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Dodgers Take on KC As I Look at 2023

As we get ready to watch the Dodgers try to dismantle the Royals so I can have bragging rights with family in KC, and I get to watch Bobby Witt Jr. (pictured) at ML for the first time, I was contemplating what to write. I did watch Bobby Witt Jr. quite a bit while in MiLB.  He was a favorite of mine. KC is certainly not a threat, but as we learned with Pittsburgh and Washington, that does not mean that KC cannot cause problems.

Thus in contemplation as to what to post, Badger asked the question, what FA might the Dodgers be looking at?  That is an almost impossible question to answer, because nobody knows what AF is thinking.  Is it too early to look at 2023 free agents?  Of course it is, but there was no game today, Badger posed the question, and I needed to post something.

A quick review of the current roster tells me that the Dodgers will need starting pitching and a ML SS for 2023.

Below is the projected 2023 roster and options that might be available for pitchers (SP and RP) and catchers.

 

 

That is a very thin set of starting pitchers.  I have to believe that AF/BG is going to try and sign two of the three of Clayton Kershaw, Tyler Anderson, and Andrew Heaney.  Kershaw could retire (especially if LAD wins the WS).  There are other pitchers that AF/BG might look at, but he knows what he has with Anderson and Heaney.  One intriguing pitcher that might opt out of his current NYM deal and explore a Max Scherzer type contract is Jacob de Grom.  I think AF/BG has to look at him.

The Dodgers have a whole host of relievers they can call on.  Depending on the number of starting pitchers the Dodgers sign, there are pitchers who can take the Caleb Ferguson route to becoming a legit late inning high leverage option.  Ryan Pepiot, Gavin Stone, Michael Grove, and Bobby Miller are SP who could make their presence known as RP.  There are also other MiLB relievers that will get observed…Marshall Kasowski, Mark Washington, Carson Fulmer, Justin Hagenman.  Of course most of these pitchers will remain in OKC, but some will surprise with a great showing in ST.

Catching is not a concern for LAD.  I suspect that the Dodgers will sign a reserve catcher with MLB experience for OKC.  They do this every year.  This year they have two, Tomás Telis and Tony Wolters.  I fully expect Diego Cartaya to be protected and added to the 40 man this winter.  Hunter Feduccia and Carson Taylor should also provide adequate depth to catcher at or near the MLB level.  If something minor should happen to Smith or Barnes, I would not at all be surprised to see the Dodgers tap into Diego Cartaya next year.  If something major happens, I think the Dodgers will pull their reserve with MLB experience (Tomás Telis or Tony Wolters type).

 

 

Infielders will be in flux.  There is one for sure free agent (Trea Turner) and two veterans with team options (Justin Turner and Max Muncy).  Questions:

  • Is Gavin Lux a capable everyday ML SS?
  • Is Miguel Vargas ready for an everyday role at 3B?
  • Is Michael Busch ready for an everyday role at 2B?
  • Is Edwin Rios a platoon option at 3B with Vargas?  Or a platoon option with JT at DH?

For those who want to move on from Trea Turner, who is going to replace the 4.4 fWAR (current).  In the NL, Turner is:

  • #2 Hits – 138
  • #3 RBIs – 81
  • #4 Batting Average – .308
  • #4 Stolen Bases – 20
  • #6 Doubles – 30
  • #10 OPS – .851
  • #20 HR – 18

Who replaces that ?

 

We already know that Turner is an All Star SS, and I believe that Gavin Lux will be an All Star 2B.  I have no clue if he can be an All Star SS.  Why break up the 1-2-3 of the lineup of Betts, Turner, Freeman?  Individually they are prolific, but together they are SPECIAL.

If AF/BG believes Miguel Vargas is ready for prime time, 3B should be his to lose.  If so, is there a reason for both JT and Max Muncy?  What about Edwin Rios?  Does he become a LH bat off the bench or get packaged in a trade?

Is Michael Busch ready to play 2B at the ML level?

The presence of CT3 makes some of the decisions a little less risky.  But how do you replace the leadership of JT. You can’t.

Then what to do about Hanser Alberto?  That personality is contagious.  I think he is more than capable of being the reserve infielder and RH bat off the bench.  Trea Turner and Hanser Alberto should be the only infielders considered for free agent deals.

What this does demonstrate is just how deep the organizational depth chart is for infielders.  AF has done a masterful job of setting this infield up for success for several years down the road.

 

 

The outfield is a little more precarious, but the rise of Trayce Thompson does alleviate some of the pressure.  Per FanGraphs fWAR for Cody Bellinger, unless he gets hot, he is not going to get enough fWAR to earn his $17MM contract.  But he will be close enough that there is virtually no chance he will be non-tendered.  With Trayce Thompson, Cody Bellinger, and Mookie Betts, the outfield should be solid.  James Outman has earned a shot at the 4th OF position.  I like the idea of Joey Gallo’s monstrous power in the lineup, but with Outman a LH OF is there a need for Gallo.  I would rather have JT or Max in lieu of Gallo.

Where is the depth here?  Will Andy Pages be ready to play at the ML level.  Defensively and power production does project that he could be.  But will he hit enough?

The Dodgers always go out and sign AAAA OF for OKC.  But maybe the Dodgers could use some of the pitching prospect capital to find a AA or AAA stud OF in MiLB.  Outside of Aaron Judge, I do not think there is a game changing OF that will entice a significant FA contract out of AF/BG.  They will check in on Judge, but I think they will be looking at one more year in the future for a big contract for Shohei Ohtani.

So to directly answer Badger’s query, I have no clue what the Dodgers may do next year.  But they have more options than any other team, and there will be painful decisions starting with the JT and Max Muncy options that need to be decided very soon after the WS.  These issues will be delved into more detail after the season with a WS championship in hand.

Now the Dodgers need to keep the pressure on.  Don’t let up on a bottom feeder team like KC.

 

 

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Oldbear48

Join the club, Jeff! I never have any idea what AF is going to do. We can sit back and speculate all we like. AF has surprised me with his offseason moves ever since he took over. Mookie’s trade came out of nowhere. Sometimes there are rumors, but then again, many times there is nary a peep. I for one, do not think Lux is an MLB SS. And he surely cannot replace Trea. But whether he stays, or leaves is pretty much in Turner’s court. If he feels like this is where he wants to play, he is going to cost some cash. I think there will be a lot more changes to the roster than most years. CK should retire if they win or not. His constant trips to the IL these last few years put a strain on the starting corps. I give Anderson a 3-year deal, and Heaney a one with an option if he is healthy.

OhioDodger

Everything really hinges on what happens with Trea. I hope we can resign him and keep the Mookie, Trea, and Freddie big three together. It is just as good or better than Tatis Jr., Machado, and Soto. Make it happen AF.

Kersh will be back if he wants to be. Another one year deal similar to what he is currently on. If I am AF I sign him with the knowledge that I will probably only get 15 to 20 starts from him. I think he will come back next year to get 200 career wins.

I think AF will sign one of Heaney and Anderson. I would opt for Anderson.

AF has some tough decisions coming this off season. Mainly JT and Muncy options.

Don’t forget the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Trevor Bauer. If his suspension is reduced to one year, which I believe will happen, what will the Dodgers do? I would bring him back. I certainly would not cut him loose and pay him to pitch for the Padres, Giants, Astros, or Yankees.

Last edited 3 months ago by OhioDodger
Singing the Blue

Lots of food for thought.

DeGrom – assuming he remains healthy there is no way Cohen will let anyone outbid him.

JT, Max, Belli – AF has control over Belli and Max for 1 more year and I expect him to use it (option for Max, last year of control for Cody). If JT is willing to sign a 1 year deal I think he’s back also.

Pages – I don’t expect him in LA for at least a couple years. Trayce, Gallo, Outman are all question marks to be determined this winter or next spring.

Anderson will be a hot commodity in the marketplace. With May and Buehler returning I’m guessing someone offers him more years and/ or $.

Heaney will be an easier signing if AF would like to bring him back. But I think it will take at least a 2-3 year deal. He would be a great swingman a la Stripling.

Singing the Blue

I’d forgotten about that option. For everything he’s given to this franchise, I say do it. He’ll probably wind up the year somewhere between 1.5 – 2.0 WAR so that money won’t be a drastic overpay, assuming he can come close to duplicating this year in 2023.

Bumsrap

I would need a week in the dugout and clubhouse before I made any decision about a player. Betts seems like a fun guy and Muncy does not and that is one of the reasons I have never warmed to Muncy. He seems like a grump.

Justin Turner probably can defend 3rd as well or better than Vargas but is going to miss more and more games due to aches and pains and injury. He could play another year as the DH but sadly I am ready to go younger at third.

I am ready to move on from Justin, and Max.

I think Cody will have more and more trouble making contact as he ages if he doesn’t do something with his swing. If he doesn’t finish well this year then I would be in favor of trying to trade him. That would put Thompson in CF and be backed by Outman.

I am ready to move on from Cody.

If Heaney and Anderson are signed through 2025 then the Dodgers have more rotation pitchers than they have spots in the rotation but that changes beginning in 2024 when Urias reaches free agency and Buehler in 2025. I don’t know what should be done now to get the Dodgers rotation past 2025. They could trade some depth at pitching or groom prospects for the longer term.

I am ready to move on from Clayton.

If Trea would accept the same contract Betts has then I would re-sign him in a second. The question might be how many years is Trea a $28M a year player?

Singing the Blue

Max is certainly not the outgoing personality that Mookie is, but I wouldn’t call him a grump. He’s the kind of guy you’d want next to you in a foxhole (or a major league dugout).

He hasn’t flashed that smile much this year, but that’s understandable. When he’s going well, you’ll find he’s much less grumpy.

Bumsrap

Can’t disagree and that’s why I said I would want a week in the dugout and clubhouse before I made any decision about a player.

I didn’t see Cory with much Betts in him either.

Last edited 3 months ago by Bumsrap
Singing the Blue

It takes all kinds, I suppose. I also felt that Seager pretty much had no personality at all until I started carefully listening to his interviews. He is very well spoken and always gave well thought out answers. Not exactly a Kike-type personality but I think he’s a pretty smart guy.

Joc is another one who comes across (at least to me) quite poorly on interviews, but his teammates absolutely love him and he apparently has a great sense of humor. Just clams up in front of a camera. You can see how uncomfortable he is.

Anyway, I like your idea of spending a week inside the clubhouse. I’ve arranged that for the next homestand. You can get your pass at the players’ entrance. Just tell them STB sent you.

Badger

A lot to consider there today. I am continually amazed at how you come up with these posts day after day, though I shouldn’t be anymore.

I took a quick look at FA starters the other day, other than Rodon I wasn’t able to target any of them. That doesn’t mean anything of course as what do I know?

I would like to see Kershaw make 20 starts, one every week or so, throughout the year. 100 innings of 2.5 ERA. Anyway that can be accomplished? At this point, yes, of course keep Heaney and Anderson. Buehler and May will be back and each will throw at least 180 innings.

I hope we can sign Turner, I think we all do, but it’s up to him. If he leaves, there’s no way to immediately replace him. Correa? Nope. Swanson? Not if it were up to me. How about an infield of Vargas, Lux, Mookie and Freeman. If Turner doesn’t return we could afford Judge, though I doubt the Yankees let him go. I also hope RVS can fix Gallo. That would be fun. There’s also a few who could exercise opt outs, though I don’t have a list at the ready. I’m sure Jeff does.

You’re right of course, too early to know. The list of free agents is a long one with some very interesting names on it. Arenado could opt out. 40 year old Justin Verlander anyone? Pillar should be ready. Joc? Mitch Haniger? Kiké? Chad Pinder? I don’t even know who he is but saw his name and just thought I’d throw it out there.

Singing the Blue

I don’t see the Yankees letting Judge leave, but if they do I think Farhan is first in line (Judge grew up in the Stockton area and attended Cal State Fresno).

Shortstop – I think most all of us want Trea back, but that may not happen. One guy who can opt out this winter and almost certainly will is Bogaerts. He’s considered a great clubhouse guy and he’s having about the same excellent year and career as Trea. He hasn’t been considered a top flight defensive guy but his last two years have actually improved quite a bit. I’d be very happy with him as a fall back position. I’d really like to see Lux stay at second and I’m not ready to give up Mookie’s excellent defense in right in order to move him there.

It’s too bad that Trea’s agent is Boras because it would really be nice to know where that is going early in the off season. Of course, Boras will play his usual game of keeping his guys on the market as long as possible.

Fred Vogel

I didn’t think Boras was associated with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) but I could be wrong.

Last edited 3 months ago by Fred Vogel
Badger

I just checked Spotrac salary projections for the giants in ‘23. They are going to have a lot of money to spend. If they can land an every day big name like Judge they will likely fill up that park again.

Rob Schelling

I feel your pain Jeff! I have about five articles in the hopper. But, time, time, time, what has become of thee?

Badger

Time is on your side. Yes it is.

Fred Vogel

RE: Gallo (credit to Ryan Walton of TBLA)

“I think it’s just the work that we’ve been doing with the hitting coaches,” Gallo said of his success in their last two games. “Since the first day I got here, they said it’s not about immediate results, just about the process and getting back to the player I know I can be. So it’s been great. It’s been relaxing. They’re really smart. I’m excited to keep working with them.”

“No offense to New York, but I was living in a small apartment for the same price,” he said. “So it’s pretty nice to be by the beach and have some waves and some sand and people walking around in flip-flops and whatnot. Yeah, it’s definitely a little more laid-back environment and that’s just the difference of different cities, in general. I think it’s a good fit.”

I would like to see Gallo stick. Still only 28. Stronger than Badger, Bumsrap and me put together. Excellent defense. Would be a good platoon guy along with Thompson & Taylor.

Last edited 3 months ago by Jeff Dominique
Badger

“I would like to see Gallo stick.”

Me too.

“Stronger than Badger, Bumsrap and me put together.”

I can still bench my weight. I’m 120. But I’m only 5’2” so I’m well put together. Ok, none of that is true. I might be able to bench my weight but I’m not about to try as that would be a lot of weight to drop on my chest and… what were we talking about?

Bumsrap

I would gladly let any Dodger Giant rivalry fade into a Padre Giant rivalry which might be happening.

https://www.si.com/mlb/dodgers/news/mlb-news-wild-brawl-between-padres-and-giants-fans-at-petco-park-goes-viral-ee21

Jeff Dominique

Seattle DFA’d reliever Ken Giles. If he is not picked up, do the Dodgers take a chance on the former closer. He is in AAA on rehab from TJ.

Jeff Dominique

The Dodgers selected the contract of former Colorado Rockies catcher Tony Wolters. Wolters has been at OKC all year, and will be taking Austin Barnes’ spot for a family emergency. The leave can last for 7 days.

Singing the Blue

Tatis Jr. has just been suspended for 80 games for failing a drug test. Boy that guy has sure exhibited an amazing amount of good judgement since he arrived on the scene.

Rob Schelling

Almost makes you feel bad for the guy. Almost, but not quite. Now that he has the extra time, maybe he can hang around with Lyndsey Hill some like the old days.

Jeff Dominique

Fernando Tatis Jr. has been given an 80 day suspension for PEDs. He allegedly tested positive for Clostobel, a synthetic anabolic steroid. The suspension is immediate and if upheld he will be out for the year.

Badger

What a maroon.

Badger

Gonsolin on 6 days rest. Looks pretty good.

We’d be up about 5 nothing in LA.

Last edited 3 months ago by Badger

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