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Do The Dodgers Need A New Leader?

I have said it before and written about it.  There is no better architect of a 40 man (46 man) roster for the regular season than Andrew Friedman.  But no matter what he does, he cannot get the team to cross the finish line, except for one 60 game season.  Why?

Houston Mitchell said it very well.

There’s not a huge difference between the regular season and the postseason, but there is a difference, and the Dodgers’ push-button job of management hasn’t figured it out. 

—The other disappointing thing: No passion on this team whatsoever. To be clear, I can’t read minds and don’t know what anyone is thinking, but the vibe constantly given off is one of “We can turn it on whenever we want. No worries.”

I am not trying to discount the 2020 WS, but outside of Caleb Ferguson, who got hurt?  The team seems to lose players throughout the season.  Are they fragile to start with?  We know Andrew Heaney was.  We knew Clayton Kershaw was.  Walker Buehler went out early and in fact was never replaced.  Tony Gonsolin was asked to go longer than he ever had before, not surprisingly to some of us, suffered a forearm strain, and was on the IL for several weeks late in the season. He came back, probably too early, but certainly not enough to be considered a viable starter in a playoff game.  And yet he was.

Dustin May came back and had a great first game against the lowly Marlins.  He quickly reverted to someone who had lost his command sitting out nearly two full seasons.  Does it take a genius to figure out that it would take time for him to get his command back?  He did not pitch in the playoffs.  Why was he even on the roster.

Blake Treinen was out most of the year, but was deemed ready for the playoffs?  He pitched 1.0 inning and surrendered a big HR.

Of the 13 pitchers on the NLDS roster, 3 were undoubtedly injured sufficiently to be certain risks in the playoffs.  If that was the best they could pull from, whose fault is that?  Perhaps they read the press clippings about how they were going to rout the Padres, and hopefully the three would be ready to fully participate in the NLCS.  The strategy did not work.  Four pitchers pitched in 3 of the 4 games, and not surprisingly three of them were hit very hard, and all in one inning.

Would Caleb Ferguson have been a difference maker?  How about David Price?  Michael Grove?  Ryan Pepiot?  Victor Gonzalez?  We will never know because the team decided that the seemingly recovered players were better options.  As we found out, their best was not good enough. Again, did the Dodgers take the Padres too lightly as they did the 2019 Washington Nationals?

The regular season is just fine as designed.

2017 – LAD won 104 and lost to Houston in the WS.  Yes I know the Asterisks cheated, but they did not in Game 2 when Rich Hill was surprisingly removed from the game after 4.0 innings and 60 pitches. The reason, Doc did not want Hill to face the Asterisks a third time thru the lineup.  They lost the game because the relievers could not deliver.  There was no cheating in Game 7, when Roberts trotted out Yu Darvish when it made a lot more sense to piggyback Alex Wood and Clayton Kershaw.  Alex Wood dominated Game 4 IN HOUSTON.  He was smart enough to change the signals far more often than usual.

2019 – LAD won 106 games and lost to the 93-69 Nationals.  Who can forget how bad Roberts botched Game 5 with the mismanagement of the bullpen once again.  Ironically that team also blew a 3-0 lead with two in the 8th.  Walker Buehler’s great effort was wasted in that game just as Tyler Anderson’s was in 2022 Game 4.

2021 – LAD won 106 games and lost to the 88-73 Braves.  When Max Scherzer was not able to start, Walker Buehler was forced to start Game 6.  Walker won Game 4 on October 19, but after 207.2 IP during the season was expected to come back 4 days later.

2022 – LAD won 111 games and lost to the 89-72 San Diego Padres in the NLDS.

The one constant was Dave Roberts and the nerds determining when pitchers should come out, whether they were pitching well or not.  The lineup that has a chance to recover in the regular season, does not have the luxury of

Who remembers the 116 win by Seattle in 2001?  When I think back to 2001, I remember the great WS win by Arizona over NYY with a Luis Gonzalez walk off single in Game 7 off Mariano Rivera.  I never think of that Seattle team as being great.

Great teams finish.  A team that wins 111 games and loses in the 1st round, may have won the regular season, but cannot be considered the best MLB team in 2022 because just like in 2017, 2019, and 2021, they could not finish.  The Dodgers remind me of a Marathoner who jumps out to a HUGE lead for 25 miles, but collapses in the last mile.  Yes they were great for 25 miles, but they could not finish.

There was a complete lack of urgency with this team.  Yes the players are supposed to be the professionals, but Roberts took the foot off the gas when the regular season was won.  It was great they had home field throughout the playoffs, but they forgot they had to at least show up for the NLDS.  They didn’t and Roberts could not figure out a way to motivate the troops.  Isn’t that also his job?  Why no bunting?  Why no stealing?  Why bat an obviously worn out physically and emotionally spent Will Smith 4th when he had already gone 0-4 WRISP in Games 2 and 3.

I blame both Andrew Friedman and Dave Roberts.  AF did not address relief pitching in the past at the deadline, did not address the bench at last year’s deadline, did not address pitching outside of Chris Martin this year.  Many LAD fans and baseball journalists whispered that the LAD depth was good for the regular season, but they did not have the requisite pitching for the playoffs.  They didn’t.  Why were Dustin May, Blake Treinen, and Tony Gonsolin even on the roster.? They really were not used, and May was not used at all.

But the pitching was not the real problem in this year’s NLDS.  It is just a recurring issue for LAD in the playoffs.  It was the lack of hitting with WRISP.  Outside of Trea Turner, Freddie Freeman, and Max Muncy, who else showed up?  What was the point of putting Grip It and Rip It CT3 on the roster after his injury?  Why wasn’t Miguel Vargas, the hitting machine (DR’s words), in the lineup?  The Padres trotted out 3 RHSP, and yet Joey Gallo, who was acquired just for this purpose, not in the lineup.  Why was Will Smith playing in Game 4 when he was up all night for the birth of his FIRST child, and had to be helicoptered to San Diego to make the game on time?  Who makes these decisions?  We here collaborative, but just how collaborative?  Who continues to miss the mark in the playoffs?  The playoffs are different.  Throw away the sabermetrics and watch the game.  Let your eyes tell you whether a change needs to be made, and not a computer printout.

At some point, you have to look at the leader and say maybe we need a change to get this team over the top.  AF is not going anywhere, and he may have a tougher job next year because, if I am the owners, there is no way I give carte blanche to a $300MM payroll without the finish.

But it is unlikely that Dave Roberts is going anywhere either.  It may be sacrilegious, but I would love to see Bruce Bochy in the Dodger dugout.  He is 7 years younger than Dusty Baker, and he knows how to finish.

So if AF and Doc are undoubtedly staying so what change on the staff would I make?  RVS should be shown the door.  There is no change considered when things are not going well with the bat.  Mookie took advise and direction from Trea and Freddie to be more aggressive. An approach contrary to what RVS desires…work the count up.  How did that work in the playoffs?  Freddie has not changed his approach since coming to the Dodgers. Cody Bellinger looks lost.  CT3 needs to adjust his approach because the Grip It and Rip It approach did not work this year.

Gavin Lux changed his approach from when he was in MiLB to overswinging for that power that RVS thrives on, and he regressed.  Earlier in the season, he learned under the tutelage of Freddie Freeman and got his average above .300. He was consistently taking the ball into Left-Center on line drives. But then when he got off the IL, he went back to the swing as hard as he can, and he stopped going into Left-Center and started to pull everything or hit lazy fly balls to left field.

Yes I can hear the RVS supporters.  The Dodgers had the best offense in MLB.  Yes they did.  But it went away in the playoffs just as it did in previous years.  Take what the pitcher gives you. 2 strikes, choke up and make contact. Bunt when you continue to flounder to drive in runs or make contact. Drive the ball up the middle…make contact.  In other words, make adjustments.  Pitchers need to make adjustments and hitters need to make adjustments.  Why not coaches?

Will a change in a hitting coach get the Dodgers over the finish line? Of and by itself, of course not.  But you cannot ignore the consistent flop in the playoffs.  The roster will be different next year. Maybe they need a different approach to go along with the roster change.  A wise person once said… “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

I know many will disagree with me.  Let me hear what changes in staff that you might want to consider.  We can visit the roster another day.

Let’s mix it up for 2023.

 

 

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Badger

I can add very little to this. I’ve already said, multiple times, what I think. You’ve summed it perfectly this morning Jeff.

Fans can express their feelings about this all they want. It won’t change a damn thing. Those people in MLB live above it all and know full well no matter how big the flop might be fans will always come back.

I was texting with friend about all this and we agreed on something I think should be talked about. We’ve both been Dodgers fans for about 30 years longer than any of these Dodgers have been alive. Only a couple of the current Dodgers grew up Dodger fans, and who knows how many of them even live in the area. The Dodgers manager lives in San Diego for crying out loud. It’s “die hard” fans who foot the bill the bill FOR ALL OF IT! It means more to us than it means to any of them. Mookie Betts signed a contract for $365 million to play baseball here. You think his life is going to change a bit by hitting .147 in the playoffs. If any of us working class fans hit .147 in our jobs we’d be canned immediately. Not those guys. Life at the top goes merrily along.

I have no idea what is being talked about in the Dodgers offices about now, but I doubt anyone is worried. Even those that won’t be playing here next year aren’t concerned. They are all off for the next 3 months and cashing their Major League checks while booking winter vacations in exotic ports.

I’m done paying anything to support MLB. Yes, I do pay a few bucks a month for SNLA but that package has other things I’m interested in. I’m done going to games, including Spring Training and I’m done buying hats and shirts. I know full well it won’t make a bit of difference, but it’s the only thing I control here. MLB is not what it usta be, but they don’t need me to keep their cruise ship afloat.

Last edited 1 month ago by Badger
Bumsrap

The only thing I have purchased in the last 20+ years is a subscription to Extra Innings. I watched as many of Pederson’s at bats as I did any one Dodger. I enjoyed Betts, Trea, Freeman, and Smith and basically would not watch Taylor, Muncy, Bellinger. I lost interest in Justin. I’m a fading Dodger fan.

Fred Vogel

I don’t even pay for Extra Innings. It comes comp with a T-Mobile account. I think the last purchases I made were for season tickets in the late ’80s.

Bumsrap

Oh no. I have a T-Mobile account and haven’t used it to watch games. Next year.

Jeff

Well Badger, I don’t have anything brilliant to add to the coverage you and Jeff have provided. I just have questions that keep revolving around in my brain and not getting addressed by the corporate Dodgers. When I read the LATimes article about the FO scripting the pitching and batting orders, the number of innings each pitcher should pitch, number of pitches, when they should be pulled, same for batters, more or less, I felt something turn off in me that I have never experienced. I became bored with this team and Andrew Friedman. The image of a host of geeks facing computer screens and deciding how each game is to be played disgusts me. Even with all the wins and money they are making, and they are making a ton, the one clear thing is that this is what they are built for. Not champions but making money. Ownership are not run by baseball people but by stat geeks.

So, last thoughts…………Bellinger, Muncy, Taylor, Gallo, & Thompson, on or off the team? Thompson could come very cheaply but should not be a starter. The rest should pack their bags. Love JT but his time is over. Should they pay Trea to stay? He is a horrible defensive liability. 2 straight playoff games showed his level of focus. Mistake after mistake. He’s got a great bat, though. He is going to want big money but SS requires a better fielder, imo.

Should they sign Anderson next season? He had a great run. How do you let someone like that walk especially with our injury prone staff?

Graterol scares me. Philipps, Martin, & Vesia are much better choices. Don’t know about Almonte and Treinen. Hudson doesn’t seem to stay healthy. Goodbye Kimbrel and Bauer. Both terrible signings. Is May anything but a reliever disguised as a starter?

Badger

Trea is likely gone. Why would he stay here after this? The money will be just as good back east

I think Graterol can be helped. JT should retire in my opinion.Muncy stays. CT3 might have played his last game here. I’m conflicted on Bellinger but for that money we can do better. I’m not sold on Thompson. Gonsolin, in my opinion, will never be a 175 inning guy. Keep his innings down and he could be an asset, but, how do you do that? 6 man rotation would help. It would help all the Dodger starters.

I can see replacements at third, short, left and center. I am hoping we get some new starters in too. The bullpen will work itself out.

dodgerpatch

I read your other post last week on the topic, and I resisted the impulse to comment in a way that would’ve not been constructive and just aggravated you. You are who are – especially at this point in your life.

But I think it’s worth noting that it’s actually a sad thing. This post and your prior one are just an expression of your outlook – bitterness and resentment.

I think this is reflected in your politics, and it goes a long way to explaining why you’ve always hated Mark. .. And not to be Mark’s cheerleader, I don’t know the guy personally, but I know he dealt with huge setbacks, too – more so then you getting laid off decades ago. I think he was actually in jail when he was 40, got the sentence overturned, started his life over at middle age, and now he announced he’s taking the company he started public. I have a lot of respect for that. I find it inspiring. You should, too. But you’ve treated him like garbage for years – but he still says that he considers you a friend. He’s a better man than me in this regard.

Dave Roberts is part of the “ruling class?” Have you even so much as looked at his Wikipedia page? He’s the son of a Marine. He was working class. He earned a scholarship to UCLA, toiled in the minors, almost quit baseball, scraped his way to a mediocre MLB career and so impressed the Dodgers brain trust in his interview that they hired him to be the manager of the most valuable and successful franchise in baseball. I want to live in a world where you can come from humble beginnings and make it through talent, a lot of toil and determination and a little bit of luck. I don’t want to live in a society based on jealousy of other’s success – where everyone is equally miserable.

Baseball is not any different than it has ever been. It’s always been a business, and Mookie and his negotiated contract that gives him security from arbitrarily firing or being traded is the end result of EVERYTHING that Curt Flood and Marvin Miller fought for. You should be applauding Mookie Betts and his contract. Now you’re basically arguing that a huge corporation should suddenly take away the livelihood that he earned because of five games. Samuel Gompers is rolling in his grave.

The Dodgers just had the best season in their history, and you’re still not happy. Yet you want to boycott baseball. You live comfortably in an upper middle class Lake Forest neighborhood in Southern California, perhaps the most desirable place to live in the entire world, in a country most everyone wishes they lived in, yet you’re still resentful that others have more and still think you’ve been treated unfairly. That’s a you problem.

To be honest, I’m not necessarily happy with the direction my life has taken in a lot of ways. I have regrets. I’m prone to bitterness just in terms of my personality, but I know I’m the only one who can change my life, and I don’t blame others, or “the system.”

I hope you find peace. I really do.

Badger

You think Mark might have been in jail? You have no idea what you’re talking about, that is obvious. And you clearly don’t have a clue about my relationship with Mark. We have had our battles over the years but remain friends to this day. Mind your own f’n business.

Leave politics out of it. Part of the reason I left was who and what it is you and others there support . It doesn’t belong here.

“Baseball is not any different than it has ever been.”

The hell it isn’t.

The Dodgers had the best REGULAR season in their history. Then they laid an egg, again, in post season. Apparently that’s ok with you. It isn’t with me, and it isn’t with countless other fans.

Last edited 1 month ago by Badger
dodgerpatch

You left because you can’t let go of your hatred.

Like I said. I hope you find peace.

The Dodgers are still the best organization in baseball. Before the series with the Padres, ZiPS Projections had the Dodgers as 60%/40% favorites. The Dodgers happened to land on the 40% on that cosmic dice roll. It happens.

In the last 10 years of playoff baseball, only 3 out of the 10 WS winners had the best regular season record in baseball. 3 out of 10 of those WS winners had the worst regular season record among playoff qualifiers.

Not sure what the Dodgers need to do to get over the hump next year, but voiding Mookie Betts’ contract, or being upset that he somehow still has his job is not the solution.

Like I said, don’t know Mark personally, but I seem to remember him sharing a little bit of his backstory.

Michael Norris

The favorites flopped, and all the statements made here or any other sites are pure opinion of the person making them. I think I know Badger just a little bit better than you. He is not bitter, he got tired of all the BS political crap that was going on, and the fact that on many occasions, the conversations got away from the Dodgers and baseball.

Michael Norris

Ignore him Badger, he says the same crap over on Marks’ site. FOS in my opinion,which I am sure he gives a hoot about.

dodgerpatch

Thank you!

Bumsrap

DodgerPatch–you and a few others that comment at LADT are part of the reason I don’t comment there anymore. It’s never enough to just state your thoughts. Now you come over here to be critical of Badger. I am tired of the coresness that seems everywhere for the last 5 years.

I like most of Marks lead Posts. A recent study said that we are healthier if we watch less news. I feel I am healthier reading less Mark. I am so tired of the politics that creeps into everything.

dodgerpatch

You’re right. I could learn to let stuff go and not be as combative. I’ll reflect on it.

Scott LADR

Ohhhhh the drama over here! I thought my site was the only one with the “juveniles” and polictics.

Jeff

I hope YOU find peace, Patch. That is a very vitriolic post you’ve made. As someone who has left America a long time ago, I can tell you that you are wrong about most of the world wanting to live there. I wouldn’t dream of going back, especially to California. It was a paradise decades ago but those days are long gone. Cost of living is through the roof I’m told.

If the Dodgers just had their best season ever, why are the fans in an uproar? It’s not because they’re dumb. I don’t know anyone that is celebrating them. Have you lost your mind as well as your peace?

Bumsrap

Maybe Roberts should manage the regular season and then someone else in the Post Season.

A starter can go 7 innings and give up 2 runs and be a hero if not MVP if the team wins 3 – 2. If they lose 2 – 1, he is a loser, failure, topic of fan ire.

The Dodgers needed to play small ball a few times during this series. Outside of one bunt by Trea, they didn’t and it cost them in to many wrisp opportunities.

Singing the Blue

I had the same thought, Fred.
We need a relief manager for the post season.

Bumsrap

Yeah, when they decide who makes the roster for the playoffs, include the manager in that discussion.

Fred Vogel

Roberts guaranteeing a World Series title was the kiss of death. What a moronic thing to do.

Badger

The Dodgers philosophy of hitting doesn’t include small ball. I doubt they even work on any of those skills. If they did, Bellinger would be hitting .300 by bunting toward third base.

I have to admit I didn’t like that bunt by Turner. With a runner in scoring position you want to drive him in. Moving him to third was good, but now, unless you steal second, you’ve set up a double play opportunity.

Reading around the blogosphere, and the Athletic and Times, there is a lot of chatter about what happens in the post season. Fact is, it really isn’t important how many wins you have in the regular season, as seedings don’t matter. Just get in the tournament.

Last edited 1 month ago by Badger
Bumsrap

The Wild Card Giants won three World Series in 5 years.

Singing the Blue

My first thought about Doc’s guaranteeing a WS victory was the same as yours, a moronic thing to do.

But then I realized it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference. We lose if he does, we lose if he doesn’t, so I’ve decided to hold him blameless in that regard.

As to some of his other decisions…………………………………………. but we need to keep in mind that we are judging him post decision and post result. I think someone should set up a blog where the fans can vote on decisions as they are being made. We can then compare group strategy vs manager strategy. Maybe it’s time to let Dodger fans as a group be the manager, but first we have to prove we deserve that honor.

Badger

Doc figured his star players would play like stars throughout the year. He figured wrong. His stars couldn’t get it done. We used to call that choking, but some find that term not PC.

There appears to be a pattern here. Is it The Kasten Effect? The team looked disengaged to me. The Padres wanted it more. I don’t know what answer is, but it would appear “whatever the question, the answer is money” doesn’t apply here.

Badger

“Might the Dodgers had better results with Castillo, Hader, and Harrison Bader?”

Yeah, probably. But I believe what the Dodgers needed was Betts, JT, Smith, and one or more of Thompson, Lux, Taylor, Gallo, or Bellinger to show up. None did.

Fred Vogel

Maybe Gallo should have started game 4 in place of Taylor.

Jeff

Gallo should have never been on this team.

Badger

According to Forbes, Dodgers Team Valuation: Increase in value 35.8%, debt/value 11%, revenue $565 million, operating income –$7.9M, revenue per fan $73

Not sure what all that means, but it sure sounds like the team has plenty of money. $400 million payroll? Probably not. But $300 million doesn’t sound like it would be a problem.

As you know, I was calling for starting pitching most of the year. They must have figured they had the necessary depth. And yes, the Padres did go for it. But I think the stats showed they weren’t that much better after the those trades were made. Not til the regular season ended that is. They sure look better now.

Last edited 1 month ago by Badger
Badger

Well, you’re right about that. Why not the Padres in 2022?

All that matters now is what happens in the post season. Which takes me back to those who are saying “the greatest Dodger season ever”. I don’t think so. I say again, what’s going to be remembered is how they finished.

Rob Schelling

I’m fine with Dave Roberts and would say a very emphatic no to Bruce Bochy!
I’m not a Doc apologist, he has some shortcomings, but he also has far more strengths. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if he came back for another year or two. I don’t know what it means that the team lacked any sense of urgency. I’m not certain that I can make that assessment from my recliner.

I’ll have some more to say about roster construction and evaluate each of the players and some of the up and coming prospects, in some soon to be written articles. My work has been insane over the past couple of months, my wife has been very sick, and I have also been dealing with a few health issues in the past two weeks. I’m back on the saddle again. Fortunately me the, the saddle is stationary.

Singing the Blue

Glad to hear you’re doing better Rob. I hope your wife is, as well.

Look forward to seeing what you come up with in your upcoming posts. Truth be known, I think this is my favorite time of year. I guess I like GMing better than managing.

Michael Norris

I might think they need to shake up some things, I get rid of the batting trio of coaches, Von Strikeout, Brown and the other moron who plans the attack. But ultimately, it is on the players. Roberts is going nowhere and neither is Friedman. But there will be an overhaul of the roster and some serious discussions on the future of the players who underperformed. Perhaps the most perplexing comment I heard post series loss can be attributed to Mookie Betts. We had no set plan going in. Translation, we were not prepared to play.

OhioDodger

They were not prepared to play. That was obvious. And that falls on the heads of the AF and Roberts.

Badger

Mookie actually said that? Holy crap.

I agree with Bear, it’s on the players. And hearing this makes me think they played exactly how they planned, or didn’t plan, to play.

Last edited 1 month ago by Badger
Badger

What’s the point of playing 162 if your going to allow 12 in the playoffs? Well, as Kornheiser and Wilson just pointed out, the point is money. The owners wanted 14.

Thinking about what you just posted Jeff I feel compelled to point out the fact that the way the Dodgers are taught to hit worked very well for 162. They outscored everybody by a mile and I believe they led the league in hitting WRISP.

“They have to hold somebody accountable., don’t they?” How do assign accountability for a team that just went flat for 3 games in the most important series of the year? I honestly don’t know. I’m not inclined to blame the manager, Friedman will not change how he does things, the coaches are doing exactly what is asked of them, so… fire the players I guess.

Badger

The Dodgers organizational value went up another $500 million from ‘21 to ‘22. Its over $4 billion, and if it went up for sale the offers would no doubt be much higher. The owners are not unhappy about that.

I have 3 Dodger shirts. No jerseys. I don’t need any more. I’ve never owned a blue Dodgers hat. I have a black one, and I don’t wear it much.

I believe this site is going to take off, so we’re counting on you sticking around.

Badger

I don’t know about $400 million. But $300 million doesn’t look like it’s that difficult. But then, we can certainly see having a high payroll doesn’t guarantee wining.

This is LA. I think fans here expect stars on the field. And of course they are there. And fans flock to see them. But, even Paul Newman put out turkey films now and then. The 2022 NLDS was a flop.

Last edited 1 month ago by Badger
Fred Vogel

deleted by FV

Last edited 1 month ago by Fred Vogel
Singing the Blue

I believe free agents become free agents the day after the World Series ends but can’t sign with a new club for 5 days after that. In other words, their old team has a 5-day window to negotiate and attempt to resign them.

Trade window also opens the day after the WS.

Fred Vogel

Thank STB. I googled the answer hence the deleted post. You are right with your response.

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