Open Thread #8

The Dodgers’ prospects are not ALL young men of lily-white behavior. Two of them were just suspended for fifty games to start the season. For Robert Carson, that’s when Oklahoma City’s schedule is set; for Theo Alexander it’s Ogden’s schedule.

Comcast DC has a projection of the Dodgers’ season.

83 thoughts on “Open Thread #8

  1. You didn’t even count the game fixer. Soon they may both be up with the dopehead behind the plate.

    • Both of those are ambiguous cases, with a lot to prove. Grandal addresses a serious roster weakness, and has some pop. I don’t like the PED links, but I’m willing to keep an open mind.

      • I understand you wanting to give the kid a chance. The FO made the trade not the kid but it is hard for me to be naïve enough to believe that this was anything close to a good trade. GIVE to GET does not fit the bill.

        • Grandal had 15 dingers in 443 ABs last season, and a pretty good walk rate to compensate for a low average. He’s potentially a very high value player, with excellent offense for a catcher.

          • Jim Duquette of MLB.com ranks the Padres as the #1 team in MLB in improvement over the winter. He says that Matt Kemp is a premium power hitter.

          • Nobody says otherwise. But does his hitting make up for his defensive shortcomings? That’s the question the FO asked, and it decided no. It’s exactly the same question they asked about Hanley, and exactly the same answer.

          • I think Hanley is still a valuable player, but not so much to an NL team that can’t play him at DH.

          • Disagree. I still contend the FO traded as many well known and fan-approved players as he could get away with, to replace them with “his kind of players”, cheap, drab, not attention getters. No point in arguing about this, he is going to do what he wants to do as long as he has the job. For him, results is what counts; For me and some other fans, pleasure in watching the team (meaning players WE like). Only Friedman and Chris Heising’s mother approve of him replacing Matt Kemp. Let’s revisit this in October.

          • I couldn’t have said it better John. Also, the players we like can perform as Matt, Hanley, and Dee did not cost us a WS appearance. I agree that there is nothing we can do about it but if King Andrew isn’t successful we won’t be the only ones complaining, I assure you.

          • Every young player who hasn’t achieved a MLB track record could be categorized as “cheap, drab, not attention getter,” could he not?

            Before stardom even Kemp and Hanley fit this description. To knowledgeable fans they were viewed as potential stars, which they became. But they didn’t begin as proven standouts.

            I get that many fans enjoy and want to watch “name” players and want the team to sign them at whatever cost, thinking they give the team the best chance to win the WS.

            But if you look at the Yankees and others– including the Dodgers–over the years, big payroll and superstar-laden rosters in no way guarantee winning it all.

            IIRC, when NYY spent big on pitching they won more often than not.

            “Brand names” matter a lot to many fans. But sometimes a generic brand can deliver pretty close to the same results. Sometimes.

          • Quote: Every young player who hasn’t achieved a MLB track record could be categorized as “cheap, drab, not attention getter,” could he not? At that point in their career, absolutely.

          • I would agree they’re the most improved. They’ll almost certainly finish ahead of the Gnats, but still behind the Dodgers.

          • Not disagreeing with you at all, just pointing out that ‘walk rate’ means zilch if he’s batting eighth.

          • Mostly batted 4 or 5, but with the Pads lineup last year may have been the equivalent of batting 8th. His value seems to be when he bats left.

          • I disagree with that but, in any event, was not batting eighth for the Pads, and it appears he still has quite a bit of upside.

  2. Sadly, just about every organization has such problems. Neither of them figures to have any impact this season.

  3. TO Link
    Did you notice in the projection that Chase didn’t even mention Matt Kemp. Doesn’t sound like he is much of an analyst. CSN should take another look at him.

  4. Every thread here regresses into FO bashing.

    The changes made in the lineup and bench will have no effect on how far the bums go this year. I am not happy about losing Kemp and Ramirez from the lineup, but ultimately this will make no difference on how far we go.

    It all rests with the pitching, and specifically the bullpen. If the remade bullpen does well, we go to the World Series, if it doesn’t we don’t. Simple as that.

    • If it makes no difference to lose Matt and Hanley then we should win. The bullpen has been redone to a certain extent and the defense is better as most agree including me. Some also say with the addition of Anderson and McCarthy that the rotation is better than last year. Most everyone on this site feels good about the Dodgers winning this year and we shall see. I do feel however that the team will have to jell early if it wants to achieve the last two years results and more.

    • Quote: Every thread here regresses into FO bashing. True, most do. But, a very small number of people are starting threads, always the same ones, and that is their subject of choice. The few threads of other subjects started die a quick death. Where are the “sunshine fans”? Why don’t they start some interesting threads? Not relevant to our discussion,but do you know there are at least twice as many football fans today as there was 2 months ago, because today is SuperBowl Sunday? Some “fans” only follow in season; Some of us are fans 12 months a year and we’ll take our discussion subjects as we find them. The FO is responsible for signing players, as unpaid fans we have the right to talk about them, especially inasmuch as we can’t do anything about them. They can put me on the payroll and tell me to shut up if they like. Ownership isn’t fans like us, for them the bottom line is making as much money as possible. It remains to be seen whether a drab team that wins will put more tails in the seats than a flashy, star-studded team that almost wins. I have my opinion and preference on that. Also, it’s much better for the blog owner to have lots of posts anyway.

      • I agree with your thoughts as I know I have started some posts and lots of times not many comment. Don’t they have an opinion even if it does not agree with me? We do have a right to state our opinions but unfortunately I think most of the time their opinion does not agree with us. They would rather blindly follow the FO or as you say they are sunshine fans. I really think they are tired of hearing about “Their FO”. They choose to believe and we are complainers, especially me. I hope the Dodgers do win and that will shut me up. However, I do believe you are correct about the star players and the drab team. I have read some of the other blogs and they are many times talking about anything except baseball or nothing but smart a&* remarks. Some are also quite vulgar but that is what we are refered to many times. I like this blog and all I ask is that these folks just ask themselves if I am right before they condem.

        • The “comments’ at TrueBlueLA and even Dodger Digest are vulgar, pointless, always talking about drinking, that they are really unreadable for adults. But they get 50 times as many comments as this blog, and the owners make a lot more money, which is apparently all they’re after. At least this blog is civilized enough I can stay here, I couldn’t stand them.

          • TrueBlue isn’t so bad, but DodgersDigest is often juvenile. Both frequently have good analyses, but they’re often repetitive and the writing is so-so at best.

          • IMO TrueBlue posts are worth reading if for no other reason than Eric S is very good at reporting Dodger news. Sometimes comments there can be good, but it’s hit or miss.

            IMO DD posts are well worth reading, and Mike P is one of the best writers out there. Comments there often are pretty much a waste of time.

        • Could be people don’t reply much here because they’re tired of the same themes over and over. Maybe they’ve had their say and don’t want to rehash it all.

          You know, there’s a middle ground between believing and complaining. It’s called wait-and-see-since-there’s-no-other-choice ground.

          That’s where I am. Really, it’s where we all are, or at least need to be.

          I don’t blindly support the FO. Most here are pretty independent thinkers, and it’s not likely they feel blind allegiance either. Our new FO won’t hit on every move it makes. No FO does.

          Also, there’s quite a bit of difference between respectfully disagreeing and condemning others’ comments.

          • I am sorry my comments have caused you so much concern. I certainly did not mean to single you out as having certain thoughts.

          • They really don’t cause me concern. Didn’t think you were aiming comments at me….not when the FO is such an inviting target. ;-])

            Just trying to clarify where I am.

            As John from Aus might say…..”no worries, mate.” ;-])

  5. It’ll be great when spring training gets underway, if for no other reason than to give some commenters something else to talk about other than how awful this front office is. Not to personalize this, but reading that and little else most of the time gets old fast. Been old a while now.

    People have every right to disagree with FO player moves, apparent philosophy, whatever else. But the player moves are made. Over. Done. Not going to change. Star players no longer on the team for whatever reasons are not coming back. Rehashing it is pointless.

    What matters now is the future. Can we look forward to the new season and all the good things it may bring instead of dwelling on things past which we can do absolutely nothing about?

    Most knowledgeable baseball analysts seem to think the Dodgers are better overall than last year and are one of the WS favorites. Analysts aren’t on the Dodger payroll. They have no reason to write or say anything except what they believe to be factual.

    Let’s give the FO and its new approach a chance. Who knows–it might even pay off.

  6. It’s not much fun for the blog owner to see, as Howard Fox says, “every thread regress into FO bashing.”

    I have been hesitant to invoke Rule 8 for various reasons, but Jon wrote
    it for a reason. It’s real tiresome to me to read constant griping about
    things that are, like it or not, over and done with.

    The new people in the FO, for reasons they felt were good ones, traded away one
    of the team’s biggest stars whose defense was diminishing and another
    who’d had one good season at a new position and who’d slumped the last
    half of that season. They declined to offer a guy whose defense is
    generally agreed baseball-wide to be pretty bad at shortstop a huge
    lengthy contract they’d then be stuck with. They made other moves which
    don’t stand out as much but were significant, particularly in restocking
    the farm system.

    The point is, they made those decisions, and their boss Kasten seems to be on the same page with them. Some fans are unhappy, and I’m sure they’re aware of it. But nobody, whether in the team offices or out here watching, has a clue how those decisions will
    pan out until the games begin.

    After several months of grumbling, can’t we agree to disagree and wait for the season to start? There will be time enough then to conclude that the team is irretrievably junk and
    that the new President is trying to build himself up at the expense of the team’s performance?

    Frankly, at this point I’d rather they focus on getting Time Warner to lower its demands and get a deal done between it and all the carriers so the majority of the fans in the region can watch this new team play.

    • As time has passed since last season, I had forgotten that TW had not come to any agreements. To be honest, although I am a diehard Dodger fan, getting updates constantly on my phone, I got to the point where I did not miss watching TV 3 hours every single night. I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not alone in this. This would be a good thing for DirecTV not having come to a deal, and a bad thing for TW, with fans not planning their days around a TV show. Just my opinion.

      For me, it kind of became similar to the NBA, following along during the season, but watching the playoffs.

      • I’ve written my last words on that subject, I won’t even post, “I told you so…”.

    • Living in the Bay Area, I don’t have Time Warner problems, but all games with the Gnats get blacked out (we cut the Comcast cable last year).

  7. I think Greinke is a cinch to opt out, he’s passing up just too much money if he doesn’t. I’d hate to lose him. I would offer an extension (2016 through 2021) amounting to 6 years, $150MM total. Fair?

      • That’s my thinking. If we have to eat that sixth year, then we got 5 for $30MM each. If he’s still effective in the last year, it’s a bonus for us.

    • He’ll turn 32 in the midst of the playoffs/World Series this fall.

      I’m sure he’ll want a six-or-seven year contract. I’d be hesitant to go out that long for a guy in his early 30s. Pitchers may be able to go longer than everyday players (Hi, Jamie Moyers! Yo, Warren Spahn!), but one injury and they can be done for life.

      • Lester got 6 years and a option for the 7th, I think. Reasonable for Zack to expect as much??

    • Maybe. Conventional wisdom would be that he’ll opt out and leave since the
      Dodgers are unlikely to give a big contract to a pitcher that will go until his late 30s.

      But Greinke has shown that he’s a very independent thinker. He has made some comments that make me wonder if he won’t stay in LA if he believes the Dodgers have a very good chance to win.

      JP Howell said one of the reasons he came to LA was Greinke’s thorough analysis of the Dodgers and how he liked their chances to win.

      Maybe this should be filed under wishful thinking because the Dodgers certainly would n’t be as good without vintage Greinke.

      But “just” money doesn’t seem like it matters most to him. Not that he or any other star player really needs more anyhow.

  8. What the heck kind of sports fans are we that the Super Bowl hasn’t even been mentioned here?

    I’m of two minds. I’d like to see Brady win one more before he’s too old, but I’d like to see Wilson and Sherman and Chancellor and those guys start a dynasty too. I’d really like to see Marshawn Lynch win MVP in a losing cause and force Roger Goodell to hand him that trophy after fining him thousands of bucks for not speaking to the media.

    I’m going to a watch party this afternoon at the same place I’ve been going for 23 of the last 24 years, and I’m taking along a new batch of the same dip and crackers I’ve been taking since 2004.

    Spreadsheet of all the previous games’ results here. I was curious about the average point differential over time. It’s slightly over two touchdowns.

    • I did mention the SuperBowl on one reply post today. Afraid you only got two kind of posters here, those who want to complain about the FO, and those who want to complain about the complainers… You take what you can get, you could be ignored altogether…

      • Many of us that post here are refugees from Dodger Thoughts seeking a place where when can discuss the Dodgers without all the noise you find among the comments on other sites. We are very beholding to Link for trying to keep the little community alive.

    • Here’s my contribution, then: from this evening, no more handegg! Pitchers and catchers report in less than three weeks.

    • That was a crazy super bowl game. I had family here and was chasing toddlers part of the time, but what a final minute! I was rooting for Seattle, mildly. Heart breaking for them and their fans. But mostly, I can’t wait for opening day. Go Dodgers!!!!

  9. Just wondering what will become of Alex Guerrero? He has comparable stats with Joc Peterson as far as Fielding Pct and his hitting was pretty good in AAA and is also comparable with Joc. He is 3rd in the depth chart for 2nd base behind Kendrick and Barney. I don’t really think he has established himself enough to really get any value if he were to be traded but he has no where to play this year and cannot be sent to the minors due to contract stipulations.

      • Is Guerrero considered a prospect? If so, I wonder why he is not evaluated like other prospects. Joc is considered a prospect and has signed a major league contract. Urias and Seager have signed minor league contracts. Guess it doesn’t matter? If he is not given any press it seems like it would be hard to build value?

    • You would think an organization would find out if a player can field a position adequately before giving him millions of dollars, wouldn’t you? Back off, guys, I’m not blaming Friedman for him…

      • It’s well known that Guerrero and Arry were Nedisms. Wouldn’t be surprising if those 2 signings played a part in his losing his GM job.

        • Donnie selected Dee to take over 2nd base over Guerrero which is neither here or there in my opinion. I feel had Guerrero been given the same opportunity that Dee had he may well have developed quickly. Alphabet is not nearly as capable as Alex in my opinion. His fielding is good but absolutely no bat. So Alphabet could have been a factor in Ned’s case but I don’t feel Guerrero is in the same category. I think in time he will be a decent major leaguer.

          • I think the widely held general opinion is Ned badly overpaid for both.

            Like you, I’d like to see Guerrero contribute. But there have been numerous reports that while he may wield a good bat, he doesn’t and won’t field at a level that will play in the majors. They even gave him some time in LF at ABQ last year, trying to increase his utility. If he’s on the roster he now projects mostly as RH pinch hitter, I think.

            He might be traded but with that contract the Dodgers probably would have to pay most of it. Eating it all might be more than even the Guggenheimers would be willing to do.

        • Like WBBsAs says, too soon to write them off. Things didn’t go according to plan last year. Alphabet was brought up a lot quicker than anyone might have imagined and Alex because of Dee and his ear thing a lot later than one might have imagined.

          • Not saying they should be written off. They’re here, and the team should make the best use possible of them. I’d like to see both contribute.

            Point was their enormous (for them) contracts limit what the team can do with them. Especially Guerrero’s no-demote clause Ned allowed, which limits team options further by complicating roster decisions.

            It seems to have been decided that EA’s value is as injury replacement option; otherwise, see if he shows any signs of being able to hit, then?

            Guerrero’s primary value stands to be offense; otherwise, see if he shows signs of being able to play defense at the major-league level. Odds?

          • I think alphabet is destined to go the minors and maybe learn to hit. Guerrero is owed 14 mil over 3 years. It is a lot of money but I don’t think it is too much for Friedman to eat.

          • I would guess that they provided further confirmation that Ned was not the man for the job to implement Katsen’s vision. As you note, this sets up a possible roster for a guy that at best might be the third righty PH.

  10. Zack Greinke wonders if the team got better in the offseason.

    Grant Brisbee of Gnat blog McCovey Chronicles reassures him with a piece of his usual fine writing. Brisbee of all people has no reason to puff up the Dodgers.

    http://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2015/2/2/7964731/dodgers-offseason-zack-greinke

    Not the focus of the piece, but a good line about the rotation backend last year…

    “… a GM trying to assemble a collection of below-replacement starters probably wouldn’t have been as successful as the Dodgers last year.”

    Couple others: “Ramirez looked like he was playing shortstop wearing full catcher’s gear.”

    And “He (Kemp) moved like he was carrying around Hanley Ramirez wearing full catcher’s gear.”

    FWIW.

    • Zack also said the he did not believe there was any trouble in the clubhouse and that the players discussed were good teammates. As for Grant Bisbee, there are other broadcasters that believe the Dodgers are worse such as John Smoltz. When a discussion comes up on MLB Radio or MLB tv some think the Dodgers are better and some think they are worse.

      • Even if one just goes by sabremetrics, there are underlying judgments as regards the value of the projections that justify different assessments. Dee Gordon, for example: which player is he, that of the first half, when he made the ASG, or the second half when he was pretty bad, or the league average guy that he was for the whole season? FO tends to give more weight to what have you done for me lately and sees the second half as a crucial indicator of what might happened next year. In the case of Kemp, in the second half he was one of the best hitters in baseball and a slightly below average rightfielder defensively, but his first half performance was horrendous at bat and in the field. Here, from an FO perspective, one also has to weigh his apparent fragility, the size and duration of his contract and how long he might be able to replicate his second half, even if you think that it better reflects his value. In the case of Hanley, you have the judgment on whether he can stay relatively injury free and how quickly his defensive skills might deteriorate further, and your willingness to give him a big contract under these circumstances. So, obviously a crucial element in the FO judgment is not only how you might stack up in 2015, but also over the years. There is also the question of balance. The FO saw pitching and defense as the weaknesses in this team and decided that sacrificing some (?) offense (from the best offensive team in the NL-Rox don’t count) to get better in those areas was the way to go. We shall see how all of this works out in 2015 and going forward.

        • One thing about it though, I really need this exercise to help me put building a team into perspective. I know my opinions have not been popular but it is truly what I believe. If it works out and the Dodgers win then going forward I will understand better why the moves were made and I will have a new found respect for the FO but my opinions are not colored by writers. Right now I just cannot make most of it add up. I do want the team to win but I agree with John Galt about being a drab or exciting team. It is much more fun to be an exciting team.

          • I don’t really buy into the “drab” team line, but it’s clear that fan sentiment for individual players is not a major factor for this FO in making its decisions. I also believe that the FO did a good job of trying to field a team that might be able to approach 94 wins again, but that it might have been able to field a potentially 100 win team in 2015, if it were to have decided to spend more money and take some risks to the health of the team over the medium term. But, they decided not to go that way.

  11. Following link is to LA Times piece in which Greinke was quoted about offseason moves.

    He also mentions his upcoming opt-out decision but adds this about the Dodgers….””I do know I have really enjoyed L.A. I don’t think you could get a better organization. The owners are amazing. Our front office is, by reputation, the best – or at least in the top three in the game. Our coaching staff is great too. There’s not really any better options anywhere besides here.”

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/dodgersnow/la-sp-dn-zack-greinke-contract-dodgers-cardinals-20150131-story.html

  12. Gurnick has a slightly different take on Greinke’s recent comments, nothing drastic.

    http://m.dodgers.mlb.com/news/article/108041998/zack-greinke-candid-about-dodgers-offseason-of-change

    Also on the site is a piece about Greinke’s arsenal and how his change now plays a bigger role.

    http://dodgers.mlblogs.com/2015/02/02/the-change-in-zack-greinkes-arsenal/

    And Kapler is very complimentary of AJ Ellis. Ordinarily wouldn’t quote this much, but this is all of it.

    “Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis is Gabe Kapler’s favorite player.

    “Kapler, who hit .268 during his 12-year career as an outfielder for the Red Sox, Rangers, Rays, Rockies, Tigers and Brewers, is Los Angeles’ new director of player development. He called Ellis, who has a .340 OBP in three years as the club’s everyday catcher, a “great teammate and exceptional human being.”

    “That’s why he stands out to me. He does a great job providing a platform for his teammates to be heard and appreciated. A.J. checks all of those boxes, and that’s why he’s my favorite player.’

  13. Congratulations, good number of positive value posts overnight. More participation like this will breed even more participation and diminish the flavor of negative posts. Let’s keep it up…

    • Need more commenters, too. There likely are lurkers who could contribute who haven’t created an account yet.

  14. Rumors have Shields’ signing salary dropping as low as 4 years for $50MM. Even 4 @ $60MM would be interesting to me and probably an improvement over our #4 and #5 now. Plus he wants a West Coast team. Add Greinke’s impending opt-out and it’s a no-brainer that we should be in that market.

    • There is no question in my mind that Shields is better than our #4 and #5. Don’t know if the Dodgers have any interest as their philosophy keeps it close to the vest. There is still rumors of the Dodgers having some interest in Cole Hamels which I like very much. Still don’t know whether there is any interest in big names by the Dodgers. Also Moncada is out there to be had.

      • I wouldn’t pay the rumored bonus Moncada is likely to get, considering the penalties involved. I would be more inclined to pay a little more for a proven player already in MLB. One Arruebarrena is enough. I mean too much.