First and foremost, Happy New Year to all fans of the Dodgers. While 2020 was a year like no other on many different levels, the Dodgers finally winning the World Series after recent playoff disappointments surely had to put a smile on many of your faces.
So, looking ahead to a better 2021, we will consider some New Year’s resolutions for the Dodgers. When you look at a team as complete as the Boys in Blue, there aren’t many holes to identify where they need immediate work, which is probably a good problem to have. But, they always strive to get better, and it never hurts to improve, even when you’re the best team in baseball.
Here is a list of three important New Year’s Resolutions I hope to see the Dodgers complete this year:
Extend Corey Seager
If there was any conceivable doubt whether Corey Seager was the Dodger shortstop for the foreseeable future, this season may have erased much of it. Seager was arguably the best hitter from start to finish of the regular season and during the playoffs. After struggling with a few injuries in the past couple of years, Seager was finally able to get healthy. He hit .307 during the regular season along with 15 homers and 41 RBI. He then followed up his regular season, smashing 11 home runs during the postseason, while also earning NLCS and World Series MVP honors.
While there had been various trade rumors surrounding Seager and the shortstop position, he let his play do the talking. The Dodgers were linked to Francisco Lindor rumors at the onset of the offseason, but since then those rumors have died down. With Seager due to enter free agency after the 2021 season among a loaded class of shortstops, the Dodgers may want to enter negotiations sooner rather than later.
Address the Closer Situation
During the regular season, it seemed like we saw a resurgence of Kenley Jansen, as his stuff was solid early, leading the way to him being named the NL Reliever of the Month for August. However, after a blown save against the Houston Astros, Kenley struggled at the end of the regular season and into the postseason. Several relievers saw save opportunities in the postseason such as Blake Treinen, Joe Kelly, and Julio Urias. Towards the end of the World Series, manager Dave Roberts didn’t really name a closer and stated it would be based more on matchups.
With Treinen entering free agency and Kelly also being up and down, the Dodgers at the moment do not have a clear closer. While they do have viable options such as Brusdar Graterol or even the newly acquired Corey Knebel, there isn’t a clear closer as of now. There have been small rumors the Dodgers could look to move Jansen, but that may be a bit difficult due to the amount of money he is owed. Chances are good we may see several arms close out games for the Dodgers early in 2021, especially if Jansen is ineffective early.
Re-sign Justin Turner
I really can’t stress this enough. Signing Justin Turner may be obvious to most of you, but with the absolute silence of the offseason period, I think some players may not sign deals until spring training nears, similar to the year Manny Machado and Bryce Harper hit free agency. There hasn’t been much reported on Turner in the past weeks other than the Blue Jays were interested in him.
When the Dodgers signed Turner to a minor league deal back in 2014, that may go down as one of the best deals in franchise history. Since then, Turner has been a staple of the Los Angeles clubhouse. Now 36 years old, the Dodgers won’t obviously sign him to a long-term deal. But, a one or two year deal at most may be the best scenario, if both sides can reach an amicable agreement. As we all saw, Turner was involved in many key plays during the World Series run this year. If he doesn’t pull off that amazing double play in Game 7 of the NLCS, we may be sitting here with another disappointment. Ultimately, if Turner re-signs, it may give the Dodgers a time frame in which they can continue to develop Kody Hoese, Turner’s potential successor.
In a perfect world, I hope to see all these occur, but we will have to wait and see how the rest of the winter plays out.