Offseason Changes Starting in Dodgers Organization

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The winds of change have already started to blow for the Dodgers after their crushing defeat in the NLDS. Today, President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman held his year end press conference.

The most immediate change is that Rick Honeycutt will not longer be the pitching coach for the organization, as he will be sliding into the role of special assistant to the team. This was definitely not a surprise, as Honey had spent most of this past season in a lot of pain, recovering from back surgery and dealing with continual back pain. Mark Prior is expected to be the next pitching coach for the Dodgers.

It was acknowledged that with so many other managerial openings around baseball, that bench coach Bob Geren could be drawing big interest among other clubs. If that happened, it would be a big loss to the team. However, with Honeycutt and Geren not on the bench anymore, maybe the Dodgers could get some fresh voices to have more discussions with manager Dave Roberts about what pinch hitters and bullpen pieces might be better options. Overall, the club has received “at least 13 requests on employees” to be interviewed by other clubs.

Friedman also mentioned that he is close to finalizing an extension as President of Baseball Operations. He definitely has an impressive resume, as under his direction over the past five seasons the Dodgers are first in MLB in regular season wins, postseason wins and divisional titles.

Of course, while all that may be impressive, he and his front office have yet to put together a team that actually got the ultimate job done. He did mention that this year’s bullpen would have been good enough to get it done in the World Series, but that will remain something we will never know. It also makes you wonder why it was used as it was in Game 5, if that actually was the case.

The other thing Friedman and Company have done is reduce payroll 38 percent. That’s great for the owner’s bottom line, as the Dodgers are always near the top in that respect, also. But that has hindered Friedman from perhaps getting the big, key piece or two that would make the Dodgers the team to beat, as opposed to one of the big two in the AL. That payroll reduction is probably more of a factor in why Friedman was retained, in addition to the regular season wins.

Andrew also mentioned that he goes into the offseason open to changing the complexity of the roster. While this team was an excellent regular season team, obviously they are still missing that ‘something’.

One thing that had worried me going into the playoffs was this years team was…too vanilla. Almost too business-like. There really wasn’t that spark plug that would be the one to put the team on his shoulders and get the whole team going. No crazy antics or incredible homeruns from Yasiel Puig, no chest thumping from Alex Verdugo, no crazy character ala Mickey Hatcher to fire up the team. I understand that Puig’s time in Los Angeles had run its course, and that sometimes the timing of an injury sucks, as was the case with Verdugo. But I would really love to see a player (or two) with a little bit more flair and and hype on the roster.

Friedman mentioned that he does see both Rich Hill and Russell Martin playing against next season, he is just unsure that it will be within the Dodgers organization. He also said that he believes that Kenta Maeda will return to the starting pitching role again in 2020.

Another stellar starter, a key bullpen piece, and a spark plug player are on my Holiday Wishlist for the Dodgers over the postseason. While I expect smaller, subtler moves to be the norm as the last few off seasons, a girl can dream. And hopefully be pleasantly surprised.

 

51 thoughts on “Offseason Changes Starting in Dodgers Organization

  1. Totally agree with your point about needing someone with some “fire” in the clubhouse Andy. I think it would be helpful if that person was a position player instead of a pitcher.
    Puig was more of a distraction than a help but I could definitely see Verdugo being that type of guy going forward. In order for that player to be a valuable contributor though, he has to be a top player, not just a utility guy, if we’re actually looking for someone to put the team on his shoulders. Where is Gibby when we need him?
    What we need is someone with Scherzer’s personality who can knock in lots of runs and play the field every day. If you’re out there, please have your agent contact Mr. Friedman at Dodger Stadium.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “The bullpen was good enough to get it done in the World Series”

    Andy is right. That’s just spin. It wasn’t good enough to beat the Wild Card winner it sure as hell wouldn’t be good enough to stop the Yankees or Astros. What else is he bullsh*tting us about?

    He’s back, Doc is back. It’s going to be more of the same.

    Much talk about trading for Kris Bryant and signing Cole long term. Bryant is a top end arbitration eligible player ($18 million) for 2 years then a FA at age 30. He would be great for two years but at what cost. Cole will be Kershaw in about the same time, 2 years. Or is he Verlander? I don’t know but the stats on the subject say look for regression after age 28.

    I don’t know what the plan is, but I read today by keeping most of what we got and letting the geezers decamp we will have north of $35 million to sign free agents. Trade some guys we don’t need, (Hernandez, Barnes, Taylor) fill their spots with rooks or Negrón’s, pushes that to over $40 million. Not sure the accuracy of that but I expect others who can add better than me to crunch the ciphering. Point is we have money. Spend it wisely.

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    1. The bullpen may have been good enough to get it done, but Kershaw is not a bullpen piece and Kelly is not a 2-inning bullpen piece. Maybe that was AF giving Doc some advice for the future.

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  3. Honey did a great job over his tenure and he turned a couple of guys around. Prior will be a fresh voice. Verdugo is a spark plug, and I also think he is capable of being an everyday guy if he stays healthy. He might not have Joc’s power, but he hits lefty’s a whole lot better and if his body of work is any indication, he will hit close to 20 homers and drive in 60 plus. He makes enough contact to be a leadoff hitter. His OBP was .342. He doesn’t hit for as much power against LHP, but his batting average was a lot higher, . 327 to .281. I also think that Smith could easily be a 20 homer guy with a BA around .250. I do not expect him to be the player he was his first month for an entire season, but I think he learned a lot during his time in the majors and working with the hitting guru’s should be a huge help. I think Ruiz will get a lot of playing time come spring, but I still think he needs a full year in AAA. So they probably will pick up a veteran catcher with some defensive skills and hopefully a better bat than Barnes, who I believe will be non tendered. As for Friedman testing the free agent market, I would think the main target would be a RH bat with power that can hit both lefty’s and righty’s. Definitely are going to search for relief help. I think both Hill and Martin are gone. I do not think Ryu will be back either.

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  4. I wonder if Blake Snell is available. He’s Friedman’s kinda guy. Coming off elbow surgery, still has about $48 million left on his contract, and you know that’s a figure Friedman finds favorable.

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    1. I feel badly for the Rays, having to always dump their really good players for salary considerations. That said, if Snell is available, I think AF would be interested. If neither Hill nor Ryu return and with CK probably only here for two more years, our rotation will not be nearly as lefty-oriented as in recent years. He might be more inclined to pay Snell 48 mil over the next four years than to pay Cole 210-220 mil or more over the next seven or eight. Just one other consideration about Snell, he’s had only one standout year in his career. Was that an outlier or a preview of things to come?
      OK, the Cubs whisper that they’re willing to listen on Bryant and Andrew calls Theo. What does Theo want for him? The Cubs are not about to go into a rebuild, probably not even a modified rebuild so all prospects in the deal won’t cut it. How much are you willing to give them for two years of Bryant?

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      1. Buehler, Gonsolin and May are all right handed, and Urias and Kersh will be the lefty’s. If they decide to keep Gonsolin or May in the pen, then Maeda will be back in the rotation, and if Strip is retained, he can be used as a starter also and most feel that is where he is best. I doubt they even bid on Cole, why would they give any pitcher a 200 million dollar deal? They need a power hitting right handed hitter and bull pen help. They have utility guys out the wazoo. Trades are probably the way they will go.

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      2. I think there’s a chance. Two reasons; he was injured and $48 million remains. $29 million of that is the last two years. I’m thinking if the offer was good enough, and it doesn’t have to be a lot considering those 2 factors, Tampa would be interested. Sign Cole. Cole, Snell, Buehler, Kershaw, May, Urias, Gonsolin, Maeda, Trade for Bryant. Verdugo RF Seager SS, Turner 1b, Bellinger CF, Bryant 3b, Muncy LF Smith C, Lux 2b. Sorry Pollock, you and Pederson are on the bench … or I’m going to trade you for a relief pitcher.

        Gonna be a long winter.

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  5. It seems to me that Maeda should be in the bullpen permanently. He’s clearly a better pitcher there. His contract apparently has innings incentives, so it needs to b e reworked.

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      1. He won’t like it. Remember, a lot of his contract is incentive based. Cutting his innings in half won’t bode well.

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      1. I believe it will be whomever offers the most money and I believe that since a lot of teams will be interested it will take until January or February for him to sign. The standard Boras game plan. Hang back to drive up the price. Although I expect AF to be very interested, I would find it unlikely that he would be high bidder. One interesting thing though, I read yesterday that Rendon might be interested in a high value shorter term contract than what Harper and Machado signed. If that’s the case, it might be just what Andrew would go for.
        By the way, Gerrit Cole is also repped by Boras as are a number of other major free agents this winter. It’s going to be a very late group of signings which might actually result in more trades than normal since teams might be concerned about not getting the free agent they want and then getting shut out altogether.

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    1. Not a snowballs chance in hell he is even on their radar. If they go after a 3rd baseman, it would most likely be in a trade and the only guy who fits that bill is Bryant.

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      1. What makes you think there’s no interest Bear? Simply a matter of dollars? They’re going to need a third baseman in the next year or two to replace JT. Yes, they could try to trade for Bryant but then they only have him for two years.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Bryant could play left field for a year, turners contract is up after next season, if I remember right.

    Platoon verdugo, and pollock in right, or if pollock is healthy they platoon in center, belly goes to whichever field they’re not playing. Bryant can play third when turner is injured or resting. ( if you haven’t noticed Turner gets hurt every year)
    Saying all that, I don’t see Bryant coming here, it would take a boat load of prospects.

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    1. The Cubs are in a win-now mode so wouldn’t just settle for prospects in a trade of Bryant. They desperately need pitching. Would they have interest in Stripling or Maeda? They don’t have a great outfield situation. Would they have interest in Joc (only one year though) or Pollock (we’d have to eat a fair amount of salary probably)? Not saying they wouldn’t take any prospects but I doubt they would take a package made up completely of prospects.

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      1. Amen to that Jefe. Better yet, fit them with earphones connected to ezone reading. Enough is enough. Time to get the strike zone corrected.

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  7. Interest is one thing, actually jumping in and signing a player of that caliber, who is going to be high on many teams list, is just not in AF’s wheel house. He has never signed a major free agent and even though they kicked the tires on Harper last year, there was not a chance he was coming to LA> You guys know his MO, quit daydreaming about things that have little chance of happening. They are still under a mandate to stay below the Luxury tax and that is AF’s main job. As for trading Seager simply because he had a bad post season, that is moronic. You had better trade Bellinger and Pollock and Kershaw because all of them sucked this post season and Bellinger has stunk up a couple of series.

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    1. C’mon Bear, let us have our daydreams. I especially liked Scoop’s earlier today where we wound up with Cole, Snell and Bryant. It was a beauty!

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      1. Oh I know they have some cash to spend, question is does Andrew blow a bunch of it on one player? And come on, over his tenure in the bigs he has never given more than a 4 year deal to anyone. Trading for a big bat and an arm make more sense to me. Trade for Snell? He is not going to come cheap. Neither would Bryant. These guys love their prospects, that much was obvious at the dead line. How many are soooooooooooooooo glad they did not trade for Vazquez? I am wondering if they had heard rumors or something like that about his case. But they still could have gone out on a limb, again not Ol Andy’s style and picked up a really good rental. Bet right about now the Cardinals are wishing we would have knocked off the Nats, they are getting creamed in game 3 and guess who is doing most of the damage, Kendrick.

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  8. And by the way, just because Andrew has never signed a player to a huge contract doesn’t mean he won’t do it in the future. Correct me if I’m wrong, but he’s never been as far below the luxury tax line as he’ll be this winter. He’ll have money to spend in free agency and prospect capital to spend in trades.
    As they say in the stock market, “Past results are not necessarily indicative of future performance”.

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    1. Those who don’t pay attention to history are doomed.

      I am waiting for someone to correct me on how much money we will have. Trades, release etc will add and subtract but we have enough to add Cole or trade for Bryant. Maybe both. I think. Other than yours, I didn’t read any comments on my ideas above. Maybe they were too edgy.

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  9. Something I learned about the Alvarez trade to the Stros, he was a last minute addition to the deal. They were hung up on a player, and the Dodgers had only signed the kid 2 months prior. Very astute move by their FO.

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  10. How does this rate as a bad trade, and considering what he has done over his last 4 games it is a loo loo…..Dodgers traded Darnell Sweeney to the Phils for Chase Utley. After the 2016 season they traded Howie Kendrick to the Phillies for Darren Ruf, and you guessed it, Darnell Sweeney. Sweeny has never appeared in a major league game for the Dodgers and is a .179 hitter in parts of 2 seasons in the bigs. Ruf never even suited up as a Dodger. He was released and went to Japan. Kendrick drove in 3 more runs tonight in the Nats win over the Cardinals. And has been huge this playoffs. Bad bad trade.

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    1. From the beginning there has been some weird moves. We’ve talked about them. McKazmanderson type moves. Some of those injured player moves were likely done with luxury tax implications in mind. No GMs are without mistakes. Over the years I have listened to varying opinions about Friedman, I agreed with some, but I didn’t agree with those that were so vehemently against him (and against Roberts). After all, the team was winning. I’m just not sure now. If he stays, ok, show us what you can do with the extra money. If he goes, I’m fine with that too.

      I’m also fine with the Nationals in the World Series, assuming they finish off the Cards soon. They’ve earned it. And they have the pitching to give them a punchers chance against whatever juggernaut comes out of the AL. If it’s New York it’s only a few minutes away from home. If it’s Houston, only an hour time zone difference.

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      1. Scoop, Dodger Nation had the salary list and how much they might have to spend. Considering what raises should be coming and other factors, they will have about 40 million under the cap. They have 80 million under the severest penalty’s.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. AF is coming back. Everybody in here knew that. Hopefully, he’s come to the realization that change must occur. If not, well you know what happens. I don’t trust the guy. You can run down the list of his accomplishments but I already know them. All I need are smelling salts in the form of contracts given to Kazmir, McCarthy, Anderson (went to that well twice), Pollock……Plus, every time that Cuban Babe Ruth guy comes to bat in Houston I have the urge to turn it to All in the Family reruns. Why couldn’t he have dealt Starling Heredia and Yasiel Sierra for the next coming of Don Stanhouse?
    Kris Bryant a Dodger? I guess but if anyone thinks Theo does that without Lux in the deal is nuts. So, stash that one, ok… And, to make matters worse, Bryant is repped by……… yes, Boras himself..
    Speaking of Scott Boras, once again he will run this entire upcoming offseason. He reps Rendon, Cole, & the opt out brothers (J.D. Martinez & Strasburg). He turned the Harper signing into a crap show so just hold on & wait……. and we’ll all be waiting well into January.

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    1. Just read it. “No changes at the top”. Jansen is to be closer. Friedman was surprised to hear their were any doubts about Roberts. “The team won 106 games”. Yeah, and for the 7th straight year they lost the last game of the postseason.

      Clearly this organization is about making money, not raising flags. If a championship should come along in the process? Great. If not, no biggie.

      We are Stan Kasten’s Atlanta Braves Part II.

      There will be no Kris Bryant and there will be no Gerrit Cole. For that kind of money we can get 4 Gyorko’s, 5 Negron’s, an Anderson, a Kazmir, a Bolsinger, 3, Nicasio’s, a Heisy, a couple of Weiland’s, with 5 or 6 Sweeny’s. It’s a summer game. Can you have too many Sweeney’s?

      Winter meetings are two months out. We will wait in anticipation for that and likely nothing will happen. Then we count down the days to pitchers and catchers while nothing continues to happen. I’ll turn 72. The season will begin with virtually the same cast of characters. 2020. A year and a vision that matches Dodgers management. And 2020 is good. But in the Major Leagues it’s not good enough.

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    2. Ryu is his client too, and there is a story that he is shooting for the moon with him salary wise. As for Jansen being the closer, AF also said that he might not be doing that job alone, which leads me to believe they are thinking at least about adding a pitcher who has closer experience.

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  12. Or maybe he’ll surprise us and make that big trade we’ve been begging for. I hear the Pirates are willing to trade Vazquez now and it may not even take including Ruiz in the deal. Actually I think we could get it done for two Sweeneys.
    Andrew never likes to telegraph his moves and he actually has money to spend this winter. He knows how pissed the fan base is. I expect something major. Not sure if that means a trade or a signing or both.
    With regard to Kenley, I believe he said that as of now, he’s the closer. That doesn’t mean that he couldn’t pitch his way out of that spot in Spring Training.

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    1. Telegraphing moves is what Roberts does. Sending a disingenuous message to your closer sounds like a really bad idea to me. “For now you are our closer (only because I haven’t found your replacement yet).” Nice motivational tool Andy. Maybe Jansen doesn’t care. He’s rich. They could release him and he’ll pitch somewhere. Maybe go close for Homer Bailey.

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  13. Bear, I read Boras’ comments on Ryu just like you did. He’s selling him high & the BS fumes are nauseating. Boras– he’s (Ryu) 32 (33 in March) but he’s got the innings load of a 27-28 year old. I’m paraphrasing but the BS meter went off for me. Ryu had a great year & I want him back, but, if AF goes over 3 years he’s going to get bit. Ryu started & pitched the most innings this yr (29 & 182) since ’13. It has all the makings of disappointment if he’s given a multi yr deal in excess of 3 yrs. It’s time to take the training wheels off of Urias. Turn him loose & let him go. Plus, we have in house kids ready– May, Gonsolin– with Gray coming as well.

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    1. I’d like to have Ryu back also, but I don’t see any way in the world that AF offers him more than 3 years. I seriously doubt anyone else will either. So, this will stretch out into February just like all of Boras’ other clients. They might as well not even hold the winter meetings this year, at least as far as free agent signings are concerned. With the amount of free agents he reps this year, he should just book a hotel ballroom a week before spring training, invite all the GMs and have open auctions for all of his guys.

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  14. Boras is pimping for a huge deal for Ryu, who was named one of the finalists for comeback player of the year. Kemp got that award last year. Nomar won that award after his first year in LA. MLB should just pull the team out of Oakland. The city and the county are now embroiled in a law suit over that dilapidated stadium. Seems they offered the city a chance to buy their debt for 75 mil, and the city balked, so they offered the A’s a deal where they could buy the debt for 85 million, but would have 7 years to pay it off. The city would have had to pay the money up front. Oakland is a toilet. The Raiders are moving to Las Vegas after this year.

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    1. Contract year stats cannot stand alone. Mix them into 3 year splits and when doing projections subtract 10% for each year the player will be over 30. That’s how fangraphs does it.

      I made that last part up. It’s not how Fangraphs does it. I have no idea how they do it. It is however how Scoopgraphs does it.

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      1. Unfortunately Scoop, we both know that is not always the case. I think the body of work is important as do you. But these days owners who want their teams to win now look past that.

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      2. He had a great 32 year old year. Better than any since he was 26. I can’t help but think from 33-35 will more likely look like 27-31 years. He made $17.9 million this year. He earned it. 3 and $45m? Seems more than fair to me. Using his 3 year splits it could even be considered generous considering his age and injury history. But no doubt Bora$$ has something else in mind. “He is age-wise 32, but truth is innings-wise he’s only 26-27, because he doesn’t have that many innings on his arm. That makes him very valuable.” Lawyer-speak and like most lawyer-speak it is laughably absurd. He doesn’t have innings during his prime years because he was injured and under the knife, making him LESS valuable. Whatever that deal is we won’t see it until next year.

        I’m looking at 147.1 innings from Kershaw, Buehler, Maeda, Urias, May and Gonsolin. 26 starts each. 5.2 per start. Spread the load. Stack the bullpen. Offensively, more of the same but cut down on strikeouts. We actually finished 3rd in the NL in fewest strikeouts but we started better than we finished.

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