Biding their time

The Dodgers, for all of the hand-wringing and complaints about their offseason inaction, are actually sitting quite pretty when it comes to leverage. They can use it now. They can use it in July. They can be opportunistic. They do not have to feed the hot stove beast simply because it has hunger pangs.

So says ESPN’s Jeff Passan, and he’s a lot smarter than Bill Plaschke, who wrote a somewhat whiny column last week taking the Dodgers and their owners to task for not doing something, anything that would give the fans (and columnists) Dodger news to talk about.

65 thoughts on “Biding their time

  1. One solution to sign stealing is to make them so complicated that only the pitcher and catcher can understand them. That may increase the time between pitches however.

    • Its patterns that are the tell. Wood and Barnes said they switched up after 8-9 pitches during his WS start against Asteriks in 2017, when he pitched 5 2/3 giving up only one hit and one run.

  2. In the body of a story about Ross Stripling The Athletic mentions he”s co-host of a podcast whose tagline is “Sports, Pop Culture, Business, and everything in between!”

    The story notes that, living in Houston as he does, Stripling works out with the Astros’ George Springer and does PT with their Josh Reddick.

    The methods the 2017 Astros used in the postseason remain unclear. So he asked Reddick recently, point blank: Were there buzzers? No, Reddick told him.

    Stripling comes off as a guy who really likes to stay busy; he worked out at 9:00am, was done and in an office at his brokerage firm/employer at noon. When the market closed three hours later he went home. After dinner he went to the local ESPN studio to co-host MLB Network’s hour-long Sirius XM radio show. He got back home after 9:00pm.

  3. This time I agree with Plaschke’s righteous anger:

    The Dodgers surely don’t want what they didn’t earn on the field. But it’s sickening to see the Astros continue to claim something they didn’t earn either. The trophy should be returned and its notations in the record books should be deleted. The 2017 title was won by cheaters, so it should belong to nobody.

    God knows the NCAA is not my favorite organization, but it vacates titles when it feels that’s necessary.

    20 prior national champions in Divisions I, II and III have retroactively had their titles taken away after the NCAA deemed improper benefits or other violations took place that warranted pulling down banners and taking back trophies.

    Louisville is destined to be infamous — the most well-known school to lose a national title — but it’s only the latest in a line of annulments by the NCAA and its Committee on Infractions.

  4. I saw a guy wearing a Houston t-shirt today in my BA barrio but didn’t get a chance to ask him about the Asterisks’ cheating.

  5. In the offseason Dodgers’ minor leaguers are working as barbacks, as retail clerks, as Uber and Lyft drivers. This all sounds romantic (Richie Hebner digs graves!) until you remember they don’t get rich playing in the low minors either:

    As the season started, he carried that feeling to Low-A Great Lakes, where players make $1,300 a month. He quickly earned a promotion to High-A Rancho Cucamonga, where players earn $1,500, a salary that still leaves little room for shelter at Southern California market rates. de Geus and Paulson found a $2000-a-month two-bedroom apartment to split three ways. Then the Dodgers dealt their roommate, Niko Hulsizer, at the trade deadline.

    That’s in The Athletic, which may still be having a subscription sale.

    • Back in the day even big leaguers had off-season jobs. IIRC Don Demeter used to chop wood. At a minimum, have to agree with this fellow in terms of clubs being silly not to provide training facilities for their minor leaguers. As well, one would think that they should provide for better accommodations and meals during the season, given that these are “investments”. Gather that the better prospects can rely on signing bonuses to tide them over for at least a couple of years. Players chosen in the first 20 rounds, i.e. half of them, mostly sign for at least 6 figures.

  6. Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger lit into MLB and the Astros’ players the other day, pointing out that if he got hammered by a team which knew the signs he could lose his job, get demoted, lose future pay, etc.

    “I’ve had to live with my mom until I got to the big leagues. And now you’re telling me that someone potentially shorting my career, sent me back down, make me figure shit out because they figured what I was throwing in their park?” Clevinger said. “So many guys are going ‘How can I stay here? What will make me stay here?'”

  7. Little more than 3 weeks till P&C. Looking more and more like the FO goes with it’s usual Plan B: hold on to your MLB-ready prospects and wait until mid-season to reevaluate needs and use second tier prospects to purchase a few months of future FAs.

    • Colorado wants a top prospect catcher and MLB players that will make the team better than they are with Arenado. Obviously the Dodgers seem acceptable to include Ruiz in a trade but where would they find space in their infield for Arenado? If Seager and Ruiz were traded for Arenado the Dodgers would have that righty bat and one less lefty bat but a good defensive infield gets rearranged.

      1B Turner instead of Muncy
      2B Muncy instead of Lux
      3B Arenado instead of Turner
      SS Lux instead of Seager

      Who would do that trade?

      Who would play 3B for CO? Seager or Story?

      Seager only has two years of control but with Arenado’s opt out clause, so does he.

        • Aronado wants to play in LA so I would think the Dodgers could buy out his opt out clause at a reasonable price and hopefully they agree before a trade was made. If he stays in CO he will probably opt out so he and Seager would be free agents at the same time.

  8. Casey Sadler was DFA’d (to make room for Alex Wood) then traded to the Cubs for a minor league pitcher second baseman named Clayton Daniel.

  9. I’m not sure what prompted it, but James Loney did an interview on WFAN in New York today about the Astros scandal, and also his brief time with the Mets (which I’d totally forgotten about).

    One factoid near the end – he is currently employed by the Dbacks, which just seems wrong.

    • No surprise. Now they have to scramble to find someone to replace him on short notice. The current bench coach in Boston is Ron Roenicke, who managed the Brewers for a few years.

  10. The Dodgers

    issued a statement saying that “all clubs have been asked by Major League Baseball not to comment on today’s punishment of the Houston Astros as it’s inappropriate to comment on discipline imposed on another club. The Dodgers have also been asked not to comment on any wrongdoing during the 2017 World Series and will have no further comment at this time.”

  11. So what’s the Dodgers’ official response going to be? “We lost two World Series to teams who have either been proven or are under investigation for cheating.”

    • THere are also some rumors that the Dodgers have done some similar things, so probably best to keep a low profile.

        • Apparently (in a since deleted instagram post), Logan Morrison claimed that the Yankees, Dodgers, and Red Sox have also been using electronic tech to steal signs. He seems to have quieted down since, so there may be nothing to it. For one thing, how would he even know, being as he’s been mostly in the AL. For another, if the Dodgers have been doing it, they’ve been doing a much worse job at it than the Astros or Sawx.

    • It certainly explains Yu’s meltdown, Kershaw’s flawed performance, etc. a little better.

      • Read an article in December about Wood’s 1 hit 1 run performance into the sixth in game 4. He said that they were already wary of ‘Stros stealing signs such that he and Barnes were changing signs every 8-10 pitches.

  12. Wow. From SI:

    MLB suspended Astros manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for a year, through the 2020 World Series. The team has been stripped of its first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. Additionally the league fined the Astros $5 million, the maximum amount allowed under the MLB Constitution. No players were suspended as the league chose only to go after the club’s managerial figures.

    The article tries to cover the sign-stealing from the beginning in 2014 when replay (hence real-time video) became available to teams as well as umpires.

    • It got worse for Hinch and Luhnow, because the Astros’ owner then fired them. Old friend Alex Cora is reputedly the next one the stompy foot is going to land on. He was deeply involved with the Asros scheme, and then apparently brought it with him to Boston.

      • Manfred also put that tool of an assistant GM, Brandon Taubman, on the ineligible list, both for his part in the scheme, and for his misogynistic comments in the locker room back in October. Manfred really lays into him in the report.

      • If Cora is suspended, perhaps Bosox more inclined to reload for upcoming year and move Mookie now.

    • Trying to see a positive light here, but how about MLB removes the availability for real time video? Why should managers have the ability to watch replay prior to challenging a call? If they think the umpire missed it, challenge it immediately; if not, move on.

    • Trying to see a positive light here, but how about MLB removes the availability for real time video? Why should managers have the ability to watch replay prior to challenging a call? If they think the umpire missed it, challenge it immediately; if not, move on.

  13. Messrs. Bellinger, Seager, Hernandez, Stripling, and Urias all avoided arbitration by reaching deals with the Dodgers. Bellinger’s $11M sets a new record for most money awarded in a player’s first year of arbitration eligibility, surpassing Kris Bryant’s $10.85M in 2018. Seager nearly doubled his salary to $7.6M, Kiké got a $2M raise to $5.9M, Stripling a $1.5M raise to $2.1M, and Urias nearly doubled his wages from $565K to $1M.

    Outfielder Joc Pederson, infielder Max Muncy, utility man Chris Taylor and reliever Pedro Baez did not reach contract agreements as of Friday evening and face the prospect of hearings in February to determine their 2020 salaries.

    • Hearings are the worst. Believe the last one for the Dodgers was Joe Beimel (he lost). Guessing that FO will do it’s darndest to resolve these beforehand.

  14. Possible target just got way more expensive. Mookie Betts and the Sox reach a one-year arbitration deal of $27M. New. League. Record.

    • Guessing that a couple of million either way was already factored in by FO on whether to go after him or not and that sticking points are which prospects and whether Price is included.