Dodger odds and ends
We said back in November we expected the Dodgers to have a fairly quiet winter but I didn’t think the team would go into full black bear hibernation mode once the team made the Charlie Culberson deal.
As we get ready to head into spring the team that took the field for game seven is basically the same team minus Yu Darvish. Bellinger, Forsythe, Seager, Turner, Barnes, Puig, Taylor, and Pederson are the favorites to start game one of 2018 just as they started game seven.
Jon Weisman has a new book out called Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition. I’m hoping that Burt Hooton is included in that extraordinary segment as he’s usually forgotten when fans discuss historical Dodger pitchers. The last book Jon wrote was 100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die which was a fun read. I gave copies out to several family members and they all enjoyed it immensely. I’m looking forward to this one.
To the surprise of many and the delight of a few, Matt Kemp is still a Dodger. It is no surprise that Matt is in the BSOHL but his mental state might be the biggest issue he will face this spring. Can Matt compete for a job without bringing the baggage and attitude that has seen him considered a bad clubhouse player since his last days with the Dodgers when he refused to acknowledge that he was no longer a center fielder and felt left field was beneath his skill set? The last time Matt Kemp was a Dodger he had a monster final month slugging nine home runs in only 95 Sept plate appearances.
Player Split Year OPS PA HR RBI BA OBP SLG Justin Turner Sept/Oct 2014 1.192 48 3 12 .422 .458 .733 Carl Crawford Sept/Oct 2014 1.189 75 3 16 .448 .473 .716 Matt Kemp Sept/Oct 2014 1.047 95 9 25 .322 .347 .700 Scott Van Slyke Sept/Oct 2014 .989 38 1 7 .432 .421 .568 Juan Uribe Sept/Oct 2014 .945 80 3 17 .377 .400 .545 Adrian Gonzalez Sept/Oct 2014 .897 105 8 25 .260 .324 .573 Hanley Ramirez Sept/Oct 2014 .876 80 0 11 .352 .425 .451 Yasiel Puig Sept/Oct 2014 .808 101 3 10 .284 .376 .432 Andre Ethier Sept/Oct 2014 .773 25 0 2 .222 .440 .333 Dee Gordon Sept/Oct 2014 .678 91 0 5 .303 .308 .371 A.J. Ellis Sept/Oct 2014 .583 75 2 10 .190 .297 .286 Joc Pederson Sept/Oct 2014 .494 38 0 0 .143 .351 .143
Only players left from Sept 2014 are Justin Turner, Puig, and Joc Pederson. Possibly Matt Kemp. This time around they simply need him to be part of the machine. I still don’t think he sees opening day as the Dodgers have plenty of left field options and moving his salary has to be the number one priority of the front office.
Yu Darvish is still a free agent.
Kenley Jansen said the players might need to strike over the fact that mediocre baseball players aren’t getting paid millions of dollars. Justin Turner thinks every team should spend as much money as possible to put the best team out on the field. The Dodgers twenty deep analyst team feel that both don’t understand the new economics of well-run baseball front offices. Times are a changing and no one feels the need to pay extra for a veteran when a Charlie Culberson can do it for the equivalent of baseball peanuts. I’d be more interested in what Kenley and Justin had to say if it involved getting higher salaries for the minor league players instead of wanting to add millions to the pockets of current millionaires. Take care of the Brett Eibners and then I’d be more inclined to listen to the MLB player complaints.
Wilmer Font has the support of Fangraphs. At least two of us are on the Font train.
Only Tyler Glasnow managed a higher strikeout rate than Font did, and Glasnow has long had that reputation of being unhittable when he’s right. Font also limited his walks, which was a function of his throwing more than two-thirds of all his pitches for strikes. Font’s strike rate ranked sixth-highest in the sample, and while I of course do understand there’s more to pitching than just strikeouts and walks, those are two pretty important pillars.
Font is out of options so he can’t sit in AAA this year waiting for someone to drop an arm in the rotation. If someone in the big five can’t make it through spring (Kershaw/Wood/Maeda/Hill/Ryu) he might be the first guy to get the call provided he isn’t traded along with Kemp this spring.
There is the perception that the Dodgers did nothing while the NL West was busy closing the gap. I don’t see it, but I’ll look deeper into it in a few weeks. Last I looked JD Martinez was not headed back to the Diamondbacks and that looks like a big hit to the organization. The Rockies are counting on young pitchers to get better. Does that ever happen in Coors? Giants certainly made some deals. They got older, but might not be better than the Padres this year.
Anyway, Dodger baseball is right around the corner, and according to Los Angeles, it is already spring as we have had 80-degree weather for several weeks now.