With all the regular season awards having been handed out, we are officially into the offseason. Here at Think Blue Planning Committee, that means the return of Fan Fridays. Our first installment begins with what fans see as the most important off season move the Dodgers‘ front office should make.
I, like many of you, miss baseball a lot right now. It’s been two weeks since Game 7, and I finally feel ready to move forward, but spring training doesn’t start for three months. Until February, we have the holidays, we have the joy of winter, and we have offseason trades and free agent signings. Though the offseason is not nearly as riveting as Game 7, it’s still something, and it’s worth getting excited about. In the past, my predictions as to who the Dodgers would sign have been, for the most part, incorrect and conventional.
At the non-waiver trade deadline, they all say that the team that makes a big move will be the team putting themselves in the best position to win in October. Well, winter is no exception. The free agent market this year is interesting, and there are some big names out there—players that contenders need to sign.
While it hasn’t yet been a week since the conclusion of Game 7 of the 2017 World Series, there’s already been a ton of speculation stirring on how the Dodgers will fill in the blanks for the prospective 2018 player roster.
Prior to the 2017 campaign, 29-year-old pitcher Kenta Maeda had never made a relief appearance outside of a single game for the Hiroshima Carp during his 2008 rookie season in the Japan Central League. But the manner which he handled himself in the bullpen during the NLDS sweep over the Diamondbacks may have persuaded the management crew of the Dodgers to use the right-hander in similar higher-leverage relief spots moving forward into the playoffs.
As the month of September is now upon us, and despite the foregone conclusion that the Dodgers will capture their fifth consecutive NL West division crown in the coming weeks, there really hasn’t been much discussion about a prospective playoff roster. Subjectively, it’s probably a lot better that way, because the next four weeks will be an audition of sorts for some areas of the roster, and the bullpen is shaping up to be a place that’s potentially loaded with surprises.
From a pitching standpoint, much of the spotlight from the opener against the Pirates on Monday evening was placed on lefty starter Alex Wood‘s performance and potential shoulder dilemma; however, the general perception of the Dodgers‘ bullpen as of late has been causing many fans to be a bit concerned, especially when looking ahead to the postseason.
For many followers of the Dodgers, the general consensus was that the club needed some type of upgrade before the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31. In turn, with elite Baltimore closer Zach Britton being virtually untouchable, Los Angeles snagged a pair of southpaws in Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani during the waning moments of the cutoff period. Yet, now that the need for at least one lefty arm has been addressed, those same followers are still wondering if the team’s relief corps has enough firepower to succeed deep into the 2017 postseason.
Well, I suppose it had to happen at some point — the Los Angeles Dodgers actually lost a game. It seems like it has been forever since that has happened. In fact, it had been — 11 games, an All-Star break and one off-day ago. One would believe they’ll start on a new winning streak soon enough.
The Dodgers are heading into Chicago to face the White Sox for a two game set while riding a nine game winning streak, and Clayton Kershaw will make his first start of the second half. Will the Dodgers ever lose again? It’s quite the popular rhetorical question on social media these days. The answer, of course, is yes. Teams do not win every game that they play. But the way this team is clicking, all things just seem to keep falling into place.