Category Archives: Los Angeles Dodgers

Machado traded to the Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers made a huge trade just prior to the 2nd half of the season as they acquired star 3rd baseman Manny Machado from the Orioles in exchange for minor league prospects Yusniel Diaz, Rylan Bannon, Dean Kremer, Zach Pop, and Breyvic Valera.

 

Dodgers Grade/Analysis:

This trade just shows that the Dodgers are all-in for the 2018 season as they are paying a hefty price to acquire an elite player for what will likely be just a few months. Los Angeles had a big need at shortstop after they lost Corey Seager to injury early on in the season. Also, 3rd baseman Justin Turner has missed a big chunk of the season as he has dealt with injuries. The good news is that Machado can play either 3rd base or shortstop and he gives the Dodgers a huge threat in their lineup. Machado is having possibly the best year of his entire career as he batted .315 with 24 home runs and 65 RBI’s for the Orioles. There is no doubt that Machado makes the Dodgers a much more dangerous team in the short-term. However, this is an extremely risky trade since they are giving up 5 young prospects just to try and win a world series this season. The good news is that they didn’t give up their top prospect, but they still gave up several quality young prospects. It is unlikely that Machado re-signs with the Dodgers after this season since they should have Corey Seager back from injury in 2019, yet Machado is a player that can help the team a lot in 2018. Overall, the Dodgers are a much better team this season, although they might look back in the future and regret this trade especially if they don’t accomplish their lofty goals in 2018.

Grade: B

 

Orioles Grade/Analysis:

Manny Machado was basically the lone bright spot in what has been an absolutely miserable 2018 season for the Baltimore Orioles. However, this was a trade that had to be made since Machado is a free agent after the season and the Orioles had basically no chance to re-sign him. Machado would have cost the Orioles too much and the team wouldn’t be in much of a position to be a competitive team the next few years. The Orioles are now showing that they are focusing on the future by acquiring 5 young prospects for Machado. It is unfortunate that the Orioles didn’t get the Dodgers top prospect, but they are still getting some quality young players. The headliner of this deal from Baltimore’s perspective is clearly outfield prospect Yusniel Diaz. He now becomes the 2nd best prospect in the Orioles farm system according to MLB.com and he is ranked as the number 84 prospect in the entire MLB. Diaz is a terrific contact hitter as proven by his .314 batting average for the Dodgers Double-A team. He does have some good power as proven in the All-Star Futures Game when he hit 2 home runs. However, he hasn’t really shown much power in the minor leagues as he only has six home runs this year. Diaz is still likely a couple of years away from reaching the majors, yet he has the highest potential of any player that Baltimore received in this deal. The next best prospect that the Orioles received in this deal was right-handed pitcher Dean Kremer who now becomes the Orioles 13th best prospect according to MLB.com. Kremer is 22 years old, yet he still has quite a bit of time before reaching the majors. Kremer has been terrific in the minor leagues this year as he was 5-3 with a 3.30 ERA in High-A before recently being promoted to Double-A in the Dodgers system. Kremer has the potential to be a good 3rd or 4th starting pitcher in the Orioles rotation in a few years. Meanwhile, the Orioles acquired yet another promising player with 3rd baseman Rylan Bannon as he now becomes the Orioles 17th ranked prospect. Bannon is a rising prospect that really showcased his outstanding power this season. He has hit 20 home runs to go along with a .296 average at High-A in the Dodgers minor league system. Bannon also is a good defensive player, so if he can keep up this type of offensive production then he could be a starter at the MLB level one day. The other prospect that Baltimore received is right-handed pitcher Zach Pop who now ranks as the 29th prospect for the Orioles according to MLB.com. Pop has had a terrific season at the Single-A level for the Dodgers as he had a very impressive 1.04 ERA. He figures to be promoted to Double-A by the Orioles and it is possible we could see him in the majors in 2020 or even sooner if he continues at his current pace. Pop is a terrific strikeout pitcher and he has the potential to be a good late-inning relief pitcher at some point. Finally, the Orioles received infielder Breyvic Valera as another player in the Machado trade. Valera has the lowest potential of any player in this deal, but he is also the most MLB-ready player. Valera has already appeared in 20 games for the Dodgers this season, although he is only hitting .172 with 4 RBI’s. Valera figures to spend most of his time in Triple-A with the Orioles. However, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him at the MLB level this season especially with the Orioles needing some short-term infield depth after the trade of Machado. Valera is a good contact hitter and he has the ability to play almost every position. However, he is likely going to be nothing more than a bench player and utility option for the Orioles. Overall, it is unfortunate that the Orioles had to give up on Machado so soon considering he was their franchise cornerstone. However, the Orioles did receive a few quality prospects that can help the team as they rebuild for the future.

Grade: B+

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Biggest weakness for every MLB team

Arizona Diamondbacks – Biggest Weakness: Catcher

The Diamondbacks were decent at the catcher position last season, but they let starter Chris Iannetta leave in free agency. However, the Diamondbacks are seriously struggling at the catcher position in 2018. Jeff Mathis is a good defensive catcher, yet he is only hitting .182 with no home runs this season. The Diamondbacks also have Alex Avila at the position and he has been even worse while batting .148 this season. It is hard to find good offensive catchers these days, but Arizona needs much better production than what they are getting right now.

Atlanta Braves – Biggest Weakness: Bullpen

The Braves have a really good starting rotation, but issues arise when they have had to call upon their bullpen this season. Arodys Vizcaino has been terrific as the team’s closer, but the rest of the bullpen has been very inconsistent. Shane Carle, A.J. Minter, and Dan Winkler have been good at times. However, none of those guys have been the reliable relief pitchers that Atlanta needs. If Atlanta is going to make the playoffs this year, then they need to find some better late-inning options in the bullpen.

Baltimore Orioles – Biggest Weakness: Starting Pitching

Baltimore has been terrible in many different aspects, but starting pitching stands out as being the worst of it all. Dylan Bundy has been the best starter for the Orioles, but even he only has an average 4.08 ERA this season. Kevin Gausman has been decent as well with a 4.11 ERA, but he has been inconsistent as well. The rest of the rotation though has been completely awful as the offseason free agent signings of Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb have just made the rotation worse. Also, Daniel Hess and Chris Tillman both have absolutely terrible ERA’s as well. Baltimore has had terrible starting pitching for years, yet it might actually be worse than ever this season.

Boston Red Sox – Biggest Weakness: Catcher

Sandy Leon performed well offensively in 2017, but he has regressed so far this season as he has become the weakness of the Red Sox lineup. Leon still hasn’t been terrible, yet he is only averaging .252 with 4 home runs in 2018. Meanwhile, Christian Vazquez has been even worse offensively for Boston. Vazquez is hitting .213 with 3 home runs in 2018 despite getting even more at-bats than Leon. Boston has enough in their lineup to make up for the lack of production at the catcher position, although they will need more if the Red Sox really want to reach their full potential.

Chicago Cubs – Biggest Weakness: Starting Pitching

Jon Lester has been outstanding for the Cubs this year as he has a 2.45 ERA. However, the rest of the starting rotation for Chicago hasn’t been nearly as good. Mike Montgomery has been decent as a 5th starter for the Cubs, but they need much more from the other pitchers. Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana, Tyler Chatwood, and Yu Darvish have all underachieved this season. The Cubs are still a probable playoff team, but if the Cubs want to make a deep playoff run then they’ll need much more from their starting pitching.

Chicago White Sox – Biggest Weakness: Starting Pitching

Reynaldo Lopez has been the lone bright spot in the White Sox starting rotation as leads the White Sox starters with a 3.77 ERA. However, the rest of the White Sox starting pitchers have been disastrous to say the least. James Shields, Dylan Covey, Lucas Giolito, and Carson Fulmer all have been really awful. Giolito and Fulmer are still big parts of the rotation for the future, yet Chicago needs much better starting pitching if they ever want to be relevant again.

Cincinnati Reds – Biggest Weakness: Starting Pitching

Tyler Mahle has been outstanding with a 3.66 ERA this season and Matt Harvey has been good for the Reds as well with a 3.79 ERA in 11 starts for the team. However, the rest of the rotation hasn’t been good at all. Sal Romano, Luis Castillo, and Homer Bailey all have an ERA 5.28 or less this season. The good news is that the Reds have a very good offense, but they will need much better starting pitching if they want to compete anytime soon.

Cleveland Indians – Biggest Weakness: Center Field

Bradley Zimmer and Greg Allen have both split time in center field for Cleveland this season, but the issue is that neither of them have been productive offensively. Zimmer is hitting only .226 with 2 home runs this season. However, Greg Allen has been even worse as he is a .208 hitter with just 1 home run. Cleveland might need to consider adding a center fielder at the trade deadline since they are getting terrible production from the position right now.

Colorado Rockies – Biggest Weakness: Bullpen

Colorado made some major changes to their bullpen this past offseason, but it has only seemingly made that unit even worse than last season. Adam Ottavino has been terrific and Scott Oberg has been good as well, but the rest of the bullpen has been terrible. Wade Davis was supposed to be an elite closer for the Rockies, but he instead has a mediocre 4.04 ERA this season. Also, Bryan Shaw, Jake McGee, Chris Rusin, and Mike Dunn have all been awful this season. The Rockies have some proven relief pitchers, yet for whatever reason they just haven’t been able to produce this season.

Detroit Tigers – Biggest Weakness: Designated Hitter

Victor Martinez has had a terrific career, but at this point he is nothing more than a mentor for the young players on the Tigers team as he finishes out his likely final MLB season. Martinez certainly isn’t the player that he once was as he is currently 39 years old and he hasn’t been a good hitter at all. Martinez is hitting .240 with just 4 home runs for Detroit this season despite making $18 million in salary. Those aren’t great stats especially for a designated hitter that is supposed to help carry the Tigers offense.

Houston Astros – Biggest Weakness: Bullpen

The Astros are a world series contender once again this season, but they certainly don’t have a bullpen worthy of that distinction. Ken Giles was supposed to be the closer this season, but he has been awful with a 4.11 ERA. Will Harris is another late-inning option for the Astros that has really struggled this year as well. Joe Smith has been the worst of all with a 4.70 ERA in 2018 for Houston. Hector Rondon, Tony Sipp, and Chris Devenski have been the reliable relief pitchers for the Astros. However, that isn’t exactly an inspiring group of relievers especially for a team that could make a deep playoff run. Either way, Houston needs to make it their priority to find some much better late-inning bullpen options at the trade deadline.

Kansas City Royals – Biggest Weakness: Starting Pitcher

It’s never a good sign when a pitcher that has been in the bullpen for most of his career is the best starting pitcher that the team has. However, that is the case with the Royals as Brad Keller has basically been the ace of the Royals rotation with a 2.82 ERA in 7 starts this year. Veteran Pitchers Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, and Jason Hammel were supposed to carry the starting rotation for Kansas City this season. However, all three of those guys have an ERA of 4.89 or lower. Meanwhile, Jakob Junis had a terrific start to the season, but he has been absolutely recently. The Royals need to find some better young starting pitchers or else their rotation might be bad for awhile.

Los Angeles Angels – Biggest Weakness: 2nd Base

Ian Kinsler was acquired by the Angels in order to be a major upgrade at the 2nd base position, but he has performed probably even worse than what the team had before. Kinsler has dealt with some injuries this year and that might be a contributing factor to his poor performance, but there is no excusing his .213 batting average. Kinsler has been a major weakness in the Angels lineup and he is holding them back from reaching their full potential.

Los Angeles Dodgers – Biggest Weakness: 2nd Base

The 2nd base position has been somewhat of revolving door as they really haven’t had a clear starter at the position. Logan Forsythe has been the starter for most of the season at 2nd base, although he has been absolutely awful offensively. Forsythe is hitting only .199 this season with just 2 home runs for the Dodgers. Veteran 2nd baseman Chase Utley hasn’t been much better as he is only hitting .227 with 1 home run this year. Either way, the 2nd base position has been a major weakness for the Dodgers and it is something that needs to be fixed soon.

Miami Marlins – Biggest Weakness: Starting Pitching

Miami hasn’t really had a clear ace of their starting rotation since the death of Jose Fernandez and they still don’t have one. Jose Urena has been the best Marlins starter this season, although he only has an average 4.13 ERA. Caleb Smith has been decent as well, but the rest of the rotation hasn’t been good at all. Dan Straily has really underachieved this season as he was supposed to be the ace of the rotation. Also, Trevor Richards and Wei-Yin Chen have been absolutely awful this season. Miami has some decent players in their lineup, but they need to find some better starting pitchers soon.

Milwaukee Brewers – Biggest Weakness: Catcher

The Brewers have used four different catchers this season, but the problem is that none of them have been good. Manny Pina has seen the most action at catcher for the Brewers, yet he is hitting just .227 with 16 RBI’s in 2018. Also, backup catcher Erik Kratz has been even worse with a .210 batting average and 6 RBI’s. Milwaukee has a good lineup otherwise, but they need to find some help at the catcher position if they want to make a deep playoff run.

Minnesota Twins – Biggest Weakness: Designated Hitter

Minnesota added Logan Morrison this offseason as they were hoping to add some power to their lineup. Morrison has accomplished that to some extent as he has hit 10 home runs this year, but the issue is that he hasn’t hit much of anything else. Morrison is batting just .193 for Minnesota this season and that just isn’t good enough. The designated hitter position is supposed to have a player that is a good hitter, but Morrison hasn’t lived up to expectations for the Twins.

New York Mets – Biggest Weakness: Catcher

The New York Mets had a big void at the catcher position which is why they acquired Devin Mesoraco early in the year from the Cincinnati Reds. However, Mesoraco hasn’t exactly been the solution at catcher as he is hitting just .232 with 18 RBI’s this season. Also, his backup Kevin Plawecki has been even worse as he is hitting .217 with just one home run for the Mets this year. The Mets have struggled mightily offensively this season and the catcher position has been a major source of those issues.

New York Yankees – Biggest Weakness: 1st Base

1st Base has been a revolving door for the Yankees this season as they have started a few different players at the position. They started out with Tyler Austin at 1st base, although he hit just .223 before being demoted to Triple-A. Meanwhile, Greg Bird has provided some power with 6 home runs, but he is only hitting .207 this year. The Yankees have even put Neil Walker at 1st base a lot and that has been disastrous as he is only hitting .197 with 2 home runs this season. The rest of the Yankees lineup is really good, but they need to find somebody that can produce more at 1st base.

Oakland Athletics – Biggest Weakness: Catcher

Jonathan Lucroy was once an all-star caliber catcher in the MLB, but he hasn’t really been an average catcher for the Athletics this season. Lucroy is hitting just .245 with 1 home run for Oakland in 2018. His backup Josh Phegley has been worse as he is batting just .219 with 2 home runs for the Athletics this year. Oakland really needs to find a new starting catcher because the position has just not been good this season.

Philadelphia Phillies – Biggest Weakness: Shortstop

Scott Kingery was an elite prospect coming into this season for Philadelphia and there were high expectations for him as the starting shortstop. However, Kingery has failed to live up to expectations as he is hitting just .229 with 4 home runs this season. Pedro Florimon has been better in his limited time at shortstop as he is batting .263 with 2 home runs this year. The Phillies have been rumored to be interested in Manny Machado and they could really use him at this point because they are really struggling at shortstop.

Pittsburgh Pirates – Biggest Weakness: Shortstop

Jordy Mercer is just an average shortstop and he probably always will be, but he especially hasn’t provided much offense this season. Mercer is hitting just .242 with 5 home runs for Pittsburgh as he has basically been the everyday player at that position. The Pirates need to finally find an upgrade at the position because Mercer isn’t worthy of being their starting shortstop.

San Diego Padres – Biggest Weakness: Shortstop

Freddy Galvis is certainly known for his defense and that is probably the only reason that he remains a starting shortstop at the MLB level. However, he has been a liability offensively for the Padres this season as he is batting just .234 with 4 home runs. Galvis makes the Padres a better team defensively, although the team needs to find a shortstop that can provide much more on offense.

San Francisco Giants – Biggest Weakness: Left Field

Hunter Pence was once an all-star caliber player, but his performance has really dropped off this season. He is hitting just .208 with no home runs in 2018 for the Giants as he has been a major liability in their offense. Gregor Blanco has also seen some time in left field for the Giants, but he hasn’t been much better as he is hitting just .242 with 1 home run. The Giants need to find more production from that position especially if they want to remain in the playoff race.

Seattle Mariners – Biggest Weakness: Catcher

Mike Zunino has spent quite a bit of time on the disabled list this season, but he hasn’t even been productive when he has been healthy. Zunino has provided great power as proven by his 12 home runs, but the problem is that he doesn’t do much else on offense. Zunino strikes out way too much and he is only hitting .189 so far this year for the Mariners. David Freitas and Chris Herrmann are the other catchers on the roster right now, but they haven’t been any better. Freitas is hitting just .194 with no home runs while Herrmann is batting .222 with 1 home run this year. The Mariners have a good lineup otherwise, yet the catcher position could hold them back if they make the playoffs.

St. Louis Cardinals – Biggest Weakness: 2nd Base

Kolten Wong has basically been the everyday starter at 2nd base, but he hasn’t exactly proved that he is deserving of being the starter. Wong is hitting just .221 with 7 home runs for the Cardinals this season as he has been the weakest part of their lineup. The Cardinals need to find an upgrade at that position especially if they want to compete with the Brewers and Cubs in the NL central.

Tampa Bay Rays – Biggest Weakness: Right Field

Carlos Gomez was once a terrific starter at the MLB level and that is the main reason the Rays signed him to see if he can provide that type of play to the team. However, it hasn’t quite worked out that way so far as he is batting just .206 with 7 home runs this year. Gomez has been the everyday starter in right field, but the Rays need to find an upgrade at that position since it is holding the lineup back.

Texas Rangers – Biggest Weakness: Catcher

Robinson Chirinos has basically been the everyday catcher for the Rangers this season and he has provided some good power with 11 home runs. However, he has struggled to make contact as proven by his .204 batting average this year. The Rangers have been so bad at the position that they have utility infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa as the backup catcher. Texas needs to find an upgrade at the position because that duo just doesn’t provide the offense necessary to help out their lineup.

Toronto Blue Jays – Biggest Weakness: Catcher

Russell Martin was once an all-star catcher, but he has not been good the past couple of seasons for the Blue Jays. He still provides some power as he has 6 home runs this season, but he is only hitting .173 so far in 2018. Backup catcher Luke Maile has been better, although he is still only hitting .234 with 3 home runs. Russell Martin isn’t the player that he once was and it is about time for Toronto to find an upgrade at the position.

Washington Nationals – Biggest Weakness: Catcher

Matt Wieters wasn’t performing well as the starting catcher for the Nationals as he was hitting just .232 for the team before getting injured. His injury just weakened what was an already bad group of catchers. Pedro Severino has seen the most playing time since the injury, although he has been awful as he is batting just .171 with 2 home runs. Backup catcher Spencer Kieboom has been somewhat better, yet he is still only hitting .222 with no home runs. Washington is likely in the market for a catcher at the trade deadline and they really need to find at least an average catcher to help improve their lineup.

2017 playoff teams that are most likely to miss the playoffs in 2018

3. Minnesota Twins – Current Record: 17-20

The Twins play in the awful AL central division, which is probably a reason that they were able to make the playoffs last year. However, the Twins haven’t exactly gotten off to a good start in 2018. Star 3rd baseman Miguel Sano has already struggled with injuries and he has been very inconsistent even when he’s been healthy. Also, key players such as Byron Buxton and Brian Dozier have really struggled this year as well. The Twins pitching hasn’t been much better as they currently have a combined 4.49 ERA. Minnesota’s only real chance to make the playoffs is by winning the division and it is difficult to see them beating out Cleveland for that spot.

2. Chicago Cubs – Current Record: 21-17

Chicago still has a very talented team and it is basically the same core of players that helped the team win the world series a couple of years ago. However, the NL central isn’t the same division that it was a year ago. The Brewers and Cardinals are both really good teams as they got better this past offseason. Also, the Pirates have been a really competitive team so far in 2018. The Cubs need more out of their offense especially from players like Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell, and Ian Happ. Also, Jose Quintana and Yu Darvish have not had a good start to the season in the starting rotation. Chicago still is likely to make the playoffs, although it is no guarantee since their division is much tougher this year.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers – Current Record: 16-24

The Dodgers are a very talented team on paper, but they have not lived up to the hype this year. In fact, the Dodgers are in 4th place in the NL West and if they don’t start playing better soon then they could be out of the playoff race early on. Injuries are a major reason that the Dodgers have fallen so far behind as starting pitchers Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, and Hyun-Jin Ryu have all been on the disabled list this year. Also, starting shortstop Corey Seager is out for the season and that is a huge blow for the Dodgers. Having star 3rd baseman Justin Turner back from injury helps the Dodgers offense a little bit, but they need players like Cody Bellinger, Yasiel Puig, and Chris Taylor to improve their game. The Dodgers need to stay healthy, but it might not matter since they have three very talented teams ahead of them in their division.

2018 NL West Predictions

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Los Angeles wasn’t very active this offseason, but that is because they really don’t have any weaknesses to fill. The Dodgers have a terrific lineup led by Justin Turner, Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor, and Yasiel Puig. However, the other players in their lineup like Matt Kemp, Logan Forsythe, and Austin Barnes are all solid contributors as well. The Dodgers are also very deep as they have Yasmani Grandal, Joc Pederson, and Chase Utley as proven players that are currently scheduled to be bench players in 2018. Los Angeles also has arguably the best starting rotation in the MLB led by Clayton Kershaw who is probably the best pitcher in the entire MLB. However, the team has 4 above average starting pitchers behind him with Rich Hill, Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda, and Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers also have a very good bullpen led by elite closer Kenley Jansen. Josh Fields and Pedro Baez also had very good years last season as late-inning options in the Dodgers bullpen. Los Angeles could use some more depth in their bullpen, although they are certainly set in the late innings with Jansen, Fields, and Baez. There really isn’t a weakness on this Dodgers roster and they are not only the favorites to win the NL west, but they also are probably the favorites in the NL to make the world series.

2. Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona surprisingly was one of the best teams in the national league last season, but they are out to prove that last year wasn’t just a fluke. In fact, the Diamondbacks are a team that should be able to once again compete for a playoff spot in 2018. The Diamondbacks did lose J.D. Martinez this offseason which will hurt Arizona a little bit. However, they did replace him somewhat by trading for right fielder Steven Souza Jr. from the Rays. Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb, and A.J. Pollock are the ones that will likely carry the offense for Arizona and their lineup is good overall. However, the middle infield appears to be the area of weakness for the Diamondbacks as Ketel Marte, Nick Ahmed, and Chris Owings will compete for starting jobs at 2nd base and shortstop. None of those guys provide much offensive capability and the Diamondbacks should have found better replacements at those positions. Meanwhile, the starting pitching appears to be a strength for Arizona heading into the 2018 season. They have Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray as all-star caliber pitchers that will lead the top of the starting rotation. However, they are also really deep with starting pitching as Taijuan Walker and Patrick Corbin are above average pitchers as well. Pitching in Arizona isn’t easy, but those 4 guys are certainly proven MLB pitchers that are up to the task. The bullpen could be decent for Arizona in 2018, but it will be a lot different than it was last season. Archie Bradley had a terrific 2017 season and now he is expected to be the new closer for the Diamondbacks in 2018. Brad Boxberger is a reliable late-inning option for the Diamondbacks and he has closer experience if Bradley struggles in that role. Yoshihisa Hirano was acquired to be another late-inning option for Arizona, but he has never pitched in the MLB and it is unknown what he will provide. Arizona needs more depth in their bullpen and they need someone besides Boxberger and Bradley to step up. The Diamondbacks have a few weaknesses on this roster, so they probably won’t be able to compete with the Dodgers for the division title. However, Arizona still is a very good team that should be able to make the playoffs in 2018.

3. Colorado Rockies

The Rockies were a playoff team in 2017 as they had improved pitching and a lineup that continues to dominate. Colorado still has Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu, Ian Desmond, Trevory Story, and Gerardo Parra. That is quite the lineup especially if Arenado and Blackmon continue to play at an MVP-caliber level. We all know that the Rockies will score a ton of runs as they always seemingly do. However, pitching is the one thing that really continues to hold them back. Jon Gray is the clear ace of the Rockies pitching staff and he performed well last season especially considering that he was pitching at Coors Field most of the time. The rest of the rotation is filled mostly with really young starting pitchers that were very inconsistent last season. Kyle Freeland, German Marquez, and Tyler Anderson all pitched well at times last season, but they all need to improve if the Rockies starting pitching is going to be good. However, it will help that Freeland and Marquez have a year of experience now and hopefully they can continue to try and reach their full potential. Meanwhile, the Rockies bullpen should be better this year especially with the signing of elite closer Wade Davis and quality setup man Bryan Shaw. However, the Rockies have plenty of bullpen depth as they have Mike Dunn, Adam Ottavino, and Jake McGee that are all quality relief pitchers. If the bullpen can be good then it would be a huge step towards being a playoff team once again in 2018. Colorado is playing in a really tough division and they also have a few tough teams in the NL to compete with, but if their pitching can continue to improve then they should be a playoff contender for sure.

4. San Francisco Giants

San Francisco is another team that made offseason upgrades in order to try and make the playoffs in 2018 as they added all-star caliber players Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. The Giants already had a decent lineup with Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt, and Brandon Crawford. However, adding Longoria and McCutchen to the mix will only make the Giants a much better offensive team. The Giants starting rotation also has the potential to be decent especially if star pitcher Madison Bumgarner can stay healthy. They also have Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija who are proven MLB pitchers, but they both need to pitch much better than they did last season if the Giants want to have a good rotation. Also, the Giants don’t have much behind those guys in the rotation, so they need to at least find decent 4th and 5th starters. Meanwhile, the Giants have a decent bullpen as they have Sam Dyson, Mark Melancon, Hunter Strickland, and Tony Watson. All of those guys are good late-inning options, but the main question for the Giants is which one of those relievers will be the closer in 2018. It seems the Giants have the lineup to compete in the highly competitive NL West. However, it is the lack of pitching especially with the starting rotation that could really hold this team back.

5. San Diego Padres

The Padres are clearly the worst team in the NL west heading into 2018 as the other 4 teams in the division are playoff contenders. However, the Padres are a team that is heading in the right direction especially with the major signing of Eric Hosmer this offseason. San Diego should have plenty of power in the middle of their lineup with Wil Myers and Hosmer carrying the offense. However, the Padres need support from the other position players if they want to improve. Specifically, the Padres need their young players like Manuel Margot, Austin Hedges, Hunter Renfroe, and Carlos Asuaje to continue to improve. The major concern for San Diego is that they have arguably the worst rotation in the entire MLB. Clayton Richard is the leading pitcher in their rotation, but he didn’t have a good year in 2017. The key for the Padres rotation will be young pitchers Luis Perdomo and Dinelson Lamet. Both of those pitchers weren’t very successful last season, but they will get plenty of opportunities to prove themselves this season. If they can live up to their potential, then the Padres rotation has a chance to at least be decent. Meanwhile, the Padres could be good especially with all-star closer Brad Hand leading the way. Craig Stammen is also a good late-inning option, but the Padres need more out of the rest of the bullpen if they want to be successful. The Padres will probably be a better team in 2018 especially with the addition of Hosmer. However, the Padres still have many holes on their roster and this year will be more about their young players improving rather than trying to be a playoff team.

Dodgers sign Koehler to a 1-year deal

The Los Angeles Dodgers probably won’t make any major additions this offseason since their roster is as complete as any team in the MLB. However, they did add some more to their pitching depth by signing right-handed pitcher Tom Koehler to a 1-year/$2 million deal. Koehler was non-tendered this offseason by the Blue Jays despite having a solid 2.65 ERA in 14 appearances and 1 start for the team. Koehler will provide the Dodgers with some versatility as he will likely start out in the bullpen in a long relief role. However, Koehler has been a starting pitcher most of his career which means that he can be a starter at the back end of the Dodgers rotation if needed. Koehler won’t make a significant difference for the Dodgers in 2018, but he at least provides some more pitching depth for the team and he can be a temporary starting pitcher when injuries occur.

Grade: C-

tom koehler

 

Season Outlook: Los Angeles Dodgers

Projected 2017 Starting Lineup:

  1. Logan Forsythe – 2nd baseman
  2. Corey Seager – Shortstop
  3. Justin Turner – 3rd baseman
  4. Adrian Gonzalez – 1st baseman
  5. Yasmani Grandal – Catcher
  6. Joc Pederson – Center Fielder
  7. Yasiel Puig – Right Fielder
  8. Andrew Toles – Left Fielder

Projected 2017 Starting Rotation:

  1. Clayton Kershaw
  2. Rich Hill
  3. Kenta Maeda
  4. Scott Kazmir
  5. Julio Urias

Season Outlook:

The Dodgers didn’t make too many additions this offseason, but acquiring 2nd baseman Logan Forsythe is the one move that could make the Dodgers even better. Corey Seager, Justin Turner, and Adrian Gonzalez are the most dangerous and consistent threats in the Dodgers lineup. However, if their lineup is to ever become dangerous then they will need more consistency from players like Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, and Yasmani Grandal. The offense for Los Angeles is already really good and if those 3 players show up consistently then their lineup could be unstoppable. Meanwhile, the Dodgers still have star pitcher Clayton Kershaw who is remarkably elite every year. Rich Hill also had an amazing season in 2016 as he had a 2.12 ERA and if he can pitch like that again in 2017 then the Dodgers rotation should be really good. Kenta Maeda and Scott Kazmir are also really good options for the Dodgers in their rotation as the 3rd and 4th options. Julio Urias has by far the biggest upside in the Dodgers rotation as he is only 20 years old and he has already had success in limited action for Los Angeles last year. He figures to get a full-time role in the Dodgers rotation in 2017 and if he performs well then he could make the Dodgers rotation sensational. Re-signing elite closer Kenley Jansen will maintain the stability in the Dodgers bullpen and Sergio Romo/Pedro Baez should be really good late inning options as well. Overall, there aren’t many weaknesses on this Dodgers roster and they are definitely world series contenders heading into 2017.

Prediction: 1st place in the NL West

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Biggest need remaining for every NL West Team

Arizona Diamondbacks – Biggest need: Bullpen

The Arizona Diamondbacks had a decent bullpen until they let go of quality relief pitchers like Brad Ziegler, Tyler Clippard, and Daniel Hudson. However, they haven’t done much to replace those guys this offseason. Arizona signed 39-year old Fernando Rodney to be their new closer, but who knows how much production that he has left. Rodney has been inconsistent in recent years and he was awful with a 5.89 ERA with the Marlins last season. Even if he does turn out to be good for Arizona, they still have nobody else besides him in the bullpen. Arizona has a big need for 7th and 8th inning help and time is running out for them to find somebody to fill those roles.

Colorado Rockies – Biggest need: Catcher

Colorado has a really dangerous lineup, but if there is one weakness in their lineup then it is definitely at the catcher position. As of right now, Tony Wolters and Tom Murphy would be the options at catcher for the Rockies. However, neither of those guys have proven that they can be everyday catchers. Wolters is a former infielder and he only hit .259 with 3 home runs in 2016 for Colorado in 71 games played. Those aren’t good offensive stats especially for a guy that plays most of his games at Coors Field. Both Wolters and Murphy are nothing more than backups, but one of them will have to play a lot in 2017 unless the team can find a starting catcher. The Rockies are reportedly interested in Matt Wieters as their new starting catcher which isn’t a bad idea since he provides some more offensive ability than Wolters and Murphy. Either way, the Rockies can’t rely upon Wolters to be their everyday catcher next season and they need a lot of help at the position.

Los Angeles Dodgers – Biggest need: 2nd baseman

The Los Angeles Dodgers don’t have many needs, but they do have a glaring weakness at the 2nd base position with Enrique Hernandez as their projected starter for the 2017 season. That is not good news considering that Hernandez only hit .190 with 7 home runs in 109 games for the Dodgers last season. There aren’t many options available at 2nd base for the Dodgers in free agency, but they should at least add some more depth to the position in order to compete with Hernandez. Los Angeles could always trade for Brian Dozier and fix the problem at 2nd base. However, the Dodgers just need to do something to improve the production out of the 2nd base position.

San Diego Padres – Biggest need: Starting Pitching

San Diego has perhaps the worst starting rotation in all of the MLB heading into next season as their number 1 starter appears to be Christian Friedrich who had a 4.80 ERA in 2016. The Padres have plenty of depth with their starting pitching, but they just don’t have even one starting pitcher that would be a number 3 starter on another team. The free agent starting pitcher market was extremely weak this offseason, yet the Padres should have signed at least one quality starting pitcher. San Diego did sign Jhoulys Chacin, but he won’t do much to make their rotation any better. Overall, the Padres starting rotation is looking terrible for next season unless they make a big move late this offseason which is highly unlikely.

San Francisco Giants – Biggest need: Left Fielder

The San Francisco Giants were in the market for a big time outfielder this offseason. However, they haven’t made any big moves yet and they still are left with a big need for a starting left fielder. Right now Mac Williamson would be the starting left fielder for the Giants and he hasn’t proven much as he is a career .222 hitter with 6 home runs in limited playing time. There are still quality left fielders like Michael Saunders that remain unsigned in free agency, but the Giants just need to do something to find a decent starting left fielder for next season.