to be several possibilities:
    1 – Bryce Harper? I personally think he’s too expensive and too inconsistent, and too left-handed too, although he doesn’t have big platoon splits. Pencil him in at LF and see if the Dodgers can “fix” him with their new team of batting strategists?
    2 – Their biggest need is at catcher. Do they pry Realmuto loose from the Fish, and will the cost in prospects be too high? He may be the biggest difference maker out there for the Dodgers. They have good options to play every other position on the diamond but no one they can rely on at catcher. Think how Realmuto would extend the lineup – no weak spots.
    3 – If not Realmuto then whom? A member of the International Brotherhood of Backup Catchers with Barnes starting, or a placeholder until Smith or Ruiz are ready? Maybe Cervelli?
    4 – Do they try to make a big splash and add an ace to the rotation? Kluber or someone of his ilk? Not a need per se, but they would be really tough with 3 aces (Kershaw, Buelher and Kluber).
    5 – Do they go with the 3-headed monster at 2B, (Kike, Taylor or Muncy) or do they sign one of the numerous free agent 2B available? There has been lots of back and forth about LeMahieu. I’m not convinced that he’s the right guy myself, (declining offensive numbers, poor splits away from Coors, age, bad power numbers). I’m also not sure that moving guys around the keystone is a good idea either. You need a regular double play combination at SS and 2B so that they can develop the baseball ESP that they will need to be really good around the bag.
    6 – Do they grab a high-end reliever and try to fix the 2nd biggest problem that the Dodgers had last season (along with clutch hitting)?

    The answers to these questions will be interesting as the pre-season unfolds. But they’d better not do nothing.

  19. I have very little faith in the Marlins ability to do anything smart so I am not counting on Realmuto. I do think Friedman really wants Nicholas Castellanos and that at 26, he could be a guy who COULD BE better NEXT season than Stanton or Harper.

    I would think Friedman could satisfy Detroit with prospects. I forgot about Jose Martinez, but he is a potent RH bat too. He has to play 1B, so there is that.

    We could do worse than this:
    1. Verdugo RF
    2. Turner 3B
    3. Seager SS
    4. Castellanos LF
    5. Bellinger CF
    6. Martinez 1B
    7. Muncy/Hernandez 2B
    8. Barnes/Some Stiff

    Supersubs: Freese, Taylor, Toles, some stiff

    1. I don’t see Friedman trading for a poor fielding outfielder with one year of control remaining. It would be one thing if we had prospects in the pipeline to take over in 2020, but we really don’t. I think he’ll make more of a long-term move. Martinez has four years of control but apparently no idea how to field a position, so in my mind that’s a non starter. That leaves Harper, Stanton, Pollock, Haniger plus a few others we probably haven’t thought of.

  20. No way Martinez plays first. He is a good hitter with no position. He is a terrible first baseman. Since Friedman hasn’t made another move I can only think he is willing to live with the trade as is. He will “continue to seek improvement” so I suspect when philly signs Harper he will say that we really weren’t in on him. Actually it will probably be the nationals.

    1. Friedman moves at his own pace, not the pace some wish he would. To believe he is done dealing could prove short-sighted.

  21. Great Job as always AC. I read you stuff and agree with 99% of what you say in here. Another top of the rotation pitcher is what the doctor ordered in LA and Kluber would fit the bill. I know the game is changing with all the bullpen arms but I still value starters and starters that can get us through 6-7 innings to start the game. I am hoping to stay away from Jose Martinez but DJLM, Pollock and Castellanos would be welcomed additions. I can’t see the Dodgers forking out enough for Realmuto but if they can get him for two years maybe they can extend him if he likes it here. It cracks me up that every year Stanton’s name always comes up as a trade to the Dodgers. This site really wants Stanton as a Dodger. I would avoid that contract if It was up to me. Harper, I don’t know what to think but we will see. It’s exciting knowing that something is about to happen. It gives a whole new meaning to Christmas this year.

  22. Interesting how no one is talking about the bullpen at this point. We were all screaming last season about how we needed to add at least two strong back end guys to shore things up, especially if Kenley doesn’t come back to the 2017 version, yet (with apologies to Mr. Quackenbush) all we’ve added is Kelly so far. I’m sure that Friedman hasn’t forgotten about the bullpen and will get to that in due course, but for a team that has been to the WS for the past two years and the playoffs for the past six, there sure seems to be a whole lotta fixin’ goin’ on.

    1. While I am of the opinion that you can never have enough arms, look at the Dodgers Bullpen Options next year:

      Chicken Strip

      I left off Sborz and McCreery because I don’t see them making it this year. All of those guys have live arms and are strong possibilities, so I am not sure how much help there is to be had better than that!

      1. The best relievers are often home-grown: Case-in-point. The Giants traded Felipe Vasquez (Rivera) for Mark Melanson. Horrible deal for the year it was done and now and the future.

        The Rockies stocked up on relievers last year and it was a straight up Dope-Fiend Move. On that list of arms above there are more than enough to excell for the Dodgers in 2019. Kelly was a great pickup, but the Dodgers already have the rest.

        1. I agree that the Rox went totally crazy last year and it didn’t work out (at least not for 2018). If Kenley were a sure thing, I would totally agree with your statement, but we really don’t know what he’s going to bring next year, in spite of the fact that they’d all like to think it was the heart problem and a bad program in spring training. There’s a chance we’ll never see the best Kenley again and in that case we need another guy to step in as closer. I don’t think we can assume that guy will be Kelly because we can’t assume he’ll be the same pitcher for a full year that he was in the WS. Great if he is, but we can’t rest our hopes on that.

      2. Your list has lots of interesting guys with talent but I think, at long last, Friedman will make a move for an established elite or near-elite bullpen arm. Among those possibilities might be: Britton, Herrera, Kimbrel (unlikely), Ottavino, Robertson. Or in trade – Iglesias, Vazquez, Leclerc, Will Smith among others.

  23. Britton, Herrera, Kimbrel, Ottavino, Iglesias, Vazquez and Robertson will never happen.

    Leclerc and Will Smith are slightly possible.

    Now, mind you, this is just my opinion. I do not have a direct line to the Dodgers FO.

    1. If you don’t have a direct line to Andrew, what use are you to me? 🙂
      As I mentioned previously, I’m a relative newcomer here and really enjoying the back and forth.
      Good show!

    2. Here’s someone that I would sign to a 1 year contract if I could get him (although he’s no longer considered elite) – Greg Holland. His first half with the Cards was absolutely atrocious but once he got to Washington in mid year he was amazing. In 24 games, he had an ERA and WHIP of 0.84 and 0.89 and over 10 k’s per 9 innings. His one problem was that he walked 4 per 9 innings. He’s a guy that might really be on the way back to where he used to be and I would definitely take a chance on him if the price and length of contract were right.

  24. I love it when you disagree and support your position.

    AC only writes what I tell him to…. OK that’s a lie. He writes what he wants and we agree and disagree, but that’s cool.

    I would take a chance on Holland in and incentative-laden deal. I’ll support that.

  25. Hey Mark, I didn’t come here to be agreed with. What’s the fun if we don’t yell at each other? OK, it’s Holland. Now we just have to let Andrew know we’re in agreement on that.

  26. I got a feeling Freidmans next move is getting Pollock, not Harper. Just feels like something he would do. Yes, A.J. has problems staying on the field, but when healthy he can flat out hit, and has good defense. Solves two things. A right handed power hitter to balance out our lefty line up, and he won’t break the bank, giving Freidman yet more financial flexibility to make more moves. He would be a great fit, without the outsize personality that Harper would bring. Gonna take a chance and call that shot.

    1. That is not a bad prediction. Pollock is the RH bat the Dodgers very much need. He is a former GG CF, and is still considered a plus defender out there. Career wise he is a better hitter against RHP, but he hits LHP fairly well as well. Just not at the level of Nick Castellanos, who is also a real possibility. If the Dodgers do get an OF bat, that would necessitate moving Joc or Toles.
      While Pollock is not going to get it, he is believed to be asking for a 6 year deal (per Jon Heyman). I do not see him getting more than 3, but if you do not ask, you will not get.
      I still think the Dodgers are pushing for Realmuto, but will “settle” on Cervelli. The fall back is Wieters/Lucroy/Maldonado.
      I would be very much in favor of the Dodgers taking a flyer on Greg Holland as Singing the Blues suggested. Why not? He is a WHAT IF candidate. He is going to require a guaranteed contract, but it will not be so much that Andrew & Co. couldn’t walk away from. He is the epitome of an Andrew Friedman high reward low risk opportunity.

  27. Here’s a new name on my relief pitcher watch list. 28-year-old LHRP Taylor Rogers (Twins). Taylor just completed his 3rd year and he has gotten better each year. Last year he pitched 68.1 innings and compiled a 2.63 ERA and 0.951 WHIP, allowing 16 walks, with 75 strikeouts. He also gave up only 3 HRs in 68.1 IP. Career stats – 185.1 IP, 3.21 ERA, 1.171 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9, 9.1 K/9, 3.5 K/BB, 0.8 HR/9. He is first year arbitration eligible, giving the team 3 years of control.
    Rogers relies on three pitches; mid-90s fastball with sink, slider, and curve. He does mix in a four seam fastball and change.
    Add him to the list of Jose Leclerc, Ryan Pressley, and Keone Kela.
    One of those to get before they become dominant possibility – LHRP Adam Conley (Miami). 28 year old LHRP. Became a reliever after a not so glorious run at starting, and at times was unhittable. Does that sound familiar? He will undoubtedly feel more comfortable in the relief role in his 2nd year. August was a horrendous month, but May, June, and September he was excellent, with July also being very good. He undoubtedly showed signs of tiring. He pitched in 52 games and allowed earned runs in 10. 2 of those games he allowed 5, and two others he allowed 3. That leaves 42 with 0 and 6 with 1 earned run. Other than August his Batting Average Against was .200 or lower each month. He has three pitches with a fastball in the mid to upper 90’s and a workable slider and change. He should probably concentrate on one of those off speed pitches and throw the other just to show.
    Conley was not a 1st round like Andrew Miller, but he was a 2nd round pick. He just might be worth a gamble.

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