For Dodgers and Their Rivals, Velocity Is Always a Wild Card

(Mandatory Credit: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Here’s a history lesson (I will keep it very short, I promise).

Way back in the 1930s, there was an outstanding St. Louis Cardinals pitcher named Dizzy Dean. Dean was a great pitcher, racking up 120 wins, 970 strikeouts, 19 shutouts and 30 saves while averaging a ridiculous 306 innings per season from 1932 to 1936. He led the league in strikeouts four consecutive seasons. Dean won 30 games, the National League’s Most Valuable Player award and the World Series in 1934.

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A Preliminary Glance at the 2017 NL Cy Young Race

(Mandatory Credit: Logan Bowles/USA TODAY Sports)

Looking deep into the history books of the Los Angeles Dodgers, we tried to find out if Clayton Kershaw was the fastest pitcher to notch 15 wins in a season, only to discover that the great Sandy Koufax accomplished the feat in his final season back in 1966. Of course, Koufax would go on to capture his third NL Cy Young Award after posting a 27-9 record with a 1.73 ERA, along with five shutouts, 27 complete games and 317 strikeouts over an even 323 innings pitched.

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Daydream Believer: Which Player Would You Most Like to See on the Dodgers?

“You once thought of me
As a white knight on his steed
Now you know how happy I can be
Oh, our good time starts and ends
Without all I want to spend
But how much, baby, do we really need?”

~The Monkees


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Zack Greinke Rumors Rustling Around Dodgertown?


It’s been a little quiet lately for the Dodgers in regards to the Hot Stove. All of us are eagerly waiting to hear that they have re-signed Justin Turner and/or Kenley Jansen. That announcement(s) probably won’t come soon enough for our liking, if at all. Meanwhile, a team within the division made a trade earlier this week. The Arizona Diamondbacks traded Jean Segura, Zac Curtis and Mitch Hanover to the Seattle Mariners for Taijuan Walker and Ketel Marte.

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The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is… Fear Itself


A True Dodgers Fan = To Believe… Even The Impossible (or Improbable)

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ world will not end with Zack Greinke gone. It was a secret to nobody that Greinke was going for the biggest money — and that he doesn’t care which venue he pitches. Greinke had baggage before he arrived in L.A. We gave him a home, lots of encouragement, mentoring from staff and players and the Zack of old transformed to what he is today. We’ll see what the future brings now that his home is ESE from Los Angeles, and if he can repeat or better a 1.66 ERA without the Blue Crew.

Dodgers — The Final Frontier. These Are The Journeys of the L.A. Dodgers. Its 5-Year Mission — To Explore Strange New Talent — To Seek Out New Players, Either Experienced Or Neophyte. To Boldly Go Where No Team Has Gone Before!!!

The unknown can be scary to a fan. We get attached to players as if they were in our own real-life family. There is a difference between an “experienced” (or seasoned) player and a player that has overplayed his pinnacle.

We need to be blatantly honest with ourselves to which key players need to be on the waning list to make room for the younger, up-and-coming players — a changing of the guard, if you will. It’s time to let the mustangs loose and separate the men from the boys. And what a better time to do so than with the changing of the managerial and coaching guard.

I’m a fervent believer in “home grown” — he’s our creature  — we made him — so we keep him. We’ve had three straight years of buying up anything that comes our way — it only sustained us to win three straight division titles only to gain no ground in the playoffs. Maybe partly it was because of the skipper running the team (how I loved to put that label on him each year) —  but perhaps it’s time for new strategies.

I’m not a fan of perfect paper teams — a few examples recently are the Padres and the Nationals. All the pundits were saying that these two teams were going to run away with everything in 2015. We all know how that finished.

So let us embark on another journey in 2016, knowing just how great the Dodgers can embrace a challenge. Let us support them and let us help bring out the very best in them, as we always do.

Life Without Zack Greinke


The day after Zack Greinke surprised the world and signed an astronomical six-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the reaction among Dodger fans and the media has surprisingly been split.

On one hand, there’s a group who (for lack of better terms) is calling for Andrew Friedman’s head, while the other believes that it was smart business to draw a line and not exceed an already generous limit.

Regardless of the opinions rendered, the truth is that the Dodgers lost an important piece. The starting rotation grade drops from a B+ to maybe a C  depending on the recovery of Hyun-jin Ryu. Needless to say, the front office absolutely must make some corresponding moves to compensate.

Just looking at a few cursory numbers, the starting pitching staff in 2015 as a whole posted an overall ERA of 3.44, which was good enough to rank fifth of 15 teams in the National League. Subtracting Greinke’s contributions, the starters ERA calculates to 3.77, which would have ranked eighth. Interestingly enough, subtracting the stats of both Clayton Kershaw and Greinke, the starting pitching ERA rises to 4.16, which would have ranked 11th of 15.

Those numbers are a small sample size that illustrate just how critical front-end starting pitching is for success. However, if any pieces are added offensively, it may take some much-needed pressure away from the starters and perhaps make the loss of Greinke a much lighter blow.

The Dodgers as a team averaged 4.12 runs per game last year, which ranked eighth in the NL. A team batting average of .250 ranked 10th. Surprisingly, the team OPB of .326 ranked first while the OPS (.739) ranked second. All of this seems to suggest that the Dodgers had no problems getting runners on base, but instead had problems cashing them into runs. If Farhan Zaidi and Andrew Friedman see any quick analytical answers within their spreadsheets, an improved offensive RPG average could lessen the burdens of the starting pitching staff.

Perhaps this is the best route to consider, being that it’s impossible to replace Greinke with a single player who remains on the free agent market. With David Price, Jordan Zimmermann and Jeff Samardzija already signed to sizable deals, only a few options remain. Johnny Cueto is available, but the fact that he rejected a reported 6-year/$120 million deal from the Diamondbacks last weekend suggests Friedman and Zaidi may shy away, especially considering his injury history.

Wei-Yin Chen, Yovani Gallardo, Hisashi Iwakuma and Ian Kennedy are still available, but are very unlikely candidates due to the fact they rejected qualifying offers and will cost the Dodgers a draft pick if signed.

The remaining free agents who may be possible fits are Henderson AlvarezDoug FisterScott KazmirMike LeakeCliff Lee and Kenta Maeda, all of whom come with obvious financial risks.

Another option is to throw Jose De Leon, Ross Stripling and Julio Urias to the wolves and let them join the rotation to see if they are indeed ready to perform at the big-league level. Or, based on the results of last year’s Winter Meetings, the Dodgers’ front office may get super-creative and pull off some type of deal that’s unimaginable to all of us.

It’s easy to defend Friedman for not giving in and attempting to top the offer from Arizona that Greinke eventually accepted. However, the Dodgers do have money to spend, as indicated by the $90 million last year that was allocated to players that were either traded away or DFA’d.

Signing Greinke for six years may have looked bad on paper for the Dodgers, but squandering $69 million on years five and six of the contract in exchange for a World Series run right now may have been worth the investment.

Letting Greinke escape behind enemy lines may be a blow that hurts only temporarily if the front office has a back-up plan and reacts accordingly. However, being in the second-largest market in baseball, increasing ticket prices and parking fees, and the fact that many still cannot view a game on television, Friedman and Zaidi best better redeem themselves quickly.

Dodgers Rumors: Starting Pitching

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With the arrival of the 114th annual Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville on December 6, the MLB hot stove promises to heat up quickly. The Dodgers are expected to be very active in some shape or form, and starting pitching is certainly one key area of focus.

First and foremost, the Dodgers will make every possible effort to sign Zack Greinke. Early reports are indicating that Greinke’s representation, Excel Sports, is seeking an AAV upwards of $30 million. Despite this large figure, the Dodgers front office has actually had casual dialogue about adding both Greinke and David Price.

If the early signings of J.A. Happ and Jordan Zimmermann are indicators, teams may not be sparing any expenses this winter. Happ surprisingly scored a 3-year/$36 million contract with Toronto, while Zimmermann landed a 5-year deal worth $110 million with the Tigers.

To further exemplify the salty market, Johnny Cueto recently rejected a 6-year/$120 million offer from the Diamondbacks. Signals from the Cueto camp seem to reveal a desire for a contract in the $160 million range.

Depending on the timing, the Dodgers may not make the bulk of their moves until Greinke finalizes a deal one way or another. If Los Angeles does indeed land Greinke, one may assume the winter spendings will be capped right there. However, there’s certainly a strong crop of secondary starters available, including Jeff Samardzija, Mike Leake, Scott Kazmir, Ian Kennedy, Yovani Gallardo and John Lackey—just to name a few.

The free agent market may not be the sole source for acquisitions, as Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi will leave no stones unturned while exploring the trade market. As recently as yesterday, rumblings were reported outlining a potential deal with the Braves offering Joc Pederson in exchange for Shelby Miller.

Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson and Alex Wood all will be set to start in 2016, with Hyun-jin Ryu seemingly meeting all the recovery standards to slot into another starting spot. However, glancing at the extensive number of injuries over the past 2 years alone, the front office may decide to setup a rotation that is 6 or 7 strong.

The farm system is always a last resort option, as several players, including Zach Lee, Julio Urias and Jose De Leon, seem to be on the fringe but ostensibly require another small stint of seasoning. Mike Bolsinger and Joe Wieland are the closest to the top, but need to prove their potential with every single opportunity they’re given. All that being said, at least one or maybe two new acquisitions may be critical to the team’s success.

The re-signing of Greinke is of extreme importance, as anything less will conceivably be a downgrade to the rotation. The good news for the fans is that Friedman and Zaidi seem to be strongly committed to making this happen. A base-five of Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu, Anderson and Wood is a solid starting point, and an addition of one of the secondary free agents mentioned above will produce a formidable staff.

In spite of everything, numerous moves will indeed be made very soon, as pitchers and catchers report in about 10 weeks. For the sake of the fans, hopefully Friedman and Zaidi reveal a plentiful wallet and make several gigantic splashes to build an even stronger squad in 2016.