On My Soap Box

Because of the lack of player personnel movement, all of the national publications and national writers are creating the best of the remaining lists.  Where will the top 10 remaining free agents land?  How about where will the top 15 free agents and major trade personnel land?  They all have opinions, and some of them are well thought out.  However, while they have much better contacts, none of them no anymore until just before the player signs or the trade is made.  Nobody predicted the Dodgers Reds trade, because nobody knows what Andrew Friedman is thinking.  Nobody believes that Friedman will include Cody Bellinger in any trade.  Why are they asking?  Why not?  You cannot get unless you ask. Most of us have no idea of the vast scouting reports these front offices have.  Dodger fans follow many of their minor leaguers, but only have access to the publicly published scouting reports of MLB Pipeline, or FanGraphs, or Baseball America.  Pre-draft players have Perfect Game scouting reports.  But none of us have access to the Dodgers inside scouting reports.  Before people knock the Joel Ibarra minor league signing, please let us know how your personal scouting report graded him.  After all he is a 16-year-old SS from Sonora Mexico, and has a ton of exposure.  Right?  I use Joel as an example because he was included with all of the AAAA players that the Dodgers have recently signed.  Not on this site, but I have read where some have actually lambasted Freidman for the Ibarra signing.  For those who do not know, here is Joel Ibarra:
  • Jesus Joel Ibarra
  • Born:7/10/2002 in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico
  • Joel Ibarra does not have any MLB stats for the season.
  • Latest Transactions – December 21, 2018
  • Los Angeles Dodgers signed free agent SS Joel Ibarra to a minor league contract.
 I wonder what was written by the bloggers about Julio Urias before they knew who he was. I recognize that the Dodgers have signed only one significant FA, RHRP Joe Kelly, and have consummated only one significant trade that to many is strictly a salary dump.  Maybe it is.  Or maybe they have no intention of spending that money until the FO identifies what they believe they need.  Maybe it is as Mark wrote addition by subtraction.  Maybe we have no idea how close any of the prospects are to the ML.  Maybe Lux is two years away, Smith one, and Ruiz three.  I have not spoken with Brandon Gomes, Dodger Director of Player Development, or seen where he places the ETA on each of these players.  Has anyone else?  Do they miss?  Absolutely.  All the time.  But they have better information than I have. But those two transactions and minor league signings are all we fans have as we wait for that one significant trade or FA signing that is just around the corner…or isn’t.  We are an impatient group.  Most of us want instant gratification and cannot foresee where trade or FA negotiations are.  All we know is that the Dodgers just signed Shane Peterson and discuss as if he is the reason for the Puig trade. Why is it that certain Dodger fans get so exorcised about the minor league contracts for the likes of Shane Peterson, Cameron Perkins, Paolo Orlando, Eric Carter, Kevin Quackenbush, and Daniel Corcino.  I predicted the Dodgers would re-sign Corcino after he was released.  The Dodgers and Corcino are a perfect match for each other.  Neither the player or organization believe Corcino is going to be a star, or even a legit ML pitcher, but he may be available when someone like him is most needed, and he seemingly accepts that role.  Why else would he keep coming back to LAD.  These guys are nothing more than AAAA organizational depth.  And there is nothing wrong with that. I recognize that I am preaching on my soapbox, but I lived with having a AAAA player as a son for 9 years in the minor leagues, and not once was he left to believe that he was a result of dumpster diving.  Players generally do not read these blogs, but families do.  And it is hurtful to read some of the stuff that is written. My son was always told where he stood with the organization, and that he had an important role in the organization.  I am assuming that DJ Peters will get promoted to AAA, and I also assume that Kyle Garlick will stay at AAA.  But there is no one else ready for AAA in the Dodgers organization ready for AAA OF.  So should the Dodgers just promote Jeren Kendall, Logan Landon, Saige Jenco, Donovan Casey, Carlos Rincon or Starling Heredia to a level they are not ready for because fans do not see the value in Shane Peterson or Cameron Perkins?  So while fans may not see the value, the organization does. Do certain fans not see the value in a Rocky Gale or Cael Brockmeyer as AAA and AA catchers allowing Will D. Smith and Keibert Ruiz to develop at a more natural pace?  Does someone like Daniel Corcino allow for someone like Mitchell White or Dustin May to start the season in AA to get a confidence building start to the season.  Both will be pushed, but do they need to go to the hitter friendly PCL right out of Spring?  Or can they develop at a more reasonable pace?  Gain some early season success and confidence? I sincerely doubt if anyone in the FO believes that Patterson or Perkins, will become a CT3 or Max Muncy or Andrew Toles.  What is wrong with AAAA players playing at AAA or AA?  They have no impact on the 40 man roster.  My son toiled for 9 seasons in MiLB and hit .270/.354/.449/.804 in 3,318 Abs.  He hit 122 HRs and 569 RBIs.  He had an approximate 16% K rate.  He was an All Star at multiple levels.  He had multiple concussions, a broken hand, three knee operations, and tore his arch away from his heel that was misdiagnosed and ended his career.  He never got one of those million dollar contracts much less $300MM.  He was constantly told to take steroids, not because they would make him a better or stronger hitter, but because he did not pass the “eyeball test” with his uni, and steroids would help him look better.  He NEVER did, and to this day he wonders if he made the right decision.  His parents think he did.  But he has the same 2004 WS ring that Doc Roberts has.  And even though he has multiple health issues because of professional baseball, he has zero regrets. While I do not think that any regular poster on this site believes it, I do know that others not so charitable do come over here to read comments that believe that similar players as my son are nothing more than a product of dumpster diving.  My son was called a piece of s*** garbage by one poster.  Not because they knew him, but because he was not as good as Mike Lieberthal. I know I occasionally go on one of these rants every now and then.  This soap box moment was  NOT DIRECTED TO ANYONE  on this site but was a result of some of the nasty comments I read over the weekend from posters from other sites on the recent minor league signings.  Comments from posters who were never as gifted as Shane Peterson or Cameron Perkins.  This is the internet and people can speak in any manner they want.  I get that, and I would never want it any other way.  I just wanted to respond in my own way, and I have that luxury on this site.  I wrote it because it is cathartic for me, and there is really nothing else to go on about. Soapbox rant over!!!  Now let’s continue the wait.

This article has 34 Comments

  1. Thank you for this heartfelt post. Often lost in our fan frenzy is the human side of each of these young men. While I try to stay mindful of their struggles and dreams, I at times am guilty of using the term “dumpster diving” or “filler”. I don’t ever intend to use them disparagingly, but I’m sure it comes across that way at times.
    As to this off season, I don’t believe there is any player that has been traded or signed that was an absolute must have for the Dodgers. The only ones I have been interested in are still available. Therefore, I don’t understand the assertion that the Dodgers haven’t done anything yet.

    1. That dude fell out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down.
      Image and video hosting by TinyPic
      The sad part is:That appeals to a lot pf pathetic people.

  2. AC, About 9 years ago when the Dodgers released Jason Repko, I made a saracastic comment that “It was about time.” It was totally rude and stupid and insensitive and Jason’s dad, who was a reader of the blog took me to task and told me I had no idea how hard it was and how many injuries Jason had.

    Of course, I apologized and have not done that again. I have called Puig a “bonehead” and Kemp “fat” but that’s as far as I go, because on our best day, most of us aren’t qualified to be the janitor on the team.

    I’m about to go off on an epic rant about stuff that Jorge posted. What idiots! Not you Jorge! 😉

  3. AC for president.
    AC – thank you for the rant. To use a local expression, “it really gets my dander up”, when I read posts on blogs demeaning minor league players. These are young men pursuing an impossible dream which most can never achieve, yet they give everything they have all the time, many or most on subsistence wages. Imagine working for several years just to get an at bat or throw a pitch at the MLB level. We should all live our lives with that resolve.
    This is an article I wrote on TBLA almost four years ago. It feature Daniel Mayora whom I have not forgotten.
    The article is probably too long to read but the essence of it is captured in the last four paragraphs. In my opinion, every minor league player deserves the same respect as a player and a young man. Each deserves, but does not receive, the same amount of coverage in the press and social media.
    Speaking of social media, of which I am not a part other than email, do you AC or Mark post the links to your articles on Twitter? The reason why I ask is that on TBLA the links were posted on Twitter and quite often minor league players responded with a” like”, a tweet and most often retweeted them. Minor league players do follow what is written about them and are appreciative of well deserved supportive coverage.
    Did I mention, AC for president?

    1. I have resisted doing Twitter although I do have an account. I don’t have enough time.

    2. DC, I do have a twitter account, but only to follow, never to post.
      If we think about it a bit we soon realize that major league baseball continues to flourish not only because of the young players who have made it through the minor league maze

        but even more so because of players like Daniel Mayora who fill out minor league rosters providing a milieu through which all major league players can develop and progress

      Daniel Mayora is much more than a career minor leaguer – he is a career professional in every sense of the word.

      What you wrote above says it all. Mayora is still playing. For the last three years, Daniel has been playing in the Italian Baseball League, Mexican Baseball League, and Venezuelan Baseball League. The Mexican League plays in some of the poorest parts of Mexico, and the Venezuelan League plays in some of the more dangerous parts of the country. My son played in both. It is what AAAA players do to try and distinguish themselves.

  4. Nice article. All these kids have dreams. Not very many make it. I got on Doc and Honeycutt a few times, but did not call them names.

  5. I have always believed that players develop best when they play on winning teams and compete for playing time in the minor leagues. Some players might advance to The Show. Some might seem destined to do so and some are more of a surprise. But teams need to acquire both type of players to provide the foundation of winning that players take with them at each step of their advancement.
    Good rant AC.

    1. I liked this from your link OC:
      Greg Maddux had a 3.23 E.R.A. in his first three innings and a 2.86 from the seventh inning through the ninth. And while he possessed a good fastball, it was not a three-digit express train. One spring training in the mid-1990s, Maddux, who in a 23-year career piled up 355 fairly meaningful wins, asked to speak with the team’s young pitchers.
      Mazzone nodded. Sure thing, Mad Dog, whatever you want. The coach lined up the young guys and Maddux walked over.
      “You know why I am a millionaire? Because I can put my fastball wherever I want to,” Maddux told them. “Do you know why I own beachfront property in L.A.? Because I can change speeds. O.K., questions?”

  6. I have to admit I’m one the guys yelling “pull him” when I see them wavier or walk guys. Maybe i’ll Try to be a little more patient.


  7. Long shot and slim possibilities:
    1. Dodgers will trade Muncy and Ruiz for Realmuto.
    2. Miami will sign Grandal to a 4 year $60M contract.
    3. Dodgers will trade Maeda, Verdugo, Fields and White for Kluber or Bauer or Syndergaard.
    3. Dodgers will sign Harper to a 4 year $157M contract. AAV = $39M.

    1. Dodgers sign Harper to a 4 year $157M contract. AAV = $39M.
    2. Dodgers trade Muncy and

    1. Oops. Edited version;

      Long shot and slim possibilities:
      1. Dodgers will trade Muncy and Ruiz for Realmuto.
      2. Miami will sign Grandal to a 4 year $60M contract.
      3. Dodgers will trade Maeda, Verdugo, Fields and White for Kluber or Bauer or Syndergaard.
      4. Dodgers will sign Harper to a 4 year $157M contract. AAV = $39M.

      1. Bum:
        In keeping with the spirit of your long shot and slim possibilities is my entry:
        Maeda, Verdugo, Fields, White, Alvarez, Peters, Kendall, BELLINGER for Kluber, Hand and Jose Ramirez(play 2B). Ramirez is owed $20MM total for 2019,2020 and 2021 with a team option for 2022 and 2023.

  8. Thanks for the soap box rant. I enjoy ready about all the signings even the “depth” signings. These “kids” are getting to pursue a dream AND play baseball. That is good.

    One minor nitpick. When we talk about the lack of off season activity we many times forget to include the extension of Kershaw rather than him opting out. Also Ryu’s signing through the QO. If these had come by another process, they would be talked about as some of the major news of the offseason. (They are both legitimate ML players and quality signings.)

  9. Welcome to the Internet, where insensitive comments run rampant. A nice reminder that name calling and other comments of the insensitive type is rarely useful. But where do we draw the line? Calling Kemp fat, or Puig a bonehead, or referring to Baez as El Gasolino, or pictures of a tire fire? The problem with drawing a line, is that everyone interprets that line differently and most are guilty of stepping over it in someone’s opinion.

    Anyways, a nice article from a dad of a AAAA player. I’m proud of you and your son for sticking in out. It takes a lot of hard work from both dads and sons to get anywhere near the level of a AAAA player. Most don’t get to have the experience of toiling in the minors and getting a cup of coffee in the show. Most don’t get to stick on a roster as bench piece. All of these kids were head and shoulders over their peers through youth leagues. It’s humbling to be the best, then become average, then become an afterthought. Congratulations for the experience and success that your son was able to achieve.

    Still waiting for something this offseason, not that Joe Kelly wasn’t a nice get. Andrew isn’t done yet. Can’t wait to see what we get to improve this team. This will not be the opening day lineup…

    2B – CT3 – R
    SS – Seager – L
    3B – Turner – R
    CF – Bellinger – L
    LF – Kike / Pederson – R / L
    1B – Muncy / Freese – L / R
    RF – Verdugo – L
    C – Barnes – R

    A note regarding CT3 at second base. CT3 was once considered a good glove SS prospect. It’s absolutely insane to think he’s a bad defensive 2B. Here’s a quick article regarding his prospect retrospective…

    Be careful with defensive stats. Looking at Chris Taylor’s Baseball Reference Page his rDRS/Yr shows a two headed monster year over year at 2B. 2018 – (-24 unplayable) 2017 – (+15 gold glover) 2016 – (-31 unplayable). Looking a little deeper, you will find that CT3 started just 5 games at 2B in the bad years, and started 19 games on the good years. That’s twice as many games when he was a good second baseman. So, is he a good second baseman or a bad one?

    Similarly, Kike’s rDRS/Year during the same period was 6, 0, -49. Games started at 2B as 22, 2, 5. What can you infer from these numbers? My thoughts are that you can infer very little. Very small sample sizes in both instances and a very large variance. To me, both are more than capable of being an above average 2B using the eye test.
    My point is, don’t put a ton of value in defensive stats because they are very unreliable when you see such drastic shifts as shown above. This is true especially when dealing with these very small sample sizes.

    Right now Muncy is at 1B, Kike and CT3 is the main competition for 2B and Belli is a CF. The reason why is, Belli probably continues to get better in CF and you can’t find too many CFs that hit like a 1B. It is a waste to have a good defensive CF play 1B. LF and 1B is where you hide suspect gloves. See Prince and Cecil Fielder, Richie Sexton, Frank Thomas, etc.

    What is more likely? A player that was a good glove SS prospect becoming a good defensive 2B, or a guy that OPSs .673 away from Coors in 1800 career plate appearances outhitting two guys that OPSd better than .775 last year?

    Boring winter so far. We better get Bryce, Pollock or Casty. Kluber looks like it isn’t even close to a reality anymore. Realmuto might still be in play. I keep wondering if there is anyone else that no one is thinking of? Pederson +1 for Ozuna? They are really right handed and we are really left handed. This could be a match made in heaven.

    1. Where were you when I got beat up for putting Taylor at second in the previous thread?
      AC, might Paul LaDuca be a catcher that you are not fond of?

    2. It is not unusual for some players that have played on the left side of the infield most of their career, not being as comfortable playing on the right side of the infield.

      And at times, Taylor doesn’t look as comfortable playing second, as he does at short, and in the outfield.

      Taylor had pretty decent numbers on defense at short last year, but he is not elite at short.

      Taylor probably actually has better defensive numbers in the outfield, then anywhere.

      I love Cody but unlike his rookie year, his offense last year would not be considered good for a major league first baseman.

      And Muncy was hitting well enough not only to be on a major league roster, he was hitting better then a lot of really good major league hitters.

      That is the main reason Cody was in center, and remember Taylor was playing short, until Manny was traded to the team.

      Because if Muncy didn’t suddenly start hitting like gangbusters, Cody would have still been playing first.

      And after Cody started getting more comfortable up at the plate, how much better would he have hit, if he was playing first where he is much more comfortable?

      And if Muncy does not hit as well this coming year, he may not be playing first.

      Why would the Dodgers go with a weaker overall defensive alignment like AC mentioned, if Muncy is not hitting well enough, to justify doing the weaker defensive alignment?

      Cody may be one of the best defensive first baseman in Major League Baseball, and because of that, he makes everyone else in the infield better.

      We don’t have another player on this team, that can play first as well as Cody.

      But we do have depth in our outfield, and a couple outfielders that can play center better then anyone else on this team that can play first, like Cody.

      And can Cody stay in center after he gets a little older, and starts filling out like most young men do, when they get older?

      And who will probably have a better offensive season this coming year then they did last year, Cody or Muncy?

      I am not saying that to knock Muncy, but Muncy had a really good offensive year, and it is hard for any major league player, to top the year Muncy had last year.

      And we all know, all the pitchers on the other teams, will be making their adjustments against Muncy this year, just like they do to every major league hitter, that had a year like Muncy did last year.

  10. The sacrifices that the “career minor leaguers” make benefit every future major leaguer, every minor league team, every major league team and organization, every person making money off of the business of baseball, and even those who make a living off of denigrating my favorite sport. I praise all of these young men for their sacrifices as they pursue a possibly unattainable dream while earning minimal dollars and no long term benefit packages.

    All of us owe it to these young men to recognize that every player, coach and manager at every level of the minor league system is a vital cog in the Dodgers organization. They deserve our respect and our gratitude for their role in the continuation of the game of baseball for all of our pleasure, agony and general consumption. Think twice before you just attack someone you don’t know, not only in baseball, but also in general.

  11. Bums, I’ve been on CT3 at 2B all offseason. I would also like to see them bring back a healthy Dozier if not CT3. Pollock and Dozier would be ideal to balance out the lineup especially if Verdugo will remain on the team. Harper is still my guy because he’s the best bat available. So, ideally would be Harper and Pollock perhaps Dozier as well. It becomes a coin flip on CT3 vs Dozier at 2B. CT3 is the better leadoff guy and Dozier is the better lefy killer. Kike is too streaky for me to be a starter. I love him off the bench and super utility guy. I cry a little inside every time I see Kike and CT3 in the same lineup.

  12. Interesting bit from Rosenthal.
    MLBPipeline.com lists outfielder Alex Verdugo and catcher Keibert Ruiz as the Dodgers’ two top prospects, but a rival executive says the team’s most desirable trade assets are the players ranked third and fourth, right-hander Dustin May and infielder Gavin Lux.
    The Orioles targeted both players in the Manny Machado discussions last summer, to no avail. May and Lux are both 21, and both reached Double-A last season.

    1. Lux could very well be ready THIS year… maybe even out of spring training. I could see him winning the 2B job. Not saying he will… or even that they will let him, but he is VERY, VERY Close! Ruiz could progress quickly as well. May? I see him in 2020, but I also think Gonsolin may be ready in 2019. He’s a guy you should not under-estimate. I like him lot!

  13. AC,
    Your post struck a nerve. You must be a proud dad & as disappointing as it was for your son to not be able to get that well deserved MLB payday, I hope that his ’04 WS ring helped absorb some of the pain from all the injuries and sacrifices he made during the nine years he toiled in MiLB. If there is anything the organized baseball needs to rectify it is the absolutely horrible wages that minor leaguers make. If you add up the hrs they spend, I question if some are working in violation of US Labor laws, earning less than minimum wages in many cases.

    My wife, of Nicaraguan nationality, has two nephews in organized ball. One, Jonathan Loaisiga, has made it to the majors after suffering through injuries for a few years and having TJ surgery. He debuted for the Yankees this past June or July, got a few starts. Actually performed well before going down with injury. Jonathan’s brother, Mike, was signed by the Dodgers a few years back as a 17 year old infielder and has struggled for two consecutive years with the Dodgers Dominican Summer League, hitting well under the Mendoza line and making a tons of errors. I’m fairly certain Mike has been released, but we haven’t heard from the family for a few months.

    I completely relate to the insensitive comments that posters and bloggers make about these guys that put in hours and hours of work. It’s so easy to criticize, especially when we are unaware of the inside information that is kept confidential often times. Again, I understand that without opinion, the blogs and bulletin boards could be rather stale, but there is a human side that many overlook. Jonathan had some horrible relief appearances after returning from injury in September and Yankee fans crucified him. They overlooked that his return from injury in the heart of the pennant race was a bit much for the kid. I read the stuff and cringed. We’ll see how he recovers this season.

    1. I certainly wish Jonathan a great season, even though he is a NYY. Just kidding. I know others on this site think very highly of him as well as he has been mentioned as someone they would like to see come to LA as a possible trade return.
      NY, Boston, and Philly fans can be brutal.

  14. My prediction…..Dodgers will sign Harper on a “swellopt” contract. Should be finalized by next weekend. No inside information just a hunch.

    1. As good of a prediction as any. I don’t think Harper would come close to being worth $20M a year more than say Haniger but I have to admit, it would be exciting to have him on the team.

  15. I am thinking Joc might do just fine at the plate this season ahead. Seems there’s a chance he might had been instructed to “swing for the fences” as many said. And he wouldn’t of been by himself if this is the case. Hopefully the problem has been shipped elsewhere and the new approach at the plate way of thinking is absorbed. Joc really doesn’t have more than minor tweeking as he’s good at pitch recognition and doesn’t chase a lot. Anyways if the offense instuctors are as good as we’ve been hearing then this is more important than any signings this off season. We’ll see.

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