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Spring Training Is Done for 2024

This will be a short one.  I have had a rough day with my knee and am in a lot of pain. The orthopedic surgery department still has not got through the back log of the elective surgeries dating back to covid.  The earliest for my surgery is now early May unless there is a cancellation.  If I do not get the surgery before May 9, it is going to have to wait until late summer/early autumn.

Another reason not to like the early start to the season a week early and then going back to Spring Training.  There was no real fire out there.  I think what we have learned about the Dodgers the last couple of years, is they are not very good at turning it on and off.

I think what we are seeing from Mookie is that there is a difference between a ML shortstop and someone who can play SS.  I am not saying he cannot play there, but I do not see a lot of Miggy Ro plays coming from Mookie.  The play that Kiké Hernández made in last night’s game, Mookie does not.  That really is not a knock on Mookie.  He will play an adequate SS with the longer he plays there, but it will not be elite defensive SS play.

The kids did well on the final ST game.  Zyhir Hope hits the LF wall for an oppo double.  That is a HR at Dodger Stadium.  It was so perfect to hear him say that it was a dream when he was talking to a mic’d up Dino Ebel when he reached 3B.  You have to pull for a kid like that, don’t you?

Josue De Paula hit it to the deepest part of the field and put Mickey Moniak up against the CF wall.  That power will come.  By the end of this year, that ball should get out.  And not to be outdone, Thayron Liranzo hit a ball between 1st and 2nd and got the infield single.

My previously chosen dark horse player for 2024, Jared Karros, had a fantastic night.  One bloop hit and walk were the only base runners.  He gets 4 K’s in his 2.0 IP, and all against ML players:

  • Jo Adell
  • Mickey Moniak
  • Taylor Ward
  • Nolan Schanuel

I am a fan.  And yet he is a Bruin. It was also fun watching his father in the booth.  It is not easy being a father watching your son in a college or professional game.  And Eric Karros was working while watching.

Not to be outdone, my fellow Trojan, Kyle Hurt also had a excellent inning striking out Taylor Ward and Miguel Sanó.  Brandon Drury hit a double off of Hurt, but he has been a pain in the Dodgers rear end a long time.  Now the decision…will it be Kyle Hurt or Michael Grove on the Opening Day roster?

BTW, Miguel Sanó looks like he is all the way back.

James Paxton has pitched a total of 2.0 innings this Spring before Tuesday night.  And he goes out and throws 5.0 innings and 80 pitches.  With better defense, there would have been less total pitches.  Yes, Drury and Sanó hit him hard, but he pitched well once he was able to command that knuckle curve.  I am looking for a year from Paxton, similar to the 2022 Tyler Anderson season.  But he pitches to soft contact and is going to need good defense.  I will be an exuberant fan of the Big Maple.  It also doesn’t hurt that he was with Boston last year.

OTOH, I am not a big fan of Stephen Nelson.

When LAD plays again, it will be Tyler Glasnow v Miles Mikolas, and it will be for real.  Let’s hope the Dodgers will be ready

 

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Jeff

Nice little wrap up and intro to the new season which I’m sure all of us are anticipating. Agreed that Mookie is not a SS and it may hurt us that the FO cannot simply deal with a situation that called for signing a talented SS after Turner decided to leave. Such a simple decision could not be made so they went the cheap and cheerful way. They knew Lux was not our guy or at least doubted he was. That’s when you go with your gut and make a change. A similar situation hovers over Muncy and his defense. The logic of Muncy’s HRs gets in the way of simply fielding the best players. His hitting was so awful except for that long ball. My argument that a good bat to ball 3Baseman should have been easy to find. The FO seems to prolong the inevitable. If only Lux was a 3Bman, we would be sitting prettier as his bat to ball skills seem to justify his starter status.

Outfield: Heyward may have actually turned the corner on his career and seems ready to play. Outman, I pray, has gotten over the habitual SOs, but Taylor, I fear, is worse than ever. Teoscar should help us greatly, I hope.

Pitching:Is a work in progress. On paper we are strong. Reality, I’m not so sure. From a broken pitching staff, we’ve added a potential 2 top arms in Glasnow and Yamamoto. In Glasnow, we’ve seen the stuff although it hasn’t quite come together for him. We’ll find out tomorrow how he will bear up. Yamamoto is seriously questionable as the #2 pitcher. All we have to know is how he’s pitched so far. Can he really snap out of whatever state of mind he’s in to be dominant in our rotation? It’s possible, but is he better than Miller and Stone at this point? Paxton is a bottom of the rotation pitcher at best. A career .500 pitcher. Insurance only, but not much. I would speculate right now, that we will be worrying again about our starters, if not our bullpen. What softens this view of a questionable starting rotation, is the amount of offensive production that this team is capable of. We seem like a powerhouse. Logic says we should be able to score our way out of trouble, but life sometimes doesn’t follow logic and the Dodgers have been capable of huge let downs and chokes. Which team will rise out of the morass?

Jeff

Also, Jeff, Paxton has never had a year like Anderson’s season with us.

Jeff

What Anderson did in LA was nothing short of amazing. I wonder why he wasn’t signed for another year? Paxton showed promise 5 years ago. If he can pitch anywhere near what Anderson gave us, I will change my view. Anderson on the Angels? Ask Ohtani.

Make mine Blue

Jeff, you and I are in agreement, the left side of the defense leaves plenty to be desired. I have laughed when people have put my opinion down regarding Muncy, just taking more ground balls and playing more games at 3B are not going to fix Max, it just ain’t gonna happen. You have already seen his best, it just isn’t going to improve, basically any ball hit to his right is going to go for a hit or double, he just can’t make that play, Any slow hit grounder or halfway decent bunt is going to be an infield hit, he just doesn’t have a chance of quickly moving in and making those plays. I strongly believe he will not be playing much by the time summer arrives (you may actually see Muncy traded to a team seeking a DH by then).
The Mookie situation just didn’t need to come to this, the Dodgers have somehow managed to convert a Gold Glove RF into a so-so SS. Mookie always says he wants to do whatever it takes to win, then take him at his word and move him back to RF, pretty simple. Since the Dodgers screwed around and didn’t handle the SS thing as they should have, we are not in a great position to win it all. Sure we may win the division but come the post-season these defensive deficiencies are going to be very magnified and it spells trouble. What a shame, what a shame.

Last edited 20 days ago by Make mine Blue
Oldbear48

You guys need to let them play some meaningful games before you make any judgements. Spring training doesn’t mean a thing. Hernandez has looked like a dud the last five games. He hasn’t hit a ball hard at all. As for Betts, I would not bet against the guy. He is an athlete and tries to be the best at everything he does. He was a natural infielder who turned himself into a gold glove outfielder. He likes being closer to the action. He will get his wish. Muncy is no gold glover, but he is competent enough to do well. As for Lux, he looks 10 times more relaxed since he moved to second. As for Turner, he wasn’t going to re-sign with LA, he wanted to be on the east coast. And everyone’s choice, Adames, is a K machine like too many other guys on this team. They have played two games that mean anything and already the rats are abandoning ship. Pitiful

Make mine Blue

You have no idea if giving them a chance in “meaningful” games will have any effect on a players performance. If anything, from my years on the field, players generally perform more poorly when there is more pressure, like in meaningful games. Seriously, put away the Muncy bong, you have zero idea or experience to say that “he is competent enough to do well”. You want to sound like you have all this authority to shoot down others opinion but yet you admit didn’t make it past 6th grade, or whatever, on a baseball team. Some of us in here actually did make past 6th grade little league and we may actually have some insights that you may lack, based on athletic experience. Peace brother but really back away from the …

Oldbear48

So, did I. I played high school ball. And whatever knowledge I have of the game comes from watching it for over 70 years. I think Muncy will be fine. He only made 16 errors last year, and if he can come close to that mark again, that should be ok. Betts is an athlete who excels at almost everything he does. I see no reason why he can’t become a very decent SS. Lux looks more comfortable than he was at SS. I don’t back down from anyone, and when the season starts and things are for real, I trust the real pros to live up to their expectations. As far as the bong reference, I have never used drugs except for those the doctor prescribes and to me it is offensive to even suggest I do. You have your opinion, I have mine, which is much more optimistic than yours.

porpoiseboy

Dude, don’t be a dick. Oops! Too late

Badger

Wasn’t a fan of moving Mookie to short. Sure hope he settles down there. Also hope this experiment doesn’t wear him out by September. Muncy is Muncy.

Last night – 3 runs, 16 Ks, 0 for 4 WRISP. We’re ready. Bring on the Cards.

Oldbear48

Mookie really wants to be there. I think this will make a huge difference. The guy can ball. Silseth was nasty and they were swinging at everything. I just think the guys wanted the game over and move on to the real thing. Typical of a spring game.

Badger

I was under the assumption the last two Spring Training games were tune up games to get ready for the regular season. But most of the Dodgers starters were gone early after doing very little.. It was the same the day before.

Yes, of course Mookie can ball. But he hasn’t looked good at short.

I expect the team to get it going soon after the regular season starts. They are too good not to. The only thing that might change that… never mind. It’s all good.

Duke Not Snider

The Dodgers already had two games that counted in Seoul, so this was very much a Spring training game with young players like Karros getting a chance to shine.
I agree that it’s premature to judge Mookie at SS. Things will go smoother with time, but I would not be surprised if the Dodgers get Adames or ??? in midseason. Mookie could shift back to 2B or maybe RF.
Seriously, a winter overpay for Burnes and Adames might have been ideal. Oh well, spilt milk. Now I’m just hoping the overpay didn’t go to Yamamoto.

Dave

I’m not worried about Mookie yet. He seems like a quick learner, motivated and athletic, plus he played infield all his life until he came up w Boston. Plus it looks like he might play 2nd w Miggy at short agsinst lefties.
Re Paxton my question is what was going on here at home while the Korean squad was getting all the attn? I’m sure Paxton pitched in other games similar to split squad games. I have heard nothing about that but I’m sure it was time well spent for everyone that stayed behind.

Dave

Re the trade of McFarland to Oakland for cash. Does the cash bring down their overall luxury tax total? Not that the amount will matter,just asking out of curiosity.

Oldbear48

No, he was on a minor league deal.

OhioDodger

Dodgers will not run away with the NL West this year. This team has holes. Too many SO’s. Poor defense.

Dionysus

Defense you may be right. The rest? I’d be careful on that ledge 😉

Bumsrap

There were a few years when the only entertainment the Dodgers provided were the plays Izturis and Cora made at short and second. Betts and Lux aren’t Izturis and Cora defensively and Izturis and Cora are not Betts and Lux offensively. I don’t want the perfect to get in the way of the good.

There is a good chance that Lux and Betts will switch positions if the Dodgers need more quickness at short but not before Lux gets his legs and confidence back. In the meantime, Betts defensively will be more Russell than Lindor.

Can Betts eventually be moved to third?

Bobby

Cora and Izturis were definitely fun to watch.

Bobby

As Vin used to say, “like watching 2 kittens with a ball of yarn!”

Duke Not Snider

Betts at 3B is an interesting notion…

Jeff

Can he pitch, too?

Oldbear48

I for one will not let other people’s opinions ruin the joy I get of watching the Dodgers play. Do they have holes and warts? All teams do. I saw people losing their minds because Montgomery signed with the D-Backs and how their rotation is so much better than most. But their 5 starters have a combined 2-22 record against the Dodgers during the regular season over their careers. Kelly is 0-11. What happened last year is over and done with. This is a different team. The Dodgers have a deeper staff and roster. The Dodgers also will get two Aces back at some point in the season. And they are deep enough to have trade pieces if they do need anything at the deadline, like a SS.

Last edited 20 days ago by Oldbear48
Oldbear48

I do my friend. Not a problem. Some people just a negative Nancy’s no matter what. I tend to look on the bright side and hope for the best instead of seeing all the negative crap. I love the game, I love the team, and just because I did not play at the higher levels, doesn’t mean I do not know anything about the game. I didn’t have the skills or training from a young age that many did. I had a foster parent who did everything he could to sabotage my love of the game. He failed, but he did keep me from playing except in high school.

Bluto

I would love to hear people’s thoughts about the actual impact of a well-above average SS’s defense vs. an average SS?

With positioning being so advanced, with nearly every player hitting for launch angle and with speed being devalued, how big of an impact will a middling (pun) shortstop have?

I fear, not much. Maybe a run or two over the season?

Bluto

Why do you say that about the playoffs? Not discounting it, but curious why.

Oldbear48

Errors can turn a game around. Turner made a critical error in the series with the Padres in 22.

Bluto

Errors can also be inconsequential.

you know what I think is more likely to turn-a modern game around? A HR.

Bobby

Dodgers and Will Smith working on a long term, 10 year extension worth $140mil

Last edited 20 days ago by Bobby
Bumsrap

About time. And money.

Make mine Blue

excellent news. Will Smith is very valuable. Is he capable of playing 3B? Maybe they start working on that angle in coming years, saving his knees, legs and other body parts from the damage caused by playing MLB catcher.

Oldbear48

Muncy has two years left, Will could move over there when one of the kid catchers is ready.

Jeff

Will has problems throwing base stealer out at 2B. How is he going to do with long throws to 1B with fast runners? Seems a bit optimistic to me. I don’t see anyone replacing him at C unless there is some injury.

Dave

Recieving a pitch, jumping out of a crouch then throwing to second base all with gear on doesn’t seem like a good comparison to fielding a ground ball, moving towards your target and then throwing to a huge target wo gear on.

Bluto

News from Internet:

Fangraphs (Please support with $$$$) ranks Bullpens.

2024 Positional Power Rankings: Bullpen (No. 1-15)

Dodgers at #8.

“It’s fair to assume some of the young starters in the system, maybe Emmett Sheehan or Gavin Stone, could eventually end up shifting into a relief role, too. This group is good, and while it’s plausible any individual’s age and injury history might become a problem at the drop of a hat, the Dodgers seem able to find candidates of all ages to replace them, like rows of shark teeth moving into place.”

At Baseball Prospectus ($$$$) Patrick Dubuque takes a look at why it’s so hard for us to just wait for a story to unfold in this day and age:
https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/89215/cold-takes-shohei-ohtani-ippei-mizuhara-gambling-theft-allegations-accusations/

Old Friend Lael Lockhart was named Detroit’s most improved Minor Leaguer for 2023.

Jonathan Mayo takes a look at the Dodgers pitching development system:
https://www.mlb.com/dodgers/news/los-angeles-dodgers-spring-training-prospect-report-2024?t=mlb-pipeline-coverage

James Dator writes the obvious, that some aspects of Ohtani’s story still don’t necessarily add up and could use some clarity:
https://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2024/3/26/24112532/shohei-ohtani-gambling-scandal-press-conference-mlb?utm_campaign=sbnation.socialflow&utm_medium=social&utm_content=sbnation&utm_source=twitter

The ludicrously great Effectively Wild podcast previewed the Dodgers with Fabian Ardaya

Fabian talks about the surreal first meeting when the Ohtani situation was addressed in Korea.

He notes the difference between how this situation differs from Bauer’s and Urias’ because those two players were quickly removed from the clubhouse.

How enthusiastic Betts was about moving to SS. Ardaya admits Muncy at 3B hasn’t gone great, but they hope the offense offsets any problems.

Also talk about Ohtani’s possibly playing the OF, backup catcher, Freeman’s goal to strike out < 100 times, who are the regular OFs, and more…

Baseball America ($$$$) first Hot Sheet of the hear looks at the 20 hottest prospects from pre-season:
#16 is Gavin Stone.

https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/top-mlb-prospects-the-20-hottest-spring-training-performers-hot-sheet/

“… Stone earned the job by dominating every time he took the mound. These stats don’t include the 3.1 hitless innings he threw against Team Korea…”
 
Ben Clemens Chat:

Stu Shea: Is the Ohtani issue going to dominate this season?

Ben Clemens: Yeah 100%

Bill James: Ken Rosenthal said baseball GM’s aren’t colluding, they just all have the same heritage and Wall Street backgrounds so they naturally think the same. Isn’t the lack of diversity in baseball execs concerning?

Ben Clemens: It’s extremely concerning, it’s a closed ecosystem, so in theory if everyone just sticks with the same antiquated and/or suboptimal ideas forever, it’ll be fine. That’s kind of what’s worrying about it. there’s no forced innovation in MLB as long as the teams control the hiring and firing

Duff: Pretty depressing seeing fan reaction online to the Shohei scandal. One silver lining, I guess, is it should be pretty straightforward to find out if bets were made on baseball, right? Assuming the answer to that is no, do you think that will take a lot of the air out of this scandal?

Ben Clemens: I’m not sure that this illegal bookmaker has perfectly annotated and definitely not altered records to look through, you know? That doesn’t really feel like the way things go in real life

6 man rotations: When will baseball bite the bullet and embrace 6 man starting staffs? It would help save arms and keep these guys fresh. The only drawback is the need to expand rosters

Ben Clemens: I don’t really agree with this, particularly the expanding rosters part. ‘Oh let’s let teams use more pitchers’ seems like an awful plan to me, just chop everything up worse than it already is. Teams should use six man rotations anyway, even with roster restrictions

Somebody named Christian Romo takes a look at the MiLB players who were part of the Freeway Series
https://dodgers.mlblogs.com/freeway-series-brings-special-opportunity-for-dodger-prospects-5b3067f527fe

“The preseason Freeway Series against the Angels offers Dodger Major Leaguers one last tune-up before the home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday. But for young prospects like Hope — Minor Leaguers who aren’t likely to make the Major League roster during the 2024 regular season — this series provides an early opportunity to put on a Dodger uniform in the Dodger Stadium clubhouse with Major League teammates. Just two years ago, Bobby Miller was the Dodgers’ №2 overall prospect and starting against the Angels. He struck out Shohei Ohtani and threw three scoreless innings on April 6, 2022.”

Also mentioned are: Thayron Liranzo, K. George and J. dePaula

MLB is changing some aspects of the relationship between its clubs and foreign (APAC) baseball leagues:
https://www.nikkansports.com/baseball/news/202403250001174.html?mode=all

Don Szymborski Chat:
Jack: With RSNs going under and MLB finally embracing in-market streaming, will the league have to start subsidizing even big market teams to maintain competitive balance? It seems like if you don’t already have a lucrative TV deal like the Dodgers, Phillies, etc, you’re screwed.

Dan Szymborski: I’m really not sure how it’s all going to shake out, honestly.

Say what you will about Frank McCourt, but this story about the Gondola project captures everything that’s wrong with Environmental Anaysis and how it has become a tool to stop progress, development and building.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2024-03-26/dodger-stadium-gondola-lawsuit-backlash

Badger

Good info there Bluto. Thanks.

Duke Not Snider

Big news in Dodgerland, from mlb.com:
LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers have a core in place, one they believe will lead them to multiple championships over the next decade. On Wednesday, they made sure star catcher Will Smith plays an integral part in that pursuit.
Smith and the Dodgers agreed to a 10-year, $140 million extension, keeping the star catcher in Los Angeles for most — if not all — of his career.
The deal includes a $30 million signing bonus (Smith will receive $15 million of the signing bonus in November 2024, and the other $15 million in January 2025), and the pact will also include a portion of deferred compensation — $5 million per season — which will be paid out annually between 2034-43, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.
https://img.mlbstatic.com/mlb-images/image/upload/ar_16:9,g_auto,q_auto:good,w_1024,c_fill,f_jpg,dpr_3.0/mlb/pw4n07mctmejvvd8qj2g
Mar 28, 2024 · 2:40
Will Smith signs 10-year extension with Dodgers
With the deal, Smith will become the fourth Dodger to be signed through at least 2032 after Mookie Betts’ 12-year extensionShohei Ohtani’s historic 10-year deal and Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s record 12-year guarantee that made him the highest-paid pitcher in the Majors. Other key pieces of the Dodgers’ core are Freddie Freeman and Tyler Glasnow, who are locked up for the next four and five years, respectively. The 10-year pact is the longest ever given to a catcher.
“I’ve loved being here since I got drafted in 2016,” Smith said Wednesday. “I don’t think I would be the player I am without being here. So for me to probably finish my career a Dodger means a lot. I couldn’t be happier and more excited moving forward. There’s no better organization that’s more committed to winning a World Series and that’s most important to me when it comes to baseball. I’m looking forward to these next 10 years.”

Duke Not Snider

Really happy that Will Smith is now locked up on a ten-year deal for $140 million, thus joining the long-term core of Mookie, Shohei and Freddie.
So what’s the ripple effect?
One is that the front office has more flexibility regarding top prospects Rushing, Cartaya and Liranzo. It would now be easier to trade any of them, or consider a position shift.
Rushing seems like a fine candidate to convert to 3B as a potential successor to Max. (We’ve also discussed the possibility of Smith eventually shifting to 3B, but I’d only consider that if the young guys prove to be his equal as a defender.)
Could any these guys succeed Barnes as Smith’s backup?
Sure. But competent veteran back-up catchers like Chris Okey or Chad Wallach are not hard to come by. Hunter Feduccia might be an OK backup, and I hope he gets his shot. But the greater value of Cartaya or Liranzo could be as a trade chip in a package to land a rising star like Jesus Luzardo.
Looks to me that Smith decided that security of a long-term deal in a first-class, winning organization outweighed the prospect of bigger $$ in free agency.

Oldbear48

Glasnow will be there for the next 5 years too.

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