Dodgers Front Office Taking Conservative Approach, and That’s OK

Baseball’s Winter Meetings start today, and the Dodgers have yet to make any moves. For a team that had the best record in baseball last year, and were one win a way from winning it all, that wouldn’t normally be a big concern. To the Los Angeles front office, I’m sure it isn’t. With fans, it’s probably a different story.

The Dodgers were rumored to be in on both of the two biggest offseason moves, the signing of Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani, and trading for reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. As we know, neither of those ended up happening. Ohtani went to the cross town Anaheim Angels, and the New York Yankees were the ones who decided to take on most of Stanton’s contract and make that trade.

In reality, fans of the Dodgers probably knew that neither of these would actually happen. Ohtani is better suited for an American League team, and the front office has made it well known that they are looking to reduce payroll, not increase it, as would have happened if they assumed the contract of Stanton. Despite the fact that Stanton made it known that his preference was to play for his hometown team, and as much as we all wanted to see his bat in that lineup, his contract was just too much.

The one that hurts the most though, is Brandon Morrow. Sunday he signed a two year deal with the Chicago Cubs to be their closer, a contract reportedly worth $21M. Morrow turned his career around last season with the Dodgers, and was stellar in the postseason, pitching in every game but one. It’s hurts to see a guy like that go, but again, the Dodgers were unlikely to spend that much on an eighth inning guy, especially when there’s no guarantee that he will be as good as he was this year. Regardless, good for Brandon for getting his money, and best of luck to him.

It is assumed that the Dodgers will stay quiet this week at the Winter Meetings. It is good to remind oneself that the Dodgers had the best record in baseball last year, and almost won the World Series. It’s easy to think that because that happened, the Dodgers should go all in and make sure that this year, they actually DO win the World Series, especially when one looks around the league and sees other teams bolstering their teams in big, splashy ways. Or not even in splashy ways, but just by simply addressing needs early on. But that’s not how this front office works.

I stated in a previous article that this team has the luxury of waiting the market out, and that’s what they’ll do. They will not mortgage the future for a better chance next year. And let’s not forget that at the end of the 2018 season, Clayton Kershaw can opt out of his contract. Also, other contracts will be off the books, such as Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy. There are bigger opportunities down the road—Bryce Harper will be a free agent then. There are many things to plan for monetarily wise in the future, and when you already have a very solid core of players, you can afford to play the waiting game.

Still, moves will be made, albeit probably not splashy ones. The Dodgers could use another starting pitcher or two. Even though they have a plethora of outfielders, they still could make a move for a different Marlins player, as rumor have recently surfaced with Los Angeles and Miami talking about Marcel Ozuna. Both Yimi Garcia and Pedro Baez will be back healthy next season, so maybe the call for an eighth inning guy isn’t as loud as we think. The front office has already shown a great propensity for finding really good players for not a lot of payout on their end, and we as fans should continue to give them the benefit of the doubt.

(FOLLOW ANDY ON TWITTER: @DODGERSANDYINPA)

 

Advertisements

Dodgers 2018 Payroll: To Spend or Not to Spend?

Now that the two biggest headliners of the winter’s hot stove market—Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton—have made their respective 2018 destinations known, baseball fans can shift their attention to the Winter Meetings on Sunday, and start considering the secondary wave of available players, which really should have never been secondary at all.

Some fans of the Dodgers have already expressed a bit of disappointment in not landing either Ohtani or Stanton, but the truth of the matter is that Los Angeles already has a solid 40-man roster with no gaping holes whatsoever. What’s more, there’s the premise that the front office crew is still diligently trying to steer the club’s payroll under the luxury tax threshold, and while 2018 may prove to be a difficult year to accomplish that task, 2019 is definitely in the realm of credibility.

Nevertheless, the potential acquisition of Stanton was an intriguing one, leading many fans to imagine what the middle of the Dodgers’ daily lineup would look like with the reigning NL MVP Stanton, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Corey Seager, Yasiel Puig and others. Yet, if the management crew is still excited by the potential upgrade of a right-handed swinging outfielder, guys like J.D. Martinez and Lorenzo Cain are still available for the taking.

And this season’s pitching class of free agents, although not overwhelmingly star-studded, is still very deep. Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish and Lance Lynn are among the available starting arms, while Wade Davis, Brandon Morrow, Greg Holland and Addison Reed are the big names among the relievers open for the taking.

All of these potential acquisitions are fascinating, as are the infinite number of trade possibilities which exist, especially those formatted to dump off a significant portion of the Dodgers’ otherwise dead salary. Obviously, I could be wrong, but I still believe that Los Angeles sticks with the guns on the existing 40-man, and re-evaluates the club’s needs when the deadlines approach next summer. I do believe that the team will acquire a left-handed hitting middle infielder in some shape or form, as well as taking on a few more reclamation projects in hopes of strengthening the bullpen.

In theory, a prospective trade sounds great to fine tune the roster and perhaps strategically dump some dead salary, but the big wheels have already shown how much they value the stud prospects in the organization. And, besides, who in their right minds will assume any amounts of the ridiculously high contracts of Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir or Brandon McCarthy when health issues could conceivably keep all three on the pine for the majority of the upcoming campaign.

If anyone has trade value, it’s catcher Yasmani Grandal, but we’ve already discussed that the prudent move may be to hang on to the veteran switch-hitting backstop, at least until the deadlines approach, giving guys like Kyle Farmer, Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz some time to polish their respective skills on the advanced levels of the farm.

In 2017, the Los Angeles payroll topped $244 million, far and away the highest in the bigs, and the club will be forced to pay a luxury tax for the fifth year in a row.

According to USA TODAY Sports, the Dodgers, who paid $31.8 million in taxes a year ago, will again be hit with another bill exceeding $30 million, calculated at 50% for a third-time or more offender. It also includes a 12% surtax on the $40 million above the $195 million payroll, and 42.5% for the total amount above $235 million.

From a fan’s perspective, many believe that the organization should do everything possible to reach for the team’s first championship since 1988; however, from a business and financial perspective, continuing to unnecessarily pay a constantly increasing monumental fee makes little sense at all. Some may argue that in the end, the extra money spent is returned in the investment, but again, all of the millions of dead dollars being shelled out to several players who may not even be on the 25-man roster is borderline absurd.

At the end of the day, a few new capable faces to fill the small roster holes would certainly be nice, but don’t be surprised if the Dodgers stay put with the core that’s already in place. And if they do, there’s definitely no reason to be disappointed, because this club is still very, very good with the players they have right now.

(FOLLOW DENNIS ON TWITTER: @THINKBLUEPC)

 

Giancarlo Stanton to Dodgers Starting to Seem More Plausible

img_1083
(Mandatory Credit: Jason Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)

A little bit ago I wrote about how it seemed very unlikely that Giancarlo Stanton would be a member of the Dodgers in 2018. While it is still far from fruition, it does seem more plausible than it did a few weeks ago.

Continue reading “Giancarlo Stanton to Dodgers Starting to Seem More Plausible”

Recalling Five of the Worst Trades in Dodgers Recent History

piazza2
(Photo Credit: NY Post)

With the MLB hot stove season about to heat up during the winter meetings this weekend in Orlando, many fans across Dodgertown are envisioning a few potential trade scenarios, and can’t help but recollect some of the more disappointing deals in the history of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise.

Continue reading “Recalling Five of the Worst Trades in Dodgers Recent History”

Winter Meetings Could Finally Shift 2017-18 Offseason into Full Gear

darvish(3)

Yu Darvish has been traded to the Dodgers.” It’s a statement that rang throughout baseball at about 1:15PM PST on July 31st, 2017. As fans waited anxiously by their TVs and laptops, phones in hand refreshing Twitter and watching MLB Network, news arrived like a gentle snow in the middle of January.

Continue reading “Winter Meetings Could Finally Shift 2017-18 Offseason into Full Gear”

7 Reasons Why Shohei Ohtani Will Sign with Dodgers (Maybe)

img_0995
(Photo Credit: Yuya Shino/EPA)

In a past article, I wrote about how it didn’t seem likely that Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani would be able to be posted and play in the MLB in 2018. Well, they worked it all out, and indeed, it seems as though Ohtani will be in the major leagues come next season.

Continue reading “7 Reasons Why Shohei Ohtani Will Sign with Dodgers (Maybe)”

Giancarlo Stanton to Dodgers: Fun to Think About, but Unlikely

img_0965

There have been some rumors running around lately that Los Angeles is where Giancarlo Stanton would most like to land, since the Marlins have made it known that the NL MVP is very likely to be traded this offseason. And why wouldn’t it be?

Continue reading “Giancarlo Stanton to Dodgers: Fun to Think About, but Unlikely”

Will Major League Baseball See Shohei Ohtani in 2018?

img_0914

The Dodgers are in a good position this offseason, not needing to make any huge acquisitions over the winter months. They had the best record in baseball last season, and most every player will be back, with a few exceptions here and there.

Continue reading “Will Major League Baseball See Shohei Ohtani in 2018?”

Dodgers Fan Friday: Morrow, Stanton, Darvish, Otani & More

img_0872

With all the regular season awards having been handed out, we are officially into the offseason. Here at Think Blue Planning Committee, that means the return of Fan Fridays. Our first installment begins with what fans see as the most important off season move the Dodgers‘ front office should make.

Continue reading “Dodgers Fan Friday: Morrow, Stanton, Darvish, Otani & More”

Dodgers Roster: The Difficulty of Acquiring a Top-Tier Starting Pitcher

justin_verlander_571nkj8j_n29u9axo
(Photo Credit: mlb.com)

As frequently as we’ve mentioned the need for the Dodgers to net a quality, top-of-the-rotation arm this winter to compliment resident ace Clayton Kershaw in the starting rotation, the task is much easier discussed than accomplished. When the dust eventually settles in the spring, if prudent, the club may have to wait until the 2017-18 offseason to land somebody worth a hefty price tag.

Continue reading “Dodgers Roster: The Difficulty of Acquiring a Top-Tier Starting Pitcher”