Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Thoughts on the Off-Season Moves that Must Be Made

With the season over and the World Series four games in, the pain of post-season elimination is slowly wearing off and thoughts of a 2016 season are already on the forefront.  Don Mattingly is a Marlin and the rumor mill is grinding about his replacement.

It is this writer's opinion the Gabe Kapler will be that man.  First, because he is an Andrew Friedman hire and he immediately impacted the organization.  Second, because the Dodgers are set to announce that Rick Honeycutt is returning as pitching coach, and what manager in his right mind would not want to take a new job without a say in who his pitching coach was, unless he was already a part of an organization and he agreed to it beforehand?
Gabe Kapler, In contention for the Dodger Manager position (photo by Jon Soo Hoo/LA Dodgers, from 2011 Spring Training)

So there are a number of questions that will be posed once the World Series ends. I'll address them as they come to mind:

1) Zack Greinke.  We all know he will opt out and declare for free agency.  Do the Dodgers resign him?  Are they willing to pay him up to age 38 to the tune of $25 million+ per year?  That's what it is going to take to keep the man.  It's a lot of money...but losing Greike would be a disaster, especially if he ends up a Giant.  Pay him and pray the elbow holds up.  I can't believe I'm saying that , but a season without Greinke could be a disaster.  Signing a Free Agent such as David Price to replace him makes no sense, as the Dodger rotation would consist of only lefties.

2) Brett Anderson.  A qualifying offer is rather lofty.  About $15.8 million.  Frankly I don't think he's worth it, and I think with his injury history, he'll probably accept it.  With Hyun Jin Ryu returning and Zack Lee in the wings, I simply do think that sort of money should be offered to Anderson.  Crazy, I know.  I recommend spending $150 million on Greike and then pass on Anderson becasue of the cost of the contract, but it's more about there being better options out there for less money that fill the #4 slot in the rotation.

3) Howie Kendrick.  He was solid and extremely valuable, but he's 32 and it makes no sense to sign this guy for years when the club has cheaper and younger options that also play second base in Peraza and Kike Hernandez.  If it could be done for one year it would be great, but Kendrick has this one last chance to sign a big contract for several years.  He's probably wearing another uniform for the next three years.

4) Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley.  Both gone.  They'll have problems finding a taker or two unless they're willing to accept bench roles and substantial pay cuts.

5) Andre Ethier.  The current dean of the Dodgers, coming off a solid year.  There's some trade value here, but the club will have to eat much of his contract.  It'll be interesting to see if there is an attempt to move him.  I say it's time.

6) Carl Crawford.  What a waste of money he is.  His regression and injury prone capacity are a true burden.  If he's moved, the Dodgers must take on all the contract.  He's a defensive liability and was so overmatched against the power pitchers in the NLDS, I'm wondering if he's done as a player.

7) Joc Pederson.  This young man and his free swinging ways at the plate were a disaster for the last 2/3 of the season.  He's in serious need of a hitting coach that reaches him, otherwise I see him possibly with an Oklahoma City future next season.  That's harsh, especially with his stellar defense and propensity to walk, but Pederson was a mess at the plate by season's end.  He needs shorten up his swing and stop going for the fences.  He must adjust his approach according to pitch counts.  The kid swings out of his shoes at all times and it's just stupid.  With Mattingly and McGwire there, I just can't believe they couldn't talk sense into the kid.

8) Adrian Gonzalez.  His poor second half concerns me.  Is this the beginning of a significant decline for AGon?    I sure hope not, because there's a lot of money left to be paid on that contract.  Gonzalez was killed by the extreme shifts this year and his failure to adjust cost him heavily.  While there's still value here, it may be time to move him.  Certainly it'll be an unpopular move but wouldn't it be best to get some value in return while you still can?

9) Yasiel Puig.  A misunderstood and mismanaged talent.  Maturity issues?  Sure.  But there is too much talent in this player to give up on him.  Roberto Clemente was a mess at age 24 too.  They have to give Yasiel the edict to report to Spring Training 20 lbs. lighter and in the best shape of his career.  Get him someone in the dugout that he can relate to and who will reach him.  Juan Uribe's departure hurt Puig's development because Papi could talk sense into this young man.  He's relatively cheap still.  He is capable of .290BA/25HR/.900 OPS production with gold glove defense.  You don't trade that away after an injury plagued season.  If Puig is traded, mark my words, we'll see him win an MVP in another uniform.  There's that much talent in this kid.

10) Manager. (Yes, I know, it was addressed already).  HIRE GABE KAPLER, with Roenicke as his bench coach.  Let Kapler work his magic.  He's the type of person that could dominate as a field general for 20 years.  He has reached minor leaguers such as Schebler and Seager.  This guy is the future of baseball.  He understands the game as it should be, honing in on modern metrics.  He's an intellectual, a nutritionist, slight eccentric and a SoCal guy.  He'll thrive in this position.  I'm excited at the thought that this man could be managing the club.  He has so much potential.  This move could be a true franchise changer, I truly believe it.

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