It is Thursday, January 21, and the Los Angeles Dodgers still have not signed their right-handed power bat.
This is not so much concerning, as the Dodgers would be fine if they didn’t sign one right away. They have enough time to wade into Spring Training (if it actually starts on time) before they did so, or wait it out until the trade deadline, although I believe that they will not wait that long. Also, at this time last season, the Dodgers had still not made their big trade with the Boston Red Sox that brought Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles for Alex Verdugo and others.
What is concerning is that teams in the National League still don’t know whether they’ll be using a designated hitter for the upcoming season. Rumors are hinting that it is indeed the direction the NL will take, but with less than a month to go before the start of Spring Training, nothing has been officially announced.
So, anyway, we fans just continue to sit through the January doldrums and wait. For something, whether it’s the return of Justin Turner, or the true definition of how the season will play out, or whether Andrew Friedman has one more trick up his sleeve, we wait.
We’ve waited before, and spent the time arguing among ourselves what position needs to upgraded the most, which pitchers might be best as a starter and who should still stay in the bullpen, or which trade candidates would fit best on the current team.
But the best thing about this offseason is that the Dodgers just won the World Series, and we don’t have that particular angst hanging so heavily over our heads. Of course, fans want the team to be better, to make the team as good as possible for that repeat run, while holding back the San Diego Padres. But this is the first winter in a long time that the Dodgers don’t have to absolutely make a move to make them World Series contenders. Or maybe, they don’t necessarily have to make a move to finally get them over that hump.
The only lukewarm Dodgers rumor at the moment is that the team might be interested in Trevor Bauer, but only at the right price. (Which of course goes without saying). Jeff Passan of ESPN said yesterday that Los Angeles was keeping an eye on the 2020 NL Cy Young winner.
If Bauer would agree to a shorter-term deal, the Dodgers may be in play. But if Bauer only wants a longer term deal, I doubt the Dodgers would still be interested.
Los Angeles doesn’t necessarily need another starter, but there is uncertainty after the shortened season how pitchers’ arms will perform in a full season, and there is always the ever lurking San Diego Padres and their newly bolstered rotation. I think it’s just another rumor, as the Dodgers are in on everyone, but still another story to keep an eye on as the days count down to Spring Training.