The Dodgers seem set at 5 positions.
- C – Will Smith
- 1B – Freddie Freeman
- 2B – Gavin Lux
- RF – Mookie Betts
- DH – Max Muncy
That is actually a decent core of excellent players. Not many teams have that quality in their lineup. But they have a lot of needs. The Dodgers need a SS, a CF, a LF, and maybe a 3B. I am acknowledging that Miggy Vargas will become the regular 3B or LF, even though he is better suited as a DH. In addition they need starting pitching. Will they look for top of the rotation starters, or back end as they did last year (Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney). Maybe this year it will be Chad Kuhl and Dylan Bundy.
But questions still persist with some of the players still with the team. Why did they not replace Walker Buehler? Are you convinced that Tony Gonsolin’s forearm strain is not a precursor to something worse? Right now, the only starting pitchers on the projected 26 man are Julio Urias, Dustin May, and Tony Gonsolin (if healthy). One thing I learned in business is that I hope for the best, but I plan for the worst. Is anyone prepared to trot out a rotation of Urias, May, Pepiot, Miller, and Stone? If the Dodgers do not re-sign Kershaw, Tyler Anderson, or Andrew Heaney, or any other starting pitcher, that could be the rotation.
There are multiple ways of finding replacements. Promote from within. This is where Miguel Vargas comes in. James Outman? Jake Amaya? Pepiot, Miller, and Stone?
Sign a free agent elite player. Sign a free agent depth role player and hope they can turn into a regular. This would include a bevy of FA signing MiLB contracts (Yency Almonte, Jason Martin, Jake Lamb, Kevin Pillar, Eddy Alvarez).
Pick up a waiver wire player and hope they turn out as did JT, Max Muncy, Evan Phillips. Trade from the roster or trade from MiLB.
I think the Dodgers will be outbid for every elite SS. I do not think they will put a package together to get a top of the rotation pitcher, or sign one. And yet other teams will. I do not think they will put a package together to get a solid CF or big LF bat.
I know for some, their preference is that the team keep all of their prospects until they become non-tradeable. Yadier Álvarez, Jeren Kendall, Mitch Hansen, Jordan Sheffield, Omar Estévez, Cristian Santana, Starling Heredia, DJ Peters, Matt Beaty, Dennis Santana, Josh Sborz, Kyle Garlick…But for some of us maybe it is better to trade prospects for players who can help now. Willie Calhoun, AJ Alexy, Yusniel Diaz, Dean Kremer, Zach Pop, Grant Holmes, Frankie Montas, Keibert Ruiz, JoJo Gray, Alex Verdugo, Jeter Downs, Connor Wong. Yes, that Dean Kremer, who was a throw in for Manny Machado who will turn out to be better than most of those RHP the Dodgers are holding on to.
AF has gone both ways with trades involving prospects, as well as to holding onto prospects. Some have worked out, and others (as noted above) have not. Gavin Lux and Will Smith. These are the only two position players drafted or IFA signed in the AF (2015 to current) era who are considered everyday players in the LAD 26 man roster. Who will be the next? Miguel Vargas, James Outman, Jake Amaya?
Obviously nothing is going to happen until after the WS. Options will be exercised or not. Not just for the Dodgers but for all of the other teams. Qualifying offers will be made. Rule 5 draft prospects will be protected. Some players will be non-tendered. The Winter Meetings will take place just about a month after the WS. And the start of ST will begin just about 2 months after that. A lot of moving parts need to be identified in a short period of time.
I plan to look at the 4 positions in question and starting pitching over the next several days. I am probably less enthusiastic that significant free agents or trades will be made. But I am open to being wrong. Part of my reasoning is that 2022 will be the second year that the Dodgers will exceed the CBT Threshold. The last time they were in this position (after 2017), they made sure that they slipped below the threshold to reset the penalties. IMO they may want to do the same thing in 2023.
What say you?
I have no special insight. I have no inside knowledge. I have sources, but none of them have any information as to what the Dodgers are planning. The Dodgers are probably the least transparent team in MLB. I have no idea who Jon Heyman’s source is indicating that the Dodgers are looking at Carlos Correa. I chuckle at those who truly believe the Dodgers would entertain another $300MM++ deal for Aaron Judge. But again, I am simply a fan looking back at what has happened in the past and drawing assumptive conclusions.
I never thought they would sign a player to a $300MM++ deal, and yet they did (Mookie). I never thought they would sign Trevor Bauer, and yet they did. I do not believe the Dodgers will sign a Scott Boras client during the AF era. Will I be wrong again?
I am not a reporter or journalist. I am a fan with opinions and a blog. I am right sometimes, and wrong many times. I will be right in the future, and wrong many times again. But one thing I will not do is to tell those who disagree with my opinions that they are morons, or that they say the dumbest things ever. When you do that, you lose the argument. So I am soliciting all comments. Have fun during the Hot Stove League.
I had thought that if they won the WS they could back off and start bringong up more prospects instead of going all in and signing stars. But they didn’t even get in to the WS so they have a tougher decision, go big again or retool with prodpects.
Or they could do both by starting the season modestly and filling their holes at the trade deadline.
I believe they will reset. What that means for roster additions? It’s too early to know. That’s Dodgy blog schema for I don’t have a clue.
We’ve got those 5 stars to build around. The powerful staff of Buehler, Kershaw, Urias, May and Anderson got blowed up. Bellinger. JT. Trea. All question marks, but at this moment I think they try to bring all of them back. Two of those will be easy.
This is an organization that isn’t designed to rebuild. Not with those expensive stars on the payroll. I see 1 rookie being added yearly to the Opening Day roster. Maybe 2 counting a pitcher. To hit pause and wait for the deadline is risky, but I think that’s a strong possibility.
Friedman will be challenged. It would be easy if they wait on the reset. Just overspend again. My guess is more reclamation projects, a trade nobody sees coming, Vargas, Stone, Bellinger, CK, JT. Even if they sign Bogaerts, Correa or Swanson and trade for Reynolds that starting staff needs to be upgraded to challenge through October.
I’m rambling. I look forward to reading some ideas that make sense.
The only MiLB player in the Dodger system that I would deem untouchable, at this time, is Cartaya. The rest are trade chips, some of greater value than others. With Betts and Freeman signed, you can’t afford to just sit on your hands while other teams continue to improve. Use this so-called vaulted minor league system to fill in the missing pieces by making trades for established players.
Ok. It’s gonna take at least three of the better ones for Reynolds. There’s one hole filled. If we go with Amaya, that’s another hole plugged. Have we kept Vargas or traded him? Maybe we can get by for a while with the pitching we have. 90 wins and a Wild Card spot.
I was watching Kyle Tucker. Terrific hitter. He and Bellinger both bat left handed and both are 6’4”, 200 pounds. You know what else they have in common? Nothing.
Possibly a willingness to learn with Tucker and a stubborn defiance from Bellinger is the difference. We know Bellinger was good at one time and then he disintegrated before our eyes.
i wouldn’t mind keeping Vargas but if Don Corleone approaches AF with an offer he can’t refuse…
I still think the starting pitching is the big bugaboo.
I am forming my thoughts around this starting pitching enigma topic. But I have to ask the question (s). If the Dodgers re-sign both Clayton Kershaw and Tyler Anderson and call it a day, is this an elite starting rotation? Urias, May, Gonsolin, Kershaw, Anderson.
And what is the over/under on 2023 IL visits for that group?
O/U …. 4?
If it were 5 I’d take the under. If it were 3 I’d take the over.
In 2015, the Astros changed their future with 2 of the first 5 overall draft picks. They already had the nucleus of a good team with Correa, Altuve and Springer, with pitchers Dallas Keuchel, Colin McHugh, and Lance McCullers. But with those two picks, the Astros selected Alex Bregman (1/2) and Kyle Tucker (1/5). Bregman was on the 2017 WS team. Bregman was my favorite MiLB player coming out of LSU in 2015. Within 2 years, he was in MLB.
In 2019, the Astros traded J.B. Bukauskas (2017 – 1/15), Seth Beer (2018 – 1/28), Corbin Martin (2017 – 2nd round) and Josh Rojas (2017 – 26th round) to Arizona for Zack Greinke. As it turns out, it was the throw in, 26th round Rojas, who has had the best career. It wasn’t a bust for Arizona because they got out of that contract that they overspent just to get Greinke away from LAD.
Just like in 2017, the Astros went for it all with the top pitcher available. Houston traded their #3 prospect (RHP Franklin Perez), #9 prospect (OF Daz Cameron), and #11 prospect (C Jake Rogers) for Justin Verlander. How many times out of 100 does Houston make that trade? I will take a wild *** guess and say 100. I will also go out on a limb and say Detroit wants a do-over.
In 2019, Greinke went 8-1 down the stretch for Houston. Houston fell to the mighty Washington Nationals in the WS that year (who didn’t), but they got to the WS. The Dodgers had one of those organizational failures.
Thus, Houston has held on to and developed great draft picks (Bregman and Tucker), and traded highly regarded draft picks for a player they wanted so as to win it all in 2019. When was the last time the Dodgers traded away 2 recent 1st round picks and a 2nd round pick in the same trade. It did not work for Houston, but it did give them a much better chance in 2019 than without the trade. And they do not miss any of the four traded prospects one bit.
In 2019, what might the Dodgers have received if they had traded Jordan Sheffield (2016 1st CB-A) , Jeren Kendall (2017 1st round), and Michael Grove (2018 2nd round) in 2019. I would use 2018 #1 except they wasted that pick on JT Ginn, thus Grove was their top pick in 2018.
TMI. Slow down the delivery. I’m old and my brain fast twitch are atrophied.
Vargas. I don’t buy the “lack of fast twitch”. In 4 MiLB seasons, 410 games, he had 47 stolen bases and 12 triples. Plus, you don’t square up 96 mph fastballs without a supply of fast twitch. And I’m a firm believer in this – defense can be improved with hours of hard work. These guys know from the moment they sign they make it to the next level by hitting, so that’s what they work on. No matter where he plays, 100 pick-ups and 100 fungos every day between now and Opening Day and he will improve. If we can do better at third, go for it. If not, I’ll hit him 700 a week, and I’ll rol pick-ups. A dollar a swing plus expenses. Rolls I’ll throw in. That’s cheap for a fungo master.
I like Miguel Vargas. But I have not read one talent evaluator who believes his defensive ceiling is more than adequate 3B. Maybe they are all wrong. I have watched him live and on TV at 3B (with OKC). He rarely gets to the hard hit ball to his right. He will never remind anyone of Graig Nettles, or Manny Machado, or Nolan Arenado, or Ke’Bryan Hayes. JT at 37 is a better defensive 3B than Miguel. He has a slow first step to balls hit to his left. That is what I have seen, and obviously what professional talent evaluators have seen. He does make the routine play which is why he is considered adequate. He has more than a sufficient arm to make the throw. Can he make the barehand pickup that Bregman did in Game 2? I have not seen any evidence that he consistently can.
But yes, he is athletic enough to learn to become a better defensive 3B. Make no mistake, Vargas will be penciled in the lineup because of his bat, and will stay there as long as hit bat produces. He will not get Cody Bellinger treatment.
As far as better 3B, I am not giving up on Edwin Ríos.
Ok, then put him in left and starting last week hit him 100+ balls a day. Line drives to the corner, gapers to the fence, over his head to the fence, pop ups, sac flies…. over and over til he collapses from exhaustion. You remember how you felt after sprints at the end of football practice? Run him til he has that body language. Then do it again tomorrow, the day after that, and so on til Open Day. Repetition. He’ll get better.
Also, the Dodgers have their own scouting report. And we’ll never know what that says.
100% Agree that the Dodgers have their own scouting report. Every team does. All I can do is make my assumptions based on what the publications’ talent evaluators report. They do have access to scouts, both LAD and opposing teams. When certain points are consistently reported by the legit publications, I think that is some support for that POV. Positive or negative.
Again to be clear, I like Miguel Vargas, and believe he gets either the regular 3B or regular LF position out of ST.
The big question will be, is Vargas just one of 2 or 3 rookies to be in the lineup, along with 2-3-4 rookie pitchers?
Badger: Fungo Master
Has a certain ring to it.
If you throw in a roll, does it not become a throw?
Perhaps you need to roll in a roll?
You can throw a roll. I know. I got hit by one. It was fresh so it didn’t really hurt. We both got a laugh out of it.
I don’t think the Dodgers are well served with Vargas at DH. If a young player can’t play adequate defense to own a spot on the field then that player has to be a stud and Vargas isn’t a stud.
Neither is Busch.
That says a trade is needed to get a young player that can own a spot on the field.
Outman is outstanding defensively so he should stay.
The Dodgers still need to score more runs against lefties.
If Kershaw, JT, Bellinger are not Dodgers then there is money that can be spent on a big righty bat. It may come down to choosing between Correa and those three Dodgers.
I cannot say that I disagree with you. I like Vargas, but I think that his lack of a defensive position is problematic. The same with Busch. Both players fall into the Matt Beaty line…My best position is the batters box. Why do the Dodgers need both? I guess because one is LHH and one is RHH? Perhaps they want to start platooning DH.
Arizona is going to throw a younger player out in LF, Corbin Carroll, and the Dodgers will probably go with their rookie in LF, Vargas. Who gets to more All Star games (as a player)? I have no idea where the Dodgers are going to play Busch, but he does have awesome power potential.
I guess we will have to wait and see if the Dodgers are going to push to go all in for 2023, or defer until 2024. As I said above, I am going with defer until 2024., and lose another year of trade value for their prospects.
Until this year, if I’m not mistaken, all of Vargas’ defensive time had been spent on the infield, mostly third base with a little second base thrown in.
It seems to me that left field would be easier to master than either of those positions. I say, give him the left field job and I’ll bet he can make himself into an adequate fielder. He’s not unathletic and he’s still fairly young.
He’s known to have good baseball sense and is a bit faster than he seems, both qualities that should help him master left field.
I don’t care what any of you says, he’s my 2023 left fielder!!!! (at least for the first couple of months, after which Bums can tell me “I told you so”).
Remember the Lux left field experiment?
Leave Vargas where he has been. The infield.
I don’t recall anyone ever saying that Lux was not good enough to play the infield and might need to spend his career as a DH. Moving him to left field was not a good idea.
I still maintain that left field would be a better position for Miggy than third base.
I have no desire to talk anyone out of touting Miguel Vargas. But comparison to Lux are probably not fair. Comparisons in the scouting reports between Gavin Lux and Miguel Vargas offensively and defensively.
Hit – Lux 60, Vargas 60
Power – Lux 60, Vargas 55
Run – Lux 60, Vargas 40
Arm – Lux 55, Vargas 55
Field – Lux 50, Vargas 45
For Lux they said that he has quickness, soft hands, and solid arm to play SS. But he lacks accuracy, which makes his move to 2B to be where he belongs.
They said about Vargas – As an infielder he lacks speed and quick twitch athleticism.
Fangraphs, who I think wants to really like him, just keeps coming up short in their scouting grades. This is what they said in May:
Vargas is more of a “high probability role player” bucket here at FanGraphs, with comparisons made to Rays third baseman Yandy Díaz.
While he’s good enough to project as a third baseman, Vargas’ hands and arm accuracy are both below average and he may be error-prone there. We’re not inclined to project him to first base, where he’d have to handle the baseball even more.
Yandy Díaz is a great comp. Good hitter, atrocious fielder. At 3B, Statcast had him at a -8 Outs Above Average, while FanGraphs had him as a -13 in Defensive Runs Saved. And yet he had a 3.8 fWAR. What made Díaz so incredible this year was his 78 walks to 60 strikeouts (558 PA). He had a .401 OBP at the ML level. If Vargas can duplicate that, he is a regular in the LAD lineup.
FanGraphs considers Vargas a doubles machine, but do not look for him to be a massive HR threat.
I will be interested to see an update this year if LF is introduced into the scouting regimen.
But it is easier to hide a lesser defensive player in LF than any where else on the field. I always harken back to Greg Luzinski, although Vargas does not have that power. Kyle Schwarber may be the modern day Greg Luzinski. Schwarber hit 46 HRs this year. I am not sure Vargas hits that many in 2 years.
Justin Turner has been named winner of the Robert Clemente Award for this year. If Andrew was planning to get rid of him, this makes it just a tad harder.
I’d love to see fan reaction if he gets rid of JT and signs Correa. 🙂
I’m a fan. My reaction would be history was great and now it’s time for the future. Oh, and congratulations Justin.
I was planning to get you a JT jersey for the holidays. You just blew it.
I’m kinda glad you did, because those things cost a small fortune.
Martin is the most underrated player in the system. His power is real. He hasn’t had a real opportunity yet at the major league level, meaning consistent at bats. With every day playing time, we’ve seen what he can do. If not with the Dodgers, another team will reap the benefit of the power and glove.