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Dodgers: LA Times Writer Questions Team’s Objective to Win it All

Dylan Hernandez wanted more under the tree



First off, Merry Christmas Dodgers fans. While the Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t put a big present under the tree this off-season as of yet, there is still time on the talk.

In a long column in the LA Times, writer Dylan Hernandez takes the current Dodgers’ regime to task. Undeniably, some who click through to read the column below will feel like Hernandez is speaking for you. In contrast, others will feel that Hernandez is a villain whose goal in life is to be critical of Dodger baseball. Still, he gives us an interesting read on the holiday.

First, Hernandez hypothesizes that the Dodgers’ goal is not to win a World Series. Simply, they just want to win the division and have a lottery ticket to be in the sweepstakes.

Their objective isn’t to win a World Series. It’s to win another division title. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure they want to win a World Series. But wanting to win a World Series isn’t the same as doing whatever is necessary to win one.

Second, Hernandez brings a point in which I agree with fully. I see a fair degree of ‘but they offered Cole a fair deal’ here and there. However the Dodgers are privy to knowledge we aren’t, and conversations with agent Scott Boras. They knew their best and final was in second place when it was made.

The attitude was reflected in their courtship of Cole. Did they want him? Sure, but not enough to make the kind of offer that would have brushed back the New York Yankees, who signed him to an nine-year, $324-million deal. Once Cole came off the board and eliminated the most obvious shortcut to a World Series, the Dodgers reverted to their old tricks.

Finally, Hernandez exhibits how the Dodgers’ strategy to pivot to the trade market may not be one that is sound.

The absence of competition has spared the Dodgers the obligation to pay for premium free agents. When the free-agent prices have made them uncomfortable, they have been able to explore the trade market, which is less predictable but also often less expensive. Most of the game’s elite players are on teams that won’t dump them for prospects. To acquire quality players, the Dodgers will likely have to give up quality players, meaning they can only make marginal improvements in a trade. Potential trade partners hold a degree of leverage over the Dodgers at this point, as they know the Dodgers can’t pivot back to the free-agent market. The Dodgers’ only recourse will be to wait.

It’s hard to say that the Dodgers have gotten better. In this example, I admire Hernandez for being objective, if that’s what he was trying to do. Certainly I hope that something bigger is coming, who else is with me?

NEXT: Experts Discuss LA’s Free Agency Desperation

Written by Staff Writer

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  1. LA times always does a good job of calling the Dodgers out I’m glad they are doing it again this year more than ever. Stop buying tickets now

    • It’s ludicrous to think they don’t want to win the WS! Of course they do, probably more than any of us. The Dodgers have been in a position to win it more than any other team in baseball in the last decade, any team. And they were even spending over the luxury tax for 3 yrs so you can’t say they are cheap, that’s just not reality.

  2. I share a lot of the fans frustration, but let’s hold on for a moment. Let’s not turn on our Blue team as fans. I, for one, prefer to watch our blue chippers cut their teeth in Dodger Blue, even if it means we don’t win it all. Who knows, in a year or two, our prospects may be just as good as anyone we are trying to acquire and I for one advocate fiscal responsibility in the process. Yeah, I wanted Cole, but he went to the Yanks and I wouldn’t pay anyone else like that on the free market. It’s not like we have a 90 million dollar payroll folks. By the time we finish paying our own, we may be pushing 200 mil again. What’s next, 300mil? Does the entertainment industry realize that we have people starving out there?

    • We’ve been relying on blue shippers long enough. How much longer do want to wait. It’s now, my personal desire is that Tommy Lasorda and Vin Scully see another World Series title before there in a better place. It’s a damm shame we haven’t had one in thirty years.

    • You are worried about fiscal responsibility? This ownership group gets nearly $350 Million each year from just the obscene TV contract (in the sense that less than 40% of the fans are able to watch, including Vin Scully)! They could have bought each major FA and still made a profit. This ownership’s largest free agent has been the $60 million given to Pollack. Hernandez is the only sportswriter who has the integrity and gumption to call out these “business” owners for what they are – carpetbaggers and con men.

    • Your blueprint is a fail. The LA Kings built to the edge of a Stanley Cup from within, just like you are suggesting for the Dodgers. But, when it came time to go for it, they did. 7 years of winning the division and 31 years of ineptitude in the post season, it seems the time to go for it is long overdue. It is not the entertainment industry’s job to feed the starving people. Actually, sports teams do a great job of community involvement.

    • I have been critical of the Dodgers front office for certain moves the Dodgers front office hasn’t made but at the same time we have to look at the big picture! I love Dylan Hernandez and most of the time his articles are spot on, I believe he speaks for the fans and wants to see this team win a World Series just as bad as the fans like myself do. But let’s get real Cole was the big prize but at the cost it’s just not logical, Yankees over paid and rightfully so let them. The Dodgers should have won a World Series by now but because they haven’t the front office will be forever criticized until that day comes, if they did we wouldn’t be here talking about what free agents they should have spent their money on! The simple fact is now the Dodgers have no choice but to stay relevant until these young players are ready to deliver, the Dodgers farm is loaded with talent and pitchers, the same players your cheering for right now like Smith, Buehler, Verdugo. The problem is they have other players about 3 years away or sooner which is a nice problem to have. So what do you do if your the Dodgers would you have spent the money now on one player like Cole? Maybe but what if he gets injured in year two of his contract? Do you Trade away your assets for superstars? Would you have traded Buehler, Verdugo, and Smith for Lindor if you didn’t see how good those players would turn out? Or would you just stay the course and keep winning your division while gaining playoff experience as you wait for the young players to progress?

    • Yeah, but people like Scott Bora** don’t care. They only want their cut of what Marvin Miller called the “fairness of free agency.” Yeah, well who is it fair to? Surely no the fans who teams depend on to show up and pay the freight.

      I have said it once, I’ll say it again. Boycott spring training games so the owners begin to understand that, like William Holden in the movie “Network,” were “…mad as hell, and … not going to take it anymore!” As long as people keep mindlessly going to games, there is no incentive to make the team better, nay, world series winners, not just contenders or also rans. 34 YEARS IS A LONG TIME, LA!

  3. Clint, finally a journalist not worried what interviews hell be losing with the team. Mr Hernandes is stating the obvious truth regarding the Dodgers lack of concern to break the 33 year drought. I agree 100% with his perception and hope he doent lose his job because of his honesty, and it isn’t like he’s the black sheep here, from what I’ve seen 9 out of 10 true baseball fans, let alone Dodgers fans will agree with him!

    • I see some fellow Dodgers supporters hate on Hernandez, but I think he did fine with this article.

  4. Players salaries are definitely out of control. Then again, upper echelon players wouldn’t hold out for that kind of money if they didn’t think they could get it. With the farm team that they have developed, I think the Dodgers are in a position to let their younger players make an impact. It’s exciting to watch them blossom. The Cards and Braves have done it this way for years. The Dodgers are always restocking their shelves. Go Dodgers!

  5. A lot of us have known this about the Dodgers organization for years. All the hype about a Dodgers being “in” on high profile difference maker free agents is just BS. I read article that Dodgers never even made offer to Ryu. Maybe Dodgers can find another gem like Pollock!

    • Pollock’s a real beauty. Who ever made the decision to sign him should have his ass fired. That signing is right there with the Dave Goltz signing

      • Pollock lead, the or was at the top of most every offensive category on the team after he returned from an Infection. He was bad, or even horrible in the playoffs but who wasn’t? People gripe just to hear themselves talk I guess. Laughable

        • He had like two good weeks and another solid 5 or 6 day run which started at Fenway. He wasn’t negative value in the second half with the bat. Your opening line of the comment (Baseball101) is not true, to my knowledge. If the Dodgers could gnaw their arm off to crawl out from under what Pollock is still owed after getting a look at how his levers are moving now, I bet they would do it.

  6. Dylan is right. No discussion required here. The team doesn’t care about the fans. Don’t go to games. Yes, support the team and listen to the radio. Don’t subscribe to Spectrum. They need to know that we know what the ownership and front office game is and are calling them out.

    The fans and writers are smart.

  7. I am a long time LA Times subscriber and enjoy all facets of the paper. I now live in AZ but still subscribe digitally. Dylan Hernandez is an absolute Hack. He is incredibly biased and opinionated.
    I read most of his rants and he has disliked the Dodger Ownership from its inception. If any LA based sports team does not trade or buy the free agents Dylan decides they should he is brutal and unfair in his criticism.
    This team is owned by Guggenheim and some minority owners like Kasten, Magic etc. The Business plan is Kasten’s and it’s is Atlanta Braves Dynasty 2.0. Except Kasten has more experience and probably more support and funding this time around.
    This team has continued to be very competitive, decreased payroll, become much younger and kept a top 5 rated Farm System. The Dodgers are set up for decades to be a top performing team.
    I am excited to see a future Rotation of Buehler, Urias, May, Gonsolin and Grey or other guys from the Farm pitch in a year or two. That is why they do not need to pursue long term $300 million free agents.
    Think about it this team may have a rotation of Buehler, Kershaw, Maeda, Urias and Stripling or May or Gonsolin or? It will be incredible.
    Oh I am not an Ownership troll as some have accused. I am a long time Dodger fan. My background is Engineering and Management. I look at what could be and what business plan is in place. Its called dealing in Reality. Not silly wish fulfillment. I am excited to see the New Young Dodgers!. A single player or Two in baseball does not win championships. I believe Cole and Rendon have 1 between them. And Harper, Machado and Realmoto have 0! If one player could win it the Angels would be champions every year.

    • Your an idiot. Kasten and all of Guggenheim are all about making money at your expense if you go to the stadium. Are you really satisfied with division titles. Well some of us want more and with these morans running the show will die and never see a world title again. So stop protecting these thieves.

    • You need to realize something there bud. None of those players were even born the last time the Dodgers won the big one. The cheapskate General Manager is more interested in the bottom line than giving the Dodgers a championship. And as long as he hires buffoons like Don Mattingly and Dave Roberts it may not happen. Hernandez is spot on when he calls out the team.

    • You don’t want to be accused of being an ownership “troll” yet you say things like a rotation of Buehler Kershaw Maeda Urias Stripling will be incredible, that’s laughable that rotation would do nothing in October. Someone above stated how much this team makes from everything combined and that they could’ve signed everyone and still made a profit and that is a 100% fact so it’s not silly wish fulfillment to have wanted atleast 2 of those big names

    • I was never vehemently against ownership or Friedman. Quite the opposite. Now, it’s a different story. They’re a player or two away. The last three years have shown that. It was time to put the team over the top, and they have about a zero. I don’t think the goal is to win a title, just be in the mix, and they know they will make money. All of this of course jades the fan or little kid self within me. It’s just a business to them, and that’s how they’re operating it. If they wanted to win a title, they could have taken every measure to do it. They haven’t. That’s all Hernandez is saying, and I felt like he said it well. Only guy in that rotation you listed that scares anyone is Buehler. Sadly, that’s where we are. Stocks go up and down – and that could change – but as it sits; none of those guys are beating the best of the best at the end of the last level.

  8. The Dodgers are mismanaged they need to do something now we as fans deserve better make a trade get someone who can help win it all. Pitching and a right handed batter.

  9. They are selling the most tickets and making big bucks.
    Its a successful business venture.

    Unless that changes, the business will continue on the path its on.

    • Fans have the power to make dodger stadium a ghost town. That’s what will make them listen especially after the big renovations and all star game coming up if we made that a total bust it would get their attention but unfortunately when Spring arrives I think everyone’s going to back down and forget about everything they’ve realized this winter, their anger and frustration will pass as they frolic about in their new Dodger fantasy park

      • As long as they’re winning the NL West, it will continue to sell out. Only thing that would change anything is if they didn’t and maybe had a hiccup year where they missed the playoffs altogether.

        • Clint, despite popular belief that Dodgers will be easy NL West winners again, honestly I am not sure. and again I put a lot of blame on a manager that simply is inept when managing the big games or managing the pitching staff. We have seen examples of this for 3 years now. In 2016, I did give Roberts a ‘pas’ because of his then inexperience as a manager.

          • I think the Padres and them are going to win around 90 games and it will be tight.

  10. Al” Dodger fans should wonder this. Tired of seeing the, linked to free agents they never land.

    • It’s been brutal. It’s to the point where if they’re linked to a guy, I almost feel worse about it.

  11. Txmastr, doesn’t a Dynasty have to have multiple championships? Atlanta braves dynasty 2.0? Perfect comparison though for the Dodgers!!!!!! That is without the dynasty

    • Yes it does need a Championship or two or three. I believe with the young core they have they will continue to improve.
      The Dodgers have finally got out from under the majority of long term contracts and players they inherited or bought to keep competitive and have had time to build the Farm System. The team arc of success should accelerate from here.
      Wether you believe in their business plan or not we are stuck with iT!!!LOL
      I personally see no reason to doubt their plan as they have done what they said. I enjoy baseball I am 68. I do not see a team in the NL that will stay in contention like the Dodgers for a decade.
      The Astros are going to be handicapped with sanctions. The BoSox are attempting to rebuild. The Yankees may be ascending but have some terrible contracts like Stantons. The Padres May contend… eventually

      • Spoken like a true company man! Don’t get your nose to. Far into Friedman’s rear end. He loves spicy food!

          • One rotation horse, one big middle of the lineup thumber who is switch or right handed. Definitely need another bullpen arm with the upside of being dominant. Wouldn’t be fixing but tweaking.

      • The Astros will get a slap on the wrist that story has already died. The Sox always rebuild after a championship and then come back and win another because when it’s time to compete they get who they need. The Yankees may not build a dynasty but they will win once I guarantee and we’ll have zero. The Padres… I don’t know but I wouldn’t be shocked if they win one before us it seems to be the trend, everyone gets one but us

  12. AS LONG AS THEY SELL 4M TICKETS & HAVE A GREAT T.V. DEAL FOREGET A WS.. FUDMAN & STAN ARE MAKING FOOLS OF THE FANS. THE PITCHING STAFF IS NOT GOOD, BUT D.R.,FUDMAN & STAN THINK GOOD ENOUGH TO WIN, BUUL SHIT

  13. There re a lot of short sighted people on this site. You really want to thrw Bobby Cox under the bus. This is a great not good organization, a baseball break or two and the WS crap would be mute.The incredible success of this front office which has put so many young controllable awesome players in this system. We are the envy of Major League baseball. This front office will get this done. Patience folks look at the Giants 10, 12, 14 a few unlucky breaks and they don’t win those series. You have to get there to win there.

  14. I totally agree and then some! The Dodgers dont care if they win, it’s a facade! They put a respectable team on the field to get the fans support, draw attendance, and the owners make money. It’s all about money. The Dodgers are bleeding money., but will only spend if it makes a profit for them Stan Lasten and Andrew Friedman are the biggest car salesman!! They know what ownership wants. It’s a shame for fans who believe they want to win. As long as they draw almost 4 million fans, the Dodgers dont care

  15. I believe the Dodgers now are a business. Guggenheim is not emotionally involved like us fans are. They’re simply running an at profit business. The value continues to climb and they only invest what is required to keep the stadium full each night. They’re not worries about a World Series win as long as the perception is that they tried. I’m 43 and have been a Dodger fan since I can remember. I don’t see management trying to win it all. Or, they would have gotten a couple of relievers last year. They would have signed Bumgarner this year. They’re playing moneyball as much as they can without it being glaring. They hve to maintain a certain payroll or their will be fans that stop going. But, as long as people still go Kasten and company are fine without a ring. They’re not Dodger fans, they’re fans of profit. Andrew Friedman has never made a good free agent decision. AJ Pollack? Should have saved the money for Bumgarner who is a difference maker. They might make a trade, but it won’t be one that adds payroll. I miss Ned Colletti who I believe was the best GM since Fred Claire. All these rumors of free agents we were in on is BS. They only care that people think they’re trying. Once again Dodgers will come up short and Guggenheim will still celebrate, because of another year and another 100 million profit foe their bank accounts. Sad but true.

  16. The Dodgers have built a team for the season, not the series, – a team strong enough to build a high winning percentage, win a weak division, encourage attendance and sell lots of merchandise, but not quite strong enough to beat the few elite teams built for the series as well as for the season. Why did the Dodgers lose to the Nationals and why would they have lost to the Astros? Both Nationals and Astros had exceptional, seasoned one-two starting pitchers, in both cases far better than Buehler and Kershaw, and also consistent, power but also situational, one-two-three hitters, again far better than what the Dodgers could assemble with any combination of Peterson, Bellinger, Muncy and Turner. The players in these key positions meant that the Nationals and the Astros were better teams at least for the series and maybe for the season too..

  17. Huge TV contract, record breaking attendance, expensive parking and concessions. Winning the national league west every year. What do fans expect ? A 300 Million payroll? A pay cut for management? A World Series? Crazy fans! Be grateful for a team with the greatest bunch of suspects. I mean prospects! This is a business that we are running. Winning or losing doesn’t matter as long as attendance is not affected. Friedman you are the man! Keep it up geek!!!

  18. Merry Christmas to all here or not here. I wish we could be celebrating this Holiday with better Dodger player gifts under the Christmas tree but Freidman has actually made the Grinch who stole Christmas look like a true Santa Claus. I think we have all said what can be said and for now IIWII . But as Kirk and some others have pointed out, teams don’t or will not win a WS with a roster 100% from the farm. Established veteran presence is vital. Just ask the last few WS champions if they thought they would have won it all without them.

  19. I’m loving these comments right now. Yes…Yes the people are waking up soon there will be an uprising

  20. The Dodgers are $35 mil under the luxury tax right now. Unless they make a trade for a high salaried player they will no where near a $200 mil payroll. Guggenheim is as tight as they come. Stan Kasten got in an argument with Dylan Hernandez last off season and let slip that ticket sales show the fans have no problem with Guggenheim’s cheap ways. That is the only thing Guggenheim cares about making money and not ending the drought. Winning is coming first but not the type of winning we thought he was talking about. To go from McCourt to this group I would argue is even worse. They have the money but are just pocketing all of it. Payroll will again be down unless something shocking happens before spring training. Lose the World Series in 7 (cut payroll) and then get knocked out in the first round (cut payroll). What situation other than losing ticket sales would cause them to open the wallets? I don’t think there is one once the honeymoon phase was over.

  21. I’m a lifelong Dodger fan. My first time seeing the Dodgers play was at the Coliseum in 1959. I’ve watched management/ownership of this team, from the O’Malleys to the present, for decades be mostly content with just getting to the postseason and claiming success even when finishing second. Championships seemed to be incidental. At the same time the Yankees, especially under Sreinbrenner, every year would go out and get the top talent by spending whatever it took. The Dodger plan was to use their superior farm system, hoping to build from within. Problem with that is that potential can’t hit, field or pitch as well as established players. With equal resources as the Yankees the Dodgers business model is to cultivate a competitive team each year and not to win it all as the Yankees do.

  22. Overpay free agents with long term contracts and end up like Boston or the cubs. Have we not learned over the years? The Dodgers are probably STILL paying Jason Schmidt. I think the Dodgers are doing the right thing considering how strong the farm system is.

    • You miss the point. Boston and the Cubs have won the World Series recently. My youngest son was born 10 years, a decade, approximately 3650 days, after the Dodgers won their last WS. He is getting married this weekend. An entire generation+ has gone by since the Dodgers won the WS. At some point, you owe it to your fans to make it look like your are at least trying.

    • End up with championships like fans want? Championships are forever and are lifetime memories. Regular season is fun while it’s happening but no one cares after when it results in October failure. I’d rather be like Boston and have four teams we got to see win it all and love forever then have decades of playoff teams that we forget

      • Well said! My memories go back to the years of ‘59-‘66 when we went to four World Series, winning three of them. Who cares about anything else – i.e bridesmaid? It’s like the Clippers and the Lakers – the Clippers hang banners of when they win the division, the Lakers don’t even bother with “runner-up” momentous as they will only display what’s important, World Championship banners. We are already known as the Buffalo Bills of baseball.

    • And they sure as hell didn’t want to spend money on the ballplayers during the O’Malley years. Google poor Maury Wills contract negotiations after his 1962 NL MVP season.

  23. If the Dodgers go over the Salary Cap they risk losing part of their International Free Agent signing bonus money. This could.result in losing a prized prospect to a rival who outbids the Dodgers. (see rhp Kristian Cardoza – Seattle Mariners)

  24. The Dodger problem is simple. Dave Roberts. His decisions in the playoffs with regards to pitching is Little Leagueish. Plays favorites and tries to correct the legacy of Kershaw over the team. Wrong relievers in the wrong situations year after year. It was ok after 1 gaff in 17 but when it happens year after year you have to make changes.

    • Spot on, Nik! It might interest some also to recall that on a previous page just after the NLDS loss, Freidman was vocal of his displeasure with how that ‘LH hitting’ lineup performed in October.

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