This particular question has been asked many times since the end of last season to now. On paper, the Padres seem to have a slight edge and have been considered by many of the baseball writers as the team to beat.
So far, the Padres have not been hitting on all cylinders. Then again neither have the Dodgers. Injuries have hit the pitching staff and the expected starting SS, Gavin Lux, went down in spring training for the year. They have 3 rookie position players on the roster right now, and have had two rookies pitch games so far.
Michael Grove was the first choice after Pepiot went down with an injury, then Grove was struck down. Gonsolin only just recently returned to the rotation, and Tuesday night, Noah Syndergaard was pulled after one inning with what looked like a really bad blister.
There have been several players this season who have left the team due to paternity leave. Seems they all had the same idea nine months ago. Ferguson is the latest dad to be.
But for now, the search will be on for a fifth starter. Will they bring Gavin Stone back? Highly possible. No pitcher at AAA is really lighting it up down there. Two of the starters at OKC are veteran’s in their 30’s so there is not much chance they will be called up. The bullpen has turned it’s act around and pitched well except for a hiccup in Monday’s opener.
Wander Suero has most likely pitched his way right off of the roster. One reliever who could get a shot is Bryan Hudson. He is 2-0 with a 2.20 ERA in 14 games. But I think and believe they are waiting on Daniel Hudson and Reyes. Both have a ton of experience in the majors.
As for the offense, Freeman and Betts have yet to be the players they usually are. But both have shown flashes of the All-Stars they are. Will Smith has proved once again that he is one of the best catchers in the major leagues. Max Muncy has been ill the last several days and his BA has suffered accordingly. But he leads the team in homers and RBI’s.
Jason Heyward has been steady in the field, and has started to hit with some power and consistency. David Peralta has hit the ball on the nose a lot but has little to show for it. Trayce Thompson has been disappointing. He had one outstanding game, and has struggled since. CT3 has seemingly gotten healthier and his at bats have gotten much better lately.
The rookies, Outman, Vargas, and Busch have all made a contribution at some point. Outman and Vargas have provided high OPS numbers. Busch has had limited opportunities, but got a huge RBI hit in the final game of the Padre series. Austin Barnes has looked awful at the plate.
Will they go for a big trade at the deadline? It all depends I think on where they are at the time, injuries, and who is available.
If there is a real difference maker on the market, I believe they have as much chance to land said player as any other team. Freidman is not afraid to trade his prospect collateral. But he is not frivolous either.
If the Dodgers are to win the west, they will have to improve in several areas of their game. The defense has been decent, but costly errors have extended innings in a few of their losses. Inconsistent offense has been another problem.
Their overall team batting average is not good. They are dead last in the NL. Conversely, they lead the NL in homers, RBI’s, runs, and walks. They are second in OPS. Their run differential is plus 41. But they have the 6th best ERA in the NL at 4.18. Clearly, that needs to be better as does the BA.
Will they go with minor leaguers to fill the gaps, or will they go for the trade? Remains to be seen, and July cannot get here soon enough for some.
Will they win the division? Ha! I’m not going there. If they continue to play the way they have been of late, probably. Too many variables and too early to tell, plus the Padres are certainly not playing up to the level that many thought they would be playing on. Still, they seem to be the team to beat and with the next series against them, we will see if we can gain more separation in the standings. Even without playing, they gained more separation today with losses by Az & Pads. Pitching will remain a concern. Even Gonsolin has not regained his earlier form yet and we don’t know how Grove and stone will fare. A work in progress, as they say. Their batting can squeak by with a little help from their vets, but the rookies are sure adding to the team and it’s exciting watching them rise.
I believe they need to add an impact LF or SS to be complete.
I’m more concerned about starting pitching.
I’m more concerned about Friedbrain penny-pinching and doing nothing over the off-season to fill the major holes we have.
Careful or he’ll splurge and get another Peralta.
I am still not sure which FA you are referring to that he penny pinched for. The Dodgers have a $250MM payroll. Not an insignificant payroll.
$340MM did not get Trea Turner signed in San Diego. $400MM did not get Judge signed in San Diego. San Diego spent at least $50MM more for Bogaerts. Two significant teams passed on Carlos Correa’s injury concern. He is batting sub-Mendoza with Minnesota. 79 OPS+ – .191/.272/.374/.646.
Aaron Judge – 9 years $360MM at 31 years old. He has already been on the IL once this year with a hip injury. Not quite the All World he was last year.
Carlos Rodón – 6 years $162MM for an oft injured pitcher who is injured again this year and now down again with a chronic back injury. He has not pitched an inning for NYY, and the earliest he will is in July. How long before that chronic back injury goes out again?
Trea Turner OPS + of 97 – .261/.305/.408/.713. He was not going to sign with the Dodgers. He would have been happy for them to push the bidding up, but he was signing with an east coast team. He had his good friend Bryce Harper in his ear all season.
Swanson 7 years $177MM. 2 more years and $50MM more than Atlanta’s best offer (reportedly). He was always going to sign with Chicago Cubs if not Atlanta. His wife has a lot more pull than AF.
San Diego was not about to lose Bogaerts after missing on Judge and Turner. 11 years $285MM at 30 years old. How is that going to age out. That was more than $100MM than Boston’s best offer, and at least $70MM over the next in line.
Jacob deGrom – 5 years $185MM – Last time he pitched as a rotation regular was 2019. He has been less than 100 IP since then. And he is out again with forearm tightness and elbow inflammation. That was not a smart investment.
Brandon Nimmo was not leaving NYM He told Boras that is where he wanted to be. Once they hit $162MM the negotiation stopped. Should AF have committed more than $200MM to sway him to LA?
Turner did not want to discuss extension (he knew where he wanted to be). The year before, Corey Seager was offered an extension of $250MM for 8 years that he rejected. He signed a 10 year $325MM after the season. He has 39 AB this year. He has started his rehab assignment with Frisco (Texas League – AA). What are the odds that Seager goes an entire season without a significant stint on the IL.
I do not think the Dodgers are overjoyed at the return on Mookie Betts’ 12 year $365MM extension.
Those were the $100MM + superstars AF missed on.
Justin Verlander – 2 years $86.67MM at 40 years old. 12.0 IP this year.
You think AF penny pinched the off-season. Who do you think he should have signed?
I have been somewhat disappointed with Mookie’s performance thus far.
Maybe we should trade Bobby Miller while his value is high. Shop around a Miller & Cartaya package [which really wouldn’t decimate our system] for the best return.
I am actually down with that idea. But, Cartaya needs to take it up a notch so he has some value. He is not doing well at all. I think Rushing is a much more viable MLB prospect.
Thank you. I never would’ve thought so before this season. But with our AA rotation looking so good and, as you say, Rushing looking incredible, why not?
Cartaya is still valued very highly. Although he has never been untouchable for me, and Rushing is probably a better overall hitter than Cartaya. Cartaya has an edge (slight) in power, but not in hit skills. I believe in competition. Move Rushing to AA and let them fight it out. I do not think either one of the catchers is GG worthy.
RHP and catching are the two strengths of the Dodgers. Of course utility players are the third strength. If the return improves the current LAD roster, I do believe AF would make a deal. Lucas Giolito and Tim Anderson are a step below Scherzer and Turner, and Miller and Cartaya are probably comparable to JoJo Gray and Keibert Ruiz in total. But I think they could get something done with that as a starting point. I think a lot will depend as to where AF/BG actually see Lux playing next year.
Anderson has a $14MM club option for 2024 that would be exercised. I think his personality could help the LAD dugout. Not quite at the Tatis level, but also not at the CT3/Austin Barnes/Trayce Thompson/Max Muncy stoic personalities. I think Anderson and Tatis could be a show in itself. Anderson is 7 days older than Trea Turner.
Lucas Giolito is a local kid who might be easier to extend once he gets in LA. He and his wife are High School sweethearts (Harvard-Westlake). If AF considers Giolito for FA, he should consider trading for him in July and then extend if he can.
Gray/Ruiz package is excellent comp although Miller/Cartaya is arguably better [if a bit further away from majors].
I think we maybe get the CWS to throw in a reliever too on top of those two guys.
Teams seem to match up.
Personally, I doubt AF would trade both guys though. Would be slightly out of character.
How is it out of character when you are comparing it to a trade he already made?
At this very moment, a Cartaya/Miller package probably has less value than it ever has.
That said, you might well be able to get a Giolito/Anderson package for them but I doubt AF would do that.
Giolito is having a decent year but nothing spectacular and is a FA this winter.
Anderson is constantly injured and the little he has played this year has led to mediocre results. He does have a team option for next year but I’m not sure that AF would want to throw his personality into the middle of the current Dodger clubhouse.
I doubt that AF would do it either, but I am not against it as much as you may be. At the earliest, Cartaya will reach MLB by 2025. Ruiz was far more advanced at a younger age than Cartaya. Ruiz reached AA at 19 and MLB at 21. He is the 24 year old regular catcher for Washington Nationals. Cartaya is struggling at AA.
At 25, Josiah Gray is the #1 pitcher for Washington and has a sub 3.00 ERA thus far. He will probably not stay sub 3.00, but he is certainly an established MLB starter. If you eliminate his Game 1 in 2023, his ERA is 2.21. Bobby Miller has had games where he dominated, but stringing them together has never happened. Certainly not like Gavin Stone did last year. Not like Nick Frasso, Landon Knack, Emmet Sheehan this year. Of course Bobby Miller has a good arm, but when will he become a pitcher over thrower? He had a shoulder issue this Spring. Has it fully recovered? Will Miller do next year what Gray is doing this year? If I were a betting person, I would say NO. As many of you may remember at the 2020 draft, the biggest concern was that Bobby Miller was predicted to be a late inning reliever, but that he could not sustain his pitchers over multiple games. He did not yet get the LAD development, so he has grown considerably since then. But let’s not think he is the next Clayton Kershaw.
I am not sure why people are against Anderson. He has never been considered to be a bad apple. He is not Manny Machado. The last time there was life in the dugout was with Kike’ Hernandez and Joc. They last played for LAD 2020 WS Game 6. They were also with them in 2017 and 2018, their other WS years. In 2022, they played like their sphincter muscles were shut tight in the NLDS. Who played loosey goosey? Not the Dodgers.
Giolito is a rental (like Scherzer) and Anderson is controlled for another year (like Turner). Many think that Miller and Cartaya are better prospects than Gray and Ruiz. I am not convinced that the delta between the duos is that great.
I don’t have a problem with trading Cartaya and/ or Miller. Just think we could get more than Giolito/Anderson, especially if our guys get themselves untracked by the deadline.
Not only do we have Rushing but also Yeiner Fernandez who is showing some real promise.
I don’t trade our highest rated pitching prospect. I don’t trade Cartaya either, unless it’s in a Scherzer/Turner deal. Trading both is out of the question for me.
We are in first place, on pace for 100 wins and doing it with the team running on 6 cylinders. Why are we talking about changes in mid May?
The only problem I see is Thompson and we have the luxury of being patient with him. If he still sucks in July, then lose him. What might chine that is if all of a sudden things cave in. I don’t see that happening.
Good article Bear!
A lot of season left, but so far the Dodgers have overcome several injuries and have managed to lead the division. If JDM can return to form, they have 9 solid position players over 750 OPS and 7 players over 800 OPS. Plus players like Peralta, Busch, Rojas, and Barnes have potential to hit and/or provide defensive value.
In terms of pitching, the starters have been good with the exception of Thor and there is potential to get several options back like Pepiot, Grove, Stone, and maybe even Buehler for the playoffs.
In order to hold off the Padres, it may take a midseason trade for a RHB and some pitching, but the farm system is full of prospects. One series at a time, starting tonight!
Agree with everything here.
Every once and a while somebody throws Kris Bryant’s name out there as a possible acquisition target.
Here’s a good read to hopefully inform before it happens again:
Not me. I have never wanted him.
Not even for Muncy?
Not even for Muncy. I’m always looking for a younger player. Gleyber barely squeezes in at age 26.
Not even for Taylor!
For the month of May, there is an awful lot of movement going on in the majors. Rays claimed Littell today. All sorts of players coming and going.
Lots of trade talk.
I prefer Lux at second over Vargas.
I prefer Gleyber Torres at third over Muncy.
I like Betts at short.
I like KC’s Bobby Witt Jr at short.
Freeman, Lux, Gleyber, Witt would be a nice infield.
Freeman, Lux, Smith, Betts as the infield works for me.
With that kind of pitching, it’s not a bad team at all.