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Dodgers Front Office Protect Franchise by Avoiding Kimbrel and Vazquez

Credit where credit is due to Andrew Friedman.

PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 21: Felipe Vazquez #73 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at PNC Park on June 21, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

The Dodgers continue to dodge bullets on the reliever market and it has proven to be another excellent thing to add to the front office’s resumé.

Passing on Pieces

They passed on one of the best closers in baseball history before the MLB Draft in Craig Kimbrel, letting him sign with the Chicago Cubs. They decided to pass on all of the biggest names in the relief market and only got one left-hander in Adam Kolarek. But with today’s news, the biggest domino fell in what has been an excellent navigation of both the trade market and the relief market for the front office.

On Tuesday, Pirates’ left-hander Felipe Vazquez was arrested and charged with the solicitation of a child in addition to performing a sex act in a video that was distributed to a minor.

The organization held reported interest in Vazquez, as well as names like Shane Greene, Ken Giles, and Jake Diekman. Greene has held a 3.98 ERA with the Atlanta Braves, Ken Giles was injured around the deadline so he wasn’t traded, and Diekman has pitched to the tune of a 6.35 ERA with the Oakland A’s.

Relying on Young Pieces

The Dodgers’ plan is to use length and youth in the playoffs to potentially lead them to the promised land. Dustin May has had his struggles out of the bullpen, but could end up being the bulk innings eater in a Game 4 setting. Tony Gonsolin has looked like an elite bullpen arm. Julio Urías might be the x-factor for the club in October.

The organization has placed an emphasis on using these pieces with complete faith that they will succeed instead of going all out to acquire pieces.

Trade Deadline

Fans were pissed off and at the time, it was reasonable. However, Adam Kolarek has been a revelation for the Dodgers. He has allowed just one earned run through 10 1/3 innings pitched. He has been absolutely fantastic and should do the same things he is doing now in October. With all the good left-handed bats in the league that are on expected playoff teams — Freddie Freeman, Juan Soto, and Yordan Alvarez — Kolarek is a very useful piece.

What seemed to be a terrible deadline now seems a bit better.

Overall

The Dodgers have lived up to their name and are currently displaying the best bullpen they have all season. Kenley Jansen is regaining his confidence and his cutter and Julio Urías is back from suspension, with the supporting cast of Joe Kelly, Pedro Baez, and more to back them up.

This may be the year, ladies and gentlemen. It all starts with the pitching staff.

Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 18 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics major and Cognitive Science and Economics dual minor at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

39 Comments

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  1. It’s not like he knew these things would happen. His cheapness just happened to pay off in these 2 cases

    • Dude the Dodgers front office know what they’re doing. The passed on Harper too, who is having a so-so season. They know how to get players for a bargain by using analytics.

        • You certainly cry like one. Friedman and the front office are way smarter than you. It’s not about cheapness. But of course, in your mind you have all the answers.

          • Of course it’s about cheapness you dullard. They don’t want to trade their over abundance of prospects or spend any of the billions of dollars they have. I actually agree on the not trading of top prospects all I was saying was his cheapness is what saved us not some knowledge of it backfiring with a scandal or underperformance in Kimbrels case. Btw you’re a male chauvinist pig that can’t stand that a strong opinionated woman is right and you are wrong

          • And how many World Series has the team won with their 7 division titles? Friedman is a cheapskate. Most all of his “big” pickups at the trade deadline have been duds. Manny Machado, Yu Darvish, Josh Reddick and the list goes on.

        • I make women like you bow down to me all the time. The female mind is a funny thing and easy to control. All you loud feminists need is a strong male presence to make you feel safe and secure and you let it all down immediately. Being surrounded by betas makes you scared so you all put up a front it’s all just a protection mechanism.

    • You’re just plain wrong in your “cheapness” assertion. The Pirates were asking for more than any team would possibly give to acquire a rental player. Initially I felt the same anger you still feel, until I read what the Pirates were asking for. They were asking for Lux, Gonsolin, and another A+ prospect, or, Lux, May, and more. Any GM would, no matter how much he needed a reliever like Vasquez, would ever okay that kind of deal. Hindsight is 20/20, yes, but with predictive algorithms and higher level stats the Dodgers could easily see they would get far more benefit from keeping their young guys, playing them, and not trading for a now sexual predator (not known at the time, but it would have stung 5X harder to give the Pirates your future for nothing in return). Bottom line: The prices for the relievers the Dodgers were going after were simply not worth what they would have to give up. Gonsolin = around 3.00 ERA, May = ginger Gonsolin who has electric stuff and will eat 4-5 innings for the inevitable 2 inning NLDS or WS outing by a starter, Lux = Minor League Player of the Year. It’s better to be lucky than good, and it is even better to be great and lucky as Friedman was. Oh, Kimbrel, right. He hadn’t pitched in how long? The advanced statistics predicted a decline in his numbers, however this steep of a decline I doubt. He (Kimbrel) was greedy and is suffering the consequences of listening to terrible advice and letting things go right to his head. “YEAH IT’S A BRIGHT IDEA TO GIVE AWAY THE MINOR LEAGUE PLAYER OF THE YEAR WHO WILL HELP THIS TEAM FOR A DECADE FOR A RELIEF PITCHER, WHO ARE NOTORIOUSLY RELIABLE (LIKE JANSEN, DER), FOR A FEW MONTHS. HE’S THE MISSING PIECE THAT’LL WIN US THE WORLD SERIES”. (Annoying caps locks added for effect, to demonstrate the absurdity of what I read).

    • Mia Culpa…..You have no idea why Friedman did not acquire Vazquez. So you cannot claim it was “cheapness”. That’s ignorant to say. None of us on here know why that trade for Vazquez did not happen……..anything we talk about on the subject is speculation. Only thing we do know is they asked for Lux, and that is according to the media reports. But there is one thing we can ALL agree is true…….WE ARE ALL GLAD HE (Friedman) DID NOT ACQUIRE THE GUY!

    • No FO executive is going to be 100% on trades. All told, Friedman has as good a record as anyone in the game. Drafting. Transactions. Player development. Managerial hire. He has checked every box during his brief time in L.A. Dodger fans should hope he is on our side for a long, long time. That also goes for Dave Roberts. The leadership ability and chemistry between these two guys is off the charts. They are creating a model that otehr teams will want to follow. Best time ever to be a Dodger fan.

    • I never advocated for that I just said Friedman didn’t avoid it because he knew it was going to end in disaster like the beginning suggests. His unwillingness to trade prospects ( whether one likes that or dislikes that) is the reason he dodged a bullet with Vasquez

    • It’s self improved but there’s certain guys that shouldn’t be used in some situations and Roberts hasn’t shown that he’s figured that out yet as he continues putting Floro and Urias in with guys on fur example. He’s gotta learn his own staff of we’re going nowhere

      • Mia Culpa, Roberts knows the team’s personnel way better than you or any fan does. To suggest otherwise is beyond otherwise. Any Dodger fan that is truly paying attention understands — and approves of — what Doc is doing.

          • You guys are clowns if you think roberts is a good manager…He is the worst in game manager of all time and if you cant see that then you do not understand how baseball works lol you roberts groupies are blind af

        • You are the classic shill you never quit. He proves time and again that he doesn’t know his pitching staff, I listed examples that can’t be denied and there’s been more throughout the season. Everything is always perfect according to you but that’s not reality, you like to sweep the negatives under the rug and try to convince people that what they see isn’t there and that they’re foolish or not paying attention, please. You aren’t paying attention or you’re a shill, I’m gonna guess shill based on your posts.

          • When Roberts was a player he relied on speed and the hit and run. The players probably have no idea what a steal or trying to move the runner along is. Maybe it’s “sabermetrics”.

        • I am a Dodger fan and have watched them for years, if Lasorda had this team he would win 120 games. Roberts is horrible manager. In fact, I think his game moves are scripted by the front office. The 1988 Dodgers are perfect example of how defense and fundamental baseball will always beat the Home Run hitting team.

      • Mia Culpa,

        You should take the approach in these forums, of suggesting rather than declaring. Not every situation is going to work out. If you as a “fan” can’t accept a little disappointment in some of the results and remain objective, then you don’t understand baseball or can’t accept the direction the organization is taking. You disparage the leadership of this very great team in your posts.

        • I would only suggest that Dodgers manage the PS games somewhat differently than what is done in the regular season. Most can probably figure that games are not won or lost on the computer or spread sheets alone. Some of the in game moves just may not work during the PS or WS where it may matter the most. As far as not trading for Vazquez, I am glad they did not because he nor any other top reliever guarantees nothing in the PS if the rest of the club plays sub par baseball during that time.

  2. Who cares how or why it worked out for the Dodgers? As long as it worked out and hopefully we get to hoist a WS trophy this year I’m happy as pigs in slop. And I concur with Patient Zero that Roberts has shown that he has a great deal of knowledge of how to work his players in and out of situations so any criticism of his decisions is highly unwarranted.

  3. I am hoping that Roberts learns from his mistakes in the postseason and I think he will. I realize that hindsight is 20/20, pulling Kelly for Urias who got shellacked was a mistake, analytics or not. I think a lot of the frustration and second-guessing Roberts and Friedman stems from the fact that our beloved Dodgers have not won a WS in 31 years! That’s a helluva long time, especially for a town used to winners (Lakers, Kings twice although they suck now, and the Dodgers themselves). The worst one for me was letting Verlander go to Houston when he wanted to be in LA with his actress/model wife. That was the difference in 2017. Live and learn, let’s end the drought Blue Crew. BTW, what do you guys think of Sadler on the PS roster?

    • Sadler should definitely be there. He’s one of the few relievers that can actually pitch and get outs without surrendering bombs

    • the dodgers offered harper 4 at 180 million, they did not pass, they got lucky he did not take the offer.

  4. Hey patient zero knowledge aka teabag how about you stop acting like a know it all unless you want to come out and let us know who you are shill

  5. Until there’s a Championship flag that is after 1988 flying at the stadium, we haven’t accomplished our goal, or what Friedman was brought here to do, so there!

    • Mike………SEVEN consecutive division titles and two world series appearances is nothing to belittle. But maybe you are not a Dodger fan and you just come here to agitate things. Ned Colletti, the people who worked for Ned Colletti and Friedman, AND the people who work for Friedman, they ALL share in the credit. But this team, as it is assembled is in very good hands, both now and into the future. The fact that there is not a new championship flag flying does not change that fact. Just ask all the teams they have been rolling over the last SEVEN years. JMO

      • Here comes the weak “you’re not a fan” “ “argument” but since you people always go there, how about this, I think you aren’t a true fan if you’re satisfied with playoff appearances and no championships. Apparently just being better than perennial losers is enough for you. They can have the brightest future of them all and still never win it all because there’s always a part of the team that’s neglected this year like many others it’s the bullpen. Or a boneheaded over analytical move in the World Series ( btw Cora said the Dodgers moves were a predictable analytical formula and he knew what they were going to do before they did it) so keep that in mind when you guys praise this so called great leadership we have. The great leadership that keeps making foolish moves against the best teams and that’s apparently very predictable. We’ll see if Roberts follows Friedman’s book to a T or if he uses his brain and puts the right pitchers in the right spot, oh and don’t pull a starter in the 5th if they’re dealing because you arrogantly think your matchup game is so superior.

        • You are dead wrong, I would rather be in it and lose it than be a team like the Pirates. That being said, it is maddening that we do not get over the hump and the reason is we do not make the adjustments in the playoffs that we need to do to win it. This team is capable of stealing, hit and run and bunting. In the playoffs you need to scratch and claw for runs, you will not win unless you do those things. Dave Roberts is a terrible manager and you would think that he would know this considering his STOLEN BASE changed the course of baseball history.

          • Jason………he (NODH) is just another one of a VERY long line of people who come on here to complain about not winning the world series. They do not appreciate what they are watching here. These people cannot be talked to, they just DO NOT get it. Entitlement makes them unable to see the merit of winning games, following a team that wins the majority of their games every year or making the playoffs so many many times. They need to root for a team that NEVER makes the playoffs, a team like the Rockies, then MAYBE they will figure it out? The Rockies first appeared in what, maybe 1991…..they have never won a division title………they have never won a world series……I’d like to see them follow a team like that, complain about them for a few years and THEN maybe they will appreciate how nice it is being a Dodger fan. They need to see how the other half lives to appreciate what they have and yet they seem to disdain.

  6. The dodgers will lose in the series or nlcs, why? They refuse to manufacture runs, they do not do the things required to win against elite pitching. Dave Roberts is a terrible game manager and the reliance on the Home Run is great to get you to 100 wins, over the course of a season analytics are fine, but when it comes down to winning against Elite pitching, the art of bunting, stealing, hit and run to manufacture runs is a must. Until the dodgers start doing these things, they will not win the series. Example, last year in Game 4 against Boston, Hill was pitching great, he got yanked and the sox rallied, but what people do not remember is that when the game was tied and runner on first, the sox hit and ran, the ball was smoked to second but the Dodgers could not turn the dp that would of ended the inning, the sox added two more runs to give them a cushin, Keke hit an hr in the 9th, which would of won the game had the sox not hit and run in the 8th to stay out of the DP….Houston stole second base in game 2 in extra innings and won on that play as Kenley blew the save……….The Dodgers absolutely refuse to do these things and until as an organization they learn that elite pitching requires manufacturing runs, they will never win the World Series.

    • Perhaps somebody can correct me if I’m wrong. “Analytics baseball” is Not a fan of bunting, stealing, hit-and-run, you know “small-ball” or situational hitting.

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