I set out today to write a “tongue-in-cheek sarcastic column on how bad the Dodgers were as a team and a critique on each player. After a few minutes, I realized that as much as I tried, I could not be that devoid of reason. There was no way I could even make up a way to devalue this team. I’m dumb, but I am not that dumb! Well, maybe I am… but I digress!
The Farmer Trade
It has became pretty clear to me that the following is absolutely true:Agree with it or not,there was no future for Wood, Puig, Kemp and Farmer with the Dodgers and frankly, the Dodgers wanted to rid themselves of Kemp, Puig and Wood. Farmer was collateral damage, but he would not have made the roster anyway.
Matt Kemp was a feelgood story and I even predicted it, but his WAR (or lack of it) showed his real value. The Dodgers felt like they had to unload him… but it wouldn’t be easy. They were not going to re-sign Wood or Puig and did not want to offer them the Qualifying Offer next year (for fear they would take it), so they packaged them all together and took back Homer Bailey’s salary which gave them the ability to sign AJ Pollock… oh, and they got two every good prospects back in the trade. Time will tell how good, but both have high ceilings.
For writers to continue to parrot like a trained monkey that it was just a salary dump just shows a lack of comprehension of what really happened. The media (well, just a few morons in the media) say it over-and-over, but sometimes people just need to learn to think for themselves. We know that Yasiel Puig was a locker room problem and we are pretty sure the front office wanted him gone… LIKE NOW!
Alex Wood would not have been happy in the pen, so without a good attitude, he was a liability… and bullpen guys who make $9.7 million are elite – he wasn’t. The Dodgers likely have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball (if you don’t agree, readTHIS) and a crowded outfield already, so these were natural moves to improve the team. The Dodgers could have just not offered arbitration to Puig and Wood (that would have been a pure salary dump), but they would have still been stuck with Kemp at a higher AAV than now, due to the Home Bailey trade. The Trade was actually a stroke of genius.
The Dodgers were able to sign Pollock with the savings and to top it off, the Dodgers got two very good prospects (Friedman is always trying to improve the farm). Essentially, trading Wood, Puig, Kemp and Farmer netted the Dodgers two very good prospects and the ability to sign AJ Pollock. You can think what you want about AJ – maybe he will miss the season, maybe he will play 80 games – maybe he will be an All-Star. All three things are possible… we shall see what happens. Personally, I think this team is due for some “good luck.”
AC has written many times that the Dodgers would not go over the Luxury Tax Threshold in 2019 (I was not quite so sure, but was reasonably convinced), so if you expected more than Pollock, you are simply delusional. Guggs said they would not pay the luxury tax! Barring catastrophe, this is a 95 Plus win team this season and anyone who says otherwise is very jaded, biased or subject to arrest.
The 2018 Red Sox started the season with the same team as the 2017 Red Sox… except for JD Martinez. They added Steve Pearce and Nate Evoladi at the deadline but Martinez was the only change from 2017. The Red Sox improved from within… one-year-over-the-other. Maybe you can’t see it, but I can. I can see several players on the Dodgers improving, starting with Bellinger, CT3 and Barnes.
In my opinion, minus Puig, Kemp, Wood and Farmer… the Dodgers are a better team. Add in Pollock, Kelley, some rookies and incremental improvement… and the Dodgers are a MUCH better team. Some services have them as a 100 win team. According toKen Gurnick of Dodgers.com, Andrew Friedman said this:
“We just felt it healthy and good to bring in different guys at times,” he said. “The most important thing for fans, are we in position to win a World Series, and I think we are. Time will tell. We have a chance to be an elite team.”
Friedman didn’t rule out a spring acquisition, especially considering the quality and quantity of available free agents, but stressed that “I actually really like our team. We really have no weak spot on the roster.”
“I really like our projected 25-man and the depth we have behind it. That said, it’s not in our DNA to sit back and think the roster is on lockdown. We always have conversations and are thinking about things. If we do something, we’ll feel that much better.”
Friedman knows that history will judge him. Friedman knows that he has to get this team back to the World Series. Friedman knows that he has to win it! I like the quote:“We just felt it healthy and good to bring in different guys at times.”He said a mouthful right there… without actually saying it. When new guys come in “old guys” have to go. You can draw your own conclusion from that.
It is undisputed that the Dodgers traded away some good players… and I will enjoy watching them on local TV and a few trips to Cincy. Friedman knows he has to get back to the World Series and he felt he needed some different soldiers to win the war. I am not saying Farmer, Kemp, Puig or Wood are bad guys, but after deliberation with his manager, coaches and Front Office Personnel, he pulled the trigger and believed that even if he did not do anything else, he improved the farm (he’s always looking to do that) and got better. In my opinion, he made the team a lot better.
Maybe someone like Molly Knight will tell us what REALLY went on with Puig, Kemp and Wood. Time to write another book? “The Best Team Money Can’t Buy” There you go Molly, I’ve got your title.
Kenley Jansen and the Dodgers are on a mission.Kenley is medically cleared and healthy and about 25 pounds lighter. He is going to work hard this Spring to be ready. Rich Hill is also changing his training routine because he has always been a slow starter. The team is changing the way they do things because it’s insanity to do the same things over and over and expect different results.
Pedro Moura of The Athletic(pay site) has a great article on Kenley today. I’ll tease you with this:
Kenley Jansen spent last February tossing footballs across the Camelback Ranch clubhouse, practicing his chipping with a portable golf set and walking on a treadmill. He did not throw a pitch in a baseball game.
On Wednesday, the 13th day of this February, Jansen threw his sixth bullpen session of the nascent year, checked his signature cutter’s spin rate and set off for the gym to do more cardio work. Twenty-five pounds and a shirt size slimmer after a heart scare and the worst season of his nine-year career, Jansen arrived in Arizona invigorated by a new perspective.
“I wasn’t as motivated last year,” Jansen said. “I’m saying it now because I see how motivated I am now. I thought I was OK last year. Now, I accept last year, I accept two years ago. Now it’s go time.”
Turner Ward helped the Dodgers, but it was time to move on, just like Friedman said “You bring in new guys.” The team is mostly intact, minus a few and with a few additions. The hitting approach is changing. The Front Office wants fewer platoons – you learn from your mistakes – you change – you evolve. That’s what is happening this Spring. Maybe, just maybe, the third time IS a charm!
There is nothing more powerful than the human spirit… especially when you have 40 guys, rowing in sync and on a mission, with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove.
Lots of good photosHERE