Happy St. Patrick’s Day. I do not drink anymore, but if I did, this would be a real fun day for me. However, I will wear green.
It is now less than two weeks before we can officially proclaim that ITFDB. I am assuming that everyone out there is far more knowledgeable about urban dictionary acronyms than I am, but just in case there is one or two more of you out there…ITFDB means “It’s Time For Dodger Baseball”.
I am going to give my last guess of the pre-season for the Dodgers roster for March 30. For this exercise, I am going to assume that Freddie is going to be able to answer the bell and be ready. I am also going to assume that Tony Gonsolin and Daniel Hudson will not be able to play March 30.
I am not about to project the lineups, because they will undoubtedly change every game. Doc and AF cannot help themselves with R-L matchups and platoons. I don’t know, maybe they check their astrological signs for the day.
The first 12 of the 13 position players has not changed since Gavin Lux went down. Doc has gone out of his way to advise anyone who was listening that Jason Heyward and Trayce Thompson will be on the roster come March 30. AF is going to keep them until they play themselves out of a position, but during the regular season.
- 1B – Freddie Freeman (L)
- 2B – Miguel Vargas (R)
- 3B – Max Muncy (L)
- SS – Miguel Rojas (R)
- LF – David Peralta (L)
- CF – James Outman (L)
- RF – Mookie Betts (R)
- C – Will Smith
- DH – J. D. Martinez (R)
- C – Austin Barnes (R)
- OF – Trayce Thompson (R) (platoon with David Peralta)
- OF – Jason Heyward – LH Bat and Defensive OF
- Chris Taylor – Utility (infield and outfield)
IMO, James Outman has played himself onto the roster, offensively and defensively. The only other option would be utility infielder Yonny Hernandez (S) and James Outman back to OKC. That is more than plausible, but IMO the Dodgers are a stronger team with Outman in CF than Hernandez on the bench in a utility role.
I know the argument is that Outman has two options remaining, but so does Hernandez. I know contenders do not like to break in two rookies, and with a rookie pitcher in the rotation (at least the beginning), the Dodgers would have three (Vargas, Outman, Pepiot). If any team can flourish with three rookies, it is the Dodgers.
- Julio Urías
- Clayton Kershaw
- Noah Syndergaard
- Dustin May
- Ryan Pepiot
- Tony Gonsolin (On the IL)
Ryan Pepiot goes back to OKC once Gonsolin is ready. The Dodgers will not rush Gonsolin back.
- Evan Phillips
- Alex Vesia
- Brusdar Graterol
- Caleb Ferguson
- Yency Almonte
- Shelby Miller
- Phil Bickford
- Jimmy Nelson
I know many do not think that Shelby Miller should make the team. But AF is not going to pay him $1MM without at least giving him a chance during the regular season. When Daniel Hudson returns, either Yency Almonte will be deemed not quite ready and go on the IL, or the Dodgers will DFA Phil Bickford (no options). I smell a trade here.
Since I have Pepiot in the starting rotation, that would move Michael Grove and Andre Jackson to OKC. Both have earned a spot in the bullpen, but the team needs to keep them ramped up as starters…just in case.
There will still need to be some moves, at the MiLB level. Andy Pages has been optioned to Tulsa (AA) instead of OKC (AAA). Why? Because of the number of OF still on the OKC roster.
- Drew Avans
- Yusniel Diaz
- Steven Duggar
- Jason Heyward
- Anderson Miller
- Josh Stowers
- Luke Williams
- Bradley Zimmer
I think Luke Williams will be fine as a utility player (infield and outfield). I have already included Jason Heyward in the LAD roster. Bradley Zimmer could very well find himself on another team. He has played well (even with the strikeouts), and some team is going to need a LHH defensive minded OF off the bench. AF can get a lottery ticket for Zimmer.
Is Pages going to be blocked by Anderson Miller, Josh Stowers, or Yusniel Diaz? How about Ryan Ward who also deserves to be at OKC. Miller was released from an Indy League last August. He is organizational depth that AF always seems to load up on at the AAA level.
Josh Stowers has spent the last two years at AA, and did not improve on his poor seasons. Stowers is also organizational depth.
It is possible that Duggar has a clause in his MiLB contract that he needs to make the roster or be released. He is not going to make a ML team, so he might as well stay with LAD at OKC.
I would hope that Andy Pages and Ryan Ward will join Drew Avans in the OKC OF with Duggar and Diaz in reserve roles.
Jonny DeLuca is on the Tulsa roster, and that is probably where he is going to start the season. He was hurt at the end of his 2022 season. He should be assigned to OKC at some point in 2023. José Ramos should also start in Tulsa and see if he can handle AA pitching. IMO there is no reason to send Ramos back to Great Lakes.
There was some discussion yesterday on a “Rumor” being reported by Joel Reuter of Bleacher Report. He has been an MLB journalist for 10 years, and I do read him. Per the headline at Dodger Nation…”Writer Predicts LA Trades for Tim Anderson in Package Headlined by Michael Busch”.
While the Bleacher Report article penned by Reuter says prediction, it was an article on proposed trades for every team, that he believes make sense. The Dodgers could use an elite SS, and Joel proposed a trade to acquire one. The Dodgers would receive Tim Anderson for 2B/1B/LF/DH Michael Busch, RHP Landon Knack, OF José Ramos, and RHP Joel Ibarra.
This proposal has zero chance of happening. The ChiSox believe they are contenders in the AL Central, and they are. So why would they trade their best player and the face of their team for four MiLB players, with only one projected to be a MLB player as a regular. Anderson is on a team friendly contract with a club option for $14MM for 2024, that will surely be exercised. The White Sox stole Tim Anderson with a 6 year $25MM contract with two club options $12.5MM (2023) and $14MM (2024). If I were a ChiSox fan I would be screaming for the organization to open the wallets and pay him.
Michael Busch will be a MLB player, and I do believe he will get traded (probably at the deadline), but not for Tim Anderson. Landon Knack is dropping in the eyes of the prospect evaluators. José Ramos is a free swinging OF prospect who has problems with hitting pitches that move. He can hit a fastball a long way, but he needs to hit the spin stuff as well to make the ML. Joel Ibarra is a converted SS and is so far away from MLB. He is the proverbial lottery ticket, best positioned for relief. Unless the Dodgers are talking Bobby Miller, Gavin Stone, or Diego Cartaya as the headliner, Tim Anderson is not coming to LAD.
I think we need to introduce Bums to Joel Reuter and let them do a ”Battle of the Trades”.
Good stuff. Hard to disagree with anything though I’d love to see Grove make the big club, possibly in Almonte’s spot if he’s not ready.
But I can see them wanting to keep him stretched out in AAA.
Two rookies, a utility player, a DH that is clearly on his way down but should hit 20 home runs, and a bench that includes Taylor and Heyward.
It might just work.
Urias pitching in a high pressure game for his home country today. Gulp. I read yesterday somebody called this “a real World Series”. No, it isn’t. It’s an exhibition.
Somebody on another site was talking about the length of Spring Training, a topic I’ve thought about for years, and I found this:
Something to consider.
It’s a long season. It’s baseball, not football, basketball or hockey, but it is every day. I’ve said for years rosters and roster management should be more flexible. I’d like to see a 30 man roster, more options for minor leaguers, and this will get a reaction, I’d like to examine a re-entry rule. Works for Little League.
It’s my view we’ve now reached the point where Spring Training games matter. It’s time for all those guys Jeff listed above to start hitting. I’m not worried about the pitching. I think that will work itself out when the time comes.
Rick Monday was asked about the length of ST and he agreed that for relievers and position players, it is probably 2 weeks too long. However he did say that starters need the full 6 weeks to ramp up.
Your idea of increasing the roster to 30 at the beginning of the season would help. Drop it down to 28 after two weeks, and to 26 after two more. Even with ST at 6 weeks, the number of injuries are a significant problem. Why so many oblique injuries?
These players today are so muscle bound that maybe an extra week at the beginning of ST just for stretching, running, and long toss. No strings, no bullpen sessions. No PFP. No turning DPs. MLBPA would never go for it.
More options for MiLB players. Maybe a compromise would be for all players becoming Super 2 players and get 4 options, and get to arbitration a year earlier. I think MLBPA would agree, but I doubt MLB would.
I am not in favor of the re-entry rule.
These guys are all professional athletes. They should come into camp in shape.
Did anyone read the piece about Arizona economy and Spring Training? That’s the only reason I see any need for these guys to practice 6 weeks before beginning the season.
Excellent Jeff. I agree with all of that and although Miller has looked like dog poop, you are most likely right. He hasn’t pitched in an A game in a while, so we do not know how he has been progressing. Nelson did not pitch well last night, he could not find home plate. But he is in the mix. Vesia looks like he is ready for the season. It was fun to see Kersh and Seager kidding about bragging rights. Seager hit a bomb off of Clayton. Dodgers still having problems, and this is probably because their three best hitters are away, scoring early in these spring games. I really like Hunter Feduccia. If Barnes were not here, he would be a great option when Smith does not play. Looks like Melancon of the D-Backs is going to be out a while too. Diaz is done for the year.
Okay, I accept the trade challenge but to be honest, I cannot compete with the proposal Reuter made. I would rather have Oneal Cruz for Busch and 5 players not ranked in the top 50 within the Dodger organization. Okay, I just competed and the likely outcome is a tie.
I also like Hunter Feduccia Bear. He has a sweet swing and looked good handling Kershaw yesterday.
Taylor and Heyward still look like last year’s versions.
I have been a Feduccia fan for a while. I have written about him and got crickets. He was a 12th rounder in 2018 out of LSU. While he did not have a great junior season, I was still surprised to see an LSU catcher drop that low. I have always been an LSU baseball fan (Skip Bertman days), and they are loaded up this year with new coach Jay Johnson. Johnson was Pac 12 coach of the year at Arizona last year.
I credit you with first saying he was not a non-prospect.
Good little trade chip if needed.
I never liked trading AJ Ellis away. I was okay letting Justin leave. Trea and Cory wouldn’t take what the Dodgers were willing to offer. The Dodgers thought they could replace Joc and Kike’ and were wrong. AJ, Justin, Joc, and Kike’ helped the team relax.
I mention the above because their unofficial team captain might have trade value and it would not be the first time Friedman traded a steadying influence away. Feduccia is a lefty bat and I think would be happy as a backup catcher.
On the other hand, if the Dodgers wanted a guy on the bench that was mostly a pinch hitter, why not have a third catcher who might be a better pinch hitter than Heyward?
AF’s bullpen building with injured players, reclamation projects, and has beens is frustrating. However, his results have been pretty good even if he has wasted a lot of money in the process. Why AF signed Shelby Miller to a MLB contract instead of a minor league deal is a head scratcher. I don’t think they will let $1M stand in the way of making the right decision.
Sure wish we could unload KT3. I am not optimistic about him being productive until he cuts down his swing and stops swinging for the fence on every pitch and any count. Should have kept KiKi and let KT3 walk.
They need to just let Heyward go if he is blocking Outman. Outman has a future, Heyward does not.
Perhaps KT3, Heyward, and JDM start hitting and make the decisions easier. I am not optimistic about KT3 and Heyward. I am about JDM.
Excelsior true believers.
producing until he quits swinging for the fence on every pitch and any count. n;4
I understand the skepticism on Shelby Miller. But those were the same things said about Andrew Heaney last spring, and he was at $8MM. Last ST, Heaney’s numbers were 5.1 IP, 12 H, 10 runs, 2 HR, 1 HBP, 1 BB, 6 K, 16.88 ERA, 2.44 WHIP. And still he got a spot in the rotation. The Dodgers will not let $1MM dissuade them, but they are going to at least give him time in the regular season, just as they did with Heaney last year. If Miller continues to struggle into May, they probably will release him. But what if he doesn’t and turns into Evan Phillips? Nobody thought Evan Phillips would turn into Evan Phillips.
Heyward is fine as an extra OF. As a PH? Not so sure . . .
KT3. I get it.
We don’t need PH anymore. If the guy can’t sub for 150 at bats and OPS league average why is he here? We’re the Dodgers, not the Royals. Get people here who can play this game.
You’re not getting Cruz Bum. He’s a star who is pre-arbitration. The Dodgers will focus on somebody who is either a salary dump, like Jalen Ramsey, or a pending free agent about to upgrade everything in his life for generations, like Corey Seager.
Not sure we’ll see both Miller and Nelson on the OD roster. Probably one or the other but I expect to see one of them start the year on the IL. Actually, neither one looks ready yet but of course we still have 2 weeks to go.
Assuming that Pepiot or Grove are appointed as the 5th starter to begin the year, I think we would be well served to let the other one or Jackson start the year in the bullpen as a long man. With starters going even fewer innings than usual at the beginning of the year, do we want to run 4 or 5 relievers, each pitching one inning, out to the mound on most days? Why not use someone who could go 3 innings after the starter leaves, at least two times a week.
I will say this: The Dodgers will always prioritize what’s best for the big league team when making decisions on prospects. The only guys they go out of their way to accommodate [like Bobby Miller] are the superstud guys.
I am 100% confident that Miguel Vargas will NOT be a problem defensively at 2b whatsoever. I like him out there!
I’m with you Bobby. Dodgers got a lot bigger questions in the OF than 2B. Especially if they don’t go with Outman in CF.
I’m not as confident. Not right away. Camelback is still a one level 13,000 seat park. Learning a new position and facing frontline ML starting pitching, often in front of 40,000+ fans, and in towering parks he’s never played in, might take some getting used to.
I’m curious why they didn’t leave Muncy at second, where he had very much improved, and leave Vargas where he had been playing in the minors. I’m sure they had their reasons.
I’m guessing they see Vargas as long term and Muncy as short term. Where does that put Lux long term?
Is Cruz really a superstar? Would the Pirates be better off with two or three puzzle pieces instead of one maybe star?
Cruz is just an example of what I prefer which is a pre-arb shortstop or third baseman and not a 2 year rental or a $20MM+ 30+ year old.
He is in the eyes of Pitt fans. Scary potential if he figures it out. We had him already and just as we did with Yordan Alvarez we traded him for a reliever. We may have another shot at him in 4 years or so.
We had another pre-arb shortstop and we couldn’t keep him. I don’t see us drafting another like him so a costly trade or $300 million.
Urias getting clobbered. 29 pitches, 4 runs and 2 home runs in the first inning. He’s still out there in the second.
He gets beat, he is back in camp. He got knocked around in their first game too. Old pal Dennis Santana claimed by the Mets. Gonsolin will open the season on the IL. Looks like Pepiot, or Grove will replace him. Jason Heyward had two much better at bats today. JD drove in 5 with a double and a homer. Vargas had two hits and a bag, his second hit was a homer. They struck out 17 times today. Taylor hit one ball really hard and looked lost the rest of his at bats. Bellinger had a two run triple.
I am worried about KT3.