What If the Dodgers Did Nothing Over the Winter?


‘Tis the season for family gatherings, Winter Meetings, and wondering what the front office of the Dodgers will do during the offseason.

There have already been quite a few rumblings of supposed trades or free agent signings. The Dodgers have been supposedly interested in trading for J.T. Realmuto of the Miami Marlins, Corey Kluber and Yan Gomes of the Cleveland Indians. They have also been part of ridiculous rumor that they would sign free agent Bryce Harper for a 14 year, $420 million contract.

The overall feeling, though, is that the Dodgers are not going to make a big splash in the offseason market. We had discussed previously that Friedman and Company told their shareholders that their goal was to stay under the luxury tax for each of the next four seasons.

The Dodgers don’t seem to be too interested in re-signing free agent Manny Machado, and while he is a generational talent, they don’t really have the need for him with the imminent return of Corey Seager. Harper, similarly, has an incredible amount of talent, but the Dodgers have young, good, controlled outfielders. Yasiel Puig is only under team control until the end of next season, but along with Cody Bellinger, Joc Pederson and Chris Taylor, all of them had similar or better stats than Harper did last year. They also have their No. 1 prospect ready to patrol the outfield in Alex Verdugo. Harper would be an expensive luxury the front office may not wish to splurge on, especially when the team needs a catcher and bullpen help more.

So needing a catcher and relievers, the Dodgers won’t really do nothing. But they very well could continue to do a series of smaller, less exciting moves that fulfill the roster needs without making a huge financial and newsworthy splash. As we have talked about before, there is not a huge market for catchers. Realmuto is the best player out there for acquiring, but most likely would take more than the Dodgers would like to give up. Yesterday, Dennis took an in depth look at what trading with the Indians might take. He made the point that the Dodgers are pretty well set with their starting rotation. The Dodgers would likely have to be able to make a really great deal to acquire any big names there.

Most of the players from the Dodgers’ last two World Series runs are still with the team, and if they perform as they have been, the Los Angeles should have no problem winning the NL West for a seventh consecutive year. None of the other teams in the division, at this point, look like they’ll make upgrades that make them competitive.

From there, it would be what teams in the other NL divisions decide to do. The Cubs look to be quite over the off-season. For NL teams, the pundits’ favorites for both Harper and Machado seem to the Philadelphia Phillies and the St Louis Cardinals. Would the addition of either or both of the aforementioned players be enough to put them over the jump to getting through the playoffs to the World Series?

That remains to be seen, but is it a chance the Dodgers want to take? As much as I personally would like to see the Dodgers go all in and get that WS, I have a feeling that they will not spend lavishly. A lot of Dodger fans may be disappointed, as the 2018 offseason was touted as being full of big available names, and that the Dodgers were saving money so they could go in on those names. I don’t see that happening, and fans should be prepared.

25 thoughts on “What If the Dodgers Did Nothing Over the Winter?

  1. I thought Seager had 3rd base written all over him when I first saw him. This year I was picturing an infeld of Seager, Machado, Turner and Bellinger. Then I put together an outfield of Stanton, Pollock and Puig. Greatest Show on Grass. That team could stay together 5 years and win 500 games. Draw 4 million.

  2. I also think there will be no blockbuster trades unless they pull of the rumored trade with the Indians for Kluber or Carrasco and Gomes. Realmuto is a pipe dream because all of the signs are pointing to the Marlins wanting a huge return. That is one reason DC pulled out of the bidding and signed Suzuki. Even the guys they cut the other day could end up back in the organization on minor league deals. I liked Goeddel at times. If he had not gotten hurt I think he would have been valuable as a bridge to Jansen. A couple of things they will have to address once the get 2nd and the catching spot settled, the bullpen, and do they keep Kemp in the last year of his deal or do they eat a large portion of that 21.5 million and trade him, if they can. Harper and Machado are not in their plans. Remember this one thing, Friedman has never signed a free agent for more than 5 years, and never have they gone 9 figures, which means 100 million or more. The only free agent who got 5 years…..Jansen.

  3. I expect Andrew to make some major moves but I don’t think that will include Machado or Harper. Friedman has been here 4 years and made the playoffs each year. Good thing. He has made the WS each of the past 2 years. Good thing. He hasn’t won a WS. Bad thing. His contract runs 5 years so 2019 is the last year. If he doesn’t reach the promised land in 2019 he might just find himself looking for another job (admittedly rather unlikely but still a possibility). I think the need to reach that final pinnacle will lead to him to consider trading prospects or players he might not have been willing to do for the past 4 years. He won’t act out of desperation or make what he considers to be very risky trades, but I think he may be less predictable in formulating the building of his roster than in the past.

    1. Can’t agree with that Jeff. Especially the way his interviews go. And with the fact that the team wants to stay under the Luxury Tax for at least the next 4 years in my mind takes away making a deal for any kind of a impact player. Oh, Andrew will make fringe moves that is his specialty. Major moves would suggest an impact player or pitcher. They have traded prospects before, but not the better ones. In order to get someone like Realmuto, they would have to deal someone like Ruiz or Smith and maybe even Verdugo. Andy ain’t built that way. He parted with a bunch to get Machado. The needs are obvious. And I also have little doubt that at some point this offseason he will try to move Matt Kemp. Getting rid of that 21 million would help him a lot. As for winning his 4 years here. He had a winning team when he showed up. They had already won the division twice, so the primary parts were already here. He has been tweaking for 4 years and no title yet. I am not going to place the blame for the 2 Series losses. I have my beliefs, but after the fact there is not much you can say except they did not get the job done. In truth, I thought they should have beaten the Astros because the bullpen blew 2 games they should have won. Against the Sox, I never felt they were in the series.

  4. I don’t think he needs to spend Harper money to get an impact player. Even Kluber or Bauer wouldn’t cost all that much in salary. He has a number of excess outfielders and pitchers that he could put together with prospects to get a Diaz or Vazquez or Iglesias or a premium starter like one of the Indians’ guys or a second baseman like Merrifield. To me those are impact players. I don’t think we’re really in that much disagreement here. We both agree he won’t be giving anyone a billion dollar contract for 100 years (slight exaggeration there) but I could see him trading any or all of the following to get someone he really thought would help us become the best team in baseball next year. On that list I would include Joc, Puig, Toles, Kike, Muncy, Taylor, Wood, Stripling, Santana, Ferguson, Smith and May. I’m guessing Ruiz and Lux are probably off limits. Although I could see either Taylor or Kike included in a trade I wouldn’t expect both to be traded because of their versatility and value to the roster.

  5. 25% of the payroll is taken up by two iffy players. If they are healthy, the team should be successful again. If they are not, the run of NL pennants could end at 2.

    Spotrac has an interesting read on payroll. With Ryu and Hill making over $36 million between them, gulp, the risk factor of those 4 pitchers feels enormous. That’s $86 million that could very easily spend weeks if not months, on the jacuzzi list. Winning while staying under the $200mm cap without spending on free agents will be a challenge.

    Kemp is only $18 million. Send a prospect along with him while absorbing some of that should be possible.

    1. I assume the two iffys you refer to are Kersh and Kenley? What you fail to take into consideration is that Chargois and Yimi hardly cost anything. Don’t panic, my friend……………………………on second thought maybe panic would be called for.

      1. Those 4 pitchers make up over 40% of a $200 million payroll. That wouldn’t be as troubling if all 4 were in their prime. But those 4 guys are ALL way past prime. Even with that being the case, it wouldn’t be as concerning for me if Andrew hadn’t already told us this past year wasn’t just a cap reset. This past year is a blueprint. We have the same basic group coming back, a year older, and on many players a year older is not a good thing.

      2. You say the 4 pitchers are way past prime. I disagree. Kershaw, definitely past prime. Kenley, I don’t think we can say that until we see what he’s like next season. Ryu, pitched some of his best baseball ever last year. Hill had some very good outings last year and overall pitched quite well. Chance of injury to one or all, definitely, but I wouldn’t say they were all past their prime. Also, I don’t think we can say we have the same group coming back, just a year older, until we see what the roster looks like going into spring training. Remember, I’ve promised you some major moves here and I never break a promise, except sometimes.

      3. I like your positive thinking. It’s absolutely possible some or all 4 of those guys will have career years.

        Let’s look at it logically.

        Kershaw. Come on. The guy is wearing out. He is OBVIOUSLY past his prime. Unless you think he’s got 230 innings of 7 WAR in him. I got 100 push-ups that says he doesn’t reach that bar.

        Ryu will be 32, You know is recent history. In ‘13 he threw 192 innings, and had a 3.4 WAR. He was 26.

        Hil. He will be 39. He projects to do about the same. But at 39 he has to be past his prime – right?

        Jansen. He was a stud for 7 years. He’s 31 coming off heart surgery. You think he’s likely to regain his ‘13-‘17 form?

        Pederson, Bellinger, Puig, Turner, Seager, Hernandez and Freese. Barnes. Muncy, Kemp. Taylor. Kershaw, Buehler, Ryu, Hill, Maeda, Stripling. Looks like the same team to me. Replace Grandal and tee it up.

        I await the blockbuster. I look forward to some postitive moves. But …. “What if the Dodgers did nothing over the winter?” It would look a lot like ‘17 and ‘18 – with older guys.

      4. First of all, you may have 100 push-ups in you but I certainly don’t. Why don’t you just give me 100-1 odds and I think we’re good. Secondly, I agreed to your stipulation that CK is past his prime, so don’t argue with me about that. Thirdly, Kenley did just fine in the season after his first heart surgery. I’m not worried about that nearly as much as the fact that his mechanics seem to have gone to hell. Ryu – 32 is not old for a pitcher, especially one with relatively few innings on him. He had a 2.2 WAR last year in less than half as many innings as his 3.4 year. Hill – he was probably past his prime when he was in his prime. Late bloomer and all that. Buehler only pitched about 135 innings last year. We should expect more out of him in 2019. We’re arguing about having the same (yet one year older) guys as last year and we haven’t gotten to the Winter Meetings yet. Did my wife put you up to this just so I’d have to do some push ups? And just for the record, if you weren’t being so negative here, I’d probably be the one saying all the things you did, but I love being contrarian.

      5. Jansen is finished. Kershaw could be a BIG disappointment. Then what? With that napalm bullpen the Dodgers may be would be ran out of town and sent back to Brooklyn.

      6. 100 push-ups is easy. If we started tonight, we’d be finished by the start of Winter Meetings.

        I’m not trying to be negative here, just trying to be a realist. I think we’ve seen the best we are going to see out of all 4 of those guys. Doesn’t mean they’re done. They could all have decent years. But decent years from 60% of your starting rotation, your closer, and 43% of your payroll, may be just enough to come up a bit short. We need more from our ace and our closer. Or maybe we need another ace,…. and a long line of bullpen help. It can be done for under $200 million. But it feels to me like Friedman may be running out of time. He has one year left on his contract. This could be the most important winter of his career. Make it rain Andy.

        Being a contrarian is a good thing my friend. We need more of them.

      7. Negative people always say they’re realists. I should know. I’m a member of the club.
        Your last sentence – I guess I’m now supposed to disagree with that comment.

      8. I didn’t say I was a realist. I said I was trying to be realistic. Father Time is undefeated and all that. Over 162 games our starting staff ranked 14th in IP. We had 1 guy pitch 161 innings, one who pitched 151 innings. I’d feel more comfortable if we had a 200 inning guy placed in there somewhere. That’s just me. We’ve come damn close without one so I suppose it isn’t necessary. The Friedman model is 8 5-6 inning pitchers. Ok. I get it. Boston did it differently this year, but the Houston model was similar the year before. And Houston did it with a below average bullpen. As the Buddha said – “there are many paths to the top of the mountain.” Lead the way Andrew.

        “Your last sentence – I guess I’m supposed to disagree with it”. Nah. A contrarian rejects popular opinion. I make no such claims regarding my opinions.

        What is the popular consensus regarding how this team is constructed? Most believe we’re pretty good. Most also agree we are not the best. Most had us about 4th best this year. How do we become the best? Well, certainly not by lining up the same 4th best team and expecting them to do better just because.

        I’d like to add some talent that is either in the middle of their prime years, or right at the beginning of them. BR has a projected payroll of $196.2 million. That’s with no changes. Does Friedman continue with this current group? Stand by.

  6. Andrew should make the trades it takes to get over the top. He’s in the last year of his contract, I think the team will bring him back but nobody knows for sure, if he isn’t brought back, I’m sure he’ll find another job, but there aren’t many places he can work with the resources he has in L.A. I’m sure Andrew wants to win a championship as bad as we do. So his time is now.

  7. There are so many if’s to this team. First of all, we will not know about Jansen and how he responds to his surgery, scheduled for tomorrow. But even if he comes back from that throwing darts, does he still need to miss games in Denver because of the altitude? Or was it just that his medication was not working. First things first. They will probably, according to Friedman’s last interview, name some new coaches this week. Then the meetings start on the 13th of December. I expect Hill to have a season close to what he had last year. At 39 that is about all you are going to get from him. Ryu, if the guy manages to stay healthy all year, not likely, you could get 14 wins out of him. With Kersh, it is all going to depend on if he reimagines himself into a pitcher who is more like Greg Maddux. Kersh still has decent stuff. His velocity is down, but he is no dummy out there on the mound. There are a lot of pitchers through MLB history who have re-invented themselves and Kersh is on a mission to do that. Will he be a Cy Young type pitcher/ Probably not, but he can be a very good pitcher. The new ace will be Buehler. Then you have Stripling, Wood, Maeda, Urias, and Ferguson to pick the #5 from. Most likely it will be Maeda, which makes the others, except most likely Urias, trade chips. Wood needs a new home. He dislikes the bullpen and his awful performance down there cemented the fact that he sucks out of the pen. They most likely will actively seek to move Kemp, look at multiple options at catcher, seek someone who has had closing experience to back up or bridge to Jansen, and possibly sign a free agent to play 2nd. An impact player to me will only be acquired in trade, not through free agency. That’s not really Andy’s forte.

    1. Just for the record Bear, I believe the Winter Meetings start the 9th and end the 13th. If you’re like me, that’s one of the best weeks of the year. Don’t want you to miss it. Non-tender deadline is Nov. 30th (next Friday) and that might lead to some interesting news for Dodger fans.

      1. Yeah Jeff, I probably got the date wrong, but there is nothing new there. Non tender is another day I like to watch because there is always a surprise or two. Looking at the 49 man I see 3 or 4 solid candidates for that. Venditte, Farmer, Gale, Stewart, and believe it or not, Andrew Toles. They are overloaded in the outfield, and unless they include him in a trade, I could see Friedman pulling the plug on Tolesy.

      2. I could see Venditte and Gale, but Farmer, Stewart and Toles definitely have some trade value. Not saying we could get a Hall of Famer for them, but I would think Andrew would trade any of those three for prospects before just dumping them for nothing.

      3. Toles deserves better than “the bench”. New scenery and playing every day….I predict this guy is going to blossom–big time if he gets a chance and stays healthy.

  8. Word is out that Dino Ebel is going to be named our third base coach/infielders coach. He spent the last 13 years on Scioscia’s staff, including four years as bench coach awhile back. Spent time as an infielder with the Dodgers in his minor league days. Hard to believe a guy who was a one-time bench coach for Mike Scioscia would find a spot on the 2019 Dodgers coaching staff. Kind of a strange hire to me, but maybe we’ll get a more complete explanation when the announcement is made.

    1. That was pretty much confirmed by Dodger Digest. I think the announcement will be made soon. You are probably right about Farmer and Toles. I would add Garcia to that list. MLB.com chose him as the Dodger most likely to be non tendered. All the injury re-hab and missed time dimmed his star quite a bit.

  9. The only free agent they have signed so far is Kevin Quackenbush to a minor league deal. They have had preliminary talks with Lamahieu’s agent. Some guy from Az is going to be the new hitting coach. Frankly, I never heard of him. I really wish they would hire someone who preached more contact and less launch angle.

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