Dodgers vs Rockies as of 01-04-19

I have no idea what is in the plans for the Dodgers over the next 6 weeks before pitchers and catchers report, if anything.  I know it seems logical that the Dodgers would do something, but everybody is waiting to see where Machado and Harper are going to go.  The Dodgers do not appear to be the leading team for any of the major FA (except for Grandal).  But that does not surprise me because Friedman does not talk about what they may do.  If they do something, it will probably be something that was not thought of.  The Dodgers have 37 on the 40 man so there is room for players.  Plus, Brock Stewart is undoubtedly going to be moved.

 

Do the Dodgers have enough confidence in Austin Barnes to make him the regular everyday catcher?  They are not going to give the Marlins what they want for Realmuto.  If the ‘Stros want to trade Kyle Tucker ++, then more power to them.  Catcher is the one position where an upgrade is seen as most critical, but maybe not to Friedman.

 

Currently, the Dodgers are structured as follows:

1B – Max Muncy

2B – Kike’ Hernandez

SS – Corey Seager

3B – Justin Turner

LF – Chris Taylor (cannot be an all LH hitting OF)

CF – Cody Bellinger

RF – Alex Verdugo

C – Austin Barnes

Bench – David Freese (R), Joc Pederson (L), Andrew Toles (L), Rocky Gale (R)

SP – Kershaw/Buehler/Hill/Ryu/Maeda

RP – Stripling/Ferguson/Kelly/Cingrani/Alexander/Floro/Baez

Closer – Jansen

 

Of course there are multiple moving pieces, especially with Kike’, CT3, and Joc.  I like the LF defense of CT3, and Kike’ can be a good defensive 2B.  The bullpen is totally unsettled.  Is Ferguson going to go back to OKC to be a starting pitcher again?  Josh Fields does have an option, but not JT Chargois or Yimi Garcia or Brock Stewart.  And while Cingrani, Alexander, Floro, and Baez all have options, I do not see any of Chargois/Garcia/Stewart as an upgrade. If Fields is not traded, I can see Ferguson going back to OKC and Fields on the 25 man coming out of ST.  That is not my preference, but nobody in the LAD organization is calling me asking for my opinion.

 

When does Julio Urias make his 2019 debut?  Starter or reliever?  I cannot think of another MLB ML bullpen with 4 LHRP.  The Dodgers could have Alexander/Cingrani/Ferguson/Urias all in the bullpen at the same time.

 

How do the Dodgers make up for the loss of 81 HRs and 258 RBIs – Machado (13/42), Grandal (24/68), Puig (23/63), and Kemp (21/85)?  A full season of Seager and JT should give the Dodgers some of that back.  The duo had 16 last year and would probably be near the 50 mark for a full season.  So that is 34 of the 81.  Verdugo is not much of a HR threat.  I do not see Muncy hitting 35, but I can see Belli making up the difference.  Is Joc going to be the 2017 or 2018 HR threat?  CT3?  Kike’?  And we know that neither Barnes or Gale are going to be any kind of HR threat.  It is clear that the team is going to need to become more of a contact situational hitting team in order to make up for those lost HRs and RBIs.

 

The team also needs to make up for 27 starts and 151.1 IP lost without Alex Wood.  I cannot see any pitcher other than Buehler making it through the season without a DL stint.  How long the starters go out will determine how much of that depth will be tested.  At least Stripling/Urias/Ferguson/Santana will be capable for filling in.  But I would sure be more comfortable with Corey Kluber.  I do not see that happening without the loss of key 2019 contributors leaving.  Thus, it is clear to me that to plug one hole, another hole would open.  The Dodgers are deepest in starting pitching, so I can see them standing pat unless the Tribe wants to come way down and just take Joc and prospects not named Verdugo/Ruiz/Lux.  Not happening.

 

The Dodgers do not need to sign any of the FA pitchers (Keuchel, Gio, Miley, Holland), and none of the relievers who want to close will consider the Dodgers.  Ottavino does not care, but he wants to stay in NY so that will probably happen.  In addition, the Dodgers now have 2 relievers on multiyear multimillion dollar contracts, and that is more than enough for Friedman.  And while I know it can never happen, I do like Singing the Blues’ idea of signing Greg Holland on a make due contract, that cannot be tied to closing games.  Thus, the problem, as Holland wants to close.  But talk about low risk high reward possibilities…

 

How does the above roster stack up to the Rockies or the other NL East and NL Central teams that have improved over the Winter?

 

Rockies lost DJ LeMahieu, Adam Ottavino, Gerardo Parra, Matt Holliday, and Carlos Gonzalez.  I can see the Rockies re-signing either Parra or CarGo for one year as veteran bench support.  LeMahieu cannot be totally replaced, especially defensively.  But Garrett Hampson (24) is more than sufficient as a temporary 2B until uber-prospect Brendan Rogers is ready.  Hampson in a very small sample size batted .275/.396/.400/.796 in 48 PA.  Daniel Murphy was a tremendous FA pickup, and he will be playing 1B where he is less lethal defensively but will more than make up for the loss offensively of DJLM.  Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado are as good of a left side of the infield as there is in the NL, with the exception of the Dodgers.  Rockies fans will certainly dispute that, but I am a biased Dodgers fan.  But I digress.  Ryan McMahon will be the utility infielder, and he is capable, but certainly not a strength.  And no different than 2018.

 

The Rockies could use an upgrade at catcher and are very much in the discussion with Grandal.  But they won 91 games last year with Chris Iannetta and Tony Wolters as a R/L combo.

 

The Rockies still have the best offensive CF in MLB in Charlie Blackmon, who is more than adequate defensively.  David Dahl (25) will move permanently into RF, but is capable of playing all three OF positions.  He batted a more than solid .273/.325/.534/.859 in 271 PA last year.  Ian Desmond moves from 1B back to the OF where he is far more comfortable.  I would not expect Desmond to have another miserable year as he did last year. Raimel Tapia (25) will be a 4thOF, and I would expect Parra (L) or CarGo (L) or another veteran OF bat to be #5.  I also would not be shocked to see Mark Reynolds or Matt Holliday to sign as another veteran RH bat and 1B sub for Murphy.

 

The Rockies starting pitching came of age last year.  Kyle Freeland/German Marquez/Tyler Anderson/Jon Gray will be #1 – #4.  Chad Bettis of Anthony Senzatela will be #5.  Chad Bettis is the oldest in that group, and he turns 30 next season.  I could see the Rockies picking up a Miley or Gio or even Holland as the #5.

 

The Rockies lost Ottavino, but they had no idea he was going to be as good as he was last year.  I would expect to see a bounce back year from Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee.  I also see a larger role for 24-year-old RHRP Yency Almonte.  They still have Scott Oberg who was a solid reliever last year. Between Almonte and Oberg, I can see Ottavino’s innings being picked up.  I can also see them picking up another veteran reliever on a one-year deal.

 

Both the Rockies and Dodgers won 91 games in the 162 game season, and the Dodgers fortunately had Walker Buehler ready to go for game 163.  The Rockies have covered their personnel losses, and their young pitching staff should only get better and more comfortable at Coors.  They will be the Dodgers closest competition in the NL West, and they are a couple of additions in the right spots for becoming extremely formidable.  They are not there just yet, but the Rockies are not going away.

 

 

 

 

This article has 31 Comments

  1. Gale seems a logical choice to either start or backup whoever the starter will be. Indeed, catcher seems to be the great mystery hovering over the Dodgers. Anything could happen before the start of the season.

  2. Anything can happen indeed but I will say the off-season so far has been uninspiring even if the Kemp/Puig/Wood trade offered some budge relief.

    I wanted Harper but that seems more and more less likely to happen but the lack of movement to address the catching hole and the need for an additional quality SP is a bit disconcerting.

    I’ll “jump for joy “ if Friedman signs Harper or acquires Kluber (or similar talent) but if the FO does nothing else I will resolve myself to what others have mentioned and that is Friedman has certainly been directed to stay below the CBT and shed payroll. Not a mystery but confirmed by the lack of FA acquisitions so far.

    Don’t forget those who want to make Friedman out as a genius also remover he’s the guy who acquired McCarthy, Kazmir, Latos, Jim Johnson, Granderson, Koehler and Scott Alexander. I’m not saying all were bad moves but let’s “pump the brakes” on annointing him as a great President-GM for now.

    The young talent that ascended to the big leagues was largely a result of the Colletti/Logan White regime. Seager, Puig, Bellinger, Stripling, Urias, JT were all brought in under Ned’s time.

    Friedman has done well with CT3 and Hernandez and Grandal but many others were marginal. As AC has mentioned many times Garrett Cole would have looked good in Dodger blue, and we had the pieces to make that trade. You gotta give a little to get a little.

    As I see it the Rockies probably are the team to beat in the NL West. It’s time for Friedman to be bold and infuse some new talent into the equation. Go get Kluber or Bauer or Haper or Castellanos but for goodness gracious do something.

  3. If you want to go to the dance, you have to find a dance partner. So far, potential partners have asked too much from us.

    Patience Grasshoppers. This shall pass and many dance partners will surface.

  4. A friend of mine has website (rotisserieduck.com) and he posted this today re: players who passed away in 2017:
    *
    So, as we celebrate the history of the game and the wonders of the 2018 season, let’s take a look at who the sport lost in the past year…

    > Willie McCovey, Giants 1B 1959-1980 – One of two Hall of Famers who passed away in ’18, “Stretch” was a star from the moment he arrived in the big leagues and won the ’59 NL Rookie of the Year award by hitting .354 in 192 AB’s. Hit 521 HR’s and contributed a 64.5 WAR on his way to Cooperstown in 1986.

    > Red Schoendienst, Cardinals 2B 1945-1963 – Enshrined by the Veteran’s Committee in 1989, he also managed the Redbirds from 1965-1976 and won a World Series ring in 1967. As a player, he was a ten-time All Star.

    > Rusty Staub, Astros / Expos & Mets OF 1963-1985 – One of the most colorful and popular players of his era, “Le Grand Orange” accumulated 292 HR’s and over 2,700 Hits in his career. He was also admired after his playing days for his contributions to numerous charities.

    > Bob Bailey, Pirates / Dodgers & Expos 3B-OF 1962-1978 – A solid everyday player for over a decade, he hit 189 HR’s and accumulated a WAR number of 28.7.

    > Wally Moon, Cardinals & Dodgers OF 1954-1965 – Broke in with the Redbirds in ’54 and won the NL Rookie of the Year award. Joined the Dodgers in ’59 and his “Moon Shots” over the short left-field fence helped the team go on to win the World Series. An outstanding all-around player, he even had a Gold Glove on his resume.

    > Oscar Gamble, Yankees OF 1969-1985 – Played with seven different teams in a 17-year career and hit 200 HR’s. His best season was 1977 with the White Sox where he hit .297 with 31 HR’s & 83 RBI’s. And, of course, he probably had the best Afro in the history of the game.

    > Ed Charles, A’s & Mets 3B 1962-1969 – Will always be remembered as a member of that amazing ’69 Mets team that won it all.

    > Tito Francona, Indians OF 1956-1970 – A 15-year major league veteran, his best seasons were in Cleveland where he made the All-Star team in ’61. Coming full circle, his Son Terry is now the Manager of the Tribe.

    > Bruce Kison, Pirates & Angels P 1971-1985 – One of four Pitchers with 100+ Wins who passed in ’18, he had a lifetime record of 115-88 with a 3.66 ERA.

    > Marty Pattin, Royals P 1968-1980 – Pitched over 200 innings for four consecutive seasons in the early 70’s. Ended up 114-109 with 25 Saves and a 3.62 ERA.

    > Tony Cloninger, Braves & Reds P 1961-1972 – His lifetime record of 113-97 is certainly worthwhile, but his claim to fame will always be that July game in 1966 at Candlestick Park when he hit two Grand Slam HR’s and had nine (9) RBI’s.

    > Billy O’Dell, Orioles & Giants P 1954-1967 – An impressive 3.29 ERA goes with his 105-100 record. Made two AL All-Star teams in the 50’s and recorded 19 Wins for the ’62 Giants.

    92 former big-leaguers died in 2018 and if you’re a real fan, you’ll remember many of them. There were guys who played in the early 50’s like Tom Brewer, Dick Cole, Sammy Esposito & Dean Stone, guys who were more infamous than famous like Jack Hamilton, guys with famous names like John Kennedy and guys with nicknames like “Doc” Edwards & “Moose” Stubing. And, a few more who played at least ten seasons in the majors like Bob Barton, Dave Nelson, Ed Roebuck, Carl Scheib, Lee Stange & Luis Valbuena.

    They’re all part of the history because they were all in the “Show”.

    1. What a great list! McCovey owned the Dodgers, especially Claude Osteen. Cloninger beat the Dodgers 5 times in one season. Plus ex Dodgers like Bailey, Moon and Kennedy. Let’s go Andrew, we all have only so much time…

  5. Willie McCovey broke in against the Dodgers and I remember opening the sports section of the Los Angeles Mirror, the afternoon paper, and the headline was “McCovey goes 4 for 4 in debout”.
    Willie Mac owned Big D. As Mark would say he beat him like a rented mule.

    Stuff will happen……maybe today,,,,,,,,,maybe next week…….maybe next month, but stuff will happen.

  6. Friedman is trying but if he thinks the asking price is to high or not good for the Dodgers long term he will not make the trade, those are his decisions to make.

  7. Per Jim Bowden, the Nats have now offered Bryce Harper “much more than $300MM”. It could be posturing to drive up the price for the Phillies, but the offer appears to be genuine. The desire of Harper joining the Dodgers seems to be one sided. Harper says he wants to become a Dodger, but Friedman and Co., have not offered any kind of deal for Harper. It sure seems that the interest is being driven by fans and many Dodger blog sites who want Harper badly, but thus far Friedman and Co. are not listening.
    .
    There apparently is a mystery team for Machado. Just to get discussion going, what if that mystery team is The Los Angeles Dodgers? I am more than 99.999% convinced that it isn’t but that doesn’t stop a lot of speculation.

    1. If that’s true the Dodgers should move on to other players. The Nats would be making a mistake with Jaun Soto and Victor Robles ready to take over the OF for years to come. $300M plus has to be a bridge too far and so is 10 years. I honestly don’t know why the Nats owner is so enamored of Boras but he is.

    2. OK AC, let’s assume that 0.001% chance is correct and we sign Machado. How do you move around the rest of the roster to accommodate him? Who moves to another position, who do you trade? And yes, this is just to keep us occupied because there is no chance he comes back.

  8. AC:
    I’m not that concerned making up the loss of 89 HR( I counted Dozier, Utley and Forsythe). Turner will play more than 103 games(14 HR), Seager will play(hopefully) a full season which would add perhaps 25HR and if they sign Dozier to play a full year another 20-25 HR could be counted on. Dozier may not be available since the Brewer and Nationals have shown interest in him.
    On the other hand I’m not too confident Muncy and Jock will combine for 60 HR this year.

  9. What we need is more small ball(less swing and miss, more hit and run, run and hit, SB’s, hitting to the opposite field, see ball hit ball with 2 strikes, etc)
    I was never in on Harper or Realmuto(for what Miami wants in return) but I would love to have Kluber and Casty if the price was right whatever that may be.

    1. Richie

      Exactly, twenty HRs doesn’t always equate to a bunch of runs, or quality runs, like that is needed in close games, if these same players can’t hit in key situations, in games.

      That is why our run differential was so deceiving last year.

      Because we would have blow outs where most in this line up, would hit at least a solo HR.

      But we had a lot of games, when no one could get a key hit, even after seven innings, at times.

      And we saw what most of those players with twenty plus HRs, did in the World Series.

      The team needs balance in the line up, and hitting twenty HRs, is not a big deal, in baseball today.

      But being able to get key hits in these situations consistently, is a rarity today.

  10. I agree with you Richie. I would like Kluber or/and Casty. However do not give away your top farm kids. I would put Toles and Joc in any trade for an outfielder.. I like Toles, but I do not see a path for him to a starting job.

  11. Richie – Might we add the art of bunting to counteract the dreaded shift or moving runners over at opportune times??? Can we address say bunting 101 at the minor lg. level??? Seems doable I thinks…

  12. If the Dodgers signed Machado, I would imagine Turner would move to first base and Machado would play third and Muncy would move to second. If Seager needs half a season to get back to 100%, he might move to first for a half year and then Turner would go to first and Seager would either finish the year st short or third.

    1. RF Verdugo/Hernandez
      1B Turner/Freeze
      SS Seager/Taylor
      3B Machado/Freeze
      CF Bellinger/Taylor
      LF Pederson/Taylor
      2B Muncy/Hernandez
      C Barnes/Smith

  13. My questions are these;

    Who is going to replace 81 HR’s and 258 RBI’s?
    (I think it’s a stretch to say Barnes, CT, Kiki, JP combined will do that)
    If you say we don’t need that, then we need another #1 SP (Kluber).

    Who catches?
    (Barnes is a backup however you try and put a positive spin on it)
    Or put another way, what current MLB team would make him their starting catcher?

    Where is the RH bat?

    Will Freidman finally make a deal or two to fill needs?

    We wait…..

    1. Good read, he really bagged on Kendall, I might have to rethink my opinion of him but he thought he would be pushed to Tulsa as I do and that will be a big test. The gist was he needed to tear down his entire swing and start over-yikes!

      1. I caught that on Kendall, although I am not a huge fan, so I was not surprised. There was a lot of other great information. Glaser is very high on Lux. He thinks the best strategy for Verdugo is to be packaged with Rios to be traded to Miami for Realmuto. He likens Ruiz and Smith as a better combination than Grandal and Barnes. He sees Ruiz as the primary catcher, but Smith as a utility infielder/catcher. A better Kyle Farmer. Ruiz still has a lot of work on his footwork/transfer/release, and his RHH stats are not very good. But he is young and he will improve. I do not think he sees Ruiz as a legit June/July callup.
        .
        He considers the Dodgers a top ten farm system with a lot of high caliber prospects but the talent drops off after the first dozen. What I did not understand is why was Ferguson considered a prospect (#6), after his rookie year expired last year?
        .
        It is a good read.

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