Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Saturday, October 18, 2014

That Unpopular Word Rears it's Ugly Head Again : PATIENCE

Andrew Friedman meets the media for the first time at Dodger Stadium on Friday, October 17, 2014.  (photo by Jon SooHoo, L.a. Dodgers, found at:  http://dodgersphotog.mlblogs.com)

Most of us got what we wanted when the Dodgers announced that Andrew Friedman had joined the fold.  Actually it is quite the coup to nab the 37 year old executive from Tampa Bay, but now comes the hard part: PATIENCE.

Do we have it?  Are we prepared to part ways with some Dodger players that are both popular and productive, but maybe a little long in the tooth in order to make the organization younger?  The Dodgers now have to make some moves to secure this organization as a contender year after year.  They're getting old and the door has just about closed for some to nab that championship.

That's what we are going to be facing Dodger fans.  That World Series Championship might be a few more years away.  Considering we've been waiting 26 years, it'll really be a test of patience to wait a few more before Friedman has assembled the core of players that will put them in the World Series year after year.  I honestly don't know if the fan base will be willing to wait a few more years, especially with the Giants amazing five year run.

Matt Kemp is back. That fact is recognized amongst all circles in MLB.  Maybe it's time to unload him to restock the farm system with some top notch prospects.  With Kemp's second half performance, suddenly that expensive contract doesn't seem so exorbitant.  Aside from Puig, the Dodgers will get the most from Kemp amongst their gluttony of outfielders.

At this time each year, we seem to always be looking at the available free agents where we put our eye on a few.  Based on Friedman's track record and his cautious and guarded comments from the press conference, I'm thinking he's looking to steer clear of the free agent market and seek to grow from within and through some wise trading for obscure and talented major leaguers that may slip under the radar of most people.  
Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay's sleek fielding ultility-man, is the type of player that Friedman likes.  Quick feet, good glove, good eye that works the count, power, intelligent.  A two time All-Star that Friedman acquired from Houston when he was an unknown lower level prospect.  (photo by Nick Laham, Getty Images)

Watch for him to acquire speedy players.  The Rays loved guys that could run.  Bartlett, Upton, Crawford,  Zobrist, Jennings, Joyce, and even Longoria were all guys that had multiple seasons of double digit stolen bases.   He likes guys that can catch the ball and provide reliable defense.  Friedman seems to emphasize teams that use their good gloves that save runs as much as the bats that produce them. In the past seven years, the Rays committed the fewest errors in the A.L. once, and ranked between second and fourth another three times.

Making these changes might be a long process.  It usually takes two or three years for a new regime to put their stamp on a team.  In Friedman and the Dodgers case, it may be even longer because there are so many lengthy and expensive contracts amongst the 40 man roster already.  For a guy looking for a real challenge, Friedman has found it.  The press corps that continually say he's suddenly inherited a lot of money are dead wrong.  The Dodgers have overspent, and Friedman is in place to fix that.  

What I'm trying to say is that we shouldn't expect him to go out and spend tens of millions of dollars on players like Russell Martin, James Shields or Jon Lester because Los Angeles has the deepest pockets in baseball.  The time for outlandish spending is probably over for a while.  There may be an exception here and there, but for the most part this guy is coming in to reign in the spending and make the organization stronger at all levels organizationally.  That my friends will require some changes.  Probably a few unpopular roster moves and overall, a lot of patience.  Do we have it?

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