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There Is No Crying For The Dodgers

As I am writing this, the one remaining FA in the top 22 MLBTR free agents is Dansby Swanson.  He is the one remaining FA that can actually change the lineup and maybe the prospects of the 2023 campaign.  Does Swanson strike out too much?  Yes he does.  But he is a GG SS at a time when defense is going to be paramount in the success of a MLB team.  In the last three years, Swanson has missed 2 games in total.

Do the Dodgers decide to exceed the CBT with signing Swanson?  I admire the team for trying to reset the tax, but I have not heard one baseball connected person outside of anyone associated with the Dodgers who believes that Gavin Lux is a MLB SS for a title contender.

I am a huge Eric Logenhagen fan, primarily because he does not buy into the hype.  His book, Future Value, is a huge resource for me.  In his latest chat, here is what he had to say about Gavin Lux and Max Muncy as the DP duo:

 

J

12:35

Do you think Gavin lux playable at shortstop? What about Muncy at 2nd with the new shift rules?

Eric A Longenhagen

12:35

No to both, imo

 

But Swanson at SS and Lux at 2B would work in anybody’s lineup.  Is he worth a 2nd and 5th highest draft pick and $1MM less in International bonus money?  Would the Dodgers dare give Swanson a better contract than the one given to Freddie Freeman?  My guess is that the Dodgers AF/BG will say no to both.  Another guess is that Swanson’s contract will dwarf the 7 years $154MM projection by MLBTR.

Do the Dodgers hurt their credibility with the hype of their players if they decide to sign José Iglesias or Elvis Andrus (or someone similar) for SS, when letting the 4 elite SS sign elsewhere, with 2 in their own division?

That brings me to the main point of this post…LAD fans seem to have lost their collective minds.  I want to win as much as anyone, and more than most.  I am not in the group that is happy with a 111 win season regardless as to whether they won the playoff tournament.  I would prefer to live on the edge of my chair and enjoy a 90 win regular season, but one that ends in a World Series championship.

Of course my preference would be the 111 win regular season AND  a WS championship, but we are not going to witness that again.  I have spent the last couple of days reading comments on MLBTR, DodgersNation, TrueBlueLA, and other sites.  So many LAD fans have given up on 2023 because they have not committed $400MM for Judge, or $325MM for Trea Turner, or $375MM for Carlos Correa, or $200MM for Carlos Rodón.   The FA money has gone crazy this winter, and the Dodgers have stayed away.

 

The team won 111 games last year.  They were 22 games better than San Diego and 30 games better than San Francisco.  Yes the Dodgers have lost Trea Turner, Tyler Anderson, Chris Martin, JT (for now), Andrew Heaney, Cody Bellinger, and lesser easily replaceable players.  They have countered that with a full year of Dustin May, Noah Syndergaard, Shelby Miller, and Jason Heyward.  I am usually the one who is less bullish on the LAD prospects, but those that have been most bullish on them in the past seem to believe that the prospects are now 0 WAR players.  Maybe yes, maybe no.  But shouldn’t they get the requisite opportunity?  Or for those of you who have doubts now, do you not believe in the LAD prospect hype?  No matter what prospects start on the 26 man, Miguel Vargas is going to get 400+ PA.  How much time will James Outman, Michael Busch, Ryan Pepiot, Bobby Miller, or Gavin Stone get?  BTW, I am really looking forward to see how Gavin Stone could be.  His competitive makeup is special.  Is it contagious???  The team as it now stands is not a 100 win team, but it is 90-100 win team and in an expanded playoff, should be at least a playoff team.

Have the Dodgers now been caught by SD just because SD signed Xander Bogaerts, even though they are only 3 deep in SP? They have moved Jake Cronenworth to 1B, and while he is a GG caliber at 2B, his offense last year was no where near what a 1B should produce.  They still must carry Trent Grisham in the OF, and they still need an upgrade at catcher.  Their payroll is at $255MM, which is north of tier 2 in the CBT threshold scheme.

Does Carlos Correa and Mitch Haniger eliminate the 30 game chasm between LAD and SFG?  Yes they added Ross Stripling and Sean Manaea, but even combined, they are no match to Carlos Rodón?  Mike Yastrzemski is still the CF, and the Dodgers are complaining?  The Giants have closed the gap, but they have not eliminated it.

The Dodgers have a very enviable starting rotation, with a DEEP, even though inexperienced, rotation behind them.  They have the genesis of a very talented bullpen.  For 2022, the Dodgers were:

  • Overall ERA – #1 in MLB
  • Overall WHIP – #1 in MLB
  • Overall BAA – #1 in MLB
  • Starter ERA – #1 in MLB
  • Starter WHIP – #1 in MLB
  • Starter BAA – #1 in MLB
  • Reliever ERA – #2 in MLB
  • Reliever WHIP – #1 in MLB
  • Reliever BAA – #1 in MLB

They have been overall #1 in ERA since 2019, and #2 in both 2017 and 2018.  Why should 2023 be different?  Because they lost Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney, and Craig Kimbrel?  No organization can develop a better pitching roster.  They still have Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, Gavin Lux, and I fully expect both CT3 and Max Muncy to improve on their 2022 season.  I have zero problem with Trayce Thompson/James Outman platoon in the OF.  I am ready to witness the unleashing of Miguel Vargas, both offensively and defensively.

There was a comment that I read where one fan (presumably ChiSox fan) mocked LAD fans in describing the Dodgers pitching gurus ability to develop pitching by bringing up Craig Kimbrel.  Some responded with the typical AJ Pollock was worse for ChiSox than Kimbrel was for LAD.  My response would have been, compared to how Kimbrel pitched for the White Sox, he was a CY contender for LAD.  Regardless the Dodgers organization (MLB and MiLB) is unmatched with developing or changing pitchers.

I do not believe the Dodgers as they are set now on December 17, will be the roster that they go to ST with, and not the team that they will enter the playoffs with.  I do not believe there will be another relevant game changing FA signing (no Dansby Swanson).  There could be a supportive FA signing, say Brandon Drury?  I do believe there will be trades.  For whom and what position, I have no idea.  Do I think the Dodgers have the prospect capital for a ML SS or a ML OF or a ML 2B?  Yes.  They still have those 87 RHP, Michael Busch, Jacob Amaya, Andy Pages/José Ramos, Jorbit Vivas/Eddys Leonard, Diego Cartaya/Dalton Rushing…Could the Dodgers trade for Carlos Carrasco and then include Tony Gonsolin in a package for a game changing SS or CF?  There are a plethora of trade opportunities.  Certainly some far more practical and reasonable.  Yes, Carrasco is not reasonable or practical, but it is possible.  Did I mention Michael A. Taylor?  Not an All Star, but an upgrade.

 

 

 

No matter what happens between now and ST or the trade deadline, the Dodgers front office will do whatever they need to do to stay relevant in the playoff picture.  I just hope that they find (internally or externally) someone who is willing to shorten up the swing and go for the run-scoring single when the situation calls for it.  Contrary to the doomsayers across the Dodgers blogosphere, I still count the Dodgers as one of the top 6 teams in the NL (no matter what else they do or do not do).

 

Remaining FA???

MLBTR Top 50 Remaining (In Order)

  • Dansby Swanson
  • Nathan Eovaldi
  • Taylor Rogers
  • D. Martinez
  • Jurickson Profar
  • Brandon Drury
  • Andrew Chafin
  • Jean Segura
  • Michael Wacha
  • Michael Brantley
  • Michael Conforto
  • Adam Ottavino
  • Justin Turner
  • Corey Kluber
  • Drew Rucinski

 

MLBTR Honorable Mention FA (Alphabetical)

  • Elvis Andrus
  • Brandon Belt
  • Matt Carpenter
  • Johnny Cueto
  • Shintaro Fujinami
  • Michael Fulmer
  • Zack Greinke
  • Craig Kimbrel
  • Evan Longoria
  • Seth Lugo
  • Trey Mancini
  • Matt Moore
  • Wil Myers
  • Gary Sanchez
  • Drew Smyly

 

Dustin Nosler’s Pitchers for Consideration (His order)

  • Chad Kuhl
  • Dylan Bundy
  • Mike Minor
  • Aaron Sanchez
  • Drew Hutchison

 

 

 

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Badger

I sure enjoy waking up and reading your posts first thing each morning.

Again, a lot to think about there. First, I never believed Swanson was going to be our choice. I figured he stays home. Secondly, any 30 year old player with a career OPS+ below 100 is not a player the Dodgers will pursue. Taylor’s is way below 100.

Perusing sites this morning looking at “way too early” projections and though there are a few, I only found one that looked like it was updated, fangraphs, but maybe I don’t know where to look. They have us at .523 win%, 84 wins, (Padres in first, 89 wins) conservative numbers I realize. 4.69 RS/G, 4.39 RA/G. I don’t buy any of that but what do I know? My early as is prediction, 92 wins, based on nothing scientific.

I still don’t think the Dodgers will start more than one rookie and I think it will be Vargas. I believe we will see a few through the year, maybe some early, but some will be traded. I think Turner comes back here. We need his presence.

I have reluctantly accepted this may be a reset year. I’m ok with it I suppose.

Bauer. I wonder what the odds he pitches for us again actually are?

Last edited 1 month ago by Badger
Bumsrap

I agree, this could be a reset year regardless of whether or not they go over the CBT. Adding Swanson and say Drury as an insurance against Vargas not being able to succeed at third or LF probably won’t make the Dodgers 95 game winners if Muncy and Taylor repeat 2022.

Do the Dodgers not want to insult Justin with a $2M plus incentives offer?

Vargas at third, Lux at short, and Taylor/Muncy/Busch at second will not produce a plus defense. Why upgrade CF defensively with that infield? I think Thompson and Outman will play solid defense.

What about trading for Devers? Not that Devers is a great defender. That would put Vargas in LF unless he were included in that trade but that just kicks the can down the basepath if Devers is not extended and eliminates Vargas for the future.

Maybe the Dodgers should have tried to sign Swanson before Judge, Bogaerts, and Correa were signed. Maybe they did.

If the Dodgers are so worried about defense that they might consider trading with KC for Taylor then why not just bring up Amaya to play SS and keep Lux at second?

OhioDodger

Exactly Bum. Bring up Amaya. We went two seasons carrying a no hit good defense player in Bellinger and fared quite well. Also keeps Lux at 2B.

Badger

Although I, like most, prefer Lux at second I’m ok with him playing short as long as they’ve been up front with him about it and he’s working with infield coaches all winter. He was actually good enough at that position to be a first round pick. The reason he hasn’t been there for us is obvious – Seager and Turner. I don’t know about Amaya but my instinct tells me the Dodgers are an offense first at every position organization.

Im in on Drury too, but I think the Dodgers prefer Turner. I want Vargas at third, period.

Singing the Blue

You may not get your wish about Vargas at third. He’s playing a lot of second base in practice sessions this winter.

Plan might be to have Max and JT alternate at third and DH, same as last year and have Vargas put in most of his time at second.

Then we trade for or sign a left fielder, with CT3 filling in all over, and have Outman and Trayce share center.

Or not.

Badger

Something I wanted to add here (too late to edit it in) is, despite what you might hear elsewhere, Max Muncy, the last two years anyway, is a + dWAR player. He’s worked hard on his defense and it’s paid off. As long as he is OPSn near his career average, .828, I’m fine with him at second.

Badger

“Where I am fine with Max is as DH.”

Me too.

Just saying with an OPS of .800+ I’m ok with an average ML defensive second baseman, which Muncy is.

Not sure I buy the DPR, certainly not at the top of the list. I look at range and fldg %. Does he get there and make the play?

Im still looking for a way to keep Lux at second. Now I’m hearing from Jefe that Vargas is taking grounders there? Moving young players around like this does not feel ok with me.

Badger

Just saw that.

Well, there’s CT3 at second. That’s ok too.

I want to be clear here, I’m not advocating for Muncy at any defensive position. Let him focus on hitting. If he ends up taking some defensive innings out there, we can survive it.

OhioDodger

Roberts will do what he is told to do.

Badger

The way this appears to be shaping up there might be a lot of substitutions with this group.

OhioDodger

Brandon Drury would be a good addition for the Dodgers.

OhioDodger

Or Brian Anderson.

OhioDodger

Definitely not my first choice. Anderson was a productive player until the shoulder injury. I would rather have Drury, but Anderson could be a Dodger reclamation project for low money.

Oldbear48

Reset is fine with me. Trading for Taylor to patrol center is ok too depending on what they have to give up to get him. He hit ok last year. Not a lot of power, but that defense is special. Not in favor of playing a lot of rookies at the same time, but those guys either need a chance, or trade them for players who can make a difference.

Badger

Are you ok with Trayce in center Bear?

Oldbear48

I think he would be adequate, but since he has never in his entire MLB career been a full time anything, I am just a wee bit leery of that. But do not get me wrong, I like Trayce and what he did last year reinventing himself. I just do not care for platoons and that is what it looks like it is going to be. I prefer everyday players at every position. But, Badger, that is just my own personal opinion.

Badger

I like him out there. He’s big and he’s fast.

I prefer everyday players too, but if a platoon actually works, it makes sense to use it.

Oldbear48

I love that scene. I would love to see Dave Roberts do that just once.

Fred Vogel

I still hold out hope that Lux won’t be the starting SS. AF has to have a better option up his sleeve. Right??

Oldbear48

There are more than a few stop gap type players. My choice, because I saw him play several times would be Jose Iglesias. He is a decent hitter, .292/3/47 last season with the Rockies. He has some pop, not much, but he is solid with a glove, he would not cost much, he got 5 mil with the Rockies last season, he has postseason experience, which he got with the Tigers. and he is the best one still available. The only other option is try to trade for one from another team. Or, let Lux stay there and see how he fares in spring training. An upgrade at this point is just not out there.

Bumsrap

Drafted as a SS. trained in the minors as a SS, play him at SS. As simple as 1, 2 3.

Badger

I was with you til that last sentence.

Badger

If in fact Lux is the SS I have high hopes for him. He’s got the skill set; good hands, quick feet, an ok arm when he throws like a shortstop. I’m just not sure any of us really believe that’s the plan.

Last edited 1 month ago by Badger
OhioDodger

Probably spells the end of Justin Turner in Dodger Blue.

Badger

Maybe a few years late but he should help. He’s still clubbing LHP.

Badger

Good question. As I said earlier this is maybe shaping up to be a team of substitutions. Martinez might could still play a few games in left, Muncy and Taylor can move around, maybe Yonny is hanging out ready to step in. Versatility. Might be a good thing.

Jeff Dominique

Yonny may not be around. They need to remove someone from 40 man. Gotta figure Yonny or Jake Reed.

Oldbear48

I would be willing to bet that Mr. Martinez gets the bulk of playing time at DH. I think and believe they are counting on him there and only there. Oh, he will get a day off against a tough RH probably. I think this means Muncy will slide over to second and put Taylor purely where he belongs in the utility role. If Vargas is going to play third base, then they have no need for Turner.

OhioDodger

A lot of crying in Boston.

Oldbear48

Oh boo hoo. Let em cry. I think this also means there are two chances of Amaya even seeing a cup of coffee this year with the Dodgers, slim and non-existent. It also reunites Martinez with the hitting coach credited with making him one of the best hitters in either league, Von Shylock. It also means that the Dodgers have a player on their roster who is one of the few to ever hit 4 homers in a game, and he did it at Dodger Stadium.

Dionysus

Kyrie Irving over here

Badger

?

Dionysus

Joking

Fred Vogel

No Bradley Zimmer love? Like?
I remember him with Cleveland and thought he was a decent player but I never bothered to look up his stats.

Bumsrap

I don’t think the following lineup makes it to spring training much less to the Playoffs.

SS Lux/Taylor
RF Betts/Heyward/Outman
1B Freeman/Muncy
C Smith/Barnes
DH Marginez/Muncy
3B Muncy/Vargas
LF Vargas/Taylor/Heyward/Thompson
CF Outman/Thompson
2B Taylor/Busch/Vargas/Muncy

Last edited 1 month ago by Bumsrap
Badger

Reading around this morning I stopped in a DT and read the post there. MT, who’s opinions I respect but seldom agree with, sees CT3 at short, Muncy at 3rd and Vargas in left. 3 guys out of position. That would maybe work ok if all of them OPSd .850. They won’t. I took a quick look at d numbers at these respective positions and was unimpressed. CT3 and Muncy are both 33 next August. Muncy at third has 1480 innings and a .937 fldg % there. Taylor has 1990 innings at short, and a .960 fldg %, both figures of course below league average. Neither have average range and that won’t improve with age. Vargas could probably eventually learn to play left, it’s certainly easier than 3rd, so if that’s the plan… ok I guess. I’m still looking for, and expecting, something else.

Oldbear48

Yeah, I thought he was a little out there with that one. But we will all have to wait until they break camp before we know what they decide to start the season with. I still think Martinez is going to primarily be the DH. I also think it allows Muncy to fill in at second or third where ever they want him. I see no way, especially with the outfielders they do have that Vargas is the left fielder.

Bumsrap

I saw that. I’ll give him this, it’s anybody’s guess right now on who will get the most innings at several positions. Very unsettled.

I want a long-term third baseman. That could be Vargas.

I hope a team offers the Dodgers an offer they can’t refuse for Taylor and Muncy.

A miracle would be for Heyward to be able to hit and allow the Dodgers to move Betts to second.

I’d like a long term infield of Freeman, Betts, Devers, and Lux.

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