Open Thread #7, 2022

As if losing Seager and Scherzer and possibly Kershaw aren’t enough, now comes word that the Dodgers tried to extend RHP Walker Buehler’s contract last spring and he turned the offer down. Now, he’s under club control for another three years, hard as that may be to believe, but he’s in line for big raises through arbitration in each of the next two years, and by the time he hits free agency he’ll be about to enter his age-30 season in 2025. What if Turner, Kershaw, Bellinger and Urias are gone by that point? All of them will have completed their current contracts by that season. Will the team want to spend millions on one pitcher if the entire roster has been depleted?

Or maybe their roster will have been reloaded by then, given their Baseball American farm system ranking of #8. But is that a good bet?

The future is occasionally scary to contemplate.

44 thoughts on “Open Thread #7, 2022

  1. Re minor leaguers, from SI’s daily mail, quoting ESPN’s Jeff Passan:

    In December 2020, the league axed 42 minor league teams, reducing the total number of affiliates to 120 (one team each at the Triple A, Double A, High A and Low A levels for all 30 MLB clubs). As part of that restructuring, MLB introduced something called the Domestic Reserve List—a limit on the number of minor league players big league clubs are allowed to have under contract. Currently, teams are allowed to roster as many as 180 minor leaguers during the season (190 during the offseason).


    According to Passan, the league recently proposed to the players’ union that the commissioner’s office be allowed to reduce the maximum number of players on the Domestic Reserve List to as few as 150. That’s a reduction of 30 players, times 30 teams, for a total of 900 fewer minor leaguers. Give Passan credit for plainly stating what the league is asking for: “the ability to eliminate hundreds of minor league playing jobs.”


    The minimum salary for a guy in Triple A is $16,800. Multiply that by 30 players and you’re looking at a savings of $504,000. Realistically, though, the players being cut would be at the lower levels. If the 30 players being cut were split evenly between High A (minimum salary: $12,000) and Low A ($9,600), teams would save $324,000. That’s nothing. It’s a rounding error.


    The good news is that MLB’s plan seems unlikely to come to fruition. The union intends to reject the proposal, Passan reports. But the fact that the league wanted control over something so seemingly trivial should stick in fans’ minds and be a reminder of who the bad guys are in this ongoing labor battle.

    • Sandy pitched the first Dodger game I ever saw live in September of 1966, first game of a DH v. the Asterisks. He won that game, the Dodgers took the second game behind Joe Moeller and relievers, and moved into first place.

      • i saw him twice, once in DC in a Spring Training game against the new Senators and once in Shea from the nosebleed seats while we were at the World’s Fair.

        • I saw a spring training exhibition at RFK in 1990 – an all-avian matchup between the Orioles and Redbirds. The LF fence was a screen like the one at the LA Coliseum. I was living in DC at the time, and it snowed that morning.

  2. Not looking good for getting a CBA done and spring training starting on time. Looks like we will have the DH when they finally do agree on a new deal. Sure wish they could find a way to fix the crappy umpiring.

  3. Also from the Roberts article:

    Only three managers — Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox — have won more playoff games than Roberts. His .622 regular-season winning percentage is the best in Major League Baseball history.

  4. From The Athletic:

    “If I feel like I can’t do that and deliver that, it’s time for me to move on.”

    That time has not yet come, Roberts believes, as he prepares to embark on the seventh season of a managerial tenure that already resides among the most successful in the lifespan of his sport. It was a time for reflection. In a few months, he will turn 50. When he sat for breakfast this past weekend, he was a man without a contract beyond 2022. His status as a lame duck may not last through the spring. Both Roberts and Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman indicated the two parties would negotiate an extension in the coming weeks.

    “It’ll get done,” Roberts said. “It’ll get done.”

  5. Keith Law of The Athletic:

    This is the best farm system in baseball, with roughly 10 guys who’d be on a global top 150 (note to my editors: NO) and a whole different kind of depth — their “depth” guys aren’t depth guys for a major-league team, but prospects who have real upside and are just further away or higher-variance than the guys in their top 10.

    Law’s #1 prospect is catcher Diego Cartaya, #2 is RHP Bobby Miller. Here’s the one that intrigues me, since 2B has been a weak spot recently —

    Michael Busch, 2B (Top 100 ranking: No. 53)
    Age: 24 | 6-1 | 210 pounds
    Bats: Left | Throws: Right
    Drafted: No. 31 in 2019

    Busch is quite the anomaly: The Dodgers drafted him as a first baseman, converted him to second base and it worked. Busch has a beautiful left-handed swing that puts good loft on the ball, showing plus power against right-handed pitching, and he has long shown an advanced feel for the strike zone. He spent all of 2021 in Double A despite having just 10 games of pro experience before this year, and hit .267/.386/.484 in 107 games, with 20 homers and 70 walks. He struggled to do damage against lefties, with a .198/.355/.354 split against them, but wasn’t exactly overmatched against them, drawing walks and making contact, just without the impact. That’s a smaller hill to climb than one where a left-handed batter is striking out excessively on left-handers’ breaking stuff. With Busch playing solid enough defense at second, his bat makes him a clear regular, with a chance to be an All-Star if he improves his results on balls in play against southpaws.

    The rest of his list is here (sub. req.)

  6. From The Athletic:

    Takeaways from Rob Manfred’s press conference
    It was speculated that Commissioner Rob Manfred could announce that Spring Training will not start next week, as scheduled, but that was quickly denied.

    “The status of spring training is no change right now,” Manfred told reporters on Thursday in Orlando at the MLB owners’ meetings. “We’re going to have a conversation with the MLBPA about the calendar because we understand where the calendar is, but until we have that conversation and until we see how this session on Saturday goes, it’s no change.”

    In stating he thinks they can get a deal done in time to start the regular season as scheduled, Manfred outlined what the timeline would look like once a deal is made. He said they will need “a few days” between a new CBA and the start of spring training, which they’d prefer to be four weeks. Opening Day is scheduled for March 31.

    He added that the owners do not intend to play what would typically be major league spring training games with minor league players.

    Manfred said the owners have agreed to a universal DH and eliminating draft pick compensation for free agents.

    But he also called his relationship with Tony Clark and Bruce Meyer “contentious.”

    “It’s my responsibility to do everything I can to make an agreement and keep the game on the field,” Manfred said.

  7. Former GM now pundit Jim Bowden says here’s what the Dodgers should do first when the lockout ends:

    Offseason needs: Starting pitching, figure out what to do with their own free agents

    Biggest moves pre-lockout: Signed INF/OF Chris Taylor, RHP Daniel Hudson and LHP Andrew Heaney

    First move they should make post-lockout: Sign closer Kenley Jansen to two-year, $40 million deal

    The Dodgers lost reliever Corey Knebel in free agency to the Phillies and probably will lose Joe Kelly as well. They need to bring back Jansen, who really improved last year after learning a new curveball. Jansen, 34, wants to re-sign with the Dodgers, and they can probably get it done on a two-year deal with a $20 million average annual value, which is what Jansen made in 2021.

  8. No charges to be filed against Bauer. Now I guess we wait to see what MLB decides to do. So how would you all feel about Bauer pitching for the Dodgers this season?

  9. Keith Law of The Athletic has ranked all farm systems, and the Dodgers are #1.

    The Dodgers’ system is just ridiculous. They are hitting on every cylinder right now. They have depth and ceiling, pitching and position players, near-in prospects and long-term Players. I don’t think any other organization can rival their consistent success in drafting, international scouting, player development and pro scouting right now, which is probably the last thing fans of the four other NL West teams want to hear. Every player in their top 10 was in broader consideration for my top 100 – I don’t make a “longlist,” like this was the Booker Prize or something, but if I did one with 200 or so names, the Dodgers’ entire top 10 would make it. The only nitpick I’d offer is that they only put one prospect in my top 40 because the rest of their high-ceiling guys, players who have a chance to be frequent All-Stars or top 10 in baseball at their positions, are higher-variance or just further away from the majors. They make up for it by having so many of those players that they should end up with multiple stars from their current roster of prospects even with typical attrition.

  10. Hey friends.

    I just woke from a dream a few minutes ago. It was opening day, and the Dodgers were playing the Pirates in Pittsburgh! It was the bottom of the first and the Pirates had runners on apparently, because there was a play at the plate happening just when my dream was starting.

    The Pirates thought they had scored the first run of the game when the player slide in without getting tagged, but there was no call by the ump. So there was this mad scramble on the 1st base side of home. The runner was trying to come back and touch the plate, with the catcher (Smith) trying to tag him. Smith did tag him, but then leaped up and jumped over to the 3rd base side of home, because a second Pirate runner was trying to score during the initial distraction.

    Smith got across so quickly that he was standing there waiting and applied the tag, but there was a big collision. So, in my dream, there was 2 Pirate players and Will Smith sprawled out in the dirt. Meanwhile the ump was busy calling everyone out: both runners – but also Smith. He tossed Smith out of the game for some reason. Smith, who had appeared injured from the collision, jumped up and started arguing with the ump. Meanwhile the first Pirate runner and the Pirate manager were also trying to argue with the ump that he had blown the initial call.

    Unfortunately, I never saw how everything turned out, because while the arguing was going on, an old fashion traveling salesman came to the door, came right into our house, took off his coat and boots, and started to roll out his merchandise. He was trying to sell us what looked like children’s bed sheets as covering to go over top our hardwood floors in our living room and office. We weren’t buying anything but invited him to stay for dinner, since he came just as it was ready.


    I didn’t see who the Dodgers opening day pitcher was, but I’m guessing Buehler. I also don’t know WHEN opening day was, so have no breaking news in terms of the ongoing lockout.

    • It’s amazing how much detail there is in dreams. Mine are pretty vivid too, but they rarely if ever have been about baseball. That one’s fun.

  11. From The Athletic’s daily email:

    The MLB lockout has somehow gotten worse, as the league indicated to the players union Thursday that it would not make a counteroffer after its last proposal and wants to bring in federal mediators to aid the process.

    Let’s break it down:

    Owners probably want to give the impression that they’ve been reasonable and are simply out of options, pointing the finger at the players for being unwilling to acquiesce.

    The players, meanwhile, aren’t falling for the bit. Important: Both sides must agree for federal mediation to happen. During the 1994 lockout, federal mediators came in, and those around the union remember that as a sham. “It was a joke. It had no value,” former MLBPA head Don Fehr said in a 2019 interview with The Athletic.

    Any connection to the 1994 strike is bad for both sides. We lost a World Series that year, and negotiations lasted for eight months. In 2022, we’re going to at least miss some spring training, and the league has threatened missing regular-season games already.

    There’s no indication of any further negotiation steps for both sides. Feels like disaster is brewing.

  12. One way to not worry about 2022, is to worry about 2025. If you look back to 2018, only one of the top six starters is currently under contract with the Dodgers and that would be Walker himself. Things change and if there is one thing the current FO seems good at, it is keeping the team competitive.

  13. Tom Seaver was one of the first baseball players to start a vineyard, but he started a trend. Now Dusty Baker, Dave Roberts and Rich Aurillia, Greg Vaughn, Chris Iannetta and Vernon Wells, and Joe Blanton are all owners or part-owners of wineries. (NYT article)