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AF Loves His Veterans

A couple of weeks back I made a comment that the Dodgers will sign at least one Free Agent OF next year, and bypass their homegrown.  I am not saying they will be 9 figure multi-year deals, but they will be veterans.  That was met with pushback, and I expected it.  But I have watched AF, and there is not another POBO or GM that covets veterans more than he.  Steve Cohen tried to emulate AF and it did not go so well for NYM.

Last year (2023), the Dodgers signed David Peralta and Jason Heyward, and prior to ST, Trayce Thompson was going into the season as the everyday CF.  James Outman had a ST that pushed him into the picture, but still the only reason he made the 26 man was because he was LH hitting and the team needed another LH bat once Gavin Lux went down.

This year (2024), AF/BG decided that Miguel Vargas is no longer a 2B or 3B, but is now a LF.  However, with their concern about Vargas’ ability to consistently hit MLB pitching, the Dodgers signed Teoscar Hernández, Jason Heyward, and Kiké Hernández, with James Outman and CT3 on the roster, Vargas was dispatched to OKC.

Many have projected that the LAD OF will be Vargas, Outman, and Pages for 2025.  I give that a 0% chance.  For me, it is more likely that one of the three will make it, one will be traded for a couple of Rookie League lottery tickets, and one will end up back in OKC as one of the many AAAA OF the Dodgers love to stash away.

The problem now is that with less max number of MiLB players, the ability to stash AAAA OF is getting more difficult, making it all the more likely that one (any maybe two) of the three will be in AAA.  Vargas has 1 option, and Outman and Pages have 2 options remaining.

Crazy thought?  I don’t know.  Let’s look at Friday night’s OKC OF – Kevin Padlo (LF), Chris Owings (CF), and Austin Gauthier (RF).  All three are infielders trying to learn OF.  Dodgers do love their utility players.  OKC only has three OF on their roster – Outman, Drew Avans, and Ryan Ward.  Ward is on the DL, and knowing that Blake Snell was pitching for Sacramento, apparently AF called ahead and advised that Outman should not hit LH pitchers.  Although he did not play Saturday either.  OF for Saturday?  They did have a true OF with Avans in CF.  Gauthier was in LF and Owings in RF.

If the Dodgers thought enough of Ward or Avans, they would have been given the opportunity before Heyward or Kiké.  Why didn’t they ever get a legit chance?  Because they are considered AAAA outfielders by the Dodgers, and obviously every other team since they have been passed over in the Rule 5 draft.

After 124 PA, apparently the Dodgers have seen enough of Outman.  If any out there are expecting him to be recalled this year, I do not share that belief.  He was passed over in 2022 after his start and AAA season. So what he does at OKC will again be unmoving.   Pages or Vargas will be sent down once Muncy comes off the IL.  Pages is not safe.  After all AF/BG/Doc still have Kiké to play CF.

Just a rhetorical question?  How much of a runway would Corbin Carroll have gotten with the Dodgers? At 23, he is probably at AA.

So why not move AA prospects to AAA?  Because there aren’t any.  Tulsa has 2 homegrown, 25 year old Chris Alleyne, and 23 year old José Ramos.  Alleyne was a 19th round draft choice in 2022 out of Maryland.   At Great Lakes in 2023, Chris hit .199/.277/0322/.599.  He is a LF who hit 7 HR in 402 PA.  Tulsa was so bereft of playable OF that Alleyne was assigned to Tulsa.  For Tulsa with 61 PA, Chris is hitting a respectable .273/.328/.436/.764, but only 2 HR and 3 doubles.  Not enough slug to go with 27.9% strikeout rate for a corner OF.

The two non-homegrown OF are Austin Beck (25) and Lolo Sanchez (25), both have been previously released by other clubs.  They were not considered good enough for the juggernauts AKA Oakland and Pittsburgh respectively.  That being said, I am hopeful that the former 1st round pick (#6 overall), Beck, is finally healthy and is slashing .298/.355/.560/.914 with 5 HRs.  Should he be considered for AAA?  I guess not with all those infielders playing OF at OKC.

So I can absolutely see the Dodgers re-signing Teoscar Hernández (who absolutely loves being a Dodger) and maybe Tyler O’Neill.  Trade?  The Dodgers have 3 current consensus top 100 prospects on the revised Top 100 for Baseball America and MLB Pipeline and 4 overall.

Baseball America:

  • Josue De Paula – OF – 40
  • Dalton Rushing C – 41
  • Andy Pages – OF – 82
  • Thayron Liranzo – C – 89

MLB Pipeline:

  • Andy Pages – OF – 52
  • Dalton Rushing C – 53
  • Josue De Paula – OF – 83

There is not enough elite healthy MLB Ready prospect talent to garner a top OF, unless pitching is involved.  And even then they are not top 100.  Take a look at what gets traded at the deadline for elite players, and it is top 100 prospects.  It takes top 100 talent to get elite difference makers.  AF is not AJ Preller.

In summary, IMO, the Dodgers will continue trying to piece the OF together with what they already have. Expect a lot of Jason Heyward, Teoscar Hernández, Kiké Hernández, and Chris Taylor, and one of Pages, Outman, or Vargas. They will worry about next year…well, next year.

 

One of the Sacramento River Cats TV Announcers is Steve Sax.  He threw out the 1st pitch Saturday night in honor of his son and the John Sax Foundation.  At some point today/tonight, Saxy was able to interview Doc and asked specifically about optioning James Outman.

“It was a tough one,” manager Dave Roberts said of the decision. “I don’t think any of us expected to be in this position given last year and our expectation for him this season.  We felt that James needed an opportunity to go down and play every day.  There’s something for getting out of this environment.”

That is such hogwash.  Remember when we were told James was not going to be platooned?  He got 12 PA against LHP.  That’s not being platooned?  I think James will agree with the last sentence about something for getting out of this environment.  I am going with, yes take him out of the environment and trade him so he can play everyday for a team like Michael Busch.   AF has made his decision.  Andy Pages is the CF.  Free James Outman!!  Don’t keep him as one of the pet AAAA OF.

 

 

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RC Dodger

Great recap Jeff. I like Avans as a baseball player, even if he may not be a MLB prospect, especially for the Dodgers. I think he should get a MLB chance with a non-contender at some point. Sounds like Avans created a run with his speed and base running ability last night.
Walker Buehler had a great outing last night and I hope he can continue to improve. He has great competitiveness and has been a big game pitcher in the postseason for the Dodgers.

Oldbear48

David Peralta was signed to a minor league contract by the Padres. SD is desperate to get some sort of offense going. Kim and Bogaerts are not playing as well as last year. SD did not play last night, so LA picked up 1/2 game on them. Nice to see Buehler look like Buehler, and he did it by being a pitcher and not trying to throw his heater by everyone. Since the first game, the Dodgers have totally shut down De La Cruz. I have no doubt that AF will sign at least one, if not two older MLB outfielders. If O’Neill is healthy, I would love to see that guy in a Dodger uni. He is hitting .254 in Boston and has 10 long balls already. Did any of you know that O’Neill holds the MLB record by having hit home runs on opening day for five consecutive seasons?

tedraymond

Buehler did pitch an outstanding game. He seemed very pleased with his performance as he should have. Like you mentioned Bear, it might have proven to him that he doesn’t need to throw in the high 90’s in order to be successful. Will did a nice job of guiding him through the game. Like I mentioned the other day, Buehler is very smart, knows how to pitch, and is very competitive. I was thrilled to see him have a great result.

The rotation, for now, seems to be rounding into form. They currently have Glasnow, Yamamoto, Buehler, Stone, and Paxton. Then there’s Miller, Kershaw, and possibly Knack waiting to return.

It will be interesting how the OF pans out the rest of the year. Will Vargas take advantage of this opportunity (final?) with the Dodgers? Or, will Pages continue to play well and remain on the team for the rest of the season? He’s had strikeout issues lately. He seems to be coachable, so let’s see if his hitting and defense continue to improve.

Jeff’s comments on the OF for next year seems to minimize the chances of any prospect finding a position with the team. Both Vargas and Pages have to really excel this year in order to find a place on this team not only this year, but next as well. At least one veteran FA will be signed by AF in the offseason. Will Teoscar fill that role? I thought his $23M salary was too much (is there such a thing with the Dodgers?) considering all the strikeouts that come with his offense. But, he may be a bargain. HIs RH bat is a plus as well along with his defense. Two year, $50M?

Oldbear48

At this point in time, who would you rather see at the plate, Hernandez, or Pages in a crucial spot? Pages came through last night. But so did Hernandez. He leads the team with 37 RBIs. I trust the vets, I hope for the kids.

Badger

The outfield looks ok for now and with the possibility of Ohtani playing some out there it could look even better. Frankly I still would like to see a different shortstop and if Mookie insists on playing infield put him at second and move Lux.

Bummer about Outman. If he’s not coming back then a trade makes sense to me.

Duke Not Snider

Badger, would you want Bichette or ??? to play SS?

Badger

??? for now. Bichette maybe in ‘26 if he isn’t locked up. I still believe Adames is a fit here, as is Kim. I have no idea who might be available.

Phil Jones

*Eric Karros never played outfield. And he perseverated for 2 innings on the miscommunication by the 2 rookies in the outfield, Pages and Vargas, on the gapper in the 5th. I think Eric’s analysis was off. Both Pages and Vargas were running hard, watching the ball. Karros accused Pages of not having his arm up long enough, signaling he had it.
I don’t care if Pages didn’t have his arm up long enough, or at all. Or if he had his hand up his ass or picking his nose, that call is verbal. He can’t be sure that Vegas sees his signal, but he should hear him.
Maybe Pages didn’t call it. I don’t know but do know it’s not about arm signals. Pages, call the ball and take charge as the centerfielder. Cudos to both busting to make the catch but talk.
In the dugout you could see Teo and Heyward coaching up the kids about the play. I love that. But they were clearly talking about verbal communication.
*Karros is a hard listen for me. He’s kinda like fish, it’s enjoyable the first day but by day 4, he stinks. He broadcasts the game with the idea, why say anything with a sentence when you can say it with a paragraph.
*Kike plays a great, entertaining, 3rd Base. He an Rojas can fill in nicely for Max.
*I watched this a couple of times and I swear I saw this; when Buehler was being congratulated on his great outing in the dugout, he got into a conversation with Prior and someone else I couldn’t see. Walker was rocking back demonstrating some pitching mechanic. On the rail in front of him was Yamamoto, watching the game and paying no attention to the conversation behind him. Suddenly a hand appeared on the screen tapping Yamamoto’s head to encouraging him in listening to that conversation. Kinda like – “Hey, young pitcher, pay attention to these guys”. 
On replay, I could see the hand moving Yamamoto’s head to pay attention, was Ohtani’s. I swear that’s what I saw and it’s pretty awesome leadership.
*Grover continues to impress as a one inning bullpen piece.
*Did you notice Will Smith continuing to try to hit to right to move Freeman to 3rd with no outs bottom 8th. It would be so easy for a guy up with a 4 run lead to just go to hacking. But Will was still being a team guy and playing the game the right way. Small things impress me and Will is such a pro.
*So nice to see Buehler have his A stuff. 

Last edited 24 days ago by Phil Jones
Singing the Blue

Good comments, as always Phil.

Karros – I used to find him totally unlistenable but I guess I’ve mellowed and although he loves to hear himself talk, I can get through a game now without being disturbed by the fact he’s there.

Maybe just knowing it could be Jessica Mendoza instead makes me satisfied to listen to EK.

Grove is turning into a real bullpen asset. Just don’t send him out there for a second inning.

I noticed the Yamamoto thing also. I think Ohtani and YY are probably both glad the other one is there. If Sasaki is watching, that might encourage him to become a Dodger.

With regard to Jeff’s concern about future Dodger outfields, maybe the best answer is to make Shohei an everyday outfielder. Although it’s beautiful to see him pitch also, we may have enough pitching now and in the pipeline that his best use would be as an all the time outfielder. That frees up space for Will to DH when not catching and would allow us to bring in another hitter who is better off not playing in the field.

Badger

Yeah, we talked briefly about that play on the previous thread. The idea that a veteran in a Major League dugout has to explain verbal communication to players at that level is bizarre to me. That instruction begins in Little League.

I believe we will see Shohei in the outfield some time this year and the fact he’s already had two elbow surgeries may be the deciding factor on whether he pitches again. If he’s to be around and be productive for the entire length of that contract losing time from another arm injury may be something the organization takes off the table. A spot start now and then may be acceptable but hopefully he isn’t needed as a regular in the rotation.

Phil Jones

Badger, good call on basic stuff learned as a kid, bungled at the Major League level. I see it more than I expect, as well.

Nice to see Luke Raley hitting well for the Mariners. One of the few in that lineups who’s hitting. Being a AAAA guy with no future, he finally seized his opportunity at 29. Good for him.

Jeff

You don’t think Shohei will pitch a regular rotation spot when his healing process is finished? I don’t think they paid nearly a billion $$ for a DH spot. I don’t know what his contract looks like but a renegotiation would be likely, I think.

Bumsrap

I wonder if Yamamoto would have been more interested in what Prior was saying to Buehler if he understood English more.

Maybe it was a language problem between Vargas and Pages. 😀

Maybe Pages and Vargas couldn’t hear each other yelling. It’s not like veterans don’t collide with each other.

I also was amazed at Karros saying thought Pages should have held out his hand longer. He lowered it when he was bending down as he approached the ball to make a backhand catch and would have lost his balance had he kept it out.

Jeff

Phil, I’d rather listen to Karros than Orel go and on with his obsessive analysis. Orel should never be in the booth. He is such a bad pairing with Joe D.

Duke Not Snider

Nice.
Buhler’s performance was very encouraging. The rotation of Glasnow, Yamamoto, Buhler, Paxton and Stone has been very good.
And of course we should see Bobby Miller and Kershaw before too long. Rooting for Knack too. (Bummer about Sheehan: he joins an IL pitching roster than includes May, Gonsolin, Frasso and I think River Ryan. And then there are the injured relievers.)
I think Jeff is right about the OF. but the thought of a homegrown mix of Vargas-Outman-Pages as a best-case (and low-cost) scenario is fun to think about.
And yes, we should see Pomeranz soon. Excellent signing. Perhaps he’ll be the lefty the pen really needs.

I think Teoscar and Heyward are solid, but if Pages slumps and Vargas fails to deliver, would AF be content with Kike and Taylor? (Right now, Kike seems to be Max’s replacement. though Taylor and Rojas could also see action at 3B.)
It would be pretty awesome to see Shohei out in LF a bit, but that would probably mean Will is at DH and Barnes is in the lineup….
I could see AF nabbing another veteran OF in the summer, depending on which team might be sellers.
Certainly the Angels will be sellers. Would they consider dealing Taylor Ward? I think the Dodgers wanted him and Rengifo in the Joc-Striping deal than Arte Moreno nixed (which is why the Dodgers still have Pages.) Kevin Pillar is now on the Angels roster too, and playing well. We all may recall his brief run with the Dodgers, ended too soon by a serious injury. He’d come cheap and, IMO, be an OF upgrade over Kike and Taylor.
What other teams might be sellers?
The A’s, no doubt. And I’d still scope out what it would take to land Mason Miller.

Last edited 24 days ago by Duke Not Snider
Bobby

Wow, did anyone know that Conner Wong is hitting .349 for the Red Sox so far this year?

OhioDodger

Probably should have signed Tommy Pham. Signed for $3M.
Why weren’t the Dodgers interested?

Last edited 24 days ago by OhioDodger
Bluto

I would genuinely like to hear what Jeff thinks the answer is.

Singing the Blue

Don’t really understand the optioning of Feyereisen who has been fine his last few outings. Not having pitched in so long it was going to take him a few outings to get his feet under him, but he seemed to have done that, only to be optioned again.

I’m guessing that’s it’s just a few more days before we see Pomeranz up and Banda optioned or DFA’d.

Also guessing that we might see Elieser Hernandez follow Knack today and then have that same fate.

Duke Not Snider

Great clip of Little and Rushing. Little has not been on my radar at all. How soon before he reaches the churn-and-burn level?
Speaking of which, I bet I’m the only one here who had Anthony Banda on their Dodgers bullpen bingo card.
OK, I’m lying. I knew as much about Banda as I knew about Jack Little.
But I got to say kudos to Banda for shutting down the Reds in the 10th for the W. Pretty tall order for the new guy, entering with the “placed runner” on second base, especially since said runner was the dangerous Elly De La Cruz. Will Banda be allowed to stick around?
Kudos also to the front office for purchasing Banda’s contract. The Dodgers scouts have a knack for identifying talent on bullpen bazaar.
Of course the Dodgers also have a Knack, and he was solid in this game. Good guy to have–but also a good guy to put in an offer for Mason Miller.

Bluto

I am curious about the idea of resigning Teo. While I definitely see the upside, I can’t figure how it would work. Another short term deal at an above market rate? Would that be amenable to Hernandez? If he wants longish term, I don’t see the Dodgers working at the top of the market.

But what I see in the future, often isn’t.

Bluto

Does anyone know where I could find stats about how the Dodgers run up pitch counts in comparison to other team? Rate of pitch counts, average # per batter.

Bumsrap

Friedman’s and Roberts’ preference for veterans was painfully obvious when they didn’t start Pepiot in last year’s playoffs.

Maybe Joc is old enough to get another chance with the Dodgers.

Outman was getting hard to watch mostly because I wanted him to do well. I sure hope he returns within 15 days although an earlier return would require someone going on the IL.

Ohtani recently was reported to say he loves hitting more than pitching and would be fine playing everyday in the outfield and not pitching.

I’ll take an outfield of Ohtani, Outman, and Opages with Royce Lewis at third.

Bluto

Where was that sentiment reported?

Bumsrap

My neighbor knows a guy.

Singing the Blue

You mean an outfield of Ohtani, Outman and Pages with Royce Lewis on the IL where he’s spent half of his career.

Singing the Blue

Do we know why he’s taken so long to report? Or if he has been with the team, why he hasn’t been playing?

Oldbear48

The Shohei Ohtani bobbleheads they gave away the other day are selling for ridiculous prices on EBAY. The one in gray is being offered for 1500 or more.

Badger

So… did you buy it?

Oldbear48

Oh hell no. I might get the Will Smith. I have 2 Ohtani’s from the Angels.

Badger

Gritty win today. It’s good to see the team win a close one.

Just finished watching The SAINT of Second Chances on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it you might want to check it out. It’s the story of Mike Veeck.

Watford Dodger

Good series after losing the first game.

anyone got any thoughts on whether AF will be on Soto this off season?

Generational. Talent doesn’t become available as a FA thst often. Because of Ohtani’s deferred money it should be doable…

Bluto

IMO it’s about 1000 times more likely Soto than TeOscar. But I don’t think it’s either. There is a self-imposed cap in terms of spending, and surely the Dodgers are close to it at least until Taylor and Muncie and maybe even Freeman come off their payroll.

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