The Last Laugh

I don’t know about you, but it is my opinion that the Dodgers bullpen is not a need right about now.  They signed Machine Gun Kelley and have a plethora of options in 2019 including Therrien, Ferguson, Santana and many others.  The starting rotation is 8 deep and while it would be nice to add a Kluber or Bauer, the reality of the situation is that Cleveland has not traded either one… and it seems unlikely to me that they will. Starting pitching is a strength of this 2019 version of the Dodgers and I am not prompting the need of another starter,  Some disagree…As much as I championed Yasmani Grandal, he never became the player I thought and it was time for him to move on. I wish him well, but I did not want him back. The same with Brian Dozier, who will be 32 next year… is he in decline and is he a big improvement over Kike, Muncy or CT3?  Not to me.  Some players wilt under the bright lights of LA and I think he was one of those guys.Sports Illustrated ranked theTOP 50 Free Agentsat the start of the offseason.  Here’s the Top 10:
  1. Manny Machado
  2. Bryce Harper
  3. Clayton Kershaw
  4. Patrick Corbin
  5. Craig Kimbrel
  6. Josh Donaldson
  7. Dallas Keuchel
  8. Michael Brantley
  9. Nelson Cruz
  10. Charlie Morton
Six have signed, with the Dodgers signing one of the six and four still remain.  It is rumored that the Dodgers are still in on Bryce Harper, but I don’t believe it and I don’t think they should be.  I would be all in on Mike Trout, but Bryce Harper is no Mike Trout and try as you might, Bryce is not a fit for the Dodgers, in my humble opinion.Friedman is working on Castellanos and Realmuto, but the last we heard, the Fish wanted Bellinger and that was/is not happening.  So, it’s overpay or wait.  I say wait.  There are more moves to be made and it could be today, February 18th or the trade deadline.  In the meantime we wait and wonder if the Dodgers’ new hitting culture with Robert Van Scoyoc will be a resounding success, monumental flop or just a thing?Getting rid of Puig and Kemp opens up spots in the outfield.  Are they committed to Verdugo in RF?  Could they possibly think that RVS could make Alex even better? It would seem to me at this juncture, the Dodgers  are considering moving Bellinger back to 1B and  going with CT3 in CF?   That leaves Muncy at 2B and Kike platooning in LF with Joc.I’d rather have Castellanos and/or Realmuto, but I think with the Dodegrs starting pitching and bullpen being a strength, this lineup is nothing to sniff at:
  1. Taylor  CF
  2. Seager  SS
  3. Turner  3B
  4. Bellinger  1B
  5. Kike/Joc  LF
  6. Muncy  2B
  7. Verdugo  RF
  8. Barnes C
I have already said that I expect a big bounce back by Barnes and Smith and Ruiz are getting close.  I think that lineup is good enough to win the NL West, but not the World Series.  That’s why Andrew Friedman is not done. Forget Realmuto, but add Castellanos to the mix and that is a well-balanced strong lineup.  Yes, Casty only has one year of control, but you can re-sign him or give the QO and take another pick. For the 2019 version of the Dodgers, I’d rather have Castellanos than Harper or Machado.Since Andrew Friedman arrived, many of you have been beating me up but every year. the team has gotten better, the Farm System has gotten better and the past two years, he has gotten then to the World Series. I am of the opinion that if a team is good enough to get there, they are good enough to win. Those losses are team losses, but like Clayton Kershaw said “Maybe we just need to play better.”  Clayton nailed it and he came back to try at least three more times.Then I read stuff like “The Dodgers should sign Harper for their fans.”  That’s ill-conceived.  The Dodgers should try to win for their fans and I see nothing that disuades me from believing that they are not doing just that. You can keep beating me up for sticking up for Friedman, but at the end of the day, I believe I will have the last laugh… AGAIN!

This article has 138 Comments

  1. The Dodgers will not be able to make a QO to Castellanos. Not as a player traded one season before he becomes a free agent.

  2. I find it odd to say the least that Bryce Harper isn’t a fit, but Casty is. Both are bad defensively, Harper has a better arm. Harper is a better hitter. Is it just because one is right handed and the other left? I would rather the Dodgers spend some of my ticket and beer money than prospects, so for me Bryce is the guy. I actually agree that the Dodgers should sign Bryce for their fans. As a fan, I think the Dodgers should go out and get that top talent free agent every so often. Looking at the current roster, there is nobody that was once a top free agent. I’m not talking about resigning our own guy, but getting someone from the outside that is a perennial All-Star. Bryce fits that bill. Talk about a guy that won’t wilt under the lights of LA, Bryce is that guy. He’s been under the spotlight since he’s been a teenager. Forget about WAR, an imperfect that weights unreliable defensive statistical measures to judge overall performance. Forget about the fact that he’s only had 1 100 RBI season. I remember a guy with similar stats through his age 25 season, similar left handedness, similar strong arm, but not good enough defensively to play CF or RF. His name is Barry Bonds. He turned out just fine. Let’s throw a bunch of money at Bryce, throw a bunch of prospects at Miami for JTRM and win the offseason and then the WS. Nobody remembers the runner up. Vice presidents don’t get libraries. We need to be bold or we will always be bridesmaids. I’m freaking sick of waiting.

    1. To go along with your comment 59, I offer Ruiz and Verdugo for Realmuto and offer Harper a 4 year $157M contract. That contract would have an AAV of $39M. Or, if the Dodgers offered a 10 year contract, I would still keep the first 4 years at $39M, include an opt out after those 4 years, and then low ball the next 6 years to drastically reduce the AAV and encourage the opt out.

      1. Harper isn’t going to sign for half of what he’s already turned down. If you offer him 8 years, you get him through his age 33 season. That’s the same age that Clayton Kershaw is signed through. I would offer 8/300 front loaded with opt out after 3 and 5. Then send Barnes / May / Pederson / Jeter to Miami. Harper goes to LF and Verdugo goes to RF. Miami does the deal because Derek, the egomaniac, likes the idea of having his namesake play shortstop for his ball club.

        1. He allegedly turned down $30M annually for 10 years. If he accepted $39M for 4 years he would only have to sign a 6 year contract after those 4 years at $23.8M annually to equal the $300M contract he allegedly turned down. If he were to sign a 6 year contract after the 4 expired for $30M annually, he would earn $337M in a 10 year period.

        1. Rudy, If you don’t agree with me it stands to reason that I don’t agree with you. That said, what the hell do you want to do?

          1. Well, for one thing, I wouldn’t trade Ruiz and Verdugo for Realmuto.
            I understand you enjoy playing around with what ifs and that’s dandy but sometimes your trade ideas lack common sense.
            I’ve been so busy building a wall around Oregon to keep you out that I haven’t had much time to come up with my own what ifs :0).

          2. I’m looking at Camas and Richfield anyway right now. I’ll find a way to get over or under your wall but most likely just use I5 instead of swimming across the Columbia.
            Realmuto is the real deal and Verdugo and Ruiz ain’t yet and may not ever be. Plus, I like Smith at catcher and would hope the Dodgers would find a way to plug the right field hole that Verdugo would vacate–Harper?

  3. Mark, right on except for Casty. Dodgers are projected to have the third highest wins next year and most in NL.
    The Dodgers probably want to give Smith more time to work on hitting at OK but all seem to agree he is ready for the Show now defensively. Catcher is a defensive first position. I want to watch Smith and can’t while he is in OK. I therefore want to give him the backup catcher in LA to start the season.
    It does not take long for a player to wear out their welcome with poor defensive play. It gets old quickly.
    Something to watch with Verdugo is his need or tendency to set his feet or even take a hop before he throws. Puig didn’t do that and he was accurate. A strong throw can take away one runner’s step but if the thrower uses it to make a throw, that strong throw is neutralized. A throw three feet wide of the bag will give the runner at least half a step advantage. But with all that said, everybody knows I was ready for Puig to move on to add safety to other players.

    1. Bum

      I think you are trying to say, not only does Puig have a strong arm, he releases his throw like an infielder, so he also has a quicker release then most outfielders.

      It isn’t just about velocity with Puig.

    2. The thing that amazed me about Puig’s arm was his accuracy – Verdugo and others might approach Puig’s strength, but few will ever have his accuracy.

      1. Not sure you know this but Verdugo has the most Outfield Assists of any outfielder in the minors or majors since 2014 . He is 100% more accurate than Puig

  4. I think it’s time to trust your player deveolpment. I learned that from watch the Colts this year. Sports without steroids are a young man’s game and I think many players will step up if given the opportunity.

    If the Dodgers are in on Harper and sign him, I will be happy, but I happen to think there is a lot of internal growth that can happen.

  5. 59, I really like the reasoning you gave for signing Harper. Our friend with the inside sources noted in the last thread that Bryce will sign in LA next week. If that happens, I’m buying that person a drink (and no, no some nasty beer; a real drink!)

    Mark, I know you pick your Colts this weekend. I”m also rooting for Indi, because if the Chargers can pull of a win in NE, the AFC title game would be in LA. Same reason I”ll disgustingly root for Philly Sunday, so the NFC title game would be in LA, after the Rams beat up on Dallas.

    For disclosure sake, I’m a Bears fan, but thanks to our defense not showing up when it mattered, and our kicker aiming for crossbars all season, we’re out. So Go Los Angeles!! (both of them)

    1. Thanks Bobby, I hope you’re right. It makes way too much sense to me. First, it was reported that Magic met with Bryce, the first ambassador from any team to do so. (Forget that that the meeting was retracted by Magic, he retracted because he’s already been fined a couple of times for reaching out to potential Lakers.) Then, Bryce was seen eating at an LA In n Out. Finally, Bryce “liked” signing with the Dodgers on Twitter, which was later retracted, further confirming that he didn’t just like the post, but like the idea of it. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t have removed his like. Then the trade came to clear the outfield logjam. This was not an addition by subtraction move, as Marky T describes it. This is a subtraction by addition move. Subtract Puig to make room for Harper because there can be only one highlander in the same outfield. All of this is concrete enough evidence for me to believe that Harper will be a Dodger. He’s meeting with the Phils and Nats to drive up his price, but in the end his mind is already made up.

      PS – My son’s AAU coach also coached Bryce Harper in youth baseball. So there’s that connection as well.

      PPS – Please understand the satire and sarcasm in this post.

      1. Sarcasm is dripping and I love it.

        I will love it if Bryce come to LA – It’s just that if I were running the team, I would go another direction. For the record, I was al so against re-signing Kenley Jansen.

  6. Well many of you have to be extremely relieved now that DJLM has signed with NYY and not LAD. You all will get your wish that Kike’ or CT3 will be the everyday 2B. Kike’ was so much loved at 2B last year that the team went out and traded for Brian Dozier…the same player nobody wanted.

    1. Super Duper stoked that the Yankees signed LeMehue. The Dozier signing with the Nats is the one I mostly regretted. We could have probably had either if we weren’t notorious for destroying player’s value by constantly platooning them. I guess that’s one thing that won’t show up in the stats, how many players won’t sign because they don’t want to platoon.

      Move along, nothing more to see. Taylor / Kike / Mad Max keeping the seat warm for Lux.

      It’s Harper/Pollock or lots of Dodgers tickets on Stubhub!

    2. DJ is on one of my lesser “overrated” lists (not the Grandaddy list:-).

      Bryce, is not on the Jeff Samardzija list, UNTIL you add the insane money
      he’s asking for, and then he makes it easily concerning bang-for-buck
      (y’know, the minor factor AC and MT choose to ignore in the Andy ratings).

      By the way: the notion that AF has made the Ds and the minors better
      EVERY year for a mere $4 for every $1, $2 or$3 everyone else in MLB
      did in his first four seasons crashed and burned in 2018, when after a
      legit WS tangle with a monster side from the AL in 2017, they lost a
      dozen more regular season games in 2018, barely eked a division win
      in an extra game, barely squeaked by a physically compromised Brew
      side, and then played pussycats to another AL monster.
      Additionally, where once the consensus among doubtful experts was
      the Flock were 1/2/3 in minor system strength, they are now thought
      of as 6 to 10. And still have yet to produce an everyday player for the
      parent team.
      And all of this dive after only one year of fiscal reins.
      The evidence speaks loudly against you, Optimist Man!!!!

  7. I would have liked to have DJ , especially for a short term deal. But I also didn’t expect anything close to his Colorado numbers if he were to become a Dodger.

    Granted in Ny he may put up some nice numbers

  8. It’s disappointing that DJ is signing with NYY. He is a gold glove 2nd baseman that can hit. The Yanks got him for 2 yrs 24 mil. WTF, I thought we were the LA Dodgers with some money? Lowrie is gone now also. Marwin Gonzales is the only guy left that’s worth having. I sure hope Kiki and CT3 plan on making some contact in 2019 and not swinging from the heels every at bat. Oh yea, there’s Muncy who has the range of Daniel Murphy at best. I wasn’t as concerned yesterday but today is a different story. Andrew had better have some Aces up his sleeve.

  9. The situation at catcher is even worse. I am re-posting this from last night:

    This is from an article in The Athletic on contending teams and their biggest holes and how to best fill them with available free agents:

    “Los Angeles Dodgers
    2018 Finish: 92-71, lost World Series
    Biggest need: Catcher
    Top FA Target: Martín Maldonado

    The Dodgers balked at retaining Grandal after his pitch-blocking yips in the postseason, but also failed to land Wilson Ramos, Kurt Suzuki, Robinson Chirinos, Jonathan Lucroy, or Brian or James McCann. So, now they’re down to Maldonado, who is effectively Jeff Mathis with occasional pop, as a best available free agent beyond hoping that Austin Barnes can rediscover his 2017 form. That’s a big drop-off at the plate for a team that just traded a pair of 120 OPS+ outfielders for prospects. So, when does the Bryce Harper signing happen?

  10. Quite possibly the Dodgers passed on Lemahieu because they didn’t want a repeat of the Forsythe/Dozier syndrome – painful watching those two with a bat in their hands. Kiki at 2B is not the answer either. In my opinion Kiki is not the answer as a regular at any position – he’s great as a sub, leave him there.

    Hope your right Mark that something will happen, but we still need a 2B, C, RH bat….time is getting short, while Andrew waits.

    1. Bruce

      I don’t see any comparison with DJLM, and Forsythe and Dozier.

      We already know DJ can’t hit in the National League, and he has hit 300 for a season on more then one occasion, unlike those other two guys from the American League.

      Dozier had only hit 250 or above, two times in his eight year career.

      Dozier is a right hand pull hitter, that hit a lot of HRs, in a park that is greared to right hand hitters.

      Dozier would have never hit that many HRs in Dodger Stadium.

    2. I totally agree that Kike is better off off the bench and as a super utility and Munchy has no range, also has a hard time with the double play. CT3 is gonna have to step up and handle 2B. Munchy is gonna play 1B mostly with Rios on his ass if he doesn’t produce. Freese will spell at 1B and 3B against lefties because he eats them up, like Munchy eats up everything in the clubhouse buffet. Maldinado on a one year deal would be fine with me, but they might as well go with Gale, then Smith when he’s ready if we want a no hit, defensive catcher. Haper/Pollock and JTRM are the only real fits remaining. If Harper and Pollock sign elsewhere and they haven’t traded for JTRM, Castellanos comes in play. IMO

        1. Correct! But we don’t have quite as many outfielders as we used to. So, it’s likely that Bellinger stays is center and they give Rios a whirl at 1B is Munchy fails. Rios is likely a better hitter than all the other outfielders not named Bellinger. Maybe better than Verdugo. Watch him is Spring, he was torrid last year.

          1. 59

            Check out what Toles did when runners were on base , and scoring position, and compare his numbers to Rios.

            Toles hit better against righties too.

            Although Toles didn’t hit lefties as well, but that may be more because he missed most of the prior season,
            and had to play catch, up after missing the first month of the season.

  11. Dodger Rick, there you go, Russell Martin to the Dodgers.

    I wonder how much we are paying on his salary because he is making quite a bit.

  12. Martin hit 194 overall last year, and hit 184 against righties, and OPS in high 600s.

    His defensive numbers look good, but his War was 0.6

    How much of the twenty million he gets this year, will we have to pay?

    1. It is projected that LA will send a couple of lottery picks and absorb $2MM to $4MM in salary. I am not overwhelmed but not disappointed. What else could they have done? Maldonado, Hundley, Mesoraco? $4MM might be steep, but not $2MM. I am okay depending on who the prospects are?

      1. Are we talking payroll dollars or CBT dollars? Payroll looks like $3.6M but CBT may be 0.

        Looks like total payroll is not near the limit as CBT. I’m thinking the Dodgers don’t mind spending money, but don’t like paying the extra surtax.

        When they were getting close to 40-50% surtax, that changes the value equation. Not to mention a draft pick loss

    1. Russell was a big fav of mine in his early D days, but only as a potential 3B.

      Never crazy about his work behind the plate (lazy and unfocused), but liked his
      bat big time. One of my all-time boondoggles, that….:-)

  13. Didn’t see that coming…speculated a couple minor league players going to Jays and they eat at least $15M of his $20M contract. Some estimated $16 to $18M paid by Jays.

    Arbitration settlements should be dropping any time now, predicting all Dodgers reach agreement avoiding hearings.

  14. Just trying to remember I think if Toronto pays 10 million of Russell’s contract only the 10 million the Dodgers pay counts towards the CBT. Does anyone know for sure

  15. Let’s project a little more. Miami wants a ML catcher in return for JTR, and consider Barnes to be more than acceptable. Could this be move one of two?

    1. Good deal for Toronto. The Dodgers dealt from strength, but unless there is something else in the works, those are two prospects that could have been used in other deals. Again unless there is another move, I do not see how this helps LAD when they could have signed Maldonado for less and still have Sopko and Brito.

      1. Do you really think either of them will be contributors in the show? Brito’s numbers have been getting better every year, but I can’t remember anyone spending 3 years in rookie ball. Andrew Sopko has rule 5 draftee written all over him.

  16. Fu%k yeah! Bringing back Martin this year is almost as good as bring back Kemp last year. Good move. Now we can send Barnes back to Miami for his triumphant return in the JTRM trade. Looks like the off-season is really coming together, boys! Looks like Bryce is gonna be the check mate move now that all the good second baseman are accounted for. We filled the catching hole and the setup hole, now we just need one outfielder out of Bryce, Pollock or Castellanos. Maybe we get two of those, but judging by what’s already been done, we wind up with trading for a former Dodger at the end of his usefulness.

    1. Love it bro love the positive attitude and I agree with u, I believe now that this is going to happen

  17. Martin hit .198 last year and OPS’d .663 last year. He only threw out 22% of base stealers last year. His last “good” season was 2016. How’s this going to help? And how much of the $20MM that Martin’s supposed to make are they paying?

    I agree with AC. This doesn’t make any sense – at least not yet.

  18. I really hope we’re not arguing over which unattractive catching option we should have gone with: Martin, Maldanado, Hundley, etc. They’re all the same to me. Those guys are here to back up, be vet leaders, help Austin Barnes regain his stroke, and keep the seat warm for Ruiz/Smith.

    We’re paying $2mil for Martin, and gave away a couple of guys that aren’t even in our top 20 prospect list. If Ronny Brito or Andrew Sopko have any kind of success in the bigs, I’ll buy the naysayers a Don Julio. Meet me at the stadium!

    1. Bobby, nobody is arguing about which backup catcher is best. You may not think that either Sopko or Brito are ML players and they may not be. Sopko should be AAA this year. The point is that unless Barnes is moved to Miami in a JTR trade, they gave away Sopko and Brito for no reason. They could have kept both and signed Maldonado. Maybe we should trade all of our under top 20 prospects for over the hill players.
      You may not agree but I see value in both Sopko and Brito. I think both will be MLB players, but certainly not stars. I think Sopko has a great chance at being a middle reliever for Toronto. Brito is still quite young and has a chance to be a backup middle infielder or a utility player. I may be in the minority but I value those type of complimentary players and hate just giving them away.

      1. I value those type players as well, but I don’t see the need to hoard a bunch of them. We have plenty of Ronny Britos and Andrew Sopkos. I don’t want to clutter our garage with middle relievers and backup infielders. As stated above, It’s highly likely Andre Sopko is a Rule 5 candidate.

        When you all list our bullpen options for 2019, I see tons of names for middle relief options. Sopko is rarely, if at all, one of those candidates. It’s not like we traded the guys you always mention, Kawoski or Therrian. Or Avarez or Gonsolin or Santana etc.

      2. I agree AC, with the sole caveat:

        If Maldonado wouldn’t sign a one-year deal. If this is a holding deal with either Realmudo or an internal option on the horizon, keeping the term short is a big factor.

    2. I think most are wondering, where we are going to get that right hand bat.

      And some, think Harper can be that right hand bat too.

      Because he has hit lefties most of his career also.

        1. Rick

          I know, but Harper has hit lefties well most of his career.

          I have heard some say, it doesn’t matter if Harper is a left hand hitter, as long as he hits lefties well, like most right hand hitters.

  19. Official Press Release
    Four-Time All-Star heads back to Los Angeles, where he starred from 2006-10

    – The Los Angeles Dodgers today acquired catcher Russell Martin and cash considerations from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for minor league right-handed pitcher Andrew Sopko and minor league infielder Ronny Brito.

    Martin, 35, began his big league career as a Dodger in 2006 after being selected by Los Angeles in the 17th round of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft. With the Dodgers, Martin was an All-Star in 2007 and 2008 and helped lead the club to three Postseason appearances in his five seasons. The upcoming season will be Martin’s 14th in the Major Leagues and he owns a career slashline of .249/.349/.399 with 185 homers and 751 RBI with the Dodgers (2006-10), Yankees (2011-12), Pirates (2013-14) and Blue Jays (2015-18).

    Overall, Martin’s teams have made the Postseason nine times in 13 years and he has caught 1,519 games (1,455 starts), which ranks third among active players, trailing just Yadier Molina (1,836) and Brian McCann (1,529). He won both the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards in 2007, and in 2013 and 2014, he was named the Wilson Defensive Catcher of the Year.

    In 2018, Martin made 89 starts behind the plate and at third base for the Blue Jays, slashing .194/.338/.325 with 10 home runs and 35 RBI.

    Sopko, 24, was selected by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the 2015 MLB Draft from Gonzaga and has a career 27-17 minor league record with a 3.61 ERA (158 ER/394.1 IP) and 363 strikeouts against 112 walks over four minor league seasons.

    Brito, 19, signed with the Dodgers as an international free agent from the Dominican Republic on July 2, 2015 and has a career minor league slashline of .259/.339/.418 with 15 homers and 104 RBIs over three minor league seasons.

    The Dodgers currently have 39 players on their 40-man roster.

  20. There once was a time when Russ Martin was my favorite player, but his work ethic was overcame by his party life. At 35, he’s only a backup. He was horrible last year, but in case you haven’t noticed, lots of players have up or down seasons.

    The Yanks would not include Gary Sanchez who hit .186 last season in a trade for JT Realmuto. Why? because stuff happens, players ebb and flow.

    I have no idea if Martin can get his groove back, but at one time in his career he was the hardest working Dodger – first on the field, last one off. I like the move. Maybe he can pull an “Old Man Kemp.”

    This is a move – just not a key move.

  21. When I saw the trade for Martin, the first thought I had was that Barnes was now available to go back to Miami as part of a package for JTR. Will that actually happen, I don’t have a clue, but if anything, it’s plausible. I still have confidence in AF, so whatever is to come, I remain hopeful.

  22. The only way I see this as a good trade for the Dodgers is if Miami and the Dodgers are still talking about Realmuto and Barnes is now one of the players the Dodgers are offering. Barnes and Martin I surly hope not.

  23. You’re telling me they couldn’t have dumped Kemp’s contact for Martin and still had Wood and Puig as assets. Martin was so overrated when he was last considered good. So far this offseason is a bust but I will continue to wait patiently for something good to happen.
    I did want to offer my congratulations to UCLA fans for no longer having to root for a terrible human being coaching their esteemed basketball team.
    Go Colts !

  24. Martin used to have 6 mound visits in one inning so with the new limits of 6 per game, I wonder how he found a way to just talk to himself?
    I will guess that Verdugo, Barnes, and Alvarez are traded for Realmuto. I am okay with that but it probably puts Hernandez in RF unless another trade or FA signing is made.
    Should the Dodgers wind up with Harper and Realmuto, I hope those that lacked patience and willingness to live with a little risk, relax and enjoy the journey. Although I throw as much spaghetti on the wall as does Mark, the two of are probably the most patient and willing to live with what the team already has in house. That goes for last year as well.

    1. That’s a fair offer.

      And yes, I find comical those who freak out we that don’t have our NLDS Game 1 starting lineup set already!

  25. I hear that Billingsley, Loney, and Laroche are being given contracts so the entire Jacksonville 5 gets a 2nd chance with the Dodgers.

    1. Hawkeye

      Good to see you back!

      I hope your, and Mark’s Colt’s, win this weekend.

      I bet you have been keeping up on the Red’s too.

      1. Just took a break. A lot of work during December. I didn’t want to be the guy who is negative every day so I figured I would wait on the final product until I made up my mind because the more I slept on the Reds deal the more I hated it.

        1. Hawkeye

          I feel for you and Vegas, because I know you two, were ride die Puig fans.

          The Red’s announcer the other day on High Heat said, the trade really energized all the Red’s fans.

          Puig will probably be much happier there, because he will probably be playing everyday.

      1. When Loney was raking in the playoffs vs the Mets I smelled future batting title. Boy was I wrong. To the day I think Mattingly ruined him.

        1. James was my second boondoggle at the plate from that bunch.
          Not as big as Russell, but I thought James was even more likely
          to be special.

  26. Lemahieu and the Yankees agree to a two-year contract. Another possible acquisition I was looking forward to the Dodgers make happen. Scratch another player off the list in what is an ongoing frustrating off season.

  27. Let’s see, the Rockies let DJLM go and paid 33 year-old Daniel Murphy (who allegedly can’t field) a guaranteed $18 million for two years with a option while letting DJLM who is 3 years younger go to the Yankees for $24 million.

    Max Muncy makes $560,000 a year – I’ll take him everyday over DJ, Dozier and Papa Murphy!

    I was listening to MLB.Radio and they said that there is no way Friedman trades Ruiz for Realmuto. They say Smith is who the Dodgers are offering. Verdugo is not included.

    They also say that Ruiz is a lot closer than many think after watching him in the AFL and that Martin might be his perfect mentor.

    Quit losing your minds. There’s lots of time….

    Lots of possibilities.

    1. Putting Murphy at 1st and getting Ian Desmond off of there is a huge upgrade. Murphy will take in that park.

      1. Absolutely agree. Garrett Hampson will be a fine interim replacement at 2B until uber prospect Brandon Rogers is ready by mid-season. The Rox are at least as good as they were last year, and I am sure they are not done adding.

  28. Looks like Toronto is including $16.4M which covers Martin’s $16.4M AAV. So Martin is CBT-wise free.

    I find this a fascinating game. Wondering what the final difference between payroll and CBT payroll will be. Friedman et al are always looking for “inefficiencies” to exploit.

  29. Maybe Realmuto is no longer the target.

    Martin and Barnes can both play the infield.

    Maybe the Dodgers start the season with Barnes and Martin at C and then call up Kaybear.

    Maybe (hopefully) Casty is the target!

    1. Mark

      It sounded like that, when I was listening to the Dodger radio channel, when I went out to do some errands

    2. WTH. They already have CT3, Kike’, Muncy as utility players. Joc is strictly platoon.
      Maybe they should go out and sign Marwin Gonzalez and trade for Jedd Gyorko and Yairo Munoz and have a roster full of utility guys. Maybe the Cubs will be willing to trade Zobrist. Rios and Beaty are utility players as well. Why wait, let’s bring up Lux, Estevez, and Errol Robinson. Think of the lineups Doc could make.
      I have no problems making lemonade out of lemons, but there is nothing positive right now for the Russell Martin trade. Russell Martin at $3.6MM plus Andrew Sopko and Ronny Brito vs signing Martin Maldonado for $3.5MM (or less). Lucroy signed at $3.35MM and he would not have cost any prospects whether they will make LAD or not.

      1. AC

        I was just reporting the way they talked about this on the Dodger radio channel, you know what I think.

        1. MJ, that was not directed to you. It was directed (tongue in cheek) to Mark for including Martin and Barnes as players who can also play infield.

  30. Saw this on MLB Trade Rumors

    “The Dodgers have lined up deals with all of their arbitration-eligible players, J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group reports (Twitter links). Shortstop Corey Seager is slated to receive $4MM as a first-time arb eligible player. Seager had only a $2.6MM projection, but was clearly rewarded for the excellent output he turned in before missing all of the 2018 season due to Tommy John surgery.

    Yasiel Puig has struck a $9.7MM deal with his new team, the Reds, per’s Mark Sheldon (via Twitter).”

    1. Puig was projected at $11 MILLION.

      It will be interesting to see what kind of offers he gets next year..

      I’ll say it again: “Puig has more talent than any player I have ever seen, but he is a stone-cold Knucklehead!”

      1. Puig reminds me of Bo Jackson with some of the athletic plays he make. Yes, will be interesting to see how he does in free agency.

        1. It is still amazing to me that Bo played Major League Baseball with a hip replacement.

          Mark knows more then most about that.

          Bo is currently on his second hip prothesis.

          1. He was a freak of nature.

            Bo that is …..

            on second thought, maybe I didn’t need to clarify ….

    2. More “old friend” news from MLB Trade Rumors

      “Bobby Nightengale Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer adds that Jose Peraza agreed to a one-year deal worth $2.775MM. The shortstop is a first-time eligible Super Two player who’d been projected at $3.6MM.

      The Braves announced that they’ve signed Charlie Culberson to a one-year deal worth $1.395MM, which lines up near perfectly with his $1.4MM projection.”

  31. Not only is the $1.4M over projection for Seager the “right thing to do” it also may be an opening bargaining move for a future free agency signing or extension. He is a Boras client however.

    1. The Dodgers will have to overpay for Seager to move out of his arbitration and a few of his FA years. Altuve, another Scott Boras client, signed a 5 year $151MM contract extension giving him a 7 year $163.5MM deal through 2024. Would anyone expect there to be much difference between a Seager contract and Altuve contract? Altuve had more years and 2 batting titles at the time of the extension. I would work to get Corey and Bellinger under long term extensions before the CBA. Boras may not be as willing.

      1. If it looks like Seager is OK in the Spring, I would add $10 -$15 million to that and sign Seager.

          1. I think we may get Corey because of his injury history.

            Because I think Corey may want some security, and tell his agent he wants to do that.

            Boras did that for Strasberg with the Nats.

            With Cody, I don’t know, but I think if they continue to platoon him so much, he might be different.

            Let’s hope Friedman’s means what he said about platoons.

          2. MJ, I continue to read where Belli was platooned. But he played in 162 games and had 632 PA including 186 against LHP. My mind may be slipping, I just do not remember Belli being as platooned as much as others.

          3. Belli was platooned at 1B and in CF. Think of it as a reverse platoon. He effectively platooned with two other players. That’s the ultimate Dodger type player.

            Now if I could just find a tongue-in-cheek emoji …….

  32. Bobby finds it comical with those who freak out that the Dodgers do not have their NLDS Game 1 starting lineup set already! I agree with Dodgerrick…they do not have their March 28 lineup vs the DBacks set, or at least I hope not. I do not think any of us are “freaking” out. I think many of us are frustrated with the lack of movement, but that is certainly different than freaking out or panicking. We hope something significant is in the works. We were patient last year, and that did not pan out. Maybe this year will be different.
    Many of us really do not understand what the strategy is, and before anyone asks, I do not expect anyone to tell us. Are the Dodgers content to stay under the CBT threshold? Are they willing to spend on “a” player (i.e. Bryce Harper)? We know they are willing to simply give away some lower 3rd tier prospects, but what about trading from the tier one or two levels to get a player on a position of need?
    Are the Dodgers really a better team with Russell Martin at a cost of $3.6MM but without Andrew Sopko and Ronny Brito rather than with Martin Maldonado (probably less than $3.6MM) and holding on to Sopko and Brito? With no other move, that is the choice. No, this is not arguing or panicking or freaking out. It is a legit question. For me the answer is no. Is our farm system really at a point where it is okay to just jettison 3rd tier prospects because they are not in line to make the LAD ML team? If so, I can name dozens of players they can unload. I would prefer to trade them for other prospects at a position of need. But we all remember the last time prospects were traded for prospects…Frankie Montas, Micah Johnson, and Trayce Thompson received for Scott Schebler, Jose Peraza, and Brandon Dixon. I certainly would not put that in the plus column for trades. Why not include Brock Stewart, Yimi Garcia, or JT Chargois? They are probably going to lose them anyway.
    I have already told 59 that I will say I was wrong if the Dodgers do sign Bryce Harper. I still see no evidence whatsoever that they will do so. I continue to believe that Harper is not the missing piece for a WS championship, but I would be more than happy to be wrong. But let’s not stop there.
    Current AAV – $182,383,333
    1. Add Russell Martin at $3.6MM
    2. Sign Harper – $35MM AAV (That is what many here are willing to spend)
    3. Trade Verdugo, Barnes, Alvarez and ??? to Miami for JT Realmuto (net AAV $5.1MM)
    4. Trade Joc, Fields, and ??? to Detroit for Nick Castellanos (Net AAV $5.2MM)
    That would certainly move the Dodgers into the favorite role. The AAV would increase to $231,283,333 and would carry a luxury tax and surcharge tax of approximately $5.7MM. While I am firmly entrenched in the “If not this year, then when” mode, I see no evidence that this is even a slight consideration. Are the Dodgers a big market team or a team of “bean counters”? It is more likely that there will be very little further activity. The Dodgers have now addressed 2nd base (Kike’, CT3, and Muncy), catcher (Martin) and bullpen (Joe Kelly), RH bat (Martin). All perceived weaknesses have now been addressed and now the Dodgers should be huge favorites to win the 2019 WS. No more moves necessary.
    Am I snarky, sarcastic, and sardonic? Yes. But my point is still valid (IMO). Just because many of us do not agree with the lack of significant moves, does not mean that we think Friedman is a moron or that we are freaking out or panicking. We see a team that was not good enough to win the WS last year, and the current team is not as good as that one, all the while the Nats, Cards, Braves, Phils, NYY, and even the Mets have improved. Cubs and Brewers are still at least as good as they were last year, making them better than LAD this year. Of course, Mark and others may be right and Taylor, Kike’, Barnes, Cody will all have career years. Kershaw will stay off the DL and put up a 20-win sub 2.00 ERA season winning his 4th CY. Buehler will win 20 and come in 2nd. Muncy will have an OPS north of 1.000. Seager and JT will be #1 and #2 in MVP. And with the Dodgers having career years, deGrom and Thor will go on the DL in May and stay there. Scherzer will lose it and his ERA will balloon to 4.00 plus.

    1. AC

      A sports writer on MLB Now said, that he isn’t surprised the Dodgers are not spending much money.

      He said he never thought the Dodgers were in on Harper.

      He said he always thought the Dodgers would go after the free agents next year, like Arenado and Rendon.

    2. And the Dodgers fans have been good to this ownership.

      Because even though the owners have raised the ticket prices every year, the Dodgers have sold the most tickets in all of baseball, the last 6 years.

      1. Arenado is looking for $30MM in arbitration. What is he going to ask for in FA? If Harper signs with the Nats, Rendon would undoubtedly be given a QO and expected to leave. I do not see how they can sign both Harper and Rendon with Scherzer, Corbin, Strasburg already on big contracts. They lose the Zimmerman contract after this year, so maybe…

    3. AC

      Maybe I am thinking more toward the end of the season, when everyone was platooned, except Turner and Manny.

      Cody and Muncy played a little more then the rest, but it was basically Manny, Turner, and different platoons, towards the end of the season.

  33. I think Rendon is one of the most under rated players in baseball.

    I think he has been more consistent then Harper.

  34. March 28 is opening day. Today is Jan 11. I”m not a math wiz, but I think that’s many days difference.

    I think we have plenty of time to make moves and get that lineup set so that those who are a “tad antsy” about how this Jan 11 version of the Dodgers is constructed can be more confident about how that March 28 version of the Dodgers is constructed.

    Many of us don’t understand the strategy (me included), but I for one have faith that the people in charge 1) DO have a strategy, and 2) are implementing measures to follow that strategy.

    If we assume there is a strategy, then let’s also assume that completing that strategy doesn’t have a deadline of Jan 11 (or that the strategy doesn’t include keeping 27 utility backup middle infielders and 34 middle relief pitchers in our farm system)

    1. They probably have 45 middle relief pitchers, but only 23 utility backup middle infielders. The had to let Drew Jackson and Connor Joe go. OR maybe the strategy DOES include all of those middle infielders and middle relievers, since they are the ones putting the organization together.
      But maybe you are correct and the Dodgers strategy is to make the big sign or trade after January 15. So I went back and looked at what was done after January 15 for the last three years:
      Last year after January 15, they signed Donovan Solano (utility Inf), Mark Lowe (mid relief), Zach Neal (mid relief), Chase Utley, JT Chargois (mid relief).
      After 01/15/17, signed Sergio Romo (relief), Franklin Gutierrez, Jose Fernandez (mid Inf), Brandon Morrow, Ike Davis, traded one mid relief (Vidal Nuno) for another (Ryan Moseley), traded Chase de Jong for Aneurys Zabala (mid relief) and Drew Jackson (mid Inf), traded Jordan Tarsovich (mid Inf) for Brett Eibner, traded Carlos Frias to Cleveland for PTBNL. But they also traded Jose De Leon for Logan Forsythe on 01/23/17. So maybe there is hope. Maybe they will uncover another Logan Forsythe.
      After 01/15/16, signed Brandon Hicks (utility mid Inf), Louis Coleman (mid relief), Yaisel Sierra (relief), Joe Blanton, and Howie Kendrick, traded Tyler Olson and Ronald Torreyes for Rob Segedin, and traded Joe Wieland for Erick Mejia (mid Inf).
      Nothing was done during ST, so it is about 5 weeks before pitchers and catchers report. That is the window.
      I suspect there is as good if not better chance that there will not be much more through March. Friedman is on record saying that the team (pre Joe Kelly and Russell Martin) was good enough to win the WS. There were 4 areas that needed to be addressed per most “experts”…2B, catcher, RH bat, and late inning relief. Andrew disagrees with the need for a 2B, traded for Russell Martin (catcher and RH bat), and signed Joe Kelly (late inning relief). All weaknesses have been addressed, and the team has $24MM to use at the trade deadline or hold on to for next year. He eliminated the best RBI man on the team, the starting RF, the starting pitcher with most starts and 2nd most innings, and a clutch bat off the bench. I think they are all set to go.
      I am being smart alecky, but I honestly do not see any other big moves. I think they are happy with Kike’ at 2B, a platoon of Joc/CT3 in LF, and opening a spot for Alex Verdugo in RF. They are happy with their new backup catcher, and are more than willing to go into the season with Austin Barnes as their #1 catcher. They like their starting rotation, and Friedman is never fully satisfied with the bullpen, so expect another couple dozen tryouts for the pen, but not anyone that costs. Maybe he will sign Harper, but the next time he signs a Dodger for more than $100MM will be his first. The next time he signs a third reliever for dollars will be the first. The next time he signs a FA for the Dodgers for more than 5 years will be his first. They are all possible, but more likely they will not.
      I am not satisfied that the team as constructed can win the WS. I do not think they can wi the pennant. If they do not make any more changes, are you satisfied that they can win as they are now constructed?
      By the way, I do not necessarily blame this on Friedman. Like all direct managers, he has a budget that is dictated by the owners. That is who I am frustrated with.

    2. I’ve generally been supportive of their #1.

      I’ve too often been disappointed with their #2.

      But I agree their is still plenty of time.

  35. This CBT thing is such a load of hooey.
    The Dodgers are paying Martin 3+mm, but for CBT purposes they are paying him zero.
    I could understand if the team was using the threshold because there were payments to LPs that took precedence. Or if there were issues related to cashflow. But that’s not the case. The team spends boatloads on management, on player development, on analytics and on players (like Martin) who don’t count against the cap.
    This is just people arbitrarily making up a red line and not allowing the team to cross it.
    It’s ludicrous.

  36. Not all who post here are members of the First Church of Andrew Friedman. We are told continuously to “have faith”. All will be provided. The Gracious Dodgers’ Front Office will provide.

    Sounds a little silly to me – I only have that kind of faith in One. Friedman isn’t Him.

    Since I don’t have that kind of faith, I haven’t joined the flock of the Church of Friedman yet. So I question. Last pre-season, they made the Culberson salary dump trade and got Scott Alexander. This season, they have lost Kemp, Puig, Farmer, Wood and also Grandal, Machado and Dozier. And have added the corpse of Homer Bailey, Russell Martin and Wild Man Kelly.

    Not a net plus. No confidence in the catching team currently on the roster. Question marks about middle relief, 2B, Cory Seager’s health, and OF.

    1. I think this is a bit off, DodgerRick.

      Don’t have faith, just go off recent history. Friedman is very good and the past two years have had teams that made the World Series.

      This isn’t faith, it’s fact.

      You can question the current roster, obviously. But you shouldn’t question whether Friedman can put together a team to make the World Series.

    2. Rick: for me, not the too-many-questions-to-be-champs they were last year.
      Yet. But still way too many questions to support noise like “they have gotten
      better every year under Handy Andy:-).

  37. If Andrew Freidman does the same thing this year as last – (Last minute, too little, too late, and not address the team needs everyone has articulated- and not just this blog, but people who do this for a paycheck), I must conclude, despite his success to date, that he is handcuffed by management, or he does not have what it takes to get LA a WS championship.

    He can have a brilliant mind, be a wonderlick in Tampa Bay, the envy of MLB, but something less than the sum of those parts in Los Angeles.

  38. He is, at least for now, “handcuffed” by some of the constraints that
    exist for ninety percent of sports franchises.

    I am not an admirer of the “spend more because fans in big markets are
    more worthy than fans in smaller ones” gang.

    I am a fan of spend better….

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