Nov 08

Management turnover

Roberts extended.

“Nothing’s changed,” president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said at the GM Meetings here at the Omni La Costa Resort. “We remain extremely optimistic. We have just set it off to the side a little bit as we work through all of our coaches and the vacancies we have there. Nothing has changed from our vantage point.”

In addition to hitting coach Turner Ward and third base coach Chris Woodward, the Dodgers are also losing Danny Lehmann, their game planning and communications coach who was in uniform for games. And general manager Farhan Zaidi, who was introduced Wednesday afternoon as the San Francisco Giants’ new decision maker.

Friedman says the team’s only urgent need is catcher, presuming Grandal doesn’t accept the qualifying offer the Dodgers extended to him. Of the two players to whom those offers were made, Ryu is considered by observers to be more likely to agree.

This assessment of Grandal from Friedman is probably the same most Dodgers fans have:

“I would prefer a more even, level distribution,” Friedman said this week. “But I would also prefer how it has played out to most catchers in the big leagues. So.”

Former exec Jim Bowden speculates on who the Marlins’ Realmuto might be traded to and what he might bring in return. He thinks the Dodgers would have to give up Alex Verdugo and AA pitcher Dustin May. Incidentally, there’s a chart of MLB catchers sorted by WAR in that article: Realmuto’s 4.8 is the highest, but second is Grandal at 3.6.

Oct 30

Gather ’round the stove, y’all

We go into the offseason earlier than we hoped and without the ultimate prize, so who’s coming back to ensure we get back to the Series for the third consecutive year?

…the Dodgers retain their nucleus. Hill will return for the final year of a three-year deal he signed after 2016. Justin Turner and Jansen will be back. Max Muncy, this year’s breakout star, will be back and cost-controlled. Seager is expected to be healthy. A young nucleus of position players that includes Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, Kiké Hernández and Joc Pederson will also come back, with Andrew Toles and Alex Verdugo perhaps ready to take on bigger roles.

Kershaw or not, the rotation could post a combination of Buehler and Julio Urías that is currently a combined 45 years old.

Besides Kershaw, other free agents include Machado, Freese, Dozier, and Grandal. Despite the current dissatisfaction with Grandal,

…only J.T. Realmuto was a more valuable catcher by Baseball Prospectus’ WARP metric, and he is coming off the best offensive season of his career. He will be paid, and handsomely, as the Dodgers will look to find a catching partner to join the light-hitting Austin Barnes.

Beyond Kershaw’s decision, which must be made this week, the biggest question is whether Dave Roberts will manage the team next year. You’d think three consecutive playoff appearances and two trips to the World Series would make that question ludicrous, but baseball owners have done screwier things*.

To win the World Series, the Dodgers would have had to play better than they had for any seven-game stretch all season. Roberts would have had to nail every single decision, which he did not. Puig would have had to throw to the cutoff man, which he did not. Their pitchers would have had to pitch to their strengths, which they did not. Their hitters would have had to, well, hit.

“You have to realize that we are a really good team to get to go to the World Series two years in a row,” Kershaw said. “It might not be a personnel thing. It might just be a ‘play better’ thing.”

So, what’s next? Here are selected events from Major League Baseball’s calendar:

  • Nov. 2, 2018 Deadline for teams to extend qualifying offer to own free agents, 5 p.m. ET
  • Nov. 8-15, 2018 Japan All-Star Tour (including CT3)
  • Nov. 12, 2018 Deadline for players to accept or reject qualifying offer, 5 p.m. ET
  • Nov. 30, 2018 Non-tender deadline
  • Dec. 9-13, 2018 Winter Meetings in Las Vegas
  • Dec. 13, 2018 Rule 5 Draft

*Back in 1964 the Cardinals’ owner Gussie Busch fired the team’s entire senior management in August, leaving field manager Johnny Keane as sole survivor for the time. Shortly after the Cardinals won the World Series, Keane surprised management by resigning (and then being hired by the Yankees, who’d just lost to Keane’s former team).

Apr 23

Game 21, 2018

Marlins at Dodgers, 7:10 PM PDT, TV: SPNLA, FS-F, MLBN (out-of-market only)

It’ll be the Marlins’ LHP Jarlin Garcia (1-0, 0.86 ERA) vs. the Dodgers’ #1 prospect, Walker Buehler, making his first big league start. Garcia has made two starts this year, the first of his big league career. They’ve been good ones, too: he went 10 1/3 innings against the Mets and the Yankees without allowing a hit until he gave up a double in the fifth inning of the second one. That ties the modern MLB record. Bobo Holloman also did it in 1953 for the St. Louis Browns, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Marlins are monitoring his innings just as the Dodgers will do with Buehler and with Urias when he gets back. In 2017 Garcia led Miami in appearances with 68 and logged 53 1/3 innings, mainly as a lefty specialist.

Buehler threw only 98 innings all of 2017, and although the Dodgers haven’t confirmed a speculated target of between 135 to 150 innings this year, they do want to limit his work. He had Tommy John surgery in 2015. He’s made three starts at AAA OKC in 2018, going 1-0 with a 2.10 ERA, 16 Ks and four walks in 13 innings.

Here are the Dodgers’ plans for Buehler.

Buehler, the Dodgers’ top prospect, will probably also start in Saturday’s doubleheader against the Giants before being returned to Triple-A Oklahoma City. At least that’s manager Dave Roberts’ story and he was sticking to it on Sunday.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1958 In a 7-6 loss to Chicago at the LA Coliseum, two Dodger mainstays from Brooklyn reach career milestones. First baseman Gil Hodges, who will finish his 18-year major league tenure with 370 home runs, hits his 300th career round-tripper, and Captain Pee Wee Reese, a future Hall of Fame shortstop, plays in his 2000th game.
  • 1999 Fernando Tatis becomes the only player in major league history to hit two grand slams in the same game in one inning. The Cardinal third baseman hits both off Dodger starter Chan Ho Park in an 11-run third, setting the major league mark. The third baseman’s eight RBIs in one inning also breaks the old record of six.
  • 2000 The Dodgers sweep the Reds to notch their 1,000th win over the Reds, baseball’s oldest professional franchise. Since 1970, Los Angeles is the only National League franchise to play over .500 ball (120-115) in Cincinnati (Riverfront Stadium/Cinergy Field).

Note: Fernando Tatis’s son Fernando Tatis Jr. is currently playing for the AA San Antonio Missions.

In case you missed it, Brandon Belt had a 21-pitch at-bat for the Giants in their defeat of the Angels today. Afterward he said “When I’m in the field I hate it when a batter keeps fouling pitches off. I’m like ‘Dude, just put it in play. It’s not that hard. Let’s go.’ So I basically had to apologize to everybody after that.”

Lineup when available.


Eric Stephen notes that all three Dodger catchers are in the lineup: Barnes at 2B, Farmer at 3B and Grandal behind the plate. Seager gets the night off.

Jan 14

One month away

Today’s news is that A-Gon is reportedly on his way to play for the Mets in the 2018 season.

The Mets get Gonzalez at the league minimum salary of $545,000 in 2018. The Braves are responsible for the $21.5 million owed to him for the 2018 season under his previous contract.

Except for that whole “playing on the East Coast again” issue it looks like Adrian has landed on his feet. Good for him.

Earlier in the week the Dodgers avoided arbitration with all the players they have who were eligible. Here is a copy of the table Eric Stephen of TBLA put together to show the results:

Player Service Time 2017 salary MLBTR projections TBLA guess 2018 salary
Yasmani Grandal 5.115 $5,500,000 $7,700,000 $7,400,000 $7,900,000
Alex Wood 4.123 $2,800,000 $6,400,000 $6,550,000 $6,000,000
Tony Cingrani 4.088 $1,825,000 $2,200,000 $2,300,000 $2,300,000
Josh Fields 4.083 $1,050,000 $2,200,000 $1,900,000 $2,200,000
Joc Pederson 3.023 $555,000 $2,000,000 $2,800,000 $2,600,000
Pedro Baez 3.059 $550,000 $1,500,000 $1,400,000 $1,500,000
Kiké Hernandez 3.054 $550,000 $1,300,000 $1,650,000 $1,600,000
Yimi Garcia 3.004 $550,000 $700,000 n/a $630,000
Oct 18

NLCS Game Four, 2017

Dodgers at Cubs, 6:00 PM PT, TV: TBS

The Dodgers send the very well-rested LHP Alex Wood (16-3, 2.72 ERA) to the mound to try to close out the series. The Cubs will ask RHP Jake Arrieta (14-10, 3.53 ERA) to put up a roadblock in front of the Dodgers’ seemingly-unstoppable steamroller.

Wood hasn’t pitched in three weeks; he was scheduled to start Game Four of the Dodgers’ NLDS but they swept the D-Backs in that series. He’s been throwing simulated games and yesterday he declared himself ready to go. Arrieta pitched in Game Four of the Cubs’ NLDS against the Nats, going four innings, throwing 90 pitches, giving up an earned run and losing 5-0. He’s a former Cy Young Award winner and once threw a no-hitter at the Dodgers; presumably they won’t take him lightly.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1988 At Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Mark McGwire goes deep off LA’s Jay Howell with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the A’s a 2-1 victory for its only win in the Series. With Kirk Gibson’s heroics in Game 1, ‘Big Mac’s’ walk-off home run marks the first time that two game-winning round-trippers are hit in the same Fall Classic.
  • 2013 The Cardinals advance to their second World Series in three seasons, routing the Dodgers, 9-0, in Game 6 of the NLCS. St. Louis, behind the timely hitting of Carlos Beltran and the strong pitching performance of rookie right-hander Michael Wacha, beats Clayton Kershaw (16-9, 1.83) for the fourth time this season, including a pair of victories in this round of the postseason.

Lineup when available.

Grandal gets a start, Ethier and Utley get second starts, and Granderson gets a start. This may be the Dave Roberts “keep guys happy as much as I can within the needs of the team” approach to managing.

Oct 17

NLCS Game Three, 2017

Dodgers at Cubs, 6:00 PM PT, TV: TBS

The visiting Dodgers send RHP Yu Darvish (10-12, 3.86 ERA) out to keep the Cubs at bay and take a 3-0 lead in the series. The Cubs counter with RHP Kyle Hendricks (7-5, 3.03 ERA). Darvish had a good outing in Game Three of the ALDS against the Diamondbacks, giving up one run on two hits in five innings while striking out seven and not walking anyone. Hendricks had an excellent start against the Nats in Game One of the NLDS when he allowed no runs, but a less-than-stellar one in Game Five when he gave up four runs on nine hits in four innings. He may take some confidence from his two NLCS starts against the Dodgers last year when he gave up only one run on five hits in 12 2/3 innings.

Here are several news items pertaining to the Dodgers and this series: first, from MLB: Memories of last year’s Game Six loss and the subsequent ring ceremonies this year might be a prod for the Dodgers. Second, SI’s Jay Jaffe writes about Yasiel Puig’s discipline and flair. And finally, Rich Hill is known for his curve, but it’s his fastball that’s doing heavy lifting this season.

Today in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1978 The Yankees capture their twenty-second and second consecutive World Championship, beating Los Angeles with a 7-2 victory at Dodger Stadium. Playoff hero Bucky Dent, who collects ten hits in the six-game series, is named the the Fall Classic’s Most Valuable Player.

Other historical note: in 1989 as the Giants and A’s get ready to play Game 3 of the World Series, the Bay Area is hit by the massive 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake, which will be responsible for 63 deaths. The Candlestick Park contest is quickly postponed by Commissioner Fay Vincent, and he orders the evacuation of the ballpark.

Lineup:

Puig at cleanup. Pederson, Ethier and Utley starting. Grandal not starting. No siree, no lineup shakeups here.

Aug 02

Game 107, 2017

Dodgers at Braves, 4:35 PM PT, TV: SPNLA, FSSE

The Dodgers have won nine in a row. They have already had two 10-game winning streaks this year; only two teams have had three since 1913.

The visiting Dodgers give RHP Brock Stewart (0-0, 0.00 ERA) the ball and ask him to hold off the hometown Braves, who counter with RHP Julio Teheran (7-9, 5.09 ERA).

Stewart went only 3 2/3 innings against the Twins last Wednesday, but all five of the runs scored on him were unearned and he got off the hook when the Dodgers rallied to win 6-5. Teheran has lost three straight games and posted a 6.88 ERA since the All Star break. It doesn’t get any easier: Corey Seager is 3-for-9 against Teheran, all of them home runs. Yasiel Puig (5-for-10, HR), Chase Utley (7-for-28, HR), Logan Forsythe (3-for-5, HR), Yasmani Grandal (6-for-13, three doubles) and Joc Pederson (4-for-13) have been successful against him as well.

Yu Darvish has been activated. To make room, Josh Ravin was optioned to OKC.

This date in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1938 As an experiment, bright yellow baseballs are used in the first game of a doubleheader. The teams go back to the traditional white ball in the nightcap as the Dodgers swept the twin bill from the Cardinals, 6-2 and 9-3.
  • 1982 During a ceremony held in Cooperstown, NY, the United States Postal Service unveils a 20-cent stamp commemorating baseball great Jackie Robinson as part of its annual Black Heritage series. The Dodger infielder becomes the first individual baseball player to be depicted on a U.S postage stamp.

  • 2002 Reds general manager Jim Bowden is fined by commissioner Bud Selig for the comments he made to reporters prior to yesterday’s game against the Dodgers comparing a baseball strike with the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Quickly realizing the use of such analogy was inappropriate and insensitive, the Cincinnati GM issues an immediate apology after the game.
  • 2008 In the first game after the Manny Ramirez trade to the Dodgers, the Fenway Faithful enthusiastically welcome Jason Bay, the player replacing the Boston icon. The former Pirates outfielder doesn’t disappoint, tripling and scoring the winning run in the 12th inning of the Red Sox’s 2-1 victory over the A’s.

In non-Dodgers history of note, in 1921 with the jurors lifting the men onto their shoulders, the eight White Sox players accused of throwing the 1919 World Series are acquitted by the jury. The next day, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis will say the overwhelming evidence clearly shows the Black Sox fixed the games with gamblers, and all involved will be banned from playing professional baseball again.

Lineup:

Jun 04

Game 58, 2017

Dodgers at Brewers, 11:10 AM PT, TV: SPNLA, FSWI, Telemundo

RHP Kenta Maeda (4-2, 5.21 ERA) will pitch for the Dodgers and RHP Zach Davies (5-3, 5.18 ERA) goes for the Brewers.

Maeda has had two successive starts in which he’s given up three runs in the first inning and held the opposition scoreless in the next four. He’s 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA lifetime against the Brewers. Davies gave up two earned runs on six hits over five innings to the Mets his last time out but got no decision for his trouble. He’s only faced the Dodgers twice, both times in 2016. He gave up HRs to Turner, Grandal, Trayce Thompson and Seager in those games.

This day in Dodgers’ history:

  • 1940 The Cardinals play their first night game at home, losing to Brooklyn, 10-1, despite Joe Medwick’s 5-for-5 performance that included three doubles. The honor of hosting the first evening tilt in St. Louis that took place on May 24 was given to the Browns, after the two teams finally agreed to split the $150,000 cost of installing lights at Sportsman’s Park, the ballpark they share.
  • 1957 At a seventy-five minute show-down meeting at City Hall with Walter O’Malley and Horace Stoneham, the club presidents of the Dodgers and Giants, respectively, Mayor Robert Wagner is told by the owners neither club has a commitment to move out of New York – and none to stay in the Big Apple. The teams, who have been given permission by the National League to explore the possibility of moving their franchises to the West Coast, are assured by His Honor that the city will be of assistance in replacing the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field, the aging ballparks the clubs call home.
  • 1964 At Connie Mack Stadium, Sandy Koufax throws his third no-hitter in three years, blanking the Phillies 3-0. The Dodgers’ southpaw, who will add a perfect game to his resume next season, joins Bob Feller as the only other modern major leaguer to pitch three career hitless games.
  • 1968 Don Drysdale, pitching his sixth consecutive shutout, defeats the Pirates, 5-0. The Dodger right-hander will extend his major league record scoreless streak to 58.2 innings before yielding a run in his next start. Later that evening at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, Robert Kennedy, giving his victory speech for his win in the California primary before being fatally shot, tells his followers in the packed ballroom, “I’d like to express my high regard to Don Drysdale, who pitched his sixth straight shutout tonight.”
  • 1972 The Dodgers retire Roy Campanella’s uniform number 39. Campy, who won the MVP three times catching for Brooklyn in the fifties, joins Jackie Robinson (42) and Sandy Koufax (32) to be honored in this manner.
  • 1976 In an 11-0 victory at Dodger Stadium, Mets right fielder Dave Kingman hits three home runs. Sky King’s two-run dinger and two three-run round trippers drive in eight runs, a new club record.
  • 1990 En route to a 6-0 complete-game victory, 22 year-old Dodger right-hander Ramon Martinez limits Atlanta to three hits. Pedro’s older brother, who will finish the season with a 20-6 record, strikes out 18 batters during the contest.
  • 1998 The Dodgers trade the 1995 National League Rookie of the Year Hideo Nomo (2-7 with a 5.05 ERA) and reliever Brad Clontz to the Mets for pitchers Dave Mlicki and Greg McMichael.

Lineup when available.

Apr 30

Game 26, 2017

Phillies at Dodgers, 1:10PM PT, TV: SPNLA, CSN-P

The Phillies send RHP Nick Pivetta out to make his major league debut. He was 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA in three starts in Triple-A. He’ll face the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-4, 4.64 ERA), who had a good start his last time out, holding the Giants to one run in six innings.

Note: Yasmani Grandal has a 1.117 OPS against the Phillies, the highest of any active player.

Lineup when available.

Jun 11

Game 63, 2016

Dodgers at Giants, 4:15PM PT, TV: Fox

The Dodgers send Scott Kazmir (5-3, 4.46 ERA) to do battle with Jeff Samardzija (7-4, 3.33 ERA). Kazmir has made two starts against the Giants this season and they haven’t been good: he’s given up 10 runs in eight innings in the two games. In Samardzija’s last start he went five innings against the Cardinals and gave up six runs on nine hits, four of them HRs.

Puig goes to Lake Elsinore Rancho Cucamonga to begin rehab on Monday. The Dodgers want him to shorten his swing a bit while there, hoping to reduce his rotation and “eliminate some of the strain he exerts.”

Lineup when available.


I just noticed that in this lineup all members of the infield hit first. Then Roberts goes off script and has C Yasmani hitting between CF Joc and LF Howie. Come on, Doc, symmetry is important!