Hi, my name is Houston Mitchell, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. If I’m Andrew Friedman, I sign former Rams coach Jeff Fisher as my new set-up reliever. There’s no one better at stopping an offense than Fisher.
Next season’s team
I started off last week’s Dodgers Dugout with this, and will run this after every trade or signing so we can see the roster take shape. Let’s take a look at a projected 25-man roster if the season started today:
Catchers: Yasmani Grandal, Austin Barnes
First base: Adrian Gonzalez, Darin Ruf
Second base: Micah Johnson or Chris Taylor
Third base: Justin Turner, Rob Segedin
Shortstop: Corey Seager
Left field: Andrew Toles, Trayce Thompson (or Scott Van Slyke)
Center field: Joc Pederson, Enrique Hernandez
Right field: Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier
Added since last time: Justin Turner, who, while not official yet, is on the verge of signing a four-year, $64-million deal. Kenley Jansen, who agreed to a five-year, $80-million deal.
Say good-bye to: Charlie Culberson, who was outrighted to Albuquerque and is no longer on the 40-man roster.
What does this mean?
The Dodgers made the right call in re-signing Turner and Jansen. They had no one who could fill those roles without them. (I don’t think anyone was looking forward to Pedro Baez as closer). Over the last three seasons, Turner has hit .296 with a .492 slugging percentage and was one of the best third basemen in the league in the second half of last season, after he had fully recovered from off-season knee surgery. In the postseason, he has a .357 career average with two homers and 12 RBIs in 18 games.
Jansen is one of the best closers in baseball, and you can make an argument that he is the best. Among players with at least 50 saves over the last three seasons, he is second in saves with 127, fifth in ERA at 2.32, first in WHIP at 0.864 and second in strikeouts per nine innings at 13.77.
What I like best about the week was this from Andrew Friedman: “If you’re always rational about every free agent, you will finish third on every free agent.”
That means Friedman gets it. In a world where the Yankees and Red Sox are going to overpay for every free agent, Friedman understands that at times he will also have to pay more than he wants to keep the team in the playoff hunt. It’s quite possible that in 2020, Jansen’s contract will look bad. But for 2017 it looks great, and the Dodgers farm system is so stocked that it probably won’t matter if Jansen isn’t the same pitcher in four years.
The Dodgers’ work is not done. Bringing back basically the same team they had last season will not work. They have a gigantic hole at second base they need to fill with a player who can hit left-handed pitching. The good news: They have plenty of starting pitching, so they can trade a Brandon McCarthy or even an Alex Wood along with a prospect or two to get a front-line second baseman.
There’s plenty of off-season left, so be patient. The Dodgers took two big steps toward defending their division title. They have until April to take the next step.
Lunch with Vin Scully and Ross Porter
Former Dodgers broadcaster Ross Porter, who answered your questions all season (and will do so again next season), has asked to share a unique opportunity to contribute to Stillpoint Family Resources, a Los Angeles-area charity that provides counseling to families in crisis. A news release describes the event:
Bidding is now open for you and one guest of your choosing to spend some quality time in a quiet setting with Vin Scully and his longtime radio and telecast partner Ross Porter.
In order to ensure the intimacy of the event, there will be only three winners, with one guest each, for a total of six people. All attendees will share one table with Vin and Ross. The lunch is scheduled for Jan. 13 and will be held at a private residence in Calabasas.
To place your bid, please contact Jenni Porter at (818) 518-6973, or email her at email@example.com. Bidders will be informed by email of their bid status at any given time and may increase their bid before the close of auction. All bids should be in increments of $250. Each bid is for two persons. Opening minimum bid was $2,000.
All proceeds of the auction are for the benefit of Stillpoint Family Resources, a nonprofit organization. Payment of a winning bid is tax-deductible as a charitable donation.
One winner was already announced on Nov. 7 at the 11th annual Ross Porter Celebrity Golf Classic. The additional two winners will be decided on Sunday, after bidding closes at noon.
In case you missed it
Why the luxury tax increase is tip money to the 2017 Dodgers.
As World Series drought nears 30 years, Dodgers remain firm in their future.
Re-signing Turner and Jansen means the Dodgers can remain contenders.
The Dodgers appear on “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Watch it here.