Despite Fan Pessimism, Andrew Friedman Says Dodgers Are ‘Elite’

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I came across a very well-written story a few days ago reflecting a somewhat pessimistic opinion about the Dodgers organization by some fans.

In a nutshell, the story was written by Alden Gonzalez of ESPN, and it highlighted the belief by boss Andrew Friedman that Los Angeles has a chance to be “an elite team,” despite management’s decision not to pursue any of the big-name players on the free agent or trade markets over the winter.

“I feel like we have a chance to be an elite team, and I think we have a very well-rounded roster,” Friedman told Gonzalez on Wednesday, one day after the reporting date for pitchers and catchers.

In his column, Gonzalez noted how the Dodgers passed over many of the offseason’s headline players like Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Corey Kluber. Instead, Gonzalez pointed out, Los Angeles opted to snag much more economical options in the forms of A.J. Pollock, Russell Martin and Joe Kelly.

Indeed, many fans of professional sports teams will almost always be critics, yet as the spring workouts at Camelback Ranch will soon be in full gear, it just seems like there isn’t as much enthusiasm towards the Dodgers as normal from the fan base.

It’s not like the fans are jumping ship or being disloyal, but it just feels like there’s no excitement. Maybe it’s because one of the league’s most storied franchises has made it the whole way to the World Series the past two years, but management still isn’t committing to that “one big splash” that will seemingly put the team over the top during its upcoming campaign.

At the end of the 2019 season, the Dodgers should walk away with a seventh-consecutive NL West title, and by many accounts are favored to win their third pennant in a row. Yet, when compared to AL powerhouses like the Red Sox, Yankees and Astros, the Boys in Blue pale in comparison.

I think the biggest thing that stands out is the fact that many fans thought the Dodgers would be spending heavily this offseason after finally resetting their penalties to MLB when they were able to structure their 2018 payroll beneath the luxury tax threshold.

Many felt that an aggressive pursuit of Harper was imminent.

Moreover, countless fans and critics believed the Dodgers should have made stronger pushes for Realmuto and Kluber to put the club on an even keel with their AL rivals.

Team president Stan Kasten added fuel to the fire when he spoke at Fanfest, telling fans that “there are a lot of advantages to being under” the threshold. When asked about the specifics of his comment, Kasten replied, “I’m not going to go into that because that’s real inside baseball economic stuff.”

Regardless of opinion, though, Friedman said that the criticism is expected, and he did so in an analogical fashion.

“You can go to Starbucks and get a coffee and your barista will tell you that you need more pitching,” Friedman added. “Everyone has an opinion, and a strong opinion, which is great, because it speaks to their involvement and how much they care. But I think with that comes a lot of people who want certain things in that moment.”

As far as where I stand personally, I happen to agree with Friedman’s sentiments about the club having a formidable roster. However, I am very much concerned about the organization’s hesitancy to exceed the threshold, especially when they are among the largest markets in the MLB. For all intents and purposes, the club should be able to blow past the cap and afford any penalties that are accrued, especially in light of the fact that the tax is reset.

And, what’s even more concerning is that “the Dodgers plan to keep their player payroll below the level that would require a luxury tax payment for at least the next four years,” according to a document prepared for potential investors and reviewed by The Los Angeles Times.

Despite all that, there’s always the summer trade deadlines that give the team a chance to make adjustments for the stretch run of the season. Plus, there’s the fact the club restructured a deal with staff ace Clayton Kershaw, brought in Kelly to fortify the bullpen, signed veteran David Freese to strengthen the bench, and traded for Martin to bridge the gap to Keibert Ruiz and Will Smith—all moves that are much better than the team sitting on its hands and doing nothing at all.

However, there’s still no excuse for the organization not to be spending heavily. In the end, maybe Friedman will have the last laugh when the team wins its first championship in 31 years. But, if for some reason the Dodgers come up short again this year, the fallout from the fans will be much, much worse next winter.

As it should be.

 

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66 thoughts on “Despite Fan Pessimism, Andrew Friedman Says Dodgers Are ‘Elite’

  1. The financial flexibility will be nice when they want to extend Seager, Bellinger, Hernandez etc etc etc. Signing a big name FA is not a guarantee of anything. The process of team building LA employs is working just fine, win the division year after year. Keep the farm stocked for promotions and trade deadline deals. And sooner or later it will yield a championship! I’d rather have a chance every year than once or twice a decade. They’re following the strategy they made clear when Guggenheim bought the team. Why is everyone so surprised?

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    1. Not everyone is surprised. I’m certainly not. Well, that’s not entirely true. I was surprised they won over 100 and I was a bit surprised they laid down in a Game 7 at home, but I’m not surprised they aren’t favored to win the World Series. I also won’t be surprised if other teams in the league catch us.

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  2. I think we need to look at the lack of huge moves from two angles, prospects for players in trades and throwing large sums of money at free agents. When you get right down to it, maybe AF didn’t spend the big bucks because he didn’t really want Harper on his team. As I mentioned in a previous comment, maybe the admission to the Dodger clubhouse these days is an excellent overall attitude and maybe Andrew thinks Harper comes up short in that regard. Is there another free agent out there that we can all agree we would have wanted to see him sign? I’m not really sure there is. Massive prospect cost for two years of JTR? No thanks. The one guy I’m sorry we didn’t get was Kluber and we may never know how close we came to pulling that off.

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      1. Apparently Robertson wanted to play on the east coast so that would have been out of our hands. DiPoto got Santana and JP Crawford for Segura and two others, so what would our equivalent of those two guys have been? If we get Segura, there’s no room for Lux. Also, I’ve heard that Segura’s attitude leaves something to be desired, so maybe that would have been a no-go for Andrew.

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      2. I’m really not sure DJLM is all that much better than what we have, but Eovaldi…………………………….that I could sign on to. Would love to have gotten him. And to think, we had him and let him go.

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  3. I saw Dino Ebel interviewed and I’m thinking we’re going to be very aggressive on the bases this year. That’s good. I’m very optimistic that RVS will bring a major change in hitting strategy this year. That’s good. As I sit here right now, I’m feeling good about the 2019 Dodger roster as presently constituted, but then I tend to buy into Andrew’s speeches more than most of you do.

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  4. I must agree with Dennis on one point for sure. The excitement is not there. Oh, fans are happy baseball is back, but there is no one player on this team that really gets the juices flowing. That is evident on every blog you read because fans are still clamoring and holding on to the belief that the Dodgers will make a last minute dive into the free agent market and bring onboard that so called difference maker. There is discontent along these lines because they made the so called salary dump trade with the Reds. Most passionate fans were so excited that now they could afford a long term deal with Harper. Harper is the missing link. The RF was gone and Harper would fit right in with the Dodgers…besides, he wanted to be here. They ignored the signs and the dragging out of this seemingly endless drama with Machado and Harper. Everyone thought that the would both be signed during, or at least soon after the winter meetings. The winter meetings turned out to be a total bust, especially to Dodger fans because not long after the World Series ended, Friedman said in an interview that the Dodgers were going to sign a impact player. We all did not know that meant Joe Kelly and AJ Pollock. And the Harper saga dragged on and on. We all pretty much knew they would not bring Machado back. His antics in the playoffs and his total flame out in the World Series pretty much cemented that along with all the positive reports coming in about Seager, he was really not needed. And he wanted to break the bank so to speak. Now it looks like he may end up having to sign with a rebuilding team because the Yankees went a different direction and other than the Phillies who are ready to spend stupid money according to their owner, only the Padres and the White Sox have expressed serious interest. As for the Dodgers being ELITE, well I am not drinking that cool aid. They might be the best in the NL for now, but other teams are not sitting on their hands. I do not always agree with the way Andrew does things and I make that known all the time. But he is what he is and he has put together some very good teams. But they are far from being elite. They are merely very good teams and none of them so far have worn that World Champion mantle. The Red Sox showed them just how far away from elite they were in the series. The ownership is also on the hook for all of this because they dictate how Ol Andy must do business. The fan base is pretty disgruntled as it is because of the TV contract that does not allow a majority of the fans to see games on TV. Prices have risen markedly over the Guggenheim tenure. Sooner or later, they either have to jump into the fire and get that one difference maker that pushes them over the top, or they have to try and convince the fans to support another bridesmaid performance. I do not want to hear they stepped up and got Machado. Had Seager been healthy all year, that deal would have never went down. And he was not that great in LA. Do not believe that? Check his splits after he came over and the fact that his playoff and series performance was not that great. The difference maker last year was Kemp. His first half performance kept them in the race until Turner was back in the lineup and the offense began to click. They are what they are. A very good baseball team. They are one of the best in the NL. But they are not in the Yankees or Red Sox league. The Astros are pretty damn good too. And the Phillies and Brewers are vying to make up ground as fast as they can.

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  5. Sorry to disagree bear but you have to be an elite team to make 2 straight WS! And we should have won against the Astros if Kershaw and Jansen do their jobs! Last year Boston was on a post season roll. That happens when supporting players step up and have a great series like Kelly, Evaldi, Price, Pierce, and Bradley. We just didn’t get that kind of production from our guys. What moves would you have made this off season that AF didn’t?

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    1. That’s manure and you know it. Luck plays into it a lot. Boston was the BEST team in the majors period. They rolled all year long and then stuck it to the 100 win Yankees in the playoffs. Don’t lay the 17 loss all on Kershaw and Jansen. Darvish lost both of his starts and put pressure on the bullpen because he was so bad. The Dodgers dominated the league in 2017. They were not that team or even close to it in 2018. They barely won their division. They had to play game 163 to do it. That’s not elite by any stretch of the word. Oh yeah, Roberts made some really bad decisions in both series that impacted games, not the least of which was pulling Rich Hill when he was throwing a 1 hitter. You think the Braves were elite in the 90’s when they went to the playoffs 14 straight years? That is a record. the Dodgers are not even half way there. Elite teams win. The Astros outhit LA in that series, out pitched LA in that series and won the crown. That is what ELITE teams do, Shoulda, coulda, woulda do not count. The better TEAM won both series…chew on that a while.

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  6. Oh and the greatest pitcher of our generation gets my juices flowing! And he’s just as incredible a person as he is a pitcher! Kersh will have an incredible comeback year. Mark my words!

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  7. Sorry bear AF put a team together definitely good enough to win a WS in 17. That loss squarely rests on the players. If Jansen doesn’t give up that hr to Gonzalez in game 2 in the 9th we go up 2-0 and that series is over. If Kersh doesn’t lay an egg in game 5 we win that series. Not to mention how bad Darvish was!. We SHOULD have won in 17! When AF talking about elite he’s talking about one of the few teams capable of winning a WS which we are!

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    1. Greatest pitcher of our generation has been very pedestrian in the playoffs. Darvish was so bad he never gave the team a chance in either game he pitched. Roberts was out managed.. They were an elite team in 17, and they got BEAT. Yep, it is on the players. But again it is coulda shoulda woulda. They did not get the job done and they lost. It is on the players that’s for sure. But lesser Dodger teams have won titles there bucco. The 88 team played a far superior team in the A’s. And they beat them in 5 games. Making excuses and blaming certain players is BS. They won as a team and they lost as a team, so what did Mr. Brilliance do to make them better for 2018??? Not a damn thing. he did the same thing he did this winter and his big move was a salary dump trade. Kershaw is not the greatest eight now. He has been injured and not even close to being what he was. And even when he was the so called greatest, how come his playoff and World Series outings have been such clunkers? Hershiser rose to the occasion. Koufax threw shutouts and in 63 won a 2-1 game in game 4. Kershaw is a great pitcher, but his best days are behind him. I would rather see Buehler out there in a must win game than Kersh. You get your juices flowing by seeing someone who only plays once every 5th day? Not me. He is just not must watch baseball anymore. Maybe he will rebound and maybe he will not. And I think you are out of your mind thinking they can even match up with the Yankees or Red Sox. If they were capable, they would have won one of them. There are no superstars on this team. There are some pretty good players, but not someone who makes you ooh and ahh when they play. That’s guys like Stanton and Judge, And they got beat by Boston’s back up 1st baseman. Nope, you sit there and drink Friedman’s BS cool aid all you want. I am a realist and the reality is other teams are catching up. They might win the west, but winning the pennant is not going to be that easy.

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    2. You can believe what you want Rich, that is your prerogative. But I have been watching this team and this game for over 60 years. I know what an elite team looks like and this Dodger team falls way short. The Yankee teams of the 50’s and even some of those old Brooklyn teams were better than this bunch. The Dodgers in the early 60’s were very good. But they were not elite. Their offense was not that great, but their pitching was superior. Friedman’s sheep are blindly ignoring the facts, and the fact is, this team as constructed, although a very good team, is no where near the best.

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  8. I just can’t buy that Roberts was outmanaged. Great teams have great players that come through when it matters. That just has not been Kershaw and Jansen. How is that on Roberts? That failure falls directly on the players that blew it.

    And Game 7 at home, yes Darvish was terrible – for the first two innings. Our offense had 9 opportunities to get back in in the game and what did they do? Read the box score. 6 for 32 with 9 Ks. 1 extra base hit. This against 5 Astro pitchers, 4 of them with ERAs over 3.86. Some guy named Morton won that game. Our all or nothing offense was nothing in the biggest game of the year and they were nothing in Game 7 at home. That isn’t Roberts.

    The Red Sox were, by nearly every measure, better than us. They were, and are, an elite team.

    Until we actually win, until our “elite” players come through in those big moments, we are not an elite team. Not by my definition. “The choice or best of anything considered collectively”. By most opinions there were 3 teams better than us last year. All 3 would have had home field and all 3 probably wouldn’t have needed it.

    Kershaw and Jansen, all $50 million of them. Will they not blow it again this year? Will the all or nothing offense actually come through? The odds say no. The odds say the Didgers, a very good team, will lose on the road against the elite teams in the AL.

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    1. I get it Scoop and it is on the players. But Roberts made some real boners in that series, and that cannot be denied. Every move the Astros made pretty much paid off. Last year against the Red Sox, they had no shot.

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      1. I know you believe that Bear. I have no rebuttal other than this team is constructed to operate exactly the way Roberts runs it. It’s a matchup oriented platooning bullpen using analytics driven 25 man squad and Roberts runs it that way. The most glaring “wtf just happened” for me was when Roberts walked to mound to talk with Hill and without a word being said Hill handed him the ball and walked off. At the moment it looked to me like Hill was signaling he was done and Roberts was taken by surprise.

        Doesn’t really matter now does it. For 30 years and counting we have not proven ourselves to be the better team. Frankly I believe that streak will continue. How can I believe otherwise? Because I WANT it to be true? I don’t operate in that universe. Facts are facts. I don’t believe in “alternate facts”, though I accept that many people do. Friedman says we are an elite team. Is that an alternate fact? Feels like it to me.

        Win a championship. When that actually happens I’ll believe we are an elite team. Until then we are an also ran. The horse that finishes second in the Derby is never remembered.

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  9. I totally understand. And believe it or not I do get it. I am like you, I think Friedman’s reality is a little skewed. Elite to me has a much different meaning. Elite is winning 5 WS in a row like the Yankees have done twice, not just getting there which seems to be ok with today’s fans. The Braves as good as they were in the 90’s, were not considered an elite team. They only won once. All those trips to the playoffs in the end meant nothing, and it is the same with the Dodgers. Just getting there is not the goal. If it is, well , their priority’s are really screwed up. You and I have both seen lesser talented Dodger teams win. So to have a team that was as good as the 17 squad was lose, that is just hard to take. Last year, I pretty much knew they had no shot. Especially since in my mind, and the minds of many other fans, they did nothing to improve the team. They moved sideways, not forward, and that’s what they did this year too. Rich say’s these guys get his juices flowing. I think they traded the most exciting and exasperating player on the team. And replaced him with an injury prone player who won’t rock the boat. I am just tired of the same old excuses and the way they do business. I think they do not really give a rats heinie about the fans because if they really cared, they would fix the TV problem. They are getting their money. I get that. And fans will keep footing the bill and paying the extravagant prices they are asking for tickets, concessions, and parking. Like the lemmings they are……..I love the game, I love the team, but I do not have to like ownership or Friedman.

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  10. I hear u. I sure miss the good old McCourt years! Am I the only one here who is grateful to the Dodger ownership, management and players for an incredible run of exciting and meaningful baseball including 2 straight WS! Sure it’s disappointing we didn’t finish it off with a championship but that doesn’t mean the Dodgers are a bunch of losers! Let’s see players like Kershaw, Buehler, Jansen, Turner ,Seager, Bellinger, Muncy have no “juice” for you. You can’t stand the ownership, the management and the coach! Then pick another team to be a “fan” of “bucco”

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    1. Kiss off Rich. I have been a fan of this team longer than you have been alive. I can dislike who I want when I want, and I do not like Friedman period. He is a dumpster diving bottom feeder. I did not say they were losers. What I said bucco is that they are not elite. I do not tell you what to think, so afford me the same courtesy. Exciting baseball? I do not think you know what that means. This team is full of all or nothing type guys who strikeout as much as they make contact. If that is exciting to you, I feel sorry for you. Maury Wills was exciting. Watching Grandal flail away is not. I did not care all that much for Fox when they owned the team, nor did I really like McCourt since he almost ruined the franchise. But they got to the NLCS under his flag, and they had not done that for years. You want to like the owners and Friedman and Roberts, go ahead. That’s your choice, but do not ever think you can tell me who to root for or who to like. That is way out of your league.

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  11. The only off season move the Dodgers could make to significantly improve the team would be to sign Harper. You blame AF you blame Guggenheim. But this isn’t a Dodger issue. Why doesn’t Boston sign Kimbrel, they have no closer and their bullpen is shakey. Why don’t the Cubs sign Harper or Machado. They need them more than we do. Why don’t the Yankees sign one of them. They have a huge hole at shortstop. It’s league wide. Ownership is standing pat at the cap number for whatever reason. The teams that sign Harper and Machado will be under the cap teams like the Phillies, White Sox or Padres. And if you sign Harper you say goodbye to Verdugo who could be a really good, controllable player for many years and jeopardize ourfuture ability to sign our great core group of young players like Seager, Bellinger, Buehler and Urias

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    1. I do not give a rats ass about the Red Sox, so if they sign Kimbrel or who ever, that’s their business. I do not care if they keep Verdugo or trade him. He is a prospect, nothing more. And I really do not care if they were to sign Harper or not. All I said is that for the last two off seasons they have really done nothing except salary dump moves. That makes you happy, great. A lot of fans besides me do not like what the owners and Freidman are doing, and as far as Roberts goes, I do not think he is a great in game strategist.

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    1. Agree about an edit move.

      Not sure I follow you on saying goodbye to all our young players. They are team controlled until Kershaw is gone. We could do Harper easily. So what we go over the cap. We just reset it and could reset again if necessary. If not signing him is about money I don’t buy it. If not signing him because he’s a narcissistic jerk then ok, I get it. As for why the Cubs and why the Red Sox I have no answer. The Red Sox obviously know what they’re doing and the Cubs got one, so, I won’t knock them either.

      Frankly I’m not sure Harper would be the difference maker. Oddsmakers seemed to think so. At least what I posted the other day suggested that. But as long as Kershaw is post season pedestrian and Jansen has a BS after his name in the box score, Harper won’t make this team elite. For that elite title the guys who are paid elite must perform elite. And apparently the play is simply to keep throwing them out there and hope for a different result. It could work. It did for Kasten’s Braves. What was their record? I believe it was something like 1-13. Is that team considered elite?

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      1. Send me your email, Scoop. I think I figured out a way to allow you guys to edit if you’re a registered user of our blog. Otherwise, anybody could randomly come in and edit comments with junk and spam. You can email to thinkbluepc@gmail.com. We tried this before, but I think I can make it work now.

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  12. Also in defense of Friedman and Roberts last year we lost our best player for the year, our next three best players were injured for significant time and didn’t perform at their best and we still made it to the World Series! Cmon that says job well done to AF for creating the depth to withstand that kind of turmoil and Roberts ability to hold that clubhouse together. I’m not saying theyre without fault. I’m sure AF would like to have the signings of Anderson and McCarthy back but all GM’s make mistakes. At least his didn’t cripple us like the one’s Epstein made in Chicago. And Robert’s has his fault’s but just because our relievers collapsed in the WS doesn’t make him an idiot any more than than Boston’ S relievers shutting us down makes Cora a genius. If Roberts would have left Rodriquez in to pitch to Puig when it was obvious he was tiring he never would have heard the end of it. And the thing with Hill is what’s Robert’s to think when his pitcher comes up,to,him in the dugout and tells him to keep an eye on me and then just walks off the mound before Roberts even gets there to talk with him. He didn’t signal to the bullpen on his way to the mound! Sorry but I’m happy with Roberts as our manager

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  13. Is there anything about the Dodgers that you’re happy with and are excited about? This is an organization that has won 6 straight division titles 2 staight NL championships! There’s obviously way more positives than negatives. I just don’t all the constant negativity!

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    1. You’ll have to cut Bear some slack Rich. He’s a guitar-playing, ex long-haul driver. Those guys aren’t supposed to ever be happy. It’s part of their DNA. You guys are going to have to stop picking at each other or I’m going to ask Dennis to trade one of you for salary relief. We need to have harmony here in the dugout (although I’ll admit that you guys do make it interesting). As I said yesterday, I’m more a fan of the 2019 roster than a nay-sayer and think more positively about AF and Doc than not, so I guess that makes me line up closer to your side than Bear’s Rich. Please don’t hate me Bear. I attended Cal in the 60’s so it’s my inner flower child that’s coming to the forefront here. Peace.

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      1. Long story my friend, had an encounter with one of those long haired freaks in the SF airport when I was coming home from Korea…..it ended bad for him.

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    2. Look Rich, my argument was that I do not think they are an elite team. I think they are a very good team and they have some good core players. I am not excited about the team because there is really no one on the team that is that exciting to watch. Why should I be excited about division titles? Do you think Braves fans were running around yelling, well, we did not win the world series but we won 11 division titles in a row and 14 out of 15, and oh yeah, we won the series once. They got to the series 5 times and lost 4 of them. The last 4 years of that run they never got past the LDS. You happy being the Buffalo Bills of baseball>? Hey that is your bag, that’s fine with me. I really do not care. I just look at things Friedman has done, and I am not impressed with the guy. I am not alone on that planet. The best thing he has done is not trade the really top prospects in the organization. But a lot of what he has done is head scratching. There are positives on the team, Seager coming back, the maturing of Buehler and the fact that he is going to be very good. But as always there are question marks. That’s normal. I do not like all the platooning. But that is the way this team is constructed, so that is the way they play. Everyone talks about their depth. And they have options at most every position. Roberts is a great communicator and he does exactly what the FO wants him to do with the players he has. But in game management, he is not so swift. I think ownership has shafted the fans for the last few years. Rising ticket prices, and the fact that a majority of fans still cannot watch the team on TV. When I go to LA I am lucky because my sister’s cable provider carries the games, and I have had the MLB.TV package here at home the last few years. So I do not miss much. But, when they pass up an opportunity to upgrade at a position, and would rather plug in 2 or 3 guys on a rotating basis to play that spot, well, that to me is not getting better. They supposedly traded Kemp, Puig, Farmer and Wood to free up money. The buzz was that they were going after a premium free agent, aka Harper. Now if they sign the guy or not, I did not really care. That is what Friedman said right after the World Series, that the team was going after an impact free agent, and they did not. They are what they are. A good team that will no doubt cruise through a weak division and get to the playoffs again. They might even make it back to the series. But if they run up against the Yankees or the Red Sox, I think they will lose the series again.

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  14. I’m not a mindless positive apologist for the Dodgers. I get that there are legitimate issues with Guggenheim. AF and Roberts and our players just not performing at their best in the biggest moments but cmon There’s a lot good things happening with the Dodgers. I just can’t take all the constant negativity! I love our players both as EXCITING players and even better people! What’s the point of being a fan if you don’t enjoy anything about your team!

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  15. Good for you that your so positive Rich, nothing wrong with that, for me I feel let down a little. I didn’t mind the trades last year, the ownership led us to believe it was just to reset the luxury tax penalties, and the trade this year,we all know was a money dump. Why would the team need to dump money? Most of the fans felt that was the precursor to some other substantial moves. Pollack was a good start, if they didn’t like Harper, I can live with that, they could have done what Dennis posted, add a second baseman, and another good reliever, but they seem to be letting the salary cap dictate the team, there is no reason for that, this team has money. In the past, Ownership has said going over the salary cap was no problem, but now they are doing something different, that’s where my disappointment is.

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  16. Do any of you guys feel we are a better team this year, than last year? I feel like we are about the same, definitely not better, maybe worse depending on how our cathers and second base do. Seems to me like we only replaced the production that we lost.

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    1. I feel we’re a better team this year. Why? Mostly because it’s Spring Training and we haven’t seen any serious injuries yet. With that in mind I’m expecting Taylor and Bellinger to have better years than last year. I’m expecting a normal Seager year from Seager. I’m expecting Barnes and Martin to each hit at least .250 and be their usual good defensive selves. I’m expecting Kenley to be the normal Kenley. I’m expecting Kelly to continue what he did in the Series against us and remember how to control his nasty pitches. I’m expecting only a moderate drop off from Muncy. I’m expecting Pollock to play 150 games. I’m expecting Joc to continue his progress over the past couple of years (if he’s still here). I’m expecting a full excellent year from Buehler and more games of very good pitching from Ryu. See how easy that was?

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      1. I don’t get this stuff I keep reading about cutting down Pollock’s playing time so he won’t get injured. His injuries are never due to overuse, but rather from playing hard. OK, so you play him every other game and hope to get 81 games out of him. I’d rather play him almost every day and take my chances. Maybe I’ll get 150 games, maybe he’ll go down for the season in the opening game. I’ve got other good outfielders in case that happens, but if I get 150 I’ve really benefited from that.

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  17. There are a lot of unknowns going into this season. There may be some injuries. Hopefully not as bad as last year. Not everyone will produce at their best level but AF has shown that he will pull the trigger at trade deadline to get what we need. Going to be really an interesting year to see how things play out. I’m excited to see just how good Verdugo is!

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  18. All I meant to address was calling the team elite Rich. I’m not unhappy we have won the Division 6 times running. It’s an impressive run in a not so impressive Division.

    I don’t see the team any differently than I did last year. I took the under on 95 wins. I got the over on 92.

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  19. That sounds about right to me. The NL is much tougher this year. When AF talking about being an elite team I don’t think he’s talking about being an historically great team. He’s talking about being one of the best teams in baseball this year with a good chance to win a WS. And we certainly are

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    1. Most projection sites have us 3rd or 4th. Top 10-13%. Not summa cum laude, but I guess we make the Dean’s List. I also believe we may very well be the best team in our league so maybe we could be considered elite among those 15 teams. Fangraphs has us cruising through the NL West. Nationals, Cubs and Cardinals projected to be the other teams in the NL playoffs. We have home field in those Playoffs, then we don’t again in World Series. Phillies are projected last place in the East. I sure hope so. But, these are just predictions based on algorithms. You know how that goes. Sometimes numbers say you have won, but the results say something different. You can’t trust arithmetic.

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      1. If it turns out that they are Gabe will be looking for another job. They have a much stronger roster than last year’s 80 win team and they will absolutely sign at least one of Harper, Machado, Keuchel, Kimbrel. As far as I’m concerned, they’re much more likely to win the division than finish last, even with no more additions.

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      2. Wait a minute. I just checked again and they have the Marlins at 66 wins. I think Scoop just forgot the Marlins were still a baseball team. Very understandable.

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      3. Everyone has this disdain for the Marlins. Every time they get good players they sell them off.
        Scorecard: Number of World Series Championships Since 1988
        Los Angeles – 0 Miami – 2

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  20. Bochy is going to retire at the end of the year. So Farhan will get to pick his own manager next year. Still no news on the Machado-Harper flying circus. Rumor out there that Toles has a drug problem again. Not verified, but it is floating around, plus the Joc to the White Sox talk is back. Same deal, Joc and prospects for Abreu. Projections and the pundits constant use of them are worthless.

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    1. Why in the world would we want Abreu? We have 3 first basemen as it is. Toles and a drug problem is the logical conclusion based on the response of the team so far. Hope it ain’t so. I can’t see AF trading Joc anywhere until he determines that Verdugo will actually be his left fielder on a regular basis. He might see enough after a few weeks of ST to do something like that right before the season, but I think that would be the very earliest. And it won’t be for Abreu if it happens.

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      1. I do not consider Muncy anything close to being a first baseman. Since they insist on playing Belli in the outfield, Abreu would bring some serious RH pop to the lineup. Turner is the only really serious HR hitter from the right side. Kike, Taylor and Martin are not going to be those guys. Pollock if he plays enough will hit close to 20. But Abreu has 30 plus homer power.But that is the rumor. They kicked the tires on Abreu earlier. And it would only be for 1 year.

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      2. Joc had the same OBP as Abreu last year with a higher slugging pct and a higher OBP and a higher WAR. He’s six year’s younger and has two years of control vs one year for Abreu. If they would make that trade, and I absolutely don’t think they should, it would have to be Joc for Abreu and prospects. In other words we would have to get the prospects, not the ChiSox. I saw some of those rumors also and one of the guys they had coming to us is Carson Fulmer, a pitcher from Vandy (same time as Buehler) who was actually drafted ahead of Buehler. I know someone who pitched for a few years in their farm system and he’s really high on Fulmer. Thinks a change of scenery would really benefit him because he has had miserable results in his pro career so far, but supposedly has great stuff.

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  21. Hey Bear. I know if it had been up to you we probably would have traded high on Muncy this off season. You may turn out to have been right. Question: what kind of year (stats-wise) would he have to come up with for you to say at the end of the season “OK, he’s probably worth keeping”?

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    1. For one thing, his fielding at 1st base would have to get a lot better. He is more comfortable at second. Not much range at all. But, if Max could hit 20 plus homers, and bat around .260, I would say he had a decent year. I do not think he comes close to last years totals. I just do not like his defense at any position and I still think playing Bellinger in the outfield is a huge blunder. He will make catches there that Muncy would never make. He is by far the best defender over there and with Seager coming back he is not going to be right on the money with his throws all the time, Belli will save those errors. Muncy, not so much.

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      1. I don’t disagree with you on Bellinger. I think I would prefer to see him at first also, for exactly the reasons you’ve mentioned. I still can’t for the life of me figure out why they don’t try Muncy in the outfield. He is not slow and many a guy who hasn’t been a great infielder has functioned just fine in the outfield. If he hits we need to find a spot for him and I think I’d rather see Taylor at second and Muncy in the outfield, unless their experience with him in the outfield at OKC was so horrendous that they don’t want to do that.

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      2. Muncy just needs reps at first. First base isn’t that difficult. Easiest position on the infield. That’s why for deades teams have hidden their brick gloves and clumsy sluggers at first base.

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      3. I disagree and always will. Maybe back in the day but now with defense being an important part of the game, I do not like clumsy people at first. Muncy has proven he is better defensively at second and more comfortable there, so put him there. And leave Belli where he belongs.

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  22. Muncy actually has decent defensive numbers at second. Better than at first tho he doesn’t have the range of Taylor. And I agree I love Belly at first. He’s a gold glover there. With Muncy at second against righties then we get both Joc and Verdugo in the lineup at the corner OF spots. That’s a pretty potent lineup

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    1. Bellinger will probably play two positions. Muncy is ok at second, but doesn’t have a lot of experience there. 125 chances? That’s nothing. Range factor below League average. No surprise there. Muncy is here because he can hit. He’s currently listed as our starting first baseman. I’d get used to the idea if I were you.

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      1. I never get used to playing guys where they are not the best option. And another thing. everyone is ASSUMING that Muncy is going to be close to being the player he was last year. I am not buying it. I think the pitchers will adjust, and I think he falls off a bunch.

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