There was a different feeling that was roaming around Chavez Ravine a week ago.
The Los Angeles Dodgers were competing in their first World Series appearance since Tommy Lasorda’s team won it all in 1988. Things didn’t go that way a week ago after the 2017 ball club was defeated in a Game 7. However, the electric barrier that buzzed throughout the area has suddenly busted and spewed out several particles of optimism that are scattered into the foreseeable future.
This was the case at Dodger Stadium Tuesday morning when Andrew Friedman (President of Baseball Operations), and Farhan Zaidi (General Manager), took the podium to address the media for their first press conference since that loss.
At first, the intriguing pair took the podium, and looked like two adolescents that were ready to admit their wrongs during a parent-teacher conference, but their smiles depicted their enthusiasm to honestly make things right once again.
The first question was if they had gotten over the bitter disappointment of Game 7 in the World Series, and Friedman simply responded by saying “I’m not sure I’ll ever get over it.” It was the truth, and I’m sure he’s had a hard time dealing with the aftermath, but he’s moved on from it, for now. “It’s been really difficult, but one thing that has helped is just being around the guys.”
It’s daunting for about 24 hours, just to think about where you were 12 hours earlier, but I think it also motivates us. We’re extremely competitive, it’s about how to get back to that point and finish it off. – Andrew Friedman
You can tell that everyone within the Dodgers organization is focused on improving in every aspect, getting back to the World Series, and winning that title that the city of Los Angeles rightfully deserves. It’s scary, but there’s a certain mindset that separates them from executives around the rest of the league.
Farhan Zaidi is a guy that’s appreciative of those moments during the 2017 season, but he won’t allow himself to feel content with the results. He definitely believes that the opportunity was there, and that it will help in the long run. “We feel like it’s something to build on, just like last year. I think as we look back on this year, we’ve been there, we know what it’s like and we’ll be even more prepared for next time.”
It was exhilarating for us to get to a Game 7. To see how the fans responded to it [was motivating]. Our goal in a year, is to say that [the loss] was another stepping-stone. – Farhan Zaidi
After the sentimental questions were wrapped up, the topics shifted towards the element of business. As far as team orientation goes Adrian Gonzalez, and Andrew Toles, are expected to arrive at Spring Training healthy and ready to compete for everyday roles (with regards to playing time).
It’s too early to predict the outcome for Corey Seager’s situation, but it seems like he’ll be alright – barring any unfortunate setbacks after further examination. Free agents like Andre Eithier, Yu Darvish and Chase Utley weren’t discussed much because they have the right to explore options while the front office also decides what the right decision will eventually be.
Friedman left open the possibility of bringing back free agent Yu Darvish.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) November 7, 2017
Otani is “situation we’re monitoring closely” but “premature to talk about right now” because posting system in flux
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) November 7, 2017
Kenta Maeda is still looked at as a starter, but will see time in the bullpen after taking his game to another level during the postseason. The bullpen will be adjusted, but Yimi Garcia is apparently in the mix to be featured next season if things go according to plan.
Zaidi compared this current predicament to a pickup basketball game. “We really believe in this team, we believe this is a championship team, you’d love to run it back, but that’s not the business side of things.” There’s always a certain amount of human emotion that gets placed onto their plates, but it won’t keep the Dodger architects from doing what’s best for the team – per the norm.
Individuals shouldn’t have to deal with speculating about any changes to the coaching staff though. Pitching Coach Rick Honeycutt will be back and the only opening available is an assistant to Hitting Coach Turner Ward. Dave Roberts hasn’t received an extension yet, but both of the front office leaders believe he’ll be around for a long time.
Friedman loves the working relationship that Roberts has with the front office, and that plays a key component in having an aligned outlook. Everyone is on the same page, and it just makes things easier at the end of the day.
I think Dave, our coaches, do a great job of preparing for a game and putting players in a position to succeed. Our coaches, and Doc, are a great part of our strategy. They’re a great dynamic to our group because our goal is to win a championship. – Andrew Friedman
It’s also a great feeling for a manager when the people at the top support managerial decisions, regardless of how they or anyone else might feel about them. Roberts definitely made some questionable decisions at times, throughout the entire season, but he still has substantial support going into 2018. They’ve still got his back through tough moments, because they go through the same thing on an annual basis, and that’s what anyone would want to hear.
I think that’s the great thing about baseball. There are going to be things that we do this off-season that people are going to second guess, and challenge. There’s things that go on in a game where people second guess it, that’s not unique to the Dodgers. That’s great. Everyone has opinions but we’re obviously around the group the most, and have the feel [understanding] of the day-to-day rhythm. – Andrew Friedman
At the end of the day, AJ Hinch [Houston Astros] and Dave Roberts, were the best at managers. As these moments come up, it was their decisions. You face a lot of 51/49 decisions, and you have to decide, in that moment, what’s best for your team. – Farhan Zaidi
Things didn’t go the way they had planned for the 2017 season, but that’s alright. Both masterminds of the front office reiterated that there’s no time to dwell on what happened. It’s time to move forward, and bounce back towards another championship run.
Andrew Friedman isn’t the head honcho for no reason, and fans should expect significant improvement heading into Spring Training. The baseball world knows that he’ll do whatever it takes to turn their product into a masterpiece. If anyone is wondering how a 104-win/World Series appearance team can improve, just know that he asked reporters this question: “what’s a luxury tax?”
You can check out the entire press conference below!
What moves would you like to see the Dodgers make in the offseason? Let us know in the comments below!
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