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My Follow Up To Bear

I agree for the most part that AF does not overreact to situations.  I was not overwhelmed by the Kazmir, McCarthy, and Anderson signings, but I understood them.  At the time (2015), the Dodgers had 2 starters…Kershaw and Greinke.  Goodness, after they lost Hyun-Jin Ryu and McCarthy went down, their 3-4-5 pitchers were Anderson, Mike Bolsinger, and Carlos Frias, until AF traded for Alex Wood.  In hindsight, maybe they should have put forth a better effort to sign Max Scherzer.  But Scherzer wanted the East Coast, and the Dodgers already had one $200MM pitcher (Kershaw) and Greinke was due for a big raise after 2016.  The Dodgers had big debt leverage concerns and their payroll was already approaching $300MM.

It wasn’t as if the Dodgers could have signed better pitchers (not named Max Scherzer).  Top free agent SP for 2015:

  • Jon Lester – $155MM – 5 years (which is what they eventually offered Greinke)
  • James Shields – $75MM – 4 years
  • Ervin Santana – $55MM – 4 years
  • Jake Peavy – $24MM – 2 years
  • Edison Volquez – $20MM – 2 years
  • Jason Hammel – $18MM – 2 years

The Dodgers debt leverage ratios were a big hinderance into signing big time FA at the time.  They spent money, but it was for 2 starting pitchers in 2015 (Anderson and McCarthy) and 2 more in 2016 (Kazmir and Maeda), instead of one.  They needed more than 1 starting pitcher.

As Bear noted, a big mistake AF made was to offer Anderson the QO in 2016.  But in all honesty, I do not believe they expected him to take it. No player had agreed to the QO before that year, and then there were two that accepted it (Colby Rasmus and Anderson), with a 3rd (Marco Estrada) agreeing to a 2-year extension ($26MM).

The Dodgers also had Julio Urías coming, and Ryu was hoping to come back in 2016 (he didn’t).  Unfortunately Urías also got hurt, and his shoulder surgery cost him three years.

In 2016 after Kershaw and Greinke, the Dodgers had Kazmir, Ross Stripling, and Julio Urías filling out their top 5 SP.  They did add Rich Hill at the deadline.  They beat the favored Washington Nationals in the NLDS.  They took MLB’s best team, Cubs, to 6 games in the NLCS.

The Dodgers ended up with Scott Kazmir, Kenta Maeda, and Brett Anderson for 2016.  Who should they have signed from this list of top FA starting pitchers?

  • Johnny Cueto – $130MM – 6 years (Injury waiting to happen)
  • Jordan Zimmerman – $110MM – 5 years
  • Jeff Samardzija – $90MM – 5 years
  • Mike Leake – $80MM – 5 years
  • A. Happ – $36MM – 3 years (As it turns out, the best of the bunch)
  • Yovani Gallardo – $22MM – 2 years

The Dodgers were hoping to retain Greinke, and had it all wrapped up until Arizona came in and waaaaayyyyy overreacted and overspent.  I do not blame Greinke.  He would have been crazy to turn that deal down.  The guaranteed money the Dodgers offered was reported to be 5 years $155MM ($31MM AAV).  Instead Arizona gave Greinke 6 years at $206.5.  That was a $34.42MM AAV, the largest AAV at the time.  That is $51MM more guaranteed $$$.

Thus in 2017, the Dodgers went from Kershaw and Greinke to Kershaw and Wood/Hill/Maeda/Ryu.  In addition, it was 2016 when Kershaw first had his back flare up and nobody knew what to expect in 2017.  That is why the Dodgers acquired Bud Norris from Atlanta in June 2016.  As it turned out, Kershaw would never again stay off the IL for any season after 2015.  And yet, the Dodgers won 104 games in 2017, and should have won the WS.  Adding Yu Darvish helped down the stretch, and in the NLDS and NLCS.  It wasn’t until the WS before Darvish choked (tipped pitches?).

As Badger noted, even with the Kazmir, Anderson, McCarthy signings, the Dodgers continued to win.  Get to the playoffs and see what happens.  I am not going to cast stones at AF for those signings.

For me, AF went away from his game plan and DID OVERREACT to what San Diego and NYM were doing for 2021, and signed Trevor Bauer instead of letting SDP and NYM battle it out.  Up until the last minute, NYM was reported to have the lead in signing Bauer.  While nobody anticipated or expected what did happen, Bauer was never going to be the player the Dodgers were building the clubhouse culture on. Bad signing pure and simple, and many of us talked about it well before the suspension.  And no, for me, it had nothing to do with his social media issues (although they were certainly problematic).

One other note. Also as Bear noted, Kazmir and McCarthy were better pitchers when signed than was Andrew Heaney.  Tyler Anderson also was not a good pitcher until he came to the Dodgers.  I did like Rick Honeycutt as the LAD pitching coach, but he was more of a behind the scenes type coach.  I do not remember one pitcher coming into the organization whose career was turned around with Honey as the pitching coach.  That was not their job at the time.

OTOH, Mark Prior was getting a big notice from LAD for his developmental tools after he was hired as the bullpen coach for 2018.  Is their any question as to what he has done for the staff since he became the pitching coach in 2020?  Getting Urías to stop nibbling and throw strikes.  Stop the first inning marathon innings for Urías.  Resurrect Jake McGee that then turned out to be the impetus to signing Yency Almonte, and then turning him around.

Evan Phillips was cast aside by Tampa Bay and the Dodgers signed him.  He is now considered one of the top ten relievers in the game (#4 by  Tony Gonsolin has gone from a reliever to an All Star starting pitcher.  Tyler Anderson went from a pitcher with a 4.5+ career ERA to an All Star.  Andrew Heaney went from an LAA and NYY cast off to resurrect his career.  Now Noah Syndergaard has made it known that he took less $$$ to pitch for LAD and their staff.  Alex Reyes made similar comments.

There are others…Alex Vesia, Brusdar Graterol.  Michael Grove, Ryan Pepiot, and Andre Jackson have all made big strides under Prior. They may not land in the rotation this year, but I expect at least one to be a huge bullpen piece this October.  I may be biased, but for me it is being a former USC Trojan All American that has made Prior so knowledgeable.

Mark Prior and Connor McGuiness have been the backbone to the developmental pitching staff.  I expect Bobby Miller and Gavin Stone to blossom even more once they get to LA at some point this year.

The Dodgers do not typically sign the best FA, although Freddie Freeman was a plus.  They re-sign many of their own…Rich Hill, KJ, JT, Chase Utley (2017), Kershaw, JT again (after 2021), CT3, Blake Treinen.  How many times have they signed Jimmy Nelson?  They package prospect capital for players they need via trades…Machado, Betts, Scherzer, Turner.

FA seems to know what buttons to push at the right time.  He is not perfect.  His drafts are evidence, but that is a crapshoot much of the time, especially where they draft.  However, his track record speaks for himself.  No MLB team has been better during his reign as the President of Baseball Operations with LAD, and by a large margin.  Some of us (yes me included) have questioned his lack of moves during the Winter.  Do they need more SP, RP (closer), OF, SS?  What player can be added that would make the team better?  Right now, probably none.

At the deadline, there could be multiple players available.  Hill, Darvish, Watson, Cingrani, Machado, Scherzer, Turner.  AF has not been shy about making moves at the deadline to get them over the finish line.  Will he this year?  He will not make a move just to make a move, but if a player is there that he believes will get them to the WS, he will not hesitate (IMO).  But he is not going to mortgage the future.  Do not expect Diego Cartaya, Miguel Vargas, Miller, or Stone to be traded.

2023 has not even started, and the Dodgers will be in the playoffs.  Their pitching is too good and too deep not to get there.  The team had horrible production from multiple players in 2022 (Bellinger, Muncy, Taylor, Gallo).  They had unexpected and untimely injuries (Gonsolin, Treinen, Lux).  And yet they still won 111 games.

2023 will not be a runaway, but I am bullish on the season. But then again, I always believe the Dodgers will win…until they don’t.  Mark Prior’s pitching staff will make sure that LAD will be in it all the way.  It will not be a result of panic, but AF will make a move at some point around the trade deadline that he believes will take across the finish line.  Maybe this will be the year.




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Well done Jeff.

My first thought after reading this, well, a question really, do you think AF would trade Miller or Stone at the deadline if needed?

I too say do not trade Cartaya or Miller. It’s my opinion you never trade your top two. Those are the guys for whom you make room. They should be anyway. Depends on who’s blocking them. Vargas is here to stay. Stone I really like too, but I think in the right deal I would do it. And the right deal isn’t Reynolds or Rosario. I’m going with Outman. And though I do like Rosario, I don’t like him that much.

Bear made a statement on which he sounded quite firm – the Dodgers will not make a trade before the deadline. I wouldn’t bet against that, but after Lux going down I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he did.


Great stuff Jeff. I totally forgot about Bauer. But that is easy to do since he is no longer in the news. You do not read about him at all on Twitter and he used to be the center of attention. I have read on some other blogs, where the fans there have zero hesitation about trading Cartaya, or even Stone to get Reynolds or a SS. Adames name keeps coming up as does Burnes. Adames strikes out way too much for my taste. He struck out more than Taylor last season. Yeah, he has pop, but I do not like his OBP or dWAR numbers.


Another great article Jeff. My thoughts are to go into the season with Outman in CF and sort out the OF with either Thompson or Heyward (Peralta a given). I would like to see AF add a utility infielder that he could have in AAA in case of a Taylor or Rojas injury. I think Rojas may surprise with a unexpected offensive year. I think it was Bear who pointed out some nice offensive from Rojas in the past. Other than those couple of decisions I look forward to seeing what the team can produce the first half of the season. If need be AF has plenty of prospects to make trades before the trade deadline. With the Dodgers pitching depth I echo what Jeff expressed in that the Dodgers should be playoff bound by the end of the long season.
Carry on.


Rojas is an interesting study. He’s 34, been in the league 9 years and in those 9 years collected 12.9 WAR, 2.6 of it last year. At BR his career dWAR numbers are slightly higher than his oWAR numbers, which I would think might be quite unusual in today’s game. He’s coming off his best year ever and is projected to OPS well below .700. He’s a starter on team like Miami but in my opinion a perfect utility guy for a team like LA. That is why Bum and I traded Busch+ for Rosario, putting Rojas back in position for which he was brought here.


My big worry about trading for Rosario is that it would push Taylor back to the outfield and squeeze Outman out.

I liked the idea of Peralta and Heyward as insurance and not as players that would send Outman back to AAA.

Busch needs to find a 1st base gig. The Pirates need one.

Sam Oyed

A Yankee blog was suggesting that the Dodgers trade Miller for the Yankees #3 prospect, shortstop Oswald Peraza.


I think Friedman is waiting for a tango partner. We all seem to agree that he won’t try to force a trade by excessively overpaying.

I think it would be awesome if Smith were to be the primary catcher for the next 8 years, maybe more. Would that make Cartaya a third baseman or a trade asset?

I didn’t think it was entertaining to watch Bellinger, Muncy, Taylor, or Gallo hit last year. It goes that Outlaw would not be entertaining either if he didn’t do better than what those 4 did last year.

I think the Dodgers need Outlaw to be successful. I don’t want to watch rentals and I don’t want to use prospect capital for a CFer. Outlaw could be very entertaining. I am really pulling for him and hope he gets to sink or swim starting now.

I want to see Miller and Stone in the rotation. I might not be upset if May were traded for Corbin Burnes straight up.


No tango?



Watford Dodger

How about a year of Jose Iglesias? Can play SS or 2B.

Sam Oyed

Iglesias has been on 6 teams since 2018. Have to wonder why he keeps getting moved.

RC Dodger

Iglesias hit 292 with 708 OPS with Rockies last year. He was their primary SS, and has career OPS of 701. He is comparable offensively to Rojas although Rojas seems to be much better defensively. I think he would be a good insurance policy if he agrees to a backup role with less money. Iglesias signed last March for $5 million, and is probably waiting for a similar offer. Elvis Andrus signed as a backup for CWS for $3 million recently. I like this idea Watford!


Yes. I have been noticing Kelenic. I wanted to trade for him. Bear, not so much.

I agree about Grove and Pepiot.


Bear, if you are looking for another bio to do, why not do one on Outman?


Too early in his career and there won’t be much info out there on the kid.

Fred Vogel

How about Reggie Smith?

RC Dodger

Good points Jeff!
Friedman has been excellent and produced sustained success.
But people forget that he did not take over a struggling franchise. He joined in late 2014 after Dodgers had won 94 games, their second straight division title, and a $278 million payroll. And Ned Colletti left a lot of talent in the organization. Just some examples of the talent inherited by Friedman:
Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu, Urias, Stripling, Ferguson, Jansen, Baez.
Seager, Bellinger, Turner, Pederson, Puig, Verdugo, Kemp, Ethier, Rojas, Farmer, Gordon, Gonzalez.

Friedman has improved many aspects of the organization, and he has led the Dodgers to 8 straight playoff appearances and the best record in the MLB during his tenure. But like everyone, he has made mistakes along the way. The biggest mistake to me was the Bauer signing, and I disliked it right away. The Dodgers had just won a World Series and instead of keeping the team together, he let Joc and Kike walk for $7 million per year each, while making Bauer the highest paid player in MLB history at $42.5 million guaranteed for 2 years. He justified the signing as “wanting to be pigs.” The signing was a risk to the team culture even before the assault claims, and has negatively impacted the team for the last 3 years.
Another big mistake in my opinion was trading for Darvish instead of Verlander in 2017. Verlander had a no trade clause and preferred LA over all other choices. Some thought that Verlander was washed up, but he already had been improving prior to the trade deadline. Whereas Darvish had imploded in starts just prior to trade deadline. Darvish had two poor starts in the 2017 WS that contributed to the loss, while Verlander pitched well in his two starts. Darvish left the Dodgers after the 2017 WS, while Verlander stayed with Astros for 6 years going 61-19 with 2 Cy Young awards and 2 World Series titles.
Overall, Friedman has been a great GM for the Dodgers and they are still setup for continued excellence. This year may be more challenging than any other during the last 8 years, but I still am confident of another division title and playoff appearance.

Fred Vogel

Excellent points, RC.

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