Monday, January 18, 2016

Winter Moves: Giants vs Dodgers

Hey there--welcome back! I have finally been able to transfer my Behind Enemy Lines baseball newsletter into a full-fledged blog! I am so excited to be able to bring my take on major league baseball--specifically my view as a Dodger fan living in S.F. Giants enemy territory--to you through a forum that allows readers to get involved in the conversation. So, let's hit it!

Who is making the best winter moves?
Winter Moves: Dodgers vs Giants--Who Is Winning So Far?

With 4ish weeks to go until pitchers and catchers report for spring training, I thought it would be a good time to check in on the moves the Dodgers and Giants have made so far this winter. Today, I will discuss starting pitching. Later this week, I will bring you my thoughts about the bullpens and position players the two teams have acquired so far.

Starting Pitching

Hell, yes, I'm on the Dodgers now!
How does hair even do this?
Both teams filled glaring holes in their starting rotations, to be sure. For the Giants, Tim Hudson retired, the team let go of Ryan Volgelsong, and they landed definite upgrades in Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Both of these guys come with some question marks, though. Samardzija had a pretty sub-par season with the Chicago White Sox last season (ERA was just a hair under 5.00), but he did pitch a robust 214 innings. Cueto is a stud, no doubt; however, his second-half last year was abysmal, and his body mechanics are so crazy-weird that upper management is going to cringe every time he releases the ball for fear of injury, not to mention never being in position to field a ball hit his way. Star left-hander, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and his innings-weary-and-worn-out arm, plus 2015 second-half shaky starter, Chris Heston, finish off the starting five.
Don't say a word about my funky leg kick.
This is my sexy look.

The Dodgers started the winter with two pitching losses. Well, sort of. Of course, we all know Zack Greinke bolted for the big bucks in Arizona (what a lame choice he made, they will NEVER win a World Series), leaving a huge hole in the starting rotation. Then the Adrolis Chapman free agent signing went sideways (backing out of this deal was a smart move by the Dodgers, as they don't need another potential distraction and malcontent on the team), keeping the team from adding a major piece to the backend of the bullpen. But the braintrust rebounded in the winter market by signing Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda to a primarily incentive-based, team-friendly contract; he very nicely fills the number 2 slot in the rotation with a resume that includes the Japanese equivalent of the Cy Young award last year. Solid free agent lefty, Scott Kazmir, will slide perfectly into the 3 slot. Hold-overs Brett Anderson and Alex Wood will round out the rotation with the reliable Hyun-Jin Ryu probably taking over one of their spots when he returns from surgery rehab in May or June. Fingers crossed on Ryu because he gives the team the solid fourth starter they were missing in last year's playoffs.

Winter Acquisition Starting Pitching Advantage

I give the slight edge to the Dodgers. Cueto and Maeda will bring about the same value to both teams, as will Samardzija and Kazmir. However, Kazmir has something to play for, giving the Dodgers the advantage. This is a walk-year for Kazmir because he can opt out of his 2-year deal and enter a weak free agent market in 2017, and hit the jackpot if he has a big 2016 season; whereas, Samardzija, just got his big payday from the Giants (5 years, $90 million). Money motivation is everything in today's MLB, no two ways about it.

Up later this week: How each team has fared so far in the winter market with bullpens and position players. Until then, I hope to hear from you in the comment section, and please share the link to my blog with your baseball friends!

1 comment:

  1. Every time I watch Cueto pitch it makes my ACL itch! Who taught that guy to pitch like that, wobbling all over the place?

    I'm excited about the Dodger's rotation, even with Greinke gone, but still worried about the bullpen!