Badger made a point…”Replacing an ace is no easy thing. But it needs to be addressed.” I agree that it needs to be addressed, but I am not sure how everyone defines Ace. For me, he needs to be at the elite level for more than one year. Rick Porcello won a CY but he was never an Ace. Walker Buehler was/is an Ace. I think Julio Urías is approaching that status, but he is one year away from FA, and with Boras as his agent, there will be no extensions discussed.
They also need to be elite for an entire year and not be limited to 100 – 120 IP. Clayton Kershaw used to be an Ace, and still is elite, but not at the Ace level because he cannot go 180+ IP.
Tony Gonsolin needs to do it more than 2022. If he can continue thru 2023 and into 2024, he could be an Ace. Dustin May’s stuff is elite, but neither his command nor control are near the Ace level right now. Maybe with a full winter of rehab and strengthening he will get to the top of the rotation status.
Bobby Miller? He has not dominated at any level. Just like May, his “stuff” may be elite, but his command is not close to being elite.
Ryan Pepiot and Gavin Stone have at least dominated at the AA and AAA level. But most scouting evaluations still consider them huge reliever risk, although those risks seem to be diminishing. Pepiot’s change dominated at MiLB but is not fooling enough MLB hitters. Pepiot’s best game as a ML pitcher did come in relief of Michael Grove. Maybe Pepiot is another Tommy Kahnle?
Michael Grove? He showed that he can get ML hitters out, but he is probably more like Mitch White and Ross Stripling than Zac Gallen.
Andre Jackson? If there were a picture in Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of a long middle reliever it would be Andre Jackson. For me, that is not a negative. Every team needs one. Somebody needs to fill David Price’s role next year. Jackson seems a prime candidate.
The Dodgers are loaded with 3-4-5 rotation level pitchers, but are devoid of sure thing top of the rotation pitching candidates after Julio Urias. There are multiples knocking on the door.
For 2023, the rotation should include (ages are 2023 baseball ages – age on June 30, 2023):
- LHP Julio Urías – (26) – FA 2024
- RHP Tony Gonsolin – (29) – FA 2027
- RHP Dustin May – (25) – FA 2026
If Clayton Kershaw wants another year, he needs to get it. Limit his innings again to 100 – 125. While I do like Tyler Anderson for a new deal, at some point the organization has to **** or get off the pot with some of their MiLB prospects. Are Pepiot, Grove, Stone ready for the rotation consideration in 2023?
- LHP Clayton Kershaw – (35) – Current FA
- LHP Tyler Anderson (33) – Current FA
- RHP Ryan Pepiot (25)
- RHP Michael Grove (26)
- RHP Gavin Stone (24)
- RHP Bobby Miller (24)
- RHP Andre Jackson (27)
Once again, that is a deep group. But elite? I do not see an Ace in this group. Good pitchers? Absolutely!
What FA pitchers might be considered an Ace?
- Jacob deGrom (35) – I agree with STB. He will negotiate with multiple teams (probably including the Dodgers) and get as much as he can, but he will stay with NYM.
- Justin Verlander (40) – He is more likely to be available for LAD, but at 40, are you comfortable with a Max Scherzer level contract? Scherzer is 17 months younger than Verlander.
The best of the other FA SP:
- Carlos Rodón (30)
- Chris Bassitt (34)
- Mike Clevinger (32)
- Jameson Taillon (31)
- Taijuan Walker (30)
- Nathan Eovaldi (33)
Is there a pitcher in that group that you would block any of the Dodger prospect pitchers for 3-5 years? Rodón figures to be the most sought after and probably the most expensive. He would be a top of the rotation pitcher, but I am not sure that any of the others would be anything more than mid to back of the rotation types. I think AF will seek out another Andrew Heaney type pitcher before signing any of those not named Carlos Rodón. I am not convinced that AF/BG would even consider Rodón. Although I do like Bassitt on a 2 year plus option deal.
Free agency is not the only way to acquire a Top of the Rotation pitcher. A team can trade for one. Of course both teams need to want to make a trade. Almost never will a contender trade a top of the rotation pitcher pre-season. At the deadline maybe if the contender status has been eliminated. I have not yet had enough time to look at all of the top pitchers and their clubs to see if there are potential trades AF/BG might consider.
However, two come to mind…RHP Shane Bieber (Cleveland) and RHP Pablo Lopez (Miami). While no trade was obviously consummated, both pitchers are considered available at the right price.
Shane Bieber (28) is arbitration eligible and considered to be in the $12MM range. Pablo Lopez (27) is also arbitration eligible. Both have two years of arbitration and will become FA after the 2024 season.
Both pitchers would require some top prospect pitching (and others) in return. Both Bieber and Lopez could slot in nicely behind Urías.
Of course the best way to acquire a future Ace is to draft one or sign one from the International Free Agent Market. But teams drafting every year where the Dodgers do, are not primed to draft top of the rotation pitchers. Maybe one will drop to them like Walker Buehler did.
I figure the trade is the best choice for the Dodgers. They have an abundance of players who are “Major League Ready”. The Dodgers cannot utilize all of them, so it seems logical and practical to package some to go get the elite players.
MiLB Game Summary
Salt Lake Bees (LAA) 2 vs OKC Dodgers 3
The Dodgers jumped out to a 3-1 lead after 4, and then held on for their 3rd consecutive victory over the Bees to end their season. They finished the season 84-66, and 1.5 games behind El Paso Chihuahuas. Unfortunately OKC was 2-4 last week against El Paso to get eliminated.
Jon Duplantier started for OKC and went 4.0 innings allowing a HR for the sole run he did allow. He gave up 2 hits and 4 walks to go with 8 Ks. 4 relievers followed with Beau Burrows replacing Duplantier and throwing 2.0 perfect innings with 3 Ks to get the win. Mark Washington pitched 1.0 inning and got pushed around a bit allowing 3 hits and 1 run. Aaron Ochsenbein and Nick Robertson pitched the final 2.0 perfect innings, with Robertson getting his 2nd OKC save.
The big offense was supplied by James Outman who went 3-4 with a double (14). Omar Estévez finished the season strong going 5-12 with a HR over the last 4 games. Michael Busch had one hit, but it was his 21st Big Fly for OKC, 32 overall for the season.
Stone looks like he could be a future ace to me with his control and consistency. Not the overpowering type, but more a craftsman like Maddux or Greinke.
I apologize Duke. I was away from my computer all AM and did not get to your comment for approval. I always have to approve a first one, but after that it should never need to be approved again.
I don’t see any aces in our organization. I see a few potential #2’s. You can read that two ways. I believe a real ace will likely come through trade. I like your choices. There are probably others
5 for 35 with 13 Ks. An offensive sluggernaught!
Offensive for sure.
Koufax was an Ace at 93 mph and maybe a #4 at 97 mph. Some pitchers never tame the tiger but Ace has to have a tiger within.
Let’s never forget Pedro Martinez or history will repeat itself. I’m talking Stone here.
We are a year away from having a hole at 3rd and we already have a hole in LF and CF and soon at SS. I don’t know if I would trade for an Ace before I filled those 4 position player spots. That said, I like Bieber.
Bieber’s ok I guess. Kinda out in the sticks. Quite red neck conservative. I like Burney Falls better. One of the first vacation trips I took my new wife included Burney and Burney Falls.
Koufax and Drysdale were both aces. Took the ball every 4th day and finished what they started. No ace does that today.
You see, Beiber is a small town in Northern California, and… never mind.
Maybe instead of one stud ace, the team should put together a six man back-up group and call themselves The Acettes.
Julio and the Acettes.
I think you’re on to something Fred.
A friend in Sedona sent me this:
The Dodgers won their franchise-record 107th game on Wednesday, putting a bow on one of the greatest regular seasons in MLB history, Axios’ Jeff Tracy writes.
By the numbers: With seven games left, they have a chance to become just the seventh team to win 110 games in a season.
Between the lines: The Dodgers’ payroll ranks second behind only the Mets, but money alone can’t buy this many wins. It’s the depth beyond their stars that once again is driving their success.
The big picture: The Dodgers’ 2022 season is an all-timer in a vacuum, but is even more impressive when you look at the 10-year run it’s capping off.
The bottom line: The Dodgers are very good at baseball — so good that one might be tempted to say there’s something in the water in Southern California. Then again, the Angels exist.
It’s just a wonderful time to be a Dodger fan!
dont sweat the ‘ace’ thing, the team has shown repeatedly they can acquire top of rotation talent through a myriad of ways.
Good point. I figure Friedman knows the best way to stack the front end of the rotation. It will get done.
I’d be happy to add Bieber or Lopez to the staff (assuming the price was within reason) but I don’t consider either of them a real Ace.
I’ve been going back and forth with Badger regarding my views on Gallo and I haven’t changed my mind. I would like to put Joey and Craig (Kimbrel) on a bus and send them off on a nice vacation before the playoffs. I don’t want either of them anywhere near a Dodger post season roster spot.
Dodger management seems to indicate they were thinking of using Gallo and Trayce as a left field platoon. Problem is that neither of them is hitting left handed pitching. B&P brought up the idea of subbing Pillar for Gallo over at LADT today and I think that idea has some merit. Pillar’s career numbers against southpaws are good, he’s no slouch on defense and he plays with an intensity that I think would be a great addition to the Dodger clubhouse.
I’m not going to kid myself into thinking that Vargas has any chance of being on a playoff roster, since they haven’t given him any at bats to prepare for that, so my vote goes to Pillar. Rios would have been another possibility but 3B and DH seem to be taken by others at this point. Outman simply has too little experience for AF to even consider him.
I’ll buy Gallo’s ticket out of town but I’m holding it til after the Colorado series.
Vargas, Outman, Pillar on the post season roster? Don’t really see it. Gallo or Outman? I don’t know. Gallo is so yesterday and Outman is so tomorrow. Is Pillar even ready?
The last roster spots may already have been decided but I wait to see who might light it up in the next 6 games. I prefer Gallo. He’s done it before.
B&P had a good idea? Now that’s a 1st.😊😊 jk. But I do agree that Pillar could be someone to consider. Since returning from his injury, he has played 6 games, 22 AB, batting .318/.304/.500/.804. He has not walked and has struck out 5 times. 1 HR and 6 RBIs. Is that enough to usurp Gallo? Doubtful.
The Golden Sombrero for Gallo last night was tough to take. He left 8 runners on base. He was not alone as both Smith and Trea left 5 runners on base. Any of those three could have made the game a laugher and given Julio the win with one swing. I expect the K’s with Gallo and accept them as long as we can occasionally see that monster HR. But he only has 3 HRs in the month of September with 12 RBIs. Of course that is better than Belli who has ZERO HRs and 6 ABs in September. Belli’s last HR was August 21.
And Trayce has not had a great September. He does have 5 HRs and 11 RBIs, but is batting .155/.261/.431/.692.
Bums is probably on to something about the Dodgers lack of OF offense. For September:
CT3 – .195/.295/.299/.594
Belli – .186/.262/.271/.533
Gallo – .167/.262/.370/.632
Trayce – .155/.261/.431/.692
Every one of them is capable of going off for a series, but that is 4/5 of the LAD outfield. Muncy’s excellent September takes some of the sting out of the above. And then there is JT: .342/.420/.605/1.025
With Mookie/Trea/Freddie/Smith/Muncy/JT firmly entrenched in 1-6, how good would this team be if even just on of the four OF above takes off? If CT3 and Belli have the October they had last year…?
The whole team sucked offensively last night. But that was last night.
There are a lot of at bats left in this season for that guy who will be off the bench come October. I think of that big at bat with ducks on the pond and who do I want up there? I still want Gallo.
Rich Hill says he wants to pitch again next season. His 2022 contract is $5MM. I would not say no to signing Hill for one year to give Miller, Stone, and others more time to percolate. If they prove to be ready, the cost of releasing Hill would not be onerous. He is also a great clubhouse presence and potential mentor to the “kids”. I think there is minimal chance of that happening, but thought I would throw it out there. I would not hate the idea.
Hill LOVES pitching in Boston. It’s near his family.
With that said, given with the almost unmanageable backlog of starters currently styming the Dodgers (this is why Stripling and White were traded, right?) I don’t see why Hill could be brought to town.
Yes, Hill loves Boston. And no the Dodgers do not need another SP. But right now, only Urias, May, and Gonsolin are signed for 2023. Are you convinced that Kershaw is going to re-sign and stay healthy all year? Are you convinced that Gonsolin is not injured more than is being reported? Are you convinced that Pepiot, Grove, Miller or Stone will break out with the rotation for a championship team? Where would the Dodgers be this year without Anderson and Heaney?
I doubt that AF will sign a front line FA pitcher, and I am just as convinced that he believes that the prospects will be ML pitchers at some point, but not certain as to when. But I am also not convinced that the Dodgers have enough starting pitching if something happens. They do not this year as they are contemplating a piggyback for #4, albeit a good one (maybe).
Hill will be more expensive than the prospects, but will be less expensive than Anderson and Heaney this year. He seems like perfect insurance.
I was thinking along the same lines as Bluto.
I would imagine that Hill would prefer to start if given his choice and even though the Dodgers have a lot of questions, they have so many solutions to those possibilities that I’d imagine Hill would prefer to sign somewhere where his odds of being a starter all year are greater.
Interesting article in The Athletic today by Peter Gammons exploring how the Astros have creatively constructed their pitching staff, which is considered, along with the Dodgers, to be one of the best in baseball.
That is a great article. THere’s also been conversation about how the Astros are one of the few (VERY few) teams who have been able to develop Latin America pitchers into starters not relievers.
THey’re a good org. Even if they cheated.
The guys who are responsible for developing those Latin American pitchers had nothing to do with the cheating, so they deserve all the credit they are due. Maybe AF should pick off a couple of them since L.A. is a much nicer home base than Houston (with apologies to any of you who might live in Houston).
Great point about the Latin pitchers. I am assuming they are drawing a distinction for International Free Agents from Domestic players drafted. Starters Framber Valdez (DR), Jose Urquidy (Mexico), Luis Garcia (Venezuela), Cristian Javier (DR). The bullpen also has a great Latin pitcher from DR, Bryan Abreu.
The Dodgers have two Latin pitchers in their top 30: Carlos Duran (DR) and Edgardo Henriquez (Venezuela). Both are HEAVY reliever risks but at a high level. The Dodgers have one Latin starter, Julio Urias (Mexico), and two relievers: Brusdar Graterol (Venezuela) and Victor Gonzalez (Mexico).
The Dodgers had a highly compensated bonus teenager from Cuba that did not pan out; Yadier Álvarez.
The Dodgers affiliates have multiple Latin pitchers, but none of them scream ML starting pitcher.
By the way, the Astros have 4 more Latin pitchers who all started games this year. How far they get, who knows:
Jaime Melendez #14 (Mexico)
Misael Tamaraz #19 (DR)
Miguel Ullola #20 (DR)
Alimber Santa #26 (DR)