The Dodgers, as I type, are about to set a dubious mark. Should the current score stand, Los Angeles will be eliminated in the 2016 NLCS in Chicago. In the process, they will have set a record for most consecutive seasons of qualifying for the playoffs without reaching the World Series.
In other words, they’re going nowhere. Even worse, they will continue to go nowhere. Here’s why:
1) The most bloated front office in the history of baseball will continue to purge salary. Closer Kenley Jansen? He’s gone. Analytics experts such as the Dodgers “smart guys” don’t value closers. Jansen, meanwhile, is apparently looking forward to getting paid.
Third baseman Justin Turner is due for a raise. Buh-bye. The “smart guys” resist position players older than 30.
It should be the same for Rich Hill. The feeling here is the smart guys are betting Clayton Kershaw will be backed up by much of what you saw before trading for Hill — Scott Kazmir, Julio Urias, Kenta Maeda and whatever noodle-armed injury-prone dreck with a low WHIP they can cull.
You see, analytics drones only think in terms of buying low/selling high. Hill was bought low. He’s in line to get paid. The smart guys will pass.
Matter of fact, the Dodgers have 14 free agents this offseason and the only one that I am confident they will retain is situational relief pitcher Joe Blanton. Maybe they make a run at keeping Josh Reddick, but that’s only if they luck out and find a suitor for Andre Ethier and/or Yasiel Puig.
Hmm… Jansen’s in the game, auditioning for a job next year.
2) Take a peek at the list of MLB free agents next year. The top guys are in their early 30s. The Dodgers will pass.
In their defense, the list is not particularly inviting, either.
3) Let’s assume something possible: That Urias blossoms quickly into a No.2 behind Kershaw. It might happen. Kid has major capability. And perhaps that stabilizes an utterly chaotic rotation.
Fine… But who hits other than Corey Seager?
The Dodgers reliance on home runs made them one-dimensional. Keep the ball in the yard, and they lose. It’s that simple, because they just can’t hit. Puig was supposed to be a cornerstone with Seager, only the Cuban was sent to the minors this year. Joc Pedersen might follow him with that abyss in his swing.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers ballyhooed farm system is loaded — with pitchers. There are no offensive threats due to arrive next year.
It also is worth noting that the great Adrian Gonzalez — who just filed out in the eighth inning — might be slowing down.
4) The Dodgers are incapable of making impactful moves because, as previously mentioned, they have the most bloated front office in baseball. They have six general managers on the payroll — Andrew Friedman, Farhan Zaidi, Josh Byrnes, Ned Colletti, Alex Anthopoulous and Tommy Lasorda.
How in the hell do you get anything accomplished with such micromanagement?
Earlier, I had mentioned that people obsessed with analytics are into buying low and selling high. It would make sense to have that mentality when you are forced to squeeze what you can out of limited resources.
Only the fatal flaw is this: The Dodgers don’t have limited resources. Because they’re the freaking Dodgers.
That is why the Chicago Cubs, who rebuilt themselves from scratch, have a future and the Dodgers do not. The Cubs did, in fact, take risks this offseason. The Cubs were the ones to sign Jon Lester, whereas the Dodgers let Zack Greinke go. The Cubs remembered offense by signing second baseman Ben Zobrist and outfielder Dexter Fowler.
The Dodgers? Last offseason with numerous possibilities to improve, they added Trayce Thompson.
Analytics is “a tool” used by the Cubs. Analytics is “the only tool” the Dodgers recognized.
Which means the Cubs played to win. You can’t be mad at them for that.
While the Dodgers merely play to qualify. You should be mad as hell about that.