Three weeks from Opening Day

Kershaw has thrown six of the last seven days, but Roberts and Honeycutt haven’t yet decided what Plan B is if, as seems likely, he’s unavailable for Opening Day.

Tweets of note:

33 thoughts on “Three weeks from Opening Day

  1. The Athletic’s Molly Knight offers hope for Dodgers fans.

    There are reasons to be optimistic about 2019. If the NL West is as bad as people on the ground and on their computers suspect, the Dodgers will have little trouble cruising into their seventh straight postseason.

    Moreover, Molly says, they hired the enemy. They won’t have to face Joe Kelly in the World Series this year.

  2. Alex Verdugo, #1 prospect and utility outfielder. Given that he’s hit .314 and .329 at AAA the last two seasons while walking nearly as often as he has struck out and splitting time at each outfield spot, the Dodgers apparently think he’s got nothing left to prove in the minor leagues, so they plan to have him on the roster on Opening Day.

    …barring injury, there will be no room for him on a regular basis. Against right-handed pitching, the Dodgers plan to start Joc Pederson in left field, A.J. Pollock in center and Cody Bellinger in right. Their lineup against lefties is less clear-cut. But Pollock is a right-handed hitter who hits lefties better, the left-handed-hitting Bellinger has insisted he deserves to play every day, and right-handed hitters Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernández need another position to play in addition to second base.

    Amid all that, Roberts would be tasked with rotating in the organization’s top prospect.

  3. Next player from each team to crack a Top 100 list:

    Los Angeles Dodgers

    Who made it this year? (6 players, 300 points) — Clayton Kershaw (41), Walker Buehler (42), Corey Seager (49), Justin Turner (53), Kenley Jansen (60), Cody Bellinger (61)

    Next: Gavin Lux, 2B/SS

    Look, if Max Muncy rakes again — .263/.391/.582 with 35 home runs in 2018 — he’ll crack this list next year. I do believe in his bat, as his ability to control the strike zone should allow him to tap into his power, but some regression in the home run rate is expected (he had the 10th-highest rate of home runs to fly balls), and it’s not certain how much he’ll play against lefties. So I’ll go with one of my favorite minor leaguers in Lux, who had a breakout season, hitting .324/.399/.514 at age 20 between Class A and Double-A. I love the bat-to-ball ability and the left-handed bat, although he’ll probably wind up at second base.

    • We seemed to be loaded with talent, even before taking Max into account. Basically, the top 60-odd players that would be two on average for each team and we have three times that.

  4. Several notable rule changes will take effect this year, with more coming in 2020.


    Inning breaks: Subject to discussions with broadcast partners, inning breaks will be reduced from 2:05 to 2:00 in local games and from 2:25 to 2:00 in national games. The Commissioner’s Office retains the right to further reduce the breaks to 1:55 in local and national games for the start of the 2020 season.

    Trade Deadline: The waiver trade period will be eliminated. The July 31 Trade Deadline will be the only deadline. Players may still be placed and claimed on outright waivers after July 31, but trades will no longer be permitted after that date.

    All-Star Game: Fan voting will be conducted in two rounds — a “primary round” that mirrors the All-Star voting of old, followed in late June or early July by an “Election Day” in which the top three vote-getters at each position in each league during the primaries will be voted on by fans in a prescribed time period to determine the All-Star starters.

    As far as the game itself is concerned, the 10th inning — and all subsequent innings — of All-Star Games that go into extra innings will begin with a runner on second base.

    Home Run Derby: Total player prize money for the Home Run Derby will be increased to $2.5 million. The winner of the Home Run Derby will receive $1 million.

    Mound visits: The maximum number of mound visits per team will be reduced from six to five per game. MLB had instituted an initial mound-visit limitation prior to the 2018 season.

    Additionally, MLB and the MLBPA will form a joint committee to study other potential rule changes.

    The trade deadline dates and the reduction in mound visits are the only ones that would seriously impact what the Dodgers have done over the past few years, as far as I can tell. The changes for 2020 would have a far greater effect (see the linked article) on their behavior, particularly no more LOOGYs and no more 10-day DL/IL.

  5. I am watching the Dodgers-Reds from Coyhaique, and there are no broadcasters – only crowd noise.

  6. From SI: Puig in Cincinnatti.

    The predicament of Puig is that the chaotic exuberance that makes him such an electric player also makes him an occasionally exasperating teammate in the highly regimented world of baseball.


    Over six years, the Dodgers never quite found that sweet spot where Puig’s talent could co-exist harmoniously with his rambunctious energy and penchant for doing everything at his own speed and time. Now that challenge belongs to the Reds, who have willingly signed up for the full and unfiltered Yasiel Puig Experience. “We want him to be who he is,” Bell says. “We have no concerns.”

    • “Had the Dodgers opted for, say, Patrick Corbin instead, they would have had to spend a lot more money on a pitcher who hasn’t been as good as Kershaw even over the last two seasons.” This is a telling statement. All the best to Klayton!

  7. In his first spring start, prospect Tony Gonsolin is very sharp – nine up and nine down, with three K’s. In fairness, he is facing the Gnats.

  8. Starting to put my wish list for ballgames together. Three game set here in DC in late July. Have wanted to go to Cincy for a while to see some games and the Dodgers will be there in May. Torn, however, by the thought of seeing Puig in another uniform (Reds are in LA in April! That should be something). They play the AL East, so will visit Baltimore in September. I always try to catch at least one of the games in Charm City, may go for the trifecta if I can find willing partners.

  9. 3 weeks is a long time, when there are really no position player issues, but happy to have it given time needed for Klayton and Buelher. Nice to Julito rekindling some excitement again after his injury.

  10. Kershaw had thrown six of the last seven days. Perhaps Roberts and Honeycutt want him to become the next Mike Marshall (the pitcher, not the outfielder), who appeared in a record 106 games in relief and won the Cy Young Award in 1974. LOL.