Tag: Los Angeles

Dodgers’ Joc Pederson Separating Himself in Battle for Center Field

When the Los Angeles Dodgers began spring training two weeks ago, most positions featured clear-cut starters who would not be facing much job competition leading up to Opening Day.

The exception—and biggest question mark facing the organization as it prepared to defend its National League West division crown—focused on the opening in center field.

For most of last season, Yasiel Puig manned the position. That was because Los Angeles had Matt Kemp in right field and Carl Crawford in left field. Andre Ethier was relegated to the bench and top outfield prospect Joc Pederson was tearing up Triple-A.

But now, Kemp is gone and Pederson is ready for his shot. Crawford is on track to begin the season in left field and the Dodgers would prefer Puig in right field in order to best utilize his excellent throwing arm.

The net result? A position battle between Pederson and Ethier, and so far, the highly touted prospect is leading the seasoned veteran by a wide margin in the race to become the Dodgers’ center fielder.


The Performance

Pederson has quite simply been the Dodgers’ best hitter in spring training.

Entering the weekend, he is batting .433 with a team-high 13 hits—including two home runs, four doubles and six RBI. Pederson yanked one of his home runs deep to right and lofted the other one over the fence in left-center, demonstrating impressive power to all fields. His seven runs scored rank second on the club, and he has also stolen a base.

“I just show up every day, go about the process that was set by the coaching staff,” said Pederson, per Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times. “[I] work hard and try to do everything I can on the field to help the team win.”

The Dodgers selected Pederson in the 11th round of the 2010 draft. His progression through the minor league ranks was smooth and natural, culminating in his breakout campaign last season at Triple-A.

Pederson slashed .303/.435/.582 with 135 hits and 78 RBI in 121 games prior to his September call-up last year, becoming the Pacific Coast League’s first player since 1934 to hit at least 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in the same season, according to Mike Axisa of CBSSports.com.

He has started more games in center field than any other outfielder on the Dodgers this spring, and has looked comfortable at the position defensively.

“Once you’re up there, you never want to leave,” Pederson said, per Baxter. “You’ll do anything you can to stay up there.”


The Competition

Ethier, on the other hand, is hardly putting up a fight when it comes to this in-house battle.

The eight-year veteran owns a mediocre .250/.300/.321 slash in 28 at-bats this spring through Thursday. His first extra-base hit did not come until this week, and he leads all Los Angeles batters with eight strikeouts.

Ethier has played 142 games in center field during the past two seasons, more than any other Dodger during that span, according to Baxter. But after reluctantly coming off the bench last season, Ethier made it known back in December that he would rather be traded than repeat the situation he endured a year ago, per the Los Angeles Times‘ Steve Dilbeck.

It was fun trying to win the way we did last year, but it didn’t prove any more successful than me playing every day or not playing every day. I’d rather play every day and help this team win — or whatever team it is — to the best of my ability. I feel I can, if given a role. As I stand here today, I’m preparing every day to be a starting outfielder for the Dodgers, until I’m told otherwise. I’m not changing my mind about that. It’s probably going to be a little less wanting to take the same role as I did last year.

The Dodgers tried to acquiesce around the time Ethier made that statement, but were unsuccessful as a potential trade that would have sent him to the Arizona Diamondbacks fell through, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports

Ethier is coming off the worst season of his career, one in which he batted .249 with just four home runs and 42 RBI in 341 at-bats. Part of the difficulty in trading Ethier is the $56 million he is owed over the next three seasons.

However, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported that the Dodgers would be willing to eat half of that in order to unload Ethier, who will turn 33 in April. 


The Decision-Makers

Although the numbers speak for themselves this spring, Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly has refused to announce what figures to be an inevitable decision favoring the team’s top outfield prospect.

“We’re still in camp and we’re still competing,” said Mattingly, per Baxter. “But obviously we like what we’ve seen from Joc. We’re looking at Joc’s processes as much as we are just the results. How’s his work? Has he got good routines? How’s he kind of dealing with it all?”

Mattingly considers Pederson the “best defensive center fielder” on the Dodgers, per Dilbeck, and the rookie has done nothing to dispel that notion so far at Camelback Ranch.

The Los Angeles skipper remained diplomatic when asked about Ethier’s body of work during spring training.

“Andre’s at-bats have been pretty good,” said Mattingly, per Baxter.

This noncommittal stance from Mattingly has not wavered from the official party line that team president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman established several months ago while discussing the 2015 center-field outlook.

“I think we’ll take some time in spring training and assess that, get a feel for [Pederson] in camp and how he’s handling things,” Friedman told Dilbeck. “It’ll be a discussion we’ll have with the staff and I’m sure it will be an ongoing discussion between now through the last game in March.”

With just one week left in March, the question has reached a crescendo but the answer is a simple one: Pederson should be the Opening Day center fielder for the 2015 Dodgers.


All statistics are courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise stated.

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Most Disappointing Dodgers Players in Spring Training So Far

Through the first nine games of spring training at Camelback Ranch, it’s clear that the Los Angeles Dodgers are beginning to shake off the winter rust.

Most of the players are, anyway.

Some members of the team have yet to find their rhythm on the mound and in the batter’s box. While the sample size is small, these players will need to turn things around if they have aspirations of making the 25-man roster when camp breaks in less than three weeks.

Here’s the shortlist of early-spring disappointments for the Boys in Blue.

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Dodgers’ Position-by-Position Breakdown at 2015 Spring Training

The Los Angeles Dodgers underwent their first full workout of spring training this week, officially turning the page on a busy offseason and opening the 2015 chapter with high hopes.

Succumbing to the St. Louis Cardinals in the playoffs for a second straight year prompted the franchise to rethink its overall philosophy last October. Ownership opted to hire an entirely new front office, headed by president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi, shortly after the postseason defeat.

This analytic-minded duo wasted little time revamping the roster, trading away fan favorites Matt Kemp and Dee Gordon while allowing Hanley Ramirez to walk via free agency in an effort to improve defense, chemistry and financial flexibility.

Spring training games against other MLB opponents at Camelback Ranch don’t begin until March 4, but the Boys in Blue are eager to see what their new—and hopefully improved—roster can do on the field.


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Complete Los Angeles Dodgers 2015 Spring Training Preview

It’s been quite an offseason for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are set to kick off spring training when pitchers and catchers report to Camelback Ranch on Feb. 19.

Not only was there a change of leadership at the top with a revamped front office, but the team itself will look noticeably different from the one that saw its season end in the first round of last year’s playoffs.

New president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi wasted little time configuring the roster to align with their belief in cost-effective, analytics-based baseball.

The duo promptly traded away fan favorites Dee Gordon and Matt Kemp during the winter meetings in December after allowing Hanley Ramirez to walk in free agency. Rather than absorb a sunk cost in reliever Brian Wilson, who exercised his pricey player option for 2015, the Dodgers simply cut him outright.

Half of the infield and about 40 percent of the starting rotation will feature new faces, ones the Dodgers entrusted to carry the team back to the postseason for a third consecutive season.

Los Angeles has essentially made a gamble with its flurry of moves this winter: improved defense and more contact at the plate will make up for the loss of power in the lineup. Questions still remain about the bullpen, however, and it’s not a lock that the team can reach the 94-win plateau from last season.

Fans have heard about the metrics all winter. But now it’s finally time to take these names off a sheet of paper and instead put them on an actual field. Here’s the complete spring training preview for the 2015 Dodgers.


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Projecting the Dodgers’ 2015 Opening Day Roster

The Los Angeles Dodgers enter the 2015 season with a roster full of new faces, but the particular collection of players is still capable of advancing to the postseason for a third consecutive year.

Trotting out the reigning National League MVP and two-time defending Cy Young Award winner tends to legitimize a team’s chances, so the Dodgers will certainly benefit from having Clayton Kershaw on their side.

While trading away a slugger like Matt Kemp may dent the offense, the team has put a premium on defense with the new double-play combination of Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick rounding out the infield alongside returners Adrian Gonzalez and Juan Uribe at the corners.

Last season, the Dodgers were doomed by an ineffective bullpen headlined by former closers (Brian Wilson and Chris Perez) who consistently put the “has” in has-been. This year’s relief corps features a combination of wily veterans, young hopefuls and a few guys who have been brought in to see if the move to a pitcher’s park like Dodger Stadium may induce some value potentially lying dormant within them.

Here’s an early look at the projected 25-man roster that manager Don Mattingly will lead into battle on Opening Day 2015.

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How the Los Angeles Dodgers Have Left Themselves Exposed Entering 2015

The Los Angeles Dodgers have won 92 and 94 games the past two seasons, as well as the National League West both times, and are once again considered by many (if not most) to be the favorites in that division in 2015.

But has the Dodgers’ busy offseason, sparked by a change in the front office that brought in new president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and new general manager Farhan Zaidi, left them at least somewhat vulnerable as spring training approaches?

That question seems a little odd to raise, given the reputation of the Dodgers and their new decision-makers along with the fact that this is the only team currently projected to win even 90 games based on personnel and metrics, according to FanGraphs.

The Dodgers, however, have made a great many changes, like moving on from two of their most prominent, productive hitters in Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez. This has resulted in a ton of roster turnover, and so, to an extent, the if-it-ain’t-broke argument applies.

Did the 2013-14 Dodgers have flaws that needed fixing just like every other team the past two years? Sure, namely a terrible bullpen, a below-average defense and injury issues that plagued the roster.

The playoffs also proved disappointing, with defeats in the 2013 NLCS and 2014 NLDS at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals both times.

Then again, the Dodgers did make the postseason each of the past two years, and are one of just five clubs to do so, along with the Detroit Tigers, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cardinals.

So this new-look 2015 Dodgers team is almost something of an experiment to see if a contender can be remodeled on the fly by a pair of incoming executives and stay a contender.

Besides that, there is quite a bit of pressure in L.A. for this to work right away, as the Dodgers are in win-now mode as much as just about any other club in the sport.

Before anything else, here’s a rundown of the Dodgers’ notable additions and subtractions so far this offseason, along with each player’s projected 2015 wins above replacement (WAR), courtesy of Steamer Projections, which can be found at FanGraphs:

Simply tallying the projected WARs for those added and lost is far from an exact measure of how much better or worse a team will be from one year to the next, but it can offer a sense.

In this case, the Dodgers look to have gained and lost roughly the same, meaning they might not be any better or worse than what they have been—they’ve only shuffled the deck chairs. Perhaps.

In letting Ramirez (512 plate appearances) walk as a free agent and trading Kemp (599) and Gordon (650), the Dodgers have moved on from three players who placed in the top five in plate appearances for them last season, leaving Adrian Gonzalez (660) and Yasiel Puig (640) as the only players to reach 500 plate appearances with L.A. in 2014.

Now, plate appearances don’t tell anything other than how often a player goes up to the plate, but that does provide an idea of how much turnover has taken place. As for the actual production, well, each of Kemp (140 OPS+), Ramirez (132) and even Gordon (101) were above-average with the bat.

Kemp, in particular, was downright dangerous in the second half of 2014, hitting .309 with 17 homers—third-most among all players post-break—and slugging an MLB-best .606.

Friedman acknowledged the risks involved in swapping that kind of talent.

“[Kemp] was a really popular player because of how gifted he is offensively,” he said via Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. “We get it. I have a lot of respect for what he can do in the batter’s box.”

The same goes for the pitching side, as four of the 10 pitchers to throw at least 50 innings for L.A in 2014 are now gone: Dan Haren (186.0), Josh Beckett (115.2), Paul Maholm (70.2) and Jamey Wright (70.1).

Of those four—two starters and two relievers—only Beckett, who has retired, posted an ERA+ that was better than league average at 121, so the losses on the mound don’t seem to be quite as impactful.

The Dodgers’ top three starters, Hyun-jin Ryu, Zack Greinke and 2014 NL MVP and Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, are still in place.

Quite possibly, the biggest takeaway from all the maneuvering is that it puts a heck of a lot more on the shoulders of Puig, who is one of baseball’s biggest and brightest but also most mercurial stars.

This is a young player who looked like an MVP candidate through the first half of 2014 (.309/.393/.522), only to slump soon thereafter (.268/.359/.402 with just one homer from the break until the end of August) before a late-season bump (.284/.376/.432 in September).

All of that turned into utter disaster in October, when Puig reached base just twice in his final 10 trips, struck out eight times in that span and was benched for NLDS Game 4, which turned out to be the Dodgers’ final game of the season.

Can Puig now handle being the marquee name in the lineup along with Gonzalez? Is he ready for that? Is there at least a chance it could go horribly wrong?

As Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times wrote before the Dodgers traded Kemp:

The Dodgers “lost” free agent Hanley Ramirez to the Boston Red Sox after the shortstop signed a jaw-dropping $88-million deal. They can’t really afford to lose the only other real right-handed power in the lineup. Certainly you’re not going to count on the streaky Yasiel Puig, who hit exactly one home run in a 54-game stretch from June 5 to Sept. 15?

As far as the pitching staff goes, the other potential pitfall that could crop up based on the machinations is the health of the rotation.

Both Kershaw (neck/back) and Ryu (hip) spent time on the disabled list in 2014, while Greinke battled through some minor elbow soreness late in the year.

And now that elite trio is backed up by two new starters in Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson, who are practically defined by their injury history.

To wit, McCarthy, who scored a four-year, $48 million contract, reached the 200-inning threshold for the first time last season—his ninth in the majorsand he’s now entering his age-31 campaign.

Anderson, meanwhile, has been remarkably injury-prone, having dealt with a number of problems affecting all sorts of body parts since 2010. The soon-to-be 27-year-old lefty has quality stuff and might prove himself worthy of a $10 million gamble, but he hasn’t reached the 50-inning mark since 2011 and has thrown 206.1 innings the past four years combined.

There also will be a lot asked of Joc Pederson, one of the Dodgers’ top prospects, who made a brief cameo last September after a 30-30 season at Triple-A.

Here’s Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs on Pederson, citing ZiPS projections:

Joc Pederson is expected, also, to produce the third-most wins among Dodger batters. It’s not a typical arrangement, that, but also likely the product of the Dodgers’ outfield glut over the last couple years. Without it, Pederson almost certainly wouldn’t be entering the 2015 season with his rookie-eligibility intact.

Pederson has a strong all-around skill set and has done all he can in the minors, but he’s also just 22 years old with all of 18 games in the majors. There’s bound to be a transition period and some growing pains for a youngster who is expected to take over as the starting center fielder at some point in 2015. If he’s going to be L.A.’s third-best hitter, as mentioned above, that might not work out so well.

Now, all of this isn’t to say that the Dodgers won’t be good this coming season. What they will be is different.

“This just gets back to us doing everything we could to mold our roster into the most highly-functioning baseball team, as opposed to a collection of talent,” Friedman said, per Hernandez.

That could be a good thing, as Friedman and Zaidi have addressed the bullpen and defense, making the club more athletic and bringing in veterans Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick to better handle the middle infield.

They have also cut some costs by unloading Kemp’s hefty contract, among others, which leaves open the possibility that more moves could still happen.

But it’s also possible that so much change could take some getting used to, which could hurt the Dodgers, especially with all of the hype and expectation surrounding this club.

They may still be the favorites in the NL West at the moment, but the Dodgers have changed quite a bit from the past two years when they won the division. Remaking a contender is a bold and tricky task, with a potential downside that could come back to haunt them.

That might not happen with the Dodgersbut it could.


Statistics are accurate through the 2014 season and courtesy of MLB.com, Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.

To talk baseball or fantasy baseball, check in with me on Twitter: @JayCat11.

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Biggest Winners and Losers from Dodgers Offseason

There’s less than three months remaining until Opening Day, and the Los Angeles Dodgers look decidedly different than they did at the beginning of the offseason.

For starters, the front office was stripped down and replaced with a new regime headed by president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi.

The metrics-minded duo wasted little time revamping the roster, trading away several popular players in an effort to improve the team in less noticeable ways while saving money and replenishing the farm system.

Los Angeles also saw other players walk away, either for a lucrative deal elsewhere in free agency or simply because they were no longer wanted.

It has been one of the busiest winters for the Dodgers in recent years, and there’s still time for more moves to be made before the regular season begins. For now, though, here are the winners and losers from the first three months of the team’s offseason.

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3 Missing Pieces the Dodgers Could Still Land This Winter

One of the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ biggest weaknesses last season was their bullpen.

It was no secret, and the numbers didn’t lie. Los Angeles relievers in 2014 surrendered more earned runs than 18 other bullpens in the majors, and only four other relief corps finished the year with a higher walk rate.

While the Dodgers have revamped their roster in a myriad of ways this offseason, the bullpen could still use some shoring up considering its main additions this winter have been Joel Peralta, Juan Nicasio and Chris Hatcher. None of those names represent what most teams would consider lockdown arms out of the pen.

The previous Los Angeles front office under the guidance of former general manager Ned Colletti also took some heat for the failed former closer experiment he initiated by signing Brian Wilson and Chris Perez prior to the 2014 season.

Although both right-handers are no longer part of the team, President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman and new general manager Farhan Zaidi should not completely avoid adding former closers if they are available—especially if they have a relatively consistent track record of success.


Casey Janssen

A former closer for the Toronto Blue Jays, Casey Janssen could be a solid free-agent signing for the Dodgers as a potential late-inning option in advance of closer Kenley Jansen. 

The right-hander emerged as a reliable option for the Blue Jays from 2011-2013, during which time he averaged a 2.77 ERA and 3.04 xFIP.

He continued to perform well as closer through the first half of 2014 before a bout with food poisoning derailed his season and likely caused his value on the market to plummet. During Janssen‘s first 22 innings of 2014, he turned in a pristine 1.23 ERA. Following the July sickness, he coughed up a 6.46 ERA in roughly the same number of innings.

Janssen lost exclusive closing duties as a result of the implosion and finished the season with a 3.94 ERA and 4.22 xFIP. Los Angeles may have a buy-low opportunity with the 33-year-old, as he still has not been scooped up on the open market and would not be required to close games for the Dodgers.


Rafael Soriano

A reliever who has found himself in a similar position to Janssen is free agent Rafael Soriano, formerly of the Washington Nationals.

During his two-year stint with Washington, Soriano posted a 3.15 ERA, 7.7 K/9 and saved 75 games. His consistency is illustrated by the fact that he has recorded an ERA north of 3.19 just once since 2006.

However, the 35-year-old also experienced struggles halfway through 2014. He had five blown saves following the All-Star break and seven overall, which was a career high. The younger Drew Storen eventually supplanted him as closer by the end of the season.

Soriano continued to struggle in the late-inning relief role, allowing at least one run in more than half of his September appearances.

Although free-agent relievers like Andrew Miller, David Robertson and Luke Gregerson received hefty offers in free agency this offseason, Soriano should expect a pay cut from the $14 million he made during each of the past two seasons.

The Dodgers will most likely use Soriano in the seventh or eighth inning if they bring him aboard. Giving him $10 million per year might be too much for Friedman and Zaidi considering how a similar deal with Wilson backfired last season.

Something in the range of two years and $10-12 million might make more sense. Whether or not Soriano agrees to that type of deal is a different story.


Francisco Rodriguez

While Soriano is due for a pay cut, veteran right-hander Francisco Rodriguez is expecting a raise this winter.

That’s because he looked like the K-Rod of old last season, notching 44 saves for the Milwaukee Brewers and finishing with a 3.04 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and a 9.7 K/9 ratio. It’s safe to say he has re-established himself on the market and will not accept anything less than the $3.25 million he made in 2014.

Rodriguez’s resurgence stemmed from the .216 BABIP he induced, the lowest mark since his electrifying rookie year with the Angels more than a decade ago. Over the course of his 13-year career, Rodriguez has posted an ERA above 3.16 just twice.

His 69 appearances last year highlighted noteworthy durability as well.

However, there are some red flags the Dodgers may have already noticed. His 4.50 FIP in 2014 was nearly a run-and-a-half higher than his ERA and the 14 home runs he coughed up were a career high.

Rodriguez will turn 33 later this week.


All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs unless otherwise linked/noted.

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3 Offseason Questions That the Dodgers Still Need to Answer

The Los Angeles Dodgers may have revamped their roster this offseason with a flurry moves during the winter meetings, but there are still questions remaining now that the dust has settled for the time being.

New president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman believes that the roster shakeup has allowed the Dodgers to become “highly functional,” according to MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, even though last season’s squad functioned well enough to win 94 games and take the NL West division crown.

So what exactly does Friedman perceive as more functional about the 2015 Dodgers?

Advanced metrics indicate that the team’s defense up the middle of the infield—with Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick—is superior to last season’s double-play combination of Hanley Ramirez and Dee Gordon.

The back end of the starting rotation is younger with Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson. Yasmani Grandal should provide some much-needed offensive punch from the catcher position, and manager Don Mattingly will be able to breathe a little easier when it comes to shuffling highly paid outfielders in and out of the lineup now that a sometimes-moody Matt Kemp is down in San Diego.

But not everything has been tied up in a nice little bow just yet. There are still question marks facing the Dodgers with the regular season only three months away.

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Dodgers’ Biggest Steal at the MLB Offseason’s 2-Month Mark

With the flurry of moves that the Los Angeles Dodgers have made this offseason, it’s difficult to hone in on just one.

After all, some of these deals were interconnected, a web of swift transformation ushered in by the metric-minded tandem now running the front office at Dodger Stadium: Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi.

The current Dodgers roster looks noticeably different than the one that walked off the Busch Stadium field in early October as a second consecutive postseason was cut short by the pesky St. Louis Cardinals. But the recent changes appear to be for the best. Several positions have been upgraded—both offensively as defensively—while the team has improved its depth all while retaining the top prospects.

If there’s one move that stands apart from the rest as a bona fide steal this offseason, it’s the acquisition of second baseman Howie Kendrick.

Speaking of steals, it’s a coincidence that Kendrick will be replacing last season’s stolen-base leader in Dee Gordon.

But make no mistake, Kendrick over Gordon at second base is a definite upgrade for the Dodgers.


On the Surface

Sure, Los Angeles parted ways with a dynamic game-changer in the speedy Gordon when he was shipped to Miami. But upon closer inspection, Kendrick’s .347 on-base percentage trumped Gordon’s in 2014. As the old saying goes, “You can’t steal first base.”

Gordon turned heads around baseball with his first half last season. The former shortstop switched positions in spring training, won the second base job and ran with it—literally. His 105 hits and 43 stolen bases during the first half earned him an All-Star nod after his Dodgers career appeared to be in jeopardy before the season. It was a feel-good story in every sense of the word.

Those numbers would suffer post All-Star Game, however, and Gordon stole far fewer bags in the second half simply because wasn’t getting on base as much. 

Gordon’s underwhelming second-half performance was more indicative of his career  numbers, and Los Angeles’ new front office sniffed out what may have been an anomaly in the first half of 2014. Friedman and Zaidi decided to send Gordon to his home state of Florida in exchange for pitching prospect Andrew Heaney, who was then flipped to the Angels for Kendrick.


Digging Deeper

The Dodgers’ new front office—Zaidi in particular—is well-versed in advanced metrics. Before joining the Dodgers, Zaidi worked under Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane, the pioneer of incorporating advanced metrics into baseball.

When analyzing the two second basemen in question, the metrics don’t lie.

Kendrick has been one of the best offensive second baseman over the past few seasons in terms of a metric called “weighted runs created plus” or wRC+. Since 2011, Kendrick has posted 115, 117, 103 and 123 when it comes to wRC+.

Not only does Kendrick provide an upgrade over Gordon on offense, his defense is also superior to the Dodgers’ former second baseman.

Once again, the front office surely examined the pertinent metrics when evaluating Gordon and Kendrick.

A common barometer used to value a player’s defense is a metric called defensive runs saved (DRS). Zero is considered average, 10 is great and minus-10 is poor. According to FangraphsKendrick’s DRS ranked seventh among all second basemen with at least 500 innings played last season. Gordon’s minus-five DRS ranked 25th.

When it came down to it, the Dodgers needed to answer an important question regarding Gordon this winter: Was the second half of last season merely a slump or was it more indicative of his true self?

By trading Gordon, Los Angeles essentially sold high and bet that he will never again reach that early-2014 level on a consistent basis. The Dodgers opted to bring in a proven commodity like Kendrick, perfectly mindful that he has just one year left on his current contract.

“There are a lot of different ways it can play out, but we’re excited to have him,” Friedman told Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times. “All of our focus right now is on the 2015 season.”

The focus for Los Angeles should not be on the departure of a fan favorite like Gordon. The Dodgers should feel about their fortunes after reeling in an underrated player like Kendrick, a solidly consistent performer who happens to be the team’s biggest steal of the offseason thus far.

All statistics courtesy of Fangraphs.


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