In the hopes of trying to find even more pitching depth, the Los Angeles Dodgers have signed veteran right-hander Joe Blanton today.

The 35-year old former starting pitcher had a career resurgence last season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he put up a 1.57 ERA and fanned 39 batters in 34.1 innings out of the bullpen.


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The news came down just a few short minutes ago from Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan):

If this is one of the ways the team is looking to bolster their bullpen, then it’s a very interesting method.

Blanton actually pitched for the Dodgers way back in 2012, and finished with a disastrous 4.99 ERA in 10 starts.

However, as noted, he pitched fine as a reliever last year. It remains to be seen if that’s even a repeatable season for him, or if that was just a flash in the pan that a guy towards the tail end of his career managed to string together for half-a-season.

At just one year and $4 million, this a pretty low-risk signing. But it begs the question: why not sign a more proven reliever?

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the team’s plan really is, but for now this move isn’t a bad one so long as he can come close to his 2015 reliever level.

Read Full Press Release

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers today announced the signing of right-handed pitcher Joe Blanton to a one-year contract.
 
Blanton, 35, is coming off a career year with the Royals and Pirates, where he combined to go 7-2 with two saves and a 2.84 ERA in 36 games (four starts). After opening the campaign with Kansas City, Blanton was acquired by the Pirates on July 29 and went 5-0 with a 1.57 ERA (6 ER/34.1 IP) in 21 appearances down the stretch, ranking among the National League’s best relievers (min. 15.0 IP) in wins (1st), innings (34.1, 2nd), strikeouts (39, T-3rd) and ERA (9th) during that span. Overall, he limited opposing hitters to a .240 batting average, including a .203 mark against right-handers, while posting a 1.12 WHIP and a 4.94 strikeout-to-walk ratio (79 SO/16 BB).
 
Blanton enters his second stint with Los Angeles after making 10 starts with the club in 2012 and has a 92-91 record with a 4.44 ERA in 301 career games (252 starts) in 11 big league seasons with the Athletics (2004-08), Phillies (2008-12), Dodgers (2012), Angels (2013), Royals (2015) and Pirates (2015). In 49 career relief appearances, he’s posted a 5-2 record with two saves and a 3.91 ERA.
 
Blanton was originally selected by Oakland in the first round (24th overall) of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Kentucky.

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About The Author

Justin Russo is a 30-year old sports enthusiast who dabbles in all forms of sports talk. Whether that talk revolves around the NBA, NCAA, NFL, NHL, MLB, or other leagues, he has an opinion. He works as a writer for Warriors World, and was formerly a writer and editor for ClipsNation on the SB Nation network. He also is the Editor-in-chief for But The Game Is On: The Beat.

30 Responses

  1. AlwaysCompete

    There is nothing good about this deal.  I do not know how $4M becomes low risk, for a pitcher who has had one decent season at the ML level.  If he somehow proves worthy, spend the $4M to sign Ray Searage as the pitching coach.  The Dodgers do not need a long reliever.  They have Wood, Frias, Bolsinger, and who knows how many more.  This is a 35 year old pitcher who will block the ascent of the young pitchers, who he will not out perform.  There is absolutely no sense that can be made of this deal, unless it is the predecessor of some major blockbuster. I have generally been supportive of the regime. This is contrary to all they have been preaching…younger and less costly.

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  2. Jagman63

    Another Friedman trash signing. What a joke he is. He should go back to Tampa and run a second hand store. He has rapidly become the worst front office person since Fred Claire. How long can this go on??? Signing players whose career is over, except that Friedman gives away Dodger money to them. GET RID of Friedman and co.  before they destroy the team for years to come.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  3. Tommy Lasordid

    Good lord people, don’t get your panties in a bunch. Blanton performed extremely well last year, his first as a relief pitcher. A veteran right hander who had excellent numbers against right-handed batters makes good sense for a team with a heavily left-handed starting rotation. If he tanks, he’s jettisoned and life goes on. If he repeats last year, this is a great bargain and takes some heat off of all the young kids like Yimi and Baez, who were hit and miss last year. Now, a solid 8th inning guy like Boxberger or McGee from Tampa would complete the picture.

    “Destroy the team for years to come.”  Really? Have you seen the depth of the Dodgers major and minor league rosters?

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  4. ChrisTerrell

    The average major league team used 9 starters last season. To properly develop prospects, which F&Z happen to not quite a bit about as exhibited by their resumes, you don’t Rush kids into roles that they’re not best fitted for. Zach Lee coming up for 3 losses and a 6 ERA doesn’t help him develop. Bring him when he’s ready and put him in a position he can succeed in. Kershaw, Kazmir, Ryu, Maeda, Anderson, Wood, Bolsinger, and Frias are 8 deep. The average team uses 8. We might have Ryu back? There is always the possibility of a spring injury to a starter. Some teams will use 10 starters. Do you want 10 games of 162 decided by someone other than those 8? I don’t. I’m not even sure what we’ll get past 6 or 7.
    Relievers, they’re specialized and asked to hold down certain roles and have the mental make up and the physical where-with-all to consistently do that job. With 5 starters of the first 6 left handed, it makes sense to have a right handed option, that can come into a game as early as the 4th or 5th that can get righties out, get us deep into the game, and has shown recent success in that role. A career 4 era isn’t horrible. A guy that can do either role, and protects us in a few areas, that gets righties out very successfully in a healthy sample size just this past season and will sign in this day and age for 4m? Ok wannabe GMs from dodger forums. How many guys fill both roles, at that price, with that experience, currently available? Can you list them? Do you have their current asking price? Their agents number? Have you taken teams to the post season numerous times in your career? Do you know how to bring along pitching prospects? Crystal ball handy? At least happy your favorite team has the resources available to have contingency plans and not worry about a regression to the mean because it’s not even 2% of your payroll? Know about trades they’re working on and wat spots Theyll need to fill soon? None. No. Nope. No way. Never. Yes, but only only madden and RBI 16 and true blue forums. Yeah right. You should be. You think so but your source is MLB trade dot com. Geniuses, all of you!

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  5. ChrisTerrell

    Reading and comprehension needed: “The 35-year old former starting pitcher had a career resurgence last season with the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he put up a 1.57 ERA and fanned 39 batters in 34.1 innings out of the bullpen.” Sôme of you act like you’re righting the check. Thank God our team can spend that for a just in case option that also gets righties out in the pen that’s on the 40-man and ready!

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  6. Jagman63

    ChrisTerrell  Here we go. The Friedman groupies come out into the light and start to spout the party line. The front office can do no wrong!!! This year is going to be a travesty. One good pitcher a weak hitting offense, tied to a weak and poverty priced bull pen. Keep buying those tickets!!!!

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  7. ChrisTerrell

    I’m 43 years old. Not old IMO but not young either. The first game I saw was the 77 series against the Yankees. I barely knew what baseball was, bit I’ve been a fan for a few minutes is my point. I’ve never supported a team that I needed to go to forums and talk badly about unless they were obviously not a contender and getting blown out most every game. It hurt me to do it. Think this season and last Lakers. But our Dodgers? The team that does everything possible to win and is very close to winning it all most every season the last several? Why? I don’t get it? Are you Giants fans in disguise? Your arrogance makes you think you know more than real baseball people? Bizarre. If you’re a troll and just starting spit because you’re secretly a Giants fan, I would understand.

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  8. ChrisTerrell

    Sounds like the team in 88. No, this one is more talented than that one. Let’s hope our new energy at manager can get these guys to play for eachother the way Tommy did that year.

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  9. Jagman63

    ChrisTerrell I have been a Dodger fan much longer than you wannabe. I know a lot about players and teams. Not being on the payroll doesn’t mean I don’t know quite a bit about baseball. This front office has made one bad trade or signing after another since Friedman and co. have come on board. Open your eyes. Or, wait a minute. First take off your Friedman costume that you wear to bed each night and turn yourself in to the nearest looney bin.

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  10. ChrisTerrell

    I heard the same garbage last season. They’d be lucky to finish in 2nd place. Giants will win the division by 10 games. Brett Anderson was a joke signing. The Dodgers have zero power and won’t be able to hit homers without Kemp and Hanley. We should of kept Hanley at SS and Kemp can still play center. Joc has zero MLB power. Gonzales is old. Seager is a minor leaguer, who knows if he will help in the future. Justin Turner got lucky and has never hit before. Losing Uribe was a mistake. Such and such 10m a year closer was replaced with kids no one had heard of. Blah, blah, blah Giants fan. Shut it and watch us win the division again, another 90+ wins, and with a little luck and significantly better defense, a considerably stronger farm, a deeper roster, multiple options, financial flexibility, and the a chance to win it every year. Boo hooooooo! Cry babies.

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  11. Blue58

    ChrisTerrell I don’t find anything  inherently wrong with the Blanton signing but they’re essentially filling a low priority need, unless they plan to trade some of the other pitchers on the staff. They need lock-down relievers for the seventh and eighth innings and that’s note a role Blanton is likely to fill. Instead, they appear to be content with Hatcher, Baez and Garcia, which didn’t work out so well last year.
    As you point out, anything is possible and this team might exceed expectations and win the West again. Once you’re in the playoffs, anything can happen, as they say. But on paper, at least, right now this is a weaker team than last year and last year was a weaker team than the year before.
    Finally, just because someone in this forum disagrees with you or with a front office decision doesn’t make them a troll or, God forbid, a Giants fan. The whole point of this forum is to encourage discussion about the team. 
    I’ve been a Dodger fan since 1958 and have attended hundreds of games and been to three World Series, including the 5th game, pitched by Sandy Koufax, in 1965. I bleed Dodger blue, as Lasorda would say. But I reserve the right to question and criticize players, managers and the front office.
    Just because someone’s in the Dodgers front office doesn’t mean they are  always right. This is the team of Robinson, Koufax, Drysdale, Wills, Valenzuela, Hershiser, Garvey, Lopes, Cey and Russell, but it’s also the team that traded away Pedro Martinez, Mike Piazza, Paul Konerko and Dee Gordon and let Garvey, Hershiser, Valenzuela, Adrian Beltre and Zack Greinke leave as free agents. They’ve made dumb mistakes as well as strokes of genius. Friedman’s no different.

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  12. DodgerBlues

    Blue58 Um… Friedman’s team actually went to the World Series during his tenure in Tampa. His teams also fought against the financial giants of the Yankees and Red Sox and won 90+ games in 5 seasons. Not bad at all. Meanwhile, the Dodgers have yet to reach the World Series since the 80s. 

    I’d say Friedman knows a thing or two about building a team. 

    It’s amazing how much hate Friedman is receiving after only being with the team for one year. He has done an amazing job thus far, in my opinion. Sure he will make mistakes here and there. He’s not psychic and can’t predict every players’ future performance. However, he has already put the Dodgers in a very good position in terms of the future and depth of the team.

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  13. ChrisTerrell

    I hear you. Good points. Rational. Some are more whiny and negative than others as is their right. But it’s also my right to not like it. Many of the whiners have been proven wrong many times but never admit it and just keep complaining. It’s a sickness IMO, but the same is true at work. There is always that guy that is tired and feeling sorry for himself that just says the sky is going to fall and his job sucks and cries negativity in the break room every day. I’d like constructivity and not always the same guy saying how everything we do is stupid and horrible and we suck… Not fun.

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  14. ChrisTerrell

    I know right? One season. One? I think the part I get is how building a major league franchise was going to be different with these guys, it’s another way to do it. I remember when people said Phil Jackson’s triangle would never work. If you’re a fan, and I don’t mean you, consider saving the angst and depression for the flops? I can’t even read about a reliever for 4m without all the crybabies…. It’s annoying. Have a little faith in your own team especially while they’re winning.

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  15. ChrisTerrell

    There are a few things I’m learning about this Dodger way of thinking in the FO.
    Pitching and defense wins. It’s a formula that is tried and proven and fits right in with Dodger history and our home venue as well.
    Starters: have 12 deep that all have the possibility of being better than league average to elite. Easier said than done! But 7 starters that will all be around 3.5 ERA or less is pretty unheard of. Most teams will use more starters than that, 9 is average, many will use 10! Depth makes sense and its quality depth. Ok, starters 8, 9, and 10 might be closer to 4 ERAs but McCarthy, Bolsinger, Wood, Frias, Beachy, Blanton (if needed but much more effective out of the pen against righties) is super solid, 2 runs in 5 innings gives the team a chance every game.
    Relievers: they’re unpredictable. There is many examples of guys getting big contracts out of the pen and blow up and have a 5-6 ERA season. They’re up every day. It’s tough for 162. It’s been proven that often it’s like rolling the dice and winning teams who have depth and have many young, controllable, cost effective options, in the long run can have sustained success. Giving 10m a year to a guy with a 5 ERA that every 7th or 8th innings implodes is a horrible feeling. This is an area that if you scout, dig into the metrics, and play the hot hand, and can move guys up or down and in or out can be just as successful or more so than handing out 6 digit contracts to FA relievers not only in direct comparison with their cost effective counterparts but in also how those monies can be distributed elsewhere.
    Defense: don’t resign the aging, injury prone, player who used to be great for he did before, especially when he hurts the team defensively. Kemp and Hanley are examples of how you don’t get locked into long term declining players that no longer defend. The point is true in hitters: Ryan Howard, Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez, and pitchers like Verlander making 20+m in 3 years when he’s 38. Pay guys for what they will do – not for what they’ve done and make sure, especially up the middle, that they make real and tangible contributions to the defense. Overpaid prima donnas that are always hurt and complaining and don’t play defense need to go that’s why a GM doesn’t think like a fan with his heart but with his projection models, FO team of reasoning and calculation, and the brain.
    Long term success: don’t sell the farm for the 34 year old used to be. Konerko for Shaw? Pedro Martinez for Marquis Grissom? I love the fact that these young guys are starting to come up and be big contributors while they’re controllable stars and not declining but ascending. It’s smart. I don’t want to be the Phillies or the Tigers always trying to sell the future for one more season. I get excited about Seager, Joc, Urias, et all. Now Montas, Thompson… I like it. This team is best when we win the ROY every other year. Not 2 years of a former star on the decline. Build the system. God, it’s deep and several lottery tickets in there, learning the Dodger way and coming soon!
    Getting on base: the guy that hits 280 and has an OB% of 299 with 10 homeruns and average defense is not more valuable then a guy that hits 260 and has an OB% of 325 and 15 homeruns and good defensively. Without doing the projection models and math or looking at other metrics, I’d say the second example is almost twice as valuable. Maybe 3 wins instead of 1.5 is a guess. These guys know what they’re looking for, what they’re doing, and have used those advantages for a decade to help smaller budget teams consistently win divisions and even go to a WS. Take some of that and marry it with the ability to go out and get a star or keep one when he’s still capable of reproducing his “star-ness” makes the Dodgers a team that can be a juggernaut for years!

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  16. Blue58

    DodgerBlues Blue58 DodgerBLues, I’m aware of Friedman’s single World Series appearance and loss. But running Tampa Bay was a much different enterprise than running the Dodgers. Tampa Bay is a low income team with the worst attendance in the major leagues and a small and generally uninformed fan base. His job there was to field a competitive team on a low budget. For the most part he did that, but not always. The team declined after 2008 and when he traded away about to be free agents James Shields and David Price, it’s generally considered he got the worse end of the deals.

    The job in L.A. is much different. This is a storied  franchise with a huge and passionate fan base that is desperate for a return to the World Series. His job here is not to field a contender but to win the top prize, and soon. Even he has admitted being taken aback by how passionate and impatient the fans are here.

    I don’t “hate” Friedman (though obviously there are some haters out there). But I don’t believe he’s above criticism. I judge him on his actions here, not the reputation he gained in Tampa Bay.

    I like and admire some of the things he’s done, like rebuilding the farm system, expanding into the international market and brining in Grandal and Anderson. But, the Gordon trade, the McCarthy signing, the Uribe trade, the deadline deal for Latos and Wood, signing a raft of recently injured pitchers all of whom (other than Anderson) bombed out, passing on proven free agents like Max Scherzer and Andrew Miller in favor of marginal players, all of those were poor moves that did nothing to either improve the team or build for the future. Time will tell, but the Greinke decision also could haunt them for years to come.

    For me, being a loyal fan includes the option of questioning the moves of the front office, whether it’s Fred Claire, Ned Coletti or Andrew Friedman, not automatically praising whatever they do, or accepting that they can never make errors just because they came here will good reputations. We all want the Dodgers to win, it’s just that some of us have different ideas (and schedules) on how to do it. That’s one of the things that makes the forum interesting.

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  17. Blue58

    ChrisTerrell I would add more more thing to the longer post below addressed to Dodger Blues. Friedman in some ways is his own worst enemy. He communicates very poorly. He rarely is available to the press and when he is he gives canned, uninformative answers. His demeanor often is smug and condescending. He never admits mistakes. He never is available to fans to question. None of that does him any good.

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  18. Blue58

    ChrisTerrell I agree with most of your analysis but I’m not sure this front office is necessarily implementing it, or implementing it in a wise manner.

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  19. AlwaysCompete

    ChrisTerrell  I am not going to compare my Dodger bona fides with yours. If you say you are a Dodger fan, great.  But I do not agree that the Joe Blanton signing is good for the Dodgers.  Does that make me negative and a whiner, I don’t think so.  When I want to see how a great organization has been run, I look at the Cardinals.  The long reliever is the 25th man  on the roster.  Carlos Martinez was that reliever as a 21 and 22 year old before he joined the rotation last year.  Shelby Miller as a late season call up was that reliever at 21.  Lance Lynn was that reliever at 24.  I am guessing that Tim Cooney and/or Marco Gonzalez is that pitcher this year.  Zach Lee gets called up and thrown into a pennant race in the summer against the Mets vs starting out the year as a long reliever.  Maybe if he is the long reliever this year he can learn, but no he is destined back to AAA where he really has nothing to prove.  The same for Mike Bolsinger, Carlos Frias, Jharel Cotton, Ross Stripling, Chris Anderson, all right handed.  All considered ML ready.

    You talk about having 8-9 starters, okay, but not at one time.  What do you do with Alex Wood now?  He is not one of the five starters.  He is not the long reliever.  He does have options, so I guess as a GM you would push him back to OKC, along with Bolsinger, Frias, Cotton, Lee, Stripling, not to mention Urias, De Leon, and Montas.  Wood is a 25 year old, one year removed from a 171.2 IP 2.78 ERA, who did not pitch well at times for LAD, especially Game 3 NLDS.  But Baez was not very good against D Wright in Game 1, but he is a youngster who can learn, even though he is nearly three years older than Wood. Now Wood is not even good enough to be considered for the long reliever.

    You said good organizations value pitching and defense.  No argument from me.  But the Cardinals continually show good organizational pitching, and they did not sign Blanton, and I am sure that is not because the Dodgers beat them to it.  Also when the Dodgers had the chance to improve defense at 3B they chose not to close the Todd Frazier trade.  I like Justin Turner, and offensively he is on par with Frazier.  Frazier has more power, but Turner better average and OBP.  But Frazier is considered a much better defensive 3B than Turner.  So the Dodgers did not consider defense in that case.  Frazier is also 1+ years younger than Turner, so that would not be signing an aging injury prone player.

    All this signing did was to block the ascension of one of the younger pitchers, push back a host of other ML ready players, and to tell all the other 29 ML teams that Alex Wood, Mike Bolsinger, Carlos Frias, and probably others, are not as good as Joe Blanton.  How would you look at them as an opposing GM?

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  20. Jagman63

    Blue58 DodgerBlues  Finally. Someone with some common sense. Being a dodger fan does not include praising or agreeing with every move they make. And voicing my opinion is my right. Not singing the party line like some do here does not make me a hater or a whiner or a fan of any other team. It has been more than 28 years since a Dodger World Series title and this front office does not seem to be able to change that fact. This is not TAMPA people!!!

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  21. Blue58

    AlwaysCompete ChrisTerrell I think you make a good point about Blanton possibly holding back the younger players. Go out of their way to bring in another long reliever seems odd, even if it’s a relatively small amount of money. Every once in a while, this FO gets enamored of a player that’s a real head-scratcher. Last season it was Alberto Callaspo.

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  22. ChrisTerrell

    I think the thinking is that you build organizational depth. You deal from a stacked deck and after trades, signings, and injuries, and an everyday competition at most positions, you let your manager manage the team. You cut down to 25 and discuss a myriad of scenarios that could help the team. You discuss long term and short term mathematical statistical analysis that is based on projection models. The more options and the more data, the more accurate the desired outcome. April is still a long ways away. What team is asking them for which players and what they could get back and where they’re at in their research about those players and how it incomes flexibility in their rosters and payrolls and how that might help or hinder their ability to bring another player aboard or who is coming at that spot. It’s a fluid process that is constantly evolving and now AA is yet another respected big thinker from the Jays that built a hell of a Team there. Some big things are still in the way and they’ll help us today without making it more difficult to be successful in the future.
    Bad moves, sure. The only way to not play a bad hand is to not play and just fold every time you don’t start with a pair of kings. Does this FO over think and try and find the creative way to get the backdrop straight too often, perhaps but other than wanting another 8-10 wins in October, it’s hard to argue with another division title and doing while the farm and the future just continues to get brighter. They’re stacking the deck and soon, we’ll play to win most every hand. Latos was a joke, I like him less as a person than as a pitcher and he stunk. Bombed out, in hindsight dumb move. Maybe our depth this season prevents the need for a Latos this summer.

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  23. ChrisTerrell

    We have to see what happens with Ryu, what other injuries come and there will be some, and what kind of package they’re putting together for a star. Finally, how do these guys do in spring training. Who’s effective. Who’s throwing well and just unlucky. Who has lost velocity or location and just keeps getting line outs to defenders and warning track flies. Then if needed, make a move by dealing from a strength. More is always better because having less just takes a phone call, right?

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  24. Blue58

    ChrisTerrell You’ve articulated their thinking pretty well, I believe. Maybe they should hire you as their spokesman because they do a lousy job of selling themselves to fans on their own.

    I would agree with most of that approach, with some skepticism, grounded in what we’ve seen since Friedman took over, in a few areas.

    First, they sometimes overthink things. They are so averse to doing the conventional move that it backfires at times. Two examples: trading Gordon and Haren, motivated by their belief they were “selling high” on Gordon, really was “fixing” something not broken. They created problems in the leadoff position, at second base and at the back of the rotation that weren’t there before and still have not been fully solved. Yes, they got a few good pieces in return, but not enough to warrant the trade. The other example: passing on the free agent Max Scherzer. Yes, long term deals are risky, but they wound up spending about $90 million trying to fix the back of the rotation last year and when the season was over all they had to show for it were Wood and Wieland. Had they kept Gordon and Haren, signed Scherzer and Andrew Miller, all conventional moves within their budget, the team would have been much better. Sometimes the obvious thing to do is the right thing to do.

    Second, they appear lacking in their ability to judge talent. Other than Grandal, Anderson and Hendrick, every player they have brought onto the major league team has performed poorly or below expectations. Even though Hendrick had a good year, he was worse than the player he replaced, Gordon.

    Third, analytics can only take you so far. In the end, its a game with human beings. Last year the analytics projected the Royals to be below .500 and for the Nationals to win 100 games. Analytics can’t tell you that Matt Latos is a bad teammate or the Juan Uribe is a good influence on Yasiel Puig. 

    Fourth and finally, I believe in windows of opportunity. Friedman’s vision of building a self-sustaining contender sometime late in this decade may or may not work out, but what he had when he got the job was a team with the best pitcher in baseball, a second ace, a solid closer, one of the best first basemen in the game, one the most promising young stars in the game and a variety of other solid players. That presented an opportunity to go for the World Series by adding a few key pieces. Instead of taking that opportunity, Friedman decided to blow up the organization and put his own stamp on the team. 

    Now that window of opportunity may be closing. While Friedman leaves his mark on the larger organization, from the drafting of Cuban players to the wholesale reshuffling of scouts, managers and coaches, the major league team, the one some fans pay $100 a game and more to see, has grown weaker.

    Is there a path to the World Series for this team this year? Yes, if Anderson blossoms into the dominant starter he appeared to be before all the injuries, if Puig relocates the magic of 2013, if Hernandez is a major league-ready second baseman, if Pederson or Thompson can be at least average at the plate, if someone in the bullpen steps up and Hatcher continues his September dominance, if Seager is the real deal, if all the injuries, or most of them, heal. But that’s a lot of “ifs.”

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  25. ChrisTerrell

    @Blue58 every team had its own list of ifs, if they want to win a WS a lot has to go right. But I agree with your overall points. Maybe just not as sold on what they had when they came in.
    The Dodgers just bought a bunch of bad paper to buy their way into contention quickly but it didn’t take the long term affects of an Eitheir extension or acquiring CC in the Adrian deal with Boston. Kemp and Ramirez were aging, injury riddled former stars that were clearly on the decline and going to cost more than they really could give anymore. A lot of that had been cleaned up and the window, as you put it, has been extended to see a viable path to competing for championships for years to come.
    The farm was neglected by old ownership and throwing money at a problem when new ownership came in just meant limiting future financial flexibility. Step by step that’s being massaged. Our system is one of, if not thee, best in baseball now. Instead of overpriced stars, like the Scherzer payday is a super risky deal. I’d love to sign the star as a fan, but if my job was on the line and you got a hard throwing guy at 30 that wants to be paid like a top 5 player in the game when he’s 36 or 37 and he takes at 30m a year about 15% of your teams annual payroll and he gets hurt, or loses effectiveness? Look at Verlannder. It’s tough when it’s your own guy like Verlander with Detroit or Greinke this year with us but it’s proven time and time again that the big free agent signing of a pitcher specifically when into his mid and late 30s is a disaster eventually. Does it make more sense to insulate your risk by spreading it out throughout a roster? KC doesn’t have a front line starter. They got 6 guys that are all average to above average. Yes, they got the pen, but those aren’t 10m dollar a year former star closers.
    If I was interviewing for a job and explaining to ownership about how I was going to protect the Dodgers from disaster signings like Ryan Howard, Hanley Ramirez, Verlander, CC Sabathia… I could go on. And that instead of trading the farm for the 34-36 seasons of a Cole Hammels that instead we’d maneuver to develop more Clayton Kershaws and that pitch got them the job and Walter and company expect to have a chance to win every year for the next decade and they hire you – you got to do it and do what you believe in and win because we fans expect it. I love what they’re doing and people freaking out after one season of Friedman is too much. He had nothing to do with 1989 to 2014. He’s just trying to do what he told ownership he would do with their money.
    We have agreements here than disagreements for sure. good give-n-take Blue58 lets win it all this year!

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  26. ChrisTerrell

    I do have a way of articulating a position and you bringing that up wants me to email this thread to the powers that be :))) But, more than words, or trying to be a yes man, I honestly believe in the vision and think it’s the way to have sustained success. The GM that only cares about his job security this season won’t have any job security next. Dodger fans don’t understand the need to do a rebuild ever. Win every year Friedman. Tell me (Mr. Walter) how you’re going to do that Andrew. He nailed the answer Blue and I know he’s right. You made an excellent point about the crystal ball, none of have them, but so far the end result is a B+ in my book. Won the division, lost in the playoffs. A grade for the farm and some bad contracts soon to fall off the books. Overall prognosis is strong.

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  27. Blue58

    ChrisTerrell I understand the risks of signing free agents into their late 30s, especially pitchers, but the way baseball economics are going, a team that says they never will do that will not remain competitive.

    Teams are now locking up young stars in their 20s, so more and more free agents are hating the market at 30 and above. They know the way the market is, so they are demanding six and seven year deals and the best of them will always find a team willing to pay that.

    I’m not advocating that the Dodgers do that very often, but to flat out refuse to do it will be suicide. No team, regardless of how successful its farm system may be, can fill all positions with home-grown players. Moreover, the Los Angeles market demands stars. A blue collar team like the Royals is fine in KC, but L.A. demands a few bright shiny stars as well as a winning team.

    The beauty of it is that the Dodgers are rich! They can afford more big contracts than any other team. That doesn’t mean they should go crazy with them, but it also means they should not rule it out.

    Let’s take a look at the Max Scherzer contract. It’s $210 million over seven years. About $105 million is deferred, without interest, over a period that stretches to 2028. Another $50 million is a bonus paid out over the length of the contract. So, he’s not really eating up that much payroll on a year to year basis and, given inflation and the rising cost of pitching, he may not be that far out of line even late in his career.

    Now, let’s imagine if he had signed with the Dodgers instead of Washington (and there’s no reason he wouldn’t have. He expressed no special interest in the East Coast, for example)

    He was 30 when he signed the deal and we’ve already seen how great he pitched in the first year. Given his pedigree, it is not outlandish to expect him to be an above average to great pitcher for the next three years, through age 34, maybe even 35. After that it becomes a bit dicey. But by the time he hits his age 36 and 37 seasons, the Dodger rotation should include Urias, DeLeon and other young pitchers who still will be cost-controlled, balancing the outlay to Scherzer (and perhaps Kershaw).

    In game three of the playoffs against the Mets, the Dodgers jumped out to a 3-0 lead against Matt Harvey, but Anderson and then Wood gave it all away and then some. Imagine if Scherzer had been the Dodger starter. Think they might have won that series? I do.

    Moreover, having Scherzer would have made Greinke’s departure far less significant. 

    No one player every guarantees anything, but what I’ve tried to do here is show that while most long term free agent contracts don’t work, sometimes they do. The Dodgers should not rule them out, as they appear to be doing.

    The ultimate test will come in 2018, when Kershaw opts out of his contract at age 30. Will Friedman be the guy whose legacy is letting Kershaw leave the team if the pitcher, as expected, seeks a seven year commitment? Will Kershaw, like Piazza, go into the Hall of Fame wearing another team’s cap? Something to ponder.

    Finally, I notice people keep pointing to the Phillies as a team the Dodgers do not want to follow. It’s true they are terrible, but that’s less about their free agent spending than about the young players they traded away. But however bad they are now, Phillies fans did get a world series win, and another world series appearance, in return for all that spending. That’s more than we Dodger fans can say.

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  28. ChrisTerrell

    I agree. Great counter point. Sure. I think both views have merit. And there is no R get or wrong answer. It’s a roll off the dice and I think it should not be a steadfast rule but look at on a case by case. But, if it was my job, iture, money,

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  29. ChrisTerrell

    I agree. Great counter point. Sure. I think both views have merit. And there is no R get or wrong answer. It’s a roll off the dice and I think it should not be a steadfast rule but look at on a case by case. But, if it was my job, future, money, organization – I would more inclined to do the age 30-37 contract for a SP for 15% of your annual payroll with a pitcher that does it with know how, guile… The craft (Kershaw, Greinke, Maddux) and not with a stuff/power guy (Scherzer, Verlander, Sabathia). The point that the monies are deferred and that you’re paying a guy that’s retired years later has something to it, but the Dodgers don’t need financing. It still ends up costing X for so many years of a certain level of performance. Tomorrow’s dollars are more expensive than today’s ok. Sure. Another thing to consider is what you have coming with Urias, De Leon, Cotton. They want the flexibility to bring Kershaw back we hope. Ryu and Maeda and Wood are young enough to be around in 2020 or 2022. Good debate! You could articulate some things for somebody too!

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  30. ChrisTerrell

    Correct me if I’m wrong. I haven’t researched it. But if memory serves most of the money the Phillies spent was to their star players after they’d already won their WS. Re-upping Howard, extending Utley, Rollins, Hammels, Papelbon etc. They’d made a few trades, developed well, won the ship and then tried to hold on way too long paying players for past performance well into their decline years. Isn’t it my contention that possibly, and as discussed on a case by case, instead of chose to not extend, perhaps trade, but also let it play out, get the picks, devote those monies to younger players, develop the farm (too big of a gap in the guys that got them there and the next wave is a result of hanging on with the one more year mindset) acquire more for guys like Hammels and Papelbon than you did because it was done a year or two closer to their primes. If they werent stuck in bloated deals to aging used-to-be’s couldn’t of those funds been redistributed to a quicker next wave… IE: the Tampa and now Dodger model. Of course the Phillies, more akin to the Dodgers but not quite at our level, could of augmented that continuing churning of the soil bringing about the next harvest all the while adding key younger pieces that kept them relevant?
    I don’t claim to know more than the brass in that town. No disrespect. But attempting to make the point. Are those fans, if you polled them today, or last year, or the year before that saying yeah but we did win that one year before we paid everyone? At least we fondly look back at that and I remember that season when I dump $130 to take my family of four to watch Ryan Howard hobble around and whiff 3x to another 90 loss season this year? I think Dodger ownership made it clear that can never happen in LA. And thank goodness. That’s brutal. I feel bad for those guys. Heads rolled. That team is still ripping the scab off and pouring rubbing alcohol on the puss filled wound. We all want to win and now. I’ll use the analogy of the love of your life. Of course you want her now and desperately. But would you go to any length to succeed now knowing that it would more than likely cause a premature and miserable end to your relationship in the not too distant future? Of course not. Not if you love her.

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