Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Category: Front office (Page 1 of 4)

So, you want the Dodgers
to stop messing around …

Adam Hagy/

Being open to new and risky ideas has brought the Dodgers to the top of the National League and the brink of two World Series titles, with eyes again on the promised land in 2019. 

If you’re going to make the argument that they would have already won the World Series this decade if they didn’t experiment so much, understand that they wouldn’t have reached the World Series if they had experimented any less. 

You don’t like some of the results? That comes with the territory. If there weren’t risk involved, it wouldn’t be an experiment. It would be adherence to the status quo, which gets you nowhere. 

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The 2017 Dodgers built a championship bullpen.
They lost anyway.

Kenley Jansen on his way to saving Game 1 of the 2017 World Series
(Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Sometimes, you read things on Twitter … 

  • like the current Dodger front office refuses to relief pitching seriously
  • and is incapable of building a bullpen worthy of a World Series title. 

Then you go into your wayback machine, all the way back to … 2017. To a time of peak Kenley Jansen and Brandon Morrow, to the twin Tonys (Watson and Cingrani) which may be listed on a betting site such as uk online casino, to the strong supporting work by Pedro Baez, Josh Fields, Luis Avilan and Ross Stripling, and to Special Agent Kenta Maeda. If you want to try this online betting site, เยี่ยมชม UFABET ที่นี่ to learn more about this online casino.

I’m going to make a very narrow, precise point here. 

The Dodgers lost the 2017 World Series. But it wasn’t because the relief pitchers weren’t in place. They had everyone they needed coming out of the bullpen and more. 

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Uneasy lies the head that wears a Dodger cap

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Hi ho, it’s February. Dodger pitchers and catchers and other eager beavers are scheduled to report to Camelback Ranch in eight days. The first full squad workout comes two weeks from Tuesday.

Vibe: unsettled.

Forecast: angsty.

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If MLB owners want to bring rationality to salaries, they need to start paying young players what they’re worth

This is not a statement about what will happen. This is a statement about what should be.

If major-league baseball teams, in sincere, non-colluding fashion, intend to be more rational in what they pay players past their prime — whether we’re talking about new deals for over-30 players, or the second half of 10-year contracts for 26-year-old superstars — then they need to be more fair in what they pay players in their prime.

You cannot justify a monopoly that imposes artificial limits on superstars who peak early — paying them less than 10 percent of their worth in many cases, paying them less than 1 percent of their worth in the case of a Mike Trout — and then deny them the opportunity to recoup those lost wages on the back end.

This injustice is exacerbated by the unconscionable, sub-minimum wage that nearly every ballplayer earns in the minor leagues, especially the overwhelming majority that don’t receive massive signing bonuses out of high school or college.

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For the Dodgers, payroll is a means — not an end

Jill Weisleder/Los Angeles Dodgers

Last week, Bill Shaikin of the Times reported on the existence of a private document, prepared nearly two years ago before the 2017 MLB season, proposing that the Dodgers would keep annual team payroll through 2022 below $200 million, a level that would avoid luxury tax penalties.

Coming off a 2018 season in which the Dodgers reined in their previous extravagance under the Guggenheim ownership in the process of losing their second straight World Series, Shaikin’s revelation was sure to anger many devoted fans.

Whether it actually comes to pass remains to be seen …

  • The document was geared for potential investors of artificial intelligence ETFs, so it was designed to make future expenses seem modest.
  • It is, no doubt, at least somewhat obsolete, given that it predated revenue from the past two World Series runs. (Shaikin cited a Dodger official who said he would be shocked if 2019 payroll didn’t surpass $200 million.)

… but nevertheless, it wasn’t the happiest piece of news to reach a hungry fan base.

Not surprisingly, Bill Plaschke of the Times was quick to write about the bad message it sent. But by Plaschke’s standards, his take was fairly measured, and frankly, I thought the uproar that followed would be more intense than it’s turned out to be. The story hasn’t had a great deal of shelf life. It simmers. Many fans seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach with the coming offseason.

That’s not to say distrust doesn’t remain, but the fans most likely to triggered by Shaikin’s story are already so hostile to the Dodger front office that his revelation had little room to move the needle. Like a Spinal Tap cover, their feelings toward the people running the franchise could be “none more black.”

Independent of that, I also think that for all the attention payroll gets, the money that the Dodgers spend is besides the point. They could go bonkers on bucks, and it won’t matter to those fans if the players don’t perform and the team doesn’t win.

We know this, because it happened as recently as 2017. The Dodgers had a payroll that was about 20 percent higher than any other MLB franchise, added Yu Darvish at the trade deadline, and still took a beating when they lost World Series Game 7.

To further verify, I tested a theory on Twitter.

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When aardvarks took over baseball

Photo: Honolulu Zoo

When the aardvark revolution came to baseball, progress was slow at first.

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Why ‘Dodger for life’ looks good for Clayton Kershaw

Addressing the strong possibility that Clayton Kershaw will opt out of his contract with the Dodgers after the 2018 season, Dodger owner and chairman Mark Walter told Jon Heyman of FanRag (I still can’t believe that’s the name) Sports that the future Hall of Famer “should be a Dodger for life.”

Walter’s waxings are warmly welcome but shouldn’t be shocking. Short of seeing the front office and the pitcher side-by-side at a press conference, nearly every sign you might observe points to the Dodgers and Kershaw forming a more perfect union.

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Success and shortcomings alike fuel Dodgers’ 2017 World Series bid

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

When you fall short of a championship, as the Dodgers did this year, there’s a certain game face you’re required to display — a certain stoicism or even gravity.

Show any pride in partial achievement, and you risk conveying that you aren’t committed to the larger goal, that you don’t understand how important a title is, that you just don’t get it.

The reality is, yes, you can feel good about the positives from a season without diminishing the craving — the gut-wrenching craving — for ultimate greatness. Pride and desire aren’t opposites.

Think of your team as you would your child. To want anything less than the best for your kin would be negligent. To dismiss your children’s smaller accomplishments wholesale when they aren’t the best — that’s negligent, too.

You learn from failure, but you can also feed off success.

When Andrew Friedman and Dave Roberts met reporters this afternoon to bring closure to the Dodgers’ season, the different threads were front and center. No one felt ashamed of the effort or the intermediate achievements, even if no one was satisfied with the final result.

In other words, there was no mistaking the determination to go farther. Pride and desire.

“Obviously, the No. 1 goal is to play in the World Series, and we came up short,” said Roberts, who was named Sporting News NL Manager of the Year today. “I think a lot of good things are in place to bring a championship back here to Los Angeles. Since last December, the process of how we go about things as an organization, how the guys on the field play the game … I think we did a lot of good things.

“You can look back at this past series (against Chicago), and we didn’t play our best baseball and certain things could have changed that would have affected the outcome. You can talk about that forever. But I think the time we put into creating an environment, syncing it with the ownership, front office, coaching staff, players, training staff — those are things that are really tangible I think. I think that is something we’re going to hang our hats on, and we’ll be ready to go next spring.”

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Andrew Friedman, Dave Roberts explain Dodgers’ NLDS roster choices

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers faced several hard choices in coming up with their 25-man roster for the National League Division Series — and to some extent, the specific matchup with the Washington Nationals served as a tiebreaker.

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One celebration down, ‘three more celebrations’ to go for NL West champion Dodgers


By Jon Weisman

One of these years, it wasn’t going to happen. One of these years, the National League West title would go to someone else.

Three months ago, 2016 looked dangerously like it would be that year. The Dodgers began the season in pursuit of their fourth straight division championship, but on June 26, eight games down in the division, one ace down on the disabled list — it was a feeding frenzy for those looking to bury Los Angeles.

Exactly three months later, on September 26, the Dodgers will wake up not eight games down in the NL West, but eight games up — and playoff bound.

Instead of surrendering with Clayton Kershaw out, the Dodgers found a deep resolve. Not coincidentally, it came from a deep roster.

“We talked a lot at Spring Training about depth in the organization,” president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said, in the bombastic clubhouse after today’s clinching victory over Colorado. “It wasn’t something that we were necessarily eager to showcase, as early as we did and as often as we did. But it’s an incredible organization. The number of fingerprints on this division title spans so many different players and so many different departments in our organization. So many people can be proud of it.

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Andrew Friedman discusses Urias, Wood, Ryu, Bolsinger

[milbvideo id=”657718883″ width=”550″ height=”308″ /]

By Jon Weisman

Dodger president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman fielded questions on a conference call from New York late today, mainly on Julio Urias but also on the status of Mike Bolsinger, Alex Wood and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Here are Friedman’s comments (the questions are paraphrased):

When was the decision to promote Urias made?

We’ve had a lot of conversations in the last month about Julio, thinking through different ideas in terms how he can help us win games. It’s not just a case of assessing his talent and seeing if he could help us, it’s also about finishing off some development — also the workload and how to manage that going forward. When this (left triceps soreness) came up with Woody, it made it obviously much easier in that we needed someone who’d be able to go Friday.

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Interview: Forging a career in baseball operations

Emilee Fragapane 2015 012815js279

Emilee Fragapane

Megan Schroeder 2016 011316js088

Megan Schroeder

Providing an enlightening window into the evolving Dodger front office, senior research and development analyst Megan Schroeder and baseball operations coordinator Emilee Fragapane spoke to Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller on Baseball Prospectus’ “Effectively Wild” podcast about what they do, the impressive level of study that prepared them, and their rare gender status in their roles.  Give it a listen

— Jon Weisman

View from the top: Andrew Friedman analyzes three keys to the Dodgers’ future

Roberts Friedman

Andrew Friedman and Dave Roberts before a rain delay April 9 at San Francisco. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

By Jon Weisman

Taking a break from the standing desk in his office overlooking left field at Dodger Stadium, 18 months into his tenure as Dodger president of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman was asked to reflect.

In the brief pause that followed, you could feel the sheer volume of all the moves and maneuvering roll through his brain like a freight train.

“It’s been such a frenetic pace,” Friedman said, “I feel like I’ve been drinking out of a firehose for the past year and a half.”

But the moment did provide an opportunity for Friedman to assess the state of the squad and look ahead toward a future filled with potential — all in pursuit of the unquestioned grand prize of a World Series title.

What follows are Friedman’s thoughts on three areas critical to that pursuit …

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Howie Kendrick and the long Dodger lineup

By Jon Weisman

The Dodgers’ lineup might be defined less by the absence of a traditional leadoff hitter than by the absence of a traditional No. 8 hitter.

Of their eight most likely 2016 position-player starters — and we’ll count newly resigned second baseman Howie Kendrick among them — none has a projected on-base percentage below .311, nor a weighted on-base average below .319.

In 2016, according to Fangraphs, the average No. 8 hitter in the National League had a .302 OBP and .283 wOBA.

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Greg Maddux, Raul Ibanez join Dodger front office

Greg Maddux finished off the Dodgers NLDS Game 1 victory at Chicago on October 1, 2008. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Greg Maddux finished off the Dodgers NLDS Game 1 victory at Chicago on October 1, 2008. (Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Raul Ibanez finished his MLB career with Kansas City in 2014. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Raul Ibanez wrapped up his MLB career with Kansas City in 2014. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

By Jon Weisman

For the third time, Greg Maddux is a Dodger.

The Hall of Famer and two-time Dodger pitcher, as well as 19-year MLB veteran Raul Ibanez, have been hired as special assistants to president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and the entire department.

In their roles, Maddux and Ibañez will assist in all aspects of baseball operations, including scouting, player development and working with the club’s players, both at the Major and minor league levels.

For the past four seasons, Maddux has been a special assistant to Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, after having been in a similar role for the Cubs and GM Jim Hendry. He was also pitching coach for Team USA during the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Maddux, who unbelievably turns 50 in April, pitched 114 1/3 of his 5,008 1/3 career innings with the Dodgers, combining 2006 and 2008 stints into a 3.94 ERA. As an Atlanta Brave, he was the last pitcher to win four National League ERA titles (1993-95, 1998) until Clayton Kershaw matched him from 2011-14.

The 43-year-old Ibanez played his final big-league game in September 2014, completing his 2,161-game MLB career with 305 home runs, hitting as many as 34 in 2009 for Philadelphia.

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