Are the Dodgers Really Interested in Manny Machado?

As far as rumors across the league go, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper seem to have a stronghold on the market. According to some contentious gossip, the Dodgers were once believed to be in the “red zone” with Harper, as Los Angeles was on the “20-yard line” and closing regarding an agreement. Consequently, the Dodgers apparently had no real strong interest in Machado, yet as the days draw shorter to spring camp, their name keeps getting mentioned more and more.

There was some chatter floating around on Friday morning about Machado’s father, Manuel, stating on a radio show that his son indeed received an offer from the Dodgers. He indicated that the Phillies and the Yankees have submitted proposals and that the White Sox have also expressed a strong interest.

Towards the beginning of the week, Buster Olney of ESPN, reported that the White Sox made a seven-year, $175 million offer to Machado, while Jeff Passan heard some conflicting information, stating that Chicago’s offer was eight years and $250 million.

Whatever the case may be, those particular statements prompted Machado’s agent, Dan Lozano, to make a public announcement of his own, discrediting Olney while also mentioning Bob Nightengale, who has been tweeting that the White Sox will not be increasing their original bid for the services of Machado.

In spite of all that, one can’t help but imagine how Manny would fit into a defensive schematic for the Dodgers, as unlikely as his acquisition would be. His righty bat would certainly be welcomed (despite his propensity to chase outside of the strike zone), but which position he’d play has created  some theorizing by the fan base.

Some have suggested that Justin Turner could slide over to second base, a position he played during the early days of his career when he was more of a utility contributor. However, many believe that JT’s range is limited up the middle, as it would be a move that would move him from his defensive comfort zone.

Corey Seager is also a thought, but imagining a 6-foot-4, 220-pounder roving around the right side of the infield just does not seem right. For all intents and purposes, Machado at 6-foot-3 and 185 lbs. would be a better fit, although the chances of him agreeing to such a proposal would be slim to none.

Aside from all that speculation, there’s the group of fans who cringe at the possibility of Machado returning to Los Angeles, pointing out his lack of hustle, while also noting “several” dirty slides recently during his career, as well as stomping on Jesus Aguilar‘s foot at first base in the 2018 NLCS.

“It’s a dirty play by a dirty player,” Brewers right fielder Christian Yelich told reporters in an interview after Game 5.

Some actually believe that these actions alone would discourage the Dodgers from being among Machado’s highest bidders.

Like many fans, I don’t know Andrew Friedman well at all, but I have the feeling that he has extended some type of offer to Manny, whether it be competitive or not. Friedman is known for his innovation and creativity regarding contract proposals, and sometimes it’s worth taking a shot in the dark at a superstar while remaining non-committal over a long period of time. Seven or eight years seems like an very long time to commit, and offering a contract of such a length would be awfully uncharacteristic of the Dodgers’ boss.

Any way you look at it, though, a cumulative 23.1 WAR over four seasons is a huge amount of production and will definitely make a difference in the divisional standings for whichever team acquires him.

 

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Dodgers Outfield: What Role Will Joc Pederson Play in 2019?

The recent jettison by the Dodgers of fan favorites Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp (and the assumption that the front office has no interest in signing Bryce Harper) means that the outfield pictures is a bit more clear.

The starting outfield figures to be Cody Bellinger in center, and Joc Pederson in left, at least against right-handed pitching. Who is going to take over Puig’s spot remains to be seen, although Alex Verdugo is the most likely choice for right field. He played 16 games at that position last year, along with some games in center and left. Still, he has to continue to prove himself through spring training to solidify that position. These players will be spelled by Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez, and maybe? possibly? Andrew Toles.

Pederson is entering his sixth season with the Dodgers since he was a September call-up in 2014. Joc had 25 homers in 2016 and 26 in 2015, his rookie season, when he went to the Home Run Derby and lost to Todd Frazier. In 2017, he spent 20 games in the minors to work on his swing mechanics. His overall numbers that season were abysmal, batting only .212/.331/407/.322 with 11 homers. He did bounce back in the playoffs, and might have been named the World Series MVP had the Dodgers won. 2018 saw his best season to date, when he played in 132 games, slashing .248/.321/.522/.843 with 25 homers and 27 doubles.

Despite the homers, those are not great numbers for an everyday player, especially for one’s best season to date. The Dodgers’s previous hitting coach, Turner Ward, has moved on to the same position with the Cincinnati Reds. He was replaced with Robert Van Scoyoc, along with Brant Brown in the hitting strategist role, and Aaron Bates at assistant hitting coach.

Joc has been tinkering with his swing his whole career. A quick peruse through Twitter brings up any number of articles about how he has revamped his swing through the year. It’s a violent swing, and he tends not to shorten up with two strikes. Van Scoyoc has been credited with helping Taylor and J.D. Martinez better their at bats, and hopefully he and his new team can do the same for Joc.

The Dodgers and Pederson avoided arbitration last week, with Joc agreeing to a one-year, $5 million contract. Steamer projects a 2019 season similar to last year, with a slash line of .250/.348/.495/.359 and 26 home runs. If Pederson, Bellinger and Verdugo can all get their bats right, the Dodgers’ outfield will be a force to be reckoned with in 2019.

More Details on Lin Huei-Sheng

Although it still hasn’t officially been reported by the team, several stories broke at the beginning of the week stating that the Dodgers have signed righty pitcher Lin Huei-Sheng. Apparently, the contract involves a signing bonus in the vicinity of $300K. It has also been stated that the deal is pending a physical, which may be the reason for the holdup in the club making an official announcement.

There’s not much information available on the 20-year-old native from Taiwan, but CPBL Stats provides a few useful tidbits along with some interesting background information. Recently, he has touched as high as 95 MPH on the radar gun. According to his scouting report, he features a forkball, a slider and a curve in addition to his fastball.

According to CPBL Stats, Lin initially intended on pursuing a career in the MLB right after high school in 2017; however, an injury (to his “waist”) kept him grounded in Taiwan, as he enrolled at the Linko Campus of the National Sports University. With plenty of time to recover, the University held a showcase for Lin last November, attracting scouts from more than 10 clubs across the MLB.

I did a little digging of my own and stumbled across his profile page on pointstreak.com. As shown by his recent stats there, there could be some control issues, as he walked 20 batters over 32-2/3 innings for the Taiwan T-Bolts in summer ball last year. During that time, he made seven starts and put together a 3-2 record with a 3.30 ERA and 25 punchouts.

The highlight of the season came against the Gaithersburg Giants on July 20, when he threw seven full innings of shutout ball, allowing just one hit while striking out six and walking two.

Here’s a video provided by CPBL Stats highlighting his mechanics and delivery:

 

Once he arrives stateside, it would probably be safe to assume that Lin starts his career with the AZL Dodgers, and if he settles in soon enough, he may be able to throw for Low-A Ogden when the short season begins later in the summer.

 

Dodgers Prospects: A Conversation with Infielder Marcus Chiu

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For the past several years, the middle infield has been an area of the Dodgers‘ system where there is not an overwhelming number of elite prospects, especially at the lower levels of the farm.

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Monday Musings: Dodgers’ Front Office Needs to Do More

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“No news is good news” may be a mantra to some, but probably not to fans of the Dodgers. While the front office has indeed made some moves—most notably re-signing Clayton Kershaw and adding Joe Kelly to the bullpen—all the rest of the moves they’ve made are mostly underwhelming.

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Dodgers 2019 Roster: Very Early 25-Man Projections

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While we’re quickly approaching the four-week mark before pitchers and catchers convene at Camelback Ranch, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at a 25-man roster prediction for the Dodgers based on all the players presently in the organization.

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Dodgers Bullpen: Will Yimi Garcia Earn a 2019 Opening Day Roster Spot?

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(Getty Images photo)

Once touted throughout the entire Dodgers organization for his exceptional spin rate, reliever Yimi Garcia could be on the outside looking in when in comes to a 2019 Opening Day roster spot.

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Russell Martin Returns to Dodgers

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(AP photo)

Just when you thought the Dodgers weren’t going to make a move, they go ahead and make a deal. Late Friday morning, it was announced that the team acquired catcher Russell Martin from the Toronto Blue Jays in return for cash considerations and minor league right-handed pitcher Andrew Sopko, along with minor league infielder Ronny Brito.

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4 Storylines to Consider as the 2019 Season Approaches

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As we inch ever closer to the start of spring training and wait to see what the Dodgers‘ front office will do, I thought I’d take an early look at what storylines will be worth watching in the 2019 season.

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Potential Fallout from Yasmani Grandal’s Deal with Brewers

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While Yasmani Grandal‘s new one-year deal with the Brewers doesn’t have a direct impact on the Dodgers‘ player roster, it does indirectly check one option off the list of players who will be seeing action behind the plate in Los Angeles in 2019.

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