A lot has been written about the lack of moves the Dodgers’ front office has made so far this offseason. In a recent article in the LA Times, part-owner and team president Stan Kasten took on the accusation that the team, up until now, has been “cheap.”
“We won 106 games and came a couple of outs away from beating the team that won the World Series, that doesn’t suggest to me a system that needs to be completely torn apart,” Kasten said. “What about the renewed pipeline, the old Dodger value of a player pipeline that I think we’ve had a reasonable amount of success at rebuilding? How about the kids that are homegrown Dodgers? We have a payroll of $200 million. How can you call us cheap? It blows my mind.”
While Kasten also states in the article that the current Dodgers roster is not what’s going to be the roster when the playoffs roll around in October, there is something to be said for waiting. Waiting, and not giving up those prize prospects just because the fans are clamoring for fresh blood.
One of the traditions that the Guggenheim ownership group revitalized when they took over the team was making the farm system prominent again, and full of ready-to-break-out players. They do this all having had a Top 5 team every season, and as such not having the best draft positions to start with.
Last season, the Dodgers’ farm system was No. 5 in all of Major League Baseball. Baseball America has come out with their top 10 prospects for the Dodgers in the 2020 season. Even more interesting, they projected where the team would be in 2023 with some of those prospects.
Aside from Max Muncy, this would be a completely homegrown roster, and a pretty darn good one at that, even if some of the prospects don’t quite reach their level of potential.
Of course, this won’t be the Opening Day roster in 2023. I don’t think that Joc Pederson would be with the team then, given that he’s subject to trade rumors every season. I would love to think that Muncy will still be with the team, and starting, in four years. One doesn’t know if Edwin Rios or Matt Beaty might have made strides to take over the first base starting job.
An intriguing part of this also is Dennis Santana as closer. Dennis touched on his history in his column yesterday, placing him for this upcoming season as the No. 3 starter at Triple-A Oklahoma City. The 23-year-old right hander has the ability to hit triple digits in terms of velocity. 2018 was a very good year for him, but after having rotator cuff surgery, he had a down 2019 season and was in OKC’s bullpen for the stretch of the season.
If Santana can’t ever quite regain his starting pitcher place, a full time move to the bullpen could very well be in the cards. Current closer Kenley Jansen will be a free agent in the 2022 season, and as we’ve seen his decline over the last two seasons, I’d be hard pressed seeing where he would be the Dodgers closer, let alone re-signed to another deal.
There is a prevailing worry among some Dodger fans that their window to win the World Series is closing, and that throwing a bunch of prospects at other teams for big name stars is the answer. While I have stated many times that I would like to see the Dodgers do more to get them over that World Series hump, I think that there are enough prospects to acquire some premium talent while making sure that that window does not close. It’s at times incredibly frustrating to be a Dodger fan, but they are set up to be super-competitive for a long time to come.