Posted ByMark Timmonson January 17, 2019January 17, 2019Mark Timmons
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.
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.
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: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:
Kershaw is younger than Kluber – can he get it back? We have to beleive that he can.
Buehler – Cy Young Candidate
Ryu – Arguably the best starter last year, when healthy. Was this an overpay or a smart move? We shall find out!
Hill – Take the leash off and let him pitch
Maeda – Same as always
Stripling – Showed amazing flashes last year. Pitched like an Ace for two months
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.