What Can We Expect From Dodger Hitters in 2019?

Everyone here has already heard that Robert Van Scoyoc, a 32 year-old punk who has really never played baseball beyond college (and was never very good there) is the Dodgers Hitting Coach for 2019. Aaron Bates is the Assistant Hitting Coach… and by the way, he has never coached… except in the minor leagues.

If you add Robert Van Scoyoc (RVS) and Aaron Bates (AB) ages together, you will be pretty close to the age of former hitting coach, Turner Ward, who wasencouragedallowed to leave the Dodgers after 2018. Just so we are clear, the Dodgers had an “old school” hitting coach that they traded in for a new ago duo of young whippersnappers. Is that about right?

Well, not quite… because this groundswell has has been brewing since JD Martinez turned into a superstar with the help of Robert Van Scoyoc. Van Scoyoc interned under Craig Wallenbrock, who might have been named the hitting coach except for the fact that he is in his mid-70’s. RVS was the next best choice since he was the anointed one to succeed Wallenbrock.

Van Scoyoc and Wallenbrock extolled the importance of launch angle before it became en vogue throughout the industry. RVS preached keeping swing paths through the strike zone as long as possible and lifting the ball in the air, most of Major League Baseball teams copied during the 2018 season.

Let’s get one thing straight: This is far from an exact science and as much as I would like it, I doubt that RVS can turn Kike Hernandez into JD Martinez, no matter how much I would like that. well… maybe he can… I’ll give him a chance.

Let’s agree to agree on one thing: Things are a changing in baseball. Salaries are changing, contracts are changing, ideas are changing, rules are changing and hitting is changing along with theories and tactics. They are all changing BIG TIME! If you don’t like it, stick around… this is not the final product.

It’s truly evolution and it is not a huge leap… it is elementary evolution and it’s still happening. It’s a work in progress. So, what can the Dodgers expect? Well, this is huge leap. Hiring a hitting coach who has ZERO MLB experience is a huge risk. I have watched Andrew Friedman for quite some time now and he is not apt to make dope fiend moves.

But he signed McCarthy, Anderson and Kazmir”. Do yu get that he didn’t sign Cueto, Price, Greinke and others and lock in the Dodgers to some bad contracts which become boat anchors? He talks calculated risks, but risks you can still succeed with should they fail. This is another risk for a couple of reasons: (1) Will it actually work? and (2) Will the players buy in? I’ll answer the first one first:

Will the Players Buy in?

I think many already have. They have because they trust Andrew Friedman. They have because they have seen how Wallenford and RVS’s program has worked for others. I don’t know if they all will buy in because not every hitter buys in to a hitting coaches teachings. I do know that Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, Austin Barnes, Max Muncy, Cody Bellinger and Alex Verdugo have been working with him in the past or currently.

This is not some radical change which involves doing something counter-intuitive and is easily explainable. It really evokes the Ted Williams theory of hitting among other things. To me, it sounds like sound science. There’s rational thought behind it and we have seen the results with several players. It doesn’t involve more strikeouts, rather it creates less strikeouts, which is something Andrew Friedman wants to improve upon.

I could see it taking a while to implement, which is why some players are already putting it to use. I do worry that Spring Training may not be enough time, but that fear is not based upon anything scientific,,,, just fear itself, which is something not to fear.

Will it Actually Work?

The fact that it already has worked with some should give us a clue. I think it will work differently with different types of hitters. Maybe Justin Turner already incorporates some of RVS’s tactics, but if he doesn’t, I think they would be very resistant to trying to change his hitting plane.

I think the biggest change RVS will bring is helping the players keep their swing path in the strike zone longer and cutting down their swing with two strikes. They will also work on bunting away from the shift. I believe you will see a dramatic drop in strikeouts, much like the one Houston experienced between 2016 to 2017, when they went from one of the worst strikeout teams to THE BEST in the AL – I mean that they were the hardest team to strikeout in 2017 after being one of the easiest in 2016.

Under Turner Ward, the Dodgers could never attain the consistency they needed. They scored runs in bunches and then didn’t score for long periods. I think that just cutting down on their swings with two strikes will resolve some of that as well as bunting away from the shift.

I believe the Dodgers will score more runs with a better consistency, strikeout fewer times and overall have a better and more watchable product on the field. I also believe that Andrew Friedman wants to see fewer platoons and Doc will see to that. Overall, I think 2019 will be a good season, but if the boys can wrap their heads around Robert Van Socyoc’s methods quickly, it could be one for the ages.

This article has 48 Comments

    1. In 2013, Ward became an assistant hitting coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks. We might remember he was thrown out of the game during a massive brawl between the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers on June 11, 2013. He became full-time hitting coach in 2014. He helped Goldschmidt and Pollock. Pollock’s best year was in 2015.

  1. Barnes is happy with his swing while working with Van Scoyoc this winter,letś see how it goes in ST.

  2. It’s fine to be gung-ho on a new hitting guru, and Bums is correct that Turner Ward arrived on the scene with much the same plaudits as RVS seems to be getting now. I remember MT leading that charge early on.
    .
    But Turner Ward was not some slug occupying space on the Dodger bench. The Dodgers led the National League in runs scored and home runs in 2018. Since 2016, they have been the best team in the NL in wRC+ (104), home runs (645), isolated slugging (.180), have been second in walk rate (9.7 percent) and third in runs per game (4.72).
    .
    The Dodgers had the lowest O-Swing% in baseball over the last three years — 27.2 percent. That was 1.6 percent better than the next-best team, the Twins. They were the best at not chasing of any team for the last two seasons.
    .
    RVS may have JDM, but Ward while also being team hitting coach and not the individual’s hitting instructor, tutored Yasiel Puig and resurrected his career. Puig saw marked improvement over the last three years under Ward. He went from a 101 wRC+ in 2016 — the low point of his career — to 117 in 2017 and 123 this past season. His contact rate improved, and his swinging strike rate fell in each of the last three seasons.
    .
    I am not necessarily a Turner Ward advocate, but I also do not believe he was the problem. The all or nothing approach was organizational wide. Was it Zaidi’s favored approach? AF’s? Will RVS have more of a say or less of a say? Unless we know how much Ward was allowed to influence the approach, it is tough to criticize. I am also not anti-RVS. I have zero objection to keeping the swing path in the strike zone longer, or choking up with 2 strikes, or going with the pitch, being less aggressive with 2 strikes, bunting against the shift.
    .
    The one change in approach that I do see coming is that Ward preached patience at the plate. Make the pitchers pitch. I remember everyone was so supportive in 2017 getting the pitcher’s count up to 60-70 by the third inning and getting into the bullpen early. It worked in 2017, just not 2018. Will RVS preach attack early? The other facets about hitting are individual. If the player is not held accountable because they remain too aggressive with 2 strikes, or do not get that runner home from 3rd with less than 2 outs even though just getting bat on ball will score a run, then there is no reason to change.
    .
    Finally, how much influence will RVS have with the affiliates in the organization and their approach? Gavin Lux was an RVS pupil before his monster offensive year in 2018. Also, Jeren Kendall supposedly worked with him this past winter. Hopefully Kendall will follow up Lux’s 2018 with a monster 2019 of his own. Will DJ Peters get his strikeouts down to a respectable level or will 30 HRs in MiLB be more important than contact, as it has been. He has tremendous power, but 34+% K rate in AA is a bit much. What does that portend for him at MLB?

  3. Hitting coaches always have a positive affect on some players. For instance, both Cody Bellinger and Cory Seager credit Shawn Wooten with helping them over the hump. Bellinger also with Damon Mashore.
    .
    Generally, the only time you hear about a hitting coach is when he is fired. Bellinger explained why Wooten succeeds.
    .
    “He’s gifted at looking at video and noticing a centimeter if your foot is tilting this way or that way,” Bellinger said. “That can make a world of difference in your swing. He’ll put the videos side by side, and it’s just an easier way to learn for the younger generation. He’s really good at that, he’s very good at explaining what it is, what it’s causing and how to fix it.”
    .
    Seager became a disciple the last month of the 2014 season at Double-A.
    .
    “I kind of got to know him a little bit then,” he said. “Knew I had some stuff to make adjustments on. And the next Spring Training was a really big Spring Training for me. He made some adjustments and we got to where I thought I needed to be, and ever since then it’s been a constant dialogue, constant video sent to him pretty much every night. The relationship has grown over the years.”
    .
    I have a strictly wait and see attitude with RVS. I am not big on predicting what might happen. However, one thing I am relatively sure of is that he won’t use a one shoe fits all approach. My greatest hope is to cut down on K’s and do a better job with two strikes and/or RISP. I have always been a station-to- station advocate because it seems to be a winning strategy. It is not as glamorous or as crowd pleasing as home runs but it wins when home run fail.
    .
    I have zero fears that the hitters will not listen to, work with RVS and also zero fears that he will he will try to make home run hitters out of those who do have the power to turn doubles into homers with a higher launch angle.
    .
    Confidence is such a big factor. Perhaps he can engender more confidence in Austin Barnes and others especially when they get into a funk.

  4. Some reports out there that the giants have, or will shortly, offer Harper a short term, high salary deal. I can’t imagine Harper takes that deal with SF though; if he takes their money for 3-4 years, SF is still well below LA in the NL West, and should be for the next couple years. Harper won’t sniff the playoffs. I’d think he uses SF’ offer to come back to LA and say “pay me the same and I”m a Dodger”.

    I am now quite confident Bryce Harper will be a Dodger before hitters report to spring training.

    1. I’m feeling Harper will be in SF. They really need him and they have a history of having megastars with Mays and Bonds.

  5. Just saw that Nick Hundley signed a Minor League deal with the A’s.
    Can’t help but think that he might have been a better inexpensive option for us this season.

  6. I was excited when the Dodgers first got Turner Ward and we saw progress his first season, but midway through his second season, I felt like the progress stopped. Frankly, I think his “working the count to get the pitcher to throw as many pitches as possible” played into the pitchers more than the hitters. See it, hit it! is what I think RVS will say.

  7. If the Giants offer Harper that contract. The Dodgers should get him if they don’t they are pathetic. Outfield of Harper, Pollack, and Verdugo. Trade Pederson for bullpen depth in the minors.

    1. I’m with you James. If he signs with the Giants, it will be an epic fail for this FO. And it will be pathetic for everyone involved, since the Giants aren’t going to the playoffs for the next several years anyways. If he signs anywhere else, so be it.

      1. I’m with both of you. The Giants always get the Superstar hitters and he WANTS to be a Dodger. The Dodgers have the money, they just want to be cheap and give fans 10 extra free TV games to keep em happy

  8. Jamey, Jamey, Jamey… Pathetic he spouts!!! Really??? We had a good flow going here and then it’s M.T. proclaiming the canuck an MVP and my beloved Blue deemed pathetic… Damn…

  9. Yeah James, we were all getting along so nicely there for a minute.
    Even chit chat about Harper messes up the ladodgertalk clubhouse.

  10. AC
    I agree with your thoughts about Turner Ward and our new hitting instructor.

    And I am glad our new hitting instructor isn’t preaching patience, to the extent Turner Ward did.

    Sure if a pitcher is having control issues, a hitter should be patient.

    But because the first few pitches a hitter usually gets, are the best pitches a hitter will get in the strike zone, a hitter needs to do damage early.

    Because most pitchers are not going to give a hitter a good pitch to hit, after a pitcher is ahead on the count.

    And I think when runners are in scoring position it is even more important for a hitter to swing at the first pitch a hitter can handle.

    Because pitchers pitch even tougher when runners are in scoring position or on base, so hitters are not going to get that many good pitches to hit, in these situations anyways.

    Vinny use to preach the big difference between and 2-1 count, and a 1-2 count, and he saw more major league baseball games, then all of us.

    Most good hitters attack any good pitches they get in the strike zone early in their counts, so why would anyone want an average or below hitter, not attacking the first few good pitches they get in the strike zone?

    Turner and Corey are much more prepared to hit with two strikes, then most of the other hitters in our line up, yet Corey and Turner, don’t let any good pitches go by early in their counts, that are in the strike zone.

    Turner doesn’t wait for a perfect pitch when a runner is in scoring position, he attacks the first pitch he thinks he can handle.

    And like I just said, Turner is our best two strike hitter.

    I just think with this new hitting instructor, our players are not going to be able to take everything in, he is trying to teach in just one season.

    And because of that, I hope our players don’t suffer from any mental over load.

    And I hope our hitting instructor knows, when a hitter is best left alone too.

    1. It far less about the hitting coach and more about the hitter’s skill set. Turner Ward did an excellent job and JT would be the first to tell you that. I’ve read interviews with him and he wasn’t happy at all about him leaving. I also listened to Ward being interviewed on SiriusXM. I don’t buy any conspiracies on here that he was forced out. Hitting coach is a thankless job and is often a scapegoat for players failures. I’m not going to draw any conclusions about the new hitting coach, but I hardly believe a front office driven by sabremetrics is going to suddenly stop emphasizing .OBP. Swings at strikes. Don’t swing at balls and get yourself out. Pretty simple philosophy to leads to passing the baton. The front office is still going to give these guys reports on what are their hot zones as hitters and zones they should lay off of. Hopefully, some of our hitters will have better two-strike approaches, but to think they guy who worked with Taylor to develop his swing is going to lead to drastic changes in the offense is unrealistic in my opinion. It is up to the players and the personnel that the front office puts on the field.

      1. Hawkeye

        That is why I agreed with AC because I don’t think that approach was necessarily coming from Turner, to try to pop every pitch they thought they could, out.

        But I did think various players should have swung earlier in their counts, especially when runners were in scoring position.

      2. Hawkeye

        That is why I agreed with AC because I don’t think that approach was necessarily coming from Turner, to try to pop every pitch they thought they could, out.

        But I did think various players should have swung earlier in their counts, especially when runners were in scoring position.

        And I know hitting instructors can only do so much.

  11. I don’t think patience is about only taking pitches to work the count. For me, patience is about being selective at the plate, and not chasing pitches outside the strike zone. I want the Didgers’ hitters to be aggressive on pitches in their hitting zone, no matter what the count. Get ahead in the count or take the walk when the pitcher gives it to you, and no matter what the count, swing when you get your pitch. In other words, “controlled aggression”.

    1. Like AC pointed out, the Dodgers already had the best rate at not swinging at balls, out of the strike zone.

      And that is why I think those first three pitches are a little different then that.

      But talking about a hitters zone, the Red Sox hitters eliminated all the pitches that Kershaw threw on the inside of the plate, so they didn’t fall prey to difference of Kershaw’s slider and fastball.

      And they waited until Kershaw would throw over the plate or on the outside of the plate, before they went after a pitch.

  12. I would translate ” controlled aggression” into CONFIDENCE .
    As an observer, it looked to me last year like so many of our guys, so often got into the batters box with very little confidence and the result was a serious lack of controlled aggression. Many seemed defeated and deflated st the plate. And without a valid hitting plan other than, ” I think i’ll try to hit a HR.
    I know that’s a generalization but that what it looked like to me.
    I’m hopeful for that controlled aggression along with an appropriate hitting plan, and confidence in the ability to execute.

    1. Bobo

      Good points!

      Barnes has to be that one hitter in our lineup, that seemed to lack confidence every time he stepped into the batter’s box.

  13. It seems like the first pitch is a good one to guess on type and location. Guessing aided by stats. It might look hitable but if you are sitting dead red on the outside part of the plate you have to take it if it is an off-speed pitch over the plate.

  14. Does anyone else remember Taylor, Hernandez and Peterson during the 2017 playoffs? They were aggressive early in the count on good pitches but refused to give the pitchers breaks by swinging at bad pitches. They had hard line drives down the lines and in the gaps and HR”s when they got their pitch. Those are the hitter I want to see again this year because they would be the best 6th, 7th and 8th place hitter combination in the major leagues and give the Dodgers a tremendous lineup from top to bottom.

  15. Houston Mitchell of the Times today:
    “For most of the offseason I’ve been waiting for the Dodgers to make a big move. Not because I necessarily thought they needed to make a big move, but because I thought the moves they did make were building up to something. After it became apparent, they weren’t going to sign Bryce Harper (and I fully agreed with the Dodgers not wanting to give anyone a 10-year deal), then I thought for sure that J.T. Realmuto was a possibility. And I preached to all of you to have patience and let the big picture be revealed before passing judgement. That all changed Thursday when the Phillies acquired Realmuto from Miami for catcher Jorge Alfaro, pitching prospects Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart and future considerations. Then the offseason moves officially became puzzling.

    Now when I get mystified over things like this, I try to replay events in my mind to see if I missed something. Let’s look at the major offseason moves by the Dodgers so far:
    –Yasmani Grandal became a free agent and signed with Milwaukee.
    –The Dodgers signed free-agent reliever Joe Kelly to a three-year, $25-million deal.
    –The Dodgers traded Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer to Cincinnati for Homer Bailey, who they released, and two minor leaguers who may be able to contribute in three years or so. It’s a move designed to clear payroll.
    –The Dodgers acquired Russell Martin from Toronto for two minor leaguers.
    –The Dodgers signed free-agent outfielder A.J. Pollock to a five-year, $60-million deal.
    The Kelly signing was weird, because after a few seasons of bringing in a lot of cheap relievers and just riding whoever was hot during the season, they finally spent money for a set-up man, only to sign a guy who is average at best. Kelly allows almost a hit an inning and walks a lot of guys (4.4 every nine innings last season). He’s not particularly good with runners on base. He has been outstanding in the postseason, which may be what the Dodgers are counting on. But still, this is the guy you open the checkbook for?
    Grandal certainly wore out his welcome during the playoffs last season and I have always found him to be overrated on defense. He is very streaky on offense, but he’s better than the 2018 versions of Martin and Austin Barnes. It’s certainly possible that Martin is rejuvenated by returning to Los Angeles, or that Barnes recaptures some of his 2017 magic.
    The Dodgers do have two top-rated catching prospects, Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz, who most believe are about a year away from becoming starters. But Realmuto is eligible for free agency after the 2020 season, so that really isn’t much of an obstacle. Getting Realmuto this season would have been nice. A lot nicer than hoping Martin and Barnes get better in a hurry. Plus, if he has a big year, you have three guys who are tradeable in Realmuto, Smith and Ruiz. So you get basically a free season from one of the best catchers out there and then have the fun position of whether to trade one of the two best catching prospects in the game, or trade one of the best young catchers in the game.
    I do hear a lot that Martin is a “good clubhouse guy,” which is certainly nice to have. But I’ll take the bad clubhouse guys who hit .300 with 30 homers and 100 RBIs every year and you take the good clubhouse guys who hit .200 with no power and we’ll see who wins more games.
    Trading Kemp, Puig and Wood is what convinced me that the Dodgers had something bigger in mind. Otherwise that trade doesn’t make a lot of sense. Yes, Kemp had a brutal last couple of months last season. But he always, always starts a season red-hot, so what was the rush to trade him right now? Puig may be toxic in the clubhouse, but he wasn’t toxic on the field. He wasn’t perfect, but he had a 120 OPS+ last season and plays solid defense. That’s not easy to replace. Wood gave the team pitching depth. He wasn’t as good as he was in 2017, but he was never going to be that good again. He was still above average. To get two low-level minor leaguers for those three players (and Farmer) is thievery by the Reds.
    Making the trade sound even dumber is when your manager, a few days after the trade, says he is pleased with the roster but they need “more right-handed hitting.” Um, didn’t you just trade two of your best right-handed hitters?

    It seems to me that the Dodgers are not better than last season. You can argue that they are about the same, but I would argue they are slightly worse. And that’s not a good thing. For the Dodgers to go all the way this season, they need the following things to happen, assuming everyone else plays to a similar level as 2018:
    1. Martin or Barnes to play well on offense.
    2. Pollock to stay healthy.
    3. Hope that Kelly can become that reliable set-up man, or that Pedro Baez of the last couple of months of the season was for real.
    4. Kenley Jansen needs to recapture his old form.
    5. No major injuries.
    6. Seager to be 100%.
    Those are a lot of things that have to go right. And they all very well could.
    Let’s face it, the current front office has gotten them to the World Series the last two seasons. They have earned a little slack. I know a lot of you don’t like Andrew Friedman because he refuses to spend money to make the team better, but Friedman can only work with the budget he is given by ownership. If they tell him to stay under the luxury tax threshold, then you can’t get mad at him for not signing a big name. Plus, let me reiterate, he has helped build a team that reached the World Series the last two seasons. He deserves credit and respect for that.
    But this offseason doesn’t make sense at all right now. The mixed messages being sent this offseason, like unloading right-handed hitters and then wanting more right-handed hitting, gives fans the impression that there are 12 people trying to steer the ship, which never works. The Dodgers have to realize, I hope, that trading Kemp, Puig and Wood just made the fan base convinced something big was going to happen. That finally opening the checkbook for a set-up guy made the fans convinced something big was going to happen.
    But nothing has happened.
    The Dodgers feel like the guy who goes to buy a new car, gets the nicest car on the lot, then doesn’t want to spend the extra $500 for air conditioning. The car looks great, but everyone who rides in it with you is going to think you are a cheapskate, no matter how much you spent on the car.
    A lot of fans will go to Dodger Stadium this season. But if the team gets off to a slow start, or goes through a slump at some point, those fans are going to say “Why didn’t these cheapskates spend the extra $500 for air conditioning?””

    Like most Dodger fans, Mitchell doesn’t think that the Dodgers are better this year. Like many of us, he concludes that the Farmer Trade makes no sense – the Dodgers cleared the deck for a big deal coming back, but what they got was AJ Pollock and a couple of low level minor leaguers. And this year’s catchers do nothing to inspire confidence.

    This may be the season that Guggenheim and the Braintrust don’t get a pass from Dodger fans.

    1. If the Dodgers had kept Kemp, Puig, and Wood they would not be as good as they were last year. Time refuses to stand still. They still have the players that will let them add where they show they need to add. I don’t think they know that now. Better to wait unless they think it is offense that they need now and sign Harper.

      1. Yep. It annoys me when people dont understand why we made that trade. Ryu took Wood’s spot, Kemp was incompatible on the roster, and Verdugo needed an opening. Plus we added two prospects who recently were ranked in our top ten.

    2. They have never gotten a pass!

      They are not cheap, but they are smart and I guess some fans and sportswriters just cannot see it.

      I don’t think the $500 analogy is even close to accurate… $300 million is closer.

      Many other people believe the Dodgers are better and Vegas has them the odds on favorite to win the NL.

      1. Didn’t everyone assume that the Farmer trade was leading up to something significant?

        Did it?

        1. Yes and Yes!

          Well, we did sign Pollock after the Farmer trade. Apparently, you don’t think that Pollock is a significant signing? I do. He’s better than the two outfielders we gave up in the trade.

          What significant thing did you want to happen after that trade? I want Harper of course, but there’s 2 things about that. 1) Harper still hasn’t signed with anyone, so we don’t know if that isn’t going to happen. 2) Harper might want to play somewhere else, weather that’s for more money, or maybe he just likes the food better. Only he knows what will make him sign.

          The fact that he and Manny still aren’t signed makes me like them less. Attention whores. Look at me! I’m gonna make everyone wait so I can get more money that I’ll never be able to spend.

          1. Harper is a peacock. The $ he expects shows as much. He doesn’t fit this team even as good as his offense is. Sure, his batting is something worth putting up with but not for what he expects. He’s simply not as superstar as what’s in his mind. If he wants to be a Dodger he’ll have to put winning above what his agent pumps in his brain. He’d have to consider what the Dodgers are as a team and if that is valuable enough for him to discount for a winning chance then he might be a fit. Otherwise let him play for the Giants and hope for a wildcard shot.

    3. I notice how Mitchell conveniently left out that move of extending Kershaw and signing Ryu with the QO. Didn’t fit the narrative.

      $50 M may not be a big move to Mitchell, but that’s still big money in my league (even in the Dodger’s league)

    4. That is a classic case of circular thinking. You end with your starting belief!

      So you evidently are OK overpaying for two years of Realmuto? You should love Arte Moreno – he was the darling of the LA media a few years ago, just the the D-Bags were 3 years ago. They both crashed and burned.

      Mitchell is a good writer and I’ll leave it at that. Some people never learn…

  16. The trade they made with Cincinnati really didn’t save much money. It helped more on the aav for the luxury tax. I felt if they hadn’t have sent the 7 million it would have been a good trade. But, I am sure Cincy would not have done it. So, I can only conclude that the 3 had very little value to others and AF wanted to move them to give others opportunity with a little extra room under the tax. The Kelley signing was right out of the McCourt playbook. Overpay and/or give an extra year to eliminate the competition. You get a useful player who may be better than that but too much risk for the average team. Plus, due to the la taxes we may have to pay a little more. Pollock, same thing injury prone, hasn’t really been that good it recent years, AF betting he will stay healthy and maybe have a breakout year, if not we have depth and the contract won’t kill us but others won’t risk. Ryu, same thing, nobody in the league would pay his salary. But, AF knows he is a beast if healthy especially at dodger stadium. But, if you don’t sign those 3 you save 40 million to put on Harper, machado, or whoever the team chooses. That is just how AF decided to spend the money. Spread the risk, build depth, hold the cost down, get the most value for the fewest dollars. Kasten did it for years in Atlanta. He had a great pitching staff, a tough lineup, a great manager, and still only won one World Series out of all that. They were happy to win consistently, make money, provide a good product. Sound familiar, I would say ownership prioritizes making money, the fans, players, manager winning, and AF trying to thread the needle. I do agree with MT though if you get to the World Series you have a legitimate chance to win.

  17. If you build a team that gets to the WS two years in a row i’d say your a winner and pretty much know what your doing. Losing two years in a row in my opinion had very little to do with the front office. At least the current front office.
    Maybe I am a member of the AF congregation, glad he is guiding the flock.

  18. Sh– Ya’ll… A few are just fishing to get things ugly in here…
    M.T. & 59 – stick to your guns… Blue, barring injuries (as with every team) is clearly out of the gate the best in the NL…

  19. M.T. What is it with affinity with the men who wears the tools of ignorance???
    Ricky Martin MVP – CPOY…
    I personally would have been happy with A.J. Ellis behind the dish to b/u Barnes… I got a feeling Kersh would have approved the move and he’s caught a few that are here now… Then during the year we get AJ to join the staff somewhere in the system… IMO he is very good Managerial material…
    A.J. Triple Crown…

  20. Nice AJ plan there but word just came out that the Padres signed him for their baseball ops department. We could easily have done that as well, but I wonder if there is some bad blood going back to the way AF got rid of him.

  21. And now it looks like the A’s will sign Brett Anderson. The hits just keep coming. Who will the Dodgers miss out on signing next? 😉

  22. What Mitchells piece didn’t take into account, and I believe Mark touched on this a few days ago, this is a very weak NL West this year. Freidman does not have to make any dope fiend moves like the Red Sox -Yankees bloodbath. If you follow Freidman, he is more of a trade deadline guy in July and August. With what we have now, let’s all go to spring training and see who shows up to kick some ass,(Toles, Caleb Ferguson, Ruiz, Will Smith, Lux, Santana, etc. We have time, the rest of the division outside of the Rockies doesn’t. Freidman is a great poker player, patient to the point of driving us all crazy, but also disciplined enough not to pull an Arte Moreno and hamstring the franchise for 10 years for a shiny nugget. Patience, padowahns, spring training will unearth some gems…

    1. weak west isn’t the problem. The rest of the league and the AL is the issue. The Dodgers have not made it past the AL the last two years. No real pitching help and no big bat this year. Counting on big years from the same group and some young kids. How many teams get a third shot at the World Series three straight years???

    2. Mitchell is a hack. There are all kinds of hacks in the world and he’s the worst kind. Actual journalistic credentials and platform but nothing to say. The best lack all conviction and the worst are full of passionate intensity.

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