110 thoughts on “Open Thread #4

  1. I have just learned that my birthplace of Fargo, ND, has a special distinction: “Located at Newman Outdoor Field, the Maury Wills Museum is in honor of the former 1962 National League MVP and Major League Baseball player who worked for the RedHawks as a coach and a radio analyst.”

  2. HOF nominees tomorrow. Any thoughts? The Big Unit and Martinez appear to be locks. Who else?

      • Those four plus Raines, Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Trammell, Clemens and Bonds. I don’t LIKE the last two, but their accomplishments are worthy and were even before the PEDs, as far as I’m concerned.

        I’d keep voting a full ballot for a few years, too, because I think the various voting committees have been too chary of electing worthy individuals. Admission is supposed to be on merit, not on the feelings of writers and ex-players.

        Full slate of nominees is here if anyone wants to look.

  3. Today’s MLB trade rumors has Baltimore as a possible destination for Andre Ethier. Maybe another dumping of salary, who knows?

    • OK with me. He used to be my favorite player, seems like he just doesn’t try as hard these days…

        • I’m afraid the big contract is what hurt him. It has to bear on your mind, even if only sub-consciously, that “I’m rich now, I don’t have to hurt myself”. More noticeable on defense. He used to dive for balls and jump into fences. I don’t think he got within 6 feet of a fence last year. A human weakness, who’s to say you or I wouldn’t be the same way…

          • Seems like a harsh judgement. Fellow was essentially moved to a different position after signing and performed at an average level as a cf until last year.

          • Walls are a lot more forgiving these days. Still, Buckner used to bang into walls and ended up at 1st base. Matty lost a year battling the wall in Coors. There are trade offs involved as Pete showed as well.

    • Even if Ethier goes, that still leaves Crawford, Pederson, Puig, Heisey and SVS, offering good platoon options. That would probably be ideal.

      • It seems like a trade of Heisey for Ethier from last year. Don’t know if I like that much or not?

          • Am I right in thinking that the Front Office puts more faith in defense than offense?? Also in being much much more frugal?

          • The Dodgers recently overtook the Yanquis for MLB’s largest payroll, by quite a bit. Certainly they’ve upgraded defensively, but I wouldn’t call them frugal (though they have said that, in the long run, they want value for money, and the payroll could/should drop as top prospects reach the big club).

          • Perhaps you didn’t understand my question. Does the Dodger Front Office put more importance on defense rather than offense???

          • I don’t think you read my answer closely. To elaborate, though, there are three aspects to the game: offense, pitching and defense. In my opinion, the offense is an open question depending on how Pederson delivers, the pitching likewise depending on the health of McCarthy and Brett Anderson, and the defense has clearly improved. Whether that means they value offense more is arguable – perhaps they found the most achievable upgrades on defense.

          • That was my thought exactly. They found the most achievable upgrades on defense. At the expense of less offense. In my opinion. I didn’t use pitching in the equation because it doesn’t look upgraded to me. So I saw it as defense better, offense worse and pitching the jury is out.

          • Here’s an interesting if perhaps oversimplified comparison from a Dodgers Digest commentator:

            “rollins and kendrick and grandal last year combined to hit 39 homer runs

            kemp and hanley and gordon hit 40

            22 scored errors for rollins group

            35 scored errors for kemps group”

          • I think run prevention over run scoring has been the theme, which would seem to be in line with improving the team’s relative strengths last year (basically the best offense in the NL, if you ignore the Rox, middling pitching and poor defense). On offense they have lost some of the big guns and have sought to substitute by upgrading at 2nd and catcher and having a more consistent 1-8. Both pitching and defense have been upgraded. We will see if the formula works.

          • Not an answer but an observation… Less offense increases the need for a competent manager.

      • After what SVS did last season, be good to see more of him. Mauls LHP but was decent v RHP also. He might start for some teams, or at least get a shot at it.

        Might drop off a bit now that his personal batting practice pitcher Wade Miley has changed addresses and leagues. Wonder how he’ll play in–or out of–Fenway?

  4. The LA Times says the Dodgers are out of the Scherzer, Shields and Hamels market for now.

    “You never say never, but we have no plans to pursue those kind of guys at this time,” Farhan said.

    • I think the Dodger front office now has the team they want barring injury. Maybe a small change here or there. Actually I think that is a good thing so we can follow their thought process on the new team. Perhaps this team will jell and win 100, who knows?

      • Can’t see Ethier on the roster opening day.

        But you sure can’t predict what this front office will do. If there’s one thing we all can agree on, that’s it. ;-[)

        • Ethier has low value and, in any event, he’s something of an insurance policy if Joc falters.

          • But with declining/declined skills, Ethier takes a roster spot management no doubt believes could be better utilized. As insurance, he’s unlikely to pay many benefits.

            No, he’s not worth much. And his remaining contract is humongous.

            Doubt the team would just dump him but probably would jump on any deal bringing any semblance of value in return. Even tho it would mean paying most of his salary.

            Management showed with Wilson that they now understand sunk costs, which Ethier pretty much is at this stage of his career.

            But swallowing all of Ethier’s much larger contract might give even the Baseball Guggenheimers pretty bad indigestion

          • I expect Ethier’s better than he showed last year, but he’s certainly disposable.

          • I definitely believe that at least 1 outfielder, maybe2 will leave before opening day. The rest of the league knows this and will squeeze the Dodgers if they try and get rid of Ethier or Crawford. Wonder what Heisey’s role is?? Joc’s backup?

          • Think the brain trust will give it a while into the season before trying to move anyone else. Guy like Ethier’s best chance of moving would seem to be some team in contention at halfway mark needed another piece..

        • Not worth the money, but he is not all that bad. Haven’t done the roster numbers but surely he is not a bad 25th and does provide some insurance for Joc.

  5. Not beating a dead horse, just attempting to put our negative opinions into a humorous context. What the Dodger brass has done is analogous to this: Coming home from a hard day at school and on the baseball diamond, you remember your Mom saying something about grilled steak, corn on the cob, and strawberry shortcake for dinner. You come in the door to find…. tuna casserole, spinach, and a small piece of Aunt Martha’s pound cake. It may fill your stomach, give you just as many vitamins, but it won’t be anywhere near as exciting and fulfilling. That is what our Dodgers may become.

    • I just wish the season started tomorrow, so we could find out sooner rather than later

    • To put this another way, do you want an exciting team with lots of stars, with it’s ups and downs, that MIGHT get you to the playoffs, or a dull, no name team that doesn’t excite you but just wins? Maybe I’m in the minority but I love baseball for the excitement, not the hum drum factory worker win every (almost) day. Remember Mannywood? Ethier’s walk-off home runs? Kemp’s home runs when everybody in the stadium and watching television KNEW he was going to hit it? That is the Dodger baseball I want to see again…

      • Excitement is great during the season, the big streak in 2013, Gagne’s save streak, Kemps MVP season….I’ll take Jay Johnstone’s big home run against the Yankees in the World Series any day….just win, baby….

  6. Okay, I give up trying to persuade you guys to wait till the season starts to whine about the management and its moves so far. We’ll just have to see.

    • Link, I admire your loyalty to the new brass and as a Dodger fan, I hope I am dead wrong about my opinions. I think what really set me off was when the brass said they had fun tearing up the team during the trades. I did not think there was anything fun about losing Kemp, Gordon, and Hanley and FedEx. Maybe if they win I will feel differently. They do deserve a chance.

      • It’s not loyalty to them as much as it is a recognition that they have more info about these players than I do, so if they’re making decisions to jettison some of them they may have better reasons or judgments than any that have been made public.

        • Thanks to the Internet the player’s every flaw and virtue are pretty well known to all. In that environment, decisions (trades) are made by the philosophies of the participating GMs, not necessarily from superior knowledge. It is not at all surprising that the fan’s philosophy is so much different from that of a professional who deals with the subject just about every hour of every day

      • Package, can you provide a source with a direct quote for that claim? I follow the team very closely and have never seen anything remotely near “had fun tearing up the team.”

        Excuse the bluntness, but it appears you’re letting your emotions run wild.

        You say they (new management) deserve a chance. But nothing in your comments indicates you really are willing to give them one. It’s just the same negative stuff over and over.

        Which is a violation of commenting Rule 8–making the same point over and over again.

        Even if your concerns prove valid, you can’t put spilled milk back in the bottle.

        Time to move on.

        • Sorry you don’t like my commenting. The comment was said during a conference and I heard it. Maybe you just missed it. Giving the new management a chance does not mean that I agree with their decisions. Because you don’t like my commenting does not mean you can attack me personally, which is also a violation of the rules. No, my emotions are not running wild and I have stated several times that management deserves a chance. In any of my comments have I spoke negatively about any commenter and when did you become the blog police. Also, it is not your place to decide when I should move on. I bet if I agreed with management on every one of my comments, you would not have written your negative comment to me. Why don’t you try commenting instead of critiquing my comments but Thank You for your concern.

          • I apologize for wording that could be interpreted as asking YOU to move on. Definitely not the intent. I meant “time to move on” to different points or different topics instead of repeating so much.

            I could see new management saying something like retooling the team was fun–but definitely not saying tearing it up was. They don’t see their moves as destroying the team but making it better. Guess we’ll find out once the season starts.

            No intent whatsoever to attack you personally, but it’s not too surprising you took what I said that way.

            If you followed Dodger Thoughts much, you know that commenters other than the moderator sometimes pointed out violations when they believed it appropriate.

            You have every right to differ with new management. As far as my opinion of its moves, I’m cautiously optimistic.

            My point, which I’ll repeat just once more, is that, agree or not, the moves are made. All we can do is wait and see what happens. There’s zero point to bemoaning and replaying management’s decisions continuously.

          • Apology accepted. I know I have repeatedly been critical of the decisions made and I will try to not overdo my comments. Thank You for being a standup person and coming back to me with your thoughts. I too apologize for being too thin skinned. I will do better in the future.

          • You both sorted that out nicely, well done to you both for not letting that develop into anything more.

    • In my mind, the issue last year was the bullpen and the manager. All these moves, the changes to the starting rotation, changes in fielders, changes in hitters and the bench, none of it matters to me.
      If we don’t see improvement in the bullpen, 2015 will be a repeat of 2014.
      And in my humble opinion, the best move new management could make would be a new manager. This one does not have a feel for game management.

  7. I think the reason for the negativity is in part because most of the trades and pickups were of folks that were injury prone, unproven, poor character, or just had high expectations. Think about it, Rollins, Kendrick and Anderson could be gone after the season. Pederson has a chance to do well but could very easily not perform to expectations. Grandal is a druggie and McCarthy may also not perform, he never has. I don’t think they will resign Greinke and he will opt out after this year if not injured. I see it as in one fail swoop, Friedman tore down the Dodgers with no regard to the fact that the fans love their players and don’t want them traded every year, many make no sense. Tradition is important. Let’s face it when the endless new players keep coming the fans will lose some interest. Plus, most of these new players are not well known and proven players. Some are old, some are injury prone and some have character issues. Last year the Dodgers won 94 games, Colletti’s teams won 783 games or and average of 88 per season. He did collect talent and missed some signings but all he had to do was resign Hanley and one starter and fix the bullpen(He did try to assemble a good bullpen but they did not perform as they had in the past) and he could have been a hero. Now we have a front office that makes changes for the sake of change so if it goes right they get the credit, if it goes wrong, blame Donnie.
    Lastly, WOW, speaking of trying to assemble talent, look at the total of the Geek Squad. With all that talent the Dodgers should surely win, right?? I have huge reservations.

    • I hate to say it but I find that I agree with you on a lot of things… and that scares me. One thing We definitely disagree on is Hanley. He is toast, It was time to cut him adrift if he wouldn’t take the Qualifying Offer. I think even you will see that next season. No, Rollins isn’t better, he’s not even as good, but he’s cheaper, he’s here for only one season, and, most important of all, he’s here, no point in crying over Hanley. Hell, even Willy Mays left the Giants eventually. Long live the King!

      • Hey John, don’t feel bad about agreeing with me. I might not be right all the time but I am not wrong all the time either. Mays was a great player.

    • Rollins is infinitely better defensively than Ramirez, and everyone knows he’s a one-year placeholder till Seager’s ready. Kendrick is an infinitely better hitter than Dee, and he plays second base extremely well. He’s also only 30 years old, so he’s got three or more years ahead of him.

      Granted McCarthy’s career numbers aren’t great (52-65 W-L), but his lifetime ERA is a little better than average (102 ERA+).

      I don’t know why you think they won’t re-sign or at least make every effort to re-sign Greinke. They’re not idiots, no matter what you think. Friedman and Zaidi and Byrnes are highly-respected executives, and Stan Kasten and his group wouldn’t have hired them unless he/they thought they could bring a winner to LA.

      You write: “most of these new players are not well known and proven players. Some are old,”

      They can’t be both not well known and old in the league.

      Come on, package. At least give these guys the benefit of the doubt until the first ball is thrown. Anyone would think you loved Colletti.

      • Yes, Rollins is the holder for Seager and I hope that works out but I don’t think Rollins is better than Hanley. They did not want to spend the money on Hanley. Kendrick is a better 2nd baseman than Dee but Dee is young and could get better and the Dodgers had control of him for the next few years. I am not upset with this trade however, if the Dodgers can resign him. No question that Haren is better than McCarthy. Could have used him this year and then filled his position. No way is McCarthy worth what they are paying him. They won’t try and resign Greinke for the same reason they didn’t sign Hanley…MONEY! Also, they have huge egos themselves and think they can fill positions off the scrapheap. They are highly respected executives who have made their way off nothing payrolls to reasonable success. But even you have to agree that with the payroll the Dodgers have, these trades don’t make much sense. I speak of old and unproven players I am speaking of the prospects and Rollins. Hanley was not near his age at 31. Also, McCarthy, Grandal and Anderson are not well known players. Just for the record, I hate the Kemp trade. Bad trade, pure and simple.
        Finally, you are correct that these guys do deserve a chance to try their program but I just hope they don’t make the team worse in doing so.

        • “Well-known” does not necessarily mean “good.” Derek Jeter is still well-known, but I don’t think any of us wants to see him playing SS for the Dodgers.

          I expect that, if you took a poll of baseball writers and/or executives, the Dodgers would still be overwhelming divisional favorites for 2015.

          • I certainly don’t think it will be a walk in the park. The Padres have made huge strides and of course the Giants still live. We shall see.

  8. I have to admit I don’t understand the negativity toward this team before it’s even set foot on a spring training field, much less started the season. Nearly everyone thought Colletti was a lousy GM, so now he’s been replaced by two guys who are aggressive and willing to dump dead wood and yet there’s been a lot of complaining.

    Can’t we at least see how the team does on the field before we pass judgment on Friedman and friends?

    • I wouldn’t refer to Kemp as “dead wood,” and I will miss his presence in the lineup. That said, the acquisition Grandal addresses a weakness on the big club and in the farm system – A.J. is getting older and was injury-prone, and the next best catching prospect is in the lower minors. The LA outfield, meanwhile, had (and still has) a surplus of talent. Even next year may not be definitive, as Grandal and Joc are still developing, while Kemp is in his prime (though he’s also been injury-prone in recent years).

    • I think most fans prefer star players who do great things but make lots of money. Our front office prefers , shall we say, less extravagant players who are more cost effective. In the end, they may well be just as effective in team wins but they won’t be as interesting. The real bottom line in professional sports is money, and that comes from butts in the seats and in front of the (paid) television. Time will tell on that front. Personally I can’t see watching a team without Kemp (2015), Grienke (2016), and Kershaw (????). Perhaps we should change the team name to “Los Angeles Journeymen”…

  9. I guess the key word with “executives” (Do you get the feeling I dislike them as a class?) is “change things” as in put my stamp on it, make it different than my predecessor so I’ll get credit. For what they’re paying for Anderson and McCarthy, they could likely have signed Shields or Scherzer, and kept Heron whom we’re paying for anyway. I almost hope it blows up in their faces (as in two…), I’ll root for the team on the field but I’ll never like the front office and every time their machinations backfire on them, I’ll get a little satisfaction from it, although I’ll be sorry for the player on the field. I’m afraid in time the players will get so drab and uninteresting that I’ll completely lose interest in the team altogether. Of course they’ll be making lots of money but that won’t affect me.

    • Scherzer’s agent is Scott Boras. He’s already talking about a bigger contract than Kershaw’s., so that’s certainly not as inexpensive as Anderson and McCarthy.

        • It can be. Anderson’s and McCarthy’s deal add up to $22M this season for the two, then McCarthy alone for the next three years at $12M per. That’s a lot less than the expected amount Scherzer is going to ask for.

          Inexpensive would have been good if we could have paid Wilson less last season, Arruebarrena less for the next four years, and League less for the next two years.

          • What if Anderson gets hurt and McCarthy only wins 10 and Scherzer wins 20? Bet there is a better chance of Scherzer winning 20 on the Dodgers than McCarthy winning 10?

  10. It is well known that the Major Leagues have been ultra tough on game fixing and betting. I will never understand the need to hire anyone, ANYONE who has had this type behavior. Especially the Dodgers and their new king Andrew Freidman. If you do not stay away from the problem, you become the problem.

  11. Dodgers DFA
    ERISBEL ARRUEBARRENA. Another $25MM down the tubes from Ned’s bad signings…

    • Ned may have had some bad sighnings but we have yet to evaluate The Geek Squad’s bad sighnings. By the way, since the Dodgers have let Alphabet go I was curious to see who I think they will end up with if no other moves are made to the position players roster. They are Gonzalez, Guererro, Turner, Kendrick, Rollins, Uribe, Crawford, Ethier, Pederson, Van Slyke, Puig, Ellis, Grandal. 12 pitchers

      • Unfortunately Ned has a pretty good argument that he is the best GM the Dodgers have had in 10 years, the new guys have to beat his record or look awfully silly…

      • Actually, the willingness to acknowledge sunk costs may well be a positive. Personally, though, I would have been fine with Haren over a demonstrably fragile Brett Anderson.

  12. Well, now besides a PED user with Grandel to the signing of a convicted game fixer with Tsao. Way to Go Friedman, you are truly building a well respected team.

  13. If the book ends with one besides Brooks Robinson or Ozzie Smith, I will have to question whether it is a work of fiction

  14. From an annual “Strange but True” column at ESPN LA:

    • Cole Hamels faced 23 hitters with the bases loaded this year. Justin Verlander faced 21. Johnny Cueto faced 20. And Clayton Kershaw? He didn’t face anybody with
    the bases full until Aug. 28, and wound up facing pitching to just
    three hitters in that situation all season. He allowed a hit to none of
    them, of course. He hasn’t done something crazy like that in a
    regular-season game since May 26, 2013. Just so you know, Verlander has
    allowed 10 hits with the bases loaded since the last time Kershaw even
    allowed one.

    • Incredible numbers for Kersh. Freidman will probably want to trade him while his value is high and before he can collect any of the big new money on his contract.

      • Even in the vaunted AL East with its bandboxes. Bandboxes don’t seem to matter much for very good groundball pitchers, at least not this one.

        Interesting that his MLB ERA was a tad LOWER than in Japan. Whooda thunk it?

        He’s 40 now, so who knows how his rerun with the Carp will go. Wouldn’t be surprising if he doesn’t do better after his MLB experience, even at 40.