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Dodgers: Machado, Harper, Both or None

Dodgers
Oct 17, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Chris Taylor (3) and shortstop Manny Machado (8) and second baseman Brian Dozier (6) celebrate with teammates after the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Milwaukee Brewers in game five of the 2018 NLCS playoff baseball series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

I put out a poll regarding Manny Machado and Bryce Harper; the two biggest free agents on the market.

According to the poll Machado gets only 23%, Harper 58% and 33% want neither. It goes without saying but I will say it anyway; both Harper and Machado will each get at least 10-year contracts at over $30 million per year. To see the current salary situation see what I wrote a few days ago. I will break down how each option might impact the lineup.

Manny Machado Overview

It is surprising that Machado only received 23% of the votes. I guess the lack of hustle and the lack of superstar production for the Dodgers didn’t help. However, he did play some pretty good shortstop and was still very productive at the plate. I was always concerned that his Camden Yard numbers over-inflated his statistics. He’s only 26 and has a build that isn’t so heavy. That means he probably doesn’t turn into Albert Pujols and can contribute at SS or 3B for quite a few years into the contract.

Bryce Harper Overview

Plenty of comments from friends and family indicate a lot of people just don’t like Harper. He’s had one phenomenal season in 2015 and has had some other strong seasons. What I see though is a generational talent with as much or more potential than anybody in MLB. His power is outstanding, his on-base percentage is always strong and he hits lefties. His biggest weakness is defense and him playing left field at the age of 36 scares me.

Re-sign Machado

Resigning Manny Machado with Corey Seager coming back does cause some issues. Corey Seager is the starting shortstop but coming off of Tommy John surgery. The middle of the lineup would consist of something like this:

2. Turner
3. Seager
4. Machado
5. Muncy
6. Puig
7. Bellinger

There are two scenarios I saw a few days ago:

Sign Harper

If the Dodgers just sign Bryce Harper it would make an already very full outfield even fuller. It would also load up the lineup in the middle with even more strong left-handed batters. The middle of the lineup could be something like this:

2. Seager
3. Turner
4. Harper
5. Muncy
6. Puig
7. Bellinger

I’d assume that Harper would go have to go to left field which would cause a ripple effect. The existing outfield candidates include Joc Pederson, Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Alex Verdugo, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, Kiké Hernandez, and Andrew Toles. At least two would have to go.

Sign Both

This is the $65 million option that would make for a really interesting lineup shuffle. With the assumption that Corey Seager is healthy:

1B – Turner
2B – Kiké/CT3
SS – Seager
3B – Machado
LF – Harper
CF – Bellinger
RF – Puig/Verdugo

If Seager can’t play major league quality shortstop then the defense might look like this:

1B – Seager
2B – Kiké/CT3
SS – Machado
3B – Turner
LF – Harper
CF – Bellinger
RF – Puig/Verdugo

How about this batting order:

  1. Harper
  2. Turner
  3. Seager
  4. Machado
  5. Bellinger
  6. Puig/Verdugo
  7. 2B
  8. C
Apr 10, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager (5) hits an RBI double during the sixth inning against the Chicago Cub at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Sign Neither

Even if neither is signed the lineup is still pretty strong:

1B – Muncy/Freese
2B – Kiké/CT3
SS – Seager
3B – Turner
LF – Joc/Kemp/CT3
CF – Bellinger
RF – Puig/Verdugo

The team still has an overflow of outfield talent. The biggest question is, what if Corey Seager cannot play shortstop? That is a risk that makes me a little concerned.

Conclusions

My fear about Seager not being able to handle shortstop makes me want to try for Machado again. To be able to have a bat like Seager or Machado at shortstop allows the lineup to be stronger. Harper doesn’t provide any versatility but his generational talent can’t be ignored. The Dodgers have the room to make a splash in free agency so I’m hopeful they sign an impact player.

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Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

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  1. Machado is a slacker.. and he admits it.. why do we need him???????? Harper is old.. again why do we need him????? What we need is a better front office… and A manger who can manger..not give games away…

    • although I do not agree with our Manager decisions and coaching style, he has secured his contract so we have to grin and bare it. We have a strong outfield already so I think we should pass on Harper. There is a good chance that Seager may not come back 100% and we will have shift him over to 1st or 2nd in which case we would need Machado who is solid at ss. Yeah he is a little too cocky for his own good but I think he may change his lackadaisical ways after all the flack he has taken from the press and fans. Also, he has a damn good bat. I hope we resign him.

  2. Love it!

    First, Dodgers must sign Machado.

    Second, love the options presented above. Adding Harper and Machado, creates a force VS Yankees Stanton and Judge.

    Third, why did Ward leave? Dodgers how are they going to replace Ward. Can’t wait to hear.

    Can Muncy play left? Can Turner play first? I don’t recommend either.

    However I like Seager at 2B and Machado SS.

    Those two parts alone make Dodgers top mid infield players in MLB, in terms of hitting and player slot vs the comparable set.

    In those terms I prefer Turner at Third and Muncy or Belli at first.

    Hernandez can back up second and OF with defensive plus advantage.

    Puig don’t touch.

    LF, yes would Love Harper.
    Don’t like Kemp only if he is expensive, otherwise love his work last year. So prefer, if can only afford 1 new $300M man. It should be Machado.

    However, Belli at CF, Belli is not my choice for leadoff and neither is Puig. So unless Justin Turner leads off and that works well because of his high AVG. Then LF needs to leadoff, so Harper is a great, amazing fit at leadoff, with JT Manny Seager Belli Muncy Puig CA Pitcher line up.

    Fans and media are wrong and misguided to put Manny down. He hits for AVG and Power. We need that, it is a scarce commodity.

    With this team protecting either or both Manny and Harper, their Offensive numbers should improve.

    We do need pitching. One major I love is Corbin. Walker, Kershaw, Corbin, RYU, sounds awesome!

    • Competely agree on Seager at 2b if we get machado back. I still don’t think Harper is a good fit in that case. Would love to see us spend the Harper money on bullpen help and sign someone like AJ Pollock for that outfield/lead off spot, He would be a perfect fit!

    • I agree that Seager could and should play 2B, if Machado is resigned. Also, a new bullpen is largely needed with the exception of Ferguson, Jansen and Maeda. Alexander, Masden, Wood, and some others need to go!

  3. Both of these slackers are toxic. I pity the fools who sign them – not really, because they will be grossly overpaid.

  4. Neither! Long term expensive contracts are bad business. The Dodger business plan only allows for long contracts when no other option is available. Don’t you see that Shortstop and left field aren’t where our needs are? We need 2b, catcher and bullpen help.

  5. We have a strong outfield already so I think we should pass on Harper and pick up another strong pitcher. There is a good chance that Seager may not come back 100% and we will have shift him over to 1st or 2nd in which case we would need Machado who is solid at ss. Yeah he is a little too cocky for his own good but I think he may change his lackadaisical ways after all the flack he has taken from the press and fans. Also, he has a damn good bat. I hope we resign him.

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