New Year, New Post

Rob Neyer at FoxSports:

The Dodgers were expected to spend WHATEVER IT COSTS to retain the services of Zack Greinke. Absent Greinke, or maybe even with Greinke, the Dodgers were expected to acquire one of the other big-time pitchers out there: David Price or Johnny Cueto.

Greinke signed with the Diamondbacks, Price with the Red Sox, and Cueto with the Giants. Ergo, the Dodgers had (or are having) a lousy winter. Right?

Before exploring that question in some detail, we should start with this salient fact: The Dodgers won 92 games last season.

Thank you, Mr. Neyer. The pundits and fans do somehow forget the team has won three titles in a row, and only two of them were Greinke-aided. It can survive without him.

Neyer points out that the Dodgers re-signed Anderson, who was pretty good and figures to be close to that again. They signed Kazmir, who figures to be better than Anderson. They signed Maeda, who only has to be an average pitcher for him to replace the 12 guys who tried to fill that role at the back end of the rotation last year. They also still have Wood, who’s young and whose history is better than his performance with the Dodgers last season. They’ll get Ryu back, and we don’t know yet how complete his recovery might be. Finally, they’ll get McCarthy back mid-season, and if he’s recovered most of his form that will be the equivalent of getting a mid-season trade for a starter done without giving up a player or two.

Neyer thinks the Dodgers will be pretty good this season. So do I.

274 thoughts on “New Year, New Post

  1. Do you guys see any of the Dodger players getting all the way to arbitration? It obviously hasn’t happened in a while, and hopefully won’t happen this year considering how nasty the process can apparently be.
    Here’s to quick settlements for Jansen, Turner, Grandal and the others.

    • That goes without saying. Only one third of the money taken in is paid out in prizes. This $1.5 Billion drawing tomorrow night represents about $4.5 Billion in ticket sales. But if I put in $10 and win $20, I am ahead of the game.

      • For $10, you can get a really good bottle of Argentine wine and be much farther ahead of the game.

        • I assume you are fortunate enough to take wealth for granted. The vast majority of (us) lottery ticket buyers are not so fortunate. We would gladly forego that $30 worth of wine for a chance, granted a very small chance, to win enough money to remove financial considerations from our problem list for the rest of our lives. No job worries. Being in a position to see that our children and grandchildren will be financially secure. For that I will gladly forego wine, whiskey, beer and even some food. I will be better off without them, whether I win or not.

        • You really think liquor stores in really small towns in the desert stock $10 Argentine wine? Now who has delusions?

        • With a $2 (or even $1) lottery ticket, one can buy “hope”. It would cost a lot more than that to get it from alcohol or drugs…

    • Those wealthy enough to buy all possible combos didn’t get that kind of money by being dumb enough to do so.

      However, there are many folk who will buy a strictly limited amount of tickets just for fun, to see if lightning will strike or see if they can win anything at all. But no one should put money in a lottery they can’t afford to lose, because they will.

      In TN the lottery was sold on the idea that part of the proceeds would fund college scholarships–and it has done so, up into many millions. So some good comes of it.

      It’s unlikely voters in this conservative state ever would have voted to permit it without the educational benefit.

        • You left out the preposition “for”. But then, you’re so knowledgeable on everything else… Is there anyone you’ve neglected to insult lately?

        • Never claimed it was. There are some bright spots, but historically residents just have not valued education as they should. (Not sure how they value prepositions, however. ;-])

          Point was that the lottery is doing some good by funding scholarships and making it possible for deserving students to have a chance at college. Otherwise many couldn’t even begin to afford it.

    • This from the NY Times article WBB referenced:

      Many lottery players rationally know they won’t hit the jackpot but still seek an escape from their day-to-day life, said Joan DiFuria, a co-founder of the Money, Meaning & Choices Institute, a wealth counseling organization.

      “Of course it doesn’t make sense, but there’s a lot of good things you get out of that $2 that you can’t buy anywhere else,” she said.

      If you’d like the thrill of not winning without actually spending money, The Los Angeles Times has a Powerball simulator. You’ll lose that too.

      • Hawai’i is not a participant in Powerball (or any other form of gambling), but I’d buy a ticket or two just for the conversational fodder. “Missed it by THAT much,” I’d say around the water cooler the following day.

        I once picked up a copy of the newly released Harry Potter book at midnight just to be part of the crowd and the fun.

      • I live in Iowa and three major league teams claim we are in their viewing area (Cubs, Twins and Royals) so we get stuck with watching teams we have no local interest in.

      • Why don’t you grow up and quit playing the schoolyard bully? You would have been kicked off any other blog long ago.

      • I drove down to Shoshone (CA) 8 AM to get some but there was already two or three hundred people in line. I couldn’t see standing in line three hours or probably more, so I bailed.

          • The gambling interests here in Nevada keep the Lotteries out. You know the drill, a few bucks to the state legislators to vote against lotteries. Side effect, it keeps the state from collecting millions in ticket sales. Fortunately, or otherwise, I live in a small town 60 miles NW of Las Vegas, near the edge of Death Valley, so it’s only a 30 mile drive to Shoshone in California, population about 100 or so, and one market with Lottery machine. (And $5 a gallon gas…) Whenever the Lottery Jackpot gets out of hand, like now, everybody for miles around drives to the closest Lottery machine. That little store sells tickets continuously from 5 AM to 10 PM when the feeding frenzy is in effect.

          • People who play the lottery are not necessarily illiterate, but they’re certainly innumerate.

          • You are definitely a classy guy. You even run a whole state down. You hate me so you run the whole state down. Classy WBB, classy.

          • I do not hate you. I may pity you, but your investment decisions are your own responsibility.

      • Yeah, I would have hit them a bit harder but the article is certainly on the right track.

    • It was certainly reasonable article and I think he is right about some of the thinking by Dodger fans.

      • It’s reasonable when he makes comments such as “First, the Dodgers farm system is as strong as it has been in years. Friedman and Zaidi refused to part with Joc Pederson, Corey Seager or Julio Urias for a short-term boost last season, and the Dodgers have an extremely deep corps of pitchers in the minors that will either boost the team in this and future seasons, or be valuable trade chips later the line when the price is right.” He’s also right about the idiocy of fans who expect a World Series championship every year just because of a high payroll.

  2. How about Dexter Fowler? Switch-hitter, capable of stealing bases and playing centerfield, can be had for probably $10MM a year. Would be a worthwhile addition and would free up every other outfielder for trade purposes if need be.

    • We could do worse, but doubt that the FO is willing to eat CC’s contract just yet.

        • Based on the fact that he’s a mediocrity, a substandard OFer whose best offensive years were in Denver. He’s never been an “impact player.”

          • Joc has indeed been an “impact player.” He’s also a very young one with a high ceiling, who is likely to return to that level. Now in his mediocre prime, Fowler will soon enter his decline stage.

          • A .210 BA, 170SO, and 54 RBIs do not qualify as an impact player even if your peanut brain cannot comprehend it. Just standing out in CF waiting on a fly ball is not good enough.

          • One thing for sure, If Joc doesn’t perform this year, I won’t be the only one complaining about his performance . Don’t worry, I am not talking about you because you would think he was a superstar if he never got off the bench.

          • By kicking him? You’re doing the abuse for his own good? Did I miss the “This’ll hurt me more than it hurts you” line? Like most of us, he’s happy the way he is and nobody has the right to change him. Your psychological problems are far worse than his. Or mine. I feel sorry for you but that doesn’t give you the right to hurt people.

          • I just love your wording, “Young Player”, “High Ceiling”, “Good Chance”. So far he has accomplished nothing but you view him as a superstar. Just shows how good your credibility has been.

          • The more you say, the wronger you get. Joc was one reason the Dodgers got off to a strong start last year, and won the division easily.

          • Joc batted .298 in April, .236 in May, .222 in June and the rest of the season it was less than .200 ending at .210 for the year. You might say April he was an impact player but the rest of the time he was far from it.

    • Love Uribear, but seems like infield utility is Herrera’s to lose at this point based on current options. Urbe hasn’t played 2nd in eons. Even further back, can still recall when he was an SS and part of a heft lefty side of the giants infield together with Panda. I am sure that Juan Castro can find time to counsel Seager together with Woodward. Not sure what the market is for him. Perhaps he can be an NRI.

      • The people who wrote the article liked the idea. I try not to think about players too much because I have given up trying to guess where FO will go…

  3. Wonder if the Dodgers will retire Mike Piazza’s number 31? Currently worn by no other than the Dodgers own Joc Pederson. I think Joc should keep his number.

    • Guerrero’s probably better than he showed the second half, but he doesn’t have a position. Another blunder by the Neddies.

    • Key observation from this:

      “It will be another lesson that pulling off a few shrewd moves is usually
      wiser than trying to buy your core via free agency. The Dodgers remain
      the class of the NL West. — Mark Saxon”

    • An “informed view” would probably be more accurate, though I think he overrates the Gnats and underrates the Snakes.

    • The contract turns out to be extremely team-friendly: Maeda has big incentives, but relatively little guaranteed money.

    • As Brisbee says, a good player when healthy. Will likely give us some nightmares, but defense has been declining. They didn’t go for the big stick (Upton, Cespedes).

    • Nice column. Gomer was a fav, even though I hated the Hondo trade. Apart from winning game 3 in 65, he almost pulled off the same trick in 66, giving up 3 hits in 7 inning, but one was Paul Blair’s dinger and the Dodgers lost 1-0. Buzzie’s sister was nice enough to say that he earned his nickname at home because he was always buzzing around the house. I would guess, however, it was because she had to constantly tell him to buzz off. I, for one, never underappreciated 3-Dog.

      • The only time I was Willie D live, he was playing with Spokane in Tacoma. I once sat on a plane from Spokane to Seattle in the presence of Peter O’Malley.

  4. Piazza should have been a first-year HOF choice, and should go in as a Dodger, where he spent his best years. That said, the Fox slimeballs (a redundant phrase, I admit) treated him miserably, going over Fred Claire’s head.

    • Is it me, or did anybody else here take one look at the picture of this kid hitting and think…. He kinda looks like a young Tony Gwynn? : -) – Hey, I’d take that @ 2B !

      • Just checked out the attached video ….
        1. Nice, balanced swing…. with what looks like good pop.
        Looks ‘light on his feet’ while in the box… And, for a smaller 2B, that’s essential…. IMHO.
        2. Conversely, in the field…..
        a. needs to get to a spot sooner and field the ball on more solid footing…
        b. much-too-long, sweeping sidearm motion when throwing to 1B or 2B.
        If not fixed, that will cost outs, runs, and ultimately…. games.

          • I would have hoped that your strong stance against those that have actually been sanctioned and served their time would demand from you higher levels of proof before passing judgement against those suspected.

          • Which players are you referring? Bonds? Clemens? If so, I think there is enough evidence to keep them out of the hall.

          • Not trying to speak for Bob, but it’s been long enough that he may have missed your question.

            To me it’s pretty clear he was referring to your frequent negative comments about Grandal and his drug issues.

          • Oh, well, I am not in favor of any player where drug evidence is available should make the HOF. Grandal will never be good enough to be considered, with or without PEDs.

          • Apparently I don’t understand what question that you want answered. If you will ask a specific question I will answer it I am not avoiding any question about drugs. I have tried to answer and it is not good enough for you. Make it plain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Bob please make your question specific as I don’t understand what you are asking??????????????????

          • From the available evidence, it appears nearly impossible to explain any question to the point that you might understand it.

          • You do not know how to give an explanation. Maybe they didn’t teach that where you went to school. Doesn’t matter, if they told you, you wouldn’t have known how to do it. You are smart as a bag of rocks.

          • Sorry, Package hadn’t seen this. It’s a comment. I don’t have any specific question to ask you.

          • Bob, I will answer any question I can for you in the future. Some want to attack, attack, attack. I just do not understand why some folks want to do that?

        • HOF is supposed to take player’s wishes into account (they put their foot down when Boggs wanted TB instead of Bosox). No cap is not an option, though no logo is (Maddux for example).

          • They are saying on MLB Radio that they might show him on the plaque with his hat backwards as catchers used to wear them. No Logo showing.

          • I hope you are not referring to a broken down Beachy because I never wanted that bum.

          • WBB, I will try and tell you exactly what I mean before I answer any more of your comments, I can see that light kidding cannot be used. I am sure you truly know all of my positions and to skew them with my words of jest won’t be acceptable to you.

          • Sorry, didn’t know he was your boy. I just don’t think he can return to his former self.

          • you really answered my comment? I mean, really? everyone takes every comment so seriously..

          • Brandon Beachy is who has always been as a person. As a pitcher he pitched pretty well while with Atlanta. I do not think he can overcome his injuries however. I apologize for calling your player a bum. Did I answer to your satisfactioin?

          • Probably they can’t. Beachy is low-risk depth with high upside. If he makes a comeback, great; if he doesn’t, it doesn’t much matter.

          • I think you should give that some more thought. It sounds like you may have been a bit sleepy or something when you said that.

          • I think you should give something – anything – some more thought. There’s a first time for everything.

          • Listen, if you had been kicked around as much as I have, you wouldn’t know what people mean either.

          • I thought he had TJ surgery. Plenty of pitchers come back from that, or am I wrong about the injury?

          • Recall that Kuo had two TJs and came back, before he caught the Steve Sax thing.

          • It would be nice if Beachy were to come back strong. He was a good pitcher for the Braves. I saw him pitch a time or two. He got hurt at a pretty young age I think and he really has not put that many innings on his arm. Maybe 300 or so I think without looking it up. Who knows, maybe the Dodgers will have a stroke of good fortune.

          • Yep, only 275 innings. Had the feeling that he was probably called up last year a little sooner than the Dodgers might have wanted because of the starter situation.

  5. Something I came across, which I had not seen in the stories on Maeda is that his salary in Japan in 2015 was $2.5 million. Hiroki and Matsuzaka both make around $3.3 million. Top was a fellow named Abe, who makes $4.3 million.

      • Maybe the Dodgers just raise every player’s salary to Kershaw’s level, and they will never lose another game.

          • In 2015, the World Series participants were the Royals (16th in payroll) and the Mets (21st). Of the top nine payroll teams, only the Dodgers and Yanquis (wild card, out in one) made the playoffs. Your need to rethink your “analysis.”

          • I can’t equate payroll to impact players when the Dodgers spent almost 90 mil on players that were not on the payroll. Impact players were obtained by both the Royals and Mets down the stretch.

          • Sorry I felt by mentioning high salary you meant impact players. Your play on words fooled me.

          • By mentioning Abe, you suggested an aging but higher-salaried position player was superior to a pitcher the Dodgers need.

          • Sorry I mentioned Abe out of jest, not fact. I will refrain from making what I think is a joke.

  6. Don’t know what it means yet but the Dodgers have found a medical problem with Madea’s shoulder and elbow. Don;t you just love it?

  7. Well, another pickup for the FO. Alex Anthopoulos has apparently joined the FO team. Although he has a very good reputation I wonder what his function will be. We now have a state of the art FO and I am waiting for that kind of team.

    • Before we had an FO full of Ned’s old buddies serving as special assistants. We probably need all the brain power we can get at this point in resolving the issue of reducing costs yet maintaining competitiveness. Every dollar we spend above $189 million is going to cost us half as much again in luxury tax. Coming in, I guessed that the ownership might allow something a bit under $250 million. We are currently at $222 million. (I know, it’s not my money)

      • I guess if the Dodgers spend less than 189 mil and the team is not competitive then all that happened was the business made more money. Good for them but not too good for us.

          • Its been 28 years since the Dodgers appeared in a World Series and every other team in the NL west has appeared at least once. The Giants have 3 WS championships in 5 years. Didn’t know if you remembered that?

        • They are already spending over $189 million. The thing is that when they are bidding with another team for the services of a FA at this point they face a 50% tax.

      • Love to know what the difference is in salaries, benefits and perks between Ned’s FO and Friedman’s FO? Bet it is huge.

  8. Well…. I’m going to try my luck here…. ( Preface – No Snark Intended…… )
    Once last season ended, I made the prediction that the Dodgers would not re-sign Greinke.
    ( I said this for a number of reasons…. the most prevalent being the anticipated financial commitment & the fact that I believe that Friedman/Farhan are totally out show show upper management that they can field a competitive-enough team to draw enough fans to make the Dodgers even more of a financial success whether they win a WS any time soon or not. Essentially, ” The Whiz Kids ” are doing what any Business 100 students would do first……. Cut down on the operating expenses. ) This is not an ‘accusation’ as I’m not upset about it. It’s just what I’m reading into things based on my observations. That’s all. I could be wrong.
    So, my prediction #2 = The Dodgers will make a number of trades, of both the bigger and the smaller variety before Openning Day.
    – I say this because I believe their reasoning is “Two-Fold”….
    1. They would like to improve their organizational depth and MLB Roster ….
    2. They wish to ‘purge’ the organization of certain players and/or farmhands which I believe they really don’t want. Signing FA’s only allows you to ‘purge’ draft picks ! 🙂

    • Hey Jonny TAFKAJ, I basically agree with most of what you have written. I posted in the last thread about the same thing. I think you have come to believe the same thing. There is a big difference between fielding a competitive team and winning a WS. I don’t believe there will be any big, big trades but who knows, we can always hope.There was an article in the Times today about Mike Piazza. Good observation in my opinion.

      • There’s not much difference, actually. Plenty of mediocre teams – see the recent Gnats, for example – have won the Series. The post-season is a small sample size.

        • Jon – no doubt that they are trying to cut expenses, but my point is that they didn’t do Business 100, rather they are following Business 101 and invested in the team so that they might thereafter reduce expenses in an effective way to maintain competitiveness. If you include the luxury tax they actually spent over $340 million in their first year. Not sure that we have to wait for the purge, it already started (Matty, Wilson, League, Olivera).

          • You’re absolutely ” right on the money “… Bob.

            Yes, they had to make a number of early decisions on some players….
            Kemp will always come to mind first since he was so popular…

            No doubt there are still others on which to make decisions…
            And, yes…. it’s an ‘on-going’ process…
            They’ll reach a point where they’re only adding the contracts that they personally feel good about… And, that’s just fine.

            The ‘million-dollar question’ is…How good are their powers of evaluation?
            Only time will tell, I suppose…. Let’s enjoy the ride… 🙂

          • Yeah, there are just a few more players left of the starting lineup of 2014. All the infield except AGon. The catcher. The Center Fielder, so I guess there are 3 left. Just 2 Starters left. The FO really lets them go.

      • None of the guys mentioned in that article would be an improvement. The biggest improvement will be Seager at SS all year.

  9. Yes there are a lot of ifs in that post. There are still holes to address. I don’t think the team is as deep as last year without Howie and the outfield is some jumbled. I could tell you why but I may have told you before. HeHeHe

  10. Regarding the previous thread’s comment on Lincescum, which was closed by the time I got back after a six-hour drive on gravel roads: I’d certainly like to see the Gnats sign him to an expensive long-term contract but, if he were to become a Dodger, only as a BP guy.

    • Lincecum had a couple of very good outings last year and recently had the same hip surgery by the same doctor as Alex Rodriguez had before the 2015 season. If Lincecum’s collapse was mostly due to or related to a bad hip that is now repaired, he could be a FAZ type guy.

      He might take a one year deal with incentives. Maybe a minor league contract with a mandatory call up by May 1 or become a free agent. I can’t think of a sharper dagger into the hearts of the Giants and their fans as would Lincecum pitching ace like for the Dodgers in 2016.

  11. A lot of “what ifs” in his logic, but I tend to agree. The Dodgers are not as bad off as the fan base seems to think.

    • Ifs are part of the off season and it’s not like the Dodgers have the market cornered in them. While the writers are bedazzled by the big FA signings the contributions of these players are not sure things. Take the giants (please!), Bums is a good pitcher, and their ace, but not at Clayton’s level, with a career ERA+ of 118 versus Kershaw’s 154. Samardzija has shown some ability, but his ERA+ last year was 79. Cueto has had a great career, but in his most recent stint with KC had an ERA+ of 87. Not saying that they will be flops, but the giants invested $210 million in them for the next 5-6 years and have yet to resolve their outfield issue (talk about jumbles).

      • Hmm, who would be better to have, Cueto and Smardzija or Kazmir and Maeda? That’s an easy one.

        • I can do without $210 million commitments that take pitchers whose most recent performances were less than stunning into their mid-30s.

          • Samardzija has never impressed me. I have doubts about Cueto, but he could still be good.

          • Agreed, neither one was on my list, for what it’s worth.

            I was going to say this is my Fair and Balanced view, but I’ll leave it alone.

          • Cueto has been really good in the past. The question is whether his recent dropoff is just a glitch. Samardzija has always been mediocre.

          • True on Cueto, memory is not what it was…were the Reds upper echelon at any time in his tenure there?

          • Sorry, what I was asking was…was he pitching in relatively low pressure situations? or were the Reds competitive while he was there…

          • Maeda and Smardzija. then Kazmir. I don’t think Cueto will bounce back. All hunch, no saber metrics, by the by.

          • Let’s see: Happy with A-Gon. Think Kiké will surprise us positively at second, wish we hadn’t re-signed Utley – still think of him as a Philly and a bully. I would have been happier with Kendrick coming back to platoon. Praying that Turner stays well and strong, because I love his attitude and defense at third, and when he’s healthy and hitting, look out. Very excited to have Seager full time at SS. Think Grandal and Ellis will both be solid as catchers, with Grandal hitting much better after his surgery. I am hoping Roberts will really help Puig settle down and play to his capabilities, but he’s the biggest position player question mark in my mind. I predict Pederson will adjust and start hitting again, and love love love his defense. Glad we still have Ethier and Van Slyke. Not expecting much from CC. (Who am I missing in the outfield?) Very excited that we have so many young arms awaiting their chance to pitch at Dodger Stadium. So, I would say I’m very excited to see how this year goes. If we’d just bought/traded our way into what looked like an unbeatable team at the expense of the youngsters, I would be disappointed. That said, I will be watching and cheering for Zack, whenever he isn’t pitching against us. That was quite the pitching duo we had, eh?

          • Guess we will find out just how strong Grenike/Kershaw was. I like your take but I wonder if we are not a bit thin in the infield. Knowing that Turner has been hurt frequently and Utley also, I don’t see enough backup. However, Kike could step up at 2nd, also with just Seager at SS and AGon at 1st it just looks thin to me. I know SVS can play 1st but I am not crazy about that option. Anyway, I am anxious for the season to start. I hope Momma stays happy a lot.

          • Hi Package! Somehow this got lost in the shuffle. I can certainly recommend the seating area I like, which are not that expensive and really fun. If you let me know when you might be out here, I’ll see if it’s a night I have tix, and we can go together or sit nearby. Maybe out together a Linkmeister group, and lure Bob up from Las Vegas!

          • Maeda doubters cite concerns about pitching every 5 days instead of once a week given his small stature and how his small hands will handle the different American ball.

            Yet other Japanese pitchers have done well after adjusting to 5 days. There are always some doubts about any unproven player.

            Guess we’ll find out. ;-])

          • Didn’t they once talk about stamina and stature in regard to another old Dodger pitcher we traded away? Wasn’t that Tommy’s thinking? And how did that go for us? I think Maeda will be fine.

          • Yea, according to Tommy, Pedro was too small in stature to be successful in the major leagues. I was thinking the same thing?