Farhan Zaidi Reportedly Accepts Head Boss Job in San Francisco

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According to multiple reports on Tuesday evening, Farhan Zaidi will be leaving his general manager post in Los Angeles to accept the role of president of baseball operations for the San Francisco Giants.

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To Sign or Not to Sign Chase Utley

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(Mandatory Credit: Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Chase Utley is enjoying quite an offseason.

He’s hanging out at Disneyland, having a day with the singer from OneRepublic and their families. He’s in Dubai, talking about robot umpires. He’s on social media, celebrating the Hall of Fame induction of his buddy, Jim Thome. He’s out golfing at Justin Turner’s charity golf tournament (and outgolfing Turner, according to the host). He’s going viral, making Eagles hype videos with the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

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What Exactly Do the Dodgers Have in Yu Darvish?

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(Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

When the Dodgers snagged Yu Darvish in the waning moments before the 2017 non-waiver trade deadline, there was a mixed reaction among the more educated fans of the club, especially when considering his two-inning, 10-earned run debacle against the Marlins just days before. However, the 31-year-old Japanese righty seemingly put that entire mess to rest after he threw seven shutout innings in his Dodgers debut against the Mets, striking out 10 batters and only surrendering three hits and a walk on August 4.

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Dodgers Management: A Detailed Look at Andrew Friedman

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(Photo Credit: Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports)

During the dullest days of the break last winter, we took a few moments to profile a few members of the Dodgers management team, most specifically GM Farhan Zaidi and new additions to the coaching staff in George Lombard and Bob Geren. This year, traveling higher up on the totem pole, we decided to take a closer look at president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman mainly for the sake of having a solid reference link, but also in an effort to learn more about the primary decision maker of the Los Angeles front office crew.

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Dodgers Rumors: Weighing the Winter’s Top Roster Priorities

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(Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

From Ryan Braun to Aroldis Chapman to Yoenis Cespedes, the many rumors already circulating around the Los Angeles Dodgers organization are in full swing, and until the club begins to reveal which direction it plans on going with certain player personnel, plenty of writers around the baseball blogosphere will probably have a field day laying out their own offseason recommendations and schemes.

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Dodgers Management: The Differences Between Friedman and Colletti

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Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly talks to general manager Ned Colletti during a spring training baseball workout Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
(Photo Credit: Hans Gutknecht)

While the Los Angeles Dodgers decided to embark on a brand new front office structure during the winter of 2014, the game of baseball itself was experiencing an evolution of sorts, as the national pastime began morphing into a game of numbers, analytics and financial management as opposed to seeing the most dominant clubs succeed with intangible qualities like grit, wit and desire.

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Los Angeles Dodgers 25-Man Roster: 2015 Holiday Edition

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As we approach Christmas weekend, everyone here at TBPC chose to put together a fun, quick post about the Los Angeles Dodgers that really wouldn’t take a ton of work or research.

We decided on taking a look at the 25-man roster as if the season began today — basically just to illustrate how much work actually remains before pitchers and catchers report on February 19.

A few things to note before we begin: we did include Yasmani Grandal and Justin Turner, assuming they make clean recoveries and are 100% healthy by spring training. We did not, however, include Hyun-jin Ryu. Currently, all signs point to him being on schedule, but there are just too many factors at this point to pencil him into the starting rotation.

So with no further ado, here’s how we broke down our version of the 25-man at this juncture of the offseason (and it wasn’t really fun or quick, by the way):

Outfielders (5) – Andre Ethier, Joc Pederson, Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford and Scott Van Slyke

Infielders (6) – Justin Turner, Corey Seager, Chase Utley, Adrian Gonzalez, Enrique Hernandez and Alex Guerrero

Catchers (2) – Yasmani Grandal and A.J. Ellis

Starting Pitchers (5) – Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson, Alex Wood, Mike Bolsinger and Carlos Frias

Bullpen (7) – Kenley Jansen, Chris Hatcher, Pedro Baez,  J.P. Howell, Luis Avilan, Yimi Garcia and Adam Liberatore

Of course, the most glaring concern is the starting rotation. There’s no need to panic just yet, because additions will be made and there’s still plenty of time. January 8 is an important date to remember, as Kenta Maeda‘s camp will have arrived at a contract decision by day’s end. And it’s also safe to speculate that at least one other starter will be added via trade or free agency, giving Frias the ability to slide back into the swingman role.

A strong and healthy Ryu would also fill a slot, but it’s just not safe to hope and wait for that length of time.

It’s very much worth noting that the two most talented pitchers in the entire organization not named Kershaw, José De León and Julio Urias, aren’t even a part of the 40-man roster just yet. Look for that to change as Opening Day approaches — unless some type of impact trade occurs and surprises everyone.

Another area of concern is the bullpen, which right now looks the same as last year, sans Juan Nicasio and Jim Johnson. This seems to be a priority for Andrew Friedman as well, as made evident by the attempt to bring aboard Aroldis Chapman. There are a few other options in-house, as players such as Frankie Montas, Jharel Cotton, Chris Anderson, Josh Ravin and Ian Thomas are waiting in the wings.

With the exception of the Alex Guerrero situation, the infield may hold up just fine barring any type of injury epidemic. Ronald Torreyes waits at Triple-A to provide any required cover at second, third or short. Micah Johnson, Charlie Culberson and Austin Barnes could provide additional depth, if needed.

Trayce Thompson was acquired to provide complimentary depth at all three outfield spots, but it’s inconceivable to think that the Dodgers will carry six outfielders. It’s easy to speculate that somebody could be moved in some type of trade for a much needed starting pitcher or bullpen piece.

One additional area of concern is the lack of the traditional leadoff batter. Pederson’s strikeout rate is way too high for him to maintain a high OBP. Other options here are limited, but may include Hernandez or Puig, being that the sabermetric philosophy of Friedman doesn’t put a high value on stolen bases.

All that being said, there’s still a multitude of work remaining for the front office. Hopefully Farhan Zaidi and Friedman come fresh out of the gates after the New Year, and finish molding the roster with high hopes, expectations and the talent to contend in 2016.

(Photo Credit: Joe Hamilton)

The Role of Farhan Zaidi

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All “organic” dialogues aside, there are very few general managers in MLB with more intellect, potential and industrial savvy than Farhan Zaidi. His education alone speaks volumes — a bachelors from MIT and a PhD from Cal-Berkeley.

Being of Pakistani descent, Zaidi was actually born in Canada. He moved to the Philippines at the age of four, where he remained until departing for college in 1994. He played baseball at the little-league and high school levels, but never took the field beyond that — similar to one of his mentors and predecessors, Paul DePodesta.

While at Berkeley, Zaidi read the book Moneyball and his career path began to take shape almost immediately. Admittedly, he often scanned through the employment ads on mlb.com while in grad school, and upon discovering an opening with the Oakland Athletics in 2004, couldn’t help but reach out.

He was hired immediately by GM Billy Beane, and began his career as a data analysis sabermetrics assistant. He eventually worked his way up to Director of Baseball Operations, then was promoted to Assistant GM in 2014. After the 2014 season, he was recruited by Dodgers President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman to assume the general manager role, becoming  the first Muslim general manager of any American pro sports franchise.

Working beside both Friedman and VP of Baseball Operations Josh Byrnes, many Dodger fans actually wonder how the daily grind is delegated to Zaidi and “who does what” inside the All-Star think tank.

While Byrnes is primarily responsible for player development (overseeing such executives as Gabe Kapler), Zaidi is more in tune to the daily operations of the MLB squad, research and development, and player acquisitions.

With his education and 12-year background at the MLB level, Zaidi certainly fits the new model of today’s general manager. He has already developed a reputation for having blends of both old school and new school  thought processes, unlike several of the dinosaurs before him in Los Angeles.

He believes in the “value” of a trade, and is very analytical in terms of giving up prospects of worth, possessing a similar philosophy to his bosses, Friedman and Stan Kasten.

Alongside Friedman, Zaidi continues to spend a great deal of time on R & D— developing new tools which measure every single split-second of players actions and reactions while on the diamond.

After a year at the helm, it’s certainly fair to say that the Dodgers are headed in a new direction—continuing to emphasize the farm and the value of youth, despite the overwhelming anxiety and desire of the fan base to win a World Series Championship “right now”.

Many of the skeptics are quick to point out that Zaidi’s lack of playing experience beyond high school may hinder is ability, while others are already bringing up bad player deals, especially whenever Dee Gordon wins any type of league award or honor.

The current system in place is definitely suited to win championships and build dynasties down the road. But with ticket and parking prices increasing annually, being the second-largest market in baseball and a $8 billion television deal that leaves many unable to view the majority of the games, the fans expect more than just development.

Twenty-seven years have now passed since the Los Angeles Dodgers have won a championship. Friedman and Zaidi are certainly qualified to break that streak, but the question that now lingers is whether that championship will come soon enough before ownership—just like the fan base—runs out of patience.