Inside the Dodgers: 5 takeaways from Andrew Friedman’s postseason press conference

first_imgFriedman doesn’t make knee-jerk reactive moves. Anyone who thought Roberts would lose his job over this must have missed that memo. Yet just because Roberts doesn’t lose his job doesn’t mean the end of Game 5 has no practical implications for the manager. He might get a new bench coach (more on that in a bit). The template for Roberts’ analytic cheat sheet in the dugout might change. Something about it probably should change, because Roberts’ opinion of Clayton Kershaw seems, well, less than current.2. The coaching staff will change.Rick Honeycutt will not be the Dodgers’ full-time pitching coach in 2020. He’ll transition into a special advisor’s role. The last couple years were difficult on Honeycutt physically, and he certainly would have preferred to exit with a championship ring. I would caution against thinking of this as an “exit,” however. Much of a pitching coach’s job can be performed by analyzing frame-by-frame video of a pitcher’s delivery, in games and in bullpen sessions. It serves as a surrogate eye, one that is more accurate than a human’s. Honeycutt can review that video for the Dodgers’ pitchers from wherever he chooses to spend his semi-retirement.The interesting part here is how much influence Honeycutt will have in 2020. Let’s assume the next pitching coach is Mark Prior – a safe bet, considering Friedman was willing to publicly say so Monday. How much video review will be delegated to Honeycutt? How much will pitchers incorporate his feedback in-between their starts? Will Honeycutt get video of every starting pitcher’s bullpen sessions?Bob Geren might not be back, either. He is a candidate for the managerial vacancy in San Francisco. 3. It doesn’t sound like Russell Martin is coming back.David Freese already retired. Rich Hill, 39, and Russell Martin, 36, are getting up there in years, but both have indicated they want to play in 2020. “Russ came in and fit a role extremely well for us – just great veteran presence,” Friedman said. “Did a lot for Barnesy, did a lot for Will Smith. At this point, I think with our catching depth it’s a more difficult fit, but that doesn’t mean things won’t play out in a different way.”If I could pull up what Friedman was saying about Chase Utley in November 2017, I imagine it would sound more similar than different to what he just said about Martin. Utley waited to re-sign until Feb. 13 of the following year, days before position players reported to spring training. Similarly, a lot of dominoes would have to fall to bring Martin back, and that might take four months – if those dominoes fall at all.4. Kenley Jansen’s status is questionable.The question was pretty straightforward: “Do you guys go into the offseason thinking Kenley Jansen is still your closer, or is that a place where you might make changes?” The first words out of Friedman’s mouth: “I’m not sure.”The POBO went on to hedge a little, saying “my sense sitting here is that Kenley will be our closer” in 2020, but we were already into some interesting weeds. Jansen signed an $80 million extension prior to the 2017 season. He can opt out of that contract as soon as the World Series ends, leaving two years and $38 million on the table. That seems like an unwise choice for a pitcher who blew eight saves and was limited to five batters in the five-game series against the Nationals. From a cynical point of view, Friedman’s tepid vote of confidence could be seen as a means of encouraging Jansen to opt out. (He won’t opt out.)If anything, it’s easier now to see the Dodgers making a play for a closer this offseason. Aroldis Chapman and Sean Doolittle can opt out of their contracts like Jansen. Will Smith, Daniel Hudson and Sergio Romo are becoming free agents. The Dodgers are gaining about $40 million in flexibility because of the expiring contracts of Martin, Hill, Ryu and Matt Kemp(!), so they can certainly spend on a new closer, either via free agency or via trade, if they choose to.5. Early exit ≠ bigger roster changes.Friedman is open to bringing back the same group in 2020. Or not.“I think we have a really talented core group of players returning,” he said. “I think we have depth in areas that we can make trades. I think we have financial flexibility. I think as we sit here today, as a jumping off point for the offseason, I think it’s a really good position to be in. We’re not closing the door on anything right now and we have to go into it very open-minded, open to changing the complexion a little bit. That doesn’t necessarily mean we will, but I feel like we have to really look at that and figure out what we think is best, to put us in the best position for 2020 and beyond.”-J.P.Editor’s note: Thanks for reading the Inside the Dodgers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.More readingBack, back, back – Friedman expects his own contract to be finalized within days.In the running – Hyun-Jin Ryu is a finalist for the MLBPA’s comeback player of the year award.Rather see me in the ’pen? – Ice Cube thinks the Dodgers need more black players.Money can try – Should the Dodgers throw a ton of money at Gerrit Cole and/or Anthony Rendon this offseason? How starters got their groove back – Via Jared Diamond and Brian Costa in the Wall Street Journal: “After years in which a growing reliance on relievers showed the new path to October glory, this postseason is proof of something else: The other way can still work.” Analyze that – The St. Louis Cardinals’ analytics department found that baseballs are flying 4 ½ fewer feet on average in the postseason. (Friedman said he did not ask his analytics department to investigate this.)Legal fallout – What can the legal system do to the Angels and their employees after Tyler Skaggs’ death? Among other things, writes Sports Illustrated’s Michael McCann: “If (Angels) players are engaged in the illegal purchase of drugs, they could be charged with crimes, as could those who sold them drugs.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Editor’s note: This is the Oct. 15 edition of the Inside the Dodgers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman addressed the media for 28 minutes Monday morning. You can watch the complete press conference here. It’s not mandatory viewing before diving into this newsletter, though I’ll try to expand on some things Friedman said, and some things he left unsaid. The major takeaways:1. Dave Roberts is returning.In last Thursday’s newsletter, I went to some length to demonstrate that Roberts’ head-scratching decisions in the NLDS were mostly (if not entirely) limited to the end of Game 5. “The final three innings Wednesday cannot make the first 43 innings of the series disappear,” I wrote. The last person who needed this perspective on Roberts’ managing skill was Friedman. “Frankly, I was surprised by the question,” Friedman said of Roberts’ job security.last_img read more