Curb It

I’m as excited as you are about this new Dodger offense.  These guys can freaking hit.   The reason?  Adrian Gonzalez who lay dormant from April through July has come alive.  Justin Turner who lay dormant from April through June came alive.  Howie Kendrick, Yasmani Grandal, and Joc Pederson also ended their season-long slumps.   This pretty much all happened at the same time.  Add this to Seager’s continued MVP-like performance and Utley’s stability, and you’ve got runs.  Lots and lots of runs.

Another thing you have is an intangible I haven’t seen in any Dodger team in recent years: A little anger.  This team got their asses handed to them by Cincy the first two games of this series by scores of 9-2 and 11-1.  Most Dodger teams I’ve seen would struggle to eke out a win in a four game series that started that way.  Not this team.  They made a real “F you!” statement.   They shut the Reds out yesterday behind the child, Urias, and then today, in spite of another horrible outing by their starting pitcher, in this case, the awful Scott Kazmir, annihilated the Reds 18-9.   Seven home runs is almost a Dodger record.  They just beat the crap out of a lesser team.  Rare for any Dodger team to show any chutzpah whatsoever.  This team, however, appears to have more than just a little chutzpah.

Now, let’s all gently waft back down to earth from the euphoria generated by the smokey aroma  of maple friction off their hot, air-seasoned Hillerich & Bradsbys.   A reminder:  The Giants come into town tomorrow for three, followed by the mighty Cubs, and this Dodger team has no pitching.   None.  Zero.  The empty set.   Without Kershaw, their ace is Kenta Maeda.   Maeda is OK.  I’d say he’s a pretty decent #3 or #4 guy who needs to be able to go deeper into games.   He gives up lots of homers and isn’t the toughest dude on the team by a long shot.   I actually wonder if he’s ever even gotten mad.  Rich Hill is finally supposed to pitch Wednesday.  Let’s face it, so far, he hasn’t done much.  Ok, so far he’s done nothing.  We’ll see how he does, but they pretty much need him to be Tom Seaver and Vida Blue rolled into one.  Kershaw, meanwhile, is playing catch and throwing a little off a mound, which is encouraging, but he’s going to need a few rehab assignments.  They’re talking about having him back my mid-September, which would be wonderful, but I’m not sure how likely it is.  But assuming all goes well,  the Blue would eventually have a hopefully healthy, effective Kershaw and a hopefully healthy, effective Hill to go along with a reasonably effective Maeda.  Urias pitched well yesterday, but, since they plan to shut him down soon, he’ll be of no help.  So let’s talk about who else they have.  Scott Kazmir.  Hopefully he gets shut down after today.  He is terrible.  Now he says he’s having neck problems and needs an MRI.  Brett Anderson and Bud Norris?  The Dodgers should hire huge security guards to prevent them from coming within thirty feet of the mound.   Both claim to be hurt, now, (thank God.)  Brandon McCarthy?  Bad case of the yips they’re blaming on a bad hip.  Yeah, right. Bad hip.   If you’ve been reading my posts, you know how I feel about his prospects.  Who does that leave us?  Ross Stripling.  He pitched very poorly his last outing and he, too, may be on an innings limit.  Brock Stewart?  Yeah, no.  So, outside of Maeda, a soon-to-be-shut down Urias and Stripling, and an iffy Rich Hill who hasn’t pitched since mid-July, we literally have NO pitching.   I guess they can try to pick up a couple guys at the waiver deadline next week, maybe try to add Jose DeLeon to the 40 man roster,  but, man…  we be in lotsa trouble.

The bullpen, in my opinion, though overused and taxed, has not been that wonderful of late.  Pedro Baez should have to join Anderson and Norris in being banned from the mound.  Grant Dayton’s new thing is giving up home runs.  Lots of home runs.  They need to keep him away from Baez.  The talk is they may land David Robertson from the White Sox, but not sure how he’d clear waivers.

And now they have the Giants and the Cubs.  It’s one thing to beat up on Cincinnati and Philly in hitters parks, but it’s another thing entirely to go up against the Giants and Cubs at home with the thinnest starting staff in baseball in the Ravine.

Look, as I said, I love the way the offense is going and I love that we’re back in first place by a game, but I’m just not sure how this can continue with what could be the worst Dodgers staff I’ve ever seen.  In 1992, the Dodgers finished 63-99 and had a much better staff than this one.  I’ll happily take Orel Hershiser, Kevin Gross, Tom Candiotti, Ramon Martinez, and Bob Ojeda over these guys.  (Kershaw, excepted, of course)    If they pull this off, they could indeed be the Miracle Dodgers.

Offense On All Cylinders. Pitching…?

The Los Angeles Dodgers are now in first place by a game and a half.  THAT’s a phrase I never thought I’d be writing again in 2016.  This team never ceases to surprise me in a good way.  For much of the season, I’ve been complaining about the ineffective bats of Pederson, Grandal, Kendrick, Turner, AGone, everyone but Seager, really.  But now, that lineup is more than just stabilized.  They’re arguably the toughest lineup in the National League.  Now that Roberts has Kendrick, arguably one of the 3 best hitters on the team, batting in the 8 hole, the lineup is impossible to get through.  Now that Grandal, though still hitting in the low .230’s, has brought his average up 30 points and suddenly has a slugging percentage that’s through the roof, and now that Pederson has started hitting more consistently, and now that AGone has found his power stroke, and now that Puig is gone, and now that Utley is reminding us of the 2008 Utley, and now that JT and Seager are making somewhat sound arguments for MVP, this team’s offense is a constant threat.  The offense, alone, is winning game after game.  With the Giants foundering, they’ve miraculously overcome an 8 game deficit and have rolled back into first heading into the second half of August.

Still plenty of season left and a lot of work to do.  And, you can’t discount the fact that we’re currently playing Philly, one of the five worst teams in the league.   Pittsburgh is equally hot, and they killed us at home recently.  A pitcher like Scott Kazmir can handle a weak Philly lineup, and I use the word “handle” gingerly.  But I doubt he could handle a lineup like the Bucs.  He got the win tonight, but he looked like crap.  If it wasn’t for a couple of timely DP’s, one of them, a hard line drive down the line in the first inning that AGone managed to grab, it may have been a closer game.   I like this Dodgers team.  I like the hard nosed style of play, the grinding and the strong defense.  I like the increase in run production and pop and I like the bench depth with Segedin, Taylor, and Kike.  I like the grittiness of the bullpen, (but not crazy about their talent level.  Wondering if they’ll take a chance on the recently released Jonathan Papelbon)   And, sans Kershaw, I hate our starting pitching.  Kenta Maeda was solid yesterday in his 6 innings, but I’d love to see him go 7 one time.  The jury is still out on Rich Hill.  Will he be able to pitch?  How will he do?  I just don’t think he can replace Kershaw.  I mean, do you?   They just don’t have anything close to ace, and I’m having trouble envisioning how this is going to play out.  How will they continue to win if their starting pitching is so pedestrian?  How long will they be able to score 7 or 8 runs a game and basically keep getting lucky against poor teams like Philadelphia?  What will happen when Madison Bumgarner or Johnny Cueto faces Brett Anderson or Bud Norris with the division on the line?   Look, don’t get me wrong, I love all this winning and taking over first place in the West stuff.  But can anyone see why I might be worried and why the prospect of continued success may indeed be suspect?   Honestly, I just don’t see us getting a lot of effective pitching from Anderson, Norris, Kazmir or McCarthy down the stretch.  The best case scenario is Hill comes back blister-free and is actually effective.  Then, somehow, Kenta continues to be tough and either Urías or Stripling really steps up until at such time Clayton can return.

As for the pen, I like Grant Dayton, but we need a healthy Liberatore back.  Baez should never pitch again in a meaningful game and neither should Howell.   I’d be willing to have a look at Papelbon.  He sucked his last month and a half in DC, but sometimes a change of venue…

And, of course, the offense must continue raking.   I love being wrong, but I just don’t see these guys getting past the Cubs.   The Cubs are stacked.  They have everything.  Question is, with all that Guggenheim money and that number one farm system, why don’t we?

Go, Blue!

I Guess, Just Re-Read

If you read my last post, you’ll remember that I repeatedly questioned whether the Dodgers could maintain their winning ways with virtually no pitching staff.   I think the weekend series at the Ravine against the not-s0-mighty Buckos succinctly answered that query.   They got clobbered in two out of three games.  Embarrassed.  McCarthy and his yips were right on schedule, but now his lack of control was blamed on “hip stiffness.”  Ok, so he didn’t repeatedly throw the ball right into the ground in front of the mound, like a quarterback stopping the clock, like he did in his last outing, but he walked a hundred guys in fewer than innings.  As I predicted, he lasted an inning and two-thirds and got put on the DL.  Urías pitched adequately in his place, but could only go a few innings.  Thankfully, they pounded out 17 hits and managed to salvage one win.  But then came our old friend, the Garden Gnome.  The almost forgotten Brett Anderson.  Friedman’s and Zaidi’s other pre-2015 season bookend treasure to go along with McCarthy.  Brett looked great, didn’t he?  He managed to pitch an entire inning and he got to pitch to everyone in the Pirates starting lineup in that one inning.   Nice that he got to see everyone.

What is becoming rather apparent is that Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi egregiously undervalue good starting pitching.  They could’ve gotten Hamels or Scherzer last year, and chose not to.  They could’ve re-signed Greinke or gotten Cueto and they chose not to.  Add to that, their strange affinity for injured and injury-prone starting pitchers, that combination should surely lead to a post-season dismissal.  But, somehow, I doubt it will.  Especially with the club currently holding on to the top Wild Card spot and only a game behind the Giants.   Sure, they went out and got Rich Hill.  I liked that move, but I had no idea his blister situation was so serious.  But then, I’m not the President or GM of the Dodgers, so it’s not my job to know that.  It’s theirs.  He now isn’t scheduled to pitch until the end of this week.  Maybe.   The thing is, as I’ve written many times, they needed to get more than just Rich Hill.  They needed AT LEAST TWO GUYS, and maybe even a third.  So, yes.  You give up Urías, you give up DeLeon, you give up Pederson, you give up anyone not named Seager, Kershaw or Turner, for a Chris Sale, or even a little less maybe, for a Quintana or an Archer, but only if you want to win.  They didn’t do it.  They clearly, don’t want to win.  The fact that they’re where they are is the result of a suddenly efficient and potent offense.  From a pitching perspective, however, it’s a complete accident.   Also helps that the Giants can no longer hold onto a lead.  But, now, finally, the smoke and mirrors from the mound appears to have run its course.   I maintain that the Dodgers, even if Kershaw returns and Hill comes back blister-free and effective, STILL don’t have enough starting pitching to get past the Cubs, nor, likely, the Nats. (Though they do tend to own Washington)   I also don’t think they can beat the Giants head-to-head with that thin pitching.  I’ve been saying this for a long time.  You need THREE, not two, BUT THREE really strong starters to win a World Series.   They don’t all have to be stars, they just have to be pitching great at the time of the playoffs.  Kazmir, Maeda, and Norris are not my top candidates to be pitching great in September, and I think we’ve seen what McCarthy and Anderson can do.  Urías will likely be shut down by that time, as will Stripling.  But at least we always have Brock Stewart.  Who knows?  Maybe Wood and Ryu will come back.  Or, maybe we can get waiver deadline trades for Scott Feldman or Ricky Nolasco again.  It is my opinion that having lots of mediocre, injured pitchers are not really as good as having Arrieta, Lester, Hendricks, Lackey, and Hammel.

I sincerely want the Dodgers to win.  The fact that I don’t think they actually can without pitching does not override my desire for them to somehow do so.  But what really bugs me about all this is that if they do pass San Francisco or make it to the playoffs as a Wild Card, Friedman and Zaidi will be viewed as geniuses and get credit for a job well done.  I’m not crazy. I’ve been playing and following baseball my whole life.   This is not a job well done.  This is a half-assed job designed to save money and acquire mid-level talent, mostly from their poor-performing former teams.    Go, Dodgers.

 

Yamamoto

“I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” That quote was attributed to Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7th, 1941.  No one is really sure whether it was he that actually said it, but it works well to describe the feeling some Dodger fans, like myself, have about the faltering Giants.   The Dodgers have played amazing ball these last few weeks since their ace went down.  A remarkable feat, considering the Dodgers have absolutely NO STARTING PITCHING.  Considering their current ace, Kenta Maeda, can’t get past 5 2/3rds innings.  This is also true of Kazmir and Urías.  Brandon McCarthy?  If anyone caught his latest act at home against the Bosox, it’s a serious cause for concern.  As he did his best Steve Sax imitation and fired the ball anywhere but in the vicinity of home plate, it became apparent that he no longer has any control of where his fast ball is going.  What causes this?  Sometimes, having had Tommy John surgery, it can be a nerve issue or a “feel” thing.  But, if I didn’t know better, I’d say McCarthy has developed a case of the yips.  Often times, players never recover from the yips.  It’s a psychological thing where they get it in their head that they can’t control where the ball goes when they throw it.  It’s ended pitching careers.  Anyone remember a guy named Rick Ankiel?  If McCarthy has another outing where he throws his fastball behind hitters and into the ground 15 feet away from home plate, chances are they’ll DL him or send him down.   I give him a fifty-fifty shot at recovering.  In the meantime, since it appears newly acquired Oakland A’s ace, Rich Hill is not pitching at a blistering pace, and Kershaw remains unable to go, the Dodgers have 4 pitchers:  Maeda, Kazmir, Urías, and Ross Stripling, who goes tonight against the Bucs.   Talk is we may be getting Brett Anderson back on Sunday.  So, like I said, four pitchers.  And, yet, if you take away their awful performance against Phlly on Wednesday afternoon, the bullpen has been pretty solid and the offense has been pretty amazing.  Everyone has been hitting everything.  Even Yasmani Grandal, who’s making us forget about the lack of Lucroy and, now, newby Josh Reddick have finally gotten into the act.

After winning series’ against a very strong Bosox team and the young Phils, the Blue find themselves just a game behind the flailing Giants.  But how long will the winning last with no pitching?  And how long will the Giants flail?  I fear the San Francisco Giants the way Yamamoto feared the sleeping giant.  This is the team that won three World Series titles in the last six years and still have the manager of those teams and the core group of those players.  They know how to bounce back from losing streaks and they know how to win.  And, more importantly, they still have Bumgarner, Cueto and Moore all pitching effectively.   Offensively, the Dodgers are better.  They have more depth and more guys hitting right now.  Congrats to them and to Dave Roberts for hanging on and playing tough.  A lot tougher than I gave them credit for.  But how long can these Dodgers continue to win with the starting pitching they have?  And how long will these mighty Giants continue to play like midgets?

  • Someone asked if I cared about the Puig party tweet with his new OKC Dodger teammates in Des Moines.  In a word, no.  They need to either trade him or let him just play ball and be himself, and see where he lands.
  • Last game for A Rod.  What’s sad is he could’ve been the best ever and, like Barry Bonds, his greatness and his legacy will be forever tarnished.  Compare the fanfare Jeter received in his last game to the “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” attitude the Yankees and the fans have toward A Rod, one of the most gifted players ever to step on a field.
  • My MVPs thus far:  NL – Daniel Murphy.  AL – Jose Altuve
  • My Cy Youngs: NL – Tough one…  Stephen Strasburg or Jose Fernandez.  Woulda’ been a no-brainer for Kershaw again.   AL – Tougher one… J.A.Happ or Aaron Sanchez or Chris Sale or even Chris Tillman guy for Baltimore
  • Anyone catch that USA/Serbia Olympic basketball game?  If ever a team deserved to lose, it was the USA.  They sucked!  Better learn how to play team ball.

Bad And Worsening…

Sorry for more bad news, but here come the red-hot Rockies.   Without Kershaw, the Rockies, yes, the Rockies, have a better pitching staff than the Dodgers.  John Gray and Tylers Chatwood and Anderson are as competitive as anyone the Dodgers can throw at you and I’d take Chad Bettis on the road over Scott Kazmir.  And their lineup, even without an injured Trevor Story, is much more potent than the Blue’s.   So, is it just a matter of time before the now .500 Rocks pass the Dodgers?   I wouldn’t be surprised.  Take into account how terrible Brandon McCarthy looked last night.  I mean, TER-RI-BUL.  And, as I predicted, the newly acquired Jessie Chavez was devastatingly bad.  (I thought they just wanted another body, but after getting a good look at Chavez for the first time, couldn’t help noticing he doesn’t have one of those.  A body, I mean.   He’s just a little thing.  I mean, you can’t see him when he stands sideways.  This guy is a professional athlete?)   Also, take into account that, for the first time since Kershaw’s injury, the pitching staff is starting to really feel his absence.  The  starters have been pretty bad and tonight we have Brock Stewart on the mound.  He’s gonna get lit up like midtown Manhattan on a Friday night.  If we actually have to resort to Brock Stewart, how good can we be?  I was mistaken in thinking newly acquired Rich Hill’s blister issues would be solved by tomorrow.  Apparently, it was more serious than I thought and he may even require a rehab assignment.   Take into account, also, that after we’re dispensed in Denver by a confident Rockies team, we have to come home and play the mighty Boston Red Sox, who are just plain better than us in every way.  Given how hot the Rockies are, that we soon have to play Boston, the disaster that’s become the Dodgers’ starting pitching, and how flat the offense looked last night – Corey Seager struck out 3 times and looked awful in every at bat,  Utley, Seager, Reddick, A Gone & Pederson went 0 for 18 – I predict a losing skein that could prove devastating to the Dodgers’ chances of winning the division and, perhaps, to their playoff hopes in general.

Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi simply didn’t do enough to get this team in a position to win.   Do the Giants, Cubs, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and New York Mets want to win more than the Dodgers?  In a word, yes.  Why?  Many reasons, but, as I’ve been saying all along, most of the Dodgers decision NOT to win has to do with money and their baffling and  stubborn unwillingness to part with top prospects.  The Giants, whose front office is widely believed to be smarter than the Dodgers’ (see 3 World Series titles in the last 6 years) parted ways with Matt Duffy, a guy they loved, to get Matt Moore to be their 3rd starter.   Moore wasn’t my first choice for the Dodgers because they desperately needed a number one AND a number 2 starter, but he fits in perfectly with the Giants and moves an inconsistent Jeff Samardija to the number 4 position.  With the acquisition of All-Star Edwin Nuñez from Minnesota and the return of Hunter Pence, the Giants have much improved themselves.  The Dodgers improved themselves by acquiring Reddick and Hill, but Reddick hits lefties poorly and Hill is injured and can only pitch one out of every five games.  They needed to close the gap more and they did not.

One must also wonder why the Dodgers sent Puig down to Triple A.  He hasn’t played anywhere close to his potential, but did they really need to send him down?  They clearly were working their butts off to trade him and couldn’t in the end.  Was there a deal in place with, perhaps the Chisox and Chris Sale that somehow fell through in the end?  We may never know, but Puig is gone.  The word is the club will try to increase his trade value in Triple A and he’ll never play a game for the Dodgers again.  Okay, I mean, he’s been bad, but he’s not THAT bad.  All being said and done, I still think he has skills and trade value. Sure, let Reddick play every day, but I’d rather have Puig platooning in the Bigs with Joc Pederson than being wasted in Oklahoma City.  But, since they have no plans on “re-educating” him down there with the intent of bringing up a better, more mature Dodger, I just don’t think sending him down was not in the best interest of the club for this year.  Trading him would’ve been another story.

Unless Clayton Kershaw comes back soon and comes back strong, this team has no chance.

Not Enough.

One of the deals I was hoping the Dodgers would make, was made.   By acquiring (as I predicted) both Rich Hill and Josh Reddick from Oakland for a few top pitching prospects: Cotton, Montas and Holmes, the Dodgers have added the much-needed middle order bat they needed and a strong starting pitcher in Hill, as long as his blister problems cleared up.  But they needed to do more.  As I’ve said all along, they needed two elite starters, not just one.  Not sure how “elite” Hill is, but he’s been damn good this year.  But they needed to add Chris Sale or even Chris Archer or Matt Moore and they didn’t do it.  Strange, because I was sure they would, since Reddick is a right fielder, and Puig is oddly still a Dodger.   Rich Hill was ostensibly the A’s ace, and he would be an excellent number three guy for the Dodgers and he makes a fairly solid number two.  But he’s not Clayton Kershaw and he’s not Chris Sale.    Without three strong starters, I really don’t give the Dodgers much chance.   Especially since the Giants landed Tampa starter Matt Moore to replace the struggling Jeff Samardija as their number three.    If the Dodgers had acquired Sale or even Archer, they’d have a good chance of passing the Giants and winning the division.  If the Dodgers had managed to land Sale (would’ve cost them Julio Urías, Jose DeLeon, Puig, and either Pederson, Barnes or another guy) AND Hill and Reddick, AND Kershaw were to come back, AND Turner, Seager, and Kendrick were to keep hitting, I think they might even beat the mighty Cubs in an NLCS, even with how much the Cubs have improved their bullpen.  I’d say the Dodgers chances of getting to their first World Series in 28 years were excellent.   Andrew Friedman knows that.  And it’s become rather evident that Andrew Friedman would rather hold on to his prospects and maybe win a World Series quite a few years down the line, than win a World Series now.   It all comes down to money, I guess.  I’m baffled.

Reddick is not an “elite” player.  He’s a solid  second tier offensive player.  In other words, he’s not Ryan Braun or Miguel Cabrera.  Right now, though he’s generally a more consistent hitter, he’s not even Jay Bruce.  But he’s a vast improvement over the production we’ve been getting from Puig.  But, then, why do we still have Puig?  Are they planning to move Reddick to left?  To center?  Is Puig gonna sit the rest of the year?   I’m not sure what the hell is going on and I don’t think the Dodgers are either.   The rumor is, Puig was told that he would either be traded or sent to the minors and apparently stormed off!    He was not with the team on the plane to Denver.  I guess the Dodgers couldn’t even find someone to take him.  Wow.  If that doesn’t light a fire under his ass, I don’t know what will.  Are they planning on simply DFA’ing him?   That would be fkn stupid.

And, both Hill and Reddick are free agents at the end of the year, so they’re going to have to re-sign them.   If the Dodgers had lost Urías, DeLeon and more young players, but acquired Sale, retained Hill, Reddick, Turner, and signed a free agent closer, be it Jansen or Chapman, they could’ve been a force for years to come.  Especially if they hold onto Bellinger.   Having a strong staff and middle of the order under team control allows a team to sign and develop other young pitching and hitting.   In other words, I’m tired of people thinking Julio Urías is the next Pedro and the future of the organization is riding on his arm.   You read it here first:  Julio Urías will never be as good as Chris Sale.

Oh, we also added awful Blue Jays reliever, Jessie Sanchez for Mike Bolsinger.  Sanchez was a decent starter for Zaidi’s A’s at one time, but he’s pretty much done.  More of the Dodgers trying to turn themselves into a bad, small market team from 2014.   The L.A A-Rays.  Not sure what their plan is for Sanchez, but here’s hoping they don’t try to make him a starter again.   Just another mediocre arm in the pen.  Just another body.  He has a 7.56 ERA in his last 15 games for Toronto, who I’m sure is thrilled to be rid of him as we are to be rid of Bolsinger.

On top of all this, we let Jonathan Lucroy go to the Texas Rangers, who also picked up Carlos Beltran.  If the Texas Rangers don’t get to the World Series with the lineup they have, I’d be surprised.

Again, I like the additions of Hill and Reddick, but without that other top starter, the Dodgers are still riding on the somewhat iffy return of Kershaw.  Last year, the Dodgers had pretty much the same offense, but they had a healthy Kershaw AND an amazing Greinke and no one else, and they lost in the first round of the playoffs to a Mets team that wasn’t much better than they were.  Now they have a less healthy Kershaw, (or no Kershaw at all, possibly) and Rich Hill, and there’s a lot of pressure on a flimsy Brandon McCarthy and an ever weakening Kenta Maeda to be better and stronger than they are.  I don’t like our chances too much.  We needed to make the biggest deal and we didn’t.

 

Getting Down To The Wire…

It’s 6:47 at the time of this writing.  By this time tomorrow, the trade deadline will have passed by 5 hours and 47 minutes.  The Dodgers and Andrew Friedman have exactly 18 hours and 13 minutes to get at least one starting pitcher, (they really need 2) or I think you can say goodbye to any possibility of the Dodgers advancing beyond a Wild Card game or an opening playoff series, or perhaps, even the playoffs at all.  The team, even with a healthy Kershaw, simply does not have enough starting pitching to continue to compete with the Cubs or any playoff team in a short series.   The talk is that the likelihood of the Dodgers pulling off a deal are becoming slimmer and slimmer.  If no deal happens, we then have confirmation as to what Friedman’s and Kasten’s agendas are, and they certainly don’t include winning.  As Bill Shaikin writes in today’s LA Times in quoting the Cubs’ GM, Theo Epstein, “If not now, when?”  The other day, Epstein and the Cubs gave up a bunch of prospects to rent Aroldis Chapman for the rest of the season.  Why?  Because they needed a closer and they want to win NOW.  What’s the Dodgers’ excuse if they don’t do anything?

A couple hours ago, the Blue blew out the struggling Snakes 14-3 with a bunch of hits and a bunch of home runs.  So what?  The Snakes stink for a reason.  We beat up on a struggling starter in Corbin and a bunch of minor league relievers.   What was evident was that these Dodgers are working hard to win.  But they need some damn help.  It’s up to Friedman to provide it.  Does anyone really think they can win ANYTHING with a starting rotation of Kazmir, Maeda, McCarthy, Norris, and… who?  Urias?  Brett Anderson?  Does anyone really believe Yasiel Puig and his über tight hamstrings are gonna FINALLY mature and start producing?   Sure, he had a great game tonight.  How’s he gonna do against the Red Sox?  (If he’s still wearing a Dodger uniform)  So, do you you trade De Leon AND Urias for a Chris Sale?  Yes.  It’s a no-brainer.  Now that Wade Davis is injured and off the table (that’s probably why Friedman was interested in him, being that he loves injured pitchers) and the Cleveland Indians, who actually WANT to win, have acquired Andrew Miller, (and have tried to acquire Lucroy)  and the Washington Nationals have acquired Mark Melancon, it’s unlikely the Dodgers will get any real bullpen help from an outside source.  Grandal went off today, but I still think Jonathan Lucroy would’ve made a huge impact on that lineup.   They can most definitely use a surging Jay Bruce.  He hasn’t been my first choice, but the way he’s hitting, you gotta think he’ll make an impact.  A deal with the A’s for Rich Hill and Josh Reddick?    Yes.  I’d do it in a heartbeat.   Why would I do these deals?   Because it’s their only chance to win.  Period.

It’s 6:55.  We have 18 hours and 5 minutes to have a chance to win or to once again be assured of losing.

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