Inside the Dodgers: What to make of the rumored interest in Francisco Lindor

first_imgFrancisco Lindor, that’s what. Maybe. “Sources say the Dodgers are expected to pursue a trade for Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor,” writes’s Jon Paul Morosi, “as one possible addition to an offense that managed only a .303 on-base percentage during this month’s National League Division Series loss to the Nationals.” The OBP stat reflects poorly on the Dodgers. It’s also highly cherry-picked. The Astros had an even lower OBP in the American League Championship Series and things worked out OK for them.You don’t need much faith in this one rumor to use it as a template for every future hot stove blurb involving the Dodgers: Sources say the Dodgers are expected to pursue (elite player) as one possible addition to a (lineup/bench/rotation/relief corps) that managed only (unflattering stat) during (a small sample size of games). It would take an elite player to give the Dodgers a major upgrade at most positions. The 2019-20 equivalents of Pollock, Kelly and Martin – Martin himself, as it were – would not be nearly as helpful to this roster as they were last year.Beyond this template, I don’t see an obvious path forward for addressing the Dodgers’ most pressing need, whatever Friedman believes it is. Take an even weaker roster spot than shortstop: The top of the starting rotation, with or without Hyun-Jin Ryu, looks thin relative to this year’s World Series participants (true for every team outside of Houston and D.C.). The Dodgers can afford to sign an ace like Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg. Doing so might trigger a trade of, say, Maeda, whose contract is wildly affordable and whose track record of good health might prompt Friedman to sell high – maybe to acquire a bench piece or a late-inning reliever. Adding a high-end starter might also prevent Friedman from re-signing Ryu and/or Rich Hill, who are usually good when healthy. Whatever the Dodgers’ next move is, it seems sure to trigger what the POBO likes to call an “if-then scenario.” It’s easier to envision all the if-then scenarios in the Dodgers’ future than any others.This whole offseason seems destined to resemble the end of an IKEA home assembly project. You hold up the diagram and compare it to a close-but-not-quite-perfect piece of furniture staring back at you. Maybe you hold the paper upside down, walk around to the side of your furniture, squint at it from a different angle. Something’s off. You’re not quite sure what. There seem like a few ways to make it look right. Francisco Lindor? Sure, try Francisco Lindor, but not necessarily Francisco Lindor. Grab your allen key and settle in..-J.P. Editor’s note: This is the Oct. 29 edition of the Inside the Dodgers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.Andrew Friedman has never faced an off-season roster puzzle quite like this one. His club won 106 games in the regular season, something no Dodgers team had ever done – certainly something no Tampa Bay Rays team had ever done. Game 5 of the NLDS was going well, too, until one Dave Roberts pitching change came too late for two fateful Clayton Kershaw pitches. Friedman isn’t the first Dodgers executive whose handiwork was disheveled by two Kershaw pitches in October. He might not be the last.As for that handiwork, the Dodgers’ roster looks about the way any sane President of Baseball Operations might draw it up. Prior to the 2015 season, Friedman re-fashioned two-fifths of his starting rotation, the entire middle infield, and the catcher position. The next year, he hired a new manager, and replaced two-fifths of a rotation again. In 2017, Friedman made necessary moves to acquire a second baseman (Logan Forsythe) and a top set-up pitcher (Brandon Morrow). Late last year, he was on the way to getting a backup catcher (Russell Martin), an extra outfielder (A.J. Pollock) and a tertiary reliever (Joe Kelly). Notice a pattern here?These decreasingly significant offseason acquisitions have reached an apparent zenith. Friedman can now bring back a starter at every position in the field, and a full bench, without signing a single free agent. He can point to a bullpen full of incumbents that (unlike the one Roberts deployed in Game 5) finished the regular season as one of the best in the game. He can fill a starting rotation with Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urías, Kenta Maeda, Dustin May, Tony Gonsolin and/or Ross Stripling – again, without signing an in-house or out-of-house free agent. There’s an argument to be made that the Dodgers’ most significant need at the moment is a pitching coach. Even that looks like it’s in the bag. So now what? Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Editor’s note: Thanks for reading the Inside the Dodgers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.Wanna buy a grunt with a third party check?Glass ceiling, high floor – More than a dozen women signed up to learn the ropes of scouting baseball. Here’s what they – two of them, anyway – learned.Desert daze – Season tickets to spring training at Camelback Ranch went on sale today.New leaf for Oaks – A former Dodgers prospect was designated for assignment.Discuss amongst yourselves – “There’s a difference between the teams that can make it in the World Series and the teams that can’t,” says one Astros pitcher, endorsing the idea that the postseason is no longer a crapshoot. Architect, Taylor honored – Two Dodgers are being enshrined in their alma mater’s Halls of Fame. last_img

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