Let’s Play Twenty Questions

  1. So, since Bruce Bochy has announced he will retire AFTER this season, will Bill Hanselman be hired now or wait until the next off-season?That is, if he really will be the next Giants manager and I have heard he will be.  I guess you never know, but it makes sense.
  2. Andrew Toles has been his own worst enemy in the past with getting kicked off teams, etc.Is this what is happening again or is it really something beyond his control?I hate to speculate, but you have to… It’s my job. It is being reported he will not report to Spring Training.
  3. Can Chris Taylor re-capture his 2017 form?Also, a lot has been written about DJ LeMahieu. Conside this: he hit .317/.360/.433 at home and only .229/.277/.422 away from Coors Field. That’s not a one-year blip, because it’s been happening his entire career. Who would you rather have at 2B – DJLM or CT3… and what if DJM cost 10X what CT3 did?
  4. Will Joe Kelley be “Machine Gun Kelly” or “Wild Man Kelly?”Maybe “effectively wild” is not such a bad thing. We shall find out soon enough. You can’t teach 100 MPH.
  5. Will Kenley Jansen be better than ever?He trained hard, got his ticker fixed and lost 25 pounds or will it be more of last seasons’s ups and downs? My guess is that he is on a mission…
  6. Will Corey Seager be good as new and better than ever?From what I have seen, I have to give it definite “maybe.” Getting an “MVP Quality” player back is HUGE. Pedro Moura of The Athletic has a great read on his rehab.
  7. Can Hyun-jin Ryu reach his great potential and have a career year?That all starts with being lucky… lucky enough to not be injured. Luck is where preparation meets opportunity and he is due for some.
  8. Is Clayton Kershaw still an elite pitcher after a few injury-plagued years?Father Time catches up to us all. Does Clayton still have more left in the tank and will his new off-season routine help him get back to where he once was?
  9. Is Cody Bellinger a MVP Contender or a MVP Pretender?Does he have 50 HR potential or is he a “Rob Deer in the headlights?” While I can’t predict what will happen, I have said that the Dodgers will have three TOP 10 MVP candidates. Corey and Cody are two of them.
  10. Can Austin Barnes and Russell Martin comeback?The Dodgers do not need huge production from them, just great defense and pitch framing, but what if they did put up some good offensive numbers?
  11. Is the starting pitching as good as it looks?... and, it looks to be really good. Injuries can play a part, but what will be the legacy of this starting rotation?
  12. Will Max Muncy be as effective as last year or will he regress?It’s easy to think regression, but it is also possible he could be even better with another year under his belt… I guess it depends upon your perspective and inclinations. 
  13. Will the Dodgers miss Kemp, Puig, Wood and Farmer?They might miss Kyle Farmers’ clubhouse persona, but the rest is … what was the question again?
  14. Will Pedro Baez continue his progression as a pitcher and become unstoppable… and if a pitch clock is implemented, what will he do?He is the slowest to the plate in MLB. With a pitch clock, he will have to fix it.
  15. WillWalkerStriker Buehler win a Cy Young in his second season?He’s certainly capable. I should also ask, “will he throw a no-hitter?”
  16. Is Alex Verdugo ready and will the Dodgers give him the chance?Is he over-hyped or is he the real deal? Will we find out THIS year? I think the Dodgers have to give him a big opportunity. It’s now or never.
  17. Will the Dodgers win over 95 games?It’s a simple yes or no. I say YES!
  18. Can AJ Pollock stay injury-free?It’s the law of averages at work and I think he’s the third TOP 10 MVP Candidate.
  19. What will be the outcome of the Dodgers hiring of Robert Van Socyoc and Associates?Will it be the Holy Grail? A dismal failure or just more of the same ole’ same ole’?
  20. Will the Dodgers win the World Series?Well, that’s why they play the game and the answer is… Oh, sorry I have reached my word limit!

This article has 87 Comments

  1. If the Dodgers really want to eliminate platoons then they have already decided that Verdugo will be the left fielder. Spring training is supposed to get players ready for the season and usually stats gathered in spring are not used to decide who plays to start the season. Players should be able to work on things in the Spring. Still, Joc needs to have a big Spring if Friedman and Roberts (FAR) are serious about limiting platoons.

          1. FU Bum!

            You are showing your obsession for Joc again in your first sentence, about Verdugo.

            Or should I say Hamchuck?

            You didn’t fool me with your passive aggression yesterday.

            In fact that gave you away!

            The first sentence yesterday was about Toles not reporting to spring training.

            Then later you tried to play yourself off, by trying to say kind words about Toles, but you didn’t mean it.

            You are the only one on this site that has said Toles is another Milton Bradley more then a couple of times, so I knew that was bull.

            And he has never been one of your favorite players like you tried to portray, the day before yesterday.

            And the day before yesterday, you also couldn’t help yourself once again, because someone else here, would like to see another player in left other then Joc.

            And that is when you suggested the absurd scenario that Muncy was competing against Joc, Verdugo, and Toles in left.

            And then you came back here later last night, and the first remark you made was that rude remark you made about Toles.

            But it was under the other name you have used, Hamchuck.

            You used that same name on another site.

            And for the same reason, your obsession with Joc!

            But it didn’t take me long to draw you out, because your obsession for Joc is unhealthy.

            You are always trying to put any players down, that you see as competition against Joc.

            Just like you blamed Puig as the reason Joc couldn’t play center anymore.

            But this is not the first time you pulled something like this on this site, one time you put some nonsense on this site, and wasted a bunch of space with nonsense, because of your obsession of Joc!

          2. MJ, see a fellow shrink. You are depressed. BTW, I only comment under Bumsrap. Mark, feel free to verify.

            If I were to seek employment again, can I use you as a reference? I hereby wave patient / client privileges.

      1. Mark quik question, what do you think about the market and what the players deserve for salary, and how it effects what the fans should pay for tickets and how it could possibly drive the sales to high for fans to pay for tickets?? Because this market is crazy and I do feel players should be owed what they deserve

        1. Bum

          You are so full of it.

          No one here needs a psych degree to know your obsessed, you are an easy read, because you can’t help yourself, and it is constant!

          1. And before Joc it was Loney. It all started with Duke. I have favorites, always have, always will. Joc, Loney, Russell, Lefebre, Tommy Davis, Drysdale, to just name a few that I have pulled for the most. There are others that I am not thinking of right now.

            As commenters goes, I like you much more at times than I do other times. You are clearly upset over Toles and are lashing out at me because you think I am happy about Toles not being at spring training. That’s not the way I roll.

  2. ”Because this market is crazy and I do feel players should be owed what they deserve”
    And how much do they deserve?
    Does anyone think that there are players who deserve $40 million per year?
    If you have a $40 million player, how much can you pay the other 24 players?

    1. That disparity between what a FA is asking for and what players are paid for the first 6+ years of their career is the crux of the current market “crisis”. Unless you are a “generational talent” post 30 y/o value to a team is no different than what a “controlled” player is making as their skill levels/team value are roughly the same.

      Now that PED’s are not a significant part of baseball, very few players are being paid their value during their prime years. There is an inability to maintain the prime skill level in one’s thirties without PED’s. Aging and injuries catch up to players earlier. Until the CBA is renegotiated to adjust for adequate compensation in the prime years (now about 26-30 or so) GM’s will go with cheaper, younger players.

      The market is crazy and players are owed what they deserve, but that is in their 20’s not late 30’s. 10 year contracts are a relic of the PED era.

    1. I rather play for the Padres then the White Sox, because San Diego has great weather and it is a nice area.

      And Manny probably will enjoy the bilingual people down there too.

      I guess the big question is for how much money?

  3. It all rests at whatever the demand is for whatever product. Even if the whole team and coaches, ground keepers , etc. were to take 50% cut on their salaries if would lower seat prices. All parties are trying to get as much as they’re are able to squeeze out of us turnips. If us turnips were able to make bank at the turnip level we’d middle to make the most of it as well. That’s why there’s value even in the free stuff that comes with the price of a ticket. Just because we all want something that something gets divided so many times there’s not much left for the ‘have nots’. Monsanto continues trying to cover all points of what our needs are and abuse all consumers in many ways that they’d surely go to hell for if there were such a place. Even the government, (it’s not “we the people”) have found a way to squeeze the populace forever just to use ghost worth (money) that only works for it because we’re kept in debt. That is the number one concern of our government, to keep us in debt. Otherwise it’d all fall apart. But I’m sorry my ADD kicking in. but you got me started.

    1. I’m not so sure. They have mega-prospects, he’s young. And he plays in the middle of the diamond. This ain’t the Cano signing.

      1. These last two signing by the Padres, make it look like they don’t have much faith in their farm system, especially their everyday players.

        Can you imagine what Machado’s offensive numbers will look like in that big stadium?

        His numbers against righties on the Dodgers, were below average, as it is.

        I can’t believe they gave him ten years!

        They said last night, that Machado was going to pull a Greinke, and go with the highest bidder.

          1. I know they have a top farm system, but when was the last time the Padres produced an everyday player, from their farm system?

            And they have been picking way higher then the Dodgers, for years.

            Maybe it isn’t about who they are picking?

          2. I know the Padres have a top farm system, but it may not be who they are picking.

            Maybe their system is not nurturing their prospects as well, as the Dodgers.

            I know they have produced pitchers, but not many everyday players.

          1. There should be a new CBA by the time he reaches his opt out. I will be a whole new landscape. Don’t see him opting out unless predictions are wildly wrong as to what new agreement is likely to be.

    1. WTF? Cano is actually a middle infielder. Manny played SS for one season.

      Is everyone having a stroke this week?

      I’m glad for the Pads, they need something to hang their hat on and I’m glad he didn’t make a playoff team better.

      I’m wondering if they promised him they would move in the fences, he’s gonna have a tough time hitting in that park.

      It looks like Manny is a max money guy as opposed to a winning is important guy. I have an inkling that Bryce is the same way. The opt out will allow him to decide if winning is important the next time around.

        1. Cano won 2 GGs as a second baseman. Manny hasn’t even played a whole season at SS and isn’t even the best SS on the Padres. Fernando Tatis JR is. So keep stroking “Palm” Dale! He’ll be back to 3B is no time.

    1. Can you imagine how relaxed Machado will feel playing in San Diego?

      And some claim the Dodger’s players are to California relaxed.

      His opt out is 5 years.

  4. Toles’ path to the Major Leagues has clearly been a difficult one. There have been obstacles and he has overcome many of them. When he makes the Show he will have persevered. We don’t know the challenge he is now facing and I am glad to see that no one here is giving up on him or assuming the worst. For all we know he might be taking care of a loved one, being there for that person, sacrificing for that person. The Dodgers have said he is still family.

    I would like to see Harper on the Giants or Padres.

  5. I, like others here hope for the best for Andrew Toles. Hoping he plays in Dodger Stadium many times this year.
    Sad news of the passing of a great Dodger. Mr. Don Newcombe.

    1. Bobo

      I don’t know where Mark got the info about Toles missing the entire spring Training, but I did see one publication word it that way.

      But everthing else I read, didn’t say that, but if you looked at every article about this, they were all worded a little differently.

      I hope he didn’t let this get to him, and I hope it is not as bad, as it sounds.

  6. Mark

    I just wanted to tell you, you are right, it is hard not to go there, with his history

    As much as I like Toles, that is the first thing that came to my mind too.

    And I know you are coming from a good place too.

  7. Padres supposedly still in on Harper. Preller loves this stuff. Wouldn’t put it past him to sign Bryce, who apparently is not thrilled with the idea of playing/living in Philly.

  8. Puig said he did not work very hard at baseball the past two years. If that is how he feels I am glad the Dodgers dumped him. We do not need ball players who think they are entitled. I bet the Reds did not like those comments. AF knew what he is doing.

  9. MJ,
    Yes I saw one report saying it that way. But usually we can’t believe half of what we read.
    Except on one particular Blog.
    Nonetheless, whatever the case, I’m rooting for Andrew.

  10. Mark, thanks for the post. Since you took the time out of your busy day to as, I’ll do the same and answer the questions.
    1. So, since Bruce Bochy has announced he will retire AFTER this season, will Bill Hanselman be hired now or wait until the next off-season? He may be hired, but I think they hire Hensley Meulens or Ron Wotus as manager.

    2. Andrew Toles has been his own worst enemy in the past with getting kicked off teams, etc. Is this what is happening again or is it really something beyond his control? For the young man’s sake, I hope it is something other than his inner struggles.

    3. Can Chris Taylor re-capture his 2017 form? Hope so. But not if he continues to lead the league in taking third strikes looking.

    3. Who would you rather have at 2B – DJLM or CT3… and what if DJM cost 10X what CT3 did? On cost alone, CT3. On pure baseball, DJLM

    4. Will Joe Kelley be “Machine Gun Kelly” or “Wild Man Kelly? Machine Gun Kelly for much of the year. I think he will spend some time on the IL

    5. Will Kenley Jansen be better than ever? No. But he will be more consistent than last year.

    6. Will Corey Seager be good as new and better than ever? Initially, good. Next year, awesome!

    7. Can Hyun-jin Ryu reach his great potential and have a career year? Like AC posted, I would be happy if he achieved 20 starts.

    8. Is Clayton Kershaw still an elite pitcher after a few injury-plagued years? Not CK elite, but still very good.
    Does Clayton still have more left in the tank and will his new off-season routine help him get back to where he once was? I certainly hope so, otherwise, without getting another solid starter, we are screwed.

    9. Is Cody Bellinger a MVP Contender or a MVP Pretender? In between
    Does he have 50 HR potential or is he a “Rob Deer in the headlights?” He has 50 homer potential. He is some much more athletic than Rob Deer could ever think of being. CB is not a one trick pony.

    10. Can Austin Barnes and Russell Martin comeback? Yes.
    what if they did put up some good offensive numbers? Oh happy day!

    11. Is the starting pitching as good as it looks? Yes. However, it does not look like the top staff in baseball. Certainly good, but we’re one [itcher away from being elite.

    will injuries be the legacy of this starting rotation? Unfortunately, yes.

    12. Will Max Muncy be as effective as last year or will he regress? No, but he won’t regress much.

    13. Will the Dodgers miss Kemp, Puig, Wood and Farmer? Farmer yes, the others no. I was a big Alex Wood fan. I thought he was one of the more under appreciated pitchers on the team. However, it was clear he had lost a little something and he wasn’t worth the cost.

    14. Will Pedro Baez continue his progression as a pitcher and become unstoppable ? Yes. He won’t reach unstoppable levels though. I do think he will be solid.

    15. Will Walker Striker Buehler win a Cy Young in his second season? No.
    “will he throw a no-hitter?” No.

    16. Is Alex Verdugo ready and will the Dodgers give him the chance? Yes and hesitatingly.
    Is he over-hyped or is he the real deal? In between. I don’t think he’s Tony Gwynn, but if he is, we win the Series. Book it. Will we find out THIS year? Hope so.

    17. Will the Dodgers win over 95 games? Nope, exactly 95.

    18. Can AJ Pollock stay injury-free? Yes he can. The question is will he.

    19. What will be the outcome of the Dodgers hiring of Robert Van Socyoc and Associates? I think the hitters will have more information available to them to be better prepared for all game situations. Hope they capitalize on that.
    Will it be the Holy Grail? No. A dismal failure or just more of the same ole’ same ole’? Without injuries to key players, it will be slightly better.

    20. Will the Dodgers win the World Series? I certainly hope so!
    I think Machado to the Padres will be good for them in ways that transcend the box score. He will connect to the Latino Community in San Diego County and, as a result, attendance will increase and TV ratings will be higher. How much additional income that will provide remains to be seen, but it will have an overall positive impact. Much the way Adrian Gonzalez helped the Dodgers in that regard. As far as a pure baseball move, it’s probably dope fiend. I’m glad the Dodgers didn’t do it. I don’t think the difference between Seager and Machado is worth 25 million per year.

  11. On another note, sad to read of the death of Don Newcombe. Great pitcher and ambassador of the game. It would have been a delight to see Don Newcombe in his prime pitch against Don Drysdale in his prime. The hitters would have been shaking in their cleats.

    1. Very sad to read about Big Newk. He could not only pitch but also hit(.271 lifetime BA). Not sure but I believe #36 was the last living link to the Boys of Summer.

      1. Carl Erskine is still living in Anderson, Indiana. He is the last one living to get a major role in Roger Kahn’s book.
        Others that were part of the Dodgers still living before they moved to LA in 1958 include:
        Bobby Morgan 1953
        Joe Pignatano 1957
        Sandy Koufax 1955-57
        Roger Craig 1955-57
        Tommy Lasorda 1954-55
        All of these players would have memories of the Boys of Summer

        1. Thanks DC. I forgot about Carl Erskine. I should’ve mentioned those players who played a major role from 1947-1957, my bad.

    1. I saw Newk last year when we were touring Dodger Stadium. He always “acted” like he remembered me and was just a peach of a guy. R.I.P. Newk!

      1. Haha I’ll take the over. He’ll be in his element in SD. Padres are basically the orioles of the NL West so there’s no pressure on Manny.

  12. AC after what you say, which of course is true and most of us know it, the Madres still give him $300M for 10??? Now that’s s a dope fiend move…
    I sat in a meeting of AA several years back and had the honor and privilege to hear Newk and Sweet Lou Johnson speak… One of the first questions to Sweet Lou was about baseball and came back quickly “Son you’re in the wrong meeting!! We talk about recovery in here”!!! Catch me on a sports show or whatever… Personally, knew I was in the right place… Newk had a big old grin from ear to ear…
    RIP Newk …

      1. I was surprised the Padres signed him, because they haven’t had good luck with the last few players they gave a multi year contracts to.

        I think after we see how Corey does this year, it might be a good time to see if Corey wants to have a little security, and see if he wants to sign a contract much like Trout did.

        I know his agent is Boras, but Boras did work with the Nationals, because Strasberg wanted some security.

        And I am sure security might have went through Corey’s head during these last couple years.

  13. apparently the link put me in moderation
    go to cincinnati.com to see interview with Puig

    more fodder for the Puig “lovers”/”haters”

    here’s the money quote ( . . . thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week) “The last couple of years, I didn’t work hard because I still have a contract to go,” Puig said. “Now, I think work harder than any year of my life.”

    1. Sorry, there are so many hackers that the software grabs a lot of “innocent” commenters and puts them is jail. Nothing personal. I bail them out! 😉

    2. Puig is a dumba$$. A certified numbskull and knucklehead.

      I resolve to only say good things about players when they are gone.

      “He’s gone… GOOD!”

    3. I don’t know how the rest of you read that Puig quote, but I’m wondering if he was kidding. He made some great strides in the last couple of years and I often heard people talk about how he came out early to work with Turner Ward on a regular basis.

      1. There is a language issue as English is not his native tongue, so the risk of misinterpretation exists, ie what he said vs what he meant. This is the local Cincinnati media so hopefully they would make sure this is what he really meant. It’s the media though so . . .

        From a Cincinnati perspective, the fact that he is going to work harder than he has worked before is a good thing–that old give it 110% thing. From a former team standpoint, where there were questions about work ethic, not so much.

        I love Puig, very gifted and a joy to watch at times. He left me with many “wow” moments. I look forward to watching his highlights as a Red on Baseball Tonight. (operative phrase is “as a Red”) I think he will have a good year in Cincinnati.

        1. I have said this many times:

          “Yasiel Puig has more talent than any player I have ever seen.”

          That said, it was time (past time) for him to go.

          1. I didn’t see Roberto Clemente, but Bo Jackson had some ‘Puigian’ moments where I’d be left saying, did he really do what I just saw.

          2. I think we should all go easy on Puig, especially since he’s no longer a Dodger. Keep in mind that this player comes from a very poor country where opportunities don’t exist in many facets of the workaday world where people can better their lives. He needs to go through what many players have gone through, being a sudden millionaire and what that means for his life and his place in the world. It’s a process, and he’s young. He’s not hurting people and he likes to entertain. Mistakes are part of living and they are probably more helpful in the long run to adjust to life on this planet.

  14. SCG

    And most people don’t realize how amazing it was for Bo Jackson to be able to play pro baseball after he had his hip replaced.

    Mark knows that better then most, although Mark didn’t experience that when he was young like Bo was.

    But it sounds like Mark got the most of his real hip for a long time.

    But your hip is where your body gets all it’s balance from, and you don’t realize that as much, until you have a serious hip issue.

    Bo’s is on his third replacement now.

    1. Can’t figure out why we would need him. We already have Muncy, Bellinger and Freese who play the position. Abreu’s numbers seem to be going down every year. I vote no (of course, I don’t get a vote and Friedman’s is the only one that counts).

      1. ”Los Angeles Dodgers: Joc Pederson-White Sox trade creates dream lineup”
        Just imagine:
        Pollock CF
        Seager SS
        Turner 3B
        Bellinger LF
        Abreu 1B
        Muncy 2B
        Verdugo RF
        Martin/Barnes C,
        Abreu is the perfect power-hitting right-handed bat to split two lefties in Bellinger and Muncy to make it harder to gameplan for in October.

        1. It will take more than Joc to offset Abreu’s $16M contract for this year. Hard pass. Unless they move Rich Hill for him who makes about the same and sign Buchholz. I would prefer to keep Joc with Toles MIA.

        2. Jorge, that answers ‘singing the blue’s’ question about why we would need Abreu. It would make us better and that is always a good thing.

  15. Gonna go on record as saying that in year 4 of Manny Moes contract, (maybe 3), the Padres will be trying to dump his contract, no matter how good he is hitting. (Gee, does the name Zac Greinke ring a bell?) I don’t care how many so called experts are saying how great the Padres farm system is and how they are a year away from contention, blah blah blah… This is the same front office that went “All in” a couple of season ago by getting Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, and I think James Sheilds. Aaannndd, nothing happened. Freidman is still light years ahead of San Diego’s FO, and we all know they just did Mark’s signature “Dope Fiend” move of signing a boat anchor 10 year contract. I am so friggin relieved that Freidman takes all kind of crap from guys like us, but still has yet to mortgage the Dodgers future by making a huge deal just to make one. Say what you will, but 2 or 3 years from now the Pads will be hovering around .500, while we will still be bitching that we shoud have won 104 games instead of 100.

  16. Andrew Friedman- “He’s earned the right to be on our Major League team and help us win games,” said Friedman. “He has a very high floor as a player. He has a very advanced approach at the plate. Tremendous bat-to-ball skills that complements our lineup. Very good defensively. Checks a lot of boxes in what we look for in a player. I expect at the end of the year he’ll have logged a significant number of plate appearances.”

    I’m excited, I really believe Verdugo is going to shock alot of fans when he gets the chance to play everyday. Reminds me of a Corey Seager type hitter, and the power will 100% come, he will have 20+ Hrs this year, but it looks like AF is very high on Verdugo

    1. Let’s just hope for an open competition in ST and see who steps up. I am rooting for Verdugo, it’s probably his job to lose in RF and he could be ROY or fighting for playing time, it’s really up to him to produce. He is good at staying back on the ball and trusting his quick swing and he hits to all fields so I am really optimistic he puts it together. His power will come but I would be happy with 15 HR’s and .285 this year and plenty of 2B’s.

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