"Getting Some Mookie" - The 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers Season Thread

grabarkewitz

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#2
Giddy as a schoolgirl for tonight's game. Got my Mookie jersey out of the closet - I figured to leave it unworn until he inked an extension. Now that it is out, I need to find an away Mookie jersey and maybe even a Graterol, just because I see closer as his future and right soon.
 

beefchopper

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#3
ANGST IN THE BAY AREA...

The Dodgers locking Mookie Betts up is, uh, not great for the Giants
By Grant Brisbee

About 700 months ago, in January 2020, it looked as if the Giants were going to finish in second place for Mookie Betts next offseason. There is no proof that the front office would have tried hard enough for him to spawn a stray rumor, but I’m still choosing to believe that the Giants effectively finished in second place. No other team was better prepared to drop out of the sky this offseason, like Thor onto the Wakanda plain, and disrupt the Virtual Winter Meetings.

It was going to be a slow offseason, with teams licking their financial wounds. Only a well-diversified team that had been stashing money away during a rebuilding process could even think about Betts. The Giants were one of those teams. And Betts made a wild amount of sense for them, even before the pandemic scuttled the plans of possible competitors.

Printing money is forever better than stashing money, though, which always made the Dodgers the overwhelming favorite. The incumbent team should reliably be the favorite if they have a little money, and they’re definitely the overwhelming favorite when they print it. So the Dodgers signing Betts for 12 years and $365 million isn’t much of a surprise.

So the Dodgers will be better for longer, and they’ll keep spitting prospects out like wartime grommets, one right after the other, on a conveyor belt that stretches up to the moon, which will subsidize their huge expenditures, over and over again, and their dominance will never, ever end. That’s the bad news. The good news is that I’m not sure how to end this paragraph, which means this depressing story might never publish.

But Betts is a worthy fascination to have, even when the news is grim, because he’s at the intersection of everything to do with modern baseball. He’s a way to tell the story of the sport. Now that technology and data have removed a substantial amount of the guesswork that was a much larger part of baseball even just a few years ago, teams such as the Dodgers are essentially Maxwell’s demon. The contractual rules of the sport allow it, if not encourage it.

Again, here’s the general idea:

  1. Develop players who are underpaid while they’re younger, which is also when they’re the most productive
  2. Use the savings to invest in the rare talents who are likely to be good investments, even as they age
  3. Develop players who are underpaid while they’re younger, which is also when they’re the most productive
  4. Use the savings to invest in the rare talents who are likely to be good investments, even as they age
  5. Develop players who are underpaid while they’re y…
It’s a recursive loop, and the Dodgers have been in the middle of it for a while. Clayton Kershaw’s salary is subsidized by Walker Buehler. Betts’ salary is subsidized by Gavin Lux. In the future, if they’re worthy, Buehler and Lux will have their salaries subsidized by kids who are in high school right now. And so on and so on.

Wait, I remembered that good news, which is that this is the Giants’ plan, too. They just have a long way to go. And the worst part about the rumored Betts extension — other than, you know, how the Dodgers will employ a generational talent for a decade-plus — is that it likely scuttles the Giants’ best chances of doing it sooner.

Before considering anything else, remember that the only player on the Giants’ roster with a guaranteed contract for 2022 is Evan Longoria. The Giants will owe him $14.5 million after the Rays pay down his salary. That’s it. That’s all they have to worry about. If everything goes according to plan, the 2022 Giants will have players like Joey Bart and Patrick Bailey and Heliot Ramos and Luis Toribio and Hunter Bishop and … look, if even a quarter of these players are entrenched by then, it would be an absolute coup, and the Giants would have gobs and gobs of money to find the spare parts to fit in around them.

And they would still have a huge pallet of cash to give to the right young superstar. In theory.

This is why the previous Giants regime almost nabbed Giancarlo Stanton. It’s why the current Giants regime wasn’t put off by the ownership mandate to go after Bryce Harper. When you play around with the stats and historical comparisons, both of those players had performed in a way that portended future success, even as they aged. When the next wave of inexpensive, young and talented Giants arrived, having an expensive, young-ish superstar already in place made all kinds of sense.

This is why the Giants were always going to finish second for Betts while desperately trying for first. Because he made more sense than Stanton and Harper combined. He was the perfect long-term candidate, with the kind of fast-twitch muscle memory that allows him to bowl 300 games now and will allow him to lay off sliders in the dirt when he’s 40. He would have helped the 2022 Giants, the 2026 Giants, and probably the 2030 Giants as they continued to develop underpaid prospects. In theory.

With Betts and Harper gone, and with Stanton looking like a bullet dodged, is there a player who could still fill that role for the post-Longoria Giants?

This is the worst part of the Betts extension: Probably not right away. You have to assume that Cody Bellinger isn’t going anywhere, and both Christian Yelich and Mike Trout are locked up for the better part of the decade, as are Ronald Acuña, Jr. and Ozzie Albies. Juan Soto isn’t a free agent until after 2024, and he plays for a franchise that isn’t shy about spending. The White Sox are copying the strategy 0f the mid-’90s Indians, signing players like Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jiménez to long-term deals before they do a whole lot in the majors.

Even if you’re scribbling fan-fiction about Fernando Tatís, Jr. spurning the Padres, that wouldn’t happen for years. The greatest young talents who might have been available for the 2022 Giants are disappearing from the shelves. Betts was so obviously the best option for the Giants, I wouldn’t be surprised if the looming shadow of Zaidi earned him an additional $20 million.

There are still electric young talents who might tempt the Giants. George Springer and Marcus Semien could be available this offseason. Carlos Correa will be just 27 if/when he’s a free agent after the 2021 season, and he might be on the market with Francisco Lindor, Javier Báez, Corey Seager and Trevor Story. It’s possible that these are players the Giants would build around.

But I can make arguments against a lot of them, whether it has to do with age, injury history or a skill set that isn’t as likely to age well. No, it was always Betts, Betts, Betts in my pea brain. He was the perfect player at the perfect time for the Giants, and it wasn’t even close. Now they start over with a new, less obvious pipe dream.

Maybe they’ll be the first in line when a team such as the Red Sox decides that they’re not going to keep the next Betts. It’ll cost them prospects, but the plan will always be to have more than they can use. Maybe another player will enjoy a Yelich-like transformation and become a superstar, and that’s who the Giants will get before the 2022 season. Or maybe Bart, Ramos and Marco Luciano will be so productive right away that the franchise won’t have to worry so much about impact talent from outside the organization. If you’re going to daydream, you might as well daydream about the best-case scenarios.

The franchise is still pointed in the right direction. They will still have money to spend, and they’ll have it soon. A rival re-signing a superstar doesn’t change any of that.

For now, though, the player who made the most sense for this offseason — and the decade of offseasons after that — is off the market. He’s staying with the Giants’ rival, which certainly doesn’t help. Betts fit the Giants better than any potential free agent since Barry Bonds. The timing was all there.

Back to the drawing board, then. There will still be gratification for Giants fans one day. It just won’t be the instant kind, which would have been a lot cooler.
 

grabarkewitz

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#4
Regarding Bisbee's piece, there is a flaw in it - California's tax code. Ballplayers, or their agents, want to maximize their earnings and paying more taxes to play in San Francisco, San Diego, Anaheim, Oakland or even Los Angeles is a huge factor. Let's say Lindor nixes the Indians' offers and is a free agent come fall 2021. If the bidders are Texas or San Francisco, I can see Texas winning because of a favorable tax climate not to mention a hitter's paradise and an improving franchise. The same could be said for Springer. Semien might be the one to buck that trend. He is a Bay Area kid and might not mind paying extra to play in front of friends and family. But, I have a feeling (if the new stadium near Jack London Square happens) that the A's might pony up the cash to keep Semien. It might cost them Olson or Chapman, but Semien is a local kid and from what I read the kind of kid you want to build your franchise around.

While Bisbee shows some love for the Giants' prospects, one has to ask why the Giants added another first round catcher when Joey Bart was supposed to be Buster v.2. I have read some scouting reports that paint Bart as nothing more than back up catcher fodder because he isn't flexible and lacks quickness. There are also concerns about the all or nothing approach in the batter's box. Having blown a number two pick in the draft (Darren Dreifort) in the past, it is not something that is easily remedied. You've invested a lot of money and scouts' reputations on a kid who crashes and burns. Even if you manage to find some gems in the next few years, that is still a huge black eye. While I agree that Luciano might be the real deal, I lump Ramos and Bart in the might've been or never will areas like Billy Ashley, Greg Brock and Jose Offerman. Simply put, even if Zaidi continues to draft well (I have a lot of questions regarding this draft especially giving first round money to a kid who looks to be, at best a 3/4 - these are the mistakes Zaidi can't make), it will take years before he can have the same conveyor belt of prospects that the Dodgers have and will have for the next five years. Of course, Zaidi's biggest problem is that he didn't take advantage of dealing Bumgarner while his value was high and adding to his prospect portfolio. Here is where he should've taken a page from the Padres and found a taker for Bumgarner who might've dealt him a Tatis - of course, you need a stupid dance partner and a need for that organization for a Bumgarner. Preller found the perfect storm in that the White Sox were willing to overpay for James Shields and I imagine that no one was willing to do the same for Bumgarner.

Right now, the Giants don't have any veterans who are worthy of getting a big prospect haul, so jump starting the renaissance of Giant baseball is going to be slow. It will be drafting and if the five round draft is a thing, it will be even harder and the volatility of signing sixteen year old kids from foreign lands is a massive thing. For every Fernando Tatis, there are five Joel Guzman's. Mistakes are magnified and I don't see a lot of late round or cheap finds in the Giant prospect charts, one has to wonder if Zaidi has the time or backing to get this system on track. I just don't know if the Giants can find a quick fix. They are in an enviable financial state in two years (so are the Dodgers), but you need someone to take your money and if the big names find greener pastures, you might end up paying too much for older. more risky talent and end up back at square one in short order -ergo Ned Colletti and the Jason Schmidt/Bill Mueller fiasco. Of course, Zaidi could do his own Nick Punto trade and maybe get back a Stanton or bankrupt his farm system for a Josh Bell, but both moves are not long term fixes. Neither are truly the answer and might end Zaidi's regime in no time.
 

BCmaiden

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#7
Dodgers drop May from the 30. so much for him backing up Buehler's first start.
Yuck, Gore & McGee...BOO! Too much emphasis on a LHRP since we have the 3 batter rule. Ramos, May, & Gonsolin all miles better than McGee. I bet he becomes the latest pitcher no one wants to see.
 

beefchopper

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Yuck, Gore & McGee...BOO! Too much emphasis on a LHRP since we have the 3 batter rule. Ramos, May, & Gonsolin all miles better than McGee. I bet he becomes the latest pitcher no one wants to see.
McGee couldn't have been worse in his one appearance since signing. Do they really want to let him try to find his stuff in real games when every one counts so much and he has to pitch to at least three batters if called in?
 

DodgerSSR

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#9
Ferguson is the only one of those four lefty relievers I want to see on an MLB mound wearing Dodger Blue. What was the rationale in sending May down. Lux, I understand. He showed up late and sucked during summer camp. And Terance Gore. What a waste of a roster spot on a one-dimensional pinch runner.
 

beefchopper

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#10
Ferguson is the only one of those four lefty relievers I want to see on an MLB mound wearing Dodger Blue. What was the rationale in sending May down. Lux, I understand. He showed up late and sucked during summer camp. And Terance Gore. What a waste of a roster spot on a one-dimensional pinch runner.
The Lux thing makes no sense to me unless they want to send him a message for some reason or if they think he is so far away from being game ready that they plan to let him bat in every inning of practice games to get ready ASAP. He did look terrible in the very small sample since returning.
 

grabarkewitz

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#11
Yuck, Gore & McGee...BOO! Too much emphasis on a LHRP since we have the 3 batter rule. Ramos, May, & Gonsolin all miles better than McGee. I bet he becomes the latest pitcher no one wants to see.
I am wondering just how much this is ramping up May and Gonsolin for starting roles and getting Ramos up to speed to pitch most every day. I am not fond of Gore making the final thirty but given that sixty games leaves little margin for error, getting a guy who can go from first to home on a double or cause some worriation for a pitcher in late innings is not an awful have. I would just hate it if he was the last guy on the bench and we need a pinch hitter in the late innings.
 

grabarkewitz

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#12
The Lux thing makes no sense to me unless they want to send him a message for some reason or if they think he is so far away from being game ready that they plan to let him bat in every inning of practice games to get ready ASAP. He did look terrible in the very small sample since returning.
Yeah, Lux was obviously in bad baseball shape. Several weeks of getting to where he belongs is not a bad thing. We are just lucky that both Taylor and Kike are worthy replacements.
 

beefchopper

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#13
I am wondering just how much this is ramping up May and Gonsolin for starting roles and getting Ramos up to speed to pitch most every day. I am not fond of Gore making the final thirty but given that sixty games leaves little margin for error, getting a guy who can go from first to home on a double or cause some worriation for a pitcher in late innings is not an awful have. I would just hate it if he was the last guy on the bench and we need a pinch hitter in the late innings.
My expectation is we'll see Gore as the designated runner at second in extra innings and not much more.
 

David

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#17
Kershaw to the IL. May starting in his place. Great start to the season!
I love Clayton. He’s probably the the best homegrown player I’ll see on the Dodgers in my lifetime. It’s not his fault his lame brain manager (and his predecessor) let’s him pitch to Rendon and SOTO with Kolarek ready to continue that stupid narrative. I hope he finishes his career as a Dodger but I’ll be happy when he’s not getting paid 31Mil/year any more. 10-15, sure. But allocate that delta to Ferris
 

grabarkewitz

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#19
Kershaw to the IL. May starting in his place. Great start to the season!
Not a huge drop off in my eyes. May looked filthy over the last few weeks and I remember Lasorda running out a heralded rookie on opening day and all he did was dominate for first three months of his career. Not saying Dustin May is Fernando, but I bet Fernando would've loved upper nineties stuff with filthy movement.
 

Norm

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#20
My expectation is we'll see Gore as the designated runner at second in extra innings and not much more.
I hate this rule. I'm half expecting to see him get picked off in the first extra inning game.