Some Very Preliminary Ideas About the 2020 Starting Rotation

(Getty Images photo)

While some fans of the Dodgers will need a bit more time to recover from the nightmare Game 5 of the 2019 NLDS, other fans are already looking toward next season, at least in terms of gauging how the bulk of the player roster could look.

In Friday’s column, we noted the desire of veteran lefty Rich Hill to return to Los Angeles in 2020, which spurred a discussion as to where he could conceivably fit into the team’s 25-man roster. Today, I thought it would be a good idea to throw around a few ideas about the prospective starting rotation.

Before we outline any type of hierarchy, it’s probably best to list the players first. I’m counting seven pitchers who could theoretically fit into the 2020 Opening Day rotation, and none of them include the name Hill. The list is as follows (by age):

  • Clayton Kershaw (31)
  • Kenta Maeda (31)
  • Ross Stripling (29)
  • Tony Gonsolin (25)
  • Walker Buehler (25)
  • Julio Urias (23)
  • Dustin May (22)

Of these seven pitchers, it’s probably safe to say that Ross Stripling begins the year in the big league bullpen, and that one of the remaining six—who presumably has options—starts the year at Triple-A Oklahoma City, barring any kind of injuries.

It might also be worth mentioning that players like Dennis Santana, Caleb Ferguson, Josh Sborz and Jordan Sheffield will be lurking on the minor league fringes. All of these players have been floated back and forth between starting and relief duties during their young careers, and it should be interesting to see which course they’re on to begin their 2020 campaigns.

Anyway, my safe guess for the order of the 2020 big league rotation is Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda, Julio Urias and Dustin May.

Obviously, my final spot came down to a choice between May and Tony Gonsolin. My gut says it will be a tight competition and a difficult choice to make, as the final selection could probably go either way. Along those lines, next season may be a year when we see options utilized, especially during the middle and latter parts of the season. Either way, both pitchers should see their fare share of major league starts.

It goes without saying that Buehler has taken over the reigns as the team’s ace. I can’t see anybody making an argument otherwise. One thing I personally plan on watching closely next season, though, is his command. Interestingly, through his first 15 regular season starts last season, he issued just 13 walks. In his final 15 starts he allowed 24 walks. Most times, Buehler seems to be pinpoint accurate with his location, but there are the occasions when he misses badly in critical situations. If his command improves as he matures, there’s no doubt he has the raw tools to become one of the best in the bigs.

Undoubtedly, we will be talking about Kershaw plenty this winter. The thing a lot of people are saying is that he still has the makeup to be a decent No. 3 starting pitcher. The problem with that theory, however, is that the Dodgers don’t necessarily have an ideal arm to slide into the No. 2 slot. Regardless, knowing the work ethic of Kershaw, he’ll be developing several things this offseason to improve his game, like taking control of the corners and fringes instead of trying to overpower batters with his heat.

Maeda is another one of those guys who is seemingly more effective throwing in relief, but he’ll likely open the season in the starting rotation. He might stay in the rotation until both May and Gonsolin prove their worthiness, or until somebody like Mitchell White shows he’s ready for the majors. Some feel the Dodgers keep Kenta as a starter because of the way his contract is structured, but the truth is that they could be waiting for a few of the youngsters to emerge before regulating Maeda to the bullpen. Either way, there’s no question his slider is more devastating and his fastball much more powerful in relief.

Like Buehler, Urias definitely has the tools to be among the best pitchers in the game. Also like Buehler, one thing to keep an eye on with Urias is his command. Throwing out of the bullpen last year, Urias walked 27 batters in 79-2/3 innings, which translates to a 3.1 BB/9, just a hair under his career 3.5 BB/9. As a team, the Dodgers walked 2.4 batters per nine last year, so this is something that Mark Prior and his staff might decide to address. Another thing to watch with Urias is a potential innings limit. Buehler threw just over 182 last year, and it should be interesting to see how they handle Urias. If he’s used strictly as a starter, I think a good estimate might be in the 130-140 range, which would still keep him on pace for more than 20 starts.

Speaking of ceilings, May could actually have the highest of all the names listed here. The Dodgers like him most for his spin rate, and the fact that he can crank up his velocity near triple digits doesn’t hurt his cause. Last year, coaches had May switch from a four-seam fastball to a two-seamer, which improved his velocity about three ticks while also helping his groundball ratio. After he threw a curveball and slider that tended to blend together, the Dodgers had him concentrate on the curve a lot more, which has become a valid weapon for the youngster. He added a cutter in 2018 that may ultimately become his chief “out” pitch.

Finally, it should be very intriguing to learn how the Dodgers decide to pursue lefty starter Hyun-Jin Ryu. Being that the team could use an effective No. 2, Ryu could slot into the rotation nicely, despite his injury pedigree lurking in the back of everyone’s minds. Ryu has shown a strong preference to remain in Los Angeles, but there’s no question agent Scott Boras will be shooting for the stars regarding a contract. A generous guess for a prospective deal is three years at about $51 million, but that’s a number that Andrew Friedman could balk on—believe it or not—specifically when looking at the amount of young talent already in the organization.

In the meantime, 29-year-old righty starter Gerrit Cole will probably be demanding a contract exceeding five years and $140 million.


62 thoughts on “Some Very Preliminary Ideas About the 2020 Starting Rotation

  1. No matter if the front office stands pat with the pitchers that are under contract, brings back one of their own free agents, or goes after a stud like Cole, the starting pitching will be better than a lot of the other teams. It’s going to be interesting to see what AF does.
    Personally, I’d invest my money in a very good right handed bat, and some good bullpen help.

    BTW Cole would be a good signing at the numbers, and years Dennis mentions(5@140mil) I’d do that if I was convinced we needed starting pitching.

  2. Enter another name in pitchers that could impact in 2020 Dennis. Josiah Grey. The kid made huge strides this year and most likely will start the year at OKC. White only pitched 63 innings at AAA. He is at least a year or more away. Judging by what AF has done in the past, he will sign at least 3 or 4 guys who have done both in the major leagues. Starters and relievers. But if they do anything as far as starting pitchers go, they will either trade or sign a free agent starter not named Cole.

      1. My guess is that he starts the year at OKC in the rotation. I have no clue why he self-destructed last year. I also have no clue why Friedman keeps grooming some of these guys as long as starters as long as he does. Take Ferguson, for example. He’ll probably open the season with intentions of starting as well. Maybe Andrew will try to move some of these guys—who knows?

  3. Random pitching thoughts:
    1) Stripling will be traded
    2) Gonsolin will start the year as Stripling’s replacement (bullpen/starter combo)
    3) Maeda will start the year in the rotation unless we trade for another starter in which case he’ll be used mostly out of the bullpen all year, possibly even as the closer, depending upon what other additions are or are not made to the bp and how well Kenley starts the year.
    4) Dennis I think your estimate of what Cole gets was drastically short. Let’s see who’s closest. I’m guessing Boras starts at 8/240 and possibly comes down very slightly from that. I would be shocked if he signs for less than 7 years. The Yanks and Angels are desperate. One of them will go all in.

  4. More thoughts:
    5) Gray will start the year in OKC but if he makes similar progress to last year, we could see him here in July-Aug. That would also depend upon need/injuries up here.
    6) Ryu will probably not re-sign here. Mostly because Boras will delay his signing until Jan-Feb and Friedman won’t wait that long to put his staff together. There again, the Angels and Yanks are good possibilities for Ryu and if he wants to stay in SoCal, the Angels would be a good second choice for him.
    7) I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hill back if he’s willing to sign for low dollars and some decent incentives. If back, he would be used mostly out of the bullpen.
    8) We’re mostly talking about AF and what free agent pitchers he could sign but there are pitchers out there who might be available in trades and we have (pick one or more): CT3/Kike, Joc, Barnes, Rios, Garlick, Beaty, Ferguson and Stripling which could somehow be packaged along with one or more of our very good lower level prospects to snare a #2 starter from someone. Syndergaard, Kluber, Robbie Ray, Minor, Bauer are just a few who come to mind.

    1. Might be about time to look at those Rule 5 players you were questioning a few months back. I’ll see if I have a little free time next week. I think the deadline to add them is right around Thanksgiving. No way do I see Cole getting eight years.

      1. Greinke got six years starting with his age 32 season.
        Price got seven years starting with his age 30 season.
        Next year will be Cole’s age 29 season. His agent is Boras. Angels and Yankees are desperate. I would be amazed if he settles for less than 7 years, unless it’s a ridiculously high AAV like 35 mil.

      2. He will probably get the years and the money from somebody but I don’t think it will be from Friedman. The Angels makes sense. The Yankees will bid. Cole might be one of those guys that does it until he’s 35. I believe the odds are against him.

  5. I think you nailed it. The three youngest ones are definitely keepers and of course Kershaw is in the middle of a contract. I don’t think he can be considered our Ace anymore because of his age; it happens. But Walker Buehler and Urias have certainly stepped up. The one thing I think they have to really examine is the tendency for Kershaw to choke in the playoffs and the World Series. For some reason his nerves give to him, so I don’t think he should ever be the first person thought of in the very first game of a playoff. Don’t get me wrong I love Kersh, but age gets all of us.

  6. Prices’ contract doesn’t look so hot for Boston right about now, and The D-backs had been trying to get out from under Grienkes contract for three years, before they finally got Houston to take him off of their hands. I think teams are going to be very leery about giving out a seven or eight year contract to starting pitchers. Since Cole is going to be 29 next season I can see him getting six years, but don’t think he gets seven.
    I’ll take the under on six and a half years.

    1. Ok, we’ve got two of you taking the under and I’m taking the over. With Boras as his agent, Cole will give us the answer some time by July.

  7. Is anyone surprised the Astros are going to the WS?
    I’d rather see the Astros there than the Yankees, any day.

  8. I’m certainly not surprised the Astros are in the Series. I’ve been predicting it all year. The biggest surprise, and the biggest disappointment by far, is the Dodgers aren’t there.

    Trying to wrap my aging brain around trending $/WAR figures going forward. An article in fangraphs I’ve referenced before, dated 2014, suggested that figure would be over $11 by now. It isn’t. A more accurate figure appears to be between $8-9. BR says players production levels decrease by an average of 5% a year after peak, which is between 26-29. And according to 538, teams are shying away fro free agents over 30:😞/

    As with all things in life, balance is needed. The Dodgers win a lot of games, sell a lot of tickets, and have a lucrative tv contract – the fact that contract does not serve the fan base worth a crap is of no concern to them. They’ve got a handle on winning between April and September. What the Dodgers cannot seem to do is win in October. Maybe they are too busy counting their money, lighting their cigars and planning exotic winter vacations in October. Whatever.

    So West Coast fans are stuck with another who gives a sh*t Series from time zones in the far east. I’ll stick with the Astros because as I’ve said all year I think they are the best team in baseball. Today I’ll watch the Rams and the rest of the week I’ll finish the current novel I’m reading and begin Fall projects. It’s the post season for me, which means the season is over and we’re talking about next year. That’s the thing about baseball isn’t it – wait til next year.

  9. As far as pitching, I say let the talented youngsters fill the rotation. Urias, May and Gonsolin have shown they are ready and guys like Gray and White are not far behind. Fixing the offense is more difficult. My ideal solution would be to sign Rendon and move Turner to 1B. Package Muncy, Pollock and Stripling to Redsox for Betts and work like hell to sign him long term. For Redsox, they fix 1B with Muncy, add Pollock to OF and Stripling to their rotation. That is a lot for a potential one year of Betts, but the Dodgers have the money to sign him. The offense becomes more balanced, with two high average, power hitters that don’t strikeout a lot. The lineup might look like this:
    Bench: Verdugo, Hernandez, Taylor, Barnes, Beaty
    If Verdugo is primary starter, I would bat him second, with Seager dropping to sixth; or a hot hitting Lux coming out of spring training might hit second, with Seager sixth and Pederson or Verdugo seventh.
    Now, this doesn’t work if Redsox want prospects, but my feeling is they will be looking for MLB replacements to help them advance past TB and NYY next year and they can’t be overly demanding for what could be a one year rental.

    1. Bold thinking GLP. I like the idea of gaining Betts and losing Pollock. Think they might take somebody other than Muncy? They will want at least one top prospect in the deal. I don’t see Rendon in LA but of course I would be fine with it. Until further notice Turner is still at third, for 120 games, and Muncy is at first, for 150 I hope. I agree about the pitching. Buehler leads the pack followed by 10 others who will share the other 135 starts.

    2. Good food for thought GLP although I have some reservations about what you’ve laid out.
      First of all, your lineup (if we could accomplish getting those guys) is great but I’d sub Verdugo for Joc.
      Yes, Mookie is definitely a better player than Muncy and I would have been happy to include Max in this type of deal after his first year, but he’s now had two really productive years and I’m not ready to give him up in a deal for only one guaranteed year of Mookie. We can say we’ll do everything we can to re-sign him but that doesn’t mean we’ll be successful. Lastly, I agree with Gordon that (although I love Urias, Gonso and May) I don’t want to go into a season counting on all three to produce as starters. Too much risk. We need to get another proven starter from somewhere, although I don’t think it will be Cole or Strasburg.

      1. I, did indicate competition between Pederson and Verdugo. Started with Pederson due to the season he just had combined with Verdugo’s late season injuries. I love Verdugo and hope he is healthy going forward. My Betts deal would be contingent upon signing Rendon first (personally, I think he stays in DC), but we will see. If the Dodgers sign Rendon, that makes Muncy expendable, as I prefer to have Lux at 2B, as he will provide better defense, speed and overall will be a better hitter. Hopefully, for the next 10-15 years.

  10. I always have problems with pitching prospects. If you go back over the past 10 years we have these same identical discussions every year but only buehler has shown up in the bigs. You cant build a starting rotation bases on who’s on the way. That is a fools journey. If you are not here by 21/22 you are a stripling. May looks good, gonsolin is a journeyman minor leaguers so far and I hope urias is more than a middle inning reliever. He has to start performing. That’s why we will sign a mid rotation starter or retain ryu. Don’t want to start the season with bueller, kersh, stripling and those 3 young guys.

    1. The rotation, if using what they have on the roster right now and no trades would be Buehler, Kersh, Maeda, Urias and May. They have said repeatedly since about May that the plan was always for Urias to rejoin the rotation in 2020. You groom a lot of starters simply because you never know when one is going down. A couple of years ago, 4 5ths of the rotation went down to injury, including Kershaw, and they muddled through. They have also said that Maeda would return to the rotation next year. GLP, I would like to know where you have read that the Sox are even making Betts available. Because almost every blog, or story I have read, there is no mention of Betts, but plenty of them moving Brantley Jr. In the minors and on the MLB roster, the kids with starting chops are Santana, Grey, White, Gonsolin, May, Sborz, Ferguson. The bullpen is going to need some work also. The kid to watch is Victor Gonzalez who was moved up to OKC just before the season ended. But addressing the back end of the bullpen is just as important, or more so if they want to get back to the series and finally win one. Oh, making better contact than they did against DC’s pitching would be a good thing too.

      1. I’ve read stuff about the Sox potentially moving Betts also. They need to cut down on their salary expenditures and can’t be sure they can re-sign him so they MIGHT consider putting him out there to see what the return could be.

      2. I just saw a story on fangraphs like that. They gave 3 possible landing spots, LA, Atlanta were 2. But do you really think AF would give up much for a 1 year rental? I just think, and excuse this expression, people are pissin in the wind on this one. AF has not shown the propensity for dealing much for a guy like that in the off season. Betts is a dream for dreamers who think AF would really pull the trigger on that kind of a trade..not buying it at all.

      3. Obviously it would depend on the package. I contend the Dodgers have the depth. My proposal included Pollock, who you should be happy to move after watching him flail away during the playoffs and Muncy who would be excess if Rendon was signed. I included Stripling who is valuable, but again plenty of depth. I have subsequently stated, I wouldn’t include Muncy, if we didn’t get Rendon, but plenty of other options due to our depth. I’d even pay half of Pollocks salary to move him in this deal. Would you rather the Padres get him. As their talent matures, they are going to become a threat in the NL West.

      4. Pollock would depend upon the Red Sox willing to take his contract. And just because he had a bad playoffs, I am not down on him. Muncy represents the best lefty bat behind Bellinger. We are not getting Rendon. PERIOD. If we did, I would be totally shocked. I heard the same lame rhetoric last year when Harper went on the market. Strip, yeah, they could include him, but you have not named one single player I think the Sox would even want. Rendon is not going to SD either. Not unless they move some of the high priced meat they have. I think you are casting a wide net and hoping you get a marlin and not a mackerel. None of what you propose is viable.

      5. The Redsox are not in a rebuild in my opinion, so if they decide to move Betts, (1) I think they look for MLB ready players to help them overtake the NYY and TB. The Dodgers have the depth to do that both offensively and pitching wise, and prospects as well. But because, Betts could be one and done as he plans to test free agency, how much the Redsox can expect in return is lessened. My proposal included Muncy. If Rendon signs elsewhere (probably stays in DC), then I would sub Pederson or some combination of prospects like Beaty, Rios, White or Santana. I would continue to protect Lux, May, Ruiz, Gray, Downs.

      6. I agree with all the guys you would include and all the guys you’d hold back, except that I would include Downs if it would get the deal done. I expect him to have a nice MLB career but, assuming Lux becomes the player we expect, I’m not really sure where Downs fits.
        On the other hand, as I mentioned the other day, do you think the Boston Red Sox would ever consider trading for a guy named Jeter? 🙂

      7. I guess I included Downs, because one of my prior thoughts (before the idea of Rendon signing), was that a couple of years down the road might lead to Seager shifting to 3B, Lux to SS and Downs at 2B. I think the Dodgers need a more balanced lineup, with better overall hitters like Rendon and Betts as Pollock doesn’t really seem to be the answer from the right side. But we may be stuck with him for a couple more years. I really love seeing the kids come up and succeed and the Dodgers have historically been very successful raising their own stars as evidenced by all the ROYs. The latest Rumors of the Dodgers being players for Rendon and Betts resulted in my original post.

      8. When you see names like Betts and Rendon being dangled out there it’s hard to resist imagining them in the Dodger lineup. Both those guys are Friedman’s kind of players. Maybe one of these days he’ll get carried away with the thought of including one of them in the lineup, just like we do here every day. Wouldn’t that be fun.

    2. Gonsolin is hardly a journeyman minor leaguer. He spent 4 years in college and WS drafted in 9th round in 2016. Advanced quickly to make an impact in majors this year. Stripling has been solid, when given the chance.. As much as I respect Hill’s passion and curve ball he hasn’t come close to earning the money paid him. Urias was innings limited first due to his age and this year because of his surgery. He should make a big impact as a starter next year. Unless they go all in for someone like Cole, I say don’t bury the youth behind middle of the road starters. Brandon McCarthy, for example a few years ago.

  11. Betts is a great player, but any team that trades for him, and thinks he’s going to stay is crazy. Betts has already turned down 200 mil, he has made it quite clear, that he IS going to become a free agent, and the team that offers him the most money for the longest term is going to buy his talents. We all know AF is never going to be the guy that is the highest bidder, he hasn’t done it so far, so I hope we wouldn’t give up a package that Muncy is part of for a one year rental.
    I was one of the guys that wanted to trade Max last off season, but he really proved himself this season, I was 100% wrong, thankfully AF doesn’t listen to me, so I don’t quite understand how everybody wants to give the 2b position to Lux. He did okay in a very small size sample, Lux may become a great player, but I think it’s a little early to just give him the everyday job at 2nd.
    We all pronounced smith the best thing since sliced bread, but he slumped the last month, and couldn’t hit a lick in the playoffs. Sometimes we ( me included) get a little carried away with the potential of the prospects, let’s let smith and Lux prove themselves a little more, before we give them the keys to the castle.

    1. Exactly Keith, and I am not trading 3 to 4 players for a one year rental that does nothing to improve the bullpen or the starting rotation. They have enough offense.

      1. If the offense had performed like the were capable of, we wouldn’t be screaming about CK and Kelly today.

      2. Records set all year, best HR hitting team in Dodger history, the offense was not the problem. The bullpen was. The blew the lead in game 5. Yeah, the offense did not take care of business a few times, but it was the pitching that let them down when they had the lead. All you can ask of your hitters is to get the lead. Up to the pitchers to hold it after that., And personally, I don’t think Betts is going to make that much difference in the offensive potential of this team. Yeah, he is a good player and a MVP candidate in his own right, but just like I said last year when Harper was in the sights of every fan in Dodgerdom, one guy is not changing things that much. Is he better than what they have? Yep, Could he be had in a trade? Maybe, depends on what Boston would want. Is it probably that AF goes after him or Rendon? Unlikely. Never has yet. If you guys are seeing something different from AF, well good for you. So far he looks like the same guy we got 5 years ago, and I would not consider trading for Betts unless they got a committment to him signing a new deal with them. Unlikely.

      3. I think you need to look at it from the other side as well. What if Doc uses Petey and Kenley instead of Kersh and Kelly in Game 5. Fans (especially those who criticized Petey and kenley and the bullpen in general) would be screaming why in the world did you not use Kershaw if he was fresh instead of using kenley—the same guy who blew save after save this year?

      4. Really? The Dodgers averaged two runs and about six hits per game in the three losses to the Nationals. Their offense, and pitching were good enough to win 106 regular season games, but their swing for the fences mentality let them down in the playoffs. I am not discounting outstanding pitching by the Nats, being partly responsible, but we have beaten plenty of star pitchers by having better approaches.

        We also led the NL in many pitching categories this year. We add relievers every year and many haven’t worked out, i.e.Kelly.

      5. Yeah really. I attribute that to the age old adage that good pitching beats good hitting. Scherzer and Strasburg shut the Dodger bats down. The Dodgers so called best pitching in the league, FAILED to do the same to the Nats. Case closed. They still have not added a class A arm to the pen or the starting rotation.

      6. Our best pitching really failed due to the choices made by Roberts. He still treats Kershaw like the dominant pitcher he was , not what he is. He gave up over 30 homers this year including 3 while on rehab in AA and AAA. He should not have been brought in. He got away with Kelly for the one inning when he threw nothing but knuckle curves. Kelly was bad all year, but Roberts brought him back out, why? Because he dominated the Dodgers in the WS last year? Of course he proceeded to implode. He should have used a hot Maeda before the trouble started with Kershaw. Baez was solid all year, but he didn’t go back to him because of slam, which was off a quality pitch. And Jansen was rested and even with his struggles a better option than Kelly.
        Well, Will Smith, the pitcher is a free agent and their have been rumors that Hand with CLE. Might be available. We will see if we go after either or both of them.

      7. I’m not making any excuses for Doc. He certainly made some very bad pitching choices. I do, however, disagree that Kelly was bad all year. He went back and forth between horrible and almost untouchable but I don’t think it’s fair to say he was bad all year. He apparently had all kinds of stuff wrong with him at the end of the year so the fact that he got through even one inning was a miracle and he certainly shouldn’t have gone out for the second inning. You can say his results were so unpredictable that we would have been far better off not signing him in the first place. But you can’t say he was bad all year. (Actually you can say it and you just did, but I don’t think it’s a fair statement).

      8. Ok, Kelly was awful at the beginning of the season and he was better for awhile in the middle of the season, but he had a very mediocre 1.36 WHIP, 4.56 ERA and 22 walks and 10 wild pitches in only 51 innings. Considering how little he pitched the last few weeks and how inconsistent he is, he should not have been sent out for a second inning and not left in after the first couple batters reached base. He actually was similarly mediocre for the Redsox in 2018, but had a good WS. I never liked his signing, as someone that would fix our bullpen.

      9. Will Smith could be a target. He was one of the main focus’s at the break and the big question was would they deal with Zaidi. As he is now a free agent, the scenario has changed. Yeah, Roberts made some bad decisions, but in the playoffs, that is nothing new for him. Kelly had lower body problems in the 3 weeks leading up to the playoffs, why he was even on the roster is a mystery. Sadler could have been on the roster as could Gonsolin. Throwing Kelly out there for a 2nd inning was gross mismanagement. Not having a pitcher warming up in case he got in trouble was worse. Might have been a moot point if Smith’s long drive to right had carried a couple of feet farther.

  12. I really like GLPs idea of signing Rendon, and moving Turner to first. I think the Bosox are going to try to move Betts if they can get a good deal, if I thought we could resign Betts I would be all in.

    1. A lot of poo-pooing about signing Betts, we can offer a good deal to the Redsox from our MLB depth and versatility. I wouldn’t give away the farm. Yes, he will demand big bucks. How many teams can afford him? The Dodgers are one of only a few. He will also want to win. Time will tell. Right now we have a lot of young players with low salaries, but at some point Buehler, Bellinger, Seager, Lux, Smith, Verdugo, will be looking for their share.

  13. Yeah, signing Rendon would change everything. I still doubt it happens. I don’t know if it’s true but I heard Washington offered 7 and $210m, which means it will take more. Gulp. That’s a lot of cheddar for a 30 year old. And honestly, does that sound like Friedman? OK, Arenado makes $35m. Maybe that’s what it takes. But Arenado is better.

    Just for information sake the average age of the NL All Star team this year was 25.75. So, there’s that.

  14. How much really needs to change on the Dodgers Roster?

    They seem to be a great offensive team, just look at all the statistics. Pitching – tough to do better than the stats showed in 2019. Except…when up against really good teams/pitchers.

    In 2015, the NL Central had 3 really good teams: Cardinals, Pirates and I think the Cubs. A dog fight in their division as there were few easy games to win because each series you were up against tough competition – always. I kept thinking anyone of them will do well in the playoffs as they faced tough competition all year.

    My point: If the NL West was a stronger division and the Dodgers faced a tougher Padres, Giants, Rockies & Diamondback teams, wouldn’t that go along way to improve their team and sharpen their skills for more success in the playoffs?

  15. I think standing pat on this offense would be a mistake. Turner is 34 he is still a good hitter when they can keep him on the field. It’s time to move JT to first base, playing a defensive position that’s a little less stressful on his body.
    Muncy could cover third, but he looks much more comfortable at second. Finding a new third baseman with a good bat would be the perfect way to up grade the offense, trade Taylor or Hernandez, and let Lux take that spot.

    1. Muncy has played 3B, but even with Turner’s declining defensive metrics, I think he may still be better than Muncy. I agree with Lux at 2B. Keeping both Hernandez and Taylor for the bench provides coverage at many positions along with Beaty. Didn’t I read that regular season rosters will be 26 next season?

      1. I agree GLP. Lux is my second baseman. Gavin Lux is a 22 year old shortstop playing second base. Hit him a hundred grounders, off right handed and left handed bats, all winter and in Spring Training and he could become the best second baseman this organization has seen in years. I would do the same with Muncy at first. I would also consider moving Turner around some. He’s kinda in the twilight zone here now. He’s the starting third baseman, until further notice anyway. That notice could come this winter. I feel time is rapidly approaching to make some changes on the infield.

        Here’s a thought that would make our infield considerably better defensively- Jose Iglesias is a free agent. He is one of the better defensive shortstops in the game and adequate with the bat. We could move Seager to third, where I think he belongs, sign Iglesias and move Turner to first, second, and third. He could go back to being a utility guy in his last year here. Muncy, Lux and Turner split the at bats at first and second with Muncy playing left occasionally. Haven’t run those numbers but every position on the field gets close to 700 plate appearances over the course of a year. We have several guys that aren’t every day players anyway, Turner and Seager are two of them, so rotating them might work out.

      2. I think Turner’s bat is still too valuable to make him a utility guy. He probably needs a day off once a week, and seems to always get hurt getting plunked, so will miss some time with minor injuries too. Now after next year, if he wants to re-sign for lower bucks and be a bench guy at 250-300 at bats for a couple of years, would love to have him stay a Dodger.

  16. Gurnick wrote today on the Dodger web site that JT might need a new mitt next year. I say mitt, because that’s what they call a 1st baseman’s glove. This is all speculation because of all the talk about Rendon. Gurnick also said that talk is about all it is because this regime is long on talk and short on action. Could not have said it any better myself. I have made no bones about it, I do not believe a single word that comes out of Friedman’s mouth unless it is after the fact. He is adept at being MLB’s number one spin doctor. He tries to make Miss Piggy look like Marilyn Monroe. The obvious to all of us is that the Dodgers so called #1 pitching staff was not up to the task. And 2 big pieces of that staff are about to depart via free agency and just plain old age…..well, old age for a ballplayer. Ryu is going to get an offer that the Dodgers would not even think of matching, and Hill, well, Hill is way over the hill. They have some young un-experienced arms who throw some serious stuff on the brink of making an impact on the big league team. A couple have shown their wares, Gonsolin and May, and been somewhat impressive. Others are () this far from being here. What he does between now and spring training will go a long way in seeing if Friedman has improved a 106 win team or not. He has to replace 18 wins. Who won more games last year? Ryu or Homer Bailey? The answer, neither, they both won 14. Bailey did his work for the A’s who were paying him 500 thousand dollars while the Dodgers paid the rest of his 20 million plus salary. Pretty smart of our front office making a salary dump trade like that huh? Now we did get Grey and Downs, and they both did pretty well in the minors. That is the kind of trade you can expect from AF, not some block buster free agent signing or trade. Also there is a lot of chatter about them going after Mookie Betts. Makes sense for the Sox to move him if they really need some salary space, since moving Martinez and his contract might be a little hard to do. But Martinez can opt out if he likes, and Mookie is only a one year fix. They are more likely to try and move Bradley Jr. and that is where a majority of the chatter is aimed. I did read another story naming 3 Dodgers most likely to be traded. Seager, Pollock and Barnes. If the Dodgers trade Seager, it would almost have to be for another SS. Pollock, they would really have to pick up a lot of that contract, which is why I do not believe it will happen, and Barnes, well, Barnsey is just expendable. Lots of veteran catchers out there who are good defensively and weak with the stick. Seager has, as Scoop said, been disappointing with his propensity to get injured and his lack of production this playoff series. I still like the guy, and I think trading him would be a mistake unless it was for someone like Lindor. And I do not believe that Lindor is going to be moved. So Ol Andy, the ball is in your court, And it is going to take a lot more than some retreads signing with LA to win the fans over.

  17. I like Lux, but universally saying he is ready to step in and be the everyday second baseman is just a wee bit premature in my book. His debut was okay, but nothing to write home about. Maybe he has a great spring and changes my mind. But right now, he is nothing more than a high rated prospect. Michael Busch, the Dodgers first round pick this year, hit his first homer in the AFL. He has only been in 10 games, but he has walked more than he has struck out. Originally drafted as a first baseman-outfielder, he has been playing second base.

    1. Lux hit .392 with power for 49 games in AAA as a 21 year old and he has speed and a good glove. I think he deserves a chance as the regular and an opportunity to win ROY 8n 2020. If he struggles, then there are other options on the roster. Of course there are no guarantees, but so far he has improved every year and has nothing more to prove in MILB.

      1. Hitting in the hitter happy PCL means bupkis in the majors my friend. Guys who hit there do not always follow that success in the majors. Joc Pederson is a perfect example. Joc tore up the PCL, 30 plus homers a .300 plus BA and 30 steals. But it has taken him quite a while to become the player he is. Lux has the skills, but whether those skills translate to the majors is yet to be seen. Therefore, anointing him the full time second baseman before he shows he is ready in my opinion, is very premature.

  18. I do not know where you got the idea that Kendall is finally getting it. He has been mediocre in the AFL so far. None of the players the Dodgers have down there are lighting the league up.

    1. Right, Kendall apparently has too many holes in his swing. His power numbers did pick up and he was showing improvement near the end of the season. He has great speed, but he will never see the majors, unless he can make better contact. Pitchers de Geus and Carrillo appear to be doing well in AFL. de Geus might be one to keep an eye on. Had a great 2019 season.

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