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Dodgers: Should We Really Blame Andrew Friedman?



Earlier this week, President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman assigned the blame on himself for the Dodgers slow start. Front office personnel often say that the best moves are the ones that you don’t make and that just what the Dodgers did. They stood pat throughout the offseason, failing to make any major roster changes. We will look back at the major transaction that the Dodgers did not make this offseason and see how they have paid off thus far.

Not Trading For Giancarlo Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton really wanted to become a Dodger. Even when the Miami Marlins agreed to a deals to trade him to the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals, Stanton vetoed both moves, hoping the Dodgers could find a home for him in Los Angeles.

After hitting 59 home runs with the Miami Marlins, Giancarlo Stanton made it clear that he wanted to play for a contending team. Growing up in Los Angeles, he prefered the Dodgers. The problem was that the Dodgers did not want to take on his 13 year, $325 million contract.

Essentially, the Dodgers wanted to unload their bad contracts, such as Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy and Adrian Gonzalez, to Miami. Although the Marlins did not have a high asking price for the slugging outfielder, could not come to an agreement on a deal.

Giancarlo eventually accepted a trade to the Yankees and the rest is history. After a slow start with his new club, the reigning NL MVP has picked up steam. Since the start of May, he is batting .310 with five home runs and 11 RBI in just 12 games. While he is second in the American League with 55 strikeouts, the slugger has hit 10 roundtrippers all year, helping the Yankees to a first place 28-12 record.

 

Not Signing an Elite Starting Pitcher

The top two pitchers in the free agent class last season were Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta. Both righties are on the wrong with a history of injury problems.

Following Yu Darvish’s horrendous showing in the World Series for the Dodgers, it did not appear likely that he would return to Los Angeles. He wound up signing a six-year, $126 million contract with the Chicago Cubs.

Dodgers fans remember Jake Arrieta from when he threw a no-hitter at Chavez Ravine in 2015. He also beat out Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke for the Cy Young Award that year. The Dodgers had some interest in the righty, but Arrieta ended up signing with the Philadelphia Phillies on a three-year, $75 million deal.

Despite the massive dollar figures for both pitchers, they have performed completely differently this season. Through seven starts, Darvish has an 0-3 record with a 5.56 ERA.

Through the same number of starts, Jake Arrieta is 3-1 with a 2.59 ERA.

 

Staying Frugal with the Bullpen

Last season, the Dodgers took a low risk, high reward deal, signing Brandon Morrow to a short term minor league deal. Then, during the trade deadline, they were rumored to possible acquire the Baltimore Orioles all-star closer Zach Britton. Instead of making that deal, the Dodgers acquired lefties Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani in low risk deals.

Thanks to the success of last year’s deals, the Dodgers continued this trend of low risk-high reward deals to bolster their bullpen. They let Morrow and Watson leave during free agency and did not pursue the top free agent relievers. Instead, they made moves to acquire Scott Alexander, J.T. Chargois, Daniel Hudson, Tom Koehler and Pat Venditte. None of these moves have panned out yet, with each pitcher either injured or with an ERA over 4.50.

 

Keeping Matt Kemp

When the Dodgers made the trade to bring Matt Kemp back to Los Angeles, no one expected that he would actually play a game for the boys in blue. In the exchange of bad contracts they sent Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, Adrian Gonzalez and Charlie Culberson to the Atlanta Braves.

The Dodgers expected to ship Kemp and his contract elsewhere to lower their payroll. Kemp lost 40 pounds over the off season and has proved to be worth every penny for the Dodgers. He is batting .318 with five home runs and is showing more athleticism than he did when the Dodgers first let him go.

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Keeping Yasmani Grandal

Since Austin Barnes started every game in the World Series in 2017, most people expected Yasmani Grandal’s tenure as a Dodger to come to an end. In large part because of the slow market and lack of interest in catchers this offseason, the Dodgers held on to Grandal.

Although he has struggled of late, Grandal has still been productive batting .278 with seven home runs this season.

 

Analysis

After a magical 2017 season, Andrew Friedman and Co. stood pat this past offseason. No one could have predicted their bad start, so it makes sense that the Dodgers kept their pieces from last year.

Obviously acquiring Stanton, along with an elite pitcher or two would have helped, those deals would have been financial burdens in the long term. The Dodgers were able to remain under the $197 million tax threshold which should help them retain Clayton Kershaw and sign an elite free agent next year.

While the offense is struggling, unforeseen injuries are a major reason for that, and Andrew Friedman is not at fault for that. The one place where the front office failed is with the bullpen. They made deals that make the Dodgers too reliant on unknown and unproven commodities out of the bullpen. While it is still early, the team’s reliever have already lost 11 games this year. Since the Dodgers are only eight games out of first place, there is still time for the front office to redeem itself and add relievers to lead them to the promised land.

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Written by Arthur Cribbs

Arthur Cribbs is a journalism student at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He is a lifelong Dodgers fan and when he is not at school, he resides in Los Angeles.

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  1. The bullpen is Friedman’s fault. There is no comparison with the players they signed and the players they let walk. Morrow was a no brained. I’m glad they are saving money.

  2. Yes he has failed to act for 3 years. Rich Hill 3 years 48 million is a joke of the decade. Chris Sale was available 28. Justin Verlander he passed on. Gerit Cole 27 was available. Instead he brings pitchers off waivers. Teams that dumped them. If this was New York they rip to threads.

  3. It’s easy to sit here in Oklahoma and find fault with the front office. It would be much more difficult if I were actually out there on the front lines. I like our management team because they hold on to our young players. I hate to see us bring up a good young player and then trade him off for a short term gain. That being said, I wish they could have held on to Watson and Morrow. I really liked both of those guys. I hate to see Honeycutt straighten out these guy’s problems and then somebody else get the benefits….especially the Giants and Cubs!

    We have a great group of athletes and an equally great bunch of coaches. Hopefully we can pick up some help in the bull-pen. With J.T. back and hitting like J.T. and Yasiel and CT3 and Austin and Yasmani and Chase…..we will be okay. I just wish that Joc would use a little bit lighter bat and choke up some. Just give it a try and see what happens. That guy is an amazing athlete…..it is in there somewhere Turner…..we just need to get it out. Hang in there guys!

  4. Blame Freidman and Zaidi (if he makes any decisions) not only for what they did not do in the off-season but for the succession of mistakes – mainly in acquiring injured pitchers, over the hill, and not acquiring one decent reliever for this year. These two should give up their salaries because of their failures and spend that money and the millions available to them to bring a championship back to LA – before lifelong fans of my age die and Dodger heroes of the 1970’s and 1980’s get as old as I am now.

    Blame whoever made the decision to start Darvish in Game 7 last year for negating a magical season in one night. Glad the Cubs overpaid this loser.

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