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At What Price Loyalty

A very respectful RC Dodger is one of many here who prefer the Dodgers spend their money on homegrown players rather than FA.  RC made this comment on his disagreement with the new approach:  “the lack of loyalty to existing players, and the decision to not spend some of this money last year.”  He has made this argument before, and I was prompted to initiate a post on the subject, but did not get around to it before now.

I will start on my response to the second of his comments…”the decision to not spend some of the money last year.”

Last year was an odd off season.  They knew that they were gearing up for the Shohei sweepstakes, but did not have a clear understanding of the Trevor Bauer situation.  Of course they were hoping that Bauer was going to be suspended for the entire season, but the appeals process had not gone through.  By the time the Bauer situation was resolved, almost all of the FA pickings were gone.  Of the top 32 FA, only one was unsigned at the Bauer announcement…Carlos Correa.  And he would have had it not been for the medicals.  With the revised Bauer contract, there was no way the Dodgers were going to get under the tax threshold.  And not one difference making FA was available.

The trade deadline?  If Eduardo Rodriguez had agreed to the trade, it is conceivable there could have been better results.  I thought they could have put together a better package for Jordan Montgomery than Texas did, but they spent too much time on E-Rod and Montgomery was well on his way to Texas.  Other than Montgomery and E-Rod, there was not really a better trade option than what they already had.

Two specific players RC alluded to were Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner. Belli’s fWAR for 2020-2022 was 2.2 (total – not average) for a fVALUE of $17.7MM for the entire three year period.  For the Dodgers to retain him, the cost would have been near $20MM (anticipated arbitration contract) for 1 year.  It just did not make sense to spend $20MM for a player, the team could not get to adjust.  It is irrelevant as to whether it was the hitting coaches or Belli’s fault.  Regardless, the Dodgers did not believe they could get value from a $20MM contract and decided to cut bait.  Good for Chicago to get him to make adjustments, especially with a good 2-strike approach.  Would he have had the same results with LAD?  We will never know.  IMO, the Dodgers made the right decision by releasing Belli.

The Dodgers chose not to exercise their $16MM option on Justin Turner, instead giving him a $2MM buyout.  Right or wrong, they chose JDM at $10MM over JT at $16MM.  JT cannot play the OF, so there was not a choice between JT and Peralta.  In summation, LAD got JDM and Peralta for $18.5MM (includes JT buyout) against JT at $16MM.  Turner can play 1B, but was not going to with Freddie.  He could play some at 3B, but the Dodgers were committed to Muncy.

JT signed a 2 year deal with Boston for $21.7MM.  He had an opt out clause after 2023 with a buyout of $6.7MM which he chose to exercise.

  • JDM – 479 PA – .287/.350/.524/.874, 33 HR, 103 RBI, 134 OPS+
  • JT – 626 PA – .276/.345/.455/.800, 23 HR, 96 RBI, 114 OPS+

JDM put up the better offensive numbers.  JT had better bWAR and fWAR because he played defense.  The Dodgers did not ask JDM to play defense, so that particular measurement is not all that relevant.

Now for Walker Buehler and Tony Gonsolin – We have no idea if Walker Buehler was offered an extension prior to his 2nd TJ surgery in 2022.  The idea is to have enough arbitration and pre-arbitration players at lower costs to offset the higher contracts for those that have reached FA status.  With Mookie/Freddie/Clayton already pushing the salary levels, it was prudent for the Dodgers to keep their pre-free agent players at their lower salaries.  Actually Buehler and Gonsolin did sign 2-year deals for their 1st two years of arbitration.

If Walker pitches this year at the level Glasnow did last year, he will get the contract (probably more) than what Glasnow got.  Will it be with the Dodgers?  We will have to wait and see how the season unfolds.  But I do not think the Dodgers will bow out because they do not want to pay him what they are paying Glasnow.  IMO it is not a case of either/or.  It is timing.  They needed Glasnow this year, and that was the cost to acquire and extend him.  They do not trade Pepiot without the extension.  If Buehler pitches like he has in the past, the Dodgers will be making a good offer.  But it takes two to make a contract.  Buehler is going to need to want to sign with LAD.

Buehler is from Kentucky.  Did he grow up an Atlanta fan?  A St. Louis fan?  A Cincinnati fan?  He was closest to Cincinnati, but they are not going to pay Buehler what he is worth in FA.  Both St. Louis and Atlanta are close enough that he could have been a fan of either.  When the players get up into the stratospheric numbers they are earning today, where they want to play takes on a greater importance than most $$$.  If he grew up an Atlanta fan, it could come down to Buehler going to Atlanta and the Dodgers signing Max Fried.  A veritable trade.  But it will not be because the Dodgers are not willing to pay for Buehler.

Tony Gonsolin did pitch with an injured elbow.  He knew it and the Dodgers knew it.  Gonsolin was not going to injure the elbow any more than it was by continuing to pitch (the UCL was torn), so he could pitch as long as he could handle the pain.  After 20 starts, he was done.  Those 20 starts got him an extra $2MM for this year as he rehabs.

Did he help the team?  Yes.

Besides the UCL tear, Gonsolin missed 111 days in 2021 with a shoulder issue.  Gonsolin has had both elbow and shoulder injuries.  The Dodgers are not going to extend him past his arbitration years.  He is a super-2 player, so the Dodgers have 2 more years of control over Gonsolin after this year.  Gonsolin will have ample opportunity to prove he should get the large FA contracts after the 2025-2026 seasons.

Corey Seager was/is a Scott Boras client.  The Dodgers do not negotiate well with Boras.  They offered Corey what they considered a fair offer in ST before the 2021 season, and he chose to pass.  I sincerely doubt that was the final offer the Dodgers were willing to offer.

Seager signed very quickly in 2022 (before CBA was approved), and it is arguable that the Dodgers did not get a chance to make a final offer.  Corey declined his QO on 11/8 and signed with Texas on 11/29.  This is a Scott Boras trait with LAD.  He gets the Dodgers involved early to set the bar and then proceeds to build up the offer and does not give the Dodgers the final opportunity.  He did the same with Gerrit Cole.  Maybe Seager did not want to play in LA.  Do we know?

I do not think that the Dodgers believed Seager would get the contract he did get.  He has never been a model of injury free.  He is clutch when he plays, but he is going to get injured.  He played in 95 games in 2021, 134 in 2019, 26 in 2018.  He played a full season in 2022, but 2023 was again an injury year as he played in 95 games.

Seager was my favorite LAD, so I would have loved for him to play his entire career with the Dodgers.  Would he stay healthy for the 10 years enough to justify a $325MM contract?

Trea Turner was a totally different scenario.  He did not want to play for a West Coast team.  He made that abundantly clear regardless if he says the Dodgers did not make a formal offer.  There was no need to make a formal offer when he was not going to accept.  He never said that there were no negotiations.  He turned down $342MM from San Diego, which was $1MM more than the highest paid SS (Francisco Lindor).  So it was not $$$ driving the decision.

The Dodgers were also convinced that Gavin Lux was their SS for 2023 and beyond.  They were also prepared to play Miguel Vargas at 2B and give him a long runway to win or lose the position. Lux tore his ACL and Vargas did not win the 2B position, and yet the Dodgers still won 100 games.

But the Dodgers did exactly what RC preferred them to do.  They gave the kids the jobs over FA options.  No, they did not extend Lux or Vargas.  Nor should they have.

Shohei Ohtani is a unicorn, and his contract cannot be measured against other MLB players, because his return on investment is much more than in baseball terms.

If the Dodgers’ scouts are correct, Yoshinobu Yamamoto is a bonafide Ace this year. He is 25 and while he did receive the largest contract for a pitcher ever, if he pitches anywhere near how he pitched in Japan, the contract will be just fine.  This contract has no bearing on what the Dodgers can offer any of their players.

I have made my point as to why I believe Tyler Glasnow’s contract is fair and does not impact any current LAD or LAD free agent.  Teoscar Hernández is exactly what the Dodgers were looking for, and did not have in their system.  (I still have a post on him coming).

Loyalty is a two way street.  How much is loyalty worth?  For the Dodgers?  For the Player?  Should Corey Seager have given the Dodgers a hometown discount?  Previously, the Dodgers paid for their FA (Jansen, Turner, and Hill).  The offers were more than fair, and while KJ’s was not the largest offer, he stuck with LAD.

They were certainly loyal to CT3 (after 2021) and Joe Kelly this year.  Where I do believe the Dodgers were short-sighted and maybe not as “loyal” as they might have been, was with Joc.  Should they have or not offered a new contract is a subject for another day.  But it was clear that the Dodgers did not value Joc at the same level fans did.

Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers have had reciprocal loyalty.  Hopefully that will continue this summer.

Other than Seager and Trea Turner (who was not homegrown), which LAD FAs were able to pull down the big contracts that the Dodgers were not willing to match?

I would like to see the Dodgers extend Will Smith.  He has two years before he reaches free agency (his 29 & 30 year old seasons).  Smith is projected to make $9MM in 2024 via arbitration.  What do you offer Smith?  Sean Murphy was in a fairly similar situation, and he signed a 6 year $73MM contract with Atlanta.  That was for all three years of arbitration and three years of FA.

Willson Contreras in FA signed a 5 year $87.5MM contract with St. Louis.  J. T. Realmuto also waited until he was a FA and signed a 5 year $115MM contract with Philadelphia.

Probably the most comparable is the Sean Murphy deal.  What should the Dodgers offer Smith to eliminate his final two years of arbitration and 3 or 4 years of FA.  How about 6 years at $95MM.  I would estimate that his arbitration years is about $23MM in total, and then 4 years at $18MM per year.  Would he accept what Atlanta is paying Murphy?  Somewhere in between?

RC’s offers a very fair assessment of the Dodgers dilemma.  But I think it is too early to determine if they are willing or not to pay their players a FMV contract at FA.  Let’s see what happens next winter with Buehler to determine if the Dodgers are being loyal or not to their homegrown.

The Dodgers owe it to their fans to put the best team on the field that they can.  What the Dodgers are doing this year is exactly what most fans would hope they would do.  Spend the $$$ on the best talent that is available to them.  Glasnow > Pepiot.  Hernández > Deluca.

One DFA/trade was Bryan Hudson.  The Dodgers may get the last laugh on Milwaukee in the trade that LAD landed 18 year old LHP, Justin Chambers.  This could turn out to be a steal for the Dodgers.

We still do not know how the Dodgers are going to reduce their 40 man to add Teoscar Hernández.  We still have to wait and see what these signings do with respect to Miguel Vargas and Michael Busch.  There are still a lot of cards to play, but should the Dodgers not sign players they believe are better prepared to give the Dodgers the best chance to win this year, or should they not sign them so as to play Busch and Vargas?  A legit question to be sure.

Regardless, RC’s comment raises a lot for debatable conversation.  And that is a good thing.

 

 

 

 

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RC Dodger

Excellent and very thorough column Jeff!
I appreciate the detailed and thoughtful points. I agree with most of your explanations and the Dodgers have clearly built a great roster this year. Time will tell whether the expensive contracts pan out, but most long term contracts have not ended well and these four free agents all come with question marks. Ohtani has played 6 years in the MLB and had a losing record every year. He will only be a DH this year and for $70 million/$46 million he may not significantly outperform what JDM did last year for $10 million. JDM had a 893 OPS in 2023 and Ohtani has a career OPS of 922. Shohei is being paid more than any player in MLB history.
Yamamoto has been great in the NPB as a 3 time mvp. But he has never pitched in the MLB and is 5’10” and 175 pounds. He is being paid more than any pitcher in MLB history plus the Dodgers paid a $50 million posting fee.
Glasnow is 30 years old with a career record of 30-27 and ERA of 3.89. He is now guaranteed $137 million. For comparison, Buehler is 29 and has a career record of 46-16 with a 3.02 era and $8 million salary. Gonsolin is 29 and has a career record of 34-11 with a 3.19 era and $3 million salary. The Dodgers chose to extend Glasnow instead of extending Buehler when both had one year left to free agency. By the way, Buehler grew up a big Reds fan in Kentucky as a kid. He also is a frequent guest on the podcast, “Just Baseball”.
Hernandez had a 741 OPS last year and is 31. But the one year contract limits the downside.

In addition to the logical arguments offered by Jeff, Jayne Cobb provided a very articulate post yesterday on how the Dodgers approach this year is revolutionary and will change the future of the game much like Moneyball and analytics did. Both are financially savvy and smart posters. Maybe the MLB will follow the NBA path where most of the best players are now international players. Jeff and Jayne will probably be correct, but I will still maintain my preference for player stability and loyalty to your existing players. My favorite players are Kershaw, Seager, Buehler, Smith and JT. The Dodgers have lost two already, one is a free agent, and the two others are headed to free agency. It won’t be as enjoyable for me when my favorite players are no longer Dodgers.

Duke Not Snider

Completely agree about extending Will Smith. Once all the wheeling and dealing is done, this should become a priority.
He’s earned it, and there’s no guarantee that Cartaya or Rushing will ever be good enough to share his job or move him to 3B. I certainly hope one or both of those guys is fully ready for the majors in ’25. With other catchers in the pipeline–Yeiner Fernandez and Liranzo come to mind–perhaps Cartaya or Rushing could factor into a blockbuster. I’d love to see Rushing learn 3B and perhaps Yeiner succeed Barnes as the primary backup–though I’m still hoping that minor injury gives Feduccia his shot this season.
My nominee for the most loyal Dodger is Max Muncy. Talk about bleeding Dodger blue. In interviews he wears his heart on his sleeve and has spoken with some emotion about his gratitude to the Dodgers organization–about how he was poised to retire before LA signed him and rebuilt his swing. His loyalty, I think, has cost him millions. “At what price loyalty,” indeed.
I’ve joked that Max’sagent must be his brother-in-law, because somehow a guy who habitually hits 35 HRs a season is paid less than Chris Taylor. He just signed at 2-year extension for $24 million. So Max is getting roughly the same bucks for two years that Teoscar will get for one. It’s kind of silly to suggest anybody earning $12 million a year is underpaid–but Max certainly is compared to his peers. Given all the stats out there these days, could we see one that computes bang-for-the-buck? I have to wonder what Max is thinking when he considers what some of his teammates are getting paid.
Years ago, after Max’s breakout season with the Dodgers, I saw Billy Ripken on TV insisting that Max needed to be dealt to AL so he could DH. But Max turned himself into a decent first baseman. Then he wrecked his elbow and then Freddie came along, so Max had to move to 2B and 3B. He’s a grinder and gamely stepped up to the challenge.
At 33, Max is one of the older Dodgers. Maybe after the ’25 season, the Dodgers will have his successor lined up. I hope he gets a fat contract to DH or play 1B somewhere else.

Oldbear48

They should lock up Smith ASAP. Hernandez actually played a lot of the infield in the Arizona fall league. I think the Dodgers might be leaning that way with him with so many talented catchers in the organization.

Dionysus

Yeinar is a really interesting prospect. They don’t all have to be superstars.

Mark Timmons

I am and will continue to be “all about the kids,” and I think that AF has done an amazing job with the farm system in light of the fact the Dodgers always draft near the end of each round. Let’s not forget that AF was among the first to lock a young player up with a long-term contract (Longoria). Was that a great idea? Maybe… maybe not. Alex Anthopoulos has done the same… we will see how it plays out – but remember, it takes both the player and the team to agree on an extension. Boras is not known to do that.

Should Will Smith be extended? Right now, he is one of the top three to five catchers in baseball. I could argue he is #1 or #5 – it’s up for debate, but what is not up for debate is that he is 3 to 5 inches shorter and 20 to 30 pounds lighter than his competitors. I have a feeling his body will not hold up to the beating a catcher has to take as he ages.

So, to say, “Just extend the player” is easy to say but harder to do, and in Will Smith’s case, do you really want to do it unless you have plans to move him to another position? There is no clear-cut answer as the Dodgers have several TOP Prospects like, Gelof, Rushing, Vargas, Vargas, Sweeney, Pages, George, and Busch, who are nearly ready or will be ready in the next 2-3 years. Yes, some will flame out, and some will get traded, but some will make it.

These are hard decisions that AF has to make. Many fans have their favorite players, but first and foremost, this is a business and these are business decisions. You make the decisions that you feel are in the teams’ best interest because the players are going to make the decisions that are in their own best interests… usually! Max Muncy is different!

Last edited 5 months ago by Mark Timmons
Bluto

I will say again, there is ZERO reporting that anyone has an inkling about moving Smith from catcher.

I really don’t understand why any MLB player should offer a discount. With the arbitration system, with start time manipulation and with older players being less and less valued.

Get as much $$$$ as possible grom whomever.

Mark Timmons

Last year, Will Smith had a concussion or concussions, an oblique strain, and a broken rib. We also know Will Smith has a beautiful, compact, inside-out swing. We all know that he is undersized as a catcher, and we know that his splits for his career drop as the year progresses. This was especially true last year, where he OPS’ed .889 in the first half of the season and .701 in the second half. So, it’s obvious that while he is a very good catcher, it is hard on his body, and the Dodgers are looking for ways to keep him healthy. He could be an elite hitter if he did not have to catch every day.

My question is why does it bother you so much that there has been zero reporting on this? To me, it’s pretty obvious.

Bluto

Obvious to you has zero value to anyone but you. You and I, and everyone here, no nothing in context.

Mark's ghost (from a past website)

zero value to anyone but him is your opinion. he is undersized for his position, he is underweight for his position and as far as hitting is concerned his OPS plummeting during the 2nd half of the season is statistically factual, would you not agree to that? He is aging & baseball players are not like fine wine unless you choose a select few. It doesn’t please me to state this, I love my Clayton Kershaw’s of the world that prove me wrong year after year and thank God that he does but the catcher position rarely affords a great amount of latitude when it comes to father time. He has come a great amt of distance to better his offensive output over his career vs the perceived misconception that he was merely a defensive wizard but remember how deep the org is in developing this position & more importantly how talented we are in our organization at this position, the Rushing’s, the Fernandez’s & the Cartaya’s and oh yeah the next great one the Liranzo’s of the world. We have to let the Will Smith’s of the world go in due time & not let our fandom of the player overvalue his worth. Again, I wish it were not so but the financials & the future performance of said player demands it

Mark Timmons

I know who you are. Thanks!

Oldbear48

Being short and light did not affect Yogi Berra. And he had to wear those wool uniforms.

Badger

Another thought provoking post Jeff.

Loyalty in Major League Baseball baseball seems anomalous to me. It’s a burgeoning business. In many ways it always has been. In my life I’ve seen it go from 16 teams, with many players taking on winter jobs, to 30 teams and guys like Garrett Cole making $10,000 for every pitch he throws. From my perspective everyone involved in this business is in it for themselves. The way players move around today, following the money, proves this point.

A couple of other thoughts; comparing JDM and Ohtani. JDM had 1.8 WAR, all of it oWAR. He might have put up more had he played more games. but he was only in 113. Ohtani put up 6 oWAR, and he too would have put up more if he hadn’t pitched.

The last point that came to mind is the idea that the Dodgers are doing this to win the World Series. Yes, I’m sure that’s a goal, it is every year. But make no mistake, the Dodgers are doing this to make money. Of the billion spent on the new players only one has post season experience, Glasnow, and his record there isn’t impressive – 2-6 with a 5.72 ERA.

Maybe being over the hill (and picking up speed) has jaded me some, but I see no loyalty in professional sports. If the Dodgers feel they can win one more game by throwing Vargas or Busch out for someone else, they’ll do it in heartbeat and do it without an ounce of remorse.

Last edited 5 months ago by Badger
Mark Timmons

Let’s not forget that Glasnow pitched most of that with an undiagnosed injury where his UCL was not anchored to the bone. Just the fact that he was able to pitch is impressive. It often took him over an hour to get loosened up, and one of the playoff outings was on two days’ rest with a bad wing. So, I think you have to throw his playoff record out the window, and 2024 is a new beginning for him.

Badger

I realize that, and at least he’s been there. That should help.

Something else that will help every arm in that rotation are pitch counts and rest days between starts. As you know I’ve been seeking a 6 man rotation for a few years now. The number of pitchers on the stat page with GS behind their names suggests it’s sort of happening, but the 5 days rest between starts for the front of the rotation hasn’t happened. I’d do that right away.

Jeff

I’m not getting your point about loyalty and MLB being anomalous. Loyalty is usually associated with a particular team you favor. Everybody might be in it for their own reasons, but they are all playing baseball and not some other game. I guess you are speaking about the players and their loyalty to the teams they are playing for? Isn’t it usually the team that moves a player rather than the player demanding to be moved?

You see no loyalty in professional sports? I doubt this has any legs to it. The GS Warriors are a good example or loyalty. But loyalty doesn’t mean job security if you’re not performing.

Perhaps I’ve missed what you are trying to say?

Oldbear48

Excellent information Jeff and I agree 100%. I quit having favorite players when free agency began. But it really hit home when they let Garvey walk. I was prepared to embrace his replacement, Greg Brock, but that went down the tubes when he did not come close to all the hype. Players move on either by trade, free agency, or just being let go. Many of my favorites when I was young moved on, even guys you thought would spend their entire career as Dodgers, Snider, Hodges. I believe there were a couple of reason’s the Dodgers let Seager walk. One was the injury history, and the other was that they had a replacement for one season already in place, Trea Turner. Anyone ever wonder why the only member of “The Infield” who spent his entire career in LA was Bill Russell? Cey and Lopes got traded. Garvey left via free agency. Russell played 18 years for the Dodgers. Montgomery was traded on the 30th of July, three days before the deadline. Were the Dodgers working on the Rodriguez trade that early in the process? By the way RC, the Angels have had a losing record the entire time Ohtani has been there, but Ohtani has a winning record as a pitcher and only was below .500 in 2020 when he was 0-1 in 2 games pitched. He did not pitch at all in 2019. A career .274 hitter, his batting stats have improved each of the last three seasons. His not driving home 100 runs, that is on the weak offense the Angels have run out there. With this offense, those numbers should climb. He also might be the first Dodger to top 40 homers since Adrian Beltre.

Badger

A lot of names there that show up for Dodger reunion celebrations. For this last 8 years or so, and maybe going forward another decade, how many players will there be showing up for these nostalgic get togethers at Dodger Stadium? We’ll never see a Cey, Russell, Lopes, Garvey infield again. The Drysdale’s, and Newcombe’s are gone and Koufax won’t live forever. Piazza won’t show. Seager won’t show. Kershaw might by himself at reunions 20 years from now.

Mark Timmons

Sometimes, your most significant strength is your greatest weakness.

Oldbear48

Thanks for clarifying that.

Jeff

Is that really true, Bear? You have no favorite players? That is truly hard to believe given your penchant for history and loyalty to the Dodgers. What say you?

Dionysus

There’s a financial disincentive for teams to lock up players early. A new and higher AAV can impact payroll in ways that cheap minimum salaries don’t. What tends to happen is some teams target their potential franchise superstars but not their steady regular performers.

Beyond Smith, Outman–if he has another good year–and clearly Miller would be candidates for multi-year deals. But the 0-3 year apprenticeship program and [mostly] team-friendly 4-6 arbitration years make it too tempting just to go year-to-year, thus providing options and opt-outs for teams.

Oldbear48

Arbitration deadline moved up a day. Imanaga’s contract with the Cubs is four years with an option year.

tedraymond

I’m very curious on what AF is going to do with Vargas and Busch. I trust that he has a plan. To have both traded seems to me that they were both overrated by the baseball prospect analysts. The Hernandez signing certainly puts the Dodgers’ confidence with those two in doubt. But, before we go down that path let’s see what happens with them.

The Dodgers ownership has definitely changed the financial landscape in baseball. To say they have “ruined ” baseball is a bit dramatic in my opinion. Staying within the rules and using deferred money as a tool to obtain the top free agents is brilliant. There’s a good chance that the money they are to put into escrow each year will be invested and with the returns to basically pay for Ohtani’s contract. Every other team has the same options available to them. They can see, but have no vision as MT has stated hundreds of times (I believe). Injuries and reduced production are always the risk with athletes, but Guggenheim has increased the odds of success by spending big on the very best players.

It’s going to be an incredible season in 2024 and in the future for the Dodgers and their fans. I think the first couple of months of the season could be somewhat uneven as the players adjust to each other and in the case of Yamamoto adjusting to a new environment. A new city, language, teammates, mound, ball, hitters, and possible rotation requirements. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a rough couple of months or so to get used to all the changes. Having Ohtani as a teammate will be huge for him. I’m hoping Will Smith got a Japanese Rosetta Stone for Christmas.

Carry on

Cassidy

It will be interesting to see how many more huge deferred contracts there will be. Ohtani was a willing partner because he has such a huge off field income and there would be less incentive to defer in states with no or very low state income tax. I think that had something to do with Seager leaving.

Last edited 5 months ago by Cassidy
Badger

I think the small market teams all have 20/20 vision. They can see what’s going on, they just can’t afford a seat at the table. Until there is a hard cap those teams aren’t likely to sniff a Wold Championship.

And how does that get done? I have no idea.

Cassidy

Diamondbacks were just there!

Badger

You do realize Phoenix is the 5th largest city in the United States don’t you?

Maybe you don’t.

They also have the entire state of Arizona backing them. I know, I lived there for 11 years.

Cassidy

21st ranked payroll. That qualifies as small market to me.

Badger

We have different definitions of small market.

dodgerpatch

Yeah, and apparently your definition is, “trust me, bro. I lived there.”

Quick 10 second Google search on “MLB teams list by revenue” keywords yielded this.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/193645/revenue-of-major-league-baseball-teams-in-2010/

Cassidy cited payroll, which is a reflection (or willingness) of how much a team is able to pay its players and is usually downstream of how much money the team makes and how much money the team is worth.

This was an interesting one to gloss over, too, and came up in the same search query.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeozanian/2023/03/23/baseballs-most-valuable-teams-2023-price-tags-are-up-12-despite-regional-tv-woes/?sh=25c680996501

I chuckled a little at the Padres negative cash flow. Go big or go home, I guess.

Also in this article was the average HH (“household” I’m guessing) viewership. Arizona is a paltry 20. Compare that to 231 for the Yankees and 180 for the Mets. New York is a big market. Phoenix is not.

A conversation could be had on how to make smaller market teams more competitive with larger markets, but lets not pretend that Arizona is not a small market.

Jeff

Did you enjoy living there? Is the cost of living better than Socal?

Badger

Loved it. We were in Sedona. Dbacks were the local team, every game was televised. And everywhere I’ve lived the cost of living was better than SoCal.

Jeff

Why did you move?

Jeff

We knew it was coming.

tedraymond

Well, we now know what happened to Busch. I like the trade. Trade an older prospect for two younger ones. Happy for Busch and look forward to following his career.

Duke Not Snider

I like it too. Very happy for Busch, who is 26 and should get a real chance with the Cubs. Perhaps Brasier or ?? will be acquired to replace Almonte. (How about Clase!?!) Ferris and Hope are both interesting young prospects. It’s been reported that Hope is a two-way talent who, like River Ryan, could be switched to pitching full-time.

AF still has some work to do, I think. Miguel Vargas does not have a clean fit on the current roster. Like Busch, he probably needs regular ABs–but does it make sense to just park him in OKC? To upgrade the LA roster, Vargas would probably have to be packaged with ML-experience talent like Rojas, Margot, Taylor or young guns like Sheehan, Stone and Grove.

I can still imagine blockbusters for Luzardo, Cease or Burnes, but it seems increasingly unlikely.

Singing the Blue

Personal comment. The closing of LADT and the migration of so many commenters to LADC has made this a truly special site.

The comments and articles are truly thought provoking and the respectful discussions are enlightening.

I’m happy to see Mark here without the vitriol. Your comments are always worth reading.

Thank you one and all for your participation. This is now the perfect Dodger blog.

Mark Timmons

You better agree with me, or I will beat the hell out of you! 😉

Singing the Blue

You can beat the hell out of me. Just don’t call me a moron.  😎 

Bumsrap

One of the challenges of maintaining a blog is coming up with content ideas. Maybe Saturday’s the head Post could cherry pick the comments made during the week-that-was plus some snippets from the head Posts.

TennisMenace (TM)

Absolutely love Mark…his wit and responses to “questionable caustic posts” were always very entertaining to me. I am very glad to see Mark here…I think he can let it all hang out now without having to wear two hats.

Duke Not Snider

I hope that Cartaya or Rushing develop in a way so that Smith could be moved to 3B. This will reduce the wear and tear on his body and extend his career
But I don’t think there’s a rush. Smith’s greatest value to the team is as a catcher. He’s proven that he’s one of the best.
Smith’s physical stature, I think, doesn’t make him more vulnerable to injury or less durable. His major injury in ’23 came on a backswing to the noggin. That could have injured anybody.
Smith is listed at 5-10, 195. He’s bigger than Yogi Berra was–and Yogi used to catch both ends of a doubleheader. The short, compact build suits the position, much as the tall, long-legged build suits the outfield–even though Mookie, at 5-9, is great outfielder. Garvey was too short to place first base–but he played it very well.
If Smtih does move to 3B, well, he’s about the same height as Ron Cey, and ten pounds heavier.

Last edited 5 months ago by Duke Not Snider
Sam Oyed

Dodgers supposedly talking about a trade with the Cubs involving Yency Almonte.

Last edited 5 months ago by Sam Oyed
Singing the Blue

This should follow the script of the Hudson trade the other day with us getting a younger player back who doesn’t need to be added to the 40-man.

Mark Timmons

Keep reloading!

Singing the Blue

If you’re right about Lux not being a shortstop and we trade for Adames in July, at least we now know what we’ll be paying him.

Just avoided arb by signing for 12.25 mil.

Oldbear48

No, Adames would be a rental. And a lousy one at that. He can field, but I do not like all the strike outs and wasted at bats. Lux will hit enough to keep the position. If he is just average as a defender, we will be fine.

Bluto

Deal includes Michael Busch too!

Per Rosenthal:

Deal is pending medical review, source says. Dodgers freeing up 40-man space. Expected to receive two young prospects who will improve their minor-league depth and do not yet need to protected on 40-man list. LHP Jackson Ferris, a second-round pick out of the IMG Academy in 2022, is one of the players headed to the Dodgers, sources say.

Passan has the whole deal:
Full trade: The Chicago Cubs are acquiring third baseman Michael Busch and reliever Yency Almonte from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for a pair of toolsy teenaged prospects, left-handed starter Jackson Ferris and outfielder Zyhir Hope, sources tell ESPN.

Last edited 5 months ago by Bluto
JG24

Cubbies #9 prospect Jackson Ferris. Lefty who draws Snell comparisons and a young outfielder, Zyhir Hope.

Cassidy

A top young left handed pitcher from Cubs. Good for Busch. Look forward to following his career. Just a feeling that we regret this one

Bluto

Baseball Prospectus had Ferris as the Cubs’ no. 11 prospect and Hope was no. 16.

Ferris and Bueller both on the Dodgers!

tedraymond

I was 🤔 the same thing Bluto. Lol. Hopefully, Buehler will still be around by the time Ferris arrives.

Badger

Like the names. Know nothing about either of them. Cubs 8th doesn’t impress.

Jeff? You’re up.

Last edited 5 months ago by Badger
Singing the Blue

Although definitely not a certainty, I would have thought that Busch would have been included in a potential trade for Cease, Burnes or Bieber. Therefore, in my mind, we aren’t trading for any of those three, at least not in the near future.

Not to say AF won’t turn around this afternoon and include Vargas in a trade for one of those guys, but I always figured Busch was the more likely to go in that kind of trade.

Bumsrap

Cubs may have their lefty bat in Busch that may take them away from Bellinger and Pederson.

Mark Timmons

I hate to see Busch go without a chance, but he was blocked not only by players ahead of him but also due to the fact that he was LH. Almonte was a spare piece, and there are plenty of Dodger prospects and pitchers to take his place. Zyhir Hope is LH and extremely fast, with a lot of upside.

Ferris is very projectable (it has been mentioned that he draws comparisons to Blake Snell), but the fact is that AF just traded a 26-year-old for two 19-year-olds, who are at least 3 to 5 years away. The farm system will remain a strength.

Like Jeff Said, Busch will likely be Chicago’s first baseman! I am glad he is getting a place to play.

Ferris’ Scouting Grades:
Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 40.

Last edited 5 months ago by Mark Timmons
dodgerpatch

Fangraphs is not as high, but they tend to be stingy.

Fastball 45/50; Slider 45/50; Curveball 50/55; Change 45/55; Command 20/50; Future Value 40+

Someone here made a comp to Maddux Bruns, and I was thinking that as well (as well as an eventual comp to Snell)

Fangraphs rates rates Bruns a bit higher. Ferris has a better change, but they gush about Brun’s curveball, having it top out at 70.

Bluto

Collected, credited comments from X on the two prospects acquired:

Bruce Kunitz:
New #Dodgers LHP prospect Jackson Ferris, 19, was a second round pick in 2022

In his first year as a pro, he posted a 3.38 ERA with a 32.5% strikeout rate and .177 average against. That came with a lot of walks, similar to many young Dodger arms.

New #Dodgers outfield prospect Zyhir Hope, 18, was an 11th round pick of the Cubs in the 2023 draft. He signed for $400,000 and hit three homers in his first 11 rookie ball games

Big tools (incl. speed + high EV) and is a potential helium kind of pickup

I’d also add that he has potential off the mound, some scouts really liked him as a pitcher coming into the draft

Jarrett Seidler:
this is going to look like the Dodgers getting wrecked but they’re the Dodgers and they’re getting back two guys who have a lot more industry buzz than list placements recognize (because they both haven’t actually played much as pros and it’s hard to move them that high)

Ferris had some very strong proponents for the 101 and his placement on the Cubs list was demographic, not skill, and Zyhir Hope had as much helium as anyone picked on day 3, so when everyone looks back in eighteen months and goes “why did Jed pick up the phone” I did warn you

Kiley McDaniel:
Ferris signed for $3M out of IMG Academy: above average stuff, starter traits. Hope signed for $400K last summer as an 11th rounder and has big tools.

Busch was recently a Top 100 type and could be a 2024 Nolan Jones: 3.7 WAR for COL as a rookie after a winter trade from CLE.

Future Dodgers:
Ferris was a $3M prep arm drafted in the second round in ‘22, definitely some Maddux Bruns parallels there. Hope was the Cubs’ 11th rounder last year, signed overslot ($400k) to get him away from a UNC commitment.

Cubs’ blogger Out of the Vines:
I have Jackson Ferris ranked 8th in the Cubs system and have been by far the most aggressive with my ranking of Zyhir Hope at 13.

The Cubs acquired a top 50 prospect in Michael Busch and filled a position of need at the MLB level, but gave up 2 future top 50 guys in the process

Bobby

Wow, thanks for all of that info!

I guess we’ll know more around July/August, when Busch hopefully has 250 at bats and the kids we got show what they may be able to do.

Singing the Blue

And then there’s this from Mike Petriello on Twitter:

“I don’t know enough about the CHC prospects to have a trade opinion. I *do* wonder if LA thinks Busch has velo troubles, in wild SSS alerts.

2023 MLB v fb:
.118/.147 BA/SLG in 40 PA

2022-23 AAA v 95 MPH+ (not all games tracked):
.173/.227 BA/SLG in 85 PA

[.294/.558 v 94MPH-]”

Mark Timmons

OFFICIAL DODGERS PRESS RELEASE:

DODGERS ACQUIRE JACKSON FERRIS & ZYHIR HOPE

 
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired minor league pitcher Jackson Ferris and minor league outfielder Zahir Hope from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for right-handed pitcher Yency Almonte and infielder Michael Busch.
 
Ferris, 19, made 18 appearances for Myrtle Beach last season, posting a 2-3 record with a 3.38 ERA. He struck out 77 batters in 56.0 innings while allowing 35 hits. During his junior year at IMG Academy (FL), he went a perfect 8-0 with a 0.55 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 50.2 innings. The left-hander pitched for Team USA in the summer of 2021 before being drafted by the Cubs in the second round (47th overall) out of IMG Academy.
 
Hope, 18, appeared in 11 games for the AZL Cubs last season. He slashed .286/.419/.543 with three homers and nine RBI in those contests. He was drafted in the 11th round of the 2023 First Year Player Draft out of Colonial Forge High School (VA). In his final high school season, the left-handed hitting Hope, hit .538 with nine homers and 38 RBI while stealing 29 bases.
 
Almonte, 29, made 49 appearances for the Dodgers last season, tossing 48.0 innings and allowing 27 earned runs. He struck out 49 batters while posting a 5.09 ERA before landing on the injured list with a right knee sprain on August 12. In 2022, he posted a 1.02 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 35.1 innings in his first season with the Dodgers. He has pitched parts of six seasons in the Major Leagues with Colorado (2018-2021) and Los Angeles (2022-2023) with a 7-6 combined record and a 4.51 ERA in 196 games. He was originally signed as a minor league free agent by the Dodgers on March 16, 2022.
 
Busch, 26, played in 27 games for the Dodgers last season, mashing two homers and driving in seven runners. He was named Triple-A Player of the Year after finishing the campaign with a .323 batting average, 27 homers and 90 RBI for the Oklahoma City Dodgers. In four minor league seasons, the left-handed hitting Busch, slashed .283/.390/.529 with 79 homers and 267 RBI. He was originally drafted by the Dodgers in the first round (31st overall) of the 2019 First Year Player Draft out of the University of North Carolina. 

Mark Timmons

This deal tells me that they must be done in the trade market… at least until the Trade Deadline. Maybe a small deal… like Rojas!

Last edited 5 months ago by Mark Timmons
TennisMenace (TM)

NOOOOOOOOOO, you can’t trade Rojas….you may need him to fill in for Lux.

Mark Timmons

19-year-olds are harder to project than 23-year-olds, and I have only seen a couple of videos of these guys. However, their press clippings are impressive. It is an “informed crapshoot!” The Dodgers do need power. LH Starters and outfielders with speed are always a premium, but it’s a case of getting rid of something you don’t need now in hopes it will develop into something you need in the future. I will have a better understanding in a couple of years… so will everyone!

Bluto

I dunno. Bear in mind (Pun!) that the trade opens up a 40 man spot. Obvs that can be filled by Free Agency, though….

Oldbear48

Opens up two spots. Both were on the 40 man. Roster stands at 38. Goes to 39 when Hernandez is official.

Bumsrap

Jackson Ferris

Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 45 | Overall: 50 

Part of the most talented prep roster in the country at IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), Ferris established himself as an elite prospect as a junior in 2021, when he threw a no-hitter and a perfect game in his first two outings and later outdueled Andrew Painter (now baseball’s top pitching prospect) his only loss of the season. He ranked with the best high school left-handers in the 2022 class, though he was a bit more inconsistent than expected during the spring. After the Cubs signed MLB Pipeline’s top-rated college arm (Cade Horton) for $1.26 million below his assigned pick value at No. 7, they floated Ferris to the second round and paid him $3,005,000. 

When he keeps his mechanics in sync, Ferris displays three plus pitches that can miss bats in the strike zone, the best of which is a 92-95 mph fastball that touches 97 and arrives on a flat approach angle with excellent carry. His best secondary offering is a 75-78 mph curveball that features high spin rates and can be a hammer with 12-6 break at its best. He also shows advanced feel for a mid-80s changeup with fade that should become more consistent as he uses it more often as a pro. 

Ferris has a projectable 6-foot-4 frame and could add more velocity as he gets stronger. While he does have a complicated delivery that can get out of whack, he has the athleticism to work through it and he creates deception. He physically resembles Blake Snell at the same age but with superior stuff and mechanics.

TennisMenace (TM)

This guy intrigues me big time. And he is a lefty….exactly what we need. Nice job LA smart people….

Bumsrap

I like the trade.

Bluto

River Ryan Redux?

Even if not, the Dodgers love versatility.

Bumsrap

For me, the best part of the trade is helping Busch get some MLB money and a chance for him to find out if he has a career in baseball.

I also like adding young players that down the road could be much better than what was given up plus moving on from players that were not needed in 2024 and probably beyond.

JG24

Hopefully they’re working out extensions for Smitty and the Bazooka?

Oldbear48

All of them have reached agreements Smith got 8.4 million.

OhioDodger

I would think that Busch is one happy camper.

IlliniDodger

I hope these prospects are good. Tough to see Busch go cheaply.

Last edited 5 months ago by IlliniDodger
Bluto

Thanks!

Oldbear48

Busch is 26, he is not a prospect anymore. They got two very young players for Almonte and Busch. Not cheap at all. Busch had not spot on this team.

Bluto

@jeffD

The first line of Keith Law’s analysis ($$$$$) of this trade is seemingly written for you.

Bumsrap

This comment should not be confused with my thoughts on how to make the Dodgers better. It is purely about what the Dodgers could do to make them more enjoyable to me.

I would use Margot’s salary on Joc Pederson which means Margot would have to be traded for someone that would not get on the Dodger 40 and Pederson signed as a free agent.

I would not platoon Outman and keep him in CF full time.
I would platoon Pederson and Heyward with Taylor and Teoscar Hernandez.

Frank Howard

I find your comment very interesting: “It is purely about what the Dodgers could do to make them more enjoyable to me.” This is how I view everything about the Dodgers — what makes them more enjoyable for me to follow. If I’m not enjoying the construction of the team or the season for whatever reason, then I will look elsewhere for a replacement entertainment. I really don’t care if they don’t have great minor league or money issues, this is not my problem. Just like when I buy a guitar, I want a quality product or I’m not interested.
Not retaining Seager, Trea Turner, Busch, Bauer, have made the Dodgers less enjoyable to me. However this year with Ohtani forcing Friedman to obtain top talent (instead of his usual dumpster dives and cemetary raids) has made me anxious for the 2024 season.
I hate platooning and I don’t care what the numbers say, it makes the game less enjoyable to me. Put your best nine in there and leave them in there. Fan enjoyment has taken a backseat so that the owners can make every penny possible. Is it any wonder why kids don’t give a crap about baseball any more?

Mark Timmons

These two statements are diametrically opposed:

I hate platooning and I don’t care what the numbers say, it makes the game less enjoyable to me.

Put your best nine in there and leave them in there. 

It may make the game less enjoyable for you but without platooning you can’t put your best 9 in there.

Frank Howard

Please ignore my posts. Like many others, I am here to get away from you.

Mark Timmons

They are easy to recognize. But, when I read something incoherent or wrong, I will likely reply. If Jeff says something silly, I would tell him, too. The problem is, he doesn’t do that often.

BTW, I never jumped out of your screen and made you post at LADT – You have free will, and you didn’t leave – I shut it down. Thank you!

Last edited 5 months ago by Mark Timmons
Sam Oyed

MLB Pipeline says Ferris has the upside of Best LHP prospect in the game in the future and #5 prospect in the Dodgers system.

Interesting thought from another site; with the Dodgers trading for 2 low minor league players are they doing this to take the sting out of signing a free agent who gas a QO?

Last edited 5 months ago by Sam Oyed
Mark Timmons

Very interesting! Hader anyone?

Oldbear48

No thanks. I do not want that ass hat on the Dodgers.

Jayne Cobb

I’ve been in RC’s camp for years. Home grown has to be the fundamental foundation of long term success. My issue with long term mega contracts has to do with the boom bust cycle many teams (even large market… Cubs… cough cough) have been forced to subject their fans to because of poor payroll management. The same applies to dope fiend trades. Drop some stud in the middle of the lineup or atop the rotation for a couple years but at the expense of decimating your minor league system. Those strategies have rarely lead to a WS championship. And have usually resulted in guaranteeing years of rebuilding a couple years out.

When the news hit the Dodgers paid $700 for Ohtani I was dumbfounded. I reserved judgment until the details of the contract were released. I simply could not believe the Dodgers would bet f**k you money on Ohtani over 10 years. That would put the Dodgers in the same “win now, because you’re screwed in 3-5 years” situation. But then I saw the details. And the signing was not that. It was balanced specifically NOT to put the Dodgers in that position.

I’m historically a “home grown” over big time FA spending kinda guy. But I have no issue with bringing on mega (expensive) talent if it does not destroy the depth and talent in the minors and does not result in a boat anchor contract that will require a a rebuild of some kind a a few short years out.

For the next 10 years the Dodger payroll is controllable. And they have a loaded minor league system. Maybe not to the level of Baltimore or a couple other teams. But at the top. Beat roster in baseball. No rebuild in the foreseeable future. I’m ok with that kind of free agent spending.

also. Interest article. Dodgers are the most respected organization among executives from all the other.

https://www.mlb.com/news/front-office-executives-choose-best-farm-systems-2024?t=mlb-pipeline-coverage

Mark Timmons

This was something I never anticipated. This is the new paradigm!

Jayne Cobb

I like the trade. Busch simply had nowhere to play and was a LH bad we didn’t need.

I’ve always said, minor league depth isn’t all about producing All Star talent. You need MLB ready players as insurance for injuries. Guys who you can plug in when needed. They wouldn’t have won the division in 2023 if they didn’t have all those young arms ready to step in and make games competitive. They didn’t have to be stars. Some of that depth will become stars. And occasionally one will develop as a super star. But keeping the minors loaded saves seasons. Ask the Angels. They had massive injury issues in 23, just like the Dodgers. But their system had little to nothing to offer in terms of MLB ready talent.

I’m glad AF is reloading for a few years down the road.

Mark Timmons

After missing most of last season, Pages could use a full year in AAA. Miguel Vargas just turned 24, and it won’t kill him to play another year or part of it in AAA. Sweeney may or may not be the real deal at SS (I lean towards not). Rushing, Cartaya, Fernandez, and Liranzo are all catchers with skills who are 2+ years away.

Heyward, Margot, and Hernandez are on one-year deals. Muncy is on a two-year deal. There is a lot of flexibility… and change in the future.

Jayne Cobb

I’d hate to see Vargas spend another year in AAA. But you’re right, he has been one of the youngest players at every level. I haven’t given up on Cartaya. No clue what happens last year but what I saw in Rancho impressed me.

looking forward to spring training to see all these guys get some ABs.

Duke Not Snider

Ferris and Hope are both recent draft picks, so we can assume the Dodgers scouting staff already has a deep read on both players.
MLB. com instantly puts Ferris as the Dodgers No. 5 prospect, but that feels premature. (These lists should be taken with a grain of salt.) But certainly Ferris fits nicely with a second wave of young pitchers that includes Bruns, Wrobleski, Kopp, Jang and Peyton Martin…. Wrobleski is a bit older and perhaps he’ll join that first prospect wave (Frasso, Knack, etc) soon.
Will Busch win a starting job in Chicago? I sure hope so.

Jorge Valenzuela

Mark Timmons

Of course, they are right! They are always right! 😉

Oldbear48

Not even close, the Rockies will never win the west, and they will never get to a World Series with the ownership they have now. They are that bad, they have a couple of good players who by 33 will be long gone.

Dionysus

I’ll take it

Mark Timmons

This could be it… until Spring Training.

… or not!

Ron Fairly fan

I find it a little bit amazing that in the middle of AF ruining baseball with the major free agent signings. He has also added youth and potential to the farm system with Ferris, Hope, Chambers and Sweeney. The future is looking very bright and promising.

Mark Timmons

It’s ingenious!

Dionysus

Super on-brand for him. I love it. I questioned Heyward when we re-signed him but I think he and Kelly are culture guys. Have to keep the chemistry strong.

Oldbear48

They still have one open spot on the roster. When Hernandez becomes final, they will be at 39. Yankees signed two pitchers, Marcus Stroman and Luke Weaver. They are supposedly signing Jordan Hicks too. They settled arbitration with Soto for 31 million, passing Ohtani’s record.

Mark Timmons

Hicks signed with the Giants.

Dionysus

This joint is jumping. Any chance to upgrade the comment system? It doesn’t make longer subthreads easy.

Rob King

Thanks for this – it was a nice read

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