Welcome to December. A time in which the snow starts to fall and holiday shopping is atop many to-do lists. December is also the time when the entirety of baseball convenes at one location for the Winter Meetings. Contrary to its name, the Winter Meetings are when the hot stove is alive and unignorable, like a warm summer day in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles.
For the Dodgers, though, the hot stove has been more of a slight simmer.
After a year of extraordinary feats and roaring crowds, fans of the Dodgers are dealing with the one thing they never had to in 2017—a lack of exhilaration.
Boredom was rare in this year, and by rare, I mean completely and utterly non-existent. From the moment Joc Pederson hit the Dodgers’ first home run of the season, a grand slam on Opening Day against San Diego, to the final, heartbreaking out of Game 7, the world saw a team on the rise.
We witnessed the stuff of legend.
So, it makes sense that fans are feeling a little antsy right now. For nearly eight months, we lived on Dodger Dogs and Dodger wins. And now, even on the warm, spring-like days of winter here in L.A., baseball seems far off.
The Winter Meetings are important. They are, in a way, a game plan for the coming season. Every team knows what other teams are hoping to acquire in either trades or signings. The Winter Meetings are the landmark we pass as we journey down the road to the coming season. The Angels have been loud. The Yankees have set themselves apart from the rest of the AL East and the Cubs have announced their intent to win the NL Central once more.
The Dodgers, though, have been quiet. They missed out on signing Shohei Ohtani. They failed to get a deal done for Giancarlo Stanton. But remember, last winter, few were aware of the kind of pitcher Brandon Morrow would become. 10 months later, Morrow was the set-up man in the bullpen, and leading the charge into postseason baseball.
The Dodgers haven’t signed any superstar free agents yet. That doesn’t mean they won’t, but it also doesn’t mean they have to. Everyone in the lineup is capable of hitting at least 20 home runs next season. Clayton Kershaw is completely capable of utter domination. Kenley Jansen is the best closer in baseball. The Dodgers will be just fine, no matter what.
The Winter Meetings are by no means a trade deadline. There is no clock on the Dodgers’ decisions; not yet. Opening Day is approaching and as the calendars are taken down, new ones with a new year are taking their place—it’s all we will be thinking about.
Making yourself known at the Winter Meetings is means something, but sometimes staying quiet means just as much.
The one thing we can say with confidence is this—the near silence probably won’t last long at all.
(FOLLOW SARAH ON TWITTER: @SARAHMANINGER)