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The Aging Dodgers

One of my concerns with the Dodgers is that they do not have any elite young prospect talent ready for the ML.  Plenty of depth, platoon, reserve, utility.  But where is that lock down SS or 3B or 2B or right hand hitting corner OF in the MiLB?  24 year old Jonny Deluca could be a fine #4 OF to replace David Peralta. But he is not going to be at the level of either of the two rookie OF playing well in the WS…22 year old Corbin Carroll (Arizona) and 21 year old Evan Carter (Texas).  Heck, he is not going to be at the same level as 23 year old CF, Alek Thomas.  I would have preferred that he would have been on the roster rather than the injured David Peralta, but obviously the Dodgers did not.  I may not have expected much, but it would have been refreshing to see what the rookie might have done if given the chance.

Arizona unceremoniously jettisoned their longtime SS, Nick Ahmed, for the untested young prospect, Jordan Lawler, Arizona’s #1 prospect (60 grade).  Lawler is an exceptional 5-tool SS talent with plus speed (of course he does), who is probably not ready for prime time. But he is a PR candidate and getting the experience.   They already have the slick fielding 23 year old Geraldo Perdomo as an All Star SS.  The Dodgers could have put  Deluca on the roster instead of Peralta, and/or Michael Busch on the roster instead of Kolten Wong.  Again, not the Dodgers way.  Under AF, they prefer the veteran.

Texas brought up Evan Carter in September and played him over the veteran Robbie Grossman.  He has rewarded them nicely with his offense and defense not only at the end of the season, but also throughout the playoffs.  They have had to wait for 2 years and 2 separate injuries for the 3B, Josh Jung.  But he is in the every day lineup and producing both with his bat and glove.

2nd year catcher, Gabriel Moreno, is one of the very best catchers in all of MLB and he is 23.  Diego Cartaya, the “elite future catcher” for LAD is 17 months younger, but nowhere close to the talent of Moreno.

Why is this an issue with respect to the Dodgers?  The Dodgers do not have any talent at the upper levels on their MiLB rosters that can replicate what the rookies Carter, Carroll, Thomas, and Jung are doing, or 2nd year players Moreno and Thomas.

MAYBE one of Michael Busch or Miguel Vargas can play an infield position.  Jung is the oldest of the rookies (25), but he is younger than Busch.  Both Busch and Vargas (24), are DH trying to play infield.  There is no way that Busch or Vargas  makes the plays that Jung has been making at 3B.  At 2B?  Vargas was one of the worst defensive 2B in MLB, and he is better than Busch.  Busch and Vargas stay in the lineup, only if they hit.  Try them in LF?  Okay.  Then there is no spot for Deluca.  At least Deluca can play adequate defensive OF.

Deluca has not played one inning in the infield.  He is not going to magically move to 3B because he looks like Ron Cey.  Yes, in the 70’s, Lopes and Russell were converted OF moving to the infield.  But they were speedy OF that moved to middle infield positions.  Cey always played 3B.  Craig Biggio went from catcher to outfield to 2B.  But he is a HOF player.  Gavin Lux grew up a SS, and could not play 3B.  There is nothing in Deluca’s career that even suggests he can play 3B.  The Dodgers are more likely to move Will Smith to 3B, but that ain’t happenin’ either.

Why is this an issue with me?  The Dodgers’ position players are old and do not have replacements in MiLB.  Below is a chart on the average player age for both bat and pitch. These are from Baseball Reference.  I also combined both for a third section.   It cannot be that far off in accuracy.

 

 

The Dodgers far and away are the oldest team of position players in MLB.  It is their young pitching, that should not have even been in MLB, that made them not at the bottom overall.

Vargas is the youngest of the LAD prospects ready for MLB, and he is less than one month younger than Perdomo (already an All Star), and is older than both Carter and Thomas.  Andy Pages is 22, and has lost a year to a shoulder injury.  He is a potential every day LF, but will not be ready until mid season, at the very earliest.  Jorbit Vivas?  He is a utility infielder.  The Dodgers have a dugout full of those guys. Jorbit will be 23 in 2024.   Hunter Feduccia?  Back up catcher, and he will be 27 in 2024.  That is it.  Which one of those guys puts the Dodgers over the top?  None of them are elite.  Gavin Lux, Will Smith, and James Outman are the only position players drafted, or signed as an IFA , in the AF era that have made any kind of impression at the MLB level.  Vargas, Busch, and Deluca are works in progress and are well past the young and elite age.

Will Smith (will be 29) is older than both the Texas and Arizona catcher. James Outman (will be 27) is older than both the Texas and Arizona CF.  Lux (will be 26) is older than Arizona’s SS, but younger than Corey Seager, but nowhere near his abilities.

So while I agree with Badger that both Mookie and Freddie are elite premium talent, they do not have anyone else that can be counted on, and both of them choked in the playoffs.  Second year in a row for Mookie.  If you do not draft or sign young IFA how do you get younger and better?

Signing free agents does not get you younger. Trades may or may not get you younger.  The Dodger trades have not produced younger talent for position players.  Most (if not all) of the younger difference making players are not going to be traded (and that includes Bobby Witt).  Generally the Dodgers are going to get players who are at most one year away from FA (Mookie and Trea Turner).  For the best, that is late 20’s.  Mookie was 27 and Trea Turner was 29 when traded to LAD.

The Dodgers prefer veterans.  Thus if you sign FA or trade for older players, the younger players get blocked.

Finally, the pitching age for LAD is going to increase.  For those that truly believe that Buehler/Miller/Pepiot/Sheehan/Stone are going to be the rotation have not paid much attention to what AF has done.  AF will sign at least two SP, that does not include Clayton Kershaw.  Hopefully one will be Yoshi Yamamoto, but I think it will be Sonny Gray and one of Lucas Giolito or Jack Flaherty.  Maybe both.  Many are predicting that the Dodgers will re-sign Lance Lynn.  I have seen nothing in AF’s history that would indicate anything else.

They may not win the Division next year.  Arizona is not going away, and they have figured out a way to win without always needing to slug.  Although they certainly can.  They have three SP they can count on, and I expect Mike Hazen will find one or two others.  They have 3 FA, and one (Evan Longoria) will be replaced by a younger Emmanuel Rivera.  They have been waiting for OF Pavin Smith to arrive. Or maybe it will be the speedy Jake McCarthy.   If not, they can always re-sign Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (30).

The Dodgers?  They will find older stop gap players to fill in until hopefully their A and Rookie level players start to show they can play MLB.  I see no way they get younger and more athletic.  They will be built to win the Division.  October????

 

 

 

 

 

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Oldbear48

My ex passed away last night in Lake Isabella. My daughters and grandkids were with her. She was a good person. The kids are pretty shook up right now. Kind of puts baseball on the back burner. But she was a Dodger fan.

OhioDodger

Condolences to you and your family Bear. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and yours.

Badger

Sorry to hear that Bear. Sounds like you still care for her. My ex will never die. She’s eternal.

After reading Jeff’s post this morning I find myself feeling a bit depressed. Guess having a top rated system doesn’t mean much. But, I know AF will find a way to stock the team with talent. The Dodgers are lucky. They can buy what they need. Loduca, Cartaya, Busch and Vargas could get a nice return.

I wonder if the Rams might consider a rebuild. Without Stafford they may be in the running for a new QB1 in the draft. Aaron Donald might want to go to a contender. Trade deadline is coming up fast. F them picks is way over now. Yesterday was embarrassing.

Dodgerrick

I suspect that the Dodgers will make a trade or two that no one sees coming. And yes, that means that they will trade some prospects for veterans. Friedman usually trades from his surplus, so that means right handed starters in the minors or who have made their MLB debuts. If I had to guess, Stone or Grove are the most likely to depart, along with one of Busch or Vargas and maybe Cartaya.

Yes they will bring in a veteran starter or two (depending on what Kershaw does.) No, it won’t be Lance Lynn. but it probably won’t be Blake Snell either.

As for the age of their position players, it didn’t seem to negatively affect Mookie, Freddie, JD, etc. They don’t want to get too old too fast. Branch Rickey always tried to trade his players a year before they lost their value and kept the pump primed with future stars. I agree right now that I don’t see any future stars among position players in the minors, but you really can’t tell. Who expect Mike Piazza to be a hall of famer?

Bluto

Always a fan of getting younger.

Hopefully with Lynn, Brasier, Hayward, Peralta and maybe Kelly coming off the roster they will be replaced by decidedly younger part-timers.

Badger

I don’t care younger, I care better. Heyward and Peralta (before injury) were fine. If we can get better, great. And I would be ok with trading all those prospects mentioned if we get better by doing so.

Last edited 6 months ago by Badger
Dodgerrick

Frank Howard died at 85.

Fred Vogel

He was a mountain of a man.

Bumsrap

Does anybody remember him as Mr. Clean?

Oldbear48

Hondo, I saw him hit a ball at Dodger Stadium that shattered one of those planks they called seat backs in the pavilion. His homer in game four of the 63 series off of Whitey Ford he hit with one hand, went into the Loge.

Bumsrap

Witt is a stretch but KC is so bad and their system is shallow that they should see what they could get for him.

Dionysus

Some bold things we could do:

1. Trade Cartaya
2. Trade Muncy
3. Sign Nola
4. Play Taylor full-time
5. Go all young in pen

Bluto

If almost be surprised if Cartaya wasn’t traded. Granted hia value is low, but the 40 man crunch is real and there seems to always be a need for catching talent.

Dionysus

It’s time to be bold

Singing the Blue

Remember when word was that players in the Dodger clubhouse didn’t want Bauer back?

This quote from a Bill Shaikin interview with Mookie in the Times:

“My experience with Bauer is not anything remotely close to what everyone else’s experience is. I love him. I think he’s an awesome guy. The personal things? I have no control. I have no say. Obviously, nothing ever came from it.
“He’s an awesome pitcher. He’s a great guy, somebody who wants to take the mound every fifth day. But, at the end of the day, I don’t make the decision. That’s a decision that’s not as simple as baseball.”

He’ll never ever put on a Dodger uniform again but maybe this will help him get a contract from another MLB team in 2024.

Badger

That’s interesting. I wonder if others felt that way. The Dodgers front office melted under the pressure. One could say they had little choice. I think they did have a choice.

By the way, last I read Urias won’t be charged, the woman involved said she slipped, and MLB is still investigating. Where’s the Union on this? And where were they on the Bauer case?

Last edited 6 months ago by Badger
Singing the Blue

I thought there was video of Urias hitting her in the car. I’m assuming that if there is, the DA will press charges no matter if she cooperates or not. On the other hand, if there is no video and she is the only witness and won’t testify…………………….

With regard to the Union’s position, remember that the players have wives.

Dionysus

It doesn’t matter–he’s gone

Bumsrap

I think I recall Bauer getting along well with teammates. He had a fun personality. A person in the public eye making $40+MM annually who puts themselves voluntarily in a situation that had horrible optics is at least guilty of legally committing gross negligence. Basically, he stepped in it and it stunk.

He could be said to make bad decisions as a habit and therefore more will come. Good riddens.

Jeff

One of the unanswered questions my brain keeps struggling with is can James Outman be our everyday CF? At first, he was able to hit everything but as the season progressed, either the pitchers figured him out or his own bad habits took over. The SO’s kept mounting. I believe he was our leader in whiffs. With Muncy and Outman in the lineup, and with the Dodgers in need of bat to ball skills, not HRs, this gives me pause to anoint Outman as our CF. I can see a trade potential with both of these players. Outman could become an exciting player but I don’t believe in the Dodger way of ‘fixing’ hitters.

Singing the Blue

We could definitely cut down on the k’s. That’s why I’m really hoping AF goes after Korean outfielder Jung-hoo Lee.

He’ll be 25 next season. Lifetime numbers over there .340/.407/.491/.898 in 7 seasons. More walks than strike outs. Can play all 3 outfield positions and is considered a very good fielder.

Granted, we can’t assume those numbers will translate perfectly to MLB, but after the success Kim has had at SD, I’m willing to take a chance.

I’d be happy with an outfield of Outman in left, Lee in center and DeLuca/Heyward in right. Outman, with all his k’s, still put up a 3.3 bWAR season. That’s very nice for a rookie who is willing to listen, learn and put in the time to get better. I wouldn’t be trading him just yet unless the return was something spectacular.

Badger

Lee, Yamamoto, and Ohtani. The Asian Invasion. Sign a couple more Friedman Projects, Giolito could be one, and we’re ready to go.

Bumsrap

The Giants want many of the same free agents the Dodgers might want and we saw how much money they threw at Correa and Judge etc. The Mets and Yankees will be active again in the free agent market. So will the Angels.

It’s going to be interesting to see what Lee, Ohtani, Yamamoto, Snell, Montgomery, and all the others receive. Lee might be a great fit given the Dodgers need for outfielders should Betts mostly play infield and perhaps fit Friedman’s self imposed salary cap.

I’m mostly alone regarding Muncy remaining a Dodger. They could use the money elsewhere.

Lee, Outman, and DeLuca would create an inexpensive, fast and defensively solid outfield.

The Dodgers need a new third baseman and maybe they can trade for someone at least as good as Zack Gelof of Oakland. Maybe the Dodgers take the option on Muncy and then trade him and what they get back becomes part of the package that lands a third baseman. DH could be Busch or even Joc if he signs cheaply enough.

Trade Taylor and keep whatever amount of his salary to get him traded and re-sign Hernandez.

Choose between Ohtani and Yamamoto and then decide to go after whichever one you didn’t sign as payroll allows. If it’s Ohtani then be ready to live with Miller, Pepiot, Sheehan, Grove, and Stone plus a few Giolito types.

Dionysus

Platoon him with Taylor and get a new LF or teach Busch to play there.

Bumsrap

I’d rather teach DeLuca to play 3rd base.

If you want crazy then trade for Burnes and Yelich.

Bumsrap

I have the same worry with Outman. He is now my favorite player on the Dodgers so it is a big worry. I am willing to say that between Muncy and Outman, one of them should go. I think Outman will hit at least .250 and I think Muncy will hit .195.

I want Outman in CF. That puts Jung-hoo Lee.in LF. Lee might be a better CFer but he isn’t yet my favorite player.



Singing the Blue

We want to keep you happy, Fred. OK by me if we switch Lee and Outman.

Saxfan3

I think the Dodger topics Jeff addresses in his articles are 2nd to no one on the net. ESPN, Athletic, Baseball America, Dodgers Nation, etc. This one’s been on my mind since 2021 when we suffered a host of injuries and no notable farm names came up to save the day. That’s when it dawned on me that Smith was the only regular drafted by Friedman and he’d been up since 2019. I’ve been pleading for the Dodgers to get younger ever since.

The cynical side of me believes Friedman doesn’t want younger players that may take a few years to develop and may cost a game here and there. That he has a payroll figure in mind that can carry a few star names, add the requisite value FAs needed to complete the roster to both win the regular season and make his bosses money. The more more faithful side to Friedman gives him reprieve for the 2017 and 2018 being poor draft classes that affected everyone, and that when a player earns it (Outman, the rookie pitchers) they play. Also, dedicating a few classes to pitching over offense. The more recent classes appear stronger and we’ll see a turnover in younger players soon than later. If we really want to get younger(which we should), he’s got to stop blocking younger players. Give Vargas and DeLuca another 3 month audition in the OF. If the alternative is a journeyman FA with something akin to .259%BA/.675%OPS/7 HRs – Peralta’s stat line, then I prefer the former. I’ll take the cheaper unknown with higher upside.

I’ll give Friedman a conditional cop-out on the lack of elite prospects. The vast majority of teams superstars were first round picks or winning on the international teenage lottery. There are a few regrets that slipped through (Bichette, Henderson come to mind), but fewer than many. However, for all their analytic staffing, you’d think they’d have found a system for identifying better international players. It’s probably our best shot at getting an elite prospect. DePaula and Joendry Vargas are probably the two most hyped prospects at the moment. Maybe we finally get lucky on them. Otherwise, they may need to start trading for prospects again. Not the my junk for your junk type trades, but the Matt Kemp and Dee Gordon type deals. It might mean momentarily making the 26 man squad weaker, but in retrospect, how badly did we miss Kemp and Gordon? Not at all. Max Muncy would be a good candidate as a deadline deal.

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