With the arrival of the 114th annual Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville on December 6, the MLB hot stove promises to heat up quickly. The Dodgers are expected to be very active in some shape or form, and starting pitching is certainly one key area of focus.
First and foremost, the Dodgers will make every possible effort to sign Zack Greinke. Early reports are indicating that Greinke’s representation, Excel Sports, is seeking an AAV upwards of $30 million. Despite this large figure, the Dodgers front office has actually had casual dialogue about adding both Greinke and David Price.
If the early signings of J.A. Happ and Jordan Zimmermann are indicators, teams may not be sparing any expenses this winter. Happ surprisingly scored a 3-year/$36 million contract with Toronto, while Zimmermann landed a 5-year deal worth $110 million with the Tigers.
To further exemplify the salty market, Johnny Cueto recently rejected a 6-year/$120 million offer from the Diamondbacks. Signals from the Cueto camp seem to reveal a desire for a contract in the $160 million range.
Depending on the timing, the Dodgers may not make the bulk of their moves until Greinke finalizes a deal one way or another. If Los Angeles does indeed land Greinke, one may assume the winter spendings will be capped right there. However, there’s certainly a strong crop of secondary starters available, including Jeff Samardzija, Mike Leake, Scott Kazmir, Ian Kennedy, Yovani Gallardo and John Lackey—just to name a few.
The free agent market may not be the sole source for acquisitions, as Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi will leave no stones unturned while exploring the trade market. As recently as yesterday, rumblings were reported outlining a potential deal with the Braves offering Joc Pederson in exchange for Shelby Miller.
Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson and Alex Wood all will be set to start in 2016, with Hyun-jin Ryu seemingly meeting all the recovery standards to slot into another starting spot. However, glancing at the extensive number of injuries over the past 2 years alone, the front office may decide to setup a rotation that is 6 or 7 strong.
The farm system is always a last resort option, as several players, including Zach Lee, Julio Urias and Jose De Leon, seem to be on the fringe but ostensibly require another small stint of seasoning. Mike Bolsinger and Joe Wieland are the closest to the top, but need to prove their potential with every single opportunity they’re given. All that being said, at least one or maybe two new acquisitions may be critical to the team’s success.
The re-signing of Greinke is of extreme importance, as anything less will conceivably be a downgrade to the rotation. The good news for the fans is that Friedman and Zaidi seem to be strongly committed to making this happen. A base-five of Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu, Anderson and Wood is a solid starting point, and an addition of one of the secondary free agents mentioned above will produce a formidable staff.
In spite of everything, numerous moves will indeed be made very soon, as pitchers and catchers report in about 10 weeks. For the sake of the fans, hopefully Friedman and Zaidi reveal a plentiful wallet and make several gigantic splashes to build an even stronger squad in 2016.