So How Was Your Hot Stove League?

Well now that the Dodgers have signed AJ Pollock, what comesnext?  Maybe something.  Maybe nothing.  Is JT Realmuto on the horizon.  Apparently, the Pads are very much in on JTR,but they are insisting on extension talks before they consummate the deal.  Obviously, either Francisco Mejia or AustinHedges will be going back in a package. The Pads have ML OF’s available as well a bucket load of high-levelprospects.  If the Pads want to outbidthe Dodgers, they certainly could. How much do the Dodgers want JTR?  I think like in every situation, AF is notgoing to get in a bidding war with any team for any player.  He will have his untouchables and will not goover what he believes the value of that particular player should be for theDodgers.

At the start of the hot-stove league, to many, the Dodgers’ needs were considered to be a RH bat, a 2B, a top line starting pitcher, bullpen help, a catcher, and to help with the apparent OF logjam.  It started with the signing of Clayton Kershaw to a new three-year extension for a cool $93MM.   Most Dodger fans were accepting of the large contract even with his potential injury risk.  Clayton Kershaw should be a Dodger for life, and whatever the cost is should be acceptable.  Kershaw could have looked outside of the organization and found a team willing to guarantee in excess of $100MM, but he is just as happy being a Dodger as the Dodgers are with him.

The Kershaw contract extension was followed by thequalifying offers of $17.9MM presented to both Yasmani Grandal and Hyun-JinRyu.  Depending as to who accepted, thewinter budget would be set.  Ryu acceptedand Grandal did not.  IMO, the $17.9 forRyu is a bit of a risk, but one that Ryu is more than capable of turning into apositive.

After the Ryu acceptance, the rumors were runningrampant.  JT Realmuto has been in thediscussion since the beginning, but one that I was very intrigued with wasCorey Kluber.  The Indians were lookingto drop some payroll, and Kluber seemed like a good player to move.  But the Indians were looking to packageKluber with other costly players like Jason Kipnis and Yan Gomes.  I am one who believes the Dodgers could useanother top line starting pitcher.  Butthe cost had to be reasonable.  Both theMarlins and Indians asking price were way out of line.  Maybe the price would come down, but AF wasnot going to overpay.  With Kluber many fanswere looking at adding Yan Gomes to expand the potential trade.  Unfortunately for some, Gomes was tradedindividually to the Nats.  

Next, the rumors were centering on FA’s…Bryce Harper, DJLM, and AJ Pollock were the three bandied about the most.  Harper was the favorite for many, but also had a very loud and robust group against him.  The same was true for DJLM.  Many of us liked his RH bat to ball skills, and GG defense, while others were very much concerned about his batting metrics outside of Coors.  AJ Pollock was pricing himself out of the picture early on, so the Dodgers settled on a perceived need and WS hero…RHRP Joe Kelly.  Like AF is prone to do, nobody saw that coming.  Kelly signed for a very reasonable 3 year $25MM contract.

But then on the Friday before Christmas, came the extremelycontroversial Farmer trade.  Matt Kemp,Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, and Kyle Farmer are all on their way to Cincinnatiwhile the Dodgers gained some payroll flexibility and a couple of goodprospects in SS Jeter Downs (Dodgers #7), and RHP Josiah Gray (Dodgers#16).  Both players are consideredgenuine prospects, although not yet viewed as potential stars.  I am not going to rehash the Farmer trade,but it certainly generated a lot of loud and differing opinions.

In mid-January, the immediate catching concern was addressedwith the trade for old friend (at least for Mark), Russell Martin.  While he is certainly a shell of what he oncewas, he still has enough in the tank to bridge the ascension of Smith orRuiz.  He could also be a positive mentorfor Austin Barnes for 2019.  The tradedid not add AAV to the CBT threshold.  Hecost a couple of lottery picks in prospects, but in positions of strength forLAD.  It is just losing prospects (anyprospect) is hard for some, especially me.

It took more than a month after the Farmer trade, butfinally something significant happened. AJ Pollock was signed to a 4-year $50 MM contract with a 5thyear of $10MM option or $5MM buyout.  Thecontract is structured so that the AAV is $12MM.  The pros and cons of Pollock have certainlybeen voiced all over the blogosphere.  Iam absolutely on the pro side. 

The Dodgers are now within $8MM of the CTB threshold andthere are many of us who believe that the Dodgers will not surpass that $206MMthreshold.  IMO, there will be no BryceHarper, Manny Machado, Dallas Keuchel, or Craig Kimbrel wearing Dodger Blue for2019.  So, the ML FA signings are undoubtedlydone. 

There could be trades, but in order to add on salary,salaries are going to need to be moved. Rich Hill, Joc Pederson, and Josh Fields are the contracts that seemmost vulnerable.  All three haveexceedingly positive attributes, so the return needs to be positive for the MLteam and not the farm system. 

While I do not see any other ML FA’s coming to LA, therewill be minor league FA with ST invites. There could be a couple of name SP who will not get ML contracts, and timeis running out.  Clay Buchholz, DougFister, Jason Hammel, Jeremy Hellickson, Edwin Jackson, Nate Karns, ErasmoRamirez, Ervin Santana, James Shields, Chris Tillman, and Josh Tomlin are stillunsigned.  How many the Dodgers will needdepends on who (if any) get moved in a trade package, and how fast does BrandonGomes want to push his prospects.

The same goes for RP. There are more than 35 RP with recent ML experience that have yet to besigned.  Daniel Hudson did a serviceablejob for LAD last year.  He is not adifference maker for the playoffs, but he was good depth during the season; 40games worth.  Others might include,Xavier Cedeno, Jake Diekman, Dan Jennings, Tyler Clippard, Francisco Liriano.  But the two most intriguing that couldprovide the most benefit for LAD are Greg Holland and Brad Boxberger.  I would love to see 1 or both of those guysget a MiLB contract with an invite to ST.

Position players who might be of interest to AF on MiLB contractsare SS Jose Iglesias (one of my favorites) and utility Derek Dietrich.  Both players are the type of player that AFlikes as emergency depth.

Scorecard:

Gone from last year’s WS roster (7): Alex Wood, Ryan Madson, Yasmani Grandal, Brian Dozier, Manny Machado, Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig.  It could go to 8 depending as to where Julio Urias starts the 2019 season.

Added on to the potential 25 man (7): Corey Seager, AJPollock, Russell Martin, Joe Kelly, Tony Cingrani, Alex Verdugo, and RossStripling.

More than 25% of the WS roster has turned over from lastyear, and either 10 or 11 from the 2017 WS roster.  I do think that is substantial turnover.  Without any further trades, the 25 man shouldlook very close to the following:

SP – Kershaw, Buehler, Hill, Maeda, Ryu

RP – Jansen, Kelly, Floro, Alexander, Cingrani, Baez,Stripling, Urias

C – Barnes, Martin

INF – Seager, JT, Muncy, Freese

OF – Pollock, Joc, Verdugo

INF/OF – Bellinger, CT3, Kike’

The one question above right now is Julio Urias.  Other potential relievers already on the 40man who could find the 25thspot are Fields, Garcia, Chargois,Stewart, and even Jaime Schultz could surprise. 

There is still a little more than 2 weeks before pitchersand catchers are to report, so there is still time to make that trade and/orsign some pretty decent players to minor league contracts with a ST invite.  Problems addressed – Relieve OF logjam, RHbat, C, bullpen.  Not specificallyaddressed were top line SP and 2B.  AFalways believed the 2B was solvable in-house. The SP was going to need to be addressed via trade and the Dodgers onlylegit potential trade was for Corey Kluber. I have always believed he would be a huge addition, but not at anyprice, and certainly not at a Chris Sale price. So, the Dodgers are going to need for Clayton Kershaw to step up andreturn to be the uber-Ace he once was. What is not to like about that? 

NL West Division champions?  Yes.  NL Pennant?  Maybe.  WS Champs?  You have to get there to win it, and then get hot.  Is the team as strong as NYY or Boston or Houston?  Not in my opinion, but the team plays Boston and NYY during the season, so we can see where they stack up against those juggernauts.  Then there is always the trade deadline pickup potential which has not been kind to the Dodgers lately.

Not to be outdone, there have been scores of coaching and front office changes, but I am concentrating only on the players at this time.

There are still moves to make, but at what level and when remain to be seen.

This article has 86 Comments

  1. For a team to get to the World Series, let alone win it, a lot of good things have to happen.

    In Houston’s case, they went from the highest strikeout team to the lowest. They traded for an aging vet who some thought was finished and he turned into Superman. Their closer couldn’t cut it but bullpen-by-committee was the answer. They stayed relatively injury-free, role rlayers stepped up and they got hot at the end.

    In Boston’s case, three players allegedly had “career years” (Betts, Martinez and Bogarts), others had good seasons (Benintendi), while role players like Pearce, Moreland, Nunez and Holt all had their moments). A pitcher many thought was washed up got his mojo back and a couple of fireballers (Kelley and Eovaldi) got hot at the end.

    I said before the offseason, that Harper and Machado would not get anything close to what they were asking. MLBTradeRumors predicted that Bryce Harper would go to the Dodgers for $420 million and 14 years. Maybe it was a typo: I could see the Dodgers paying $240 million for 7 years. 14 years? What were they smoking?

    Morons like Plaschke, who is a gifted writer, but has no idea how to run or build anything should just shut their pieholes. They love to incite the Dodger fan base. I’m not predicting the Dodgers will sign Harper, but if he falls in their lap, they very well could. That’s the only way they will justify going over the LT.

    For the Dodgers to win it all, they are going to have to have two or three players have career years. There are plenty of candidates: Pollock, Bellinger, Turner, Seager, Taylor, Hernandez. They all don’t have to have career years, but a few do.

    A starter that some think is washed up will have to come back. The starting pitchers will have to live up to their expectations as the best staff in baseball and the bullpen led by a rehabilitated Kenley Jansen will have to clean up.

    It may take a comeback from a worn-out old catcher and Rookie of the Year to make it so. Yes, a lot has to go right for the Dodgers to win it all and it will take an unprecedented third trip to the Series to make it possible. Realmuto and/or Harper are still possibilities, but only at the Dodgers’ price… and that’s the way it should be.

    I believe the talent is there for a return to the Series, but a lot of things have to happen, including vast improvement in situational hitting. That’s why RVS is in LA. Will it happen? That’s the part we wait and see. I happen to believe!

  2. Great post AC…
    As Mick would say, “Time is on my side”.. Lets just get to ST and see where were at!!!
    Some pieces can be picked as necessary during that time… And then there’s the Trade Deadline and a prayer…
    Like what I saw in A.J.’s interview and really think he’ll be an asset on the field and the clubhouse…
    Let me preface the following with I don’t like the Padres and never have…
    They are a year or two away from being a bona fide contender… Their Minor lg. system is stacked..
    Right now the NLW is a mess and yes we can/should win there..

  3. It scared me for a minute when I didn’t see Bellinger’s name in the infield or outfield. I agree that another top tier starter would be nice by the time the playoffs roll around. We will see about JT Realmuto, it would be nice to balance out the batting lineup. If the Pads really do want him (and are not just running up the price) they will out bid us. When I look at the Pad’s current team it seems they still aren’t ready to compete for the Western title yet so it doesn’t make sense why they would trade for 2 years of Realmuto. I still think we will end up with him.

  4. I see that MLB.com has ranked Mike Trout as the TOP CF in MLB. #2 is a surprise: Cody Bellinger! I would not have ranked him that high, but maybe they are right. Pollock is ranked #7. So the Dodgers have two of the TOP 7 centerfielders in all of baseball?

    https://www.mlb.com/news/mlb-network-2019-best-players-at-each-position/c-264680678

    CT3 is ranked as the #5 best 2B in MLB (ahead of Scooter Gennett, Ben Zobrist and DJ LeMahieu) which may be shocking to Dodger fans and Justin Turner is ranked the #2 thirdbaseman ahead of Arenado.

    The Dodgers are a very talented team… even if you disagree with those ratings. If no more trades are made, this is what I see:

    1. Pollock will start in CF, and Cody will play 1B except when he spells AJ.

    2. Martin and Barnes will share time at C. Who the starter is doesn’t matter.

    3. Kike, CT3 and Muncy are candidates to play 2B, but Muncy will play 1B when Bellinger plays CF.

    4. SS and 3B are set with Turner and Seager… barring injury. CT3 and Kike are Plan B.

    5. LF could be a platoon of Joc and CT3, but Toles gets consideration and Kike as well.

    6. RF is up for grabs with the Dodger hoping Verdugo seizes the day. If not, CT3, Tolesy and Kike are candidates.

    That’s what you call “depth.” Lux and Ruiz are in their last minor league season as is Will Smith, if he shows he can hit at AAA. How many teams can rest their CF and bring in the #2 CF in MLB to play backup?

    Fearless Prediction: Alex Verdugo will run away with the ROY, hit .300 and shock Dodger Fans with 20 Big Flies! He is working hard, getting stronger and most importantly, he has been using mental floss to clean out the tartar around his brain!

    1. That’s great Mark, but I would rather go with the minimize platoons route to the every day roster.

      Hoping Verdugo is good enough to win RF with Toles, the “Toy Cannon” version 2 as a viable insurance policy.
      Roberts says Pollock is the every day CF – no platoon there
      Belli goes to LF as a result
      Munchy plays 1B
      CT3 at 2B
      Seager SS
      Turner 3B
      Barnes / Martin at C
      Kike plays all over the place
      Freese spells Munchy and Turner
      I’m gonna miss Pederson

    2. When and where does Muncie get his at bats? Actually Muncie’s defensive metrics at second base are better than at first according to the research AC did, although with small sample sizes. I would venture that he should be the 2nd baseman against RHP, Kike against LHP. CT3 in left gives the team a pretty defensive outfield, and Kike can play there against LHP.
      *
      What I like, and what AF values is roster flexibility and depth. I’m not sure about the absolute strength of AJ’s arm, but in think he could play right if Verdugo struggles. I have no worries about Verdugo’s defense, and actually think it’s an upgrade over Puig. Contrary to the belief that this Dodger FO goes strictly by what the sabre stats dictate, I think Friedman is fine getting rid of players who have good numbers but falter in the playoffs, which is probably one reason – maybe a big reason – why Grandal isn’t on the roster. Same with Puig. The Dodgers have already established that they have the talent to get to the playoffs,. The teams that win in the playoffs are the ones that don’t make mental mistakes. I read here a description of an instance where Puig neglected to take his positioning card with him in the outfield when playing Boston. He was playing too deep and a run scoring single dropped in front of him which lost the game. For a team with World Series aspirations, where every game and every play is critical and played in a crucible, those types of moves get you traded. The Dodgers have a talented team. The next phase is developing a disciplined team, one that understands and plays within a system and doesn’t make mental mistakes.
      *
      So for those who think AJ is a downgrade offensively and defensively from Puig….are you nuts?. I think Verdugo is an upgrade…both in terms of arm and his lines.

    3. Ds don’t need nothin’. Nothin’, I tell ya. Ds got depth.

      Depth, I tell ya!

      Why, if they manage to get to the champ’s round again,
      they got a murderer’s row, with Kike’ blastin’ third!

      If that ain’t depth, ‘splain t’me what is, Lucy…..

  5. Kudos on the post! I read where Kenley lost 25 pounds by changing his diet. That bodes well because I’m sure he’s lifting and staying strong. I can only go by my gut, my gut says don’t chase Realmuto and give up Kay Bear. I have not seen even one at bat but if KB is what folks say he is, let’s be patient! I’d rather bring up the kid and roll the dice. I saw so many catcher AB’s last year that sucked and dropped and passed balls that the kid can’t be that much worse! Let’s focus on our future and not overpay for Realmuto. Let’s the Padres overpay! I will light a candle in the church!…..

  6. In regards to Hou, Bos, and NYY. I think we stack up just fine if our guys play to their potential. None of those teams can match our rotation. If we improve against lefties, even more so. Last year’s 4-1 drubbing was much worse than it should have been. All those inherited base runners scoring because of Madson. Puig making sure we had no chance in game 1. Puig playing on the warning track in Boston. Kike hitting 3rd.

    We fixed a lot of last year’s deficiencies. The biggest one that we didn’t address is Roberts. Maybe Roberts will grow a pair, or at least give them a tug this year. Maybe he was scared of Farhan? Maybe he won’t keep Clayton in too long or pull Hill too early. He will almost definitely have a better pen than last year. Why the hell did they leave Ferguson off the roster in favor of Wood? We would have 2 WS if it weren’t for inexperience. Our players are a little older now and our manager has 2 years of management experience now. Remember that we didn’t have any production from catcher in either post season the last two years, so there’s really no where to go but up. In the field and on the hill, I honestly think we’re better than we were the last two years. Pray for good health at season’s end.

    Boston is a little worse, they lost a huge bullpen piece and maybe another. Maybe JD will return to being a mere mortal. Yankees are up and comers, but their Starting Pitching is still suspect. Boston’s pen is nowhere close to what is was last year. Houston lost a lot of key pieces. Out of those three teams, only the Yankees are as good or better than last year.

    Prediction – the Dodgers are the best team in the NL and easily win 100+ games again. This is not going out on a limb because the East and Central will have to battle very good teams for most of their schedules while the Dodgers cleanup on the likes of the D-Backs without their two best players, the Padres who will improve, but aren’t ready to complete, the last place Giants with Farhan at the helm and the Rockies who will run away with a Wild Card. Over the last two years, our biggest losses are Grandal, Puig and Morrow. This year’s WS team will feature healthy Ryu, Bueller, Urias, Kelly, maybe some surprises in the pen. Pollock instead of Puig. With a little luck maybe a productive catcher at the end of the season. Grandal’s loss will be felt during the regular season, but he really screwed us in the post season two years in a row. I’m rambling now. But, I’m very optimistic about the upcoming season. Great pitching, great defense, great baserunning, improved hitting. Kershaw reporting himself healthy as ever, same with Kenley. We will look like the 2017 Dodgers again.

  7. Some interesting tidbits from yesterday’s Fan Fest at Dodger Stadium. During a TV interview, Andrew Friedman, when asked about how he views the roster at this point, said he was happy with current team, but quickly pointed out that they are currently active on several fronts (free agents/trades) in an effort to improve the team further. The clear indication was that the Dodgers are not done. He also said that people shouldn’t look at the trades of Puig and Kemp and the signing of AJ Pollock as a simple trade off. The Dodgers have a lot of corner outfielders and they signed Pollock to play center.

    Team President Stan Kasten weighed in on the Dodgers “lack of spending” this winter and stories about LA’s refusal to go over the the cap, pointing to a lot of advantages with being under, and it’s not all about the tax. He said the Dodgers rank either first or second in the NL in terms of money spent on scouting and player development. He also said the organization has been very transparent in terms of being a development organization first, saying fans like homegrown kids, noting the Dodgers are still at the very top in terms of payroll. He also emphasized that there is no ownership directive to remain below the cap and the team may very well exceed it this year.

    Friedman also said he believes the Dodgers are better than the 92 win team of last year, adding the team is better balanced than the 2018 version.

    Beyond Realmuto, it sounds like the Dodgers are in active talks regarding additional trade opportunities and possible free agent signings. Doubtful that Harper fits into that picture.

    1. Seems POSSIBLE it’s a wee better balanced. Would not yet bet the ranch.

      The “best staff” in baseball: they will be lucky if CK does not hit the
      DL again, and do a fair imitation of a #2-3 on a pennant-winner,
      and will almost certainly struggle in October, again.
      Walker looks great – but has to now face a league that knows him,
      and show that he is stronger after last year’s increased, high-pressure
      innings.
      Ryu: gonna bet on a season of good health? Urias, the same?
      Rich Hill a year younger this go ’round?

      The best? Not in Missouri, where I’m still from on this side’s champ
      pedigree. Good, yes. Nice balance on paper, but still too left-handed.
      But best? No way, Fannie May. Unless, as MT points out, you get a
      couple surprise career years, like in ’88.

  8. I’m just wondering why Verdugo is only ranked as the 35th best prospect in the minors? K Ruiz was ranked 36th. I thought Verdugo ranked higher last year. It was the MLB Networks rankings so maybe we can’t put much stock in it. CT3 ranked 5th and 2nd base by the shredder and we are still putting Muncy at 2nd.

      1. And Verdugo was rated higher in Baseball Prospectus and another ranking site…. MLB tends to favor toolsy 17 and 18 year olds in their rankings, they dont usually go by performance rather buy expectation. If they went by performance then Harold Reynolds had it right when he asked why Verdugo was ranked so low, even though he destroyed AAA for a second year, if they based it on production then he would of been in the 25-18 range, and MLB still has his hit tool as being a 60 but most scouts I’ve talked to say it’s at least a 70. So it’s all subjective.

    1. Probably because he doesn’t really have a lot of plus tools. Only plus is his arm. He’s kinda small and doesn’t have a lot of power or speed. Not enough power to be a corner outfielder and not enough speed to be a center fielder. In limited MLB action, he’s done okay. I’ve resigned myself to think that he’s going to be our every day right fielder, I think mostly because MT hypes him so much. At the same time, I think Toles actually has a better shot of beating him out for that position since Toles also has a plus arm, but has plus speed as well. But, my real hope is we wind up with Harper and Verdugo is the center piece to the JTRM trade. I’m still keeping that hope alive until Harper signs elsewhere. But, if we are good enough to land JTRM and Harper, it’s game over. As a Dodger fan, that’s what I believe this team should do. Go after the game over piece!

      1. There is a reason the Dodgers aren’t going to sign Harper besides the $ and years of having him… Its his attitude, when teams shop a player they want to sign for a mega deal they talk to every person that player has played with, been coached by, etc. What I’ve been hearing is that Harpers teammates did not like him at all, alot of them talked about how he was a shit teammate and it felt like it was just the Harper Show every day. They likened him to a pre madonna who frequently butt heads with teammates when he was called out on certain things. Imo I believe the Dodgers dont want that type of player on their team, no matter how good he is, every one talks about ruing chemistry of a team and I believe among other people in the FO that Harper will ruin the chemistry of the team with his entitled attitude and poor sportsmanship among his team mates, I herd this directly from a couple agents and few FO people S to what they have been told when talking to people who played with and around Harper.

        1. Danny, good analysis! What you are stating is pretty common knowledge in Las Vegas from his HS days at Bishop Gormon to his manipulation by graduating early and playing 1 season at CCSN to his being the #1 overall pick and signing with Boras. Great talent but a ‘me not we’ type of player that I have advised against signing especially at his asking price and contract length.

        2. I can see that. I always thought he was a douche with all that eye black smeared all over his face. I would still sign him though. There’s been plenty of douche bags to win a World Series. Reggie Jackson, A-Rod, Rickey Henderson, Gary Sheffield, Ty Cobb just to name a few. Not getting his biggest contract ever might just bring him down to earth a little.

        3. Good point. Harper is polarizing. Players and fans hate him. Like I said in my other post, I think Friedman takes these things into consideration. You don’t want a toxic player disrupting the team. …So buh bye Puig…and no thanks Bryce.

      2. With all due respect he has a plus hit tool and a plus plus arm. He has a stronger and more accurate arm than Toles, and if I’m being 100% honest Toles doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell at beating out Verdugo for a starting spot. There is a reason why he’s played CF primarily in his career has been because of his instincts, jumps of the ball and in game speed. There is a reason why the Dodgers have refused to trade him over the last few years, and part of it is because of his hit tool, the FO isnt worried about his power because that’s the last thing to develop. The hardest thing to develop is a players hit tool.

        1. I hope you’re right Mark! I’m pulling for you / him! I agree with you about the instincts. He goes on very long hit barrages and then falls off. I don’t know if it’s a concentration thing or what. Sometime intangibles will take you really far. Jeter was a guy that didn’t have the most tools, but turned into something really special. Hopefully, that’s Verdugo. But, with all due respect. Toles has a better chance at beating out Verdugo for RF than Verdugo’s chance of becoming Tony Gwynn as you like to compare him to.

        2. Mark

          Verdugo did hit much better against lefties last year.

          But in three times the amount of at bats against righties last year, Toles had better numbers.

          And Toles had to play catch up, because he missed almost a month, at the beginning of the season last year, because of a hammy pull.

          And remember Toles missed most of the year before, because he was injured.

          And because of that, he wasn’t able to work on his hitting in the off season, because he was rehabbing his knee.

          Toles hit 5 HRs, in the first month of the season in the majors in 2017, before he injured his knee.

          But more importantly compare Verdugo’s and Tole’s numbers, when runners were on base, and in scoring position last year in AAA.

          Toles had much better numbers.

          And Toles has had good numbers in these situations, every time he has played in the majors.

          And that was this team’s biggest weakness last year.

          I don’t know if this will be a true competition, but if it was, I sure wouldn’t count Toles out that easily.

          Toles has produced every time be was given a fair chance at the big league level.

          1. 59inarow

            It isn’t going to be a true or fair competition, so it is easy for anyone to say that.

            It will have to happen like you mentioned above.

            And Toles won’t be playing right, they will move him to left or center, and move someone else to right.

    2. The MLB Pipeline or Prospect Watch (as it is now known as) is headed by Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo who are very good at evaluating prospect talent both professionally and amateur. I consider Baseball America the best source, but Callis and Mayo are as good as FanGraphs’ Logenhagen and better than Keith Law IMO. I have never been that much of a fan of the prospect evaluation with Baseball Prospectus, but they are also well respected. All are going to rate the prospects differently. One of these days I am going to need to look at some of the older top 100 lists and see which publications did better than the others.

  9. I looked at the Dodgers’ offseason needs a little differently. Last season, Pythagoras predicted 11 more wins than they achieved. The problem? The Dodgers were the least “clutch” team in baseball. The big issues were hitting RISP and relief pitching, as the bullpen was 2nd in blown saves and often did not pitch well in close games.

    The other big issue for me was the way that the Dodgers had committed $$ to roster construction – too many OF, too many SP. That money could be better spent elsewhere.

    The Dodgers “solved” their RISP problem 2 ways. They traded players away/lost players to free agency and replaced them with others. And they signed a new hitting coach.

    Here are the RISP stats for the guys they lost:
    Dozier – BA .355/OPS 1.147
    Kemp – BA .353/OPS .971
    Machado – BA .309/OPS .910
    Puig – BA .245/OPS .792
    Grandal – BA .238/OPS .747

    Here are the new players:
    Pollock – BA .253/OPS .716
    Martin – BA .200/OPS .601

    They get Seager back and he is a superior hitter RISP, but we don’t know if he will be the “old” Seager until he is. Meanwhile, they traded the guy who was the team’s best clutch hitter all season (Kemp). They have replaced (at least for now) the #2 offensive catcher in the league with a 36 year old who hasn’t been good in 4 or 5 years.

    At first blush it doesn’t look to me that the Dodgers have solved their biggest offensive problem from last year.

    But, we are told, the new hitting coach will solve everything, and the Dodgers will stop all of the platooning, stop trying to hit HRs every time up, will try to go the other way to beat the shift.

    I have not read anywhere that Farhan Zaidi was the sole designer of last season’s offense. Many seemto assume it. And we were told last season that they had to play the way that they did because of their personnel.

    Last season’s K% – guys that stayed
    Freese – 34%
    Taylor – 29.5%
    Barnes – 28.2%
    Muncy – 27.2%
    Bellinger – 23.9%
    Pederson – 19.2%
    Hernandez – 16.9%
    Turner – 12.7%

    Guys who left –
    Grandal – 23.9%
    Kemp – 22.7%
    Puig – 19.6%
    Dozier – 19.4%
    Machado – 17.9%

    If personnel was the reason for the Dodgers’ high strikeout, hit a HR every time offense, they kept most of the worst offenders.

    To solve the bullpen problem, they have signed one guy, who always walks 4 or more per 9 innings pitched and say that he is going to get high leverage innings. Wild Man Kelly is a 7 year veteran who is 30 years old and walked 4.4/9 IP last season. It’s not like Rick Honeycutt can wave a magic wand and turn him into a strike thrower. As I have commented before, Dodger fans were upset with Scott Alexander last season – he walked 3.7/9 IP and was thought to be unreliable in the late innings because of that.

    The Farmer trade did solve part of the roster construction issue. They have essentially replaced Wood with Kelly, Kemp with Pollock and I assume Puig with Verdugo. They have gotten cheaper. (They have also replaced Machado with Seager, if he is healthy and Grandal with Martin.)

    I do not think that this team is better than last year’s squad. The recent signing of Pollock doesn’t fix things. They haven’t really solved the RISP or bullpen issues.

    They should win their division by default. The NL West will be the 2nd weakest division in MLB and the Rockies really aren’t all that good – but they ended last season tied with the Rox and they weren’t that good last year either.They aren’t as good as the Astros, Yankees, or Bosox. We will see if they are as good as the Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Nationals or Braves.

      1. I can remember a few “fat” players who were pretty good – Willie Stargell, Greg Luzinski, David Ortiz – going back a few years, how about Hack Wilson? I don’t think Kemp’s girth was really the problem

        1. Well it wasn’t a problem at the start of the season, but he put on a good 30 pounds as the season progressed. The Dodgers are an analytically driven team and they know all of the stats you posted and probably have two dozen more, so why get rid of these guys if the stats support keeping them? I think we all know that answer!

          1. That’s the ultimate argument, isn’t it? They know better than us, so why think about it? Why try to figure it out? Colletti had more information than you did but that didn’t stop you from questioning the Adrian Gonzalez trade, did it? But I can’t question the construction of the Dodgers’ roster now?

      2. I thought Kemp’s defense fell off in the 2nd half, especially in RF when he subbed for Puig. No stats just the eyeball test-he could not make plays on balls that went for hits, his range was limited,

    1. Rick, you choose to look at the negative attributes and seem to assume they cannot adjust. You continually point to Kelly as the Wild Man and yet once he changed his pitch selection (right before the playoffs) he was almost unhittable. In 9 playoff games he pitched 11.1 innings allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 8 hits, ZERO walks, and 13 K. The batting line was .186/.205/.186/.391. In the WS he pitched 6.0 innings allowing 0 runs on 4 hits, 0 walks, 10 K, and a batting line of .182/.182/.182/.364. Now just maybe Kelly figured something out with his pitch selection to make the change, because against the best teams in the AL and NL he was outstanding. Why can’t you look at his playoff numbers and be encouraged rather than pre-playoffs?
      .
      You are still probably looking at the El Gasolino version of Pedro Baez, but something clicked and he was unhittable at the end of the season. Since his August 9 meltdown, Baez pitched in 19 games, 19.1 IP, 1 run (HR), 7 hits 5 walks, 19 K, batting line of .108/.171/.185/.356. What available reliever is going to pitch better than that?
      .
      You do not like Alexander. And yet his ball moves more than any other pitcher on the roster. So even Mark would agree that Alexander has a command issue, but if he can somehow corral that pitch, he will be absolutely unhittable.
      .
      The bullpen looks to be Jansen (25 pounds less KJ), Kelly, Baez, Alexander, Cingrani, Floro, Stripling, Urias/Ferguson, with a June call of Jesen Therrien. Who are you going to replace and with whom? Should the Dodgers commit to $50MM+ for Kimbrel? Cody Allen and Andrew Miller are just as much of a risk as is Joe Kelly (maybe more). Zach Britton and his 3 years at $39MM? Top relievers are not going to get traded now before the season starts. That is a trade deadline option. The Dodgers have better relief options in the minors than what is remaining in FA. So how do they change now? July 31, 2018 is gone, and it does no good to continually complain about what might have been.
      .
      You also choose to believe that a change in approach is not possible. Zaidi is getting the “blame” for the all or nothing approach last year, because he was the one who declared the Dodgers problem was the lack of HRs. After the WS It was Friedman who said the problem with the Dodgers was the poor approach to situational hitting. He decided to do something about it and change the mentality by hiring a coach who has a different approach. Before the season even has started you are hinting that the team cannot change their approach. I say they are capable, and only time will tell if they succeed. But I am not saying they cannot before the season starts.
      .
      The only player you seemingly do not criticize is Clayton Kershaw, and he is my favorite player as well (1A to Seager’s 1B). But I will not hide my head in the sand and speculate that if it wasn’t for Kershaw’s meltdown in Game 5 of 2017 WS, the Dodgers would have won in 2017. It wasn’t the “Brain Trust” that failed the Dodgers, it was the players.
      .
      Kemp was never going to be the primary LF this year anyway. The one position that seemingly looks to be a platoon is going to be LF where Joc & Kike’ or CT3 will share time. Joc is as good as any LH hitter the Dodgers have against RHP. Joc will see less time against SFG who will undoubtedly push LHP at LAD. But most of the NL is RHP. CT3 or Kike should do just fine against LHP.
      .
      Finally, too many fans seem to downplay the importance of clubhouse interactions and demeanor. AJ Pollock will be a huge upgrade over Puig in that regard. I will also look to see if Pollock takes Verdugo under his wing somewhat to help him with his maturity process. Utley was brought in to help develop Seager as much as to help the team. I think the same is true with Pollock.
      .
      A new season is almost upon us. Can we not get behind this team before the first ST pitch has even been thrown?

      1. I AM behind the team – I want them to win as much as any Dodger fan does. I’m not as seasoned a fan as some here but my earliest baseball memories are of the victory in the 1965 Series. I went to a game in ’59 before Dodger Stadium was built with my Dad, who was from Brooklyn and saw his 1st game in 1936 with his Dad and Uncle who were also fans. It’s in my blood.

        The question is not whether I am a fan and behind the team – the question is whether the Dodgers have fixed last season’s problems. It’s not apparent to me that they have – if they have, good on them and I hope they win the Series this year.

        Joe Kelly in the post-season – can you say small sample size? What about the entire rest of his 7 year career?

        Baez – he has a history. Will he be the pitcher that we saw for 2 months last season or the pitcher that we have seen for 4+ seasons before that?

        I liked the idea of the Dodgers trading for Alexander. A certified ground ball pitcher is a great asset. But he hasn’t been able to throw strikes. Will he this year?

        ” The Dodgers have better relief options in the minors than what is remaining in FA. So how do they change now? July 31, 2018 is gone, and it does no good to continually complain about what might have been.” But the Dodgers had a chance to re-make the biggest weakness of the team last season and their solution was Joe Kelly. The Brewers and Red Sox sent wave after wave of relievers at the Dodgers in the postseason, and they answered with the likes of Ryan Madsen. You would think that they would have made more of an effort to fix it.

        Situational hitting – these are big league hitters who have been around for a while, except for the likes of Alex Verdugo. Sure they can change some, but how much? If it was that simple, why didn’t they do it last season?

        1. Rick, I have never never never doubted that you are behind the Dodgers 1000%. You are as much of a fan of the team as I am, and as I wrote in one of my very early posts, you and I see things in a different prism. I agree with you that the FO blew it last year with the bullpen. I said so countless times that the team needed a lockdown reliever. Keone Kela, Ryan Pressley, Brad Brach were all players that were traded that I was a huge advocate for. I was (and still am) a big advocate for Jose Leclerc, but if Texas does not want to trade him, what are the Dodgers to do? But we are talking about 2019 not 2018.

      2. Great, AC, welcome to the church of friedman!! anyone who’s not 100% negative towards this team is a member, apparently.

        1. Bobby, I have always been a huge Friedman advocate. I just do not raise him to the level of a deity. He makes mistakes, but he makes a lot more plus moves.

      3. AC: we’ve got competing narratives. I really like yours (as I almost
        always do, except when you fall into the ‘Friedman’s Great Work” trap
        along with His Eminence:-). And I really like Rick’s, and he has the advantage
        of recognizing what a really great FO mighta done these last four years
        with the hedge-fund thieves’ ill-gotten bazillions.
        “We” can’t, and won’t (and don’t want to:-) get behind the team the way
        you do. You’ve gotta do you. We would do a lousy job, even if motivated!
        A lot of this has to do with product guys and process guys. I am heavily
        process, and so an odd fit on most fan boards. Rick: a lotta process,
        possibly not as much as I am? You seem to be some of both (not that
        there’s anything wrong with that:-).
        And I would wager a big sportsbook hit that there are a dozen or two
        guys who are regs here and at Dodgerreport who coulda done the
        “excellent” work you and Mark are always braying about for this team’s
        champ chances for about a third to a half of what they threw at it.
        Like almost all major sports FO guys, they get buried in detail, and
        often miss what casual fans, who live mostly outside the bewildering
        numbers forest, can see clearly, big picture, outstanding colors and contrast.

    1. It was a good article, but not one that I totally agree with (surprise, right??). And I am not insinuating that you (Rick) agree with the premise of the article. I am only commenting as me.
      .
      The Dodgers are not cheap. They have the 4th highest salary in ML behind Boston, Cubs, and NYY. The Pollock signing just moved them past the Nationals into the 4th slot.
      .
      Per the author…”Based on what I’ve seen, there are a lot of unhappy or, at the very least, confused Dodgers fans out there, wondering why arguably the richest team in baseball didn’t try to sign Bryce Harper or make any other big, impactful moves.”
      .
      Are they cheap because they are not signing Harper? There are a good many fans that want the Dodgers to sign Harper. But there also a good many fans that do not. Is Calcaterra really advocating that the Dodgers should sign Harper to show they are not cheap? Many of us do not believe that Harper is the difference maker. Maybe he is, but not at $350MM or $300MM.
      .
      Machado? Been there done that. I am 100% behind Seager over Machado.
      .
      Corbin? Wanted NYY or East Coast if not NYY. Dodgers have enough LHSP anyway.
      .
      Keuchel? Pass.
      .
      Kluber? Tell Cleveland to lower the asking price from a Sale price tag, and I think he becomes a Dodger even if they do go over the CBT threshold.
      .
      Kimbrel? All he wanted was $100MM. He is now down to wanting to beat Wade Davis’ AAV. I am not a fan of a player that wants to sign a contract so he (or his agent) can say they signed for the highest salary. Give me a player that will take less so he can play with a team he wants to play for and still be able to take care of his great grandchildren’s family. Kershaw, KJ, JT all could have signed for more away from LAD and yet did not.
      .
      I wanted DJLM. Did not happen. Too cheap, or rather a belief in what they have internally? I would have been interested in McCutcheon but am ecstatic with Pollock.
      .
      What other FA should they have signed?
      .
      The other big name mentioned in the article and by fans at FanFest was JT Realmuto. I am a fan, but not at the cost of Bellinger or Ruiz or Verdugo. Verdugo may in fact be a bust, or he may be a star. The Dodgers like to build their team around their players. That is who AF is and yes Kasten. If the price for Realmuto comes down, then he may be a Dodger. If not then he will be with the Astros or Padres or Braves or Reds.

    2. Craig is a great writer, but Craig was a litigation attorney for 11 years, handling civil, criminal and sometimes political matters. Craig has never ran anything (but his mouth) and is not qualified to make the judgements he did. Case dismissed! If he keeps it up, I will level sanctions against him! 😉

          1. Oh, probably the two posts by a “Mark”? When I post on my iphone, Its still Mark Timmons. That is another new Mark – different IP Address. Welcome Mark!

  10. Watched a rerun of the FanFest last night. Couple of things stood out:
    .
    1. I’m happy to have AJP on the Dodgers. I readily admit that I was ambivalent towards signing him initially. He seems to be a very high character individual (in the Utley, Turner mold). He also expressed a strong desire to play for the Dodgers, because of their culture and the players. Also, both Friedman and Doc alluded to the fact that they wanted the team to have more of AJP types of players. Neither of them made any reference to Puig, Kemp or Woods, but indirectly seemed happy they were gone. Mind you that is just my impression from a 10 minute interview.
    .
    2. Muncy looks to be in better shape and stated that his favorite position is second base.
    .
    3. Alex Verdugo appears to have grown up. He seemed more mature in his interview. Let’s hope that carries over to the field. He was interviewed at the same time as Keibert Ruiz and they appear to have a good friendship. I will add that I’m ready to see more of KayBear .
    .
    4. Brock Stewart shared that he had an injured knee last year that affected his mechanics and that those issues have been straightened out. He was interviewed at the same time as Josh Sborz, who seemed to be a very solid young man. I’m going to follow him more closely this year.
    .
    5. Kike did not seem to be as excited about the AJP signing as the others. He has his mind set on being an everyday player.
    .
    6. If anything, Joe Kelly is going to be a fun addition to the team. He has a great sense of humor. He also is highly intelligent and seems to take getting better at his craft very seriously. His description of how he evolved to the pitcher he is today was very fascinating.
    .
    7. Joc Pederson needs to work on his interviewing skills. Albeit, in his defense, he was being interviewed by David Vassegh, and a little of him goes a long way.
    .
    8. Andrew Friedman indicated that the off-season was not yet completed and while he was happy with the “balance” of the club as presently constructed, that there were still conversations ongoing that could better the team. Whatever that might mean. I hope it means Kluber, while most of the fans in attendance were hollering for Realmuto and t a lesser extent, Harper.
    .
    9. Austin Barnes did not look to comfortable being interviewed. Nor would I, if I had a 1000 or more people hollering for another player to be acquired to take my job.
    .
    10. Fan Fests are mostly team hype, but there were some interesting things to take away.

    1. Joc is much better at getting excited when a teammate does something big than he will ever be at putting a noun and verb together.
      .
      By any chance did Joc look fit?

      1. Not particularly. Not as heavy as he was 2 years ago, but I wouldn’t call him ripped. Muncy stated he had lost 25 pounds and he looked it.

  11. DodgerRick,

    You don’t have to believe what I do. Your takes are well thought out and articulate, even if they are wrong 😉

    I think a lot of your reason is based upon what you do for a living (I am not trying to be funny or disparaging). You look at history and that is how cases are made. You can’t sue someone for what they will do in the future… only what they have done and those facts are the only thing of relevance.

    In many respects, we are polar opposites. I have spent my whole life in building something that did not exist. Birthing it, so to speak. History is important to me but that last product launch that was a miserable failure does not stop me from trying to create.

    Two years ago, I wanted to launch a new product that our entire board was against. In a very heated meeting, I told them I was going to do it anyway and that said “is this a dictatorship?” To which I responded “It is today.” None of them quit over it and that product is now our most profitable line.

    I am not always right. I look at history, but I love the mystery of tomorrow. I don’t document history. You have to to win cases. My job title is “Visionary” (our board gave it to me) and history helps shape that, but I live for the mystery. I love going to work with a blank canvas and creating. I look at history (stats), but I also try and use vision. “What if …?”

    We will probably never agree on lots of stuff, but I don’t question your love of the Dodgers. In our last board meeting, I said something to the effect that “It’s better to ask forgiveness than ask permission.” Our CFO said: “I fire guys like you!” I suspect Rick and I will never see eye-to-eye, but sometimes a dissenting opinion is good. Keep it up!

    1. I will venture to say that you and I are similar with the exception that we put our faith and Hope in different players.

  12. From Jason Reed(Fansided): Three-team trade that would win the World Series:
    Dodgers get Realmuto and Abreu
    Marlins get Ruiz, Barnes, Santana and Jeter Downs
    Chisox get Pederson, Rios and Josiah Gray
    I would do that in a NY minute if I could substitute Smith & Wong for Ruiz.

    Reed also predicts JT will play 155 games this year, win the batting crown and the NL MVP.

    1. I would not do that. I like Realmuto and I would give up Wong, Smith, Barnes, Pederson and Rios to get him.

      We don’t need Abreu, in my opinion.


      Also, if Cody is not in CF, I cannot see anywhere but 1B.

      1. Mark thanks!

        No offense to the new Mark, and welcome.

        But I just didn’t think it sounded like you, and that is why I asked.

    2. The Dodgers are going to give up Ruiz, Barnes, Santana, Downs, Pederson, Rios, and Gray for 2 years of JTR and 1 year of Abreu? Also incur and additional $16MM in salary? Does Jason Reed really believe that JTR is that much better than Barnes and that Abreu is better than Muncy? The Dodgers did not win the WS with Grandal who was on par with JTR last year. And I do not see Abreu putting up Muncy 2018 numbers. So how does JTR and Abreu win the WS?

  13. Remaining FA RP – Craig Kimbrel, John Axford, Tony Barnette, Matt Belisle, Joaquin Benoit, Brad Boxberger, Blaine Boyer, Santiago Casilla, Xavier Cedeno, Tyler Clippard, Tim Collins, Jorge de la Rosa, Jake Diekman, Zach Duke, Greg Holland, Daniel Hudson, Dan Jennings, Jim Johnson, Shawn Kelly, Casey Kelly, Francisco Liriano, Aaron Loup, Ryan Madson, Brandon Maurer, Peter Moylan, AJ Ramos, Sergio Romo, Fernando Salas, Tony Sipp, Drew Storen, Junichi Tazawa, Nick Vincent, Adam Warren, Alex Wilson, Blake Wood.
    .
    For those that do not think the Dodgers have done enough in the bullpen, which of the above FA RP should the Dodgers sign to improve? If you think it should be Kimbrel, how much would you pay him? Would you be willing to pay him close to $18MM AAV for 3-4-5 years?

    1. You may think I am crazy, but I would be willing to try Axford or Madson or Boxberger… at the right (LOW) price. Just one, for a Million Please!

      1. I might take a chance on Boxberger but who of the following would he replace: Baez, Fields, Floro, Jansen, Kelly, Stripling(allRH) or maybe one of Cingrani, Ferguson or Alexander?

        1. I would sign Boxberger to a minor league contract with a ST invite and see what he does. I have zero problem with competition. Best man wins.

    2. Kimbrel is not an option. He and Kenley will not exist in the same pen. It will be like asking Mariano Rivera to be a setup guy. Kimbrel will only sign with a team that will make him their closer.

    3. I would take a flyer on Boxberger. For pure minor league depth, I might consider Storen or Warren.

  14. Wow, everyone is so pumped up today! I love it. Everyone is getting really passionate as the season is drawing nearer. I have a couple of points after watching the Fan Fest reruns all morning and some others as well…

    Don’t get too caught up in RISP. If a particular stat varies wildly from year to year, it is unreliable. Believe it or not, we had the top offense in the NL last year, but we sucked at RSIP. What does RSIP tell me? Nothing. It probably has more to do with hitting philosophy than hitting ability. They addressed this by changing philosophies. Done.

    Yahoo – The Dodgers are cheap! No they aren’t, they just aren’t being stupid about spending money anymore. Yahoo is fake news. Use it for entertainment value, not as a source of information.

    This is what I got out of watching the interviews.

    AJ Pollock is a dude, absolute stud when healthy, and he wanted to be here. These are the best kind of signings because it doesn’t damage you long term with finances. He’s going to look grossly underpaid in a couple of years. Chase Utley type of guy is a good comparison for his demeanor. He can be our Jim Edmonds.

    Max Munchy and Kenly Jansen are in shape! Max might be able to handle second base after all. If Joc is still on the team, he might just be the left fielder (mostly due to crushing right handers), moving Belli back to first and Muncy (he might earn his real name back to me) at second. Or, Chris Taylor goes back to the 2017 version and no one will keep him off the field. These are great problems to have. The team is very deep with talent.

    Kelly is the dude we needed. This is a visionary move that MT likes to allude to. A lot of the FA relievers that people point to were not going to sign up with Jansen on the team. We had to sign a guy that doesn’t need to be a closer. Kelly was a perfect signing. – 1st, he wasn’t that expensive, 2nd he will pitch multiple innings and doesn’t care which innings. 3rd, he throws absolute gas! Our pen is so deep with quality guys, there was room to bring on more that 1 guy. Jansen, Kelly, Alexander, Floro, Baez, Fields, Cingrani. After them you still have Garcia, Chargois, Stewart, Santana, Ferguson, McCreery and at least 5 other dudes that will be ready to contribute this year. Prediction – our pen will be historic this year!

    Kike is a ding bat, a wing nut. He needs to settle down a little bit, he’s always way to jittery and excited. This is why he’s not an every day player. He should be happy to be one the best Super Utils at a time where their value couldn’t be higher and he’s clutch off the bench because he can manage to focus in short spurts.

    This team is gonna be great this year. I’m super pumped. I hope we win the JTRM sweepstakes. Still holding out hope for Harper too.

    1. Your holding out for Harper and I am holding out for Kluber. I dare say, we are both going to be disappointed.

      1. I would agree on Kluber. He would make the Dodgers much better. Too much would have to happen for Harper to be a Dodger, and I’m not sure he’s worth it.
        .
        If we were able to pry Kluber from the Indians, then perhaps Maeda could be a valuable trade chip.

  15. Here’s what I see, right now:

    C – Martin/Barnes
    1B – Bellinger
    2B – Muncy
    SS – Seager
    3B – Turner
    LF – Platoon of Pederson and Taylor
    CF- Pollock
    RF – Verdugo

    Subs – Kike, Freeze, Toles

    1. Without Joc or Verdugo being traded, I do not see how Toles makes the team out ST. The Dodgers have 7 consecutive games to start the season (AZ 4 , SFG 3), day off and then 17 consecutive days before the next day off. They are going to need 8 in the bullpen to start the season. The Dodgers get more days off the 1st 16 days of May (3) than they do all of the last 4 days of March and all of April (2).

      1. I agree about Toles, can’t tell how the team feels about him but he deserves a chance. Having options it seems likely he opens the season in AAA unless Joc is traded. No chance for Stewart or Garcia based on talent to make the opening 25 man but with Fields, Floro, and Shaggy having options maybe one sticks like Font did last year. Urias and Caleb get sent down too at the start because Cingrani and Alexander get spots and don’t need 3 lefties in the pen at the outset. Barring injuries or other moves the only guys with a chance to stick are Rios, Beaty and Peter and that will be later in the season as they are uber blocked. If Martin and Barnes get the nod then where do the other catchers go? IMO Ruiz starts at AA and Smith at AAA sharing with Gale and Wong at Rancho. I also could care less if Kike wins a starting job-if he does something has gone very wrong with the master plan.

        1. Unless he absolutely tears it up in Spring Training or somebody gets hurt (might have to be both), I think Toles starts at OKC.
          .
          Thole, Smith and Gale will, in all likelihood, be the catchers at OKC. Ruiz and Berman or ?, will start out at Tulsa.

          1. I always like to pull for players like Stewart and Smith. It’s more fun to see players like them succeed than players like Seager whose success is not in question.
            .
            I think Smith will be similar to Yeager but with a chance to be better offensively. I think he is already making lamps out of broken bats.

  16. Bum

    You are losing it!

    I thought you would get the words I expressed above.

    You are usually so good with that stuff!

  17. Going back to the opening post, where does Ferguson fit? Are you expecting him at OKC? He wasn’t mentioned.

  18. Harper will probably sign with national or a 7- year deal with several agreements. I don’t see him signing with the Phillies. I also have two thought.
    1. If a BIG IF, the Dodgers do end up signing Harper. Would you see Cleveland accepting this offer from the Dodgers. Verdugo, Santana, Stripping or Hill, jeters, Fields for kulber?
    2 . Ruiz or Smith, Barnes, Muncy, May, Toles, for JT.
    Then get a middle level bullpen pitcher. Probably a bad thought, but their it is. I know this won’t happen, but it would be awesome.

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