Dodgers winter theme: Make it complicated!

The ironic thing about baseball’s winter meetings being held next week in Washington, D.C. is that it’s symbolic of Dodgers fans to their team.

Sports fans are like the electorate: Win for me. And in doing so, keep it simple because I’m a little drunk.

The Dodgers front office is like Hillary Clinton’s campaign: Making things so much about process they get lapped by a guy with a catchy slogan.

Which is why you shouldn’t expect much from the Dodgers other than directionless complex rumors that will involve dozens of names, multiteam deals and discussions of mind-blowing salaries. It will be a week of sound and fury. It will signify nothing.

It’s highly unlikely they will get the stars you’ve heard about online: Ian Kinsler? Nope. Chris Sale? Chris Archer? Ryan Braun? Hell, even Brian Dozier? Naw.

Here is what the Dodgers need: a second baseman, a third baseman, better starting pitching, a closer. Hopefully, the incoming infielders can hit left-handed pitching better.

You, the fan, shrug and say, “OK, resign Justin Turner, Rich Hill, Kenley Jansen and try to upgrade at second base. Simple.”

But the Dodgers have six former general managers in the front office. Much like last season, too many cooks will complicate this broth. Consider the first offseason with team president Andrew Friedman two years ago. One of his first “moves” was a three-team deal that involved eight players. The Marlins got a leadoff hitter in Dee Gordon. The Angels got a starting pitching in Andrew Heaney (who admittedly got injured in Anaheim, but he’s only 24). 

The Dodgers? All they have left on the roster from that deal is backup outfielder in Keke Hernandez and situational relief pitcher Chris Hatcher. Sound. Fury. Nothing.

The Cubs are still the world champs and there’s no reason to believe the Dodgers will close the gap despite having a vault of money that would make Scrooge McDuck jealous and a farm system that is the envy of the rest of professional baseball.

The Dodgers front office is everything that makes people break relationships: Sure, they’ve got sweet digs up in the hills. They’re also processors, addicted to admiring their own intellect, micro-managers and even worse, hoarders.

The Dodgers new philosophy for starting pitching was summed up by … Which of their six GMs said it?… Farhan Zaidi. You know how most teams want five guys they can rely on in the rotation? Well…

“We always talk about building a 162-game rotation, not necessarily a five-man rotation,” Zaidi said. “I think we have the guys to get through 162 games. Now it’s just a question of whether we can improve the quality and target some high-end guys that would really change the configuration of where guys slot in.”

Fascinating. Here’s the problem. To win the world championship, you have to play more than 162 games and that’s why the Dodgers got their asses kicked by Chicago in the National League Championship Series. 

Because Chicago kept it simple while the Dodgers patted themselves on the back marching out 31 pitchers.

Sound and fury to earn a playoff berth. Nothing in the playoffs.

Sure, the Dodgers will likely make some deal happen. But after hearing a flurry of big-time stars that will give you hope that the team will break its 29-year World Series drought, you’re going to be left with a trade for more injury-prone pitching and a hack reserve minor-leaguer who will make Trayce Thompson look like Andrew McCutcheon.

They are more likely to lose Hill, Jansen and Turner than to upgrade.

But hey, six GMs think they’re stronger together.

The Dodgers season goes up in flames, but we knew this

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.

Roberts: The Dodgers micromanager

Common sense tells you there’s no such thing as magic, but there are times in life that we are willing to suspend our disbelief — a good show at The Magic Castle in Hollywood, or the pursuit of something historical in nature.

Consider what happened to end the seventh inning during Rich Hill’s bid for a perfect game at Marlins Park on Saturday. Yasiel Puig, derided for years over a perceived lack of hustle, made this supernatural catch of a Martin Prado drive. Hill threw his arms up in the air. The Dodgers bench erupted with joy, congratulated Puig and the team returned to the dugout. Because it was good fortune. Enchanted, perhaps.

They didn’t congratulate Hill, by the way, because baseball players are superstitious by nature. Who wants to jinx a perfect game? To do so, perhaps that would be the baseball equivalent of black magic.

Magic, humanity’s feeble attempt to comprehend moments in the joy we witness.

But as we’ve come to expect from the micromanagers running the Dodgers — who ironically enough are owned by a guy named Magic — there shall be no joy in Chavez Ravine. There shall only be strict adherence to the mathematical equation.

Manager Dave Roberts pulled Hill aside and told him his quest to pitch Major League Baseball’s 24th perfect game was over. Hill had some redness and heat on his finger, a blister could possibly form. Thanks for helping the team. Hit the showers. Make it a cold shower, while you’re at it.

I was at Marlins Park last night, Tweeting and posting live updates of this incredible effort from five rows behind the dugout. When the bottom of the eighth inning was about to start, I was looking up the history of Dodgers no-hitters and perfect games. They had two no-hitters in 2014. It was 51 years, one day from the only perfect game in Dodgers history, pitched by Sandy Koufax and documented by a man far classier than I.

What I couldn’t see in the dugout was how angry Hill was, as well he should. I realize it’s no consolation, but that anger was magnified by my fellow Dodgers fans that I could see.

What happened at Marlins Park last night was the latest in an ever-increasing list of Dodgers decisions that illustrate the shortcomings of analytics-exclusive front office decisions. To recap, analytics in sports — as popularized in the excellent Michael Lewis book “Moneyball” — is a tool to help teams without wealth and resources to stay competitive.

Only the Dodgers do have wealth and resources.

So the front office personnel consult the numbers and sign/trade for the affordable injury-prone: such as Brett Anderson, Brandon McCarthy, Alex Wood, Bud Norris, Scott Kazmir, Mike Bolsinger, Brandon Beachy … are you starting to get the point? The otherwise durable Zack Greinke was let go in the process. No worry. We were told. We’ll make adjustments on defense for something called “run prevention.”

Pulling Hill from a historic quest was simply “asset protection,” for he, too, has a history of injuries. Wouldn’t want to risk another guy getting injured six outs away from a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment.

Had the Dodgers chosen to retain Greinke instead of acquire a stable of injury-prone pitchers, Hill would likely be a No. 3 starter, at best. As such, Roberts likely believed him to be the only reliable pitcher not named Clayton Kershaw.

This is how important baseball history actually is: Curt Schilling became a national hero for pitching a game where he eventually started to bleed through his sock. Hill? Maybe he has a blister. Maybe, but doggone it, can’t be too careful.

Of course, the front office wouldn’t have to worry about asset protection if it studied injury reports with the same vigor it does spreadsheets. 

You almost have to wonder what prior Dodgers managers would have decided. Actually, you don’t. Tommy Lasorda would have kept him in. Every Dodgers manager prior would have likely done the same. Don Mattingly, who leads the Marlins after the Dodgers cut him loose last year, I haven’t seen his comments. He probably didn’t make one.

As such, it was not Rich Hill who made history, it was Roberts and the Dodgers front office. The Elias Sports Bureau reported that no pitcher had been removed in the quest for a perfect game that late in the game, at least not since 1900.

After the game, Roberts told reporters that the decision actually made a 5-0 Dodgers victory feel like a loss.

That is ironic, because that is precisely what I was saying outside of Marlins Park while I cursed the Dodgers front office in the mist.