Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

With apologies to the late great David Bowie.  I continue to read about all the possible changes coming to the Dodgers, and I have zero comfort that any one of them will ever transpire more than another.  I do believe that there will be at least one significant change, maybe more, which is why the negative comments on the Reds trade are curious, unless it gives those who just do not like anything about Andrew Friedman something to chomp their gums at.  It also seems obvious that for those who dislike anything about Friedman, whatever he ends up doing, that will be the wrong move as well.   For this post, I just want to concentrate on RH bats.

 

I am finishing this after reading the discussion about a proposed acquisition of Harper, Kluber, and Realmuto in yesterday’s blog.  I have no illusions that this will be consummated, but I do believe the Dodgers could acquire an outfielder and catcher.  I have always believed that the Dodgers would be right at (or barely above) the CBT threshold.  But not $27MM above it.  If I am wrong, well…good for the fans, and I will have my fill of crow.

 

The one thing we do know is that the Dodgers are currently more than $24MM below the CBT threshold in 2019 and have only $96.7MM committed in 2020.  They have the ability to make a splash this year and be back in total financial control next year with more players from the minor leagues ready to make an impact (Lux, Ruiz, Smith, Santana, May, Kasowski, Sborz, White).  They can move in many directions and I do think that Friedman is in the driver’s seat for most of them.  He is going to continue to be patient and wait for the right time.

 

The one acquisition that I think the Dodgers do need to make is to trade for JT Realmuto, but without giving up Keibert Ruiz.  What would it take to get Realmuto?  I believe that as Dodger fans we have a tendency to overrate the minor leaguers.  I therefore generally end up proposing an overpay (IMO).  But I do think that it will take an overpay to get Realmuto, just not one that requires Ruiz.  Jeter still wants to compete this year so maybe a deal can be made that starts with Joc and Barnes as ML players going back to Miami, then maybe Smith and other(s).  If they want a pitcher in return, I would not walk away if Alvarez was included.  But 2 ML players with multiple years control and two top 11 prospects should get the job done and not hurt the Dodgers.  The Fish desperately need a LH hitting OF and we do know that Donnie Baseball loves Joc.  Joc has two years control, the same as Realmuto, and would hit against all pitching either showing that he can hit LH pitching and become a very valuable trade chit at the deadline or next winter, or prove he is a platoon player who will play well with 400-500 PA against RHP.  Two other players that Miami may be interested in are RHP Brock Stewart and RHRP Josh Fields.  Josh Fields gives Miami a useful reliever at the deadline when the value gets higher for teams in contention (something Miami is strategically looking for), and there is no way that Brock Stewart makes Dodgers 25 man.  There should be enough possibilities to get the trade consummated.  If they can make the deal without Smith, all the better, but doubtful.

 

Austin Barnes would give the Fish a controllable catcher.  Son of Tim Wallach or not, the Marlins are not going to turn the starting catcher position over to Chad Wallach.  But the catcher prize will be Will D. Smith for their future.  I do think he is a catcher first, but I do believe he is a ML catcher ready no later than 2020.  I do think his offense will be adequate, just not at the level of Ruiz.  Alvarez is a wild card.  I do believe he would be happier in Miami than in LA, so why not make him and Miami happy.

 

I would be willing to trade Joc because I believe the Dodgers will be trading for or signing an OF this winter.  Whether it is Harper or Pollock as FA, or a trade for Castellanos, one of the 3 are probably heading to LA.  My preference is Pollock because of the defense he brings.  Maybe he only plays 130 games but with CT3, Kike’, Bellinger, Toles, and Verdugo, there are plenty of players to spell Pollock if something happens.  Getting Pollock also moves Belli to 1B making the defense even stronger.  That would allow the team to move Muncy to 2B and while he isn’t a defensive star, he is not as bad as Daniel Murphy, and probably at least as good as Howie Kendrick.  Admittedly I would like to see what Muncy can do and try to replicate 2018, because Lux is only a year away, and if DJLM wants 3 years that should be a no.

 

I know some do not like the idea of trading Muncy, but if the Dodgers do sign Pollock to play CF and move Belli to 1B, that only leaves Muncy to play 2B.  Although it may not be such a horrendous idea to try him in LF.  It may take 1,000 balls a day, but why not at least give it a try.  Late in the game, CT3 or Kike’ go in for defense.  The Dodgers are willing to do so with Edwin Rios and Matt Beaty, why not Max Muncy?  If you are going to defensively hide a bat, LF is perfect.

 

I do not think Harper is the missing bat that the Dodgers need to win a WS.  He wasn’t with a better offense with the Nats.  But he will be a draw for the Dodgers.  While his baseball skills will be in full display, it is his marketability that would be a driving factor.  He would be an investment.  Signing Harper to front-loaded or back-loaded contracts is irrelevant.  Nor does the number of opt outs.  The only thing that matters for CBT threshold is AAV, and he wants more than Greinke ($34.4MM).  Are you willing to spend $175MM for 5 years?  That would put LAD $11MM over the threshold with very little more they could do and still stay under the first surtax threshold ($20MM over).  $20MM over the threshold will cost the Dodgers another $4.5MM.  Is Harper worth $40MM this year?  That would also preclude them for bidding on Arenado next year.  How does $18MM for a number 5 in the rotation look now?

 

Maybe the Dodgers do trade for Castellanos.  What the trade would look like would depend as to what other moves they would make.  It would make no sense to trade for Castellanos if they do not make other moves.  They could have stayed with Puig for one year if that is all they are going to do.  I think Castellanos would be a complimentary target with Realmuto and/or Pollock.

 

So, Harper alone, or Realmuto, Castellanos, and Pollock.  If they can pull this off:

 

1B – Bellinger (L)

2B – Muncy (L)

SS – Seager (L)

3B – JT (R)

LF – Castellanos (R)

CF – Pollock (R)

RF – Verdugo (L)

C – Realmuto (R)

 

Bench

 

CT3, Kike’, Freese, 2ndcatcher.  Of course, that makes the bench too RH.  So, nothing is perfect.

 

Or, switch out Castellanos in LF and put CT3 out there and Toles to the bench.  That is probably more realistic, a much better defensive lineup, and it stays under the CBT threshold.  It is not as prolific of a lineup, but it is more flexible and much better defensively.  It fits.

 

SP and RP would have no impact, as I would not expect any significant pitcher to be moved.  I doubt they can pull that off, but it is possible, and if there is a way, I am sure Andrew will find a way to make it work.  I know every time a read a new report, I do end up changing my mind if anything is at all possible.

 

My #1 pick is still Corey Kluber, but I will conjecture how that can work in another post.  For right now, I just wanted to discuss potential RH bats.

This article has 45 Comments

  1. During Mattingly’s time with the Dodgers, Joc was clearly the best defensive center fielder on the team. Mattingly wanted Joc’s defense in CF. That does not translate to love. Joc is no longer considered a center fielder unless he picks up a couple of steps in the off season.
    .
    If Miami wants Bellinger for Realmuto they are going to at least ask for Verdugo in Bellinger is off the table. Yes, Jeter wants to be more competitive in 2019 but he needs to be looking at who he puts on the fielld in 2022 first and foremost.
    .
    I already proposed to include Barnes in a trade for Realmuto so we agree there. If the Dodgers want Realmuto then they will need to offer Verdugo, Barnes, and Alvarez. I would then be entertained if I could watch Smith play some backup in 2019.
    .
    Up the middle defense is key to winning. Kike’ or Taylor are the in-house players that give the Dodgers the best up-the-middle defenders. I hope the Dodgers don’t have to put Muncy at second.
    .
    My hope is now for the Dodgers to trade for Stanton and his $25M AAV instead of trading for Realmuto. Barnes and Smith are strong defensive catchers and I am fine with them as the Dodger catchers next year. The dominoes thathave to fall for a Stanton trade include the Yankees signing Harper.
    .
    Out of curiosity, what would be the AAV of a 15 year contract that totaled $360M with $180M paid out in the first 5 years and with an opt-out after 5 years?

    1. Take the full contract price ($360MM) divided by the number of years (15) = $24MM AAV. How much of the contract is signing bonus, when the salary is paid (front loaded or back loaded or deferred) , and any and all opt outs, are all ignored for AAV purposes. Take a look at Kazmir’s deferred contract. He signed a three year $48MM contract that was paid out over 6 years. The AAV was $16MM ($48MM divided by 3 years) and not $8M ($48MM divided by 6). Same with Scherzer’s deferred contract. Look at Kershaw’s with a large signing bonus and different annual payouts vs a straight $30MM AAV. That is why some teams look to shed salary (Indians), while others are more interested in AAV for CBT purposes (Dodgers). That is why the Indians were good trade partners for the Dodgers before the Tribe shed actual payroll for Gomes.
      .
      I do not know what the hangup is with trading Verdugo, but there sure seems to be one. The Dodgers apparently believe he is someone to hold on to. I know that you and others are not sold on Verdugo and you may be proven correct. But there are too many reports that have indicated that the Dodgers could have made a significant trade if they included Verdugo, and yet he is still with the team. The Dodgers are not going to give Verdugo, Barnes, Alvarez, and Smith for two years of Realmuto. I doubt very seriously if they would make the trade by replacing Joc for Verdugo. But it would be closer, and Jeter would not have to make excuses if Verdugo turned into another Lewis Brinson or Magnerius Sierra or Monte Harrison, whose 215 K’s makes DJ Peters look like Ichiro and his bat control.
      .
      I have no animosity whatsoever against Joc, but he is not going to be extended by the Dodgers, and he will not be a regular as it will be for Verdugo. Like it or not, but the trade of Kemp and Puig was also about opening up a position for Verdugo, not Joc. I doubt that the Dodgers go into the season with three LHH OF (Joc, Belli, Verdugo), so there is going to need to be a RHH OF. Even if the Dodgers do sign Pollock, I have always thought (hoped) that Belli would then go to 1st, but the more I have read, the more that the Dodgers might want to put Pollock in LF or RF and keep Belli in CF. The thinking is that Pollock might then be less taxed in the field helping preserve him for the long season and his RH bat. I am not saying I agree with that, but it is being more and more discussed. Pollock, Bellinger, and Verdugo is still an outstanding defensive setup.
      .
      I have zero problem with the Dodgers attempting to get Stanton. I have said so on numerous posts that I would much prefer Stanton to Harper. Most of the fan base does not share that position. If the Dodgers get Stanton, it will not include Verdugo, so that still leaves Joc on the bench. Again, like it or not, the Dodgers prefer Verdugo’s promise and 6 years control more than a platoon (best case) or bench role for two years of Joc.

  2. You were correct AD that fans tend to overvalue their players in putting trades together and I think you may be guilty of the same. No way we get Realmuto without including Smith but why would they then need Barnes whose offensive production has fallen so far that he’s the reason we think we need Realmuto. Fields wasn’t good enough to make the playoff roster last year. Stewart will be dfa’d if they can’t find someone to take him so has practically no value in this kind of trade. Alvarez is a lottery ticket and how often do those pay off? Joc would be fine if he were the worst player we gave them in the trade, but his value has also fallen.
    Assuming that Verdugo, Lux and Ruiz are off limits, I think it would take something like Smith, May, Downs, Peters and Joc. They might even insist that Muncy be included somewhere in there. Not really sure a deal can come together here because I’m not sure the Marlins will come down far enough that Friedman will pull the trigger on this one. After all, we’re only talking about two years of JTR here.

    1. The reason I think they need to include Barnes is because IMO the Fish need a catcher ready to play ML catcher for 2019, not 2020. That is why they are talking with teams that have catchers (Reds – Barnhart), (Mets -d’Arnaud or Plawecki), and (Pads – Hedges). They are not going to have Chad Wallach be the starting catcher. I just cannot see the Marlins trading Realmuto without getting a ML catcher in return (plus other prospects). I am not saying I agree with it, but the Fish did not get ML players back when they traded their entire OF last year other than Castro at 2B. They are not going to make that mistake again with the last of their big trade chits.
      .
      I happen to agree with you that the Dodgers are not as likely to get Realmuto because of who they are not willing to include. The same is true for Kluber. Somehow they have to spend that $24MM, and I do not want Castellanos or Harper. So maybe it is Pollock (if he will sign for 3 years and $42MM) and DJLM for two years, and call it an offseason with Pollock, DJLM, and Kelly.
      .
      But I am just throwing S against the wall to see what sticks, not knowing what anybody who has any decision making responsibility is thinking.

      1. OK, your point about the Marlins needing a major league catcher flew right past me, so I get your point, but I think rather than take up trade value by asking for Barnes, they could probably just as easily sign one of the 1200 free agent catchers out there pretty cheaply and get another prospect instead of Barnes, whom AF might feel he needs to keep as a backup. As you have stated numerous times, none of us knows what the hell Friedman is planning. I just hope he knows.

        1. Austin Barnes had one very good season and one very bad season. I think Barnes is a very good MLB catcher. He’s just not a workhorse , but I expect his 2019 numbers will be closer to his 2017 numbers than his 2018 numbers.

      2. I was listening to MLB Radio and some were saying that all the signs are that DJLM is in decline and if he leaves Coors his contract could be a disaster. In fact they speculated that he might only get a 1 Year $5 million deal. They said his defense was in decline too.

      1. I think Barnes biggest issue at catcher, is that he is not much of a threat, to throw runners out on the bases.

        Although I don’t know how important that is in baseball right now, because most of the teams in baseball now, don’t run much anymore.

        I do think Barnes is a better hitter, then he showed last year.

        I think his slow start set him back, and it is awful hard to catch up and hit, with only 4 at bats, a week.

        I think AC is right about Realmuto being that main piece the Dodgers need.

        And I hear every baseball pundit saying Realmuto would be a great fit with the Dodgers.

        It is just to bad his numbers against lefties last year, wasn’t that good.

        But I believe he did hit lefties better the season before, or in a prior season, so that may not be a problem.

        I think only problem the Dodgers will have in getting Realmuto, is the Marlins still continuing to ask for to much up until spring training, for Realmuto.

        But this team needed another good rightie bat, before Kemp and Puig were traded, so the need is even bigger now.

        I would rather use all the extra money on the players AC suggested, then pay Harper myself.

  3. I think the Dodgers will make a trade or 2 but I don´t think we will see Harper, Realmuto, Castellanos , Pollock, Kluber or DJLM in Dodger blue. Harper is not worth the money, Realmuto is not worth the lost of players that Miami wants for just 2 years, and Castellanos like Muncy is poor defensively and the Dodgers don´t need two players with defensive problems. I don´t see Kluber being traded. and Pollock is asking for to many years and to much money. I think Lux is very high on the Dodgers list for 2020 or even late in 2019 so Lemahieu if they could sign him for 1 year, maybe, but I think Lemahieu is looking for more then 1 year. My opinion.

  4. 1 – I really don’t understand the whole trade for Castellanos thing. It’s like Dodgers’ Digest posted yesterday – why trade 2 right-handed OF with power to get another one? It’s not like Castellanos has more team control (only 1 year) and his defense is really bad apparently.
    2 – I am fascinated by the idea that the Yankees would trade Stanton to the Dodgers for spare parts (I think Bumsrap has proposed 39 year old Rich Hill) in order to sign Bryce Harper, who would be even more expensive at this point than Stanton would. Why would the Yankees do that?
    3 – From what I have read, now that the Indians have reduced their payroll, they are not particularly motivated to trade one of their ace starters. Why would they? Their big need is the OF – but the Dodgers just traded Kemp and Puig and from what some here have speculated, are now looking for another OF themselves.
    4 – The Dodgers wouldn’t have traded Puig unless they were interested in trying Verdugo out in RF. It’s probably his best position. So why trade Verdugo now?
    5 – Barnes has had one good offensive season and one horrible one. He previously had a cup of coffee in 2016 and 2015 and in a small sample size didn’t hit then either. He can’t throw out baserunners, but is otherwise a solid defensive catcher. I wouldn’t want to stake my season on Barnes hitting above the Mendoza line next year.
    6 – AJ Pollock is a good defender and a good offensive player who’s productivity has been negatively affected by his inability to stay healthy. Remember last season? The D-backs were in 1st and Pollock was playing like an MVP while Goldy was cold and Lamb was on the DL. Then Pollock got hurt and that was that for the Snakes. As good as he is, he’s just not reliable. In 6 major league seasons, he has over 500 PA one time. Also, he is 31 and may not age well given his injury history.

    It’s starting to look like the trade with the Reds is just a salary dump and not much more.

    1. Well they did get two very good prospects IF that is true.

      They could have not offered arbitration to Wood and Puig and just kept Kemp and his $21 million on the books because he was not tradable.

      So, it’s simply wrong to say it was a salary dump. They had to give up Wood and Puig to dump Kemp and take back Bailey. So, overall,they are $14 million better under the Luxury Tax AND they have two VERY good prospects.

      Just a salary dump? Ha! Ha! Ha! You sould like some of the… never mind!

      1. But by trading Wood, Kemp and Puig, if they do nothing else, they are worse than they were before they traded them.

        The trade only makes sense if they use the additional money under the “tax cap” to acquire major league talent. I’m just not sure that there’s anyone that they can obtain that will make the Dodgers better in 2019 without giving away the store in prospects (Realmuto or Kluber) or in $$ (Harper). If they don’t, then it’s a salary dump.

        1. Kemp and Bailey were not going to play much on their respective teams and the Dodgers basically traded Kemp to save AAV cost instead of either keeping an unhappy Kemp on the bench or releasing him.
          .
          Wood was not going to make the rotation and didn’t want to be a reliever or be a better one than the in-house alternatives. At one year and at $9M he was not going to get much in a trade. Puig was radioactive and wasn’t going to get equal value in return and the Dodgers apparently didn’t want to bench him but they would have had to in order to play Verdugo or Harper, or Stanton, etc. Puig cost $11M and Joc cost $4.5M. They were both best against righty pitchers.
          .
          The

    2. I am in agreement with your post with an argument with number 2. The Yankees might want more than rich hill but i think they would be motivated to get rid of Stanton’s contract if they had Harper. I think a left handed Harper in yankee stadium would be very appealing. His market appeal would also be a plus. The Yankees know hill and has seen his production in big games. The Yankees also have some interest in realmuto which could spur a 3 team deal. I would add a number 7. If the Dodgers were worried about money why in the world would they give 18 million to ryu? I would just like to know how Friedman come to that conclusion. If ryu was making half that the Dodgers would be in a much better financial situation. Brett Anderson schooled us once but we do it again. Ryu is far superior to Anderson but is there anyone in mlb who would pay ryu 18 million? Could Friedman have used 18 million wiser? I think that is a fair question. That contract has probably taken us out of any big splash.

      1. Therealten

        Also remember, Hill’s curves, were the Red Sox’s Kryptonite.

        But I wouldn’t want to get rid of Hill, because like you said, he has pitched well in big games.

    3. DJLM had 18 defensive runs saved last year, and 8 defensive runs saved, the year before.

      His defensive numbers at second are better then Forsythe’s numbers were, the first year he was with this team.

      And unlike Forsythe, DJLM has proven he can hit in the National League.

      And DJLM excells at doing the little things, that help an offense be more productive, and we don’t have many players in our line up, that can do this.

      He doesn’t have a lot of power for his size, but he can get to more balls then most second baseman can even touch.

      Just think of all those line drives hits, he will take away at second.

      He was out on the DL twice last year, and that is probably why his numbers were not as good.

      But in his prior years, he has hit well when runners are in scoring position, and he has done this away from Coors too.

      Both Taylor and Kike, didn’t have good numbers when runners were in scoring position last year.

      And Taylor almost struck out 35 percent of the time in these situations.

      Although Taylor did have better numbers in these situations, then Kike.

      If we can get DJLM for a decent price for two years, I don’t think that is a big risk.

      But of course one year would be even better.

  5. Concur that the trade with the Reds was a salary dump (actually a CBT dump). What the Dodgers eventually do with that cap space remains to be seen.

    None of the traded players were going to be with the team after 2019. Arguably, none were the impact RH bat we all seem to think we need.

    Kemp was lightnening in a bottle last year in the first half. Second half was what we expected when he was acquired.

    Wood was expensive SP depth.

    Puig, as has been said many times, was effectively a LH bat. He was not going to be with the Dodgers after 2019. Agree that he was also moved to make room for Verdugo.

    Farmer was not going to catch for the Dodgers.

    I still think we will end up with an ‘impact bat’ but have no idea who that will be or when will be signed. Also will see a catcher but same applies.

    No way Friedman finishes the season with any significant unused cap space

  6. Two questions:

    1. Great, they saved money under the luxury tax. What if anything will they do with that money and will that make the team better in 2019?

    2. Prospects, shmospects. How will they make the team better in 2019? Simple answer: they won’t.

    I agree with dodgerrick. If they don’t do something to improve the team in 2019 by addition, then this trade was as close to a salary dump as you can get. Saving money to stay under the salary cap = salary dump! 2+2=4.

    1. I really can’t fathom how anyone thinks that they don’t plan to improve the team. They always have. Let me remind you that they went to the World Series twice in a row. Of course they are trying to improve the team but they aren’t going to be stupid. You have to wait to make deals.

  7. … and by the way, I think they are already better than last year. They have Buehler with a year under his belt. They have Urias and Kelley. They have Seager back and they are intent on improving their situational hitting. Jansen should be healthy and mentally clear after some family issues and there are several players knocking on the door who could be difference makers. So, I am willing to bet that they are already better than 2018.

  8. Flash: Nick Castellanos will comment a much bigger contract than JD Martinez. I don’t think you understand how good he will be on a good team at age 27. Watch and remember what I said.

    1. Mark

      The only problem with Castellanos, is the fact that we have not been very lucky with trades for players, in the American League.

      Because as you know, a lot of these players have had a lot of trouble making the transition to a new league, with all new pitchers.

      And we don’t know how a player from an uncompetitive team, like the Tigers have been, will fair in the big lights in LA.

      And Castellanos may have all these issues, I talked about.

  9. I have to chuckle at the many observations. Opinions are like noses, everybody has one, (keeping it a little cleaner). There is Bums who wants to trade everybody and anybody so that Joc has a position in the lineup. Joc is still with LAD when almost everybody had him gone for the last three years, so Bums cannot be that far off. He showed enough last year that he set a LA Dodger record for most leadoff of game HRs (I think it was 8). His expected contract is $4.3MM in arbitration, and with a .5 to .7 WAR he will earn his salary. He is therefore more valuable to the Dodgers rather than a mid to low tier prospect he would bring back, unless he was part of a package for a need.
    .
    There are those that believe that the Dodgers HAVE TO sign Bryce Harper at all cost. That of course would ignore that they have said (actually more alluded to) they are going to stay under the CBT threshold. I do believe Harper is a very good player, but not the missing player to get to the WS, and certainly not worth $25MM for 10+ years much less $30MM to $35MM. The flip side is that there is a lot of chatter saying the Dodgers will in fact sign Harper. So they may be right as well. LH dominance be damned.
    .
    Last summer many of the same people were saying that Manny Machado was a must sign no matter how it impacted Corey Seager. Now there is not even a hint of a whisper that the Dodgers are making a big mistake not signing Machado and moving Seager to 2nd.
    .
    Then there are those that believe every FA is aging and in decline, and every trade partner wants too much, so the Dodgers should stay as they are because after all the players on the current roster are going to have great years. They will be fine with a roster of :
    .
    1B – Max & Freese
    2B – CT3 or Kike’
    SS – Corey
    3B – JT
    LF – Joc & CT3 or Kike’
    CF – Belli
    RF – Verdugo
    C – Barnes
    C Reserve – Hundley/Maldonado/Joseph/almost anybody other than Gale – waiting for Smith who hasn’t shown that he can hit AAA pitching much less MLB, or Ruiz without even playing AAA, to take over in June.
    OF Reserve – Toles
    SP – Buehler/Kershaw/Hill/Ryu/Maeda
    RP – Jansen/Kelly/Alexander/Baez/Cingrani/Floro/Ferguson/Stripling
    .
    Funny that the same team above without Grandal/Puig/Kemp/Wood, 4 players that greatly contributed to the 92 wins, was not good enough to win a WS, should now be the favorite to win the WS by just adding Kelly. It might, but I doubt it.
    .
    To many, Ryu is going to have a monster year. And even though he is all of 11.5 months younger than Kluber, it is Kluber who is in decline. Of course we have to ignore that in the last 5 years, Kluber has averaged 32 starts and 218 IP, while Ryu has averaged 23.75 starts and 138 IP. Oh yeah, because two of those years he was out due to major shoulder surgery. In those same five years, Kluber has won CY twice, was third twice, and ninth once. Ryu? Has never received a vote. Well maybe it is because Kluber has been so dependable that now he won’t be, and because Ryu hasn’t been dependable but now he will be. That is perfect Alice in Wonderland thinking. It might even be right. We will know some time in 2019. Kluber is also less expensive than Ryu.
    .
    I have also read about the offensive decline of DJLM especially away from Coors. Except last year he changed his approach to more of a JT and Daniel Murphy approach. Pull and get the ball in the air. I read that he was uncomfortable with it most of last year, but it grew on him. I guess the same people who think DJLM is in decline would also have believed that to be true of both JT and Murphy. JT has had more than 500 PA twice (at 31 and 32), and Murphy’s best years were at 31 and 32. But DJLM at 30 (31 in July) is going in decline. Again maybe CT3 or Kike’ can out hit DJLM. Count me as one who does not believe it. The one thing I have not heard is that DJLM is declining defensively. I am not sure when that happened, since he has one the last two GG for 2B, and from the articles I have read, there was nobody even close. There were some that wanted to give it to Javy Baez. He is more flashy, but not as reliable.
    .
    There are some who want to trade for players like Realmuto, but do not want to give up any true prospects. They are willing to give up 5-6 mid tier prospects, but none of the top tier. I am probably more in that camp as I would never have traded Seager, Bellinger, or Buehler. And I would not trade Lux or Ruiz now. Everyone else? I would consider, but why would the trading teams? The Red Sox hurt when they gave up Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, and two others for Chris Sale. Kopech and Moncada may turn out to be all stars, but they would not have helped one bit last year. I do not think the Red Sox regret that trade even for a minute. Ace pitchers do not become available that often, but when they do, a team has to stand up and take notice. I have no idea what it would take to get Kluber, and his three years of affordable control. But that is where the Dodgers focus should be (IMO).
    .
    I am more in agreement with Dodgerrick. The trade of Puig/Kemp/Wood was more of a salary dump and to relieve excess OF for Verdugo, than for any future significant player transaction. Of course that puts me more in line with the status quo group, but for a different reason. I think I am different because I do think that the team can be improved by non-Dodger players. As I said, I prefer DJLM over CT3 and Kike’. I prefer Pollock in the Dodger OF over CT3, Kike’ or Joc. That is only money, and it would not take the team over the CBT threshold. I prefer Kluber over Ryu, depending on what the team would have to give up. And I would not give up a King’s ransom for two years JT Realmuto, but I would trade a couple of top ten prospects. Just not 1, 2, and others like the Marlins are asking the Reds for.

    1. AC

      Maybe you should remind Mark, who our hitting instructor’s other pupils were, that we don’t hear about.

      Because I am hopeful, and glad that Friedman wants the team to have a different approach at the plate.

      And I do appreciate Mark’s optimism about our players, and about the Dodgers in general.

      But I know a hitting instructor can only do so much.

      It takes a lot of work and talent, to be able to be a complete hitter, and it is not going to come as easy for some.

  10. If healthy, Tulo at league minimum would be a good addition. Low cost, high reward. I look for Puig to have a monster year with the Reds.

  11. Just my opinion, but I think the FO kept hold of Puig for too long, and in the end his value was not what it should have been. We kept waiting for him to fulfill his obvious potential, but he never quite managed it, and became a platoon player, when he was better than that.
    There were certainly many here, including Mark, who would have traded him many times over the years.
    In hindsight, that would probably have been the best idea. For the potential, years of team control, and low salary, we should have got a much bigger return on him a couple of years back.

    I would take Pollock over Castellanos or Harper, and go all in on Arenado next year. As I stated before, I would sign Hundley, and see how Smith & Ruiz are doing at the mid season point.
    Verdugo & Pollock would strengthen the lineup from last year, and of course the return of Corey.

    RF Verdugo
    SS Seager
    3B Turner
    RF Pollock
    1B Muncy/Bellinger
    CF Bellinger/ Taylor
    C Hundley

    We give up no Prospects, and stay below the $208m
    2B Taylor/Kike/ Muncy
    LF Joc

  12. The Dodgers will never sign Hundley. His career OBP is .300 – he never takes a walk. His career OPS is .706. He is also reputed to be one of the worst pitch framers in MLB.

  13. Stanton is originally from the Greater Los Angeles region. He graduated from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks Bring him home.
    .
    Dec. 11th, 2017—For Stanton, the Yankees sent second baseman Starlin Castro and two prospects to the Marlins. The prospects involved in the deal are right-hander Jorge Guzman and shortstop Jose Devers, the 18-year-old cousin of Red Sox phenom Rafael Devers. Guzman is ranked as the No. 9 prospect in New York’s system, according to MLBPipeline.com; Devers is unranked. The 27-year-old Castro, who was an AL All-Star this past season, has two years and approximately $23.7 million remaining on his contract.
    .
    One year later and one year less of Stanton’s prime production, the Dodgers could help fill a pitching need for the Yankees by offering Hill and two prospects, maybe the ones they received from the Reds (just to humor those that did not like the Farmer trade) for Stanton. That would open the door for the Yanks to sign Harper.
    .
    Dodgers add $25M AAV and substract $16AAV. That adds $9M AAV but they are about $24M under the CBT Threshold (T). They still would $15M under the CBT (T).
    .
    How about trading Muncy for José Abreu. Abreu will earn about $15M in 2019. He would be a rental but maybe he would sign an extension. Forget Realmuto and Kluber.
    .
    LF Pederson
    3B Turner
    SS Seager
    RF Stanton
    CF Bellinger
    1B Abreu
    2B Taylor/Hernandez
    C Barnes/Smith

    1. Verdugo fans can substitute him for Joc or if you are a Realmuto or Kluber fan, assume Verdugo was included in a trade for one of them and that Freidman was willing to exceed the CBT (T) in 2019 unless he includes Ryu in that trade.

    2. I would trade Joc for just about anything because I would find your reaction ‘entertaining’.

      1. I would be silent most likely. Hopefully he would wind up with the new Portland franchise. Joc is financially secure now or will be after this year so he will have been rewarded with his baseball career regardless where he plays from here on out or if he leaves baseball altogether.
        .
        If it were not for childhood visits to Dodger games at Dodger Stadium and Vero Beach it would not be that hard to move on to a Portland team.

    3. If the Yanks would really like to move Stanton so they could sign Harper, we shouldn’t have to give them anything. We’d be doing them a favor. On the other hand, they should agree to take Hill’s contract from us to lessen the burden of the Stanton contract. At the same time, they get a good pitcher. No prospects.

  14. From MLB Rumors:
    The Mets found a veteran catcher in free agency earlier this month when they signed Wilson Ramos to a two-year, $19MM guarantee. However, the club had been willing to pay a much steeper price for the premier backstop on the open market, Yasmani Grandal, whom it offered a four-year, $60MM contract, Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times reports. Grandal rejected the Mets’ proposal, leading them to sign Ramos for far less.
    *
    If true, Grandal must have taken too many foul balls off the face mask to turn this down.

    1. If that’s true I would agree he should have taken it. Hard to see another team offering more for Grandal.

    2. If Grandal’s agent had anything to do with his rejecting that offer, he should fire him immediately. That decision could ultimately replace Jody Reed’s as the worst free agent decision of all time. For those who don’t remember Reed he turned down a 3 year/7.5 million contract from the Dodgers and wound up signing with another team for 1 year/350 thousand.

  15. For those that thought that the Max Muncy was too much for Castellanos, the Tigers are asking for Verdugo or Ruiz. I know asking and getting are two different things, but still for those who thought that Detroit would accept a couple of mid tier or lower tier prospects is not going to happen. Another way of looking at it is that Verdugo and Ruiz are worth a poor defensive 3B/RF right hand bat with one year control, at least to the Tigers.
    .
    If Detroit does not get what they want now, they will probably wait until the trade deadline.
    .
    Another factor with top tier prospects is sometimes you wait too long to move them. Most recent example is Yadier Alvarez. Compare what he might have been valued two years ago to what he would be valued today. He looks more like a potential reliever than a potential Ace.

    1. Agreed on Castellanos. I seem to be in the minority but why does there seem to be so much desire to trade Muncy? I get the argument he may regress but here is a guy who broke out for 35 HR’s plus a couple in the post season, and had an POS of .973! 4 others topped that: Betts, JDM, Trout and Yelich. He was 15th in MVP voting, J Turner was 14th, the highest Dodger. Plus he has 4 years of team control and starts his arb years after 2019. I think he can improve his defense with some hard work. This is a guy I would keep over several others who can’t do what he can do: catch up to a plus fastball. I don’t think he will regress much and could haunt the team for years if they trade him.

  16. If the Tigers are really adamant about Verdugo or Ruiz, they definitely won’t be trading Castellanos any time soon. On the other hand, I’d be happy to give them Alvarez even up.

  17. Good post AC! I do think some changes are yet to come, however, unless, or until, Grandal signs elsewhere, I do not think the Dodgers sign Pollack. Even though he is a better fielder than anyone we currently have on the roster, it’s my opinion that sacrificing draft compensation is not something they would be willing to do for him. I’m old school in that I like strong defense up the middle, and Pollack brings that defense to the table. But at what costs. I may have been on board for Michael Brantley, but that ship has sailed. If you sign Pollack, then Bellinger has to move back to first. That’s not a bad thing, because he is a very good defensive first baseman. Moreover, he is a better hitter (although not by much) when playing first. But then, what do you do with Muncy? Trade him? Play him exclusively at second? Platoon him with Kike at 2nd? Does that then make Joc/CT# the platoon in left field. I could live with the left field platoon, but I would worry about 2nd.
    .
    I also agree that right now, we are not a better team than we were last year, although the return of Seager makes it very close. I do think (hope) that Barnes will have a better season. Last year he had just got married and that may have affected his performance (reaching for straws). Maldanado or Weiters may be good options for the reserve role.
    .
    Other than being completely surprised by something unexpected, the only changes I currently see the Dodgers making would be to sign a Cody Allen, Tyler Clippard, Blake Parker type reliever and call it a day.
    .
    My wishes would be for Kluber and LeMehieu. Realmuto would be nice, but I don’t see that trade happening. The Marlins are going to want a king’s ransom for him in prospects. Ultimately they will get them from someone, but not the Dodgers.

  18. There is a chance the Yankees will sign both Machado and Harper. They still need rotation improvement.

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