You’ve Got to Know When To Hold ’em…

As I talk to Dodger fans or read comments around the blogsphere, it is apparent that there are three schools of thought about the Dodgers:
  1. Friedman Hater: This is the most prevelant. Andrew Friedman won’t spend any money, he dumped payroll and won’t trade any top prospects.  The Dodgers won’t make the playoffs this year.
  2.  Wait and See:  These fans don’t have a strong opinion and believe that the Dodgers will likley make more moves, but they are waiting to make up their minds, unlike group one who made their minds up long ago.
  3. The Dodgers Might Be Better: When the Dodgers traded for Manny Ramirez, I said“I would rather lose witout him than win with him.”  I meant it.  I am of the ilk that believes the Dodgers are just as good as 2018… and most likely better than last year.  RIGHT HERE.  RIGHT NOW!
However, that does not mean that I think the Dodgers are done trading for players or signing Free Agents.  They are not.  Of course, the people who hate Friedman cannot help but lose their minds because Andrew has not made any moves to speak of.  Actually, that would be wrong to even  think that. Friedman has made some bold moves (just not the ones many wanted):
  • He signed one of the Top 5 Free Agents (even though it was his guy, it’s still counts) in Clayton Kershaw.
  • He cleared out potential malcontents and dead wood from the roster with The Farmer Trade and also gained additional payroll flexability and added two Top Prospects.
  • He traded for old friend Russell Martin.
I will address all that in a minute, but yesterday, AC propounded this question:
Just out of curiosity – Would you trade Verdugo, Smith, White, and Jeter Downs for Kluber? That is four of the top ten prospects. I would make that trade. I am not saying that Cleveland or even Friedman would, but Kluber would not be blocking any youngster. If they want Rich Hill, let’s see where he fits. I would let Cleveland tell me that they have no interest in Brock Stewart or Josh Fields or Yimi Garcia. If Kluber doesn’t perform in 2019, you buyout his option. I believe that his option buyout is up to $2.5MM for 20 or 21. Certainly not onerous. But there should be a package that the Indians may be willing to accept, if (BIG IF) they want to trade Kluber.
OK, there is a lot to digest there.  Number One:  Will the Indians trade Kluber and if they will… why?  I’ll answer that – yes they would trade him, but it would have to be a haul and as to the reason why:  He will be 33 next year.  He’s two years older than Clayton and there are whispers that his stuff isn’t what it used to be.  That may or may not be true, but you have to consider all that.#1 – Would I be getting the Kluber of the past 3 years or the next three which may be not as impressive or even awful;#2 – That’s a lot to pay, but I would give up everyone but Verdugo for a healthy Kluber… if I knew he would be healthy… and I don’t.My opinion is that the Dodgers don’t need Kluber. I think that they will get exceptioanl pitching out of the group they have. I also know you can never have too much pitching. Let’s look at the Dodgers starting rotation:
  1. Kershaw is younger than Kluber – can he get it back? We have to beleive that he can.
  2. Buehler – Cy Young Candidate
  3. Ryu – Arguably the best starter last year, when healthy.  Was this an overpay or a smart move?  We shall find out!
  4. Hill – Take the leash off and let him pitch
  5. Maeda – Same as always
  6. Stripling – Showed amazing flashes last year.  Pitched like an Ace for two months
  7. Urias – Looks to be back and as good as ever.
Feel free to disagree with me, but I believe that rotation is the best in baseball.  There are teams who may have a TOP 3 better than the Dodgers, but I don’t think any rotation is better Top-to-Bottom.  Then, there is Tony Gonsolin waiting in the wings.  I think he will be ready this year too.  Maybe he starts in the pen where his triple-digit stuff will electrify us. I respect AC’s opinion, but I have to agree to disagree on Kluber.  I think Friedman is just driving up the price – Kluber wil not be a Dodger (just my opinion).Can we at least agree that Kemp and Farmer were not losses?  Friedman could have non-tendered Wood and Puig but ended up with two Top 16 Prospects that he can keep or flip in another deal. I do not think Friedman is done. Seager is back and hopefully some players can rebound or grow. We really can’t analyze anthing until the off season is over… maybe the All-Star Break. Many fans are underwhelmed that Friedman traded for Russ Martin.Right about now, fans are saying the same stuff about Russ, that they were saying about Matt Kemp last year.  What did I tell you about Kemp?  Comeback Player of the Year, that’s what… and I was right.  But he could not sustain the “dinner table discipline” and it was short-lived.  I believe that you are going to see one Russell Martin do what Matt Kemp did last year. Andrew Simon of MLB.comwrites this:
“There’s something about putting on that Dodgers uniform that can bring out the magic in you,” said Martin, who turns 36 next month and has one year remaining on his contract. “I hope to get some of that magic this year.”There is no “magic,” of course. But there is reason to think that with some minor adjustments, Martin can achieve the rebound he seeks in his first season with the Dodgers since 2010.
In the article, Simon goes on to articulate how Martin can bounce-back.  You can disagree.  In fact, I would expect most people to disagree.  Russ Martin was not the Dodgers first choice for catcher.  They tried to get JT Realmuto, but the price was too high.  I have heard from what I consider to be a solid source that the Marlins were asking for Bellinger, Verdugo, Lux and Barnes and would not budge.  If true, you now know why no deal was reached.I can see a scenerio whereby Barnes and Martin start the season as catchers and at some juncture, Kaybear Ruiz comes up.  I also think Martin and Barnes could benefit immensely from Robert Van Scoyoc’s approach.  If a player hits at a certain level, it means that he is capable of doing it again… or even getting better.  It doesn’t however, mean that he will.  To win a World Series, some players have to have career years.  Betts and Martinez did last year. The Dodgers will need some of the same if they expect to win it all.Pedro Moura of The Athleticwrites this:
 The Dodgers expect Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz will be ready to catch in the major leagues in 2020, or sooner. Martin will be a free agent at this season’s end, so he should slot into a temporary tandem with Austin Barnes, the breakout contributor turned disappointment.
With Corey Seager back this year and with a new hitting culture being instilled in Dodgertown, several players could be re-vitalized or improve.  Of course, you could say they could go the other direction too. If that’s the case, I don’t think the Dodgers can sign or trade for enough free agents.  You have to hope that the players you have can get better. Players like CT3, Cody, Joc, Kike and others.  Houston went from worst-to-first in fewest strikeouts a couple of years ago.  The Indianapolis Colts went from worst in protecting the QB in 2017 to the best in 2018.  These kinds of things can happen when they are addressed and measured.Friedman is not done, but he is feeling out the market and letting it come to him.  I continue to want Nick Castellanos, but I suspect Andrew is monitoring just about ever possibility.  He’s not done… not by a longshot!BTW:Alex Compas of Dodgers Digesthas a great read on a possible comback year for Russ Martin.

This article has 46 Comments

  1. We still agree on Kluber.
    We still disagree on Ruiz vs Smith. I think Smith will be first up.
    We still disagree on how good Verdugo will be but only on his upside.
    Play ball.

  2. Very nice Mark, well stated positive article. Thanks for talking everyone off the ledge, but we aren’t better right now. We have less depth, more money and no one to spend it on. Well, that’s not entirely true. But those guys haven’t signed yet.

    I was listening to a bit on the the Dodgers radio station last night when David Vassegh said that the Dodgers had meetings with AJ Pollock during the Winter Meetings. So, you’re absolutely right that they are still in the market. It also sounds like you’re part of the second group and that you’re convincing yourself that you’re part of the third group that would have no members if it wasn’t for group speak and the power of suggestion. Whoever thinks the Dodgers are a better team today than they were last year schedule another brain MRI.

    Kemp and Grandal both carried the team at times last year and Puig was one of the best players down the stretch and in the post season. All gone! I have yet to see hitting coaches turn turds into treasure so I think you have some blind faith going on right there. Maybe we will see incremental improvement, but I don’t expect Russell Martin to turn into Grandal and I don’t expect Pederson to hit lefties all of the sudden and I don’t expect Verdugo to top Puig’s 800+ OPS. If all that happens, we MIGHT be better overall. But, we also might not be able to hit lefties and we might have a bunch of platoons as a result and we might have a dreadful start as a result.

    1. With every team there are questions. I don’t think MARTIN will be Grandal, but he may be better defensively and be … Russ Martin! For 300 AB’s.

      I don’t have any personal knowledge of last year’s lockerroom, but I know that Puig was not a favorite. Alex Wood did not take coaching well last year either as he prepared for FA, What role their attitudes had in the trade is unclear… right now.

      I do know that Corey Seager makes everyone better. I also think that CT3 and Cody are due for bounceback years. The Wild Card is Alex Verdugo. I can see him hitting .300 and being the ROY. I can also see him on the Suspended List. I have no clue where he will fall, but I would bet it’s not in the middle – He will soar… or crash and burn!

        1. No, I’m talking about “attitude” – hopefully, what he has being doing this winter with Gil Reyes will yeild results. His talent has never been in question. Now, what’s between the ears? Well….

  3. I agree the Dodgers want to stay below the CBT threshold as do I but I also think that they would it if there was a clear path to getting under it again within one or two years.
    .
    Gone for 2020 is Ryu $18M, Hill $16M, Freese $7M, Bailey $17M, to name a few places where AAV will be reduced. Long term contracts will overlap the years the Dodgers will pay players like Seager the $$ it will take to keep him though.
    .
    Maybe Friedman is projecting the 2022 payroll when deciding what he will spend in 2019.

  4. Anyone who thinks Friedman should have done something BIG as of now is demanding that he OVERPAY.

    If you don’t think OVERPAY is good… cool your jets. The market will open up.

  5. The Dodgers culture and nourish the farm system, which is one of the best in baseball. Most successful teams win from within and with their own. Let em play. I agree that we will be better off in 2019 even if we stand pat. I agree with Mark and his outlook on the upcoming season. Friedman has done an outstanding job taking us to division titles, pennants and 2 consecutive trips to the World Series. He must be doing something right!!!

  6. I took Marks’s advice and subscribed to The Athletic. Actually told the kids they could give the subscription to me for Christmas. Great present! Thanks kids; thanks Mark.

    They have an interview with Dave Roberts today. Go read the whole thing. Here’s one excerpt as to why we lost the WS.

    “You know our average in the World Series?” Roberts asked.

    He knew the answer: .205 in 2017 and .180 in 2018. The Dodgers made outs more than 75 percent of the time they stepped to the plate against the Red Sox.

    “We didn’t get on base, we didn’t hit, we didn’t do anything,” Roberts said. “The bottom line is that we just didn’t play well in the last two World Series. To win a championship, you’ve got to play well in the World Series, and we were outplayed in both. We play two good series and we’ve won back-to-back championships.”

    This is likely also the organization’s opinion and why the hitting philosophy changed. Will the new approach work? We should start to see next month but will take some time. Can’t wait for next month so we can talk about more than who hasn’t signed yet.

      1. “Roberts visited Jansen in the hospital after his November heart ablation, and they talk often. Jansen even recently reached out petitioning for a specific acquisition; Roberts wrote back with a reason the Dodgers shouldn’t procure that player.”

  7. Our batting average wasn’t good throughout the season last year either, and especially when runners were in scoring position.

  8. Mark, you think the Dodgers are a better team now than last year,I do not think that at all,but I do not blame Friedman. He has tried but the asking price for Realmuto and Kluber are to high and I agree with him. Harper is not worth $350M and 10 years. I would like to see Castellanos in LF and Pollock in CF but itś up to Friedman and what he wantś.

  9. Put me in the second camp. I’m generally supportive of Friedman and like his sober approach to managing the organization, and am not willing to overpay for names. But at the same time I find the argument compelling that the team, as constituted, is not as good as it was last year – and last year the team just made it into the playoffs by the skin of its teeth. If not for Kemp having his brief renaissance of portion control and preparation the first two months of the season, the year would have been over.
    *
    No on your trade. Who is going to play right field? Right now the only player with the arm and athleticism to play close to Puig’s level is Verdugo. Right now, Verdugo has to stay.
    *
    And left field just took a production hit. Joc and Kike can platoon, but that’s a position that needs to produce offensively. I’m not confident either can do that. As Robert’s stated in that Athletic piece, the Dodgers didn’t produce in the playoffs.
    *
    There was another article someone linked about the new CFO, and all these grand visions the Dodgers have – building underground subways from the parking lot and stadium, etc, etc, all as as way to generate excitement and attract fans. Star power still attracts fans – and winning with star power and personalities attracts fans. I think the Dodgers lost something there when they traded Puig. From an organizational point of view, he probably needed to go, but people like personalities they can relate to, love or hate. Perpetual platoons of middling utility players just doesn’t capture people’s imagination.
    *
    I think for this reason the Dodgers should just bite the bullet and sign Harper to play left, where his defensive shortcoming aren’t as glaring. He’s a star. He’s sometimes even polarizing, but he’ll attract attention, create a buzz, get fans to come see him play and , ultimately, this generates revenue.
    *
    I still don’t quite get the Dodgers parsimony. A business is profitable and successful when it either reduces costs and becomes more efficient, or invests and increases revenue. It seems the bias is on the former, when, being that baseball is an entertainment enterprise, some emphasis should be placed on the latter as well.
    *
    Signing guys like Harper put the Dodgers over the luxury threshold this year, but the team has players coming off the books next year so they’re likely to get back under with a few million to spare.
    *
    *
    I also really like what Castellanos does to left hand pitching, and salivate at the prospect of him out in left. Maybe Friedman gets him mid-season when his price might drop. Not giving top ten prospects for him.

  10. I’m not sure where the Realmuto fascination comes from. Actually, I do. He’s the best catcher in baseball and he’s inexpensive in dollars. I’d love it if the Dodgers had him. It’s just not realistic that the Dodgers would ever give up talent for him. the Dodgers have the two best catching prospects in baseball, and they are obviously banking the future on them. Why pay through the nose for two years of Realmuto, when Ruiz is the future and Smith is the hedge in case Ruiz doesn’t pan out. Between the two of those guys, one is likely to be a stud…and Realmuto will also block them for a year.
    *

  11. I’m cool with pat for the meanwhile. There are clues that our late GM was somewhat ‘hands-on’ and when Dodgers were off on last seasons horrid start our late GM stated our problem was not enough HRs. While true that more HRs helped get us as far as we got, I don’t think any of us felt that HRs is what was mostly in need of correcting. It’s easy to put all blame on the players, but all things are factors in how a player performs. If Farhan Zaidi wanted more HRs the players surely approached the plate to satisfy him. I’m glad he’s gone and also why I’m cool with pat for the meanwhile. If the newest hitting coaches are as good as we can hope for then we’ll see how good the kids bite into their teaching. I expect a big change with the offense. Maybe not more in runs but more in RBIs and runs when needed mostly. With that I’m glad Joc is still with us and he’ll be the perfect litmus by the time of the ASG when we’ll see whats needed mostly. That’s when I want the organization to have financial might. We’ll be fine until then barring injury.

  12. Ottavino to NYY – 3 years $27MM, pending physical. They are certainly not worrying about the CBT threshold.

        1. You mean to Chapman, Britton, Betances, Ottavino, Green, Holder, German, Kahnle? Does Jordan Montgomery send Kahnle packing if he does not make the starting rotation? Without Montgomery, the 6 man rotation is Severino, Tanaka, Paxton, Happ, Sabathia, Gray. With their offense, the over under is going to be at about 110 wins.

  13. Many people are talking, saying, asking Dodgeres to give Harper a contract, believing that this is what this team needs, when the truth is that what this team needs is that their own ace do their damn job !!
    It’s true that this team is not going to score 8 runs in each playoff game, but they’re not going to let them score just 1 or 2 runs with 3 or 5 hits.
    The problem has been that our pitching has failed, at least now we have Kelly, who will be a great help, but we need a true number 1 pitcher, and we all know that Kershaw is not, and I do not think Buehler is, at least not this year.
    Get Kluber and I think this team be ready, we can also wait for the trade deadline and see what is needed by then …

  14. A lot to comment on.
    .
    I do not know anyone on this site who is a Friedman hater. I know they exist on other sites, because I have read their comments. Perhaps the biggest skeptic/critic of the FO is Dodgerrick and he has never said anything that would indicate he is a Friedman hater. He is prone to hyperbole just like you, me, and many others who comment here. I think his “Church of Friedman” is funny, not disrespectful. I think he is in the wait and see group just like all of us. Even you are in that group because you acknowledge that there will be changes. If you cannot foresee what those changes might be, how can you ascertain that they will be positive changes unless you think that everything Friedman does should not be questioned? Because only He has vision?
    .
    As I previously stated, I do not blame Friedman for bargain hunting to stay under the CBT. I think that premise was dictated to him. He has bosses too.
    .
    Kluber – Very interesting that you think that Kluber will begin to regress this year, even though he has not given any indication for such a regression. However, we have to believe that Kershaw is going to get it back? Many continue to look at Kluber as a three-year deal. He has a very team friendly one-year deal with two very team friendly options with a very team friendly buyout each year. You commented on Kluber: “there are whispers that his stuff isn’t what it used to be.” Newsflash – Neither is Kershaw’s. Kluber is arguably one of the best five pitchers in MLB and has shown to be a better pitcher than Kershaw the last three years. While I agree with you that Kluber will not be a Dodger, there is no question that he would make the Dodgers better. If Kluber is moved, it is more likely he will become a Padre.
    .
    Starting Rotation – I have made the comment before and you are giving it credence. Friedman is a master at putting a 40-man roster together to attack a 162-game season. But not necessarily for the WS, and maybe this year not necessarily the playoffs. Are you comfortable with winning another NL West or do you want a WS? Rhetorical, I know. You commented:
    .
    “Feel free to disagree with me, but I believe that rotation is the best in baseball. There are teams who may have a TOP 3 better than the Dodgers, but I don’t think any rotation is better Top-to-Bottom.”
    .
    First, I might look at St. Louis’ rotation top to bottom before making that statement. But that is me. But it is the TOP 3 that can control a playoff series. What difference does it make if a team has 6 or 7 potential starters if the most they will start in the playoffs is 4. This is especially true since the Dodgers TOP 1 seemingly has a real problem dominating each start in a playoff game. I would feel much more comfortable if Kluber was also a starter in a playoff series.
    .
    Russell Martin – I am indifferent on Martin. He is the backup catcher to Austin Barnes. His last 4 years:
    2015 – 441 AB .240 BA .787 OPS
    2016 – 455 AB .231 BA .733 OPS
    2017 – 307 AB .221 BA .731 OPS
    2018 – 289 AB .194 BA .666 OPS
    .
    I do not see RVS improving Martin at 36. Although, looking at how he is trending, he cannot get much worse. But I do not expect that much from a backup catcher anyway, so I will not be disappointed.
    .
    “You have to hope that the players you have can get better.” Of course you do. Nobody disputes that, even Friedman haters. But the problem is that RIGHT NOW, that is all you are banking on. Unless you think that the elimination of Puig and Wood makes the team better, this roster is not as good or deep as was last year’s. That is why most of us are in the “wait and see” group. You will get no argument from me that Seager is a better SS than Machado, and the team is better with him. But I do not think that Barnes/Martin is as strong as Grandal/Barnes. That negative difference will offset some of the plus difference in Seager vs Machado. Who makes up for the loss of Kemp’s 85 RBIs? Maybe Puig could have, but I am betting that he gets 85 with the Reds. Maybe CT3, Barnes, and Belli go off and have career years to make up for that loss. But wouldn’t it be better if the team had a proven run-producer to replace both Kemp and Puig? Verdugo may hit, but he has never been a big run producer. His high in RBI’s is 63. Steamer Projection 2019 for Verdugo – 522 PA – .271/.327/.410/.737 – 13 HR – 59 RBI. That does not make up for Puig much less Kemp. BTW – Steamer projections for Puig – 548 PA – .275/.351/.500/.851 – 26 HR – 81 RBI.
    .
    Would Puig and Wood gotten better if they were on the Dodgers, or did that possibility go away when they were traded? I also think that it is presumptuous that they are considered potential malcontents. I have also talked to people who have spoken to Dodger players about Puig, and none have had anything negative to say. They were not all positive, but he was not considered a malcontent with the Dodgers.
    .
    I also find it curious that only Dodger players can have bounce back years. What about Rockies with Ian Desmond, Wade Davis, Jake McGee, Bryan Shaw? What if they all improve over their 2018 season? Or are they not capable of improving?
    .
    You are putting a lot of faith in a hitting coach who has never coached. He has taught individuals, some successful, but not a team. We have no idea how many of his students did not improve. Was he successful 10% of the time? 20%? 50%? 75%? We do not know because nobody is going to advertise their failures. If you are not in the wait and see with RVS, then you epitomize a belief that Friedman can do no wrong. Maybe he will be a positive influence. We all hope so. But is that an appropriate basis for not trading for or signing a proven run producer?
    .
    One final question – Do you think the Dodgers should not make any move that will put the team over the CBT threshold under any circumstance? Is that a de facto salary cap for you? Even if it helps the team, as JDM did for Boston?

  15. Mark is a huge homer and he makes most of his predictions from his heart, he makes many great points but when he starts with his hate Friedman or goes on one of his rants i just read and move on. Nice post AC I agree with everything you posted, nice to read the voice of reason.

  16. I am not a Friedman hater. I have been on record that he is competent. I have had philosophical differences with him about how to construct a roster and how to use his players. He is much more SABR-oriented than I am. We don’t really know how much of how the team has been run since Zaidi was hired was on Zaidi and how much was on Friedman, but i seriously doubt that Zaidi would be allowed to do anything that Friedman disagreed with. The reason that I have called the Dodgers’ management team the “Braintrust” is that they have had a group of decision makers who have operated as a group and have made decisions as a group. Alex Anthopolous has mentioned that in interviews. So I think that we have to assume that last year’s homer boom or bust offense with all of the platoons and so forth was the result of a group consensus. If anyone has information to the contrary, I would be interested in reading it.

    My concerns going into this season is that the Dodgers’ championship window is open. A pro-active management team would look to improve on last year’s roster, fill in the gaps, and decide what is necessary to put the team over the top. Instead, the Dodgers have lost several top players and not replaced them.

    Our host suggests that this doesn’t matter because an untested rookie, Alex Verdugo is the second coming of Tony Gwynn, but he’s never done this at the big league level and we don’t know how he will do. We are told that a guy who has never played baseball and never been a hitting coach will fix the Dodgers’ offense. We hope that Cory Seager will be the Cory Seager of old, but he’s recovering from 2 surgeries (Tommy John and hip) and we don’t know how he will be on his return.

    OK – so Matt Kemp may be washed up but he was the Dodgers’ best hitter with RISP all year long – even after his performance faded in the 2nd half last year. Puig is a hugely talented player – a gold glove caliber RF with power who has hit well in the post season – he’s gone with an untested rookie to replace him – and Verdugo is yet another left handed hitter. (Yeah, I know about Puig’s reverse splits last year.)

    Grandal is replaced with 36 year old Russell Martin who hit .196 and OPS’d .663 last season? And he only threw out 22% of base stealers last season.

    The bullpen was a weakness last season and they signed Wild Man Kelly (over 4 BB/9 ip last season) but have made no other improvements. They were 2nd in blown saves last season. When Fangraphs analyzed the Dodgers’ poor “clutch” performance last season, it wasn’t just the lack of clutch hitting – it was the late inning performance by the Dodgers’ ‘pen as well.

    The Dodgers as constituted are not as good as they were last season. The expected series of transactions after the Farmer trade have not transpired. They should win the Division but it is a weak division and the Cardinals, Nationals, Phillies, Braves, Brewers, and Mets are all better now than they were at the end of the season last year. This is not the way to win a title. It is a way to tread water at best.

    A team either gets better or worse – there’s no way to just assume that you can maintain a level of performance.

    1. I would take Rick and AC’s work, and echo it with only a few
      minor changes. This is still the many-question team that I downgraded
      in last spring’s guesswork to “likely mid to high-80s wins.” Off by a few,
      as the Ds lost a dozen more and squeaked to playoffs.

      I’m fine with Andy’s patience. Usually have been with his strategies.
      I usually struggle with his tactics:-). This looks like a team that MAY
      need some help in July, and this FOs work at that time of year has
      been even tactically worse than at other times.

      I like that he spends less. Would like to see a hard cap in the game.
      Every team’s fans deserve a level playing field. Nothing at all special
      about fans in big markets (just as every MLB hitter, especially from
      the left side, deserves the same field).

      An MT special, as pointed out by AC: “and we have to believe that he
      can.” We? Have to????

  17. Harper is like the wall. Costs lots of money, questionable defense, exciting.
    .
    Can the Dodgers trade Maeda for one of the yank’s relievers?

    1. The Yanks relievers were a big reason the Yanks
      were a wild card last year. Their press was way better,
      especially late-season, than their performances, with few
      exceptions. I see a lot of high-end risk their, typical lazy
      Cashman, IMHO.

  18. First of all we should have won the World Series against Houston but our ace and our closer did not do their jobs. That year our offense scored enough to win. We need an ace in the World Series and he needs to pitch like one as price did last year. You look at guys like hershiser, bumgarner, koufax, lolich, to name a few carried their team to victory. We just haven’t had that and yet we keep betting on the same horse. We have got to get someone who could do that. Buehler has the stuff but can he put 3 games together to do it or will the Dodgers even try him? I would like to see us get Kluber who has the potential to do that. Kluber has thrown a lot of innings and may tire at the end but I think the Dodgers would reduce his innings to keep him fresh. Him or someone like him is almost a must. We need to add a hitter preferably rh but if he can hit it doesn’t matter which hand. 59 I know we can’t counter a qualifying offer I meant we countered with the farmer trade. The Dodgers are enviable franchise but it just feels like we will not go all in to win a World Series. The enemy of great is good and we are very good but not great. It is not all about money because we just threw 33more million at kershaw. Could we have made better use of 100 million over the next 3 years? I think so but I am in a minority. So where to go from here. Get an ace and a rh bat but that is easier said than done. Maybe Friedman has his hands tied by ownership.

  19. I think most of us on this board are anxiously waiting for the next move. As my late friend Tom Petty said “the waiting is the hardest part”.

  20. Lot to digest today. Good job promoting the discussion Mark!
    .
    My thoughts, as unimportant as they may be are: (1) If Kluber can be obtained by trade, I agree with AC, I would do what I could to pull that off, as long as it doesn’t require an extreme overpay. I think it would be beneficial to have one other “lock down” starter. Yesterday Ac proposed a Verdugo/White/Smith/Downs for Kluber trade. I would do that trade, if I was convinced that we had a right fielder to step in for Verdugo. Right now I’m not convinced that we do. Two bats that I like in our system are Rios and Beatty. Beatty has some defensive skills. Not so sure about Rios as a right fielder. There is no reason to doubt that Kluber cannot duplicate his past success for a couple of more years.
    .
    RVS does not concern me. Nor does it concern me that he has never been a major league hitting instructor before. While I do not agree with everything the Dodger front office does (as if though they needed my agreement), I do think that the Dodgers have some of the brightest minds in baseball working for them. Therefore, I’m relatively certain that before they hired RVS, there was significant analysis of what he could bring to the table. I doubt that Friedman just woke up one morning and though “what the heck, let’s give this guy a try. Couldn’t hurt and it will mess with people’s minds.” Watching last year’s team hit was very frustrating. The number of strike outs, the number of times they struck out looking, the GDIP, the weak contact, the lack of clutch hitting. I’m willing to give the new guy a chance. We may be pleasantly surprised at how well he does.
    .
    I would not sign Pollack or Machado, and I’m neutral on Harper.
    .
    AC, I would make a move that puts us over the threshold, as long as I was convinced that move would put us over the hump. However, it would have to be a unique situation. If Stanton became available, I would think about it; if Trout became available, I wouldn’t have to think about it. Basically, an elite hitter or an elite pitcher and I would do it.

    1. Yes, significant addtion should be elite pitcher and/or elite hitter. Short of those two, is pass on trades/signings. Either of those would make us (or anyone else) better, hence the term elite.

      I have no problem with all the continued tinkering around the roster edges. That is separate from acquiring elite talent.

      The problem is the cost of elite talent. Right now it is probably overpriced on the market-but boy I’d sure love to have more of it. –
      I want another bat like Turner. Seager as well. I want them at bat when we really need something

    2. One of my minor disagreements with AC. I think he (CK2) would be a worthy risk,
      but I do agree with Mark that he showed some signs last year, and that he
      is not the answer to my frequently asked question, “Who’s gonna win you
      two in a seven gamer?” For me, in Walker, they finally have a POSSIBLE
      answer, but one I would not yet bet a dime on.

  21. Yanks with that Ottavino signing, I think Friedman should call and try to get Stanton, Gray and ca$$h, for Hill and prospects downs and white.
    Offer Machado 7 year for 200m.

    RF Verdugo L
    3B Machado R
    SS Seager L
    LF Stanton R
    2B Muncy L
    1B Turner R
    CF Bellinger L
    C Martin R

    This year probably this will be over the tax, but with all the money coming of the books in 2020 close to 80 mil, they can probably be under the tax again. So go ahead and make the phone call and start spending when the time is correct.

    1. I don’t want gray but I like the way you are thinking. I think la needs a real star! Seager if healthy may turn it up and bellinger has lots of tools but Stanton is a star! I know at what cost! It would be at great risk and the contract is onerous but Friedman is superb on the financial end. If he could somehow mitigate the long term of that contract we could probably get him. Long shot at best and Friedman is not Houdini but I’m guessing the Yankees would deal. A 3way with Miami perhaps. The pads seem to want gray if they could get him it might put the Dodgers in the drivers seat for Kluber if Cleveland will move him.

  22. Rotation
    1 Kershaw
    2 Buehler
    3 Ryu
    4 Maeda
    5 Stripling
    6 Urias
    7 Gray

    We can keep Gray, until we see how Urias comeback and measure Gonsolin progress.

    1. The problem is that Hill has probably pitched better then Kershaw in the last couple post seasons, except the first game in the World Series against the Astros.

  23. Great posts today! No one but Mark has mentioned that Martin may actually be a good signing. He has said and I’m paraphrasing: something about putting on the Dodger Blue uniform, and I feel there is unfinished business, and I want to win a World Series, and if I don’t play well no one will want me, I’m motivated. I don’t think we get all that from Martin Maldonado. He had a down year but still put up a 1.3 WAR, more than his 3.6M salary and a zero CBT! He calls a good game, blocks balls in the dirt and makes the plays at the plate. He could have a good 1st half like Kemp did last year. Grandal leaving was his choice and wish him well but after trying for JTR this is a nice fallback move, better than AJ Ellis for sure.

  24. What the heck is it to me if the Dodgers spend too much money? They sure overcharge everyone too much money, so I would like to see them spend, spend, spend. It still has been over 30 years since a WORLD SERIES and chances are slim a team gets there 3 years in a row.

  25. Ham….
    It should be something to you if you are a Dodger fan. If they spend too much they hamstring themselves for the future. We have had enough bad contracts that have us paying out years after the player has finished his playing time, and preventing us from signing good replacements because of the penalties for overspending. There needs to be some discretion so we can continue to acquire new talent.

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