Rendon and Cole aren’t coming to Los Angeles
I spent some time trying to figure out how the Dodgers could get Anthony Rendon when it dawned on me that I’m just wasting my time. The Nationals are going to the World Series and Anthony Rendon is going to stay in Washington.
Gerritt Cole is probably going to the World Series and while he may not stay in Houston, he’s not coming to the Dodgers either.
That reality will upset many fans who feel the way to solve the Dodger problems are to spend their way out of it. To be clear the Dodger problem is not winning, they do that just fine, possibly better than any Dodger team ever, the problem is not winning the last game of the season.
I don’t know how to solve that. The Dodgers tried to solve it this past winter when they inexplicably signed A.J. Pollock to be their CF for the next for years. He was supposed to be a difference-maker in October when tough lefties were thrown at the Dodgers. Pollock couldn’t even man CF for one season, much less four and by August had simply become the LF against LHP. The only reason he played against RHP in October was that Alex Verdugo ended up missing Sept and Oct. It only took three games in October before A.J. Pollock was sitting on the bench in October leaving me to wonder exactly what I wondered when they signed him, what does A.J. Pollock have that Chris Taylor does not? Not exactly how the Dodger brass expected their big signing of 2019 to play out but it wasn’t exactly unpredictable.
The other big signing was Joe Kelly who picked the wrong time to start Howie Kendrick on a roll that still hasn’t finished.
I don’t know what the Dodgers will do this winter. The team is still loaded with veterans and youth. You still have the starting lineups of Muncy/Lux/Seager/Turner/Smith/Pederson/Bellinger/Verdugo against RHP and Muncy/Lux/Seager/Turner/Smith/Verdugo/Bellinger/Pollock against LHP assuming that Lux becomes the starting everyday 2nd baseman and Verdugo an everyday OF.
When healthy, that is probably a better starting lineup than the group that won 106 games. Lux should be an improvement at 2nd, Seager should improve, Smith over a full season should give the team more than Barnes did the first three months. Having Bellinger in CF for a full season is going to help the defense. We can’t forget how good Alex Verdugo was when he was healthy. Joc was Joc, but with even more Joc Jack than ever before.
The rotation may lose Ryu and Hill but that still leaves Walker / Kershaw / Kenta / May / Urias / Stripling / Gonsolin and possibly Josiah Gray. Going forward Walker is probably going to be the running for some Cy Young Awards. Kershaw may have found a nice level as a mid-rotation starter. Kenta is Kenta. A perfectly decent rotation piece who will head to the bullpen in Sept. I don’t know what May is, but he’s ready for his rotation piece. Ross Stripling is perfectly serviceable in a rotation. Urias should finally be ready for his spot in a rotation. Once again, I have no idea what to expect from him but it is time we find out what he is. That is a solid rotation but probably not a rotation that you’d bet on to win the last game of the season unless one of May or Urias becomes a genuine 2nd option come October. Not a bet I’d make. Even if Rich Hill comes back for another season, the spot you can see the Dodgers trying to upgrade is the rotation.
As always, the bullpen clearly needs another big piece, maybe two.
Anyway, last year the Dodgers shocked us by trading Puig/Wood for two prospects who both blossomed. They also shocked us by signing A.J. Pollock and you’d be hard-pressed to say that was a good deal. Now that Cody Bellinger is the CF going forward that is a lot of money for a right-handed hitting left fielder who is probably 4th on the outfield depth chart behind Cody/Pederson/Verdugo and maybe should be fifth behind Chris Taylor.
Joe Kelly was a good signing, I’m not blaming him for the 10th inning of game 5 and for most of the summer was the best relief option in the bullpen.
Every winter over the past six years has had the same question. How do you improve a team that keeps playing in October but never long enough? Once again the Dodgers will try to answer that question, maybe this time they will get it right.
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