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A Look Back To Look Forward

 

 

Before the playoffs, Dave Roberts seemed to imply that if any Dodger fan would consider the season a failure because the team did not win the WS, then it was because those fans do not know what it is like to put on a ML uniform.  He said fans should be proud of the season the Dodgers just completed.

And then there was Andrew Friedman who said that the NLDS loss to the Padres was an organizational failure.   But I guess AF falls into the category that he does not know what it is like to put on a ML uniform.  So it fits.

Then there is this moron (it seems I am called that a lot, so I might as well embrace it),who thinks that both premises are correct.  The 111 win season is historic and one which every Dodger fan should be proud.  I am much more happy with the Dodgers fighting to win a WS every year than contending once every 2-20 years.  Right Seattle fans?

Some people like to go back to 2014 to point out how much of a crapshoot the playoffs are, and that there have been no repeat winners in that era. But if Houston wins, then there goes that theory.  I guess the same people can then make the same argument by just going back to 2018.

I go a little further back.  Since 1995, there have been 27 championships.

  • NYY – 5
  • Boston – 4 (all since 2004)
  • SFG – 3
  • Atlanta – 2
  • Marlins – 2
  • Cardinals – 2
  • D-Backs – 1
  • LAA – 1
  • ChiSox -1
  • Phillies – 1
  • Cubs -1
  • KC – 1
  • Houston – 1
  • LAD – 1
  • Nationals – 1

This year either Houston (2017) or Philadelphia (2008) will get their 2nd WS win in that time frame.  So since 1988, the Marlins have won more WS championships than the Dodgers.  The Dodgers have won the same as KC, ChiSox, Cubs, Nationals, Arizona, and LAA. So if the goal is to win more games than any other team in MLB, then the Dodgers are clearly the best team in the last 10+ years.  But if the goal is to win WS championships, then the Dodgers are no better than LAA in the last 30 years.

Of course there are those who are going to say that I believe the Dodgers are not as successful as are the Marlins.  NOPE!  Not even close.  I would much prefer to be in the conversation every year.  I would just like to finish with the championship more than once every 34 years.  Call me selfish.

To AF, 2022 was an organizational failure.  Okay.  Was that the same as in 2018, 2019, and 2021?  Friedman stated that it was the Dodgers’ inability to capitalize with runners in scoring position during the NLDS, an area where they were the best in baseball during the regular season, as the problem. Yep.  Thank you Captain Obvious.  Don’t need to be a President of Baseball Operations to agree with that.  He went on to ask why that changed during the postseason. This is one of many things he and his team will be looking into this offseason.  If the playoffs is such a crapshoot, then there was really nothing wrong.  It was just a bad 4 game stretch.  But if you are looking to improve that area, then one must think that:

  • The regular season was filled with hitting against poor pitching in those situations, thus overstating those metrics.

 

  • The hitting philosophy is flawed. Too many strikeouts, looking too much for launch angle and popping up, and/or rolling over on pitches and hitting weak ground balls. All three of those outcomes were prevalent in the NLDS.  But no change in the hitting coaches.  Thus it would appear that AF is happy with the overall approach.

 

  • What did not happen was getting runners home from 3rd with less than 2 outs. Getting any runner home with the bases loaded with 1 or no outs.  No Freddie Freeman approach (except from Freddie Freeman).  Will different players change that outcome?  Or will a different approach?  Or both?

Different players?  When asked about potential regrets for not getting help at the trade deadline, AF opined.

“We are tasked with doing everything we can to win in that current year, but also to maintain our future outlook.  If a deal would have made sense, we would have said yes to it on a number of different fronts. So no, I don’t regret not doing a bad deal for us.” 

“We have a number of really talented minor-league players right now at the upper levels. And part of our focus this offseason will be, how many to look to integrate early in the year? How many of them will kind of serve as depth throughout the year, get some experience and then be part of the core going forward? All are things that we’re going to have to work through this offseason.”

 Could Brandon Marsh have helped LAD?  The Yankees and Cardinals pulled off a trade where both players were of positions of need…Harrison Bader and Jordan Montgomery.  Luis Castillo?  Josh Hader?  Brandon Drury?  No need to get into the Soto deal.  So yes, a trade could have helped.  Would it have cost too much?  To AF, yes. And I have no basis to argue.

Who are these “really talented minor-league players right now at the upper levels”?

  • Bobby Miller – RHP – AAA
  • Miguel Vargas – 3B/LF/2B/1B/DH – AAA/MLB
  • Michael Busch – 2B/LF/1B/DH – AAA (Needs to be protected)
  • Ryan Pepiot – RHP – AAA/MLB
  • Gavin Stone – RHP – AAA
  • James Outman – OF – AAA/MLB
  • Michael Grove – RHP – AAA/MLB
  • Jacob Amaya – SS – AAA
  • Andy Pages – OF – AA (Needs to be protected)
  • José Ramos – OF – A+ (Needs to be protected)

 

  • Edwin Ríos – 3B/1B/DH – AAA/MLB (no longer prospect)
  • Jason Martin – OF – AAA/MLB (no longer prospect)
  • Andre Jackson – RHP – AAA/MLB (still a prospect, but not Top 30)

That is 13 players who spent most of their 2022 season in MiLB.  Is there one player in that group who is going to remind LAD fans of Julio Rodriguez, Jeremy Peña, Michael Harris II, Bobby Witt, Jr., Brendan Donovan, Spencer Strider, Nick Lodolo, or George Kirby?  Not for me.

That is 11 players/pitchers who are at AAA or AAA/MLB.  Just how many should be held on to before they no longer have trade value.  They have five RH Starting Pitchers at AAA.  Do they really need 5?  Or could 1 or 2 be packaged with others for a top of the rotation SP with 2+ years control (they can extend), a corner OF, a 3B, or 2B/SS?

There are 4 OF on the above list.  The three OF in the top 13 prospects (Pages, Ramos, and Outman) are three of the top strikeout OF in MiLB. But all three have power, tremendous arms, and are plus defensive OF.  Outman would be a superior defensive CF. Do they need all 3? There is a 5th OF considered a prospect,, Ryan Ward.  Jeren Kendall was once considered a top CF prospect.  Now, he is closer to being out of baseball than he is to MLB.  Do they need both Pages and Ramos?  Both top 10 LAD prospects.  None of the LAD OF prospects are at the level of Robert Hassell, the OF the Padres traded in the Soto trade. IMO, none of the Dodgers’ pitching prospects are at the same level as MacKenzie Gore, also moved in the Soto deal. But this is just me.  Are the LAD middle infield prospects at the same level as CJ Abrams?  Again, IMO, no.

Do they need both Eddys Leonard and Jorbit Vivas?  If they move them to different positions, maybe.  But their value could be more if they are included in a trade package.

4 catchers in the top 30, but outside of Jake Amaya, not a top SS only prospect above rookie ball.

Besides the four RHP prospects identified above, there are 8 additional RHP in their Top 30.

  • Landon Knack
  • Nick Nastrini
  • Nick Frasso
  • Carlos Duran
  • Kyle Hurt
  • Emmet Sheehan
  • Edgardo Henriquez
  • Peter Heubeck

Plus two LHP

  • Maddux Bruns
  • Ronan Kopp

Do they need 12 RHP prospects, plus Andre Jackson?

Let’s take AF at his word and believe that he wants to get younger and more athletic.  IMO it still takes pitching to win in the playoffs.  I think the Dodgers do re-sign Clayton Kershaw and Tyler Anderson.

There are three MiLB players ready from other teams that I would like to see AF/BG make a concentrated effort to acquire; Royce Lewis (SS – Minnesota), Sal Frelick (OF – Milwaukee), and Zack Gelof (3B – Oakland).  Three positions of need.

But the chances of getting any of those three are such longshots.  I say this partially with tongue in cheek, but I would not at all be surprised to see the following position players.

1B – Freddie Freeman (L)

2B – Gavin Lux (L)

3B – Miguel Vargas (R)

SS – Jacob Amaya (R)

LF – Trayce Thompson (R)

CF – James Outman (L)

RF – Mookie Betts (R)

C – Will Smith (R)

DH – Max Muncy (L)

Bench – Austin Barnes (R), Edwin Ríos (L), CT3 (R), Michael Busch (L)

 

SP:

Julio Urias (L)

Tony Gonsolin (R)

Dustin May (R)

Clayton Kershaw (L)

Tyler Anderson (L)

Trevor Bauer (R) – I think he wins his arbitration case.  I see no way he opts out.  And I see no team that would take him off LAD’s hands.

 

There is your 6-man rotation, Badger.  But if the Dodgers tell Bauer they are going with a 6-man rotation, knowing how much he hates even a 5 man rotation, maybe he does decide to opt out.  Okay I am dreaming.  But with the Dodgers paying $15MM as a buyout, is it really that far-fetched?

MiLB Starting Pitching Depth:

Bobby Miller (R) – Start in OKC

Ryan Pepiot (R) – Start in OKC

Gavin Stone (R) – Start in OKC

Michael Grove (R) – Start in OKC

Andre Jackson (R) – Start in OKC

 

Relievers

Evan Phillips (R)

Blake Treinen (R)

Daniel Hudson (R)

Brusdar Graterol (R)

Yency Almonte (R)

Caleb Ferguson (L)

Victor González (L)

Alex Vesia (L)

Do they look to re-sign any of Chris Martin, Tommy Kahnle, Jimmy Nelson, Danny Duffy?  Do they move Pepiot, Grove, and/or Jackson to the pen?

As I said yesterday, I think the Dodgers try to reset their AAV to below the CBT threshold.  $232MM for 2023.

But I reserve the right to change my mind 10 times before the weekend is over.

 

 

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Badger

A lot there this morning Jeff. Thanks for your work.

I thought Bauer was suspended without pay. I think I read that somewhere.

As you know, I was in on Castillo and Drury, but even without Drury I thought we had the offensive players in place. They just didn’t come through. And though I wasn’t confident this team would make it to November, I thought it would be the starting pitching that would be the weak link. Though the starting pitching wasn’t great, it was the offense that failed.

We strike out a lot and we don’t do small ball particularly well. I watched our approach and I often found myself cringing. Yeah, it worked to the tune of 111 wins, but I see a lot of room for situational improvement, starting with strikes 1 and 3. Do not take a get me over cookie for strike 1 and do not come out of your shoes on strike 3. On defense, take the outs they give you and have a goal of stealing 3 over 9 innings. You’re playing 9 innings, they only get 8. Every base is covered and every base is backed up. Anticipate the overthrow. Some of this is Little League stuff and the Dodgers don’t do it.

I don’t know what to say about an offense that just shuts off. They did it in Game 7 against Houston in ‘17 and they did it again in San Diego this year. I’m sure there are more examples but those two are on the surface with me.

I am fine with your lineup. If it doesn’t work, trade for what does at the deadline.

I got plenty more but I’ll finish this with a plea to the Dodgers hitting instructors – can we please learn an effective two strike approach? If you don’t know how to do that, read a book or pick up the phone and call George Brett or Wade Boggs.

Badger

How do you feel about Bauer pitching for the Dodgers?

In looking at our drafts and top prospects I’m guessing two things: they want to draft pitching and they want to draft talent they can develop no matter the position. If we have an abundance of catching, terrific, trade it for Mookie’s down the road.

I know a lot has been said about drafting late but every draft has busts in the first round and potential All Stars in later rounds. We need to get it right. We need to have high paid scouts (high pay means they’re the best) and we need the best trainers and training facilities in the business. We do have all that, correct? I mean, the Dodgers are the Apple of MLB so we lead all of baseball in everything. Well, everything except Championships.

Singing the Blue

When the Bauer thing first hit the news, I was ready to hang him from the nearest rafter, but the more I read and hear about this case, the more I’m inclined to believe Bauer and not his “victim”.

If the arbitrator rules he can pitch in 2023, that’s fine with me. Bring him back to the rotation if he wants to be here.

I’m trying very hard these days, not to jump to conclusions and race toward the position which my ideological bent would dictate I land at. This takes a lot of re-training and I’m only being partially successful with it, but Bauer is one situation where I have re-thought my original position, subject of course to further information which may come out later.

Bumsrap

Now we need to find a big market GM that shares your perspective.

Badger

Just read this:

  1. To STL: C Diego Cartaya
  2. To LAD: 3B Nolan Gorman, RHP Austin Love
Fred Vogel

Arenado just opted in so Gorman may well be available but I don’t want to lose Cartaya.

Singing the Blue

Where did you read it?
Not on the Trade Simulator because they don’t think Gorman and Love is nearly enough for Cartaya.
That said, I don’t give much credence to a lot of the values they place on players, but it’s a fun toy to while away the hours.

Badger

BR

Here’s the rest of it:

  1. The Los Angeles Dodgers are set at the catcher position for the foreseeable future with Will Smith controllable through 2025 and perhaps a candidate for an early extension given his elite-level production early in his career.
  2. That potentially makes Diego Cartaya one of the most attractive trade chips in baseball.
  3. The 21-year-old hit .254/.389/.503 with 22 doubles, 22 home runs and 72 RBI in 95 games between Single-A and High-A, and he checked in as the No. 14 prospect in baseball on Bleacher Report’s final Top 100 list of the year.
  4. With Yadier Molina headed for retirement and no clear in-house replacement, the St. Louis Cardinals look like a potential trade partner if the Dodgers decide to use Cartaya to upgrade elsewhere on the diamond.
  5. Slugger Nolan Gorman has a top prospect pedigree of his own, and he posted a 106 OPS+ with 13 doubles, 14 home runs and 35 RBI in 313 plate appearances in his first MLB action.
  6. With Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado entrenched at the infield corners, he played primarily second base, but the defensive metrics (-6 DRS, -2.2 UZR/150) suggest an everyday role there might be a stretch.
  7. This deal would allow the Dodgers to decline their $16 million club option on third baseman Justin Turner, freeing up that money to be redirected to a run at re-signing Trea Turner, an outside addition to the pitching staff, or an extension for someone like Julio Urías or Walker Buehler.
  8. The value of a high-ceiling catcher like Cartaya could mean the Cardinals need to add another secondary piece, and right-hander Austin Love showed swing-and-miss stuff with 151 strikeouts in 125.2 innings at High-A, albeit with a 5.73 ERA and 1.52 WHIP.

I don’t know if it makes any sense. Thought you guys might.

Singing the Blue

I’d love to know exactly what part of Gorman’s defensive game gets him those low grades. If he doesn’t score well at second, he might be even worse at third due to less reaction time.

On the other hand, if it’s lack of range at second, maybe he could overcome that at third.

I wouldn’t be totally opposed to using Cartaya as trade bait to get a really good third baseman, but I’m not sure Gorman is that guy.

Badger

We might be better off with Smith at third base. He’s played the infield before so it wouldn’t be completely foreign to him. Vargas in left, Smith at third and Cartaya behind the plate. I don’t know if that’s a viable plan but it means we get to keep Cartaya.

Fred Vogel

I like it.

Bluto

Not really sure what point you were or are trying to make there Jeff. Lots of weird shifting time-frames, and odd lists of minor league players.

Was there a central theme that I missed?

Was it that the Dodgers are well-run and we’re all excited to see what comes out of the off-season?

Bumsrap

…”Was there a central theme that I missed?”

Apparently.

Badger

Look BACK to Learn

Look FORWARD to Succeed.

Seems clear to me.

Bumsrap

An 8 year old just became the youngest person to climb El Capitan in Yosemite. Give youth a chance.

I really liked this lead Post Jeff. Always Compete/ Always Complete.

Of the three players you identified in trade for need,

Royce Lewis SS Minnesota, Sal Frelick OF Milwaukee, Zack Gelof 3B Oakland

I would start with Zack Gelof. I would offer both Vargas and Busch and I wouldn’t stop there to get him. That would tell me who was left to make the next trade.

Zack Gelof
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 55 | Run: 60 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55

Sal Frelick
Scouting grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 45 | Run: 70 | Arm: 50 | Field: 55 | Overall: 55
He strikes out far less than Outman but has less power. I would guess Outman to be a little better defensively. Frelick would be an awesome leadoff hitter. Because of Outman, I wouldn’t be as bold trying to trade for him as I am for Gelof.

Royce Lewis
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 70 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 55 
His scouting grades don’t look better than Lux but an infield with Gelof, Lewis, and Lux would be lightning quick and young.

Rotation: Urias, Bieber, Kershaw, Gonsolin, Anderson, Stone

Traded: May, Vargas, Busch, Miller or Pepiot, Pages, and the list goes on depending on how many additions the Dodgers want to add to the team.

Badger

Two 55 prospects for one 55 prospect. Oakland might do that.

But I regurgitate, I think the Dodgers will do what they’ve been doing, sign reclamation projects and trade for soon to be, or current, free agents.

Last edited 1 month ago by Badger
Jeff Dominique

Yep!

Bumsrap

Okay then, Verlander and Kershaw to lead the Dodgers to a World Championship.

Badger

Verlander looks like a fit. Great in the regular season…

Singing the Blue

CK would welcome Verlander. Suddenly he’d look like a very good post season pitcher.

Badger

Good one Jefe.

Singing the Blue

Jeff, please be sure to wish Andy a Happy Birthday from me.
Since my daughter attended Alemany HS, same as he did, I figure the least I can do is wish him Many Happy Returns.
Have a great celebration!

Bumsrap

I am not sure I understand what you meant when you said you wish Andy Many Happy Returns. Who returns to their high school except to maybe repeat a grade?

Singing the Blue

Reunions.

Bumsrap

In the meantime let’s play “build the lineup”. Note to STB, the players have to actually have a chance of being Dodgers and the Dodgers have to be under the CPT. Who can put together a better lineup than one of these?

Team A
SS Lux
2B Betts
1B Freeman
C Smith
LF Pederson/Taylor
RF Thompson
CF Outman
3B Zack Gelof
DH Muncy

Bieber, Urias, Gonsolin, Anderson, Stone, Kershaw

Trades: May for Bieber. Vargas and Busch for Gelof

Team B
2B Lux
RF Betts
1B Freeman
SS Correa
LF Pederson
C Smith
CF Reynolds
3B Gelof
DH Muncy

Urias, May, Anderson, Gonsolin, Stone, Miller

Trades: Vargas and Busch for Gelof. Pages, Outman, Pepiot for Reynolds

Last edited 1 month ago by Bumsrap
Badger

I’m gonna go with Bogaerts at short and Vargas at third.

Fred Vogel

Random question on a Sunday morning:
If the Dodgers had been found to be cheaters in the ’20 WS would you:
1. still follow the team with the passion you have now?
2. consider them WS champs?
3. Ignore their cheating and carry on as if nothing happened (ala Astro fans)?
4. Find a new team to root for?
5. Say adios to baseball?

Badger

Good question. What kind of cheating? Stealing signs? That’s been going on since the Babe was in diapers. (There’s a visual for you). I’d probably say, fire the manager, fine the team a few million, take away a couple draft picks then play Queen’s “WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS” before every home game.

Bumsrap

I think I am now as angry with Kershaw as I am with Correa. Kershaw is frozen in routine and that cost him in regards to not changing signals like Wood did. Roberts could have insisted on changing signals. There were rumors out there about the Astros doing something. I forget what that something was.

I don’t think I have attacked Roberts or Mattingley but I am tired of robot managing whether it be lineup construction or pinch hitting in the 5th inning only to have a bad matchup when the game was on the line later in the game. Are we going toward using artificial intelligence to make baseball decisions?

Move on. We have more than enough drama elsewhere in declaring a winner or conceding defeat.

Singing the Blue

OK Fred, I’ll respond to your Build the Lineup challenge.
Disclaimer: the following opinions are mine and are not necessarily any more valid than Fred’s (except in my mind).

I don’t like your Team A lineup for the following reasons:

Way too much strikeout potential in the bottom half of the lineup. We need to add some bat-to-ball hitters and remove the guys who just create a breeze when they come to the plate.

Zack Gelof is not ready for a big league shot at this point. He’s only had a few at bats at the AAA level, where he batted .257. Not saying I’d never want to see him in Dodger blue but I definitely would not put him there on opening day 2023. Also, sending the A’s Busch and Vargas for him is (in my opinion) an overpay.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, May for Bieber is an underpay. The Guardians would never do that deal. I’m a huge Bieber fan, but you’d probably need to add a couple more good prospects to get it done.

*********************************

I like your Team B lineup better.

Shortstop – I’m OK with Correa, or Bogaerts, but would probably prefer Trea if he would be willing to come back. Swanson strikes out too much for my liking so would be my fourth choice.

Lots of people want to get rid of that ancient guy, Mr. Justin Turner. After a horrendous start to the year, he was one of the best hitters in MLB for the months of July through September. His batting line for those months was up there with the league’s better hitters: .340/.412/.514/.926
That represented almost half of his at bats last year so not a small sample size and if he’s so washed up, why was his best production in the second half when he should have been all worn out. Therefore, I put JT at third instead of Gelof.

Joc – I plan to start Vargas in left but there should be plenty of at bats for a good lefty hitting outfielder. I just would prefer Michael Brantley to Joc but if Joc was with us next year, I’d certainly be OK with it. Farhan has said he wants him back and he’s playing at home up there so I’m guessing he stays with the Giants.

Trade: Busch, Pages, Miller and Ferguson for Reynolds and Bednar

Mookie – RF
Lux – 2B
Freddie – 1B
Correa/Bogaerts – SS
Reynolds – CF
Smith – C
Muncy – DH
JT – 3B
Vargas – LF

If Trea returns, he bats second, Lux moves to ninth and everyone else moves up one spot.

Bench: Brantley, Barnes, CT3, Outman/Rios
Rotation: Urias, Kershaw, Anderson, May, Gonsolin, Stone
Bullpen: Bednar, Hudson, Phillips, Vesia, Almonte, Martin, VGon, Nelson

I’ve got one extra pitcher listed, but injuries are bound to eliminate at least one man off that list. I don’t expect much from Treinen next year. I figure he’ll have surgery by May.

Last edited 1 month ago by Singing the Blue
Badger

Should have read this first. Far more detail than I gave above.

I’m going with Bogaerts being the only move. Vargas at third. Enough with the outfield experiment. I think Bellinger is back on a short leash. Thompson and Outman are ready to step in. I like Stone and Miller to be on the roster. Bullpen always shakes itself out and it appears we have plenty of arms.

Bluto

Jeff,

It’s me. The preponderance of posts in this moment are just frustrating to me, lots of idle speculation and day-dreaming.

I’m taking a break for a bit.

Don’t want to be a sour-puss. You, your writing and your blog are great.

Badger

Idle speculation and day dreaming

Well, yeah.This is a Dodger blog. It’s the off season. This is what’s done on Dodger blogs after the team gets bounced from the playoffs.

Singing the Blue

It’s Doc’s fault. Explain that to Bluto.

Last edited 1 month ago by Singing the Blue

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