Happy February everyone! We’ve finally made it to the month where there are some signs of baseball life again. Dodgers pitchers and catchers report in a few weeks, and I don’t know about you, but this has seemed like the longest off-season in awhile.
It may seem that way because none of the huge free agents are signed as of this writing, nor have any huge trades been made yet—at least for the Dodgers. Having lost the last two World Series, Dodger fans want their front office to go all in to finally get that ring.
Despite how the winter has gone, I feel content with where the team is to start the season. Sure, there are a few questions here and there—things that the season will flush out. But overall, it’s still a pretty dang good team.
Ken Rosenthal wrote a long article this morning for The Athletic outlining why the Dodgers didn’t make any big moves this winter. He argues that their biggest signing, center fielder A.J. Pollock, is a better defender as well as cheaper addition than free agent Bryce Harper. He states that Steamer projects the Dodgers to have 93 wins, highest in the National League, without Harper on the team. Other factors are at play, he writes, like Los Angeles not needing to sign a big name like Harper for attendance, while mentioning that boss Andrew Friedman doesn’t like to give lengthy contracts.
Continuing on, Rosenthal says that because the Dodgers have not spent now, and should their pool of prospects become a little depleted do to trades, and being so good that they don’t select very high in the draft, they will have the money that they didn’t spend on Harper and Machado left to spend on someone like Mookie Betts or Mike Trout.
That was quite interesting to me, because even though I know that Smith is one of the top two catching prospects in the Dodgers organization, I figured he would be a September call up. Whether Law feels that the duo of Barnes and Russell Martin will be so bad that Smith will have to be brought up, or that Smith will show his readiness earlier than anticipated is not stated. I suppose either way, a trade for Realmuto is not warranted. Either Smith can handle it, or a trade could be made at the deadline to get a rental behind the plate.
I know that we shouldn’t be happy with just “good enough” right now, not with the sting of the last two seasons still acute in our minds. But, it’s a long season, the Dodgers are still a very good team, and even though they lost the last two World Series, the Dodgers have won the division six times in a row and made the necessary moves at the trade deadline.
There is a lot to be upset about with Stan Kasten’s recent remarks about spending, or lack thereof. Many articles by people smarter than I have tackled that. But the fact remains the Dodgers are still in a very good position, and I can’t wait for the season to start. Betting the whole farm to with the whole thing may sound like the expedient thing to do, but holding steady is good enough. For now.