Baseball’s Winter Meetings start today, and the Dodgers have yet to make any moves. For a team that had the best record in baseball last year, and were one win a way from winning it all, that wouldn’t normally be a big concern. To the Los Angeles front office, I’m sure it isn’t. With fans, it’s probably a different story.
The Dodgers were rumored to be in on both of the two biggest offseason moves, the signing of Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani, and trading for reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. As we know, neither of those ended up happening. Ohtani went to the cross town Anaheim Angels, and the New York Yankees were the ones who decided to take on most of Stanton’s contract and make that trade.
In reality, fans of the Dodgers probably knew that neither of these would actually happen. Ohtani is better suited for an American League team, and the front office has made it well known that they are looking to reduce payroll, not increase it, as would have happened if they assumed the contract of Stanton. Despite the fact that Stanton made it known that his preference was to play for his hometown team, and as much as we all wanted to see his bat in that lineup, his contract was just too much.
The one that hurts the most though, is Brandon Morrow. Sunday he signed a two year deal with the Chicago Cubs to be their closer, a contract reportedly worth $21M. Morrow turned his career around last season with the Dodgers, and was stellar in the postseason, pitching in every game but one. It’s hurts to see a guy like that go, but again, the Dodgers were unlikely to spend that much on an eighth inning guy, especially when there’s no guarantee that he will be as good as he was this year. Regardless, good for Brandon for getting his money, and best of luck to him.
It is assumed that the Dodgers will stay quiet this week at the Winter Meetings. It is good to remind oneself that the Dodgers had the best record in baseball last year, and almost won the World Series. It’s easy to think that because that happened, the Dodgers should go all in and make sure that this year, they actually DO win the World Series, especially when one looks around the league and sees other teams bolstering their teams in big, splashy ways. Or not even in splashy ways, but just by simply addressing needs early on. But that’s not how this front office works.
I stated in a previous article that this team has the luxury of waiting the market out, and that’s what they’ll do. They will not mortgage the future for a better chance next year. And let’s not forget that at the end of the 2018 season, Clayton Kershaw can opt out of his contract. Also, other contracts will be off the books, such as Adrian Gonzalez, Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy. There are bigger opportunities down the road—Bryce Harper will be a free agent then. There are many things to plan for monetarily wise in the future, and when you already have a very solid core of players, you can afford to play the waiting game.
Still, moves will be made, albeit probably not splashy ones. The Dodgers could use another starting pitcher or two. Even though they have a plethora of outfielders, they still could make a move for a different Marlins player, as rumor have recently surfaced with Los Angeles and Miami talking about Marcel Ozuna. Both Yimi Garcia and Pedro Baez will be back healthy next season, so maybe the call for an eighth inning guy isn’t as loud as we think. The front office has already shown a great propensity for finding really good players for not a lot of payout on their end, and we as fans should continue to give them the benefit of the doubt.
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