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.

188 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.

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

  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.

    • 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…

    • 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).

    • As Brisbee says, a good player when healthy. Likely to cause us some nightmares, but has slowed in recent years on defense.

    • 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.

  3. 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.

        • 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).

  4. 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.

  5. 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 ! 🙂

        • 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… 🙂

  6. 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.

  7. 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).