Do Dodgers Really Need to Make a ‘Big Move’ this Winter?

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(Photo Credit: Jason Miller/Getty Images)

For some fans of the Dodgers, the offseason so far has been a bit of a disappointment as far as upgrading the roster goes. For others, they have faith in the existing personnel, as they are counting down the days until the same core from the 2019 group has another chance to prove its identity in 2020.

I’ve been talking a lot about the offseason expectations lately, specifically how the hopes of a huge upgrade were relatively minimal right around when the Dodgers were eliminated from the 2019 postseason, but soared to great heights after front-office boss Andrew Friedman indicated his team was likely to make a big splash during the winter months.

“I think it’s always safe to assume if there is a star-type, top-of-the-roster type player available, we’re going to pursue it,” Friedman said during a radio interview at the end of November.

In the weeks following that particular interview, Los Angeles was reportedly “in” on numerous free agents like Stephen Strasburg, Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Madison Bumgarner and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Furthermore, trade rumors were swirling, linking the team to several superstars—primarily Francisco Lindor of the Indians and Mookie Betts of the Red Sox.

However, now that all the aforementioned free agents have signed elsewhere and the talks surrounding Lindor and Betts have seemingly reached impasses, time is running out for the organization to make that “big move.”

It almost seems that the team intends to begin the season with its current group of players despite having an extra $20 million or so to play with while staying under the Luxury Tax Threshold—if that’s what a team with one of the largest markets in baseball really needs to do.

For certain fans, the team having not landed a big name during the winter’s free agent scramble seems like a youngster not getting what they wanted for Christmas after being promised a really huge gift for behaving themselves all year.

There’s no question the team will make a few moves during the weeks leading up to spring training, but those moves may not be substantial, lacking the glamour of a front-line starter or a 40-homer-per-year slugger. They’ll probably be moves to bolster the fringes of the farm and strengthen the overall depth of the roster—something that fans probably don’t want to hear.

I’m one of those folks who’s still somewhere in between. I don’t think a move should be made for the sake of making a move, especially since the most impactful players have already been snagged from the free agent big board. There’s always the summer trade deadline to upgrade the squad. Having a spare $20 million at the deadline could end up proving to be beneficial.

I am, however, concerned about the overall landscape of the team’s starting rotation in the first half of the year—probably even more than the prospective bullpen. On multiple occasions, we’ve talked significantly about how the Los Angeles rotation might look if there weren’t any additions made to the current active roster. Right now, the front five would consist of Walker BuehlerClayton KershawKenta MaedaJulio Urias and one of either Dustin MayTony Gonsolin or Ross Stripling.

Certainly, there’s plenty of potential among those names, but it’s tough to speculate just how well the unit would perform as a whole. Kershaw is aging, Urias may need time to settle back into a starting role, and Maeda typically begins to drift away during the second half of the season. Moreover, it’s difficult to project just how many quality innings May or Gonsolin could contribute.

Last year, 10 different pitchers started games for the Dodgers, and that doesn’t include Casey Sadler‘s role as an “opener” on September 18 against the Rays. In 2018, the Dodgers used 11 different starting pitchers. In 2017, they used 10.

After the seven aforementioned possibilities, there’s not too much left on the Los Angeles fringe unless one of Mitchell White or Dennis Santana emerges from the shadows. Of course, there’s always the chance of an ascension by an under-the-radar youngster like Josiah Gray.

Still, with the team having only about eight starters that are considered MLB-ready by most standards, there could be one or two starting pitchers arriving soon.

They just might not be the superstar-caliber arms like many fans have been hoping.

 

59 thoughts on “Do Dodgers Really Need to Make a ‘Big Move’ this Winter?

  1. We’ll so much for having Rich Hill for the second half and playoff run. He’s now a Twin. Good job Friedman you continue to do nothing at all.

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  2. Very concerning Dennis. We have 2 legitimate starters, 2 marginal bottom of the order starters, 2 unproven youngsters with potential and a 26 year old career minor leaguer. And nobody on the farm that’s even close. We’ll win the west again because of lack of competition but as we know , in the post season you need 3 studs to be sucessful and we only have 1. To count on 3 youngsters to all be sucessful and lead the staff is of course ludicrous and never happens.

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  3. The pitching market is getting pretty expensive. Bailey’s contract with the Twins is 1 year and 7 mil guaranteed. Hill’s contract is for 1 year and 3 mil but apparently he can get up to an additional 9.5 mil by starting 15 games and/or pitching 75 innings.
    AF may be saving his money to accommodate a large contract between now and ST or failing that, at the July deadline.

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    1. I think a lot of people are overlooking the deadline. Gives the team more than enough time to evaluate its needs heading into the postseason. Some clubs are very hesitant to deal now because they think they might be contenders in 2020. Waiting on the summer deadline potentially gives the team much more to choose from than snagging a free agent right now.

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  4. Now that we’ve all convinced ourselves that it’s logical to start the season with what we have and then swoop in to make our big acquisition in July, AF will pull off a stunner before ST. I can’t help it, it’s the Shlemming in me.

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  5. Are the Twins and White Sox better than the Indians now? If so, a trade with Cleveland becomes more of a possibility. I was thinking that Cleveland would give it a shot and see where they are in July. But if the White Sox and Twins keep adding more pieces, the Indians might be more inclined to sell. Same thing with Boston and the AL east.

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  6. I absolutely can’t believe that there won’t be some veteran-type pitcher in Glendale to add to the already assembled group. For all I know it could be somebody as iffy as King Felix but AF won’t go into the season with just the guys he has now. Other names out there which have been mentioned include Taijuan Walker, Jimmy Nelson and even old friend Alex Wood. Andrew is far too conservative to have Urias, May and Gonsolin make up 3/7 of his starting staff. All three of those guys have huge potential but along with not having proven themselves yet, they also haven’t pitched many innings in a season. There will be at least one or more additions to that group. Could be a star, could be a washed up guy who won’t make it out of ST, but there will be someone.

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  7. I think we need another arm in the bullpen. Preferably a younger arm! It wouldn’t hurt to have another young arm in the Outfield. Mookie Betts for obvious reasons would be a good choice. Not to mention that he must be my cousin since he has my last name! LOL

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  8. +Bailey and Hill. Not a bad New Years pick up. I had my doubts that AF was going to sign Dick Mountain anyway. I would like to see them maybe take a flyer on Will Harris. The guy has been sneaky good out of the Astro pen. Edwin Jackson says he plans to pitch this year! Go get em Schlemmings. Basically it is coming down to if they are going to upgrade anywhere, it is going to have to be via the trade route. Not any real difference makers left out there. Matt Beaty has been working out at Dodger Stadium trying to become more versatile. I like the guys attitude. He already has experience at 1st and 3rd. He has played some outfield, but not much. Absolutely no buzz what so ever on the trade front right now. Happy New Year to all of you! Hope 2020 is a great year!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sign Will Harris so that Stripling can move to the rotation for good. It’s pointless signing a washed up has-been starter when we have a guy who would be the #2 starter on some teams and the 3rd starter on most squads. Kershaw, Buehler, Urias, Maeda and Stripling to start the year is a solid rotation with Dustin May the first guy up when an injury happens which as history tells us will be about April 10th so he won’t have long to wait. Strip deserves his chance. The only thing I worry about with that rotation is length. Urias is still building innings from his shoulder surgery and both Kenta and Strip have worn down as the season has gone on so having a bullpen that is legitimately 5-6 deep with premium arms is a must.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A lot of people forget that Strip had arm problems some years ago. He also took a no hitter into the 8th inning in a start against the Giants that first year back. If he was slated as a starter from the get go, and stretched out, I think he would be much more effective in the role. As it is, he has adapted pretty well to his swing man role. And I am with Dennis, they will know where they are a lot better come the end of June. So many things can change very fast in the game. I agree also with Jefe, that they could pull off some sort of deal before spring, but as each day passes and the reporting date gets closer, I see that as less likely.

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  10. I just read that somebody believes May should start the year at AAA to monitor his innings so when the inevitable crash by others happens in September he will be there to take over.

    Ok.

    Bullsh*t.

    First of all, he pitched over 140 innings last year. Don’t we want at least 150 this year and ALL of them to be at the ML level? 25 starts, 6 innings per start. 150 innings. He’s 22 next year. Koufax threw 158 when was 22. Don Sutton threw 232. Don Drysdale threw 270. Fernando threw 257. Tom Seaver threw 251 as a 22 year old rookie. May is in my rotation all year. Lux is my starting second baseman. Verdugo starts in right. Smith behind the plate. Gonsolin in the pen, or the rotation if he earns it. Step up and step in. We win 99 and take the West with over a week to spare. I trust the Dodger process.

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      1. I would love to see your logic for that prediction chez. They still have the most balanced offense in the division. A good bullpen and solid starting pitching. SD and the rest all have 20 games to make up on the Dodgers, and from what they have added, I don’t see any of them winning close to 90 games, and the Dodgers should eclipse that easily. Even standing pat, the west is theirs to lose, and they have too much talent and too many resources to make themselves better. Pads probably more likely to contend in 2021. D-Backs will be better, but their pitching is suspect also. Giants and Rockies have done nothing.

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      2. Nope, that interpretation does not have any legs. He was quite clear he thinks they are going to end up in 3rd.

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    1. LSU should have little trouble with Clemson. From what I saw, the Tigers, LSU, have a lot of firepower. Clemson has a lot of guts, and are no quitter’s, But I think the LSU bus keeps on a truckin.

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  11. HAPPY NEW YEAR. CELEBRATED WITH SOME GREAT CHINESE FOOD FROM THE JADE CAFE IN FLORENCE COLORADO. WATCHED BLACKBEARDS GHOST WITH PETER USTINOV, DEAN JONES, AND SUZANNE PLESHETTE. AND READ ALL OF THE CRY BABY’S ON TWITTER COMPLAINING ABOUT FRIEDMAN NOT TRADING LUX FOR LINDOR. AND OF COURSE ALL OF THE CRYING THAT HILL IS NOW A TWIN.

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    1. I can remember some New Year’s Eve Partys that were raucous and fun, especially during the 80s, when I had a successful business and lots of friends who loved to party. Last night I was asleep by 10:30. It just doesn’t mean as much as it usta did.

      Twitterverse huh? Where everyone’s thoughts are wide open. No thanks. One thing I know for sure at this point in my life – people are bat sh*t crazy. The less I hear what is inside their heads the better off I am.

      My horoscope says it will be a better year for me. I’ll just go with the flow. I’m a Pisces. It’s kinda what we do.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope we all have a great year Scoop. Topped off by a win in the big dance. I played in bars for years. My New Years eve’s were always party time. Lots of great memories and some great music. Best part of being in a band was getting mobbed by all the ladies at midnight. Lips were sore for a week, but it was worth it. Yep, the folks on twitter are bat shit nuts.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Just want to wish everyone here a Happy New Year. May 2020 bring Olaf the Magnificent great vision (you see what I did there?) and may he put the finishing pieces on our team so we hoist the trophy next November.

    And just so I’m clear on this Scoop and Bear, the Twitterverse is where I get all my information. It’s where I found out that next year’s Dodger lineup will contain Mookie, Lindor, Clevinger, Arenado and Bryant. And now you tell me not to pay attention to the folks out there who give me that information?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. All those things could be true Jefe, but MIT, APS, Graphika and PNAS studies show the likelihood of getting solid information from Twitter is about the same as Rich Hill getting a base hit. Everybody has an opinion of course, but do we really need to hear it? And how do we know that Earl from Dubuque isn’t Afnazi from Estonia? We don’t. Even sportswriters whose names we know have had their identities copied. This is place is difficult enough. On Twitter people get excited when someone follows them. In real life how do they feel if someone is following them? No thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rich Hill had 3 hits plus a walk last year. Anything is possible.
        Small world Scoop. I went to school with Afnazi, great guy but I always thought he was from Latvia not Estonia. Majored in bowling industry management and technology. I do know that after graduation he took up residence in Dubuque. Maybe he just wanted to Americanize his name.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I thought it was hilarious the amount of fallout much of the Twitterverse gave Friedman after Hill signed with the Twins. Some were saying, “Welp, lazy Friedman missed out on signing yet another quality starting pitcher.” Seriously, folks. get a grip. The dude can’t even pitch until after the All-Star break. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m still extremely surprised that AF didn’t bring back Ryu OR Hill. I thought he’d at least re-sign one of them. Just leads me to believe he has something else cooking. I’m going to love watching Bartolo pitch here.

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      2. Is Garland available? Quick, grab a pen. Nah, never mind, we need to let Farhan sign somebody. Actually, I think the only thing that surprises me more than Andrew’s inactivity this winter is Farhan’s lack of moves. They’re definitely getting ready to make a move with each other. I still vote for Pollock-Cueto. Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com says we’re going to trade for Bryant, so that would fit right in.

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      3. I love Castrovince because he doesn’t take himself seriously. Last year he did “20 Bold Predictions for 2019” and got about 3 of them right. This year he did it for 2020 and actually linked to last year’s predictions so we would realize that we shouldn’t place any bets on his prognostications. I’m certainly not saying it’s impossible that we get Bryant but I wouldn’t bet the house on it…………………and neither would Castrovince.

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  13. Hill couldn’t hit a lick, but every time he was up to bat I stopped to watch. I don’t think I ever saw a player trying so hard to get a hit. It was ugly, but he gave everything he had trying to get on base. I have no problem with him moving on to make a little more money, but I will miss watching him, and I wish we had 26 Rich Hill types on our team, all heart, he always gave everything his body had to give.

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    1. Utley was the same way. He wasn’t the most gifted athlete, but there wasn’t any player in baseball who prepared more. He definitely left it all out on the field. I know it’s wishful thinking, but there’s a part of me that really hopes Utley makes it into the Hall. Total class act, IMO.

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      1. Utley and Hill are cut from the same cloth. I consider it a privilege to have been able to watch them compete in Dodger Blue. I could be very wrong, but I saw something in Lux last season that has me believing he could be another one. Time will tell.

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  14. I count a Rich Hill hit as one of the top ten Dodger moments of 2019. At least one of the more entertaining. I forget the game, but he hit a ball down the left field line and him running and making that hit a double was one of the most hilarious things I have ever seen a pitcher do. The entire Dodger bench was losing it. Second would be Babe Ryu’s homer. They steamrolled the league so there were a lot of great moments. How about Negron hitting 2 homers his first week with the team? No one expected that. Muncy’s go get it out of the ocean blast off of Bumgarner. Maybe we see a replay this year we can call, go get it out of the pool.

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  15. I loved watching Utley, and it says a lot about a player when they make a new rule based on something you did in a game. His slide against the Mets was the genesis of the Chase Utley rule about over sliding the bag and hitting the fielder. In his prime, he was one of the best 2nd basemen in the game. I just remembered who Max Muncy reminds me of. Dan Uggla. Lots of power, medium average, and not a great fielder. Had a couple of solid seasons for the Braves and then folded like a wet taco. Hope Maximus Muncious does not suffer the same fate.

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    1. Interesting comp Bear. I can see some similarities in their style. Actually Uggla had 6 years with over 25 homers and 6 years with over 80 rbi, so he wasn’t a flash-in-the-pan.
      Just noticed the photo you’re using now. You’re looking very youthful. I see you’ve shaved off the beard. Has anyone every told you that you look a lot like Koufax?

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      1. Wish I had his left arm. Mine was more like TJ’s. I couldn’t break glass. Funny, I hurt my arm making a throw from the outfield when I was 11. Never could muster any speed on my throws after that. Probably the reason I played 1st most of the time after that.

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      2. Wow, outfield career over at eleven. That’s tough.
        I guess you don’t need a strong arm to play guitar since you’re obviously still doing a good job with that.

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      3. Left hand is the one used to make the chords, so you need strong fingers and a lot of callouses. I also fell on my left shoulder when I was in Korea. Slipped on the ice. I have never been able to raise it very high since. So instead of the left arm of god, like Sandy. I ended up with the left arm of Red Skelton.

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  16. Oh, that pick is from one of Sandy’s Topps baseball cards. I thought it was interesting because he was wearing a windbreaker under his jersey.

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  17. Stern wasn’t always popular, he ran the nba with an iron fist, but he new how to use the popularity of magic johnson, and Larry bird, to Turn the game of basketball into the money generating machine it is today. There are a bunch of millionaires that should be giving thanks to him today.

    It seems unbelievable in this day and age, but I remember some of the 1980 championship, between the lakers and the sixers being shown on tape delay, instead of live.

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  18. Earlier today I made mention that Anthony Castrovince of mlb.com predicted the Cubs would trade us Bryant this winter. Now I see where Jim Bowden at The Athletic says we’re going to sign Mookie to a 10 year 370 mil contract next winter. This is great! There isn’t any chance that both those things won’t happen is there?

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      1. That’s a bit vague Dennis. Let’s have an exact date.
        It’s going to be exciting to see him back after a ten year hiatus.

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