The Dodgers are masters of the unexpected. They win when many have begun to lose faith, and they cultivate talent that few knew they had. At the start of the 2017 season, we were unaware as to what kind of reliever Brandon Morrow would become, but come October, he was pitching in high-leverage situations during nearly every postseason game.
Contrary to what they seem to be, the Dodgers are not a big market team—not entirely.
Though the offseason is far from over, the Dodgers have already made moves—beneficial moves—towards a potential postseason run in 2018.
Here’s how each offseason move breaks down for the Dodgers so far:
November 6th: Dodgers exercise $8.5 million option on Logan Forsythe:
Of all the Dodgers’ moves this offseason, this was by far the most logical. Though Forsythe only hit six home runs in 2017, his defense at second was excellent and he had his fair share of walk-off hits. This was a simple move for the Dodgers, but one that will prove to be very beneficial.
December 16th: Braves trade OF Matt Kemp to the Dodgers for 1B Adrian Gonzalez (free agent; recently signed with the New York Mets), SP Brandon McCarthy, SP Scott Kazmir, IF Charlie Culberson, cash.
All winter, up until this trade, the majority of the news surrounding the Dodgers was about how they wanted, and needed, to get under the luxury tax. This trade was how they did it. With new prospects coming up from the minors this season, the role that Gonzalez, McCarthy, and Kazmir would have would most likely be minimal. This trade gives the Dodgers’ a little flexibility, as well as helps them stay under the luxury tax.
November 5th: Dodgers decline $17.5 million option on Andre Ethier:
This was the Dodgers’ first official roster move after losing the World Series on November 1st. Ethier, who had been with the team for 12 years, is adored by fans. His Dodger career spanned the course of new ownership, four managers, 1070 team wins, and 8 trips to the postseason. Declining Ethier’s option for 2018 was a bold move on the Dodgers’ part, but one that makes sense. In the two seasons in which Ethier spent the majority of on the DL, the Dodgers created a new outfield, and realistically, playing time would be minimal for Either throughout the season.
December 15th: Dodgers sign free-agent swing-man Tom Koehler.
Koehler definitely brings versatility to the table, having the ability to pitch in any level of relief, as well as making an occasional spot start, if needed. In 2016, he posted a 9-13 record with a 4.33 ERA and 147 strikeouts after logging 176-2/3 innings over 33 starts, but his most productive year in the was 2014, when he went 10-10 with a 3.81 ERA and recorded 153 strikeouts over 32 starts and 191-1/3 innings.
January 4th: Dodgers trade RP Trevor Oaks, IF Erick Mejia to Royals for RP Scott Alexander, RP Joakim Soria.
Not all trades work out. Not all trades turn out to be franchise-altering. Though this trade probably won’t change the organization, it could change the season. In 2017, Alexander boasted a 2.48 ERA and gave up only three home runs in 58 appearances. The Dodgers lost a major talent when Morrow signed with the Chicago Cubs, but they’ve gained another with the acquisition of the Royals reliever.
January 4th: Dodgers trade RP Joakim Soria, RP Luis Avilan, cash for White Sox IF Jake Peter.
The Dodgers have an extremely talented farm system. They’ve drafted players like Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, and Cody Bellinger. Now, through trade, they can add Peter to that list. Forsythe is a solid second baseman, but Peter stands as a fantastic backup, should they need an extra bat in the lineup. In 2017, he hit 13 home runs and boasted a .279 average. In all likelihood, Peter will start the season playing for the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate, the Oklahoma City Dodgers, but a mid-season call-up could be in the cards.
There’s plenty of time for the Dodgers to make more moves this offseason, but should the waters stay calm and quiet for the remainder of winter, the Dodgers will be perfectly fine.
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One thought on “How the Dodgers Are Quietly Winning the Offseason: A Recap”
Personally I think you are over rating almost everything they have done. Cutting payroll is one thing, but they are basically the same team minus some vital parts as last year. Meanwhile the Rockies and Giants are retooling and the D-Backs are not standing still either.