Thoughts on the Dodgers Sudden Exit, Again

Another Los Angeles Dodgers season has come to an end, and fans of the team are once again grappling with a way too early exit.

While many lamented about the lack of pitching depth, in the end, it was once again the offense that failed to show up. The top offense in baseball, they of the +334 run differential, could barely string together any hits. They blew a multitude of chances, stranding runners left an right. There seemed to be a complete lack of urgency and fire throughout the whole NLDS series.

Maybe it was because unlike last season, the team had the division wrapped up by the end of July. There was absolutely nothing to fight for down the stretch, and a six game series at the end of the season wore them into complacency.

Then there was a five day layoff before the playoffs actually happened. Once again, the Dodgers had no real competition. Whatever the fire was to win the World Series fizzled out in the waning weeks before the playoffs.

That is probably partially it. The Atlanta Braves, the team everyone touted as being the hottest team in baseball down the stretch, fell flat on their face against a red hot Philadelphia Phillies team and were also resoundingly bounced from the playoffs.

The Dodgers had to fight tooth and nail last season to advance in the playoffs, and failed to advance because of a combination of injury and exhaustion. Clearly what they need is to be somewhere in the middle.

But the playoffs don’t cater to the best team like that. The ‘best’ team should be able to navigate whatever the playoffs throw at them.

Once again, many fans are calling for a change at the top. Manager Dave Roberts has won the division all but one year he’s been at the helm, with last season losing it only to a fluky good San Francisco Giants team who won one more game than the 106-win Dodgers. The team has always had one of the best record in MLB. But still, there is only one World Series ring to show for it.

I personally am torn on this. There are not many managers that are going to deal with the amount of input the front office has in the day-to-day roster construction, and also navigate the huge superstar names that are in the Dodgers clubhouse.

But, someone needs to get the team ready to go in the playoffs and that indeed does start at the top. Would a shake up at manager help this team?

There was a complete lack of urgency in this team at the end this year and I don’t know if anyone knows why. Maybe they thought they’d just skate on their talent. Maybe they thought it would all just click.

I’ve often thought this team was too vanilla. The clubhouse is put together with good people in addition to good players. And the team does genuinely seem to all get along. But there is not that spark plug.

That player that fires up the team and the crowd. Sure, the manager should help with that, but that also should be on the players themselves. Regardless of the management, the players themselves have to want that win bad enough to make it happen. Or in the very least, show that they want it. That, to me, should be something the front office should address in the off-season.

And so we head into another winter of discontent. The team make up will be different again next season and the Dodgers will try again to get that elusive World Series ring. The regular season definitely was one for the history books and should be remembered as such. But this end of this season and what might have been will linger for a long time.

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We here at ThinkBlue PC thank you for your continued readership and thoughtful and lively discussions about the team. We will be taking a bit of a hiatus from writing for the time being. Wishing everyone good health and fortune in the meantime and Go Dodgers!

101 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Dodgers Sudden Exit, Again

  1. Wally DON”T READ THIS!!
    Not happy about this. I predicted they would lose to the Padres. This team was OK with guys hitting below the Mendoza line this season and last. That attitude sets a culture that is not about grit but Laissez-faire. Not moving the runner in RISP has been allowed since Roberts got here. All these small things add up to not having a grit or killer instinct. This team was not hungry. That comes from the top.
    You can dispute what I say but the bottom line is this team has consistently won the division title because it has overwhelming talent but not advanced! Vargas and Outman should make the roster next year. Hopefully some young guys get a shot at the starting rotation. Very impressed with Stone. Amaya can play SS well defensively. If the team can carry Swing and Miss Bellinger it can carry Amaya. T Turner is gone to probably the Phillies according to many reports. If they re-sign J Turner I hope it is for mostly DH. Vargas and Rios can fight for playing time. We need players that make consistent contact. Good things can happen if you HIT THE BALL…

  2. Once again Andy you hit the nail on the head. First person I thought of last night was you. Nobody bleeds blue like you and yet you don’t get carried away and always a realistic knowledge. Have a good off-season.

  3. Thanks for the good wrap-up Andy. I hope we’ll also hear from Dennis and Jose before your hiatus.

    As you know, I totally agree with your point about the team being too business-like and not “urgent” enough. For the past two years I’ve been calling for a sparkplug, someone to inject emotion into the group. Maybe AF will have some luck finding that guy this winter.

    Ironically that emotion is what some Dodger fans absolutely hate about the Padres. They view it as arrogance when, in fact, that is exactly what inspires them to reach their goals.

    I’ll be interested to see what Andrew has to say in the next few days. For the first time, I’m beginning to think Belli may have played his last game as a Dodger. For those who think it’s time for JT to retire, that ain’t gonna happen after the second half he had. It may not be as a Dodger but he’ll be in uniform next year. And I, for one, hope it’s in a Dodger uni.

  4. Well I didn’t expect the season to end so quickly. There were a some things I thought about adding here along the way. They weren’t big things, but my baseball thoughts will be ending soon, so I’ll list them for posterity.
    1. The Mendoza line hitting gets mentioned often. Over all of baseball this has been referred to as ‘the season where batting averages don’t count.’ Of course that is not literally true in all situations. But the Dodger problem was that in the last half of the season, all of the replacement players for those hitting below the Mendoza line were themselves hitting below that line. So the Dodgers didn’t have any experienced solutions to the Mendoza line problem.
    2. Chris Taylor. I’ve really liked Taylor since he’s been a Dodger. I was happy when they resigned him. However my enthusiasm was in seeing him as a super-sub whom they could plug into a position for a few days to fill a temporary hole. Unfortunately a full-time role for him didn’t work well. He was out-of-sync all season.
    3. Something the Dodgers do, that they may not be able to always avoid, is moving a player off the IL to the active roster without demonstrating recovery with a necessary minor league tune up. I had the feeling that Gonsolin and Taylor really hadn’t demonstrated that they were ready to go again after their injuries. The Dodgers may have had no other options, but Gonsolin, Taylor and others never looked the same after their injuries, but were given critical roles in the playoff.
    4. Finding players who play with fire has been a common theme here. I and others here have asked whether the So. California lifestyle (beautiful weather, beautiful women, pockets of lavish wealth, whatever-goes ethic, California cool) breed a lack of competitive hunger in players who find themselves in LA? Or does the Dodger organization have such a formularic culture that function is more important than outcome? I’m not sure.
    5. Next season the shift will be eliminated. I think that successful teams will be planning in the off season how to restructure their roster and rethink defensive strategy to take advantage of it. Will the Dodgers?

  5. Too many low average high K guys in lineup. And the only guy added at deadline was another only worse. It’s a fact that a more level swing stays in the zone of the pitch more than these upper cuts.

  6. “The regular season definitely was one for the history books and should be remembered as such”

    It won’t be. Bill Plaschke nailed it. This was a colossal choke job. #1 seed. A bye and home field advantage against a team that finished 22 games behind you and you blow it. The offense goes 2 for 26 WRISP with 34 Ks in the final 3 games. No starter can go more than 5, and the bullpen finally collapsed. Is any of this Roberts fault? Well, yeah, some of it has to be. But this team swallowed an olive here. Shake it up.

  7. Eureka! I’ve found the player to bring life to the Dodger dugout.

    Josh Naylor – Guardians outfielder/first baseman/DH. He just homered off of Cole and went totally berserk rounding the bases. He plays with PASSION.

    1. Bellinger use to play with passion until he dislocated his shoulder. Went down hill from there.
      Kike and Joc had personality and of course Alberto this year but apparently he couldn’t beat out The K machine Gallo for a spot.

      1. Kike, Joc and Alberto all fill the light-hearted, keep things loose position and every team should have one, but we need another guy to fill the veins popping out of my head position and Naylor fits that description perfectly. Not that he’s the perfect solution either, but personality-wise he fits.

        I don’t see any real change in Belli’s passion level. He plays hard but has a very blah personality. We need someone to wake up our sleepy, don’t-wake-me-up dugout.

  8. Oh, I see plenty of passion and life and celebration in the dugout when they are hitting HRs and everything is going there way. I guess you are looking for someone to kick ass when they are loosing.

  9. Lasorda teams played with passion. Hollywood is not the problem. Wherever you have worked your direct manager/supervisor sets the culture. I was a manager of a a bunch of IT Troubleshooters that traveled all over the country. The company I worked for gave us endless classes on how to create a culture that would support but also aggressively attack problems. A manager sets the culture of the workplace. Not upper management it is the guy you interact with. I know we are stuck with Roberts but there are several articles calling for his firing. I am not the only one that partially blames the manager.

    1. Where are the articles calling for his firing? I’m reading it in blogs, haven’t seen it in papers yet.

      Several stars on this team failed to come through. 2 for 26 WRISP saysit all for me. One of those hits didn’t score a run. That’s failure to come through in the clutch. And who was it that failed in these situations? It was everyone. One time in 26 opportunities this $300 million payroll came through in the clutch. Go ahead and blame it on the one guy that had no at bats with ducks on the pond if that floats your boat. I’m looking at the players. They had the opportunity to be heroes. They failed. And they know it.

  10. What would Roberts do if Friedman had told him to trust his starters through 6 innings unless they were struggling or were already at 100 pitches.

    1. He would have followed orders Fred.

      This is an organizational methodology. These strategies are algorithmically driven and come to Roberts from the analytics team, headed by Friedman. I would think the manager does have some room to move, but it looks to me that Doc has bought into the process. Roberts is being defended by Friedman in today’s Times. His job is secure.

      Let’s face it, when your boss suggests you do things a certain way, isn’t it advisable to follow those suggestions?

      1. Scoop most of the commenters here are agreeing with you that Roberts is blameless. You folks contend that Roberts is not in charge of pitching decisions or any major decisions. So Roberts job is to what? Run the Clubhouse like a Country Club with no consequences for guys that continually fail to make contact or move the runner? Bellinger by complaining he did not play the last two games shows you there was no negative feedback throughout the year on his failure to make contact. He is obviously oblivious he has been terrible! That is why a team loses when matched with a team close to parity! No one on the team has been held accountable for their performance! Bellinger made $17 Million this season and is obviously unaware he has not performed! That sir is a management issue no matter what you people say. If a person goes to work everyday and never gets feedback that he is doing well or poorly how do they improve? That is the Dodgers problem in Spades. Shh don’t bother the Athletes with negative comments they might What? Not perform? AF is guilty also. As is Kasten for allowing Roberts to not Manage!

      2. Of course, Belanger knew. He spent plenty of time being platooned and/or batting ninth in the lineup, especially after the all-star break. But he also knows he plays great D and can run the bases and he was also aware that Taylor had a higher K rate than he did and barely played at the end due to injury. So, who was the best choice? Taylor went 0-7 with 5 Ks, so maybe Bellinger was. Thompson wasn’t great either and the three of them went 3-27 with 15Ks. The Dodgers supposedly have all these hitting Gurus. Well, they have failed to help Bellinger, Taylor and Muncy. Maybe they should be replaced. Because we know all three of the aforementioned have talent.

      3. Not sure you can lump Max in with CT3 and Bellinger. The latter two were horrific pretty much all year long but Max improved dramatically in Aug/Sept. His OPS+ for those two months was about 140.

        I have very mixed feelings about the hitting coaches and have no clue if they were at all responsible for any of Muncy’s improvement, but he definitely did improve over the last two months and had a decent series against the Padres.

      4. Good Point on Muncy and since he is signed for next year, let’s hope he can be at least a .240-.260 hitter with his walks and power and not a sub .200 hitter. I think, if I were Bellinger and wanted to continue to play for the Dodgers, I’d head to winter ball, head those imploring him to adjust his stance and prove that he can be the version he was his first few years. These are the K rates for these guys: Taylor 35.2%, Bellinger 27.3% and Muncy 25.0%, and Thompson 36.0%. They all need to strive to get down toward 20%. Gallo and his 41.6% rate need to be gone-o.

      5. This is just me and I have no valid reason for my feelings, but it seems like Belli and CT3 just didn’t do anything this year but strike out.

        On the other hand, when I think back to Trayce, he certainly struck out too much, but it seems (in my mind) that when he wasn’t striking out, at least he was contributing offensively.

      6. Trayce did strikeout too much and at a slightly higher rate that CT3, but when he made contact it was hard more often and resulted in 2Bs and HRs and some of those were clutch. But I doubt his performance is sustainable unless he can make contact more often.

      7. I’d still like to bring him back, although I’m not sure what his contract situation is. Do we control him through his arb years (I think there are 3 more) or is he now a free agent?

        And does he have any options left?

        The guy I really want is Steven Kwan of the Guardians. I absolutely love his game. And no, there is absolutely no reason they would want to trade him.

      8. CT3s career K rate was about 27.5% before this year, which was way too high, but jumping to over 35% has to be concerning.

  11. According to J Harrison and other Dodger knowledgeable commentators Bellinger has refused to change his batting stance irregardless of coaches and experienced ballplayers like Nomar and Harrision counseling him to change. If you have not heard it listen to Harrision’s rant on the Sports channel. As Harrison says NO One can have his bat in the position Bellinger starts from and get it around in time. As every baseball professional agrees on that it becomes a management issue. If an employee refuses to improve or take direction/coaching you suspend them or bench them. The fact Roberts and the Dodgers didn’t do that it tells the rest of the team they do not have to perform they can be selfish and go for stats and swing from their heels because there are NO repercussions. That is what is wrong with the Dodgers. Roberts does NOT run a Meritocracy he runs a Country Club. Yes its also AF and Kasten’s fault but Roberts is the manager and the buck should stop there. But AF already has said they are keeping him. So let’s all enjoy each winning season and not set our hopes on WS titles. I know most do not agree with me. But I said before the series the Padres would win and that is why.

    1. It does seem as though Doc accepts mediocrity, especially from the veterans, but we have no idea what is said behind closed doors. He let Muncy play through his problems and Max improved dramatically over the last two months.

      Cody seems to be the biggest offender because everyone, and I mean everyone, even (as you point out) the Dodger tv guys (both JHair and Nomar) who normally tow the company line, have said that he just refuses to change.

      Up until recently I would have bet that AF would just ride this last year with Belli in the hopes a light would go on and he would get somewhere back to what he used to be, but his benching in the last game might indicate they’ve finally run out of patience with him.

      Getting back to your Meritocracy vs. Country Club scenario, non-tendering or trading Cody would definitely make a statement to the clubhouse. I think, if for no other reason than that, that they should move him to another club this winter and take the chance that he comes back to haunt them.

  12. I agree it might send a signal. Allowing Muncy to “Find himself” was also not a great message. They even rewarded him with an Extension! Again sending the message that results do not matter. Its OK to fail… Sure Muncy got better but could he have done that in OKC or on the sidelines? We will never know. These guys have not continued the Dodger culture of Team baseball and continued to reward the players that are not producing. That is not the way to manage a group of people and get continual improvement. Look as I said I managed a group of High valued IT troubleshooters for a large international conglomerate for decades. They had, rightfully so, very high opinions of their worth. But you must hold everyone accountable or the group performance and spirit goes south quickly. People are people rich or poor. We all react to the way we are treated/managed.As I have said The Dodgers will never win another WS unless they change the manager and culture of the Team. It has to be a Meritocracy… Heck I would love to work, get paid $17 Million and do whatever I want and blow off management that wants me to achieve rather than fail. Who wouldn’t?

    1. In a Meritocracy, do you only count what happened in yesterday’s at bats. How long do you give someone before you pull him from the lineup? Does past performance/contribution give the player a longer leash if he was substantially better than average previously?

      A number of people have commented that the Dodgers’ not having played competitive, meaningful games down the stretch and during the wild card series stifled their ability to “turn it on” once the games meant something. Can we also apply that to a player like Max when we ask if he could have made the same improvements at OKC or on the sidelines?

      I don’t have answers to those questions, but I think we need to consider why they let him play through his funk at the major league level instead of at OKC. I’m assuming that had we not had such a massive lead in the division, things might have been done differently.

      Max actually came up with something in his batting approach which he felt fixed him (step back with back foot before bringing front foot forward).

      Belli always eventually comes back to what must feel most comfortable to him, but I say, if you want to be comfortable go to the clubhouse where you’ll find a nice recliner and let someone who is willing to make changes take your spot in the lineup and on the roster.

      1. Of course not. You continue to coach and see if there is an improvement. How long you wait before you act is from experience. Everyone in baseball goes through slumps but two years!! Or even half a season. That is not OK if there are no repercussions as far as playing time. It affects the entire team’s morale but more importantly their incentive to achieve! To fight! Roberts’s attitude told the team well we are winning so no need to fight. And look what happens. Losers! I love baseball it irks me that Dodger management has built a superior team but they are not managed to achieve when it counts in the playoffs. Just like I said during the season. Knowingly continuing to play guys that are hurt and it affects their performance sends the message to the bench and the Farm Team that the injured star hitting 150 is BETTER than they are! It is a bad message to send. Roberts plays his “Boys” no matter their performance. Bad message for team dynamics.

  13. It’s not about K rate. It’s about OPS. Thompson OPS’d over .900 during the season. Yes, he swallowed an olive in the post season but he wasn’t alone there. Bellinger clearly hasn’t been worth the $18 million he will get in arbitration. Taylor had an awful year. JT looked old and slow in October. Trea will likely go east. Gallo and Alberto will be replaced. We need more better starting pitchers. There will be changes made.

  14. JT looked old and slow because he is. I would bring him back as a bench piece for the right price. Much less than his option amount. Kershaw should be happy for a repeat contract. Put incentives in for staying healthy all year. I would not pay another pitcher 30-40 million per year. No thank you on Verlander or deGrom at that cost.
    Urias, Kershaw, Gonsolin, May is a good start. Then let’s see what Pepiot, Miller and Stone have. Buehler will return at some point. Time to let the farm system that they always brag about pay dividends. Same with offense, let’s see what Vargas, Outman and Busch can do.
    Look at the contributions the Braves got from their top prospects.
    K rate does matter. Yes Thompson had a high OPS because he hit the ball hard when he didn’t K but he is still basically a career minor leaguer. He deserves a chance to stay as a bench piece but yo think he will continue at a .900+ OPS is naive if he doesn’t cut the Ks.

    1. K rate matters only to fans. What the Dodgers management team looks at is OPS. You can have a K rate of 50% but you OPS over .800 you can have a job with the Dodgers.

      The Dodgers hit .257 and led the league in OPS with runners in scoring position. They hit .077 WRISP the last 3 games in that NLDS. One of the 2 hits they managed was a bunt single that didn’t plate a run. If they had hit anywhere near .257 WRISP we wouldn’t be talking about it being Roberts fault. The Dodgers hitters choked big time.

    2. They will probably pick up JT’s option as the veterans get whatever they want with this current Dodger culture. JT had a bad 3/4 of the season and then a poor playoffs. Father Time is undefeated….I am hoping they do not pick up Bellinger’s option. Bring up Outman, Vargas and Busch guys that are hungry! Players that are willing to move the man over with RISP. All the rumors say T Turner is Philadelphia bound. Do they bring up Amaya? He is a very good defensive SS. They can carry a less than sterling offensive guy if they get rid of the low contact players they have carried in the past. Hoping Rios and Vargas get legitimate chance at 3rd base. Vargas being a right handed contact hitter his career in the Minors should let him have some time to acclimate to the MLB. Rios never got on track at OKC. Perhaps his shoulder has not healed.

      1. They have to make a decision within 5 days of the end of the WS, so we’ll know fairly soon.

        I think they’ll work out a deal with him for less than his option price, but I would be shocked if they just let him go.

      2. They need younger players with fast bats. If they re-sign J Turner hopefully as you say they do not pay him the 14 Million on his option. Can’t imagine there is much of a market for an older player with declining bat speed and defensive skills. They can use him for the positive veteran presence he is and situational DH and pinch hitting.

  15. The Dodgers not only kept Muncy in the lineup, they put at cleanup or #5 in the lineup. It took them too long to move Bellinger down to 8th or 9th. They left Lux too long at #9.

    What took so long to figure out that by stepping back before Muncy swung would fix him? Geez!!

    Lux, Bill Russell, Joc Pederson all had much better final years in the minors than the hitting machine (Vargas). What batting average at AAA is required to justify being called a hitting machine?

    Outman should have had all of Gallo’s at bats.

    1. The Gallo fiasco was a complete bust. Especially when you have highly rated prospects down on the farm. Vargas, Outman, and Busch should have been up taking the wasted ABs by Belli, Gallo, KT3, and Muncy.

      1. I wouldn’t call it a fiasco, more like a waste of a roster spot.
        Now, if Beeter turns into something terrific for the Yanks, then we can call it a fiasco.

        For example, trading Alvarez to the Astros was a fiasco. 🙂

    2. Vargas has hit at every level. All the scouts rave about his swing and bat speed. Those are the people that are saying Vargas is a can’t miss. The same people have been telling Bellinger he can’t hit much higher than the Mendoza line with his bat position and swing but Roberts and the Dodgers played him for TWO YEARS! Roberts and AF have come out and said that Roberts makes the line up and pitching decisions so Roberts has now blown at least a game in every playoffs he has been manager with his pitching decisions. line ups and pinch hit decisions.

  16. Lux flourished in the 9 hole. He was a better hitter there than anywhere else. And he put a speedster on in front of the big 3. SO I totally disagree with that. Heading home tomorrow morning. All y’all be well.

  17. Am I the only person that would rather us bring Trae Turner back instead of going after Aaron Judge? Look I know he’s a huge power hitter but you’d have to move Betts to 2B and Lux to SS and both are better in RF and 2B respectively. Plus I believe in having a great defense at SS and an elite speed/batting average type guy in your lineup and that is Turner in a nutshell. This might be a moot point as I think Turner wants to go back East but I think we are a better team with him than we would he with Judge. He hit .298 this year with 27 steals and that was considered a down year for Turner. What do y’all think? Who would you rather have if you had the choice?

    1. No, you are not alone in preferring Trea to Judge. I agree with you.
      Judge is going to get 8-10 years of which the first 3 or 4 will be great and the last 5 or 6 could look pretty awful. I’m not willing to take that chance.

      I love Trea’s hitting and speed, but I would hardly call him a great defensive shortstop. I see him as barely better than Seager, and Seager is not a great defensive shortstop.

      Anyway, I vote for Trea instead of Judge.

    2. I agree with you also. I don’t believe Judge will sign with the Dodgers so it’s a moot point. I predict T Turner goes East. My question is do they sign a free agent or promote Amaya or? Or do they move Lux to SS? I am hoping they promote Vargas, Outman and a solid defensive SS.

      1. I think that unless Vargas has a horrendous spring, he’ll be on the opening day roster and probably/hopefully get fairly regular playing time between left field, 3rd base and DH, hopefully mostly in left. If he crashes and burns in the first couple months they can always send him to OKC to work on stuff.

        I think Outman is ready to break with the big club also, but I’m less convinced that he’ll be a regular. I’m a big fan, though, so hope he makes it. My biggest concern is his strike out percentage.

        You say a solid defensive shortstop. Amaya certainly fits that description and I’d rather see him at SS than Lux, but I’d rather see a proven good hitting, good fielding guy there. There are the Big Four (although they aren’t all superior fielders) plus guys like Adames (Brewers) and Rosario (Guardians) who might be available in trade.

        Can’t wait for the WS to be over with so Hot Stove can begin. 🙂

  18. Back home in Colorado waiting for the World Series to end and baseball’s hot stove season to start.

  19. Verdugo might be available. Boston not happy with his since he bulked up to try and generate more power.

    1. Even if we wanted him back, if Boston’s front office sent him back to L.A. their fans would probably burn down Fenway. He was the main piece in the Mookie trade. They have 29 other cities they can trade him to if they want to get rid of him.

      That said, I wouldn’t mind having him back, nor would I mind signing Puig. He’d be much cheaper than Judge, although he might not hit over 60 homers next year. 🙂

    2. I think this is the year the Dodgers go with Home Grown players as they have several that are on the cusp of the MLB. Vargas, Busch, Outman, and possibly Rios all get on the season roster. Stone gets the opportunity to compete for a rotation spot and barring injury we see Miller sometime in 2023. They may decide to trade Rios and others like Pages and pitchers like Jackson and Pepiot. The 23 rotation will be Urias, May, Gonsolin, and Kershaw with Stone, Pepiot, and others vying for the last spot. Contrary to all the sports prognosticators I do not see the Dodgers spending big on Judge, T Turner, or de Grom. Buehler is probably back in 24 and with the pitching talent on the Farm, I do not see them signing a long-term free-agent pitcher for the rotation. They might try for another Anderson or Heaney-type scrap heap reclamation pitcher on a one-year type deal Does Bellinger get signed for $18M? I doubt it. Do they pick up the J Turners option? No, I think they may buy it out and possibly offer him less money. J Turner’s bat speed is dropping and is not able to get around on pitches he hit in the past. His veteran presence in the clubhouse has value.

      1. I’m not necessarily saying you’re wrong about AF not spending much this off season, TMax but do you think Dodger fandom would put up with an 87-90 win season and/or another first round elimination, knowing that the front office decided not to spend the money to improve last year’s finish?

        If they get rid of JT, Trea and Belli and don’t sign any upper end free agents, that means they might wind up starting Lux at SS, Busch at 2B, Vargas in left, Outman in center and possibly even Rios at third. Three of those five basically have no experience at the MLB level and we can’t be sure they’ll produce even though we can predict it and hope for it.

        So here’s my prediction: Andrew brings in at least one high end player, either at shortstop or in the outfield. Either through free agency or through trade. He also brings back Anderson or trades for someone like Pablo Lopez, Burnes or Woodruff, each of whom only has 2 years of control remaining. That would still give the young pitchers time to step in within the next few years and we have no way of knowing if Urias will be here after next year, or if Buehler will come back successfully from surgery.

        You may be correct about going with mostly young players and if they decide to do that, I’ll be OK with it, even if it means the possibility of missing the playoffs next year because the Padres will still be very strong and the Giants will spend enough money to be in there as well. I just don’t see that happening. I don’t see Andrew going with that many young starters.

      2. Dodgers consistently are over 4 million in attendance. I doubt they will lose that with one average year. I am saying just one young rotation pitcher and my guess is Stone. Stone throws strikes and has control. Very low WHIP. If they don’t believe Gonsolin will be ok then I think they sign Anderson.

      3. I think they could use both of those guys (Gonsolin and Stone). Stone definitely seems ahead of Miller in terms of readiness at this point. Grove surprised me with just how serviceable he was last year but I don’t expect him to ever wind up us a regular in the rotation. Pepiot is a toss up with me. It’s just a matter of whether his stuff will win out or his lack of command. That will decide his career.

  20. I wonder if Pepiot could be used out of the bullpen? He will need to learn better control to stick in the MLB. But he has good velocity and his change is devastating. Jackson pitched well in relief when he was asked. Rather than bring free agents in that are recovering from injury or ineffectiveness why not give a few of the young arms a shot? I continue to expect a large youth movement. I do not believe the Dodgers are concerned with upsetting the fan base. What are you going to do root for the Padres, Giants or Angels? The Dodgers have stayed competitive lets give them the benefit of the doubt. The big questions to me are Bellinger, J Turner and Rios.

  21. That’s weird bear, I had read a couple of hours ago he had accepted the QO, I’m sure the one your reporting is the accurate one, but somebody messed up.

    1. The Dodgers could easily have matched the Angel offer but chose not to. I read that they decided they didn’t want to go multi-year with T.A., for whatever reason.

      Maybe we’ll wind up with one of the Big 3 (Verlander, deGrom, Rodon).

      Or maybe we’ll re-sign Heaney or someone at that level.

      I just don’t see Andrew starting the year with the youngsters plus four established starters, two of whom have had multiple trips to the IL in the last couple of years.

  22. I like Gonslin, but I don’t think he has made it through a season without spending considerable time on the IL, if I was making the decisions I’d be worried about counting on him for the whole season. Andrew is going to have to work his magic, and get some depth in the pitching staff for next season. Between Kershaw’s back, and elbow, May’s repaired elbow, and whatever ails Gonsolin, AF is going to need at least three decent options behind his five starters.

    1. Some people are saying he has three options in Pepiot, Stone, Grove and Miller, but I can’t believe AF would take that big a gamble. I expect one or two signings or trades to add one or two veteran starters. Whether that’s going to be a Verlander-type ace, another reclamation project like Heaney/Anderson were last year, or something in between like Bassitt, I have no idea.

      1. Personally I would like to bring whichever prospects win a job in spring training. Veterans don’t always work out either. Got fortunate with Anderson Time to see what the farm has produced.

      2. If I were in the GM’s seat I wouldn’t chance the current four guys plus whichever of the youngsters do well in ST, but as a fan I’d be just fine if they decided to throw all their youngsters in this year and see how it plays.

        If AF decides to play Rios at third, Vargas in left, Outman in center and Busch at second this year (which I’m absolutely convinced he won’t do), I would not complain.

      3. I agree Gary. You guys need to listen to Kasten. Last year he said they were planning to use the minor league guys and stop trading talent. The Dodgers only signed one big deal and that was because Atlanta screwed up and let Freeman fall into their laps. I do not see the Dodgers signing any long term deals unless a Freeman type player is available. While they will probably sign someone to back up the rotation do the math. Urias, Gonsolin, May and Kershaw. Are a very formidable rotation. The young arms Stone, Pepiot, Jackson etc need to be promoted or traded. The Dodgers have a plethora of talent just coming ready for the MLB. They have to use them, trade them or lose them. I very much doubt they sign many if any big deals. Home Grown is the theme from the guy in charge Mr Kasten. The Dodger fans aren’t going to leave if they stumble for a year or so. What they go to the Angels? Really??

  23. You can’t win a championship with four rookies in the lineup, along with a couple in the starting rotation, and for what we fans pay to watch cable, and the prices to go to the stadium, we expect a team that has a chance to win a championship, or at least look like they can compete.

    I may be wrong, as I often am, but I think it will be a little of each, one or two of the young fielders will make the team, along with a young pitcher, they may make a trade, and sign a short term FA to fill the holes, created by some of our guys leaving. I will be shocked if we see a line up with Lux, Vargas, Rios, Outman, and Busch along with a couple of those rookie starters, all playing at the same time.

    1. As I had said I think we will barring a trade see Vargas, Busch and probably Outman as far as position players are concerned. I am hoping they give Stone a chance to fill the 5th slot. Unlike many I would rather they see if the young players can step up rather than go for retreads. As far as a Championship the Dodgers will not win another championship with Roberts as their manager. So enjoy the regular season and the trades etc and don’t get to engaged in the playoffs.

  24. I could honestly see the Dodgers making a run at Verlander, for a large one or two year contract..
    I would have liked to see the Dodgers get in on the trade for Teoscar Hernandez, it didn’t seem like the Mariners broke the bank to get him.

    1. I could definitely see AF making a run at Verlander but IMHO there is no way in the world that JV signs a one year deal. A number of teams (including the Dodgers) will probably offer him two years. The question is will anyone go to three? I don’t think Andrew will and supposedly the Astros (at least for now) have also decided not to go past two.

    1. I would say at least 80 and it just got a little more expensive because he’s won the Cy Young on a unanimous vote.

  25. I saw Jim Crane announced the Astros aren’t going to hire a new GM, until after the first of the year. I guess Jim the owner will handle everything at the winter meetings.
    Who needs a GM, or an AGM when big Jim is there to handle everything. It seems awful arrogant to me that the owner doesn’t think he needs those guys to run things. I’ve thought he was an ass ever since watching the speech he gave, when the whole sign steeling thing was going on. He said he knew nothing about the sign stealing, but now he knows enough to run the whole operations side. Which is it Jim you know nothing, or you know everything, it can’t be both.

    1. I think Rios’ Dodger future will depend on a few things:

      1) Does JT return
      2) Is Lux the new shortstop with Muncy the second baseman
      3) Does someone want Rios included in a trade package

      If he doesn’t start the season on the opening day roster, I think the time has come for them to do him the favor of letting him continue his career somewhere else where he can get some playing time.

    1. That could happen. Marlins are looking for left handed bats and we’re short a pitcher. But it would take a lot more than Rios to get Lopez.

  26. Everybody says trea is headed to Philadelphia but I’m going hold out hope that the Dodgers resign him to play short stop, then Lux can play second, and Muncy can man third

    1. He could not go to Philly and still not wind up back here. Bogaerts and Dombrowski have a relationship from Boston so the Phillies might prefer to sign Xander who would be cheaper.

      But then there are lots of other possibilities for Trea. It’s going to be really interesting to see where those four shortstops wind up.

  27. I just hope Correa doesn’t end up here, I’d have a hard time rooting for him. Morosi, or one of the other writers tweeted that the Dodgers loved him, I’m a little worried.

    1. Bellinger was non-tendered. I am surprised as I thought they would simply bite the bullet and try for the same ole same ole. Roberts and his coaching staff were unsuccessful in getting him to change his batting stance/ Even J Harrison ranting on him on air didn’t get his attention.
      I thought with the defensive shift being out they would keep him as Bellinger pulls everything.

  28. I just saw that Cody was non tendered, it’s hard to believe, I think it was the right decision, but it’s heartbreaking to see a young guy, that we all thought would be in LA for many years, fall so far.

    1. They could still re-sign Belli under different contract terms, but I doubt very much that he’ll be in the mood to do that or that Boras would encourage him to do so.

      I would have been OK with AF going in either direction. He may come back to haunt us one day but you certainly can’t say the Dodgers didn’t give him a chance to get right again before they cut him loose.

      Bob Nightengale is reporting the Dodgers have some interest in Kevin Kiermaier. Somehow, that just doesn’t excite me.

      Lots of time left before opening day. No telling what Andrew has up his sleeve.
      Bryan Reynolds is available at the right price.
      Cedric Mullins can probably be had for the right return.
      The D’backs now have 5 different good young outfielders, all of whom can play center field.
      And we have Outman and Trayce who can play center field.

      1. I agree that Boras will take him elsewhere. I think he will turn it around. But he continually ignored Team play in not advancing the runner. I have a hard time forgiving that. Dodgers have a lot of trade bait in the minors but continue to remember Kasten wants to go home-grown.
        I would take some of the young guys that are absolutely blocked and move them.
        Like most Dodger fans Correa is a non-starter for me as is Verlander. Those guys cheated. I will never forget that. What they have decided to do at SS is the key for everything else.

      2. I can understand your anger at Correa, but Verlander was on the pitching staff and had nothing to do with the cheating. Sure, he could have stood up in the clubhouse, wagged his finger, and told them to stop, but I think the two have totally different amounts of guilt.

      3. I was raised in Catholic School all the way through. The religion part didn’t stick but the education along with logic and ethics classes did shape my character.
        In the workplace if you see something that is wrong you either stand up or you change jobs. I changed jobs twice when a company was doing unethical things.
        Verlander is guilty of not standing up. He has been an All Star I am sure if he had it would have swayed many. He is a coward in my mind for not standing up. I see that a lot these days. People not standing up. If you do not draw the line then you are also guilty. It is oh so easy to go along… But its wrong.
        Sorry to be so binary but morals and ethical conduct are that way. Yes or no…
        Yes I expect a person to stand up in the clubhouse if talking to the manager did not get results and say hey! No Cheating! Silly me but I do not cheat.

      4. You have every right to be “binary” my friend, and I applaud your moral stand. The world could use more ethical people like you. I’m afraid, in my later years, I’ve more or less given up on mankind.

        I think we’re doomed to destroy ourselves sooner or later (probably sooner). Not that there aren’t lots of good people out there, but there are so many bad ones that they’ll manage to ruin it for everyone.

        End of speech.

      5. Jeff my friend it is, as you agree a binary choice. In my leaving companies it was financially not the most lucrative course but I am still glad I did.
        I am shocked and appalled with the situation in the US today. In the US there is little talk about ethics or morals. People act as if doing what is right is an outmoded concept. Its why the US will fail probably within my daughters lifetime. All those years in Catholic school we studied the Bible and religious concepts. The bible is 80% about helping the young, infirm and poor. Its not about how rich can you get!
        If you have money you can get away with almost anything! Look at all the angry people in the US. The prisons are full people are gullible and aggressively ignorant.
        I despair for this country. If I were younger I would emigrate. I am still considering moving to the home of my maternal grandparents Italy. The EU for its many strange things puts people first. Our daughters are both medical professionals one is a highly trained RN the other a Doctor. After the Roe decision they are both looking to emigrate and I am encouraging them.
        But yes you either stand up or move on. Verlander was under contract he had to stand up as he could not leave. Verlander is guilty be association.

      6. Kennedy wrote Profiles in Courage. Its a great read. To stand up takes moral courage. That is not valued today. Its a shame. And will be our demise.

  29. Great stuff guys. I too do not want any cheaters on my team. One reason I was so against Yasmani Grandal coming to the Dodgers. I held that PED suspension against him. That is cheating pure and simple and the same reason I do not want to see Bonds, Clemens, Palmiero or Rodriguez in the hall. I think McGwire’s chances are already gone. I watched a very interesting documentary on Netflix last night. It was about the downfall of the Boeing Aircraft company. Instead of designing an all-new jet to compete with Airbus, they modified the 737, which they had done several times already, and re-named it the 737 Max. Now in their defense, they did all this after the merger with McDonnell-Douglas. When the CEO of McDonnell-Douglas got the reins from the former CEO, they changed a lot of things about the way they handled quality control. They wanted the planes built cheaper and faster, so now they had less inspections, and they fired a ton of employees. It became all about profits and the bottom line. They installed on the new planes a system called MCAS. But to keep costs down, they insisted pilots did not need extra training on MCAS. One of the reasons they did this was because if it was reported as a new system, it would have to be certified by the FAA. They basically fired anyone who put anything about problems with the system into a memo. What happened was that there were two fatal crashes of 737 Max planes within 5 months of each other. Both were caused by bad info sent to the pilots during take-off. One plane was a Lion Air flying out of Jakarta and the other and Ethiopian Air out of Addis-Ababa. 346 people died in the 2 crashes. Boeing blamed the pilots for not following procedure. But neither of the pilots had training with the new system. Eventually Trump shut the plane down, and then the FAA grounded them for 20 months. Internal memos surfaced at an inquiry by the oversight committee in congress. The whole thing cost Boeing billions of dollars and a reputation they spent decades building as one of the safest planes flying. Modifications have since been made, the pilots trained and there have been no instances.

    1. Thank you for the “like” Bear. Yes in this country short term profit has become King. I was in the Graphics industry and watched Kodak, a former employer, piss away their lead in technology because they were fixated on short term profit. One of their engineers came up with the digital camera but Kodak decided it would hurt their cash cow film and shelved it.
      The last company I worked for competed with Kodak and we were amazed at how they would cut deals that had little to no profit margin so that their immediate new sales volume looked good. Now they have been in bankruptcy twice and sold off their pharmaceutical division, the only division making money to emerge from the last.
      Lots of Angry people out there because they are afraid of change. which as we both know is inevitable and constant. We are at a cusp. A paradigm change in our lifestyle. Robotics, EV Vehicles, & AI are all changing the workforce. People that are in the workforce need to pay attention and adapt or they will become irrelevant and unemployable. Every time this has happened in the past it has brought social upheaval and war. Political extremists take power because people are afraid of change. Hitler, Mussolini all voted in by the fearful working class. Same thing happening now all over the world. Italy voted in the grandchild of Mussolini.
      I love people in general. We are old my friend. I have no time for Cheaters, Liars and Posers.
      Be kind be good to each other. Try to see the other persons point of view. But bigotry is Ugly and angry people are ugly. I call many of them incredibly gullible and aggressively ignorant.

    2. Bear I wish the Think Blue people here would post a future team type article. I was shocked they did not tender Bellinger. I figured they would just keep trying to get his head out.
      I see Vargas, Outman and Stone as being on the roster next year. I think Rios is either on it or traded. Do they trade Busch or bring him up? I think they bring him up. What do they do with SS. I do not believe they will sign T Turner. I think J Turner will sign but be have an abbreviated roll and be there for leadership and clubhouse culture. I listen to Kasten’s comments. Last year he said they would use the farm guys and except for Freeman they did. I think they may try to find another Anderson on a short deal as they have Buehler sometime next year and a huge group coming up like Pepiot, Stone, Jackson, Miller and many others. Do we see Amaya as a defensive specialist?
      What do you think??? You are more knowledgeable than I about baseball.

  30. I coined the following saying and my question is whether it will become as well known as “to be or not to be”

    We have much in common and our differences should be the spices that add flavor to the meal and stop being the meal.
    –Hello Fred

  31. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Hope you enjoy your turkey and your football. But, most of all, I hope you enjoy the folks you spend the day with. Way too much anger out there, as others have already commented.

    TMax, with regard to your Rios comment. I guess you missed it, but (unbelievably, as far as I’m concerned), AF did not tender him a contract and he was basically made a free agent the same day as Belli was. I find it very hard to believe they couldn’t get something for him in trade, even a lowly minor leaguer.

    Winter Meetings are about 10 days away. Let the fun begin!

    1. They probably tried their best to trade both Belli and Rios but couldn’t get players they wanted or needed and that was because both players had high probabilities of being non-tendered.

      1. I realize their trade value was very low, but I would have taken a bag of balls rather than just cut them loose for nothing.

        In Belli’s case I can understand nobody wanting to actually trade for him because they would have been responsible for going to arbitration with him, but Rios was making very little and I would think that a team like the Marlins or Reds could have used him, or been willing to take a chance on him, and they could have had him for their 114th best prospect (since Andrew’s alternative was to non-tender him and get nothing back).

      2. I am reading the unending speculation published to get clicks. Dodgers are linked to every expensive free agent out there, sensible or not.
        All the pundits seem to completely discount the farm guys irregardless of the comments make by Kasten and Friedman. Do they give Thompson a shot at CF as they have guys coming up in the next few years like Pages. What about Outman? The Dodgers carried Bellinger for the last 2 plus years. The line up with Mookie, Freeman, Smith and a hopefully recovered Muncy especially with the shift gone should be decent. If Lux can continue his progress and Taylor not constantly strike out they should be good offensively. Vargas will add some contact once he is acclimatized. I want them to bring up Amaya as a defensive sub. They do not need him to hit well. If they decide not to go with a pricey free agent or a trade. With Rios gone and JT on the bubble are they giving Vargas the opportunity to take the position? I hope so. Fun to speculate. I am guessing Kasten is telling Friedman to use the farm guys more as the latest crop is ready. Using home grown does huge things to their bottom line and resets their luxury tax for 24 in case they have to spend money. Not dominating during the regular season is not going to hurt the fan base and they have that massive TV deal.

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