A Checkup From the Neck Up

So… many Dodger fans and Dodger Bloggers and Dodger Journalists are saying that the Dodgers are cheap and ran like the Tampa Bay Rays because they won’t go out and trade bushels of top prospects for Kluber or Realmuto or that they won’t sign Bryce Harper to a 14 year/$420 million dollar contract.Look, there is no dumbass vaccine and I am convinced that fans who want that are mentally ill.

Of course, we already know that the bulk of the garden variety Dodger journalists are indeed mentally ill. Look at them. Look at the drivel they have written so eloquently to try and influence Dodger fans everywhere who are too weak-minded to think for themselves

“OMG, we have to sign a big name free agent to a huge, long contract, so that our team can be financially hamstrung for years, like the Angels (Josh Hamilton. Albert Pujols) or Diamondbacks.”

The correlation between signing guys like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado to crazy-stupid long-term contracts and winning is that there is no correlation. How about a correlation to losing? Absolutely! That’s the correlation. That’s what usually happens to long-term deals. Guys like Cueto, Samardzjia, Pujols, Greinke, even Price (to a degree) have hamstrung teams. The teams who sign those bigs deals are often headed for rebuilding. The Cubs are hamstrung with Heyward and Darvish and could go either way right about now.

As your own young players become Arbitration Eligible and eventually Free Agents, you have to have the financial flexability to sign them. Adndrew Friedman has made his share of dope-fiend moves, but they were calculated moves that would not hamstring the team. He signed Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir and Brett Anderson to short-term contacts, the biggest being for $48 million, instead of playing $105 to $234 million for overpriced starters, who would be a financial boat-anchor to the team.

He got lucky in being able to dump Matt Kemp early in his tenure and the got lucky again in being able to dump A-Gon who wasn’t A-Gon anymore in his last few years. The Dodgers got some value last season from Kemp, but after dumping him again, they are still paying the price, which is over after this season.

I case you haven’t noticed, most of the teams who spend BIG MONEY for Free Agents or overpay in trades are not winning teams. They are losers! Boston got lucky and signed JD Martinez for $105 million/5 years and he will likely opt out, but they got the best hitter in baseball for a song and no big contract. If you could have JDM, Machado or Harper, who would you take.I’d take JD over Harper or Machado, in a New York Minute, but the Dodgers are cheap because they won’t sign either one for $200 to $400 million? Are you ill?

MLB teams are starting to realize what the Astros and Dodgers have been preaching. You are not likely to see 8 or 10 year deals and many deals over $100 million. Those are stupid moves. Be thankful that Andrew Friedman is not mentally ill like some fans, bloggers and journalists.

Let me make this clear: Guggenheim and Company (of whom I am not a fan) paid $2.1 Billion Dollars for the Dodgers. That’s their money and unless it is your money, you do not have a say in how to run the team. If you think you have that right, you are mentally ill! In the time they have owned the Dodgers they have been at or near the top in payroll expendatures, so take something for that mental illness.

It’s their money and they have a right to spend it how they want… the same as you have a right to spend your money. It’s that simple. If I don’t like how you spend your money, I will just move on. Why am I going to tell you what to do. If I did, I would be mentally ill. If you don’t like the way the Dodgers spend their money, pick another team. How about them KC Royals? Enjoy!

In case you have been living under a rock for a while, the Dodgers have won their divison and been to the playoffs for six, count ’em, 6 straight years. It’s time that the players step up. They have been to the World Series the past two years. The facts are: some players whom Andrew Friedman had no hand in obtaining have choked BIG TIME in the playoffs, including our Ace and Closer.

I think they are intent in fixing that and I believe they will. I believe they are intent in re-writing their legacy. We alsohave tohope that is the case. Clayton Kershaw’s contact could end up being a boat anchor, but that’s a risk Friedman had to take to keep a Hall of Fame Pitcher a Career Dodger. There was no question – he had to do it! Clayton is still young and I have a feeling, that as good as Striker Buehler is going to be, Clayton will bounce back and be the Generational Pitcher he was in the past. Yes, I know, some of you think I am mentally ill, but Clayton is still our Ace and will be for the next three years!

“You may be right, I may be crazy… but I just may be the lunatic you are looking for...” — Billy Joel

DISCLAIMER:I am not mocking real mental illness, which is a very serious thing, and no mentally ill people were harmed in the writing of this blog.

This article has 69 Comments

  1. Another of your no reason to write articles, as I have said before, If you want good and meaningful information filled with facts and thoughtful information we have AC and DC.

    1. Thank you for making and reinforcing my point so clearly. I sincerely appreciate it and, yes, AC & DC have great information.

  2. The Nationals were favored to win the WS a couple of times and didn’t even get to the WS. Harper was on those teams. I think he would add excitement to the Dodger team and keep fans coming to games but I don’t think he is the missing link to a WS championship. He is another lefty bat and plays poor defense. I won’t complain if he is a Dodger but the Dodgers could be better off without him.
    .
    Muncy and his tree trunk legs might give the Dodgers a big bat at second base with decent defense. He has said he likes playing second and people in general don’t like to do things where confidence is lacking. I would put him at second in spring training and let him settle in. Taylor will be needed at short and possibly in a platoon in the outfield.
    .
    Bellinger should play first base and play enough outfield to stay sharp. Spring training should be a dog fight between Verdugo, Pederson, and Toles for playing time in the corners. The Dodgers want a more consistent lineup and less platooning so Joc better do well this Spring or he will not get much playing time.

    1. Muncy does not have tree-trunk legs like Willie Calhoun. He’s actually a much better runner than you think. He might be faster than JOC, especially now that he has dropped 25 pounds. He’s serious about play 2B.

  3. Well, we’re right at the CBT. So, you can’t really say the Dodgers are cheap. I totally agree with that. I’m not unhappy with the team right now, we’re still the favorites in the NL and that was before we signed Pollock. JTRM is a logical move, but the Reds and Padres are jumping in jacking up the price. There’s still Harper. Would you rather have Harper or Verdugo? I’ll take Harper.

    Right now his best rumored contract is 30/10 with deferred money. Call me crazy, but I spend that money on a 25 yo 5 time All Star, already an MVP, with a career 900 ops cuz guys like that don’t grow on trees. Call me crazy, but I don’t think his best seasons are behind him as a 25 yo. Hell, JDM’s OPS was 650 as a 25 yo. Hell, JDM is signed through his age 34 season, same as Harper with a 10 year deal. Call me crazy, but if Kersh is worth 31 million as a broken 30 year old, Harper is certainly worth that as an MVP who hasn’t entered his prime. Call me crazy, but 30 million in year 10 probably won’t look like a ton of money in 2029. Call me crazy, but I would love to see the Dodgers pull off a move to put them over the top. Call me crazy, but reinvesting some of that Beer/Ticket/Parking/TV Contract back into player payroll should be expected, even demanded, as a fan who’s giving them our money before it becomes their money. Call me crazy but fortune favors the bold.

      1. I’m not crazy. I have nothing to lose. It’s easy for me. Harper is better than Verdugo. That is undeniable. For this year, he improves our chances of winning the WS. When a BoSox fan or Astros fan gives me trouble for losing the WS against their teams I say, we’re the only team that played in two straight World Series. They laugh. There is no WS loser trophy no matter how many times you get there. Sometimes you have to go for it! Future be dammed. Otherwise, what’s the point? If you own a sports franchise, your primary focus is to win it all. Of course you have to manage that goal against going bankrupt. But, if you’re managing that goal against making as much money as possible, you’re in the wrong business and you’re cheating your fans. IMHO, of course.

        1. Harper is likely going to sign for a minimum of $30 million a year.
          Verdugo is paid the major league minimum, which I believe is about $545K, but let’s say he makes $600K to simplify the math.

          That means Harper is paid 50 times what Verdugo is paid. Is Harper 50 times the player? He’s inferior defensively. He has a worse arm, has worse foot speed, and as good as he is power-wise, his bat has been far from a sure thing since his MVP season 3 years ago. Plus, as the leader of that Nationals team, a team many have predicted to go all the way in the past, he has never won a playoff series.

          Sure it’s a gamble to go with the kid in RF, but it isn’t like the Dodgers don’t have other options if he fails, (Toles, Taylor, Pederson, Kike, Bellinger, +Peters and others in the minor league system). They already should win the Division going away with the roster as it stands now. Perhaps they just need to re-assess and re-tool at the trade deadline, as they have in the past two seasons with the acquisitions of Darvish and Machado. Paying big money to the top tier free agents is just a recipe for disaster and can send franchises in downward spirals for years to come. Friedman gets it. I trust the man.

  4. I don’t care what you call me, but IMO Harper would be an anchor as a Dodger. I can’t imagine AF going in that direction. The Dodger do not need Harper.

    1. Do you mean he would be a great pickup or a boat anchor?

      I’m just asking.

      BTW, I am all for Harper, but not at 3 or 4 times what JD Martines makes.

  5. I like Mark stirring the pot (it’s his blog). Sometimes you just have to talk about “stuff”. AC and DC are a fun changed of pace. I especially like the financial side AC shares. But, Mark stirs the pot. The 3.5 conversations I’m interested in:

    1. Will the new Kenley have the velocity and movement? God, I hope so…

    2. Can Clayton reinvent himself and how will it he do it?

    3. How do we get by with our existing catchers instead of giving up talent. And finally who wants Joc?

    Because there are no real answers here (for now) let’s just hear the “stuff”?

      1. Right on about stirring the pot. That’s what the pot is for.
        .
        Perhaps some folks like the minor league articles I write – because it is my passion – but how much conversation can they stimulate? They do inform with information that anyone can find on the internet but can only be responded to with a sentence or two. The responses quickly grind to a halt and understandably so.
        .
        Most folks right now are interested in what the Dodgers are doing to prepare for the upcoming season and to keep a conversation going, stirring the pot sometimes is necessary. It would be more than annoying to read the same thing every day. I think a number of the regular posters to LADT also do some pot stirring, sometimes simply by a point of view and other times on purpose.
        .
        Have you ever thought how difficult it must be to keep a blog going – with more than a thumbnail sketch – day after day- amidst work and family considerations? It is much easier, I expect, if a point of view is taken and even easier if the point of view stirs up a bit of controversy. That is definitely more fun and something said in response may well lead to another article.
        .
        As Dodger fans we should never take it personally when an opposing point of view is presented as we are indeed all in the same boat and pulling on the oars in unison. And, there is no place for personal attacks which we are most fortunate to be pretty much free from on LADT.

    1. Totally agree. Marky T’s articles are great reads. AC and DC are also awesome, all three are different and that’s what makes this site so fun to read daily. I’ll tell you who wants Joc. We do, as our lineup is currently constructed. He’s gonna play a lot against righties, unless we get another outfielder. He’s still cheap and a big threat off the bench with his HR/On Base skills. There’s no actual need to trade him and he probably won’t be traded unless he brings back a guy that improves the major league roster.

  6. Laker takes:
    .
    I liked watching Ball play for the Lakers and I think he is very similar to Jason Kidd. While I would normally want to keep Ball on the team, his early injuries are a concern. If he can’t stay on the court then what good is he?
    .
    I wanted the Lakers to keep Randle. I was ready to watch a young team evolve.
    .
    I am tired of the talk about firing Luke Walton and am also tired of James “camp” wanting Walton fired.
    .
    I would rather wait for Davis to be a free agent and sign him then. It is hard to imagine the Lakers winning with two stars, James and Davis, and a bunch of role players.
    .
    Trading Caldwell-Pope, Kuzma, Ball and Zubac plus draft choices for Davis would basically put a team together in mid-season that has never played together. I will pass on that trade.

    1. Trade Zu and BI for AD, then pickup Carmello. Sweaten the deal with Svi, Wagner, or draft picks. Win now baby! No on Ball or Kuz. Ball’s gonna be better than Kidd when it’s all said and done.

    2. Bum

      I love you but you should have looked up the sprint speed for our players, here is the top 5 when it comes to sprint speed for the Dodgers.

      Cody, Taylor, Toles, AJ, Kike, and Muncy, believe it or not.

      And Muncy lost 25 pounds, so he should be a little better this year.

    3. Bum, I’m with you on Walton. He hasn’t had his team the entire season. From the suspensions of Rondo and Ingram, then injuries to Rondo and Ingram, then McGee gets pneumonia, then Lebron, Kuzma, and Ball get hurt. Walton didn’t miss the FT’s that Lebron did that cost them a game or two.
      ~
      I think Randle was their best player last season and the Lakers should have held to their guns and not relinquished his rights. He could have been the center in their small ball lineup but considering how Zubac has developed and the log jams of forwards it may have been the right move after all. Swapping James for Randle is a big win. I just wish they could have got a draft pick for Randle.
      ~
      As much I would love to get Davis I’m not sure that I’m giving up the entire team to do so. When Lebron is gone what stops the Lakers from looking like the current Pelicans. Plus, you have to have some talent in the court with the two stars that isn’t taking the Pelicans bad contracts with Davis.
      ~
      I hate to trade Zubac because he plays well off of Lebron but he would have to go in such a deal. I wouldn’t give all 3 of Kuzma, Ingram, and Ball. Years ago the Lakers chose between Adrian Dantley and Jamaal Wilkes. Inevitably they will have to do the same between Kuzma and Ingram.
      ~
      I too think Ball is a good player who is improving every game and would hate to see him go. They were up to the 4 or 5 seed after they beat Golden State so I hate to see the entire team blown up. Tough decisions ahead and Nawlins has all the leverage over the Lakers.
      ~
      I’d offer them Ingram, Zubac, Hart, Wagner, 2 1st Rd picks but it won’t be enough. Probably have to remove Ingram and replace with Kuzma and Ball to get it done.

      1. Other than my concern for Ball’s injuries, I would like to keep Ingram and Ball. Pope has to go due to salary trade offs.

        1. If this gets done KCP may go to Houston in some sort of 3way or 4way deal. His expiring deal is attractive. I’d like to see Svi on the court more but his defense needs to improve.

  7. A boat anchor! Not a fan.
    Don’t think he would fit the Dodger way and don’t think he brings to the game what the Dodgers need now.

  8. That’s all true but it doesn’t matter anyway I don’t see the dodgers getting either one of them, padres and reds will out bid dodgers! I just see tears this winter trying to keep the dodgers out of aquiring any top free agent or trades! Teams hate the dodgers and it seems any team that is possibly able to get one of those 2 players will do anything to keep them away! It’s almost like what happend to the lakers trying to get chris Paul back in the day, we have a target on our backs! I mean come on what the hell is the padres getting involved for, just to pissed us off, i mean again the dodgers are hated by teams so they will do whatever it takes to knock them out of any contention. Just my feelings of what I see

  9. It’s hard to argue with success and the Dodgers are incredibly successful. Stan Kasten didn’t handle his interview with Dylan Hernandez very well, pretty much created an opportunity to launch criticism (and a lot of it) at the organization. Kasten managed to step in pretty much every cowpie in the pasture. On the same subjects, Friedman handled the questions well, offering perspective and reasons behind the Dodger approach. But Kasten is correct that Dodger Fans or a majority of them would probably rather watch homegrown stars than big, high priced free agents like Bryce Harper. The Dodgers were transparent in saying that was the goal, to return to the old days of developing and keeping homegrown players, while boosting the roster through trades and free agents when needed. While I keep reading about the Dodgers not wanting to offer large contracts, that’s not exactly the case. The Dodgers offered Zack Greinke $155 million plus and pretty much had a deal in place. They believed they would wrap it up on a Monday and then Arizona came out of nowhere to offer a crazy contract. The Dodgers even tried to reacquire Greinke through a trade. While the TV deal is still a sore spot and the constant hike in ticket prices an issue, the Dodgers have made major improvements to Dodger Stadium and plan additional renovations before the All-Star game. They always have a high payroll, make key acquisitions at the trade deadline, win the NL West, have a top 10 farm system and have made it to the World Series the past two years. For some fans and obviously a couple of LA Times writers, that’s not enough. Yes, it has been over 30 years since they won a World Series, but there are no guarantees that signing a big time free agent will put you over the top. Personally, I think that signing Pollock and Kelly were great moves. Friedman is incredibly good at what he does, it’s time for people to admit it. The Dodger organization is a well run machine.

  10. Between his father’s presence and inability to stay on the court Zo can go!!(Right out of MT’s book).
    But they also want Kuz and Pope and a draft pick…Ouch.. I’m in Bum’s camp BUT…
    You give me James and AD and maybe Carmello (there’s others) We squeeze into the playoffs this year..
    Now next years’s FA’s are thinking I can get a ring outta this thing and like that were deep in the playofs… Just thinking…

    1. I don’t want Carmelo anywhere near the team. Ball’s daddy has been muted this season so that shouldn’t be a factor at all.

  11. Love what you said sbuffalo… Also the reference to the cowpies…
    Stan should stay in the owner’s box and see how his loyal fans without Spectrum might get a look at a few televised games in 2019 and let Friedman and the guys run the team…

  12. I agree with abuffalo and others. We have been successful and do not need Harper. He would ruin our locker room. From what I read, the Nat. players do not like him. AF knows what he is doing. When I was coaching HS Basketball, I cut four players when they were Sophomores. They were late for practice, late for games and would not listen. The group of players left over won the State title when they were seniors. The players do not need to like each other, but they must respect each other and be supportive of their teammates. That is why I am happy Puig is gone. You just cannot have bitchers on the team. It takes a special group of players to win it all.

    1. Puig was a bitcher? He took his demotion without a word. Handled it, worked his ass off and cheered on his teammates more than any when not playing. The entire team other than Turner and Machado were unhappy about being yanked in and out of the lineup.
      ~
      Hit 2 HR’s in a game, Your on the bench tomorrow. Or in Puig’s case hit 5 HR’s in 24 HR’s your on the bench cooling off so Kike Hernandez can play. Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, Matt Kemp the list goes on. They all wanted to play more but they sucked it up and none complained publicly.
      ~
      Harper isn’t getting 14/420 so that’s just hyperbole. Now if you want to make the argument he isn’t worth the money that’s fine and possibly a logical one in a lefty heavy lineup. However stating that he would ruin the locker room is ridiculous and without merit. His .390 .OBP and 35 bombs would fit the Dodger Way just fine. Especially sabregeeks Dodgers Way.
      ~
      Let’s not be Red Sox fans and wrongly disparage players characters or Cardinals fans who think their shit doesn’t stink with their Cardinal Way.

      1. You forgot to mention that he would be replacing Verdugo in RF, so really no difference in the handedness of the lineup.

        I agree wholeheartedly. Things like, “I heard the other Nats didn’t like him” is such nonsense to me. If he signs for 400 mil, okay let him go. But, if you can get him cheaper / shorter than Giancarlo, go for it!

        1. True. Verdugo would probably get dealt. I’ve always thought Harper should play LF. From all accounts not named Papplebon he is well liked by his teammates and owner.

          1. This is not true at all, I’ve herd from numerous of players and memebers of the Nats FO that he had a very big attitude problem and that he thought he was above everyone else.

      2. I still would like to see who produces more over the four years of 31 year old Pollock compared to Puig

        1. You also have to factor in how his teammates feel about him…

          Knuckleheads tend to outlive their welcome.

  13. From Houston Mitchell’s column today:
    “And some fans are fine with how things are. But there is a segment of the fan base that has that frustration. The frustration is that they believe the team is not going all out to win and are more worried about payroll.
    Team president Stan Kasten was at FanFest, and he apparently thinks those fans don’t exist.
    When Times columnist Dylan Hernandez brought up that some fans believe the team needs to do more than they have done this off-season, Kasten said, “You keep making this stuff up.”
    I’m going to quote directly from Dylan’s column now:
    “The Dodgers kept their payroll under the luxury-tax threshold of $197 million last year, which would prevent them from being taxed at a higher rate for repeat offenders if they spent more than the limit of $206 million this year. So, if they would be penalized as a first-time offender this year and have plenty of money coming off the books next year, why haven’t they spent more this offseason? Is this a warning of what is to come in future seasons?
    “That’s also such a weird narrative,” Kasten said. “If we can do whatever we do and stay under [the luxury-tax threshold], there are a lot of advantages to being under — by the way, a lot more advantages than you all write about.”
    “Such as?
    “I’m not going to go into that because that’s real inside baseball economic stuff,” Kasten said.”
    OK, that ends the except from Dylan.
    That is a weird narrative Kasten wants out there. When I read it, reacting as a Dodger fan, my first thought was “Kasten thinks Dodger fans are too dumb to understand what benefits the team gets.” Plus, he totally dismissed the fans out there that don’t understand why they don’t spend more by saying that it’s something the media has made up. I guess the people who email me are figments of my imagination.
    There’s no getting around the fact that Kasten totally blew off a segment of the team’s fan base. When told that, he reacted by saying:
    “You’re inventing a narrative that I don’t agree with because, like I said, I can almost tell you for sure, we’re going to lead the National League in attendance again. You’re inventing a different universe that is not borne out by reality, by facts.”
    So, as long as you are spending the money, you can’t possibly be frustrated or question anything, and you don’t need to know anything.
    Here was a chance for the president of the team to really respond and let fans know what the Dodgers are thinking. A chance to say “We know some fans are frustrated, but here’s why we want to stay under the tax.”
    Maybe he was just frustrated with Dylan and got angry and he stopped thinking clearly. But it’s part of the team president’s job to think clearly and not let his emotions get the best of him. He could have said “I don’t like this line of questioning. I don’t have time at FanFest to go into all the details of why this is beneficial for us. Call me tomorrow and we can go over all the reasons, so the fans know what is going on.”
    Or, “I understand some fans are unhappy, but there are certain financial reasons I can’t go into at the moment.”
    Or, “I understand some fans are unhappy, but we made the World Series the last two seasons, so we ask those fans to trust that we know what we are doing.”
    Instead we get “Those fans don’t exist. We can tell because we have such high attendance.” Kasten handled it in the worst manner possible.
    I’m not sure what one has to do with the other. Because I can be frustrated with the team and still want to go to the games and support the team. I get mad at my daughters sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love and support them. And many people consider the Dodgers part of the family.
    Unfortunately, a prominent Dodger don’t consider some of you to be part of their family.”

    As long as attendance is high then no fans have a problem with what the team has done in the off-season.

    And fans are too stupid to understand “inside baseball economic stuff”.

    I really dislike this. There are a lot of ways to say (or not say) what they are doing and why. I hate having my intelligence insulted.

    1. Well, if you know me, you know that I am not a Kasten fan. He should have been the pretty face in the background waving…and Roberts, Friedman and the players should have spoken. I do not like Guggs and I especially do not like Kasten either.

      You can only have your intelligence insulted if you allow it and I refuse to give Kasten that pleasure. In fact, what he said was just plain dumb!

  14. I have been checking in with John Heyman to see about the JT Realmuto Trade.

    And this is what John Heyman said about all of this concerning the Dodgers and Kasten.

    The Dodgers revenues are huge, and their business model is a huge success. ( facts)

    I thought he summed this up better then most.

  15. “I’m not going to go into that because that’s real inside baseball economic stuff,” Kasten said.”

    A year or so ago there were stories going around about the Dodgers and debt service. It implied that MLB was requiring the Dodgers to get their payroll down under the CBT limit. I wonder if this is what Kasten was referring to. There may be things behind the scenes that he doesn’t want to talk about. A PR firm may have phrased it differently. I concur he is probably best in a non public speaking role

  16. You forgot the best part of the article…

    So, here’s the thing, the Dodgers have a public number on their website to reach their administrative offices. It is 866-DODGERS, Ext. 9. If you would like to be told how staying under the balance tax helps the team, go ahead and call. There’s none of you out there, so I’m sure no one will call, right?

    I’m calling

  17. What I like most about Pollock I didn’t know until after he was signed. That being he wanted to be a Dodger more than being paid more $. Turner, Jansen and Kershaw all could of gotten a bigger paycheck elsewhere but they are Dodgers fans too and have earned better respect than too many so called fans remark of negative of. I don’t ask of them for reinvention but I’m certain they’ll put every ounce of effort in every dollar they’re paid and then some. They already have. They didn’t come aboard feeling entitled and if incentives (something I’d like to see more of in all Dodgers contracts) were part of them coming, they’d of cleared those hurdles long ago. Kershaw has done the most to bring us to the dance and I don’t hear enough good said about him. Save the shit said of his shortcomings those are fighting words and I’m not looking for a fight. I’m at the other platform of the scale of being a fan, the one where looking forward can see victory. There’s always room for improvement and I know that’s what’s in the heart of those who see being a Dodger is more important than a bigger paycheck. If Harper was of this type he’d be welcome, but it’s not too likely he’ll be wearing blue this season. Cheer for him, I’ll be cheering the above.

    1. Not a fan of incentives. Making millions of dollars playing a game they love should be enough of an incentive to perform their best.

  18. Hopefully everyone stays healthy. Also Clayton is no longer in his prime. To me he’s a number 2 starter now. Roberts need to coach better in the playoffs. The dodgers need learn how to get runners on base home!! Also the dodgers will not sign Trout or Arenado or any other big name player. They need big name star their to make it more interesting and exciting. They need to fix the bullpen still and keep jesen only a CLOSER!! Jesen could opt out after 2019 season will he do it??

    1. Kershaw has had a couple of injury-plagued years, but there is a lot of hope within the Dodgers that a different training program may get his velocity and strength back. He’s still 30 – will be 31 in March, and plenty of pitchers pitch very well into their mid-30’s. If you look historically at great pitchers, they sometimes have down years. Verlander, Carpenter, Maddux, Halliday, et al. I think it’s a mistake to write Clayton off as just a number two. If he is, it may be because Buehler is the second coming.

  19. MLB.TV’s Ken Rosenthal and Matt Vasgersian both say that they believe the Dodgers RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW are better than the team that went to the World Seies last year. Of course, the Rocket Scientist Harold Reynolds disagreed!

    I guess I am not the only person saying that they are a better team right now… even after the trade.

    1. True. I think walker will prove to me a number 1 starter. believe he can. It’s just how much longer will that window for them stay open? I want Kershaw to prove me wrong.

    2. Starting Pitching is better
      Bullpen is better
      Defense is better
      Offense is in question just because of the difference between Grandal and the Martin/Barnes combo
      Overall, I think they’re better, I would be sure if we get JTRM and Harper

  20. Quas I like hearing Pollack wanting to be a Dodger, did anybody notice arenado always looking into the Dodgers dugout when he’s on the field.i think he wants to be a Dodger also.

  21. The lack of movement for Harper & Machado is interesting.
    At what point does the player accept that he is not gonna get what he was hoping for, and does he then think that if that’s the case, would it not be better to sign for less to a team that is gonna contend, rather than take the best monetary offer, to play for someone he doesn’t really want to?

    I wonder if Greinke looks at the back to back WS appearances of the Dodgers, and wishes he’d signed for less to be a part of that? Or is he just happy to have a little bit extra in his Bank Account?

    In hindsight, I’m sure JDM is glad he took the deal with the Red Sox.
    Would Harper not be happier going to work every day, playing for the team (LAD) that he really wants to play for, whilst contending, but still earning the kind of money over maybe a 3 or 4 year deal, that he will never be able to spend anyway?
    He still has time for at least one more pay day in his career, so why not tell your agent to get a deal done with Friedman, coz that’s where you want to play.
    It sounds to me that is what Pollock did, and it makes sense.
    We all work, or have worked, and it’s definitely not all about the money.
    Certainly not when you’re travelling back and forwards across the US, and playing 162 games in 7 months. You’ve gotta want to do that.
    Machado the same. I’d be telling my agent to get me the best deal on a contender, not San Diego or the WhiteSox, but someone that excites me.

    It must come down to more than just money.
    Mark has been saying it for some time, as long ago as The Trade, that “Boat Anchor” contracts do not make sense, and he has been proved correct.
    If I were a top player, I’d be pleased to sign a shorter contact, as it would mean I’d get paid, without being stuck with some no hoper if it didn’t work out.

    I wonder if we will see a change in approach from some of these Superstar Free Agents when looking at contracts, like the Clubs are changing their habits.
    Either way, the good players will always get paid, but shorter contracts mean they can control their destiny better.

  22. Great takes Watford my man… I’ve chimed in many times about the adsurdity of MLB contracts in general and especially this latest crop… I just saw the teachers of Los Angeles agree to their pittance after their strike and then theres the unpaid Fed workers… I’ll stop but 420M to play the game… Really???
    MT, I saw that show and I’ve said before were better now than we were before… For God sakes, we field damn near two competitive teams on our 25…

  23. Thanks Watford, your posts are always insightful.
    _
    I want to make clear, that I am not against Kluber, Realmuto, Machado or Harper… but only at the right price.

    None of them are signed, evidently, every other GM in the game must think the price is too high as well, so why are the Dodgers being blasted because they won’t spend money on players others won’t spend on either? Sounds like mental illness to me.

    1. I am not sure it is just Dodger fans. I have read that the ChiSox fans are going to castigate Hahn if they do not sign Harper or Machado. I have heard the Phillies fans are going go to ballistic if they do not sign Harper or Machado. NYY has done a lot this Winter, and I keep reading how dissatisfied they are as well. Up here behind enemy lines in NorCal, Giants fans are not liking much about Farhan. So it is not just Dodger fans.

      1. Baseball is undergoing a fundamantal financial metamorphisis – that sounds like a column right up your alley.

  24. Who gets to make all the money in baseball? It’s not like there is competition. There is only one MLB. If players accept less will fans have to pay less? I got to work for anybody that would hire me. Players are drafted and controlled for years.
    .
    That said, Harper is not worth $30M more that Seager. The question might be is Seager underpaid or would Harper be if someone gave him $300M. And, at what tax rate should someone making millions annually be charged?

    1. I have often wondered if there is room for another league… basically a AAAA league comprised of aging Major Leaguers, AAAA Players and whoever wants to play. Set a salary cap of … say $30 Million… and be family friendly. Start with 6 or 8 teams regionally and see what happens. Admission is $10 to $30. $5.00 beers. You get my drift. Sort of like a minor league park on steroids!

  25. Very encouraging that Freidman expressed “consistency ” as far as the 2019 Dodger lineup is concerned at the Pollack news conference. Mark and a few others expressed their views about Farhan being a big platoon and micro manager guy. If you listen in between the lines on Freidman, some of the things he is now talking about (productive at bats, moving the runners along, being more consistent in the lineup, having the best players playing most nights) leads me to believe there is a reason why Freidman does not have a GM this year. I truly believe he wants to put his stamp on this team himself, without Zaidi. This should be real interesting in a good way. For the first time, we may see Doc Roberts unleashed without somebody looking over his shoulder. Can’t wait to see what happens..

    1. Totally agree with that take, and have thought it myself. I will add it may also affect the bullpen usage and letting starters go deeper. Freidman is in the final year of his contract I believe and it will be interesting indeed.

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