The Breakout Year for Julio

Some twenty months removed from surgery on his shoulder, Julio Urias is ready to contribute in a mighty way to the Dodgers’ pitching staff… ultimately as a starter. Last September and October we saw that his shoulder was healthy. The surgeon said that there was no internal damage in his shoulder, which is common in older pitchers who have some
“miles” on their shoulders. A full recovery was predicted and we saw what a healthy Julio Urias can do.

He wasn’t satisfied however. He worked hard over the winter, lost weight and replaced fat with muscle. When he showed up at Spring Training, it was easy to see that he had taken his off-season seriously. The Julio Urias we used to know was a kid. The 2019 version is now a “man.” He will certainly be on an inning limit – I would expect 130-150, but I think his minor league days are over.

We are about to see why Andrew Friedman was loathe to trade this prized lefthander, who’s rookie season was much better than the rookie season of one Clayton Kershaw. He has a smooth delivery with easy arm action and hides the ball well. He used to be able to hit 97 MPH on the gun… and we saw him do it last year, but his fastball is usually 93-95. He has a hammer curveball and a decent slider, but what makes him so different from most young pitchers is his changeup. It looks just like his fastball and and is a swing-and-miss weapon that can destroy hitters.

I have always seen Urias as a Number One starter, but many other baseball analysts have seen him as a Number Two. Whatever he is or becomes will be pretty good in a rotation that includes Striker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw. If it seems like I am high on Julio Urias, that is because I am. His surgery delayed his complete arrival, but this season, we shall see why the Dodgers resisted trading him many times.

The problem, as I see it, is “How do the Dodgers limit his innings?” He could stay in extended Spring Training, but I really can’t see that happening due to the shape he is in and how well he can pitch. He could be sent to OKC, but those pitches count too. To me, the only thing to do is to start him out in the bullpen as a long man. Let him pitch every 4th or 5th day, even if it means having to carry an additional pitcher. By the All-Star Break, they can release him from the pen.

There could be an injury to another starter and he could slide into the starters’ role, but if everyone is healthy, I look for Kenta Maeda to be moved back to the pen or be traded.

A lot of fans think that Hyun-Jin Ryu is injury prone, and while it may seem like that, I don’t agree. His first two seasons were relatively injury-free as he pitched 192 and 152 innings in 2013 and 2014. He then missed two seasons with shoulder surgery and had a long rehab, but in 2017 he returned for most of the season and pitched 126 innings. Last seasons’ injury was simply a fluke. It was known that he had shoulder issues when he was signed, so he has really only had one additional injury since then. I think he has a great chance of reaching at least 180 innings. If he does, I believe he will be highly productive ans sought after.

It would appear that Kershaw, Buehler, Ryu, Maeda and Hill will be the starting rotation early in the season, but Urias and Ross Stripling can form a deadly L-R duo in the pen who can come in and pitch an inning or three. However, both should be considered starters this spring. The bullpen is pretty crowded and some hard decisions are going to have to be made. Yimi Garcia is out of options, but Brock Stewart is not (according toThe Athletic), however are both longshots to make the team and could be lost… unless that can be “lights out” in Spring Training. These are good problems to have.

I see the playoff rotation as Kershaw, Buehler, Urias and Ryu. Ryu’s career ERA is 2.85 at Dodger Stadium and 3.56 on the road, so there is that. People always point to that but when you do, realize that Clayton’s ERA on the road is also higher by about the same amount (2.08 at home – 2.74 on the road).

This Spring Training stacks up as a very interesting showcase – we will see the usual starters and bullpen pieces, but we will also see Tony Gosolin, maybe Jesen Therrien and several other prospects who are not suspects. It should be a fun spring and these guts are focused on jumping out of the gate fast and finishing what they failed to do the past two years.

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Cover photo credit: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

This article has 57 Comments

  1. The Dodger home page today has an article where Roberts says Urias might be on the 25 to start the season and pitch in both the rotation as well as the pen. He also said the team is very strong 1 through 35.

    There could be a mid-season trade to create a stronger playoff team but if the Dodgers are leading the league in wins at mid-season it would be sad that they don’t go home with the players that were taking them to the dance.

    1. I doubt that any MLB organization has a better 1-35 than do the Dodgers. That is how they are built…to be that deep. But that does not mean that the Dodgers have the best 1-25 that will be needed for an October WS run. The Astros had the most wins in the AL in 2017 and went out and traded for Justin Verlander. Without Verlander, they may not have made the WS, and I do not believe they would have won it without him. Last year the Red Sox had the most wins in MLB at the deadline, and they traded for Steve Pearce (6/29), Nathan Eovaldi (7/25), and Ian Kinsler (7/31). That turned out well for them.
      I do not mind loyalty to the players that benefited the team to the front of the pack. But I do not expect a lot of push back by anyone in the division, and the team should get out to a comfortable lead. But they will not be perfect, and there will be players outside the organization that can help them in their October push, and that should take precedence over any individual loyalty. My crystal ball is waaaaaayyyy too fuzzy to identify that need, but it will become evident before the deadline, and the Dodgers should do whatever they need to do (within reason) to put the best 25 man roster together to win the WS.

      1. I think that is exactly what will happen. If there are any weaknesses at the trade deadline, you could see a Castellanos, Kluber, Fulmer or another piece…

  2. I’m trying to contain my excitement now that our boys are on the field getting ready for the season. Everyone looks like they’re in such great shape. They don’t look like they have World Series hangover. They look like they’re on a mission with a chip on their shoulders. The pitching is going to be historic this year. The rotation has three legitimate aces in Kershaw, Bueller and Urias. Most teams would kill for one of those guys. Most teams have 5 guys that wouldn’t even make our staff.

    The bullpen is also loaded top to bottom. Mark, I’m still waiting for your article on how the Dodgers pen will be tops in the league!

    Jansen and Kelly look great from the photos. Baez turned the corner last year and now we have a legitimate three headed monster at the back end of games. Floro and Alexander, both with heavy sinkers are ideal for inheriting baserunners. Ferguson and Cingrani are deathly left handers. Stripling a multiple inning guy. Thierren is an X factor guy. This team is loaded!

    Team defense will also be tops in the league making the staff look that much better. If we can successfully change our hitting philosophy, there’s no stopping this team. This, my friends is a 100+ win team. Even with Roberts over-managing.

  3. Sports Illustrated out with their top 100. Interesting comments for each player. Suvh as:

    Taylor was caught stealing on 40% of his stolen base attempts last season after being nabbed just 20% of the time in 2017. Worse? He stole just nine bases in 2018 after swiping 17 in 2017

    1. I’m with you Jeff. It makes no sense to waste that power leading off. I’m hoping Taylor can turn it around as 2017 Taylor is probably the best leadoff hitter we have. I would also hate to waste Pollock batting leadoff as well. They need to sandwich that right handed bat in between Belli and Muncy.

  4. The FO is banking hard on a resurgent CT3 in 2019, more reminiscent of 2017 than 2018. But let’s assume for a moment that CT3 will be the regular 2B or SS on occasion when Corey needs a day. Last year, CT3 batted .260/.343/.447/.790 while leading off, and Joc batted .239/.300/.534/.834 as leadoff hitter. The better BA and OBP belong more at the top of the order while slugging is better situated lower in the lineup. As long as the team is evidently going to live with CT3 in the everyday lineup, he should lead off and stay there until he proves he cannot.

  5. Ideally Verdugo and his lack of power/amazing bat control would lead off for us. The days of your leadoff guy stealing 50 are gone, so get a guy up there who can get on base and hit a lot of doubles.

    1. If Verdugo is able to establish that role of leadoff that might be enough to win me over and dissolve the 1st impression I got of him. It’s been a very long time Dodgers haven’t put a proper fit for leadoff and thus it could be refreshing at multiple levels. While I see there’s really only one inning for that role, it’d be important to not have a player who makes too many outs there in the later innings as the chances leadoffs get more at bats. CHEERS for no DH in the NL still!

  6. If Verdugo produces, then I suspect that there is more power in his package than we give him credit for. I’m not sure at what level of power he produces this year, but I suspect it’s a lot more than he’s usually given credit for. I agree with Bobby that he can hit a lot of doubles (which I consider to be a part of the power equation), but I also suspect that with added maturity and experience, he is, in my opinion, capable of hitting 20-25 HRs at some point. Maybe it will only be 12-18 this year if he plays, but ultimately I think it’s higher, with lots of doubles.
    I am certainly looking forward to a CT3 resurgence. But if Belli starts in RF, Pollack in CF, and Verdugo wins the LF job, then I wonder if its possible that Kike’ wins the 2B job. If he improves against RH pitching, then I think he may be preferable to CT3 at 2nd. Of course, it’s only February, and lots can transpire going forward.

    And I’m not forgetting about Joc. He may well be capable of lifting his game to another level. If so, then there are all that many more variables to consider. If the Dodgers are 35 deep, then there is no telling what the lineup may look like come the playoffs. If we know anything, it’s that the Dodgers, like many other teams, will look a lot different at the end of the season than at the beginning.

    1. Verdugo has never hit more than 13 homers in a year. What makes you think he’s capable of 20 -25? Do you know something that others don’t? Everything I’ve heard and read says he’s not fast and doesn’t have a lot of power. Low floor but low ceiling. Where are you getting your info from?

      1. I agree that Verdugo could hit more HR… maybe 20+.

        Look at Scooter Gennett. In 6 minor league seasons, he hit 28 HR.

        In his first seasons in Milwaukee he hit 6, 9, 6 and then 14 HR. The next year he hit 27 followed by 23.

        This is becoming more common around the game. I expect Alex to hit at least 20 in a year or so.

        1. I’ll believe that when Verdugo’s 26 and plays for the Reds in that band box. Pretty good comp though! I just haven’t read anything anywhere that anyone thinks that Verdugo is going to develop 20+ HR power. Except from a blogger that thinks he’s the next Tony Gwynn. 😉

  7. It is my hope that everybody lets Verdugo be the hitter he is built to be. This stuff of wanting him to hit home runs is crazy. Greg Brock was a line drive hitter and the Dodgers screwed with him trying to make him a home run hitter. Eight home runs and 45 doubles plus more walks that he usually gets and Verdugo will be just fine and a good leadoff hitter.

    Pederson, Muncy, Bellinger, Seager are the power guys capable of hitting 3+ home runs. Turner and Pollock are 25 home run types. Taylor, Verdugo, Barnes should be doubles hitters with good averages and maybe 15 home runs.

    If Verdugo, Barnes, and Taylor hit 5 home runs and 45 doubles and hits .280+ with a OBP of .360 I will be thrilled.

  8. I think the Dodgers preferred to further shrink their outfield by trading Pederson and give LF to Verdugo. But now that he is still on the team there is a good chance he will get most of the play in LF if Taylor doesn’t keep his second base starter job. It would be nice to keep Taylor’s righty bat in the lineup but I think MJ has said a few times that Verdugo has reverse splits.

    1. Hey Bum quik question, not to get off the subject but do u think the doder also passed up on machado and harper because they possibly will be going after Trout big time when he is a free agent or do you think there’s no way they can get him???

      1. I think the Dodgers and other teams covet Trout but would not build their roster with Trout in mind because the odds would be too slim of getting him.

  9. What really impressed me the most about Urias last year, was the fact he got ahead on hitters and did that at the highest level in the post season, and as a reliever.

    And I would say that was Urias’s biggest weakness in his rookie year, because umpires would not give him a break with the strike zone, because he was a young pitcher, and because of that, Urias’s pitch count would go up fast.

    We didn’t hear a lot of talk about how much moxie Urias showed in the post season last year, after coming back from that serious surgery, but that wasn’t as easy, as Urias made it look.

    I think ideally Taylor is our best lead off guy, if he can cut down on his strike outs, and I know that might be a big if.

    Because he has most of the qualities that you would want in a lead off hitter, because he not only has speed, he also has a little pop to go with that speed.

    And Taylor leading off in 2017, was a big part of the reason this team had a such good season, in 2017.

    I think maybe Taylor’s bat might have gotten in his head some last year, and that may have affected his base stealing, because in general, Taylor is a very good base runner, and he is second on this team, when it comes to speed.

    This is definitely a big year for Taylor to prove either he is more like the player he was in 2017, then in 2018.

    And that is mostly because of his strike out numbers, because other then his many strike outs, his overall numbers would be fine for a second baseman.

    Although I would like to see what Muncy could do at second this year too.

    I think Verdugo might be another guy that could lead off.

    Because I feel he is more adept at getting on base then anything, and he won’t be striking out much at all, because he is a very good contact hitter, and that is something this team needs, to have more balance in the line up.

    And I think it is more important then some think, to have our first three hitters in our line up, to be able to hit more then just a decent average.

    And I think they should also be be able to handle their bats well, so we can pick up any runners that are on base, and especially in scoring position.

    Remember the first hitter gets more at bats, then any hitter in the line up, and because of that, a lead off hitter comes up more then one would think, when there are runners on base, and in scoring position.

    And because of that, a lead off hitter needs to be able to get their bat on the ball, and get those runners home, especially runners in scoring position.

    I don’t want to see Verdugo go outside of himself, and try to hit twenty HRs, because that is not his strength.

    He needs to stick with what got him here, because this team badly needs more balance in the line up, and Verdugo’s contact skills, might bring that balance to the team.

    And I am sure after Verdugo gets older and fills out, the HRs will come.

  10. Others believe that too:

    Dodgers Nation has some good info and thinks his power will come:

    Keith Law wrote this about him:

    Verdugo was the youngest regular in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League and hit .314/.389/.436 even though Oklahoma City isn’t one of the circuit’s many extreme hitter’s parks.

    He has great hand-eye coordination to go with his selectivity, which showed in the stat line as he walked more than he struck out last year and was one of only two PCL regulars to pull off the feat. He is an average runner who can handle center field but will probably be bumped by a superior defender; he has also played quite a bit of right field in pro ball, where his range is above average and his 80 arm helps as well.

    He has been dinged in the past for immaturity, but it hasn’t affected his play on the field, and there’s going to be above-average power down the road, given his swing angle and habit of making hard contact.

    He looks like a solid regular in right field who could be more if he exceeds power expectations or shows such great patience that he ends up a .400 OBP guy, either of which is at least in play for him.

    So I am not the only one who thinks the power will come.

    1. Dude, you posted 3 references and none of them said he would hit more than 20 HRs which is exactly what I was questioning. Great job Mark. Back up what I said and act like you’re disproving me.

      Keith Law says there’s gonna be above-average power down the road. – This is very qualitative and not quantitative. says 15 – 20 down the line. – This is not the same as 20 – 25.
      The pre-season question was home run power and even with a good year of Triple-A under his belt, that’s still the question. Observers who saw him frequently in the Pacific Coast League this year gave mixed opinions, some viewing him as a 15-20 home run candidate down the line, while others felt he would always be more of a batting average/OBP producer with limited isolated power.

      Dodgers Nation
      Though he homered just seven times in 132 games last season, his hitting ability, bat speed and strength should translate into average power if he adds some loft to his swing – Should and if in the same sentence is never a good predictor. What is considered average power? Is average power ideal for a corner outfielder.

      1. I’m with Keith Law who think he will have “above average power.” If average is 19-22 , and he is above average, he should be capable of more. He does hit the ball very hard, so RVS may be able to help him immediately. In fact, he has already started. I think his power will surprise.

  11. Interesting Bums, If they want to shrink their outfield, who are they adding to the open spot on the roster? I tend to agree with AC that they will start with an 8 man pen, leaving 12 position players who are accounted for as follows…

    Here’s the starting 8
    C Barnes
    1B Muncy
    2B Taylor
    3B Turner
    SS Seager
    LF Verdugo (for argument’s sake)
    CF Pollock
    RF Bellinger

    Who takes Pederson’s place? And what does this person bring to the table that outweighs Pederson’s skills? We have a catcher, two infielders and one outfielder as our bench right now. So, why would it make sense to get rid of an outfielder?

    To me, it makes way too much sense to keep Pederson and Platoon him with Kike and use Verdugo as a 4th outfielder. Of course, you can switch those roles with Verdugo as part of the Kike platoon and Joc being the 4th outfielder as well.

    1. Everyone knows I want to watch Joc play so whether he plays because Verdugo is the 4th outfielder, or that Taylor loses second to Muncy and Belli moves to first and Verdugo to RF, or if Joc forces playing time for himself with tremendous performance, it all works for me. We all want the best players on the field so I hope Joc plays great.

      I think the Dodgers thought Toles would add depth and that Taylor and Hernandez would play more outfield when they were thinking about trading Joc.

  12. I know AC was disappointed the Dodgers didn’t land Kluber, but what kind of package would the Indians have wanted? One problem that this article makes me think of is the potential glut of good SPs, which is a good problem to have, but if the Indians wanted MLB ready position players or good prospects, the Dodgers still would have had to free up space in the rotation.
    Stripling was an AS last year and Julio is pegged to be a #2 or potential 1 and they’re still in the BP. That’s how deep the SP is. Who would have gone?

    1. Well, Cleveland did not trade Kluber because I heard they wanted THREE, count ’em 3, MLB-Ready Prospects. I think it was something like Smith, May and Verdugo or Lux.

      1. Yeah, I mean the Dodger farm does have a comparative lack of outfielder and infielder depth, and Indians wanted Lux? In spite of that, getting Kluber, who is on the wrong side of 30 with a lot of miles, would have meant moving starting pitchers. There’s no room for Kluber unless one or two get moved.
        Kluber would’ve been nice, but I’m liking what the Dodgers have.

  13. I think our first three hitters in our line up, should have good batting averages and should be able handle their bats well too.

    Certainly the lead off hitter should have a good OBP, and speed would be nice, but remember the lead off hitter, is also going to get more at bats then anyone on the team.

    And because of that, they come up more often when runners are on base, and in scoring position, then one would think, and because of that, they need to be able to get their bat on the ball, and get those runs in, or get the runners over for our best hitters that are coming up next, or get on base.

    And most hitters with a better batting average will probably do better in these situations, although not always, but you would think they can handle their bats better, then hitters at the back of the line up.

  14. First off, I said that I believed that Verdugo was capable of hitting 20-25, not that he was necessarily going to do it this year. I base my opinion on the fact that I’ve seen him go deep the opposite way, and because I believe that MATURITY, and EXPERIENCE play a big part in a hitters ability to hit the long ball. Verdugo is still very young (he will turn 23 in 2019), and certainly and certainly still has a lot to learn and experience.

    Mark mentioned Scooter Gennett, who clearly does play in the Great American Bandbox, so I will offer up Justin Turner, who didn’t start hitting the long ball with any consistency until he came to LA, and even then, not right away.

    And if memory serves, I believe that Verdugo has reached 500 AB’s only once in his career. If he wins a regular job with the Dodgers (not guaranteed), then he’s likely to get 600+ ABs if he remains healthy. That and the strength he will gain with age in his prime years, I believe can easily translate into increased power. And besides, although I expect HR growth, I also expect that he will also garner a good share of extra base hits.

    And let me add, that if he remains healthy, I believe that a maturing Cory Seager is capable of 30-40 HRs.

    And yes, I do believe there is a lot more to successful hitting than the HR. However, if a hitter takes an overall right approach at the plate, there’s nothing wrong with hitting the long ball, as long as that’s not the primary objective when he steps in the box.

    1. Brooklyn

      Your right, there is much more to hitting than HRs.

      In fact twenty HRs is not that big of thing in baseball today.

      Because most hitters today, (and I use the term hitters loosely,) all encompassing goal, is to hit any pitch they can out.

      Although hitting, and hitting when runners are on base, or in scoring position, is a rarity today.

      And that is why Verdugo can bring a better balance to our line up, that we are missing.

      And he will hit some of those pitches he makes contact with, out too.

    2. Okay Brooklyn, I certainly hope you’re right. I don’t buy your “MATURITY, and EXPERIENCE” argument because if that were true, everyone would hit 20 – 25 HRs. By the way, memory doesn’t serve. Alex has had 500+ ABs in three minor league seasons. For reference, only two players had 500 ABs on the Dodgers last year. Alex will NOT get there this year and he will hit closer to 10 HRs than 20.

      I am not your biggest Verdugo fan because – not enough power for a corner – not enough speed for CF. For some reason I (probably) unfairly compare him to James Loney. Like Verdugo, he was also considered a pitcher coming out of the draft, and he had a similar batting profile, high average, lots of doubles, not a lot of homers and had a season with more walks that strikeouts. I guess I can’t get over Loney and I’m taking it out on Verdugo.

      With a little luck, maybe he turns into Boggs, or Grace, or Olerud. But, sorry MT. No feaking way he’s Tony Gwynn. If he’s Tony Gwynn, then Kike is Barry Larkin!

  15. David Vassegh, one of the Dodger beat reporters, was on am570 today discussing the happenings at camp so far. He said right now, everyone is really talking about how Urias is throwing. He’s been the early talk of camp so far.

    Once he’s fully unleashed, it’s going to be fun to watch him grow!

    1. I saw where the Dodgers said they consider Fergie as a starter, and because of that, they are building him up as a starter, so that can go one way or another.

      1. He will get his chance to start, but he may like being able to come into the game in any situation. His two pitches will work just fine in those relief roles, and his command has been stellar his entire professional career. I am amazed at how popular Caleb is getting. It was only a couple years ago I started talking about this kid, and nobody ever heard of him; except DC. We had our own fan club back in 2016 when Caleb was leading the Great Lakes Loons to the Midwest League championship, along with Dennis Santana and late season help from a 19 year old Leo Crawford just up from AZL. One of DC’s favorite pitchers on that team was Victor Gonzalez, who has had problems staying healthy since that run.
        DC, I think you need to do an article on that late season run to the championship for a Great Lakes Loons team that was 65-75 for the regular season.

        1. AC

          I only mentioned that because I was surprised, because I didn’t think he had enough pitches to start, so I thought that may put him in AAA possibly.

          1. If he starts he will be in OKC. He has options so there is no rush for him to be a top reliever early on. I would hope that he gets a legit shot to start at OKC and work on that 3rd pitch.

  16. I couldn’t care less how many homers Verdugo hits. Assuming he hits for average and has a good OBP we need to have someone on base when Seager, Turner, Belli, Muncy and Pollock homer. We were excellent last year at hitting solo shots. It would be nice to change that this year.

    1. That is exactly how I feel. If Verdugo gets 10-12 HRs, but hits .300 (BA) and .375 (OBP), that would work just fine. He gets the non-power rap because he is a corner OF and those are supposed to be your power positions. But the Dodgers could get 60 HRs out of 2nd and SS which are not customarily power positions. Let him play and see what he can do. Let him be himself. If he gets bigger and stronger in a few years and gets to 20 HRs so be it.
      I know Mark comments that he could be a Tony Gwynn type hitter. But if that is the bar, he is never going to reach it, and many will then become summarily disappointed and think he failed. The best comparison I have read is Nick Markakis. Markakis is a non power hitting LHH RF, with three gold gloves (including last year) who broke in with Baltimore as a 22 year old. He has played 13 years and accumulated 8,711 PA. He has 179 HRs (Avg 13-14 per year), and 969 RBIs (Avg. 75 per year). Over his career, his slash line is .288/.358/.424/.782. Nick Markakis is not going to qualify for HOF consideration after the first year he is eligible, but he has had a very good professional career, and at 35 he should get in a couple more years any way. He is remarkably resilient and other than his rookie year (147 games) and 2012 (104 games), he has played in 155-162 games in each of his other 11 years. His season was cut short in 2012 after a CC Sabathia pitch broke his thumb, but has remained off the DL other than that one time.
      By all accounts, Nick Markakis is a model teammate and a positive influence in the clubhouse, especially with the kids. That is one of the reasons AA wanted Nick back. The Braves are waiting for Christian Pasche to emerge, but know that Markakis will be a true professional and come to the Yard every game ready to play and contribute.
      If Alex Verdugo can mirror Nick Markakis’ career, he will be a very good player with a very good career.

      1. AC

        Saber metrics must really not value hitting when runners are in scoring position, very much.

        Because I don’t know how some of these players that struggle in these situations badly, still have above average or good OPSes.

        It just doesn’t make sense, especially in this day of baseball, where this is at a low.

        And I hink Verdugo should go with his strength, and the HRs will come with that, and when he gets older and fills out, he will probably hit a few more.

        And his contact can bring balance to this line up, that is badly missing anyways.

        1. RISP and RISP W/2 Outs gets their own lines. OPS is not adjusted for clutch hitting metrics. Again, if Verdugo can do as well as Markakis, he will be successful. For his career, in 2,236 PA WRISP, Nick slashed .289/.378/.430/.809. It appears he hit better with RISP than without. WRISP and 2 outs he slashed .268/.374/.401/.775. Late and game close – .305/.383/.426/.809. He also hit consistently from the 1st inning on, but was very clutch in extra innings. Nick Markakis is a very good RF who does not get the attention of the power hitting corner OF’s. His career 32.4 WAR is way more than enough to justify his $108MM career earnings. If Alex Verdugo can play at the same level as Markakis, I will be satisfied. If he can surpass it, I will be thrilled.

          1. AC

            I wasn’t talking about Verdugo, I was talking more about some of these all or nothing hitters.

            Both Kike and Joc are more what I was thinking about.

            I like the fact that Verdugo is a contact hitter.

          2. I get so sick of a player being judged on Home Runs as the main Stat. Clemente was not a HR hitter and I think he was a decent ball player.

  17. “Surly”????????????

    Out of sorts, feeling ill, feeling poorly, indisposed, under the weather, and on and on and …. Maybe it’s something, or maybe like all of us Kershaw is a mere mortal subject to the vagaries of daily human life.

    1. Kershaw throws a bullpen session. It was not good. Kershaw we are told will be a total stud this year and earn that $30m a year extension. Fingers crossed.

    1. At this juncture, I don’t want to give up the requisite prospects for either one. Starting pitching is a huge strength for the Dodgers. Now, if Kershaw or other go down or lay an egg, then it can be addressed before the Trade Deadline, but at this juncture, I don’t want either one.

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