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Former GM Jim Bowden Feels The Dodgers Are Missing A Bat, Still Need Bryce Harper

Former general manager Jim Bowden already had some biting words about the 2019 Dodgers. In saying the Dodgers have taken a step back – Bowden feels Los Angeles could have done more in the offseason. Now, he’s continued down that path. Almost doubling-down, Bowden says the Dodgers are missing a bat.

Furthermore, he believes that bat is Bryce Harper. He does not care that they have signed A.J. Pollock. Moreover, Bowden believes Pollock simply cancels out the production of Yasiel Puig.

Bowden has been known to get a little tongue-tied in the past. Here’s what he said on Sirius XM MLB Network Radio airwaves regarding the situation:

La-La Land is meant for Bryce. I mean I can see Lebron on the billboard there with Bryce, can’t you? The people that say they’re too left-handed with Seager, and Bellinger; what are you talking about? You need talent and ability. If Bryce harper goes there, he’s the most talented position player on the team. Their best prospect Alex Verdugo doesn’t hit homers or steal bases. The Dodgers are making a huge mistake by not [making a play for Harper]. And to the people that say ‘they got Pollock’, he just replaced Puig in the lineup.

It’s fair to say that Bowden is passionate about Bryce Harper landing in Los Angeles. Of course, this is the former general manager talking who traded an army of men for Ken Griffey Jr. to put him in a Cincinnati Reds uniform. That team had no foundation surrounding Griffey.

What are your thoughts?

Is Jim Bowden simply starstruck here and bypassing an otherwise solid team? Or are the Dodgers truly a bat short – and does that bat need to be Bryce Harper?

We have all discussed this at great length, and we want you to continue to do so in the comments section.

[button link=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/former-dodgers-catcher-a-j-ellis-retires-to-a-new-role/2019/02/12/” type=”big” color=”black”] AJ Ellis Retires, Will Join Padres Front Office[/button]

Written by Clint Evans

Clint lives in Ohio, and played collegiate baseball. He loves the Dodgers due to his first memories of Chavez Ravine when he was nine years old. The voice of Vin Scully has been a staple in his life since he was a kid. No amount of baseball talk is ever enough, and he wishes the regular season was year round. He has written about baseball online since 2007.

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  1. Bowden never has anything good to say about the Dodgers. Basically he’s saying that he’s a smarter GM than Friedman. He thinks Harper would be the most talented position player? Harper will have declining defense and batting avg over the next couple yrs. The Dodgers could use another bat, what team doesn’t? But Bowden just wants to see flash and bling. Where this team could add a bat would be at catcher, 2b or another rh outfielder. Look for them to find a rh hitter to platoon in left.

    • Yeah I feel like Bowden forgot about a few of our guys. I wouldn’t trade Seager heads up for Harper ?????

      • Clint, even though Bowden IMHO is the Satan of GM’s and he doesn’t like the Dodgers he is correct about them still needing another bat…a RH bat on a team that’s still too LH heavy. And I do believe Dodgers are making a huge mistake putting Verdugo, yet just another LHB in a position of RF that is a POWER position

  2. Sorry, Daniel, I have to disagree with you on this one. If Harper is amenable to a 3-5 year contract, I say make the deal. We need some offense to replace what we gave up in the Cincy deal. Granted, and as you correctly state, a rh batter would be preferable, but at this stage, I will gladly take on Bryce. One other thing, considering we have lost the last two World Series’, its incumbent on the team to deliver the best team they can, especially when that team has the financial reserves the Dodgers have. Its time to use our assets to create the best team we can be!!!! Go Blue!!!!

    • Lou, Harper made it clear he is uninterested in a short term/high AAV contract. The Dodgers, as currently constructed, are very good. Losing Pui hurts to some degree, however if Pollock can stay on the field, I believe he’s a better all around player (and we got him rather discounted). Verdugo makes good contact, something we sorely lack in our lineup, he brings a different dimension to the team. Sure he’s not a 30HR guy, but he can put the ball in play and has a cannon for an arm. We are going to be all right.

      • Lee, sorry to say that I am just not all on board with the Dodgers just giving Verdugo the RF job outright. He doesn’t of course have to be a 30 HR guy but RF usually is a POWER position. And he simply along with Muncy makes this team to LH heavy still. Dodgers, I am not convinced will be all right but wss.

      • We stand in total agreement. And, we still could use a right-handed bat to augment our squad. Now that we have been to two WS in a row, and lost both times, its behooves us to get the best talent available and win it all!!!! Go Blue!!!

  3. Bowden isn’t wrong about the Dodgers going after Harper. Harper is a great player. To me it doesn’t matter that the Dodgers have gotten to the World Series the last 2 years. The goal is to win it. Dodgers are the best team in the National League. Old news. Dodgers have lost the last 2 seasons for 2 reasons. Bullpen and timely hitting. Joe Kelly was a great signing but then they make trades, sign Pollock which is a risk itself because of his injury history. Dodger fans are getting a little upset because the Dodgers AREN’T doing everything to put the team in position to win the World Series. We’re good enough to get there only to lose to a better equipped American League team. You keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results is insanity.

  4. Any team is better adding a player like Harper. As usual it’s a ridiculous statement by Bowden. However the financial component does not fit and the players and agents will need to get a reality check as teams are not clamoring to sign 7-10 year $300 million deals.
    Let’s see if a player steps up in Spring Training to grab a roster spot.

  5. There is a reason Bowden is a “former” GM and now only talks about baseball. Seems to me that Bowden has been bitter toward the Dodgers since 1998 when he was bypassed by the team when it hired Kevin Malone as its GM. Reports that Bowden really wanted the prestigious Dodgers position and was extremely disappointed losing out to Malone who, at the time, was an Asst GM for the O’s.

  6. The boys in blue lost alot of run production when they sent Kempy and Puig to the Reds. I agree with Bowden that Pollock just replaces Puig in the lineup but like the majority of Dodger fans i thought it was a precurser to signing Harper in which case the Reds trade would have been acceptable. As it stands now though the decision to off load Kemp Puig and Alex Wood ect.. looks like a Dodgers trade strategy turned in to a dumpster fire. Puig and Kemp were the hearbeat and soul of the roster. Now without them i think the team will have an identity crisis of sorts and could struggle to find what type of team they are. Harper would quickly solve that possible problem. I say sign him if its for 5 years or less.

  7. I think Bowden is right, the Dodgers are not a better team. As in ’18 a lot of players have to have a career, or near career, for the team to get to the WS. I thought Pollack signing was just a wash with Puig so they really didn’t improve there. They are banking on Muncy repeating last season, Taylor and Barns repeating ’17, Seager being 100% and Kershaw returning to form. And that’s not to mention JT staying healthy, Jansen not giving up homers, Bellinger ignoring that inside breaking ball and Rich Hill not getting a blister.

    But, according to Kasten, just getting to the WS and leading the league in attendance should be enough for the fans, so there is that.

    • For kasten just making it to the final series and playing all the home games is all that matters for business. They don’t care about the players or fans. The players just need to get it done for themselves and the fans. They aren’t going to get the full backing of ownership and FO

  8. Putting Harper in right field until the DH comes to the NL and using him there after would make sense to this team for his entire contract. Seager, Harper Turner, Bellinger and Pollack in the middle of the lineup, and if other continue to outperform you have your team for years.

  9. I don’t know…I have a feeling Harper is waiting on the Dodgers because he want’s to play in Hollywood…but they aren’t jumping…I think a short term deal works Great for everyone!!!

  10. There’s little doubt that adding Harper would be a huge upgrade to the offense. But, I am glad the Dodgers aren’t being held hostage to a long-term deal. If he wants to play for a contender, he should be willing to accept 3-4 years. He’ll be about 30 when that deal ends and should, assuming he continues to produce, get another big deal. What he and Manny Machado seem to be facing is that the only teams offering long-term big money deals are non-contenders. If it’s all about money, go for it. If you want to play in the World Series, grab $25-$30M over 3-4 years. You won’t have to live in Hamburger helper!

  11. I don’t care where the Dodgers get it but they have lost over 100+ HRs off of last year’s team. That loss needs to be mitigated. Harper for 3-5 years at $35 mill per year is fine with me.

    • I agree but as I indicated on the page where Roberts believes Dodgers have no weaknesses, Dodgers don’t have to hit another 235 HR’s in order to win IF THIS PITCHING STAFF CAN BE BETTER AT KEEPING THE BASEBALL IN THE YARD themselves! believe it or not , the last time Dodgers won a WS in 1988 that team hit a TOTAL of 99 HR’s for the year.

  12. Harper and Boras are not interested in signing a three year deal people………this whole discussion is moot……..and I’m with Socal……who cares what Bowden thinks anyway?

  13. Exactly why Jim Bowden is a FORMER General Manager. Yes, we may need a bat, but a right-handed bat, NOT a lefty like Harper. And not for TEN YEARS or $300+ million, either.

    He probably also thinks that JT Realmuto is better than Barnes or Martin behind the plate. Barnes is #2 in pitch framing in all of baseball (over 120 catchers measured), and Russell Martin is about #12 or 13 in ALL OF BASEBALL!!! JT Realmuto was not even in the top 100!!!!! (out of over 120)

    He clearly is NOT a General Manager, and probably not that great a media person, either, from the spew that he keeps saying.

    • Austin barnes being better at pitch framing does not make him better than Realmuto. Realmuto is actually getting better better at framing. Realmuto is also top 2 in pop. His offense is also number 1 at his position. He is probably top 10 mvp this year.

  14. Harper is not the answer. He’s the hot chick you’ll be begging to divorce, but can’t, in 2 years. He’s a diva that dogs it and blames his teammates. I’d rather have Manny; at least he’s right handed and can play defense.

  15. Bowden isn’t necessarily wrong here. The Dodgers – as of right now – are not a better team than last year. They could be, but that depends a bunch of players having bounceback years. In our excitement of making the World Series two straight years, we seem to be forgetting that last year we were totally outclassed when we got there. What have we done to better ourselves in 2019? Not much.

  16. Harper is possibly needed by the Dodgers. With Harper and Pollock you have two hitters. To add to Seager and JT. Those 4 all should project at .300 plus batting AVG. With Joc Pop, Bellinger, and Muncy providing power likely between .250 and .280 AVG plus heavy walks. That being said, where does everyone play?

    Harper RF
    Pollock 2B
    JT 3B
    Seager SS
    Bellinger OF
    Muncy 1B
    Joc Pop OF
    C
    P
    Very strong lineup.

    No Harper, who leads off?
    JocPop or Pollock or ?

    So

    Joc
    Pollock OF
    JT
    Seager
    Bellinger
    Muncy
    2B
    C
    P

    Or

    Pollock
    JT
    Seager
    Bellinger
    Muncy
    OF
    2B
    C
    P

    Either way you slice it, the lineup with #Harper on the #Dodgers is more likely championship quality. Assuming Pollock is able to not be a defensive liability at 2B.

    But, I think Machado is better fit! For the Dodgers. Simply put, he can defend and plays infield.

    With Machado, the infield becomes legendary. JT Machado Seager and Belli or Muncy at first. If 2B injured Pollock or Hernandez back up at 2B. If Machado or JT injured then Seager SS. The core remains strong. With speedy outfield of Bellinger Joc Pollock Hernandez Turner and or RC. The depth becomes stronger with Machado.

    The issue becomes marketing plus a bet on who will have more .300 plus years into the future that capture Championships.

    If Dodgers are all in they need ideally Machado or Harper and a SP.

    They need to develop a bull pen, 4 to 5 guys who can hold down 1 inning each. 2 or 3 who can hold down 2 innings in releif.

    They picked up a strong mid reliever from Boston and have KJ.

    Depending on how the season goes may need to pick up SP and RP before deadline. If the #Dodgers are #AllIn

    Just my educated opinion.

  17. Let’s look at the Machado line up…

    Pollock CF
    JT 3B
    Seager 2B
    Machado SS
    Bellinger RF
    Muncy 1B
    LF insert Joc Hernandez or other
    C
    P

    This is the strongest possible line up in my opinion. But, Harper leadoff could be just as strong or stronger because leads off with so much behind him and Sparks the team with the , hustle, they feel Machado, lacked.

  18. Another day and still no movement by the dynamic duo : MM and BH. I read an article this morning stating that even Kershaw thinks these two men are hurting the game as we know it!!!! And behind the dynamic duo are almost 100 more players who need to find a home. Sooner or later, I hope this matter is resolved to the benefit of our Dodgers and to baseball in general. Go Blue!!!

    • Been a Dodger fan since 1958. 1988 seems a lifetime away. We are close. I dare say one more big guy will get it done. Can we be satisfied with being a contender?
      This off season we basically made a huge salary dump trade and signed a guy to replace one that we dealt. We are so close and instead of going for it we decided to make our off season goal was to get under a cap. This is a multi billion dollar corporation here. Would a few million dollars put them under water?instead of $300 for 10 which he rejected how about seven years at 35AAV with opt outs after year three and five.? I keep reading that he wants to be a Dodger. This is a no brainer. Don’t defend a rich corporate mindset. Let’s pretend for once that this about winning baseball championships.

  19. Harper and Boros won’t accept a short deal 2-5 years. That’s it plain and simple . Dodger need s right handed bat Dodgers too left handed heavy!

  20. The Dodgers have lost the last two World Series, last year to a team that was clearly better. If they want to win it all it is only logical that they had to get better. They didn’t get better, so apparently they don’t care about winning it all. Adding Harper would have made us better, adding Kluber would have made us better, maybe adding Realmuto would have made us better. None of those things happened.

    • Your comment is right on point, Robert. We, the loyal Dodger rooters, know that your comments are spot on. AF does not know this, and that is quite troublesome. Go Blue!!!!

  21. That extra bat should have been a healthy Brian Dozier at 2nd base. They wanted him so badly for 2 years and instead, let him sign with Washington. Stellar defense and right-handed HR power hitter. It could have been us signing him on a super cheap 1 year $9 mil. That was a gamble worth taking and a stupid decision to let him go.

  22. I agree w a lot of what Ive read.Theyve not got better and if this ain’t the time to reel in a big fish then when is it?I hv to admit after all the damn rumors since the first day after the WS it’s been a rather disappointing off season.I really like Verdugo but it’d be pretty nice to hv had Kluber tho.

    It seems to me that after the Reds moves that landing Harper and Kluber both should’ve been well within reach and put us at no.1 w out a doubt.Bellinger,Harper and Pollock…wow.Putting Harper in the lineup and Kluber or a big time reliever on our staff would stand up to Hou or NY or Bos IMO.Those teams are a lot better now and we’ve got worse.When it comes to the money,what good is it to hv financial muscles and not use em?????

  23. I am always amazed that guys think they have a better understanding on the Dodger Team than the people running the club. Club Management spends its full time evaluating talent and planning for the Future to keep the club competitive for many years. This FO has gotten us to two WS appearances and a record string of NL West Crowns. I am amazed that people do not think they want to win…

    I have been a Dodger Fan since my first game as a kid in 1958 and have followed them while traveling all over the world.

    This Ownership and Front office is the best in my estimation since the O’Malley Family that wanted to win but found they no longer had the resources to compete.

    In my estimation this team has one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. Kershaw, Buehler, Ryu, Hill and Maeda with Urias, Ferguson and Stripling to back up are the envy of most clubs. Plus we have Santana, Gonsolin, May and others coming up and have very live arms. The Bullpen will be better with a Healthy Jansen, Kelly, Fioro, Baez, Cingrani and Stripling and possibly Ferguson for long relief. Pitching is the overriding determination on which Teams win Games, Playoffs & Championships.

    I bet on Barnes coming back and if he comes close to 2017 numbers he will meet the Teams needs and Martin is working hard with the new hitting coaches. Great interview today in the LA Times with Martin.

    This team will have a healthy Seager with Turner and Muncy in the line up from the start. Let’s give Verdugo and Toles a chance before you relegate them to being failures. This Team has brought up Seager, Taylor, Hernandez, Ferguson, Bellinger and Muncy in the last few years and done well. Is it possible they are right with their evaluation of Verdugo?

    I bet we are between 97 to 102 wins in 2019, win the NL West and battle for the NL Crown this year. Once you get to the playoffs the best team does not always win. It depends on Injuries, bouncing or flying balls and LUCK. Remember the ball Yelitch hit off of Urias that Taylor caught in the webbing? It’s a game of inches.

    Some people still are lamenting not trading for Realmuto? Really? They wanted 3 probable starters in another year at best two years for a good but not great catcher? If Harper and Machado are asking such a reasonable deal why aren’t most clubs in line fighting and bidding for them?

    Get real people….I hope you do not run your personal lives the way most of you complain about the crazy deals and Free Agent buys that are Financial Disasters or Insane Trades you want the Dodgers to do. If you do you would be in debt up to your ears and mortgaged to the hilt.

    Spring Baseball is here, Be Happy watch the players compete for spots on the 25 & 40 man rosters. Enjoy…

  24. His trade for Griffey Jr. did not really involve an “Army Of Men”. That was a good trade when you look at the players involved. The Reds didn’t have a whole lot of pitching at that time and that was the problem. But it only go really bad in the years AFTER the trade.

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