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Dodger Baseball

The Price of Winning

Everything has a price. Nothing is free. Winning as consistently as they do, the Dodgers pay a price. The price? For one thing, their position in the annual draft. For another, there is a huge target on their backs. Another price they pay is the expectations their fans have each and every year since this stretch of excellence has begun.

Fans expect them to be in on every premium free agent. What would please them most lately is that they would actually sign one. Freddie Freeman fell into their lap. If you look over the last several years, outside of their own guys, Kersh, Jansen, Taylor, Muncy, JT, they have not gone out and signed any A-list free agents.

Freidman has scanned the free agent list for guys like Thor, Peralta, Heyward, Miller, and way too many others to list. We would be here for days. He has traded for Betts, Machado, Darvish, Scherzer, Trea Turner. Only Betts is still with the team.

So, what is different this season? How many of us seriously expect the Dodgers to pony up the price it is going to cost to sign Shohei Ohtani when they have so many other pressing needs?

Are they really going to let the kids play, aka Vargas, Busch, DeLuca, Sheehan, Stone, Pepiot, Grove. Are they seriously going to put the future out there for all to see?

They don’t draft high enough to get the A-list boys, although they have found a gem or two. Miller is one of the better young pitchers I have seen in years. Probably since Buehler.

Some of the kids have the mental makeup judging from what we saw after all of the injuries last year. Grove might not have the stuff to be a starter, but he can give you bulk innings. Sheehan impressed me a lot. With some seasoning, I think he is a solid #3.

Stone needs another pitch. And more confidence in his abilities. I don’t know why, but I trust Busch to improve his MLB skills, but not Vargas. I just think it is because Busch brings power to the game. Vargas does not seem like that kind of a hitter to me.

Deluca showed some fine defense, and with seasoning, I think he is a solid #4 outfielder. But beyond those three, I do not see much help at the AAA level that could impact the 24 Dodgers.

The Dodgers main need is starting pitching. There are two basic ways to get it. Trade or free agency. Free agency costs money, trades cost talent.

Now if Ohtani was totally healthy, he would be one of the two best starters available. But he isn’t, and he probably will not pitch until 25. But just how effective a pitcher can he be after a second surgery?

Yamamoto and Snell are the cream of the crop this year, since Snell will most likely win the NL Cy Young award. But Snell is basically a five inning pitcher with an agent who is going to ask for top dollar and probably a 5-7 year deal.

Yamamoto, who is just 25, is going to cost whatever the posting fee is and probably at least a 6-8 year contract if not more.

Just below that you have Montgomery. Then a bunch of guys who are probably considered reclamation projects. Those are the cheapies. Michael Wacha had probably one of his best years and because he was with the Padres, it went mostly unnoticed.

Because of his age, a 3-4 year deal is possible. Freidman has never given a starting pitcher more than the four years he gave Brandon McCarthy. And he got bupkis for his bucks then.

But this year, the pressure is on. The last two postseason failures have a lot of Dodger fans disgruntled to say the least with the ” reclamation projects.” Estimates for Ohtani’s services range from a low of 400 million, to well over 5.

I think the only way the Dodgers sign him is if he agrees to some sort of tiered contract based on how many games he can pitch starting in 25, and how long he can keep pitching. 400 mil is way too much for a DH even if his name is Ohtani.

But, if reports are to be believed, some say the Angels generated millions of dollars in extra revenue because of his presence on the team. And all Angel games were televised back to Japan.

The Dodgers should have close to 100 million to spend in salary. They need at least two starting pitchers, and a couple of RH power hitting position players. Preferably a corner outfielder, and in my mind, a third baseman.

My reason for this is that Muncy can play multiple positions. Second, third and first plus DH. He could give Freeman a couple of days off a year. If he stays at third and they do not sign Ohtani, then they need a RH outfielder with power who can also do some DH work.

Heyward will most likely be back and have the same role he had last season. Difference is instead of only costing the Dodgers 700 thousand, he is going to cost about 8 million or so. But at least he brings some pop off of the bench.

The bench has been the weakest part of the Dodgers for the last several years and I believe it contributed to the failure to get to the World Series in 21. The Braves bench, all players they picked up at the deadline, performed. The Dodger bench sucked.

So it comes down to, who do you spend that 100 mil or so on? You want 40 mil going to one player?  You could sign Chapman, Imanaga, Gurriel Jr, Giolito and Flaherty for what it would cost to sign Ohtani. You could add a couple other players, most likely bullpen arms too.

We will find out in the next month or so, at least by January, just what cost the Dodgers are willing to pay in cash and talent to improve the team. Most think Ohtani is going to sign sooner rather than later. Maybe during the winter meetings.

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Oldbear48

Astros are going to hire Joe Espada to be their new manager, former Cardinal manager, Mike Shildt and bench coach Ryan Flaherty are considered the front runners in San Diego. Angels have a real interest in Tim Anderson, but to play second base.

Badger

“You could sign Chapman, Imanaga, Gurriel Jr, Giolito and Flaherty for what it would cost to sign Ohtani. You could add a couple other players, most likely bullpen arms too.”

I don’t think that’s true Bear. Not according to Spotrac estimations. It’s difficult to know anything for sure of course as each year we are surprised by what these guys make.

That said, I get your point. $40 million for a DH sounds insane – for anyone other than Shohei Ohtani. The amount of money he will make the Dodgers only they know, but I’m sure it’s more than what he will cost. From a post on another blog:

“It has been reported that Ohtani mean’t $20 million annually for the Angels from just merchandising and licensing. All of Ohtani’s games are broadcast to Japan. No other player generates anything close. It has been reported that Ohtani means annual revenue to a team of $70 to $79 million. That was reported on the Dodger TV station.”

I have no idea if that’s accurate, but it most certainly could be. What he means as far as wins doesn’t really matter now does it. The Dodgers win 100 when their pitching falls apart. They can fix that AND sign Ohtani. And Ohtani will hit. Probably 5 oWAR, maybe more. He did this year, 6 oWAR in only 135 games.

You said they have $100 million to spend. To stay under the tax threshold it could be a bit less, but I don’t believe they are concerned about that if Ohtani comes aboard. Whatever, they have more than enough to get done what needs to be done.

Who is the best fit here? Who is more likely to stay fit and perform from April to November? I don’t know that, but I firmly believe the ‘24 project begins with Ohtani. Once that happens I think there will be a response from the agents of players who want in on it.

Last edited 5 months ago by Badger
Jeff Dominique

I 100% agree. Ohtani is a business investment, and he will be worth every dollar he is paid from a business standpoint. What he adds as baseball value is luxury for the owners and an elixir for the fans. I have said it before, the owners should look at Ohtani totally abstract from the other FA they need. If they go over the CBT, so be it. Throw the additional tax onto his salary and the Dodgers will still make money on him. 

Some people are so myopic that they believe simply because the Dodgers lead MLB in attendance every year, that they do not need Ohtani to fill the stadium. They flat out ignore the additional sources of revenue that Ohtani can generate, locally and globally. Lorenzo Sciarrino will find $$Millions$$ of ways to take advantage of Shohei Ohtani wearing a Dodger uniform.

Dionysus

Good post. Agree with most of it.

If you can get Ohtani, you do it. Period.

As for the FA SPs, I say we name our price and offer it to handful of guys. If they want to play with us, come on board.

Heyward’s probably a good call for chemistry, but Taylor, Deluca, Rojas feel like the bench. Wouldn’t mind upgrading Barnes.

Vargas will get another long look. Busch will either be traded or play every day.

But it all starts with Ohtani.

Bumsrap

Ohtani as a pitcher and hitter rarity plus his personality has created the buzz. If he never pitches again then maybe he will be the reincarnation of a healthy Babe Ruth and the buzz will continue to generate extra revenue.

Ohtani and Yamamoto and our in-house talent works for me as one way to go.

Jeff Dominique

Well the betting public has both coming to the Dodgers. For whatever that may be worth.

Singing the Blue

The betting public may have both coming here individually, but I bet the odds go way up for both coming here together.

I just don’t see AF spending the money it would take to sign both of them.

Hope I’m wrong.

Jeff Dominique

I could see AF signing both and I could see him signing neither. This is uncharted territory for AF.

Singing the Blue

Just saw the Counsell presser for the Cubs. Hadn’t thought a whole lot about him through the years. Figured he was a good manager who hardly ever spoke and rarely cracked a smile.

I was really impressed by what I saw this morning. The guy is a real leader. You could just tell that players would buy into whatever he was selling. He has a quiet confidence but at the same time is humble.

Where Doc is a cheerleader, Counsell is a thoughtful general who inspires his men. I’ll be happy to steal him from the Cubs next year.  😆 

Jeff Dominique

Could have had him this year. He was a free agent manager. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

Singing the Blue

Yep. Coulda. Shoulda. But didn’t.

I believe Wednesday is lock-in day for the Rule 5. That should be interesting. Might also lead to a few trades here and there. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Feduccia traded.

Last edited 5 months ago by Singing the Blue
Jeff Dominique

Tuesday by 6:00PM ET 40 man rosters need to be set. Feduccia could get traded, or he could be protected. He could then be traded or held. 4 catchers on the 40 man might be high, but not unheard of. It will come down to, how many do they want to protect by tomorrow. Some will be protected, and some traded. The non-tender date is Friday before 7:00pm ET

Singing the Blue

Do you have a current count on how many slots we have open right now? And care to guess how they fill them?

Bluto

I think 5 slots are currently open.

Jeff Dominique

Correct.

Singing the Blue

Frasso
Hurt
Knack
Y Fernandez
?

Possible non-tenders:
Bryan Hudson
Almonte
Yarbrough

That would open 1-3 more spaces, if necessary, but I doubt they would need 3 more.

Feduccia definitely on the bubble plus a couple of the young pitchers who have been hurt.

Jeff Dominique

Hurt is already on the 40 man.

Singing the Blue

You’re right, I keep forgetting that.

Certainly doesn’t sound as difficult for AF as I first thought it might be.

Dionysus

Feduccia should be protected.

Bluto

Good news: Baseball America took a stat heavy look at MLB pitching systems (minor leagues)

Dodgers rate #2

Singing the Blue

Who was #1 ?

Jeff Dominique

Tampa Bay. Excellent article.

Drew Nelson

Vargas broke his hand in spring training… good luck hitting very well like that.

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