IMHO (such as it is), the Dodger holes are SS, 3B, LF, CF, SP. If SS is filled by Gavin Lux, then there will be a hole at 2B. Even for those out there that believe that every LAD MiLB player is headed for the HOF, they cannot believe that Jacob Amaya is ready for prime time. Can they? He could become a ML SS, but more likely a valuable utility defensive infielder. However, he should start the season at AAA, and if he does show the offense that is needed, he could make it up to MLB during the season. Perhaps the Dodgers can give him some time in the OF to make him an even more valuable utility player.
If we believe Stan Kasten and Andrew Friedman, I would project the Dodgers will have three prospects who will have significant playing time with LAD in 2023: Miguel Vargas, Michael Busch, and James Outman. Then again, all three could be traded before ST. But for this exercise, let’s assume that the Dodgers will have all three on their opening day roster.
I continue to read the Dodgers need to play the kids and everything will be fine. Those are the exact words that we have read from Keith Law. The problem is, Keith Law never defined “fine”. Apparently fine means to compete, contend, and hopefully make the playoffs.
For those that make excuses for not advancing past the NLDS, I am sure that definition is acceptable. For me it is not. I want excellence. But I am also a realist and readily acknowledge that there is a business component to MLB, including the Dodgers. This is as reasonable of a season to reset the CBT threshold as there is. And who knows what might happen?
Right now, Gavin Lux is the SS. The Dodgers top execs have said that they have zero problem with Lux as the everyday SS. Is that just bluster? Trying to drive down the expectations of Dodger fans from wanting (expecting) a top tiered SS for the long term?
IMO, Lux is an All Star 2B and needs to stay there. If not Lux at SS, and if not any of the top 4, then who? If the Dodgers are convinced that Jacob Amaya could be the future SS, then they only need to have a stop gap SS. I have mentioned José Iglesias who could sign for 1 year. He signed a one year contract with Colorado for $5MM and generated a 1.0 fWAR, which totally justifies the contract. Would he be willing to sign another 1 year deal with LAD? Is he the missing piece? Hardly, but to be able to keep Lux at 2B until the Dodgers can find their long-term SS can be found, that would help.
There have been reports that Elvis Andrus is an option for 1 year. Andrus had a good 2nd half with ChiSox, and let’s face it, who hits well with Oakland. He also played better defense with Chicago. But then again, he is a Scott Boras client. Never mind.
I still like the idea of Amed Rosario in a trade with Cleveland (final year of contract). The Dodgers could still play CT3 there for a year. There are options if the Dodgers do not want to commit $250MM + for a SS. And I do not believe that they want to.
Or perhaps a trade for a former LAD defense first SS, Miguel Rojas. In other words there is a plethora or options that AF/BG can run thru, including 50 or so more than I wrote here.
CF – The Dodgers are not going to sign Kevin Kiermaier, no matter how fond AF is of him. The Dodgers do not need a LH hitting CF. They already have one with James Outman. I have zero doubt that Outman will put up better numbers than Cody did in 2022. Will he better than Belli in 2023? I think the Dodgers have moved on and are eager to see what they have in Outman. Trayce Thompson and CT3 can relieve Outman against a tough lefty.
Miguel Vargas – 3B or LF??? Vargas is better suited for DH, but the Dodgers need their DH to also play a position. The Dodgers seem committed to giving Vargas a regular job for 2023. I do not like the idea of taking a defensive challenged player and having him move to different positions. Decide where he belongs and leave him there. LH hitting Muncy can share 3B with him, or if he is in LF, Trayce Thompson and CT3 can take over if he is faltering.
The Dodgers need to be patient with him. After a slow start at AAA when he had an OPS of .787, the next four months’ OPS were .953, .892, .870, 1.112. He punishes LHP to the tune of .351/.465/.613/1.082, but also hits RHP, .291/.387/.483/.870.
2B – If Lux is moved to SS, they are going to need a 2B. AF specifically mentioned potentially wanting to see LHH Michael Busch when they non-tendered LHH Edwin Ríos. Do the Dodgers dare put three rookies in the everyday lineup? I do not think so, but I have no vote. I also doubt that Clayton Kershaw wants to take the mound with an infield of Busch (2B), Lux (SS) and Vargas (3B).
I think Muncy is pretty much penciled in as the 3B/DH with Vargas. He can and would fill in at 2B. CT3 can be the 2B, but I still believe his value is as utility INF and OF. Obviously 2B is still a question if Lux is moved to SS.
I know there are those of you out there that believe the Dodgers are going to sign one of the big 4 SS. Unless the price for Turner, Correa, or Bogaerts drops to the Trevor Story and Javy Báez contract levels, I think the Dodgers will be outbid. Turner is the only one that I can see coming to LAD because he has spent 1.5 years with them, and he is comfortable with LAD. But Dave Dombrowski loves the veterans, and I do not believe he will be outbid. And I do not believe anyone can say that the Phillies are not primed to contend. East coast and a team that will contend? Philadelphia has to be the favorite to sign Turner, right?
Now IMHO, if the Dodgers do spend, it could be on a SP. AF shocked everyone two winters ago with the signing of Trevor Bauer…3 years $102MM. I said it then…BIG MISTAKE. Could AF do it again with Justin Verlander? Justin does not have the baggage that Bauer had when he was signed.
I know I know, logically signing a 40 year old pitcher to a 3 year contract does not make a lot of sense. But then again, at 39, and one year removed from TJ surgery, JV threw 175 innings. That is as many as Julio Urías and 3.2 innings short of Tyler Anderson. In other words, JV pitched as many innings as the top returning LAD starting pitcher. Verlander says he wants to pitch until he is 45. Who am I (or anyone else) to say he can’t?
- at 40 – 211.2 IP
- at 41 – 220.0 IP
- at 42 – 239.1 IP
- at 43 – 204.0 IP
- at 44 – 173.0 IP
- at 45 – 157.0 IP
- at 40 – 211.2 IP
- at 41 – 214.1 IP
- at 42 – 211.1 IP
- at 43 – 113.1 IP
- at 44 – 99.0 IP
- at 40 – 210.0 IP
- at 41 – 198.0 IP
- at 42 – 194.0 IP
- at 40 – 245.2 IP
- at 41 – 225.2 IP
- at 42 – 225.0 IP
- at 41 – 152.0 IP
- at 42 – 176.1 IP
Other pitchers have pitched well into their 40’s. Verlander says he can as well. The Dodgers do not expect JV to pitch 200+ innings. If he repeats 2022, he would be just fine (right Keith?). And yes he can get hurt. But so can Clayton Kershaw, Tony Gonsolin, and Dustin May. Oh yeah, they did last year.
The one game changer for playoff baseball would be Justin Verlander. He is the one I can see AF/BG step up to sign. Some say that Verlander cannot pitch 3 more years. I think there is a better chance that JV can pitch to 42 more than AF/BG signing any Scott Boras client. There have been pitchers that have successfully pitched into their 40’s, but AF has never signed a Scott Boras client to a FA contract.
I would like to have Verlander here but I don’t see it happening. Rodón would be nice too. Don’t see that either. Corey Kluber or Zach Eflin might be on Friedman’s radar. They are the kind of pitchers with which Prior has worked magic.
I’m fine with Vargas and Outman, but committing to 3 (Busch) this early would be risky and doesn’t sound like AF. Iglesias would probably work short term but the Dodgers have had very productive shortstops the past few years and replacing those numbers cannot be expected with Iglesias.
If we are going to start the year at $210m and leave space for the deadline we are limited. Trayce, Outman, Betts, Vargas and Lux on the left side, a couple of pitchers, Drury at second and away we go.
JV is the top of the rotation pitcher the team probably will need for the playoffs. I do not think they will sign JV but he is the one high cost FA I can see them splurging on.
I do not think Busch will be a regular. But he could be a LH bat off the bench. He could also be a LH hitting LF. Part-time LH hitting DH, 2B, 1B, LF, PH. He basically replaces Edwin Ríos. I believe this is what AF/BG had in mind when they non-tendered Ríos. Ríos was not a fit because of Busch?
I do like the Brandon Drury suggestion for 2B as the new Hanser Alberto.
Right now, this is the 26 man as I see it. I did take the liberty of adding JT as one of two bench reserves needed. It could come down to JT or Brandon Drury (or the like).
Here is how I see the projected 26-man roster template.
C – Will Smith – R
1B – Freddie Freeman – L
2B – Chris Taylor – R
SS – Gavin Lux – L
3B – Miguel Vargas – R
LF – Trayce Thompson – R
CF – James Outman – L
RF – Mookie Betts – R
DH – Max Muncy – L
C – Austin Barnes – R
2B/1B/LF/DH – Michael Busch – L
3B/DH – Justin Turner – R
OF/DH – Free Agent – L – Andrew Benintendi? Michael Brantley? Masataka Yoshida? Plethora of options here.
Ryan Pepiot – 6th Man – Multi Inning – R
Yency Almonte – R
Victor Gonzalez – L
Caleb Ferguson – L
Alex Vesia – L
Brusdar Graterol – R
Daniel Hudson – R (Closer)
Evan Phillips – R (Closer)
How many games will this roster win?
Wins? Difficult to know. Not 111. Padres and giants could be better. I believe the difference, one way or the other, is Trayce, Vargas and Outman in the lineup, and the fully recovered return of Taylor and Muncy. If one or both of those rooks compete for ROY, we pick up some pitching, and both CT and Muncy rebound – 100 wins is not out of the question.
I’ll say again what I said last year that got me raked over elsewhere, the starting pitching looks vulnerable to me. Kershaw might be fine if not asked to be the ace, Urias should be able to repeat his production, but monitoring minutes played with this guy is important. Gonsolin still scares me. He’s a TJ waiting to happen. Is May ready to start 30 and pitch 180 innings? I doubt it. Grove, Miller, Stone, Pepiot, Jackson and FA will get some work again this year.
If the CBT is to be reset, I hope for 96 wins.
Badger, send me your email addy
Got it, thanks
Putting Outman in cf is probably an upgrade over Cody.Plus 2
Putting Vargas/Muncy at 3rd is a wash
Putting Lux or Amaya at SS is a minus 4
Getting a solid outfielder to play left is a plus over last year.Plus 3
Busch at 2b compared to Lux last year probably -1
Overall we’re about the same as last year.
So get the outfielder or a SS and a good SP and upgrade where needed at the trade deadline.
There’s a good article in the Athletic today on Yoshida. If we could get him for about 5/75 I’m all in.
If it weren’t for the disaster of the Bauer signing I’d put a lot of money on Verlander coming but that might make AF a little gun shy.
Yoshida is 5’8” 175 pounds. He’s too small. If I were the Yankees, or Boston, or Chicago or anyone but the Dodgers I wouldn’t be interested in a foreign player that little.
It would be funny if the Yankees signed him to replace Judge. A foot shorter and 105 pounds lighter. It would look like Judge’s Little League nephew replaced him.
Yoshida is considered the best hitter in Japan. But there is another side of Yoshida. He has not shown that he can consistently hit real heat. There are concerns that lefties will throw 95 with big sink down and in on Yoshida. To some, there is more of a comp to Yoshi Tsutsugo and Shogo Akiyama that will scare away. But he will make contact. He would have helped when the team simply needed a single but the batter was trying for a HR and failed.
His size does not scare me. Altuve at 5’6” works for me. Ichiro and Brett Butler are also both diminutive OF with tremendous bat to ball skills. In his 19 HOF seasons, Ichiro had double digit HRs 3 times and his high was 15. Brett Butler never had a double digit HR season. His high was 9. No I am not saying Yoshida will be another Ichiro. But I am not going to dismiss him because of his size. Can he hit ML pitching?
He will undoubtedly be better than Tsutsugo or Akiyama, but if I am going to sign a left hand hitting FA LF, I would rather sign Andrew Benintendi at 4 years – $54MM than Yoshida at 5 years – $75MM.
Is a very good defensive second baseman and tolerable defensive shortstop better defensively than a tolerable shortstop and tolerable second baseman? Depending on where Lux plays will answer that question if Dodgers stay with in-house players.
Pitching and defense probably produces more wins than a team that tries to outscore their opponents because they lack enough pitching and defense. Do the Dodgers even have enough offense to outscore their opponents? Taylor, Muncy, Thompson, Vargas, Busch, and Outman are the guys that will have to step up to do so.
I gained weight yesterday.
Review of dWAR value by position rankings:
Strong up the middle is still a thing, as is putting up more total WAR for future paydays. A shortstop and/or catcher that can defend and hit, will rack up the wins. We’ve had both for several years now.
The fact of what matters is we have lost our ace and our All Star shortstop. That’s 11 WAR. It’s rather remarkable we won 111 with no ace, no May, no offense from CF, half a Muncy and 1/5 of CT3. Can we do it again? I would think the money believes so.
Might not have to do it again.
Might replace our lost ace with Verlander or Rodon (we’re supposedly in on both of them, although the competition for getting them will be tough).
Slim chance we retain Trea, but could still replace him with one of the other three top guys or trade for a good one like Adames.
May should be around for most of the year instead of just a few games.
Outman should give us better offense than Belli.
Maybe we’ll have 3/4 of a Muncy instead of just half.
Maybe we’ll have 1/2 of a CT3 instead of 1/5.
That said, even a perfect roster would have a tough time winning 111 in consecutive years.
Interesting article by the Dodgers beat writer with MLB.com, Juan Toribio. He wrote about the pending opening in CF for LAD. He mentioned Trayce Thompson and CT3 as potential internal replacements for Bellinger. He also included Kevin Kiermaier as a potential fallback. But no mention of James Outman. There are more than a couple of writers who have neglected to include Outman as a potential candidate for the CF job. It could be that many do not consider Outman a true CF.
Here is what he wrote:
I thought Outman would be in LF and Thompson in CF so no surprise there.
I never heard of Toribio. I have heard of Jeff and Fred.
Toribio is just another one of Fred’s pen names, along with Mark Twain, George Orwell and Dylan Hernandez.
Oh. Ok. I’ll look for his blatherskite under than name too.
A lot of decisions to make. One thing I think everyone is forgetting is the new schedule. They have less opportunities to make up games in their own division now. Since they will only play 14 or 13, I cannot remember which, against division rivals. Adames does not look like an option now, since he is talking extension with the Brewers.
They could trade him even after extending him. As a matter of fact an extension might make it easier to trade him and get more for him………..unless they give him a no-trade clause.
Yes they could, but that does not make much sense. MLBTR reporting Dodgers are supposedly interested in Rodon.
MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince had an article at MLB.com this AM whereby he highlighted 7 “Black Friday Specials” that (in his words) just might work. Anthony is known for his trade proposals that just might make Bums question his sanity. His #7 actually involved the Dodgers:
Dodgers get RHSP Corbin Burnes, SS Willy Adames, and LF Christian Yelich.
Brewers get OF Andy Pages, RHP Ryan Pepiot, C Dalton Rushing, RHP Landon Knack.
Apparently Castrovince did not see that Yelich has a full no-trade clause. Of course Yelich could waive that, but it is going to cost somebody. Probably removing the option vesting for 2029 and adding that to the contract could get that done for Yelich to “come home”.
This trade is really a salary dump of Yelich. Interestingly, that trade (with Kershaw signing) puts the Dodgers right at the CBT (maybe a couple MM over). If they try to move CT3 with a prospect for a couple of lottery tickets, salary wise they would be in great shape. I have seen a report (do not remember where), Boston was interested in CT3.
If this trade was actually on the table, and AF/BG turned it down, that would be malpractice. No way Milwaukee makes this trade. To be fair, Anthony did not see this happening either. He had another trade proposal that would send Ohtani to SF for a ton. He knew that would not happen either.
Can Yelich get healthy is my question. Do it. Then trade Taylor and Muncy to Boston as a salary dump or as part of a trade to get Devers. Vargas and Devers can share DH/3B.
Fred, ask yourself why you continuously suggest getting rid of Taylor and Muncy and then ask yourself why a rebuilding team (since that’s what the Sox would be if they lose Devers and Bogaerts) would want the players you’re trying to get rid of.
If they would even entertain trading Devers to us (and I suspect we’d be the last team they would trade him to) they would want a bunch of our best prospects, not our veterans who are playing below their former levels.
Obtaining Muncy and Taylor doesn’t stop them from rebuilding. Who says they won’t sign Bogaerts? Who said they were rebuilding? Well, you did I guess.
Most people in the know feel that the Bogaerts ship has sailed in Boston. I’m just repeating what I read, and they could be wrong. They seem to be concentrating on extending Devers rather than Bogaerts, and although they have the money to do both, they haven’t spent money in the past few years. Maybe that will change.
Repeating what you read has divided more than united.
Probably true in politics but when it comes to local baseball information, I’m always going to assume that the media pros have more access to valid information than do I.
Castrovince is known for his crazy trade proposals, but he’s even better known for his sense of humor. He’s just having some fun.
I don’t think Yelich would ask for anything if he had a chance to put on a Dodger uni. At this point he’s probably ready for a change of scenery even though I’m sure Milwaukee is a nice place to play. Imagine his having had his last three seasons in a Met or Yankee uniform. They would have run him out of town.
I like Castrovince. He is always a fun read. He just very rarely includes the Dodgers in any of his crazy trade scenarios. The difference here was that he was parroting the discussion that the Dodgers are trying to work a trade with Milwaukee for both Burnes and Adames. There are a lot of people jumping on that narrative. Actually I thought he was creative by including Yelich. Unrealistic but creative. The next Brewers regular to be moved will be 2B Kolten Wong. The Brewers will ride the next two years out with Burnes and Woodruff in the rotation to see if they can get into the playoffs, and then ride those two as long in the playoffs as they can. Including Peralta and Lauer, that would be a very tough 4-man rotation to beat. They will not be able to sign either Burnes or Woodruff as FA, especially with Yelich’s deal on the books.
That would be a fun trade for us, especially if Yelich got his mojo back. But you’re right, Milwaukee isn’t doing this. Again, trading a team controlled ace is nuts. Adames is team controlled too. Yeah, they’d send Yelich to us, and it probably wouldn’t cost much. Milwaukee has to be looking to improve on 86 wins and you don’t do that by trading your ace and your 4+ WAR SS.
Rodón or Verlander would be nice, So would Bogaerts or Correa, But the more I think about it the more I believe a cap set is in order. That being the case, I look for Friedman to sign upside not too costly free agents, guys like Eflin, Benintendi and Drury. Heck sign and reconstruct Syndergaard. I wonder what he might be willing to take to get rebuilt?
Syndergaard’s strike outs were way down last year. If that was because of mechanics he’s certainly worth a gamble. If it’s because his arm will never be the same again, it probably won’t have a good outcome.
I’ll leave it to our pitching gurus to determine which of those two it is.
It’s because he was with the Anaheim Angels who do not develop pitchers well.
Back to the Brewers and Yelich — Yelich’ AAV is $26,000,000 annually through 2029 and age 37. His projected line for 2023 is
.242. 345. 383. 728 with 142 Ks, 14 HR, and 54 RBI.
Burns salary is going to continue to rise.
The Brewers could sign Roden with what they saved by including Yelich in a Burns trade. Plus they get Pages, Pepiot, and Rushing.
Why parrott what you read when there are alternative facts available?
What facts? Opinions, sure. IMO, Yelich is not wanted by the Dodgers. $26MM for a LF who is but a shell of himself? They have Outman (2023) and Pages (2024) ready for the OF. Why would the Dodgers tie a boat anchor contract to block the kids? If they do not believe in the kids, they can sign Benintendi for half the cost (and MUCH shorter period of time), who will put up better numbers and play a better defensive OF. They could trade for Ian Happ for one year. They could overpay Michael Brantley for one year. They could overpay in prospect capital for Bryan Reynolds. There are far better options out there than a LF with a bad back at $26MM for for 6 years with a $20MM option for a 7th year (and $4MM deferred from 2022)…$160MM guaranteed.
Here are a couple of facts. When Yelich signed his contract, he made a point of NOT including any opt out clauses, even though he knew if he continued to excel he could opt out and make a lot more $$$$. He wanted to stay in Milwaukee. He is happy there. In return, the Brewers included a FULL NO TRADE clause. Milwaukee is not NY or Boston or Philly when players get booed at the drop of a hat.
It was simply a fun exercise by Anthony Castrovince. It was not meant to be taken seriously.
I’m responding to those that said the Brewers wouldn’t make that trade. It’s the Dodgers that wouldn’t make it. I prefaced my tongue in cheek “do it” with a if Yelich were healthy. He’s not.
Probably true, but it does happen.
Pittsburgh traded Gerrit Cole with 2 year control.
Cleveland traded Mike Clevinger (pre injury) with 2.5 years control.
Cleveland traded Trevor Bauer with 1.5 years control.
Pittsburgh traded Joe Musgrove with 2 years control.
Tampa Bay traded Chris Archer with 1.5 years control.
Tampa Bay traded Blake Snell with 3 years control.
Cubs traded Yu Darvish with 3 years control.
Granted none of those (except Gerrit Cole) are in Corbin Burnes class of SP, but nevertheless, they were their team’s Ace at the time. In Cleveland’s case, they had two Aces that were traded with control at the 2019 deadline.
“Granted none of those (except Gerrit Cole) are in Corbin Burnes”
You can say that again. We could go through all those names and explain why it’s maybe a bit different. For example, Darvish was making $22 million, Cole’s ERA inflated to 4.26 and …Pittsburgh?
But, point made.
I should be more specific I guess. It’s my opinion that Milwaukee would be nuts to trade a sub 3 ERA 200 inning very affordable ace when the team is close to being a playoff participant. I just don’t see it, but you do and I easily admit you know more about this than I do. I know some, like Rosenthal, have said Burnes could be in play, but I agree with Passan who reported the Brewers are more likely to build around Burnes and Woodruff than they are to trade them. I know for sure that’s what I would do.
If Milwaukee decides to throw in the towel (by trading Burnes to us) after missing the playoffs by a few games then I really feel for their fans.
Adding Yelich to the trade helps a mid-market team justify trading an ace. Both are expensive.
I’m sitting here thinking about MLB team payrolls and it occurred to me I don’t know how it all works. I read every team in the NBA reaches what they call the “soft cap” and NFL teams are required to spend 95% of their cap. But in MLB teams like the Dodgers, Mets, Yankees et al can blow past the cap while smaller market teams don’t get anywhere near it, but somehow get paid a piece of tv or cap violation fines revenue.
So I turn to my baseball guru here to explain how this works, and clearly doesn’t work, in Major League Baseball. With that question I would also like to know how it may eventually be possible to even the playing field.
Maybe the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) needs a new name. It’s not being used nearly enough by small market teams to become competitive. Maybe Revenue Balance Tax (RBT) is more accurate.
I think you’ve put your finger on it, Fred, and I’d go ahead and repeat your point elsewhere, but I’ve been told I shouldn’t just repeat what I read. 😎
How much revenue do teams like Oakland and Balmore receive each year? How much of that money is required to be spent on players and who is monitoring that spending?