The Winter Meetings are set to start in Las Vegas in a few days, and what the Dodgers front office will accomplish is anyone’s guess. Fans who are watching other teams make deals can’t wait to see the Dodgers make some deals of their own.
As we’ve not had much player news to talk about so far this offseason, I’m going to make my final pitch for the Dodgers to go all in—at the Winter Meetings and beyond. There are a couple reasons for this wish, so let’s start with the most important
The last two seasons sucked—Or, I guess I should say, the endings sucked. The last two seasons were obviously incredible seasons, each in their own way. 2017 was magical until right at the very end, and last year was a huge struggle all the way to through. But both of them ending in World Series losses leaves a bitter taste in so many fans mouths. I know that a lot of teams’ fans would be happy with the success the Dodgers have had while their own team or favorite player wastes away in mediocrity. While I am grateful for the two World Series runs, these are the Dodgers, a team and legacy that deserves another ring.
The NL is going to be a whole heck of a lot better this year—The NL East in particular is looking pretty scary. The Braves were a year ahead of schedule last season, but still won the division and now look to go for a deeper run in the playoffs. The Phillies also have a great young core, and possibly could add either Manny Machado or Bryce Harper to that mix. The Nationals and Mets are both fortifying their squads to compete in that division and beyond. Whoever makes it out of the East is going to be a really tough opponent in the playoffs.
Similarly, the St. Louis Cardinals were pretty good for awhile last year, before they petered out at the end. With the addition of Paul Goldschmidt, they will give the Brewers a run for their money for the division. The Dodgers’ own division should not be as competitive, but you just can’t immediately rule all the teams out of contention.
The AL still has the Red Sox and Yankees—So, if the Dodgers somehow manage to make it back to the World Series for the third straight time, they have to contend with whatever beast the AL sends their way. While the Dodgers should have beaten the Astros in 2017, the Red Sox were a far superior team this time around and will most likely still be in 2019. The Yankees are pushing to get better. The Astros will still be good.
There are too many variables—Clayton Kershaw has been declining. Rich Hill is 39. Justin Turner is 34. Hyun-Jin Ryu hasn’t had a full, healthy season since 2014. They don’t have a catcher besides Austin Barnes. Max Muncy could end up being a fluke. Alex Wood, if not traded, may not be what he once was as a starter after his demotion to the bullpen. Kenley Jansen struggled with more that his heart last season. It’s not enough to rely on the young core the Dodgers have to get them through.
There’s been an idea of what the Dodgers going ‘all in’ this off-season would look like, and it is this—acquire Trevor Bauer or Corey Kluber from the Indians, acquire J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins, and sign Bryce Harper. The Dodgers have the players and coffers to get this done. It would require some favorite players being traded away, a prospect or three developing somewhere else, and more money spent than the front office feels comfortable spending. But isn’t finally being World Champions worth it? I think most fans would say yes.