NL West Notes: Dodgers, Dbacks, Tomas, Giants, Ferguson

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Dodgers Chairman Mark Walter asserts no directive came from ownership to keep the Dodgers’ payroll under the luxury tax, per Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times. The decision-making is trusted entirely to team president Stan Kasten and president of baseball ops Andrew Friedman, who kept the Dodgers under the tax line last season and have thus far done the same this winter. Kasten defended the Dodgers’ spending last month at their annual FanFest, reminding listeners that the Dodgers are among the biggest spenders in the league, while touting the incentives available for teams who stay under the tax. In the aggregate, the Dodgers seem united in their organizational philosophy, taking what’s become the popular position league-wide, that while spending beyond the tax line is, in theory, worthwhile under certain circumstances, the prudent path is to remain under the tax line whenever possible. The qualifier the Dodgers can add here, is that it’s prudent for them because they continue to win their division. With 6 straight division titles and a seventh in the offing (or so say projections), spending beyond the tax line could be viewed as a form of gluttony. To their point, the Dodgers have made strides to improve their club with the additions of A.J. Pollock, Joe Kelly and Russell Martin. Still, their abstention from the Manny Machado and Bryce Harper sweepstakes continues to needle some people outside the organization, prompting these kinds of rebuttals from Dodger leadership. Now, let’s check in on some player news from the NL West…

  • Yasmany Tomas had a disappointing 2018 that saw his removal from the Diamondbacks 40-man roster as he languished the entire season at Triple A, his first season without a major league appearance since 2015 when he made the trip stateside. It may appear particularly grim from the outside, but Tomas views last season as one of his more productive years, per MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez. Regardless of how you view Tomas’ 2018 – a year in which he hit just .262/.280/.465 in Triple A – Tomas has a legitimate opportunity to make the Arizona roster. If he can provide enough defense at first and/or in the outfield corners, he (theoretically) fits nicely as a right-handed option to Jake Lamb at first. His power output as never been at issue, as Tomas has slugged wherever he’s been, but it’s every other aspect of the game that will make-or-break the 28-year-old’s shot at the big leagues.
  • Giants Rule 5 draft selection Drew Ferguson is more analytically-focused than your typical outfield prospect, writes the San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Schulman. To get a better gauge on flyball trajectories, Ferguson studies wind speed, park dimensions and surface temperatures to prepare. He is studious, no doubt, but sticking with the Giants all season long is the challenge he faces. The 26-year-old will need to stay on the active roster or the injured list or else be returned to the Astros, who drafted him in the 19th round in 2015. Ferguson made it as far as Triple A in each of the last two seasons for Houston, where in 2018 he hit .305/.436/.429. After impressing with an overall batting line of .297/.393/.455. across four minor league seasons, Ferguson should get a longer leash in San Francisco, who hopes to deploy him as a right-handed complement for Stevan Duggar. Ferguson faces competition from a broad if not very deep group that includes Cameron Maybin, Mac Williamson, Gerardo Parra, Yangervis Solarte, Chris Shaw, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber and John Andreoli. At present, the Giants not only have an open competition for backup roles, but the starting jobs in both corners are up for grabs as well, providing Ferguson more than a fair shake to make the team. 

(Excerpt) Read more Here | 2019-02-24 23:20:00
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