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 Time To Blow It Up?

Another year, another disappointing finish. Not much can be said other than, excuse the language, they got their asses handed to them.

I have read a lot from fans who try to place the blame for the debacle on AF and Roberts. AF does assemble the players, but it is up to them to perform, and our stars, the best we have, stunk up the joint.

You can bet Freddie and Mookie are being harder on themselves than we are being on them. They have to feel somewhat embarrassed by how they played. But you look at Atlanta, and the same thing happened to them for the second year in a row. They averaged two runs a game also.

And their MVP candidate did little better than Mookie and Freddie. He had three hits total, none for extra bases.

So, where do the Dodgers go from here? We all know they are not going to just blow it up and start over. But I have to believe there are going to be some huge changes in hitting philosophy and how they stack the pitching staff.

They have three players with options, Kelly, Muncy and Lynn. Least likely to be picked up is Lynn. I think his fate was sealed when he allowed those four homers.

Kelly’s is only 9 million. Not bad for a guy with his pedigree and success at the big league level. But most likely they pay the one million buyout.

Muncy’s is a 14 million dollar team option. No buyout. This is the one I am most on the fence with. I like Max, I do not like the three true outcome approaches he takes at the plate. I also dislike his high strikeout rate.

Yes he has an OPS over .800, and he hits 30 plus homers a year. But to me, he misses more chances than he succeeds at. His K rate has climbed in each of the last 3 seasons.

I am pretty sure the Dodgers will exercise the option, but personally, I would not. I am old school, I hate strikeouts. I think someone needs to work very hard with James Outman on his bat to ball skills also.

A lot of what we all have been thinking and saying is out of the frustration of another postseason meltdown, which in my humble opinion, are coming far too often.

Sorry, the better team lost. The team with no break and continuity to its season won.

 

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Badger

Blow it up?

Nah. Just clean it up and polish it a bit.

I might hire a new conditioning staff. One that’s up to date with the latest algorithms on how to keep a team of professional athletes in shape for a 180 game season. I say Pilates and yoga. I would also add P90X. Twice. That adds up to 180.

Speaking of algorithms, check this read out:

Batting Average Is for Suckers

Be sure to read the comments.

Singing the Blue

I’m not a regular reader of Fangraphs and often see articles only when someone forwards them to me. Thanks for this one.

Absolutely love Baumann’s writing style.

Last edited 6 months ago by Singing the Blue
tedraymond

I think it was and is a total organizational failure. I don’t know what ca be done to change their results in the postseason. How does a team that has won 100+ games in recent seasons and then completely fail to continue that success in the playoffs?

MLB isn’t going to change the format for the playoffs. So, it’s up to the Dodger front office to shut down the computers for a time and really take a hard look at what they can do to fix this issue. After all, this involves human beings and number crunching most likely will not help with this issue.

I’m on the Chase Utley bandwagon. The team needs a new voice from a guy with an attitude. Maybe, Chase can get the team to focus better in the playoffs. It’s apparent Roberts has been unable to do so. Also, Roberts postseason failures have cost the team success in the past. Is it the only reason? Nope. But, it’s one identifiable area that can be improved.

The hitting staff needs to go. Putting the ball in play and some small ball should be incorporated into their game. You never know what can happen when you put the ball in play. With a strikeout there is no doubt. Maybe, not so much for the regular season. But, come playoff time those tools can be huge when facing top of the line pitching.

Carry on.

NortheastDodgerFan

I can see Roberts being promoted to the front office in some capacity at some point in the future. I don’t know what will make hitters stop flailing away at bad pitches in the postseason though. Better, more attentive coaching maybe?

Jeff

Cannot see this at all.

Sam Oyed

How does a team that has won 100+ games in recent seasons and then completely fail to continue that success in the playoffs?

Atlanta fans are asking the same question.

If there were an easy answer, 100 win teams would be dropping out of the playoffs so quickly. One thing all there teams have in common, by winning 100 games their regular season urgency ended that much sooner. Coincidence? In 2021, the Dodgers won 106 games but needed to battle to the end of the season in an effort to pass SF. That team did make it to the NLCS. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, the pitching staff at that point was burnt.

Jeff

The Dodgers need a change. The biggest question is what do they change? My biggest question is ‘Can they change? AF is not going to change. Doc is not going to change. Max is not going to change. Of the 3, the easiest is replacing Max with a real hitter and fielder. I haven’t thought of who, yet.

I’m onboard with Utley replacing Doc. I can’t see Doc promoted. Promoted to what?

I’d love to see AF replaced as his style doesn’t suit me. This also seems unlikely and AF picking Utley as mgr also seems unlikely. Ah well, it’s the players. AF provides them and they’ve choked and slumped all too often. They’re all too happy.

Oldbear48

Utley is perfectly happy with his job for MLB as their ambassador to England. Chase has two young boys at home, he is in no hurry to manage. AF and Roberts will be around a while, so get used to it.

Bumsrap

MLB Network had Jim Thome talking about a hitting plan for the playoffs. Sounded pretty good. That plan included a lot of analytics that were generated and then put in a way players could use it. He said he became a hitter once he stopped solely being ready for the fastball and then trying to adjust for something else. He had some at bats where he only looked for a changeup.

All teams now use analytics. Deciding when to pull a pitcher or pinch hit for a hitter might be an art but that art is backed with science.

2024

SS Lux
2B Betts
1B Freeman
C Smith
CF Outman
3B New
DH New
LF New
RF New

Rotation
Buehler, Miller, Montgomery?, Pepiot, Sheehan

Piggyback pitchers
Stone, Grove

Bullpen
?

Trade candidates
Vargas, Busch, righty pitching prospects

Badger

Did you read the link I posted? There’s a lot in there about about what’s working in MLB.

I still say it’s the hottest team coming into the playoffs that has advantage. Winning the division with over two weeks to go sounds advantageous but in reality I don’t think it is.

This team apparently can’t lift its own ass if Mookie and Freddie aren’t banging. Freddie was ok at the end of the season, OPS’n over .900 the last 28 days. He went into a 3 game slump after the break. One could say Mookie was just about done in August. He hit 39 home runs but only 1 in September. He OPS’d 1.355 in August, .713 in Sept/Oct. The rest of the team couldn’t make up for the loss of our #1&2 hitters. Games 2 and 3 were winnable. The dbacks only scored 4 runs in each. The Dodgers averaged over 5 for the season, but not without Mookie and Freddie.

It’s my belief that this 3 game slide is not the fault of management. Players slump. That’s just a fact. That series loss is on the players.

As for ‘24 Bum, yeah, sure. I would still bat Mookie leadoff and have Vargas at third.

Did anyone see the ALCS promo on a football game yesterday. Don’t recall which one. It was a full screen picture of Corey Seager and Yordan Alvarez.

Last edited 6 months ago by Badger
Singing the Blue

Maybe Mookie needs to take a few more games off next year. It seems like he ran out of gas in September and that carried over into the post season.

Agree with your premise that winning the division early has its downsides. Being hot going into the playoffs seems to be a definite advantage. Now, are we willing to try to clinch late next year? Somehow I doubt it.

Seager? Alvarez? Why did they discriminate against Josh Sborz?

Oldbear48

Manfred stuck his foot in his mouth again. He is such an idiot. He is basically begging everyone to give the system a chance, but it favors the teams who have to keep playing. MLB has been checking out a 12-team playoff with rounds of 3-5-7-7. I think that is better.

Badger

More teams is better?

I’d like to hear your thinking on that.

Oldbear48

Not sure about the 12 teams, but I like the 3-5-7-7. But what I would really like to see is if they keep the system the way it is, most likely for a few years anyway, no days off for the Wild Card round winners. They play the Tuesday after the season ends, and the Division series would start on Friday. I also think they reseed after the wild card round, and the DS becomes 7 games. More of a test that way. I think the 12-team idea is if and when they expand to 32 teams to even up the leagues. Unfortunately, I think a lot of the scheduling is dictated by the frippen TV networks, since so many have their hands in the pie now anyway. By the way, the ratings are DOWN 12 %.

Last edited 6 months ago by Oldbear48
Badger

Ok. I agree that WC should get no days rest. I even liked my wife’s idea that WC winners get no home games until the LCS.

Expansion could eliminate this Wild Card business altogether, but that ain’t so we’re stuck with what is. Winning your division means little.

I wouldn’t be surprised be surprised if ratings drop even further.

Scott Andes

There already is a 12 team field,6 pee league. Are you talking about 12 teams per league? 3-5-7-7, isn’t that already the current system?

Last edited 6 months ago by Scott Andes
Scott Andes

How about all teams under one league, 5 divisions of 6 teams. 5 division winners and 4 wild cards make it. 9 teams total. Wild card round is best of 3, no days off. The bottom two wild cards play in the best of 3 WC round. Here’s the kicker, for the wild card teams, those series the division winner starts with a 1-0 advantage. Thats what they do in Japan. So the three wild cards remaining in the division series would have to win 4 of 6 to move on, and only get 2 home games (2-2-2). So it’s basically a 6 game series, the division winner only has to win 3 of 6 to advance. The 4 vs.5 Division series is a standard (2-3-2) 7 game series.

Shorten the regular season to 156 games. You play teams in your division 12 games each, all the other teams 4 games each.

Bumsrap

Okay, I have now read it. Didn’t move my needle. The regular season might allow someone to have a line of .199 .345 .465 .810 to help a team get into the playoffs but I think the odds of that same person helping a team work their way through the playoffs drop.

Badger

My question was in regard to your comment about being ready for a fastball.

Did you read the comments? There are some excellent exchanges between a few posters talking about the metrics of hitting 100 mph fastballs and the increased use of sliders. There are some very knowledgeable posters there, most of whom are really into baseball metrics.

Oldbear48

Like the lineup. Might I suggest Teoscar Hernandez for right field? Third base is anyone’s guess, but Adam Duvall in left would not be a bad addition either.

Scott Andes

I was thinking of hernandez too. He’s a big power hitter but another feast or famine type hitter. I think it would help to have a couple of contact hitters in the lineup. Maybe Lux is one of those types of guys.

Badger

Lux is a candidate for it. His K% has gone down a bit every year. Hard hit % sticks around 40. His OBP needs to go up. Raising his 10% BB% would do it, but I find it hard to ask a guy to hunt walks. Just don’t chase and it should go up. That’s true for everybody. I don’t see him leading off. He OPSd .869 out of the 8 hole in ‘22. Put him there.

Oldbear48

You are right there, but his batting average is 40 points higher than Muncy. But he is a decent fielder and has a cannon for an arm. 12 assists this year from the outfield.

Jeff

Muncy must go!

Jeff

Agree with a lot of this, Fred. But, Stone and Grove are big question marks for me. They staff needs to toughen up our pitchers a lot. No more of this shitty 5 and 80. Limits limit the mind. Urias is the poster child.

Jeff Dominique

Another great FanGraphs article on someone the Dodgers should be coveting.

Texas Rangers Offensive Coordinator Donnie Ecker Talks Hitting

Texas has one of the better overall offenses in MLB. They are right behind LAD, but they are not falling apart in the playoffs as have the Dodgers over the past several years. In November 2021, Texas signed Donnie Ecker as their bench coach and offensive coordinator. They were in the bottom half of MLB in 2022 as Donnie was accumulating data. In 2023, the work paid off and no team had a better positive impact with the offensive side. You get the impression, nobody is going to out plan Ecker.

Prior to Texas, he was with San Francisco as one of two hitting coaches (2020-2021). In 2021, SF was one of the top hitting teams in MLB. They could hit, but they could not pitch. He left SF for Texas, and the Giants offense has dropped like a rock since.

It is a team philosophy that is individualized. They look for players who can work within that framework and is willing and able to adapt. They get the player to buy in and agree with their individualized approach.

Donnie Ecker is a future MLB manager, and IMO will be a good one. I do not believe he will be with the Dodgers, because he does not come across as a yes man for the owners, as does Dave Roberts. It is not that I believe that Doc does not want to win, it just comes across as secondary to being the corporate mouthpiece and communication director. I get the impression that Ecker wants to win. BTW, I feel the same about Chase Utley. He will not be a yes man mouthpiece for ownership and winning takes precedence. 

BTW, Utley is thoroughly enjoying his new life as MLB Ambassador to Europe, living in London. He loves it. His family loves it. They have been traveling a lot as a family and have more planned including an African Safari. He has two sons, 11 and 8, and they plan on staying in London for at least another year. They have already stated that they do not want to take their kids out of school in their high school years, so it would seem that after another 1-2 years f that for that window to be open. Question will be…Does Chase want to come back to the everyday grind of MLB baseball. I would say yes, because he is driven. But will it be on the East Coast or West Coast. He loves LA (his home), but he loves East Coast sports, principally baseball.

True or contrived? I cannot possibly know for sure, but the results do seem to speak loudly.

Bumsrap

He had a long career and has all the money he needs so managing 81 road games has to be a negative.

Bumsrap

If the Dodgers change managers and doesn’t make the playoffs the yakking over losing in the first round will be nothing compared to not getting into the first round.

Oldbear48

Exactly. I also think this is going to be the true transition season in LA. I think CK leaves, and the kids get their shot. If they fail, then AF makes major adjustments at the deadline.

Badger

You’re right. I really doubt the team is going to change anything but a few players on the roster.

Bumsrap

The Top 6 Los Angeles Dodgers by WAR in 2023
1. Mookie Betts – RF – 8.4 bWAR (8.3 fWAR)
2. Freddie Freeman – 1B – 6.6 bWAR (7.9 fWAR)
3. Will Smith – C – 4.1 bWAR (4.4 fWAR)
4. Clayton Kershaw – SP – 3.7 bWAR (2.3 fWAR)
5. James Outman – CF – 3.3 bWAR (4.4 fWAR)
6. Max Muncy – 3b – 2.6 bWAR (2.9 fWAR)

Last edited 6 months ago by Bumsrap
Badger

I think they all can do it again next year. Mookie might drop a bit, Outman may get better.

Last edited 6 months ago by Badger
Bluto

And add Ohtani at 10.1 (will be lower without his pitching, but….)

Badger

6 oWAR with a bum elbow and that will be cleaned up.

Singing the Blue

Happy Anniversary everyone!

Oct 15, 1988 – “The impossible has happened”

Badger

Sure feels like a long time ago. 2020 wasn’t the same for me. I know it counts, but 60 games in a bubble. Plus, it was an awful year for the country. And the planet for that matter.

Singing the Blue

As opposed to 2023 when it was an awful year…………………………. (and this one ain’t over yet).

Bobby

A Ranger spanking of the Trashtros would make it a good month

RC Dodger

Thanks for the article, Bear.

in my view, there is no need to blow up the team.
They have two great players at the top of lineup and talent throughout the organization. Buehler is returning and he has been a great postseason pitcher. Just need to supplement the young pitchers with with another starter or two. I would welcome Kershaw back as a regular season starter if he is healthy. He had the 2nd best era in the entire MLB for starters last year. It would be nice to also add Snell, Montgomery, Matsumoto, Gray or Nola to the staff if possible. Seth Lugo may be a lower tier alternative.

I would keep Muncy to play 3B, 2B, and DH as needed and give him 2 years for $20 million instead of one year $14 million to help with the luxury tax.
I would decline the options for Lynn and Kelly. If either wanted to stay for half of their option price then I would take them back as pitching depth. Otherwise the option prices exceed their value.

Badger

Good take RC.

I think after giving Muncy that extension you offered I’d trade him to a team that needs a DH and sign Ohtani as our DH.

Kershaw. In his present condition he’s likely a 110 inning pitcher who won’t stay strong through October. If he wants to come back I would show him close up photos of that celebration and encourage him to tighten that core while he’s loosening his shoulder girdle muscles. Again, Pilates and yoga. In his case I’d insist on a diet. If he balks, then all runners advance one base…. wait, if he refuses, then let him go to Texas, where he would probably do all that and be good again.

Anybody watch the game last night? Who won?

Oldbear48

Texas, 2-0 in Houston no less.

Badger

Montgomery beat Verlander.

Let’s get him.

nonicnamebumfan

Would love to have Montgomery,
but I think the Dodgers would have to seriously overpay. You know Texas is gonna play hardball (pun intended) as far as keeping him.
Besides that he’s a southern boy and considering the team thatTexas has, why would he want to leave?

Last edited 5 months ago by nonicnamebumfan

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