Despite Criticism, Dodgers Are in Solid Position for 2019 Season

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Happy February everyone! We’ve finally made it to the month where there are some signs of baseball life again. Dodgers pitchers and catchers report in a few weeks, and I don’t know about you, but this has seemed like the longest off-season in awhile.

It may seem that way because none of the huge free agents are signed as of this writing, nor have any huge trades been made yet—at least for the Dodgers. Having lost the last two World Series, Dodger fans want their front office to go all in to finally get that ring.

Despite how the winter has gone, I feel content with where the team is to start the season. Sure, there are a few questions here and there—things that the season will flush out. But overall, it’s still a pretty dang good team.

Ken Rosenthal wrote a long article this morning for The Athletic outlining why the Dodgers didn’t make any big moves this winter. He argues that their biggest signing, center fielder A.J. Pollock, is a better defender as well as cheaper addition than free agent Bryce Harper. He states that Steamer projects the Dodgers to have 93 wins, highest in the National League, without Harper on the team. Other factors are at play, he writes, like Los Angeles not needing to sign a big name like Harper for attendance, while mentioning that boss Andrew Friedman doesn’t like to give lengthy contracts.

Continuing on, Rosenthal says that because the Dodgers have not spent now, and should their pool of prospects become a little depleted do to trades, and being so good that they don’t select very high in the draft, they will have the money that they didn’t spend on Harper and Machado left to spend on someone like Mookie Betts or Mike Trout.

Similarly, Keith Law was asked in his weekly chat last week who would be seeing the most time behind home plate come All-Star break—Austin Barnes, Keibert Ruiz, or Will Smith. Law’s answer? Smith.

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That was quite interesting to me, because even though I know that Smith is one of the top two catching prospects in the Dodgers organization, I figured he would be a September call up. Whether Law feels that the duo of Barnes and Russell Martin will be so bad that Smith will have to be brought up, or that Smith will show his readiness earlier than anticipated is not stated. I suppose either way, a trade for Realmuto is not warranted. Either Smith can handle it, or a trade could be made at the deadline to get a rental behind the plate.

I know that we shouldn’t be happy with just “good enough” right now, not with the sting of the last two seasons still acute in our minds. But, it’s a long season, the Dodgers are still a very good team, and even though they lost the last two World Series, the Dodgers have won the division six times in a row and made the necessary moves at the trade deadline.

There is a lot to be upset about with Stan Kasten’s recent remarks about spending, or lack thereof. Many articles by people smarter than I have tackled that. But the fact remains the Dodgers are still in a very good position, and I can’t wait for the season to start. Betting the whole farm to with the whole thing may sound like the expedient thing to do, but holding steady is good enough. For now.

 

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22 thoughts on “Despite Criticism, Dodgers Are in Solid Position for 2019 Season

  1. That is an interesting statement. Smith is not even on the 40 man roster. But I get it. Smith will be at AAA. Ruiz will most likely start at Tulsa and if Smith gets the call to LA, he will move up to OKC. I get why they traded Puig, and I also understand that AF is doing what ownership mandated staying under the CBT. I was never one who felt they needed Harper. I think he is high priced window dressing. If either Philly or who ever signs the guy to a massive contract, they are going to find that out. My point is as good as he is supposed to be, he did not help get a very good DC team over the hump to the Series, what makes everyone think he is going to get a pretty good Dodger team over the hump to a championship? Boston pitching totally shut down the Dodger offense last year, and Dodger pitching flopped miserably against the Astros. Pitching and defense win championships. That’s why I thought trading for another starter would have been a very prudent move. Well, Ol Andy traded a starter and 2 outfielders, and a utility guy for a starting pitcher and 2 prospects. As we all know, a salary dump. They immediately released the pitcher. My thought at the time was not Harper. I thought up until they traded Puig and Kemp that an outfielder was going to Cleveland. AF works in mysterious ways.

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  2. Keith Law joining the long line of people not giving Austin Barnes any respect. Yes Smith and Ruiz are the future but Austin Barnes is going to shine in his first chance at being a big league starting catcher. He’s going to end up getting this club a nice prospect package in trade when it’s tine to hand the reigns over to Smith or Ruiz.

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  3. Barnesis garbage . He’ll suck in 2019 season. It’s doesn’t matter, Roberts will make a dum decide in the playoffs or world series if they get that far. Other they’ll choke again.

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  4. Barnes garbage . He’ll suck in 2019 season. It’s doesn’t matter, Roberts will make a dum decide in the playoffs or world series if they get that far. Other they’ll choke again.

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    1. “will make a dum decide. Other they’ll choke again”

      Twice.

      Yep. Something is wrong. giants fan explains it.

      Barnes is a decent catcher. He’s a #8 hitter but every team needs one of those. I have no problem with him in there. Realmuto? Sure. But at this point it doesn’t feel likely.

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  5. It looks like Barnes is going to get his shot, if he is the Barnes of 2017 we’ll all be happy, and Alex will look like a genius, if he is the Barnes of 2018, oh well, we will see smith or Ruiz a little earlier, or make a trade for another veteran in July. I hope he does well, he seems like a good guy.

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    1. He isn’t going to hit you 20HR but he can get on base and hit for a good average while giving you excellent defense behind the plate. What more can we ask for? All his teammates from the minors say he’s a good guy and hard worker. Realmuto is a hell of a player but we also have some kids coming up who I think will be better. Barnes and Martin will be just fine for a year.

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    2. Barnes. I see him hitting about .250, getting on at about .340 and putting up a + dWAR. We can live with that. He will be better than Martin, but not by much. We don’t need Realmuto to win the West. Unless there’s an injury we won’t need Smith or Ruiz. But we do need some heroic overachieving by the current roster to win it all.

      I’m with those who believe help will be added at the deadline. There is always talent available if you are willing to pay for it.

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  6. Story breaking today that Kapler failed to report a sexual assault case against a former Dodger minor leaguer who was not named. The player was released in 2015. The girl who made the claim failed to co-operate with police. Case was dropped at the time. Kapler claimed he was following guidelines in place by the Dodgers at the time. That does not look good.

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  7. i am not an advocate for Harper. As Bear said, Harper was not a difference maker on a very good Nats team. As good as they were, they never won a playoff series much less get to and win the WS.I do think he would make the Dodgers better, but not at the cost. But I also think that the longer this process is prolonged the better the chance that Harper and Boras will agree to a short term with multiple opt in/opt out clauses and one that he will definitely opt out after 2021 before the CBA expires

    I am indifferent on Realmuto. He is not a great defensive catcher, and with only two years, he is not worth Bellinger or Verdugo or Ruiz. That would be a pass. If the Reds, Braves, or Padres want to overpay, let them. I prefer defense up the middle so while I do not believe Barnes will be a major offensive threat, he has hit wherever he has played, including 2017 at MLB. He will be a better offensive player than he was last year.

    I badly wanted Corey Kluber, but if Cleveland chooses not to deal him, what can the Dodgers do? They were not going to sign Corbin and will not sign Keuchel, so they will start the year with their current 5-7 starting pitchers.

    Where I still think the Dodgers can improve is the bullpen. I do not believe there is a prayer to get Jose Leclerc out of Texas, or Taylor Rogers from Minnesota. but I would love to see what Farhan would require for Will Smith. Guys like Leclerc and Rogers may be available come the trade deadline when teams believing early they had a chance begin to falter. There will be relievers that will come out of nowhere to dominate for a bottom dweller.

    .

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  8. I think our bullpen will,surprise us. If Kelly can locate, he has 8th inning shutdown stuff. With his newfound confidence in his change up and slider Baez is legit and I think Floro has a breakout year! Alexander has better stuff than he showed last year and hopefully Cingrani gets healthy. In the playoffs we can use Maeda and Ferguson. The key of course is if Kenley returns to form. And of course someone will climb out of the dumpster to become a star and prove AF a genius once again!

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  9. jef has some good suggestions but I don’t know why any of those guys would be available. Doesn’t hurt to ask but I agree with Rich in that we have a long list of available pen arms and I trust a number of them will surface. I don’t see Farhan helping us out.

    I too wanted Kluber, but never believe he was really available. Cleveland can compete with him, not sure they would without him. .

    I don’t know what is going on with Harper but expect him to stay in Washington. I thought there was a plan in place after the Puig Kemp Wood giveaway, but apparently I was wrong about that.

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  10. Around the diamond – Barnes, Muncy, Taylor, Seager, Turner. Around the outfield. Pederson, Pollock, Bellinger. Hernandez, Verdugo, Martin, Freese. 7 starters, 4 left handed. 13 from which to choose in bullpen. Rotating 10 Day starting about a month in. 93 wins.

    Play ball.

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  11. Just looked at the Dodger roster and checked some of the other teams as well. They still have not assigned the new guys numbers, except the Veterans who were signed as free agents. Pollock got his #11 and Kelly will be #17. but they have not listed those on the web site. Seems to take them a lot longer than the other teams. All the guys who went to the Reds have their numbers assigned. Kemp and Puig got their old numbers and Wood will wear #40 for the Reds. Farmer got #52. Also the other teams all have their non roster invitees list already on the web site. The Dodgers do not. So it will be after pitchers and catchers report before we even see what is what. With all the bullpen talk I have heard nothing about the new kids on the block, McCreery and Schultz. I guess there is not much info about either of those guys or most here think they are non factors. I personally do not think a single player on the non roster list has a chance of making the team. I have followed the signings as they have happened, and other than Thole, a catcher, most of those guys I have never heard of, oh yeah, Quackenbush. Funny though, he is on OKC’s roster. No news on any trades or movement on the free agent front. Funny how one year changes things so much. Last year Jake Peter had a real shot at making the team out of spring training. This year there is no mention of him at all. He is also on the OKC roster.

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  12. I’m really not feeling all that bad about the bullpen as presently constituted, but that is dependent upon Cingrani being in good health and Alexander re-finding his control. We’ve been talking about trying to get Will Smith from Farhan but Tony Watson also pitched very well last year. He would probably cost less in terms of player/prospects. Something deep inside of me wishes AF would offer the Giants Joc straight up for Will Smith. I think the Giants would do it because they desperately need outfielders and they would get an extra year of control. It might not be too smart from the Dodger point of view except that being a major Toles fan I would like to see it happen to give him a chance at some playing time.

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    1. Signing Pollock allows us to start a lineup against southpaws which includes Pollock, Kike, Taylor, Turner, Barnes/Martin and Freese (all right handed bats) plus Seager (who has never had a problem with lefties) plus Muncy (who hit southpaws very well last year) or Bellinger (who, although he wasn’t great against lefties wasn’t totally hopeless and will probably improve under the new approach he’ll be using thanks to Van Scoyoc). I was just trying to solve two problems with one move (adding a lefty bullpen guy and removing the obstacle to Toles getting some playing time). Not saying I would object to trading Joc for a good righty bat, but I don’t think we’re desperate for one.

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