Yazmani Grandal leaves a huge hole

Yazmani Grandal will leave the Dodgers with an October to remember but it won’t be a pleasant memory.  For the second straight October, the Dodgers starting catcher for the past four years struggled mightily in October and so when Grandal turned down the Dodgers qualifying offer basically guaranteeing that he will leave via free agency not many blue tears were shed.

Yaz will leave as a permanent member of many Los Angeles Dodger leaderboards for a catcher. Grandal is 4th in home runs for catchers who have caught at least 80% of their games while in Los Angeles. Yet his home run per PA is twice as good as the catchers in front of him. He has the 3rd best OPS+ for Los Angeles catchers.

Player             OPS+   PA From   To  HR   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
Mike Piazza         160 3017 1992 1998 177 .331 .394 .572 .966
Tom Haller          115 1637 1968 1971  25 .276 .344 .393 .737
Yasmani Grandal     112 1883 2015 2018  89 .238 .337 .453 .790
Todd Hundley        111  822 1999 2003  50 .239 .332 .494 .826
Paul Lo Duca        105 2361 1998 2004  57 .287 .342 .428 .771
Chad Kreuter        105  613 2000 2002  14 .245 .378 .392 .770
Russell Martin      101 2713 2006 2010  54 .272 .365 .396 .761
Mike Scioscia        99 5057 1980 1992  68 .259 .344 .356 .700
John Roseboro        98 4505 1958 1967  90 .253 .329 .384 .713
Rick Dempsey         95  532 1988 1990  13 .211 .326 .354 .680
A.J. Ellis           93 1922 2008 2016  36 .237 .340 .348 .688
Steve Yeager         84 3869 1972 1985 100 .228 .299 .358 .657
Carlos Hernandez     62  512 1990 1996   9 .228 .271 .314 .584
Jeff Torborg         60  943 1964 1970   7 .214 .269 .277 .546

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/12/2018.
How does Grandal look compared to his peers since he became the Dodgers starting catcher in 2014?

Player               OPS+   PA  HR RBI  OBP  SLG  OPS
Kurt Suzuki           118  697  31 100 .341 .485 .825
Jonathan Lucroy       118 1621  35 175 .364 .447 .811
Yasmani Grandal       112 2326 104 294 .335 .443 .778
J.T. Realmuto         110 2152  59 243 .327 .442 .768
Willson Contreras     108 1255  43 163 .349 .450 .799
Devin Mesoraco        108  985  42 130 .325 .435 .760
Tyler Flowers         106  991  28 120 .360 .411 .771
Francisco Cervelli    105 1611  25 164 .368 .384 .752
Jorge Alfaro           99  508  15  51 .327 .422 .749

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/12/2018.

Grandal is 3rd in OPS+, first in home runs, and first in RBI. That is a huge hole to fill. But in a strange twist, the top three OPS+ catchers since 2014 are all free agents. Kurt Suzuki, Jonathan Lucroy, Yazmani Grandal.

Grandal certainly had his issues with passed balls, leading the league in 2016 and 2017, and seemingly mishandling numerous balls during the 2018 postseason. As much as passed balls are annoying I kind of think that is overrated. Grandal caught over 1,000 innings last year and is still considered one of the best framers in baseball. That is probably way more important since that impacts every at bat compared to nine passed balls in over 1,000 innings caught. That said, it was annoying when he missed pitches but it really should be put in perspective. Someday soon I’ll show that those nine passed balls rarely resulted in a run, and when it did result in a run, it even more rarely resulted in a loss. Someday.

The Dodgers have two bonafide catching prospect that played in AA in 2018. They aren’t ready yet, but both could be ready sometime in 2019. I doubt the Dodgers sign any catcher to more than a one year contract. Lucroy was once one of the best offensive catchers in baseball but his bat has taken a big hit since his monster season in 2016. He’ll only be 33 and might take a one year deal to rebuild his value but I’d expect he could get more than one year. If Lucroy hits like 2018 he would not be an improvement on Austin Barnes. Kurt Suzuki was once one of the worst hitting catchers in baseball but over the last two years has been one of the best offensive catchers in baseball. At 35 headed into 2019, he seems like a likely candidate for a one year deal. Baseball doesn’t like anyone over 30, much less 35.  Austin Barnes is the last catcher standing in the Dodger organization. It is clear the Dodger don’t feel Kyle Farmer is a catcher as they never let him catch when he’s on the major league roster. Never.  Austin Barnes beat out Yaz Grandal for the full time catching gig in Sept of 2017. He kept the job through the postseason even though his World Series exploits have been an offensive black hole. When Barnes is going right, he offers some punch, a good OBP, excellent speed for a catcher. You could have made an argument (I might have) that he could become the next Realmuto given his power and speed combination. No one is making that comparison right now but we simply don’t know if 2017 was the fluke season or if 2018 was the fluke season.

Who is a better bet to have the best offensive season in 2019,Austin Barnes, Lucroy, or Suzuki? I would actually bet on Barnes, it will be curious if the Dodgers do the same.

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Players and Manager stay the same

but MLB keeps picking off members of the Dodger family.  Last year the Braves took Alex Anthopoulos out of the Dodger front office and made him their Executive Vice President. The Phillies took Gabe Kapler and made him their field manager. This year the Giants continued the raiding by making Farhan Zaidi their new President of Player Operations. 2018 Dodger 3rd base coach Chris Woodward was plucked by the Texas Rangers to become their filed manager. That is quite a brain drain in just two years. I’d like to wish Chris Woodward good luck but find it hard to do the same for Farhan. I kind of hope he’s a spectacular failure. Nothing personal.

Yet, much to the consternation of many Dodger fans, David Roberts had his option exercised and will manage the team in 2019 even as they work toward a longer extension. I have been blown away by the number of Dodger fans who have told me that Roberts should have been fired. Almost to a person, every Dodger fan I know who I don’t know via a Dodger blog or social media has expressed this opinion to me. I guess I was unaware of how many of them have placed the blame on him for the Dodgers not winning a World Championship because he mismanaged the World Series. I thought he made some questionable moves and none of his hunches worked out but overall I thought the team lost the World Series because:

But hey, blame the manager.

I’m not a big Dave Roberts fan, but I hardly think he was the reason the team didn’t win the World Series.  I do know that if Puig had played like Machado,  shit would have hit the fan but given he was a future free agent I guess Roberts felt it best to just let Machado be Machado.  Though given the performance of Machado in the World Series they might have been better off if shit had indeed hit the fan.

The good news (at least for me) is all the Dodgers who could leave are coming back except Grandal. In an unexpected move Clayton Kershaw signed on for an additional year with no opt-out so it looks like he just might be a Dodger for life.  The Dodgers saved a million by re-negotiating a contract for one year with David Freese. Today we learned that Hyun-jin Ryu accepted the Dodgers qualifying offer and will return in 2018.

That leaves Yazmani Grandal as the only player of note leaving the Dodgers. His spot will be tough to fill but I’ll look at that in a future column.

Every player is replaceable

Why is that a controversial comment? Bill James said out loud what every GM has ever thought for the history of baseball. Or maybe not everyone, but certainly quite a few.

Players come, players go, the constant is the game, not the players. Agents don’t want to hear this, fans don’t want to hear this, but I think it is true.

The Red Sox were quick to disavow their consultant.

Which they kind of had to do, but I was more surprised at the comments from baseball journalists.

Bill James didn’t say you could replace Verlander with a AAA pitcher and everything would be the same, he just said that every player is replaceable and if everyone retired today, in three years the game would be pretty much the same. I think it would. Heck, you can’t even get baseball to touch the 30 and over free agents right now.

Just for fun imagine that the 2017 Dodgers all retired who were projected to make the 2018 25 man roster on March 1st. This is what the 2018 team would have looked like.

1st – Edwin Rios

2nd – Max Muncy / Brevvic Valeria

SS –  Donovan Solano

3rd – Beatty  / Connor Joe

C –  Farmer / Rocky Gale

RF – Alex Verdugo

CF – Tim Locastro

LF – Andrew Toles

SP – Walker Buehler, Brock Stewart, Dennis Santana, Caleb Ferguson, Manny Banuelos

RP – Pat Vendite, Brian Schlitter, Shea Spitzbarth, Josh Sborz, Marshall Kasowski

Not ideal but in competition against every other team who lost all their major league players, that team probably is playing in October. In three years that could look like:

1st – Max Muncy

2nd – Drew Jackson / Omar Estevez

SS – Gavin Lux

3rd – Will Smith

C – Keibert Ruiz

RF – Alex Verdugo

CF – DJ Peters

LF – Andrew Toles

SP – Buehler, Urias, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin, Mitch White

RP – Alvarez, Kasowski, Ferguson, Sheffield, Uceta

Yeah, it ain’t your 2018 World Series Dodgers but it might have a CYA in Buehler. It would still bring 3,000,000 fans to the ballpark and remember they would be competing against every other team who lost all of their players from March 1st, 2018.
Just saying if every major league player retired on March 1st, 2018, the game would have some bumps but in the end, the game would look pretty much the same by October 2021.

I think all of his was about labor. I don’t really give a shit about the major league salaries, but I sure would like to see the minor league folk taken care of.  Or maybe the carrot of being paid like a major league baseball player is what drives them to work hard but it just seems to me that removing the anxiety of trying to make a living on minimum wage salaries while also preparing to be a major league baseball player would benefit the system.

Working my way back to you babe

SOL

Two years ago I was shocked that the American electorate fell for a lying flim-flam man to be the leader of their country. It was only later I would learn of the involvement of a foreign nation in helping sow the sentiment via social media that helped elect the 45th President. But, all that Foreign Country did was sow the sentiment. The sentiment was there, the hate, the fear, the greed. That realization was a cold blow after eight years of Obama and hoping a new era had been ushered in. Little did I know the hate had simply been brushed under the rug and was just waiting for some hot air to blow it back into the open.

In those two years, my worst fears of his administration have come true but a hardy 40% of the electorate continued to support this President, meaning I was out of touch with a large percentage of Americans. I could understand 15 – 20% because hating anyone, not like you has always been an American passion but 40% alarmed me. The flat out lying every time he opened his mouth is incredibly bizarre.

If President Trump’s torrent of words has seemed overwhelming of late, there’s a good reason for that.

In the first nine months of his presidency, Trump made 1,318 false or misleading claims, an average of five a day. But in the seven weeks leading up the midterm elections, the president made 1,419 false or misleading claims — an average of 30 a day.

 The love affair with totalitarian governments while being confrontational with traditional Democratic allies were more signs for me that our President would simply like to be Putin and not Reagan. 

Even after they destroyed thousands of families who came here only seeking asylum so they could send a message to those who would make such a trip. Stay home or we will rip your family apart. We are not the answer to your trouble. You’d think Christians would have been appalled.  I was wrong, these asylum seekers were brown and poor weren’t after all Citizens so do unto them whatever you feel like because evidently, the New Testament was all about protecting National borders. Who knew?

Even after White Nationalist after White Nationalist commits murder and mayhem in his name. 

n Monday, an attorney representing Patrick Eugene Stein, one of three men convicted of plotting to bomb Somali refugees, filed an explosive memo in U.S. District Court in Kansas. Stein, his lawyer argued, should receive a more lenient sentence because he was inspired by then-candidate Donald Trump. “The court cannot ignore the circumstances of one of the most rhetorically mold-breaking, violent, awful, hateful, and contentious presidential elections in modern history,” attorney Jim Pratt wrote, “driven in large measure by the rhetorical China shop bull who is now our president.”

Anyway, unless you live under a rock you already know all of this.  What I had hoped was that our country would have come to their senses and that these midterms would be a referendum on our Presidents corrupt to the core administration.  Checks and balances were restored to 1/2 of the legislative portion of our branch of government when the House was taken back by the Democrats. If Speaker Ryan had done his job, had treated Trump like he would have treated Hillary Clinton, the checks and balances would have been working but when the Legislative branch does nothing, the system does not work. That was the least outcome I desired, and I got that. But I didn’t’ get enough and the thought-provoking writer Sarah Kendzior summed up eloquently how I was feeling last night.

If the midterms were a test of the country’s character, Americans failed | ⁦@sarahkendzior⁩ continues to speak with clarity and nuance; refreshing in the onslaught of takes on the election, and the socio-political state of the US in general https://t.co/xEpVsOrSTU

We gained something yesterday, and for the first time in two years, I feel we may be back on the path toward the hopes of Lady Liberty that our country constantly strays from whenever someone feels the need to fan Nationalistic fears.

As a child, the New Colossus poem written for Lady Liberty spoke much more to me than any constitution. We were the good guys. At least I thought we were. The reality is that we were never as good as we thought we were. We have always had the folk that Sarah Kendzior writes about except now we seem to have all of them at the same time.

Our national character is bifurcated anguish. Our national character feels like it’s possessed by every hellish ghost of American history: white supremacist patriarchs, gilded age swindlers, paranoid McCarthyists, Know-Nothings and Klansmen and con artists and terrorists. These dark impulses were always there, as American as the impulse to form a more perfect union and to fear nothing but fear itself. Nowadays, maybe we fear ourselves the most.

New Colossus

statue of liberty poem

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Anyway, my gratitude goes out to every person who actually works at making the American Democracy a thing. I’m not a doer but I sure admire those of you who are.

Three hurrahs for Kershaw and Dodgers

I had hoped those who were predicting 5/150 or even 4/120 were crazy and that if the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw came to an understanding it would be a reasonable one, but never did I imagine that the extension would be this reasonable.

Signing Clayton Kershaw for 3/93 without an opt-out tells me several things:

  • Clayton wanted to pitch for the Dodgers and subverted his ego to help make it happen.
  • The Dodgers wanted Clayton but did not want to be stuck with the possibility of an onerous contract.
  • This just might be his last contract. He has never struck me as someone who will pitch forever since he has a full life outside of baseball.

I’m not as vested in Clayton Kershaw finishing his career as a Dodger as many Dodger fans but I love everything about this contract. I was having lunch with three Dodger fans when it was announced. Two were willing to go 120/4 or even 150/5 if that was what it would take to bring him back. One felt that 4/110 was reasonable.  Those three were all optimistic that Kershaw could regain his ace status. I kind of think his best days are behind because those best days were the best anyone has ever pitched, and rarely do you get to revisit the past but I would have liked to have seen him stay at a reasonable future extension at 20 – 25 Mill per year. I just didn’t think Clayton would agree to pitch for that price. Instead, he fooled all of us and signed a three-year deal adding about 28M to his current contract.

Hats off to everyone involved in this contract. Clayton Kershaw, his agent, and the Dodger front office.

Who isn’t excited to see what Buehler/Urias/Kershaw can do for you?

Cherry picking Ryu’s Postseason like a seasoned Kershaw postseason apologist.

Grant Brisbee just published his top 50 FA list and while he’s normally the funniest baseball writer in town, this pitch was basically straightforward.

He ranked Ryu as the 22nd best Free Agent and I won’t quibble as I have zero ideas how I would rank the free agents but it was his comment about Ryu’s postseason that caught my eye.

22. Hyun-Jin Ryu

Possibly the most thorough and impressive of all of the comebacks. Ryu came back from the depths of shoulder hell to have a fantastic run. In the regular season, at least. In the postseason, he finished miserably, giving up 11 runs in his final 13 innings.

Still, while you shouldn’t expect a sub-2.00 (or sub-3.00) ERA again, Ryu is going to be a relative bargain because of his health history. Unless he’s a complete waste of money because of his health history. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to, really

I didn’t think Ryu had a miserable postseason but as Grant noted he did give up 11 runs in his final 13 innings. Of course, when you exclude the game where you excelled you can get lines like that. For instance, if we discussed the last two games of Clayton Kershaw’s 2018 postseason we get someone who gave up nine runs in his last eleven innings.  That sounds bad. Especially since we excluded his eight innings of shutout ball in the 2018 NLDS against Atlanta, and his brilliant game five in the NLCS that turned the series around.

Ryu suffers from the same fate. Ryu was also brilliant in the 2018 NLDS shutting out the Braves for seven innings and getting the Dodgers started out in a very positive manner. In his next start against the Brewers in the 2018 NLCS, he shut them out for four innings. In the fifth, he gave up a solo home run, followed by a single, double putting runners on 2nd / 3rd with one out. He was done, and Madson came in to get the final two outs while giving up just one run. It would be the last time anyone would say Madson did his job. That game wasn’t good but like many Kershaw, apologists would say “he only had one bad inning”, if you take away the 5th, he was fantastic.  In game six of the NLCS, he was legit hammered. Bad game.  I don’t feel he pitched a bad game in the World Series. He gave up a home run in the 1st inning and then was brilliant until he had two outs and two strikes in the 5th when Vazquez got a lucky single to RF. The opened the floodgates for Ryan Madson to put a horrible line on Ryu that I didn’t think was indicative of his game in any way.

Or to put this another way, Ryu was no worse over his last two postseason starts than Clayton Kershaw was but when you look at the total postseason package for both pitchers, they had their great moments, and their bad moments, and judging them on their last two games just seems like the bigger picture is being missed.

 

Two needs, one player

The Dodgers only have a few holes but two of those holes could be plugged by the same player. With Yazmani Grandal hitting free agency, and Austin Barnes a huge question mark, along with the Dodger catching prospects being probably a year away from really being able to take the role, the Dodgers could use a catcher. They are also going to lose their big right-handed bat when Manny Machado decides to play the Machado way somewhere else.

Corey Seager is a big bat, but like many of the Dodger big bats, he is left-handed. The Dodgers only have three hitters that you could classify as above average right-hand hitters, Justin Turner/Puig/Chris Taylor.

David Young from TBLA suggested in the comments that the Dodgers could make a play for J.T. Realmuto by trading their prized catching prospect, Keibert Ruiz. I poo-pooed the idea at first but after percolating on it overnight, I started to think he may be onto something.

  • He’s a catcher
  • He’s young and team controlled until 2021
  • He might be the fastest catcher in baseball
  • He’s right-handed and has improved his OPS+ every year from 92 – 111 – 112 – 131.
Year    Age   PA  2B 3B HR   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+
2014     23   30   1  1  0 .241 .267 .345 .611   70
2015     24  467  21  7 10 .259 .290 .406 .696   92
2016     25  545  31  0 11 .303 .343 .428 .771  111
2017     26  579  31  5 17 .278 .332 .451 .783  112
2018     27  531  30  3 21 .277 .340 .484 .825  131
5 Yr   5 Yr 2152 114 16 59 .279 .327 .442 .768  111
162     162  646  34  5 18 .279 .327 .442 .768  111

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/1/2018.

Put into context his 2018 season was the best in baseball at the catching position

But the devil is in the details. His splits are not what we are looking for. I had hoped to find that his high OPS+ was partially based on his hammering LHP, but it isn’t. It is the opposite, he flailed against LHP and crushed RHP. We have enough hitters that crush RHP already.  Could 2018 have been a fluke season? Maybe, but even his historical splits show a 50 point spread between right and left-hand pitching. That is way better than the 200 points spread he showed in 2018 but hard to argue with four years of data.

I hate it when you have an idea for a column but it falls apart 3/4 of the way when you dig into the data.

Anyway, J.T. Realmuto is a catcher who clobbers right-hand pitching and since 3/4 of the time you are facing right-hand pitching he still has immense value. Just not enough value for me to give up Keibert Ruiz for him. I remain open-minded about that since Realmuto might be the player that breaks the drought. The one thing that has haunted the Dodgers in the past two World Series has been the offensive performance of the catchers. It would be nice to have a catcher who contributes in October as much as they do from April – Sept. That said, Realmuto could just as easily pull a Grandal in October. You just don’t know.

A year ago I thought Austin Barnes was about to become our Realmuto but 2018 happened.  It will be curious if the Dodgers feel he still has what it takes to be a starting catcher and that 2018 was an aberration or if they will go out and not only find a complement to Barnes but someone who puts him back into his backup role.

Or maybe Grandal is offered the QO and shocks everyone by accepting it.

The Dodgers don’t owe Clayton Kershaw anything

except for gratitude for being the HOF pitcher he has been. I read a tweet yesterday by a former Dodger that the Dodgers need to do right by Clayton Kershaw. I have no idea what this means. During the time that Clayton Kershaw helped lead the Dodgers to six straight NL West Divisions and two straight NL pennants, they have paid him $164,000,000, with an additional $70,000,000 on the books over the next two years. The Dodgers have already done right by Clayton Kershaw.

Clayton can opt out of his contract by this Wednesday, if he does so he will be leaving that $70,000,000 on the table. Supposedly the Dodgers and Clayton are in discussions about his future contract.

I guess one could argue that the Dodgers would benefit from Clayton Kershaw staying for the next two years and being paid $70Million to do so. I would not be making that argument, I’ll leave that for others.

He not only isn’t what he was but he hasn’t pitched over 175 innings since 2015 and given it is a back issue, it is doubtful he ever will again.  His velocity took a noticeable dip in 2018 and it ain’t coming back. Even with the reduced velocity he was still very effective but do you really want to bet $70Million he can replicate that success over the next two years? I’d love to have Clayton remain a Dodger I just don’t think it is reasonable to pay him twice his value to make it happen. I mean I’d pay twice his value if that meant paying him 10 Million instead of 5 Million but 35 Million instead of 17 Million seems a bit steep to be paying for sentimental value.

That being said whatever Clayton does is a win-win for me. It is not my money. If Clayton walks, I think having him off the books will give the Dodgers some flexibility to use that $35 Million spread around instead of focused on one pitcher. If he stays, we keep our homegrown future HOF and still get an above average pitcher even if he’s being paid at an elite level.

What I don’t want to happen is for Clayton to get paid over the next five years as though he is still an elite pitcher. If they extend the contract from the current two to four or five years, I hope it is a reasonable contract for both parties. I doubt this happens. I expect Clayton to either walk or opt-in on his current contract.  Ain’t no one going to be paying Clayton Kershaw $35 Million per year going forward except with the current contract he has.

Clayton was the best for a very very long time. We need to be prepared for that not being the case in the near future. It certainly won’t be the end of the world if he walks. The Giants didn’t win a World Championship until the best player of his generation was no longer a Giant. The Dodgers didn’t win a World Championship during the greatest run of a regular season pitcher I’d ever witnessed in Los Angeles.  Many have said that is not the fault of Clayton Kershaw, but game five happened in 2017, and that doesn’t hold water. I’m not upset about that. I wanted Clayton Kershaw to hold those huge leads in game 5 for Clayton Kershaw. These are not my Championships that are lost on the mound, they are his, and he worked his ass to get one. I’m just sorry he couldn’t get one. Maybe if he stays he still can, but he won’t be the big boss on the team for the first time in ten years even if he’s still being paid like he is.

 

How do you improve a team that has won six straight NL West titles?

but can’t perform well enough to win even one World Championship during this six-year run?

I don’t have any answers, I’m just posing the question because this team seems pretty set heading into 2019 except how to replace Grandal and Ryu and Ryu’s replacement would seem to be Julio Urias.

Yazmani Grandal has been one of the top five offensive catchers during his Dodger run, but also is the worst performing Dodger postseason hitter of all time. I have no proof of this but a .462 career postseason OPS in 92 plate appearances is what I’d be heading into the trial with.

Kiké ended the 2018 season looking like a Star was Born only to see his stock fall back with his grisly October performance.

Maddening Manny Machado………..just say I won’t miss him

The Dodgers found their Andrew Miller in Caleb Ferguson and then left him off the World Series roster. Don’t tell me that didn’t bite them in the ass.

Ryan Madson found his way onto the postseason roster while Ross Stripling sat. Ryan was effective in Sept but horrible in October. Ross was ineffective in Sept but……….

I don’t know. The team seems set. More than set. Almost too many pieces.

1st – Muncy / Freese (they best pick up his option)

2nd – Hernandez / Taylor / Muncy

SS – Seager

3rd – Turner

Catcher – yup, that be a hole. Grandal is a free agent, and Barnes did little to inspire confidence he’d be a functional full-time catcher.  I mean I have faith that Barnes could do it for 100 games but I’m not sure anyone else does. Keibert Ruiz couldn’t possibly be ready by 2019, could he? Muncy looks like a catcher maybe they can make him one:)

LF – Taylor/Joc//Verdugo/Toles

CF – Bellinger/Taylor/Verdugo

RF – Puig/Verdugo/Toles

SP – Buehler, Kershaw,  Hill, Kenta, Wood, Urias, Stripling, Dennis Santana, Brock Stewart

RP – Jansen, Baez, Ferguson, Alexander, Fields, Chargois, Floro, Cingrani, Goeddel

Going to miss Ryu. Don’t expect Kershaw to leave but we will know in a few days. I’ll have thoughts on that today.

The Dodgers have a ton of money to work with even with Clayton optioning in. If he doesn’t that is an additional $32,000,000 to work with.

I expect them to add a short-term catcher, another starting pitcher, several relief pitchers. Players I don’t expect to be on the team come April 1st that aren’t currently free agents.

Alex Wood – arb eligible, could be the price for a catcher or a relief pitcher

Brock Stewart – a trading piece, for what I don’t know

Andrew Toles – he’s just so redundant with Alex Verdugo on the team, and Cody Bellinger now a Center Fielder.

Any number of the current relief staff except Jansen, Baez, Ferguson.

This is still a fairly young team with Muncy, Taylor, Kiké, Seager, Puig, Joc, Bellinger, Verdugo, Toles, Wood, Buehler, Urias, and Ferguson all under the age of 28.

Maybe just maybe they can grow into a World Championship.

Feebly into the night

Now we know what the fans of the 1966 Dodgers felt like after the Orioles swept them in four games. That series was known for the ineptitude of the Dodger offense and this one can sit right along with it. The difference being the 1966 team went into the World Series having scored only 606 runs while the 2018 team scored over 800 runs. The 1966 team was expected to win on the backs of the outstanding pitching staff and in 1966 that pitching held up their side of the bargain losing the final two games by the score of 1 – 0.

Maybe I should be talking about 1974 when the Dodgers lost in five games just as they did in the 2018 series. Except in 1974, the games were extremely close with the Dodgers losing three games by a score of 3 – 2. The expectations were also different because the 1974 team was brand new to the postseason. Just about everyone on the team was in the postseason for the first time so you could expect them to have some misfires while in the fire for the first time.

The 2018 team couldn’t possibly have anymore postseason experience. They have been in the postseason year after year and back to back World Series visits. The big debate will continue as to whether experience trumps skill but for this series, the best player for the Dodgers was the pitcher, pitching in his first postseason.

Players who did their part above and beyond expectations.

Walker Buehler, Rich Hill, and David Freese.

Players who were ok, Justin Turner, Muncy (one big hit), Puig (one big hit),  Kershaw, Ryu, Urias

Everyone else was horrible.

Cody Bellinger had his second straight World Series with nary a positive impact. The Dodger catchers get their own special award for World Series offensive ineptitude. I don’t know how to search it via Bref play index but hard to imagine any position having a more meager offensive performance than the Dodger catchers over the past two World Series.  Manny Machado can’t take off his Dodger jersey fast enough for me. If I hadn’t been a Dodger fan, and I was watching the postseason, just watching Machado would have been enough for me to root against the Dodgers. Kiké hit a pointless home run in game four but that couldn’t stop him from having one of worst Dodger offensive postseasons in recent memory that didn’t include Yazmani Grandal. Chris Taylor, Brian Dozier, and Joc Pederson just didn’t hit.

                    Play Play Play Play Play Play Play  Play
Name                  AB    H   HR  RBI   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
Justin Turner         24    8    0    0 .333 .385 .417  .801
Manny Machado         22    4    0    3 .182 .208 .182  .390
Yasiel Puig           20    5    1    4 .250 .286 .400  .686
Max Muncy             17    4    1    1 .235 .316 .471  .786
Cody Bellinger        16    1    0    0 .063 .063 .063  .125
Enrique Hernandez     15    2    1    2 .133 .133 .333  .467
Chris Taylor          14    2    0    0 .143 .333 .143  .476
David Freese          12    5    1    1 .417 .500 .833 1.333
Joc Pederson          12    1    1    1 .083 .083 .333  .417
Austin Barnes         11    0    0    0 .000 .083 .000 .
Matt Kemp              9    1    1    2 .111 .100 .444  .544
Brian Dozier           5    0    0    0 .000 .375 .000  .375
Yasmani Grandal        5    1    0    0 .200 .429 .200  .629
Totals               189   34    6   14 .180 .249 .302  .550

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/29/2018.

Clayton Kershaw started games one and five and didn’t pitch well enough for the Dodgers to win either game. Ryan Madson did him no favors in game one, but it wasn’t like he wasn’t being hit hard when he was forced to leave the game in the 5th inning.  In game five dingers were the story, early,  and late. He was awesome however from the 2nd – 5th innings, something the Kershaw postseason apologists can hang their hats on as they discuss his postseason legacy. The Dodgers weren’t going to win game five unless Kershaw was going to throw a shutout but that became a moot point when Pearce took him deep.  Kershaw did keep the team in the game until two of the best hitters in baseball took him deep in the 6th and 7th. See, a Kershaw apologist lives within me, even now.

Enough can’t be said about what Walker Buehler did in game three.

Rich Hill almost duplicated that effort in game four but was taken out with one out in the 6th after issuing a walk The next hitter was left-handed Brock Holt and Hill had walked him and gotten him to ground out in his previous two at-bats. Dave Roberts in possibly his worst managed game in a World Series which is saying something, pulled Hill and went for Alexander hoping for a double play. The score was 4 – 0 at the time with one out in the 6th. By the time Roberts stopped pushing his buttons, the Red Sox would score nine times and the series was effectively over.

Ryu, like Kershaw in game one, deserved a better fate. Ryu pitched extremely well for fourteen outs. He was in cruise control getting the first two outs in the fifth and had two strikes on the worst hitter in the Red Sox lineup. One more good pitch he would be into the 6th, and he made that good pitch, but Vazquez looped the single into right field in front of Puig. Now it was trouble, and the Red Sox would put up a three-spot against Ryu/Madson.

All in all, I thought the Dodger rotation did the job well enough that if the bullpen had done their jobs, and the offense had hit even a little they could have taken this series to seven games.

The idea that the Red Sox are some legendary team just seems like a rationalization for having lost to them. Any team getting beat by Steve Pearce shouldn’t be putting the tag of legendary on them, they should be looking in the mirror.