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Dodgers News: LA Times Identifies Off-Season Areas of Improvement

Dylan Hernandez: Front office needs to take more risks.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 20: Manager Dave Roberts #30 of the Los Angeles Dodgers has a conversation with releif pitcher Kenley Jansen #74 in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on June 20, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Dodgers won 9-8. (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)

The past week has been an absolute nightmare for the Dodgers. Fans expected a third straight world series trip and to finally see the team capture that elusive ring, but instead got an exit in the NLDS. The fallout from the game five meltdown has led to both fans and pundits pointing blame at anybody and everybody in the organization, and Sunday has been no different. Everybody seems to be asking, what went wrong?

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times published a column on Sunday saying that the reason the Dodgers haven’t gotten over the hump is because they don’t take risks.

“Their thinking is that the playoffs are essentially a spin of the roulette wheel, which just so happens to be a convenient explanation for their failures,” Hernandez said in his column. “They insist they are more likely to win a World Series if they win their division annually rather than go all-in in any one season, which sounds like an excuse for avoiding tough decisions.”

He goes on to say that the Dodgers are too attached to their prospects, and their future, to make a serious gamble on their present. They can’t win a World Series because they refuse to go all-in on a season.

Although he acknowledges Andrew Friedman acquiring Yu Darvish in 2017 and Manny Machado in 2018, he points out that they did not pay a steep price for either of them and missed out on Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. Both have been a lethal one-two punch for the Houston Astros.

Hernandez thinks the Dodgers need to be bold, and ESPN’s Buster Olney agrees.

While Olney doesn’t blame Dave Roberts or Kershaw as he states that too often, decisions are judged by their results. He doesn’t think the Dodgers haven’t been bold, everything they’ve tried just hasn’t worked.

The Dodgers knew their bullpen was a liability. They tried to fix it by throwing money at Joe Kelly, giving Pedro Baez more opportunities, and relying on rookies Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin. Olney said that LA has some decisions to make in regards to their bullpen and starting rotation, but they do have money to spend this winter. He recommends the Dodgers go after a consistent veteran bat in Anthony Rendon, who is a free agent once the season is over.

MLB.com seems to agree with Olney that the bullpen needs to be addressed by the Dodgers, specifically a closer. They published an article listing every team’s biggest need this offseason, and LA needs a “big dog closer.”

Their explanation is simple and to the point: “What do you get the team that has everything? Now that Kenley Jansen has come back to earth, the Dodgers could use someone else to be the dominant pitcher he once was.”

Regardless of where you believe the blame for the Dodgers failures lie, it’s clear that the front office has some very tough decisions to make.

Written by Andres Soto

19 Comments

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  1. What a disaster and we have all the wrong people to try to fix it because they have no intention to

  2. Although May and Gonsolin might end up being good, you can’t be sure, so I think another good starter for the playoffs is a must. Either by trade or free agency. Rendon would also be nice but the pitcher is more important. The bullpen gets a lot better if you just restructure Maeda’s contract and use him to setup or close.

    • I totally agree. I like Maeda as our closer option. Kenley may have to earn it next year because he is no fool and is not going to opt out. We need another shut down veteran pitcher like Cole, but his market is going to be something fiercely competed for. I say swing a trade for Mookie Betts and sign Rendon.

      • Keep in mind that Rendon and other FA’s, after seeing how Dodgers were managed during the PS and as far as shuffling lineups and positions on a daily basis may keep these players from wanting to sign here. The same goes for those potentially on the trade block. After seeing what took place yet again this year they just may hope that they don’t get traded here. Right now I just don’t see the Dodgers as an attractive place for players.

  3. Really !!!They came in 2nd place out of 30 teams with these same players and they would have won game 5 if Roberts hadn’t messed up the routine by putting Kershaw in there and Kershaw should have let his teammates do their jobs. Don’t try to fix it if it’s not broken is so true in this situation. So put the blame where it belongs. I am a Padre fan not a Dodger but I feel for them.

  4. A sad outcome after a record setting season. But it proves that winning 106 games means nothing unless you can deliver in October. The Dodgers didn’t do it, again. As is always the case, there is a lot of blame to go around. That includes the front office as well as the clubhouse. I think that the 2019 team, much like Kenley Jansen, were not a true elite team and that was the fault of the FO.
    A lot depends on whether AF stays or goes to Boston. Let’s say he stays, will he go out and get an impact player? Maybe, but it won’t be Gerrit Cole so don’t even think about it. They have money coming off the books so a FA signing might happen, but they will stay under the luxury tax so that will limit what they can get. They have been willing to give up prospects in the past but that seems too have changed. Money could be the reason. The ownership could be thinking, “fielding a competitive team with 4 or 5 rookies making less than a 1M is a gold mine” and heck with the fans. Obviously they feel that getting to playoffs the last 7 years and the WS two years in a row is enough to keep the almost 4 million fans coming back for more.

    • We need to show them it’s not enough. I want to see attendance plummet next year and I their stadium renovations to bomb out

      • Won’t matter. Tickets are sold, even when no one shows up. Those $5 tickets you find online have already been sold. If no one takes advantage of those tickets, Guggenheim doesn’t care. They are online becasue someone has already bought them. Time Warner’s $8 billion makes up for anything. However sincere Friedman may sound, he has a boss: Guggenheim. Guggenheim is about the business aspect. Filling the seats (ticket sales) is what matters. Over 3.9 million tickets sold. That’s the only banner Guggenheim focuses on. The O’Malley years are a long, long, long time ago.

        • I agree, no progress will be made in the TV deal. The Dodgers are getting paid so why should they rock the boat? Maybe they figure the stadium “improvements” will push attendance over 4M so who cares if the majority of local fans can’t watch the games on TV.

  5. If I were to address one issue, it would be contact hitting. Stop the HR swing all the time. Kerhsaw giving up the two HR’s only meant we were tied. We could not even get one run over, Bellinger on second with no outs is a huge clue as to what our issues are. The RISP move over even with contact outs. I also think that all players who had the shift on them, needs to take that as a clue that there is a problem. All player who had the shift on them needs to practice on opposite filed hitting.

    • I agree way to many strikeouts with runners in scoring position that has to change. Kershaws better years are behind him would be nice for the front office to put a World Series winner around him before his career ends

    • Paul, The Dodger staff gave up the fewest HRs in NL this year. Still too many for some pitchers, like Garcia and Kershaw, etc. but compared to other staffs they were good.

  6. I for one am glad they didn’t trade Lux, Ruiz, May, Gonsolin, etc for temp help. Remember the trade of Alvarez to Houston for Josh Fields, who is long gone while Alvarez is a monster for Astros. With Ryu and Hill likely gone in Free Agency, May and Gonsolin will compete with Urias, Stripling and maybe Ferguson to join the rotation. There are many young guys on the team whose salaries are starting to escalate, so don’t look for the Dodgers to give out any $30M a year deals for free agents. Lux should start at 2B next year and probably slide to SS when Turner is done with Seager moving to 3B. Good IF prospects like Downs or Estevez will be ready in a couple of years to take over 2B. Based on this year’s performance the signings of Pollock and Kelly were disasters not to be repeated.

  7. The Dodgers need a veteran pitcher. Gerritt Cole will be available after this season, I heard. Kershaw is no longer a starting pitcher, and Joe Kelly either has lost it or needs to work quite a bit on what he once had. Hill is getting along in age as is his arm, but with rest he should be okay. Bring Maeda back into the rotation too. Ryu and Buehler are doing fine as we have seen, especially Buehler. Perhaps another good relief pitcher as well. But May is good and should not be overlooked in the bullpen. Bellinger needs to change his batting stance so that he can hit more of the pitches tossed his way. And Seager really needs help in the batting department. What happened to the bats during these playoffs? What has their batting coach told them…not enough, apparently.

  8. The Dodgers holes are glaring to a baseball person
    1) Field and player management….DR refuses to play “baseball” – which seems odd since he was a scrappy baseball player. There is no pure lead off hitter, no moving of opponents defense, no bunting, hit and run, and very little strategy other than sit back in the box and try to mash the ball. This leads to trouble in playoff baseball. Find some OBP guys (Billy makes it work well on half the Dodgers budget, eh?) b/c they have plenty of guys who hit .240 with 30 dingers.
    2) Their bullpen is just plain bad. Fix it or continue to lose…..in regular season or playoffs.
    Since DR seems to have his job sewn up again, find some players to get on base and then pitch better.

    • I assume you are a baseball person .From what era? LA led the NL in runs scored and were fifth overall, a fact you probably could attribute to the DH or lack of it. Their pitching staff allowed the fewest runs. They were second in defensive efficiency (whatever that is) but it seems they are doing OK. What would a baseball person suggest to avoid caving the way they did in the postseason? Six NL team had more hits but obviously did not convert them to runs. With that in mind, what would be your Rx to fix the Dodgers.

  9. A player who can hit both left and right handed pitching and is not a defensive liability, has no fear of sitting games out except t rest them. As a player, can you think of a more attractive place to play unless your roots call you closer? The Dodgers have put a added value on depth and, more so than not, have produces na lineup that can deliver 1-8. Sure it stinks that Kershaw threw back to back HRs and that Bellinger, Pollock and Seager went 5-52 with no RBIs but how does aquiringing anyone guarantee success in the short run? The team set the franchise record for wins and how do you build a team for the post season different from winning the regular season? Sure, Jansen is not what he was or needs to be. The staff as a whole blew 26 save opportunities, eight were Jansens. Seems they could and should acquire another starter and a set up man who could be the closure As for trading away players or prospects or spending mass quantities of cash on a FA, I don’t see it happening nor do I think they should.

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