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Waiting On the Next Wave

This season sure seems to have the least number of MLB ready depth position players that I can remember.  There are exactly four position players that are on the 40 – man that are not expected to be on the 26 man: Miguel Vargas, Andy Pages, Hunter Feduccia, and Diego Cartaya.

In the Athletic Roster Projection Mark alluded to, the infield depth is Vargas and non-roster invitee Jonathan Araúz.  Prospects of note invited are Trey Sweeney and Austin Gauthier.  If the Dodgers need to rely on any of the three, there are more concerns.  And I like both Sweeney and Gauthier.  But they are not ready to assume a roster spot on the 26 man.

The outfield depth is Miguel Vargas and Andy Pages.  Travis Swaggerty and Brendon Davis are non-roster invitees.  José Ramos is the prospect of note invited.  I like Pages, and I do believe he can be a ML player of note, but coming off major shoulder surgery does not bode well for him to have a breakthrough season this year.  Even the Dodgers are not so quietly saying Pages will probably be held back until 2025 before he makes his debut.

The Dodgers have four catchers on the 40-man, with Rushing, Liranzo, Galiz and further down, Victor Rodriguez waiting in the wings. I am leaning to moving Yeiner Fernandez out of this group, as he is probably more likely to be a utility player who can catch.  Before we dismiss Galiz and Rodriguez, remember Connor Wong?

Plus they have a significant depth in pitching, specifically RHP. Might it seem reasonable to assume that it may behoove AF/BG to move some of the pitching/catching depth for infield and outfield prospects?

One other cautionary plea.  I know it is fashionable to look at what some of these prospects do in A Ball and get excited.  I watch a lot of A games because that is where the next wave will come from.  I do not get excited or lose interest in a player based on what they do in A Ball unless it is special.  What Josue De Paula did in A Ball as an 18 year old, puts him on the special train.  What Payton Martin did as a 19 year old in A Ball in his first year as a converted SS, puts him on the special train.  What Thayron Liranzo did in the Cal League as a 19 year old, certainly has him at the very least climbing aboard the special train.

Chris Newell obliterated Cal League pitching, but as a 22 year old.  He did not fare as well at Great Lakes.  I form no judgement as I want to see what he does in AA first.  The biggest MiLB step is from A to AA.  That will probably come sometime mid-season.

I look forward to seeing Joendry Vargas this year.  Will he be like De Paula and skip Rookie Ball and go straight to Rancho?  He has never played in the US.  How will he acclimate to that environment?  Same is true with Eduardo Quintero.  There are a number of players with only DSL experience that hopefully will blossom this season as they reach the US.  I have written about them multiple times.  Last year’s group is probably the best group of IFA players they have had at one time.

I also withhold judgement on Jake Gelof and Kendall George.  I am optimistic about both, but to label them as future every day players in the LAD lineup is very premature.  Hopefully both will start at Great Lakes, and play well enough to get a mid-season promotion to AA, where the real test begins.

That also holds true for the current #1 LAD prospect, Dalton Rushing.  Remember Diego Cartaya held the same position while he was in A Ball. Things did not go as well once he hit Tulsa. Let’s see what Dalton can do in AA.

40-man Roster position players in MiLB with at least AA experience:

  • Diego Cartaya – AA
  • Hunter Feduccia – AAA
  • Andy Pages – AAA (1 game)
  • Miguel Vargas – MLB  (Right now, OKC is where he will play without an injury or trade).

That is it.  These four represent the current position player depth that can be called upon without roster changes

Non-Roster top 30 prospects with at least AA experience:

  • River Ryan – RHP – AAA
  • Trey Sweeney – SS – AA
  • José Ramos – OF – AA
  • Austin Gauthier – Utility – AA

Pitchers on the 40 Man with at least AA experience:

  • Kyle Hurt – MLB
  • Gavin Stone – MLB
  • Landon Knack – AAA
  • Nick Frasso – AAA
  • Ricky Vanasco – AAA
  • Gus Varland – MLB
  • Michael Grove – MLB

Why I am not nearly as distraught about the paucity of depth (IMO) is because the current roster is so good that the team can still excel with some injuries, and stay intact until the next wave appears. We may be seeing the culmination of the current wave of prospects. Outside of pitching, there is not a lot to get overly excited about.  BTW, I look for Ricky Vanasco to have a big spring and be in line for his MLB debut early on in the season.  If he has control (I know BIG IF), he is filthy.  Vanasco and Varland are two who have taken giant leaps now that they are no longer starting.  Two more not on the 40 man that have also seen a lot of helium once they were placed permanently in the pen…Alec Gamboa and John Rooney.

Where I am getting much more excited is the next wave.  The guys in A Ball.  I am eagerly awaiting their promotion to AA to see if they are true prospects or more depth.  This year’s Rookie Arizona Complex League team also figures to merit a lot of attention.  There will be a couple of pitchers that will be making debuts that should be worth the price of admission to watch live in Arizona.

I will include those two in a column I am working on for the next wave of pitchers, and some new prospect additions.  As good as the current crop of prospects are, the next group could be better.  I said could be…not will be.  As I said above, let’s see what they do in AA.

 

 

 

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Singing the Blue

Always fun to read about the younger prospects.

I think the front office must really have seen something they liked in Vanasco because, as I recall, they traded a pretty good prospect for him.

Where do we expect to see the young Korean pitcher Hyun-Seok Jang start the year? And what do you think his ceiling is? I assume they figure him as a starter at this point, but that may not be a permanent situation.

Watford Dodger

Very interesting summary Jeff. Due to the paucity of Position Player depth, would a reunion with Kike on a one year deal seem prudent given his ability to play every position?

I know the Angels are sweet on him, but I also
read that he’d ideally love to stay with the Dodgers, (who wouldn’t?), and as such may well be happy to sign for a season? He would also add something to the team chemistry.

On a slightly different note, the player I think will have a big year is Brandon Stone. I thought he showed real potential in the first half of 23, and a year older and with more experience, I expect to see him pushing very hard for the 6th spot in the mooted extended Rotation.

Last edited 29 days ago by Watford Dodger
Duke Not Snider

Buhler might be held back a few weeks, or at least have his innings limited.
If Buhler is delayed, we could see a 6-man rotation of Yamamoto, Glasnow, Miller, Paxton, Sheehan and Stone.
Sheehan and Stone could both use the showcase as they compete for the last spot when Buhler is back.
Yarbrough could be in the mix too, but we know what he can do.
Dodgers have so much depth that I’d still like to see a BP upgrade with lefty Tanner Scott or perhaps Clase. The latter could be the true closer that the Dodgers now lack. Seems to me that Roberts has always been more comfortable having a go-to guy at the end–and he stuck with Kimbrel for too long. But I think the rumors about Kenley coming back is pushing nostalgia too far.
That said, I would welcome Kike back. Fun guy, and he just seems like a better fit than Margot, who could be packaged in a deal for Scott or Clase.
If Kike is not in cards, then I hope the Angels sign him. They need a lot of help, including more personality.
Meanwhile, I am encouraging my 14-year-old crafty southpaw, a lanky 5-8 and maybe 110 pounds, to watch Yamamoto videos and practice yoga. I might have to find out where Yamamoto gets those “spears” that he practices with.

Mark Timmons

Emmanuel Clase scares me. After two really great years with a 1.29 and 1.36 ERA (0.962 and 0.729 WHIP) he was 3-9 last year with a 3.22 ERA (1.156 WHIP), while his strikeout rate dropped from 9.5 to 7.9. This is a classic red flag that he may be headed for TJ. With the amount of prospect collateral you would have to give up, I think trading for Clase would be a dope-fiend move.

Singing the Blue

Not only did Clase’s k rate take a hit last year but he served an 80 game suspension for steroid use in 2020. I had previously hoped we’d trade for him but those two major negatives make me a firm no.

Mark Timmons

Does Gavin Stone have a brother? 😉

Watford Dodger

Oops lol

it was early when I wrote that !!

im getting my Gomes and Stones mixed up

Last edited 28 days ago by Watford Dodger
Scott Andes

They’re all in with the veterans this year. Not a surprise. As Jeff has pointed out, not much there other than depth pieces or utility type players. The position player side is especially thin. Those DeLuca types are a dime a dozen.

The pitching looks much better on paper. I think stone and Sheehan go back and forth from the majors to OKC, mostly spot start, fill in for injuries. Frasso and hurt should get looks at some point too. Knack probably.

They need another infielder. Someone who can play short. If Lux gets hurt, they’ll be forcd to either put Mookie there, or Taylor. I would be fine with bringing Kike back. The outfield is not as urgent since they can always move Mookie back there, Taylor can play OF, and they have Pages.

Vargas could be useful too, but I don’t think he has a place on the roster
Hes blocked at the MLB level and im guessing he’ll get moved at some point like they did with Busch. Honestly, I think the club is ready to move on from him. There’s a reason why they are moving Mookie to the infield full time. Vargas looked totally lost at the plate last year and I’ve always thought he’s overhyped. He seems like a weak hitting utility infielder who doesn’t field well either. But they may just hold onto him as depth in case someone gets injured.

If the old guys stay healthy, we’re fine. But if they end up having to dip into several Sheldon Neuse types for lengthy periods of time then that could be troublesome.

Badger

Agree with most of this Scott. I think Vargas has more to offer, and prove, than you give him credit. He had broken fingers and I believe that affected his swing. The guy can flat out hack and is one of the fastest runners in the organization. He can play. Maybe not on the Dodgers but somewhere. Who knows, he may be on the taxi squad all year, or make the 26, or be traded.

Duke Not Snider

Let’s remember that Miguelito’s fingers were fine when he was called up in late ’22. He was hyped for his bat-to-ball skills. The Dodgers were obviously high on him, and so were some of the amateur scouts here.
Alas, he was completely overmatched. Yes, it was only about 50 plate appearances, but he hit below the Mendoza line and–this is important– had only two walks. The lack of plate discipline suggests he was pressing, trying to prove himself as a hitter. (Outman, that lucky guy, showed a lot more discipline in his briefer stint, with two walks in about 15 plate appearances.)
Despite Vargas’s struggles, the Dodgers put him on the playoff roster–and of course Roberts never used him. When he needed a righty pinch-hitter for Belli, he turned to the oh-so-dangerous Austin Barnes, while Vargas rode the pine.

I’ll say it again: AF really botched this ’22 stretch drive. The Reds’ Brandon Drury, having a career year, was an obvious trade target–and the Padres got him. Drury was good for them down the stretch and in the playoffs, and good for the Angels last season. Drury is a proven big leaguer with impact, while Miguel is back at OKC.
I hope Vargas gets a lot of action at 3B and LF in OKC. He might be just an injury or two away from getting a third chance to prove himself.

Mark Timmons

It’s very hard for me to read this kind of stuff as I can see the writer really has very little understanding of reality. On my own ex-site, I would word it differently… Out of respect for Jeff, I will just say I disagree.

Badger

If you are willing to jump to conclusions based on 47 injury free plate appearances by a 22 year old rookie I guess we will just have to disagree on this one and move on to the next one.

Duke Not Snider

Do you think Vargas was hurt during the entire ’23 season?
If he was, why did the Dodgers let him play?
In ’22 he had 50 plate appearances with 47 ABs, two walks, one sac fly. So he was swinging his bat but not really hitting.
If Vargas’s injuries were so troublesome in ’23, why didn’t the Dodgers make 2B a real competition? Why wasn’t Busch given a fair shake? Toward the end of season, it was Busch who got called up while Vargas stayed in OKC.
For his ML career, Vargas has now had 354 plate appearances–not a huge sample, but not tiny either. His BA is .191 and his OBP is .290. His WAR is -0.5 and his OPS+ is 73, well below the average of 100.
I’m not from Missouri but….
One year ago, after Vargas had compiled OPS close to .900 in the minors, the brass had so much faith in Vargas that they decided that second base was his job to lose.
He did precisely that after 304 plate appearances.
Has the Dodger brass lost confidence in Vargas? Of course they say they haven’t. But instead of giving him the runway in LF–and I was fine with that idea, or perhaps a platoon with Busch–they signed Teoscar.
So Vargas is blocked. Only an injury, and perhaps two, could enable him to win a job in spring training. There are guys with big contracts at DH, 1B, 2B, 3B and LF. And Vargas, known for his bat and not his glove, shouldn’t be the 4th outfielder either.
So now Vargas, hyped as an ROY candidate in ’23, is ticketed for OKC, where I hope gets a lot of reps at 3B and LF. Those positions seem like his best path forward with the Dodgers. Maybe he’ll succeed Teoscar in ’25 or Max in ’26. If the Dodgers need a UT guy, both Sweeney and Gauthier seem better suited for that role.
Anyway, I hope Vargas turns the volume up to 11 and forces himself back into the majors. Perhaps an injury brings him back to LA. Or perhaps he becomes a great trade chip at midseason.
But while I hope a minor injury finally gives Feduccia his shot in the pros, I don’t want anyone blocking Vargas to get hurt. Vargas has already had two good opportunities.

Badger

You are persistent, I’ll give you that.

”Vargas broke multiple fingers in Spring Training, and he wasn’t able to really swing the bat for some time. It seemed to mess with him over the course of the season, and he never could recover from it.

He appeared in 81 games for the Dodgers this past season, hitting just. 195 with seven home runs and 32 runs batted in. At the Triple-A level this season, Vargas hit .288 with 10 home runs and 43 runs batted in over 60 games, showing that he still has the ability to produce.

If this was of a number of lesser franchises he would be in the A lineup in Spring Training. This is the Dodgers, and they are stacked. Barring injuries if the Dodgers want Vargas playing every day he goes back to AAA where he will again OPS 900+. If they want him to see ML pitching occasionally, he might make the roster and get a few AB’s every week.

Oldbear48

My take is that Vargas developed some bad habits favoring the fingers. Best thing the Dodgers could have done for him was not play him like they did when he could not swing a bat, and then instead of placing him on the roster, send him to AAA to work until he was healthy.

Bobby

I’ll agree with Bear. Whatever it was, and whatever happened early on, he seemed to regain some groove and confidence at the end of the year.

Let’s see how he does in spring training and if he forces his way on the roster and takes somebody’s job.

I’ll root for him (and everybody else)

Dionysus

Jeff, great piece. While I agree with your central point, we certainly have the trade chips in hand if we need to add a position player due to serious injury.

Only RF is a true platoon [Heyward/Margot] and after Barnes that leaves a two-man bench. Right now, CT3 is an umbrella policy for the entire team and Rojas is more than capable of spotting the infield. If we wanted to upgrade from Rojas to Keekay Hernandez we could but that seems overly complicated.

In case of outfield depth being tested, I agree Pages/Vargas is not much to recommend. Perhaps Travis Swaggerty [NRI] can stick in AAA and be the next guy.

Last edited 29 days ago by Dionysus
Duke Not Snider

Rooting for Swaggerty, but I expect the Dodgers to sign a proven veteran outfielder that they can stash in OKC in case of emergency. There are a lot of free agents still out there, and not everybody will land a gig in the majors.

Badger

Wave? I don’t see it, unless we are talking about a swell of potential trade candidates.

It seems to happen every year. Most teams are fortunate to have one rookie per season step into the starting lineup. The Dodgers had their one in Outman last year. Out of necessity a few pitchers stepped up but if there weren’t so many injuries we likely wouldn’t have seen any of them until maybe late season call ups. When real pitching was needed the Dodgers traded for it. I think the same thing will likely happen again this year.

Yes, Gavin. And Buehler. And Kiké.

Jansen? Clase? Yep. Probably one of them. Why? Because that’s how the Dodgers roll.

Badger

I have you to look into the future for me!

I have no doubt many of these guys have gifts. The thing is, every organization has their own list of prospects just like ours.

Success at AA is a tell for me. If they are an All Star there, every organization takes notice.

Duke Not Snider

I love the second wave!
De Paula, Jeondry Vargas, Liranzo, George, Geloff and pitchers like Ferris, Bruns, Martin and Kopp. A lot of potential…but mostly a couple years away.
As for ’24, we have promising arms like Frasso, Ryan, Hurt and Knack, but we are thin on position players.
Miguel Vargas may be the next man up, but he has a lot to prove. Reports suggest that Pages needs another year of seasoning. An injury could give Feduccia or Sweeney a promotion, which would be nice for them but may not excite the fans….Rushing is exciting, and maybe Cartaya will bounce back–but they also seem at least a year away.
I’d still like to see a trade for Tanner Scott, but I don’t think we’ll see anyreally big deals before ST.
That could change at midseason, of course, depending on injuries and other factors. I still think the Jesus Lizard might look good in Dodger blue.

Duke Not Snider

From what I’ve read Scott is better than Caleb, Vesia and Yarbrough. If AF & Associates agree, they could offer one of those guys and a bat like Vargas or Yeiner Fernandez or…
Well, I was going to say Gauthier. But at this point I’d rather keep him and deal Vargas. Vargas may have more upside, but Gauthier’s on-base skills and versatility are really appealing in a UT role.
I would love to see one of the young lefties take a leap forward.
Wrobleski? Kopp?
Ferris and Bruns may need more seasoning…

Oldbear48

Kike wants to be a Dodger but the problem is no roster spot. Spring training is coming fast.

Matt

Think id rather have Kike than Margot. But admittedly I havent seen Margot a ton.

Oldbear48

Saw him a lot when he was a Padre. Couldn’t stand him then. What I remember most about him was his ill-timed attempted steal of home in the 2020 World Series. Kershaw nailed his ass at the plate.

Duke Not Snider

Kike > Margot.
Knack + Margot for Tanner Scott?

Thomas Ernst

Very balanced and thorough article about these MiLB players.

I agree that we need to see how Rushing plays in AA to have a better “read” on him.

Do you see Cartaya start in AAA this season or does he stay in AA? His 2023 performance seems to have moved him from the penthouse to the outhouse in 2024.

Bluto

I think I read that, and this echoes a mid-paragraph of Jeff’s, that the hardest and most telling step (other than to majors) of a prospect development is at AA.

Badger

I don’t pay a whole ot of attention until I see success at AA. But that’s just me.

Mark Timmons

Miguel Vargas has exceptional batting skills. When I read people dismissing him, I know they have never watched him other than last year when he had two broken fingers. But everyone knows that you don’t need fingers to swing a bat!

Duke Not Snider

I hope you’re right about Vargas.
But there have been many players who shine in the minors and fail in the majors.
If Vargas got called up early and put up absolutely identical numbers to Outman’s ’23 campaign, would you put Miguelito in a platoon?
Jeff just wrote about how some high draft picks don’t pan out.
My son has become a big Mickey Moniak fan. He was the No. ! overall draft pick in 2016 and finally had his breakout with the Angels in ’23.
Just for fun, we were looking at the 2016 draft to see who was selected behind Moniak. Some familiar names, but the most successful was clearly the 32nd pick: Will Smith by the Dodgers. (Lux was the 20th pick.)

Dionysus

20 starts is the magic number.

Oldbear48

Jorge Polanco traded to the Twins, one of the players headed to Minnesota is recently signed Anthony DeSclafani.

Mark Timmons

Just say no to Jansen and Clase. Say hello to Brasier and Kike. Let it shake out this Spring. Kike wants to be a Dodger and he can play anywhere. Rojas or Margot are expendable… trades can be made during the Spring.

I think the Dodgers would be a better team with Kike and Vargas and jettison Margot and Rojas. Both are tradable.

Last edited 28 days ago by Mark Timmons
Duke Not Snider

You’d rather have Vargas ride the bench than play every day in OKC?

Badger

That’s the question I had when I read his projections on the previous thread. How does he get the at bats in this lineup?

How does Kiké fit? Rojas is 1.8 dWAR bench player that is a fit. So is Taylor. Margot? Robbie yes. Manuel? Nope. His trade value according to the simulator is quite low. His composite projections have him at .713 OPS. Vargas’ composite is .762.

Fangraphs depth chart has Vargas first man up on the AAA ladder. He’s 24, has an option left, so I guess stashing him there early would be a remedy. Personally I don’t like it but Friedman isn’t calling me for advice.

Last edited 28 days ago by Badger
Duke Not Snider

I told AF that Kike fits just fine if Margot goes.
Margot is a good outfielder. At the very least, he could be traded for a prospect.
But Kike can play everywhere. He is popular with teammates and fans.
Against lefties, the Dodgers could have Taylor play RF and Kike spell Max at 3B. (I hope Max starts hitting lefties again, but he was really pretty bad in ’23.)
And Kike might be a good late-inning defensive replacement for Max too.
I would hold on to Rojas at least until we know that Lux is OK at SS.
If not, perhaps Adames will be available at midseason…

Mark Timmons

They can find some ABs for him. If he’s healthy, he will hit.

I think the Dodgers should rest their older players more this season.

When Freddie rests, Vargas can play 1B.
Mookie will occasionally play RF, when he does, Miggy can play 2B
Against tough LHP, Vargas can play 3B.
When Teo rests, Miggy can play LF.

I believe his bat will play at the MLB level.

Last edited 28 days ago by Mark Timmons
Badger

Rest. Good point.

Maybe it will work. I’d prefer he was given one position to focus on, but that ain’t happening this year.

Duke Not Snider

Oh, those guys aren’t that old.
Freddie doesn’t like to take days off. And that’s great! (I expect Freddie to sign an extension and play to age 40.)
Mookie says there’s loves there’s less wear and tear at 2B. He is expected to get more starts, not less–and he could contend for a Gold Glove.
If Max gets hurt, Vargas could get an opportunity.
That’s why he should get a lot of reps at 3B in OKC while he hits .400 and forces his way back to the bigs.

Mark Timmons

They are not that old, but I think you will see them rest more this year with an eye to being fresher at the end.

Duke Not Snider

Angels just made a smart move signing OF Aaron Hicks for the minimum. It was a bit like the Dodgers getting Heyward for the minimum, because another team — the Yankees in Hicks’s case—is paying the bulk of his salary.
This probably means nada for the Dodgers, unless the brass think they can fix whatever is wrong with Jo Adell. Huge talent and huge disappointment with the Angels. But he might come cheap.
IIRC, Hicks was dfa’d by the Yankees, got picked up by the Orioles and played well. A lot decent FAs still out there.

Badger

Adell. 60 FV. 70 raw power. The Angels are going nowhere, why not leave him out and let him figure it out?

Mark Timmons

I have heard that his biggest problem is that he is an A-hole. sort of like Alex Verdugo on steroids.

Last edited 28 days ago by Mark Timmons
Mark Timmons

I didn’t have much time yesterday, but, Like Jeff, I also see a large number of high-quality prospects poking their heads up.

Of course, we all know about Rushing, Stone, Pages, Frasso, Ryan, and Cartaya. Not all will make it, but there will likely be a few solid MLB players in this bunch.

Kyle Hurt and Ronan Kopp have the potential to be a Killer L-R Duo out of the pen. I am sure the Indians would want one (or both), plus other prospects for Clase. The fact is, one or both could be better.

Landon Knack is a #4 or #5, but he is ready if he has kept up his fitness and diet, he is ready.

Yenier Fernandez has the looks of a nice backup catcher who can also play 2B and 3B… maybe LF—definitely not a star, but a solid cog in a wheel. I also put Sweeney, Gauthier, and Freeland in that same category: Utilitymen. The Dodgers moved Leonard and Vivas to make room for these.

Then we have the guys that are very tantalizing, like DePaula, Ferris, Bruns, Liranzo, Gelof, Newell, Munoz, J Vargas, Martin, and Morales. I would not be surprised if one or two of that group became stars.

To me, Kendall George is Juan Pierre. Will he ever be an MLB player? I have no opinion. They don’t value his stock as highly these days.

There are many more arms, such as Wrobleski, Casparius, Varland, Huebeck, and even Rooney, who may need a tweak here or there and be ready… or they may crash and burn.

I had a scout tell me recently that the Dodgers have players that are not in the Top 30 who would be in some teams’ Top 10. That’s how deep the system is. There may not be a ton of stars, but there is a lot of depth, and the stars can be bought!

Last edited 28 days ago by Mark Timmons
Mark Timmons

R.I.P. Jimy Williams

Bluto

fun with letters in names!

Jimy vs. Jimmy
Lilly vs. Lily
Greg vs. Gregg
i could go on.

Mark Timmons

Marc vs. Mark
Jon vs. John
Bluto vs. Popeye

Bluto

I like the double letter discrepencies.

Badger

“That’s how deep the system is. There may not be a ton of stars, but there is a lot of depth”

I keep hearing that but the updated rankings will surely say something different.

We now have 2 prospects in the Top 100. The Padres have 5, Rockies have 4, giants have 4, dbacks 3, Pirates 5, Brewers 4, Reds 5 the Cubs 7. That’s just the National League.

I know the Dodgers can afford free agents and boy howdy is that a luxury. And I am sure there will be a number of serviceable ML players that are coming in the distant swells a few years out. Notice I didn’t call them waves.

Each year I look at the evaluations, and the play when it’s available, and try to figure out who is ready now. Last year it was definitely Miller and Pepiot, probably Outman, and hopefully Vargas and/or Busch. I was very impressed with Quadzilla and he was actually down the prospect ranking list. Who is it this year? Iontknow. Frasso and Hurt? Stone and Freehan?

ST is always fun to watch and I’ll have whatever they’re sharing on SNLA. I do miss going to the back fields but Glendale is no longer a 2 hour drive for me.

Last edited 27 days ago by Badger
Duke Not Snider

Justin Turner to the Blue Jays!
From mlb.com:
TORONTO — The Blue Jays have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Justin Turner, a source told MLB Network insider Jon Paul Morosi on Tuesday, to bring one of baseball’s most reliable veterans to Toronto.
The club has not confirmed the deal, which – when finalized – is expected to be for $13 million with $1.5 million in roster and performance bonuses.

Well, good for JT.
I’m surprised that JD Martinez and Jorge Soler are still unsigned. Are they asking for too much?

Mark Timmons

Houston Mitchell’s Newsletter finally spells out how Paul DePodesta blew it on Adrian Beltre. Damn You, DePo!

Beltré was a free agent after the season and had mentioned numerous times that he wanted to return. To find out why he didn’t, let’s turn back the clock to a story written by former Times Dodgers reporter Andy McCullough in 2018. Here are some key quotes:

The Dodgers owner at the time was Frank McCourt. The GM was Paul DePodesta.

Beltré: “I think it was more the GM than anything. It was a mistake on my part to show it too much, that I wanted to stay back then. They wanted to use that against me in the negotiation.

When the offseason began, Beltré hoped for a deal that lasted three or four seasons worth $8 million a year. He and his agent, Scott Boras, met with DePodesta and McCourt.

Beltré: “The conversation went well. The owner said, ‘Make sure you sign him.’ That was early November, I think, and after that I didn’t hear from them until late December. I think the GM tried to use the knowledge that he had against me.”

The Seattle Mariners offered Beltré a five-year, $64-million contract.

The Dodgers’ offer? Beltré: “The offer was half the years and very much half the money. As much as I liked L.A., as much as I wanted to stay there, I couldn’t do that.”

In January 2005, Shawn Green agreed to waive his no-trade clause and let the Dodgers trade him to Arizona.

Green: “Had they kept Adrián, I think I would have rejected a trade.”

Beltré: “I wanted to stay there forever. But it didn’t happen. But I don’t regret any move that I’ve made my career. Everything happened for a reason.”

Last edited 27 days ago by Mark Timmons
dodgerpatch

I think Seattle just simply outbid the Dodgers. Maybe DePodesta tried to get too cute with using leverage in the negotiations, but, in the end, Seattle gave him 4.4 mil more AAV and two more years than he was even asking.

It would’ve been nice to have him, but I still think he roided up in his contract year to get that payday. Paul LoDuca was his teammate. Weren’t there rumors about him being a total doper (and overall not great person)? This was still in the Bonds era.

We can look back now, since he’s a likely HOFer, with regret and blame DePodesta for letting him get away, but I remember thinking that the Dodgers dodged a bullet financially when I saw how he performed in Seattle. That 48 home run season is still a little fishy to me.

Last edited 27 days ago by dodgerpatch
Oldbear48

Not likely, he is a Hall of Famer, was elected last week. And don’t accuse someone of roiding up unless you have proof. He has never been mentioned in any PED conversation, so I call pure BS.

Mark Timmons

What Bear said.

I read that on blogs, but nobody in the game believes it.

dodgerpatch

Back when I used to listen to sports radio, I think I heard one guy bring it up. I think it may have been Max Kellerman.

Still, even obnoxious sport radio guys who are under pressure to come up with “hot takes” can’t just say that kind of stuff if there actually is no evidence. There are defamation laws (and the bar to prove defamation is apparently pretty low these days).

Mark Timmons

It depends upon who you are!

dodgerpatch

It might not be likely. There’s certainly no proof, but the thought crossed my mind back in 2004. Does that 48 home run season not stand out like a sore thumb when looking at this career stats?

I don’t have to have proof to have an opinion or to speculate. It’s what we do here every day – speculate and have opinions. Am I not allowed?

Here’s more speculation: If Safeco Field kills hitting that much – and Beltre didn’t start being HOFer Beltre until he got out of Seattle – then maybe Teoscar Hernandez hits a ton this year at Dodger stadium.

Oldbear48

There were lots of guys in that era who had that one big homer year. Luis Gonzalez hit 57 in 2001. But no one has ever accused him of being roided up. He had hit more than 30 only once in his entire career and never came close to that number again. Speculation and opinions are fine, but you said you think he roided up. I stand by what I said, no proof, it is better not to speculate that he did. Thoughts that cross our minds do not make it so. Had there been any proof, he would not have made it into the Hall on the first ballot.

Last edited 27 days ago by Oldbear48
dodgerpatch

Gonzalez? Just looked at his stats. His highest HR total for any one season through age 29 is 15. At 30 he then hit 23. After that he went on a tear where he was a home run hitting machine. This was in the late 90s/early 00s.

You don’t even have a suspicion that he was enhanced? So about the time most players start to decline, he suddenly transformed from a mediocre player into a superstar?

I have suspicions about most players in that era. Steroids were rampant. It’s a big reason why I stopped being a baseball fan in that time. I grew up watching pitching duels and clutch hitting. McGwire and Sosa was just ridiculous and turned baseball into a videogame. It was more like professional wrestling. Fake.

The only superstar player during that time I don’t think was a doper was Ken Griffey Jr.

Last edited 27 days ago by dodgerpatch
Mark Timmons

EXACTLY!

Badger

This old argument again? We went round and round about this then and you only believed that one source.

Bora$$. I don’t believe a word that guys says

The Mariners offered Beltre a five-year, $64-million contract. The Dodgers eventually countered with a six-year, $60-million deal, The Times reported.
The LA Times. I believe them.

I think I’m with patch on this one. Beltre wasn’t all that in Seattle and he only led the league in home runs once, that contract year in LA. He made the HOF because he was very good for 21 years.

Beltre made his own bed in Seattle. McCourt and DePodesta were disastrous that’s true, but the offer for a guy with one good year was fair.

Last edited 27 days ago by Badger
Mark Timmons

Well, you are going to believe what you want, and I can’t stop you, but I can point out that Adrian Beltre said this:

“The offer was half the years and very much half the money. As much as I liked L.A., as much as I wanted to stay there, I couldn’t do that.”

You have to assume a lot of facts not in evidence. I believe Beltre over the LA Slimes.

BTW, Houston Mitchell works for the LA Times.

In 2023, the LA Times wrote this: “Beltré told The Times in 2018 that he made a tactical mistake during negotiations with the Dodgers after his landmark 2004 season. He said the Dodgers offered him only a three-year contract for about half the $64 million he received from the Mariners over six years.”

So, I guess you just pick and choose what Times article you want to believe.

Last edited 27 days ago by Mark Timmons
Badger

I believe this:

“Free agent Adrian Beltre, the Dodger third baseman since 1998, signed a five-year contract for $64 million with the Seattle Mariners, spurning a Dodger offer of six years for $60 million, plus an option that would have pushed the overall value beyond what the Mariners gave him.”

I read that at the time and I just figured DePodesta and Bora$$ clashed horns and Beltré probably believed what his agent told him.

The one that got away was never that good (1.017 OPS) ever again. I was far more upset when they let Piazza get away.

dodgerpatch

Had he taken that Dodger contract, chances are he would’ve had better career, if you can believe that. His years in Seattle weren’t HOF material. He turned it around when he got to Boston/Texas. Had he stayed in LA I think he would’ve been better than in Seattle.

Badger

I agree with that. Seattle was not a great place to build stats. He went for the money.

Bumsrap

Wow. Maybe you could sleep on the other side of your bed so you can get up on that new side.

Oldbear48

To me, it is irresponsible to accuse someone without proof. So, no, I do not believe Gonzalez roided up. Gut looked like a toothpick. Beltre never looked different physically either. So until someone shows me physical proof that they did it, they get the benefit of the doubt. Innocent until proven guilty. Not the other way around.
If that bothers you, well so be it. I am not buying your theory that they did it just because you think so.

Last edited 27 days ago by Oldbear48
Mark Timmons

While 2004 was Beltre’s best year, he had some very good years after that as well. He finished in the TOP 15 in MVP Voting 7 more times.

Last edited 27 days ago by Mark Timmons
dodgerpatch

You keep using the word “proof.”

PED use was epidemic during that time period. For every A-Rod and McGwire who tearfully admitted in sworn testimony that they used, there were many more lower tier players who weren’t subpoenaed who were doing the same thing to get the same competitive advantage. You have to remember, there was no testing back then. It was the wild west. Most slipped through the cracks.

I’m not even sure Bonds tested positive for anything. I think it was just testimony from second and third hand witnesses, though I could be wrong. So there’s no “proof” that Bonds doped, but I’m sure his head getting bigger and his feet growing a couple of shoe sizes in his late 30s was totally natural.

You think Gagne was natty?

The whole game was compromised, in my opinion. In fact, I’m a good example why it’s important to stamp out PED use, cheating with trash cans or gambling in the 20s. I stopped being a fan. As soon as the common fan begins to doubt that what they’re seeing is genuine, they lose interest. People don’t like being lied to and manipulated.

I’m a baseball fan, but I was also a huge professional cycling fan. Lance Armstrong was my idol. To claim his innocence against the persistent doping rumors he used to cite over and over the fact that he was the most tested athlete in the world … and he was right. He was the most tested athlete. It turns out, as we all now know, he was also a total doper. He’s the guy who was disgraced, but a huge swathe of the peloton was doping during that era. He’s the guy we know about. The phenomenon was similar to baseball during that time.

So, if I see a player like Gonzalez during that era defy the inviolable laws of getting old and suddenly become a star, I’m not buying it. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Last edited 27 days ago by dodgerpatch
Mark Timmons

What made Lance Armstrong so reprehensible was not just his doping, but rather his attempts at destroying all those who attempted to discredit him.

OhioDodger

Same with Ryan Braun. A true low life.

Last edited 27 days ago by OhioDodger
dodgerpatch

Yup. He was terrible. He’s a narcissist with a chip on his shoulder. It’s what drove him and made him successful as an athlete, but it made him pretty unsuccessful as a person.

I still enjoy listening to him on podcasts. He’s a smart and insightful guy – and he has done good things (charitable foundations and helping his old rival, Ulrich, who has fallen on hard times) – but he has character flaws for sure.

Cassidy

Don’t we all!

Oldbear48

Yes, some more than others.

Mark Timmons

When Eric Gagne wrote his autobiography, the former closer calls most of his former Dodgers teammates cheaters by estimating that a whopping 80 percent of them used human growth hormone.

Here’s what Adrian Beltre said:

“He should have named names. I don’t know what you want me to tell you … For him to say something like that, he should have come out with names instead of a percentage.”

Mark Timmons

Here’s another article by Paul Oberjuerge, who in 2017 recounted why Beltre Signed with Seattle:

Why Wasn’t Adrian Beltre a Dodger For Life?

Beltre was paid $5 million in 2004, and he clearly was going to get a big raise. The question was: From whom?

It turned out, it was the Seattle Mariners, who signed him to a five-year, $64 million deal.

How did Beltre get away from Los Angeles? How did the Dodgers lose the main man in 2004’s 93-69, first-in-the-NL-West team?

–One explanation proffered has been that McCourt was keen to see the Dodgers, through DePodesta, tamp down the amount of money spent on players. Like Billy Beane did (and does) in Oakland.

(Now, of course, the Athletics and Dodgers are apples and watermelons, when it comes to resources. The Dodgers dominate the second-biggest market in baseball. They are a money machine, as opposed to the A’s. The Dodgers should always be able to pay something close to top dollar, but this was, allegedly, the height of the period when McCourt thought payroll could be contained.)

So, the Dodgers reportedly offered Beltre (through his agent, the Machiavellian Scott Boros) $30 million for three years. Boros laughed off the lowball offer and took the $64 million deal with the Mariners.

—-A second explanation was that DePodesta, the numbers guy, was simply not convinced that the 2004 Beltre was really him. And looking back to the three years before, Beltre’s OBP numbers were modest-to-awful — .290 and .303 and .310. (OBP matters, in advanced analysis.)

After Beltre left, DePodesta signed free agents J.D. Drew (five years, $55 million), Jeff Kent (three for $21 million and pitcher Derek Lowe (four for $36 million). To be fair, most Dodgers fans and journalists figured the 2005 club was better off with those three (or any two of them) instead of Beltre.

–A third explanation, and it might travel in conjunction with the previous two, was the Dodgers’ concern about the possibility that Beltre had used performance-enhancing drugs in his “contract” year.

We must concede that 2004 was part of baseball’s Steroids Era. Before 2004, baseball had almost no levels of punishment for players who failed tests, and tests didn’t seem to catch anyone, anyway.

Dodgers officials were talking about it, wondering what their players were doing, and perhaps not really clear how serious it was.

In December of 2007, the Mitchell Report into PED abuse in baseball was published, and it suggested strongly that the Dodgers clubhouse had a major problem with PED abuse and that club officials had been suspicious about it in the 2003, 2004 time frame. Several prominent Dodgers players from that time — Beltre’s teammates — were named in the report, including catchers Paul Lo Duca and Todd Hundley and pitchers Eric Gagne and Kevin Brown.

The Dodgers were “deeply implicated“, wrote the Los Angeles Times, adding: “The report shows that unnamed Dodgers officials had been highly suspicious, if not plainly aware, that steroids had become part of the Dodgers training regimen, at least where certain players were concerned.”

LoDuca, LAT wrote, had been “portrayed as both consumer and conduit of the drugs, the happy-to-oblige middleman between teammates and Kirk Radomski, a onetime New York Mets clubhouse worker and admitted steroid pusher”.

In 2012, in a memoir, Gagne wrote that “80 percent” of the Dodgers during the 2003/04 time frame were using PEDs. He did not name names.

Last edited 27 days ago by Mark Timmons
Mark Timmons

I am sure many people do not want to be confused by all the different possibilities. I think we may find out the truth about all of this in the near future.

Last edited 27 days ago by Mark Timmons
dodgerpatch

Wow! Yeah, I thought I had heard rumors about LoDuca being the drug pusher. So I’m not crazy after all, or got up on the wrong side of the bed.

“80 percent” … the Dodgers at that time were “deeply implicated” in PED abuse.

Honestly, I don’t think the world will ever know if Beltre’s last Dodger season was artificially enhanced. He’s a HOFer already, and baseball has already moved on from that spectacle.

But based on the circumstantial evidence: the “80 percent” drug use in the Dodger clubhouse during that time, that weirdly anomalous jump in offensive production during his last year – a contract year no less -, I will always have my doubts about that performance.

Last edited 27 days ago by dodgerpatch
OhioDodger

McCourt had to lower payroll so there would be more money available for him and his wife to live the high life. Truly dark days in Dodger history.

Last edited 27 days ago by OhioDodger
Oldbear48

You do not attack a person’s character without proof. People’s lives are ruined. Just because PED’s were widely used doesn’t mean that every player was using them. Especially players who were never even mentioned. I am sorry you quit liking baseball because of that. You have your opinion of the era and I have mine. There could be several reasons why a person has that once in a lifetime season. Was Maris doping when he hit 61? He had never come close to that number in his career. But in the 61 season, the pitching was watered down because of the expansion. Yes, proof, otherwise it is all heresay, and that is not admissible in court.

Last edited 27 days ago by Oldbear48
dodgerpatch

??

I’m not a lawyer and I’m not trying win a court case.

I’m just a baseball fan. Good grief! LOL.

I think Beltre’s life is going to be just fine in spite of my lowly opinion on some blog.

I didn’t attack his character. I didn’t ruin his life. I never said every single player was on PEDs.

Actually, your Maris analogy undermines your argument. You concede that Maris (and Mickey Mantle) had an anomalous jump in power, not because of randomness, but because of a very specific reason.

Within the context of the circumstantial environment in which he was playing, I would speculate that Beltre’s unusual jump in offensive production was possibly, if not likely, the result of a very specific reason, too.

From the Times article. Ouch!

Perhaps no team comes off worse in the 409-page report than the Dodgers, who are portrayed as nearly top-to-bottom complicit in the steroid culture from roughly 1999 through 2004. The depiction features bundles of cash, one dropped on a front stoop in the rain, a Gagne query on proper injection technique and sober front-office musings on the link between a player’s muscle growth and use of the “stuff” and “meds.”

Last edited 27 days ago by dodgerpatch
dodgerpatch

I was going to mention Anderson. A leadoff hitter who went from hitting homers in the teens to over 50 in one year. That’s about the time when I began to suspect that something was off about baseball and began to check out.

I remember Brian Downing of the Angels was a body builder. Had a pretty huge physique and these big, giant arms. Didn’t necessarily translate to huge home run totals. Muscle mass helps, but reaction time and specifically training for quick, explosive power helps more … as well as the enhanced ability to recover faster and train harder.

It wasn’t all about the roids. I was just a huge fan when I was a teenager in the 80s, and then into young adulthood lost interest. Began to pay attention again around 2011 or 2012 then the Guggenhiem group bought the team. I thought the Dodgers were on the right track and things looked hopeful.

I remember reading about Doc Ellis, who threw a no hitter while tripping on acid. Good times.

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Last edited 27 days ago by dodgerpatch
Mark Timmons

It was reported on MLB Radio last week that while they did not own the majority of the stock they had 70% of the Operating Control.

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