Category Archives: Off Season

World Champions Or Bust

Last year, the bar was set too low. Everyone was saying, “World Series or bust.” And that’s exactly what happened. The Dodgers made it to the Fall Classic. This year, the goal is one more postseason win. The players, front office, and fans all agree that the goal for this year is a World Series parade down Vin Scully Avenue.

There’s going to be some fierce competition for the NL Pennant this year. It’s going to be tough to even win the NL West in 2018. The Rockies and Diamondbacks are ready to take another shot a de-throning the Dodgers. The Giants have been busy this offseason and it looks like they are ready to fight again. Elsewhere in the National League, the Brewers are ready to fight for the NL Central title. The Cubs, Cardinals, and Nationals also look like they will be fighting for the pennant again.

There’s also a lot of teams in the American League who are looking for a World Series title. If the Dodgers are able to make it to the World Series, they will still need four wins to achieve their goal.

2018 will be a wild ride. The Dodgers have been preparing for the season ever since they lost the World Series. The front office has been working on boosting the bullpen, securing a second baseman, and finding more power hitters. Cody Bellinger has been working to make sure he avoids a sophomore slump. This offseason he added 15 pounds of muscle. Joc Pederson has ramped up his workouts in an attempt to earn a spot in left field.

Overall, the Dodgers look determined to win it all this year. Pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training in just ten days. The first full-team workout will be on February 19. In two weeks it will be time for Dodger baseball. The goal from day one will once again be a World Series title. Maybe 2018 will be the year.

Dodgers Decide To Keep Kemp On Roster

The Dodgers have just announced that Matt Kemp will be joining the team for Spring Training at Camelback Ranch in two weeks. It seems like the front office has a very short memory. Three years ago, the Dodgers wisely traded Kemp to the Padres, who then traded him to the Braves in 2017. When the Dodgers traded Kemp away, it seemed like we would only seem him in the first base dugout at Dodger Stadium. However, this offseason, the Dodgers decided to bring Kemp back. They traded away four players and cash for the thirty-three-year-old left fielder. Today at Fanfest, they announced that he will be joining them for Spring Training.

Kemp’s last stint with the Dodgers did not go well. He didn’t get along with his manager, Don Mattingly (now managing the Marlins), and he also didn’t get along with the young and immature Yasiel Puig. He also seemed to enjoy getting ejected from games. By the time the Dodgers traded him away, Kemp had left a very sour taste in Dodger fans’ mouths. Most of us were glad to see him leave.

So why did the Dodgers trade to bring him back? And why do they want to give him another chance? They brought him back to cut down on the 2018 payroll. That’s the easy question to answer. But why do they want to give him another chance? I don’t really know. They say he’s lost a lot of weight and he’s healthy. That could be the reason. But it’s really hard to tell.

If Kemp makes the roster, there are a few things that need to change. First, he needs to have more respect for authority. Dave Roberts’ clubhouse is not one that tolerates rebels. He needs to respect his manager much better than when Mattingly was the skipper. He also needs to keep out of fights with umpires. Whenever he disagreed with a call, he yelled so much that he would get kicked out of games. This needs to stop. Second, both he and Puig need to mature. We have already seen Puig mature a lot in three years, but he and Kemp did not use to like each other. They will need to put their differences aside and work together to help the Dodgers win. If they don’t, you can drop all your expectations of a World Championship.

The third thing that needs to happen is he needs to win the fight for left field. Chris Taylor already has secured his spot in center, and Puig already has his spot in right. This leaves Joc PedersonKiké HernándezTrayce ThompsonAlex Verdugo, and Andrew Toles to compete with Kemp for left field.

Hernández is likely going to keep his roles as a utility player, so he’s not likely to make much competition. Thompson will need to bounce back from a very disappointing 2017 season. Toles will see his first action since his surgery to repair his ACL, so we’ll see what he can do. Verdugo is hungry for more big league action after getting a taste of it this October. Because of this, it seems like Pederson is the best choice.

I don’t really understand why the Dodgers want to keep Kemp on the team. If I were in control, he wouldn’t be. But I guess that if he shows up at Spring Training ready to work and get along with his teammates, I may rethink my opinion on Kemp.

Should The Dodgers Re-Sign Yu Darvish?

Should the Dodgers bring back Yu Darvish? This has been a question that baseball fans have been asking all offseason. As many of you know, I’ve been against this all offseason. Why? Three words, “the World Series.” Okay, it’s not only his World Series performance, but it is the biggest reason.

Darvish owned a 10-12 record with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP over 31 starts in 2017. Darvish’s stats were not the stats of an Ace while he was in Texas and he got only a little better after being traded. With the Rangers, he owned a 6-9 record with a 4.01 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. Then when he was traded to the Dodgers and began changing his mechanics, he went 4-3 with a 3.44 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.

After Darvish’s dominant Dodgers debut, things looked really hopeful. He pitched seven shutout innings against the New York Mets in that game. After that, things went downhill. He allowed two runs in his next start, followed by three the next time. He just kept giving up runs and I began to hope he wouldn’t make the playoff roster.

Darvish then got the Dodgers’ hopes really high when he dominated against the Cubs in the NLCS. But then things changed. Darvish couldn’t make it through three innings against the Astros in either game he pitched in the World Series. When the dust settled, Dodger fans were blaming Darvish for the loss. We were right.

Then today, MLB National Reporter, Barry Bloom, tried to explain why the Dodgers should re-sign Darvish. He said that the Dodgers only had him for a couple of months. And he was right. But that was too long. If the Dodgers bring Darvish back, we will see the same things we saw from him. A few good starts mixed in with lots of frustrating starts. He also says that Darvish spent time changing his mechanics. That’s true. And then what happened? He went back to his old ways when it mattered most.

No matter what anybody else says, I do not believe that Darvish is a good fit for the Dodgers. Comment below and tell me your opinion on this subject.

Dodgers Trade 4 Players, Cash For Matt Kemp

This move completely baffles me. It’s even more confusing than when the Dodgers decided to sign Tom Koehler, a right-handed reliever with an insanely high ERA. This time, the Dodgers traded four players and cash for none other than Matt Kemp. Yes, you read that right.

The Dodgers traded Adrián GonzálezScott KazmirBrandon McCarthy, and Charlie Culberson in exchange for Kemp. Now, anyone who has followed the Dodgers for more than three years knows that Kemp used to play for the Dodgers. Also, if you have watched Kemp for any length of time, you know that he is most famous for getting ejected.

The Dodgers’ goal for trading away González, Kazmir, and McCarthy seems to have been to lighten up the pay role. González is owed $21.5 million, McCarthy $12 million, and Kazmir $15 million in 2018. So the Dodgers shed roughly $27 million when you take Kemp’s $21.75 million into consideration.

While I’m completely in favor of getting Kazmir and McCarthy, along with their salaries, off the roster, I’m not in favor of the rest of the deal. Kazmir didn’t even pitch in 2017 due to a hip injury. In 2016, Kazmir went 10-6 with a 4.56 ERA. McCarthy pitched in 19 games (16 starts) in 2017, posting a 6-4 record with a 3.98 ERA. However, he pitched only 92.2 innings. The Dodgers also traded away Charlie Culberson, who spent most of the season in Triple-A. He recorded only 13 at-bats during the regular season, recording only two hits.

The part of this trade that I don’t like has to do with González and Kemp. I know that González played in only 71 games this year due to injuries, but I still think he could have contributed to the Dodgers. González has shown to be a very consistent hitter over his Major League career and, even though his stats were down, I think he will bounce back in 2018. The Dodgers should have kept González around. I also can’t believe that they really wanted Kemp to return. It’s absolutely mind-boggling to think that the Dodgers want to bring him back. He only hit 19 home runs in 2017. He also is not the kind of person the Dodgers should want in the clubhouse. It seems like he always would get ejected from games, something that drives me and other baseball fans crazy! His stats are also declining. His power is going down along with his slugging percentage and his OPS.

Since the Dodgers freed up some of their money (which they have more than enough of), they should put it either towards trading Kemp for Pirates’ center fielder Andrew McCutchen or signing free-agent Lorenzo Cain. I for one, do not want to see Kemp in a Dodger uniform again. Technically, the Dodgers checked the box of acquiring another outfielder, but I think they messed it up. There are many better outfielders they could have acquired. Hopefully, they can get the outfield figured out before Spring Training.

Dodgers Don’t Land Ohtani; Need Starting Pitcher

Shohei Ohtani decided not to sign with the Dodgers, instead, he chose to play for the Angels. Because of this, the Dodgers still need to find another starting pitcher.

So who’s available to replace Ohtani? There are a number of free agents that the Dodgers could attempt to sign. The first one who comes to mind of course is Yu Darvish. Now, I’m not blind to the fact that Darvish lost the World Series this year. In fact, I don’t’ want him back. And thankfully, it seems like the Dodgers front office doesn’t want him either.

The Dodgers also could try to sign Jake Arrieta. This seems like the better option. Arrieta has actually succeeded in the postseason, unlike Darvish. He’s a veteran pitcher who still can keep up good stats. If the Dodgers are thinking properly, they will go after Arrieta.

The other options would be to find a pitcher who is already in the system, or they could try to trade for someone else. Trading doesn’t seem like a good option because the Dodgers would have to give up a bunch of their valuable prospects. They don’t have very many prospects to trade, however, because they gave away a bunch of them to acquire Darvish.

My Opinion On Stanton and Ohtani

Ever since the beginning of the offseason, the biggest names in baseball have been Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani. I’ve been monitoring everything that’s been going on but I decided that it’s time to become vocal.

Giancarlo Stanton

Stanton led the Major Leagues in home runs (59), Slugging Percentage (.631), and RBIs (132). He also is the 2017 NL MVP. He plays right field and bats third for the Miami Marlins. In right field, he made four errors in 333 attempts, giving him a .988 fielding percentage. The Marlins are not trying to get rid of him because he’s a bad player. Instead, their reason is that they just had a change of ownership and Derek Jeter wants to get rid of Stanton’s huge contract.

Should Stanton play for the Dodgers? He would like to. The Dodgers are reportedly on the top of his list of teams he will allow himself to be traded to. But do the Dodgers have room? Absolutely not! The right field grass still belongs to our beloved tongue-wagging right fielder Yasiel Puig. Stanton can’t move to center field because Chris Taylor established his presence there this year. And of course, Stanton can’t move to left field because the Dodgers already have enough competition there. Andrew Toles will be healthy and ready for his position and if Adrián González is healthy, Cody Bellinger will be fighting to play in left field. Also, if the Dodgers sign Ohtani, there will be even more competition. Simply, Stanton would be a great addition to the lineup, but there’s no way he would fit in the outfield.

Shohei Ohtani

Shohei Ohtani is pretty much amazing. He’s 23-years old and he has already established himself in Japanese professional baseball. He’s an excellent right-handed pitcher, with velocity in the high nineties, and unbelievable spin rate. He’s also a left-handed slugger. He once hit a home run over 500 feet. Even though he’s never put on a Major League uniform, Ohtani is being compared to Babe Ruth.

Ohtani has already narrowed down his options to seven. The Dodgers seem to be at the top of his list. He should also be at the top of the Dodgers list. The Dodgers need another right-handed pitcher as well as another good bat. I even saw an article saying that the Dodgers might be willing to let Ohtani play in the outfield on days he’s not pitching so that they can keep his bat in the lineup. This is something that the American League can’t promise. The Dodgers need to sign Ohtani. Due to international signing rules, he has a fairly low salary cap, making him a perfect choice. Besides, Kenta Maeda needs another Japanese teammate. Please, sign Ohtani!