Positional Preview 2018- Third Base (The Red Dream)

Justin Turner slide

For our next positional preview we slide over to the hot corner. That’s where all-star Justin Turner lives. The Red bearded dreamster gave the Dodgers another MVP caliber season in 2017 and we can expect a similar campaign from the right handed hitting veteran. Turner is a holdover acquisition from the Ned Colletti era that literally went from rags to riches and morphed into one of the best third baseman in baseball.

His story is nothing short of incredible. He was a utility/bench player for the Mets when the Dodgers signed him before the 2014 season. He was expected to provide the Dodgers with insurance for second base and occasional playing time at third since the team had Juan Uribe entrenched at the position. Turner quickly established himself as one of the best hitters on the club having a fantastic 2014 season. Once Uribe was traded in 2015, Turner took over the everyday duties at third base. He’s been the Dodger’s top hitter ever since.

He’s not just the best hitter on the club, he’s been one of the best hitters in MLB and once again he “turned” in another sterling season for the Dodgers in 2017. The Dodgers rewarded him before the year started by signing the 33-year old to a team friendly 4-year 64 million dollar contract. So far Turner has lived up to every cent offered.

In 543 plate appearances in 2017 Turner slashed  .322/.415/.530 with 21 home runs and 71 runs batted in. Turner’s plate discipline was otherworldly as he drew 59 walks and struck out only 56 times last season. Turner’s line drive power bat posted a .945 OPS and 149 OPS+ leading t a very well-deserved all-star nod.

http://gty.im/869182452

If you don’t believe me about Turner being one of the best in the bigs, just take a look at his numbers. Out of all the third sackers in baseball he ranked first in wRC+ (151), first in batting (.322) first in OBP (.415), ninth in slugging (.530), and fifth in WAR (5.5) He also had the lowest strikeout rate (10.3%) of any third baseman in baseball. Not only does he get on base, hit for power, but he consistently makes contact, rarely striking out.

He hit .380 against left handers. He batted .325 at Dodger Stadium, and hit over .400 in two months (April, June) during the 17 season. He hit .300 with runners in scoring position and batted .348 on the first pitch of at-bats. Opposing pitchers should think twice before trying to groove a first pitch fastball by him.

Postseason

Turner had a terrific postseason culminating with him sharing the NLCS Co-MVP honors with Chris Taylor. Then he tailed off in the World Series probably due to a sore hand and tight calf suffered in the series against the Cubs. He slugged .444 (6 for 13) in the NLDS against Arizona and then followed that up by going 6 for 18 with 3 runs scored, two home runs and 7 runs driven during the NLCS. Turner batted .160 (4 for 25) with a home run in the World Series. There is no doubt in my mind that a healthy Turner wins the World Series for the Dodgers.

We already know that Turner is an excellent hitter, but some people don’t realize how great of a defensive player he is. He finished with a +4 total zone fielding runs above average rating and tallied six defensive runs saved. In 121 games at third base, he committed only eight errors. He tallied 130 games total and other than missing a couple of weeks with a bad hamstring, he was able to spend most of the season on the field. For a player his age, that’s pretty good.

http://gty.im/867646842

So Turner is awesome on both sides of the ball, but here’s the down side. The organizational depth at third base is so thin that it’s almost frightening. If anything were to happen to Turner in any way, or he were to be unable to play for any extended amount of time the Dodgers would be royally screwed. The options behind him are so unpalatable that it’s basically Turner or nothing. Let’s explore the dark side.

The Dodgers could always move Logan Forsythe over to third if need be, and we’ve already discussed this. However he didn’t hit much in 2017 and has limited experience (42 games in 2017) at third. Chase Utley is still a free agent, and Rob Segedin isn’t really much of an option. Enrique Hernandez could play there in an emergency as well but that’s not ideal. There is nobody in the minors that can step in and produce if Turner were to get hurt.

The Dodgers should get yet another all-star campaign from Justin Turner in 2018. He’s absolutely an indispensible part of the Dodger lineup because he’s their best all around pure hitter. He’s a great third baseman, team leader in the clubhouse and beloved by all fans. Just pray, and I mean get on your knees so you can pray to whatever god or deity that you believe in that he doesn’t get hurt. Because if he does, there’s not much talent behind him.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Former Co-editor of Lasorda's Lair. Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic Cheap MLB Tickets

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Yueh_Fei
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Yueh_Fei

The dark side … yes …..

Fear is the path to the dark side…fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering …

And Turner leads to Seager … explore this, we will, in 2019 … before then we must use the Force(sythe) ….

Badger
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Badger

If I get down on my knees it won’t be to pray for Justin Turner. Besides, God knows what he is doing. I’ll ask to accept my fate with a smile. That is the key to inner peace. 130 games. And that is if his legs hold up. You know what I’d like to see? A real vacuum at short, Seager at third, a centerfielder that can run down deer, Taylor at second and Turner getting 350 at bats for the next 5 years as our utility guy. Strong up the middle, power at the corners. Forsythe and Utley? That’s… Read more »

Michael N Norris
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Michael N Norris

If I got down on my knees it would take a crane to get me back up,,,,,they hurt that bad,……on the other hand, not sure prayer would help in this case……….A real MLB ready backup would be better.

MJ
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MJ

I only see Corey moving to third, if something happens in the middle of the season to Turner, like YF said. Because Corey rated second defensively, in the National League, according to the defensive metrics. And Corey wants to play shortstop, and he is a franchise type of player, so I don’t see Corey moving to third, for more then just a temporary thing, like YF said. But I agree with you that only God knows the highest good for all, so I leave everything to him. And even if Turner needs more rest then most on the team, he… Read more »

Badger
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Badger

Second best? By what measures? He’s good, no doubt, but defensively there are better. In MLB he is 9th in fldg %, 12th in RF, 5th in dWAR, 16th in assists. He’s also 12th in GS so maybe having him out on the field would help. For my money I want the guy that is Top 5 in assists and range. I see him at third unless we get Machado or Arenado. Arenado is a free agent in 2020. He’s from Orange County so maybe he wants to come home. Machado wants to play short, I might let him if… Read more »

MJ
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MJ

Badger

By Wilson, who also gave Puig the defensive award, in rightfield.

They used different defensive measures, I don’t remember them all, but it was a better measure, then they used, for the Gold Glove, unfortunately.

Because the Gold Glove is the first thing anyone thinks of, when it comes to defense.

Michael N Norris
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Michael N Norris

Turner has been great ever since he joined the team. He has been steady and a lot of fun to watch. No one could have guessed when he was signed that he would have back to back 20 plus homer seasons. He replaced Juan Uribe and has never looked back. But the years are starting to take their toll. Even with rest I expect some drop off in production. He is still the rock of the team, but as stated before, he needs rest and if anything happens to him, they do not have a suitable replacement. Edwin Rios was… Read more »

True Blue, Thru n Thru
Guest
True Blue, Thru n Thru

Damn I miss Culberson already! think of the option we would have had in the infield if the Idgits hadn’t given Culberson to the Braves. Damn I miss Culberson, really stupid move IMHO!

Badger
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Badger

Notta to worry True. I give you Rob Segedin, a Culberson clone. Guaranteed .230/.270/.325 slash line.

I know we have no infielders ML ready Michael. None for a contending team anyway. We’ve got middle infielders at every level (depth?). And I know we won’t move Seager this year. I’m looking ahead, when Turner says “no mas! Me duelan las rodillas!” I think this year’s team is pretty much set to go. Pitchers and catchers report in a few minutes – right?

MJ
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MJ

Well if anything happens this year, we could always trade for Josh Donaldson at the trade deadline, to play third, since this is his free agent year. He would probably cost a little less then Machado, and he is the type of player that Turner is. Because Donaldson was a late bloomer, and he is the type of player, that will do what ever he needs to do, to help his team win. I wouldn’t want to sign Machado to play short, he has had surgeries on both his knees, and he would have to move much more laterally, to… Read more »

Badger
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Badger

“Like Cleveland’s good shortstop”.

Yeah, like him.

I think we missed the boat when we didn’t pick up Simmons. I wanted THAT guy. We could have easily matched the Angels offer. I know I’m the only guy that wants to move Seager but I still believe SS is going to continue to be hard on him. He played 157 games in ‘16. He won’t do that again playing short.

Yeah, I like Arenado too. Who doesn’t. The Rockies will do everything they can to keep him. Machado will likely leave Balmore.

MJ
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MJ

Badger

I looked up what Simmons did last year, because I heard he had a better offensive year, but offensively he is not in Corey’s same class, right now.

He hit 275 and hit 14 HRs, but it seems like he should have more power, then he does.

I know you always wanted Turner to be your super sub, too.

Michael N Norris
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Michael N Norris

I liked Charlie a lot. He is what you call a gamer. Came to play and did a decent job. Dodgers did him a favor because he will see more time in the ATL.

Jeff
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Jeff

+1 True Blue. If there was any way not to include Culberson in that deal it would have made us much stronger.

Badger
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Badger

What am I missing? Culberson was a likable guy but his 5 year career -0.9 WAR suggest to me he is replaceable.

Michael N Norris
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Michael N Norris

Interesting write up on Dodgers Nation. Projecting the 2023 Dodger lineup using prospects. They use the scenario that by 2023 some of the present Dodgers will have left via free agency and trade. They also use a 1-5 scale as to the probability of this being the case with 5 the highest. So here goes…..C Ruiz, prob 5. They think he will be the starter by then. 1B Edwin Rios, prob 1. That is because Bellinger is under team control through 2013. 2B Gavin Lux, prob 3…..because of the amount of middle infielders the team has and the uncertainty at… Read more »

Badger
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Badger

What is the probability FAZ is still pulling the strings in ‘23?

Michael N Norris
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Michael N Norris

I wish they would have put that in there. Would have been interesting to see their take. Do they play it safe and not bash the FAZ, or do they go for both barrels blazing?

Bluto
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Bluto

Friedman alone or Friedman and Zaidi or Friedman, Zaidi, and company?

Low, nil and sub-nil in my opinion.

Bluto
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Bluto

Nobody asked, and I’m sure nobody cares, but I find that site not as well-written or enlightening as others…

ejg

Yueh_Fei
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Yueh_Fei

I didn’t ask but I agree with you Bluto.

Michael N Norris
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Michael N Norris

Nostler thinks the Dodgers should trade Buehler. Same guy who said trade Puig last year.

Bluto
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Bluto

I like his writing, don’t agree but like reading it.

Michael N Norris
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Michael N Norris

He pretty much sticks to his opinions. He writes well, but I am not in agreement with him either.

Yueh_Fei
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Yueh_Fei

I like Nosler, and I value his reporting on prospects. He’s not a good guy to evaluate trades however – not to me anyways. And I think sometimes he can’t think of stuff to write so he just throws an idea out there.

Yelich can be had for guys like Alvarez and May.

Michael N Norris
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Michael N Norris

I agree. I think they might want one of our OF prospects like DJ Peters or someone like that. For Yelich I make that deal in a heartbeat. Gives Dodgers and excellent outfield for at least the next 2 years and beyond.

MJ
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MJ

I read that article and I think it is crazy to trade your top pitching prospect, for a player like Yelich. Because we have such an abundance of good young outfielders, and one of those outfielders might eventually have the same skill sets, that Yelich has, after they get more experience. And I don’t think the Dodgers want to make another mistake on a top pitching prospect, based on their size. I didn’t see Chris Sale on that list of pitchers, but I could have missed him. But he has to be the slightest starter I see in the majors… Read more »

Michael N Norris
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Michael N Norris

Well Yelich is a proven player. A prospect is just that until he proves different. FAZ has traded Montas, Cotton, Deleon and Holmes for players far less talented and they were all at the top of the prospects list. Yeah, Buehler has credentials but has not done anything yet. I trade that guy for a team controlled CF who will be there a while. Maybe they could get him for a lower rated guy than Buehler like Alvarez and maybe one of the Dodgers OF prospects, of which there are many. But no deal has even been discussed so it… Read more »

MJ
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MJ

Michael

We don’t have a lot of possible number one pitchers, but we do have a lot of young outfielders, so why would anyone make that trade?

And we possibly have young outfielders, with his same skill set.

And not one of those pitching prospects you named, were ever considered a number one, and that is why they were traded!

Michael N Norris
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Michael N Norris

Once again MJ you totally miss the point, and where in the above post did I say that any one of those guys were a #1 prospect? All were rated high in the Dodger system. And yes, the Dodgers have a ton of outfield prospects, and I again say that a prospect is just that until he proves himself. Yelich is a proven player who can and has produced at the major league level. The last #1 pitching prospect in the Dodger system to become a #1 starter is Kershaw. And that is over 10 years now. How many home… Read more »

MJ
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MJ

Watford

They had an article in Think Blue LA, bout Hill this week.

I know he is your fav!

MJ
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MJ

Michael The last number one pitcher was Urias, and they didn’t trade him. You don’t trade a number one pitching prospect for an outfielder, especially when you have so many outfield prospects, because possible number one pitchers, don’t come around, that often. You may trade a number one pitching prospect and other prospects, for a pitcher like Sale, but not for an outfielder. And a top pitcher would do more to make the team better, then Yelich would. You can also make a better prediction with a college pitcher like Buehler was, then a pitcher, that was drafted out of… Read more »

Michael N Norris
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Michael N Norris

Urias is so far below a number one prospect. And I said the last #1 to become the ace…and that is Kershaw, and you show me a rule book where it says you do not trade pitchers for outfielders. And you said it in the last line….a POSSIBLE number one. The guy has not proved anything. Give me a proven major league hitter over a guy I am going to use once every 5 days any time. I make that trade, you would not…I am going to the world series and you will be home in October. They have not… Read more »

Michael N Norris
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Michael N Norris

Spent the afternoon reading ” Killing England ” . Being a history buff, it is a great read. I have read all of the Killing books except Killing Jesus. They are all well written and researched. On a baseball note, Vlad going into the hall as an Angel. The first player to do so.

MJ
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MJ

Michael

I saw killing Lincoln on the history channel which was based on the same book, and it was the best recreation I have ever saw.

Badger
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Badger

Yelich gone. Marlins got 4 prospects, 2 of them Top 100. All of them team controlled for a long time. The Marlins suck, and will probably suck for a long time.

Michael N Norris
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Michael N Norris

FAZ sucks too….and will for a long time. I seriously question these guys will to win…..

Yueh_Fei
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Yueh_Fei

As expected, the haul for Yelich was less than Buehler. We could have done that exact same deal with Verdugo and Alvarez. I think the hold up was that the FBZ was probably trying unload salary on the Marlins …. that ship may have sailed already … the time to unload salary was to package Grandal and Forsythe on a trade for Stanton. More and more I think the trades that the FBZ is trying to put through are package deals where they trade prospects and salary dumps. That’s why the other teams are not biting at all even in… Read more »

Badger
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Badger

I agree YF. Hard to know if anything else will be done now. Still some free agents out there but that market is not one FAZ deals in. They’ve accomplished what they wanted to. Bring on ST.

MJ
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MJ

YF

It seems like they are trying to make these elaborate trades, with three or four, different teams.

There is no way I trade a possible number one pitcher for Yelich, with the young outfielders we have, and Kemp is a wild card, as long as he is on the team, too.

Badger
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Badger

Either Miami wasn’t interested in Verdugo, Grandal, Joc or Toles or FAZ decided Verdugo, Grandal, Joc and Toles were more valuable than Yelich. A package of Joc, Verdugo and Roger the Peanut guy would be better than what they got.

I wonder if I am overvaluing Joc.

MJ
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MJ

Badger

The Cards got a couple relief pitchers for their pen, with an outfielder much like Joc.

It was the outfielder the Angels drafted before Trout, I can’t remember his name.

But he is a rightie with Joc’s pop, but he actually did hit 275 one season, but his numbers are much like Joc’s.

Michael N Norris
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Michael N Norris

The player was Randal Grichuk. He was expendable because the Cards got Ozuna from the Marlins. Plays LF, hit 22 homers and had 59 ribbies last year and is a career .250 hitter.

Bluto
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Bluto

You are selling their haul Short. Brinson is not only a strong prospect but also from Florida.

Counter factuals are below you YF

Yueh_Fei
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Yueh_Fei

Bluto, Brinson is a lower prospect compared to Buehler. I am not selling the Miami haul short. They got good prospects in exchange. I was only talking about Buehler in the context of Nosler’s article – and to be more precise, I thought Nosler proposed too much for Yelich and the Brewers package evidences that sentiment. And we could have very easily put together a package that was superior to the Brewers without giving up Buehler. And also you can put away the counterfactual blurbs – it is just a fancy word for what ifs and projections using different scenarios.… Read more »

Bluto
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Bluto

Well stated, and your point is understood.

I would reply that you (others) should state them as “what ifs”, not as facts, but I think that’s understood.

Yueh_Fei
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Yueh_Fei

Naturally. It’s all bloody blog beer banter. Or bloody blog booze banter for those who are looking for more than beer reviews. You’re giving us too much credit! Ha ha.

(I do have to say however that we need to just stick to beer reviews … whisky, tequila or (lord help us) moonshine/vodka reviews on YouTube can end very awkwardly badly …..)

Badger
Guest
Badger

Realmuto is next. Just read Nationals are interested. That’s a good fit.

Brinson is #18. That’s high, but no guarantee. Don’t you think Joc is more valuable than a #18?

MJ
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MJ

Joc was drafted in the 11th round.

Badger
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Badger

Joc has already put up 2.9 and a 3.6 WAR years. That HAS to be more valuable than a #18 prospect – to anyone trying to win. Miami doesn’t want wins now, they want to reduce their payroll and stack up team controlled players. Talk about tanking.

Yueh_Fei
Guest
Yueh_Fei

I have to agree with Bluto there. I don’t think Joc is worth more than Brinson, to Miami. Talent wise, the jury is out on both, and I am not one to favor vets over prospects, or prospects over vets. But Miami is rebuilding and tanking, and based on SABR contributions they could probably pick up a Joc equivalent on the waiver wire at some point. As for Realmuto – not sure that I would him either. Based on how Miami traded Yelich, there is no chance they take either Joc or Grandal for Realmuto unless we package someone like… Read more »

Badger
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Badger

I said they aren’t looking for wins (WAR) this year, which is tanking to me. So yeah, to them a prospect, actually 4 of them, is what they are looking for. It’s a rebuild. I get that. Joc actually makes $2.6mm this year. A 26 year old former All Star that had near 6 WAR before he turned 25 for 2.6 would probably interest a lot of teams, but only teams trying to win. That ain’t Miami. I was always thinking a three way. I doubt FAZ gave it much thought. He’s got 5 left fielders already. I don’t see… Read more »

Bluto
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Bluto

No, I quite like Joc and his potential but he’s well below Brinson at this point.

Really struggled last year, closer to FA

Badger
Guest
Badger

“but he’s well below Brinson at this point.” You state that as if it’s fact. What if he isn’t? Here’s a fact – when Pederson was Brinson’s age, 23, he was an All Star and put up 2.3 WAR. Brinson hit .106. I’m sitting here at 3:30 trying to figure out why you think talking about propitious scenarios playing out is an effort to create possible alternatives to events that have already occurred. Then I realized – what a waste of f’n time. I come here to read and talk baseball, not to get psychoanalysis. Not that I don’t need… Read more »

Bluto
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Bluto

I have zero idea what point you are trying to make by comparing performance at age 23.

Yueh_Fei
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Yueh_Fei

MLB Daily has a nice article out on a potential FA fit for every team. Wow there are a lot of FAs remaining on the market this yet. http://www.mlbdailydish.com/2018/1/22/16904464/mlb-free-agency-one-fit-every-team They have Alex Cobb for the Dodgers. Meahwhile they also have a list of the latest minor moves, interesting enough many are by teams in our division. The Diamondbacks have signed a hodgepodge of small deals, snagging Medlen and Bastardo to minor-league deals. The Tigers have signed Alexi Amarista to a minor-league deal . The Cash Man is letting this one go. Gotta save his strength, assumably. The Yankees are reportedly… Read more »

Badger
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Badger

I like Cobb. Doesn’t project all that for some reason. Wonder why?

package206,
Guest
package206,

Well, to anyone who thought the Dodger FO would swing some kind of deal, well, Yelich and Cain are gone to the brewers. Nice, huh? This FO makes the who team feel very discouraged in my opinion.

MJ
Guest
MJ

Package I think the Brewers gave Cain to long of a contract, because he is already 31. How many players continue to play good defense in centerfield, in their 30s, when speed is suppose to be the first thing, to go? And I don’t see him playing center, when he is 37, in the last year of his contract. But he is a good all around player, and I think the Giants should have tried to sign him, for less years, and a little more money, per year. Because he is a good defensive centerfielder, and he is a 300… Read more »

MJ
Guest
MJ

I was right but wrong, because Cain will only be 36 on the last year of his contract, so I am right about him not playing center for the Brewers, when he turns 37.

Yueh_Fei
Guest
Yueh_Fei

Kenley Jansen has some interesting comments on the pitch clock. I take from his comments that you need electronic balls and strikes in addition to the pitch clock, to have any meaningful impact on pace.

Badger
Guest
Badger

“I’m against it, to be honest with you. Because teams nowadays it’s just gets so caught up about guys throwing hard. And you see guys throwing 97-98 (mph) but they can’t even command the pitches. They can’t even command the fastballs, they have a lot of walks. They get two quick outs and then they walk two of guys. You don’t see guys nowadays command two quality pitches. The game has changed. I think they’re going to try to do all that stuff, but it’s still going to drag. If people can’t throw strikes consistently, the game is going to… Read more »

Badger
Guest
Badger

Who said this:

“We kicked people out of the game when they tried to not win,” he said. “We have to get rid of the noncompetitive cancer. We can’t go to our fanbases and sell the promise of losing to win later. That is destructive to our sport because it has removed one-third of the competition.”

MJ
Guest
MJ

Like I said Badger, stop giving these teams that are purposely tanking, the competitive balance money, that teams like the Dodgers, have to pay these teams.

They are already getting the top prospects, why should the top teams, have to share their revenue, with these teams, that are driving their fans away, because they are not fielding a competitive, team to watch.

Chili
Guest
Chili

The one who had much to gain from it…..Scott Boras.

MJ
Guest
MJ

I will say this, the Brewers did get two very good contact hitters, and that will improve their team quite a bit, because I believe the Brewer’s players, lead the majors, in strike outs in 2017.

And Yelich and Cain, will hit more HRs in the stadium, the Brewers play in.

Michael N Norris
Guest
Michael N Norris

Cain got 80 million for 5 years…..he is a bargain at that price………

Michael N Norris
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Michael N Norris

I do not know how all of you feel. I know how I feel and when I look at this roster, I see the same thing I have seen the last few years. A very good team with holes. Of course we will not know until April what we are going into the season with. Injuries in spring can ruin the whole thing and we have seen that before…….Pedro Guererro. Maybe the FO gets it’s collective head out of its heinie and makes a significant move, but I doubt it. I see more of the same on the horizon. Waiver… Read more »

Michael N Norris
Guest
Michael N Norris

With 18 days until pitchers and catchers report, I expect to see some movement in the FA market. Still some quality out there…Will FAZ jump in? Doubtful

package206,
Guest
package206,

The Dodgers may get a player or two but none will be a top tier player. You know the drill.