After the craziness of Winter Meetings where the Dodgers went all out and made moves that saw guys like Howie Kendrick and Jimmy Rollins added to the roster as well as Dee Gordon and Matt Kemp traded away all is quiet on the Dodgers front….For now. When the Dodgers made their plethora of moves many knew that this front office was restructuring the roster to what they wanted which left many asking. What’s Next? People around Baseball know the Dodgers are no where close to being done and that there’s more work to be done. Nobody right now can predict what the Dodgers will exactly do but we can always speculate what they’ll do(Which makes things fun for me.).
Believe it or not the Dodgers still have plenty or work to do. They’re still waiting on the San Diego and Philadelphia deals to be official (Which should happen by this week) and once that happens the Dodgers will go from there. What will they do? That’s a great question to ask. Fast forward to the deals being official with the Padres and Phillies. Los Angeles still have to work on their bullpen, trade another outfielder, and add another starting pitcher. Two birds can be knocked out with one stone because the Dodgers can trade an outfielder for a pitcher but seeing the likely hood of that happening is slim it’s only a thought. On the trade the outfielder front the Dodgers are left with two viable options in Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford. Right now the difficult thing on trading them is their value due to their contracts and/or their play. Andre Ethier is the likely of the two to be traded and my guess is that we’ll see him moved rather than Crawford due to Carl’s contract. Remember the Dodgers were close to trading Ethier to Arizona for Miguel Montero but the talks went south due to the money portion on the Dodgers side of things. Ethier also stated that he wants to play everyday which won’t happen in Los Angeles. Dodgers has plans to place Joc Pederson in Center Field which would put Yasiel Puig back in Right. Puig by default is starting everyday and the Dodgers traded for Chris Heisey who would platoon or come off the bench at Center. Those are two positions Ethier usually play. Carl Crawford is glued to Left field as is Scott Van Slyke which means there’s no room for Ethier to play everyday unless the right deal comes for the Dodgers to eat some of Crawford’s contract and see him shipped and Ethier moves to left or something. Until that happens I don’t see Andre Ethier in Los Angeles come next season.
In terms of adding another starting pitcher the possibilities are endless for the Dodgers. There has been talk of the Dodgers willing to package prospects to trade to the Phillies for Cole Hamels. Him in Los Angeles would really improve their rotation but then there are some issues that stand in the way. The Phillies have a tendency of asking for a high return and the Dodgers won’t part with Top Prospects but the likelihood is indeed there. Another option the Dodgers would have, which is pretty much likely, is signing a Free-Agent. James Shields and Max Scherzer are still on the market and the Dodgers are indeed keeping a close eye on them. Dodgers Front Office do know that they have A TON of Money to spend but it doesn’t mean they will go out and spend freely. Dodgers have shown that they will turn away if the bidding gets too out of control. Scherzer is rumored to want $200 Million which is money he won’t get from the Dodgers or any team at that unless they really need pitching. James Shields is out there and until the bidding for him gets out of control he is a likely option. Another pitcher that the Dodgers should look at however is Jake Peavy. A guy who is familiar with the division, pitches pretty well at Dodger Stadium, and can perform in the Postseason as well as wears passion on his sleeves. He’s a guy the Dodgers should take a good look at. There is the option of calling up a pitcher like Zach Lee to fill your rotation but most likely they’ll give their pitchers another year to work in the Minors especially with new scouting and being in Oklahoma City to have better readings on players.
That leaves us with the bullpen. The root of the Dodgers problems (Other than batting with Runners In Scoring Position/RISP.) for the last few some odd years has been the pitchers that reside within the Left Field bullpen at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers at some point within their season has seen their bullpen really struggle and cost them games whether it was during the regular season or the Postseason. Last year saw the Dodgers struggle with their bullpen and nothing being done by the front office to improve the bullpen. Although you can say the Dodgers were blocked by teams during the wavier periods and outbid by teams who were willing to pay a steeper price when the Trade deadline came around. This has led to the Dodgers doom in the Postseason against the Cardinals (Which is also debatable). Early in the offseason the Dodgers traded for Jose Peralta from the Rays, Juan Nicasio from the Rockies before making moves to add more during Winter Meetings which saw L.A. trade for Chris Hatcher from the Marlins. I would add Joe Wieland but that trade is not official yet. Despite fans saying the team has yet to do anything about the Bullpen the Dodgers have done some work to the bullpen. There’s still more that has to be situated with the pen however. They need a legit setup man and no Brian Wilson is not the guy I would rely on to pitch in the 8th inning anymore after last season. Dodgers could still trade for more relief pitching or go out and sign for relief pitching. There’s still plenty of it out there although they’re quickly being signed away. Sergio Romo is a guy who I can see the Dodgers signing which probably would make a few Dodger fans and Giant fans lose their lunch in unison. Dodgers could also trade away some current players that’s in deals that could bring a guy like a Cole Hamels to L.A. though the likelihood of that is slim. The bullpen still needs work.
This Dodgers Front Office have really shaped up their roster. A team that has won two straight NL West Titles will look very different come Opening Day 2015. It’s hard to say if this team will be better or worse than last season but we can say that the roster won’t be start studded. From what I can take of this is that the Dodgers have done a few things with the major overhaul. Lower their payroll, upgrade at a few positions, and get younger. The Dodgers for the past two seasons had a big payroll and big bats that were filled from 2-6 on the Line up. Now they have less power but effective grind it out players which can provide some help to getting the job done. Basically fitting the mold of the Cardinals and Giants. Hitters that can pick you apart and cash in with runners in scoring position (Small ball) as well as pitching to get the job done. Front Office has really gave this roster a major facelift and the thing is…They’re far from finished.