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Did The Dodgers Improve or Decline This Winter?

Corey Seager

You know there is nothing going on when the main headline this week is about equipment trucks driving Dodger gear to Glendale, Arizona. Rest assured the trucks were filled with Tommy Lasorda bobbleheads. We can’t begin spring training without those. Seriously guys, if there are no Tommy bobbleheads then we have to close the gates until they arrive. No bobbleheads no spring training!

All kidding aside with spring training a week away this last week of the offseason should pass by at a snail’s pace. Waiting is the hardest part. Once the gates open and camps break there should be more newsworthy events than Frankie Montas’s rib surgery and a 1500 pound Tommy Lasorda bobblehead being trucked into Camelback Ranch.

In the meantime we can talk a bit about whether this year’s Dodgers are better or worse than last year’s Dodger squad. That is a tough question because many people have differing opinions. I still believe that last year’s club while being fundamentally flawed was a very good club with a few glaring weaknesses.

Did the club improve or decline this winter? That’s a tough one to answer. There was a big loss when Zack Greinke departed for the division rival Dbacks. On the other hand the Dodgers added a lot of talent by acquiring solid arms like Kenta Maeda, and Scott Kazmir. Retaining Howie Kendrick was a great move and the trade with the White Sox was one I also liked, even if Frankie Montas came over missing a rib or two.

Speaking of the pitching staff, making up for Greinke’s loss will be the toughest part for the Dodgers this season. Greinke had a historically great season, winning the ERA title, finishing second in the Cy Young award and posting a 6 WAR season in 2015. Can Maeda and Kazmir make up the difference? I think that is entirely possible.

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Kazmir posted a 3.3 WAR with Oakland last year, and Maeda is projected for a 3.55 ERA and a 2.7 WAR according to fangraphs. I think it’s very possible that both of those hurlers have a 3-4 WAR season which would come close to Greinke’s 6-7 WAR. Kazmir and Maeda are not spectacular but solid. Maeda actually comes over with better numbers and pedigree than Hyun-jin Ryu had. We know how good Ryu has been for the Dodgers.

Speaking of Ryu, he’s projected to have close to a 2 WAR season which depends on his ability to recover from his shoulder problems. Brett Anderson is also projected in the same 1.5-2 WAR neighborhood. Not to mention the Dodgers still have Alex Wood, Mike Bolsinger, Julio Urias, Jose De Leon, Carlos Frias, and Brandon McCarthy set to return from Tommy John surgery sometime after midseason. All of those guys will of course be set to pitch behind Clayton Kershaw who is projected to have his usual Cy Young type season.

To me innings and health are important when it comes to pitching. Maeda has pitched at least 175 innings in seven of his eight NPB seasons, including four 200+ seasons. Kazmir has made at least 29 starts and thrown 158 or more frames in the last three seasons himself. If both of those guys can stay healthy, they’ll not only give the Dodgers innings, but give them quality innings. I’ve said it before; you don’t have to have a bunch of aces behind Kershaw, just a bunch of quality arms that can give the club innings. I think the pitching staff has the possibility of being better than last year’s staff, or at least just as good.

Yes the Dodgers have some health concerns, but what team doesn’t? As for projected WAR on the offensive side, the Dodgers do have two players in the top 30. One of them is Yasiel Puig who is projected to post a 4.2 WAR (according to steamer) with 22 home runs and an .854 OPS. Adrian Gonzalez is projected to slug 24 home runs and drive in 75 runs with a 2.7 WAR. Seager is projected for a 3 WAR season.

Most projections see Puig having a huge year in 2016. I’m going to call it right now. Puig is going to bust out and have a terrific season and we will all be glad the Dodgers didn’t trade him. Having him as a huge force in the middle of the batting order will be a big advantage for the Dodgers. Don’t forget the Dodgers will have a full season of Corey Seager, the number one prospect in all of baseball.

If we take a look at the projected 2016 standings via fangraphs we can see that the Dodgers project to win 91 games in 2016 finishing in the top 5 in all of baseball. They’re projected to have a better run differential and runs allowed per game averages than 2015. No other team in the NL West is in the top five. The Giants are projected to finish six games behind the Dodgers and the Dbacks are projected to finish 12 games behind.

2015 Year to Date
Team G W L W% RDif RS/G
Dodgers 162 92 70 .568 72 4.12
Giants 162 84 78 .519 69 4.30
Diamondbacks 162 79 83 .488 7 4.44
Rockies 162 68 94 .420 -107 4.55
Padres 162 74 88 .457 -81 4.01
2016 Projected Full Season
Team G W L W% RDif RS/G RA/G
Dodgers 162 91 71 .565 93 4.32 3.74
Giants 162 85 77 .527 39 4.04 3.81
Diamondbacks 162 79 83 .487 -20 4.12 4.25
Rockies 162 74 88 .460 -64 4.46 4.85
Padres 162 74 88 .459 -58 3.74 4.10

Did the Dodgers improve or decline this winter? As usual in life the answer lies somewhere in the middle. The Dodgers lost a huge arm in Zack Greinke, but gained two solid arms with Maeda and Kazmir. The brain trust was able to acquire even more prospects to an already outstanding farm system. The club retained their best clutch hitter (Howie Kendrick) on a team friendly contract.

Even though the Giants and Dbacks improved their starting rotations, the Dodgers are still the top team in the division. This is a deep and talented roster with one of the best farm systems in MLB. The Dodgers will win 90 games this year. They’ll make the playoffs this year. Will they be able to get over the hump and into the World Series? That is the real question.

Scott Andes

Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

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Scott Andes
Scott Andes: Longtime writer and Dodger fanatic

116 thoughts on “Did The Dodgers Improve or Decline This Winter?

  1. You have asked the $64,000 question. As far as the projections are concerned, one prominent sports book has the Giants at 90 wins and the Dodgers at 87. Anyone guess is as good as anyone else’s I guess.

    Based on the current roster, I think that the team will be weaker this year than last. Here are the reasons:
    1 – No Zach Greinke! In 3 years in Dodger Blue, Zach went 51 -15 with 2.55 ERA and 555 K in 602 ip. No one else that they have acquired (Maeda, Kazmir, or Wood) or will be returning from injury (McCarthy or Ryu) will be as good. He now plays for a team in our division and we will face him 4 or 5 times next year.
    2 – We are banking on injury returns. The early reports on Ryu and Grandal are good. Turner had microfracture surgery – ask Bill Mueller or Chris Webber (Sacramento Kings) if it always works. McCarthy had Tommy John. There is a 50% chance that he will not throw over 100 ip in the rest of his career according to a recent study. Unless one of our top prospects is MLB ready, our rotation will be weaker this year than last.
    3 – We are banking on a lot of “what ifs”. We hope that Brett Anderson will throw 180 ip again this year, but last year was the first time in a 7 year career he was able to do this. We hope that the Ethier of 2015 appears again and not the Ethier of 2013 or ’14. We hope that the Puig of 2013 shows up again this year and not the Puig of last year. We hope that the Pederson of the 1st half of last year plays instead of the 2nd half Pederson.
    4 – The biggest weakness of last years team is substantially unchanged: the bullpen. We have the same guys except instead of Juan Nicasio we have JOE BLANTON for Lord’s sake. Who is going to pitch in the 7th or 8th inning?
    5 – Can Dave Roberts manage? Who knows – he’s never done it before. I am not like some who just assumes that he can because they like him and he’s such a positive guy. Look at what having the right manager can do. Bochy made a huge difference as soon as the Giants hired him. The same with Joe Maddon and the Cubs. We just don’t know about Roberts.

    In a division where our 2 biggest rivals improved themselves, I don’t believe that the Dodgers have.

    1. You made some solid and very valid points. And it is pretty much what I have been posting on for weeks. There are a ton of question marks on the team. Including them relying on multiple players having better years than last year, and all the injured guys coming back strong. So you have Turner, Grandal, Puig, Ryu, McCarthy, Crawford all coming back from injury and surgeries. You have, and a lot of people have failed to mention this, a totally NEW Coaching staff. Honeycutt is the only returnee. I think Roberts has done the right thing reaching out to a few of the guys, especially Puig, who every one knows did not have the greatest rapport with Mattingly. As far as the bullpen goes, they are bringing close to 30 arms to spring training. They will probably keep 12 pitchers….5 starters, who right now are projected to be Kersh, Ryu, Anderson, Maeda, Kazmir…4 lefty’s. That has never happened in the bigs before. So the locks in the BP are Hatcher, Howell, Jansen, Avilan, and Blanton….so the rest of the invitees, and the guys from last year, Garcia, Baez, are going to be in competition with all those other pitchers. Throw in Wood, Frias, Bolsinger, Lee, Urias, Deleon….it is going to be really hard to get a lot of innings for some of those guys. I personally think if Lee has a good spring, they will look to trade him. They have too many outfielders, so one or two might be moved in spring. Outfielders are usually plentiful at the deadline if they happen to need one. They have the same problem this year, that they had last year. No leadoff man. I know Rollins filled that role most of the time, but they had real problems with it when he was out of the lineup. They also, except for maybe Kike, have nobody to back up Seager. I have high hopes for the kid, but that is a lot of pressure for a rookie. Have they improved> ? Well I think the rotation is weaker, the BP has not changed much, but the bench and the depth are a lot better. Overall though, I think they will be hard pressed to beat the Giants and D-Backs who both have improved a lot over last year. Do not overlook the D-Backs rotation. They have some solid arms behind Greinke.

    2. You hit the nail on the head. There are far too many question marks, and maybe’s for my taste. The BP except for the addition of Blanton, is basically the same. Resigning Kendrick is a good move, but they still do not have a leadoff hitter. They are counting on bounce back seasons from Puig, and Pederson. The starting rotation is Kershaw, and then pray a lot. No one is sure what they will get out of Maeda, or Ryu, and no one knows exactly when McCarthy will be able to throw. The entire coaching staff, except Honeycutt are new. I think Roberts will be fine. Beats having a company yes man like Kapler running the team, and Dave was a gritty grind it out kind of guy. The defense which was a strength last year, will be tested to see if they can be as good. And both of their main rivals improved immensely……They do have depth, and the ability to get what they need at the break, my own opinion is that they had better free agent options than what they got, but they waited too long, and got the leftovers.

  2. dodgerrick — nice write up. All of those are in the minds of most of us.

    I would add — if some of these items above (and any surprises) that occur — CAN THE BRAIN TRUSTS OVER THE DODGERS — meet the challenges, make the changes?

    What I have seen so far over the past year or so — I question that, but I hope they prove me wrong.

    1. Just Mattingly being gone, gives the Dodgers a better chance this year. And everything that Mattingly was, as a big leaguer, Roberts wasn’t. I know that Mattingly worked hard as a player, but he was also very talented too. And Roberts had to work much harder, to make it to the major leagues, and to stay in the major leagues, then Mattingly did. And because Roberts had to work this hard, he understands just how hard the game of baseball can be, and because of this, he can help every player on the team, and he will be able to communicate to every player on the team, because he has been there. And because Roberts is a good communicator, he will be able to make every player on the team, feel important to the team, and he will make every player feel, that they are part of the team. And when a manager can do this, the players on a team, will play as a team, and pull for everyone on the team. And this team needed this, more then any one player, or anything. And Dodger rick, I know you have concerns, because Roberts has never managed. But Dodger rick, wasn’t Friedman the one, that gave Maddan his first chance to manage? And isn’t Friedman, the same guy, who gave Roberts his first chance to manage?

  3. Badger: “It’s what Mark knows. Calling people idiots and morons has been his calling card for as long as I’ve known him. That and bizarre trade proposals. He couldn’t back any of his opinions with facts because the facts just didn’t, and don’t, support his argument. Maybe it all works out with our best prospects leading the way. But the top 3 he keeps referencing were already here, as was everyone that had anything to do with actually winning last year”.

    Talk about “The Pot calling the Kettle Black”. Faz acquired players had nothing to do with actually winning last year?

    Kiki Hernandez, 1.6 OWAR
    Howie Kendrick, 2.4 OWAR (As good as Gordon was in 2015 his OWAR was only 3.5)
    Yasmani Grandal, 1.8 OWAR (Anybody remember Ellis’ .191 BA in 2014)
    Jimmy Rollins, .6 OWAR (Ramirez had .8 OWAR for Boston)
    Mike Bolsinger, 6 Wins (Stole him from D-Bags)
    Brett Anderson, 10 Wins
    Alex Wood, 5 Wins
    Chris Hatcher, 3 Wins, 4 SVS, 13 Holds

    Badger: As for Hamels AC I don’t believe the Dodgers were ever interested. They wanted something different, and boy did they get it. Hamels came with a contract that doesn’t fit their goals.

    Talk about bizarre trade proposals or statements. FAZ just wasn’t interested in a very good pitcher with a VERY reasonable contract? One thing should be undisputed, FAZ LOVES A BARGAIN!!! Obviously, the money wasn’t the problem, it was the price in prospects. Comparing the haul the Phils got from Texas it should be clear De Leon wouldn’t be enough HIGH END talent. Rather than make silly statements like “Hamels came with a contract that doesn’t fit their goals” try telling us with FACTS why Hamels didn’t fit their goals.

    1. I agree that it didn’t make sense to give up either Urias or Seager for anyone, including Hamels. I agree that the likely reason that they couldn’t swing a deal for Hamels last year is that the Phils weren’t going to trade him to LA without at least one of them – heck, in 2014 they want Seager plus Urias plus Pederson for Hamels! It probably wasn’t about the money.

      You can’t give the Braintrust a whitewashed record however. Bolsinger was a nice pick up. I wouldn’t have made the Gordon trade – one year of Howie plus 1/2 of a good season of Hatcher (or less), plus Barnes and Kike was OK but one of the Dodgers’ needs is a leadoff hitter and they could really have used Dee last year, and next. (And I noticed that you mentioned OWAR but neglected to mention that Howie didn’t have a great year with the glove last year according to the numbers.)

      Rollins was an acceptable placeholder for Seager – can’t blame them for that.

      I was originally very critical of the Kemp for Grandal deal but I think that it turned out pretty well – Grandal was great before he got hurt, although he isn’t the game manager that Ellis is.

      McCarthy – 4/$48mil was a nuts contract. He has never been healthy and on the strength of 1/2 of a season with the Yankees they signed him to 4 years? Anderson was a good gamble on a 1 year deal, but this year $15.8mil?

      The deadline deals were a whiff – Latos, Johnson and Wood – the first 2 are gone and were horrible; the Wood is a 5th starter at best based on what I have seen.

      And they have done very little to improve the team for 2016. i know that everyone says that the farm system has been improved and I am sure that it it true but that won’t help them for 2016. Joe Blanton! Uggh! Kazmir and Maeda instead of Greinke!

      1. Your first few comments are fair. You’re right to be realistic about what Hamels would have cost, and right to point out that Amaro asked for all three of our stud prospects at one point. I would have traded DeLeon for Hamels no question, but I seriously doubt that was a possibility.

        I don’t really mind the McCarthy contract so much. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not huge money, and the FO really wasn’t signing him so much on a half season as they were on his increased velocity and the fact his shoulder, which had been what was causing injury problems before, checked out as healthy. Too bad about the elbow. If he never makes it back, oh well. If he comes, maybe the next couple of years, and gives Kazmir or Smarjijaja like numbers, then it’s still a bargain relative to Kazmir or Smadjaja.

        Scott makes the best point: This team actually won 92 games last year in spite of the well documented flaws of that team. Yes, the team was only .500 after Kershaw/Greinke, but that was with Anderson/Bolsinger/Frias/Baker/Lee and whoever else. I would say Ryu/Kazmir/Maeda/and then Anderson are a BETTER overall package and Greinke and pocket change.

        We were effectively without Puig all year. Seager is a huge upgrade over Rollins. Justin Turner actually has a position and will be getting more at bats…and he’ll be playing for a contract. Pederson, who knows. I expect him to be better. He’s mashed at every level of the minors and was a ROY consideration before his confidence dropped off a cliff.

        I think it’s reasonable to expect Hatcher to be a little more like his second half than his first, and Blanton to be better than Wood and that old guy they cut.

        If that team, with Mattingly and as sucky as it was some respects, still won 92 games, is it at least reasonable that this team is equally as good….maybe better?

        1. I would agree with your assessment of the starting pitchers, except we do not know how healthy Ryu is. Of course that will all come out in spring. Face it, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered in spring. As for McCarthy, personally, I think it was the worst signing of the entire free agent period. Giving that guy, with his injury history 48 million dollars over 4 years was NUTS>. They got 4 wins for their money. They will not see the guy until July at the earliest. Just a bad judgement call all the way around

          1. Agree about McCarthy. But we are stuck with him. He’s actually got some ability so hopefully the surgery gets him through the ridonkulous 4 year contract he was given. Ryu and Maeda are unknowns, but could be great. Anderson is who he is. Hope he’s in shape. Wood? I don’t know what expect out of him. Frankly after Kershaw I don’t see anyone being near a 200 inning pitcher. If that’s true, that puts a lot of pressure on the bullpen. Is that bullpen ready for it? I don’t know. Maybe. For me it pivots on young arms like Baez, Hatcher and Garcia learning a second out pitch. Blanton could actually help too. Becoming a bullpen guy has revived his career.

          2. Nuts? Really? Well….the Gnats just gave Smarjiaja 90 million…..and he sucked last year….and has had one good season out of four. They’re paying for durability. Durability….even in a mediocre pitcher, is really expensive in MLB. I would say it’s overvalued.

            Like I said, 12 mil a year for McCarthy, who was higher risk, but higher upside, is not that terrible. The Dodgers got him under market value because of the risk. If he pitches two solid years of 3.5 ball then he’s a value. Anderson was a huge risk, but took a flier for one year and he wasn’t too bad. Bolsinger… the slag heap, but he was valuable.

    2. In all fairness to Ellis’s rough 2014, he was injured and never really got untracked. He got hurt one time stepping on a mask after Beckett’s no-hitter….but in the 2nd half last year after he got over his injury, he was one of the better hitters on the team, and raised his average from under the Mendoza line to .238. He was way more reliable than Grandal was pretty much from the all star game on. I know Grandal was injured then. But he should have not kept playing because his lack of production during that time hurt the team.

      1. So be fair to Ellis for his poor production because he was injured, but be critical of Grandal – and by extension the trade – because he was injured.

        1. Difference is Ellis went on the DL immediately, he did not continue to play and hurt the team. Grandal was terrible, and it was injury related. But a real team player would have taken himself out of the lineup if he knew he could not produce. As far as the Kemp-Grandal trade, I understand the reasons. They wanted to move a guy perceived as a club house cancer. I think they made their decision and trade based on that. But I think Grandal will never be more than a .240 hitter with some pop. He was acquired for his pitch framing skills, and because he is cost efficient. He is the only player left from that trade. Wieland and Elfin were traded elsewhere. I was a Kemp fan, and rooted hard for his comeback to be successful, which it was after he healed sufficiently. But I have seen my favorites traded before, and of the OF’s they made available that offseason, he was the most marketable..

        2. And to be totally honest Dodgerpatch, since I respect honesty, I simply do not like Grandal at all. And a lot of the games I watched, he killed rally’s. And that was before he was hurt. He was striking out a lot. He is terrible as a pitch blocker, and his game management skills are pretty lacking. He has a good arm, but Ellis is better at controlling the runners. Ellis is getting a little long in the tooth now, so I do not expect him to be much more than Kersh’s caddy. But I do think they had better options than Grandal as far as trades….he was their choice and we are stuck with it.

          1. If you remember Montero was their first choice, they tried to get him from AZ for Ethier. Grandal is not terrible and if he can stay healthy he and Ellis make for an excellent platoon behind the plate

          2. And I appreciate that….at least that you acknowledge that you just don’t like the dude. We are all subject to our biases.

            I wouldn’t say he’s terrible as a blocker…not the best, but maybe not terrible. Grienke was ok with him as a pitch caller. That can get better…and is kind of less important when you thoroughly game plan before you even take the field.

            Who else was out there as a catcher? Still, the key part of that trade was not only Grandal, but getting rid of Kemp…..not so much because he was a cancer, but because he’s old, has got a couple of arthritic hips and is inconsistent offensively and nowhere near where he was in 2011 (when I suspect he was Ryan Brauning). The Dodgers sold high on him. Give the FO credit for that.

    3. Not a big fan of Wins Above Replacement, but I believe starters should have a WAR of at least 2.5 so Rollins was awful. They deserve credit for Bolsinger of course, and even though Wood came at a cost, I think he could be better (more consistent) than he showed after coming over. You don’t mention Johnson and Latos so I won’t bring them up.

    4. Gordon did win a Gold Glove in 2015, raising his WAR to 4.9 (BR) and Howie struggled a bit with the leather, lowering his WAR to 1.1. I think he should get credit for his clutch hitting, but it seems the stat geeks aren’t much interested in such things. In 2014 Howie put up over 5 WAR, so it’s not unreasonable to assume he can do better.

  4. First of all some editing: you used “weather” instead of “whether”.
    Second I’m not sure what this means: “Maeda has pitched at least 175 innings in seven of his eight NPB seasons, including 4 200+ seasons.” Huh?

    Did we get better? If it is in terms of wins, NO. If it is in terms of avoiding huge multiyear FA contracts, YES.

    I think we got older: Agon, Utley, CC, Ethier, even AJ. All older and slower. We are counting on Puig, Joc, Grandal, and Seager. So that is one who is still a mystery, one with a gigantic hole in his swing, one who just had surgery, and a rookie.

    So did we get better? I think the overriding sentiment is that we are positioning ourselves for 2017. Too bad we still have to play in 2016.

    In the end I don’t care. This is the year of Vinny and for me that is all that counts.

    BTW you also have to fix the calendar it doesn’t highlight Saturdays.

  5. Projections are worthless. How many pundits projected the Royals to win the World Series? Most of the writers I saw were picking the Nationals. You cannot project injuries, or mediocre play, or players not living up to expectations. I loved baseball back in the days when people did not use all this saber metric stuff to rate a players production. He either did or he did not produce and help the team win.. I do not care about a players WAR, or his pitch framing skills. You go on the baseball register and check a teams history, and you will find very few of todays players with higher WAR’s than some of the old guys…For example…only 1 player on the current roster is listed in the top 20 career WAR leaders in Dodger history…..Kershaw…and he is 10th with a 48 WAR. #1……..Don Drysdale….with a of 4 with WAR’s over 60……Pee Wee, Duke, and Jackie are the other 3. So you can project that the Dodgers will be the division winner again….but that projection, and 1.50 will get you a cup of coffee at McDonalds…….

    1. But you’re responding to a blog post that is effectively asking if this team will be better than last year’s team. This whole discussion is about projecting.

      “I think the Dodgers are going to suck!” is a projection. It’s not a very good one, and I personally would prefer to use more accurate metrics (though they are not infallible and not intended to be clairvoyant) if I was going to judge past performance to make a projection on future performance.

      Ok, you don’t care about WAR. Do you care about past batting average? What about ERA? You must use SOMETHING to judge past performance to subsequently judge whether a player is good or not good. We might as well cut Kershaw now, because projections are pretty much worthless.

      1. Batting average to me is important and so is ERA. I think a very telling stat is BA with runners in scoring position. Turner was outstanding at that. Others not so much. Look, we all know that saber metrics is all the rage, and that most FO’s use it to assemble their teams. Started with the A’s Money Ball. Billy Beane is a master at that. My point is that what they judge players on today is so much different than when I first started watching the game. You know a star player will pretty much produce year in and year out. Kersh and Gonzo have solid numbers through out their careers. There are too many if’s to judge anyone accurately. But baseball cards would have to be 10×10 to put all the stats they use today. Much more fun in the old days….

        1. Good points of discussion.

          I’ve always felt WHIP is the most telling pitching stat. Defensive metrics are difficult to quantify, but I think we all know who can be counted on defensively. Uribe was our best third baseman, Rollins, even at his age, covered short ok (still would like to see what Peraza could do there) Don’t know about Seager yet. AGon is a very solid first baseman, Pederson can play defense and so can Puig (throws to nobody in particular notwithstanding) Grandal and Ellis are ok defensively but neither will ever compare to Molina and Greinke was as good a fielder off the mound as anyone. Our defense was ok, but the point of the spear of any defense is the pitching. You have 11 guys that know how to pitch to weak contact you will have a great defensive team. If there are rockets being launched at every position then your defense won’t look so good.

          1. You think you know who can be counted on defensively, but how do you measure that? The eyeball test, though important, is not infallible. The Dodgers defense took a big swing upwards last year. It had to after getting rid of Hanley and Kemp. And yes, Kemp, regardless of what you think he was in 2011, is a terrible defensive outfielder. If I had my choice, I would prefer to use newer, more modern, thought out, advanced – though not perfect – statistics to judge a player defensively and offensively. We’re not accepting saber geek stuff as gospel, but simply as a useful adjunct tool.

            Defense is as good as the pitching, yes, but the important point about good defense and defensive runs saved is that it makes a pitching staff better, -ex. Pirates for the better, Pods for the worse. It’s now recognized that defense is not the distance third attribute in the triad behind offense and pitching, but is important in and of itself. …..-ex. Royals.

  6. We won fewer games last year than the year before. We lost early in the playoffs. Wood and Anderson were horrible. McCarthy did nothing. Kendrick played only 117 games. Rollins? Utley? Grandal? The bullpen? What the Phillies got for Hamels we could have easily beat without giving up our top 2. Example: We could have flipped Wood or Peraza along with De Leon and whoever and bettered the Texas offer. We are deep, remember? We didn’t want to pay for anything more than a Latos. I’m done talking about it. We disagree. Welcome back box. I can see you’re as grumpy as when you left.

    What rick said.

    Those projections for this year. The same finish? Maybe. All three teams at the top with nearly the same record as last year? I think the Dbacks and the gnats are better. Dbacks will break .500 and SF should win 88. It will be tight at the top.

    The Dodgers. The team that breaks camp won’t be the same team at mid season and the mid season team won’t be the same as the team in September. My prediction? No team in the league will make more roster changes and no team in the league will make more day to day lineup changes than the Dodgers. With all the changes everywhere you look there is no way of knowing what the result will be. We have the talent, but a new coaching staff, new rookie manager, and a lot of players are coming off injuries, are a year older or are rookies. I still have the under on 92, and think 88-90 is a more realistic number – and that will be achieved only if the walking wounded rebound. Who knows what the outcome will be. But I do know FAZ has to do a lot better than they did in ’15.

    1. It is not just Faz making the decisions. Fried Brains has a lot to do with it, and remember, this team now employs 7 former GM’s……..that is a lot of brain power to get mad at.

    2. Sorry Badger I should have never brought him up. I don’t think there will be as many line up changes, as Mattingly did. Remember saber metric office or not, there wasn’t a single team in baseball, that was even close to the change in line ups, that Mattingly made, with this team last year. I truly believe that Mattingly thought that is what the saber metric office wanted, but that is not true.

      1. MJ, the FO had their hand in that. DM was always given lineups that Freidman thought gave him the best chance to win based on his saber metrics. Otherwise why would anyone play an obviously hurt Grandal over a very hot AJ Ellis in game 5 of the playoffs? Yeah, the same Grandal who doused the rally by grounding into a DP. A lot of the lineup shuffling was due to all the injuries.

        1. Michael the front office gave Mattingly stats possibly, but never line ups. And if we can say anything about this front office, they do know stats. Mattingly was the one having Grandal play, and well as Pederson. And both these players, didn’t hit above 200 in the second half of the season. Grandal got hurt, and that definitely affected his swing, and his hitting. Do you really think that this front office wanted two players in the line up, that were batting about 188? Just before the office brought Utley to the team, Mattingly had told the press, that he was sticking with Joc, in the line up. The front office brought Utley to the Dodgers, to get Joc’s bat out of the line up, so Kike could play center, instead of second base, because you remember that Howie was injured at this time, and Kike was playing second base. And you know that Maddan was the manager, under Friedman for the Rays. And Maddan uses the bunt quite a bit, and saber metrics don’t like bunts. Friedman uses saber metrics as a tool, not as the only way, and doesn’t give his manager, the line ups. Do you really think that Maddan was told what to do, or was given line ups, to use? The Dodger GM might be a pure supporter of saber metrics, but he is not the boss. The Dodgers under Mattingly, had more change of line ups, then any other teams in baseball. More then the A’s, and more then the Rays, and there was no team even close, in constant changes in the line up. Do you think the front office left Joc in the lead off position that long? Do you think they wanted Rollins in the lead off position?

          1. And Mattingly was the one doing all those platoons based on righty lefty match ups, not the front office. As you know, not all rightys hit a lefty pitcher, there are reverse stats with some players. And Mattingly based all of his platoons, on righty lefty match ups.

          2. Well the stats they gave him everyday were to help him select a lineup that they felt could get the job done. Pederson was in there because he was the superior defender, and Kike does not hit RH pitching all that well. He was over 400 vs lefty’s but in the low .230’s against RHP. Kike is a far better infielder, than outfielder. I remember a series against the Mets when he was playing CF, and was way too shallow. The Mets hit at least 3 balls over his head that Pederson most likely would have tracked down… I like Kike, do not get me wrong, but I also think they thought they could get Pederson to adjust his swing so he would hit more balls to left field. It just never happened. And like I said, a lot of the lineup changes were due to injuries….you had Turner, Grandal, Ellis, Uribe, Kendrick, Rollins, SVS, Gonzo, Puig, Crawford, all injured at one time or another. The Dodgers logged the 2nd most days lost to injuries in the major leagues. So it is not all on Donnie. Rollins was a bust as a leadoff man. He was down in the .210’s for much of the season, and yeah they would want Joc there. His OBP was much higher than Rollins because he walked so much. Maddon’s managerial style is like that of Mike Scioscia. He plays the National league game in the AL. One reason the Dodgers did not bunt a whole lot is that most of them sucked at it. The best bunters on the team were Kershaw and Greinke. Most of the position players save maybe Rollins, were lousy bunters. And a lot of last years offense was boom or bust.

          3. I think you there are some important points made here Michael.

            Something that drives me nuts is our approach with that shift against left handers. I contend a way to beat it is to lay one down in the neighborhood of third base. Even Adrian could walk to first base if the bunt was done properly. I never saw it done. I suspect with Roberts in command everybody will bunt.

            Yes, the Dodgers were an injured unit, but I believe many of the lineup changes were made through computer analysis. FAZ rounded up the roster based on metrics. They have numbers right down to how a player hits left handed pitching the first week of August in Cincinnati. Day game or at night. The manager makes out the lineup of course, but he uses the wealth of analysis given him by the number crushers. For me that explains why somebody who had 3 hits yesterday sits today. Will that continue? Of course it will. The Dodgers are committed to it. What I hope Roberts does is drill fundamentals to every player in the organization. You will bunt, you will hit and run, you will move into proper position on defense on every play, you will learn how to slide properly, you will hit your cutoff – you will do all the little things and you will hustle. There is no excuse not to play this game correctly. We will know right away if Roberts intends to change the culture. I am fairly certain he will attempt to. I hope the players buy into it. I believe they will.

          4. Badger, would the stats tell you to start Heisey in the outfield or an injured Grandal over Ellis in an elimination game? Vintage Donnie. Before FAZ he stuck with Luis Cruz until he was DFA’d. He’s like your kids’ soccer coach– everybody plays.

            I don’t have a problem with a platoon if it helps the team, although I agree if a player goes 3 for 5 with a HR you should reward him with more playing time.

  7. The addition of Roberts and the subtraction of Mattingly has to be a plus for the Dodgers. Mattingly was a manager that got less from more, Roberts will most likely be a manager that gets more from less. Why do I say that, you ask – because no on can be as boring and lackluster as Donnie. Roberts is one of those energetic, positive, inspiring types of guys, at least he was as a player and I don’t believe that tiger changes his stripes as a manager. Damn I’m glad Mattingly is gone.

    So does Roberts at the helm make up for some of the ineffective moves by the front office in the off-season, that really seems to be what it comes down to.

    Scott, you asked us to “play nice” at the end of the last thread. All I have witnessed in here so far is a bunch of nice guys having to play with one irritating name-calling individual, please don’t lump us in with him. Direct those play nice comments to the offender, please.

    1. True Blue – I hope you enjoy this place but you need to chill because in effect you are opening a book at chapter 6. Much of the story has already been told.
      Please don’t take this as patronising but I’m guessing you are new reading here.
      This is a new site, but most of the contributors have moved on from LADodgertalk, where Scott was in later times, one of the two writers.
      The other, and main writer was Mark, who started and ran the site until about a month ago when he retired, and Scott started this one.

      Mark now posts here under the moniker “Mountainmover” (which is a name that has its own interesting story).

      What you are now witnessing, is the result of more than a decade of to & fro with Mark & mainly Badger.
      They are old pals who have a lot of history together but know how to press each other’s buttons.

      Don’t judge Mark on these couple of weeks as he is only frustrated & as is common in any blog, you are going to get differences of opinion, it’s just that he’s been banged the same drum but people aren’t changing their positions.
      He is a great guy, and normally very humorous and engaging. Those of us that have been here a while understand the dynamics and are not offended & in fact the friction adds to the general quality of debate.
      I think Scott was directing his comments to Mark & Badger in the main, but blogs are & should be feisty without overstepping the mark and getting personal.
      A thick skin is helpful!!

      True Blue I just thought you may appreciate a bit of the history which might explain passion in here.

      1. I appreciate the info but it still doesn’t justify Mover coming across like a total asshole to everyone on the blog. If he has a beef with Badger, then take it to a private insult session thru each others private emails. The rest of us don’t have to be abused and denigrated by someone acting like such a total jerk every single time they post a comment. I hope you, Watford, can appreciate some basic courtesy and respect in getting along in the society.

        1. You’re doing what’s called projecting. Your level of abuse and vulgarity directed at Mark has exceeded anything I’ve witnessed him say here. You’ve called him an asshole twice, a jerk, and “easy lay” to describe the ease by which you can troll him into response, and then complain about his response.

          You’re starting to annoy me. If you don’t like Mark, ignore him.

          1. You have a very funny way of analyzing the actual issue at hand, maybe I will just avoid you.

        2. True Blue – absolutely agree. That’s how I try & bring my boys up.

          Just try cutting Mark a little slack as he’s wound tight right now.

          He has an incredible knowledge & has forgotten more about the Dodgers than the rest of us know.
          It will all be fine.

    2. So now you come on here and tell Scott how to run his blog?

      “Don’t tell me to play nice! You need to ban Mark and only Mark”!….the guy who started and ran this blog, btw.

      Who the hell do you think you are?

      Mark is Mark. His style of insult ….”moran”… is understood and well known. You’re just vulgar.

      1. You must be high, I didn’t see anyone come close to saying “Ban Mark…” or anyone telling Scott how to run his sight. Smoke some more and chill Seriously you are seeing things or are you just projecting? Don’t kill the messenger dude, you really are making a yourself look silly.

    3. I agree that a good manager should get back the half-dozen games Donnie lost through lack of tactical skills and fielding weak lineups. Hope Roberts is that guy!

    4. Michael you better check the defensive metrics on Joc and Kike in center. And Joc was told by Mattingly that he was going to have to cut back on his swing, and he didn’t listen, even before the second half of the season. And Kike hits right handers better then Pederson. Pederson only hit 297 the first month of the season, and after this his average was under 200, so he actually only hit well enough, for one month of the season. You can’t say that about Kike, when Kike hit better from both sides of the plate, then Joc. And Kike didn’t get the at bats, or consistent at bats, like Joc did. And in that last play off game, Joc misplayed a ball against the fence, he got to close to the fence, and the ball bounced back over his head, and this blocked Kike’s view, and Kike bobbled the ball, and the first run was scored because of Joc misplaying that ball. Kike was fine in center, and has better defensive metrics in center, then Joc. Joc is good in center, but he is not as good as some want to believe.

      1. MJ, Based on the number of games played in CF you cannot compare them Joc was there the majority of the time, so he had a lot more chances than Kike. He started 137 games in CF…. Had 278 chances and 4 errors. For a .986 fielding percentage. Kike played 19 games in CF, had no errors, and 32 chances. You cannot compare that. Kike hit .234 against RH pitching. Joc hit .216. Kike had 3 HR’s and 6 RBI’s vs. RHP. Joc had 20 HR’s and 40 RBI’s. Time and time again Pederson made some pretty spectacular plays in the OF..Yeah, he misjudged that fly ball in the playoffs, but that was not what cost them the game. If you believe Kike is the better defensive CF, I just cannot agree less.

        1. Micheal I agee to disagree on the defense, Because you know I can come back, and say that Kike didn’t just play center, and didn’t get that many at bats, and that many consistent at bats. I’m not saying Kike is better. I’m saying that they are about the same. Joc is not as good, as some think.

          1. You can disagree all you want, but the stats say different…4 errors in 137 games is outstanding by anyone’s standards. I believe you and I were not watching the same player…..Kike is a super sub, that is what he does best. He is what Turner was his first year with the Dodgers, but he is not an everyday player. And Joc is rated as one of the best defensive CF in the game…as far as his bat, he was a rookie….struggles are to be expected. If he does not improve this year in spring, there is a really good chance he will open the season in OKC to get his stuff together. He still has options remaining, and they have other OF’s who can cover CF until he is ready.

        2. The line up that Mattingly made for that game, was a big part that they lost that game. Mattingly had Grandal batting in front of Kike, and Joc batting behind Kike, and Kike was batting 300, so the pitcher, was able to pitch around Kike, because Grandal, and Joc were batting in front and back, of Kike. Why would a pitcher, pitch to Kike, who was batting in 300s,when Grandal and Joc had not hit above the Mendosa line since the begining of the second half. I know something we can agree on. I thought AJ should have been in every post season game, because Grandal was hurt, and everyone could see it. Why would Mattingly play a player, that was visable hurt, when he had AJ on the bench, that was hitting and hot? And I do like Grandal, but he was hurt, and he couldn’t hit, and AJ was hitting.

          1. Micheal I felt so bad for AJ, because I thought that was a complete disrespect. And it would have been better, for the team.

          2. If memory serves, the Mets pitcher was a RH..Sonderguard I think. So even though Kike had a .300 average, he was only hitting .234 against RH. So he would have probably been overmatched anyway. I do not know why Grandal was even on the active roster for the playoffs. The reason they lost the game was because Greinke hung a curveball to Murphy.

  8. Watford…Had to get outta there for awhile as it was getting a lil nasty and gloomy…
    50 in April… Damn you’re just a pup… Your pending adventure sounds absolutely great… Just remember to keep your head down and always maintain a firm grasp on your tankard…
    P.S. I shot darts for several years and had the not so pleasurable task of throwing against guys and gals from England, Wales etc. etc. Two things I admired was their skill and the ability to drink endlessy without hitting the loo…

    1. I wouldn’t say that that one hanging curve ball lost the game. When there was a big error in the outfield that caused a run to score, and a mental mistake that led to another run. And Kike didn’t have enough at bats, let alone consistent at bats, to say he can’t hit right handers. And Joc and Grandal had not hit well for a long time, and Joc had more strike outs, then all but one player in baseball. At least Grandal had an excuse for not hitting. I don’t see how you can excuse Joc not hitting above the Mendosa line after the first month of the season, and say Kike can’t hit rightys. At least be consistent.

      1. I heard the same argument about Guererro. Kike had way more at bats against RHP than he did left. And he was mediocre. Yes, Pederson had a terrible 2nd half. But he was not just good the first month. He was hitting well into early June and that is when the drop began. Kike is not a regular. He was a sub. That was his job, and he excelled at it. Were you going to start him over Kendrick? No….Over Pederson? No…He did the job he was paid to do. And everybody makes errors now and then. Kershaw hung a curve the year before and everyone said he choked. Fair haired Greinke hangs a curve a year later, and it is the fielders fault. The fault is on the whole team, not just a couple of guys who made mistakes during a game. As far as talent goes, Pederson has a much higher ceiling than Hernandez. Both are young and as such they should improve. You got a problem with Joc playing talk to those who put him out there day after day….I think they know more about his talent than you do.

  9. Mark has a long history of badgering those who don’t acquiesce. Everyone who has been around long enough know this to be true. Facts just don’t matter to some people. I have been calling Mark on facts since before Bush took office. And btw, that is when we really began crossing swords. I call him on his bullshit, he comes back with name calling. Slinging mud is what happens when your facts don’t back your opinion. Don’t agree? It’s because you are an idiot. You will never see anyone but one person resort to calling people morons. This has been true for nearly two decades.

    I don’t know True Blue but his voice does sound familiar. And he’s right, there is ONE guy that stoops to name calling. Just one. He’s the guy who lost his composure and shut down Dodgertalk because too many people called him on his bullshit.

    There are two camps on FAZ. We can, and should agree to disagree. I’m prepared to do that. But keep calling people morons and idiots and suggesting “we just don’t get it” is just wrong. Mark is a 275 pound bully. He’s big and he’s loud, but that does not make him right nor does it give him license to call people stupid.

    Until the Dodgers advance in the playoffs we aren’t improved. We’ve been to post season a few times since ’88 and always with the same result. 3 times running we’ve been ousted early. That must change. If we advance this year I will be the first to admit I was wrong. I am prepared to eat crow and I will do so with a smile on my face. In the mean time, call me an idiot and I will bite back. I’m not afraid of bullies.

    Let’s have some peace here. No more name calling. Can we agree on that?

    1. Ok, so you stir the pot by offering your version of your long and dysfunctional relationship with Mark, and then close with, “Can’t we all just get along?” You do realize that, when you call somebody out, they’re likely to respond in kind. Don’t try to preemptively take the moral high ground for a response you’re trying to elicit, because he’s “an easy lay.” That’s manipulative.

      Stop trying to be self righteous. You’ve dished it out, too..and you have your own argumentative style that is opinionated and is designed to push buttons.

      1. Everyone on the site is argumentative, or at least passionate about their Dodgers and their point of view. That’s fine. And it’s even better if you can back it up with some facts or cogent analysis. I know, everyone has their facts, and that’s what makes for good discussion. What I don’t appreciate is the name calling, or the besmirching of one’s intelligence or character. From any side of the argument. Then, justifying this conduct on the basis of “not suffering fools” (as if that were an excuse) or a long-standing history of disagreement between certain regular commenters/posters.

        Jim Rome used to say that if you were going to be on his show that you had to “have a point of view and don’t suck”. I would add to that – people should argue passionately, support it with facts where possible, and disagree respectfully. NO MORE NAME CALLING.

  10. Hallelujah!!! But I’m afraid compliance would be like peeing in the ocean to raise the tide…
    I see the Blue again taking the NLW and hopefully advancing… The Cubs and Mets are rough, but then again I had the Nats a lock last year…

  11. Stirring the pot makes for a better stew. I don’t mind differences of opinions. In fact, I like spirited, intelligent debate. Calling someone an idiot is not what I consider intelligent debate.

          1. Thank you for believing. I’ll work my fingers off to live up to the trust you have in me Bum. As soon as these cinammon rolls digest, and I wake up from my nap, I’ll be working on my game. I’ll do everything (burp) possible to not disappoint.

      1. Bum, I have to say that did give me a chuckle. I also have to include Badger’s a very baseball savvy idiot. We’re all idiots at different points of the compass. And Mark is a great giving guy as he’s gone far out of his way giving us all a place to meet. I have only friends here and I’m glad it’s part of the package none of this community are carbon-copy to any other. I really hate a guy who will not argue but just not for the sake of arguing. Although it’s always good to look at the counterpoint of everything, though we all let stubborness rule at times depending on the mood. I’d happily tip a beer with any one here in this community. CHEERS!

  12. First If: If we look at the rotation like this: Kershaw, Ryu, Anderson, Kazmir, Maeda then the #1 and #3 pitchers are the same as last year and the #4 and #5 pitchers are much better than last year’s. Only the #2 is worse.

    Second If: If Greinke’s era is about 2.5 next year and Ryu’s is 3.5, might their WAR be within 2 of each other. That WAR difference of 2 should easily be made up with the increase in WAR generated from the #4 and #5 pitchers.

    Third If: If Seager produces produces 2 more WAR than Rollins did last year, is that not an improvement?

    Grandal, Ellis, and Barnes should be better than last year’s Grandal Ellis, and Barnes. Puig does not have to do much to be better this year than he was last year. Kendrick should be about the same and Turner has a chance to perform healthier this year ad be backed up by a healthy Utley.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Pederson will have a better second half and a smaller first two months.

    The Dodgers are better in 2016 going into the year and have more help already in the organization than they did last year.

    There are a couple of prospects that I am excited about which adds to my enjoyment of being a Dodger fan. I see Verdugo being an outstanding right fielder and Bellinger outstanding at first base.

    I read somewhere that Lazaro Armenteros, a 16 year old just declared eligible for the MLB, might be able to play 3rd base as well as outfield. If signed, he could be that future 5 tool 3rd base guy. That’s fun to watch as well.

    1. Bum, I seem to remember Anderson was #5 last year. Is my short-term memory shot? But of course your points are well taken. My question is whether the bullpen will be better.

          1. Yes, it matters. Of course it matters. He’s being paid near $16 million. Don’t you expect him to take the ball every 5th day?

            That said, I got the under.

  13. Well put Bumsrap…I’m hoping for both Utley and Howie to improve offensively and provide support for the younger folks…
    I’ve got Ryu coming back strong…. It’s an Asian thing…
    What a helluva ST we have coming up…

  14. 1. Hamels – 3.66 ERA for TX
    2. Diekman – 2.08 ERA for TX
    3. Cash – How Much?


    1. Jake Thompson – AA Pitcher -Philles #3, MLB #51
    2. Nick Williams – Philles #4, MLB # 55
    3. Jorge Alfaro – Philles #5, MLB #59, MLB C # 1
    4. Alex Asher – Philles # 25 Rated 45
    5. Matt Harrison – 30 yr old career 4.21 ERA, 40 innings 2013 through 2015
    6. Jared Eickhoft – 25 yr old SP – 2.65 ERA in 8 starts

    So now objectively determine what LAD players and prospects the Phillies really have would have required???????????

    1. I think De Leon could be better than any of those guys. Peraza certainly is. Add Schebler or Barnes or, whoever. The whole point was to get that piece we needed to finish the job! Hamels, Cueto, Price – somebody other than the Stay Puft Marshmallow Matt Latos. Dint happen. We lose. Again. Just like the year before and the year before that. Chances to win it all often have windows that close quickly. Our window got slammed shut.

      And now we go into to ’16 with a lot of hope that coaching and managing changes will make the difference. As you know, I think players make the difference, but I’m certainly down with dumping Mattingly. Guess we’ll see if new coaches, while losing a Cy Young pitcher, makes the difference. I still have the under on 92 wins. Anybody else want to weigh in on that?

      I do believe adding Maddux, AA and Ibanez are good moves. I’m anxious to see what influence they may have. Add Hershiser and Koufax and the wealth of pitching knowledge is unparalleled.

      1. Your point bears repeating and re-assessing.

        When criticizing the Braintrust, we have to understand that not only did they not re-sign Greinke (and signed Kazmir and Maeda instead), they also did not sign Zimmerman, Price or Cueto. I know, they were expensive and their contracts were long, etc., but they were signed by teams that are trying to win in 2016. By going the cheap route, the front office shows that they are not as interested in winning this year as in some future year, using prospects that they have stockpiled. The D-backs, Tigers, Giants and Red Sox have shown that they are trying to win right now by signing the top available pitchers on the market.

        The thing about a deadline deal is that it requires you to trade players and prospects for rentals. By signing a free agent, you keep your prospects and get the player that you want too. By failing to pull the trigger, the Braintrust has left the team behind the 8Ball for 2016.

    2. I recently read Phils have one of the top minor league systems. That haul for Hamels is a big reason. Objectively, FAZ would have had to start with Urias or Seager. No thanks. I already know I am going to enjoy Seager in Dodger Blue for the next decade. Looking forward to the same with Urias.

      1. I think you mean subjectively as that is YOUR opinion. Seager and Urias were, and are, our top 2 prospects and were listed in the Top 5 of all MLB prospect lists. None of those guys that went east were anywhere near that highly rated. De Leon, at #20, was higher than any of the Texas prospects. Peraza was rated #31. De Leon, Peraza and some Tommy Lasorda bobble heads would have been a better offer. But again, that was never the plan! The plan wasn’t to get Hamels. The plan was to ride Kershaw and Greinke to whatever end that might be. Latos? Really? Matt Latos is the guy you want to throw in there? Better off just going with Anderson, which is what we ended up doing. How’d that work out?

        1. Don’t know what list your looking at, but, here is the link to MLB’s top 100 prospects.

          They show DeLeon at 24 and Peraza at 71. They show Thompson at 55, Williams at 64 and Alfaro at 96. Additionally, the Phils got Eickhoft, 25 yrs old rookie who threw 51 innings of 2.65 ERA ball in 8 starts.

          OBJECTIVELY, DeLeon and Peraza wasn’t enough. Dodgers also had Holmes, number 62 prospect. Add Holmes in and Dodger package is maybe better than Texas 3 prospects, but, we don’t know which prospects Phils would have liked better. You also still have to give something to match Eickhoft. I can very easily see the Phils INSISTING on Seager or Urias.

          1. One more thought, did the Dodgers even have Peraza when Hamels was still available? If not, they only had Seager, Urias, DeLeon and Holmes in top 100 prospects.

        2. I think this FO has shown a willingness to seize value opportunities when they present themslves, i.e. signing Kendrick when the market dropped for him dropped. You’re just making the assumption that the Dodgers just aren’t committed to winning before 18…at all. I don’t think that’s a fair assessment.

          I think the Dodgers really do want to get younger and have a talented core. The plan is to win without sacrificing that core or the dynasty blueprint.

          I said I’d have traded DeLeon and some change for Hamels, but even so I’d have my doubts if what they say about DeLeon’s stuff being as good as it is pans out. As you said, DeLeon could help this year.

          Latos was just another low risk signing. He was actually pitching pretty well, and was a good pitcher with the Pods and Reds. Low risk, high reward. The Dodgers didn’t give anything up getting him….ok…maybe the opportunity to have a stud in the playoffs, but we can go back and forth about the wisdom of buying rentals.

          1. Ok, something we can agree on. Low risk signing, or in Latos’ case, a low risk trade. A low risk, expensive, little reward trade as it worked out. I never liked the Latos part of that deal, or eating about $30 million for what we got, but then, everyone knows that. I did have hopes for Peraza. He looked like a baller to me. Alas, he gone already.

            De Leon has one thing going for him many of our other pitchers don’t – he already has spin out of your shoes change up. That tells me something. At least I think it does, I really don’t know the guy. If he can spot that pitch, and he did in the minors, he can get aggressive hitters out. He’s a top prospect in the allegedly deepest system in baseball. I’m going down in March with intent to watch him throw a bullpen session. I think he’s the real deal, but I could be wrong.

            I don’t mean to suggest the Dodgers are not trying to win. I’m just not convinced they are trying to win it all with the current roster. They’ve been fussing with it since they got here and I don’t believe they are near done yet. That being the case, why do you suppose the 300 roster moves? They are building what it is they want. They want a championship of course, but I’m not so sure they believed the team, as it was constructed when they got here, was championship caliber. This year’s team? Who knows? Could be great. Could be not so great. But in ’18, when Seager, Urias, Grandal, Pederson, De Leon, Bellinger, etc are all entering prime years, payroll is under control with the possibility of adding a real honest to goodness thumper…… and the most important piece – Clayton Kershaw is in an option year……. all the stars will be aligned.

          2. They traded for Latos. And as a Dodger……he was a total disaster. He had a couple of good games with the Angels after he left LA, but he was a cancer in the clubhouse, and a mess on the mound…….glad he is someone else’s problem now. He and Johnson just were the worst in season pickups in years.

  15. For the most part we all agree on at least two things, we love the Dodgers and Mattingly being gone is a good thing. Everything else, well time will tell.

    Go Dodgers!

  16. Mark and Badger are in a class of their own. No one can or should keep up. I enjoy just watching from the sidelines. The banter makes this a fun site. Don’t stop. I usually respond to the group, not to the individuals. That is what I like to do. To each his own. On the forecast: every spring I hope the team has that spit-in-your-eye attitude, not the LA, mañana way of playing. I expect to beat the giants early and often. That is my focus. If we can’t beat them during the season, even if we win the division, we can’t beat the playoff teams. The giants are the true test of this team, and we play them a million times. Especially in sf, each game is like a playoff game, and should bring out our best. So, we will see what happens in April. I think there are 7 games with the giants in April. Right now, all we have is what everyone has at this time of the year: Hope. The personnel is there to win it all, but that has been the case for the last several years. We have to start strong out of the gate, and that includes spring training. No more Mañana.

    1. Agree it will be the giants. But watch out for others.

      May I remind you we were hot out the gate last season. Pederson, Gonzalez and Guerrero were all smoking. We need to sustain to the end. It might take all of the 40 man AND an ass kicking go for it deadline trade to finish in November.

      Or we can look to 2018.

      1. This is what everyone here needs, the games to start. They may be only spring training games, but they are better then nothing. I will finally be able to watch the spring training games. I wasn’t able to watch last year, so I hope TWC, or for me, Charter, carries all of the games. It was terrible to see the Dodger spring training games on MLB Channel, and to only have them blacked out. And about Roberts, he is going to make mistakes, even with a good bench coach, but I believe him, and his coaches, will work harder, to do better. And they have the energy and the will, to make this a better team. From what I have read about Roberts, and his coaches, they are a bunch of go getters. And are starting rotation is better in the sense, that we have enough starting pitchers, to make the starts, we need them to make. Of course, Greinke will be missed, but Greinke can only fill one place, in the starting rotation. Last year, it was Greinke and Kershaw, and Anderson barely, and who ever they found to pitch. At least there is depth in this rotation. And if Ryu is healthy, this will be the first time, we may see a healthy Ryu. And Ryu was a good pitcher, even with his arm problems. Just think how good he will be healthy. And Kazmir and Madea, have to be better, then most of those pitchers, that came off the scrap heap, like many like to say here. And we get to see Cory play, the entire season. There really is a lot of good things, if we take a good look.

    2. Beating the Giants is not going to be a walk in the park. They owned the Dodgers early last year by winning 5 of the first 6. They have strengthened their OF, and have 4 pretty good starting pitchers. Their infield is one of the best in the bigs. Best thing to do out of the gate is not let them dominate like they did last year.

  17. I see a team that is built for a long season. It has depth, talent and versatility. The only injury this team can’t survive is Kershaw, but that’s a loss no team could survive. I do worry about shortstop if Seager misses an extended amount of time. The rotation is certainly weaker in the 2 slot but stronger 3 to 5 than last season. I don’t see how Ethier, Crawford and Guerrero break camp on the roster. One and maybe two will be traded before the season starts.

    They have a lot of ifs but so do all teams. The Giants ifs are can Pence, Pagan, Belt, Panik and Cueto stay healthy among others. The Dbacks can everyone repeat last years performance, if Corbin is healthy and no matter how good Grienke’s mechanics are there is always a concern about his elbow. I think the Dodgers are better situated to sustain the bumps and grind of the long season than the others are.

    As far as the managing and coaching staff go as long as they bring a sense of urgency to the team I will be happy. It always seemed like losing didn’t matter to Mattingly. Bochy is at the head of the class in the division and Hale is entering his second season, so he’s not that far ahead of Roberts. I hope the coaching staff lives up to it’s reputation of being teachers of the game. Dee Gordon said he would not have had the year he did in LA. He gave Perry Hill credit for his improvement on defense and a change in approach at the plate. Instead of hitting the ball on the ground and use his speed Miami just let him hit the ball.

    This might be the first year 3 teams tie for the division with 88 wins. Whatever happens I can’t wait for opening day.

    1. Crawford is for all practical purposes, untradeable. He is owed 41 million over the next 2 years. And the Dodgers would probably have to eat 80% of that to move him. Guererro is being shopped because he is a man without a position. There is a lot of talk he will be dealt to an AL team. Ethier is a whole different animal. He becomes a 10-5 player on April 21st. That means he can veto any trade. He is owed around 37 million over the next 2 years. The Dodgers would probably be willing to eat half that to move him. The big problem so far is that he has a vesting option for 2018 if he reaches certain goals. Makes it hard to move a guy who can write his own ticket after next year.

    2. USA Today just projected Giants to win 90, Dodgers to win 88 games this year. Their comment: Dodgers can’t have 35 guys on the active roster, or something to that effect.

      Organizational depth is great, but need the best 25 guys to win now.

  18. Morning Badger. I read your reply about my not liking Grandal. I know it was as much to move Kemp as anything else, but my friend, Kemp is not old. He was 29 when he was traded and will be 31 sometime this year. If we wanted to unload the old guy, it should have been Crawford. I think there were better options at catcher. Like one guy said, they originally went after Montero. I would have liked to see them put an offer together for Lucroy. I watched Grandal as a Padre, read the scouting reports on him, and something just always seemed off. Maybe it was his approach at the plate, or his constant glaring at the umps when they called strikes on him that he did not agree with. He did that a lot last year. But check the amount of passed balls this guy has. 29 in less than 4 full seasons as a catcher. That is pretty bad. Ellis on the other hand has 25 in 8 years. I know a lot of fans like the guy, I just believe they could have gotten a better deal for Kemp since he was coming off a pretty good bounce back season.

    1. I’m not that big on Grandal Michael. And I was a Kemp fan. He is one of those guys people stay in their sest to watch hit. He, Manny and HanRam were all must see at bats. Not sure we have any quite like those guys anymore. Maybe Seager. We’ll see. Maybe Gonzalez, but not like before he turned 30.

      I think Grandal may eventually hit, but I don’t see him durable enough to catch full time. I see him at first base, or traded.

      Sounds to me like maybe you too are not so sold on FAZometrics?

      1. Do not get me started on Fried Brains and Zorro! LOL……..I do understand that is how they do things in modern baseball, but doesn’t it make you wonder how all those scouts in the old days found talented players without all the stats. I remember a story I read in Fresco Thompson’s biography. The Dodgers had a former catcher named Clyde Sukeforth who was a scout. Roy Campanella went to Branch Rickey and told him about a young outfielder the Dodgers should sign. Rickey sent Sukeforth to check the kid out. A few days later, Sukeforth came to Rickey and said, ” kid can’t hit a curveball…” So the Dodgers did not sign him……his name.? Willie Mays. So nobody is perfect…..Just think of the OF they could have had……Mays, Snider, and Clemente….not bad…..I also think Grandal is not durable enough to C full time, and they have 2 kids in the pipeline who are pretty good….Farmer, and Leon. Barnes could end up being like Kike and being a super sub…..

        1. Ever read George Genovese’s book, “A Scout’s Report”? Although he spent most of his career with the Giants, there are a lot of stories about the near-misses like that. Maybe he saw him on a bad day.

          1. No I have not, but I should. Thompson’s book was really interesting, made more so by the fact that he had just about every job in the organization including playing for them in 1931 and 32.

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