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Andrew Friedman – King of 40 Man Roster for Regular Season — Championships?

Mark recently wrote an article on Why He Trusts Andrew Friedman.  Those of you that were around when I wrote with Mark, know that he and I differ on a lot.  I think I have done more Point-Counter Point articles on his affinity for Andrew Friedman and my indifference.

I think Andrew Friedman is a very good POBO.  The best?  I sure would like to see what Alex Anthopoulos could do with the Dodgers payroll budget.  Same with Mike Hazen.  Dave Dombrowski?  I think we are seeing what he can continually do with a good payroll budget.

First we need to define what the primary job function of the POBO/GM is.  IMO, very simplistically (and certainly not exclusively), that role is to:

  • Define the strategy that gives their team the best chance to win, and when I say win, I mean championships.
  • Hire the development team and coaching staff that gives the team the best opportunity to accomplish said strategy.
  • Build a roster that the development team and coaching staff can work with to best accomplish said strategy.

From what I can determine, AF’s strategy is power arms and power bats.  High velo in the arms and high velo in the bats.  While the team will run, it is not a critical component of the strategy to win.  Bunting?  Hit and run?  Those are so 1960’s and 1970’s.  Walter Alston and Tommy Lasorda would bunt and hit & run, but baseball has evolved, right? Situational hitting is nothing compared to the 3-run HR.

Defense – Not as important as being able to have players play 3-4-5-6 different positions.  Versatility is more important than GG defense.  AF has drafted 2 GG since his first Tampa Bay draft, 2006.  Evan Longoria and Kevin Kiermaier.

Looking at his drafts, the focus is on arms (primarily power arms) and slug over bat to ball skills.

It is hard to criticize a POBO/GM whose team has compiled a WL record of 845-512 from 2015-2023, or .623 winning percentage (101 wins over 162 game schedule).  But for me that is just the surface.  I have written multiple times that I do not think there is a better baseball executive to construct a 40 man roster for a 162 game season.  I stand by that.

Playoffs – The Dodgers have reached the playoffs all 9 nine years with AF.  That is what happens when you average 101 wins.  But what have they done once they got to the playoffs.

  • WS Championships – 1
  • WS Losses – 2
  • NLCS Losses – 2
  • NLDS Losses – 4

It is that last bullet point that bothers me, especially the last two years.  The slug was not there and there was no situational hitting to fall back on.  Hitting WRISP was abysmal.

What happens when there is slug?  They win.  In 2020, the Dodgers hit 30 playoff HRs and 33 doubles.  In 2017, the Dodgers hit 23 playoff HRs.  It kinda looks like slug is the key to the Dodgers winning.  Without it?  No chance.

Thus, I have to backtrack a bit on whether or not I think this team can win the WS.  Well, if they hit 30 HRs as they did in 2020 or 23 in 2017, well yes they can.  And this team is more than capable of such accomplishments.  If they do not hit HRs, they just do not have the players to switch to situational hitting to try and win a game.  More evidence?

Prior to Friday night’s game, in the last 30 games, the Dodgers are 16-14.

  • 0 HRs: 3-9
  • 1 HR: 3-3
  • 2 HRs: 4-2
  • 3 HRs: 4-0
  • 4 HRs: 1-0
  • 5 HRs: 1-0

During those 30 games, the Dodgers hitting WRISP is .224.

How many warning track power fly balls did the Dodgers hit the last two games against Texas, when a single here or there could have made a difference.  They scored 3 runs, 2 on solo HRs, and were 1-8 WRISP, against a sub .500 team.  That is not a recipe for winning.

Again, prior to Friday night’s game, the team is under .500 in their last 19 games (9-10).  I know, I know.  This is just a lull…an aberration.  They are going to get hot.  I do not doubt that.  Those HRs are going to skyrocket once the weather gets hot.  Watch out for the Dodgers in August.  As their HRs go, so do the wins.  But when the weather cools in October, will there be HRs the team can bank on?

Thanks to the research of Blake Harris:

 In high leverage situations, the Dodgers have been one of the worst teams in all of baseball.

.232 AVG (23rd)

86 wRC+ (25th)

.659 OPS (26th)

.284 wOBA (27th)

.114 ISO (28th)

.345 SLG (29th)

The numbers do get better with runners in scoring position, but they’re not where you’d expect them to be with a lineup filled with numerous All-Stars.

.252 AVG (18th)

111 wRC+ (14th)

.744 OPS (14th)

.322 wOBA (14th)

.149 ISO (16th)

.402 SLG (16th)

When October rolls around, how do you win games? You deliver in high leverage situations and you hit with runners in scoring position. When the Dodgers have gotten bounced the last couple of years, what did they fail to do in October? You guessed it. They failed to hit in high leverage situations and with runners in scoring position.

 

We have no clue how Shohei will perform in the playoffs.  He has never been there.  Will he try to hit 500’ HRs?  Or will he hit the line drive to LF when the situation calls for it?

IMO, there are two ways to build a championship roster…build through trades and free agency…or through the draft.  There have been very successful GMs/POBOs using either strategy.  Usually the former is used when teams have $$$ and the executives have a great knowledge of the veteran players.  The latter is generally utilized when $$$ are not readily available for veteran talent.

Dave Dombrowski, Alex Anthopoulos, and Theo Epstein are/were great at building rosters with veteran talent through trades and FA.  Epstein built two WS championship teams in Boston and Chicago.  Dombrowski’s teams have won five pennants with four different teams (Florida, Detroit, Boston, and Philadelphia).  He has two WS Championships (Florida and Boston).  He might win a third with Philadelphia this year.  If the team has $$$, this is the fastest way to build.

Mike Rizzo, Jeff Luhnow, and Mike Elias are expert at building championship rosters primarily through the draft.

Where I think Andrew excels best is in evaluating Major League talent, placing him in the former group.  Where I think he is suffers is in evaluation of amateur talent.  I am not convinced that he would draft well enough to put together consistent championship teams based primarily on the draft.  Cannot prove it because the Dodgers do not draft as low as those other teams have, but IMO, his drafts are lacking.  I am working more on this for a later post.  Suffice to say, where are the SS?  Where are the OF?  The Dodgers have 0 MLB ready SS, and 1 MLB ready OF (Outman).  Alex Freeland?  He is probably the best infielder AF has drafted since Lux?  Will he stick at SS?  More to come…

How good would Andrew be if he did not have the large checkbook of Mark Walter.

Does he get Mookie if Walter is not willing to pay for David Price?  How many owners would be willing to take on that salary?  Andrew loved Price from his Tampa Bay days, and I am sure there was a lot of cajoling to get Walter to agree.  But Walter did, and he subsequently agreed to the extension.

Freddie Freeman fell into AFs lap, and he was smart enough to steal him away from Atlanta.  Great sign by AF.  Atlanta’s loss is the Dodgers gain.

Shohei Ohtani?  This was as much of Mark Walter as it was Andrew Friedman.  I have opined from the very beginning that signing Ohtani was more of a business decision than a baseball decision.  I have lost count on the number of global based partnership investments the Dodgers now have as a result of signing Ohtani. Ohtani is a fantastic baseball talent, but he is an exceptional business asset.

While there was no guarantee that the Dodgers would sign Ohtani, the Dodgers hired Lorenzo Sciarrino as Senior Vice President, Global Partnerships in anticipation.  Mark Walter wanted to make the Dodgers a global empire, and Ohtani fed into that.

The same with Yoshinobu Yamamoto.  He was 25 when he signed a 12 year deal for $325MM.  It was strategically $1MM more than the Gerrit Cole contract.  Cole will surpass Yamamoto after NYY voids his 2024 opt out and extends his contract 1 year for $36MM, taking his contract to 10 years $360MM.

It is not unique to the Dodgers, but the Dodgers are becoming masters at deferring contracts.  While I fully acknowledge that Andrew Friedman is highly intelligent and fully comprehends time value of $$$, it was Mark Walter who became a billionaire with his understanding and execution of those concepts.  He thoroughly understands the actuarial analysis necessary for these calculations.  Plus Walter has the investment vehicle (Guggenheim) to properly invest those deferred amounts, further reducing the overall cost of the contract.  Mookie, Freddie, Teoscar, Shohei…Those contracts are not signed without Walter’s input and approval.  And yes, I give AF credit for bringing these deals to the forefront.

OTOH, how would AF do in an environment like Colorado where the owner, Dick Montfort, will not let the GM trade Ryan McMahon because Montfort likes him?

How would AF do with LAA where the owner, Arte Moreno, will not let his GMs be GMs.  Who here believes that Perry Minasian did not want to trade Shohei last year at the deadline?  No, that was Moreno who told Minasian that Shohei was not to be traded.

It was Moreno that ended the trade involving Ross Stripling and Joc Pederson going to the Angels for Luis Rengifo ++.  Why?  Because the Mookie trade was taking too long.

How would AF do with Oakland?  With Pittsburgh?  With Miami?

So I agree that AF is an extremely successful POBO, but IMO he excels in large part to Mark Walter’s largesse and his stand back management style for MLB.  Not exclusively because of ownership, but AF certainly benefits with the LAD ownership.  That is not to be taken lightly.  This has proven how adept he is at building 40 man rosters for the 162 game season.

The Divisional Championship run did not begin because of AF.  It started in 2013 with Ned Colletti.  It was the draft picks (and IFA) picks and trades from Colletti and Logan White era that were responsible for most of the elite players in the early run of AF…

Clayton Kershaw

Justin Turner

Julio Urías

Corey Seager

Cody Bellinger

Joc Pederson

Andre Ethier (one of his very first trades)

Yasiel Puig

Adrian González

Zack Greinke

Hyun-jin Ryu

The Dodgers do not win 2020 without Kershaw, Urías, Seager, Bellinger, Pederson, Turner.  Seager was WS MVP.  If it were not Seager, it probably would have been Urías.

That being said, I have to give credit to AF’s first draft pick with LAD who was also influential in the run…Walker Buehler.

How important is an owner?  Ned Colletti would have had CC Sabathia had Mark Walter been the owner instead of McCourt.  A trade with Cleveland was done before McCourt nixed it.

The proposed deal would have sent Sabathia, third baseman Casey Blake, and utility-man Jamey Carroll to Los Angeles. The Dodgers would have sent five prospects the other way, including Carlos Santana.

McCourt ultimately balked, and the deal fell through.

“I ran the deal past him, and also the financial considerations of it,” Colletti said. “And he was concerned about giving up five prospects, and he vetoed the deal. He wouldn’t let us do it.”

In the Winter of 2008, Sabathia wanted to sign with the Dodgers as a FA, but McCourt would not come up with the $$$.

““That offseason I’m thinking I’m going to the Dodgers,” Sabathia said. “I’m a free agent, I’m a Cali guy. They always have a bunch of money. It’s an historic place to play. So I’m looking at places in LA. Like, I’m already locked in on living in LA.”” 

““It’s a possibility,” Colletti said at the time about potentially inking Sabathia. “It’s an interesting dynamic with anybody who is long term at a salary that’s higher than most. When you’re talking about a player who is long term, it’s going to change the dynamic of your team in some way.””

 ““I go to the Winter Meeting and meet with Ned Colletti, and he’s like, ‘We don’t have enough money to sign you,’” Sabathia said on the BLEAV in Dodgers podcast with Brett Tomko and Josh Luke. “Because the Yankees had already offered me that deal. So he was like, ‘We really don’t have enough to sign you.’””

 Two days after telling Colletti he wanted to be a Dodger, once the team showed no interest in making a financial commitment to sign him, Sabathia signed a seven-year, $161 million contract with the Yankees.

How good would Sabathia have looked in Dodger Blue.  Dodgers sign Sabathia with Mark Walter as the owner.

The current 26 man roster is made up of:

  • Trade – 10
  • Free Agency – 8
  • Draft – 5 (Smith, Lux, Buehler, Stone, Grove)
  • Waiver – 2
  • IFA – 1 (Pages)

It is clear (at least to me) that AF favors the veterans in trades and free agency than draft picks.  The only two position players drafted on the 26 man came from the 2016 draft.  One a regular, and one a platoon 2B.

I do not see a big trade at the 2024 deadline for the Dodgers.  More Cavan Biggio, José Hernández, Yohan Ramirez, Anthony Banda.  No Mason Miller, Kyle Finnegan, Tanner Scott, Ryan Helsley, Andrés Muñoz, Garrett Crochet, Kyle Tucker, Alex Bregman, Willy Adames, Bo Bichette…

No bat to ball first player.  When was the last contact hitter AF traded for at the deadline? Trea Turner may have been the only one, and he was also made of slug.  I would like to know if AF even considered Luis Arráez.

As long as AF is in charge, and I do not see him being dismissed unless they miss the playoffs, RVS will be there.  He is the right guy for AF’s strategy for slug first.  What we think is irrelevant.  AF likes RVS…he’s staying.  I do not believe RVS even acknowledges situational hitting.

Bottom line, as long as the Dodgers make the playoffs, and pack the stadium, AF is going to be the POBO for as long as he wants.  Is he the best?  To some he is.  To some he is devil spawn.  For me, he does not put together a championship caliber roster for October.  He has won as many championships in the last 6 years as have Dave Dombrowski and Alex Anthopoulos, my two favorite baseball executives.  I also like Mike Hazen, and I would love to see what he could do with Mark Walter’s checkbook.  We know Mike Elias can draft.  I am guessing that he would be in an ideal situation to get that top pitcher (or pitchers) if he had Mark Walter’s checkbook.

BTW, I do not believe that winning the WS is due to luck.  I agree that the team needs to get hot, but why haven’t the Dodgers been able to?  Whose fault is it that the team does not have the right players to get hot in October.  A 13 offensive player collapse?  Let’s hope the slug is there in October.  Because the strategy will not change.

 

MiLB GAME SUMMARY REPORT

 

Sugarland Space Cowboys (Houston) 10 – OKC Baseball Club 8

It looks like the experiment of Chris Vallimont might be waning.  After a scoreless 6.0 IP outing in his first start in the Dodgers organization, he has now allowed 14 runs in 8.1 innings in 3 games since.

Vallimont had given up 6 runs in the first two innings.  He allowed a 2-run HR and a 3-run HR.  In the 4th, he gave up a single, double, and walk to load the bases before being lifted for Jack Little. Little was recently promoted to AAA (June 11) and made his second AAA appearance.  He gave up a single and double to clear the bases, with all three runs charged to Vallimont.  His ERA looks clean, but he will not be happy about this game.

For OKC, James Outman doubled with one out in the 3rd.  Miguel Vargas singled, moving Outman to 3rd, and Ryan Ward unloaded a 3-run HR, his 17th of the season.

Down 10-3 in the 8th, with one out, Trey Sweeney singled and Austin walked before Hunter Feduccia blasted a 3-run HR.  After the 2nd out, Jonathan Araúz hit a solo HR.

OKC got a run closer after Ryan Ward hit his 2nd HR of the night, his PCL leading 18th HR.  That was as close as he would get.

 

Jack Dreyer finished the final 2.0 innings in order with 4 K.

  • Ryan Ward – 2-5, 2 runs, 4 RBI. 2 HR (18)
  • Doubles – James Outman (4)
  • HR – Hunter Feduccia (4), Jonathan Araúz (3)

 

River Ryan will be making his AAA debut on Saturday facing the Space Cowboys.

 

Box Score

 

 

Arkansas Travelers (Seattle) 7 – Tulsa Drillers 4

I have been more than a silent advocate for RHP Jerming Rosario since he was signed July 2, 2018.  He was part of the Diego Cartaya, Alex De Jesus, and Hyun-il Choi group.  He was promoted to AA on June 13, and made his AA debut on June 14.  Jerming completed 4.2 scoreless innings allowing 2 hits, 4 BB, and 5 K.

Griffin Lockwood-Powell singled home Bubba Alleyne for a run in the 1st.

Three consecutive 2 out singles scored another in the run in the 5th.  The three singles were by Yeiner Fernandez, Alex Freeland and Dalton Rushing.

Tulsa was up 2-0 when Arkansas turned the game around with 7 runs scored of Michael Hobbs and Christian Suarez with 3 in the 6th, 1 in the 7th, and 3 in the 8th.

Tulsa temporarily tied the score in the 7th with an Alex Freeland 2-run HR.

 

Tulsa had 7 hits, 3 by Alex Freeland including his 6th HR, Tulsa’s only XBH.

 

Box Score

 

 

Dayton Dragons (Reds) 4 – Great Lakes Loons 3

Peter Heubeck had an incredible 6.0 inning start.  He did not allow a run, on 2 hits, 2 walks, and 9 strikeouts.  He lowered his ERA to 2.77.

 

Noah Miller opened the game with a walk for Great Lakes, and scored on a Thayron Liranzo double.  Great Lakes doubled their score in the 2nd with a Nelson Quiroz HR (1).

Jake Gelof made it 3-0 in the 7th with a solo HR (4).

 

Kelvin Ramirez was asked to protect a 3-0 lead in the 9th.   A single, balk, single, SB puts runners on 2nd and 3rd.  One run scores on a WP, and a second run scores on a single before Ramirez recorded an out.

With a runner on 1st, the Loons called on their usually reliable closer, Lucas Wepf.  The runner stole 2nd, and Wepf threw a WP moving the runner to 3rd.  Wepf walked the next batter.  The Loons got the lead runner out on a fielder’s choice for out #2.  After an intentional BB, Wepf threw two WP to give the Dragons the walk off win.

Great Lakes had 4 hits.

  • Jake Gelof – 1-3, 1 BB, 1 run, 1 RBI, HR (4)
  • Nelson Quiroz – 1-3, 1 run, 1 RBI, HR (1)
  • Thayron Liranzo – 1-4, 1 RBI, Double (11)
  • Chris Newell – 1-4

 

Box Score

 

Rancho Cucamonga 2 – Fresno Grizzlies (Colorado) 0

19 year old RHSP, Christian Zazueta, the pitcher the Dodgers received from NYY in the Caleb Ferguson trade was making his 2nd start for RC.

Zazueta completed 3.2 scoreless innings (70 pitches / 47 strikes).  He allowed 3 hits, 1 walk, and registered 7 K.

Roque Gutierrez followed Zazueta to the mound and also pitched well.  He completed 3.1 scoreless innings, 1 hit, 3 BB, and 4 K.

The two teams went into the 8th inning in a 0-0 tie.  Wilman Diaz led off with a BB, and Juan Alonso slugged a 2-run HR and a 2-0 lead.

22 year old RHP Pedro Santillan was making his Rancho Cucamonga debut and he completed 2.0 scoreless innings for his 1st save.  He allowed 1 hit, 2 BB, and 3 K.

 

Box Score

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wayne

2 thumps-up for this write-up Jeff! Went straight to my archives.

Last edited 29 days ago by Wayne
Duke Not Snider

Good piece. A lot of food for thought.
I noticed that you omitted Luis Roberts name from the big deals that AF won’t make. I think he might make this one because (a) the contract is team friendly and (b) there are several prospects that would be good for the Sox who would have a tough time getting to LA.
But another team may make a bigger bid.
Meanwhile, I will still hold out hope for a smaller deal that enables the Dodgers to underwrite Chris Taylor’s transformation into an Angel.

Duke Not Snider

As for AF’s ability to put together a good playoff roster, I will always recall 2022, when Brandon Drury was having a career year for the Reds and was clearly on the market. He’s have been a great fit for the Dodgers.
AJ Preller got him or the Pads. And he played well for the Pads the rest of the wey, earning a nice two-year contract from the Angels.
Instead of landing the proven Drury, AF’s playoff roster included rookie Miguel Vargas, even though he failed to live up the hype after he was called up late in the season. AF landed Gallo in a trade, but he was a strikeout waiting to happen.
In an alternative universe, AF could have kept Outman on the ML roster after his impressive debut and dealt for Drury–keeping him away from the rival Pads.

Badger

I think an important point to add on this particular topic is Friedman’s record in Tampa, where he took that low budget organization to the playoffs several times and was Executive of the Year. I think we are lucky to have him. In the last 10 years has anyone been better?

Building a team that will get hot in October sounds like an impossible task to me. Baseball by design isn’t built that way. There are no guarantees in this game. You get the best players you can, you keep them healthy, and you go after it. Having been a Dodger fan for over 60 years I feel fortunate to be around for this. I like having my team in first place.

That said, as fans we all have ideas on what should be done during the season to keep the team winning through 180 games. That’s a really long season.. I enjoy talking baseball with Dodger fans. I’ve been doing this blog stuff for around 25 years and appreciate those who make it happen. As exercisers of free speech we won’t agree on everything but we can agree to disagree and move forward respectfully. That doesn’t happen everywhere. It does happen here.

I prefer more emphasis on athleticism and sound defensive play. I prefer developing a two strike approach. Slug strikes 1 and 2, choke up and put strike 3 in play dammit. Seem like good ideas to me.

I don’t blame Friedman for Mookie and Freddie having slumps at the same time. I don’t blame Friedman for Rodriguez’ decision to invoke a no trade clause an hour before the deadline. There’s only so much that can get done and in my opinion Friedman has done well.

Mark Timmons

Who are you and what did you do with Badger? 😉

Badger

Good morning Mover. Long time. How’s life in the suburbs going for you?

Bumsrap

Hi Mark.

tedraymond

That will be revealed at the trade deadline!

tedraymond

Badger, a well thought out and expressed thoughts on the AF conundrum.

Badger

Thanks Ted.

Therealten

I go back to what Zaidi said when he was a Dodger. Our problem is “we haven’t hit enough homers” I love Will Smith but I have never seen a guy hit more warning track fly balls.Has there ever been 2 guys like lux and Heyward hit as many 4/3 ground balls as those 2 trying to pull the ball. Ohtani has about as wild of a swing as anyone u want to c trying to hit the ball to the moon. Taylor swings as hard as he can in the same spot every time hoping the ball hits his bat n Kiké the same. Muncy used to be a bit more disciplined but now he can’t stay in the zone but mb the terrible umpiring has something to do with it. I could understand if they are sitting on a pitch and they get it. But 2 strikes the same mentality. Mookie is hard to figure. Robertson gave him strike 1 and 2 in his hot zone and he just watched. U say well just 1 ab but that looks like him in the playoffs suddenly paralyzed.

you can talked about cruise control blah blah blah as some have but this is the playoff offense. U don’t hit one way all year and suddenly change. They don’t want to change this is it. I am going to enjoy the year because the playoffs are likely same. Our pitching could carry us hopefully. Great write up I would like to know more about AF in Tampa. Best I recall his drafting was a little suspect. I have seen it written c if Robert can fix so and so. How about fixing 6 of our own hitting .230.

dodgerram

I will go out on a limb and predict the Dodgers will not win the WS this season if they do not bring in two bats with high average and OBP to compliment the sluggers alreday on the team.
They must play more situational small ball. Those two games vs the TExans were prime exhibits. Always playing for the slug just does not work well enough vs good pitching. And in the playoffs you will see not only good but excellent pitching each and every game. No walk over Nr.4 or 5 starter on cellar dweller teams where you can fatten your stat line.
Waiting for the 3 run homer in postseason play usually is not the winning formula. There is a reason the Dodgers have only won 1 WS in all those 100 win plus seasons. And no, it is not only because the Astros cheated. That WS we lost 2 games at home were they did not use the trash can. But our offense in both games was dormant.

You askked what AF could do with less money. Well, the asnwer is he proved he is very , very good in identifying talent with the Ray and putting together playoff caliber teams even with less money as he has now.
IMHO the Dodgers should change their offensive approach a little bit. More situational small ball and it starts with a couple more bats who hit for high average and high OBP. If they continue to wait for Kike, CT3, Lux , Biggio to slug they are doomed again.

Go Dodgers!!!!!!!!!!

Badger

Every hitter at this level should be able to barrel strikes. Ohtani does it as well as any hitter Ive seen so far. Freeman can do it too. Yes, adding another couple of hitters might help, but how about the professional hitters that are currently here take a different approach to count adjustments?

Not every pitch in the strike zone should be launched. There are pitches early in the count that, if in the hitter’s wheelhouse (mine was thigh high middle in) then yes, have at it, put a sweet launch swing on it and hit it to the shorter porches. But when that doesn’t happen, and you find yourself behind in the count, the prospect of getting a cookie at this level drops to about 10%. When facing “pitchers pitches”, and we all know what that means, you are not likely going to get a pitch to launch, and if you try, unless you’re Aaron Judge, you are going to at best hit one to the warning track, and probably to center field. We are seeing the results of these failures night after night. Simply put, there are launch counts and there are barrel contact protect counts. Know the difference dammit, and work on both in batting practice.

Last edited 29 days ago by Badger
Badger

I agree with all of that. I enjoy this Dodgers team slugging and of course want to see it continue. But the idea of taking ANY get me over strike one is just frankly stupid. Seager is right. Why look at the most hittable pitch you will see in that at bat. I don’t give a red rat’s ass what RVS preaches I’m not looking at cookies and I’m protecting after two strikes. If the Dodgers hitters would just decide to take the Seager approach the whole team would benefit. I’m as convinced as I can be on this point.

Oldbear48

Excellent write up Jeff. I have never thought that AF was a genius. But I have loved watching the teams he has put together. It is absolutely true that there are stretches where this team is so frustrating for its fan base because of the inconsistency of the lineup. You are also dead on about AF never really trading for a contact bat except when they got Trea. Instead, we got guys like Negron, White, remember that bozo???? Gyorko, Gallo, Granderson. His one very good late season addition was David Freese. He also gave us Reddick. Another flop. He traded for Grandal, who although he brought framing and some pop, was the biggest rally killer on the team. Machado came out of need, and never came close to being the same player as he was when he got traded by the Orioles. Guys here keep talking about Robert Jr like he is going to automatically make the lineup better. So far, he hasn’t looked that good since returning from the IL. Dude is hitting .188. But his OPS is just under .800 and his OPS+ is 117. Seems like a perfect fit for this team. He has hit 3 homers in his last 5 games, his only three hits in those games. He struck out in 5 of his 16 at bats. You can add 3 walks to those 3 homers. Winning it all in this era is not very easy. But winning it all with injuries to major pieces of your roster is nearly impossible. If they stay healthy the rest of the way, they have a much better chance of winning. In 20, they were healthy, and they won. They miss Muncy a ton. Let’s see what AF has in mind this year. I don’t think he is going to trade for a major talent either.

Phil Jones

Excellent read on AF this morning Jeff. “For me, he does not put together a championship caliber roster for October”. For me he hasn’t put together what I would expect in June. I’m sure the roster will look different in October but I am not thrilled with the roster construction right now for position players.
Thoughts on last night:
While I was still stewing into the 6th about a line up with Kike and CT3, back to back at the bottom of the lineup, I’ll be damned if Taylor didn’t hit a home run. Out of nowhere. I’d come to expect nothing and lightening struck. I was in shock. 
I am also very happy for Chris Taylor. That had to feel great. He has to be in solitary confinement not to hear or read that guys like me want him fired. That can’t be a whole lot of fun. I’m happy for him.
Sadly, it doesn’t change my mind about him needing to find greener pastures.

Doc is reading my stuff, here, I’m sure.
Suddenly, after I mentioned the idea yesterday morning about Vesia closing a game, BANG, it happened last night. Actually I think he’s closed 3 games but I’ll take the credit anyway. Nice to see that options with Hudson, Treinen and Phillips.
My guy, Miggy put on a clinic. So dis Bobby Witt. The over the shoulder catch was terrific, to double up Teo on Pages’ blooper.
Mookie actually made a really sweet pick and throw to Freddie which he didn’t field. That one was really on Freddie. At first I thought Mookie gave him a tweeter hop. At the second looked was a pretty nice, long hop. Freddie usually eats up a shot-hop or a long-hop. It’s the tweeters that cause problems. That’s going down as a really good play by Mookie, in my book.
Nice win and a 2 hour game.

Last edited 29 days ago by Phil Jones
RC Dodger

Great article Jeff!
Andrew Friedman is a very good GM, but he came to the Dodgers when they were already 2 time division champs with a loaded farm system and unlimited funding. Ned Colletti may not have been as brilliant as Friedman, but he did some great work, especially dealing with McCourt. When the Dodgers traded for Casey Blake in 2008, Colletti was forced to include Carlos Santana to get a few extra $ from Cleveland because McCourt didn’t want to pay Blake’s contract. Now 16 years later, Santana is still playing in the MLB with over 300 HR just because McCourt was cheap. Friedman has never been forced to make such sacrifices for Dodger ownership.
Friedman is a top 5 GM to me, but many other GMs would thrive given this situation with the Dodgers. In addition to Epstein, Dombrowski, and Anthopolous, I think Mike Elias, Chris Young, and Mike Hazen are really good GMs also. Elias is young, but previously was with the Cardinals and Astros when they won.
We are lucky to have a decade of sustained success under Andrew Friedman, and the future looks bright. But many others including ownership, players, coaches and prior executives have contributed to this success.

Sam Oyed

It’s interesting that you mention Alex Anthopoulos. The Braves have lost the NLDS the last two years. There playoff record is not that much different under Anthopoulos then the Dodgers.

What that all means, I don’t know but I do agree the Dodgers could really use a player with good bat to ball skills. There is more than enough slug on the team to allow for a “table setter” or two in the lineup.

OhioDodger

You have to win a WS championship to know if you have built a championship roster. You just don’t know until it is over.

There is no blueprint for creating such a roster.

The 1988 Dodgers was not seen as a championship roster, yet they won a championship.

It comes down to the players performing in the post season and a couple of players over performing.

Was Texas considered a championship roster going into last years playoffs?

Last edited 29 days ago by OhioDodger
Bumsrap

This comment was great: “It kinda looks like slug is the key to the Dodgers winning. Without it? No chance.”

It’s not just the 26 on the playoff roster that often determines if a team advances. Last year I really wanted Pepiot to start the last game instead of STB’s guy Lynn. Not only did they lose that game, they didn’t learn what Pepiot could do in that situation.

I would have kept Pepiot and not sought Glassnow. Instead, I would have offered Miller and Muncy for Royce Lewis and kept adding players until the trade couldn’t be refused.

It’s a given that Betts, Freeman, Smith, and Ohtani will remain Dodgers for a long time. Muncy and T Hernandez are part of the It kinda looks like slug is the key to the Dodgers winning. Without it? No chance” method of building a lineup. I’ll keep Outman out of the slug group because of his age and I really like him.

If Phil thought Bellinger had too much head movement I have to think he has some thoughts on Othani’s swing. It’s undisciplined as far as I’m concerned. What say Phil? Badger? AC?

Badger

What I like about Outman’s swing is it is short and quick to the ball. Kinda like Trout’s. What I don’t like is his K rate. Again, shorten the bat by 2”, get closer to home plate and cover 17” with the sweet spot. 2 strike approach – PROTECT! It’s been around over a hundred years.

Jeff

It looks like Pages is here to stay. I can’t see them bringing Outman back at CF, but the season is long. What I would like to see is getting off of Heyward, Kike, Taylor, and Barnes. Throw Biggio into this group, mix it with farm hands and work out some trades. This is where AF falls short. He rides with players too long who are unproductive or just don’t have the goods to deliver.

Phil Jones

Ohtani’s swing is so different, it’s hard to critique. It’s like breaking down Ichiro’s swing. What I did notice when he was on fire was his unique ability to stay on the ball despite swing from his ass and stepping in the bucket. He has amazing separation between his lower half and upper half, creating other worldly bat speed. He has his head on the ball but that fast hack makes it look like he pulled his head as he’s pulled off balance. Pretty awkward looking but not through the ball. Only the finish.
He has an uncanny ability to use his hands to swat outside pitches the other way for base hits. Very Ichiro-like. And that was working for a two-strike approach when he was hot.
I think he has gotten into a trend the last month where he takes good pitches to hit and gets behind in counts. That puts him in a spot where he’s forced to swing at pitcher’s pitches. He has made some truly ugly off balance hacks at stuff he can’t hit. He at times has missed very hittable fastball in the zone and I don’t have an answer to that.
My solution is to get a good pitch to hit and let it eat, earlier in counts. Try not to get in disadvantage counts where he has a tendency to swing at the rosin bag. And here’s a pearl of coaching advice I love “get a good pitch to hit and don’t miss it”.

Last edited 29 days ago by Phil Jones
Singing the Blue

Just for the record, by playoff time Lynn was no longer my guy and I also would have started Pepiot.

That said, I did lobby for Lynn at the deadline, so I have to put up with nasty people like you bringing it up almost a full year later. 😕 When you puts your neck on the line with brilliant ideas ya gots to take your medicine when they blow up in your face.

OhioDodger

Lynn was not a total bust. He gave them some good innings. He was just not a playoff caliber pitcher. Our pitching staff was decimated by the playoffs and he got a start. Should have started Pepiot.

Bumsrap

You still jest with me on Joc so there’s that.

Singing the Blue

Don’t forget Muncy and CT3.
Haven’t seen you mention Witt lately. Is it Royce Lewis or bust now?

Last edited 29 days ago by Singing the Blue
Bumsrap

Yes. He is my new Make A Wish guy.

Kickstart

Very well written Jeff. You nailed it. Nice to read what I agree is a accurate assessment of AF

Scott Andes

Nicely written Jeff. Good win last night. And Friedman still stinks.

tedraymond

Jeff D, what an excellent lead write up. I think the “Walter Wallet” has made AF’s job much easier. With the past off-season spending spree, contract amounts are not a deterrent to signing any player. That’s why it’s sometimes confusing why he continues to add reclamation projects and ignores his “top rated” farm system prospects and unlimited budget.

If I was an opposing GM I would rarely include a Dodger position prospect. Pitchers only in most cases. The reasoning would be: Your team has position needs, yet you don’t call them up to your major league roster. Therefore, why should my team want them?

If there is another early exit in the playoffs because of an offense failure I would think the “Slug” approach has to be questioned by ownership. AF is responsible for this approach.

Carry on.

Singing the Blue

Based on how much he spent last winter, we assume that AF has an unlimited budget, but we don’t know that for a fact. Maybe he does have a limit and he has now reached it.

I think you have an excellent point about going for Dodger pitchers and not position players in trades with the AF front office.

We keep on saying that if there is another failure in the playoffs this year, we have to question the “slug” approach, but I really don’t view Mookie or Freddie as “slug” hitters. And they are two of the major reasons we’ve been eliminated early in the last couple of years.

With the pitching we have this year, if two of our big four (Mookie, Shohei, Freddie and Smith) show up big and one of the other two doesn’t disappear altogether, I think we have a very good shot at the WS. The question is, will they?

Badger

I consider anything over .500 to be a good slug %. .550 is, in my opinion approaching great, which is .600. Both Freddie and Mookie were over .500 last year. Neither are there now.

Jeff

We have 5 hitters who are pretty solid, and Pages makes 6. The rest are what is dragging this team and preventing leveling up in the playoffs. Of course, injuries to the pitching staff don’t help, but that’s what you get for teaching bad habits to the pitchers. We need to move on from RVS and Mark Pryor.

Bumsrap

I liked Logan White and wish he would have stayed with Dodgers.

Singing the Blue

100% agree.

Dionysus

We need a four-circles Venn diagram of fans who either like or dislike Roberts and/or AF. I would be in the “Like AF/Dislike Roberts” camp, although I admit DR is a great players’ manager and AF is far from perfect, especially with roster churn.

Bobby

I’m in the “like both” side. I put more than 50% of the blame of our October failures on superstar players flat out failing when the superstar players are supposed to shine the brightest, starting with Kershaw #1.

Badger

Yep. Win or lose, it’s on the players.

Jeff

That’s why you need a well rounded lineup so you are not locked in to the top 4 batters. Plus, you also need healthy pitchers.

Singing the Blue

Have you got room in your diagram for a “neutral” rating?
I like AF and am neutral on Doc, although I wouldn’t be horribly upset if he was replaced if we don’t win a WS in the next couple years.

Ron Fairly fan

Years ago I heard a theory put out by a GM or something like that, don’t remember who said it, you develop arms and buy bats. This seems somewhat to be AF operation. It sort of makes sense as you know everything about the arm there are no suprises. Bats are easy to buy through trade or free agents. That doesn’t mean I agree with that philosophy. Last week I had a discussion with Bluto about the Oriole bats the Dodgers missed out on. I think AF or Gasparino need to examine why they can’t draft quality bats.

Bobby

As I read this, I’m watching the start of NYY-Boston. Volpe is another one we passed on by taking Kody Hoese.

Badger

Speaking of wrong decisions, leaving Treinen in for 39 pitches when he couldn’t find the plate was wrong.

Jeff

You are so right on this one.

Badger

Doesn’t matter when you only score 2.

Jeff

Yes, he develops the arms for the surgeon. Is he getting a kickback?
Agreed on buying bats but he doesn’t go far enough to put together a balanced lineup.

Bluto

A lot of the 40-man centric elements of this post reminds me of what Anthopoulos (spelling?) said after his time with Friedman and company:

Anthopoulos does indeed point to his two years working with Friedman and then-GM Farhan Zaidi in Los Angeles as a valuable experience.

“Those guys are, for me, the best executives in the game so I jumped at the chance to go work with them,” Anthopoulos said.

“I could go on for hours about all the things I learned from being around them. I think generally speaking my focus probably in the past was more on the 1 to 25 at the big-league level. Obviously, you’re worried about scouting and development. But in terms of going in and competing during the season, I was more focused on the 25 than I was the entire 40-man. And I think among other things, they understand more than I did, the importance of getting through the season and needing all 40 guys and that next group of players is going to be important. Guys are going to get hurt. Guys aren’t going to perform. I think that’s where some clubs that are unable to stay afloat aren’t as deep as they should be or can be. That’s something I learned to value and appreciate. You look at the Dodgers. They are extremely deep. … that’s certainly gone into my philosophy of putting a team together.”

Badger

So, all three Dodgers in the first inning attack strike 1. And the result?

Inning over on 7 pitches.

Why would anyone listen to me?

Badger

And another suck performance by a home plate ump. It won’t change until they decide enough is enough.

OhioDodger

This one is on Doc. Any manager with half a brain would have taken Treinen out after the 3rd walk. Dodgers will not win a WS with Doc as manager. Book It.

Bluto

Via the great (and noted AF fan) Eric Stephen:

courtesy of @baseballpro recovery dashboard shows these instances of triceps *tightness* dating back to 2018, with time missed:

’18: Addison Reed, 19 days
’19: Kyle Crick, 12 days
’20: Robert Gsellman, 16 days
’22: Michael Pineda, 39 days
’22: Steven Okert, 10 days

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