Overall, It’s Been a Very Productive Winter for the Dodgers

ryu-kersh

Even if the Dodgers are finished making any significant roster moves for the winter, it’s safe to say that things have indeed turned out quite well for the team, at least as far as player personnel goes.

Up until now, the league has been quiet in terms of overall spending. Many believe that there will be a surge once Bryce Harper and Manny Machado decide their respective fates, but Los Angeles seems to be in great shape. While it’s tough to believe, J.P. Hoonstra in his newsletter yesterday pointed out that only two the teams in baseball have spent more money than the Dodgers during the 2018-19 offseason.

There were a handful of moves that happened so early that the impacts have faded for many fans. Aside from numerous signings that strengthened the farm and the fringe, here’s a quick summary of what happened at the big league level:

  • Staff ace Clayton Kershaw agreed to a deal that will see him wearing Dodger Blue for the next three seasons, avoiding the possibility of a mini-riot if he would have landed somewhere in Texas. (Everyone, especially Kersh himself, knew this wasn’t likely to happen, but it’s still a relief.)
  • David Freese signed a one-year contract to return, giving the Dodgers a strong bench and clubhouse presence in the shadows of Chase Utley. Not many players are held in the same regard as Freese when it comes to clutch performances in the postseason. And, he has a pretty good track record against southpaw pitching.
  • Lefty starter Hyun-Jin Ryu will be around for 2019, as he accepted the team’s one-year, $17.9 million qualifying offer. Ryu’s presence—if healthy—assures the Dodgers of having one of the top rotations in the National League. However, if you ask Rich Hill, he believes the Los Angeles starting five may be the best in baseball.
  • Skipper Dave Roberts signed a new four-year contract, guaranteeing that one of the best managers in the game will be directing traffic in the Dodgers’ dugout.
  • Reliever Joe Kelly was snagged on a three-year, $25 million deal, giving the Dodgers—finally—a strong 1-2 punch at the backend of the bullpen. The presence of a genuine set-up option was certainly missed last season, and the addition of Kelly gives Los Angeles some very much needed depth. Boss Andrew Friedman typically does not spend in this fashion for bullpen upgrades, so this move came as a surprise to many. Especially as early as it was.
  • The team avoided arbitration with with Pedro Baez, Josh Fields, Yimi Garcia, Enrique Hernandez, Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Chris Taylor. Sometimes it seems as if this is taken for granted, as the Dodgers NEVER go to the arbitration table. It’s another indication of how smoothly the organization’s run and gives management one less thing to worry about.
  • Russell Martin returned to the team after a trade with the Blue Jays, clearing some of the smoke from the 2019 catching picture. While many believe there still could be further upgrades at catcher, Martin’s addition is much better than having Austin Barnes and Rocky Gale as the only two backstops on the roster with big league experience.
  • A.J. Pollock was signed to a multi-year deal to anchor the Los Angeles outfield for the foreseeable future. There are definitely many questions that trickled down after the acquisition of Pollock, but his presence gives the team a legitimate righty bat in the lineup as well as a very capable defender in center.

Of course, there were some losses. Alex Wood, Kyle Farmer, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig were shipped out to Cincinnati. It’s still difficult to digest the overall effect on the club, but it did open a door for Pollock, while giving players like Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray the chance to elevate to the top of the Los Angeles prospect rankings.

Fans also witnessed the departures of GM Farhan Zaidi, third base coach Chris Woodward and hitting coach Turner Ward. Big losses, for sure, but the additions of Dino Ebel, Robert Van Scoyoc and Aaron Bates may prove to be valuable as the season progresses.

Obviously, fans still want more roster upgrades, and it’s tough to blame them based on the fact the Dodgers came up short of a World Championship the last two seasons. But, while there’s still a chance we see more action before pitchers and catchers convene on February 13, there are always the summer trade deadlines to utilize as the club prepares for yet another playoff push.

 

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33 thoughts on “Overall, It’s Been a Very Productive Winter for the Dodgers

  1. After a long period of doing basically nothing it seems if Ol Andy has gotten busy the last few days. Not the move a majority of the fan base wanted, but one that does not stray from what it seems the ownership is mandating. If Kelly is the WS version of Kelly, he is a bargain. Martin, well to me that was such a pure sideways move. Especially since all the rumors now flying that they are in the Realmuto sweepstakes. I understand the salary dump which has become a off season tradition the last 2 years. I will miss the excitement Puig brought to the team, and I will miss Kemp and his steady production in the lineup. I really believe that the outfield defense in RF will be no where near Puig’s level. Depending on who spends the majority of the time out there. I also believe that Puig is going to have a career year in his walk year. That bandbox is perfect for Yasiel. As always Andy has made a lot of minor leagues additions of players that no one has ever heard of. AAA fodder, every one of them. McCreery and Schultz will get spring training to prove they belong on the 25 man at the end of spring. I really believe that Urias will begin the year in AAA. The fates of guys who have no options left hang in the balance this spring also. Garcia and Stewart are 2 to watch. I think they are more apt to keep Garcia than Stewart. Is Andy done? Who knows. I will say one thing for him, he is as unpredictable as they come. As for Roberts, as a players manager, he is very good at handling all the ego’s and can manipulate a lineup as well as anyone. But as a strategist, he sucks. He has been out managed in 2 World Series. His blunders have been well documented. As weak as the division is as none of the contenders have really done much to improve, they will probably, as long as they stay healthy, win their 7th consecutive division title. But I still do not believe with the guys on the 40 man that are there RIGHT now, that they are WS champion material. That might change over the next few months, and depending on what they do at the deadline. But it is very obvious, there is a lot of work to be done.

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  2. I hope you were not suggesting that this team now is better than the one in October. Pollock is a wash with puig . We traded wood, farmer and Kemp for 2 low level prospects and Kelly was a disaster last year and probably won’t even be the set up man this year.

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    1. If Seager comes anywhere close to his 2019 projections, and if Julio Urias effictively contributes the majority of his limited innings at the big league level, coupled with overall good team health for a change, then yes, I am suggesting that the team is definitely better than last October’s version. Lots of “IF’s” though. 🙂

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  3. Sorry Gordon but Wood and Kemp and Farmar had no place on this year’s team. Wood’s stuff had greatly deteriorated. He’d be like our 8th starter, and he’s been a bullpen disaster. He can’t go down to OKC so they would just have released him. And Kemp, he had an incredible 2 month run last year and helped save our season but then the bottom dropped out. His career is over. So basically it’s Pollock for one year of Puig whom his teammates can’t stand and 2 good prospects. Experts very high on Jeter

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      1. I would trade him before I would unload Santana. That kid has some serious stuff. And he can hit! Batting 1.000 in the bigs!

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      1. As of yesterday:

        OddsShark

        @OddsShark
        OVER/UNDER NL team wins for the 2019 MLB season (BetOnline):

        WAS 87.5
        NYM 84.5
        PHI 84.5
        ATL 83.5
        MIA 65.5

        STL 88.5
        CHC 88.5
        MIL 84.5
        CIN 77.5
        PIT 77.5

        LAD 94.5
        COL 82.5
        SD 78.5
        ARI 77.5
        SF 73.5

        Money is daffy. It talks out of both sides of its bill.

        Ok, that one needs a little work.

        As we stand right now I got the under on 94.5. I do like the idea of home field for NL. The AL will in all likelihood have home field in the Series again.

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  4. Scoop knows how I feel about predictions. This team did not meet expectations last year and they barely won the division. Most predictions did not have Joc or Kemp anywhere near what they ended up doing. They damn sure did not expect Kemp to be the comeback player of the year.

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  5. Pretty quiet on the Western front. Only news from the Dodgers this morning – after heart surgery Kenley says “if I stay hydrated I should be fine”. Great. The rest of the West is in hibernation.

    If nothing else is done we should cruise through the Division. . Unless of course the old arms in our rotation wear out and Kenley forgets to hydrate.

    You know, San Diego isn’t going to remain a floor mat and SF will rise from their ashes. Not this year, but soon. If our window begins to close we’d be unwise to weaken our system. As of now San Diego and Atlanta are at the top, We are still Top 10, but probably won’t be if Verdugo comes up and Ruiz + goes out. It’s time. Does Realmuto put us even with Houston, NY and Boston?

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  6. Like Scoop said, there are some real twits on twitter. Right now there is complete consternation by some because when the Dodgers announced their bobble head giveaway schedule for this season, Joe Kelly has a bobble head and none yet announced for Max Muncy! Ridiculous! That being said, Kershaw will have maybe his 10th, Newk gets another one which would be the 3rd. Fernando gets another, that makes about 5 for him. I am pissed that last year they cancelled the Jr Gilliam bobble and made one for Machado instead. It took them all these years to finally recognize the guy and then they pulled the plug. Pure marketing scheme. They snuck a Kemp in at the end of the year too. They only gave one to Hodges 2 years ago. Even Duke Snider has only had 1. Campy and Pee Wee are on one together from the game where Pee Wee wheeled Campy to home plate. If anyone deserves a bobble, it is those 2 HOF players.

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      1. Garvey is getting one too. The only one I have seen of him is pretty cartoonish. But this one will be more lifelike. Couple of things I found interesting this morning. Kasten is getting raked over the coals for his statements yesterday at Fan Fest. he pretty much put down the fans concerns and toed the ownership line about staying under the CBT. Also, MLB insider is claiming that the Dodgers are still in discussions with Harper, which goes against all that stuff Kasten said. Not sure how true it is, and finally LA Sports hub proposed a 3 team trade that they think makes the Dodgers world series locks. Here it is…..Dodgers get, Jose Abreu, and JT Realmuto. Marlins get, Barnes, Ruiz, Santana, and Jeter Downs. White Sox get Rios, Pederson and Josiah Gray. That’s 2 major leaguers and 5 prospects for a 1 year and 2 year rental. Comments and thoughts? Me, I do not do that deal.

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      2. I hear you, but never seen one for a coach. Manager’s yes. I have a Lasorda and Alston, a Mattingly and a Roberts that my brother gave me. I am kind of surprised that they have never made one for Reggie Smith save the one that has all 4 of the 30 HR guys on it.

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      3. If they did that deal it better work as that will drop our system ranking from 9 to about 19. Do I do it? Probably not. I don’t think I’m as sold on our starting pitching as some. Of course part of my evaluation of staff is my outdated look at their ability to go 7+. Buehler can, I don’t think the others will. I know some think ours is the best in the league. I don’t know about that. They were better in IP than I thought they would be last year, finishing 8th after finishing 17th the year before. Boston was actually 17th in that stat last year, but they hit well enough to cover for it. Both their starters and relievers were 4th the AL in ERA too. There are some complete teams over there in the AL. Most we have already talked about but watch out for Cleveland. And what about the A’s?

        So,

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  7. The Dodgers should never let Kasten speak in public again. He’s an idiot! Yes I would do the deals Tho I’d rather have Castellanos than Abreu because Bellinger is a great first baseman and with Abrue our right side D with Muncy would be really weak. I think we could make Castellanos a decent left fielder with positioning strategies etc. Even Kemp played a decent left field last year. I hate to give up Ruiz but I make that deal. Our window is the next 2 years and then a lot of these young teams are gonna be really good and it’s gonna get very difficult. San Diego, Atlanta and Philly. Kersh and Turner could be done being elite in 2 years. You never know with minor league talent. White Sox got Moncado # 1 prospect in all of baseball and Kopceck? And so far nothing. Boston wins a title and I think they’re happy with that trade. I’m all in this year!

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    1. I understand the logic and disagree with it. I do not think that trade makes them better than any of the AL’s big 3. The lineup would be pretty powerful and a lot to deal with, but it does not address the problems the bullpen has had the last couple of World Series. Astros out hit and out pitched them. Boston made the entire team look inept. Yankees have improved and have a lineup that is going to bludgeon opponents to death. I believe in my heart that the window has already closed. Buehler will be more of an ace like pitcher than Kershaw unless Kersh reinvents himself. How much can you truly expect from Hill, or Ryu over a full season? Urias is going to most likely be in AAA on limited innings. Maeda will be Maeda, A pretty steady pitcher. Backing those guys up basically are Stripling, and Ferguson, who I believe somewhere down the line is a very good starter.They want Grey and Downs and Pederson, I am fine with that. They can have Barnes too, but Santana and Ruiz? Nope, give them White and Wong or Smith. I just do not believe that Abreu and Realmuto are the end all know all to a WS title. I honestly believe that ship has sailed.

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      1. I ask again as I’m getting no answers …. if indeed on limited innings, why does Urias throw those innings in AAA? He looked damn good to me at the end of the year and will have had another 4 months recovery time over the winter to be prepared for the start of the year. If he’s only going to throw say 100 innings, why not use him where it will do the most good – against Major League hitters. 100 innings is 20 starts. That’s about the same projections as Ryu I’d rather see him start all 20 in the bigs than 10 in the minors. And I regurgitate….. a 6 man rotation benefits every starter on this club.

        There is no White and Wong here.

        Sorry. Couldn’t stop myself.

        Santana, White, May, and Gonsolin. I think there is a lot of talent in that group. Pick 2 and trade the other 2. I pick May and Santana.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I was saying the same thing about Urias earlier in the winter. It just seems to me that those innings at AAA would be wasted. I think Friedman and his group did a great job of keeping Buehler under 150 last year, without requiring him to do any significant rehab work, even after his rib injury. I’m not sure where they put Urias, though. I don’t think they want to see him throw in relief. I guess there’s always the prospect of bumping Maeda into the pen, although people seem to feel guilty if he doesn’t have a chance at earning his bonuses.

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      3. The answer is easy there Scoop. Roster space. The Dodgers will most likely keep 8 relievers on the team and 5 starters. We all know who the starters are. If they keep 3 lefty’s as relievers, which I doubt, I think the 3rd one would be Ferguson. You can control Urias’s innings at the big league level, but why would you have a guy on your roster that you cannot use every day or every other day>?? MLB is rethinking the 10 day DL thing also. I think their thinking is a fresh Urias at the end of the year might be more important than Urias on the roster out of the box. Just my opinion there sport…but I believe it has merit.

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  8. First of all I have to agree to disagree with you bear. With Castellanos or Abrue and Realmuto we’d have the best offense in baseball. Hill is a big game pitcher and I think he and Urias would give us a strong 3-4 in the playoffs. That pushes Mazda intoto the bullpen where he was great in 17 and ok in 18. I think we see the good Kelly in blue. Honneycutt will work his magic. Baez made huge improvement with his change up and slider. Alexander has to be better and I like Ferguson. I see Jansen coming back to his dominant self. I like our bullpen and if we need to add something at trade deadline. This is a team that can win it all!

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    1. Best offense in baseball? I doubt that. Have you taken a look at that Yankee lineup? And the Red Sox have the same starting 9 they did a year ago and they pounded the Dodgers in the series. You are counting on Seager being totally healthy, Muncy repeating or being better than last year. Improvement from Bellinger and Verdugo living up to the hype. Also you have to hope not one of those guys goes down with a serious injury. As for Hill. He is almost 39 years old. How much stamina does he have and how many so called big games does he have left in him. I do not think that Urias is even in the equation till later in the year and he is by no means a #4 starter and even less so in the playoffs. You and every one else are grasping at strings and using an awful lot of wishful thinking. Use your head and not your heart. This team is good. But it is not close to being that good even with Realmuto, who is not very good against LHP, and Abreu who is in his walk year. He would have to adjust to the NL pitchers pretty fast.

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  9. And Scoop if you go with a six man rotation then you either go with a six man relief or a four man bench which really limits you grinding out a 162 game season. You put Urias at OKC for a couple months and limit his innings while still giving him regular work. Who cares if you have to overuse your bullpen there

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  10. Since the club had already made one payroll reducing trade what do you guys think the chances of the FO trading Hill, and putting Urias in his spot. Would save 16 mil on the cap. I’m not suggesting we do this, I’ve just been thinking about how cap conscious the FO seems. It would give Urias a chance to show he is ready, which I think he is.

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    1. I already traded Hill a couple of times. After the Yankees signed Harper I sent him to NY for Stanton. I also sent him to Japan for Kobayashi Maru.

      I have no problem with the bench and pen arrangements that follow with a 6 man rotation. The Dodgers might with all the platooning and utility guys they employ. NPB makes it work. 28 active, 25 daily, and tie games are allowed. 12 inning limit regular season, 15 in playoffs. All of that makes too much sense for MLB to adopt.

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  11. Come on guys,. How many innings did Urias pitch last year? How much time and how many innings did he pitch in the bigs? He is basically coming off of 2 years of very limited innings. Asking this guy to be a big contributor is very wishful thinking……I as you would love to see the guy be a dominant force in the league, I just cannot believe he is anywhere close to being ready. Lots of talent and really great stuff. But no where close to being ready for a once every 5th day job. End of the season help at best.

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    1. He projects 90 innings. You want any of those to be in the minors? Not me.

      As a 19 year old he threw 77 innings of 3.39. He’s 22 now. He came up at the end of the year and struck out 7 in 4 innings. He has already pitched in the post season and he looked good doing so last year. If he shows well in Spring Training, and frankly I believe he will, he deserves to pitch in the Majors. Once a week is about 20 starts. 5 innings per start is 100 innings. I see no reason to send him back to the minors. In fact, I would trade Hill and give Urias his spot in the rotation. But that’s me.

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      1. Like I said earlier. It comes down to roster space and frankly, I do not think he makes the team out of spring training. They have used nothing but kid gloves with this guy the last couple of years and I see nothing in writing or projections or otherwise that tells me Andy and the Dodger brain trust is going to do anything different. There just are not enough roster spots available, and you know Alexander and Cingrani are going to be on the roster come opening day. Only if the decide to take 3 lefty’s in the BP, does he have a shot. And it is a long one in my opinion. And you and I both know they are not trading Hill. That ship has sailed. No one except maybe the Yankees would pick up that contract.

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