No, this is not a course in the “new math.” Five out of four people struggle with math anyway. However, sometimes you can get better by deleting some pieces. You don’t always have to add pieces to get better. These pieces that you subtract may be pieces that most people view as essential, but in reality, they may not be that at all.
Now, I am certain that Andrew Friedman is not done dealing, but even if he were and with all due respect to Kyle Farmer, Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp and Alex Wood, the 2019 Dodgers might be better than the 2018 model… and that even includes the
possiblelikely loss of Yasmani Grandal.
I can cite you a current case whereby a team became better after subtraction, simply because that subtraction allowed other players to flourish. That case is the 2018-2019 Indianapolis Colts, who, before the season started, were picked by many to be the worst team in the NFL. Of course, a lot of things had to happen first:
1. Josh McDaniel, who was to be introduced as head coach, abruptly withdrew on the day he was to be introduced as head coach;
2. Frank Reich, who not one of the five finalists for head coach was quickly hired;
3. With it’s first pick, the team drafted a guard “A guard – what the what? You don’t draft guards that high.” The local media was aghast!
4. They also drafted a unheralded linebacker named Darius Leonard in the second round. The local media ridiculed the pick.
5. Then, on the last days of training camp they cut (YES, CUT) their best defensive player (John Simon). The local media wanted someones’ head. “Cutting your best defensive player, what are they thinking?”
The Colts started out 1-5, but in one of the losses they were in a position to tie the game… but went for the win instead… and failed. That would prove to be a huge turning point. The team knew the coach had their back, and believed in them. The Guard taken in the first round, Quentin Nelson, set the tone for the offensive line and they went from allowing the most sacks in 2017-2018, to allowing the fewest sacks in 2018-2019 in the entire NFL. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Andrew Luck was back after two years and better than ever.
Darius Leonard stepped in as their defensive leader. He is called The Maniac and he led the NFL in tackles… by 19! Both he and Nelson are All-Pros and Leonard is the Defensive Rookie of the Year and should be the Defensive MVP. The Colts proceeded to go 9-1 after the 1-5 start and play Saturday in the first round of the playoffs. They are a team that no one wants to face and in fact, some of the national media are predicting they will play in the Super Bowl.
They were not supposed to be this good, this quick. Of course, I am a big Colts fan, but even I predicted 6 or maybe 7 wins… because I am an optimist. No one saw this coming. No only did they jettison John Simon, but they released or let go most of the team from 2017-2018. They let the youngsters play… and play they did.
Now, I am not saying The Farmer Trade is like this, but even if the Dodgers stay the same, they are young and have plenty of room to grow. There is a great blend of youth and experience on the team. Kaybear Ruiz, Gavin Lux, Alex Verdugo, Will Smith and a plethora of rookie pitchers are nearing ready. Losing Puig and Kemp may be a great blessing. Wood may be a push and Farmer is not a loss.
If nothing else happens, it will still take two or three years to determine the success of the trade… UNLESS the Dodgers make another trade or signing. I’m talking about Alex Castellanos or some such player. Bryce Harper is going back to DC (I told you that a couple of days ago). The Indians want too much for Kluber and the Marlins want too much for JT Realmuto (at least right now), and I can’t see another 2B helping the team.
Let them play. Friedman has confidence in this team. So does Roberts, and they are giving them more tools to play the game starting with RVS and the creation of a new hitting culture. The guys in the Colts front office, led by Chris Ballard sure as heck knew what they were doing and the Dodgers Front Office has even more experience, led by Andrew Friedman.
You can point to all the Kazmirs, McCarthys, Andersons, Oliveras, Reddicks and Grandersons and say “SEE HE’S NOT SO GREAT!” REALLY? In his four years he has rebuilt a lagging farm system, over 70% of the roster were players acquired under his tenure, and taken his team to the World Series the past two years. All without blowing up the team or tanking. NO OTHER TEAM IN ALL OF BASEBALL CAN SAY THAT!
To those of you who dislike Friedman, I suggest you get on the train. He’s driving it and it’s headed the right direction, no matter how you slice or spin it. The Royals, Marlins and Padres are looking for fans. Go for it.
FINAL PARTING SHOT: Don’t bet against the Colts!